Wild Boar In English Culture

King Richard III Emblem

In England, King Richard III displayed a white boar as part of his emblem. He had close associations with the town of Bernard Castle, which incorporated boar symbols into their town crest and on various buildings 1. In Shakespeare's literary interpretation of Richard III, Richard was associated with the inhumane, and closely represented bestial and monstrous traits 2. In this case, Richard's documented cruelty creates a negative representation of the wild boar as a destruction and evil creature.

Slaying by Richard de Glyphin

Another legend involved the spearman Richard de Glyphin and a destructive raging wild boar. Upon slaying the fierce foe, Glyphin was granted the Manor Of Kentmere, and was forever engraved as a hero in British folklore. Glyphin's slaying along with his military service, earned him the wild boar insignia on his family's coat of arms 3. We once again see a familiar symbolic warrior association with the wild boar, a destructive wild predator that represents strength and evil.

Town of York

Wild boars became associated with the town of York during its name change. In England, York is derived from the Old English "eofor" for wild boar and the Latin "vicus" for village 4, hence the translation of York as the "Village of the Wild Boar." Wild boars have been linked to the town of York since the 14th century 5.


  • 1 - Watson, Margaret. "On The Trail Of The Boar." Silver Boar, n.d. <link>
  • 2 - Shakespeare, William and John Jowett. The tragedy of King Richard III. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000. <link>
  • 3 - Gilpen. Alan James. Kentmere Hall and Beyond: The Gilpin Family and Their History. Bloomington, IN: Trafford Publishing, 2006. <link>
  • 4 - Bowley. Graham. "In Place Names, Old Meanings Made New." NY Times, 21 Nov. 2008. <link>
  • 5 - Yeomans, Fay. "The biggest boar in the world?" BBC, 25 Aug. 2009. <link>