The coat of arms

If you never saw the official coat of arms of Marjon university- look to the right of the page. Today we only use the shield portion, having retired the dreadful ‘nike’ logo that dominated both webpages and signs when I got accepted.

The official document granting the coat of arms to Marjon

The official document granting the coat of arms to Marjon

seals

A close-up of the three heavy seals attached to the document

I had a rare opportunity to see the official document that gives coat of arms to Marjon. It is housed in a special wooden box that protects it from the damaging light. Marjon got his coat of arms when the two Colleges merged in 1926. They were especially designed to accentuate the equality between the two schools, which from now on would stand as one. The official description is pure ‘heraldese’ that only those who are adept in the heraldic arts can understand. For us, the lay-people, it is enough to understand that the swords came from the coat of arms of diocese of London and the red diamonds from the Southwark’s diocese. Why? Because the schools were located in those dioceses. You can clearly see the connection:

http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/bishop_of_london_crest_detail.gif

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5d/Diocese_of_Southwark_arms.svg

A close-up of the arms themselves

A close-up of the arms themselves

I’m sure I don’t have to say anything about the blazon (the upper part of the arms- I’ve just learnt that word, please don’t throw stones at me:-)). The Lon and the Lamb stand of course for the Evangelists- St John and St Mark.

What surprises me, is the attitude the modern world has towards the arms. They are mostly ignored, substituted by logos and trademarks, and generally considered old-fashioned. G Woods Wallaston, the man who designed Marjon’s coat of arms, says: ‘Arms are to an individual, a family, or a body corporate what flag is to a nation.’ Nobody would ever dare to think the Union Jack to be old-fashioned, why then can’t we treat the coat of arms with the same deal of respect? They should be the source of pride and admiration, a sign of high standards and respectability. Yet some universities (I’m not pointing fingers, but you know who you are- Stars and Scallops:-)) prefer to hide their arms, restricting their use to the graduation ceremonies. But I ask you this: what good is to have your arms covered? The arms were originally invented for easy recognition and not for keeping under a lock and key. So I say: let our colours fly!

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