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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

1) (Dover, co. Kent; descended from John Jacob, of Dover, d. 1627, whose grandson, Sir Abraham Jacob, Governor of Walmer Castle, was knighted at Windsor Castle, June, 1683). Or, on a canton ga. an eagle displ. of the field. Crest—A lion ramp or, supporting a cross crosslet fitchée gu.
2) (Bromley and Bow, co. Middlesex, bart., extinct, and of Gamlingay, co. Cambridge; Sir John Jacob was created a bart. 1665, with remainder, in default of male issue, to the male issue of his brother, Robert Jacob, in reward for his great loyalty to Charles I.; he had an estate of £3,000 per annum, but adhering to his sovereign he was deprived of all he had by Oliver Cromwell; he was grandson of Robert Jacob, Esq., of Gamlingay, by Katherine, his wife, dau. of William Abraham, of London, and his wife Jane, dau. of Robert Bostock, co. Chester. The last male descendant of Sir John Jacob, the first bart., Sir Hildebrand Jacob, Bart., d. s. p. 1790, when the title devolved on his kinsman, Sir Clement Brydges Jacob, as fifth bart., who also d. s. p.). Ar. a chev. gu. betw. three heraldic tigers’ heads erased ppr. maned and tusked or. Crest—An heraldic tiger pass, ppr. maned and tusked or. Motto—Tantum in superbos.
3) (Wootton Bassot, co. Wilts; descended from John Jacob, m. ante 1573, Sysil, dau. and heiress of Thomas Thorne, Esq., of Wootton Basset, and settled in co. Wilts; arms confirmed 1633. Visit. Wilts, 1674). Or, on a canton sa. an heraldic tiger's head erased of the field, langued gu. Crest—An heraldic tiger pass. sa. resting the foot on an escutcheon or.
4) (Canterbury, Woolavington, Waldershare, Whitfield, and Sextries, co. Kent; descended from Amos Jacob, Esq., of Barrow Hill, co. Kent, d. 1688; of this line was Herbert Jacob, Major-General Bombay Army, and his brother, John Jacob, C.B., Col. Bombay Artillery, Brigadier-General, and the renowned commander of the Scinde Irregular Horse; also Sir George le Grand Jacob, Knt., Commander of the Star of India and C.B.). Motto—Non nobis solum. Quarterly, 1st and 4th, or, guttée de sang a bordure gu. on a canton of the last an eagle displ. of the field, for Jacob; 2nd and 3rd, per fesse ar. and sa. a lion ramp. within an orle of crosses pattée and crosses crosslet alternately, all counterchanged, for Long. Crest—On a mount vert a lion ramp. per fesse or and gu. supporting a cross crosslet botony fitchée also gu.

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


The surname Jacob is thought to have come from the Hebrew given name Yaakov which translate as “one who follows” or “to follow after”. The name is thought to have immigrated to Britain by way of France. French soldiers returning from the Crusades in the Holy Lands are thought to have imported the Hebrew given name upon their return where it took on the more Anglicized styling of Jacob. At the time of the Crusades, the use of names considered biblical or Christian became very popular, it was during this period that many names which may have been considered Hebrew or biblical became fashionable and were adopted into the European lexicon.

There are over two hundred variations of the spelling of this name which include but are not necessarily limited to; Jacob, Jacobs, Iacobo, Kubera, Kabos, Giacopino, Jankle, and Jessen. The variation in spelling of names 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 earliest record of any variation of the name is that of Agnes Jacobes which appears in the Abbey Of Ramesy register in Huntingdon from 1244. The surname is also on public records from 1273. William Jacob is found listed in Pipe Rolls of Cambridgeshire. The Pipe Rolls often times called the “Great Rolls” were a series of financial records kept by the English Treasury by order of King Henry I, 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.

The first recorded immigrant to America bearing the surname Jacob or any variation of the spelling was Nicholas Jacob who landed and settled in Hingham, Massachusetts in 1633. Richard Jacob landed and settled in Ipswich, Massachusetts in 1635. Andrew Jacob landed and settled in Virginia in 1635. Martha Jacob landed and settled in Virginia in 1642 and Eleanor Jacob landed and settled in Maryland in 1656.

