A line drawing of the arms of Sweet Briar College displayed as a banner.
Arms: Quarterly 1st and 4th, sable, a cross engrailed argent between four plates each charged with an arrow of the first (Fletcher); 2nd and 3rd, gules three tilting spears or headed argent (Amherst), in chief or three tudor roses barbed and seeded gules;
Motto: Rosam Quae Meruit Ferat.
Sweet Briar College, founded in 1901, is located outside of Amherst, Virginia and one of a handful of women's colleges in the Commonwealth. The campus is quite stunning and the architecture blends well into the rolling landscape. The college's seal, seen below, was created by Dr. John M. McBryde who was the chair of the English Department at Sweet Briar. McBride was also the designer of the seal used by another woman's college in Virginia, Hollins. Below is an excerpt from the College's website detailing the rationale of their seal.
It is worth noting that there seems to be some discrepancy in the "arrow" found in the Fletcher arms. The College received significant funding from the estate of Mrs. Indiana Fletcher Williams (1828-1900). The arrow appears inside the bezant or roundel in the Fletcher arms. By looking at these arms used in England, a pheon or arrowhead, fills the bezants rather than a full arrow. The College uses the full arrow but I have opted for the pheons. The surname Fletcher refers to one who made arrows and so this charge is a pun upon the name. The Fletcher blazon given previously comes from the arms of Sir Henry-Aubrey Fletcher, 4th Baronet (1835-1910) as found in Armorial Families: A Complete Peerage, Baronetage, and Knightage...edited by Arthur Charles Fox-Davies in 1895. Fox-Davies notes these arms were used without authority from the College of Arms. Debrett's, as seen below, gives a different blazon for the same armiger, using the pheons. Click on the photo to enlarge.The seal consists of the Fletcher and Amherst arms quartered with three Tudor roses above. The arms of Lord Amherst are three tilting spears, gold with silver tops on a red field. The Fletcher arms, which used to hang in Sweet Briar House, were a silver cross on a black field with four bezants each charged with an arrow.It was customary when a family married into another either to divide the shied in half, thus dividing the two coats of arms and placing them side by side; or to quarter the arms, with those of the more important family appearing on the right. As Lord Amherst, from whom the county takes its name, was Governor-General of the British forces in North America, and for some years the Governor of Virginia, it seems appropriate that his arms should be quartered on the shield.The Tudor roses symbolize Sweet Briar, though not the color of the Sweet Briar rose, for pink is not a proper heraldic tint. The roses on the shield are red in a gold field.As a background to the super-imposed shield, is twined a rise vine, which supports the scroll bearing the motto... The motto is an adoption of the motto of Lord Nelson, "Parmour qui meruit fert." In its present form, "Rosam quae meruit ferat," it signifies that those who wear the Sweet Briar rose must be mindful of the obligation, and be worthy to bear it." (The alumnae news publication, Dec. 1938)
And the question is, which is correct?
Another interesting difference appears when comparing the spears from the Lord Amherst's arms with those on Sweet Briar's coat.
The arms of Jeffrey Amherst, The Baron Amherst of Holmesdale
The quarterings containing the "tilting spears" are blazoned: Gules, three tilting spears or two and one headed argent. The words two and one in the blazon mean that the positions of the spears on the field vary as opposed to having all three positioned the same. The county's seal, below, does the same with their quarterings of the Amherst arms.
The flag and seal of Amherst County, Virginia pre-2004.
In 2004, the County quietly dropped the Confederate flag from the seal's ineschuteon. The ineschuteon is now blazoned: Argent, two bars gules and in chief azure, three stars of the field.
Aside from these minor differences, the arms of the College are quite regal and look the best when displayed as a banner.