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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

(Scotland, 16th century). Az. a chev. ar. betw. three garbs or.

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

Pumfrey Origin:


Origins of Pumfrey:

According to the early recordings of the spelling forms of the name, this interesting and unique name was listed as Pomfrey, Pumfrey, Bummfrey, Boumphrey, Umfrey, and others, this is a Welsh surname of old French origins. It acquired from specific male name Humfrey, meaning "bear cub-peace," and was brought into the British Islands by the Norman French after the famous invasion of England in 1066; it was produced by a 9th Century saint, the priest of Therouanne in France, who had a following amongst the Norman travelers. The name did not appear in the earliest Welsh recordings, and its use there must have started after the 12th century. It originally had the Welsh "ab or ap" which means "son of" prefix as in the record of Edward ap Humfrey in the Shropshire Records of 1575. Over the centuries these prepositions became combined with the basic name as in ap Howelk which became Powell or ab Owen to Bowen. With this name records include the wedding of Susan Bumfery to Thomas Phillips in October 1639, at St. Margaret's, Westminster, London, and the wedding of Anne Pumphrey and James Hartland in May 1821, at Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire.


More common variations are: Pumffrey, Pumfry, Bumfrey, Pomfrey, Pumfery, Pumphrey, Boumfrey, Bumfry, Bomfry, Pumpharey.


The surname Pumfrey first appeared in Yorkshire, where they held a family seat from very early times and were given lands by Duke William of Normandy, their true King, for their exceptional support at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 AD.

The very first recording spelling of the family was shown to be that of William Humfrey, dated about 1240, in the "Feet of Fines of Bedfordshire," Huntingdonshire. It was during the time of King Henry III who was known to be the “The Frenchman," dated 1216 - 1272. 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 Pumfrey had moved to Ireland during the 17th century.

United States of America:

Individuals with the surname Pumfrey landed in the United States in the 17th century. Some of the people with the name Pumfrey who arrived in the United States in the 17th century included John Pumfrey, who landed in Virginia in 1635. Richard Pumfrey, who arrived in Maryland in 1669


Some of the population with the surname Pumfrey who arrived in New Zealand in the 19th century included Thomas Pumfrey at the age of 34, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Steinwarder" in 1864.

Here is the population distribution of the last name Pumfrey: England 419; United States 144; Canada 76; Australia 67; Scotland 39; United Arab Emirates 2; Wales 2; Ireland 1; New Zealand 1; South Africa 1.

Notable People:

Bernard Pumfrey (1873–1930), was an English professional football player who made 132 appearances in the British Football League.

Nicholas Pumfrey, (1951–2007), professional known as The Rt Hon. King Justice Pumfrey, he was a British advocate.

Pumfrey Coat of Arms Meaning

The two main devices (symbols) in the Pumfrey blazon are the garb and chevron. The three main tinctures (colors) are azure, or and argent .

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.

Or is the heraldic metal Gold, often shown as a bold, bright yellow colour. It is said to show “Generosity and elevation of the mind” 3. Later heralds, of a more poetic nature liked to refer to it as Topaz, after the gemstone, and, for obvious reasons associated it with the Sun 4. In drawings without colour it is usually represented by many small dots, or by the letter ‘O’ 5.

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) 6. In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper 7.

Europe in the middle ages was still a largely agrarian society, and the wealth of the nobility resided in their estates and land. Since most people still lived and worked on the land they would find farm implements instantly recognisable, (an important feature for a coat of arms), even if they seem obscure to us today. 8 The garb for example is an ancient word for wheatsheaf, something now more frequently seen in Inn signs than in the field! 9

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 10, or additional cross-pieces used to strengthen the shield and painted a different colour.11. It has also acquired the meaning of “Protection… granted… to one who has achieved some notable enterprise” 12, possibly becuase of its resemblance to the roof truss of a house.

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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 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P35
  • 4 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
  • 5 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P76-77
  • 6 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
  • 7 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P11
  • 8 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 86
  • 9 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Garbe
  • 10 A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, (various)
  • 11 The Pursuivant of Arms, J. R. Planche, Hardwicke, London 1859
  • 12 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P45
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