Monday, April 3, 2023

Some Personal Arms at Clare College Memorial Court

The sessions of the conference we attended in Cambridge were held at Clare College Memorial Court. It wasn't until I was researching the two coats of arms covered today that I learned that the full name of the court was Clare College - World War I Memorial Court. (If you should "learn something new every day", I guess that's going to be mine, and possibly yours, for today!)

Anyway, I had noticed, and photographed two personal coats of arms in the Memorial Court.

The first, seen here over the doorway to one of the buildings:

Look like this in close-up:

As the scroll at the bottom indicates, they are the arms of Richard de Badew, Chancellor of Cambridge University and original Founder of Clare College. The forerunner of Clare College was University Hall, established in 1326 (hence the date beneath the shield) by Richard de Badew. In April 1338 Badew, as “Founder, Patron and Advocate” of University Hall formally placed the college under the new patronage of Elizabeth, Lady of Clare, leading to the new name Clare College.

His arms are blazoned: Argent on a bend cotised sable three eagles displayed argent (sometimes, or).

The other personal coat of arms are similarly located over a doorway:

Getting closer, we see:

Our first clue to the identity of this achievement of arms (including the crest and motto) is that it is located over the entrance to the Barham Block, Memorial Court, Clare College.

They are the arms of Barham (Stains, co. Middlesex, and Canterbury, co. Kent): Argent on a fess gules between three bears passant sable muzzled or a fleur-de-lis between two martlets or. Crest: A stork among bullrushes all proper. (I know; at first glance I thought it was a coronet, too. Proof that one should always look closely at heraldic displays!) Motto: Fortis et Patiens (Strong and patient).

Capt. Wilfrid Saxby Barham, a student at Clare College, died October 10, 1915 of wounds suffered in Ypres, Belgium. His father, Col. Arthur Barham, was devastated by his eldest son’s death and donated £9,000 – the equivalent of £1 million today – to Clare College, Cambridge, where his son was studying, and the money was used to build this Memorial Court.

It is a touching story, and I think a fitting memorial to a young man who died at a young age in a conflict that took the lives of so many young men.

On a side note, I had the opportunity some years ago to visit the Menin Gate at Ypres, a monument to the British and Commonwealth soldiers who were killed in the Ypres Salient and whose graves are unknown. I found it very moving, and very sad.

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