Gaston Coat of Arms
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Which coat of arms or "family crest" is mine?
Choose the design you like best, just your ancestors did when they painted these symbols on the shields they carried into battle and displayed in their homes. These coats of arms are real, historical works of art/culture dating back as far as 1100AD. Most of these designs were compiled and documented by genealogists and heraldists in large books published in the nineteenth century. These arms were owned by individuals who bore your surname, and were passed down through the generations from father to son, earning the monicker "family crest".
Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Gaston Name
The name Gaston is an Anglo-Saxon name of Norman-French origins. It is thought the name is a derivative of a Norman surname “gazda” which translates to “landlord(lady)”, “owner”, or “entertainer”. The name would likely have been imported during or just after the Norman invasion in 1066 .
Surnames in Britain prior to the Norman conquest were largely unheard of. In the small settlements and villages which existed during earlier times, residents found little need for surnames as everyone in these communities new each other and a given name would usually suffice. However, with the passage of time, population growth and expansions of communities as villages gave way to towns and cities, it became necessary to add a qualifier to a people’s names to distinguish them, one from another. Therefore one person may have been identified by their given name plus their occupation while another may have been identified by their given name and one of their parent’s names. The introduction of surnames by the Norman aristocracy after the invasion seemed to be the next logical step in this evolution. 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 individuals home or birthplace, the name of the village in which the person lived, and so much more. Soon, surnames would come not just to represent an individual but whole families.
There often exists variations in spelling of many surnames, as with many given names which date back to the early centuries. The variation in spelling of both given and surnames during this time period can be attributed to a lack of continuity regarding guidelines for spelling which was compounded by the diversity of languages in use in European countries at this time. The variations in the spelling of the surname Gaston include but not limited to; Gaston and Gastone. among others.
The earliest record of any variation of this surname is that of John Gacon which appears in the Wiltshire tax rolls from 1230. These rolls, were a series of census and tax records kept by the English Treasury by order of King Henry III, with the oldest dating back to the 12th century. They hold the distinction of being the oldest consecutive set of records detailing English governance in the United Kingdom. These records span a period of over 700 years and have proven invaluable to researches over the years. Additional tax rolls show records of Richard Gasdon from Hampshire in 1230 and Edward Gastone 1357 in Hampshire.
The first recorded immigrant to America bearing the surname or any variation of the spelling was Francis Gaston who arrived in 1663 and settled in Virginia. Brothers Joseph, Alexander, Hugh, and John Gaston landed and settled in Perth Amboy, New Jersey in 1720. Guillaume Gaston arrived and settled in Louisianan in 1721. William Gaston arrived and settled in South Carolina in 1721and Mary Gaston arrived and settled in South Carolina in 1772.
There were also many immigrants to the British Common Wealth countries of Canada, Australia, and New Zealand bearing the surname Gaston. Robert Gaston landed in 1834 and settled in Quebec, Canada. Charles and Mary Gaston landed in 1839 and settled in Adelaide, Australia. Alfred Gaston landed in 1856 and settled in Southern Australia. George Gaston landed in 1888 and settled in Wellington, New Zealand.
Worldwide, the highest concentration of people with the surname Gaston are found in the United States, France, Spain, Australia, and Canada . By state, the largest percentile of those with the surname Gaston live in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, and West Virginia.
There are many persons of note who bear the surname Gaston. One such person is Alexander Gaston was born in Ireland. Gaston was educated at the University of Edinburgh where he studied medicine. After graduating he joined the British Navy and was assigned as a ship’s doctor. While serving during the Seven Years War I Cuba, Dr. Gaston became ill while treating his men during an epidemic. For the sake of his own health, Dr. Gaston, he took a leave and went America to recover. He choose the small town of New Bern, North Carolina, which he decided to make his home. He purchased a sizable tract of land and got married. Prior to and during the Revolutionary War, Dr. Gaston supported the American cause, a fact that made him unpopular with those loyal to the English crown. This would be undoing, everyone knew where his sympathies lay and one day while in the midst of a disagreement with a loyalist, he was shot, and subsequently died of his wounds.
Gaston Coat of Arms Meaning
The three main devices (symbols) in the Gaston blazon are the escallop, owl and chequy. The three main tinctures (colors) are argent, gules and or .
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) 1Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53. In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper 2A 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.3The Siege of Carlaverock, N. Harris, Nichols & Son, London, 1828, P180. The word gules is thought to come from the Arabic gule, or “red rose” 4Boutell’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 5Understanding 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.6Boutell’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 7A 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.8Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53.
The escallopoccurs often in arms, represented as the outside of the shell, sometimes “fluted” of a different colour 9A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Escallop. It has been part of heraldic tradition almost from the beginning of the art, Henry III of England awarded Gules, 3 escallopes argent to Herbert de CHAMBERLEYNE in the 13th century, and it is present in the heraldry of almost all countries 10A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P299. It is believed that they were adopted as badges of those going to the Holy Land and can be found in the arms of many a crusading family. Hence Wade’s suggested association of the scallop with those that “complete long journeys to far countries” 11The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P91.
Birds of great variety occur throughout heraldry, at least in name 12A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P233. The owl has long been associated with heraldry and is depicted in a clearly recognised aspect, always with its face to the viewer. 13A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Owl It comes as no surprise that previous generations of heraldic writers ascribed to it the traits of “vigilance and acute wit”. 14The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P77
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 15A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Chequy. 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” 16The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P100.