UNIVERSITY REGALIA The Royal Letters Patent, dated 18 October 1881

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UNIVERSITY REGALIA The Royal Letters Patent, dated 18 October 1881 Powered By Docstoc
The Royal Letters Patent, dated 18 October 1881, which constituted University College,
Liverpool, ordained that ‘the President, Vice-Presidents, Governors, and other Officers of
the College for the time being shall be and are hereby constituted and incorporated into
one body politic and corporate, with perpetual succession, and a Common Seal ...’ and
provided that the Council should direct the affixing of the College Seal. These Letters
Patent do not describe the seal which was to be used by the College. The Council
appointed a Sub-Committee in December 1881 consisting of Sir James Picton, Mr Robert
Gladstone, Mr Squarey, and the Principal (Professor GH Rendall) to prepare a seal for the
College. It was apparently Mr Robert Gladstone, the College’s indefatigable first
Treasurer, who suggested the coat of arms. The design was executed by Messrs Elkington
& Co, of Church Street, Liverpool and its heraldic description was given as follows:
       ‘Azure on a book open proper, garnished Or, having on the dexter side three seals
       gold the words Fiat Lux [Let there be light] between three Livers Argent; with the
       motto Haec Otia Studia Fovent’ [These days of peace foster learning]
This coat of arms, slightly modified, may be seen on University College’s Calendars and
headed notepaper.
As the local press explained at the time, the motto is a sequence or complement to the
City of Liverpool’s own motto Deus Nobis Haec Otia Fecit [God has given us these days
of peace] and was apparently adopted at the suggestion of the Principal. The three golden
clasps on the book represent Literature, Science, and Art. The open book represents
Wisdom and Learning, and the legend Fiat Lux indicates that wisdom and learning are to
be pursued in the full light of truth. The three liver birds are emblematic of Liverpool in
its threefold character – as a great seaport, as a city and seat of a bishopric, and as a
founder of University College.
The blue ground of the shield symbolises truthfulness and loyalty, and the silver of the
livers is the emblem of purity.
Upon the University’s incorporation in 1903 the College of Arms made a Grant of Arms
to the University, dated 30 October 1903. The arms of the University are there described
as follows:
       ‘Azure on open Book Argent inscribed Fiat Lux in letters Sable bound and on the
       sinister side seven Clasps Or between three Cormorants otherwise called Livers
       wings elevated of the second each holding in the beak a branch of sea weed called
       Laver proper.’
In the margin these arms are emblazoned, with the University’s motto beneath: Haec Otia
Studia Fovent. This coat of arms is the one currently in use although in recent years the
seven clasps have usually been depicted dexter.
The mace was the gift of Dr Richard Caton in 1909. Dr Caton was appointed Dean and
Registrar of the Medical Faculty in 1881, in which year he was also appointed to the
Chair of Physiology in the Medical School, a Chair he continued to hold after the Medical
School had been completely amalgamated with University College in 1884. He resigned
the Chair in 1891 but kept up his links with the University, became Vice-President of the
Council in 1909-18 and Pro-Chancellor in 1921-24. In 1907-08 Dr Caton was Lord
Mayor of Liverpool and it was in commemoration of this event that he presented the
mace to the University.
The mace was made by Messrs Elkington & Co of Birmingham and is composed entirely
of silver, the head and crown being gilded and enamelled. The crown with orb and cross
and the Royal arms beneath the crown are symbols of the Royal authority which granted
the University’s Charter of Incorporation in 1903. The head of the mace beneath the
crown is divided into four fields or spaces on which are the following enamels: the cypher
of King Edward VII surrounded by the coats of arms (shields) of England, Scotland,
Ireland and Wales; the coat of arms of the County Palatine of Lancaster; the coat of arms
of the City of Liverpool; and the coat of arms of the University of Liverpool. Between
these coats of arms are reliefs of Greek divinities: Athena, symbolising the Faculties of
Arts and Science; Poseidon, symbolising the University’s work in the field of maritime
engineering and the University’s general relation to sea-borne commerce; Themis,
symbolising the Faculty of Law; and Asklepios, symbolising the Faculty of Medicine.
The inscription round the base of the crown reads:
       Universitati suae donavit Riccardus Caton Med. et Leg. Doctor consilio civico
       Lyrpolitano praepositus. Ipse Emeritus Professor civium amorem in studia
       humanitatis pariter ac scientiae testatus.
       [Richard Caton, Doctor of Medicine and of Laws, Lord Mayor of Liverpool, gave
       [this] to his University. Himself an Emeritus Professor, he bears witness to the
       love of the citizens for the study equally of humane and scientific studies.]
It would seem that this Latin inscription was composed by Professor HA Strong
(Professor of Latin 1884-1909). Some difficulty was encountered in turning the phrase
‘Lord Mayor of Liverpool’ into Latin and Caton remarked to the Vice-Chancellor that
“there is some authority for ‘Lyrpolitanus’ though it looks a little funny”.
At the base of the head of the mace is a fillet composed of corn-sheaves, the emblem of
Cheshire, and dolphins, suggestive of the Mersey and the sea. The head of the mace is
connected with the stem by four heads of Hermes, transmitter of the teachings of the gods
and patron of gymnastic sports. The mace’s stem is decorated with a spiral band engraved
with the rose of Lancaster and the bosses with the planta genista, a reminder of King
John’s grant of Liverpool’s first charter. The base of the mace contains an Inlet half-
crown piece dated 1908. The mace was used for the first time at the installation in May
1909 of the 17th Earl of Derby as Chancellor of the University.
Apart from the mace the University’s other ‘regalia’ comprise the robes of the Chancellor,
the Vice-Chancellor and the lay officers of the University, together with six wands. These
wands or staves are wooden poles about 6ft 6in long, shaped rather like billiard cues, on
the tip of each of which is a detachable enamelled bronze crest, shield-shaped in design.
On both sides of the shield the University’s coat of arms is depicted.
These enamelled bronze crests were acquired for the installation of the fifth Marquess of
Salisbury as Chancellor on 28 November 1951. The design of the crest was made by Mr
H Tyson Smith of Grove Street and Bluecoat Chambers, Liverpool, and his son, and casts
made, it is believed, by a Birmingham firm; the casts were smoothed over in Liverpool
and then sent away for enamelling. The wands to take these crests were made by the
University’s Fabric Department.

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Description: UNIVERSITY REGALIA The Royal Letters Patent, dated 18 October 1881