Quod Verum Tutum

‘Quod verum tutum’

“What is true is right!”

The Rest of the Story!

This is the rest of the story about how the motto “Verum Tantum” was created…

About 1969, in a North High School English class, I was studying how Latin phrases have become common mottos in the English language…

E pluribus unum‘ [Latin for “Out of many, one”], is a phrase on the Seal of the United States, along with ‘Annuit cœptis‘ [Latin for “He (God) has favored our undertakings.” (brackets in original).] and ‘Novus ordo seclorum‘ [Latin for “New Order of the Ages”], and adopted by an Act of Congress in 1782.

Semper Fidelis‘ [Latin for “Always Faithful”], is well known in the United States as the motto of the U.S. Marine Corps (and often shortened to ‘Semper Fi’ in Marine contexts).

In that class we were challenged to write a motto for our life, family or a future venture…

Quod Verum Tutum

Speir's school 1891
Spier’s School in 1891

I was inspired by the motto of a school, Spier’s school, in my grandfather’s native Scotland. The school motto was ‘Quod verum tutum’ [Latin for “What is true is right”].

Quad verum tutum stone (What is true is right), Spier's, Beith
The Motto Stone From the Spier’s School

The Latin motto of the old Spier’s School translates as ‘What is true is right (or secure).’ This motto was chosen by the Spier family, being used on the official school Seal of the Board of Governors, on the school uniform, and in the “Spier’s School Magazine”.

Spier's School Magazine No 1
‘Quod Verum Tutum’, Spier’s Magazine No 1, 1888

‘Quod verum tutum’ could be translated “What is true is right”, “What is true is secure”, “What is true is safe”, or even “True things are safe.”

The school closed, 30 June 1972 (the same month I graduated from my High School). A sandstone slab or panel (photo above), carved with ‘Quod verum tutum’ was rescued from the school grounds, after having been shattered in the school’s demolition in 1984. The slab was preserved at the Old Stables Museum in Kilbirnie (Ed.Note: Now closed. Some years ago the Friends of Spiers (FoS) became guardians of the Spier’s motto panel.).

The ‘Quod verum tutum’ motto is actually anonymous in origin, however it is in use elsewhere. For example, ‘Quod verum tutum’ was used by the Courtney family, Earls of Devon.

A Coat of Arms bearing the motto appears on the sign of this hotel!

‘Quod Verum Tutum’ on a Coat of Arms!

Verum Tantum

With the motto ‘Quod Verum Tutum’ firmily in my mind, I wanted a motto that would represent the best path for me…

Only the Truth, Verum Tantum, which also renders, in a word for word translation, as “Truth Only!”

And now you know… The Rest of the Story!

6 Replies to “Quod Verum Tutum”

  1. I went to Spier’s school between 1964 and it’s closure in 1972. Great place to learn, great motto for life!!

  2. The “Quod Verum Tutum” stone from Spier’s School has been restored and returned ‘home’ to the school grounds in the Coronation Garden.

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