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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

(Bisley, &c., co. Gloucester; William Tayloe Esq., of Chalford Bottom, was High Sheriff of co. Gloucester 1742). Same Arms as Telow, viz., Vert a sword erect or, betw. two lions ramp. addorsed erm.

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

Tayloe Origin:

England, Scotland

Origins of Tayloe:

Listed in the spellings of Tale, Tales, Taills, Tallo, Taylo, Tayloe, and other forms as well, this is an English surname of unknown origins. It looks to be a nickname and to acquire from the Olde English pre 7th century "tele," which means the small duck, after that known as the teal, but it may also acquire from the word "teagel," which means a tail. Some fifteen percent of all English surname start from nicknames, the problem is that while in the 20th century, we may know the literal translation, this is not similar by any means, as knowing the specific meaning at the time the nickname presented. Most of the remaining nickname surnames are related to the birds or animals, and the supposed similarity or features of these creatures to the first name ancestors. Equally, the parts of the human body were also used, and what may be in the 20th century recognized either offensive or strong, do not seem to have greatly affected our ancestors, as shown by the popular continuance of such names as Bull or Cox. In this example, we have the added complication that the name may simply be a short form of Taylor. Early examples of the surname recording seem to come from the hamlet of Pitcombe in Somerset. These contain as William Taile in September 1729, John Tales, in June 1746, and at priests Hull Dissenter Church, John Taylo, whose daughter Mary christened there in April 1757. The first known documentation in any spelling considered to be that of Walter Tallo, at Pitcombe, Somerset, in December 1679.


More common variations are: Tayloae, Taylo, Tayle, Taloe, Tyloe, Tayloy, Tayale, Tahole, Taylee, Tayelo


The surname Tayloe first appeared in many places all over the Scotland. Some of the early records contain as Alexander le Tayllur who was the attendant of Alexander in 1276. John le Taillur who held the mill of Selkirk as firmar in 1292 and Brice 1e Taillur who was one of the Scottish captives acquired at the capture of Dunbar Castle in 1296. The last entry's year is of great importance to the surname, and certainly, too much of Scotland for it was that year that King Edward I attacked Scotland and asked that the regional Scots pay homage to him. Six persons of this name in the counties of Roxburgh, Dumfries, Edinburgh, Lanark, and Angus all gave homage, 1296. They held lands in Forfar, Cesseworth, Cunningham, Lanark, and Stirling in Scotland.


Many of the people with surname Tayloe had moved to Ireland during the 17th century.

United States of America:

Individuals with the surname Tayloe landed in the United States in two different centuries respectively in the 17th and 18th. Some of the people with the name Tayloe who arrived in the United States in the 17th century included Joseph Tayloe, who landed in Virginia in 1653. William Taylor (1645-1710), from London who shifted to the Colony of Virginia in the 17th century. He was the ancestor of the famous Tayloe plantation owners.

The following century saw more Tayloe surnames arrive. Some of the people with the surname Tayloe who arrived in the United States in the 18th century included William Tayloe, who came to Virginia in 1710.

Here is the population distribution of the last name Tayloe: United States 788; Australia 20; England 16; Canada 7; Jamaica 1; South Africa 1

Notable People:

John Tayloe I (1688–1747), was one of the richest plantation owners and business persons in Virginia for his generation.

John Tayloe II (1721–1779), was arguably the richest plantation owner in Virginia for his generation.

William Henry Tayloe (1799–1871) was an American businessman, horse grower, planter and land philosopher, son of John Tayloe III, inherited Mount Airy.

Benjamin Ogle Tayloe (1796–1868), was an American businessman, horse breeder, planter and land philosopher.

Henry Augustine Tayloe (1808-1903) was an American businessman, horse breeder, cultivator, and land speculator, youngest son of John Tayloe III.

John Tayloe Lomax (1781–1862), was an American Judge.

Tayloe Coat of Arms Meaning

The two main devices (symbols) in the Tayloe blazon are the lion rampant and sword. The two main tinctures (colors) are vert and ermine.

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

Ermine is a very ancient pattern, and distinctive to observe. It was borne alone by John de Monfort, the Earl of Richmond and Duke of Brittany in the late 14th century 4 It has a long association with royalty and the nobility in general and hence represents “Dignity” wherever it is found 5. The ermine pattern is white with, typically, a three dots and a dart grouping representing the tail of the furred creature.6. The ermine spot is sometimes found alone as a special charge on the shield.

There can be no animal more clearly associated with Heraldry than the lion, majestic King of the Beasts. Originally it appeared only in one pose, erect, on one paw, with the others raised 7 but such was the popularity of this figure, and the need to distinguish arms from each other, that it soon came to be shown in an enormous range of forms 8. The lion rampant is an example of these modified form, and any family would be proud to have such a noble creature displayed on their arms. Rampant is the default attitude of the lion, raised on its hind legs, facing to the dexter and with front paws extended in a fearsome and powerful pose.

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 9. Indeed, the sheer variety of different swords 10 can be bewildering and expaining the difference between a scimitar and a falchion is perhaps best left to the expert! If a charge is described just as a simple sword then it will have a straight blade and cross handle, that may be of a different colour, and, unless specified, points upwards. Wade, quoting the earlier writer Guillim, signifies the use of the sword as representing “Government and Justice”.

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  • 1 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36
  • 2 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Vert
  • 3 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 27
  • 4 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P69
  • 5 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P39
  • 6 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 28
  • 7 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 64
  • 8 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P136-141
  • 9 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 89
  • 10 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P302