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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

1) (Govan, Scotland, 1753). Motto: Ever ready. Vert a. chev. ar. betw. three roebucks courant ppr. Crest—A roebuck at gaze ppr.
2) (Scotland, 1672). Motto—In omnia promptus. Ar. three roebucks courants gu. Crest—A roebuck at gaze ppr.
3) Quarterly, ar. and az. on a bend gu. three fleurs-de-lis of the first. Crest—A mountain cat courant guard, ppr.

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

This interesting surname noted in many forms including McRae, MacRae, Rae, Ree, and Rea, is of old Scottish origin, although there can be confusion with English name holder of similar spellings.  The origin is from the pre 7th century Old English 'ra'.  This word showed the roe deer, and when used as a nickname was on the face of it, a description of a rather timid person. More common variations are: Rawe, Raye, Raey, Wrae, Raei, Raee, Raie, Raue, Raea, Roae.

The surname Rae first showed in Cumberland at Gill, in the church of Bromfield which related to the family from the time of William the Lion, king of Scotland (died 1214.) The very first recording spelling of the family was shown to be that of Vlui Ra, dated 1095, in the Records of the Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk. It was during the reign of King Henry 1st, who was known as "The Lion of the Justice" dated 1087-1100.  Surname all over the country 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 varieties of the original one.

Some of the people with the name Rae who arrived in the United States in the 17th century included John Rae who settled in Nevis in 1663.  Robert Rae arrived in New Jersey in 1685. People with the surname Rae who landed in the United States in the 18th century included James Rae, who arrived in Virginia in 1716.

Rae Coat of Arms Meaning

The four main devices (symbols) in the Rae blazon are the roebuck, chevron, fleur-de-lis and mountain cat. The three main tinctures (colors) are argent, gules and vert .

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) 1. In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper 2.

Red in heraldry is given the name Gules, sometimes said to be the “martyr’s colour”3. The colour is also associated with Mars, the red planet, and the zodiacal sign Aries 4. Later heralds of a more poetical nature would sometimes refer to the colour as ruby, after the precious stone.5.

The deep green colour that is so often observed in heraldry is more properly known as vert. According to Wade, the use of this colour signifies “Hope and Joy”, but may also represent, rather delightfully, “Loyalty in Love” 6. It has other names also, the French call it sinople, perhaps after a town in Asia Minor from where the best green die materials could be found 7. More fanciful heralds liked to associate it with the planet venus and the precious stone emerald 8. More strangely, there is some evidence that the term prasin was anciently used, being the Greek for the vegetable we call the Leek!

Many different forms of the deer, hart, roe-buck and other appear in rolls of arms, though often of similar appearance. The precise choice of animal possibly being a reference to the family name. 9 If there is any symbology intended it is probably that of enjoyment of the hunt, deer in all its form being a popular prey. 10

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 11, or additional cross-pieces used to strengthen the shield and painted a different colour.12. It has also acquired the meaning of “Protection… granted… to one who has achieved some notable enterprise” 13, possibly becuase of its resemblance to the roof truss of a house.

The fleur-de-lys (“flower of the lily”) has a long and noble history and was a symbol associated with the royalty of France even before heraldry became widespread. 14. The Lily flower is said to represent “Purity, or whiteness of soul”15 and sometimes associated with the Virgin Mary. The fleur-de-lys is also used as a small “badge”, known as a mark of cadency to show that the holder is the sixth son of the present holder of the arms 16

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References

  • 1 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
  • 2 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P11
  • 3 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36
  • 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, P77
  • 6 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36
  • 7 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Vert
  • 8 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 27
  • 9 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Deer
  • 10 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P30
  • 11 A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, (various)
  • 12 The Pursuivant of Arms, J. R. Planche, Hardwicke, London 1859
  • 13 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P45
  • 14 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 3
  • 15 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P134
  • 16 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P489