Blazons & Genealogy Notes
1) (Hammersmith, co. Middlesex). Gu. on a chev, betw. three leopards’ faces or, as many cinquefoils of the field.
2) (Yarmouth, co. Norfolk). Gu. on a chev. or, three crescents of the first. Crest—A leopard’s face sa. betw. two wings or.
3) Vert a unicorn’s head erased ar. Crest—An ostrich, wings endorsed, holding in the beak a horseshoe ppr.
Origin, Meaning, Family History and Impey Coat of Arms and Family Crest
Origins of Impey:
Listed in many spellings such as Impy and Impey, this is an English surname of great antiquity. It acquires from the Olde English pre 7th-century word ‘imphaga’ which means a protective wall made of trees, or a building created by trees. There are many places that acquire from a similar origin, and these, in turn, were given to some of the new surname ancestors. These hamlets are Emply in Surrey, Empty in Northamptonshire, and Imphy Hall in Essex. All of them were villages that were largely ‘cleared’ during the period of the Enclosure Acts between the 15th and the 18th century when residents disposed of their common grazing rights and were ordered to move to any other place in seek of work. In so doing, they took a more likely given association of surnames, the name of their old home hamlet. Spelling being at best unusual, and local dialects very ‘thick,’ lead to the advancement of ‘sounds like’ surname spellings over the centuries. In this case, early examples of the surname records derived from the rolls, charters and records of the old period contain John atte Imphage, in the tax recordings known as the Premium Rolls of the division of Sussex in 1327, and John de Impey, in the same tax records or Premium Rolls but for the division of Suffolk, also in 1327.
More common variations are: Impy, Impe, Whimpey, Empey, Ampey, Umpey, Imbey, Impoy, Iimpe, Elimy.
The surname Impey first appeared in Essex where they held a family seat from old times. Some say well before the Norman Invasion and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 AD.
Many of the people with surname Impey had moved to Ireland during the 17th century.
United States of America:
Individuals with the surname Impey landed in the United States in two different centuries respectively in the 18th, and 19th. Some of the people with the name Impey who arrived in the United States in the 18th century included Thomas Impey, who settled in Maryland in 1740 with his wife, Alice.
The following century saw more Impey surnames arrive. Some of the people with the surname Impey who arrived in the United States in the 19th century included Robert Impey, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) Division, Pennsylvania in 1833.
Here is the population distribution of the last name Impey: England 1,296; South Africa 950; Australia 295; United States 241; Canada 155; Wales 79; New Zealand 78; France 73; United Arab Emirates 54; Ireland 27.
Andy Impey (born 1971), is an English football player, who played as either as a full-back or as a winger.
Catherine Impey (1847–1923), was a British Quaker activist against racial separation.
Daryl Impey (born 1984), is a South African professional road cyclist.
Elijah Impey (1732–1809), was a British judge.
Jarman Impey (born July 1995) is an indigenous Australian rules football player for the Port Adelaide Football Club in the AFL.
John Impey (born 1954), is an English former professional footballer and football manager.
Mary Impey (1749-1818), was an English natural archaeologist and leader of Bengal arts.
Impey Coat of Arms Meaning
The four main devices (symbols) in the Impey blazon are the leopard’s face, cinquefoil, crescent and unicorn. The three main tinctures (colors) are gules, or and vert .
Gules, the heraldic colour red is very popular, sometimes said to represent “Military Fortitude and Magnanimity”. It is usually abbreviated as gu and in the days before colour printing was shown in a system known as hatching by vertical lines . 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).
The bright yellow colour frequently found in coats of arms is known to heralds as Or, or sometimes simply as Gold.. 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 . The yellow colour is often associated with the Sun, and the zodiacal sign of Leo..
The deep green colour that is so often observed in heraldry is more properly known as vert. According to Wade, the use of this colour signifies “Hope and Joy”, but may also represent, rather delightfully, “Loyalty in Love” . It has other names also, the French call it sinople, perhaps after a town in Asia Minor from where the best green die materials could be found . More fanciful heralds liked to associate it with the planet venus and the precious stone emerald . More strangely, there is some evidence that the term prasin was anciently used, being the Greek for the vegetable we call the Leek!
The leopard’s face (sometimes, incorrectly referred to as a leopard’s head occurs very frequently in heraldry . Early heraldic artists tended to treat lions and leopards as the same animal, but during the development of British Heraldry the heads of the two creatures have adopted separate, and more realistic forms. Wade would have us associate leopards with warriors, especially those who overcome ”hazardous things by force and courage”
Natural objects abound in heraldry, and one category that gives especial delight are the many flowers and flowering plants that frequently occur . The cinquefoil is also of this type, being drawn, at least a little, realistically and often to very pleasing effect. It is shown as five-petalled flower, each petal quite rounded but with a distinct tip. It is sometimes pierced with a hole in the centre and usually appears on its own, without any leaves. It has no fixed colour but can appear in any of the available heraldic tinctures.
For easy recognition of the items on a coat of arms, and hence the quick identification of the owner, bold simple shapes are best. Hence, simple geometric shapes are often used for this purpose xz`, and the crescent Is a typical example of this, and can appear in any of the main heraldic tinctures. Some common is this device that there are special names for its appearance in various orientations – whilst it lies normally with points upward, the decrescent points to the sinister side, and the increscent to the dexter . The allusion, obviously is to the shape of the moon in the sky (indeed, the French have a version “figuré” which includes a face!) and has been said to signify both “honour by the sovereign” and “hope of greater glory” .