Higher Education Postcard: Oxford University Arms

This week's card from Hugh Jones’ postbag takes us into the realms of heraldry

Hugh Jones is a freelance HE consultant. You’ll find a daily #HigherEducationPostcard if you follow him on Twitter.

Greetings from Oxford! Here’s a little treat for heraldry fans: a selection of arms of Oxford University Colleges.

These are shields: just one element which goes into a coat of arms. And they have wonderful medieval descriptions – – known as blazons. Here’s some of my favourites:

  • Oxford University: Azure, an open book proper, edged and garnished Or, leathered gules, pendent from the dexter side thereof seven seals gold, the pages inscribed ‘Dominus illuminatio mea’, the whole between three open crowns also gold.
  • Lady Margaret Hall: Or, on a chevron between in chief two talbots passant and in base a bell azure, a portcullis of the field.
  • Trinity: Per pale Or and azure, on a chevron between three griffins’ heads erased, four fleurs-de-lys, all counterchanged.
  • Magdalen: Lozengy ermine and sable, on a chief of the last three lilies close couped argent. Lozengy is a word we should use more often.

You can dig into the heraldry of universities here – if you need a timewaster, this is a good one!

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