Documented References to The Swayne-Swain Coat of Arms
This section outlines all of the sources for (and references to) The
Swayne (or Swain) Coat of Arms that I was able to locate. If
researched, you would find that The College of Arms is the only source
that has complete records for the Swayne COA, descriptions, and Swaynes
(or Swains) who were granted them. Also, during my research I
went from one source to another (and back again) trying to find the
English Swayne COA and piece together things that were missing.
Like many researchers before me, I was confused by conflicting COA
descriptions. The sources for the English COA are listed (below)
in the same order that I located and researched them
"Chester County Swaynes - 2nd Edition" by Norman Walton Swayne
This genealogy covers the descendents of Francis Swayne (my
line of Swaynes). To be candid, this COA research would probably not exist if weren't for the years of research
conducted by Norman Walton Swayne on the Chester County Swaynes and their
descendents. That said, there were a
few minor errors with respect to the COA that need to be addressed as follows:
In 'Chester County Swaynes', William Swayne of Salisbury is
identified as a Swayne who received the COA in 1444. It is also mentioned that the COA was confirmed more than once,
notably by Samuel Swain, a London alderman, but the descriptions are in
general, but not absolute, agreement.
A description of the COA is not provided.
Analysis as follows:
- William Swayne of Salisbury was granted his COA in
1461(not 1444 as reported in Chester County Swaynes). I suspect that the author used Burke's General Armory 1884 as a
source. Burke's cites this particular
granting with a year of 1444 (which is incorrect). Many researchers have used Burke's General Armory 1884 as
a resource and therefore may have inaccurate data. Burke's General Armory will be discussed in greater detail later.
- Samuel Swain is not mentioned as a Swayne (or
Swain) that 'confirmed' his ancestry within the College records. This does not suggest (however) that Samuel
Swain was not in direct line with the Swayne-Swain COA. Samuel Swain may have determined that his
family's pedigree is on file at the College; hence, he may have felt the right
to arms (even if The College did not expressly grant this right or acknowledge
it). If Samuel Swain 'confirmed' his
ancestry it would have appeared in the College of Arms report. Also, it is not clear which Samuel Swain
was being referenced in Chester County Swaynes (there were several). I suspect the author was referring to a
Captain Samuel Swain who is also identified in 'The Records of the Swaynes of
- The term 'confirmed' may have held different
meaning to Samuel Swain compared to The College of Arms definition of the same
term. 'Confirmed' means that The
College of Arms has reviewed the genealogical records and has granted the right
to arms. Any other interpretation of
this term is incorrect. It is unclear
how the author concluded that Samuel Swayne had confirmed the COA. Perhaps Samuel located the Swayne COA
descriptions in Burke's and other sources and this was his 'confirmation' that
a Swayne COA does (in fact) exist.
- Finally, it appears that the author found
multiple descriptions of the Swayne COA and chose not to provide a description
because it wasn't clear which one was correct or incorrect. Given the number of COA used by Swaynes and
Swains, this is understandable.
Furthermore, upon receiving honorary arms with similar imagery to the
original COA in 1461, some Swaynes (or Swains) may have passed on their own
arms (as opposed to the original COA) to their descendants. Also, the maiden crest was described in some
sources but not others. COA were
created and used yet not recorded.
Burke's four (4) entries for the Swayne COA (spelled SWAYNE) only reveal
two 'officially' granted COA while the others were not granted at all. As a result, genealogical research today
would surely lead to confusion when finding multiple versions of the COA for
Swayne or Swain
Internet Genealogy Message Boards
When you look at genealogy message boards for Swayne Coat of
Arms, there are number of messages posted with different Swayne COA
descriptions. While I was in the beginning
stages of COA research, these messages were confusing and unhelpful since no
one seemed to know which COA description was correct (or incorrect).
Ultimately, only one message posting contained the correct
COA for William of Salisbury (COA 1461); however, William of Salisbury was not
identified. Furthermore, there was no
supporting documentation accompanying that description which led me to question
the authenticity. Finally, the person
who posted the message even admitted doubts about the accuracy of the
information. Since there were multiple
descriptions and no way to authenticate any of the COA descriptions, I
continued my search.
Swain Country Website
Swain Country is a website for descendents of Richard Swayne/Swain
(England to America in 1635). The genealogy for this line of
Swains is called 'Swains of Nantucket'. Richard Swayne (or Swain)
descendents claim to be in line with William Swayne of Salisbury (COA
1461). On the website, it is indicated that William Swayne of
London confirmed the 1444 COA in 1612. The website cites Burke's
General Armory's various entries for Swayne, Swain, and Swaine;
however, no heraldic descriptions are provided. Also, the other
grants of COA are not mentioned.
