|The three-part Lincoln arms as shown in|
many collections of Oxford college arms.
The arms of Bishops Fleming and
Rotherham flank the arms of the See of
Lincoln. In this version the stags are statant
and or, a dual error.
Nominees: Each of the three arms combined in this unusually tierced per pale (divided vertically into three parts) shield refers to each of the nominees. (1) The arms of Richard Fleming, Bishop of Lincoln, who founded the College in 1427. (2) The arms of the See of Lincoln (not the Cathedral, as it is listed in some places). The corporate designation of the College is "The Warden or Rector and Scholars of the College of the Blessed Mary and All Saints, Lincoln, in the University of Oxford, commonly called Lincoln College."(3) The arms of Thomas Rotherham (also known as Scot de Rotherham), Bishop of Lincoln, and later Archbishop of York and Lord High Chancellor of England, who re-endowed the College in 1478.
|Ancient portrait of Bishop Fleming, founder.|
Those aren't lozenges gules in chief. They
look like "a bird gules between two roses
gules in chief". Might be a carrot on its side
on the third bar; but no mullet.
(1) The mullet in the original arms of Bishop Fleming is not pierced, but the college arms are; if a mistake was made, in 1574 or earlier, it endures to this day. Brooke-Little (1951), founder of the Heraldry Society and an alumnus of New College, Oxford has commented on the mullet. He served as Richmond Herald in 1967, Norroy and Ulster King of Arms in 1980, and Clarenceux King of Arms in 1995; he died in 2006. In his 1951 articles, he says the mullet is "probably a cadency mark," though he does not think that as of 1574 it indicated a third son. One version of Bishop Fleming's arms on his portrait has–instead of three lozenges in chief and a pierced mullet–what seems to be a bird gules between two roses gules (see illustration) and an unpierced mullet. Since no one knows where the mullet comes from or why it is there, the best solution might be to
|...but this portrait of Bishop Fleming (not as|
ancient as the previous one, has it the way it
is in the Lincoln College arms.
Note mullet is not pierced.
|Virgin and Babe shield|
of the See of Lincoln.
From Bedford (1858).
Note "in chief" space
|Bishop Rotherman portrait, detail. Stags are|
trippant, argent (sorry for low resolution;
I visited Lincoln College in 2017 to get a better
photo and I was unable to get in to
get one. Maybe in April 2018?).
Similarity to Jesus College Arms. Lincoln and Jesus are neighbors on Turl Street ("the Turl"), of which the joke is often told: "Q. How is the Church of England like Turl Street?" "A. It runs from the High to the Broad and it has Jesus." An American tourist is said to have entered Lincoln College after the Civil War and asked the porter: "Say, is this Jesus?" To which the porter replied: "You aren't the first person, sir, to confuse Lincoln with Jesus," which the visitor took to be a savvy comment on American politics. The Jesus College arms are blazoned Vert three stags trippant argent attired or, which is the same as, or close to, the sinister section of the Lincoln arms. The earliest depiction of the Jesus arms was thought to be about 1590, in a document held by the College of Arms, referring to the stags as having a blue (azure) field, but Peter Donoghue, Bluemantle Pursuivant, reports the arms were more likely added 90 years later, on John Speed’s 1605 Map of Oxfordshire, with a blue field. The green field first appeared in 1619 in an armorial quarry painted by one of the Van Linge brothers, and was generally used by 1730, although horizontal hatchings (indicating azure) were still used on college bookplates as late as 1761.
|Bishop Rotherman; another |
It has been claimed that Jesus stole the three stags from Lincoln, but the counter-argument is that the origins of each are distinct. Paul Langford, former Lincoln Rector, has suggested that Jesus College continued the arms adopted by a theological college founded by Rotherham in his home town – Jesus College, Rotherham – which had been suppressed in the time of Edward VI. Another theory is that the stags derive from the arms of Maud Green, Lady Parr, mother of Catherine Parr, last of the six wives of Henry VIII and stepmother to Elizabeth I. The most likely story is that the arms of the College are those of Bishop Rotherham, and John Speed saw them on Lawrence Hall in Ship Street, given to Rotherham in 1476 and leased to Jesus College in 1572. Speed probably assumed the arms to be those of the College when drawing his map in 1605. The Jesus arms could not be confused with those of Lincoln College, because as of 1574 Lincoln's tierced shield was confirmed by Portcullis Pursuivant.
Nelson Ong, alumnus of Lincoln College; Prof. Henry Woudhuysen, Rector; and Windsor Herald, May 2017.
Bedford, W K Riland. The Blazon of Episcopary. J R Smith. London. © 1858. In a chapter titled Bishops of Lincoln, from 1067 on 61 of that text says the Blazon is—Gules to Lions passant guardant Or on a Chief Azure Our Lady sitting with her Babe Crown and Scepter of the second (as in Hardy's edition of LeNeve).
Brooke-Little, John P., “The Arms of Oxford University and its Colleges,” Coat of Arms, No. 5, 6 & 7, January-July 1951.
Clark, Andrew, Heraldry of Oxford Colleges," Archaeologica Oxoniensis, II, April 1895, pp. 333-336.
Landon, Perceval, "Notes on the Heraldry of the Oxford Colleges," Archaeologica Oxoniensis, III and IV (July and Oct 1893), esp. pp. 143, 156, 199, 206.
LeNeve, John and T Duffus Hardy. Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae, or A calendar of the principal ecclesiastical dignitaries in England and Wales, and of the chief officers in the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, from the earliest time to year 1715. Vol II. Oxford: The University Press, 1854, 29.
Lincoln College, Website, https://www.lincoln.ox.ac.uk/The-College-Arms.
Warner, Stephen A., Lincoln College Oxford (London: Sidgwick & Jackson Ltd., 1908), pp. 38, 38A. Free Google Books edition http://bit.ly/2pj3UF8. Warner consulted the Bodleian, the British Museum library, and the libraries of Queen's College, Oxford and Caius and Sidney Sussex Colleges at Cambridge.
Wikipedia entry on Jesus College, section on Coat of Arms.
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