Easton Coat of Arms
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Origin, Meaning, Family History and Easton Coat of Arms and Family Crest
The name Easton is of Anglo-Saxon/English origin. The surname is topographical, indicating any of the numerous locations which bear the same name found in Essex, Devonshire, Isle of Mann, and Northampton to name a few. Derived from the medieval English “eastan tun” which translates to settlement of village in the east, it would have been used to identify an individual by where they lived or were born.
The variations in the spelling of the surname includes; Easton; Eastton; Eastown; Eastowne; Eastone and Eastone among others. The variations in spelling of surnames dating back to ancient times can be attributed to a lack of consistency regarding guidelines for spelling in use by the scribes who recorded such information, many of which were in the habit of spelling phonetically. The issue of multiple spellings of names in records was compounded by the diversity of languages in use in European countries at this time.
Until the Norman invasion and conquest, surnames were rarely if ever used. In the small settlements and villages which existed during earlier times in most of Britain, residents found little need for surnames as everyone in these communities knew each other and a given name would usually suffice. However, as communities grew and people began to migrate on a larger scale, along with the need of the government having a reliable way to track people for tax and census purposes, the Norman aristocracy’s penchant for using surnames seemed the appropriate evolution to this problem. In most instances to distinguish themselves, one from another, those not of the noble class would often be identified by their given name plus their occupation while others may have been identified by their given name and one of their parent’s names. There was a boundless supply from which surnames could be formed, in addition to the use of patriarchal/matriarchal names or reference to the individuals occupation, there were things such as defining physical traits, a familiar geographical location or a topographical landmark found near the individual’s home or birthplace, the name of the village in which the person lived, and so much more. Over the course or time, surnames would come not just to represent an individual but whole families.
One of the earliest record of any variation of this surname is that of John de Eston which appears in the Cambridge tax rolls from 1200. The tax rolls, were a series of census and tax records
kept by the English Treasury by order of King Edward I. These documents, the oldest dating back seven hundred years to the 12th century, are considered the oldest continuous set of records detailing English governance in the United Kingdom.
The task of record keeping was primarily the responsibility of the churches, priories, and government as literacy was often a skill found only among the wealthy, the clergy, and those in government. For practical purposes, governments found the use of surnames made the recording and tracking of people for census, taxation, and immigration purposes easier.
With the discovery of America, people began to immigrate to the “New World”. Some of the first recorded immigrants to America bearing the surname were Nicholas Easton who arrived in 1630 and settled in New Port, Rhode Island and Joseph Easton who landed in 1635 and settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts..
There were also immigrants to the British Commonwealth countries of Canada, Australia, and New Zealand bearing the surname. Robert and Mary Easton were an early settlers to Canada, landing in 1750 and settled in Nova Scotia. Daniel and Caroline Easton were early settlers to Australia, arriving in 1840 and settling in Adelaide. John and Elizabeth Easton along with their son, William George, were early settlers to New Zealand, arriving in 1874 and settling in Auckland.
Worldwide, the highest concentration of people with the surname Easton are found in Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and the United States. By state, the largest percentile of those with the surname Easton live in Indiana, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota.
There are many persons of note who bear the surname such as British born Jack Maynard Easton. He was a member of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve in London during World War II.
Easton was the recipient of the George Cross for gallantry. During the Blitz, Easton successfully defused a bomb which fell in the East End of London but failed to detonate.
Easton Coat of Arms Meaning
The three main devices (symbols) in the Easton blazon are the dragon, per chevron and yew tree. The two main tinctures (colors) are or and gules.
The bright yellow colour frequently found in coats of arms is known to heralds as Or, or sometimes simply as Gold.1Boutell’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 2A 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.3Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53.
Red in heraldry is given the name Gules, sometimes said to be the “martyr’s colour”4The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36. The colour is also associated with Mars, the red planet, and the zodiacal sign Aries 5Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53. Later heralds of a more poetical nature would sometimes refer to the colour as ruby, after the precious stone.6A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P77.
Dragons have a long history in Heraldry and indeed have come to symbolise entire countries. Originally they were perhaps based on garbled descriptions of crocodiles given by returning travellers but soon developed a widely accepted representation. 7A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Griffin Wade suggests that their appearance signifies “a most valiant defender of treasure”, a trait of dragons that we are still familiar with today. 8The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P86
To add variety and interest to the arms, heraldic artists began to divide the background of the shield into two parts, giving each a different colour. They were named for the ordinary that they most resembled, so the division of the shield by an inverted ‘V’ shape, similar to the ordinary known as the chevron came to be called per chevron 9Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P63. Visually rather striking, it can be even more effective if one charge is placed below the point, and two others above and to the sides. 10A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Party. Wade considers the use of the per chevron division to indicate “constancy, with peace and Sincerity”. 11The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P150
Amongst the natural objects depicted on a coat of arms, trees feature frequently, either in whole or as individual branches and leaves. 12A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P94, 262, 407. Sometimes the species or the part of tree was chosen as an allusion to the name of the bearer, as in Argent three tree stumps (also known as stocks) sable” for Blackstock 13A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P309 Trees of course had long been venerated and its use in a coat of arms may have represented some association with the god Thor 14The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P112There is some debate over the meaning of the yew tree, being associated with death (it is a common resident of English graveyards) but also ““Hope and an eternal life beyond the tomb” (an Egyptian interpretation). [ref]The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P130[÷ref]