Monday, October 31, 2022

Two Colleges, Two Impressive Gates, One Historical Coat of Arms, Part 1

Continuing down St. Andrew's Street from Emmanuel College, which we looked at in our post before last, we came to the very impressive gate of Christ's College on the right.

The above photograph, taken from down the street, gives you an inkling of what is to come.

And this next photo, from closer, gives you even more.

Founded in 1505 by Lady Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond and Derby, who with her husband, Edmund Tudor, 1st Earl of Richmond, was the mother of King Henry VII, Christ's College bears the Beaufort coat of arms, Quarterly France and England all within a bordure compony argent and azure., and supported by two yales. The crest is a falcon rising gorged of a crown chained.

There are, naturally enough, several instances of the Beaufort badge of a chained portcullis, as well as several Lancastrian red roses, and quite a number of smaller daisies (or, marguerites).

The overall effect is very impressive, and even more so in person than these poor photographs may lead you to believe.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Is It Real, or Is It .... ?

This next coat of arms that I ran across in Cambridge, England, is a bit of a mystery.

For one thing, I only found one instance of it.

For another, I haven't been able to find its use anywhere else. Not even in the official media kit offered by the school. (What they actually use - a lot! - is the arms of the Cambridge University along with the name of the school: Judge Business School.

And for another, I am not at all certain that the arms that I saw have been granted by the College of Arms in London. Or if they have been, I'd love to know what the blazon is, because it's got me stumped.

In any event, on this entrance to the School, there are two shields: the one on the left is the arms of Cambridge University; the one on the right, I assume, is the arms of the Judge Business School.

The School was established in 1990 as the Judge Institute for Management Studies. A year later, in 1991, donations from Sir Paul and Lady Judge (of £8 million), together with other funds, provided the money to construct a building for the School. That building was completed in 1995.

In September 2005, the Judge Institute for Management Studies was renamed the Judge Business School, and in 2010 became the Cambridge Judge Business School. In November of that year it revised its logo to read "University of Cambridge Judge Business School".

Ah, but what of the purported coat of arms, which I have only found on the gate, above, and in detail immediately below, and nowhere else? 

I've not found either an image or a blazon of Sir Paul Judge's coat of arms; the only reference to it that I have found notes that "swords on a scallop" feature on his coat of arms. So the chief here would appear to reference both Sir Paul (through the escallops) and Cambridge University (through the lion passant guardant), but what of the ermine chevron on the white field, or the three "round things" around the chevron? I mean, how would you even blazon those? The best I can come up with is On a roundel, Or a mullet of ten points azure dimidiating Argent a pallet gules between four pallets silver all within a bordure azure. And I'm not at all sure about any of that. Could the mullet be a sun? Yeah, maybe. And what are those gray/silver lines on each side of the red skinny pale? It's all very strange.

Alas, short of writing to the College of Arms for enlightenment, I appear to be out of luck, since I've found nothing at all on the internet that would help me learn more.

Not that it really matters, anyway. I mean, have I mentioned that the School does not use these arms? Anywhere? And if they don't even use them, what possible use could there be for us to know about them?

Monday, October 24, 2022

Heraldry Down the Street and Around the Corner

Stepping out the front door of our hotel in Cambridge, England, and turning immediately to our left, this is the scene we saw:

And this is a close-up of the coat of arms on the pediment of that building at the end of the street:

Now the, walking down to the end of the street and turning left yet again, about a block down on the left we find this building façade:

Where we once again see this coat of arms:

Both instances* are the arms of Emmanuel College, Cambridge.

The arms are generally blazoned as Argent a lion rampant azure armed and langued gules holding in its dexter paw a wreath of laurel proper and issuing from its mouth a scroll charged with the word EMMANUEL. (Nowhere, from the grant of arms in 1588 until now, are there official tinctures for either the scroll or the word Emmanuel. The marginal illustration on the patent shows a white scroll with black letters, but in a book published in 1621 it is a black scroll with yellow letters, and in modern representations it is often a blue scroll with yellow letters. So there you go.

