Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Box Name
The medieval English surname Box is thought to have come from one of four sources. There were several locations that shared the name Box found around England in Gloucester, Hertford, and Wiltshire. In this context the name would be habitational. The name can also be geographical, being used in association to a person who lives near a box tree grove. The name is also thought to have been used to denote someone who was skilled in crafting items from the wood of the box tree. Box tree wood is incredibly hard and requires a skilled tradesman to work with it, in this context the name would be occupational. The last and less likely source would be the use of box as a nickname for someone who may have jaundice. Jaundice, which can result from a variety of medical conditions, which causes the skin to take on a yellow hue. Box wood was naturally a yellow color.
Surnames, as can be noted from the information above, often were adapted from wide variety of sources, from a person’s occupation or topographical landmark found near the individual’s home or birthplace, or possibly from the name of the village in which the person lived or was born. Surnames were sometimes patriarchal or matriarchal, created by combining the person’s given name plus the name of their father or mother. In some instances surnames were also created from defining physical traits; such as a person’s hair color, eye color, height, among other things.
While the use of surnames was a common practice in medieval France among the aristocracy, it was not until after the mid-sixteenth century that it became commonplace in the British Isles and across the remainder of Europe. The small size of the settlements and villages which existed during the earlier periods across most of Europe 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 allowed people the ability to distinguish themselves, one from another, and it gave the government a reliable way to track people for tax, census, and immigration purposes.
The task of record keeping was primarily under the jurisdiction of the Church, local priories, and the government. This was due in large part to the fact that literacy was a skill usually found only among the nobles, the clergy, and government officials and scribes. Even so, there often existed multiple variations of names which may be attributed to a number of factors; the origins of the surname, the lack of guidelines which existed for spelling, and the fact that many scribes who were charged with record keeping spelled phonetically, among other things. One of the earliest records of anyone bearing the surname or any variation of its spelling is that of William Box found in Gloucestershire tax rolls dated 1254. Some other early variations of the name include; March and Marche among others.
With the discovery of America and the addition to the British Commonwealth of countries such as Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, it was not long before people began to immigrate to these outlying areas. The use of surnames made tracking of immigrants easier. Some of the first recorded immigrants to America bearing the surname was Anthony Box who landed and settled in Virginia in 1621 and John Box who arrived in 1922 and settled in Virginia. Fredrick Box was one of the early settlers to Australia, landing and settling in Adelaide in 1848. Brothers, John and Daniel Box were early settlers to New Zealand, landing in Wellington in 1843 and Thomas and Sarah Box landed and settled in Auckland in 1875.
Worldwide, the highest concentration of people with the surname Box are found in Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, the United States, and Belgium. By state, the largest percentile of those with the surname Box live in Mississippi, Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, and Oklahoma.
There are many notable people who bear the surname such as British born Godfrey Box. He was an entrepreneur who built England’s first iron-splitting mill.
British born Muriel Box was an Oscar-winning screenwriter and director. She has writing credits on over twenty films and director credits on fifteen.
Box Coat of Arms Meaning
The four main devices (symbols) in the Box blazon are the griffin, lion passant, trefoil and buck’s head. The three main tinctures (colors) are or, azure and argent .
The bright yellow colour frequently found in coats of arms is known to heralds as Or, or sometimes simply as Gold.. 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 . The yellow colour is often associated with the Sun, and the zodiacal sign of Leo..
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 . 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” .
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) . In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper .
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 came into being, and their various representations became more or less standardised in form and appearance. The griffin is perhaps the most common of these creatures, being a chimera with the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle. . It is most often in the pose known as rampant segreant, on its hind legs with claws and wings extended. Vinycomb has much to say on the subject of the griffin, perhaps summarised in his belief that it represents “strength and vigilance”.]
There can be no animal more clearly associated with Heraldry than the lion, majestic King of the Beasts. Originally it appeared only in one pose, erect, on one paw, with the others raised but such was the popularity of this figure, and the need to distinguish arms from each other, that it soon came to be shown in an enormous range of forms . The lion passant is an example of these modified form, showing the creature on all fours, as if walking proudly. In common with all reprensentations of the lion it can be taken to be an “emblem of deathless courage”.
Natural objects abound in heraldry, and one category that gives especial delight are the many flowers and flowering plants that frequently occur . The trefoil may originally been a representation of a specific plant (perhaps shamrock) but it has been used as a symbol almost since the beginning of heraldry and over time has adopted a stylised aspect. . Guillim believes that it signifies “perpetuity…the just man shall never wither”.