The Swayne-Swain Coat of Arms
Swaynes, Swains, and Swaines have used the Coat of Arms when
official grants occurred from The College of Arms and when they did not. Some COA were recorded by the heralds but
were never granted; while others were not recorded and not granted either. In order to sort through the various Coat of
Arms, they will be categorized as follows:
Grants: These are COA that were
specifically granted to individuals by The College of Arms. Official uses of the COA include specific
grants and confirmations.
Grants: These are individuals that were
specifically granted the Coat of Arms by The College thru their own merits.
Grant: These are individuals that
confirmed their lineage with their ancestors and proved the right to arms with
genealogical records that link them to the COA.
Uses: These are COA that were used by
Swaynes, Swains, or Swaines but were not granted by The College of Arms.
a. Unofficial/Recorded: The College may have these COA in their
records but since they were not granted or confirmed, they do not qualify as an
'Official Grant'. In other words, a
Swayne, Swain, or Swaine created their own COA with similar imagery to the
'Official Grants' and used them as their own.
There are also COA that do not appear
in The College of Arms records but were still used by Swaynes, Swains, and
Swaines. This is probably the most
common scenario. These also include COA
for other derivatives in spelling such as Sweeney or Swan but were used by
Swaynes or Swains in error.
For this particular section, only officially granted Coat of
Arms will be discussed. Families can
have more than one Coat of Arms. The
reasoning behind different COA for the same family is because a son could be
granted his own COA. When the College
of Arms grants a son his own COA, they typically design the son's COA with
similar (yet different) imagery such that it can be recognized as related to
the COA from the father (as an example).
Heraldic Record, Blazons and Crests
There are a total of seven (7) unique Swayne-Swain Coat of
Arms granted from the College of Arms.
The heraldic record, blazon of arms and crest was obtained from the
College of Arms as follows:
Swayne, born in the county of Somerset, by Guyenne King of Arms, 29 January in
the 39th year of the reign of Henry VI (=1461). Arms shown in trick as follows:
Azure a Chevron between three Broad Arrows (= Pheons) on a Chief Gules three Maidens Heads proper
2) Full text of
a confirmation of arms and a grant of crest to William Swayne of London, Edward
Swayne his brother, and their cousin Arthur Swayne of 'Sarsom alias Ansavage'
(i.e. a place known alternatively as Sarson and as Ann Savage) in Hampshire, by
William Camden, Clarenceux King of Arms, 10 June 1602. Recites the grant of
arms by Guyenne King of Arms to the Swayne's ancestor William Swayne (as at
Misc. Gts. 1/11v) which it confirms. Arms and crest shown in colour as follows.
Arms: Same as #1 (above)
Crest: A Maiden's Head proper crined Or between two Wings
3) Note of a
grant of arms to William aka Thomas Swayne, citizen and merchant adventurer of
London, 10 July 1612. Arms and crest shown in trick as follows.
Arms: Azure a Chevron between three Pheons Or on a Chief
Argent three untinctured Roses.
Crest: A demi Dragon Or holding an Arrow point downwards
Note of the same grant as #3 (above): Arms and crest shown in trick as there,
though the roses are shown as Gules and the dragon has Azure wings.
4) Grant of
arms and crest to Henry Joseph Swaine of Halifax in Yorkshire, and the other
descendants of his grandfather Joseph Swaine of Horton near Bradford in the
same county, deceased. The text of the grant states that the grantee 'is
informed that the Arms [previously] used by him do not appear recorded to his
family'. Grant made by Garter and Norroy Kings of Arms, 7 March 1844. Arms
and crest as follows.
Arms: Per chevron Azure and Or three Pheons counterchanged
on a Chief engrailed Argent three Maiden Heads couped proper crined Or.
Crest: A Maiden Head as in the arms between two Wings Or
each charged with a Cross crosslet Azure.
Below the shield is a motto scroll on which the motto VINCE
MALUM BONO ('Defeat evil with good') has been written in pencil.
5) Grant of
arms and crest to William John Swayne, clerk in Holy Orders, MA Oxford,
sometime vicar of Heytesbury in Wiltshire and now Custos of St John's Hospital
there, and the other descendants of his father John Champeny Swayne of
Pucklechurch in Gloucestershire, Member of the Royal College of Surgeons. Grant
made by Clarenceux and Norroy Kings of Arms, 23 March 1904. Arms and crest as
Arms: Azure a Chevron between three Pheons Or on a Chief
Argent three Roses Gules barbed and seeded proper.
Crest: A demi Dragon Azure holding in the dexter forefoot an
Arrow in bend sinister point downwards Argent and resting the sinister forefoot
on a Rose Gules barbed and seeded proper.
Below the shield appears the motto METUENDA COROLLA DRACONIS
('Fear the dragon's crest').
6) Grant of
arms and crest to James Swain of Victoria Square, Clifton, in Gloucestershire,
MD, MCh, Professor of Surgery in the University of Bristol. Grant made by
Garter and Clarenceux Kings of Arms, 2 March 1911. Arms and crest as follows.
Arms: Azure a Chevron between three Pheons Or on a Chief
Argent three Maiden Heads proper crined Or.
Crest: In front of a Maiden Head as in the arms two Pheons
Below the shield appears the motto CORDI DAT ROBORA VIRTUS
('Virtue strengthens the heart').
7) Grant of
arms and crest to Bernard Swain of Ormonde Fields House in the parish of
Codnor, Derbyshire. Grant made by Garter and Norroy and Ulster Kings of Arms,
20 March 1970. Arms and crest as follows.
Arms: Ermine a Boar's Head affronty Azure langued and tusked
Gules within a Bordure semy of Bezants on a Chief over all Azure three Stirrups
with their leathers Or.
