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Browning Coat of Arms Meaning

The four main devices (symbols) in the Browning blazon are the lion rampant, barry wavy, martlet and billet. The two main tinctures (colors) are azure and argent.

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.

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) 3. In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper 4.

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 5 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 6. The lion rampant is an example of these modified form, and any family would be proud to have such a noble creature displayed on their arms. Rampant is the default attitude of the lion, raised on its hind legs, facing to the dexter and with front paws extended in a fearsome and powerful pose.

When the field of the shield is filled with alternately coloured horizontal lines, this is known as barry, obviously because it is like having many separate bars across the field 7. As well as being drawn with straight edges, there some decorative effects that can be used, and, with careful, these can be very pleasing. The decorations are typically much smaller than those used on the major ordinaries, such as the fess so care must be taken to ensure clarity. The decorative edge pattern Wavy, sometimes written as undy is, for obvious reasons, associated with both water and the sea 8. Indeed, a roundel with alternating bars of azure and argent (blue and white) is known by the shorthand term fountain, representing water at the bottom of a well 9. Other colours have also been used and the result can be very pleasing to the eye.

The martlett is by far the most common bird to appear in British Heraldry, perhaps only equalled by the eagle, however it is not a species ever to be found in an ornithologists handbook! The word itself is though to have come from the French word merlette, the female blackbird and itself a similar type of charge used in French Heraldry. 10. Over time the image has become quite stylised, without visible legs or distinctive feathers. Wade suggests that this representation arises from “the appearance of the bird of paradise to ancient travellers” 11. Other bird species may be named in coats of arms (cornish chough is a frequent example) but in actual execution their appearance is often indistinguishable from the martlet.

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

Browning Origin:


Origins of Name:

The surname of Browning is of an Anglo-Saxon origin, and develops from the Old English, Pre 7th Century personal name “Bruning,” which comes from a patronymic form of the personal byname “Brun.” This word, “brun” comes from the Old English word which translates to mean “brown” and was used more often than not as a nickname for those with a brownish hair color, a brownish complexion, or someone who often dressed in a brown or brownish garb. This


More common variations are:

Browining, Browening, Browninig, Brownning, Braowning, Browniing, Browwning, Broning, Brwning, Brunning, Brunwin



The first recorded spelling of the surname of Browning was shown to be one Hugo Brunning, who was recorded in the Pipe Rolls of Norfolk in the year 1198. This document was ordered and decreed under the reign of King Richard I, who was known as and commonly referred to throughout history as “Richard the Lionheart” who ruled from the year 1189 to the year 1199. Other mentions of this surname include William Brouning, who was recorded and mentioned in the 1291 Cambridgeshire Feet of Fines, while Richard Brouning was recorded and mentioned in the Register of the Freemen of the City of York in the year 1522. Those who bore the surname of Browning in the country of England could originally be found mostly in the county of Cumberland. Today, those who carry this surname in England can be found in the southern coastal counties of Kent, Hampshire, Devon, and Somerset.


In the country of Scotland, there is a high population of people who bear the surname of Browning. Most who bear this surname of Browning live in the southern end of the country, and can be found in high concentrations in the county of Lanarkshire, as well as the counties of Ayrshire, and Renfrewshire counties.

United States of America:

During the 17th Century, citizens in Europe began to be dissatisfied with the leadership in their homeland. These people were looking for a new life, and thus began to emigrate out of the country of their birthplace and move on to a new place. Often during this time period, this place was the United States of America, which at that time was referred to as The New World or The Colonies, because America promised freedoms that were not afforded to these citizens on their home soil. The freedoms that America promised were freedom from religious persecution, the promise of better living conditions, the promise of the capability to acquiesce land, and the promise of no taxation without proper representation. The first person to bear the surname of Browning and arrive on American soil was one John Browning, who settled in the state of Virginia in the year 1621. Shortly after him, in the year 1635, George Browning, Geo Browning, Jon Browning, and Joseph Browning all arrived in the state of Virginia. It is possible that more people who bore this surname attempted to journey to the New World, but were not able to survive the harsh living conditions of the transportation ships. Those who bear the surname of Browning can be found in the states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Illinois, Texas, Missouri, California, Kentucky, and the state of Georgia.

Browning Today:

United States 50,873

England 7,313

Australia 3,760

Canada 1,839

South Africa 1,278

Wales 666

Scotland 532

New Zealand 514

France 208

Mexico 183

Notable People:

James L. Browning Jr. (1933-2016) who was a United States Attorney for the Northern District of California from the year 1969 to the year 1977, and was an jurist from America

Brigadier-General Albert Jesse Browning (1899-1948) who was the Director of the Purchases Division of the Army Services Forces from the year 1942 to the year 1944, an was an American citizen

Chauncey H. Browning (1903-1971) who was a Prosecuting Attorney from Logan County from the year 1944 to the year 1952, who was also the Judge of West Virginia in the Supreme Court of Appeals from the year 1952 to the year 1971, was also an American Democratic politician

Blanche B. Browning, who was an Alternate Delegate to the Democratic National Convention from Pennsylvania in the year 1956, and was also a Democratic politician from America

Art Browning, who was a Candidate for the Texas Railroad Commissioner in the year 2010, and was a Candidate for the Texas State House of Representatives in the 130th District in the year 2012, and who was also a politician from America

Blazons & Genealogy Notes

1) (Cambridge). Az. a lion ramp. or, billettee gu.
2) (Cowley, co. Gloucester). Barry wavy of six ar. and az. Crest—A sinister arm from the elbow issuing from a cloud in the dexter, holding the hand above a serpent's head, erect from the middle, and looking toward the sinister ppr.
3) The same; adding an orle of martlets sa.
4) Barry undee ar. and az.
5) Az. three bars wavy ar.

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  • 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 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
  • 4 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P11
  • 5 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 64
  • 6 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P136-141
  • 7 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Barry
  • 8 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P40
  • 9 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Water
  • 10 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Martlet
  • 11 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P79