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Ashford Coat of Arms Meaning

The four main devices (symbols) in the Ashford blazon are the chevron, ashen keys, pineapple and moor’s head. The three main tinctures (colors) are sable, argent and vert .

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 deep green colour that is so often observed in heraldry is more properly known as vert. According to Wade, the use of this colour signifies “Hope and Joy”, but may also represent, rather delightfully, “Loyalty in Love” 6. It has other names also, the French call it sinople, perhaps after a town in Asia Minor from where the best green die materials could be found 7. More fanciful heralds liked to associate it with the planet venus and the precious stone emerald 8. More strangely, there is some evidence that the term prasin was anciently used, being the Greek for the vegetable we call the Leek!

The chevron is one the major shapes used upon a shield, known as ordinaries. The inverted ‘V’ of the chevron is perhaps thought to have originated to represent a military scarf folded on the shield 9, or additional cross-pieces used to strengthen the shield and painted a different colour.10. It has also acquired the meaning of “Protection… granted… to one who has achieved some notable enterprise” 11, possibly becuase of its resemblance to the roof truss of a house.

Amongst the natural objects depicted on a coat of arms, trees feature frequently, either in whole or as individual branches and leaves. 12. Sometimes the species or the part of tree was chosen as an allusion to the name of the bearer, as in Argent three tree stumps (also known as stocks) sable” for Blackstock 13 Trees of course had long been venerated and its use in a coat of arms may have represented some association with the god Thor 14Wade points out the the Ash Tree was particularly venerated by the Saxons. 15The seed pods of the ash tree are known as ashen keys.

The pineapple is not the tropical fruit (virtually unknown in mediaeval Europe) but litterally the “apple” found on a fir tree, otherwise known as a fir cone or pine cone. 16 Wade suggests that it symbolises “life”, perhaps due to the promise of new birth from the seeds contained with the cone. 17

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

Ashford Origin:


Origins of Ashford:

The surname of Ashford is a locational surname that is Anglo-Saxon in origin. Deriving various locations in England such as Ashford in Devon, Dergyshire, Kent, Middlesex, and Shropshire. The surname is a combination of Old English words, namely Eccel, meaning sword, and Ford meaning ford. Eccelsford was a location mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon chronical in 969 AD. Another location, Ashford in Kent was written as Esselesford in the Wills Records of the same county in 1046. Aesc-sceat is another old English word which means ash-copse. The other locations get their names from Old English as well. Aesc meaning ash and again ford meaning ford.

Normally locational names were used by landowners, and more commonly when migration occurred to new areas by different populations.

Noteably the Ashford crest includes the head of a moor, or black African in the profile. This representation dates back to the 13th century and is connected to the Crusades, which represents the individual family Ashford being victorious over the moors. Emblems were included such as these to represent ownership.

It could also be a representation of the the family’s extension as a ‘world ruler’, showing the extent of power the Ashford family had or wished to have.

Lastly, it could represent an association with the Hohenstaufan dynasty. This dynasty ruled the Holy Roman Empire for almost 100 years from 1138 to 1254. The emperor at the time – Henry VI – kept black African retainers. His son, who was the King of Sicily, had a notable interest in the black population in Sicily at the time that remained after the island went back to being a Christian ruled island. He established an enclave for the black population close to his palace, and would recruit an elite bodyguard unit from that community.


More common variations are: Ayshford, Ashforth, Ayshford, Aishford, Asheford, Eshford, Ashfort, Asheferd, Ishford, Aschfort



The first known recording of the surname Ashford was in the beginning of the 13th century for Reginald de Asford in 1221. He was a witness in the Assize Court Rolls of Shropshire. Names were documented during this time to keep track of tax payments and personal taxation in England, introduced by King Henry III. Another recording of the name was in 1685 for Ambrose Ashford, convicted of being a rebel for Monmouth and then transported to Barbados as a slave.

Later, the surname would branch out eastward to Kent.

United States:

Ino Ashford arrived in Virginia in 1665. Ambrose Ashford after first arriving in Barbados in 1685 would be transported to Virginia a year later with his brother John Ashford. In 1700 Michael Ashford arrived in Virginia, and the following year John Ashford arrived in Virginia as well. In 1726, Elizabeth Ashford arrived in Annapolis, Maryland. The 19th century would see many more Ashford’s arrive to the United States. Thomas Francis Ashford in 1871 arrived in Pennsylvania, A year later Frederick Ashford landed in Philadelphia.

The Ashford surname is one of the most popular surnames for African-Americans, with over 5,000 families having the surname.


In 1783, Nathan Ashford settled in Canada, and that same year William Ashford settled in Canada also.


On the ship “Asia”, Joseph Ashford who was an English convict from Middlesex arrived in 1824 in New South Wales. In 1849, on the ship Madawaska, George Ashford landed in Port Phillip.

