The Coat of Arms explained
Each part of our Coat of Arms has a meaning and it is useful to understand the significance of each of these heraldic elements.
Our shield comprises a blue background with two fesses in gold, based on the shape of an open book, representing the University's focus on learning and scholarship. The top and bottom sections feature white estoiles (a scattering of small stars). The estoiles represent navigation which has played a key role in the history of the city and of the University, where the School of Navigation formed the cornerstone of education developments.
Estoiles feature in the shield of Sir Francis Drake, a major historical figure in Plymouth. They also afford an indirect reference to Lady Astor, the first woman MP (for Plymouth Devonport) who bequeathed her house on The Hoe to the City.
The central section of the shield features escallops (scallop shells), representing pilgrimage in Gold. This draws from the shield of Sir John Hawkins, another Plymothian seafarer, and the maritime heritage, and also makes reference to the Pilgrim Fathers who left England for the last time from Plymouth. Graduates leaving the University might also be said to be undertaking a pilgrimage of discovery in search of success and satisfaction.