Meaning of the College Crest


You may like to know a little about St Benedict and the meaning of our badge.

St Benedict was born the son of wealthy Roman parents, in the beautiful Italian province of Umbria in the 5th Century. As a young man, he was sent to study in Rome. There, he was shocked by the wickedness of the city and he fled into the roman countryside to live as a hermit. A group of hermits living nearby asked Benedict to become their abbot but when he began to rule, they tried to poison him. These events are recorded in our official badge. On the right-hand side of the badge, there is a raven with a loaf in its beak. The loaf had been poisoned; it was intended for benedict but the raven flew off with it and so saved the saint’s life. On the left hand of the badge, there is a cup or chalice with serpent twined round it. This represents another attack on Benedict’s life. This time his wine had been poisoned, but when Benedict made the sign of the cross over his food the serpent emerged and once again Benedict was safe.

Eventually, Benedict moved further south to Monte Cassino and there founded the great monastery which was to be the mother house of the monks of St Benedict. The rule of the life which Benedict drew up for his monks was soon being followed all over Europe. The monks were encouraged to follow a life of prayer and work; this too, is shown on our badge ORA ET LABORA (prayer and work).

Also featured on our badge is St John’s abbeygate, Colchester, a Benedictine foundation, with which our college is linked in name and the rule of prayer and work. The raven on the badge seems to be standing on an arrow of gold; this is to do with the geographical siting of the college. It commemorates the death of St Edmund (King of east Anglia), who was martyred by the Danes.

The badge was designed by Dr Swan of the Royal College of Heraldry and we hope that all our students will wear it with pride.

We also hope that the ideals of our patron will inspire all the members of our school community, as they have done countless thousands of Christian men and women throughout the ages, to make full use of all their God given abilities.

In 1981 we celebrated the 1500th anniversary of the birth of St Benedict. To commemorate this event an official logo was produced, which we use on many occasions. It depicts a teaching monk using the bible and reminds us of the invaluable contribution monks have made to western civilization.