Monday, November 2, 2015

HERALDRY: Harris Manchester College (Updated May 12, 2018)

Torches with
Two-Tone Flames.
Cuff Links. Photos of Arms
on Display by JT Marlin.
Blazon Gules two torches inflamed in saltire proper on a chief argent between two roses of a field barbed and seeded an open book also proper.

Authority Granted May 14, 1934.

Meaning The red roses in chief represent Lancashire, where the original academy was located. The two torches in base represent enlightenment and the book represents learning. The torches are interpreted with wide latitude, but this does not rise to the level of an issue. If a blazon is granted, it is fixed. But heraldic artists are allowed some free rein.

Founded 1786 as Manchester Academy. Moved to Oxford 1889. Became an Oxford College in 1996.

Torches in
History  Manchester Academy succeeded the Warrington Academy, called "the cradle of Unitarianism," which in turn originated in Richard Frankland's Rathmell Academy, founded in Yorkshire in 1670. A young Queen Victoria signed a Royal Warrant giving the Academy the status of a College of London University almost fifty years before it moved to Oxford. The first Oxford premises were at 90 High Street and the Mansfield Road premises were then occupied in 1893. For a hundred years, in Oxford, the institution was Manchester College, although not formally an Oxford University College. It became a Permanent Private Hall and then an Oxford college based on a gift from Lord Harris, whose name was added to Manchester.

English Presbyterians helped found, through legacies, the Warrington Academy (1757-1786), which became a Unitarian foundation. But by 1786, the influences were powerfully Unitarian. David Harrison sent me the correction to my article.

He wrote:
In Metal.
Two of the Founders are to be seen in the College’s Warrington Window – Thomas Barnes and Thomas Percival – while the third, my first cousin Ralph Harrison, has a beautiful window dedicated to him in the College Chapel. All three Founders were graduates of the Unitarian Warrington Academy and two, Harrison and Barnes, were ministers at Manchester’s Unitarian Cross Street Chapel.
Full Achievement,
Dark Torches.
Special Features: Harris Manchester is the only college at Oxford restricting its student body to "mature" students – 21 years old or over.

Sources and Thanks

Full Achievement,
Dark Torches.
David Harrison (Univ. 1960) wrote to Oxford Today that my article in the Michaelmas issue on the Oxford college coats of arms (pp. 45-50) was "full of interest but included one lapse in the commentary on Harris Manchester College," relating to its religious origins.
Coat of arms on a college gate

Chapel, Harris Manchester College, Oxford.
David has written a 506-page book The Harrisons of Bankfield 1500-2006 (2006), which can be purchased new for £70 or read in the libraries of Harris Manchester, Univ or  the Bodleian, or in London at the National Portrait Gallery or the British Library. His book has an Appendix on the origins of Manchester College, starting from the original foundation in Yorkshire in 1670..

Links to Other Heraldry Posts

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