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Cant Coat of Arms Meaning

The four main devices (symbols) in the Cant blazon are the crescent, bend engrailed, mullet and dove. The two main tinctures (colors) are sable and argent.

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

For easy recognition of the items on a coat of arms, and hence the quick identification of the owner, bold simple shapes are best. Hence, simple geometric shapes are often used for this purpose 6xz`, and the crescent Is a typical example of this, and can appear in any of the main heraldic tinctures. Some common is this device that there are special names for its appearance in various orientations – whilst it lies normally with points upward, the decrescent points to the sinister side, and the increscent to the dexter 7. The allusion, obviously is to the shape of the moon in the sky (indeed, the French have a version “figuré” which includes a face!) and has been said to signify both “honour by the sovereign” and “hope of greater glory” 8.

The bend is a distinctive part of the shield, frequently occuring and clearly visible from a distance – it is a broad band running from top left to bottom right 9. It can be further distinguished by embellishing the edges. The pattern engrailed is a series of scalloped indentations with the points facing outwards – and should not be confused with invected, which has the points facing inwards! Wade believes that both of these indented forms represent “earth or land”, and one perhaps can indeed see the furrowed earth embodied in them.

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” 10. 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 11. 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” 12.

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

Cant Origin:

England, France

Origins of Cant:

This interesting and unique surname is of Old French origin and is a Professional metonymic name for a singer in a chantry, a chorister or precentor. The origin is from the Old Norman-French "cant," Old French "chant," which means singing, poem. Professional surnames originally expressed the real profession of the named ancestor, and after that became inherited. Early examples of the surname contain a Richard Caunt (Huntingdonshire, 1357), William Cant, a resident under the Douglases in the barony of Aberdoure, Fifeshire, 1376 and Richard Cante, recorded in the Record of Arbroath Abbey, Scotland, 1485. In the new phrase, the name has three various spellings Cant, Chaunt, and Chant. In June 1576, Margaret Chaunt and John Bowyer married at St. Christopher le Stocks, London, and in July 1689, Susana Chant married a Samuel Beer at St. Mary's, Marylebone Road, London.


More common variations are: Caunt, Canty, Canut, Cannt, Cante, Cantu, Canto, Canta, Canet, Canti.


The origins of the surname Cant appeared in Cheshire where people held a family seat from old times. Someone say better before the invasion of Normans and the entrance of Duke William at Hastings 1066 A.D.

The very first recording spelling of the family was shown to be that of Richard Cante, dated about 1327, in the "Premium Rolls of Suffolk." It was during the time of King Edward 111. who was known to be the “The Father of the Navy," dated 1216 - 1272? The origin of surnames during this period became a necessity with the introduction of personal taxation. It came to be known as Poll Tax in England.


Many of the people with surname Cant had moved to Ireland during the 17th century.

United States of America:

Individuals with the surname Cant landed in the United States in three different centuries respectively in the 17th, 18th, and 19th. Some of the people with the name Cant who arrived in the United States in the 17th century included Robert Cant settled in Barbados in 1634. William Cant arrived in Barbados in 1634. Jan Cant landed in New York in 1639. Heindric Cant arrived in New York in 1639. David Cant, who came to Virginia in 1658.

People with the surname Cant who landed in the United States in the 18th century included Catherine Cant who settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1775.

The following century saw more Cant surnames arrive. Some of the people with the surname Cant who arrived in the United States in the 19th century included Christopher Cant, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1816. William Cant settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1820. James Cant, who landed in America in 1830. Catherine Cant, who landed in New York in 1832.


Some of the individuals with the surname Cant who landed in Australia in the 19th century included Betsy Cant, Charlotte Cant, George Cant, Griffin Cant and Mary Selina Cant, all arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Baboo" in the same year 1848.


Some of the population with the surname Cant who arrived in New Zealand in the 19th century included Ellen Cant came to Nelson aboard the ship "John Masterman" in 1857. Henry Cant, aged 32, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Dallam Tower" in 1875. Marian Cant, Frances Cant and Frances Cant, all arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Loch Fleet" in the same year 1878.

Here is the population distribution of the last name Cant: Mexico 12,249; England 2,119; Australia 1,220; Italy 616; Belgium 609; Brazil 509; South Africa 457; Scotland 420; United States 415; Canada 378.

Notable People:

Andrew Cant (educator) (died 1728), was the Principal of the University of Edinburgh from 1675 to 1685.

Andrew Cant (footballer) (born 1899), was a Scottish professional football player.

Andrew Cant (minister) (1590–1663), was a Presbyterian representative and leader of the Scottish Covenanters.

Brian Cant (b. 1933), was a British actor and author.

Colin Cant (f. the 1980s), is a British television star.

Gilbert Cant (1909–1982), was a British-born US reporter.

Blazons & Genealogy Notes

1) (Scotland). Ar. a bend engr. betw. two crescents sa.
2) (Dryburnford, co. Haddington). Motto—Aliis reposita. Ar. a bend engr. betw. a crescent and a star of eight points in chief and a mullet in base sa. Crest—A dove ppr.

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  • 1 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Sable
  • 2 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 26
  • 3 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P35
  • 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 Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P146
  • 7 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Moon
  • 8 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P106
  • 9 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 39-40
  • 10 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 97
  • 11 A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, P107
  • 12 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P105