Downer Family Crest, Coat of Arms and Name History

Downer Family Coat of Arms

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Downer Coat of Arms Meaning

Downer Name Origin & History

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Downer Coat of Arms Meaning

The three main devices (symbols) in the Downer blazon are the hands conjoined, wings and chevron. The two main tinctures (colors) are gules and or.

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.1The Siege of Carlaverock, N. Harris, Nichols & Son, London, 1828, P180. The word gules is thought to come from the Arabic gule, or “red rose” 2Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 313. Later writers associated it with the precious stone ruby and the metal iron 3Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53, perhaps because of the red glow of iron in the heat of the blacksmith’s forge.

The bright yellow colour frequently found in coats of arms is known to heralds as Or, or sometimes simply as Gold.4Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 27. 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 5A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P85. The yellow colour is often associated with the Sun, and the zodiacal sign of Leo.6Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53.

Heraldry is a human art, by and for people and it is not surprising that people themselves are frequently depicted in arms 7Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P174. Often these are images of knights and men-at-arms, or individual limbs, including hands conjoined. It will come as no surprise that the use of this device is said to denote ”union and alliance”. 8The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P92

Wings are frequently observed in coats of arms. Unless otherwise specified they should be shown as eagle’s wings, with a realistic appearance. 9A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Wing They can appear singly or in pairs, in which form they are very often found in the crest, which rests above the shield in a full achievement of arms. Wade, quoting Quillim, suggests that the use of the wing on the shield signifies “celerity and protection or covering”. 10The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P73

The chevron is one the major shapes used upon a shield, known as ordinaries. The inverted ‘V’ of the chevron is perhaps thought to have originated to represent a military scarf folded on the shield 11A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, (various), or additional cross-pieces used to strengthen the shield and painted a different colour.12The Pursuivant of Arms, J. R. Planche, Hardwicke, London 1859. It has also acquired the meaning of “Protection… granted… to one who has achieved some notable enterprise” 13The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P45, possibly becuase of its resemblance to the roof truss of a house.

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Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Downer Name

Downer Origin:

England

Origin of Downer:

This surname is the best example of a toponymical type of name which are organized specifically in the southern English divisions Surrey, Hampshire, Kent, Essex and Sussex, where the addition of ‘er’ combined with some geological factor, in this example a ‘down’ or ‘low hill.’ The meaning of this word as a surname is ‘one who exists by the downward.’ The foundation of this surname is associated before the 7th century in an Ancient English word ‘dun,’ which comes from Gaelic origin. The wedding of William Downer and Barbara Greene is listed in Kent in 1683. The name can be shown in other variations, such as ‘Downe,’ ‘Downman’ and ‘Dunman.’

Variations:

More common variations of this surname are: Dowener, Downery, Downier, Downner, Doner, Dowhoner, Towner, Donner, Doorner, Donery.

England:

The origins of the surname Downer is found in Cheshire where people held a family seat from ancient times. Some say better before the success of Normans and the entrance of Duke William at Hastings1066 A.D.

The very first recording spelling of the family was shown to be that of Stephen le Downar, which was dated 1327 in the Sussex premium Rolls. It was during the time of King Edward II, who was known as ‘Edward of Caernafon,’ 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 the Poll Tax in England. Surnames all over the country began to develop, with unique and shocking spelling varieties of the original one.

United States of America:

Individuals with the surname Downer settled in the United States in two different centuries respectively in 17th and 19th. Some of the people with the name Downer who settled in the United States in the 17th century included Henry Downer, who settled in Virginia in 1654. Henry Downer, who arrived in Virginia in the same year 1654. Jane Downer, Fra Downer, and Rob Downer, all these people came to Virginia in the same year in 1655.

Some of the people with the name Downer who settled in the United States in the 19th century included J B Downer arrived in Mobile, Ala in 1822. J Q Downer arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850 and Arthur Charles Downer, who came to Philadelphia in 1870.

Canada:

Individuals with the surname Downer settled in Canada in two different centuries respectively in 18th and 19th. Some of the people with the name Downer who settled in Canada in the 18th century included Alice Downer, Caleb Downer, John Downer and Eliza Downer, all of these people arrived in the same year in 1750. John Downer, landed in Nova Scotia in 1760.

Some of the people with the name Downer who settled in the Canada in the 19th century included J Downer landed in Montreal in 1832.

Australia:

Some of the individuals with the name Downer who settled in Australia in the 19th century included Thomas Downer and Margaret Downer both arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship “Moffatt” in the same year in 1839. Francis Downer, Jane Downer, and Mary Downer, all these people arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the same ship “Marion” in the same year 1849.

New Zealand:

Some of the individuals with the name Downer who settled in Australia in the 19th century included Haydon E. Downer at the age of 36, Anne Downer at the age of 3, Alfred Downer, at the age of 2 and Fitz E. Downer, all these people arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship “Arethusa” in the same year in 1879. Mary Downer, at the age of 33, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship “Hudson” in 1879.

Here is the population distribution of the last name Downer: United States 6,288; England 2,619; Jamaica 1,856; Canada 945; South Africa 347; Panama 343; Guyana 333; Germany 269; Australia 399; New Zealand 218.

Notable People:

Alec Downer (1910-1981) was the son of John Downer and was an old Australian administrator for migration.

Alexander Downer (born 1951), was the grandson of John Downer and the Australian president for Foreign settlement between 1996 and 2007.

Alfred Wallace Downer was a Canadian congressman.

George Downer (1839-1916) was a South Australian advocate and businessman. He was the brother of John Downer.

George Downer (2003- ) was a South English businessman. He was the brother of Thomas Downer.

Wally Downer (1904-1994), was a Canadian politician.

Downer Family Gift Ideas

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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

Notes: None. Blazon: Gules a chevron or. Crest—Two hands conjoined in fesse, winged at the wrist.

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References   [ + ]

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. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 27
5. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P85
6. Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
7. Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P174
8. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P92
9. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Wing
10. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P73
11. A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, (various)
12. The Pursuivant of Arms, J. R. Planche, Hardwicke, London 1859
13. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P45