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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

1) Per pale az. and sa. three chev. or. Crest—parrot vert feeding on a bunch of berries ppr.
2) (Claremont, Exeter). Motto—Onward. Gu. a chev. erm. betw. three lions ramp. or. Crest—A demi lion ramp. or.

Origin, Meaning, Family History and Bowring Coat of Arms and Family Crest

This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is an professional name, acquiring from the Olde English pre 7th Century "bur" meaning "a chamber", and "ing", in this context, "a friend" or "servant", one who looked after the "bower-chamber" in a Lord or chiefs house. Professional surnames originally showed the actual profession of the name bearer, and later became hereditary. More common variations are: Bowering, Boowring, Bow-Ring, Boring, Bowerinng, Browing, Bouring, Bewring, Borring, Boering.

The surname Bowring first appeared in Somerset where they held a family seat from early times. The very first recording spelling of the family was shown to be that of Henry Bouryng, dated 1302, in the “Pipe Rolls of Derbyshire.”  It was during the reign of King Edward 1, who was known as "The Hammer of the Scots," dated 1272-1307.  Surname all over the country became a necessity with the introduction of personal taxation.  It came to be known as Poll Tax in England.  Surnames all over the country began to develop with unique and shocking spelling varieties of the original one.

Some of the people with the surname Bowring who arrived in the United States in the 18th century included Mary Bowring, who settled in Maryland in 1719. Some of the people with the surname Bowring who arrived in the Canada in the 19th century included Benjamin Bowring from Devon, England, settled in St. John's, Newfoundland in 1811.

Some of the individuals with the surname Bowring who landed in Australia in the 19th century included Thomas Bowring, British convict from Jersey, who was transported aboard the "Agincourt" on July 6, 1844, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia.

Bowring Coat of Arms Meaning

The three main devices (symbols) in the Bowring blazon are the chevronel, lion rampant and parrot. The three main tinctures (colors) are ermine, or and gules .

Ermine is a very ancient pattern, and distinctive to observe. It was borne alone by John de Monfort, the Earl of Richmond and Duke of Brittany in the late 14th century 1 It has a long association with royalty and the nobility in general and hence represents “Dignity” wherever it is found 2. The ermine pattern is white with, typically, a three dots and a dart grouping representing the tail of the furred creature.3. The ermine spot is sometimes found alone as a special charge on the shield.

Or is the heraldic metal Gold, often shown as a bold, bright yellow colour. It is said to show “Generosity and elevation of the mind” 4. Later heralds, of a more poetic nature liked to refer to it as Topaz, after the gemstone, and, for obvious reasons associated it with the Sun 5. In drawings without colour it is usually represented by many small dots, or by the letter ‘O’ 6.

Gules, the heraldic colour red is very popular, sometimes said to represent “Military Fortitude and Magnanimity”7. It is usually abbreviated as gu and in the days before colour printing was shown in a system known as hatching by vertical lines 8. Although it may look like a French word it is normally pronounced with a hard “g” and may be derived either from the Latin gula (throat) or Arabic gule (rose).9

Readers may already be aware of the chevron, the large inverted ‘V’ shape that extends across the whole shield but may be new to its smaller cousin the chevronel. This can equally cover the whole width but is at least half the width of the chevron, if not narrower. 10 There can be multiple chevronels present, normally these are stacked vertically, but there is a very striking variant whereby the chevronels are said to be interlaced, in which case they are side-by-side, overlapping and intertwined, creating a very striking effect 11. In common with its larger relative, Wade associates the chevronel with the idea of “Protection…and a reward to one who has achieved a notable enterprise” 12.

There can be no animal more clearly associated with Heraldry than the lion, majestic King of the Beasts. Originally it appeared only in one pose, erect, on one paw, with the others raised 13 but such was the popularity of this figure, and the need to distinguish arms from each other, that it soon came to be shown in an enormous range of forms 14. The lion rampant is an example of these modified form, and any family would be proud to have such a noble creature displayed on their arms. Rampant is the default attitude of the lion, raised on its hind legs, facing to the dexter and with front paws extended in a fearsome and powerful pose.

The parrot is a fairly recent usage, but the ancient form of popinjay was more common 15. Commonly coloured vert (green) with beak and legs gules (red) it is usually depicted with a high degree of realism. 16

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References

  • 1 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P69
  • 2 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P39
  • 3 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 28
  • 4 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P35
  • 5 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
  • 6 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P76-77
  • 7 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36
  • 8 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P52
  • 9 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P154
  • 10 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Chevronel
  • 11 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P124
  • 12 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P45
  • 13 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 64
  • 14 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P136-141
  • 15 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Parrot
  • 16 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P249
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