Attention: You are using an outdated browser, device or you do not have the latest version of JavaScript downloaded and so this website may not work as expected. Please download the latest software or switch device to avoid further issues.

NEWS > 1574-2024 Anniversary Features > Richard Pate, the School Arms and Colours

Richard Pate, the School Arms and Colours

A delve into the 2013 edition of Pate's Progress, tells us about our founder Richard Pate and the origin of our School Arms and Colours.
The School Arms
The School Arms

Richard Pate was a scholar of Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He rose, by his own exersions, from poverty to eminence. Born in 1516, he was educated at the Chantry School in the Parish Church in Cheltenham (just off the lower High Street). At 16, he went to study at Corpus Christ, Oxford, staying there for a few years but seemingly not taking his degree (no record has been found). In 1541 - 1544 he entered Lincolns Inn to train as a lawyer then became an under-steward at Cirencester Abbey, moving on to Hales Abbey and the Monastery at Tewkesbury. He was successively employed as a commisioner for Henry Vlll, Edward Vl and Elizabeth l, to value and report upon lands confiscated from the Church. Acting in this capacity, he reported to Henry Vlll on the state of the Church lands in Cheltenham, the absence of a school, and the advisability of establising one there. However, nothing was done in the matter until the reign of Elizabeth l when Cheltenham Grammar School came into being. He became Recorder of Gloucester in 1556 and was five times MP for the city.

The date of the Foundation of the school is usually given as 1578, though others are often quoted, the most common being 1574. Both dates are right but should not be confused! On January 7th, 1574, Queen Elizabeth l signed the Letters Patent at Westminster making a royal grant of lands to Richard Pate, and directing him to establish a Grammar School at Cheltenham. It was not untiil April 28th, 1578, that the actual foundation stone of the buildings was laid by him.

So the date 1574 is associated with the royal foundation while the latter date 1578, is associated with the actual implementation of the work by Richard Pate.

Sometime between 1557 and 1567 Richard Pate obtained his own coat of arms and was then entitled to be called armiger when he appeared as a Member of Parliament at Westminster. Cheltenham Grammar School adopted the arms and motto of its founder - it is an almost invariable rule amongst ancient academic institutions to adopt the arms of the founder. For many years the School Arms were the only emblem that existed in days when School Colours were not thought of or needed. The full emblazonment is the shield surmounted by an esquire's helmet.

Richard Foxe (1448-1528) was an English clergyman, successively Bishop of Exeter, Bath and Wells, Durham, and Winchester, Lord Privy Seal and a trusted diplomatic and political adviser to King Henry Vll. In 1517, he was responsible for the foundation of Corpus Christi College, Oxford. When Foxe was made Bishop of Winchester, he took the customary armorial bearings of a bishop to appear side by side on the same shield as those of the Foxe family and surmounted by a bishop's mitre. 

The Arms of the See of Winchester consist of a sword and two keys of silver and gold on a red background.The arms of Foxe's family depict a golden pelican on a blue background. Thus the two distinctive colours red and blue appeared on the arms of the new bishop. Corpus Christi adopted the arms of its founder, Richard Foxe, for its own.

Until the early 1900s, our school had no other emblem than its ancient coat of arms, and the colours black and silver. So when it became necessary to have Colours for athletic and other purposes, the colours red and blue of the Oxford College to which we are so closely affiliated were adopted. During the years since that time, these colours have been used in a variety of ways, just a few examples include: red and blue appeared on school badges and uniform for Cheltenham Grammar School; the editions of the Patesian, the boys' school magazine, 1904-1914, used a border of red and blue; editions of the Patesian from 1915-1925 have a blue border and from 1926-1958 the cover changed again to incorporate red alongside black; Pate's Grammar School for Girls opened in 1905 and took the colours navy blue and red for its uniform. Today, red is used on our current school blazer badge and on many school publications and our letterhead. We are very proud of having both Arms and Colours of such unique origin!

Look out for a subsequent feature about the origins of the School Motto - coming soon!

Similar stories

2024 marks the 450th anniversary of the founding of Pate's. Current Headteacher, Dr James Richardson, shares his thoughts about reaching this milestone year. More...

Richard Pate, Queen Elizabeth and Sir Francis Drake welcomed students to lunch

The enthusiasm of the Refectory staff turned the idea of a Tudor Banquet into reality. They laid on a delicious spread f… More...

Land owned by Corpus Christi in 18th century

It was an exciting opportunity for the school's archivists to visit Corpus Christi College, Oxford to look over document… More...

We recently asked for any Pate's alumni published authors to make themselves known to us for a 450th anniversary project… More...

There will be many alumnae who will remember the German teacher, Mrs Plowman, affectionately known as Frau Plow. In the … More...

Most read

Bob and Hilary, May 2023, near Ruthin, Wales

We were so sorry to hear of the passing of Hilary in February. We remember her through two of the spoken tributes from the Committal Service - from Da… More...

Richard Pate, Queen Elizabeth and Sir Francis Drake welcomed students to lunch

The enthusiasm of the Refectory staff turned the idea of a Tudor Banquet into reality. They laid on a delicious spread fit for a Queen (Elizabeth) plu… More...

2024 marks the 450th anniversary of the founding of Pate's. Current Headteacher, Dr James Richardson, shares his thoughts about reaching this mileston… More...

Have Your Say

 
This website is powered by
ToucanTech