THE HISTORIC village of Sharples now has its own coat of arms -—thanks to the self-styled lord of the manor.

The emblem is made up of a red Lancashire rose above a pierced five-pointed star and crescent in gold, and it exists because of the work of Malcolm Howe, the Lord of Sharples.

Mr Howe bought the lordship of Sharples for £15,000 in 2006 after reading about its sale in The Bolton News.

As soon as he took on the title, Mr Howe, a heraldry expert, set to work trying to obtain a heraldic badge for Sharples.

An official badge can only be granted by England’s heraldic authority, the College of Arms, and the college spent more than a year creating and authorising the design.

Mr Howe then commissioned artist Robin Utracik to make six three-dimensional representations of the emblem, which he gave to various people in Bolton.

The star and the crescent come from the Sharples family arms, and Mr Howe said they have special significance.

He said: “The name Sharples comes from ‘sharp hills’, just as Smithills comes from ‘smooth hills’.

“I believe the Sharples family used the crescent and the stars because of their sharp points. I can’t prove that but that is my belief.”

The crescent is also the chief symbol of Islam and Mr Howe said it is good that the symbol could now be used to represent the area’s significant Muslim population.

He said the star is pierced to represent a mediaeval tradition in which Smithills presented a set of golden spurs to the Lord of Sharples on every Christmas day.

Four of the badges commissioned by Mr Howe are now in Bolton. He gave one to each of his old schools, Sharples Primary and Bolton School, and one to Smithills Hall.

He also presented one to the Mayor of Bolton, Cllr Anthony Connell, while the other two are kept in Mr Howe’s two houses in London and Portugal. Mr Howe now lives in Chelsea but he grew up in Sharples and still loves his home town.

He said: “People like symbols, and this is a nice symbol that relates to part of Bolton’s past as well as Bolton’s present.

“I have studied Lancashire heraldry all my life and I decided I liked this design.

“I must say that I’m very pleased with it and everybody who has seen the badges has been very impressed. The primary school children were fascinated with it all.”

The manor of Sharples was once part of the barony of Manchester and the lordship title is recorded in the 1086 Domesday Book.

Mr Howe said the last of the Sharples family of Sharples Hall was Dr John Sharples Lawson, who died in 1816.