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Able Coat of Arms Meaning

The three main devices (symbols) in the Able blazon are the bars, plate and arm in armour. The two main tinctures (colors) are sable and argent.

Sable, the deep black so often found in Heraldry is believed to named from an animal of the marten family know in the middle ages as a Sabellinœ and noted for its very black fur 1. In engravings, when colors cannot be shown it is represented as closely spaced horizontal and vertical lines, and appropriately is thus the darkest form of hatching, as this method is known 2. Although it may seem a sombre tone, and does indeed sometimes denote grief, it is more commonly said to represent Constancy 3.

Argent is the heraldic metal Silver and is usually shown as very pure white. It is also known more poetically as pearl, moon (or luna) 4. In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper 5.

The bar is a thin, horizontal stripe across the centre of the shield 6, usually in groups of two or three (any more and there would be confusion with barry, a treatment of horizontal lines of alternating colours). Bars can be a distinctive and easily recognised device, early examples include those awarded by Henry III of England to the family MAUDYT Argent, two bars gules.

For easy recognition of the items on a coat of arms, and hence the quick identification of the owner, bold simple shapes are best. Hence, simple geometric shapes are often used for this purpose 7 One of the simplest such shapes is the plain circle, known to heralds as the roundle. 8 So popular is this charge that a shorthand has arisen for roundles of a particular colour and plate is a roundle argent, or white. Most authorities agree that the English usage signifies the “Manchet cake” or communion wafer and thus is a symbol of religious allegiance.

The Arm appears frequently in the crest of a coat of arms, often armoured and described in some detail as to its appearance and attitude. 9 It can also appear on the shield itself as a charge. The arm itself is said to signify a “laboorious and industrious person” 10, whilst the arm in armour may denote “one fitted for performance of high enterprise” 11

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

Able Origin:


Origins of Able:

This interesting and uncommon surname is of old English origin, and acquires from the Hebrew male given name "Hevel," generally believed to acquire from the Hebrew "hevel," which means respiration, strength, also used in the figurative sense "arrogance, uselessness." This name was produced by the son of Adam who killed his brother Cain (Genesis 4:1-8) and was famous all over the Christendom among the Middle Ages (circa 1200 - 1500) when there was a clan of suffering harmlessness which Abel mentioned. "Abellus," the Latinized form of the name, listed (with surname) in records referring to the Danelaw. Leicestershire, dated 1216, and an Abel de Etton', witness, recorded in the 1221 Assize Court Rolls of Warwickshire. The surname first shows on record towards the end of the 12th Century, and more previous examples contain as Richard Abel in Buckinghamshire in the year 1273 and Thomas Abelle in Yorkshire in the year 1301. In the new phrase, the name spelled differently as Abel, Abell, Abele and Able, with patronymic styles containing as Abeles, Abelson, and Ableson. Abel also listed in Scotland from a previous date, one Master Abel listed in records concerning the Abbey of Kelso in 1235. Thomas Abel or Abell was a citizen of Edinburgh in 1387. A National Symbol gave to the family is a silver shield with twelve gold fleurs-de-lis on a blue saltire.


More common variations are: Abley, Abele, Abale, Abule, Auble, Abile, Yable, Abole, Uable, Ableh.


The surname Able first appeared in the districts of Kent, Derbyshire, and Essex. "Abell was also an Essex family, although sections spread into the districts of Kent and Derby."

The very first recording spelling of the family was shown to be that of William Abel, dated about 1197, in the "Pipe Rolls of Essex." It was during the time of King Richard I, who was known to be the “Richard the Lionheart," dated 1189-1199. The origin of surnames during this period 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 varietions of the original one.


Many of the people with surname Able had moved to Ireland during the 17th century.

United States of America:

Individuals with the surname Able settled in the United States in three different centuries respectively in the 17th, 18th, and 19th. Some of the people with the name Able who settled in the United States in the 17th century included George Able at the age of 24, arrived in Maryland in 1683.

Some of the people with the surname Able who settled in the United States in the 18th century included Hans Jacob Able at the age of 16, Hants Jurgh Able, Johann Adam Able, John Adam Able and Hans Georg Able, all arrived in Pennsylvania in the same year 1732.

The following century saw many more Able surnames arrive. Some of the people with the name Able who settled in the United States in the 19th century included Barton Able at the age of 56, arrived in New Orleans, La in 1825. Louise Able, who landed in North America in 1832. Wilh Able, who arrived in North America in 1832. H Able, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1856. George Able, who came to Pennsylvania in 1862.

Here is the population distribution of the last name Able: Ivory Coast 8,182; United States 2,775; Pakistan 754; Ghana 399; England 355; Brazil 238; Germany 168; Australia 147; Malaysia 126; France 122.

Notable People:

Forest Edward "Frosty" Able was born in July 1932. He is a retired American basketball player. He joined Fairdale High School in Louisville before playing for Western Kentucky University in the previous 1950s, where he recorded 1,221 career points.

Graham George Able was born in July 1947. He is a famous trainer who was the Master at Dulwich College from 1997-2009.

Whitney Nees Able was born in June 1982. She is an American actress and model. She is famous for her roles in All the Boys Love Mandy Lane and Monsters.

Blazons & Genealogy Notes

Sa. two bars ar. in chief as many plates. Crest—An arm in armour embowed holding a sword all ppr.

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  • 1 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Sable
  • 2 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 26
  • 3 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P35
  • 4 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
  • 5 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P11
  • 6 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Bar
  • 7 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P146
  • 8 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Roundle
  • 9 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:arm
  • 10 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P92
  • 11 A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, P184