Horton District High School and Horton High School received their names from Horton Township which was established by the Nova Scotia Government in 1758. Horton District is the same today as it was at the time it was first laid out with these changes: The Towns of Kentville and Wolfville are now part of the district; Port Williams and Town Plot have been added to the district.
Halifax City was named after the Earl of Halifax, English statesman and poet, fourth son of the Honourable George Montague. He was born at Horton, Northamptonshire, England. Hence the name of this school and the township comes from Horton, Northamptonshire, England. The Montague estate was known as Horton Hall.
Mr. Charles Eaton, an historian and genealogist – and first principal of Horton – was fascinated by heraldry and felt that Horton District High School should have an official crest. Mr. Eaton arranged for a staff artist of London’s College of Arms to design an emblem, borrowing the griffin and the diamonds from the Montague family crest. The blue behind the griffin and the white/argent represent the waters of the township, the brown represents the land or the earth. The word “Horton” once meant “a bit of marshy land that was dyked”. The documentation from the College of Arms notes that the name stems from the Old English, Horu-tun, meaning “a tun on muddy land”. It reads: “The word Tun originally meant a fence or enclosure, but soon developed to mean a homestead, village, etc.”
The emblem captures this essential feature of the township. According to Dianne Thompson-Sheppard, the artist of the Class of 1959-1960, she adapted the emblem received from England for use by the school. Although the original school colours were chosen to be black, red and gold, the emblem replaced red with blue, which has caused considerable confusion in producing crests over the years. The school yearbook was officially known as The Red, Black and Gold until 1980 when it was renamed The Horton Gryphon, changed the following year to Griffin. Until 1973, the authentic colours were reproduced on the cover of the yearbooks; the 1973 yearbook staff decided to change the emblem to match the name of the book, and thus switched the blue for red, and left out the brown. Since then, a variety of colours have been used on school emblems. The scroll, with the name of Horton High School on it, is the only part of the crest without an historical background other than it being carried forward from the Horton District High School crest.
There are no copies in the Horton archives of the original suggestions from London. Dianne Thompson designed the crestoriginally used. David E. Sheppard (her step-son) re-designed the crest when HDHS became Horton High School in 1998.