Past Master Digby Flower explains the role of the Company:
The coat of arms is full of symbolism, featuring the golden lions rampant as supporters on each side of the shield, resting on terrestrial globes and each holding the sword of the City of London which has been embellished lower down as a surveyor’s ranging rod.
The shield depicts golden balls (wealth), castellation (building) and the red and white of the ranging rod. The owl at the top is embellished by the griffon wings of the coat of arms of the City of London, is holding scales (justice) in its beak and sits upon a wheatsheaf (perhaps a nod to land surveying). The motto ‘modus ab initio’ translates as ‘method from the outset’.