Which one is mine?

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

Sign up today for our newsletter and receive a free video explaining what a “coat of arms” is!

Dove Coat of Arms Meaning

The two main devices (symbols) in the Dove blazon are the mullet and pigeon. The two main tinctures (colors) are or and sable.

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.

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.

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” 7. 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 8. 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” 9.

Birds of great variety occur throughout heraldry, at least in name 10. In truth, despite the proliferation of species, the actual depictions can sometimes be hard to distinguish! The crane, heron and stork are commonly to be found on a coat of arms but all tend to share the same stylised appearance 11. The pigeon is amongst the mjaor bird species to appear in heraldry.

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


There are several origins to the surname Dove. The first states the surname came from the medieval usage of the word dove as a nickname for a person with a gentle nature or in reference to a person who kept doves. The medieval word dove came from the old English word “dufe” or the the old Norse word “dufa”, both of which translate to mean “dove”. The second source of origin states the surname is the Anglicized version of the Scottish given name “dub” or “dubh” which translates to “dark” or the patronymic name MacDuff or McDuff which translates to “son of Duff.

As the origins of the surname Dove shows, surnames can derive from a variety of sources. They could be formed by the use of patriarchal or matriarchal names. Reference to an individual's occupation was also a common source of surnames. Surnames also came from 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.

The use of surnames did not become a common practice among the general population in most of Europe until the 16th century, until at time, surnames were used mostly among the nobility. As the towns and cities of Europe began to grow in size, replacing the smaller villages of earlier times, surnames proved to serve at least two practical purposes. First, it allowed the distinguishing of people, one from another. Secondly, they allowed governments an easier way to track people for census, tax, and immigration records.

One of the earliest recordings of the surname, Duncan Duff, appears as the signature of a witness in the “Charters of the Priory of Beauly” dated 1275. Because literacy was an attribute found primarily among the noble class, the clergy, and government officials. Due to this fact, rules and guidelines for spelling were lax as well as many of those who were literate had a tendency to spell phonetically. What may have sounded one way to one person may have sounded different to another, this resulted in a variety of spellings of the same name, examples include but are not limited to; Dove; Doves; Dow; Dowe; McDow; and Dowes.

After the founding of America, Canada, and other lands abroad, migration began to occur in greater volume than ever before. Some of the first immigrants to America were Sara Dove who arrived and settled in Virginia in 1704 and Timothy Dove who arrived and settled in Virginia in 1713. Eiter and Daniel Dove were some of the early settlers to Canada, arriving and settling in Nova Scotia in 1750. John Dove was one of the early settlers to Australia arriving in New South Wales in 1832 and James Dove was one of the early settlers to New Zealand arriving in Nelson in 1842.

Worldwide, the highest concentration of people with the surname Dove are found in Slovenia, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and the United States. By state, the largest percentile of those with the surname Dove live in Virginia along with a large concentration throughout the southeastern United States.

There are many notable people with the surname Dove. Thomas Dove, the son of Sir William Dove of Upton, was the bishop of Peterborough. Dove received his education at Cambridge and Oxford where Queen Elizabeth I nominated him as one of the first scholars of Jesus College. Dove received his Bachelor's and Master's degree from Pembroke College, Cambridge. He was ordained in 1578 becoming vicar of Saffron Walden in County Essex. Dove was a much noted preacher counting Queen Elizabeth I as one of his most ardent partisans.

Patrick Edward Dove of Lasswade, Scotland was a noted economist, scholar, and author. He is also a descendant of Sir William dove and Bishop Thomas Dove as well as other distinguished clergymen, landowners and members of the Royal Navy. His father was Lieutenant Henry Dove who fought in the Napoleonic wars.

Patrick Dove was most well known as the author of The Theory of Human Progression. The book discussed the science of politics. The book was praised by many scholars and economist of the age such as; Thomas Carlyle, Sir William Hamilton, and Charles Sumner.

Blazons & Genealogy Notes

1) (East Bransboth, co. Suffolk). Sa. a fesse dancettee erm. betw. three doves close ar. beaked and legged gu. Crest—On a tower ar. a dove wings expanded ppr.
2) (Stradbroke, co. Suffolk; Robert Dove, citizen of London, second son of Henry Dove, of the former place. Visit. London, 1668). Same Arms, a crescent for diff. Crest—A dove ar. wings sa. charged with a crescent, as in the arms.
3) (Camberwell, co. Surrey; granted 23 Jan. 1572). Per chev. az. and vert, three doves ar. beaked and legged gu. Crest—In a chaplet vert, banded or, a dove ppr.
4) Ar. on a chev. betw. three water bougets sa. a mullet of the first. Crest—A dove wings expanded ppr. in the beak a branch vert.
5) Az. a cross formee betw. four doves volant ar. beaked and legged gu.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Karen dove commented on 30-Oct-2018
Wish I could track my family history but can only go back a couple generations
Evelyn Evans commented on 30-Jan-2018
I have just discovered that I am a direct descendant of Bishop Thomas Dove of Peterborough 1629.


  • 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 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 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 97
  • 8 A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, P107
  • 9 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P105
  • 10 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P233
  • 11 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P164