Houghton Family Crest, Coat of Arms and Name History

Houghton Family Coat of Arms

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Houghton Coat of Arms Meaning

Houghton Name Origin & History

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Houghton Coat of Arms Meaning

The four main devices (symbols) in the Houghton blazon are the bar, boar, eagle and eopards’ faces jesant-de-lis. The three main tinctures (colors) are gules, ermine and sable .

Red in heraldry is given the name Gules, sometimes said to be the “martyr’s colour”1The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36. The colour is also associated with Mars, the red planet, and the zodiacal sign Aries 2Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53. Later heralds of a more poetical nature would sometimes refer to the colour as ruby, after the precious stone.3A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P77.

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 4A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P69 It has a long association with royalty and the nobility in general and hence represents “Dignity” wherever it is found 5The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P39. The ermine pattern is white with, typically, a three dots and a dart grouping representing the tail of the furred creature.6Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 28. The ermine spot is sometimes found alone as a special charge on the shield.

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 7A 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 8Boutell’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 9The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P35.

The bar is a thin, horizontal stripe across the centre of the shield 10A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Bar, usually in groups of two or three (any more and there would be confusion with barry, a treatment of horizontal lines of alternating colours). Bars can be a distinctive and easily recognised device, early examples include those awarded by Henry III of England to the family MAUDYT Argent, two bars gules.

In the middle ages, the wild boar, a far more fearsome creature than its domesticated relative, the pig was a much more commonly seen animal than today. It was also known as a sanglier. 11Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 72 It can appear in many of the same poses that we see for the lion, but has its own (easily imagined!) position known as enraged! 12A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Boar We should not be surprised then that this “fierce combatant” is said to be associated with the warrior. 13The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P67

Where the lion is undisputed king of the animals, the eagle undoubtedly plays the same role in the realm of the birds, its use in this form dating back to at least the Roman period 14A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Eagle. They tend to be illustrated in quite some detail, especially in continental European arms, and have almost as wide variety of postures and accessories as the lion, well illustrated in the reference 15A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P235-238 as well as being just the eagle’s head or eagle’s leg. The symbology of the eagle is deep and complex, Wade devotes several pages to the subject 16The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P72-74, but suffice it say that it has long been associated with Empire and those held in high honour – any armiger would be pleased to have any form of Eagle upon their arms!

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Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Houghton Name

HOUGHTON

The name Houghton is of Anglo-Saxon/English origin and is considered topographical. It originated from the medieval English words “hoh” which is defined or translates to mean ridge and “tun” which translates to settlement. In the context of this surname it would mean someone who lived near or beside a are or a ridge or cliff.

The variations in the spelling of the surname includes; Houghton; Haughton; Haltone; Halstone; and Haustone among others. The variations in spelling of surnames, as well as many given or by-names dating back to ancient times can be attributed to a lack of consistency regarding guidelines for spelling in use by the scribes who recorded such information, many of which were in the habit of spelling phonetically. The issue of multiple spellings of names in records was compounded by the diversity of languages in use in European countries at this time.

Until the Norman invasion and conquest, surnames were rarely if ever used. In the small settlements and villages which existed during earlier times in most of Britain, residents found little need for surnames as everyone in these communities knew each other and a given name would usually suffice. However, as communities grew and people began to migrate on a larger scale, along with the need of the government having a reliable way to track people for tax and census purposes, the Norman aristocracy’s penchant for using surnames seemed the appropriate evolution to this problem. In most instances to distinguish themselves, one from another, those not of the noble class would often be identified by their given name plus their occupation while others may have been identified by their given name and one of their parent’s names. 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 individual’s home or birthplace, the name of the village in which the person lived, and so much more. Over the course or time, surnames would come not just to represent an individual but whole families.

One of the earliest record of any variation of this surname is that of Simon Howtone which appears in the York tax rolls from 1279. The tax rolls, were a series of census and tax records kept by the English Treasury by order of King Edward III, with the oldest dating back to the 12th century. These documents are considered the oldest concentric set of records detailing English governance in the United Kingdom.

