Cape Coat of Arms
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Which coat of arms or "family crest" is mine?
Choose the design you like best, just your ancestors did when they painted these symbols on the shields they carried into battle and displayed in their homes. These coats of arms are real, historical works of art/culture dating back as far as 1100AD. Most of these designs were compiled and documented by genealogists and heraldists in large books published in the nineteenth century. These arms were owned by individuals who bore your surname, and were passed down through the generations from father to son, earning the monicker "family crest".
Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Cape Name
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.
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.
Cape Coat of Arms Meaning
The four main devices (symbols) in the Cape blazon are the lion, escallop, sword and oak branch. The three main tinctures (colors) are ermine, argent and gules .
Ermine is a very ancient pattern, and distinctive to observe. It was borne alone by John de Monfort, the Earl of Richmond and Duke of Brittany in the late 14th century 1A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P69 It has a long association with royalty and the nobility in general and hence represents “Dignity” wherever it is found 2The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P39. The ermine pattern is white with, typically, a three dots and a dart grouping representing the tail of the furred creature.3Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 28. The ermine spot is sometimes found alone as a special charge on the shield.
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) 4Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53. In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper 5A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P11.
The bold red colour on a heraldic shield is known as gules. It has a long history within heraldry, it is known that one of those who besieged the scottish castle of Carlaverock in 1300 was the French knight Euremions de la Brette who had as his arms a simple red shield.6The Siege of Carlaverock, N. Harris, Nichols & Son, London, 1828, P180. The word gules is thought to come from the Arabic gule, or “red rose” 7Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 313. Later writers associated it with the precious stone ruby and the metal iron 8Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53, perhaps because of the red glow of iron in the heat of the blacksmith’s forge.
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 9A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P172 10Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 63 11Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P140. 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 12A Treatise on Heraldry, J. Woodward, W & A.K Johnston, Edinburgh & London, 1896, P45 .The great authority on heraldic symbology, Wade, points out the high place that the lion holds in heraldry, “as the emblem of deathless courage” 13The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P60, a sentiment echoed equally today.
The escallopoccurs often in arms, represented as the outside of the shell, sometimes “fluted” of a different colour 14A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Escallop. It has been part of heraldic tradition almost from the beginning of the art, Henry III of England awarded Gules, 3 escallopes argent to Herbert de CHAMBERLEYNE in the 13th century, and it is present in the heraldry of almost all countries 15A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P299. It is believed that they were adopted as badges of those going to the Holy Land and can be found in the arms of many a crusading family. Hence Wade’s suggested association of the scallop with those that “complete long journeys to far countries” 16The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P91.
Given the martial nature of the origins of Heraldry, in the identification of knights and men-at-arms it can come as no surprise that mediaeval weaponry of all types are frequently to be found in a coat of arms 17Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 89. Indeed, the sheer variety of different swords 18A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P302 can be bewildering and expaining the difference between a scimitar and a falchion is perhaps best left to the expert! If a charge is described just as a simple sword then it will have a straight blade and cross handle, that may be of a different colour, and, unless specified, points upwards. Wade, quoting the earlier writer Guillim, signifies the use of the sword as representing “Government and Justice”.