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Cole Coat of Arms Meaning

The three main devices (symbols) in the Cole blazon are the bull, bezant and scorpion. The three main tinctures (colors) are gules, sable and argent .

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.1. The word gules is thought to come from the Arabic gule, or “red rose” 2. Later writers associated it with the precious stone ruby and the metal iron 3, perhaps because of the red glow of iron in the heat of the blacksmith’s forge.

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 4. 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 5. Although it may seem a sombre tone, and does indeed sometimes denote grief, it is more commonly said to represent Constancy 6.

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) 7. In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper 8.

Bulls, and their close relations, cows, calves, oxen and the buffalo are relatively recent additions to the art of heraldry (and it is not always possible to distinguish between them in their renderings). 9 They can be found in a variety of poses and may have horns, hooves and collared in a different colour. The writer Guillim noted that the prescence of a bull could signify ”valour and magnanimity”. 10

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 11xz`, and the bezant Is a typical example of this, and in British Heraldry always takes the tincture or. It shares the same root as the name Byzantium, being associated with the gold coin of that city and indeed, in some heraldic traditions is represented as a coin-like disk in perspective. Wade suggests that the use of this device refers to ” one who had been found worthy of trust and treasure.” 12

The scorpion is shown in lifelike aspect, usually facing upwards. 13 There is no specific meaning associated with this device but perhaps its fierce sting can be taken as an indication of the bearer!

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

Cole Origin:

England, Scotland, Ireland

Origins of Name:

The Cole surname originates from Middle English, used as a personal name Nicholas. Nicholas has Greek origins. The surname could have also possibly derived from the Old English word “Cola” which means black or coal. It is a descriptive surname describing someone who is dark or dark skinned, and could have also been used to describe a Dane or Anglo-Sazon. When the surname is not of English origin, it is most likely an Americanized spelling of the German surname Kohl, and Scottish and Irish name McCool. New England has variations of the name from the French surname Charbonneau.


More common variations are:

Coles, Coales, Coal, Coale, Coalas



Cole originated as a west country name in England. The first occurrence of the Cole surname seems to have been in Cornwall, at Travenna near Liskeard. The Cole family were medieval lords before the Norman conquest of England.

The first recorded instance of the surname is in the Winton Rolls, where Randolphi Cole appears in 1148 in Hampsire by the English Treasury.

Johannes Cole and Elias Cole were recorded in the Poll Tax rolls of 1379 in Yorkshire.

The 16th century would be the first appearance of the patronymic form of the surname ‘Coles’, derived from “son of Cole”, which eventually became more popular. John Coles appeared in 1565 in the St. Stephen’s register in London. George Coles is recorded in the register of Freemen in the city of York in 1555.

Edward Coles in 1635 would sail for the New World from London aboard the “Thomas and John” and would eventually arrive in Virginia.

The surname Cole is the 101th most common name in Great Britain. The highest concentrations are in Norfolk, Ceredigion, Swansea and Milton Keynes.


William Cole immigrated to Ireland in 1601. He was a professional solider who would eventually be appointed to Governor of Enniskillen and can be mainly attributed for building the town. The descendants of William Cole would stay in Florence Court until the early 1900’s. Many of the descendants would become English settlers in Kenya.

United States:

In 1656 Eunice Cole was convicted of witchcraft in New Hampshire. She would eventually be sentenced to death and a stake was driven into her body.

Elisha Cole moved to Putnam County, New York in 1739 and built a grist mill which the family would maintain for 150 years.

Edward Coles was a personal secretary to President Jerfferson and President Madison. He would eventually release all his slaves and move to Illinois, become governor and back the anti-slavery movement.


George Coles worked in the goldfields in Victoria after arriving from England in 1854. His son, also George, would continue expanding the business by opening country stores. His grandson, George III, would open the first store in Melbourne. Coles supermarket would eventually become one of the largest supermarket chains in Australia.

Cole Today:

217,000 in the United States (highest concentration in California)

72,000 in Nigeria

39,000 in England (highest concentration in Norfolk)

39,000 in Sierra Leone

14,000 in Canada

14,000 in Australia

Notable People:

George Coles (1885) Australian entrepreneur

Nat King Cole (1919) American singer

Blazons & Genealogy Notes

1) (Earl of Enniskillen). Motto—Deum cole, regem serva. Ar. a bull pass. sa. armed and unguled or, within a bordure of the second charged with eight bezants, on a canton sinister per pale gu. and az. a harp gold, stringed of the field. Crest—A. demi dragon vert langued gu., holding in the dexter claw a dart or, headed and feathered ar., and in the sinister an escutcheon, gold. Supporters—Two dragons reguard. vert, each holding a dart, gold.
2) (Leixlip Castle, co. Kildare). Motto—Deum cole, regem serva Ar. a bull pass. gu. armed or, within a bordure sa. bezantee. Crest—A demi gryphon holding an arrow headed or, and feathered ar.
3) (granted to Owen Blayney Cole, Esq., of Brandrum, co. Monaghan, D.L., descended from the Coles, long settled at Twickenham, Middlesex). Motto— Deum cole, regem serva. Ar. a bull pass. gu. within a bordure bezantee sa. a canton of the last charged with a horse’s head couped ar. thereon a chief or, charged with three mullets pierced gu. Crest—A demi gryphon segreant vert, grasping in its dexter claw an arrow with the point downwards or, feathered and barbed ar.
4) (Cornwall). Ar. a bull gu. within a bordure sa. bezantee. Crest—A demi dragon holding an arrow or, headed and feathered ar.
5) (Slade, co. Devon, temp. Henry IV., and London). Ar. a bull pass. within a bordure sa. bezantee, armed or
6) (Stoke Lyne, co. Oxford, and Twickenham, co. Middlesex). Motto—Deum cole, regem serva. Ar. a bull pass. gu. armed or, within a bordure sa. bezantee. Crest—A demi dragon holding an arrow or, headed and feathered ar.
7) (granted to William Cole Cole, of the city of Exeter, banker). Or, a chev. betw. three pears vert, on a chief erm. a bull pass. sa. Crest—A bull’s head couped at the neck sa. horned or, betw. two branches of oak fructed ppr.
8) (Twickenham, co. Middlesex). Motto—Deum cole, regem serva. Ar. within a bordure sa. bezantee a bull gu. on a canton erm. a nag’a head ppr. over which, on a chief or, three estoiles az. Crest—A demi dragon vert, bearing in its dexter paw a javelin armed or, feathered ar.
9) Ar. a bull pass. sa. armed or, within a bordure of the second bezantee, on a canton sinister az. a harp of Ireland. Crest—A bull’s head couped sa.
10) (Lusse, co. Hants; confirmed Her. Off.). Ar. a bull pass, sa. collared and lined or, within a bordure of the second bezantee.
11) (Shenley, co. Herts, 1640). Per pale or and ar. a bull pass. sa. within a bordure of the last, on a chief of the third three bezants. Crest—A demi dragon az. winged or, holding a chaplet vert.
12) (Rev. George Lamont Cole, of Wallisford Manor, Wellington, co. Somerset). Motto—Deum cole, regem serva. Per pale ar. and or, a bull pass. sa. within an orle of cross crosslets fitchee gu. Crest—A demi dragon ppr. holding betw. the paws two cross crosslets fitchee in saltire ar.
13) Ar. a bull pass. gu. armed or. Crest—Out of a ducal coronet or, a bull's head gu. armed of the first.
14) (Devonshire, and Walden, co. Essex). Ar. a chev. gu. betw. three scorpions, reversed, of the second.
15) (Bill, co. Devon; an heiress of which family m. Drake). (from the Fun. Ent. of Margery Cole, wife of Captain John Cornwall, d. 17 Feb. 1597). Ar. a chev. betw. three scorpions sa.
16) (Holyborne, co. Hants). Motto—“Deum cole, regem serva,” or “Esto quod esse videris.” Ar. a chev. gu. betw. three scorpions reversed sa. Crest—A naked arm holding a scorpion ppr. armed or.
17) (Brancepeth, co. Durham). Ar. a fesse engr. sa. betw. three scorpions reversed of the second.
18) (Newcastle-upon-Tyne). Ar. a chev. engr. betw. three scorpions erect sa. on a chief az. as many fleurs-de-lis of the first. Crest—A naked arm erect, holding in the hand ppr. a scorpion sa.
19) Ar. a chev. gu. betw. three scorpions erect (another, reversed) sa.
20) (Devonshire). Gu. on a chev. cottised betw. three leopards’ heads ar. as many torteaux.
21) (Coat, co. Lancaster, 1664). Vert on a fesse ar. three lions’ heads erased gu. Crest—A lion’s head erased gu. pierced in the neck by an arrow.
22) (Hampshire). Gu. on a chev. ar. betw. three lions’ heads erased or, four bars of the field betw. twelve ogresses. Crest—A falcon with wings expanded ar. guttee sa. preying on a fish or.
23) (Bokeish, Woolfardisworthy, co. Devon). Ar. an ass pass, within a bordure sa. bezantee.
24) (Maldon, co. Essex). Ar. on a chev. embattled az. betw. three dolphins embowed sa. as many estoiles or. Crest—A leopard’s head erased ar. collared and chained or, holding in the mouth a slip of oak vert.
25) (Oxfordshire; William Cole. Visit. Oxon; Har. MSS., 1412). Sa. three fleurs-de-lis betw. two bendlets ar. Crest—A bundle of arrows ar. banded with a belt buckled or.
26) (Somersetshire). Gu. a chev. erm. betw. three leopards’ heads or. Crest—An eagle displ. ar. ducally gorged or.
27) Gu. a chev. betw. three leopards' heads ar. Crest—An eagle displ. ar.
28) Per pale erm. and sa. a fesse counterchanged.
29) (Nailsea, co. Somerset, Bristol, and Wyke, co. Gloucester, and Colchester, co. Essex; Visit. Somerset, 1623). Per pale or and gu. a bull pass. counterchanged, armed ar. an annulet for diff.

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  • 1 The Siege of Carlaverock, N. Harris, Nichols & Son, London, 1828, P180
  • 2 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 313
  • 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, 1894, Entry:Sable
  • 5 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 26
  • 6 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P35
  • 7 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
  • 8 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P11
  • 9 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Bull
  • 10 A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, P117
  • 11 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P146
  • 12 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P122
  • 13 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Scorpion