At this stage of the research, William Swayne of London (confirmation
in 1612) was new information (to me). Prior to this point, only
William Swayne of Salisbury and Samuel Swayne's confirmation from
'Chester County Swaynes 2nd Edition' was known. Again, note the
incorrect date cited from Burke's General Armory 1884.
American Media Group - Washington
The American Media Group compiled a report called 'The
History of the Swayne Family' which I located in a binder filled with
genealogical material owned by Carroll George Swayne (my father). In the report, a description of the Swayne
COA appears and it cites Burke's General Armory as the source. The COA description matches the one granted
to William Swayne of Salisbury (COA 1461) but William was not identified. The other Swayne COA are not mentioned.
Upon locating this document and the description of the
Swayne COA, I was confused about the Swayne COA. Until this point, my family believed the Swayne COA was one of
several used by the Sweeney family. In
other words, we believed the Swaynes derived from Mac Suibne migrated to
England and then to America. Years ago,
my family was provided a Family Surname History document for Sweeney in which
the name Swayne was described as a derivative; hence, for years we used the
Burke's General Armory (1884
Burke's General Armory (1884 edition) is a good tool for
COA research but is actually not the best source. According to the herald (Clive Cheesman) at the College of Arms,
Burke's General Armory contains heraldic descriptions that were copied from
other sources but Burke did no fact checking and no independent research for
English COA of his own. If you
research Burke's General Armory on various heraldic websites, you will find
that it is largely criticized for its inaccuracies. In any event, Burke's General Armory 1884 has the following
entries for Swayne and Swain:
Four (4) entries for Swayne
One (1) entry for Swain
One (1) entry for Swain or Swaine.
The four (4) entries for Swayne only contain two (2)
officially granted Swayne COA belonging to William of Salisbury (with a maiden crest with wings) and William of
London (1612). Although
these Swaynes are
identified in Burke's, the dates are incorrect and William of
Salisbury's COA technically did not have a crest (it was added by
William Swayne of London upon confirmation in 1602). The COA with
the demi-dragon (1612) belonging to William Swayne of London is
identified but not associated with William Swayne of London (presumably
the same William Swayne of London confirmation in 1602).
The remaining two COA for Swayne (no Swayne identified) contain a crest
with a demi-griffin (used unofficially and recorded at Visitation) and
the crest of a ram's head (unofficially used and there is no other
record of it so far).
The one (1) heraldic entry for Swain contains the full
details for William of Salisbury (COA 1444) and the confirmation by William
Swain of London in 1612. Again, the
date of 1444 is incorrect. Also, the
COA for Swain matches one of the four (4) descriptions for Swayne but the wings
are missing from the crest. In
actuality, there was no crest for William of Salisbury (as previously
After locating the heraldic descriptions from Burke's
General Armory, I found (what I believed to be) the correct COA for the English
Swaynes. At this point, William of
Salisbury was cited from two (2) other sources and William of London was cited
from one (1) other source. Also,
Burke's cites the crest of a griffin and ram's head (both of which were not
granted by The College). Since Burke's revealed additional COA but did not identify some of the
Swaynes-Swains, it was clear that there was still missing information for the
other COA so I continued to search for information.
final point regarding Burke's General Armory, the information from
Burke's was obtained second hand from a heraldry dealer. I do not
have the specific details (directly from Burke's) for every grant
identified. I only obtained the entries for Swayne (spelled
SWAYNE). However, there is no question that the information from
Burke's is missing information and does have inaccuracies which was
validated by the report from The College of Arms. If anyone has
the specific details from Burke's for Swain and Swaine, please contact
me. I would like to have a more precise analysis for Burke's General Armory 1884 since it is so widely used as a source.
'The Records of Swaynes of
Wiltshire' by Margaret Swayne Edwards
'The Records of the Swaynes of Wiltshire' is a genealogy
written by Margaret Swayne Edwards in 1940.
This is the genealogy for William Swayne (Wiltshire Swayne)
descendents. Besides The College of
Arms, 'The Records of the Swaynes of Wiltshire' contains the most thorough
independent research (that I have found) on The Swayne COA. This 3rd or 4th
generation photocopy document (155 pages) was located at the Wiltshire Museum
in England but I have found no references to this genealogy on the
internet. From what I can tell, it can
only be obtained by contacting the museum directly.
