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The Adams Coat of Arms

January 11, 2010

The Adams family Coat of Arms has been prominently displayed for several generations. Although little is known of the origin of these particular Arms, a search of Heraldry records (Encyclopedia of Heraldry by John B. Burke) cites descriptions of the Coats of Arms shown below.

These are Arms granted to persons in the area of England from which the Adams ancestors came. Although no attempt is made to establish or prove related ancestry, the Arms are included for general interest and information.

The following descriptions are given*:

coa_ga_00 ADAMS
(the accepted family Arms)
Gules, a bend Or between two Bysants, three Martlets sable.

Motto: Aspire, Persevere and Indulge Not

coa_ga_00_3 ADAMS
(Middle Temple 1639)
Sable, a bend Or between two Bysants, three Martlets of the field. Crest – on a Bysant a demi-eagle sable.
coa_ga_00_1 ADAMS
(Brompton, County Kent, descended from the Admas of Devonshire)
Or, a lion rampant** between eights crosses, crosslet fitches sable, all with a bordure engrailed azure.

Motto: Aspire, Persevere and Indulge Not

coa_ga_00_2 ADAMS
(Borne by Edward Hamlyn Adams of Middleton Hall, County Carmarthen, Esquire, Member of Parliament for that County. According to the American Heraldry Society, it is also the purported Arms of Henry Adams of Braintree.)
Argent of a Cross Gules, five Molets Or, Crest – out of a ducal coronet Or, a demi-lion affrontee gule.

Motto: Aspire, Persevere and Indulge Not

Those desiring to reproduce these Coat of Arms should be guided by basic rules of Heraldry:

  1. The Bysant represents gold coin and is always shown as gold
  2. The Torse represents two skeins of twisted silk, one tinctured as the principal metal, the other as the principal color of the Arms. The torse is used to anchor the mantling to the helmet.
  3. The Mantle is a cloth worn over the helmet as protection from the sun. It repeats the principal color of the Arms; the lining repeats the color of the principal metal.
  4. Color should not be laid on color nor metal on metal
  5. The Helmet of Esquires is always shown in profile, of steel, with the visor closed

Selected Heraldic Terms

Azure = blue
Affronté = (of animals) turned to face fully out of the shield. Not the same as guardant.
Argent = silver, often shown white
Bend = an ordinary, a diagonal band across the shield (top left/bottom right as viewed). Its diminutive is a bendlet or a cotise if it is really narrow. A bend cotised is bordered on either side by a narrow cotise.
Bezant = a gold roundle
Bordure = a band of contrasting tincture forming a border around the edge of a shield, traditionally one-sixth as wide as the shield itself
Cross crosslet = a cross with each of its arms crossed at the ends; rarely occur singly, often fitchy, i.e. with a pointed foot
Engrailed = a dividing line with semi-circular bites taken out from the field side, cf. invected
Fitch (or cross fitchy) = a cross in heraldry where the lower part is shaped like a sword blade
Gules = red
Guardant = animal, usually lion, with its head turned to look straight out of the shield, but its body remaining in profile
Molet, Mullet = 5-pointed star; sometimes shown pierced so that a small circle of the field colour shows through in the middle. cf. estoile
Rampant = depicted in profile standing erect with forepaws raised. The position of the hind legs varies according to local custom: the lion may stand on both hind legs, braced wide apart, or on only one, with the other also raised to strike.
Sable = black


*discolorations appear to be a printer’s error in the author’s copy of “the Adams Family: Ancestors & Descendants of Frederick Shields Adams”, copyright 2000. They are shown here without correction in order to distinguish areas of color (black & white renders some shades indistinguishable).

**according to heraldic references found by this author, the lion in this illustration is incorrectly shown in the affronte’ position.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Melinda permalink
    April 15, 2013 4:45 am

    You will find this of interest, I think!

    "Aspire, Persevere, and Indulge Not"

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