The main colours, white and green, refer to the waterways and countryside. The green cross represents two ancient British trackways, Garraby Street (York to Bridlington), and the Norton - Londesborough - Brough road which crosses it. On this cross, the abbot's crosier refers to the religious houses which played an important part in the mediaeval history of the district. It is flanked by two golden mitres, one referring to Bishop Paulinus, who is said to have converted King Edwin
to Christianity at Goodmanham. The other mitre refers to the Archbishop of York, with which the district has many connections. The crossed swords with bloodstained points recall one of the most famous battles in English history, when Harold defeated Tostig and King Harold Hardrada at Stamford Bridge in 1066. The black chief, the white rose of York and the golden wheatsheaves are adapted from the East Riding County Council arms, and also provide an incidental reference to the
agricultural and horticultural societies of the district. The wheatsheaves are appropriate to a rural district and they also occur in the arms used by Pocklington School.
The crest-wreath and mantling are in the liveries of the arms, green and white. The crest is a tribute to the part played by many well-known local families in the history of the district. They are represented by the holders of the two local earldoms. The white stag of the Earls of Londesborough, with a collar of the gold and blue chequers of the Cliffords, supports a black shield with a white griffin's head taken from the crest of the Earls of Halifax.
The motto contains the (Nos non nobis) of the local Wilberfoss family, from whom descended the famous philanthropist William Wilberforce who was educated at Pocklington School.