Lyon Family Crest, Coat of Arms and Name History


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Lyon Origin:

England, Ireland, Scotland, France

Origins of Name:

The Lyon surname derives from a number of different and possible origins. The name has been recorded as far back as the 1st century B.C. with the variation Lugdunum. Lugdunum is created from the combination of words “Lug”, the name of a Celtic god, and “dunnon” meaning hill. The Lyon surname could also be geographical, stemming from the town Lyons in France or Lyons-la-Foret in Normandy. It was also used as a nickname, originating from the French word “lion” meaning brave or fierce warrior. The surname could also have been a variation of the French name “Leo”.


More common variations are: Leo, Leon, Lian, Lion, Lyan, Lyon, Lionel, Lionell and Lyonell, Lions, Lyans, Lyons, Lyonson



The English spelling of the surname is usually either Lyon or Lyons. The largest number of Lyons have historically been in Lancashire. Earlier Lyon clans were in Norfolk and Northamptonshire, and of Normandy origin.

The first recorded spelling of the name is Azor de Lions in 1159 in Norfolk County, recorded in the Pipe Rolls.

Joseph Lyon would partner with Jewish businessman and create J. Lyons and Co. which would eventually become the largest tea shop chain in Britain.

The surname Lyon is the 941st most common name in Great Britain. The highest concentrations are in Lancashire, Gloucestershire, and Buckinghamshire.


The surname Lyon in Ireland has generally and historically been spelled Lyons. The origins of the surname Lyon in Ireland come from one of either two names. O’Laighin in Kilconnel or O’Liathain from Limerick. O’Laighin translates to “male descendant of Javelin”, a known fighter skilled with the javelin weapon. In the 19th century many Lyons would emigrate to America.


The Scottish spelling of Lyon has generally and historically been Lyon. In the 1370s, Sir John Lyon was an advisor to the king and was given the thanage of Glamis in Angus for his service. His descendants maintained royal ties and almost 100 years later Patrick Lyon was made Lord Glamis. Glamis Castle would remain the family home until the 20th century.

United States:

In the middle of the 17th century, 3 brothers would arrive in Fairfield, Connecticut from London, England – Thomas, Richard, and Henry Lyon. Thomas Lyon’s son would eventually build the “Thomas Lyon House”, which still stands today and is considered to be one of the oldest unaltered structures in Greenwich, Connecticut. The Lyon family lived in the house up until the 20th century.

In the 18th century, Abraham de Lyon, a Sephardic Jew, from Portugal would arrive in Savannah, and many Lyons of Jewish origin were documented living in Philadelphia throughout the 18th century.

One of the founders of Mount Sinai Hospital was Jacques Lyons. Jacques Lyons was a Jewish immigrant from the Dutch West Indies who arrived in New York in 1839.


Levy Lyon would arrive in New South Wales. From Middlesex he was aboard the ship “Ann” in 1809. He was an English convict who was sent to Australia for prison sentence.

Another convict, Charles Lyon from Perth was aboard the Asia in 1823. He would eventually settle in Van Diemen’s Land.

Thomas Lyon from Lancaster was a convict aboard the America. In 1829 he would arrive in Australia and settle in New South Wales.

At the age of 19, Dinah Lyone arrived in Adelaide, Australia on the ship William Money in the year 1849.

Here is the population distribution of the last name Lyon:

34,000 in the United States, 7,000 in England, 4,000 in France, 3,000 in Australia

Notable People:

Sir John Lyon (1382) Chamberlain of Scotland. He was a feudal baron of Forteviot. He is widely recognized to be the progenitor of Clan Lyon. He is originally of French Origin; his name was the anglicized version of the Norman name “de Leonne”.

Sir Joseph Lyons (1847) founder of the J. Lyons and Co

Joseph Lyons, (1879) Prime Minister of Australia. He was born in Tasmania as the son of Irish immigrants. His father was a successful farmer. He had 7 brothers and sisters, and at nine years old he left school to work as a messenger. He finally finished his education and became a teacher.

Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (1900) Queen mother and wife of King George VI. Mother of queen Elizabeth II. She was Queen consort of the United Kingdom; she is known as the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother to avoid confusion with her daughter. She was also the last empress consort of India.

