Best of Cambridge: College crests

In this edition of Pembroke Street, Andrew Jameson tells us how Cambridge’s crests stack up

Welcome back to another instalment of everybody’s ‘not- exactly-favourite- but-mildly- enjoyed- sometimes’ segment of Pembroke Street! This time we’re diving into the world of heraldry (yes, I’ve finally given into all your heraldic clamouring) to look at what the Cambridge crest scene has to offer.

During my initial research, I found a quiz on Cambridge college crests. I failed pretty terribly in said quiz: however, since then I have trained relentlessly and mastered every crest (I haven’t, but that’s the more uplifting version of events).

So buckle up as we have a look at some fancy badges.

First up is the Murray Edwards crest. I was initially drawn to this by the mythical, fish-like creature. I love a good magical beast so it was looking promising. But on investigation it turned out to just be a dolphin. Now, I don’t mind dolphins (they’re probably high-mid tier in my animal ranking table), but they’re nowhere near as good as mythical animals.

Plus, and I’m no expert, but that’s a strange looking dolphin. As well as that, the colour scheme of black and white isn’t really the most exciting.

5.2 / No legendary sea creature, no legendary crest

St Catharine’s have opted for the minimal design of a Catharine wheel on a

red backdrop. And I suppose it does the job, but it also looks like it could have been designed by anyone... and that maybe it should have been designed by anyone else. 5.7 / It’s just a wheel, really

In sharp contrast to St Catharine’s is the Queens’ crest. It looks like they weren’t be able to decide between six different crests, so thought, “you know what, just slap them all on,” producing what I can only describe as a crest- deluge. It should have something for everyone, but I think they could have reined it back.

(Bonus crest-within-a-crest review: I'd say the blue panel of two fish is my favourite; while not mythical fish-like creatures, they at least look like fish).

6.1 / Six crests for the price of one

Next up is Emmanuel, which continues the

animal theme, depicting a blue lion rampant holding a wreath of laurel with a scroll hanging above its head – a scene I’m sure we’re all familiar with. I do quite like the scroll because it looks just a little bit like a speech- bubble, which amuses me. I’m not, however, convinced about the white background or the lion’s shade of blue.

7.5 / Just your average blue lion hanging out in a void.

Finally, we have the Peterhouse crest. I think this one does a pretty good job:

it sticks to a consistent colour scheme and there's something about the hoard of miniature crowns that appeals to my eye. Yes, it could be a little more adventurous but it’s pretty solid.

8.1 / A crest which does the job, and does it with lots of of miniature crowns.

So there we are: crests reviewed. Sorry if I didn’t include your favourite crest (I hope you’re not ‘crestfallen’). If you have anything you’d like me to write about, just let me know – you could leave a sinister, unsigned postcard in my pidge, or plant a range of wild flowers to spell out your message. The choice is yours. Anyway, I hope your term is going well and you have a lovely summer when it comes.