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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

1) (Dorsetshire). Gu. seven griffins segreant ar.
2) (Gloucestershire, Kent, and Somersetshire). Gu. a wivern pass. ar. Crest—A dragon’s head betw. two wings expanded ar.
3) (Kent). Gu. a wivern sejant (another, displ.) the tail nowed ar.
4) (Oxfordshire, Patent 1613). Gu. a wivern ar. charged on the breast with three spots of erm. one and two. Crest—A wivern’s head betw. two wings ar. charged on the breast as in the arms.
5) (Dane John Grove, Canterbury, co. Kent, descended from Robert de Brent, Knt. of Cossington, co. Somerset, who d. A.S. 1309). 6) Gu. a wivern ar.
7) Az. a bend betw. two lions ramp. ar. Crest—A lion ramp.

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

Amongst the more unusual surnames are those that acquire from the pre 6th Century Olde English "beornan", meaning "to burn".  In some name holders, the origination is geographic, and given to residents on "burnt land".  It particularly applies to Yorkshire where much of the county was totally laid waste (and remained so for two hundred years) by William the Champion in 1070 in retribution for continued resistance to his attack. More common variations are: Brient, Bryent, Brendt, Berent, Brenot, Breant, Brenet, Brenta, Brenti, Brente.

The surname Brent first found in Somerset where they conjecturally declined from Ralf de Conteville who was Lord of the manor of Brent, and an undertenant of the Abbot of Glastonbury, as shown in the Domesday Book in 1086. The very first recording spelling of the family was shown to be that of Gilbert Brende,  dated 1273, in the “Hundred Rolls of Staffordshire”. It was during the reign of King Edward 1st, who was known as "The Hammer of the Scots" dated 1272-1307.  Surname all over the country became a necessity with the introduction of personal taxation.  It came to be known as Poll Tax in England.  Surnames all over the country began to develop with unique and shocking spelling varieties of the original one.

Some of the people with the name Brent who arrived in the United States in the 17th century included  Margaret Brent (born c. 1600, Gloucestershire, England - died 1669/71, Westmoreland County, Virginia) who arrived in Maryland in 1638 and obtained a patent for 70 acres. People with the surname Brent who landed in the United States in the 18th century included Robert Brent, who arrived in Virginia in 1711.  Susannah Brent, who landed in Virginia in 1711.  Peter Brent, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1741.

Some of the people with the surname Brent who arrived in the United States in the 19th century included John Brent, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1840.  Benjamin Brent, who landed in New York in 1843. Some of the people with the surname Brent who arrived in the Canada in the 17th century included George Brent who settled in Bona Vista, Newfoundland, in 1677.

Brent Coat of Arms Meaning

The three main devices (symbols) in the Brent blazon are the griffin, wivern and lion. The two main tinctures (colors) are gules and argent.

Gules, the heraldic colour red is very popular, sometimes said to represent “Military Fortitude and Magnanimity”1. It is usually abbreviated as gu and in the days before colour printing was shown in a system known as hatching by vertical lines 2. Although it may look like a French word it is normally pronounced with a hard “g” and may be derived either from the Latin gula (throat) or Arabic gule (rose).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.

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 6 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. 7. 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”.]8

Nowadays we might conflate many mythical creatures under the heading of dragon but to the heraldic artists there was a whole menagerie of quite distinct beasts, the wyvern being one of them. 9 Whilst both the dragon and wyvern are winged and scaled, the wyvern stands on two legs rather than four. Wade suggests, somewhat plausibly that both creatures may have arisen through garbled descriptions of the crocodile. 10

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 11 12 13. 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 14 .The great authority on heraldic symbology, Wade, points out the high place that the lion holds in heraldry, “as the emblem of deathless courage” 15, a sentiment echoed equally today.

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References

  • 1 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36
  • 2 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P52
  • 3 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P154
  • 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 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P164
  • 7 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Griffin
  • 8 Fictitious & Symbolic Creatures…in British Heraldry, J. Vinycomb, Chapman & Hall, London, 1906, P150
  • 9 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Cockatrice
  • 10 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P26
  • 11 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P172
  • 12 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 63
  • 13 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P140
  • 14 A Treatise on Heraldry, J. Woodward, W & A.K Johnston, Edinburgh & London, 1896, P45
  • 15 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P60