Winchester Surname and Coat of Arms

Winchester Coat of Arms

Winchester Coat of Arms

The Winchester Coat of Arms was granted October 3, 1826 to Henry Winchester, Esq.

The Crest

Crest: In front of a cross-crosslet-fitch (combination of cross and sword) or a lion passant azure (blue lion), the dexter fore-paw supporting a mascle (hollowed-out diamond), as in the arms.

Lion on Crest: signifies King of beasts; emblematic of service.

Mantling on Crest: A large scarf of heavy cloth or leather thrown over the helmet to protect the neck from the heat of the sun, the armour from rust, and to foil the enemy's sword. There is a wreath of the colors holding the mantling on to the helmet, six strands showing (the first of the metal, second of the color, and then alternating). The crest rests upon this six-stranded wreath.

The Arms

Arms: Ore (gold), on a cross azure pierced of the field, between four mascles gules, as many cross- crosslet-fitches argent … which means … a gold shield with a blue cross pierced between four red hollowed-out diamonds, and four pointed crosses (cross azure means blue cross; mascles gules means red hollowed-out diamonds; and cross-crosslet-fitches argent are a combination of cross and sword, silver or white in color)

Mascle: A diamond shaped figure with the center cut out. Guilim says, "This is a mesh of net, which in Holy Writ, is the hieroglyphic for persuasion."

Crosses: All crosses denote Crusader ancestry. The plain blue cross extending across the shield represents the Passion Cross of Calvary.
 The cross-fitchee, or pointed cross, has an interesting story. Picture a band of men (Crusaders) who are mounted, with banners flying. These banners, their cloaks, their shields, and the blankets on the horses are all beating a cross in some form (painted or sewn, and having the same color and form).

These Crusaders are going through a wilderness section, and the going is rough. The sun is at the zenith point. Men and horses alike stumble under the excessive heat, but "Halt!" comes the command, in English, in French, in German or Italian, according to the country from which they came.

The men look up and see a cross held aloft. It is their signal for noon-tide prayer, and is held by the leader. The cross is made of a branch slashed from a tree during their marches, and is roughly shaped with the aid of a crude knife. It is pointed (fitchee)—so when prayer time is over, the leader plants the cross in the ground, the point easing the way into the sand. This cross points the way for the next band approaching.

The Motto

Hoc ardua vincere docet, which means “This teaches us to overcome difficulties.

The Colors

Representative of the personal characteristics of the original bearer, and are granted only upon merit.
    • Ore: Gold color that denotes generosity and elevation of mind.
    • Gules: Red color that denotes military courage and magnanimity.
    • Argent: Silver color that denotes sincerity and peace.
    • Azure: Blue color that denotes loyalty and truth.

Origin of the Winchester Surname

The Winchester surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin. The first record of the name was found in Hampshire, England. It is believed that a Saxon Lord was displaced in Hampshire in 1066 and moved north to Scotland where he acquired lands in the county of Ayrshire and Lanarkshire.

The surname Winchester has included the spellings Winchester and Wincester, and these variations in spelling frequently occurred even between father and son.

Thomas Winchester along with John and Henry of Lanarkshire rendered homage to King Edward I of England on his brief conquest of Scotland in 1296. Later in 1495, William Winchester was Vicar of Grantully, and Andrew Winchester was Minister at Fishwick. The family flourished and was found at Ardtrailye, Aberchirder, St. Andrews, Artrelle, Spymie, Glasgow, Banff and Canongate. In Ireland the family settled in Ulster. In later years the family name branched south to Malden in Surrey, and Henry Winchester was Sheriff of London in 1826. Distinguished members of the family at this time included Sir Thomas de Winchester.

Migrants to America bearing the Winchester surname or a variable spelling include John Winchester who settled in Virginia in 1636; Andrew Winchester, with his wife and child, who settled in Virginia in 1639; William Winchester who arrived in Maryland in 1732; William Winchester, Sr. who arrived in Maryland in 1790; and Samuel Winchester who arrived in Baltimore in 1822.

Our Willobye Winchester, born 1696 in London, came to America with his two sons, Willoughby and William, and settled in South Carolina and died in Craven County in 1768.