Riley Family Crest, Coat of Arms and Name History

Riley Family Coat of Arms

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Riley Coat of Arms Meaning

Riley Name Origin & History

Variations of this name are: Reyley, O’Reilly.

We have several coat of arms design(s) for the name Riley. Click on the thumbnails to view each design.

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Riley Coat of Arms Meaning

The three main devices (symbols) in the Riley blazon are the hand, cross formee fitchee and lion. The three main tinctures (colors) are or, vert and sable .

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” 1The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P35. 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 2Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53. In drawings without colour it is usually represented by many small dots, or by the letter ‘O’ 3A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P76-77.

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” 4The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36. 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 5A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Vert. More fanciful heralds liked to associate it with the planet venus and the precious stone emerald 6Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 27. More strangely, there is some evidence that the term prasin was anciently used, being the Greek for the vegetable we call the Leek!

Sable, the deep black so often found in Heraldry is believed to named from an animal of the marten family know in the middle ages as a Sabellinœ and noted for its very black fur 7A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Sable. In engravings, when colors cannot be shown it is represented as closely spaced horizontal and vertical lines, and appropriately is thus the darkest form of hatching, as this method is known 8Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 26. Although it may seem a sombre tone, and does indeed sometimes denote grief, it is more commonly said to represent Constancy 9The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P35.

The hand, unless we are told otherwise is a dexter (right) hand shown palm outwards and fingers upwards.10A Glossary of Terms used in Heraldry, J.B. Parker, 1894 P305. It demonstrates faith, sincerity and justice, and in the form of two right hands clasped can mean union or alliance11The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W Cecil Wade 1898 P92. There is a special form called the “Hand of Ulster” which is a sinister hand gules on an argent background (a left hand, red upon white). Originally the Badge of Ulster, the Province of Northern Ireland, it has come to be used as an addition to existing arms, in an escutcheon (small shield) or canton (small square) to indicate that the holder is also a Baronet.12Heraldry Historical and Popular, Charles Boutell, 1864 P56

No other symbol appearing in heraldry is subject to as much variation as the cross 13Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 47. Mediaeval Europe was a deeply religious and Christian and many of the nobility wanted to show their devotion by adopting the symbol of the cross as part of the arms. Since no two arms could be identical there arose many variants of the cross, typically involving patterning along the edges 14Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P67, or fanciful, decorative endings to the arms of the cross 15A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P128. The cross formee is typical of these, (also known as a cross pattee) it has arms which broaden out in smooth curves towards the ends.The fitchee term simply indicates that the lower arm is pointed, as if it is to be planted in the ground

The art of heraldry would be significantly poorer if we were without the lion in all its forms. Most general works on Heraldry devote at least one chapter solely to this magnificent creature and its multifarious depictions 16A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P172 17Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 63 18Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P140. Some of the earliest known examples of heraldry, dating right back to the knighting of Geoffrey of Anjou in 1127, where he is shown with six such beasts upon his shield 19A Treatise on Heraldry, J. Woodward, W & A.K Johnston, Edinburgh & London, 1896, P45 .The great authority on heraldic symbology, Wade, points out the high place that the lion holds in heraldry, “as the emblem of deathless courage” 20The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P60, a sentiment echoed equally today.

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Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Riley Name

Riley Origin:

England, Ireland

Origins of Riley:

The surname of Riley can hail from either the Irish or the English cultures. There are two possible origins for the surname of Riley. The first possible origin of the surname of Riley is that it was a locational surname, hailing from the country of England. Because the surname of Riley is said to be locational in the country of England, this means that it was often taken by the Lord or owner of the land from which the name derives. Others who may have take a locational surname are people who have migrated out of the area to seek out work. The easiest way to identify someone who was a stranger at that time was by the name of their birthplace. The places from which those who bear the surname of Riley might have hailed include the village of Riley Green which was located near Blackburm, or within Lichfield, in Staffordshire, with the village of Riley Hill. Another possible area where someone who bore the surname of Riley might have hailed from was in Devonshire, where there was rumored to be a town called Riley. It is possible that this surname means either “red farm” or “rye farm,” coming from the Old English Pre 7th Century word of “rygh-leah.” Within the country of Ireland, it is believed that the surname of Riley comes from the surname “O’Raghailligh” which means the son of Raghallach.

