click image to return Sign for the Unicorn Inn, Heyshott

The unicorn came to pub signs after being on other signs, often being used by chemists and goldsmiths, and there are numerous mentions of this fabled animal in the Old Testament. Because a unicorn could only be captured by a beautiful young virgin early Christians chose him to represent Christ, born of the Virgin Mary. It was believed that dipping the horn of a unicorn in liquid would determine whether it contained any poison and powdered horn was considered to be an aphrodisiac. These beliefs led to the unicorn being a sign for an apothecary. The unicorn appears on the arms of the Goldsmiths, Wax Chandlers and Apothecaries Companies and it is also on the royal badge of Scotland. The arms of James I had two unicorns.
Trish Steel - 26 May, 2009
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