Thursday, December 3, 2015

HERALDRY: St Cross College, Oxford (Updated Jan. 18, 2016)

St. Cross Coat of Arms (full
achievement), granted 1998.
Last month Oxford Today published my article (OT, Vol. 28, No. 1, pp. 45-50) on the heraldry of the Oxford colleges. Three people wrote letters about St Cross College to OT's editor, who  forwarded them to me:
  • Anthony Weale, former Secretary of Faculties and Academic Registrar, Oxford University.
  • Ella Bedrock, in the communications office, St Cross College.
  • Sir Mark Jones, Master of St Cross College.
The following expanded description of the college arms and history – far beyond the limited space in OT – addresses the questions in the letters. My email box (jtmarlin at post.harvard.edu) remains open for further comments or questions.

Blazon (Full Achievement): Argent a Cross Potent Purpure a Quarter counterchanged And for the Crest upon a Helm with a Wreath Argent and Purpure 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 mantled Purpure doubled Argent.

Teutonic Cross Potent in
Use in the Crusades.
Authority: The Grant of Arms was reportedly made in 1998 by the three English Kings of Arms.  The formal copy cited in full at the end of this post, kindly provided by St Cross College, is dated 2000. The motto, Ad Quattuor Cardines Mundi ("To the four corners of the world"), is not included in the blazon, but is in the full achievement of the arms in the grant of arms, next to the blazon. I have consulted heraldic sources for the meaning of the Cross Potent, one of many variations of the Christian cross in heraldic use, many of them emerging in the 11th century at the time of the first crusades. It was one of several crosses used on their shields by the Teutonic Knights. It would surely have been seen in England as a Christian religious symbol at the time it was created, although pre-Christian examples of the use of the T-tipped cross have been found, and the Christian antecedents of many colleges may not have great relevance to current college practice.

Nominee of Arms: The College is named after St Cross Road, which links South Parks Road to the north and Longwall Street to the south, where it also meets Holywell Street (formerly Holywell Lane). The road runs by the ancient Holy Cross Church, which gave the road its name. The original buildings of St Cross College were located on the grounds of the church. The arms represent the name of the road. The St Cross Latin Grace rejoices in honor of the Holy Cross.

Institutional History: St Cross was founded by the University as a graduate college. It was founded at the same time as Wolfson and for the same reason. (Kellogg College was founded by the University later for a different purpose, i.e., continuing education.) The foundation of St Cross College was entirely secular; it has no chaplain. The practical reason for a new college was the need for college affiliations for a large number of new postwar fellows and graduate students who were admitted by the University to teach and enroll in an increased number of subjects taught at the University, notably in the sciences, but also in new fields such as archaeology and social sciences that had not been part of the undergraduate curriculum. The teachers were entitled to a college assignment, with the meals, residential accommodation, stipends, and the sense of belonging that might come with it – including the feeling of functioning under a banner that is cozier than the University-wide Dominus Illuminatio Mea. The University was getting pushback from the existing colleges when they had taken on and absorbed as many fellows and graduate students after World War II as they felt able (it was postwar policy in the United States to finance the higher education of returning veterans; the British welfare program of Clement Attlee went further, broadly expanding access to health care and education). Students at the religiously originated PPHs were eager to be able to compete in more intercollegiate sports (as they do now more than they used to). The University encouraged the expansion of some of the PPHs and movement of a few of them toward college status, a major obstacle being independence, i.e., not being in the control of a religious entity. Then the University decided to take the bull by the horns and in 1965 created a brand new college for residential postgraduates, i.e., St Cross. Unsurprisingly, when St Cross was created, its graduate students wanted to compete in intercollegiate sports like any other college.

Physical History: The college was originally provided with buildings on the site of the ancient Holy Cross Church, which has since been converted to a document-storage site for historic collections  owned by Balliol College. From this site the College moved to one on the west side of St Giles  among many PPHs and unaffiliated religious institutions such as the Quaker center. The ground under it is owned by the Anglo-Catholic Pusey House, named after Edward Bouverie Pusey, the man who led the Oxford Movement after John Henry Newman decamped to become a Roman Catholic. The proximity of Pusey House creates advantages for St Cross students, as noted on the college website. St Cross students may use facilities such as the Pusey House Library and Chapel.

Intellectual and Religious History: The college's sharing of facilities with Pusey House means it  shares somewhat in the rich intellectual and religious history of Pusey House. However, its main intellectual focus since World War II is on the sciences and it makes clear that it is formally unaffiliated with any religion.

Grant of Arms (2000): TO ALL AND SINGULAR to whom these presents shall come Peter Llewellyn Gwynn-Jones Esquire Commander of the Royal Victorian Order Garter Principal King of Arms David Hubert Boothby Chesshyre Esquire Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order Clarenceux King of Arms and Thomas Woodcock Esquire Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order Norroy and Ulster King of Arms send Greeting!
WHEREAS RICHARD COOPER REPP Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy of the University of Oxford Master of Saint Cross College hath represented unto the Most Noble Miles Francis Stapleton Duke of Norfolk Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the British Empire upon whom has been conferred the Decoration of the Military Cross Earl Marshal and Hereditary Marshal of England that on the Fifth day of October 1965 pursuant to the provisions of Title VII Section II of the Statutes of the University of Oxford there was founded and established a Society of the said University known as SAINT CROSS COLLEGE having amongst its purposes the provision of facilities for post-graduate students engaged in the study of any subject offered by the University of Oxford at post-graduate level And that the governing body of SAINT CROSS COLLEGE consists of a Master and Fellows who are desirous of having Armorial Ensigns for the College established under lawful authority and duly recorded in Her Majesty’s College of Arms And whereas he as Master of SAINT CROSS COLLEGE and on behalf of the Fellows thereof hath requested therefore the favour of His Grace’s Warrant for Our granting and assigning such Arms and Crest and in the same Patent such Device or Badge as We deem suitable to be borne and used by SAINT CROSS COLLEGE on seals or otherwise in accordance with the Laws of Arms And forasmuch as the said Earl Marshal did by Warrant under his hand and Seal bearing date the Twentieth day of May 1998 authorise and direct Us to grant and assign such Arms and Crest and in the same Patent such Device or Badge accordingly Know Ye Therefore that We the said Garter Clarenceux and Norroy and Ulster Kings of Arms in pursuance of His Grace’s Warrant and by virtue of the Letters Patent of Our several Offices granted by The Queen’s Most Excellent Majesty to each of Us respectively do by these Presents grant and assign unto the said SAINT CROSS COLLEGE the Arms following that is to say Argent a Cross Potent Purpure a Quarter counterchanged And for the Crest upon a Helm with a Wreath Argent and Purpure 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 mantled Purpure doubled Argent And by the authority aforesaid We do further grant and assign the following Device or Badge that is to say A Cross Potent voided Or as the same are all in the margin hereof more plainly depicted to be borne and used by SAINT CROSS COLLEGE on seals or otherwise in accordance with the Laws of Arms IN WITNESS whereof We the said Garter Clarenceux and Norroy and Ulster Kings of Arms have to these Presents subscribed Our names and affixed the Seals of Our several Offices this Second day of November in the Forty-ninth year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lady Elizabeth the Second by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen Head of the Commonwealth Defender of the Faith and in the year of Our Lord Two Thousand.

Other Oxford Coats of Arms:  Original Article in Oxford Today . Harris Manchester College . Linacre College . St Cross College . St Edmund Hall . Trinity CollegeSt Regent's Park College . St Benet's Hall

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