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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

1) (co. Chester). Ar. a chev. gu. betw. three erm. spots.
2) (cos. Devon, Kent, Oxford, Leicester, and Somerset). Sa. a fess erm. betw. three cinquefoils ar. (another, or). Crest—A seahorse or (another, ppr.).
3) (Сhristopher Potter, D.D., Proyost of Queen’s College, Oxford, and Dean of Worcester, d. 3 March, 1645). Ar. on a pale az. three pairs of wings conjoined and elevated of the first.
4) (Buile Hill, near Manchester; Sir John Potter, Knt., J.P. for that city and co. Lancaster, son of Sir Thomas Potter, the first Mayor of Manchester, received knighthood on the Queen’s visit to that city in 1851). Sa. on a fess erm. betw. in chief two cinquefoils pierced or, and in base a knight’s helmet ppr. a terrestrial globe also ppr. betw. two garbs of the third. Crest—On a mount vert a seahorse erect ppr. gorged with a collar gemel sa. and supporting a rudder or.
5) Ar. on a pale az. three wings conjoined of the first. Crest—A star of twelve rays or, betw. a pair of wings ar.
6) Ar. on a chief az. two fleshpots or.
7) (William Potter, Esq., of Liverpool). Az. a fess vairé or and gu. cotised engr. betw. three cinquefoils of the second. Crest—A seahorse or, in front of a cross crosslet fitchée gu.
8) (co. Norfolk). Sa. a fess betw. three mullets ar. Crest—An elephant’s head erased ar. guttée de sang.
9) (co. Kent). Per saltire az. and gu. a griffin pass, betw. five fleurs-de-lis, two in chief and three in base or.

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

Potter Origin:

England, Germany

Origins of Name:

The surname of Potter has been recorded as being an English surname and was used as an occupational surname for a maker of drinking and storage vessels. This surname comes from the Old English pre 7th Century word of “pott” which comes from the Old Roman (Latin) word of “pottus” which can be translated to mean “drink” or “draught.” It is important to remember that occupational surnames were given to the original bearer because it denoted their actual occupation. After that, It became hereditary when a son followed a father into the business or profession. Throughout the Middle Ages, the term “potter” was applicable to describe those who worked in earthenware, metal, and clay.

More common variations are:

Poutter, Poetter, Peotter, Piotter, Potteri, Pottery, Pottera, Poitter, Potteru, Potterr, Powder, Podder, Powter



The first recorded spelling of the surname of Potter was found in the country of England in the year of 1172. One person, by the name of Seuard le Potter, who was mentioned and recorded in the charters relating to the Gilbertine Houses, which were under the reign of King Henry II of England, who ruled from the year 1154 to the year 1189. Other mentions of the surname of Potter in England included Geoffrey Potter, who was mentioned in the Curia Rolls of Leicestershire in the year 1196, while John le Potier was mentioned in the Pipe Rolls of Essex for the year 1197, and Lambert le Pottur who was in the Curia Regis Rolls of Essex in the year 1214. In church documents throughout history, there were many people who bore the surname of Potter. The registers of the diocese of Greater London mentioned and noted George Powder and his wife Caroline who were witnesses to the christening of their son Godfrey Powder at St. Mary Whitechapel, Stepney, on November 18th 1759. Those who bear the surname of Potter in England, are scattered throughout the countryside. Many people who bear this surname are found in high concentrations in the counties of Yorkshire, Lancashire, Hampshire, Lincolnshire, Suffolk, Surrey, Kent, Devon, Essex, and Derbyshire counties, as well as the city of London.


Those who bear the surname of Potter can be found throughout most of the region of Scotland. There are high percentages of those who bear the surname of Potter in Midlothian, Lanarkshire, and West Lothian counties.

