• step01
  • step02
  • step03
  • step04
step 01
step 02
step 03
step 04

Blazons & Genealogy Notes

1) Gu. on a chev. ar. three old men’s heads affrontée ppr. habited in close caps sa. Crest—A sage's head, as in the arms. Another Crest—A sage's head erased at the neck ppr. habited in a skull cap, as in the arms.
2) Motto—Non sibi. Per pale erminois and vert three fleurs-de-lis counterchanged. Crest—A stag’s head erased and erect ppr.

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


The surname Sage has English, French, Irish, and German variations. The English French variation, Sage, derives from the Latin “sagus” which translates to perceptive. The Irish, Savage, is an Anglicized form of the Gaelic name “Sabhaois”. The Germanic variation is derived from the word “sege” which translates to reed.

Surnames in Europe prior to the mid-sixteenth century were largely unheard of outside of the noble class. In the small settlements and villages which existed during earlier times, residents found little need for surnames as everyone in these communities new each other and a given name would usually suffice. However, with the passage of time, population growth and expansions of communities as villages gave way to towns and cities, it became necessary to add a qualifier to a people's names to distinguish them, one from another. Therefore one person may have been identified by their given name plus their occupation while another may have been identified by their given name and one of their parent's names. The introduction of surnames after the medieval era seemed to be the next logical step in this evolution. There was a boundless supply from which surnames could be formed, in addition to the use of patriarchal/matriarchal names or reference to the individuals occupation, there were things such as defining physical traits, a familiar geographical location or a topographical landmark found near the individuals home or birthplace, the name of the village in which the person lived. Surnames also served an additional role by allowing governments a more effective way of keeping records for census, taxation, and immigration records.

These official records often contained variations in spelling of many surnames. The variation in spelling during this time period can be attributed to a lack of continuity regarding guidelines for spelling which was compounded by the diversity of languages in use in European countries at this time. The variations in the spelling of the surname include but not limited to; Sage; Saege; Sagge; and Sayge among others.

An early record of any variation of this surname is that of Robert le Sage which appears in the Shropshire tax rolls dated 1185. These rolls, were a series of census and tax records kept by the English Treasury by order of King Henry II, with the oldest dating back seven hundred years to the 12th century. They hold the distinction of being the oldest consecutive set of records detailing English governance in the United Kingdom.

With the discovery of the Americas and the addition to the British Common Wealth of countries such as Canada, Australia, and New Zealand immigration to these new worlds was inevitable. Some of the first settlers on record to America bearing this surname were Jan Sage, his wife, and six children who landed in 1621 and settled in Virginia. Gregory Sage arrived in 1638 and settle in Virginia. One of the earliest records of a Sage migrating to Canada was Charles Sage who arrived in 1830 and settled in St. John's, Newfoundland. Mary Sage was one of the early settlers to Australia, landing in 1848 in South Australia. George and Agnes Sage along with their children, John and Mary arrived and settled in Auckland, New Zealand in 1881.

Worldwide, the highest concentration of people with the surname Sage are found in the United Kingdom, France, New Zealand, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. State by state, the largest percentile of those with the surname Sage live in Vermont, New York, New Hampshire, Iowa, Oklahoma, and Virginia.

There are a number of persons of note who bear the surname such as American born philanthropist, Margaret Olivia Slocum Sage. Her contributions included educational and progressive causes.

English born, Thomas Henry Sage, was a recipient of the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry, the Victoria Cross. He saved his comrades by throwing himself upon a hand grenade in an engagement outside of Ypres France during WWI. Sage survived, despite being grievously wounded.

American born United States Army major general, William Hampden Sage, served in World War I and was a Medal of Honor recipient.

American born, Leland Livingston Sage was professor emeritus of history at the University of

Northern Iowa. He also authored two books on Iowa history, winning national recognition from the American Association for State and Local History.

American born Andrew Patrick Sage who was an Emeritus Professor and Founding Dean Emeritus at George Mason University's School of Information Technology and Engineering.

Sage Coat of Arms Meaning

The three main devices (symbols) in the Sage blazon are the sage’s head, chevron and fleur-de-lis. The three main tinctures (colors) are erminois, vert and gules .

Ermine and its variants is a very ancient pattern. It has a long association with royalty and the nobility in general and hence represents “Dignity” wherever it is found 1. The ermine pattern is white with, typically, a three dots and a dart grouping representing the tail of the furred creature.2. Erminois is a variant in which the field is or (gold) and the ermine tails sable (black).

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” 3. 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 4. More fanciful heralds liked to associate it with the planet venus and the precious stone emerald 5. More strangely, there is some evidence that the term prasin was anciently used, being the Greek for the vegetable we call the Leek!

The bold red colour on a heraldic shield is known as gules. It has a long history within heraldry, it is known that one of those who besieged the scottish castle of Carlaverock in 1300 was the French knight Euremions de la Brette who had as his arms a simple red shield.6. The word gules is thought to come from the Arabic gule, or “red rose” 7. Later writers associated it with the precious stone ruby and the metal iron 8, perhaps because of the red glow of iron in the heat of the blacksmith’s forge.

Heraldry is a human art, by and for people and it is not surprising that people themselves are frequently depicted in arms 9. Often these are images of knights and men-at-arms, or individual limbs, such as the “three armoured right arms argent” shown in the arms of Armstrong 10. As well as the nobility however, we also see both the mundane, ploughmen, fishermen and reapers; and the exotic in the form of club wielding savages and the Moorish or Saracen gentleman with his decorative wreathed turban 11. The sages head is a typical example of this use of the human figure.

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 12, or additional cross-pieces used to strengthen the shield and painted a different colour.13. It has also acquired the meaning of “Protection… granted… to one who has achieved some notable enterprise” 14, 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. 15. The Lily flower is said to represent “Purity, or whiteness of soul”16 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 17

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  • 1 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P39
  • 2 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 28
  • 3 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36
  • 4 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Vert
  • 5 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 27
  • 6 The Siege of Carlaverock, N. Harris, Nichols & Son, London, 1828, P180
  • 7 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 313
  • 8 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
  • 9 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P174
  • 10 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 60
  • 11 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P168
  • 12 A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, (various)
  • 13 The Pursuivant of Arms, J. R. Planche, Hardwicke, London 1859
  • 14 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P45
  • 15 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 3
  • 16 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P134
  • 17 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P489