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Dotson Coat of Arms Meaning

The three main devices (symbols) in the Dotson blazon are the martlet, bend and scourge. The three main tinctures (colors) are sable, azure 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 1. 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 2. Although it may seem a sombre tone, and does indeed sometimes denote grief, it is more commonly said to represent Constancy 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.

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

The martlett is by far the most common bird to appear in British Heraldry, perhaps only equalled by the eagle, however it is not a species ever to be found in an ornithologists handbook! The word itself is though to have come from the French word merlette, the female blackbird and itself a similar type of charge used in French Heraldry. 8. Over time the image has become quite stylised, without visible legs or distinctive feathers. Wade suggests that this representation arises from “the appearance of the bird of paradise to ancient travellers” 9. Other bird species may be named in coats of arms (cornish chough is a frequent example) but in actual execution their appearance is often indistinguishable from the martlet.

The bend is a distinctive part of the shield, frequently occuring and clearly visible from a distance – it is a broad band running from top left to bottom right 10. Indeed, so important is the bend that it was the subject of one of the earliest cases before the English Court of Chivalry; the famous case of 1390, Scrope vs Grosvenor had to decide which family were the rightful owners of Azure, a bend or (A blue shield, with yellow bend). 11. The bend is held in high honour and may signify “defence or protection” and often borne by those of high military rank 12.

The scourge is a whip of three tails. It is extremely rare as a charge but hence an interesting usage. 13 The precise meaning is not known.

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

Dotson Origin:

England, Wales, Germany

Origins of Name:

The surname Dotson is branded unusual by many, because it is a variant of the surname Dodson. Dodson is derived from a paternal element, often adding O’ or –son to the name itself, often meaning that one with the last name Dotson, is the son of Dodde, or Dudda. These names, Dodde, or Dudde, Dode, Dogge, or Dodge, are derived from the pre seventh century Old English names of Dudda and Dodda, which come from a Germanic root word dudd or dodd meaning “something rounded.” Dudd or dodd were often used to describe a squat, corpulent man, or perhaps a bald man. This word is derived from “dod” which means to bare, or cut off. This patronymic name is recorded in the Old English Byname Register for Hampshire, and the Domesday book of 1086 for Dorset. Variations of this name are based on the literacy of the recorder, as well as the area in which the person was born.


More common variations are:

Dotson, Doddson, Dodson, Doteson, Dottson, Dodseson, Dods, Dodds, Daddson, Dudson, Dodding



The Welsh surname Dotson was a named that originated in Cheshire, but then moved across the North in Yorkshire, Hampshire, Lancashire, Durham, and then to the South in Cornwall, Kent, Middlesex, Essex, and the city of London. This name is derived from the pre-seventh century Dudda and Dodda, and is a patronymic name that comes from the Germanic root name “dudd” or “dodd” meaning a short, stout man. Thus, Dotson means “the son of dudd or dodd.” The earliest record of the surname Dotson was found in the Old English Byname Register for Hampshire, and is found with the name Aelfward Dudd. Fifty years later, Aluric Dod was mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 for Dorset. As a reminder, the Domesday book covered the “Great Survey” of England and Wales under the reign of King William the Conqueror. As the Poll Tax of Yorkshire was being implemented in 1379, Aeluric Doddes and Magota Dodson were written in the Feudal Documents from the Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds in Suffolk. The surname Dotson is specific to the Cornwall area, and can be traced back to 1581, with a William Dotson, who was christened in Mawgan in Meneage, Cornwall. The specific evolution to the name Dotson, in Heye, Cornwall, was awarded a family Coat of Arms, but it is important to know that there can be multiple Coat of Arms for the same surname. Some of the people with the surname Dotson later moved to Ireland and Scotland. In Scotland, those with the Dotson surname are mainly located in Lanarkshire County. In Wales, those with the surname Dotson are mainly found in the Eastern part of the country.

United States:

While migrating from England, the United States of America was a popular destination for those with the surname Dotson. In the seventeenth century, Abra Dotson came to the United States in 1663, and landed in the state of Virginia. Later, in the early twentieth century, Janet Dotson emigrated to America in 1905, at the age of thirty. In 1908, just three years later, twenty-seven-year-old Mrs. W.C. Watson, Pauline Dotson, and five-year-old Florence Dotson all emigrated to the United States. In the year 1911, twenty-one-year-old Annie Dotson settled in the United States after traveling from Tonypandy, Wales. All of these emigrations occurred during The Great Migration, and these people with the Dotson surname became a few of the first settlers in America with this surname.

Dotson Today:

United States 35,406

Philippines 258

England 70

Canada 66

Australia 33

New Zealand 817

Russia 21

Guyana 9

Ukraine 4

India 3

China 3

Notable People:

Amber Dotson, who is a country music artist in America

Alphonse Alan Dotson (born in 1943) was a defensive tackle (football player) in America

Lt. William A. Dotson (died in 1964) was a previous Officer in Charge of the Ice Reconnaissance Unit of the Naval Oceanographic Office, he later had the Dotson Ice Shelf, in Antarctica, named after him and this conquest

Carlton Dotson, who was a basketball player in America

Earl Christopher Dotson, who was a National Football League (NFL) offensive tackle in America

Robert Charles “Bob” Dotson (born in 1946) an American journalist, specializing in broadcast journalism, for NBC News

Delon Dotson, businessman and technologist in America, the CEO and founder of PalmTree Technology, which is a tech company based in New York City

Richard Elliot Dotson (born in 1959) was previously a right-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball (MLB)

Blazons & Genealogy Notes

Notes: (Heye, co. Cornwall). Blazon: Argent a bend engrailed azure between two Cornish choughs proper. Crest—A dexter arm in armour proper garnished or, holding a scourge with four lashes sable handle garnished, and the lashes ended with spur-rowels gold.

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  • 1 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Sable
  • 2 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 26
  • 3 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P35
  • 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 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
  • 7 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P11
  • 8 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Martlet
  • 9 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P79
  • 10 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 39-40
  • 11 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P22
  • 12 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P49
  • 13 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Scourge