Radley College crest. From an original engraving by Dan Escott, commissioned by the Heraldry Society in 1964
Argent an open Book garnished Gules clasps and buckles Or thereon inscribed the words SICUT SERPENTES SICUT COLUMBAE between three crosses pattée of the second on a Chief of the last a Key in bend sinister of the first surmounted by a similar Key in bend dexter Gold between to the dexter a Serpent knowed and erect and to the sinister a Dove both proper
Sicut Serpentes Sicut Columbae
Heraldry, crests, badges, mottoes – the very root and branch of tradition. The symbols that say ‘we are here’ and ‘here we stay.’ The colours of identity. A complex pattern which is instantly recognisable to anyone associated with an institution. Unchanging. But even something so traditional grew organically over time and was not there for the first sixty one years of the College’s life. Here is the story of the college crest ….
When the Archive went back to school. These contemporary letters were written as ‘thank yous’ following an afternoon spent at a primary school. The children were studying aspects of Victorian history, particularly the kind of education rich boys might have experienced in the nineteenth century. They heard about the carved desk lid, a prefect’s banner, a letter from Gerald Talbot and the prefect’s fives bat. So this particular ‘object’ is about how the virtual museum does sometimes go out into the wider world. It is also a partner to No. 17 The teachers’ revenge, since it tells the story of the everyday objects used by those examinees of the 1870s. Read on …
This story presents the most ephemeral of ephemera: a scrapbook of snippets cut out of junior boys exams by an unknown Don at Radley in the 1870s. Exams are the horror at the end of every teacher’s year. Object no. 9 Thank you letter, 2011, examined the history of formal exams and external qualifications. But the end of year test existed long before exams were subject to external scrutiny or led to nationally recognised standards. Back in the 1870s, a boy could remain in the same class for years before he passed an exam that allowed him to move up to another class. The teacher tasked with forcing an education into such a boy needed his own methods to retain his sanity. In Radley College Archives is a scrap book of cuttings from exam papers. Did the teachers who collected these feel they were banging their heads against a brick wall, or did they fall about howling with laughter in the Common Room as they added yet another gem to their collection? Here are some of the most sparkling moments as gathered together in Facetiae Radlienses e responsis per examinations factis extracta St Peter’s College 1869
In April 1770 Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown received £200 on account from Sir William Stonhouse of Radley Hall, Berkshire. In December that year Sir William paid another £200, with a further £200 on 3 April 1771. Brown later received a draft on Sir William’s bankers, Messrs Hoare & Co., dated June 9th 1773 for a final payment of £72, which he described in his Accounts Book as ‘a balance of the above account and in full [payment] of account demands.’ The account was then crossed through in the Accounts Book, which probably signifies that the work was completed, paid for and the contract closed. There can be no doubt, therefore, that Capability Brown was employed by Sir William Stonhouse to carry out landscape ‘improvements’ at Radley Hall over four years between 1770 and 1773, with the bulk of the work probably completed within the year April 1770 to April 1771. In the year in which the Tercentenary of the birth of England’s most significant landscape garden designer is being celebrated nationally, it is time to explore the story of Radley’s lost landscape: to examine what remains, discover how it was lost and found again, and, most significantly, to ask ‘What could you buy for £672 from Capability Brown’? Read on >>>
Reconstructing Capability Brown’s work at Radley Hall: North & South views
Reconstructing Capability Brown’s work at Radley Hall: romantic and picturesque – serpentine walk and Gothic buildings
Reconstructing Capability Brown’s work at Radley Hall: fish pond into lake: water features from formal to picturesque
Loss & Rediscovery: Capability Brown’s landscape at Radley
image © Royal Horticultural Society, Lindley Library
Some of the objects which are essential to the story of Radley have very little by way of individual history. One of these is the school’s premiere academic award: the Richards Gold Medal. This is a story about the relationships between schoolmasters and schoolboys in the earliest days of Radley… read on
Object No 10 was a riddle. Object No 11 continues the theme. It is one of the great mysteries of Radley. When this series was first proposed, object No 11 was among the first items to be nominated. It is so iconic that its inclusion in ‘The history in 100 objects’ was cited by the Warden in his end of term assembly. But the object itself baffles. Its hold over the average Radleian is inexplicable to the average adult human. The very photo shows just how unappetising this commodity really is. Yet it is a commodity. It has been used as a reward, as a bribe, in negotiations over lessons, as the impetus behind a strike. It is the stuff of nostalgia. This is a tale that encompasses gluttony, embezzlement, debt and bullying.
It is a soft bread roll filled with minced chicken in mayonnaise, with the minutest amount of lettuce garnish imaginable. All hail, the mystery of the chicken roll. THE FULL STORY
I have four faces, but when I was born I had no face at all.
I am an icon, but what I represent has changed with the years.
I am a landmark, but I cannot be seen from any vantage point.
I have four courts but only one remains.
I have three bells named after Christian saints and
I have been shot at dawn.
I have been a stage.
I have been a roundabout.
I am central.
Boys went unfed, staff unpaid, beds unbought, to pay for me.
I am the oldest.
I was the first.
Who am I? – Click here for the answer