History of the University's Coat of Arms
In the United Kingdom armorial bearings are granted under Royal authority by the Kings of Arms. Their regulation in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is conducted through the Earl Marshal and the College of Arms in London.
The University of Cambridge was granted its arms in 1573 by Robert Cooke, Clarenceux King of Arms and a graduate of St. John's College, for use by the Chancellor, Masters, Fellows and Scholars as a corporate body. The arms Cooke granted are officially described in heraldic terminology or blazon as follows: Gules, a cross ermine between four lions passant gardant or, and on the cross a closed book fessways gules clasped and garnished or, the clasps downward.
This may be rendered into plain English as follows:
On a red background, a cross of ermine fur between four gold lions walking but with one fore-leg raised, and facing the observer. (These lions must always face the left-hand edge of the page or item on which the arms are displayed) On the centre of the cross is a closed book with its spine horizontal and with clasps and decoration, the clasps pointing downward.
The University name and coat of arms are registered trademarks and may only be used by permission of the University or by registered licence holders.