Robert Cooke, Clarenceux King of Arms, granted these arms in 1588, taking the lion from the "ancient arms" of the founder, Sir Walter Mildmay. However, the "ancient arms" of Mildmay (Argent three lions rampant azure) were allowed to Sir Walter by Cooke on evidence which is now regarded as suspect at best.

Be that as it may, however, these are officially the arms, and have been since the grant of 1588, of Emmanuel College, and can be found, just "down the street and around the corner" from our hotel in the university town of Cambridge, England.

* The chalice and the words "The Chalice" with the second coat of arms presumably refer to the fact that the building itself has long been known as The Chalice: It was the Chalice Inn by 1578, and in 1616 was occupied by a seller of aqua vitae (strong alcoholic spirits). More information about the history of The Chalice can be found on the website of Capturing Cambridge at

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Heralds Don't Pun, They Cant.

The title of this post is an old saw about heralds, and a play on the words "can't" (or cannot) and "cant" (meaning "a rebus,* or pictorial pun").

What brought this post about was an article posted last August on "The Heraldic Rebus, Born in Battle and Embraced by Tudor England, Lives on in Your Smartphone", and subtitled "Expressing your identity in a clever string of images was a thing long before emojis".

The article, by Blair Mastbaum and published by Atlas Obscura, goes into the long history of rebuses, before noting their use in heraldry and other places, and ends up by talking about some modern versions that today's youth are using emojis, as earlier generations might have used rebuses, to refer to themselves or their friends in text messaging. For example, Isla Burgess is referred to by her friends by using the emojis for island and then iceberg in texts.

Anyway, the article is an interesting view of the history of such rebuses or cants, and well worth the read. You can find it on-line at


* And just what is a "rebus", you ask? Well, it comes from the Latin phrase non verbis sed rebus, which means “not by words, but with things.” A rebus is a visual puzzle in which a word, or part of a word, is represented by a picture. When done in heraldry, on a coat of arms, this is called armes parlantes ("talking arms", where the charges on the shield "speak" the name of the bearer), or canting arms.

My favorite historical American canting arms are those of colonial merchant and well-known signer of the Declaration of Independence John Hancock, whose arms bear a hand and on a chief three roosters, or cocks, thus completing the pun on the surname, hand + cock. (The image below is from his memorial in Granary Burying Ground, Boston, Massachusetts, with his coat of arms at the top.)

Monday, October 17, 2022

Finding the Arms of Clare College, Cambridge University

Having now covered some of the places in Cambridge where you can find depictions of multiples of the Colleges of Cambridge University, now we are going to go a little more in-depth on some of the specific colleges.

And because the Congress we attended in Cambridge was being held at Clare College Memorial Court, just across the river from Claire College, I am going to begin with those arms.

The arms of Clare College, as noted before are the arms of Clare impaling de Burgh, within a bordure, that is to say, Or three chevrons gules, impaling Or a cross gules, all within a bordure sable goutty or. These arms come from the marriage of Lady Elizabeth Clare (1292-1360) to her first husband, John de Burgh (d. 1313). It is her arms to dexter (the left side as you look at it) because she had in her own right an honor and an inheritance superior to his. The impaled coats are encircled by a black border sprinkled with golden tears, which she adopted as a sign of mourning following the death of her third husband, Roger, Lord Damory, in 1322.

Here's a view of Clare College Memorial Court, where the conference sessions were held. If you look closely (and I have a close-up just a few photographs down) you can see the arms of Clare College carved over the square doorway in the center.

The arms on some signage, reserving parking spots and informing the public that the College is only for students, prospective students, and alumni (and, of course, people like we were attending a conference hosted by the College):

Here's the close-up of the carved arms over the doorway to Memorial Court:

The ironwork gate to Clare College proper:

With its prominently placed arms:

And over the doorway into the College (under repair while we were there):

That is quite the lion's face and roses around the College's arms:

In the rear of the College, on the river side, and looking back, another nice ironwork gate:

Again, with the arms of Clare College prominently but very tastefully displayed:

So, yes, we became very familiar with the arms of Clare College during our stay in Cambridge!

