Blazons & Genealogy Notes1) (Thorpe, co. Norfolk). Ar. a chev. gu. betw. three martlets sa. Crest—A stag’s head erased ppr. horns or.
2) (Tottington, co. Norfolk, Sheriff of the county, 1719). Same Arms, chev. engr.
This long-established surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and acquires from the Middle English specific names “Al(f)win” and “Elwin”, showing a coalescence of different Olde English pre 7th Century given names like “Aelfwine, Aethelwine” and “Ealdwine”, all sharing a common second component “wine”, which means friend. The initial components are respectively “aelf,” elf, “aethel,” which means noble, and “eald,” old. The specific names Alduin, Elduinus, Aeluuinus, Aeluuin, Alfuuinus and Eluuin all show in the Domesday Book of 1086, and more examples from Records of St. Benet of Holme, Norfolk, contain as Elwine Ecses (1101), and Aelwine presbiter (1127). The surname first shows on record at the end of the 12th Century. More early examples contain as John Allewin (Yorkshire, 1219), Thomas Alwine (Cambridgeshire, 1260) and Gregory Elwyne (Norfolk, 1274). In the new era, the surname has six spelling alternatives as Alwin, Alwen, Alwyn, Allwyn, Elwin and Elwyn. In January 1577, Marmaduke, son of Thomas Elwin, named at Roos, Yorkshire. A notable ancestor of the name was Whitwell Elwin (1816 – 1900), prose-writer, and B.A. Caius College, Cambridge, 1839, whose works contains five volumes (1871 – 1872) of the edition of Pope completed by Mr. W.J. Courthope.
More common variations are: Elwine, Elwina Elwain, Elwein, Ellwin Eliwin, Yelwin, Elewin, Ehlwin, Elin.
The surname Elwin first appeared in Norfolk where they held a family seat from very ancient times. Some say well before the Norman Invasion and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 AD.
The very first recording spelling of the family was shown to be that of Osegod Aldwini, dated about 1195, in the “Pipe Rolls of Berkshire.” It was during the time of King Richard I who was known to be the “Richard the Lionheart,” dated 1189 – 1199. The origin of surnames during this period became a necessity with the introduction of personal taxation. It came to be known as Poll Tax in England.
Many of the people with surname Elwin had moved to Ireland during the 17th century.
Individuals with the surname Elwin landed in the United States in two different centuries respectively in the 18th, and 19th. Some of the people with the name Elwin who arrived in the United States in the 18th century included Ann Elwin settled in Maryland in 1741.
The following century saw more Elwin surnames arrive. Some of the people with the surname Elwin who arrived in the United States in the 19th century included Hugh Elwin, who landed in New York, NY in 1811.
Some of the individuals with the surname Elwin who landed in Australia in the 19th century included William Elwin, a cement-maker, arrived in Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania) sometime between 1825 and 1832.
Some of the population with the surname Elwin who arrived in New Zealand in the 19th century included William Jeken Elwin arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship “Wild Duck” in 1860.
Here is the population distribution of the last name Elwin: Honduras 666; United States 333; England 328; Australia 253; Sweden 160; New Zealand 107; Indonesia 106; Wales 68; Trinidad and Tobago 52; France 49
Verrier Elwin (August 1902–February 1964) was an English-born Indian self-trained anthropologist, ethnologist, and tribal activist, who started his work in India as a Christian missionary.
The two main devices (symbols) in the Elwin blazon are the martlet and chevron. The three main tinctures (colors) are sable, argent and gules .
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 1A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Sable. 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 2Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 26. Although it may seem a sombre tone, and does indeed sometimes denote grief, it is more commonly said to represent Constancy 3The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P35.
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) 4Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53. In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper 5A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P11.
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.6The Siege of Carlaverock, N. Harris, Nichols & Son, London, 1828, P180. The word gules is thought to come from the Arabic gule, or “red rose” 7Boutell’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 8Understanding 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 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. 9A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Martlet. 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” 10The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P79. 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 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.
References [ + ]
|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.||↑||Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53|
|5.||↑||A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P11|
|6.||↑||The Siege of Carlaverock, N. Harris, Nichols & Son, London, 1828, P180|
|7.||↑||Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 313|
|8.||↑||Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53|
|9.||↑||A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Martlet|
|10.||↑||The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P79|
|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|