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Fleming Coat of Arms Meaning

The four main devices (symbols) in the Fleming blazon are the chequy, fret, owl and lozenge. The three main tinctures (colors) are gules, or and vair .

Gules, the heraldic colour red is very popular, sometimes said to represent “Military Fortitude and Magnanimity”1. It is usually abbreviated as gu and in the days before colour printing was shown in a system known as hatching by vertical lines 2. Although it may look like a French word it is normally pronounced with a hard “g” and may be derived either from the Latin gula (throat) or Arabic gule (rose).3

The bright yellow colour frequently found in coats of arms is known to heralds as Or, or sometimes simply as Gold.4. 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 5. The yellow colour is often associated with the Sun, and the zodiacal sign of Leo.6.

Chequy (a word with a surprising number of different spellings!) is what is known as a treatment, a repeating pattern usually used to fill the whole background of the shield with a series of alternately coloured squares 7. These squares are usually quite small (there should be at least 20 in total), giving the appearance of a chess board, but any combination of colours may be used. It can also be used as a patterning on some of the larger ordinaries, such as the pale and fess, in which case there are three rows of squares. Wade, an authority on heraldic meaning groups chequy with all those heraldic features that are composed of squares and believes that they represent “Constancy”, but also quotes another author Morgan, who says that they can also be associated with “wisdom…verity, probity…and equity”, and offers in evidence the existence of the common English saying that an honest man is a ”Square Dealer” 8.

The fret is a striking charge, often occupying the whole of the field and being two instersecting diagonal lines interlaced with the outline of a square. 9 It is believed to be derived from the image of a fishing net, which it does indeed resemble, and hence Wade believes that it should signify persuasion, although other writers regard it separately as the “the heraldic true lovers knot” 10

Birds of great variety occur throughout heraldry, at least in name 11. The owl has long been associated with heraldry and is depicted in a clearly recognised aspect, always with its face to the viewer. 12 It comes as no surprise that previous generations of heraldic writers ascribed to it the traits of “vigilance and acute wit”. 13

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

Fleming Origin:

Germany, Ireland, Scotland

Origins of Name:

The surname of Fleming originally comes from the country of Ireland and comes from the 12th Century, shortly after the invasion of Henry the 11th, which was in the year 1171. The name Fleming literally translates to mean “a man from Flanders” and is a locational surname. Locational surnames are used most often for people who migrate out of the place of their birth looking for work. It was the easiest way to identify strangers. This name comes from the skills referred to be used by a “Flemish weaver.” The town of “Flanders” was the epicenter of the textile industry in Europe during the early times of the medieval period. So this surname was often referred to as the being used to describe someone who was a weaver, or worked with textiles in the medieval period of time.


More common variations are:

Flemming, Fleeming, Fleaming, Flemingg, Fleminig, Flleming, Faleming, Flemiing, Flemingo, Flemington, Flemen, Flemyng, Flemings, Flemming



The first recorded spelling of the surname of Fleming was found in the country of Ireland in the year of 1435. One person by the name of John Fleming was christened at Sloane, in County Meath. This christening took place during the reign of King Henry VI, who was known as and commonly referred to as the “Founder of Eton College” and ruled from the year 1422 to the year 1461. Other mentions of the surname of Fleming included Nicholas Fleming, the Archbishop of Armagh from the year 1404 to the year 1416, the Reverend Richard Fleming who lived from the tear 1542 to the year 1590, and Reverand Thomas Fleming, who was the Archbishop of Dublin and lived from the year 1593 to the year 1666. Another man by the name of Thomas Fleming was married to one Sarah Aston at St. Peters in Dublin on the day of January 1st, in the year 1760.


Those who bore the surname of Fleming were found throughout the country of Scotland. The areas of Scotland with the higher concentrations of people who bore the surname of Fleming were the counties of Lanarkshire, Midlothian, and Renfrewshire.


Those who bear the surname of Fleming and reside in the country of England can be found in the counties of Lancashire, Yorkshire, Durham, and Cumberland, along with the city of London.

United States of America:

During the Great Migration, also known as the European Migration, that had originally begun in the 1600’s, English settlers became disgruntled with their leadership and the way that their homeland was being run. Oftentimes during this time period, they set off in search of a better life, and settled on the United States of America, which at that time was referred to as the Colonies or the New World. This New World promised religious freedom, better living conditions, and the ability to acquisition land. Among these settlers who migrated to the New World were people with the surname of Fleming. The first person to bear this surname in the United States was one Thomas Fleming, who landed in Jamestown in the year 1616. Those who bear this surname of Fleming can be found in the areas of Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Texas, West Virginia, Michigan and California in higher concentrations than in other areas.