United States of America:

During the European Migration, which is when English settlers were fed up with their homeland and it’s poor living conditions, and emigrated out of their home country, many settlers sought out the United States of America, which at that time was referred to as the Colonies, or the New World. The United States promised freedom from religious persecution, better living conditions, and no overall ruler. The first of these settlers who was recorded to bear the surname of Potter was one Henry Potter who arrived in the state of Virginia in the year 1619. Ann Potter also landed in the state of Virginia in either the year of 1624 or the year 1625. Those who bear the surname of Potter and live in the United States of America can be found in the multiple states of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, Iowa, California, Illinois and Ohio.

Potter Today:

United States 82,979

England 26,624

Australia 9,332

Canada 7,269

South Africa 4,274

Brazil 2,814

New Zealand 1,714

Scotland 1,628

Wales 1,388

Russia 1,067

Notable People:

Dean S. Potter (1972-2015) who was a free climber from America, who was also an alpinist, a BASE jumper, BASEliner, and a highliner who died during a wingsuit flight in Yosemite

Henry Potter (1881-1995) who was an Olympic Silver medalist from America, for golf in the 1904 Olympic games

Brigadier-General Waldo Charles Potter (1885-1971) who was a Chairman of the 2nd Section from America, and a War Department of the Manpower Board from 1943 to 1945

Mrs. Lily Alexenia Potter (nee’ Wilson) who was a 56-year-old First Class Passnger from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania who was aboard the RMS Titanic when it began to sink, but escaped the sinking by escaping in life boat 7

John William Potter (1918-2013) who was a federal judge in the United States

William Everett Potter (1905-1988) who was a Governor of the Panama Canal Zone from the year 1956 to the year 1960

Nels Potter (1911-1999) who was a baseball player from America

Helen Beatrix Potter (1866-1943) who was an English reclusive author and illustrator

Potter Coat of Arms Meaning

The four main devices (symbols) in the Potter blazon are the chevron, cinquefoil, wing and fleshpot. The three main tinctures (colors) are azure, argent and gules .

The bright, strong blue color in Heraldry is known in English as azure, and similarly in other European languages – azul in Spanish, azurro in Italian and azur in French. The word has its roots in the Arabic word lazura, also the source of the name of the precious stone lapis lazuli 1. Despite this, those heralds who liked to associate colours with jewels chose instead to describe blue as Sapphire. According to Wade, the use of this colour symbolises “Loyalty and Truth” 2.

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) 3. In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper 4.

Gules, the heraldic colour red is very popular, sometimes said to represent “Military Fortitude and Magnanimity”5. It is usually abbreviated as gu and in the days before colour printing was shown in a system known as hatching by vertical lines 6. 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).7

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 8, or additional cross-pieces used to strengthen the shield and painted a different colour.9. It has also acquired the meaning of “Protection… granted… to one who has achieved some notable enterprise” 10, possibly becuase of its resemblance to the roof truss of a house.

Natural objects abound in heraldry, and one category that gives especial delight are the many flowers and flowering plants that frequently occur 11. The cinquefoil is also of this type, being drawn, at least a little, realistically and often to very pleasing effect. It is shown as five-petalled flower, each petal quite rounded but with a distinct tip. It is sometimes pierced with a hole in the centre and usually appears on its own, without any leaves. 12 It has no fixed colour but can appear in any of the available heraldic tinctures.

Wings are frequently observed in coats of arms. Unless otherwise specified they should be shown as eagle’s wings, with a realistic appearance. 13 They can appear singly or in pairs, in which form they are very often found in the crest, which rests above the shield in a full achievement of arms. Wade, quoting Quillim, suggests that the use of the wing on the shield signifies “celerity and protection or covering”. 14

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  • 1 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Azure
  • 2 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36
  • 3 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
  • 4 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P11
  • 5 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36
  • 6 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P52
  • 7 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P154
  • 8 A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, (various)
  • 9 The Pursuivant of Arms, J. R. Planche, Hardwicke, London 1859
  • 10 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P45
  • 11 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P262
  • 12 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Cinquefoil
  • 13 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Wing
  • 14 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P73