The School Badge

School Badge Large

The Shield appears to have been instituted by Dr Robert Wilson|, the then Headmaster, at the opening of the new buildings in 1882, now School House|. In his book 'Solihull and its School', John Burman refers to the device as "the school badge" as Solihull School| has no arms of its own. A corporation, such as the Board of Governors of a school, may use arms only if they have been granted by the King of Arms. However, a school may display commemoratively the arms of founders and benefactors provided it does not say "These are the arms of the School". The device is used by Solihull School as a reminder of its "famous men and our fathers which begat us".

The Feoffees, as the Governors of the School were called until 1879, were presided over from the 1560s until 1601 by Thomas Dabridgecourt, Esquire, of Longdon Hall (now in the middle of Copt Heath Golf Club). This was an estate he acquired by his marriage to Alice, daughter of John Greswold. Thomas Greswold, brother-in-law of Thomas Dabridgecourt, was also one of the first Feoffees, and the name Greswold appears frequently among Governors of later generations.

In 1574 Thomas Waring joined Dabridgecourt, Greswolde and another Governor in enfeoffing the land called "Wiredrawers" and an adjoining house for, among other objects, "the use and maintenance of a school of learning within the parish".

The arms of Dabridgecourt, Greswold and Waring are displayed on the quartered shield used as a badge by the School, together with those of Odingsells.  Sir William de Odingsells founded the Charity of St. Alphege in the Parish Church, the endowment of which from 1566 was also devoted to the purposes of the Grammar School, as the School was known then.

The shield is blazoned (that is, heraldically described) as follows: Quarterly, first, Argent, a fesse and in chief two mullets gules (ODINGSELLS); second, Azure, a chevron between three lions passant or (WARING); third, Ermine, on each of two bars humetty gules, three escallop shells argent (DABRIDGECOURT): fourth Argent, a fesse gules between two greyhounds courant proper (GRESWOLD). Motto:  PERSEVERANTIA.

For non-heraldic readers, the method of reading the shield is as follows.  The quarters are read from left to right like two lines of print.  In describing each quarter, the colour of the background is given first; then come the name and tincture of the principal charge (a charge being any object placed upon a shield); then the charges of secondary importance; finally, in this case, charges placed on the principle charge.

The first quarter is argent (white or silver) with a red horizontal bar across its centre (a "fesse gules"), and, at the top ("in chief") two red stars ("mullets" from molet, meaning a spur rowel). The second quarter is azure (blue), with a golden chevron between three golden lions walking with front paw raised ("passant").  The third quarter is ermine, represented by black ermine tails on a white background, and has upon it two red horizontal bars cut short at both ends ("humetty") and having on each of them three silver escallop shells. The humetty bars are almost certainly a canting or punning reference to the name Dabridgecourt, which could be roughly translated as "cut off short".  The fourth quarter is argent, and on it is a red fesse between two running greyhounds "proper",which means "in their natural colours". These greyhounds are black, and, although there are black greyhounds, there are many others of every variety of colour, and it might be safer to blazon these dogs "sable" to avoid ambiguity. 

From the 1960 publication 'The Arms of Solihull School' by David Christie-Murray.

In 2014 the badge was modernised:  the charges were simplified, the ordinaries had their shadow effects removed and the colours were adjusted to reflect those of the School's branding.  A copy of the old badge can be seen HERE|.


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