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Britton Coat of Arms Meaning

The two main devices (symbols) in the Britton blazon are the mullet and cross crosslet. The two main tinctures (colors) are azure and sable.

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.

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 3. 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 4. Although it may seem a sombre tone, and does indeed sometimes denote grief, it is more commonly said to represent Constancy 5.

The heraldic mullet, not to be confused with the fish of that name, is shown as a regular, five pointed star. This was originally, not an astronomical object, but represented the spur on a horseman’s boot, especially when peirced, with a small circular hole in the centre it represents a type of spur known as a “rowel” 6. A clear example can be found in the arms of Harpendene, argent, a mullet pierced gules. The ancient writer Guillim associated such spurs in gold as belonging to the Knight, and the silver to their esquires 7. In later years, Wade linked this five pointed star with the true celestial object, the estoile and termed it a “falling star”, symbolising a “divine quality bestowed from above” 8.

No other symbol appearing in heraldry is subject to as much variation as the cross 9. Mediaeval Europe was a deeply religious and Christian and many of the nobility wanted to show their devotion by adopting the symbol of the cross as part of the arms. Since no two arms could be identical there arose many variants of the cross. The cross crosslet is one of these, being symetrical both vertically and horizontally and having an additional cross bar on each arm. 10 Wade suggests that these additional crossing signify “the fourfold mystery of the Cross”. 11

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

Britton Origin:

France, England

Origins of Britton:

The surname of Britton can be traced to the country of France. Contrary to popular belief, this surname has nothing to do with Britain, but rather is a locational name. This means that the surname of Britton was often taken by the Lord or owner of the land from which the name derives. Others who may have take a locational surname are people who have migrated out of the area to seek out work. The easiest way to identify someone who was a stranger at that time was by the name of their birthplace. In the case of the surname of Britton, the location tied to this surname is that of Breton, France. The Bretons were a group of people who were driven to South West England by Anglo-Saxon invaders. Many people who were known by the surname of Breton arrived in England with William the Conqueror in the year of 1066.


More common variations are: Brittion, Britteon, Breitton, Brritton, Brittona, Brittoni, Brietton, Boritton, Brittaon, Briton, Britten, Brittan, Bretton, Breton, Brittin, Brittain, Britain



The first recorded spelling of the surname of Britton can be found in the country of England. One person by the name of John de Bretagne was mentioned as a witness in the Assize Rolls of the county of Staffordshire in the the year of 1291. This document was ordered, decreed, and written under the reign of one King Edward I, who was known throughout the ages as “The Hammer of the Scots,” and was thus named because of the conquests and hardships that he bestowed upon the Scottish people throughout his reign. King Edward I ruled from the year 1272 to the year 1307. Other mentions of the surname of Britton in the country of England include one William Bryttayne who was married to one Elizabeth Cook in the year of 1559, on November 28th in Betley. Another mention of the surname of Britton included one John Brittain who was also mentioned in Betley, as being christened their in the year of 1589. One Edward Brittain was christened in London at St. Mary Whitechapel in the year of 1630 on November 17th. Those who bear the surname of Britton in the country of England can be found in large concentrations in the area of Staffordshire.

United States of America:

In the 17th century, it became common for European citizens to migrate to the United States of America, which at that time was referred to as the New World, or the Colonies. Among those who immigrated to the New World was one Tho Britton, who arrived in the state of Virginia in the year of 1635. Closely following his arrival was one Mary Britton, who landed in the state of Maryland in the year of 1637.


Throughout the 18th Century, many European settlers migrated to Canada to escape the civil war in the United States. Among the first people to migrate to Canada were those who bore the surname of Britton. One Mr. John Britton U.E. settled in Carleton (Saint John City), New Brunswick in the year of 1783.

Here is the population distribution of the last name Britton: United States 33,373; England 10,153; Australia 3,015; Canada 2,778; South Africa 2,265; Wales 959; Jamaica 589; Scotland 545; Colombia 507; Panama 473

Notable People:

Devin Britton (born in 1991) who is a professional tennis player from the United States of America

Nathaniel Lord Britton (1859-1934) who was a botanist and taxonomist from the United States of America

Elizabeth Gertrude Britton (1857-1934) who was a bryologist and a botanist from the United States of America

Christopher “Chris” Daniel Britton (born in 1982) who is a right-handed Major League Baseball relief pitcher from the United States of America

Zachary Grant “Zach” Britton (born in 1987) who is a Major League Baseball pitcher from the United States of America

Barbara Britton (1919-1980) who was a film and TV actress who was most notably recognized for her portrayal as Laura Petrie for the pilot of the Dick Van Dyke Show who was from the United States of America

Connie Britton (born in 1967) who was born with the name of Constance Womack, and who is an actress from the United States of America

Pamela Britton (1923-1974) who was an actress from the United States of America

John Britton (1771-1857) who was an author, antiquary, and editor from England

Leon James Britton (born in 1982) who is a professional footballer from England

Blazons & Genealogy Notes

1) Quarterly, per fesse indented ar. and sa. in the first quarter a mullet of the last.
2) Ar. a cross crosslet az.

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Keith Britton commented on 08-Feb-2018
Britton is of Roman Latin origin, derived from Insular Celtic, i.e. Brythonic rather than Goidelic Celtic. Search "Brittones" for cases and plural of "Brito". Welsh "Prydain" exemplifies the ancient root Prettanike (as approximated in Greek about 320 BC). The formants survived differently in P- and Q-Celtic areas, P>B, e>i or y, d>t, -ain or -an >ange (as in Bretange). The -on version was exclusively Roman, but so commonly written by later Norman scribes writing in Latin. The singular "Brito" was further commonly used as a Norman surname to distinguish British resident family branches, or to designate a person as either resident or of Breton origin. Another Britton blazon is "paly of 6, or and gu., a bend sa., variously differenced on the bend, carried also by Byrton and Burton, and interestingly associated with a demi-mermaid rising out of a naval crown carrying a purse or a golden key.


  • 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 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Sable
  • 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 P35
  • 6 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 97
  • 7 A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, P107
  • 8 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P105
  • 9 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 47
  • 10 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Cross Crosslet
  • 11 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P103