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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

(Malmesbury, co. Wilts). Per chevron argent and sable three griffins' heads erased counterchanged. Crest—A griflln’s head erased per chevron argent and sable.

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


The surname Stump is thought to be the Anglicized version of the German name Stumpf of Stumph. In this context the name would be topographical as it would have been used to identify someone who lived near a noticeable tree stump. There is also the possibility that the name may also refer to a maker of coins and currency. In times prior to the middle ages, the manufacturing of currency was often sourced out to local licensed craftsmen, so in this context the surname would have been occupational.

Various spellings of the name can be found in the medieval and ancient records, a fact which is attributed to a lack of guidelines used for spelling at that time and the fact that a large number of the scribes charged with record keeping, spelled phonetically. What may have sounded on way to one person may have sounded different to another. Some of the early variations include; Stump; Stampf; Stampe; Stamp; Stumph; Stemp; and Stempe among others. One of the earliest records of someone bearing a variation of the name, John de Stampes, can be found in tax rolls of London dated 1191. The tax rolls, were a series of census and tax records kept by the English Treasury by order of King Richard I, with the oldest dating back to the 12th century. These documents are considered the oldest concentric set of records documenting English governance in the United Kingdom spanning a period of over seven centuries, these records have proven invaluable to researches over the years.

The use of surnames did not come into vogue in England until after the Norman invasion. Most residents in the small settlements and villages which existed during earlier eras across most of the British Isles, found little need for surnames as everyone within these communities knew each other and a given name would usually suffice. However, as communities grew and people began to migrate on a larger scale, the Norman aristocracy's penchant for using surnames seemed to serve at least two practical purposes; it allowed for the distinguish of individuals who shared common given names, and it gave governments a reliable way to track people for tax and census purposes.

Those not of the noble class would often be identified by their given name plus their occupation while others may have been identified by their given name and one of their parent's names. There was almost a limitless 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 individual's home or birthplace, the name of the village in which the person lived, and so much more. Over the course or time, surnames came to represent not just individuals but whole families.

With the discovery of America, and the addition to the British Commonwealth of countries such as Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, immigration to these new worlds was inevitable. Some of the first recorded immigrants to America bearing the surname or any variation of the spelling were Thomas Stump who arrived in 1635 and settled in Virginia. John Stump landed and settled in Maryland in 1738, Christoffel Stump landed in Pennsylvania in 1741, and Adam Stump landed and settled in Pennsylvania in 1743. One of the first settlers to Canada was Michael Stump who settled in New Brunswick in 1785.

Worldwide, the highest concentration of people with the surname Stump are found in the United States, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, and the United Kingdom. State by state, the largest percentile of those with the surname Stump is in Indiana, Virginia, and West Virginia.

There are many notable people named Stump. Felix Stump achieved the rank of admiral in the United States Navy and was Commander of the United States Pacific Fleet from 1953 until 1958.

Stump attended the United States Naval Academy, received flight training at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida, and studied Aeronautical Engineering at Massachusetts Institution of Technology (MIT).

Stump was a veteran of World War I and World War II. During his years of service he received two Navy Crosses, the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, the Army Distinguished Service Medal, three Legion of Merit awards, and the Silver Star.

Stump Coat of Arms Meaning

The two main devices (symbols) in the Stump blazon are the griffin and per chevron. The two main tinctures (colors) are sable and argent.

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 1. 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 2. Although it may seem a sombre tone, and does indeed sometimes denote grief, it is more commonly said to represent Constancy 3.

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) 4. In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper 5.

In the mediaeval period there was no real percieved difference between real and mythical animals, after all, much of the world remained unknown and who was to say what strange and magical creatures existed in distant lands? As heraldry developed a whole menagerie of imagined creatures 6 came into being, and their various representations became more or less standardised in form and appearance. The griffin is perhaps the most common of these creatures, being a chimera with the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle. 7. It is most often in the pose known as rampant segreant, on its hind legs with claws and wings extended. Vinycomb has much to say on the subject of the griffin, perhaps summarised in his belief that it represents “strength and vigilance”.]8

To add variety and interest to the arms, heraldic artists began to divide the background of the shield into two parts, giving each a different colour. They were named for the ordinary that they most resembled, so the division of the shield by an inverted ‘V’ shape, similar to the ordinary known as the chevron came to be called per chevron 9. Visually rather striking, it can be even more effective if one charge is placed below the point, and two others above and to the sides. 10. Wade considers the use of the per chevron division to indicate “constancy, with peace and Sincerity”. 11

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  • 1 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Sable
  • 2 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 26
  • 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 Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P11
  • 6 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P164
  • 7 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Griffin
  • 8 Fictitious & Symbolic Creatures…in British Heraldry, J. Vinycomb, Chapman & Hall, London, 1906, P150
  • 9 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P63
  • 10 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Party
  • 11 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P150