Durham Family Crest, Coat of Arms and Name History

Durham Family Coat of Arms

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Durham Coat of Arms Meaning

Durham Name Origin & History

Variations of this name are: Durheim.

We have several coat of arms design(s) for the name Durham. Click on the thumbnails to view each design.

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Durham Coat of Arms Meaning

The three main devices (symbols) in the Durham blazon are the crescent, cross crosslet and fleur-de-lis. The three main tinctures (colors) are azure, or and argent .

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 1A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Azure. 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” 2The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36.

The bright yellow colour frequently found in coats of arms is known to heralds as Or, or sometimes simply as Gold.3Boutell’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 4A 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.5Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53.

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) 6Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53. In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper 7A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P11.

For easy recognition of the items on a coat of arms, and hence the quick identification of the owner, bold simple shapes are best. Hence, simple geometric shapes are often used for this purpose 8A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P146xz`, and the crescent Is a typical example of this, and can appear in any of the main heraldic tinctures. Some common is this device that there are special names for its appearance in various orientations – whilst it lies normally with points upward, the decrescent points to the sinister side, and the increscent to the dexter 9A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Moon. The allusion, obviously is to the shape of the moon in the sky (indeed, the French have a version “figuré” which includes a face!) and has been said to signify both “honour by the sovereign” and “hope of greater glory” 10The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P106.

No other symbol appearing in heraldry is subject to as much variation as the cross 11Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 47. Mediaeval Europe was a deeply religious and Christian and many of the nobility wanted to show their devotion by adopting the symbol of the cross as part of the arms. Since no two arms could be identical there arose many variants of the cross. The cross crosslet is one of these, being symetrical both vertically and horizontally and having an additional cross bar on each arm. 12A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Cross Crosslet Wade suggests that these additional crossing signify “the fourfold mystery of the Cross”. 13The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P103

The fleur-de-lys (“flower of the lily”) has a long and noble history and was a symbol associated with the royalty of France even before heraldry became widespread. 14Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 3. The Lily flower is said to represent “Purity, or whiteness of soul”15The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P134 and sometimes associated with the Virgin Mary. The fleur-de-lys is also used as a small “badge”, known as a mark of cadency to show that the holder is the sixth son of the present holder of the arms 16A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P489

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Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Durham Name

Durham Origin:

England

Origins of Name:

The surname of Durham, which is also spelled Durram throughout history, is a locational surname from England, in the Northeastern area of the country. This surname comes from the Old English word of “dun” which means “a hill” and supplements the Old Scandanavian “holm” or “holmr” which translates to “island or a piece of raised land that is partially or completely surrounded by streams, or another body of water.” Because this surname is locational, this means that those who originally bore this surname are most likely people who lived in this type of area, or areas surrounding this topographical area. The places that these people are named after are found in areas in England. Dunholm was an area like this circa 1000, and Dunhelme was also named as an area in 1122, while Donelme was names in 1191. People who bore this surname are most likely from these areas, but migrated of moved out of them looking for work. This surname was most likely created to denote the new workers from previous workers, and the easiest form of recognition was by being called by the name of your birthplace.

Variations:

More common variations are:

Durham, Durhami, Durrhama, Daurham, Durhamm, Duurham, Diurham, Dourhamm, Durhiaam, Durhiam, Durrham, Diurham, Durhame

History:

England:

The first recorded spelling of the surname of Durham was in the year of 1163, and was found in the Pipe Rolls of London. This person was recorded as Osbert de Denelm, and was thus recorded as such in this document. This document, The Pipe Rolls of London, was ordered and decreed by King Henry II, who was commonly referred to throughout history as “The Builder of Churches” and ruled from the year 1154 to the year 1189. Other mentions of this surname in England include William de Durham, who was a witness in the Fine Court Rolls of Essex in the year 1236. Those who bear the surname of Durham who reside in the country of England can be found in the counties of Durham, Yorkshire, Middlesex, Somerset, Lanarkshire, and the city of London.

Scotland:

The first recorded spelling of the surname of Durham in the country of Scotland was a Robertus de Durham was recorded as one of the twelve Scots knights appointed to settle the laws of marches in the year 1249, and who appeared in the “Scottish Acts of Parliament.” Those who carry the surname of Durham who live in the country of Scotland have a surname that originated in the Dumfries-shire region, but later this surname of Durham spread to the counties of Lanarkshire, Stirlingshire, Renfrewshire, Wigtownshire Midlothian, and the county of East Lothian.