Fleming Today:

United States 102,670

England 17, 482

Canada 12,037

Australia 10,593

Scotland 5,861

Ireland 4,701

Brazil 3,943

South Africa 3,726

New Zealand 2,800

Northern Ireland 1,610

Notable People:

Martin Brendan Fleming (1926-2016) who was the Mayor of Lowell, Massachusetts from the year 1982 to the year 1984, and was a politician in America

Miss Margaret Fleming aged 42, who was a First Class Passenger from Haverford, Pennsylvania who sailed on the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking by escaping in the lifeboat 4

Major-General Raymond Hartwell Fleming (1889-1974) who was the American Adjunct-General of Louisiana from the year 1960 to the year 1964

Major-General Philip Bracken Fleming (1887-1955) who was the American Under-Secretary of Commerce from the year 1950 to the year 1951

Peggy Gale Fleming (born in 1948) who was a figure skater from America who won five U.S. titles, three World titles, and the gold medal in the 1968 Olympics in Grenoble, France

Captain Richard E. Fleming (1917-1942) who was a United States Marine who received the Medal of Honor for his heroic service in World War II during the Battle of Midway

Don Fleming (1937-1963) who was a football safety from America

Blazons & Genealogy Notes

1) (Lord Slane, created 1537, dormant 1726). Motto—Bhear na Righ gan (Anglice, May the king live for ever). (Viscount Longford; the twenty-second Lord Slan, so created 1713, d. s. p. m. 1726). Vair a chief chequy or and gu. Crest—A mortar piece casting out a bomb with flames all ppr. chains and rings gold. Supporters—Two greyhounds ar. collared and armed gu.
2) (Gernonstown, co. Meath; Fun. Ent., 1635, Thomasine, wife of Thomas Fleming, second son of Patrick Fleming, descended from a younger son of the Lords Slane). Same Arms, a crescent for diff.
3) (John Fleming, Dublin, 1621; Fun. Ent. of his wife, Katharine Wafer). Same Arms, a martlet for diff.
4) (Sebastian Fleming, Drogheda, 1609: Fun. Ent. of his wife Jane, dau. of Robert Bisse, of Dublin). Same Arms, a border gu.
5) (Thomas Fleming, of Dublin, merchant: Fun. Ent. of his wife, 1639). Same Arms, an annulet sa. a bordure of the last.
6) (Visit. Cornwall, 1620. John Fleming, D.D., of Wadda’ College, Oxford, and Thomas Fleming, Esq., of Landithe, co. Cornwall, grandsons of John Fleming, settled at Bristol, son of John Fleming, of the province of Munster, represented by Nicholls, of Trereife, near Penzance). Chequy or and gu.
7) (Rydal, co. Westmoreland, bart.). (Beckermet, co. Cumberland). Motto—Pax, copia, sapientia. Gu. a fret ar. Crest—A serpent, nowed, holding in his mouth a garland of olive and vine all ppr.
8) (Wath, co. Cumberland). Az. two bars ar. on a chief of the second three lozenges gu.
9) (cos. Essex, Hants, Kent, and Salop). Gu. a chev. betw. three owls ar.
10) (co. Gloucester). Gu. fretty or. a fesse az.
11) (Stoneham and Southampton, co. Hants; confirmed 3 June, 1584, to the founder of the family, Sir Thomas Fleming, Knt., Lord Chief Justice of England, temp. James I.). (Sir Thomas Fleming, Lord Mayor of London. Visit. 1568). Gu. on a chev. betw. three owls ar. an erm. spot sa. Crest—An eagle displ. sa. beaked, legged, and ducally gorged or.
12) (co. Lancester; Richard Fleming, Bishop of Lincoln 1420-31, founder of Lincoln College, Oxford). (quartered by Stanley, of Dalgarth and Awsthwaite. Visit. Cumberland, 1615). Barry of six ar. and az. in chief three lozenges gu.
13) (co. Lancaster). Ar. two bars sa. in chief three gadflies of the second.
14) (co. Salop and Wales). Gu. three crescents in fesse erm. betw. seven crosses crosslet fitchee ar. (another, or). Crest—A dexter hand in armour holding a sword all ppr.
15) (Eustow, co. Devon). Gu. a fret ar.
16) (Manchester). Motto—Pax, copia, sapientia. Same Arms. Crest—A serpent nowed ar. holding in the mouth a chaplet vert.
17) (Rayrigg and Belfield, co. Westmorland). Same Arms. Crest—A serpent nowed, holding in his month a garland of olives and vines all ppr.
18) (co. York). Barry of six ar. and az. in chief three water bougets gu.