After the discovery of America and the addition to the British Commonwealth of countries such as Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, it was not long before people began to immigrate to these outlying areas. Some of the first recorded immigrants to America bearing the surname were Robert and Christine Houghton and their son John who arrived in or around 1635 and settled in New England.

George Houghton was an early settler to Canada, landing and settling in Nova Scotia in 1749. Lavinia Houghton was an early settler to Australia, landing and settling in Adelaide in 1838. Allan and Francis Houghton and their children, George, James, and John, were early settlers to New Zealand, landing and settling in Wellington in 1840.

Worldwide, the highest concentration of people with the surname Houghton are found in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and the United States. By state, the largest percentile of those with the surname Houghton live in Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, and Utah.

There are many persons of note who bear the surname Houghton. Probably one of the earliest was Adam Houghton, Bishop of St. David’s and Lord Chancellor of England. He was educated at the University of Oxford where he graduated with a Doctor of Law degree in 1340. He was named as Bishop of St. David’s by Pope Innocent VI and consecrated by Bishop William Evendon in 1361.

Houghton also lends its name to various locations, towns, and buildings, one of the most notable is Houghton Hall in Norfolk. The grand manor was the home of David Cholmondeley, 7th Marquess of Cholmondeley. The estate is adjacent to Sandringham House, which is privately owned by Queen Elizabeth II.

Houghton Family Gift Ideas

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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

1) (Haughton, co. Chester, Petersfield, co. Hants, cos. Lancaster and Sussex). Sa. three bars ar. Crests—1st: A bull’s head sa. attired ar. charged on the neck with three bars of the last; 2nd: A bull pass. gu.
2) (Haughton, co. Chester, Petersfield, co. Hants, cos. Lancaster and Sussex). Sa. three bars ar. Crests—1st: A bull’s head sa. attired ar. charged on the neck with three bars of the last; 2nd: A bull pass. gu.
3) (co. Lancaster). Ar. three bars sa. Crest—A bull's head couped gu. horned or.
4) (Alderman of London, d. 31 Dec. 1596). Sa. three bars ar. Crest—A bull pass. ar.
5) (London). Ar. three bars sa. in chief two mullets pierced of the last, the horns barry of the first and second.
6) (King’s Clyff, co. Northampton, and of co. Rutland). Sa. three bars ar. in chief a rose or. Crest—A bull’s head ar. attired or, gorged with three bars sa. on the centre one a rose of the second.
7) (Gunthorp, co. Norfolk). Ar. on a bend sa. three eagles displ. or. Crest—A demi eagle displ. or, guttee de sang.
8) (Beckbury, co. Salop). Ar. a cross sa. in the dexter chief and sinister base an owl ppr.
9) (co. York). Erm. a cross engr. sa. Crest—A scymitar erect ar. hilt and pommel downwards or.
10) Erm. a chev. (another, two chevronels) engr. sa.
Ar. a cross sa. betw. four owls gu.
Gu. four leopards' faces jesant-de-lis, two and two, or, a canton erm.
(Ballyanne and Kilmannock, co. Wexford; represented by Houghton, of Glashore, co. Kilkenny; the late George Powell Houghton, Esq., of Kilmannock, left three daus. his co-heirs, viz., Anne Coote, m. Sir John Marcus Stewart, Bart.; Alice, m. Captain Edward Webber Smith; and Charlotte, m. Standish O’Grady, Esq.; at the death of G. P. Houghton, Esq., his first cousin, George Henry Houghton, Esq., of Glashare, became heir male of the family. Impalement Fun. Ent., Valentine Savage, 1670, whose wife was Mary, dau. of Thomas Houguton, Esq., of Ballyanne). Ar. three bars sa.

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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, P53
3. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P77
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. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Sable
8. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 26
9. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P35
10. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Bar
11. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 72
12. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Boar
13. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P67
14. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Eagle
15. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P235-238
16. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P72-74