The Coles of Arms

Sparked by an exchange on Twitter last week with another person (who has the same surname as me) on the subject of heraldry, I did a little bit of googling about and found a little snippet I found quite intriguing. Although the name Coles is found all over England and Wales, with strong concentrations in the South West of England and in Northamptonshire, according to this source the name is of Anglo Saxon origin and is first recorded in Yorkshire as the family name of George Coles, which was dated 1555, in the “Register of the Freemen of the City of York”, during the reign of Queen Mary 1. The same source also points out that a branch of the Coles family subsequently moved to Ireland, though it gives no details (unless you pay for them).

I subsequently found that in Burkes General Armory (which details all the Coats of Arms registered in the UK and Ireland) the first entry under the surname Coles is indeed in Ireland, where it was confirmed in 1647. That date is during the Irish Confederate Wars, a couple of years before Oliver Cromwell arrived in Ireland with his army. One might surmise that this particular branch of the Coles lineage was somehow caught up in these hostilities, probably on the English side.

Anyway the description of the corresponding Coat of Arms, in typically cryptic heraldic language is:

Gu. on a chev. betw. two lions’ heads erased or, ten ogresses. Crest — A snake wreathed about a marble pillar ppr. garnished or.

The first part refers to the escutcheon (shield): Gu is short for Gules, a tincture (red), and it describes the main colour of the field of the escutcheon; chev is for chevron (an inverted v-shape), one of the Honorable Ordinaries (basic designs for the escutcheon). This and the two lions’ heads are described as `or’ (andother tincture, meaning gold-coloured); erased means `without the body’; an ogress is a special case of a roundel (filled circle) in which the circle is black (the word `pellet’ is also used).

The Crest is self-explanatory other than that `ppr’ is short for `proper’ which means, roughly speaking, `natural-coloured’. I’m not of the significance of the snake and the marble pillar.

Here is a mock-up of the whole thing:

There are several other entries for the name Coles in Burkes General Armory and I’m certainly not claiming that I have the right to use this Coat of Arms but I am intrigued by the Irish connection with the name Coles and will see what more I can find out about it.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: