Saturday, May 19, 2018

HERALDRY | Lady Margaret Hall. (May 21, 2018)

Arms of Lady Margaret
Blazon Or on a Chevron between in chief two Talbots passant and in base a Bell Azure a Portcullis of the field. [Alternate: Or on a chevron between two talbots in chief and a bell in base azure a portcullis of the field.]

Authority No evidence of grant.

Nominee The college is named after Lady Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond, and mother of Henry VII. On 21 Nov. 1878, Elizabeth Wordsworth, daughter of the Bishop of Lincoln, became the first Principal of the Hall. At her suggestion it was named after Lady Margaret, whom she called: “A scholar, a gentlewoman and a saint”.

Meaning The talbots in chief appear as supporters of the arms of Talbot, who became Bishop and was the promoter of the idea of a woman's college. The portcullis is from the arms of Lady Margaret Beaufort. The bell is from the Wordsworth coat of arms. Remembrance of the Lady Margaret is emphasized by the adoption of the Beaufort Motto: SOUVENT ME SOUVIENS.

Founded 1879, following a resolution the prior year.

History In 1878, Dr. Edward Talbot, Warden of Keble, moved before a committee of interested persons this resolution: 
to attempt the establishment in Oxford of a small Hall … in connexion with the Church of England, for the reception of women desirous of availing themselves of the special privileges which Oxford offers of higher education. 
The University had drawn up a curriculum for women in Oxford. If women not resident in Oxford were to make use of it, a residence hall was necessary. At first one hall only was intended, what became Lady Margaret Hall, on Church of England principles. But a second one was needed for non-sectarian students; this became Somerville. An Association for the Education of Women was created to supervise the educational work; this was phased out after 15 years, as LMH and Somerville became largely independent. 

Dr. Talbot's plan for the halls proceeded despite wide disapproval from men and women. Elizabeth Sewell said:
I think the competition with young men highly undesirable, and the unavoidable publicity in a place of comparatively small size dangerous to women at an age so open to vanity and excitement. 
Nonetheless, in 1879 Lady Margaret Hall was opened by the Bishop of Oxford with nine students in residence. Lady Margaret Hall was constituted under a Deed of Trust in 1892 and its property vested in three trustees, making LMH largely independent. In 1913 LMH became a not for profit Limited Liability Company, under the Companies Act (1908), and in 1926 was incorporated by Royal Charter under the name of 'The Principal, Council, and Members of Lady Margaret Hall'. The charter is unique in incorporating not only the Principal and council, but also the students—past, present, and future members of the body corporate. By a decree of Convocation 15 June 1920 the hall was admitted to the privileges of Stat. Tit. XXIII of Women Students.

LMH took a major step forward in 1930 when Mrs. Edward S. Harkness of New York, added £35,000 to earlier benefactions to expand the hall. She was inspired by Margaret Deneke, then in America on one of her many musical tours to raise money for the hall. The new wing was named Deneke at Mrs. Harkness's special request, “After those who worked for it and not after those who merely gave money”. Other major benefactors were Mrs. Toynbee, House-Treasurer 1883-1920; Mrs. Arthur Johnson, the secretary of the Association for the Education of Women 1883-1894 and of the hall 1880-1914; and Dr. Eleanor Lodge, sometime Principal of Westfield College, who served as tutor and Vice-Principal over 26 years.

The government of the hall is vested in a council consisting of 24 members, which includes the Principal, treasurer, official and professorial fellows, and not less than six elected members called councillors. Four Principals took LMH through almost its first full century – Dame Elizabeth Wordsworth, 1878-1909; Henrietta Jex-Blake, 1909-1921;  Lynda Grier, 1921-1945; and Lucy Sutherland, 1945-71. In 1926 Sutherland (then at Somerville) was the first woman undergraduate to speak at the Oxford Union, winning applause for her opposition to the motion “That the women's colleges ... should be leveled to the ground”.

Lady Margaret Hall”, in A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 3, the University of Oxford, ed. H E Salter and Mary D Lobel (London, 1954), 341-343. British History Online

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