National and historical symbols of Hungary

In this section you can find the crests of almost 2400 settlements of Hungary with notes. Find the starting letter of the settlement in the list and click if you want to see it.

The Coat-of-Arms of the Town of Sajószentpéter [** ¤]
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Sajószentpéter

(The County of Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén)

The town of Sajószentpéter is situated in the county of Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén, north of Miskolc, on the right bank of the River Sajó.

The coat-of-arms is a military shield erect with sloping sides and a pointed base. In the field azure a bend sinister argent. In pale a full male figure argent borne alaisé, habited in a cassock argent, bearded and aureoled argent, holding in front of himself with both hands a large size key argent with ward pointing upwards.

Across the top of the shield a tournament helmet sable with a closed visor or, borne affronté, crested with a three-pointed open coronet verdured or. Issuing from the coronet a demi vine stalk with a bunch of grapes on the dexter and a vine leaf on the sinister, all or. The mantling issuant from the helmet, covering only the top of the shield, is azure and or on the dexter, and azure and gules on the sinister. The shield is supported by two lions rampant guardant or, holding the shield with their forepaws. The dexter lion is borne passant to the sinister with its sinister hind leg on scarves azure and or, while the sinister one is borne passant to the dexter with its dexter hind leg on scarves azure and gules. These two scarves are connected by a concave motto scroll argent with a majuscule sable reading SVB MAIORVM REFLORET VMBRIS.

Sajószentpéter's coat-of-arms belongs to what is called canting arms and, simple as it may be, it is capable of referring to both the name and the history of the settlement. The town might have been founded in the early period of the Árpád dynasty's reign. During the Mongol invasion it was probably destroyed, since when its church had been reconstructed, it was consecrated to honour St Nicholas. The town's first documented mention goes back to 1281 (Zenthpeter), and in 1293 its market-place already served as a forum for the town-crier's public announcements. Later, in 1446, it was granted the right of organising nationwide fairs. In 1304 a parson called Simon was mentioned by contemporary documents, while in 1307 the palatine himself dated one of his letters from here. The fact that the local priest paid a considerable sum as papal tithe signifies the settlement's contemporary importance. In 1409 an anterior constituent was added to the name (Szyozenthpeter), in order to distinguish the town from the other settlements also called Szentpéter. It might have been in 1453 that the provostship founded for the churches named after the apostle St Peter was consecrated (this title is still awarded). In the first half of the 15th century, the meetings of the county council were held here on numerous occasions (1429, 1446, 1456), while sources dated 1468 make a mention of the subsidiary branch of its salt chamber.

Apart from St Peter's figure, the settlement's 17th-century seals also bear a capital letter R. It is possible that, as assumed by some interpretations, the letter is to express the population's religious affiliation to the Reformed Church, but it cannot be excluded either that, as is the case with other towns, the R refers to the original patron saint's life, for the letter might be the abbreviation of the word rab (prisoner), representing St Peter in chains (Petrus in vinculis) or, as the Hungarian phrase goes, St Peter in Irons (Vasas Szent Péter). His holiday is observed on 1 August.

The silver bend sinister dividing the blue field in two symbolises the River Sajó, on the bank of which the settlement is situated, and from which the town obtained the anterior constituent to its name at the beginning of the 15th century. (In Hungarian heraldry it is very rare that the charge should extend over the chief divisions of the shield; however, it was a relatively common feature e.g. in the Mediterranean.)

The helmet borne across the shield refers to the fact that in 1438 the settlement was bestowed on a noble family of landowners. That year the members of the Pálóczy family obtained it from King Albert. Later the town was owned by the Perényi, Rákóczi and Szirmay families. During the Turkish reign many nobles settled down here, who had fled from the part of the country occupied by the Turks. The helmet is also a reminder of the local heroes who died in wars. The colour black of the helmet signifies the struggles of life and, at the same time, it refers to the fact that the town once used to be the centre of coal mining in the region of the Sajó Valley.

The coronet placed on top of the helmet is to emphasise the rank of the settlement which, as early as in the 15th century, was already a market town. Later it became a district centre, while today it is a town with full autonomy and an independent body of self government.

With its golden leaf and bunch of grapes, the vine stalk issuing from the coronet indicates that viniculture has had a very long history in the region. In 1503 the settlers made a decision on the sale of their wines, while the seal of the local Reformed Church featured a male figure as well, holding a bunch of grapes in his right hand. The golden and red tinctures of the shield's mantling also refer to the excellence of local white and red wines.

The supporting lions evoke the memory of the first landowners, the Pálóczys, who promoted the development of the town, but the second and third fields of the Perényi family's quartered shield also bore the motif of the single-tailed lions rampant.

The motto on the ribbon under the shield is a biblical paraphrase, based on Christ's parable on the mustard seed (Mark 4, 31-32), which "is less than all the seeds that be in the earth: But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, ... so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it." The motto has a double meaning. On the one hand, it explains the link between the charge of the shield and the local people: " ... and shooteth out great branches ..."; whereas, on the other hand, it may call attention to the honour paid to predecessors, and to the intention of keeping and contributing to the heritage of the past, if interpreted as follows here: "by evoking the spirits of ancestors, it will shoot out great branches again".

E-mail: polhivsp@elender.hu