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Cox Coat of Arms Meaning

The four main devices (symbols) in the Cox blazon are the bar, canton, griffin and cock. The three main tinctures (colors) are or, azure and gules .

The bright yellow colour frequently found in coats of arms is known to heralds as Or, or sometimes simply as Gold.1. Along with, argent, or silver it forms the two “metals” of heraldry – one of the guidelines of heraldic design is that silver objects should not be placed upon gold fields and vice versa 2. The yellow colour is often associated with the Sun, and the zodiacal sign of Leo.3.

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 4. 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” 5.

Gules, the heraldic colour red is very popular, sometimes said to represent “Military Fortitude and Magnanimity”6. It is usually abbreviated as gu and in the days before colour printing was shown in a system known as hatching by vertical lines 7. 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).8

The bar is a thin, horizontal stripe across the centre of the shield 9, usually in groups of two or three (any more and there would be confusion with barry, a treatment of horizontal lines of alternating colours). Bars can be a distinctive and easily recognised device, early examples include those awarded by Henry III of England to the family MAUDYT Argent, two bars gules.

“The canton stands very high among honourable bearings”, according to Wade, a noted symbologist 10. The canton is a square shape, normally occupying the dexter chief of the shield. An early example is SUTTON, Bishop of Lincoln in the 13th century, who bore “argent a canton sable”. It occupies less space than a quarter and hence is sometimes added to an existing shield to difference branches of the same family, or, when a charge is added to it, to indicate some honour has been recieved 11. Wade remarks, that, in common with all square features can be associated with the virtue of“constancy”.

In the mediaeval period there was no real percieved difference between real and mythical animals, after all, much of the world remained unknown and who was to say what strange and magical creatures existed in distant lands? As heraldry developed a whole menagerie of imagined creatures 12 came into being, and their various representations became more or less standardised in form and appearance. The griffin is perhaps the most common of these creatures, being a chimera with the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle. 13. It is most often in the pose known as rampant segreant, on its hind legs with claws and wings extended. Vinycomb has much to say on the subject of the griffin, perhaps summarised in his belief that it represents “strength and vigilance”.]14

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

Cox Origin:


Origins of Name:

The surname of Cox is one that has many possible origins associated with it. The first of these possible origins for the surname of Cox is that it derives from a nickname. This nick name was for someone who was said to have been proud, and strutted around like a proud cock, or for someone who was lusty, aggressive, an early riser, or one who was a natural born leader. Thus the nickname derives from an Old English Pre 7th Century word of “cocc” which can be interpreted to mean “bird” or “cock.” The second possible origin of the surname of Cox was that it is a patronymic version of the Old English personal given names of “Cocc” or “Cocca.” It is believed that this was a personal given name used fondly for young men. The third possible origin of the surname of Cox is that it was a topographical surname. This means that the surname was given to someone who lived on or near a natural or man-made structure that was a visible monument in the area, and easily recognizable. In this case, the surname of Cox is for someone who was a “dweller by the hill,” which also derived from the Old English word “cocc” but in this case can be translated to mean “haycock” or “heap” or “hillcock.” Thus, this surname was given to someone who lived on a hill, or near a hill that was visible to the town or area, and was easily identifiable.


More common variations are: Coxe, Coxon, Coxen, Cowx, Coxi, Coox,, Coxson, Coxx, Coax, Cocks, Cockson, Coxa, Coix, Wcox



The first recorded spelling of the surname of Cox was in the country of England. One person who was named as Aluuinus Coc was mentioned in the Doomsday Book of 1086. It is important to remember that the Doomsday Book was created to encompass the “Great Survey” of England in this time period. The Doomsday Book was ordered, decreed, and written under the reign of one King William I of England, who was known throughout the ages as “The Conqueror.” King William I of England ruled from the year 1066 to the year 1086. Other mentions of the surname of Cox in the country of England include one William le Cocke, who was mentioned in the year 1319 in the Subsidy Rolls of London. In the year of 1556, one Alicea Cox was married to Burkrave Westdrop at St. Martin in the Fields, which is located in Westminster, London. Those who bear the surname of Cox in the country of England can be found in the areas of in and around the city of London, as well as the central and northern regions of England in large concentrations.