Crest: The Battlements of a Tower thereon a Riding Crop and
rising therefrom a Falcon belled and jessed affronty all proper.
Below the shield appears the motto FORWARD ALWAYS FORWARD.
The first six Swayne-Swain COA are of particular interest
because they all have similar imagery and are most likely related to each
other. All six have images of pheons
(spearheads) and most have images of maidens.
The first COA (William Swayne of Salisbury) indicates William Swayne was
born in the county of Somerset. There
is no indication in the heraldic record that he was known as 'William Swayne of
Salisbury'; however, there is overwhelming evidence that they are the same
person as follows:
- The date of the grant is in line with William of Salisbury's
- The county of Somerset is in close proximity to Salisbury.
- William of Salisbury's COA is etched into the church beam at
Swayne Chapel in St. Thomas' Church which matches the heraldic blazon
- Given William of Salisbury's social status (mayor of
Salisbury at least three different years), it is highly unlikely that a man of
this status would need to 'assume' a COA.
Again, the COA was a symbol of social status and would prevent a man of
William of Salisbury's position from 'unofficially' assuming the COA.
- There are no other known William Swaynes (in the mid 1400s)
that would qualify for the COA. This
does not mean there weren't others with the same name, etc. but doubtful.
For the first two COA grants (William of Salisbury and
William of London), an official confirmation occurred between the two
Swaynes. Furthermore, Edward (William
of London's brother) and Arthur (William's cousin) are also noted as
'confirmed'. There is a brief pedigree
for Arthur's family outlined in the 'Third Party Data from The College of Arms'
section in this document for your reference.
The remaining four (4) COA of similar style are noted by the College of
Arms as official grants but the term 'confirmation' or 'confirmed' was not
mentioned in the surname report conducted by the herald (Clive Cheesman) at The
Also, William of
confirmed his ancestry in 1602, added the maiden (with wings) crest AND
he may have been the same William Swayne of London who was granted his
own COA in 1612.
The report from the College of Arms does not clarify this point
but there appears to be a possibility that they are the same
person. The rules of heraldry allow
confirmed individuals to get their own COA; hence, they are possibly the same
person. Also, it makes sense
'chronologically' for a person to confirm their ancestry first, then request
honorary arms at a later date (10 years in this instance). You
can only be granted the COA when you have confirmed your ancestry
OR if you qualify by other means such as extreme wealth and social
status. This is an important point when considering the
possibility that they are the same individual. Also, the grant from
1602 included his brother (Edward) and his cousin (Arthur) who were all
granted the same COA. It also seems possible that William chose a
different COA to distinguish himself from his brother and cousin's
COA. However, I should
point out that there
certainly remains room for doubt about the two William Swayne of
the same individual. The name William
Swayne is very common in Swayne genealogy and it is not impossible for
there to be more than one William Swayne living at the same time (in
the same location). The common names are evident by simply
reviewing the names of the official grants of the COA: William
Swayne of Salisbury (COA 1461), William Swayne of London (COA confirmed
1602), William Swayne of London (COA 1612), William Swayne (COA
1904). Also, the grant in
1612 indicates an alternate name for this William Swayne as "Thomas
Swayne". This could indicate a different William altogether but it is
still inconclusive in the absence of the pedigree for these Swaynes. Either way, the
first six (6) COA are similar and (I believe) are related despite
in the spelling of Swayne, Swain, and Swaine.
The seventh (7th) Swain COA (Bernard Swain) is
completely different and is possibly unrelated to the others and potentially a
different Swayne-Swain family altogether.
Again, confirmation with other COA is not mentioned for this entry. This does not mean that Bernard Swain had no
kinship with the other Swayne-Swain COA but the fact that Bernard made no
effort to keep his COA consistently styled with the others does have
significance in the world of heraldry.
In heraldry, it would suggest no relation. The COA for Bernard Swain has a boar's head and the crest is a
Battlement Tower with a Falcon. These
symbols suggest military background; however, it is also possible that Bernard
Swain was descended from Mac Subne (Sweeney). I raise this point due to the
common symbolism between Bernard's COA and the various Sweeney COA. For example, several of the Sweeney COA
display boars, battleaxes and some crests contain griffins. The boar is the most common symbol used in
the Sweeney COA. Although it could be a
coincidence, heraldry usually follows a certain pattern such as common symbols
for families. Perhaps Bernard
determined he was likely connected to Sweeneys and requested similar symbols
for his own COA. In any event, there
are some samples of Sweeney COA in the "COA for Other Spelling Derivatives"
section of this document for your consideration.
The Swayne Crest (on top of the helmet) is different for
each: No crest, crest of Maiden with
wings, crest of a dragon supporting an arrow, crest of maiden with wings and a
cross, crest of a dragon with arrow and a rose, crest of maiden with two
spearheads, crest of a Tower with a Falcon.
The crest is commonly confused with the Coat of Arms but they are
actually different. I have read that
during visitations, heralds granted crests to individuals who requested one (if
one did not already accompany the COA).
William Swayne of Salisbury's original COA (1461) did not include the
crest of the maiden but was (later) added by William Swayne of London (upon his
confirmation in 1602). This explains
why documented references for William Swayne of Salisbury's COA are missing a
crest yet some references actually include a crest.
the COA image for William Swayne of London (1612), I wanted to point
out that the image does not exactly match the heraldic
description. The arrow should be pointed down (not up) and
the dragon should be Azure (blue) instead of gray. The incorrect
image is the result of incomplete (and incorrect) data reported in Burke's General Armory 1884 which was the source used to create that particular image.
Note that the later grants of Swayne-Swain Coat of Arms
contain mottos. A motto (if one exists)
is usually displayed on a banner (appearing at the bottom) of the Coat of
Arms. A motto usually appears in Latin
and is intended to convey the family attitude, quote, mission, or battle cry.