Sunday 15 January 2017

Finem Respice

In David G. Keirstead's wonderful book Hampton Consolidated School:  A Story Worth Telling, he writes about how it was common for several graduating classes of this era to have their own class colours and motto in addition to the school's (p. 117).

So, imagine how incredible it was to have the Hampton High School Principal contact me to say they had found in their boiler room a number of crests from Hampton Consolidated School.  When he first mentioned this to me, I was thinking of those little cloth crests you buy when you're on vacation that get sewn on jackets.  When I saw the school crests he was talking about, I was blown away. These are huge, solid wood crests and many of them have signatures on the back!  The one I'm writing about today is from 1926.  

You can see the "HCS" painted in gold and outlined in black at the top, with the 1926 class moto "Finem Respice" in the middle, and "1926" in gold paint outlined in black at the bottom.  According to Merriam-Webster, this Latin expression is translated to "consider the end:  live so that your life will be approved after your death;, also: consider the consequences of your actions."

It's about 32" in height and 27" across.  It's made up of 4 pieces of board all different widths, about 3/4" thick with bevelled edges.  

On the back you can see the boards are held together with two pieces of wood screwed into the main boards.  There is also a lot of water damage visible that did not reach the front. 

In Hampton Consolidated School (p. 117), there is a listing of the graduates.  They are below and you can see that all 11 graduates signed the back of their crest:

-Elizabeth Roberts Ross
-Otta Bernice McAvity
-James Arthur Melick
-John Leonard Fowler
-John Henry Crabbe
-Phyllis Mary Kenney
-Mary Ethel Lena Dempster
-Mildred Irene Raymond
-Joseph Harvey Bell
-Ronald Suthard Spragg
-Paul Ewart McMulkin

Below the signatures of the graduating class, you also see where they wrote the class colours - gold and black, and the class motto - Finem Respice.

In this shot you can see that the crest was made by one of the graduates, John H. Crabbe, H.C.S., '26.

What a fabulous tradition:  each graduating class creating its own crest with its own motto and having everyone sign it!


  1. Very interesting!

  2. All this time in the boiler room and they survived! I wonder if any of the graduates are still with us?
    Maybe the crests can find a place in the schoolroom exhibit in the Museum. Mary Ethel Lena Dempster was born abt 1909 in Hampton to Andrew Donald Dempster and Mary Anne Yeomans. She married Ewart Gladstone Parker in 1941. Mary's grandparents, William and Elizabeth (Carson) Dempster, rest in Salt Springs Cemetery. Mary's uncles and aunts were all born in Salt Springs. We are updating the records of the cemetery which begin with the earliest confirmed burial of 1860. Have not found Mary's death record which may have been after 1964.