St Andrews Students’ Association breathes new life back into its ancient Coat of Arms


When researching ideas for the presentation of the Students’ Association 600th publication, the Sabbatical Officers came across a remarkable discovery. Nobody knew what the Coat of Arms stood for.

The original Coat of Arms of the Students’ Association, granted in 1948, was first presented as a hand painted image on vellum accompanied by delicate manuscript lettering explaining what it was in heraldic fashion. Unfortunately, this has long since been lost.

The Coat of Arms of an organisation can be a reliable statement of its identity. The colourful images are also intricate and attractive designs that lend an air of integrity to their holders. This summer, the Students’ Association has rediscovered the correct Coat of Arms as well as the meaning behind the four images that make it up.

The Court of the Lord Lyon in Edinburgh attempted to identify the image that is found online and on the front of the BESS shop (image attached). The response was that this was a totally inaccurate rendering of the image. The new coat of arms (image attached) has now been digitally rendered to produce a fantastic and vibrant image.

This image is now found on staff uniforms at the bar and will now form a proud and important part of the Association’s identity. The Association is actively looking into clothing and branding that will proudly bear the newly refurbished image and is interested to hear from individuals or groups that wish to replicate the image. The Students’ Association are also looking at ways to replicate the original hand-painted scroll with the hope that it will be displayed in the new building.

Explanation of parts

Top Left : The University Shield (logo)

Top Right: William Low of Blebo, Rector’s Assessor 1915 – 1936 (before the custom of the position being held by a student). Wm Low supermarkets were a major retailer before being bought out by Tesco in 1994, including St Andrews’ own. Low was a generous benefactor to the Union (as it was then) and his portrait hangs in Parliament Hall, back left as you enter in a purple gown.

Bottom Left: Crichton-Stuart family, Marquess of Bute. The Crichton-Stuarts were long time benefactors to the University and Union, most memorably in the Bute building as in many other areas, as well as ‘richest man in the world’ John, the 3rd Marquess and Rector 1895 – 1900.

Bottom Right: Henry Wardlaw, university founder

STAT SCOTIA STAT AULA: The Union lives whilst Scotland lives. N.B. this is meant in the ‘Students’ Association’ sense, not in the political.


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