United States of America:

The United States of America was a hotspot for European settlers to migrate to in the early 1600’s. This movement was referred to as The European Migration. Among those who moved to the United States were people who carried the surname of Cox to this new country. The first of the new settlers who was recorded to have the surname of Cox was one person by the name of Lasse Cox, who arrived in the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the year of 1637. Those who carry the surname of Cox can be found in large concentrations in the areas of North Carolina, Virginia, Texas, California, Oklahoma, Georgia, Indiana, Missouri, Tennessee, Illinois, and New York.

Here is the population distribution of the last name Cox: United States 288,442; England 53,964; Australia 23,592; Canada 14,036; South Africa 11,342; Netherlands 3,429; New Zealand 3,323; Scotland 3,058; Uganda 2,987; Belgium 2,643

Notable People:

Brigadier-General Richard Ferguson Cox (1886-1964) Commanding General of the Boston Harbor Defenses from the 1942 to the year 1944

Brigadier-General Albert Lyman Cox (1883-1965) who was a Commanding General in the Washington Military in the year 1942

Daniel Rinald “Ronnie” Cox (born in 1938) who was a character actor from America, and was a singer/songwriter and guitarist

Joseph Cox, who was a Republican politician from America, and served as a Circuit Judge in the Ohio 1st Circuit from the year 1885 to the year 1899

Mrs. Joseph Cox, who was a Republican politician from America, and served as the Alternate Delegate to the Republican National Convention from Washington in the year 1956

Joseph A. Cox, who was a Democratic politician from America, and who serves as the Alternate Delegate to the Democratic National Convention from New York in the year 1952, served as the Justice of the New York Supreme Court in the 1st District in the year 1953

Joseph Harper Cox, who was a Democratic politician, and served as the Postmaster at Seaford, Delaware from the year 1934 to the year 1954

