Oxford Inscriptions: City Coat of Arms

Oxford coat of arms

This coat of arms of the City of Oxford is on a sign beside the main gates to Headington Hill Park, and is shown here as just one example of many throughout the city.

The central shield shows a visual pun on the city's name (an ox crossing a ford), first found on a fourteenth-century Oxford seal. Beneath is the city motto FORTIS EST VERITAS [Truth is strong].

The supporters appear to be taken from the coats-of arms of two members of the court of Elizabeth I who spent a week at Christ Church in 1566, namely:

  • Left: The Black elephant comes from the arms of Sir Francis Knollys, High Steward of the City, Lord Lieutenant, and MP for the County
  • Right: The Green beaver comes from the arms Henry Norreys of Rycote, Captain of the City Militia and MP for the County

The rampant lion on top is dotted with blue fleurs de lys, holds a Tudor rose, and wears an imperial crown. It was a unique crest granted to the city by Queen Elizabeth I.

The arms, crest and supporters as shown above is recorded by the Heraldic Visitation of 12 August 1634.

Wikipedia: Coat of arms of Oxford

Stephanie Jenkins