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Oxford University - Somerville College (England)

Last modified: 2020-11-21 by rob raeside
Keywords: oxford university | somerville college |
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[Flag of Somerville College] image by Jonathan Dixon, 25 April 2006
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Description of the flag

Somerville College was founded as Somerville Hall in 1879 as an educational institution for women, without any religious connections. Its name and arms were taken from the family of the scientist Mary Somerville. It became a mixed college in 1992.
The flag has the shield from the arms (featuring three five pointed stars and 6 crosslets) in black on a yellow background.
Flag observed flying over the main entrance to the college, 26 April 2004 and 11 April 2005.
Other source:
Jonathan Dixon, 25 April 2006

Coat of Arms

[Flag of Somerville College] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 9 February 2019

The flag is a banner of arms (ratio 1:1).
Coat of Arms:
Shield Argent, three 5-point stars (blazoned as mullets) Gules in chevron reversed between six crosses crosslet fitchy Sable.
This college was founded in 1879 as Somerville Hall and named after Mary Somerville, a Scottish science writer and polymath. She studied mathematics and astronomy, and was nominated to be jointly the first female member of the Royal Astronomical Society. In 1892 the Somerville family gave permission to use their arms. The arms have never been granted. The college was one of the first two women's colleges in Oxford, and among its alumni are e.g. Margaret Thatcher and Indira Gandhi.
Some college arms not only have a shield but also a white scroll bearing a motto. Somerville has an additional crest as follows: issuant from an embossment (?) of Gules and Sable a risen arm Argent (perhaps proper) holding a crescent Gules.
Motto: “DONEC RURSUS IMPLEAT ORBEM” (Probably: As long as it infills the globe anew)
Source: John P. Brooke-Little: Oxford University and its Colleges, Oxford 1962(?), available online at and,_Oxford
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 9 February 2019


[Blade] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 19 March 2019
Blade is red with two black stripes and black loom.

Source: (for current versions):
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 19 March 2019