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Abrey Coat of Arms Meaning

The two main devices (symbols) in the Abrey blazon are the bendy and chevalier. The two main tinctures (colors) are ermine 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.

Gules, the heraldic colour red is very popular, sometimes said to represent “Military Fortitude and Magnanimity”4. It is usually abbreviated as gu and in the days before colour printing was shown in a system known as hatching by vertical lines 5. 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).6

Knowing that the bend is a diagonal stripe of colour, we can easily conclude that bendy is the variant whereby the whole of the shield is covered with diagonal stripes of alternating colours, usually around 4 or 5 of each colour. 7 We should not assign any particular significance to the choice of this pattern, but rather more to the colours they are composed of.

Heraldry is a human art, by and for people and it is not surprising that people themselves are frequently depicted in arms 8. Often these are images of knights and men-at-arms, or individual limbs, such as the “three armoured right arms argent” shown in the arms of Armstrong 9. As well as the nobility however, we also see both the mundane, ploughmen, fishermen and reapers; and the exotic in the form of club wielding savages and the Moorish or Saracen gentleman with his decorative wreathed turban 10. The knight is a typical example of this use of the human figure.

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

This interesting and long-established surname has two distinct possible origins, each with its own history and derivation.  Firstly, Abrey may be of Old French origin, and a variant of the more familiar Aubrey, itself acquiring from either of two Old French personal names.  The first, "Aubri, Auberi", acquires from the Old German "Alberic", a combination of the components "alb", elf, and "ric", power, and the second, "Albree, Aubree", derives ultimately from the Old Germanic female given name "Albrada", elf-counsel. More common variations are: Aubrey, Awbrey, Abbrey, Abraey, Aybrey, Abreay, Abreyo, Aburey, Aibrey, Aborey.

The surname Abrey first appeared in Lincolnshire, where they held a family seat from old times. The very first recording spelling of the family was shown to be that of Robert Aubrey,  dated 1273,  in the “Hundred Rolls of Berkshire”. It was during the reign of King Edward I, 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.

Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Abrey were among those contributors like John Abry, who sailed to Virginia in 1650.  Henry Abery sailed to Virginia in 1671 and William Abery to New York in the year 1839.

Blazons & Genealogy Notes

Bendy of six erm. and gu. Crest—A chevalier on horseback, at full speed, holding a broken spear all ppr.

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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 P36
  • 5 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P52
  • 6 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P154
  • 7 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Bend
  • 8 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P174
  • 9 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 60
  • 10 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P168