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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

1) (Glamis, co. Forfar, now Lyon-Bowes, Earl of Strathmore). Motto—In te, Domine, speravi. Ar. a lion ramp. az. armed and langued, within a double tressure flory counterflory gu., now borne quarterly with, erm. three bows strung in pale ppr., for Bowes. Crest—Within two branches of laurel a lady to the girdle habited and holding in her right hand the royal thistle all ppr., commemorative of the alliance with the royal house of Stewart. Supporters—Dexter, a unicorn ar. armed and unguled or; sinister, a lion per fess or and gu.
2) (Rev. Ralph Lyon, D.D., Rector of Bishop’s Caudle, co. Dorset). Motto—Innixus vero validus. Erm. a lion ramp. within an orle flory within az. and charged with eight crosses pattée ar. Crest—A lion ramр. az. charged on the body with three crosses pattée az, and resting the sinister forepaw upon a cross moline or.
3) (Appleton Hall, co. Chester; descended from Thomas Lyon, of ancient Scottish descent, b. about the year 1626, who served in the Scots Greys, and settled eventually at Warrington, co. Lancaster). Motto—Pro rege et patria. Ar. a lion ramp. vert. Crest—A lion’s head erased ppr.
4) (granted to Lieut.-General Sir James Lyon. K.C.B., 1815). Motto—Speravi. Ar. a lion ramр. az. betw. three cinquefoils gu. all within a double tressure flory counterflory of the last. Crest—A demi lady ppr. attired or and az. holding in the dexter hand a thistle, and in the sinister a chaplet of laurel ppr., motto over: Lauro redimita quiescam.
5) (co. Hereford, London, and West Twyford, co. Middlesex). Az. on a fesse or, betw. three plates, each charged with a griffin’s head erased sa. a lion pass. betw. two cinquefoils gu. Crest—On a pink flowered gu. leaved vert a lion’s head erased paly quarterly erm. and ermines.
6) (Baron Lyons). Motto—Noli irritare leones. Sa. on a chev. betw. three lions sejant guard. ar. as many castles triple-towered of the field. Crest—On a chapeau gu. turned up erm. a sea lion’s head erased ar. gorged with a naval crown az. holding in the mouth a flag staff in bend sinister ppr. therefrom flowing a banner az., having inscribed thereon “Marack” in letters of gold. Supporters—On either side a lion guard, sa. charged on the shoulder with a castle triple-towered ar.
7) (Island of Antigua). Motto—Noli irritare leones. Sa. a chev. betw. three lions sejant guard. ar. Crest—On a chapeau gu. turned up erm. a lion’s head erased ar.
8) (quartered by Raynesford, of Great Lew, co. Oxford. Visit. Oxon, 1574). Per pale or and az. a chev. erm.
9) (quartered by Woodhull, of Mollington, co. Oxford. Visit. Oxon, 1574). Ar. a lion ramp. gu.
10) Ar. a chev. sa. betw. three lions dormant cowarded gu.
11) Purp. a lion ramp. ar. (another, ar. a lion ramp. vert).
12) (Old Park, co. Antrim; granted by Betham, Ulster, to William Lyons, Esq., of Old Park, near Belfast, grandson of David Lyons, of Belfast, and to their descendants). Motto—In te, Domine, speravi. Per fess or and gu. a lion ramp. within a tressure flory counterchanged, holding in the paws an annulet az. and in chief two trefoils vert. Crest—A demi lion ramp. az. holding in the paws an annulet or, thereon a trefoil vert.
13) (granted by Betham, Ulster, to Sir William Lyons, Mayor of Cork, knighted on the occasion of Her Majesty’s visit to that city). Motto—Virtute et fidelitate. Ar. a royal crown ppr. betw. two lions pass. guard. in chief sa. and in base an ancient ship of three masts of the second betw. two flowers gu. being part of the arms of the city of Cork. Crest—A demi lion ramp. sa.
14) (Ledestown, co. Westmeath). Motto—Noli irritare leones. Sa. a chev. erm. betw. three lions sejant guard. ar. Crest—On a chapeau gu. turned up erm. a lion’s head erased ar.
15) (exemplified by Betham, Ulster, to Charles Connell, Esq., of Cork, on his taking by royal licence, 1814, the surname of Lyons, in remembrance of his maternal uncle, James Lyons, Esq., of Cork). Ar. on a bend betw. two lions ramp. gu. three trefoils slipped or, on a chief az. a bezant between two woolpacks of the field. Crest—A woolsack ar. thereon a lion pass. gu.

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