Cape Family Crest, Coat of Arms and Name History


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Cape Origin:

England, Ireland

Origins of Cape:

This interesting and unique surname is of an old English origin and is a metonymic professional name for a manufacturer of coats or capes, or probably a pet name for a person who wore a unique one. It was acquired from the Middle English word “cape, cope,” from the Olde English pre 7th Century word “cap,” supported by the similar Old Norse “kapa.” Professional surnames frequently mentioned the real profession of the named ancestor, and after that became passed to offspring. One Walter Cape, witness, listed in the 1221 Assize Court Rolls of Gloucestershire, and a Maud Cope shows in the Premium Rolls of Worcestershire, dated 1275. In July 1635, Richard Cope, at the age of 24 yrs., shifted from London on the ship “Blessing,” obligated for New England. He was one of the oldest listed name ancestors to settle in America. According to the many remarkable Copes recorded in the “Document of National Biography” is Charles West Cope (1811 – 1890), a historical painter, who, with six others, was chosen to prepare decorations for the House of Kings in 1844, and for Westminster Castle in 1871. During the time 1867 – 1875 he held the status of professor of painting at the Royal Academy. The National symbol is a silver shield with three gold fleurs-de-lis on a chevron blue in the mid of three red roses slipped in order. A red dragon’s head emerging from a gold fleur-de-lis is on the peak.


More common variations are: Capey, Capie, Cappe, Coape, Capeu, Capeo, Caipe, Capye, Capeh, Capee.


The surname Cape first appeared in London, England where they held a family seat from very old times and were gave estates by Duke William of Normandy, their true King, for their exceptional services at the invasion of Hastings in 1066 AD.

The very first recording spelling of the family was shown to be that of Ailward Cape, dated about 1190, in the “Pipe Rolls of Kent.” It was during the time of King Richard 1st, who was known to be the “Richard the Lionheart,” dated 1189-1199. 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. Surnames all over the country began to develop, with unique and shocking spelling varieties of the original one.


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

United States of America:

Individuals with the surname Cape settled in the United States in three different centuries respectively in the 17th, 18th, and 19th. Some of the people with the name Cape who settled in the United States in the 17th century included Robert Cape and Robert Cape, both settled in Virginia in 1638. John Cape, who arrived in Maryland in 1680.

Some of the people with the surname Cape who settled in the United States in the 18th century included Nathaniel Cape, who landed in New England in 1757. John Cape settled in New England in 1767.

The following century saw many more Cape surnames arrive. Some of the people with the surname Cape who settled in the United States in the 19th century included F Cape arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850. James Cape at the age of 21 and Elizabeth Cape, both landed in New York in 1854.

Here is the population distribution of the last name Cape: South Africa 3,434; United States 3,080; Philippines 2,320; England 532; Ghana 320; Canada 282; France 196; Cape Verde 190; Mexico 183; Germany 168.

Notable People:

John Phillips “Jack” Cape (November 1911-June 1994) was an English football player. His real position was as a forward. He was born in Carlisle, Cumberland. He played for Penrith, Carlisle United, Newcastle United, Manchester United, Queens Park Rangers and Scarborough, as well as guesting for Carlisle United among the Second World War.

Randal Joseph “Joey” Cape was born in November 1966 is an American musician, composer, and producer.

Safford Cape (1906-1973), was an American conductor and musicologist.

Thomas Cape (1868-1947), was an English representative of Parliament.

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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

Notes: None. Blazon: Gu. a lion ramp. betw. three escallops ar….on a chief erm. a sword and branch of oak crossing each other in saltire ppr. Crest—A lion pass. gu. holding a sword ppr. hilt and pomel or.

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