Here is the population distribution of the last name Arteaga: United States 10,358, England 4,845, Australia 1,244, South Africa 931, Kenya 785, Canada 702, New Zealand 495, Wales 440, Philippines 258, Scotland 203

Notable People:

Agnes Ashford was a 15th century Christian Evangelist and was Bishop Longland of Lincoln.

Alan Ashford (1944) was an English cricketer player who played for Cornwall.

Annaleigh Ashford (1985) is a famous American actress.

Christopher Ashford (1961) is a famous professional wrestler in the United States.

Evelyn Ashford (1957) is a 1984 Olympic champion for the 100-meter dash.

Frederick Ashford (1886 – 1965) competed in the 1908 Olympics for England in the 800-meter race.

Rosalind Ashford (1943) is an R&B singer from the United States who worked with the group Martha and the Vandellas.

Bailey Ashford (1934 – 1873) was an American physician who helped establish the School of Tropical Medicine in Puerto Rico.

Brad Ashford (1949) is a US Representative for Nebraska.

Daisy Ashford (1881 – 1972) is a famous novelist who wrote The Young Visiters, which was about upper class society in England during the late 1800s.

Daniel F. Ashford (1879 – 1929) was a cotton planter in Louisiana and also held office in the Louisiana House of Representatives.

Blazons & Genealogy Notes

1) (Ayshford, co. Devon, and Cornwall; the last male heir, John Ayshford, Esq. d. in 1688; the heiress m. Sanford, ancestor of William Ayshford Sanford. Esq., of Nynehead, co. Somerset: a branch of the family settled at Wonwell, in Kingston, co. Devon, and is now represented by L. L. Ayshford Wise, Esq.). Ar. betw. two chev. sa. three ashen keys az. (another, the keys vert). Crest—A Moor’s head in profile sa. wreathed about the temples ar. and issuing out of a chaplet of oak leaves vert.
2) (Cornwall). Ar. a chev. betw. three bunches of ashen keys vert.
3) Ar. on a chev. couple-closed sa. three pineapples or.
4) Ar. betw. two chev. sa. three pines pendent vert.
5) Ar. three escallops vert, betw. two chev. sa.

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David Ashford commented on 21-Sep-2019
Loving this database! Makes me want to research into my family tree. Interesting to find out the particular crest of my family.
Nicholas Ashford commented on 14-Sep-2019
When I was a child, (being now 46yrs old) I remember we had a representation of the crest, complete with moors head. Fantastic site.
John Lehman commented on 28-Aug-2016
A great many families were slave-owners. Yes, but there was no great notoriety in being a slave owner. In fact most slaves in this country were in domestic service - ladies' maids, valets, butlers and the like. There were no great cotton fields in the West Country. People owned mines, but didn't put hoisting engines in their crests. Vast tracts of grouse moor, but no grassy tufts. Some people owned their own railway company, but no steam engines. My own great, great grand uncle owned a fleet of ships, but had a dove for a crest. So many crests of that time have no rhyme nor reason - just something that took the armiger's fancy. Examples of the 'moor's head' as a heraldic device date from the 13th century in Europe. Also known simply as "Maure", it is traceable back to Phonetician and Greek origins. An early version is attested in the 14th-century Gelre Armorial, where an non-blindfolded Moor's head represents Corsica as a state of the Crown of Aragon. I suspect the origins of the device have been lost in the mists of time. Traditionally the moor's head was thought to be a crest adopted by those who went on crusade. However, I have not seen any work to correlate the use of this crest and the identification of a family member on a crusade. There's a project!
John Lehman commented on 26-Aug-2016
I checked with my heraldry experts and they believe significance of the Moor's head in the crest of the Ashford arms is lost to history. Here is some further reading on the topic and surname: http://www.egyptsearch.com/forums/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=print_topic;f=15;t=003415 http://www.africaresource.com/rasta/sesostris-the-great-the-egyptian-hercules/the-ashfords-the-ancient-black-families-of-old-europe-part-1/ Sorry I didn't come up with anything better!
Marion Braden (used to be Ayshford) commented on 26-Aug-2016
Subject: Ayshford history Ayshford Coat of Arms Hi I would be extremely grateful if you can you let me know when you have your history section available to view? I would love to know why my coat of arms bears an African man? Was he a slave? Your work is very interesting Thank you


  • 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 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36
  • 7 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Vert
  • 8 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 27
  • 9 A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, (various)
  • 10 The Pursuivant of Arms, J. R. Planche, Hardwicke, London 1859
  • 11 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P45
  • 12 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P94, 262, 407
  • 13 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P309
  • 14 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P112
  • 15 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P128
  • 16 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P276
  • 17 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P130