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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

Gu. two poleaxes in saltire or, betw. four martlets ar.

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

Origins of Pickman:
The origins of the Pickman name acquire from when the Anglo-Saxon clans ruled over Britain.  The name Pickman originally acquired from a family having resided in Bikome, a town in the county of Somerset.  Before English spelling regulated a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Components of Latin, French and other languages became incorporated into English through the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the educated.

Variations:
More common variations are: Pickeman, Pickmann, Peickman, Pikman, Packman, Pikeman, Peckman, Bickman, Pockman, Picmann.

England:
The surname Pickman first appeared in Leicestershire where they have held a family seat from old times, long before the Norman Invasion in 1066 A.D.

United States of America:
Some of the people with the name Pickman who arrived in the United States in the 17th century included Nathaniel Pickman, who landed in Salem, Massachusetts in the year 1639.  Benjamin Pickman, who arrived in Salem, Massachusetts in the year 1661.

Pickman Coat of Arms Meaning

The two main devices (symbols) in the Pickman blazon are the axe and martlet. The three main tinctures (colors) are or, gules and argent .

The bright yellow colour frequently found in coats of arms is known to heralds as Or, or sometimes simply as Gold.1Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 27. 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 2A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P85. The yellow colour is often associated with the Sun, and the zodiacal sign of Leo.3Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53.

Gules, the heraldic colour red is very popular, sometimes said to represent “Military Fortitude and Magnanimity”4The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36. It is usually abbreviated as gu and in the days before colour printing was shown in a system known as hatching by vertical lines 5Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P52. 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).6A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P154

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) 7Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53. In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper 8A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P11.

The Axe appears in many forms in heraldic art, coming from both the martial and the craft traditions, indeed someone today would have a hard time telling their common hatchet from a turner’s axe, but it is likely that those in the middle ages were more familiar with each. 9A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Axe Obviously the axe from a craft tradition may symbolise the holder being a practitioner of that craft, but the axes from a martial background are suggested by Wade to indicate the “execution of military duty”. 10The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P100

The martlett is by far the most common bird to appear in British Heraldry, perhaps only equalled by the eagle, however it is not a species ever to be found in an ornithologists handbook! The word itself is though to have come from the French word merlette, the female blackbird and itself a similar type of charge used in French Heraldry. 11A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Martlet. Over time the image has become quite stylised, without visible legs or distinctive feathers. Wade suggests that this representation arises from “the appearance of the bird of paradise to ancient travellers” 12The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P79. Other bird species may be named in coats of arms (cornish chough is a frequent example) but in actual execution their appearance is often indistinguishable from the martlet.

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References   [ + ]

1. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 27
2. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P85
3. Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
4. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36
5. Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P52
6. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P154
7. Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
8. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P11
9. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Axe
10. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P100
11. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Martlet
12. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P79