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Charlton Coat of Arms Meaning

The four main devices (symbols) in the Charlton blazon are the chevron, eagle, lion and swan. The three main tinctures (colors) are or, gules and azure .

Or is the heraldic metal Gold, often shown as a bold, bright yellow colour. It is said to show “Generosity and elevation of the mind” 1. Later heralds, of a more poetic nature liked to refer to it as Topaz, after the gemstone, and, for obvious reasons associated it with the Sun 2. In drawings without colour it is usually represented by many small dots, or by the letter ‘O’ 3.

Gules, the heraldic colour red is very popular, sometimes said to represent “Military Fortitude and Magnanimity”4. It is usually abbreviated as gu and in the days before colour printing was shown in a system known as hatching by vertical lines 5. Although it may look like a French word it is normally pronounced with a hard “g” and may be derived either from the Latin gula (throat) or Arabic gule (rose).6

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 7. 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” 8.

The chevron is one the major shapes used upon a shield, known as ordinaries. The inverted ‘V’ of the chevron is perhaps thought to have originated to represent a military scarf folded on the shield 9, or additional cross-pieces used to strengthen the shield and painted a different colour.10. It has also acquired the meaning of “Protection… granted… to one who has achieved some notable enterprise” 11, possibly becuase of its resemblance to the roof truss of a house.

Where the lion is undisputed king of the animals, the eagle undoubtedly plays the same role in the realm of the birds, its use in this form dating back to at least the Roman period 12. They tend to be illustrated in quite some detail, especially in continental European arms, and have almost as wide variety of postures and accessories as the lion, well illustrated in the reference 13 as well as being just the eagle’s head or eagle’s leg. The symbology of the eagle is deep and complex, Wade devotes several pages to the subject 14, but suffice it say that it has long been associated with Empire and those held in high honour – any armiger would be pleased to have any form of Eagle upon their arms!

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 15 16 17. 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 18 .The great authority on heraldic symbology, Wade, points out the high place that the lion holds in heraldry, “as the emblem of deathless courage” 19, a sentiment echoed equally today.

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


Charlton is an English surname which is geographic or habitational in origin as it is derived from any one of the many places which share the name located throughout English, most of which are found in the southern region. The name Charlton comes from the ancient English “ceorlatun”, a compound word which breaks down to the prefix “ceorla” meaning a tenant and the suffix “tun” which translates to a settlement or village.

Surnames in Britain prior to the Norman conquest were largely unheard of. In the small settlements and villages which existed during earlier times, residents found little need for surnames as everyone in these communities new each other and a given name would usually suffice. However, with the passage of time, population growth and expansions of communities as villages gave way to towns and cities, it became necessary to add a qualifier to a people's names to distinguish them, one from another. Therefore one person may have been identified by their given name plus their occupation while another may have been identified by their given name and one of their parent's names. The introduction of surnames by the Norman aristocracy after the invasion seemed to be the next logical step in this evolution. There was a endless supply from which surnames could be formed, in addition to the use of patriarchal or matriarchal names or reference to the individuals occupation, there were things such as defining physical traits, a familiar geographical location or a topographical landmark found near the individuals home or birthplace, the name of the village in which the person lived, and so much more. Soon, surnames would come not just to represent an individual but whole families.

There often exists variations in spelling of many surnames, as with many given names which date back to the early centuries. The variation in spelling of both given and surnames during this time period can be attributed to a lack of continuity regarding guidelines for spelling which was compounded by the diversity of languages in use in European countries at this time. The variations in the spelling of the surname include but not limited to; Charlton; Charleton; Carlton; Carolton; Carleton; Charlten; Chorlton; and Carlten among others.

The use of surnames also served a practical purpose, the practice allowed for more accuracy in record keeping of censuses, taxation, and immigration. One of the earliest records of any variation of this surname is that of Jordan de Cherleton which appears in the Glouchester tax rolls dated 1193. These rolls, were a series of census and tax records kept by the English Treasury by order of King Henry III, with the oldest dating back seven hundred years to the 12th century. They hold the distinction of being the oldest consecutive set of records detailing English governance in the United Kingdom.

Some of the early immigrants to America bearing the surname or any variation of the spelling were Henna Charlton who arrived in 1623 and settled in Virginia. William Charlton who landed and settled in Virginia in 1662 and John Charlton arrived and settled in Virginia in 1664.

There were also many immigrants to the British Common Wealth countries of Canada, Australia, and New Zealand bearing the surname. James Charlton landed in 1750 and settled in Nova Scotia. Christopher and Jane Charlton along with their children, Thomas and William arrived in 1849 and settled in Adelaide, Australia. Horace Charlton arrived in 1842 and settled in Wellington, New Zealand.