Thursday, October 13, 2022

College Arms in the Cambridge Union Building, Part 2 of 2

To finish up our look at the arms of the Colleges of Cambridge University on display in the meeting hall of the Cambridge Union Building, let me start with a couple more establishing shots of the arms in situ, as it were.

In the photo above, and you'll be able see it better if you click on that image to go to a larger picture of it, you can see that they have put up two shields, one for Christ's College and one for St. John's College, both of which bear the Beaufort arms, Quarterly France modern and England, all within a bordure compony argent and azure.

Once again, for the individual arms, most of these will have been covered in more specificity as to the origin(s) of the arms in our posts about the College arms on the façade of the railroad station in Cambridge.

Anyway, here we have the arms of either Christ's College or St. John's College:

The arms of Trinity Hall:

The arms of Hughes Hall:

The arms of Darwin College:

The arms of Magdalene College:

The arms of Peterhouse College:

And last, bur certainly not least, the arms of St. Catherine's College:

These arms are usually seen with just the arms of the College proper, that is, Gules a Catherine wheel or. Here, they are impaled with the arms of the College's founder, Robert Woodlarke, Per bend indented azure and gules a fleur-de-lis and a lion passant gardant or.

Again, there would have been more pictures of College arms from this hall in the Cambridge Union Building, but I failed to follow my usual practice of taking two, or even three, shots of each shield, and some of them just came out so blurred or out-of-focus as to be unusable.

Monday, October 10, 2022

College Arms in the Cambridge Union Building, Part 1 of 2

I have to apologize for this (and the next) one, I really do. We had gone to the Cambridge Union Building for the opening ceremony of the Congress, and I noticed that all around the front of the balcony in the main hall there were plaques with the arms of many (most? all?) of the Colleges of Cambridge University.

But as I was pressed for time, as the ceremony was to begin soon, as I made my way around the room I did not, as is my usual wont, take two or even three pictures of each shield. I like to take more than one photo of something, because many times one or another will be a little out of focus, or blurred, or whatever. And if I am taking more than one photo of an item, it vastly increases the likelihood that I will have at least one picture that is right on the button.

But, as I said, I was pressed for time, and failed to do that in the Cambridge Union. As a consequence of that, and also partly because of the lower lighting in the room, a number of the pictures I took came out unusable, and some others on the edge of acceptability, as you will see below.

Nonetheless, it was a great display of College heraldry, and worth sharing with you despite the lower quality of some of the pictures. And you should recognize many of the arms here from our posts about the arms of the Colleges on the façade of the railroad station in Cambridge.

First, though, here are a couple of establishing shots, to show you an overview of how these shields were placed on the front of the balcony in the hall.

And now, some of the individual College arms:

First, Wolfson College:

Pembroke College:

Selwyn College:

King's College:

St. Edmund's House. The arms are those of the Dukes of Norfolk (the 15th Duke presented them with the property now known as St. Edmund's House). There should be a canton in the upper left corner of the shield, Or a cross patonce between four martlets gules, intended to represent St. Edmund of Abingdon, Archbishop of Canterbury 1233-1240. This canton is attributed arms, as there is no evidence that he either inherited or bore arms during his lifetime.

Robinson College. Unusually, the artist has placed the motto scroll directly onto the shield here:

and Corpus Christi College:

It is interesting to see some of the different artistic styles used in painting the various shields in this hall. The arms of King's College and Corpus Christi College in particular have an "antique" feel to them, while many of the others (especially Robinson College) are very modern.

Next time, the remaining College arms in this hall at the Cambridge Union Building.

