First and Third Trinity Boat Club
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About the Club

The Club Emblem

The Club's emblem of two shields is the combination of the armorial shields of 1st Trinity Boat Club (the left hand shield) and 3rd Trinity Boat Club (the right hand shield) and dates from 1946 when the two clubs amalgamated.

The Club's Emblem
The club emblem; the First Trinity shield on the left and Third Trinity's on the right

Third Trinity's shield, on the right, is the more intricate and reflects the fact that the club was formed for scholars coming up to Trinity from Eton College and Westminster School. The left half of the shield is the arms of Eton, assigned by Henry VI in a document dating from 1449:

Use of the club's emblems on crew t-shirts
Both 1st Trinity's emblem alone and First's and Third's shields together are used as emblems today

"On a field sable three lily-flowers argent, intending that Our newly-founded College, lasting for ages to come, whose perpetuity We wish to be signified by the stability of the sable colour, shall bring forth the brightest flowers redolent of every kind of knowledge, to which also that We may impart something of royal nobility, which may declare the work truly royal and illustrious, We have resolved that that portion of the arms, which by royal right belong to Us in the kingdoms of France and England, be placed on the chief of the shield, per pale azure with a flower of the French, and gules with a leopard passant or."

and the right half is the arms of Westminster.

1st Trinity B.C. shield and motto
First T.B.C. shield and motto as depicted in Rouse Ball's book

The Lion and three crowns emblem of the left hand shield was adopted by 1st Trinity at the time of its foundation. It is not known why this emblem was chosen, but in his book, A History of The First Trinity Boat Club (Bowes & Bowes, 1908), Rouse Ball conjectures that it was invented by the club's founders. It is suggested they took the lion from the arms of England or of the College, and added the crowns of France, England and Scotland, which are to be found on the sceptre carried by Edward III in his statue on the Clock-Tower in Great Court.

Today, the club uses both the twin shields and the 1st Trinity emblem alone as its emblems. The 1st Trinity emblem, known affectionately as the 'Cat and Buns', is used more extensively than the two shields together.

Club Motto

Not only is the 'Cat and Buns' apparently connected with Edward III, but First Trinity's motto, Fama super aethera notus is also to be found on Great Court's Clock-Tower (also named King Edward's Tower), where it follows Edward III's name. It is a quote from Virgil's Roman masterpiece, the Aeneid, meaning "famous above the heavens".

King Edward III (1327-1377)

Edward III was an important figure in the history of King's Hall - one of the two historic colleges amalgamated to form Trinity. Although established by Edward II, Edward III refounded it in 1337.

The central section of the Great Court's Clock Tower
Edward III's Tower, now part of Great Court but originally the 1st gatehouse in Cambridge when it was built as the entrance to King's Hall

He seems to have been a central theme in the fledgling Trinity Boat Club - with its shield and motto apparently associated with the long lived monarch via the King's Tower. King Edward III was also the name the founders gave to their first eight-oared boat, commissioned, probably in 1826, shortly after the club's formation.

The Black Prince, after whom many subsequent VIIIs were named (including many of the current fleet), was Edward III's eldest son, Prince of Wales and father of the next King of England, Richard II (1377-1399).

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