|The three-part Lincoln arms: Bishops|
Fleming and Rotherham flank the
arms of the See of Lincoln. In this
version the stags are statant and or,
which seems to be 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.
| 1. Below left, mullet is not pierced. 2. Top,|
miter is shown from an angle. 3. Right,
in another version, used by Jesus
College, the stags are trippant, not
statant; and argent attired or, not or.
|Those aren't lozenges gules in chief. They|
look like a bird gules between two roses
gules in chief. Portrait of Bishop Fleming.
(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 what seems to be a bird gules between two roses gules.
|But this portrait of Bishop Fleming has it|
the way it is in the Lincoln College arms.
Note mullet is not pierced.
One issue to raise here is that the Virgin and Child device on the Lincoln College (and Brasenose College) arms is overly compressed in every version that is posted or widely available. In this size it is difficult or impossible to decipher the device without the blazon. Perhaps a heraldic artist could come up with an easier-to-decipher form of the charge. As of March 2018, Lee Lumbley is trying his hand at this. The precedent of Merton, which recently updated its arms, may be helpful in moving toward cleaner college arms.
(3) Bishop Thomas Rotherham's coat of arms on his authenticated portrait in Lincoln College's Hall shows three stags trippant and argent on vert, but the college arms show them statant and or. The authoritative Brooke-Little showed the disputed stags as statant in his 1951 article. This must be considered a rare error when presented with the evidence from the portrait.
|Bishop Rotherman portrait. Stags are|
|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. Lincoln 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. 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 tripartite shield was confirmed by Portcullis Pursuivant.
Nelson Ong, alumnus of Lincoln College; Prof. Henry Woudhuysen, Rector; and Windsor Herald, May 2017.
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.
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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