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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

[Borne by Andrew Marvel, the celebrated Member of Parliament, in time of Charles I and II] Or, a chevron engrailed between three leopards' faces sable. Crest: out of a ducal coronet or, a plume of feathers argent.

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

Marvel Origin:


Origin of Marvel:

It is a unique surname which is listed with different spellings forms like Marval, Marvel, and Marvell (England), and Merveille and Merveilleux (France). This name associated with 9th century Olde French origins. It is considered to derive from the word ‘merveille’ which means a miracle or uncertainty. So, as a nickname, or at least it was for few name holders, and a regional name from the areas known as Merville in Normandy. In fact, there may be some uncertainty that the listing of Ralph de Mereville in the tax rolls recognized as the 'Feet of Fines,' for the division of Essex in the year 1306, is a locational surname. It can also be a relation to a French proprietor, property owner and a migrator. The partly previous documentation of Richard Merveyle in the Hundred Rolls of the division of Cambridge in 1275 offers that this surname may good have been authentically a love name. In the recent or developed spellings forms, one of the previous documentations can be that of Roger Marvell is the premium Rolls of Suffolk in the year 1524.


More common variations of this surname are: Marvell, Maravel, Marivel, Marvely, Marvela, Marvelo, Marviel, Maryvel, Marrvel, Mrvel.


The name Marvel first organized in Cornwall and Devon, where this distinguished family originates. Walter Merifild is listed in Devon in 1200, but it is considered that the family had settled itself prior in St. Columb, Cornwall.

The very first recording spelling of the family was shown to be that of William le Merveillus of Lincoln, which was dated 1186. As to why he was called 'The prominent personality”, is unknown, but it may be because of a relation to a doctor, or perhaps more likely a magician, somebody who performed false appearance or magic.

United States of America:

Some of the people with the name Marvel who settled in the United States in the 17th century included Robert Marvel, who landed in Virginia in 1622.


Some of the people with the name Marvel who settled in Canada in the 18th century included William Marvel, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750.

Here is the population distribution of the last name Marvel: United States 4,653; England 140; Philippines 322; Brazil 318; Mexico 288; France 147; Greece 147; Malaysia 126; Indonesia 92; Germany 202.

Notable People:

Andy Marvel (born 1958), was an American composer and musician. He lived in New York City. He composed songs for Celine Dion, Diana King, Jessica Simpson and Colleen Fitzpatrick. His songs, “Shy Guy," "With You," and "Treat Her Like a Lady" have appeared on albums that have sold out over 70 million copies worldwide. He was born in the year 1958.

Carl Shipp Marvel (1894-1988), was an American polymer expert in Chemistry.

Elizabeth Marvel (born 1969), was an American actress and entertainer.

James Marvel is an American stage manager, famous for classical and avant-garde staging of musical managements. He was born and grew up in New Orleans and got a B.A. degree in World Biography from Sarah Lawrence College and Oxford University,

John Marvel is an American ranch owner and leader. He was born in Battle Mountain, Nevada. He gave services in the United States Army during World War II. He was also a palace worker. He passed away in Carson City, Nevada

Marvel Cooke (1903-2000), African-American journalist, writer and civil rights activist. She was the first African-American woman to work at a mainstream white-owned newspaper.

Marvel Rea (1901-1937), was an American silent film actress well-known for her work from Ford Sterling. She was one of Mack Sennett's "Bathing Beauties."

Marvel Smith (born 1978), is an old National Football League tackle who played nine seasons in the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Arizona State University. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the second round of the 2000 NFL Draft, and was also a member of the San Francisco 49 years. He was born in the year 1978.

Marvel Coat of Arms Meaning

The three main devices (symbols) in the Marvel blazon are the chevron, feathers and leopard’s face. The two main tinctures (colors) are sable and or.

Sable, the deep black so often found in Heraldry is believed to named from an animal of the marten family know in the middle ages as a Sabellinœ and noted for its very black fur 1. In engravings, when colors cannot be shown it is represented as closely spaced horizontal and vertical lines, and appropriately is thus the darkest form of hatching, as this method is known 2. Although it may seem a sombre tone, and does indeed sometimes denote grief, it is more commonly said to represent Constancy 3.

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.

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 7, or additional cross-pieces used to strengthen the shield and painted a different colour.8. It has also acquired the meaning of “Protection… granted… to one who has achieved some notable enterprise” 9, possibly becuase of its resemblance to the roof truss of a house.

The feather, especially that of the ostrich appears with great regularity in the crests of a full achievement of arms, typically in the shape of a plume. Wade associates this device with “willing obedience and serenity of mind”. 10 They are much less common on the shield itself, unless part of an arrow, which may be feathered of a different colour, or a quill pen. 11

The leopard’s face (sometimes, incorrectly referred to as a leopard’s head occurs very frequently in heraldry 12. Early heraldic artists tended to treat lions and leopards as the same animal, but during the development of British Heraldry the heads of the two creatures have adopted separate, and more realistic forms. Wade would have us associate leopards with warriors, especially those who overcome ”hazardous things by force and courage” 13

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  • 1 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Sable
  • 2 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 26
  • 3 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P35
  • 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 A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, (various)
  • 8 The Pursuivant of Arms, J. R. Planche, Hardwicke, London 1859
  • 9 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P45
  • 10 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P74
  • 11 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Feathers
  • 12 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Lion
  • 13 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P65