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Greenford Coat of Arms Meaning

The two main devices (symbols) in the Greenford blazon are the lion rampant and squirrel. The three main tinctures (colors) are gules, ermine and or .

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

Ermine is a very ancient pattern, and distinctive to observe. It was borne alone by John de Monfort, the Earl of Richmond and Duke of Brittany in the late 14th century 4 It has a long association with royalty and the nobility in general and hence represents “Dignity” wherever it is found 5. The ermine pattern is white with, typically, a three dots and a dart grouping representing the tail of the furred creature.6. The ermine spot is sometimes found alone as a special charge on the shield.

The bright yellow colour frequently found in coats of arms is known to heralds as Or, or sometimes simply as Gold.7. 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 8. The yellow colour is often associated with the Sun, and the zodiacal sign of Leo.9.

There can be no animal more clearly associated with Heraldry than the lion, majestic King of the Beasts. Originally it appeared only in one pose, erect, on one paw, with the others raised 10 but such was the popularity of this figure, and the need to distinguish arms from each other, that it soon came to be shown in an enormous range of forms 11. The lion rampant is an example of these modified form, and any family would be proud to have such a noble creature displayed on their arms. Rampant is the default attitude of the lion, raised on its hind legs, facing to the dexter and with front paws extended in a fearsome and powerful pose.

The squirrel is a quite delightful charge, always shown sitting upright (known as sejant) and eating a nut, 12 in a most lifelike manner (as this author can attest due to the presence of exactly such a creature outside his window as I write this). It should not surprise us that the significance of such a creature upon a coat of arms is a love of the “sylvan retirement” to be found in the woods and forest. 13

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

Very little is known about this surname. It means “dweller by the green ford”. It derives from the Old English words grene (green) and ford (ford, a shallow point where a river can be crossed). The Greenford family motto is Fide sed cui vide, meaning “Trust, but in whom take care”. An early bearer of the name was John Greneford who was documented as living in 1259 AD. One notable person with this last name was John of Greenford, a medieval Bishop of Chichester from 1173-1180 AD.

Blazons & Genealogy Notes

1) Quarterly, or and az. a lion ramp. counterchanged.
2) Per fesse vert and or, a lion ramp. counterchanged.
3) (Levanton, co. Kent). Motto—Fide sed cui vide. Gu. a chev. erm. betw. three squirrels or. Crest—Out of a ducal coronet or, a boar's head and neck az. betw. two wings ar.

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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 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P69
  • 5 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P39
  • 6 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 28
  • 7 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 27
  • 8 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P85
  • 9 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
  • 10 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 64
  • 11 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P136-141
  • 12 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Squirrel
  • 13 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P69