College Arms

The Coat of Arms

Azure on a fess or between in chief two Unicorns' heads couped and in base a coiled Serpent argent three Estoiles gules.

azure
The blue field represents the colour most associated with Oxford University. It was also associated with St. Hilda's Hall and College.

on a fess or
A fess is a band across the middle of the shield. Or is gold.

three estoiles gules
The college wanted to commemorate Miss Beale, but no evidence could be found that her family was armigerous. However, all Beale families seemed to have used arms with estoiles (stars with wavy points or rays) gules (red).

in chief two unicorns' heads couped … argent
It was found that Beale families all seemed to have used a unicorn's head for their crest (badge). Mr Michael Maclagan of Trinity College, who advised St. Hilda's on the design of the arms in 1959-1960, felt that the symbol of a unicorn, 'with its ancient traditions, seemed not inappropriate to a ladies' college'. Couped means that the heads are cut off smoothly at the base. In chief means at the top, and argent is silver.

in base a coiled serpent argent
In base means at the bottom, where the silver coiled snake represents the name and reputation of St. Hilda.

Telephone Campaign for St Hilda's