• step01
  • step02
  • step03
  • step04
step 01
step 02
step 03
step 04

Blazons & Genealogy Notes

(Knightington, co. Berks). Erm. a millrind sa. a chief or. Crest—A lion ramp, or, holding in the mouth a sinister hand gu.

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


This Anglo-Irish surname was introduced to the British Isles by the Normans after the invasion of 1066. The name has its origins in the Latin given name Milo which evolved, as many surnames did, into the Germanic stylized given name “Mild” and the French stylized given name “Miles”. In this context, the names would be patronymic. A second but less likely source of origin may derive from the name Myles found in Greek mythology. Myles was an ancient King of Laconia, a region in southeastern Greece of which Sparta was the capital. “Miles” is also the Latin word for Knight. So it is possible the surname refers to a man who was of the equestrian or knightly class in Norman society.

Historically, surnames have various sources of origins. Surnames were often created by using an identifying factor about a person such as; a familiar geographical location or a topographical landmark found near the individuals home or birthplace, using one of their parent's names to create a patriarchal or matriarchal surname, their occupation, or a defining physical trait among other things. There was almost a limitless source from which surnames could be formed.

The use of surnames; however, did not become a common practice among the general population until the mid-sixteenth century. Until this time, surnames were generally reserved solely for the noble class. The use of surnames were found to serve a practical purposes, aside from making the distinction between people with like given names easier, it also allowed governments to more effectively track people for census, tax and immigration purposes.

In ancient and medieval times, the task of record keeping was primarily under the jurisdiction of the Church, local priories, and the government. This was due in large part to the fact that literacy was a skill usually found only among the nobles, the clergy, and government officials and scribes. Even so, there often existed multiple variations of names which may be attributed to a number of factors, not the least of which was a lack of guidelines which existed for spelling, and the fact that many scribes who were charged with record keeping spelled phonetically, among other things. One of the earliest records of anyone bearing the surname or any variation of its spelling is that of Nicholas Miles found in the Sussex tax roll dated 1177. Some other early variations of the name include; Myle; Myles; Mille; Mils; and Mills among others.

With the discovery of America and the addition to the British Commonwealth of countries such as Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, it was not long before people began to immigrate to these far off lands. The use of surnames made tracking of immigrants easier. Some of the first recorded

immigrants to America bearing the surname were Joseph Myles who landed and settled in New York in 1633. John and Kathy Myles along with their children, Robert and Barry landed and settled in Virginia in 1650. Samuel and Elizabeth Myles along with their children, Sophia, Charles, and Maria Hemphill were some of the early settlers to Australia, landing and settling in Adelaide in 1839.

Worldwide, the highest concentration of people with the surname Myles are found in Ireland, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand. By state, the largest percentile of those with the surname Myles live in Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, and Virginia.

There are many notable people who bear the name Myles. Irish born James Myles, was a soldier and politician. Myles was a veteran of World War I having served British Army as part of the Royal Engineers. He attained the rank of Major and was awarded the Military Cross for bravery. After the war, he was elected to the Irish Assembly were he served for twenty years.

British born Edgar K. Myles was a veteran of World War I and World War II. Captain Myles was awarded the Distinguished Service Order and the highest military honor, the Victoria Cross, for gallantry in the face of the enemy. His Victoria Cross may be viewed at the Worcester City Art Gallery and Museum in Worcester, England.

Irish born Thomas Myles was a prominent politician and surgeon. He was elected President of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. Myles was knighted and awarded Companion of the Order of the Bath, The Most Noble Order of the Garter, The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, and The Most Illustrious Order of Saint Patrick.

Myles Coat of Arms Meaning

The two main devices (symbols) in the Myles blazon are the organ-rests and millrind. The three main tinctures (colors) are gules, or and ermine .

Red in heraldry is given the name Gules, sometimes said to be the “martyr’s colour”1. The colour is also associated with Mars, the red planet, and the zodiacal sign Aries 2. Later heralds of a more poetical nature would sometimes refer to the colour as ruby, after the precious stone.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.

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 7 It has a long association with royalty and the nobility in general and hence represents “Dignity” wherever it is found 8. The ermine pattern is white with, typically, a three dots and a dart grouping representing the tail of the furred creature.9. The ermine spot is sometimes found alone as a special charge on the shield.

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 organ-rests 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 10 is a major subject in its own right, somewhat less “martial” than that of the nobility and with its own terms and special meanings.

The mill-rind, also known by a rather surprising number of names (fer-de-moline, inkmoline, mill-ink amongst others) is a distinctive symbol, but hard to place by modern viewers. It is a square or diamond shape with arms extending above and below and in fact represents the piece of iron that connects a circular timber axle to a mill-stone, used for grinding corn. 11 These would obviously have been more familiar to those of the middle ages than they are today.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  • 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, P53
  • 3 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P77
  • 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 Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P69
  • 8 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P39
  • 9 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 28
  • 10 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P600
  • 11 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Fer-de-moline