Pontifical English College

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Civic heraldry of Vatican City


Arms of Pontifical English College

Official blazon


The scallop is the traditional symbol of pilgrimage. This was because the college started life as a hospice welcoming pilgrims to Rome beginning from the Holy Year of 1350. By 1362 John and Alice Shepherd, who owned the original house, had founded a formal guild and transferred their property to the 'Hospice of St Thomas'.

In the centre of the shield is a winged dragon, this is taken from the personal arms of Pope Gregory XIII. It was the Pope who co-founded the college in 1579 along with Cardinal Allen. The hospice had become a shelter for English priests who had escaped persecution at home, and so the hospice became a priests' seminary.

At the top of the shield would have been three leopards (lions), the traditional heraldic symbol of England. The central one however has been defaced with a silver shield and three black hares. This is the personal coat of arms of Cardinal William Allen, the other co-founder of the college.

The Motto of the college is "I come to bring fire to the earth" from the Gospel of S Luke.

Literature : Image and information send to me by Rev. Liam Bradley

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