The History of Our School Crest

We know that the St. Michael’s School crest was created when founder Kyrle Symons wrote to Dulwich College, his alma mater in England, and asked to use their crest for his new school, with a colour change from all red to a blue chevron with black stars. We don’t have an exact history of how the University School crest was created, but the scarlet colour, martlets and open book reflect the crest of Victoria College from that time and are still seen in the University of Victoria coat of arms today. These elements are also thought to be drawn from Victoria College’s early connections to McGill University.

In fact, the elements from both crests appear widely throughout education and family heraldry, and help us understand the hopes that each founder had for their school. These definitions are pulled from various online resources including Wikipedia and the Hall of Names.

Book crest element

The book symbolizes learning and, if open, signifies manifestation. Written on the book of the University School crest was the motto Mens Sana In Corpore Sano, meaning “a healthy mind in a healthy body.” The motto was removed at amalgamation and does not appear in any future version.

Martlet crest element

The martlet, or heraldic swallow, is depicted with short tufts of feathers in the place of legs and is a device for someone prompt and ready in dispatch of their business. The martlet also signifies nobility acquired through bravery, prowess or intelligence and, in English heraldry, was a mark of cadency signifying the fourth son, who would likely not inherit land and would have to subsist on the wings of his virtue and merit alone.

Cross crest element

Made from four uniform arms, this can be a symbol of unity, service, faith, navigation, balance, equality, or the four seasons, elements or directions.

Star crest element

Also called a mullet in heraldry, the five-point star, or cinquefoil, symbolizes honour, achievement and hope.

Chevron crest element

The chevron is commonly found among the insignias and heraldries of many of the earliest higher education institutions in the United States and the United Kingdom and signifies protection. In heraldry it is granted to those who had participated in some notable enterprise or faithful service.