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Jaffray Coat of Arms Meaning

The four main devices (symbols) in the Jaffray blazon are the fesse, mullet, paly and sun. The two main tinctures (colors) are sable and argent.

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 1. 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 2. Although it may seem a sombre tone, and does indeed sometimes denote grief, it is more commonly said to represent Constancy 3.

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) 4. In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper 5.

The fesse (also found as fess) is one of the major ordinaries to found in heraldry, being a bold, broad, horizontal band across the centre of the shield. It may originally have arisen from the planks of which a wooden shield can be constructed, the centremost plank being painted a different colour 6. It is instantly recognisable as a symbol, for example the arms of COLEVILLE granted during the reign of Hery III are simply or, a fesse gules. With this clear association with the construction of the shield itself, Wade believes that the fesse can be taken to be associated with the military, as a “girdle of honour”.

The heraldic mullet, not to be confused with the fish of that name, is shown as a regular, five pointed star. This was originally, not an astronomical object, but represented the spur on a horseman’s boot, especially when peirced, with a small circular hole in the centre it represents a type of spur known as a “rowel” 7. A clear example can be found in the arms of Harpendene, argent, a mullet pierced gules. The ancient writer Guillim associated such spurs in gold as belonging to the Knight, and the silver to their esquires 8. In later years, Wade linked this five pointed star with the true celestial object, the estoile and termed it a “falling star”, symbolising a “divine quality bestowed from above” 9.

Play is what is known as a treatment, a regular patterning, usually over the whole background of the shield. The word comes from the pale, the major vertical stripe that appears on some shields, paly is obvious its little cousin, consisting of, typically, 6 or more vertical stripes, alternately coloured 10. The stripes can be any combination of the heraldic tinctures, an early example is that of GURNEY, being simply paly of six, or and argent. Paly can be combined with other effects, such as decorative edges on each stripe, or overlaid with other treatments such as bendy, and these can be very effective and pleasing to the eye 11.

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

Jaffray Origin:

England, France

Origins of Jaffray:

This unusual surname of English origin has different spellings Jeffry, Jeffery, Jeffree, Jeffray, Jeffroy, Jaffrey, Jaffray, Geoffrey, Geoffroy, etc. It acquired from a Norman particular name that appears in Middle English as Geffrey and in Old French as Je(u)froi. These names are themselves the result of a coalescing of many originally different Old German names such as "Galfridus," and Gaufridus which acquire from "gala" which means "to sing" or "gawi" "region or territory," and "fridtha," "peace." The surname dates back to the early 13th Century. More records contain as one Walter Gefray (1243), witness, "The Assize Court Rolls of Somerset," and Agnes Geffreys (1283), "The Premium Rolls of Suffolk." London parish records contain one Elizabeth Jeffray who married John Hare in February 1628, in Stepney.


More common variations are: Jaffraye, Jaffra, Jaffry, Jaffrey, Jaffery, Joffray, Jaffara, Jaffory.


The surname Jaffray first appeared in Peeblesshire, earlier division in South-central Scotland, in the present day Scottish Borders Council Area, where they held a family seat from old times.


The very first recording spelling of the family was shown to be that of Walter Geffrei, dated about 1203, in the "Curia Regis Rolls of Norfolk." It was during the time of King John who was known to be the “Lackland," dated 1199- 1216. The origin of surnames during this period became a necessity with the introduction of personal taxation. It came to be known as Poll Tax in England.


Many of the people with surname Jaffray had moved to Ireland during the 17th century.

United States of America:

Individuals with the surname Jaffray landed in the United States in two different centuries respectively in the 18th, and 19th. Some of the people with the name Jaffray who arrived in the United States in the 18th century included George Jaffray of Kincardine who settled in New Hampshire and became Speaker of the Assembly in New Hampshire in 1707. Lewis Jaffray settled in New England in 1774.

The following century saw more Jaffray surnames arrive. Some of the people with the surname Jaffray who arrived in the United States in the 19th century included John R Jaffray, aged 27, arrived in New York in 1812. Robert Jaffray and Alexander Jaffray landed in New York in 1820. James Jaffray settled in New York in 1822.


Some of the population with the surname Jaffray who arrived in New Zealand in the 19th century included William Jaffray and Margaret Jaffray, both came to Otago aboard the ship "Philip Laing" in 1848. Anabella Jaffray and Elizabeth Jaffray, both came to Nelson aboard the ship "Cresswell" in 1856. George Jaffray arrived in Bluff. New Zealand aboard the ship "Adamant" in 1875.

Here is the population distribution of the last name Jaffray: Canada 369; England 339; United States 270; France 245; Scotland 190; Australia 145; South Africa 128; New Zealand 33; Ireland 27; Indonesia 19.

Notable People:

Jason Jaffray (born 1981), is a Canadian hockey player.

Lyn Jaffray was a New Zealand All Black rugby union player.

Blazons & Genealogy Notes

(King’s Wells, co. Kincardine). Motto—Pest nubila Phoebus. Paly of six ar. and sa. on a fesse of the first three mullets of the second. Crest—The sun beaming through a cloud ppr.
(Dilspro, Scotland, 1672). As the last, with a crescent for diff. Same Crest and Motto.
1) (Edinburgh, 1672). As King’s Wells, with a mullet for diff. Same Crest and Motto.
2) (Portsmouth, New England, America; descended from Hon. George Jaffrey, Speaker of the Assembly of New Hampshire. The family, an influential one in New Hampshire, ended in three co-heiresses, one of whom m. David Jeffries, of Boston). Motto—Post nubila Phoebus. Paly of six ar. and sa. surmounted by a fesse of the first charged with three stars of the second. Crest—The sun shining through a cloud ppr.

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  • 1 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Sable
  • 2 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 26
  • 3 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P35
  • 4 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
  • 5 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P11
  • 6 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Fesse
  • 7 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 97
  • 8 A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, P107
  • 9 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P105
  • 10 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Paly
  • 11 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P121