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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

1) Gyronny of twelve gu. and or. Crest—An arm from the elbow in armour, holding a galtrap.
2) (Caleys Grange or Callis Court, Thanet, co. Kent). Az. three bars dancettée or.

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

Lovejoy Origin:

Origins of Lovejoy:
This unusual surname, having long relationships with Buckinghamshire, is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is an interesting example of that sizeable group of early European surnames that gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames.  These nicknames are given in the first example with relating to the profession, or to a variety of personal characteristics, such as physical characteristics or unusualnesses, mental and moral characteristics, or to habits of dress and behavior.  The origin, in this instance, is from the Olde English pre 7th Century "lufu" (Middle English "lufe"), love, with the Middle English and Old French "joie, joye", joy; hence, "Lovejoy", used to denote someone who craved pleasure, or who particularly enjoyed life.  Other nicknames in this category contain as Lovelady, denoting a philanderer, or man particularly attentive to the desires of women, and Loveless, probably used in a sense "fancy-free."  The birth of William, son of Samuel Lovejoy, was recorded at Little Marlow, Buckinghamshire, in 1530, and in July 1556, Thomas Lovejoy and Johanna Thatcher married at Dorney, Buckinghamshire.

More common variations are: Lovejoey, Lovejay, Lovejoi, Lovajoy, Lavejoy, Lovijoy, Lovejoh, Lovyjoy, Lifejoy

The surname Lovejoy first appeared in Kent where they held a family seat from early times and their first records appeared on the early census poll derived by the early Kings of Britain to decide the rate of taxation of their problems.

The very first recorded spelling of the family was shown to be that of Johannes Lovejoy, dated about 1487,  in the "Little Marlow Buckinghamshire".  It was during the time of King Henry VII who was known to be the “Henry Tudor," dated 1485 - 1501.  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.  Surnames all over the country began to develop, with unique and shocking spelling varieties of the original one.

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

United States of America:
Individuals with the surname Lovejoy landed in the United States in three different centuries respectively in the 17th, 18th, and 19th.    Some of the people with the name Lovejoy who arrived in the United States in the 17th century included John Lovejoy, who landed in Massachusetts in 1633-1634.  Roger Lovejoy settled in Virginia in 1649.

People with the surname Lovejoy who landed in the United States in the 18th century included Mark Lovejoy, who landed in Virginia in 1714.  Andrew Lovejoy, who arrived in Virginia in 1724.  William Lovejoy settled in Virginia in 1729

The following century saw more Lovejoy surnames arrive.  Some of the people with the surname Lovejoy who arrived in the United States in the 19th century included John Lovejoy arrived in New Orleans in 1821.  C. Lovejoy arrived in San Francisco in 1852.

Here is the population distribution of the last name Lovejoy:
United States 9,698; England 1,065; Australia 373; Philippines 322; South Africa 183; India 145; Canada 139; New Zealand 118; Jamaica 71; Wales 45.

Notable People:
Allen P. Lovejoy, American leader.  He was born Allen Perry Lovejoy in March 1825, in Wayne, Maine and raised on the family farm.  He attended Wesleyan Seminary, now Kent’s Hill School, and for a year at the age of eighteen; he taught school.  In 1844 he took up an apprenticeship in the carpenter and building trade, and in 1850 he moved to Janesville, eventually expanding his contractor business into lumber retailing and manufacturing, with extensive raw timber holdings in Wisconsin and Michigan.

Arthur Oncken Lovejoy (1873–1962), was an American philosopher and intellectual historian.
Asa Lovejoy (1808–1882), was an American pioneer and politician, founder of Portland, Oregon.
Ben Lovejoy (born 1984), was an American ice hockey player.
Deirdre Lovejoy (born 1962), is an American actress.
Elijah Parish Lovejoy (1802–1837), was an American writer and abolitionist, brother of Owen.
Esther Pohl Lovejoy (1869–1967), was an American doctor and activist.
F. T. F. Lovejoy (1854–1932), was an American industrialist.
Frank Lovejoy (1912–1962), was an American actor.
George Lovejoy (died 2003), was an Australian rugby league commentator.
George A. Lovejoy (1931–2015), was an American leader and businessman.
Lynda Lovejoy (born 1949), is a Navajo leader.
Owen Lovejoy (1811–1864), was an American congressman and abolitionist, brother of Elijah.
Owen Lovejoy (anthropologist) (born 1943), was an American evolutionary biologist.
Thomas Lovejoy is an American biologist.

Lovejoy Coat of Arms Meaning

The four main devices (symbols) in the Lovejoy blazon are the gyronny, bars dancettee, arm in armour and galtrap. The three main tinctures (colors) are gules, or and azure .

The bold red colour on a heraldic shield is known as gules. It has a long history within heraldry, it is known that one of those who besieged the scottish castle of Carlaverock in 1300 was the French knight Euremions de la Brette who had as his arms a simple red shield.1. The word gules is thought to come from the Arabic gule, or “red rose” 2. Later writers associated it with the precious stone ruby and the metal iron 3, perhaps because of the red glow of iron in the heat of the blacksmith’s forge.

The bright yellow colour frequently found in coats of arms is known to heralds as Or, or sometimes simply as Gold.4. 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 5. The yellow colour is often associated with the Sun, and the zodiacal sign of Leo.6.

Azure is the heraldic colour blue, usually quite a deep, dark shade of the colour (there is a lighter blue that sometimes occurs, known as celestial azure). If colour printing is not available then it can be represented by closely spaced horizontal lines in a scheme known as “hatching” 7. The word is thought to originate from the Arabic lazura and it represents the colour of the eastern sky. It is also said to be the colour associated by the Catholic Church with the Virgin Mary and hence of particular significance 8.

Gyronny is a very distinctive pattern covering the whole field of the shield, being a series of triangles, drawn from the edges and meeting in the centre of the shield 9. Each triangle is known as a gyron, and these sometimes appear as charges in their own right 10. Wade suggests that the use of gyrons upon a shield should be taken to denote “unity”.

The bar is a thin, horizontal stripe across the centre of the shield, usually in groups of two or three (any more and there would be confusion with barry, a treatment of horizontal lines of alternating colours). It is also possible to place decorative edges along bars, typically these are smaller than those found on the major ordinaries like the fess and pale, but have the same design and share the same meanings. Dancettee (sometimes spelled dancetty or dancy) is a bold, zig-zag pattern, perhaps the most distinctive of the patterned edges. Purists might argue that the French variant denché Is not the same, being of larger size and with the points being 90º, but there is much variation in actual practice so the difference is perhaps not that meaningful. Wade, quoting Guillim suggests that dancettee be attributed to mean water, in the same fashion as undy or wavy, and one can understand this allusion.

The Arm appears frequently in the crest of a coat of arms, often armoured and described in some detail as to its appearance and attitude. 11 It can also appear on the shield itself as a charge. The arm itself is said to signify a “laboorious and industrious person” 12, whilst the arm in armour may denote “one fitted for performance of high enterprise” 13

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  • 1 The Siege of Carlaverock, N. Harris, Nichols & Son, London, 1828, P180
  • 2 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 313
  • 3 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
  • 4 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 27
  • 5 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P85
  • 6 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
  • 7 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 26
  • 8 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P150
  • 9 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Gyronny
  • 10 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 55
  • 11 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:arm
  • 12 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P92
  • 13 A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, P184