The other day, having pretty much run out of clean clothes – as one does – I was wearing an old College sports top. Not that I was any more of a sportsman at university than I am now: this was for a group that did crosswords while eating cakes, of a Sunday afternoon. It’s a long story.

Anyway, a colleague asked what the coat of arms on the breast was for. I explained. ‘Oh,’ he observed, ‘nothing Muslim, then?’ – for the arms do indeed feature, prominently, a crescent. It’s a curious crescent, on its back (as it were), and looking as much like a croissant as anything. My colleague wondered whether this arrangement could be interpreted as offensive. I hadn’t considered that, and spent the rest of the day worried I’d committed some dreadful religious faux pas.

Then tonight, I had one of those sudden ‘Hang on a…’ moments, and invoked Google. As best I can tell, from sites like this, the crescent didn’t come into common use in Islam until after 1453. My college’s use predates this by a little over a century: it’s taken from the arms of the founder, Bishop Bateman, whose family presumably used it considerably prior. So, no conflict at all.

Sometimes we forget the scale of our history.

One Reply to “Paranoia”

  1. The crescent and the croissant are linked – but I can’t [for the life of me] remember how or why, though Vienna seems to lurk somewhere in the murky depths of my mind. and while we’re on the subject of semi-relgious confectionary [we are believe me] glad to hear that those sons of fun at have voted the Abbey Crunch as their all time favourite biscuit.

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