Wednesday, December 2, 2015

HERALDRY: St Edmund Hall

Arms of St Edmund (Teddy)
Hall, an Oxford College
St Edmund "Hall" is not a hall but (since 1957) a College, just as Regent's Park "College" is not a college but a Hall. It is commonly known among students more by its initials S.E.H. and by the nickname Teddy Hall than by its official name.

BlazonOr a Cross patonce Gules cantoned by four Cornish Choughs proper.

Authority: The arms do not appear to have been granted, but are authoritative because they are ancient. They were "discovered" as the arms of St Edmund of Abingdon by a Benedictine monk-detective, Dom Wilfred Wallace. The four choughs (pronounced chuffs)  are also referred to as sea-pies and oyster-catchers. These choughs should not have the white wings shown in Brooke-Little's 1951 review of the Oxford coats of arms, a rare mistake for Brooke-Little, who was Richmond Herald.

Nominee of Arms: The coat of arms is attributed to the Founder of the Hall, (St) Edmund Rich of Abingdon (sometimes spelled Abington), a few miles south of Oxford. He was the first Oxford-educated Archbishop of Canterbury (1210-1233). Below the college arms is found the Latin chronogram-dedication Sanctus edmundus huius aulae lux (St Edmund, light of this Hall). The text is rendered as sanCtVs edMVndVs hVIVs aVLae LVX. Adding the numerals (the capital letters) gives 1246, the date St Edmund was canonized.

Institutional History. St Edmund is considered to have founded the eponymous hall in 1236. It is  the only surviving medieval Aularian ("Hall") house, giving the name of "Aularians" to SEH members. It acquired the status of a college in 1957, while retaining the historical name "Hall". Its nominee, St Edmund of Abingdon, is the first known Oxford Master of Arts and became the first of many Oxonians to become Archbishop of Canterbury. The name St Edmund Hall (Aula Sancti Edmundi) first appears in a 1317 rental agreement.

Physical History. St Edmund Hall is on the north side of High Street ("the High"). The front quadrangle – in the middle of which is a medieval well – is bordered by the porters' lodge, the Old Dining Hall (1659), the college bar and buttery (with a mid-15th-century fireplace), a chapel, and an Old (late 17th century) Library above. The quadrangle includes some accommodations for students and fellows. Modern accommodation and a dining hall are to the east of the quadrangle, and the college library is in the deconsecrated 12th-century church of St Peter-in-the-East, including a crypt that is still consecrated. To the north is a garden with a seated bronze figure representing Edmund as an impoverished student; most scholars in the earliest centuries were impecunious and lived in squalid conditions. The college also owns annexes at Norham Gardens, on Dawson Street, and on Iffley Road.

Intellectual and Religious History. The college has a history of being independent of both Church and State. During the late 14th and early 15th centuries it was a bastion of John Wycliffe's supporters; college principal William Taylor was ultimately burned at the stake, and principal Peter Payne fled the country. In the late 17th century, St Edmund Hall incurred the Crown's anger for encouraging its members to remain loyal to the Scottish House of Stuart and to refuse to take the oath to the German House of Hanover (i.e., they were "non-jurors" or "not swearers").

No comments:

Post a Comment