Thursday, May 11, 2017

ARMS: Jesus College, Oxford

Jesus College Coat of Arms
Blazon: Vert three stags trippant argent attired or. The JCR website has the arms displayed correctly according to this blazon, except for one thing. "Attired" refers to the antlers only. The golden hooves are not in the blazon, which for that should include the words "and unguled" (hooved) before the last word, or.

Nominee. The coat of arms, in some form, belongs to Bishop Thomas Rotherham. It matches the arms in Rotherham's dining-hall portrait in neighboring Lincoln College, which he is credited with founding.  The Lincoln College coat of arms includes the three stags in the sinister section of its tripartite-in-pale shield. In the absence of evidence that Rotherham founded Jesus College, Oxford, the puzzle is: What are Rotherham's three attired stags doing up there adorning Jesus College?

Founder. Jesus College was in fact founded in 1571 by Elizabeth I, who issued a royal charter to that effect. It was the first Protestant college founded at Oxford, and the only one dating from Elizabeth's reign. Its full name is: "Jesus College in the University of Oxford of Queen Elizabeth's Foundation."

Origin of the Jesus Arms.  The earliest depiction of the Jesus arms is believed 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. Here are the theories:
  • It has been claimed that Jesus "stole" the three stags from Lincoln, much as a series of Trinity men from the Eldon family have feasted on deer from the Magdalen College deer park. The counter-argument is that the origins of the two Rotherham arms are distinct. Former Lincoln College Rector Paul Langford 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. This does not explain what Rotherham contributed to the founding of Jesus College, Oxford other than leasing out a building to the College for a fee. 
  • 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 Founder. 
  • The most likely story is that the arms of the College are indeed those of Bishop Rotherham, and were assigned to Jesus College by mistake, when John Speed prepared his famed map of Oxford. Speed must have seen the arms on Lawrence Hall, Ship Street, which was given to Rotherham in 1476 and was leased to Jesus College in 1572. Speed must have taken the landlord's arms to be those of the College when drawing his map in 1605, a quarter-century after the arms of Lincoln College were confirmed by Lee, Portcullis Pursuivant.
Anecdotes. 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 the Turl?" "A. It runs from the High to the Broad and it has Jesus." An American tourist is said to have entered Jesus College after the Civil War and asked the porter: "Say, is this Lincoln?" To which the porter replied: "You aren't the first person, sir, to confuse Lincoln with Jesus."

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

SUMMER VIIIS: Oxford College Boat Club Dinners

I received the following note from the President of the Trinity College Boat Club, as an alumnus of the college.

Other college boat clubs have dinners that night. Your college link is probably located here. What to wear to a Boat Club Dinner?

Dear All,

The Annual Boat Club Dinner is on the Saturday of Summer VIIIs, 27 May. The deadline for responses is Friday, 19 May.

If you would like to attend, please reply to the Club’s secretary, Emily Davenport (emily.davenport@trinity.ox.ac.uk). A booking form can be found here.

I very much hope to see you then.

Best wishes,

Rob Jones 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

BIRTH | May 4: Horace Mann, Advocate for Public Education

May 4, 2017—This day was born in 1796 Horace Mann, is called the father of American public education. He said:
"Education is our only political safety. Outside of this ark, all is deluge." 
Born in Franklin, Massachusetts, in 1796, he grew up poor, but he made full use of the local library founded by his town's namesake, Benjamin Franklin. 

Brown University accepted him as a sophomore at 20 years of age. He graduated in three years and was named  class valedictorian.

Elected to the state legislature in 1827, he was appointed secretary of the State's Board of Education when Massachusetts created it in 1837. He used the position, which had little budget attached, to inspect every school in the state and publish annual reports advocating a common school education,  i.e., a basic tax-funded education for all children. He established the concept of a "normal" state school, taking on those who believed all schools should have a religious orientation.

Elected to the U.S. Congress in 1848, after the death of John Quincy Adams, he spoke out in Congress against slavery, and wrote in a letter:
"I think the country is to experience serious times. Interference with slavery will excite civil commotion in the South. But it is best to interfere. Now is the time to see whether the Union is a rope of sand or a band of steel."
When he left politics, he moved to Ohio to become president of Antioch College. He told a graduating class, two years before his death:
"I beseech you to treasure up in your hearts these my parting words. Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity."