FOUR hundred years of Ludlow history could be changed if the Prince of Wales gives his approval.

The historic town crest that dates back to 1623 could be changed to include the Prince of Wales’ feathers.

Permission is being sought from Clarence House to add the feathers to the heraldic crest that has represented Ludlowfor the past 391 years.

But before that another thorny problem has to be solved – permission to use the old crest in the first place.

When major changes in local government were introduced in 1974 Ludlow Town Council replaced the former borough council and Ludlow Corporation.

But an administrative hiccup at the time – recently discovered by clerk Veronica Calderbank – meant that the proper permission was not gained to allow the town council to use the crest of the former borough council and corporation.

“We have moved to put things right and royal assent is expected within weeks,”

said Veronica.

Permission has been sought from the College of Arms, keeper of the heraldry of all local authorities in the country.

Now notification has been received that an order has been made authorising the town council to use the armorial bearings borne by the Corporation of Ludlow.

All that is now required is for the Queen to put pen to paper and give the royal assent.

“We have not been on our own because thousands of councils up and down the country are in the same position.

In fact Ludlow is a pioneer in rectifying the situation,”

added Veronica Calderbank.

The coat of arms contains three roses and a Mortimer porcupine – and that’s appropriate because the issue has thrown up yet further prickly problems.

A question mark actually hangs over the proper definition of the council – and just what kind of body it is.

The query is whether the town council has actually been a town council at all during the past 38 years or technically just a humble parish council.

“We are a small parish that calls itself a town council with a mayor and traditions steeped in history,” said Veronica Calderbank.

“The council is doing this properly with royal assent creating a statutory instrument to regularise our rights to use the armorial bearings from our predecessor councils dating back to 1623.”

In the meantime, the council is waiting for confirmation from Clarence House about including the white feathers of the Prince of Wales on its crest.

It has already gone ahead and created badges made using the 1623 insignia as the motif for past mayors and their consorts – for now, minus those famous white feathers.