Thursday, October 6, 2022

College Arms on the Cambridge Train Station Façade, Part 4

In our final steps along the façade of the train station in Cambridge, England, we find the following College heraldry:

Selwyn College. The College was founded by public subscription as a memorial to George Augustus Selwyn, Bishop of New Zealand and later Bishop of Lichfield. The grant of arms, made in 1964, impales the See of Lichfield and Selwyn family, differenced by a black border, so as to difference the College's arms from those of Bishop Selwyn:

Churchill College. These are, of course, the well-known arms of Sir Winston Churchill (Quarterly Churchill and Spencer), differenced by the addition of a book overall in the center. A trust for the purpose of founding a new college at Cambridge was set up in 1958; it admitted its first post-graduates in 1960 and its first undergraduates in 1961:

Darwin College. The College was founded in 1964, and became a full college in 1976. The arms commemorate the principal benefactors - the Darwin family, and Sir Max Rayne. They consist of the arms of Darwin impaling Rayne, all within a gold border:

Clare Hall (not to be confused with Clare College, seen earlier) was founded in 1966. The arms reflect the relationship with its parent foundation (Clare College), and follows the Clare family's ancient practice of varying the number of gold chevrons on the red field:

Newhall College was founded in 1854, and granted arms in 1971. The dolphin symbolizes the River Cam; the embattled bordure alludes to the College's situation overlooking the site of Cambridge Castle; and the three mullets in chief are from the arms of Murray, referencing Miss A.R. Murray, later Dame Rosemary Murray, the first President of New Hall:

Wolfson College, established in 1965 as University College and renamed in 1973 in recognition of a major benefaction by the Wolfson Foundation. The lions and ermine field are taken from the arms of the University, the bell from the arms of the Wolfson family, and the red chevron recalls the symbol formerly used on ties by members of University College:

and Robinson College, a part of the University in 1977 and granted a Royal Charter in 1985, is named for its benefactor, Mr. David Robinson. His love of the river and of horse racing are commemorated in the winged horse Pegasus over the wavy bars in the arms of the College:

That completes the 31 armorial roundels that I photographed on the face of the train station in Cambridge.

There is, apparently, a 32nd roundel, containing the arms of Newnham College, but it is apparently very difficult to find as it is above a canopy on the platform side on the south side of the building. And I missed it when I was there. Sorry about that!

But other than that omission, I hope that this little excursion has been of interest to you. I know it was educational for me!

Monday, October 3, 2022

College Arms on the Cambridge Train Station Façade, Part 3

Continuing our long walk along the front of the railroad station in Cambridge, England, photographing the roundels with coats of arms in them, we come to the following:

Pembroke College, which bears the dimidiated* arms of de Valence and de St. Pol: Barry of ten argent and azure an orle of martlets gules (de Valence) dimidiating Gules three pallets vair on a chief or a label of five points azure (de St. Pol). These are the arms of the foundress, Mary de St. Pol, Countess of Pembroke. She was the daughter of Guy, Count of St. Pol, and the second wife of Aymer de Valence, Earl of Pembroke.

* Dimidiated: a formation of marshaling by joining the dexter half of one heraldic shield with the sinister half of another divided per pale.

Trinity Hall (not to be confused with Trinity College), founded in 1350, bears the differenced arms of it's founder, William Batemen, Bishop of Norwich. The grant of arms to the college in 1575 differences the Batemen arms by making the bordure as well as the crescent ermine. Batemen's arms had a bordure argent:

King's College, founded in 1441 by King Henry VI. King's College until 1448 used arms with two lilies and bishop's mitre and crozier, which the 1448 grant changed to three white roses:

St. Catherine's College. Founded in 1473 by Robertd Woodlarke, Provost of King's College, the arms here are a clear reference to St. Catherine of Alexandria:

A two-fer -- Christ's College and St. John's College, which both use the same coat of arms, those of their foundress, Lady Margaret Beaufort, great-granddaughter of John of Gaunt and Catherine Swynford, and mother of King Henry VII. These are, of course, the Royal arms of England, Quarterly France ancient and England, differenced by a bordure compony argent and azure:

and Magdalene College. The College bears the arms of its founder, Thomas, Lord Audley of Walden, Quarterly per pale indented or and azure in the second and third quarters an eagle displayed or, overall on a bend azure a fret between two martlets or:

Next time, we finally make it to the other end of the train station, and the last of our armorial roundels.