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University of Essex

Armorial Bearings

Granted by Letters Patent dated 10th December, 1963.

Gules three Seaxes in pale cutting edges upwards Argent Pomels and Hilts to the dexter Or in chief an open Book proper edged and bound with seven clasps Or, and for the Crest On a Wreath of the Colours a Wyvern statant Argent upon two Branches of Oak raguly leaved fructed in saltire proper enfiled through an Annulet Argent.

“Thought the harder, heart the keener.”
University of Essex motto


The shield consists of the ancient arms attributed to the Kingdom of the East Saxons and granted to the Essex County Council in 1932, with the addition of a book representing the University. The Essex arms show three seaxes or Saxon swords upon a red ground. The book has an illuminated initial E, gold edges and binding, and, like various other books in University arms, has seven clasps representing the mediaeval 'quadrivium' and 'trivium' comprehending all the known studies of the time.


Above the shield is the closed helm proper to impersonal arms, with its crest- wreath and decorative mantling in the official liveries of the arms, red and white, which are the colours of Essex and Colchester. Upon the helm is the crest, which is a symbolisation of the University's situation. At the base are two branches of oak which suggest the parkland of Wivenhoe and the ancient Forest of Essex. They are shaped like the branches of the Colchester ragged cross, and bear fruit. The branches pass through a ring or 'annulet' representing a letter O; this, with the wyvern or two-legged dragon gives an heraldic rebus or word-play ('wyvern-O') upon the name.


The motto is adapted from the East Saxon poem 'The Battle of Maldon'.