William of Salisbury's COA is described from multiple
sources (although none contain the crest of the maiden). Also, William Swayne of London (COA 1612) is
identified along with his COA and crest (demi-dragon). These are the only two (2) Swaynes
identified in 'The Records of Swaynes of Wiltshire' that were granted the
Here are some other references to the Swayne COA taken from
'The Records of the Swaynes of Wiltshire':
- In the church beam at St. Thomas's Church: 'Azure, a chevron between three pheons or'
was apparently inscribed by William Swayne of Salisbury.
- From 'The Hundred of Ambresbury': 'Azure, a chevron between three pheons or, on a chief argent as
many roses barbed and seeded proper.
Crest is 'a demi-dragon, supporting an arrow argent, armed or.'
- In 1695, on the seal of the will of Rebecca Swayne (widow of
Samuel Symonds), filed at Salem, Massachusetts: 'Azure, a chevron between three pheons or.'
- In 1748, on a Swayne tomb in the chancel at St. Martin's
Church in Salisbury: 'Azure, a chevron
between three pheons or.'
- In 1810, from the Heralds book on that date, Swayne and
Heart arms are indicated for John Swayne and Mary Sophia Heart: 'Azure, a chevron between three pheons or,
on a chief argent three roses gules, seeded of the second, barbed vert. Gules, on a chief indented or, three human
hearts of the first. Swayne Crest is a
demi-dragon, supporting an arrow argent armed or.'
At this point in the COA research, I believed my research
was nearing completion but I was merely trying to fill in the gaps where
information was still missing such as the Swayne identities and dates. In reference to identities, William Swayne of
London (and his specific COA description) wasn't new information (to me) but
this was the first source that actually tied his name to his COA
description. It appeared that I was
still missing two Swayne identities (two COA from Burke's with no Swayne's
The Historical Research Center
The Historical Research Center provided a family name
history document which contains a COA description. This description matches the one granted to William Swayne of
Salisbury (COA 1461); however, the document is missing dates, a maiden crest
appears but it does not describe the wings expanded, William Swayne of
Salisbury is not identified and the other Swayne COA are not mentioned.
I requested this information early in my research into the
Swayne COA. By the time I received this
document, I had already obtained this information from other sources. Its also worth noting that there have been
various similar (yet different) COA descriptions for William Swayne of
Salisbury's COA. In this example, the
crest is incorrect although some Swaynes (or Swains) may have used this version
(maiden crest without wings) unofficially.
'Swain and Allied Families 1896'
by William C. Swain
This is a genealogy written by William C. Swain for the
descendents of Jeremiah Swain. In
'Swain and Allied Families', there is a picture of the Swayne COA (image below)
and a heraldic description that matches William Swayne of Salisbury's COA
except it contains the maiden crest (without wings). Incidentally, this is the only source (besides The College
records) that actually showed an image of the Swayne COA. There are just a few sentences about the
Swayne COA in this genealogy as follows:
'The Coats-of-Arms of several branches of the family appear
to be similar. The following is the
description of that of William Swain, of London, Gent., who had his arms
confirmed in 1612, on producing a grant to his ancestor, William Swayne,
bearing the date June 29, 1444: Az. As
many maiden's heads couped ppr. Crined of the second. Crest ' A maiden's head couped ppr. Crined or.'
Third Party Data on The Swayne-Swain Coat of Arms
After receiving Swayne COA data from various sources, I
stumbled on information pertaining to the College of Arms and realized
they are the 'official' record for all Coat of Arms granted in the
United Kingdom (excluding Scotland). Also, The College of Arms
has unique access to genealogical records that cannot be obtained
else. In order to obtain a 'rubber
stamp' on my information, I mailed a letter and received a response the
Hoping to complete the Swayne COA research, I went ahead and
ordered a name search report that would contain information pertaining to
grants, visitations, and recorded pedigrees.
As I waited for the arrival of the report from The College of
Arms, I made additional contacts in England and received the following COA
- "On 29 January
39 Henry VI (1460-61) arms blazoned as AZURE A CHEVRON BETWEEN THREE
BROAD ARROW HEADS OR A CHIEF GULES WITH THREE MAIDENS HEAD (proper) IN
THEIR HAIRE were granted to William Swayne, county Somerset, and his
- On 10th June
1602 these arms were confirmed to William Swayne of London, gent.
To Edward, his brother, also to Arthur Swayne of the county of
Southampton, gent, their kinsmen were granted a crest blazoned as UPON
A HELMET AND WREATH OF HIS COLOURS (Or and Azure) A MAIDEN HEAD
IN HER HAIR PROPER BETWEEN TWO WINGS ERMINE.
