Gorham Family Crest, Coat of Arms and Name History

Gorham Family Coat of Arms

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Gorham Coat of Arms Meaning

Gorham Name Origin & History

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Gorham Coat of Arms Meaning

The three main devices (symbols) in the Gorham blazon are the shackbolts, wings and griffin. The two main tinctures (colors) are gules and or.

Gules, the heraldic colour red is very popular, sometimes said to represent “Military Fortitude and Magnanimity”1The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36. It is usually abbreviated as gu and in the days before colour printing was shown in a system known as hatching by vertical lines 2Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P52. 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).3A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P154

Or is the heraldic metal Gold, often shown as a bold, bright yellow colour. It is said to show “Generosity and elevation of the mind” 4The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P35. Later heralds, of a more poetic nature liked to refer to it as Topaz, after the gemstone, and, for obvious reasons associated it with the Sun 5Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53. In drawings without colour it is usually represented by many small dots, or by the letter ‘O’ 6A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P76-77.

It is important that a coat of arms be easily recognised and so everyday objects were frequently used as clearly identifiable charges – tools 7Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 69 being a common and important example of these, of which the shacklebolt, a form of padlock, is typical.

Wings are frequently observed in coats of arms. Unless otherwise specified they should be shown as eagle’s wings, with a realistic appearance. 8A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Wing They can appear singly or in pairs, in which form they are very often found in the crest, which rests above the shield in a full achievement of arms. Wade, quoting Quillim, suggests that the use of the wing on the shield signifies “celerity and protection or covering”. 9The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P73

In the mediaeval period there was no real percieved difference between real and mythical animals, after all, much of the world remained unknown and who was to say what strange and magical creatures existed in distant lands? As heraldry developed a whole menagerie of imagined creatures 10Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P164 came into being, and their various representations became more or less standardised in form and appearance. The griffin is perhaps the most common of these creatures, being a chimera with the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle. 11A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Griffin. It is most often in the pose known as rampant segreant, on its hind legs with claws and wings extended. Vinycomb has much to say on the subject of the griffin, perhaps summarised in his belief that it represents “strength and vigilance”.]12Fictitious & Symbolic Creatures…in British Heraldry, J. Vinycomb, Chapman & Hall, London, 1906, P150

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Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Gorham Name

Gorham Origin:

England

Origins of Gorham:

The surname of Gorham is said to be a locational surname that can be traced to the country of England. Since the surname of Gorham is locational, this means that it was often taken by the Lord or owner of the land from which the name derives. Others who may have take a locational surname are people who have migrated out of the area to seek out work. The easiest way to identify someone who was a stranger at that time was by the name of their birthplace. It is believed that the surname of Gorham stems from the lost village of Gorehambury, which was said to be located near the town of St. Albans in the county of Hertfordshire. The word itself stems from the Old English Pre 7th Century word of “gor” which can be translated to mean “muddy” and the addition of the word of “ham” which can be translated to mean a “farm or a homestead.” Thus, the literal translation of the surname of Gorham is that it is a muddy farm.

Variations:

More common variations are: Gorrham, Gourham, Gorhami, Goarham, Goram,Gorhm, Garham

History:

England:

The first recorded spelling of the surname of Gorham stems from the country of England. One person by the name of Geoffrey de Gorham, who was recorded in the Church Registers of St. Albans as being the abbot of St. Albans, and was believed to have lived from the year of 1080 to the year of 1146. This document was ordered, decreed, and written under the reign of one King Stephen of England, who was known throughout the ages and commonly referred to as one “Stephen, Count of Blois.” King Stephen of England ruled from the year of 1135 to the year of 1154. Other mentions of the surname of Gorham within the country of England include one George Gorham, who was a famous Protestant divine and who served as the Vicar of Brampford Speke, which was located within the county of Devonshire. Those who bear the surname of Gorham within the country of England can be found in large concentrations in the areas of Devonshire, Hertfordshire, and the areas in and around the city of London.

United States of America:

Many European citizens migrated to the United States of America, which was then referred to as The New World or The Colonies, within the 17th and 18th centuries. These citizens were in search of better living conditions, the ability to own land, and in to obtain new employment, which were all freedoms that the New World promised those who migrated there. This large movement of people is known as the European Migration, and is sometimes called the Great Migration. Among those who migrated to the New World in search of a new life was one person named John Gorham, who arrived in the city of Boston, Massachusetts in the year of 1630, making him the first person who was recorded to bear the surname of Gorham within the United States of America.

Here is the population distribution of the last name Gorham: United States 9,930; England 801; Canada 698; Australia 589; Ireland 235; South Africa 146; Brazil 79; New Zealand 62; Scotland 39; Cayman Islands 22; Norway 20

Notable People:

Nathaniel Gorham (1738-1796) who served as a U.S. Congressman under the Articles of Confederation, and who was a politician and merchant from America.

Benjamin Gorham (1775-1855) who served as a Representative from the state of Massachusetts in the 1st District from the year of 1820 to the year of 1823, from the year of 1827 to the year of 1831, and again from the year of 1833 to the year of 1835, and who was a politician from America.

Andrew B. Gorham, who served as the Candidate for the Connecticut State House of Representatives from Wilton in the year of 1902, and who was a Republican politician from America.

Albert A. Gorham, who served as a Candidate for the Connecticut State House of Representatives from Redding in the year of 1908, and who was a Republican politician from America.

Brad Gorham, who served as a Delegate to the Republican National Convention from the state of Rhode Island in the year of 2008, and who was a Republican politician from America.

Charles B. Gorham, who served as a Member of the New York State Assembly from Otsego County from the year of 1896 to the year of 1897, and who was a politician from America.

Gorham Family Gift Ideas

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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

Notes: (Gorhambury, co. Herts; borne by the descendants of Sir Hugh de Gorham, temp. Richard II. Visit. Lincoln, 1562). Blazon: Gules three shackbolts conjoined in fess or. Crest: A griffin's head couped between two wings all or.

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References   [ + ]

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. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P35
5. Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
6. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P76-77
7. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 69
8. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Wing
9. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P73
10. Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P164
11. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Griffin
12. Fictitious & Symbolic Creatures…in British Heraldry, J. Vinycomb, Chapman & Hall, London, 1906, P150