Last modified: 2020-11-21 by rob raeside
Keywords: oxford university | st. hilda's college |
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St. Hilda’s College
It is a blue flag with centred arms (ratio 1:2).
Coat of Arms:
Shield Azure, on a fess Or three estoiles Gules, in chief two unicorns' heads Argent couped, in base a coiled serpent Argent.
The college was founded in 1893 by Dorothea Beale as St. Hilda’s hall, being a college exclusively for women. It was incorporated by Royal Charter in 1926.It remained the last women’s college in 1994, when Somerville had admitted male students, since 2008 it is also coeducational.
The patron and name giver of the college is St. Hilda, Abbess of Whitby (c. 614–680). The first symbol of St Hilda's Hall had been the ammonite. This fossil, consisting of whorled chambered shells, was once supposed to be coiled snakes petrified. The early 17th century “Lives of Women Saints of our Country of England”, a hagiography of the 17th century their association with St Hilda is explained:
“In that monastery (..), there were such abundance of serpents, what through the thickness of bushes, and the wilderness of the woods, that the virgins durst not peep out of their Cells nor go to draw water. But by her prayers she (St. Hilda) obtained of God, that they might be turned into stones; yet so as the shape of serpents still remained; which to this day, the stones of that place do declare, as eye-witnesses how testified.”
The use of the ammonite with the motto “non frustra vixi” (or 'I lived not in vain') has continued throughout St Hilda's history. When the College was incorporated in 1926, no coat of arms had been granted, but a seal was designed by Edmund New, displaying St. Hilda’s attributes: staff, serpent, book and church. The coat of arms was granted in 1960. The motto was not included in the grant of arms, although it is occasionally used. The coat of arms is reminding Dorothea Beale with its use of estoiles (stars with wavy points) and unicorns. Although no evidence could be found that the family was armigerous, all Beale families seemed to have used arms with estoiles and a unicorn's head for their crest.
Sources: John P. Brooke-Little: Oxford University and its Colleges, Oxford 1962
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 9 February 2019
image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 18 March 2019
Blade is parted per bend of white and navy blue.
Source: (for current versions):
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 18 March 2019