Coat of Arms – St. Cross College, Oxford

I received our monthly newsletter from my college at Oxford today. Poking around the website I found the following description of the coat of arms that was approved after I had graduated. St. Cross, located on St. Giles, just down from the Eagle and Child and right next to the Oriental Institute was perfect for me. Being a graduate college, lunch was the main meal so I could have a three-course lunch in college for £1.50 and then take a nap in the stacks of the OI. Good times, good times.

The armorial ensign of St Cross College

St Cross was granted its Coat of Arms on 2 November 2000. The official blazon of the shield is “Argent a cross potent purpure a quarter counterchanged”, and the crest “an armillary sphere upon a stand or thereon a dove with wings elevated and displayed argent holding in the beak a sprig of mulberry fructed and leaved proper”.

The design is based on the cross potent (with T-shaped ends to the arms) which was associated with our original site on St Cross Road. The counterchanging produces a shape reminiscent of a cobbler’s last, the symbol in heraldic art of St Crispin, hinting at our Founders Day on 25 October (St Crispin’s Day).

The armillary sphere of the crest represents the world-wide origins of our members, and is echoed by the motto “Ad quattuor cardines mundi” or “to the four corners of the earth” suggesting their spreading throughout the world.

The dove with a sprig of mulberry in its beak alludes to the translation of the College from St Cross Road to St Giles, both sites having a mulberry tree.

Dr John Tiffany, Fellow

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