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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

(Sussex). Az. a lion ramp. ar. (sometimes tail forked). Crest—Two lions' heads addorsee ppr.

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

Atlee Origin:


Origins of Atlee:

This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a geographical name for a person who resided near a pasture, farmland or patch of arable land, from the Olde English pre 7th Century "aet", Middle English "atte", which means "at" with the Olde English "leah", Middle English "Lee", which means wood, clearing in a wood. Hence, Atlay has retained the preposition "aet" which has, through the ages, been merged to the second component, as in the example of the names Byfield, Uphill, Underdown, and more. The surname also appeared in the new era as At(t)lee, Atley, and Attle. It first appears in recordings at the end of the 13th Century, and John Attele was noted in the Hundred Rolls of Berkshire in 1276. Other early examples of the surname contain a William atte Leye, recorded in the Premium Rolls of Sussex in 1296, and Thomas Attlee, who was denoted in Suffolk in 1327, in the Pinchbeck Records. An interesting name ancestor, mentioned in the "Dictionary of National Biography," was one Rev. James Atlay (1817 - 1894), who was the priest of Hereford from 1868 - 1894, and given a Royal symbol which represents a fosse in the mid of three black crescents on a silver shield.


More common variations are: Attlee, Atilee, Yatlee, Atle, Attilee, Attelee, Atley, Attle, Eatle, Atole.


The origins of the surname Atlee appeared in Kent where people held a family seat from early times. Someone say better before the success of Normans and the entrance of Duke William at Hastings 1066 A.D.

The very first recording spelling of the family was shown to be that of Robert Atte Lee, dated about 1275, in the "Premium Rolls of Worcestershire." It was during the time of King Edward 1st, who was known to be the “The Hammer of the Scots," dated 1272-1307. 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.


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

United States of America:

Individuals with the surname Atlee landed in the United States in two different centuries respectively in the 18th, and 19th. Some of the people with the name Atlee who arrived in the United States in the 18th century included William Atlee, who landed in America in 1734. William AtLee, who arrived in New England in 1734. William Atlee, who landed in New England in 1734. William Atlee, who settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the year 1744. Samuel Atlee, who arrived in New York in the year 1784.

The following century saw more Atlee surnames arrive. Some of the people with the surname Atlee who arrived in the United States in the 19th century included Walter Franklin Atlee related to Benjamin Franklin, also of Philadelphia.

Here is the population distribution of the last name Atlee: United States 478; England 167; Australia 108; South Africa 73; Canada 69; India 5; Singapore 2; Malaysia 1; Philippines 1; Indonesia 1.

Notable People:

Beverly Atlee Cleary (April 1916) is an American author of children's and young adult fiction. One of America's most successful living writers, 91 million copies of her books have been sold worldwide since her first book released in 1950. Some of her famous characters are Henry Huggins and his dog Ribsy, Ramona and Beezus Quimby, and Ralph S. Mouse.

Clement Attlee (1883–1967), was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

John Atlee (athlete) (1882–1958), was an American sportsman.

John Attlee, 3rd Earl Attlee (born 1956), was a member of the House of Lords and grandson of Clement Attlee.

John Light Atlee (1799–1885), was an American specialist.

Martin Attlee, 2nd Earl Attlee (1927–1991), was a British hero and son of Clement Attlee.

Samuel John Atlee (1739–1786), was an American soldier and statesman.

William Atlee, was mayor of Lancaster, Pennsylvania from 1869 to 1871.

William Augustus Atlee (1735–1793), was a Judge on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Atlee Coat of Arms Meaning

The main device (symbol) in the Atlee blazon is the lion. The two main tinctures (colors) are azure and argent.

The bright, strong blue color in Heraldry is known in English as azure, and similarly in other European languages – azul in Spanish, azurro in Italian and azur in French. The word has its roots in the Arabic word lazura, also the source of the name of the precious stone lapis lazuli 1. Despite this, those heralds who liked to associate colours with jewels chose instead to describe blue as Sapphire. According to Wade, the use of this colour symbolises “Loyalty and Truth” 2.

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) 3. In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper 4.

The art of heraldry would be significantly poorer if we were without the lion in all its forms. Most general works on Heraldry devote at least one chapter solely to this magnificent creature and its multifarious depictions 5 6 7. Some of the earliest known examples of heraldry, dating right back to the knighting of Geoffrey of Anjou in 1127, where he is shown with six such beasts upon his shield 8 .The great authority on heraldic symbology, Wade, points out the high place that the lion holds in heraldry, “as the emblem of deathless courage” 9, a sentiment echoed equally today.

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  • 1 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Azure
  • 2 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36
  • 3 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
  • 4 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P11
  • 5 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P172
  • 6 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 63
  • 7 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P140
  • 8 A Treatise on Heraldry, J. Woodward, W & A.K Johnston, Edinburgh & London, 1896, P45
  • 9 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P60