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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

Motto—Justitia et veritas. Erm. a fesse betw. three cocks gu. Crest—A dexter arm in armour embowed holding a scymitar all ppr.

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

The name Lauriston is of Anglo-Saxon origin and came from the name Lawrence.  This name is in turn acquired from the Latin name Laurentius, which means man from Lanrentium, a town in Italy named for its laurels or bay trees. More common variations are: Larston, Lauryston, Larriston, Louriston, Lauriston, Laureston, Lawriston, Lariston, Lau-Riston, Laurieston.

The surname Lauriston first found in Lancashire at Yealand-Redmayne, a township, in the parish of Warton, union of Lancaster, hundred of Lonsdale south of the Sands.  "Yealand Hall, an ancient dwelling at Yealand-Storrs in the township, seems to have been occupied in the reign of Henry VIII. by the family of Lawrence, who held the manor of "Yeland-Redmayn" as of the manor of Warton."

Some of the first North American settlers carried this name or one of its variants like George and Elizabeth Lawrance, who settled in Virginia in the year 1641.   Anne and John Lawrence settled in Virginia with their seven children in the year 1676.  Ben, Edward, Elizabeth, ].R. John, Joseph, Lewis, Mary, Phillip, Thomas, and William Lawrence, all arrived in Philadelphia between the years 1840 and 1860.

Lauriston Coat of Arms Meaning

The three main devices (symbols) in the Lauriston blazon are the scymitar, fesse and cock. The two main tinctures (colors) are ermine and gules.

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 1 It has a long association with royalty and the nobility in general and hence represents “Dignity” wherever it is found 2. The ermine pattern is white with, typically, a three dots and a dart grouping representing the tail of the furred creature.3. The ermine spot is sometimes found alone as a special charge on the shield.

Red in heraldry is given the name Gules, sometimes said to be the “martyr’s colour”4. The colour is also associated with Mars, the red planet, and the zodiacal sign Aries 5. Later heralds of a more poetical nature would sometimes refer to the colour as ruby, after the precious stone.6.

Given the martial nature of the origins of Heraldry, in the identification of knights and men-at-arms it can come as no surprise that mediaeval weaponry of all types are frequently to be found in a coat of arms 7. Indeed, the sheer variety of different swords 8 can be bewildering. The scimitar, also known as the sabre has a broad, curved blade with curling hilt. 9 We need look little further than some military connection to explain the use of this device.

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 10. 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 cock, and other members of its avian family are often found in coats of arms, although telling them apart simply from their images can sometimes be a challenge! Many times the precise choice of species arises as a play on words on the family name, sometimes now lost in history. 11 The cock itself, Wade points out is a “bird of great courage” and might be used as a symbol of “watchfullness”, being the herald of the dawn. 12

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References

  • 1 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P69
  • 2 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P39
  • 3 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 28
  • 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, P53
  • 6 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P77
  • 7 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 89
  • 8 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P302
  • 9 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Sabre
  • 10 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Fesse
  • 11 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Cock
  • 12 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P80