Blazon of Arms




                                                                                            HATFIELD                                          LIVELY                                                      DAVIS



Blazon of Arms – Descriptions


Lively – Argent, a lion rampant, gules, between three trefoils slipped vert - 1540

Davis -  Chevron argent engrailed between three silver boar’s heads on a red shield – 1634

Hatfield – Argent, a chevron engrailed between three cinquefoils sable - 1409



                  The Blazon of Arms (Coat of Arms) appearing here evolved from a symbol used in a medieval community of England, Scotland or Ireland. The use of coats of arms began well before the 14th century and because these emblems, or coats of arms, were originally designed and created on a very local basis, they may not meet the modern requirements for an “official” coat of arms. For that matter, no Blazon of Arms is likely to be “official” for any family with respect to heraldic authenticity, since they probably represented a place and not a family.   The British College of Arms will certify blazons of arms for the Royal Family and certain nobility, but these are actually awarded to individuals and not to families.


                The legitimate coats of arms of today evolved in appearance due to copyrights, adjustments by approval agencies, drawn and redrawn for artistic reasons, changed through marriages, changed for political reasons, changed to reflect new enterprises, and some even represent composites to reflect ethnic and political origins. Many have no history whatsoever. Only the modern copyrighted versions exists for families, or, if you are persistent enough, you may find a “family” crest from a time before 1484 when the English Crown attempted to standardize and award crests.


We believe we have found three crests that pre-date the British College of Arms.


Research tells us that in the 7th and 8th century members of a fighting group (small armies) wore an insignia designed or selected by their Chieftain or Captain to avoid confusion in battle, which was often hand-to-hand. Even today the practice is common in the military. In medieval times such armies came from the populace of small communities, towns and settlements, and they wished to identify themselves.  As time wore on, families living in these communities became identified with certain emblems. Often, families lived in the same community for generations and a family may have been the population of the entire community. In this manner blazons of arms became associated with certain surnames.


So, the blazon of arms we discovered came from such a community discovered through the name of Robarte Lyvely who is buried at St. Dianus’s Backchurch, London in 1543, and was in use at the marriage of Alys Lyveley in 1540 in the same church. The surname was traced back to a community no longer in existence and may have been a small hamlet-sized community identified only by this crest and surname. The crest was described as follows:   “Argent a lion rampant gules between three trefoils slipped vert”.


Translation: The lion rampant is a symbol of majesty and kingship and in red denotes military fortitude; the trefoil is a three leafed plant (shamrock) and vert is green and denotes fertility and abundance; slipped means with stem or pulled from the ground; argent is silver or white, which denotes peace and sincerity.


It might be interesting to some, that the presence of the trefoils usually indicates Irish origins and the lion rampant was first used by Scottish Royalty.  Perhaps this represents a mixed heritage, although Scotland and Ireland in medieval times were not significantly as separate as was English and Scotland.


William I of Scotland used the symbol of a lion in 1165 – 1214 in his coat of arms and he was known as the “Lion”. The Scottish version of the lion has always been shown in the rampant position, ie:  standing erect on the left hind leg with the head in profile and forelegs extended – red against a field of yellow.


We see the trefoil on English Coats of Arms from time to time, but usually in non-green colors and in green only when an Irish ancestry is claimed. The lion rampant appears on the official Scottish national flag in red against a yellow field today. The lion rampant is widely used in England and throughout European countries in a variety of stylistic representations.



A Little Irish Heraldry


            Interestingly, the tradition of armorial bearings seems to have very early precedents among the Gaelic Irish. It is well known that Roman legions carried distinctive standards into battle, which bore various symbols and totems peculiar to their units. This practice of identification by banners or standards was not unique to the Romans, with examples found among the ancient Greeks, Egyptians and Hebrews.


Medieval heraldry, it is now believed in Ireland, evolved from the civil personal marks, or seal devices of the Flemish descendants of the Emperor Charlemagne.


The adoption of personal symbols or marks, a substitute for writings, eventually spread to the Normans from the Flemish around the time of the Norman conquest of England but appears to date back at least as far as the 8th century. Such devices were “of necessity, heredity,” since they were “common to families or groups linked by blood or feudal tenure.”


It may be surprising to find much the same practice in Ireland in the early part of the 7th century. An account of the Battle of Magh Rath (County Down) clearly describes the battle standards of the Gaelic Irish chieftains. According to Keating: “For it is there read, that the whole host was wont to be placed under the command of one captain-in-chief, and that, under him, each division of his force obeyed its own proper captain; and besides, that every captain of these bore upon his standard his peculiar device or ensign . . . “



The English Version of Heraldic Origins


The early histories of heralds and armory are roughly contemporary but separate stories. Heralds were originally free-lancer individuals who specialized in the running and scoring of tournaments. Early 12th and 13th century payment records lump them in with minstrels. These were migratory people, going from tournament to tournament and had an unsavory reputation in this period.


Armory originated in the 12th century in the Anglo-Norman lands and quickly spread over much of Europe. At that time the full face helm came into vogue making it difficult to identify armored men in battle and in tournaments, which were free-for-all melees in this period, far different from the formalized jousts of Elizabethan times. Great lords, and thereafter, knights, decorated their shields and surcoats with “coats of arms” using distinctive designs.


Heralds became experts at identifying knights by their emblems since that was part of the herald’s job as a tourney official. The next step was for heralds to start recording arms.


In 1484 Richard III gave royal heralds a charter incorporating them as the College of Arms and granted them quarters in London.  Under this system of heraldry, a coat of arms was awarded to the individual knight, different from the Irish tradition.  And for a considerable time Blazons of Arms were given and taken away for political reasons.



And To Genealogy This Means –


We can go on and on about the history of what amounts to the family crest. Germans claim they started “Heraldry” via the Teutonic Knights, ie: “heer” (an army) and “held” (a champion). The French required coats of arms before participation in tournaments and they have their system. And it goes on.


It does not matter much where one starts research on heraldry. If the research is faithfully followed we all will end up in a place where a small group or a family who wished to be identified and associated with a community, used a symbol, banner, or shield; an everyday sign that said who they were. These evolved into a variety of forms: kilts; emblems, coats of arms, badges, symbols.


One can copyright a coat of arms, we can become certified by some organization as proper and correct; or we can be genuine researchers and dig into history to see what was used before copyrights and certifications became substitutes for what we know is right.



Davis Coat of Arms.  We have located several Coats of Arms for Davis. It appears the most widely used is a version from the Davis family of Northamptonshire, England. It was used, for example, by Dolor Davis immigrating to Massachusetts in 1634, which is as far back as we researched. Undoubtedly we could reach much further back. A chevron argent engrailed between three silver boar’s heads on a red shield.


Hatfield Coat of Arms. We have seen this description interpreted in several ways. We believe this version was used as a personal Coat of Arms to Sir Robert de Hattfield, 1409, Lancaster, England. Arms: Argent, a chevron engrailed between three cinquefoils sable; or, Ermine on a chevron sable three cinquefoils argent. It comes out the same. There exists an elaborate description of the Crest as well.


Lively Coat of Arms.  It was displayed at the wedding of Alys Lyvely in 1540 at the St. Dianus Backchurch, London, and there are several other references to this version. It was obvious to us that this version had been in use for a considerable time.  Argent, a lion rampant, gules, between three trefoils slipped vert.