Dagger

or Long Cross (†), used for reference to a note after the asterisk (*), is a Roman Catholic character, originally employed in church books, prayers of exorcism, at benedictions, and so on, to remind the priest where to make the sign of the cross. This sign is sometimes called an obelisk—that is, “a spit.” (Greek, obelos, a spit.) Dagger, in the City arms of London, commemorates Sir William Walworth's dagger, with which he slew Wat Tyler in 1381. Before this time the cognisance of the City was the sword of St. Paul.

Brave Walworth, knight, lord mayor, that slew
Rebellious Tyler in his alarmes;
The king, therefore, did give him in lieu
The dagger to the city armes.

Fourth year of Richard II. (1381), Fishmongers' Hall.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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