Worldwide, the highest concentration of people with the surname Jacob are found in France, Germany, Belgium, India, and Ireland. By state, the largest percentile of those with the surname Jacob live in Louisiana.

There are many persons of note who bear the surname Jacob. Sir John Jacob, 1st Baronet of Bromley was British and a member of Parliament who sat in the House of Commons. He received his education at Merton College, Oxford University. He was knighted in 1633 and was made a Baronet in 1665. The Jacob family seat was their estate, Bromely, St. Leonards located in Middlesex.

John Jacob was British and served as a Brigadier-General in the British Royal Army and later was an officer of the British East India Company, serving in colonial India. He was a highly respected military leader. He was renowned for the cavalry unit he created, 36th Jacob's Horse. He also founded the town of Jacobabad in Pakistan, where, in just twenty years he converted thousands of acres of desert into cultivable land. Due to his efforts, the region experienced an unprecedented surge in prosperity and progress. For his service and contributions, Jacob was knighted an awarded Commander of the Order of Bath.

Ian Jacob, Brigadier-General John Jacob's grandson, was a Lieutenant-General in the British Army. During World War II, he was assigned as the Military Assistant Secretary to the war cabinet of Winston Churchill. After his military career he was the Director-General of the British Broadcasting Company. In December of 1958, Jacob was appointed Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire he was also appointed a member of the Most Honourable Order of Bath.

Gordon Jacob is a British composer noted for his compositions focusing on woodwind instruments. Jacob was very prolific in his compositions having published over four hundred pieces. He also authored four books and many essays. For his contribution to the arts, he received the Most Excelent Order of the British Empire (CBE).

Ernest Fraser Jacob was a noted English scholar in medieval studies. He was educated at Winchester College, New College at Oxford, and Souls College at Oxford. Jacob went on to teach at history at Manchester University and Oxford. He authored and published many books on medieval history and is still highly revered as an authority on this time period.

Jacob Coat of Arms Meaning

The two main devices (symbols) in the Jacob blazon are the eagle and heraldic tiger. The three main tinctures (colors) are or, gules and argent .

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” 1. 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 2. In drawings without colour it is usually represented by many small dots, or by the letter ‘O’ 3.

Gules, the heraldic colour red is very popular, sometimes said to represent “Military Fortitude and Magnanimity”4. It is usually abbreviated as gu and in the days before colour printing was shown in a system known as hatching by vertical lines 5. 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).6

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) 7. In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper 8.

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 9. 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 10 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 11, 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!

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? 12 The tiger is an interesting example here being named after a real animal but depicted in rather and mythical appearance. 13 Later arms came to use a more lifelike appearance and the usage of heraldic tiger and natual tiger arose to make the distinction. Wade tells us that the mythical bearing of such a creature signifies “great fierceness and valour when enraged” and suggests that we should be wary as the holder may be “one whosee resentment will be dangerous if aroused”! 14

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Patrick Arbuthnot commented on 17-Aug-2017
I am reading a book by Andrew Roberts "Masters and Commanders" which studies the complex relationships between Roosevelt, Churchill, Brooke and Marshall. There are many references to Gen Sir Ian Jacob which led me to Google to check whether he was the same Ian Jacob who later became head of the BBC. What relation was Ian Jacob to composer Gordon? I had an idea that they were brothers. I am interested because my father was born in Ootachamud in Southern India and when my grandfather died at an early age in 1916 his widow, my grandmother, and her 2 young daughters (my father was at school in England) were looked after by one Charles Jacob and his wife Violet. Charles was a brother of Gordon. When they returned to England after independence the Jacob's lived in Wheathampstead, Hertforfdshire, and I used to visit them when I was at boarding school not far away. They were always known to my family and my cousins as Uncle Jacob and Auntie Vi. Regards Patrick Arbuthnot


  • 1 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P35
  • 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, P76-77
  • 4 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36
  • 5 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P52
  • 6 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P154
  • 7 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
  • 8 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P11
  • 9 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Eagle
  • 10 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P235-238
  • 11 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P72-74
  • 12 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P191
  • 13 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Tiger
  • 14 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P63