The Heraldic Arms

queens' college armsThese arms are those of the first foundress Queen, Margaret of Anjou, which she derived from those of her father René, Duke of Anjou, with the addition in 1575 of a green border for the College. The six quarters of these arms represent the six lordships (either actual or titular) which he claimed:

Quarterly of six:

  1. Barry of eight argent and gules (for Hungary);
  2. Azure semy of fleurs-de-lis or, a label of three points gules (for Anjou Ancient or Naples);
  3. Argent, a cross potent between four crosses crosslet potent or (for Jerusalem);
  4. Azure semy of fleurs-de-lis or, a bordure gules (for Anjou Modern);
  5. Azure semy of crosses crosslet fitchy, two barbels haurient addorsed or (for Bar);
  6. Or, on a bend gules three alerions displayed argent (for Lorraine);

all within a bordure vert.

The crest was added in 1575:

  • Out of a coronet or, an eagle rousant sable, wings or.

The green border appears to be intended as a heraldic difference for Queens’ College, to distinguish the college arms from those of Margaret herself. This use of green might be the origin of the green used in the college scarf and for sports attire.

These arms are of interest because the third quarter (Jerusalem) uses gold on silver, a combination which is extremely rare in heraldry. The cross potent is a visual pun on the letters H and I, the first two letters of Hierusalem. In the fifth quarter, the barbels are an allusion to Bar. In the last quarter, the alerions are an allusion to Lorraine. There is plenty of historical evidence for the label being red in the second quarter, although being on another colour (blue), it offends against practice in English heraldry.

The College badge

boar's head badgeThese are not actually arms of the College, but, rather, a badge.

  • Sable a cross and crozier in saltire or surmounted by a boar’s head argent.

The silver boar’s head was the badge of King Richard III of England. Richard’s wife Anne Neville was the third Queen consort to be patroness of the College. Both Anne and Richard were great benefactors of the College, although their benefactions were subsequently lost to King Henry VII.

An inventory of the college silver taken in 1544 records:

  • Item antiquum sigillum argenteum ex dono Ricardi sc̃di R. Anglie insculptum porcellis seu apris.
  • Item: an ancient silver seal given by Richard the Second, King of England, engraved with a little pig or boar.

Here, the abbreviation sc̃di for secundi (second) is clearly a mistake for tertii (third). The seal does not survive. This inventory entry is the earliest evidence for the College’s use of a boar’s head symbol.

The gold cross stands for St Margaret, and the gold crozier for St Bernard, the two patron saints of Queens’ College. There is a suggestion that the saltire arrangement of these (like the St Andrew’s Cross) is an allusion to Andrew Dokett, founder (in fact if not in name) and first President of Queens’.

Today, this badge is widely used by College sports clubs, and also appears in connection with food or dining.

The College scarf

queens' college scarfQueens’ College scarves are green with two white stripes. When made to the traditional colours, the green in Queens’ College scarves is darker than the green in Girton College scarves. Other scarves for clubs within college are here.

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Queens’ College Arms and Boar’s Head badge by Queens’ College Cambridge are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.