I’m not sure why, but I’ve always liked the lamb and flag symbol that one comes across from time to time. Perhaps it’s because it appears less belligerent than all those lions, griffins, dragons, bears, stags, swords. Steeped deeply in religiosity, it recalls an early, gentle Christianity. Typically, the depiction is of a lamb, (sometimes, but not usually, with blood streaming from its chest), in front of a flag on a pole, in most cases, the cross doubling as the staff. The flag is usually St George’s – sometimes triangular, sometimes square or rectangular. Some depictions have the lamb with just the cross, but no flag. Most usually, the lamb is standing, but sometimes you will see it lying down.
So, quite a few variations, and all of these have their own meaning. But the common denominator is the lamb, which has powerful Christian symbolism, representing as it does Christ himself: the Lamb of God. In the New Testament we find:
Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!(John 1:29)
Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they sang: ‘Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and praise!’ (Rev 5:11-12)
The Lamb and Flag is an immensely popular pub name as you’ll discover if you Google “lamb and flag”. But just add “symbol” or similar and you”ll start finding out something more useful. The best place in London to see many Agnus Dei badges is in the Middle Temple district just south of the east end of the Strand, for it is the badge of that particular Inn of Court. Here are some examples. I particularly like the ancient, bashed-up stone carving, encrusted in moss.