Variations:

More common variations are: Risley, Rilley, Reiley, Rieley, Railey, Rioley, Wriley, Rhiley, Riiley, Riliey

England:

The first recorded spelling of the surname of Riley can be found within the country of England. One person, who was recorded to be named as one John de Ryeley was mentioned in the Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefield, which is located in Yorkshire, in the year of 1284. This document was ordered, decreed, and written under the reign of one King Edward I, who was known as both “Longshanks,” and “The Hammer of the Scots.” He was such named for the wars and conquests that he waged on the country of Scotland throughout his reign, which lasted from the year of 1272 to the year of 1307. Other mentions of the surname of Riley throughout the country of England include one Henry de Ryley, who was mentioned in the Subsidy Tax Rolls for Derbyshire in the year of 1327, and Alice Riley, who was baptized at St. Giles Cripplegate, London, in the year 1575. Those who bear the surname of Riley within the country of England can be found in the counties of Yorkshire and Lancashire in large concentrations.

Scotland:

Within the country of Scotland, those who bear the surname of Riley can be found in large populations in the area of Midlothian County.

Ireland:

In the country of Ireland, the first recorded spelling of the surname of Riley was one Hugh O’Reilly who served as an Archbishop of Ireland, and lived from the year 1580 to the year 1653. Those who bear the surname of Riley in the country of Ireland can be found in Armagh, Breffney, and County Cavan.

United States of America:

Those who carry the surname of Riley can be found in the states of Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania and Illinois.

Here is the population distribution of the last name Riley: United States 146,745; England 28,049; Australia 11,014; Canada 6,882; South Africa 6,118; Jamaica 3,373; New Zealand 2,076; Scotland 1,542; Wales 926; Trinidad and Tobago 745

Notable People:

John “Jack” Patrick Riley (1920-2016) who was an Ice hockey player and coach from America from the year 1950 to the year 1986 and who went on to coach the United States Ice Hockey team as they earned a Gold Medal in the year 1960 at the Squaw Valley Olympics

Chis Riley who was born in the year 1982 is a soccer player from America

Chris Riley who was born in the year 1973 who is a nationally ranked golfer from America who competes with the Pro Golf Association and is ranked in the top 50 in the Official World Golf Rankings

Steve Riley who was born in the year 1956 who is a drummer from America whose associated acts include L.A. Guns, Roadmaster, and Steppenwolf

James Whitcomb Riley (1849-1916) who was a writer and poet from America who is best know for his best-selling works which include “Little Orphan Annie” and “The Raggedy Man”

Herbert Douglas Riley (1904-1973) who was an American who served as the Vice Admiral to the united States Navy

Riley Family Gift Ideas

Browse Riley family gift ideas and products below. If there are multiple coats of arms for this surname, you will see them at the top of this page and can click on the various coat of arms designs to apply them to the gift ideas below.

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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

1) (co. Devon, and the Green, co. Lancaster). Or (another, ar.) a fess betw. three crosses formée fitchée sa.
2) (Forest Hill, Windsor; confirmed to William Felix Riley, Esq., of that place, J.P. and D.L., only son of John Reilly, and grandson of Felix Reilly, both of Bulgan, co. Cavan). Vert two lions ramp. or, supporting a dexter hand ppr. dropping blood, on a canton ar. a torteau. Crest—Out of a mural crown an oak tree with a snake entwined descending its trunk all ppr. Motto—Fortitudine et prudentia.
3) (cos. Lancaster and Lincoln). Or, a fess betw. three crosses formée vert. Crest—A dragon’s head erased gu. bezantée.
4) Or, a chev. betw. three crosses pattée fitchée sa. Crest—A dragon’s head erased sa. charged with a plate and two bezants, one and two.
5) (John Riley, Esq., of the Inner Temple, London). O Or, on a chev. betw. two crosses pattée fitchée in chief az. and in base on waves of the sea a ship in full sail ppr. three bees volant of the fleld. Crest—A dragon’s head couped sa. bezantée, and in front thereof an anchor entwined with a cable fesswise or. Motto—Spero infestis metuo secundis.

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References   [ + ]

1. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P35
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, P76-77
4. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36
5. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Vert
6. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 27
7. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Sable
8. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 26
9. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P35
10. A Glossary of Terms used in Heraldry, J.B. Parker, 1894 P305
11. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W Cecil Wade 1898 P92
12. Heraldry Historical and Popular, Charles Boutell, 1864 P56
13. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 47
14. Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P67
15. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P128
16. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P172
17. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 63
18. Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P140
19. A Treatise on Heraldry, J. Woodward, W & A.K Johnston, Edinburgh & London, 1896, P45
20. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P60