Dorset 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 Dorset Name
Origins of Dorset:
Listed in many forms such as Dowsett, Dossett, Dosset, and Dossit, and dialects Dorset and Dorsett, this is an English surname. It has two likely origins. The first is a nickname from the post-1066 Norman-French word “doucet,” a shortened form of the Old French “doux or dous,” which means sweet to the eye. It, in later Middle English, became dowcet. As a nickname, this name would have applied to one considered to be especially agreeable in disposition, or probably given the robust humor of the period – the complete reverse. The second possible origin is from the division name of Dorset or originally Doreset. This name was often ‘mangled’ in pronunciation, and therefore became both combined and confused with ‘doucet.’ Early examples of the surname records derived from remaining rolls and records contain Walter fils Dussote in the Hundred Rolls for London of the year 1273, Geoffrey de Dorsete of Somerset, in the same rolls for 1273, John Dousete of London in 1376, and Francis Dorcett of London in 1545. Robert Dorset was a scholar at Oxford University in 1572, while the wedding of Thomas Dowsett and Eme Bowman noted at St. Mary Somerset, in the city of London, in July 1586.
More common variations are: Dorsett, Dorsedt, Dorseet Dorst, Dorrsett, Dorsette, Dorsetti, Doresett, Dorsetty
The surname Dorset first appeared in Wiltshire where they held a family seat from very ancient times. Some say well before the Norman Invasion and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 AD.
The very first recording spelling of the family was shown to be that of John Dousot, dated about 1315, in the “Feet of Fines of Huntingdonshire.” It was during the time of King Edward II who was known to be the “Edward of Caernafor,” dated 1307 – 1327. 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.
United States of America:
Individuals with the surname Dorset landed in the United States in three different centuries respectively in the 17th, 18th, and 19th. Some of the people with the name Dorset who arrived in the United States in the 17th century included John Dorset settled in Virginia in 1643.
The following century saw more Dorset surnames arrive. Some of the people with the surname Dorset who arrived in the United States in the 19th century included James Dorset settled in Monmouth County New Jersey arriving from Bermuda.
Some of the population with the surname Dorset who arrived in New Zealand in the 19th century included John MU Dorset landed in Wellington, New Zealand in the year 1839. Edward Dorset landed in New Plymouth, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship London. William Dorset landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840. William Dorset arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship “London” in the year 1840. George Dorset at the age of 31, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship “Schiehallion” in the year 1872.
Here is the population distribution of the last name Dorset: United States 337; England 253; New Zealand 118; Trinidad and Tobago 84; Australia 45; Saint Kitts and Nevis 26; Canada 25; Denmark 20; France 2; India 2.
Ray Dorset was a British guitarist, musician, and composer.
Dorset Coat of Arms Meaning
The two main devices (symbols) in the Dorset blazon are the mullet and chief. The three main tinctures (colors) are sable, or and argent .
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 1A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Sable. 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 2Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 26. Although it may seem a sombre tone, and does indeed sometimes denote grief, it is more commonly said to represent Constancy 3The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P35.
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” 4The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P35. 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 5Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53. In drawings without colour it is usually represented by many small dots, or by the letter ‘O’ 6A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P76-77.
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) 7Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53. In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper 8A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P11.
The heraldic mullet, not to be confused with the fish of that name, is shown as a regular, five pointed star. This was originally, not an astronomical object, but represented the spur on a horseman’s boot, especially when peirced, with a small circular hole in the centre it represents a type of spur known as a “rowel” 9Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 97. A clear example can be found in the arms of Harpendene, argent, a mullet pierced gules. The ancient writer Guillim associated such spurs in gold as belonging to the Knight, and the silver to their esquires 10A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, P107. In later years, Wade linked this five pointed star with the true celestial object, the estoile and termed it a “falling star”, symbolising a “divine quality bestowed from above” 11The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P105.
The chief is an area across the top of the field 12Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 40. It appears in many different forms and can itself be charged with other charges and ordinaries, 13A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Chief, being treated almost as if it were a completely separate area. In its simplest form it can be clearly identified. Early examples include the award by Henry III of England to the knight Robert de MORTEYN BRETON of Ermine, a chief gules.