- There is a
brief pedigree headed by Arthur Swayne and his five children, Robert
Swayne of Sarston, Co. Hants, Edward Swayne (died without issue), Jane,
Anne and Mary. By his wife, Mary Arnold, Robert Swayne is
recorded as having children, Arthur, William, Robert, Judith and Mary.
- The arms,
without either the crest granted in 1602 or any other, were confirmed
at the Herald's Visitation of Hampshire in 1686 to William Swayne of
the Middle Temple who was living at Winchester aged 60 in 1686.
This pedigree records that his father, Robert Swayne, died in 1646 aged
60 and that William Swayne had children, Edmund Swayne aged 27 in 1686.
Judith and Mary.
- At the
Visitation of Cambridge in 1684 the arms granted in 1460/61 with a
crest of A CHERUBS HEAD BETWEEN WINGS PROPER was claimed by a family of
Swaine of Wisbech and Leverington in the Isle of Ely.
- On 10 July
1612 arms of AZURE A CHEVRON BETWEEN THREE PHEONS OR ON A CHIEF ARGENT
THREE ROSES GULES were granted to William Sway, citizen and merchant
adventurer of London with a crest of A DEMI DRAGON OR WINGED VERT
SUPPORTING AN ARROW POINT DOWN ARGENT. These same arms with a
crest of A DEMI DRAGON WINGS DISCLOSED HOLDING IN THE CLAWS A BROAD
ARROW ARGENT ARMED OR were confirmed to William (alias Thomas) Swayne,
- At the
Visitation of Dorset 1677 a pedigree was registered by Richard Swaine
of Tarrant Gunville, Hampshire then aged 51. No right of arms was
confirmed to this family, but they used the arms of AZURE A CHEVRON
BETWEEN THREE PHEONS OR WITHIN A BORDER ERMINE. The crest they
used was recorded by Sir John Philpot, the Somerset Herald, 1624-45, as
A GRIFFIN HOLDING A SPEAR OR.
The first COA described for William Swayne born in Somerset does not
indicate he is William Swayne of Salisbury. None-the-less, I
assumed this was the same person. Also, the date of this grant appears
as 1460/61 which is different than 1444 as reported by Burke's.
second entry indicates a confirmation in which William Swayne of
London, Edward (his brother), and Arthur (kinsmen is all we know at
this point) confirmed their ancestry with the first COA. William
Swayne of London was not new information but Edward and Arthur was new
there is pedigree data pertaining to Arthur's line of Swaynes. I have
felt the strongest posibility of a confirmation for my line of Swaynes
(Francis) rests with Arthur. Also, I wondered if William Swayne
of Middle Temple could also be William Swayne of Oakingham (father of
Francis Swayne) because the dates match up. Unfortunately,
Francis is not indicated as a child of William Swayne of Middle Temple;
hence, it appears to be no connection.
COA with a griffin (identified in Burke's General Armory) is revealed
to be an unconfirmed (unofficial) COA used by a Swayne. At this
point, the COA with a ram's head is still unidentified.
Lastly, after receiving the full COA report from The College of Arms in London, it
was evident that several officially granted COA were omitted from this
data. For example, only the first couple of Swayne COA are
identified. Those COA for Swain and Swaine were missing.
College of Arms Report by Clive Cheesman
Due to copyright infringement issues, I have not included
the full report on this webpage. By
contacting The College of Arms, you may obtain your own copy of the same report
for your records. I would assume that a
fee would be charged for a copy of this research. The College of Arms Website is referenced in the Sources section
at the end of this website. The report
is titled 'General Search for Swayne or Swain (e) in the Records of the College
of Arms'. It is five (5) pages in
length and is broken down into four sections as follows:
A. Old Grants
B. Grants after 1673
D. Recorded Pedigrees
should point out that pedigrees for various Swayne-Swain
families are identified but not detailed in the report. Also,
this report is (to a large extent) the basis for my opinions, analysis,
and interpretations. Without the College of Arms report, all of
this research would lack accuracy, clarity, and authenticity.
Finally, the report does not contain much of the information on this
website such as the other documented references to the Swayne COA, the
Wikipedia - Free Online Encylcopedia
After completing this research, a brief entry was created on Wikipedia. The page has a link to this website and can be found by searching for both the Swain Coat of Arms or the Swayne Coat of Arms in the Wikipedia Search Engine at the following link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swayne_coat_of_arms
Search Engine Hits
This website has been submitted to several search engines. Presently, a Google Search for "Swayne Coat of Arms" will show a top 10 hit (first page) for the Wikipedia: Swayne Coat of Arms page (which links to this site). Alternatively, a Google Search for "Swayne Coat of Arms Wiki" will produce the #1 hit for the Wikipedia Swayne Coat of Arms page.