19) (Brompton Park, co. Middlesex, bart., extinct 1763. Sir John Fleming, created bart. 1763, was son of Robert Fleming, Esq., of Achonry, co. Sligo, by Katharine Spence, his wife; he d. s. p. m.; his dau. and heiress, Jane, m. the third Earl of Harrington). Ar. a chev. gu. a double tressure flory counterflory of the last. Crest—A goat’s head ppr.
20) (co. York). Az. two bars ar. on a chief of the second three cushions of the first tasselled or.
21) (co. York). Ar. a chev. betw. three fleurs-de-lis gu.
22) (Wales). Gu. three crescents erm.
23) (Wales). Gu. semee of crosses crosslet or
24) Chequy or and gu. on a chief of the first three birds az.
25) Or, a chev. az. betw. three bulls’ heads sa. guttee d’or.
26) (Bratton Fleming, co. Devon, extinct temp. Henry VI.; the co-heirs m. Bellew and Dillon). Vair a chief chequy or and gu.
27) (Stoke Fleming; Lucy, dau. and heir of Symon A. Fleming, m. Mohun, circ. 1140). Vair a fess chequy ar. and gu. (sometimes a chief).
28) (granted to Sir Francis Fleming, Lieutenant of the Ordnance, 1549). Gu. a chev. betw. three owls ar. on a pile in chief or, a cannon az. discharged ppr.
29) Barry of six az. and ar. in chief three lozenges or.
30) Gu. a cinquefoil pierced erm.
31) Az. a cinquefoil erm. charged with an annulet of the first.
32) Az. three bars ar. on a chief of the last as many pair of wings conjoined gu.
33) (Cumbernauld; Earl of Wigtoun; title dormant since 1747). Motto—Let the deed shaw. Quarterly, 1st and 4th, gu. a chev. within a double tressure flory counterflory ar., for Fleming; 2nd, az. three frases ar., for Fraser. Crest—A goat’s head erased ar. armed or. Supporters—Two harts ppr. attired with ten tynes or, each with a collar az. charged with three frases ar.
34) (Ferme, bart., 1666). Motto—Sub pondere cresco. Quarterly, as the last, the chev. in the 1st and 4th quarters embattled for diff. Crest—A palm tree ppr.
35) (Borde, Scotland). Motto—Let the deed shaw. Gu. a chev. betw. three frases ar. all within a double tressure flory counterflory of the second. Crest—A goat’s head erased and attired or.
36) (Barrochan, co. Renfrew). Or, a fesse chequy ar. and az. surmounted by a bend of the third. Crest and Motto, as the last.
37) (Hughes-le Fleming, Rydal Hall, co. Westmorland; exemplified to George Cumberland Hughes, 1861, upon his assuming, by royal licence, the additional name of Le Fleming on succeeding to the estates of his kinswoman, Anne Frederica Elizabeth, widow of Sir Daniel Fleming, fifth bart. of Rydal). Motto—Pax, copia, sapientia. Gu. a fret, ar., for Fleming, quartering Hughes, quarterly, or and ar. a lion ramp. az. betw. three fountains ppr. Crests—A serpent nowed, holding in the mouth a wreath of olive and vine leaves all ppr., for Fleming; a lion couchant the dexter paw resting on a fountain, for Hughes.
38) Ar. a fesse engr. gu. in the dexter chief a rose of the last.
39) (Shareston, co. York; granted by Flower, Norrov, 1571). Az. two bars ar. on a chief of the last three maunchcs gu. Crest—A dolphin ar. crowned az. and charged with six pellets.

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António Fleming commented on 22-Jan-2019
You forgot to count the Fleming's in Portugal, some hundreds. The first Fleming arrival at Portugal was Alexander Miller Fleming, who lived in Oporto, Now, we are hundredes....


  • 1 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36
  • 2 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P52
  • 3 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P154
  • 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 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Chequy
  • 8 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P100
  • 9 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Fret
  • 10 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P118
  • 11 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P233
  • 12 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Owl
  • 13 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P77