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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

Notes: None. Blazon: Az. three axes ar. handles or.

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

Axtell Origin:


Origins of Axtell:

According to early recordings of the spelling of the name, this name is listed in many spelling forms such as Axcell, Axcel, Axel, Axell, Aksell, Axtell and many others. It is an English surname. It is, however, pre 7th-century Scandinavian in origins, and acquires from the Old Norse word "Asketill." It was the combination of the two components "as" which means "God, Lord," and "ketill," a sacrificial kettle or village. Previous English, Anglo-Saxon, and Norse introduction names were frequently unique combinations whose components were often related to the impious gods. In this situation, the name is from a time before Christian names were brought by the Crusaders coming back from the Holy Land in the 12th century. In this situation, documentations derived from the old city of London parish records contained one James Axtell at St Margarets Westminster, in October 1621, the naming of William Axell, in November 1652, at St. Bride's, Fleet Street and the naming of Sarah Axcell, in January 1729, at St. Dunstan's, Stepney. A coat of arms mentioned the surname and showed three silver axes on a red shield.


More common variations are: Axttell, Axtelle, Axetell, Axxtell, Auxtell, Axtel, Axtill, Oxtell, Extell, Axtall.


The origins of the surname Axtell were found in Norfolk where people held a family seat from early times. Some say better before the invasion 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 Thomas Askill, dated about 1248, in the "Selected Documents of the English Lands of the Ebbay of Bec, Oxfordshire." It was during the time of King Henry III who was known to be the “The Frenchman," dated 1216 - 1272. 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 Axtell had moved to Ireland during the 17th century.

United States of America:

Individuals with the surname Axtell settled in the United States in three different centuries respectively in the 17th, 18th, and 19th. Some of the people with the name Axtell who settled in the United States in the 17th century included Nathaniel Axtell, who arrived in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1639. Henry Axtell arrived in Massachusetts in 1660. Robert Axtell who settled in Maryland in 1677. Daniel Axtell who settled in South Carolina in 1680.

Here is the population distribution of the last name Axtell: United States 3,676; England 586; Australia 76; Chile 63; India 25; Canada 25; New Zealand 12; Wales 2; Scotland 2; Thailand 2

Notable People:

Charles Axtell (1859–1932), was an American sports pitcher, who participated in the 1908 Summer Olympics. At the 1908 Olympics, he got a gold medal in the team pistol event and ended in fourth place in another separate pistol event.

Daniel Axtell (1622–1660), was a commander of the Parliamentary Guard at the trial of King Charles I at Westminster Hall in 1649. Shortly after the trial he was suspended, drawn and divided into four equal parts as a regicide.

George C. Axtell (1920–2011), was an assistant General of the United States Marine corps general officer and a World War II ace and Navy Cross awardee. During the World War II, he was the youngest commanding officer of a Marine Fighter Squadron. He also gave services in the Korean War and Vietnam War.

James Axtell was born in the year 1941. He is a professor of history at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. Axtell, who has interests in American Indian history and the history of higher education, is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Historian of Humanities.

James Wickliffe Axtell (1852–1909), was a newspaper journalist and an important representative of the Cumberland Presbyterian Parish.

Samuel Beach Axtell (1819–1891), was a senior Judge of the New Mexico Supreme Court.

Axtell Coat of Arms Meaning

The main device (symbol) in the Axtell blazon is the axe. The two main tinctures (colors) are or and azure.

The bright yellow colour frequently found in coats of arms is known to heralds as Or, or sometimes simply as Gold.1. Along with, argent, or silver it forms the two “metals” of heraldry – one of the guidelines of heraldic design is that silver objects should not be placed upon gold fields and vice versa 2. The yellow colour is often associated with the Sun, and the zodiacal sign of Leo.3.

Azure is the heraldic colour blue, usually quite a deep, dark shade of the colour (there is a lighter blue that sometimes occurs, known as celestial azure). If colour printing is not available then it can be represented by closely spaced horizontal lines in a scheme known as “hatching” 4. The word is thought to originate from the Arabic lazura and it represents the colour of the eastern sky. It is also said to be the colour associated by the Catholic Church with the Virgin Mary and hence of particular significance 5.

The Axe appears in many forms in heraldic art, coming from both the martial and the craft traditions, indeed someone today would have a hard time telling their common hatchet from a turner’s axe, but it is likely that those in the middle ages were more familiar with each. 6 Obviously the axe from a craft tradition may symbolise the holder being a practitioner of that craft, but the axes from a martial background are suggested by Wade to indicate the “execution of military duty”. 7

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  • 1 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 27
  • 2 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P85
  • 3 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
  • 4 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 26
  • 5 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P150
  • 6 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Axe
  • 7 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P100