United States of America:

During the 1600’s many people in Europe determined that they wanted to leave the country of their birth and thus became set on looking for a new place to dwell. For many, this was the United States of America, which at this time was referred to as The New World of The Colonies. The first person to bear the surname of Durham in the United States of America was one Elizabeth Durham, who settled in the state of Virginia in the year of 1653. Those who bear this surname are found in Illinois, Texas, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, New York, North Carolina, and the state of Kentucky,.

Durham Today:

United States 49,750

England 4,646

Canada 1,272

Australia 1,263

South Africa 785

Germany 471

Wales 429

Scotland 413

New Zealand 374

Trinidad and Tobago 355

Notable People:

Joseph Vann “Joe” Durham (1931-2016) who was an MLB player and coach who played from the year 1954 to the year 1959, who was from America

Walter Thomas Durham (1925-2013) who was a historian and author, and was a historian for the state of Tennessee, and was from America

Rhea Durham (born in 1978) who was a fashion model who has appeared on many major fashion magazines including the titles of French Vogue, Italian Marie Claire, and American ELLE

Admiral Sir Phillip Charles Calderwood Henderson Durham GCB (1763-1845) who was a British Royal Navy officer who served in the American Revolutionary War and the Napoleonic Wars, and was a Scottish-born citizen

Leon “Bull” Durham (born in 1957) who was a former MLB first baseman and outfielder, who is from America

Jim Durham (born in 1947) who was a sportscaster from America

David Anthony Durham (born in 1969) who was a historical fiction and fantasy author, who was a recipient of the 2009 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and who was from America

Durham Family Gift Ideas

Browse Durham family gift ideas and products below. If there are multiple coats of arms for this surname, you will see them at the top of this page and can click on the various coat of arms designs to apply them to the gift ideas below.

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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

1) (co. Chester). Az. three crescents betw. seven crosses crosslets ar. three, one, two, and one.
2) (co. Essex). Or, on a cross gu. five fleurs-de-lis of the field.
3) (co. Norfolk). Az. semee of crosslets or, five (another, three) crescents ar.
4) (in the Hall of University College, Oxon; William of Durham, the founder. Visit. 1574). Or, a fleur-de-lis az. each leaf charged with a mullet of the first.
5) (Grange, co. Forfar). Motto—Ultra fert animus. Or, on a fesse az. three mullets ar. and in base a crescent gu. Crest—Two dolphins haurient addorsed ppr.
6) (Ardownie, co. Forfar). Motto—Ulterius. Or, on a fess engr. az. three mullets ar. in base a crescent gu. Crest—A dolphin naiant ppr.
7) (Largo, co. Fife, 1672). Motto—Victoria non proeda. Or, a crescent gu. on a chief az. three mullets ar. Crest—A dolphin naiant ppr.
8) (Largo, 1792; the heiress m., 1822, Dundas, of Arniston). Mottoes—Above the crest: Victoria non proeda; below the arms: Per mare per terras. Quarterly, 1st and 4th, ar. a crescent gu. on a chief az. three mullets of the field, for Durham; 2nd, erm. on a saltire gu. betw. two palm branches ppr. five mascles or, for Calderwood; 3rd, ar. an orle gu. in chief three martlets sa., for Rutherford. Crest—On a baron’s coronet a dolphin hauriant ppr. Supporters—Two horses ar. saddled and bridled gu.
9) (Sir P. C. Henderson Durham, K.C.B.). Mottoes, as the last. Quarterly, 1st and 4th, ar. a crescent gu. on a chiet az. three mullets of the field, in collar point a mullet of the third; 2nd and 3rd, Rutherford, as above. Crest—A dolphin naiant ppr. Supporters—Dexter, a sailor holding in his exterior hand a French tricolor flag, lowered and surmounted by a British red flag, inscribed “Guadaloupe” all ppr.; sinister, a horse reguard. ar. holding in his mouth a French tricolor flag, the staff broken all ppr.
10) (Edinburgh, 1680, now Durham-Weir, of Boghead, co. Linlithgow). Motto—Augeor dum progredior. Or, a crescent gu. on a chief az. three mullets ar. over all a bendlet engr. of the second. Crest—An increscent gu.
11) (Duntarvie, co. Forfar). Motto—Vive Deo. Or, on a fess az. betw. two crescents, the upper one inverted gu. three mullets ar. Crest—A hand pulling a thistle ppr.
12) Gu. three lozenges in fesse erm.
13) Gu. four lozenges in fesse erm. within a bordure engr. ar.

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References   [ + ]

1. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Azure
2. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36
3. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 27
4. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P85
5. Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
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 Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P146
9. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Moon
10. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P106
11. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 47
12. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Cross Crosslet
13. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P103
14. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 3
15. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P134
16. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P489