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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

1) Or, a chev. gu. in chief two (another, three) roses ppr. in base a dolphin embowed of the last. Crest—A lion ramp. gu. supporting a pillar ppr.
2) (Sedgeberrow and Malvern, co. Worcester. Visit. Worcester, 1634. Hensy Langstone was patron of Sedgeberrow Church, 1551). 3) Same Arms, roses of the second, dolphin az.
4) (co. Worcester). Az. three fleurs-de-lis in pale betw. two palets engr. or.
5) (quartered by Wayneham, of Witney, co. Oxford. Visit. Oxon, 1566). Or, a chev. az. betw. in chief three roses gu. and in base a dolphin embowed of the second.
6) (Cavershill, co. Bucks; John Langston; his dau. and heiress, Jane, to. Thomas Gifford, 12 Edward IV., 1472. Visit. Oxon, 1569). Gu. 7) A chev. erm. betw. three hinds or.
8) (Sarsden, co. Oxford). Or, on a chev. betw. two roses in chief gu. and a dolphin in base ppr. three crosses crosslet of the first.
9) (seal to will of Honor Spry, Langston, impaled by Spry, dated 1689). Ar. a chev. sa. betw. in chief three torteaux and in base a dolphin embowed of the second.
10) Quarterly, az. and ar. a bend or.

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


Anglo-Saxon in origin, the surname Langston is a compound of two medieval English words; “lang” ,which in modern English translates to “tall” or “long and “stan”, which translates to “stone” or “rock”. The name is presumed to be locational, referencing someone who lived near one of the standing stones which are scattered throughout Britain, someone who live near a stone fence, or fortification. The name was most populace in Hampshire and Devon.

Variations in the spelling of the name do exists, besides Langston, the name has also been recorded as Langstone and Langeston among others. The array in variations in the spelling of surnames, as well as many “given” or “bynames” that exists today, can be attributed to a lack of consistency regarding guidelines for spelling in use by the scribes who recorded such information dating back to ancient times. Many of these record keepers were in the habit of spelling phonetically, however, what may have sounded one way to one person may have sounded completely different to another. The issue of multiple spellings of names in records was compounded by the diversity of languages in use in European countries at this time.

The use of surnames did not come into vogue in Britain until after the Norman invasion and conquest. Most residents in the small settlements and villages which existed during earlier periods across most of Britain, found little need for surnames as everyone within 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 came to represent not just individuals but whole families.

In the earlier days of record keeping in Britain, one of the first appearances of the name can be found in registers from London dated 1555 showing the marriage of John Langston to Joane Hadcop. Other records show Edward Langstone listed in the Yorkshire poll taxes dated 1379. The tax rolls, were a series of census and tax records kept by the English Treasury by order of King Richard II, with the oldest dating back to the 12th century. These documents are considered the oldest concentric set of records documenting English governance in the United Kingdom spanning a period of over seven centuries, these records have proven invaluable to researches over the years.

With the discovery of the Americas and the addition to the British Common Wealth of countries such as New Zealand, immigration to these new worlds was inevitable. One of the first settlers on record to America bearing this surname was John Langston who landed in 1635 and settled in Virginia. Additional immigrants to America include; Ann Langston who arrived in Virginia in 1665, Thomas Langston who landed in 1677 and settled in Maryland, and Mary Langston who arrived and settled in Viginia in 1684. Some of the earliest Langstons on record to New Zealand were William and Martha Langston and their daughters Mary Ann and Alice who arrived in 1865 and settled in Wellington, New Zealand.

Worldwide, the highest concentration of people with the surname Langston are found in the United States, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada. State by state, the largest percentile of those with the surname Langston live in Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and South Carolina.

There are a number of persons of note who bear the surname Langston. Wann Langston, Jr. was a noted American paleontologist. Langston was also a professor of paleontology at the University of Texas in Austin. He is credited with the discovery of eight new species of dinosaurs during his career all of which are named for him.

Langston Coat of Arms Meaning

The four main devices (symbols) in the Langston blazon are the rose, dolphin, chevron and fleur-de-lis. The two main tinctures (colors) are gules and or.

Red in heraldry is given the name Gules, sometimes said to be the “martyr’s colour”1. The colour is also associated with Mars, the red planet, and the zodiacal sign Aries 2. Later heralds of a more poetical nature would sometimes refer to the colour as ruby, after the precious stone.3.

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” 4. 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 5. In drawings without colour it is usually represented by many small dots, or by the letter ‘O’ 6.

Natural objects abound in heraldry, and one category that gives especial delight are the many flowers and flowering plants that frequently occur 7. The rose is also of this type, being drawn, at least a little, realistically and often to very pleasing effect. It has long been present in English heraldry, and as a badge and symbol played an enormous in English history throughout the conflict between rival dynasties known as the War of the Roses. In addition to these familial uses, Wade suggests that red roses signify “beauty and grace” and the white represents “love and faith”. 8

In the days before television and the internet it was a rare heraldic artist that had ever seen a dolphin for real, so we should not be surprised that the heraldic representation is not instantly recognisable. Despite this, we should not forget that these artists considered the dolphin to be the king of fish, playing the same role as the lion in the animal kingdom. 9 For reasons not immediately clear, Wade suggests that the dolphin was regarded as an “affectionate fish, fond of music”. 10

The chevron is one the major shapes used upon a shield, known as ordinaries. The inverted ‘V’ of the chevron is perhaps thought to have originated to represent a military scarf folded on the shield 11, or additional cross-pieces used to strengthen the shield and painted a different colour.12. It has also acquired the meaning of “Protection… granted… to one who has achieved some notable enterprise” 13, possibly becuase of its resemblance to the roof truss of a house.

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  • 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 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P35
  • 5 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
  • 6 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P76-77
  • 7 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P262
  • 8 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P132-133
  • 9 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Dolphin
  • 10 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P83
  • 11 A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, (various)
  • 12 The Pursuivant of Arms, J. R. Planche, Hardwicke, London 1859
  • 13 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P45
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