Boston Family Crest, Coat of Arms and Name History

Boston Family Coat of Arms

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Boston Coat of Arms Meaning

Boston Name Origin & History

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Boston Coat of Arms Meaning

The three main devices (symbols) in the Boston blazon are the lion, unicorn and bat wing. The three main tinctures (colors) are vert, argent and sable .

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” 1The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36. 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 2A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Vert. More fanciful heralds liked to associate it with the planet venus and the precious stone emerald 3Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 27. More strangely, there is some evidence that the term prasin was anciently used, being the Greek for the vegetable we call the Leek!

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) 4Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53. In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper 5A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P11.

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 6A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Sable. 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 7Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 26. Although it may seem a sombre tone, and does indeed sometimes denote grief, it is more commonly said to represent Constancy 8The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P35.

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 9A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P172 10Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 63 11Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P140. 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 12A Treatise on Heraldry, J. Woodward, W & A.K Johnston, Edinburgh & London, 1896, P45 .The great authority on heraldic symbology, Wade, points out the high place that the lion holds in heraldry, “as the emblem of deathless courage” 13The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P60, a sentiment echoed equally today.

In the mediaeval period there was no real percieved difference between real and mythical animals, after all, much of the world remained unknown and who was to say what strange and magical creatures existed in distant lands? As heraldry developed a whole menagerie of imagined creatures 14Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P164 came into being, and their various representations became more or less standardised in form and appearance. The unicorn is an intresting example that is still part of our own mythology today. The unicorn as illustrated on even the most ancient coat of arms is still instantly recognisable to us today, and shares many of the same poses that both lions and horses can be found in. 15A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Unicorn. Wade, the 18th century heraldic writer suggested that were adopted as symbols because of “its virtue, courage and strength”. 16The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P85

Birds of great variety occur throughout heraldry, at least in name 17A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P233. In truth, despite the proliferation of species, the actual depictions can sometimes be hard to distinguish! The crane, heron and stork are commonly to be found on a coat of arms but all tend to share the same stylised appearance 18A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P164. The bat wing is one of the more unusual examples of the usage of flying creatures in heraldry.

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Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Boston Name

BOSTON

The surname Boston is English and is considered geographical or patronymic in origin. The surname Boston is believed to have derived from a location in county Lincolnshire called “Botwulf’s stone”. This location was named for the original landowner or possibly Saint Botulf who built a monastery in this region during the seventh century. The medieval English name “Botwulf” is a compound word. The prefix, “bot” translates to “peace” and the suffix, “wulf” translates to “wolf”.

The use of surnames was a common practice in medieval France, however, it was not until after the Norman invasion and conquest that it became commonplace in England. The small size of the settlements and villages which existed during the earlier periods across most of England often meant there was no need for surnames as everyone within these communities knew each other and a given name would usually suffice. However, as communities grew and people began to migrate on a larger scale, the Norman aristocracy’s penchant for using surnames was found to serve several practical purposes; it gave the government a reliable way to track people for tax and census purposes, and it allowed people the ability to distinguish themselves, one from another. Those not of the noble class would often be identified by their given name plus their occupation while others may have been identified by their given name and one of their parent’s names. There was a boundless supply from which surnames could be formed, in addition to the use of patriarchal/matriarchal names or reference to the individuals occupation, there were things such as defining physical traits, a familiar geographical location or a topographical landmark found near the individual’s home or birthplace, the name of the village in which the person lived, and so much more. Over the course or time, surnames came to represent not just individuals but whole families.

The multiple occurrence of variations in the spelling of surnames, is attributed to a lack of consistency regarding guidelines for spelling in use by the scribes who recorded such information dating back to ancient times. Many of these record keepers were in the habit of spelling phonetically, however, what may have sounded one way to one person may have sounded completely different to another. The issue of multiple spellings of names in records was compounded by the diversity of languages in use in European countries at this time. Due to these issues, variations in the name can include, but are not limited to; Boston; Bowstone; Bouston; Bostoun; Bauston; and Baustone as well as others.

One of the earliest record of any variation of this surname can be found in the tax rolls from Suffolk county in 1273, wherein is listed William de Boston. The tax rolls, were a series of census and tax records kept by the English Treasury by order of King Edward I, with the oldest dating back to the 12th century. These documents are considered the oldest concentric set of records documenting English governance in the United Kingdom spanning a period of over seven centuries, these records have proven invaluable to researches over the years.

When the Pilgrim founders sailed to America from England on the Mayflower, their initial port of embarkation was the port of Boston. The Mayflower then sailed to Devon and loaded the last group of colonists aboard before crossing the North Atlantic. The city of Boston, Massachusetts was founded nine years and ten months after the Pilgrims settled in Plymouth it was the founders way of paying honor to the port from which they helped to create a ‘New England.’ It is one of the oldest cities in North America, settled by Western Europeans, and was one of the foremost cities in the American war of independence from Great Britain.

With the discovery of the Americas and the addition to the British Common Wealth of countries such as Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, immigration to these new worlds was inevitable. One of the first settlers on record to America bearing this surname was Henry Boston who landed in 1643 and settled in Virginia. Immigrants to Canada included brothers, Thomas and Cumberland Boston who arrived in 1757 and settled in Nova Scotia. One of the earliest Bostons on record to Australia was Walter Boston who arrived in 1809 and settled in South Wales.

Worldwide, the highest concentration of people with the surname Boston are found in the

United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Canada. State by state, the largest percentile of those with the surname Boston live in Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia. At last count there are thirty five municipalities, towns, and ports named Boston, scattered all over the globe.

There are a number of persons of note who bear the surname Boston; British children’s author, Lucy Boston; American Naval Captain, Ward Boston, Jr.; Scottish theologian, Thomas Boston; and British journalist and writer, Richard Boston among others.

Boston Family Gift Ideas

Browse Boston family gift ideas and products below. If there are multiple coats of arms for this surname, you will see them at the top of this page and can click on the various coat of arms designs to apply them to the gift ideas below.

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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

1) Vert a lion ramp. ar. crowned or. Crest—A horse's head in armour ppr.
2) Ar. three bats’ wings sa.

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References   [ + ]

1. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36
2. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Vert
3. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 27
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:Sable
7. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 26
8. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P35
9. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P172
10. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 63
11. Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P140
12. A Treatise on Heraldry, J. Woodward, W & A.K Johnston, Edinburgh & London, 1896, P45
13. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P60
14. Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P164
15. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Unicorn
16. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P85
17. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P233
18. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P164