Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Smart Name
Origins of Name:
The Smart surname derives from either one of two origins. A medieval nickname given to those who were active or brisk, from the Middle English word “smeart” which means quick or prompt. Old English defined the word “smeart” as stinging or painful and derives from the word smeortan meaning “to sting”. It could also come from being used as an occupational description for someone who was repairman, handyman or similar. Early surnames would often be used to describe a person, their occupation or as a nickname, many of which would be considered offensive by today’s standards. The surname Smart is common and extensively found in England, Scotland, and Wales.
More common variations are:
Smartt, Smairt, Smarte, Smarto, Smarti, Smarta, Smarty, Smarat, Smarrt. Smarwt
The Smart clan was said to be medieval lords in Suffolk and held that title from ancient times, possibly even before the Norman Conquest.
When William the Conqueror invaded England, many English names were replaced with French personal names. After more than a century, surnames began to be named after saints of the Christian church. The Smart surname was found prior to the Norman conquest of England as well as after.
The first recorded history of the surname Smart in England was that of Lifwinus Smart in 1180 in the archives of the Cantebury Cathedral in Kent. Later, William Smert in the Tax Rolls of Worcester in 1275.
Henry Smert, a Scotsman, who was a prisoner of war was released to find ransom of himself and others in 1422. Many times if a prisoner was not able to pay a ransom, the prisoner was released to be able to gather funds to pay the ransom.
In 1635, William Smart would sail for the New World from London aboard the ship “Thomas and John” and land in Virginia. Another known recording was the christening of Benjamin Smart in 1642 at St. Benet Fink in London.
The surname Smart is the 353rd most common name in Great Britain. The highest concentrations are in Fife, Gloucestershire, Moray, and Rhondda Cynon Tafff.
The first record of the surname Smart appears in Scotland in 1597 for John Smart; however, the Smart surname in Scotland goes as far back as the highlands of northern Scotland. The surname in Scottish derives from “smertae”, an ancient people that lived around Inverness and Loch Ness. The Smart clan belonged to a tribe that was under the protection of the much larger McKenzie clan.
A variation of the name, Smert was recorded in 1358 for John Smert who was charged for violating parole. In 1376 another variation, William Smert was a tenant living in Telny in the barony of Abirdoure, Fife.
Smert is still a commonly used pronunciation of the name in Scotland.
42,000 in Nigeria
29,000 in the United States
18,000 in England
7,000 in Australia
6,000 in South Africa
Amy Smart (born 1976), American actress
Andrew Smart (born 1986), English soccer player
Christopher Smart (1722–1771), English poet
Sir George Thomas Smart (1776–1867), English musician J
Jeffrey Smart, (1921–2013) Australian painter
John Smart (c. 1740–1811), English painter
Richard Smart (actor) (1913–1992), Broadway actor and rancher
Richard Smart (MP) (died 1560), English politician and Member of Parliament
Reuben D. Smart (1832–1890), American politician
Smart Coat of Arms Meaning
The four main devices (symbols) in the Smart blazon are the pheon, cinquefoil, chevron and chessrook. The three main tinctures (colors) are argent, sable and or .
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) . In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper .
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 . 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 . Although it may seem a sombre tone, and does indeed sometimes denote grief, it is more commonly said to represent Constancy .
The bright yellow colour frequently found in coats of arms is known to heralds as Or, or sometimes simply as Gold.. Along with, argent, or silver it forms the two “metals” of heraldry – one of the guidelines of heraldic design is that silver objects should not be placed upon gold fields and vice versa . The yellow colour is often associated with the Sun, and the zodiacal sign of Leo..
Given the martial nature of the origins of Heraldry, in the identification of knights and men-at-arms it can come as no surprise that mediaeval weaponry of all types are frequently to be found in a coat of arms . The pheon is a specific type of arrow head with barbs and darts and hence quite distinctive in appearance. Like the other symbols related to arrows, Wade suggests the symbolism is that of “readiness for military service”.
Natural objects abound in heraldry, and one category that gives especial delight are the many flowers and flowering plants that frequently occur . 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. It has no fixed colour but can appear in any of the available heraldic tinctures.
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 , or additional cross-pieces used to strengthen the shield and painted a different colour.. It has also acquired the meaning of “Protection… granted… to one who has achieved some notable enterprise” , possibly becuase of its resemblance to the roof truss of a house.