Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Mordaunt Name
England, France, Italy
Origins of Mordaunt:
Listed as Mordant, Mordaunt (English), Mordagne, Mordant (French) and apparently Mordanti in Italy, this is a surname of French origins. According to the famous Victorian etymologist Canon Charles Bardsley writing in the year 1880, the name was originally Norman, and introduced into England by a supporter of Duke William of Normandy, when he conquered England in 1066. He demanded that the name means or meant in the 12th century ‘The biter,’ a reference it would seem to a person who succeeded as a result of another person’s misfortune. This is a possible explanation, and the name does seem to acquire from a combined form of ‘mort d’entaille’ or something similar, literally meaning ‘death by cuts.’ However, early records in both France and Italy are usually random or non-existent. In Italy because basically it did not become a united division until 1860, and even then, it was many years before centralized recording placed, while in France, most early recordings and registers were intentionally damaged by the Revolutionaries in 1792. Such records as exist would seem to contain as Osbert le Mordaunt of Bedfordshire, England in 1199, Edward Mordant who was a student at Oxford University in 1575, and Jean Baptiste Mordant, named at Montherme in the Ardennes, in October 1791.
More common variations are: Mordant, Mordaint, Mordannt, Mardaunt, Mordount, Mordianto, Mordianti, Mordand, Mordand, Mordent, Mardant
The surname Mordaunt first appeared in Bedfordshire (Old English: Bedanfordscir), located in Southeast-central England, previously part of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia. “Turvey in Bedfordshire was the principal seat of this noble Norman family, ancestors from Osbert le Mordaunt, who came over from Normandy with William the Invader, and received a grant of the lordship of Radwell in that division.” Another reference is more special as “their patriarch was Sir Osbert le Mordaunt, who held Radwell, co. Bedfordshire, by the gift of his brother, who had received it from the Conqueror, for services regarded by himself and his father.” The church of Mordon (Morden) in Durham was home to another branch of the family. “This place gave a name to a resident family, of whom mention occurs in the 14th century. 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 variations of the original one.
Many of the people with surname Mordaunt had moved to Ireland during the 17th century.
Some of the population with the surname Mordaunt who arrived in New Zealand in the 19th century included Mordaunt arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship “Viscount Canning” in the year 1865.
Here is the population distribution of the last name Mordaunt: Swaziland 655; South Africa 548; United States 297; England 258; Australia 113; Ireland 109; New Zealand 57; Canada 39; Scotland 39; Netherlands 13.
David Mordaunt (born 1937), was an old English cricket player.
Elinor Mordaunt (1872–1942), was an English author, writer, and traveler.
Gerald Mordaunt (1873–1959), was an English cricket player.
Harry Mordaunt (1663–1720), was an English lieutenant-officer.
Harriet Mordaunt (1848–1906), was a wife of Sir Charles Mordaunt.
Henry Mordaunt, 2nd Earl of Peterborough (1621–1697), was an English soldier, Lord, and servant.
Sir Henry Mordaunt, 12th Baronet (1867–1939), was an English cricket player.
Mordaunt Coat of Arms Meaning
The two main devices (symbols) in the Mordaunt blazon are the estoile and chevron. The two main tinctures (colors) are sable and argent.
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 . 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 . Although it may seem a sombre tone, and does indeed sometimes denote grief, it is more commonly said to represent Constancy .
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) . In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper .
There were of course many widely recognised symbols that existed long before the advent of heraldry and it should be no surprise that some of these were adopted as charge in coats of arms . The estoile is a typical example, reflecting the stars in the sky and represented with six wavy points, often with a little shading to give it some depth. . The ancient writer Guillim assigns these symbols as the emblems of God’s goodness”.
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 , or additional cross-pieces used to strengthen the shield and painted a different colour.. It has also acquired the meaning of “Protection… granted… to one who has achieved some notable enterprise” , possibly becuase of its resemblance to the roof truss of a house.