Oxford History: Mayors & Lord Mayors

End of tour  

Coat of arms of the City of Oxford

Coat of arms of City of Oxford

The coat of arms of Oxford shows the visual pun an ox fording a river.

Its bearers appear to be taken from the arms of two members of the court of Elizabeth I who spent a week at Christ Church in 1566, namely:

  • Left: a black elephant representing Sir Francis Knollys, High Steward of the City, Lord Lieutenant, and MP for the County
  • Right: a green beaver representing Henry Norreys of Rycote, Captain of the City Militia and MP for the County

The lion on top, which is dotted with blue fleurs de lys, was a unique crest granted to the city by Queen Elizabeth I. It wears the royal crown and holds the Tudor Rose in its paws.

The Latin motto “Fortis est Veritas” means “The truth is strong”.

Below: coat of arms dated 1866 on the wall of the Council Chamber in the Town Hall.

Coat of Arms on wall of Town Hall

Weather vane on Town Hall



Left: Even the weather-vane on top of the Town Hall shows the ox crossing the ford



Below: the stylized version of the ox crossing the ford used on city council stationery today

Modern Oxford emblem


©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 5 July, 2018

Oxford Mayors home Small Shark Oxford History home