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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

1) Gu. a cross engr. erm. Crest—On a ducal coronet a dolphin naiant.
2) (Macclesfield Priory). Gu. a mitre betw. two garbs or.

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

Maxfield Origin:


Origins of Maxfield:

The origin of this unique surname evolved originally from the little town of Macclesfield in the province of Cheshire, and it is a locational and English name. According to early recordings, it is known as 'Maclesfeld' in the famous Domesday document of the year 1086. However, most of these names of various places had evolved originally from the ancient Old English pre 7th Century as a particular or inherited name 'Macca', and ‘leah, which means a clearing or green land and 'farm,' a vast farm land without any barrier which suitable for biting or grazing. Thus it means "Macca's farm by the unfenced area." It is not sure that when the surname was first registered, but according to early examples taken from accurate remaining registers of the church included on 14th March in the year 1564, Ales Maxfield married Robert Hale at the church of St. John the Baptist, Chester. While on 17th August 1646, John Maxfield married Katherine Burslam at Audley Lawton, near Astbury also in Cheshire.


More common variations are: Maxffield, Maxifield, Maxfeld, Maxfild, Mxfield, Maxfeldt, Maxfeild, Maxfiled, Maxvield, Mexfield


The origins of the surname Maxfield first found in Cheahire East at Macclesfield, a shopping city in the church of Prestbury and hundreds of Macclesfield where people there held a family seat from early times. Earlier to the Normans success, this area considered a part of the authority of the Lord of Mercia, who held a court here for the early hundreds of Hamestan. So, according to the records of Domesday book, it is appeared to have been one of the seats of King Edwin. And also according to the Domesday Document, the land name as Maclesfeld and perhaps which mean as " open country of a man named Maccel," and Old English name "Feld."

The very first recorded spelling of the family was shown to be that of John Maxfield, dated 1539, when he was a blessing observer at St. Antholin's Church, in the city of London. It was during the time of King Henry VIIIth of England who was known to be the 'Bluff King Hal', but more familiar with the behavior of his six wives. He retired from his service in 1509 to 1547. 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.

United States:

People of the Maxfield surname also settled in the United States in different centuries respectively in the 17th and 18th. Individuals who settled in the 17th Century included Clement Maxfield, who landed in Dorchester, Massachusetts in the year 1658 and Richard Maxfield, who arrived in Maryland in the year 1665.

The following century saw many more Maxfield surnames arrive. People of the Maxfield surname, who came in the 18th century included William Maxfield and Mary Maxfield, aged 12, arrived in Philadephia, Pennsylvania respectively in the years 1772 and 1773.

Here is the population distribution of the last name Maxfield: United States 7,269; England 1,323; Australia 577; Canada 354; India 23; Spain 11; Japan 6; Northlands 13; Scotland 59; New Zealand 50

Notable People:

Mike Maxfield was born on February 23 1944 in Manchester, England. He is an English songwriter and musician, who became famous as a representative of The Dakotas. He wrote "Cruel Sea," a song which was first listed by The Ventures. After that, The Dakotas recorded an instrumental version of the song, which was one of the group's biggest success.

Richard Vance Maxfield (1927 – 1969) was a writer of instrumental, electro-acoustic, and electronic songs and music. He was born in Seattle, and he studied at Stanford University, the University of California, Berkeley (with Roger Sessions) and individually with Ernst Krenek in Los Angeles

Stuart Maxfield was born in 1972. He is a retired Australian rules football player. He played in Australian Football League (AFL) for Richmond and the Sydney Swans. He was the Swans' commander till 5 May 2005, when he retired from the position.

Maxfield Coat of Arms Meaning

The four main devices (symbols) in the Maxfield blazon are the cross engrailed, dolphin, mitre and garb. 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.

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.4. The word gules is thought to come from the Arabic gule, or “red rose” 5. Later writers associated it with the precious stone ruby and the metal iron 6, perhaps because of the red glow of iron in the heat of the blacksmith’s forge.

No other symbol appearing in heraldry is subject to as much variation as the cross 7. Mediaeval Europe was a deeply religious and Christian and many of the nobility wanted to show their devotion by adopting the symbol of the cross as part of the arms. Since no two arms could be identical there arose many variants of the cross, typically involving patterning along the edges 8. The pattern engrailed is a series of scalloped indentations with the points facing outwards – and should not be confused with invected, which has the points facing inwards! Wade believes that both of these indented forms represent “earth or land”, and one perhaps can indeed see the furrowed earth embodied in them.

In the days before television and the internet it was a rare heraldic artist that had ever seen a dolphin for real, so we should not be surprised that the heraldic representation is not instantly recognisable. Despite this, we should not forget that these artists considered the dolphin to be the king of fish, playing the same role as the lion in the animal kingdom. 9 For reasons not immediately clear, Wade suggests that the dolphin was regarded as an “affectionate fish, fond of music”. 10

The middle ages was a deeply religious time, and since the bulk of heraldry was developed in countries that were almost entirely Christian it is no surprise that religious and church symbology was widely adopted for use in coats of arms. The mitre Is a typical such usage. As well the adoption of religious imagery for the nobility, the Church itself has made extensive use of arms, such Ecclesiastical Heraldry 11 is a major subject in its own right, somewhat less “martial” than that of the nobility and with its own terms and special meanings.

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Charles Maxfield commented on 29-Oct-2018
I am Charles Dale Maxfield Jr. I wish you well on your adventure. I truly hope you find what your looking for.
Barbara Porter commented on 21-Jul-2018
I am Barbara Porter, daughter of Casper A Maxfield Jr of Forks, Washington USA. I, and 13 of my cousins, am traveling to England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales in May of 2019. We would like to visit sites where our ancestors lived. Can you assist me with finding the places we should go?


  • 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 Siege of Carlaverock, N. Harris, Nichols & Son, London, 1828, P180
  • 5 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 313
  • 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 47
  • 8 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P67
  • 9 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Dolphin
  • 10 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P83
  • 11 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P600