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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

(co. Devon). Ar. a chev. betw. three sinister hands gu.

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

Origins of Mainard:
Mainard is a name of old Norman origin.  It brought in England with the Norman Invasion of 1066.  Mainard is a name that acquires from the Germanic personal name Mainard which is a combination of the components magin, which means strength, and hard which means hardy, brave or strong.  This specific name was popular among the Normans, and it brought to England after the Norman Invasion, when William the Champion gave his friends and relatives most of the land previously owned by Anglo-Saxon aristocrats.  The Normans imported a vast number of Norman French specific names, which largely replaced traditional Old English personal names among the upper and middle classes. Before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language not regulated.  The sound was what guided spelling in the Middle Ages, so one person's name was often noted under many variations during a single lifetime.  Spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most educated people.  Known variations of the Mainard family name include Maynard, Mainard and much more.

More common variations are: Mainhard, Mianardi, Mainardo, Mainardv, Mainnard, Mayinard, Maiynard, Mainyard, Minard, Manard.

The surname Mainard first appeared in Suffolk at Hoxne, a church, and the head of a union, in the hundred of Hoxne.  Hoxne Hall, for many generations the residence of the Maynard family.  In the north aisle [of the parish] is a monument, with a group of figures finely modelled in marble, to the memory of Sir Thomas Maynard, founded in 1742, by Christopher Stanley, Esq.  A school, now in union with the National Society, founded and organised by Lord Maynard."

United States of America:
Research into different historical recordings has revealed some of the first members of the Mainard family to migrate North America like Kingsmill Maynard settled in Virginia in the year 1663.  James Maynard was banished from the west of England to Barbados in the year 1685.  Nicholas Maynard settled with his wife and five children and servants in Barbados in the year 1680.

The motto was originally a war cry or catchword.  Mottoes first started to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries but were not in general use until the 17th century.  Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto.  Mottoes sometimes form part of the grant of arms like Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional part of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will like many families have chosen not to display a slogan. Motto: Manus justa nardus. Motto Translation: A just hand is a precious ointment.

Mainard Coat of Arms Meaning

The two main devices (symbols) in the Mainard blazon are the hand and chevron. The two main tinctures (colors) are gules and argent.

Gules, the heraldic colour red is very popular, sometimes said to represent “Military Fortitude and Magnanimity”1. It is usually abbreviated as gu and in the days before colour printing was shown in a system known as hatching by vertical lines 2. Although it may look like a French word it is normally pronounced with a hard “g” and may be derived either from the Latin gula (throat) or Arabic gule (rose).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 hand, unless we are told otherwise is a dexter (right) hand shown palm outwards and fingers upwards.6. It demonstrates faith, sincerity and justice, and in the form of two right hands clasped can mean union or alliance7. There is a special form called the “Hand of Ulster” which is a sinister hand gules on an argent background (a left hand, red upon white). Originally the Badge of Ulster, the Province of Northern Ireland, it has come to be used as an addition to existing arms, in an escutcheon (small shield) or canton (small square) to indicate that the holder is also a Baronet.8

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 9, or additional cross-pieces used to strengthen the shield and painted a different colour.10. It has also acquired the meaning of “Protection… granted… to one who has achieved some notable enterprise” 11, 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, P52
  • 3 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P154
  • 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 Heraldry, J.B. Parker, 1894 P305
  • 7 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W Cecil Wade 1898 P92
  • 8 Heraldry Historical and Popular, Charles Boutell, 1864 P56
  • 9 A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, (various)
  • 10 The Pursuivant of Arms, J. R. Planche, Hardwicke, London 1859
  • 11 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P45