Blazons & Genealogy Notes

1) (Dunmanway, co. Cork, bart., registered in Ireland, 22 Jan. 1706-7, to Sir Richard Cox, Knt. and Bart., Lord Chancellor of Ireland). Or, three bars az. on a canton gu. a lion’s head erased ar. Crest—A goat’s head erased az. armed or.
2) (Coolcliffe co. Wexford, confirmed 1816, by Betham, Ulster, to Col. Sir Williams Cox, Knt., K.T.S.). Motto—Fide et fortitudine. Or, three bars az. in chief a trefoil slipped vert on a canton gu. a lion's heads erased ar. Crest—A goat’s head erased az. Armed or, holding in his mouth a trefoil slipped vert.
3) (confirmed to William Cox, Esq., of Ballynoe, co. Limerick). Motto—Fortiter et fideliter. Ar. three bars gu. on a canton az. a lion's head erased or. Crest—An antelope’s head erased sa. crined or, pierced through the neck with a broken spear ppr.
4) (Beamonds, co. Hertford). Or, three bars az. on a quarter gu. a lion’s head couped ar. Crest—A goat's head erased sa. horned, bearded, and pierced through the neck with an arrow or, the wound guttee de sang.
5) (Chichester, co. Sussex, descended from Lawrence Cox, son of John Cox, of Monmouth). Or, three bars az. on a canton gu. a lion’s head erased ar. Crest—A griffin’s head erased sa. pierced through the neck with an arrow gu. headed and feathered ar.
6) (Broxwood and Eaton Bishop, co. Hereford). Or, three bars az. on a canton gu. a lion's head erased ar. Crest—An antelope's head erased ppr. pierced through the neck by a spear.
7) (Charton, Farningham, co. Kent, and Trevereux, Limpsfield, co. Surrey). Motto—Chescun son devoir. Barry of ten or and az. three escutcheons, two and one, gu., each charged with a horse salient ar., quartering three other coats, viz., sa. a cross or, on a chief ar. three eaglets gu., for Penary, or Peneret, of Ash and Ryarsh, Kent; ar. a pale nebulee gu. on a canton of the last, a cross flory ar., for Middleton, of Middletons. Longfield, Kent; erm. a chev. vaire or and gu. betw. three wolves’ heads erased az., for Miller, of Addington and Ryarsh, Kent. Crests—A demi horse ar. charged on the shoulder without a thunderbolt ppr.; over it, An tu tonitru; and the following crest of augmentation, now borne as the first crest—Upon a bow fesseways or, a stag at gaze ar. attired unguled gorged with a collar and chain reflexed over the back, gold.
8) (co. Gloucester and London). Ar. a bend sa. in the sinister chief an oak leaf az. Crest—A goat's head ar. attired or, in the mouth an oak leaf az.
9) (Beaminster). Sa. a chev. betw. three stags’ heads cabossed, ar. Crest—A stag, levant, reguard. ar.
10) (London; granted 1761). Ar. three cocks gu. two and one, crowned or, on a chief az. a pale charged with a rose of the second betw. two ostrich feathers of the first. Crest—A cock gu. ducally crowned or.
11) (alias Cokks).(London). Sa. two bars humettee or, betw. as many swans, one in chief the other in base ar. beaked and legged gu. betw. the bars a cock of the third combed legged and wattled of the fourth. Crest—A dexter Arms
12) (Bromerton, co. Norfolk). Sa. on a chev. betw. three griffins’ heads erased or, as many estoiles gu. Crest—Out of a ducal coronet a griffins' head betw. two wings.
13) (Shropshire). Ar. a bend az. in the sinister chief an oak-leaf of the second.
14) (Cox Green, co. Stafford). Per chev. gu. and az. in chief two roses ar. in base a plate (another, a bezant) betw. as many cocks respecting each other of the third combed and wattled gu.
15) Sa. a chev. betw. three bucks' scalps ar. Crest—On an arm ar. a bend az. the hand holding a triple branch of pinks ppr. Leaved vert.
16) (Sheriff of Dublin, temp. Queen Anne). Arms, same as the preceding with three hurts on the chev. Crest—A wyvern tail nowed ppr.
17) (Clent, Stone, and Kidderminster, co. Worcester). Arms, from the monumental inscription at Clent to John Cox (who d. 1705), and at Kidderminster to Joseph Cox (who d. 1737). Gu. three cocks ar. two and one.
18) (Clement Park, co. Forfar, 1866). Motto—Praemium virtutis honos. Or, a chev. az. betw. two mullets pierced in chief and a lion’s head erased in base gu. Crest—A dexter arm embowed issuing out of the sea holding in the hand an anchor in bend sinister, cabled ppr.
19) Quarterly, gu. and vert, on each quarter a bezant.
20) Barry of six or and az. on a canton ar. a cross gu.
21) Ar. a chev. betw. three wolves’ heads erased sa.
22) (co. Lincoln). Motto—Prodesse quam conspice. Quarterly: 1st and 4th, gu. a chev. or, between three attires of a stag, affixed to the scalps ar.; 2nd and 3rd, az. a tower with two side-pieces ar. within a bordure or, charged with eight mullets sa. Crest—On a mount a stag lodged reguard. ppr.

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  • 1 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 27
  • 2 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P85
  • 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:Azure
  • 5 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36
  • 6 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36
  • 7 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P52
  • 8 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P154
  • 9 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Bar
  • 10 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P48
  • 11 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Canton
  • 12 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P164
  • 13 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Griffin
  • 14 Fictitious & Symbolic Creatures…in British Heraldry, J. Vinycomb, Chapman & Hall, London, 1906, P150