Worldwide, the highest concentration of people with the surname Charlton are found in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States. By state, the largest percentile of those with the surname Charlton live in Florida, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, and Washington.

There are many persons of note who bear the surname such as English born Lewis de Charleton. He was educated at Oxford and Cambridge Universities earning a doctorate in both law and theology. In 1361, Charlton was appointed Bishop of Hereford, a position he held until his death, May 23, 1369.

British born diplomat Richard Charlton was the first ambassador to the Kingdom of Hawaii from Great Britain. From (1825 to 1843.) Hawaii is the only Kingdom which joined the United States of America.

English born Walter Charlton was a writer, physician, and philosopher. In 1641, he was appointed the personal physician to Charles I.

Blazons & Genealogy Notes

1) Notes: None. Blazon: Ar. a chev. betw. three eagles displ. vert.
2) Notes: (Powys Castle, co. Montgomery). Blazon: Or, a lion ramp. gu.
3) Notes: (Apley Castle, and Wytheford Hall. co. Salop. Robert Charleton, of Apley was grandson of William Knightley, a younger son of the house of Fawsey, Northamptonshire, by Anne de Charleton, his wife, sister and heiress of Thomas de Charleton, of Apley, grandson of Alan de Charleton, who, in 1327, had licence to embattle his manor houses of Apley and Withyford, which last, together with Aston Aer, he obtained in marriage with Margery, the heiress of Hugh Fitz-Aer). Blazon: Or, a lion ramp. gu. a sinister canton, quarterly, 1st and 4th, gu. ten bezants, four, three, two, and one, for Zouch; 2nd and 3rd, az. on a mount vert a lion pass. guard. or, for Fitz-Aer. Crest—Out of an Eastern coronet or, a tiger’s head and neck affrontee gu.
4) Notes: (Ludford, co. Hereford, and Witton, co. Salop, bart. extinct, 1784). (Lea Hall, co. Northumberland). Blazon: Or, a lion ramp. gu. Crest—A leopard's face gu.
5) Notes: (Lechmere-Charlton, Hanley Castle, co. Worcester, and Ludford, co. Hereford; Nicholas Lechmere, Esq., son of Edmond Lechmere, Esq., of Handley Castle, by Elizabeth, his wife, sister and sole heiress, of Sir Francis Charlton, 4th and last bart. of Ludford, assumed by royal licence, 1785, the name and arms of Charlton). Blazon: Quarterly, 1st and 4th, or, a lion ramp. gu., for Charlton; 2nd and 3rd, gu. a fesse or, in chief two pelicans vulning themselves of the last, for Lechmere. Crests—1st: A leopard’s head affrontee gu., Charlton; 2nd, in a ducal coronet or, a pelican vulning herself ppr., Lechmere.
6) Notes: (Chilwell, co. Nottingham, resident about the middle of the fifteenth century, in St. Austin’s parish, Watling-street, London, and subsequently seated at Sandiacre, co. Derby, whence they removed to Chilwell; the present representative is Thomas Broughton Charlton, Esq., of Chilwell, co. Nottingham). quartering Sharpe, Strey, Dannet, Welles, and Orton. Crest granted by Richard St. George, Norroy, to Thomas Charlton, Esq., in 1612, the coat of arms had long been borne by his ancestors. Motto—Stabit conscius aequi. Blazon: Az. on a chev. or, betw. three swans ar. as many cinquefoils gu. Crest: A swan's head and neck erased ar. beaked gu. gorged with a chaplet vert.
7) Notes: (Fun. Ent. of Captain Edward Charleton, born at Hockhope, co. Northumberland; served at Tangiers, and d. at Callan, co. Kilkenny, 23 March, 1685). Blazon: Or, a lion ramp. gu. armed and langued az. on a canton ar. a cross of the second a fleur-de-lis for diff.
8) Notes: None. Blazon: Az. a chev. betw. six swans ar. membered gu.
9) Notes: (Nicholas, son of Thomas Charlton, m. Alice, dau. of Henry Handly, of Bramcott, co. Notts. Visit. Notts). Blazon: Az. a chev. or, betw. three swans ar.

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  • 1 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P35
  • 2 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
  • 3 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P76-77
  • 4 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36
  • 5 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P52
  • 6 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P154
  • 7 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Azure
  • 8 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36
  • 9 A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, (various)
  • 10 The Pursuivant of Arms, J. R. Planche, Hardwicke, London 1859
  • 11 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P45
  • 12 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Eagle
  • 13 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P235-238
  • 14 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P72-74
  • 15 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P172
  • 16 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 63
  • 17 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P140
  • 18 A Treatise on Heraldry, J. Woodward, W & A.K Johnston, Edinburgh & London, 1896, P45
  • 19 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P60