Barton Historical Society and Barton Coats of Arms

Researched, and artistically compiled by David Quillian Barton

I have done some extensive research on Barton Coats of Arms (COA), checking information, cross-checking that information that was found, re-checking and so on. It is to the best of my knowledge, and research, that the description of the COA is as close to authentic as we can get at this time without knowing the exact genealogy lineage back to the times COA's were used. In the description, I will use the Old English terms as well as modern day terms in parenthesis.

The description and drawing that I am presenting is listed in the Burke's General Armory and is registered at the College of Arms, London. It is in Record 1560, and "is derived from the place-name Barton, of which there are twenty-six parishes in England. This Barton descends from Adam de Barton of Barton in Cambridgeshire, circa 1250." (The Barton's have long since disappeared from "Barton" and the parish registers show nothing of value for present day researchers. That is why the Barton-in-the-Beans theory cannot be proven to date).

Throughout my research, I saw many different items that were referenced to things or places that have been mentioned or referenced in other research done by others in the BHS. The first record of the name "Barton" was in Lancashire, where they had been seated from ancient times. The Barton's were a fair-skinned Anglo/Saxon race, led by General/Commanders Hengist and Horsa, and were a founding race of England, settling in Kent around 400 A.D. However, in 1066, the Norman invasion by France forced the land owners to forfeit their land over to Duke William, and the Barton's scattered northward to Lancashire, Yorkshire, and Scotland.

The family name of Barton emerged as a very notable family name in the county of Lancashire, establishing a family seat at Barton Hall in Smithills. For the next 2-3 centuries, the Barton name was involved and played a significant role in the political development of England. But, again due to wars and political/religious conflict, many families moved to Ireland, and to the "colonies" in the 16th, 17th and even 18th centuries.

It is very important to keep in mind that a single-family member's COA could change over time. One reason is that of marriage. In some cases, a Barton would marry, and take his wife's family's COA, or make a COA with a combination of both families COA elements. Another reason would be that a person might inherit the entire estate of a Barton or another family name, and this inheritance also included the last name and the COA. That is one reason for so many DNA lineages for people with the Barton name. In the previous centuries, a particular person's surname might not have been Barton, but assumed the name due to inheritance of an estate, or changed due to marriage. You can also include adoption in the mix. Additionally, there are many additional ways to have received the use of the COA, but those reasons are too many to list. Also, there are many different variations of the spelling of the surname “Barton”.

The initial use of the COA supposedly started in the 12th century. Used at first only as badges by the members of an army, they soon developed differentiations, as clans and then families adopted the symbols which they displayed on the outside of their coat, or on their helmet. By the 13th century, the passing down of the family COA from father to sons was the recognized custom. In the beginning, the armorial devices were crude, but over time became more artistically significant.

These devices were first used as a symbol of recognition on the field of battle. But, in time, they became a matter of family pride, and were used as a symbol by a particular family as a way to recognize them. So, the Badge, and COA soon began to show up on their armor, carriages, hung in their homes, churches, etc. During this time, there was no regular systematic way of recording the different COA's.

Many families were using COA's, but had no hereditary right to them, and there were few records kept. In the early 1520's, King Richard 1 established a record keeping system, and sent out his "heralds" (hence the word heraldry) on periodical "visitations" to record the arms of gentry. These visits continued for over 150 years. Almost all of the earlier COA's were based upon some play on the family name; thus from "Barton" was derived "Boar-ton", and the boar's head was used. The boar's head is one of the major principals of heraldry, and the use of the boar's head symbol was used by many warriors and huntsmen. Most feasts always included a wild boar as one of the meats of the meal. The Barton's of Barton used the boar's head as their arms shield element for 250 years prior to the establishment of the College of Arms. Over time, different parts were added to some COA's, such as the helmet, the crest and the motto. Some COA's included "supporters", which were animals or people, even mystical creatures, on both sides of the shield, usually in a standing position, thus "supporting" the COA.

It is also important to remember that a COA is made up of many parts and colors. Over time, the appearance of a family's COA changed, as different artists drew or painted the symbols in their artistic manner. What did not usually change over time was what was considered the family’s "primary colors". Not all COA's contained every element, such as a crest or motto. Normally, the family name was not included, and the motto was usually found at the bottom of the shield.

The following is the description of the Barton COA, as listed in Burkes General Armory in the College of Arms:

"ARMS: Argent (silver or white in color), three boars' heads couped (cut smooth at the base of the neck) sable (black in color), armed argent (tusk showing, white in color)."

"Crest: A boars' head couped (cut smooth at the base of the neck) gules (red in color)."

The "primary colors are Argent (silver in color) and sable (black).

The Motto: "Fide Et Fortitude" (By or With Faith and Courage)

Diagram of a Coat of Arms:

Motto: only the words (if any). The placement on a banner and typestyle are at the artist's discretion (see above)

The Crest: The symbol that appears above the helmet. (In our COA, it's the red boars' head). This was used as an original autograph, such as being engraved in a ring, and the ring pressed into the wax sealing a document. The boars’ head symbol was left, meaning the document was authentic, and approved by the family member.

The shield elements: What appears on the shield, their placement, and their colors.(the three black boars' heads)

Supporters (if any): Usually two birds, animals or persons on each side of the shield.(no description ever found containing supporters)

Wreath or Torse: A rope with six parts, using the two primary colors. This is what the Crest usually used as a base. (the black and silver rope under the red boars' head)

Helmet (Helm): The type of helmet changed over time, and the design was at the discretion of the artist. A helmet profile was usually used by Gentlemen or Peers. A full-faced Helm was usually used by Royalty.

The Shield or Angle: This is the base of the entire COA, and the shape changed throughout the centuries at the discretion of the artist.

Mantle or Mantling: This was actually a coat that was used to protect the helmet from the sun's rays and heat. It later began to develop into decorative ribbons, but usually begins on the helmet, and as a solid piece covering the back-side of the helmet to symbolize the protection from the sun.

There are nearly thirty families with the surname of Barton that have a registered Coat of Arms. To try to connect them to a specific Barton Family would be improbable, and would transcend the purpose of establishing a single Coat of Arms for use by the Barton Historical Society.

NOTE: My knowledge does not enable me to directly connect to any specific Barton family in America with any of the earlier Barton's in England. Some of the information in this article could unintentionally be incorrect. This family name is so old, and was so scattered, a single line of descent is virtually impossible, but we can assume we are all descended from many original ancestors of England. While a single line cannot or has not been established, the above description of the COA was found in many different references, and each one was identical. Anyone with additional information that can enhance, prove or disprove any of this information is asked to please make it known in order to keep our records as authentic as possible.

The use or reproduction of this artistic design of the Barton Coat of Arms for any purpose without signed, written permission from David Quillian Barton or the Barton Historical Society Board of Directors is strictly prohibited and is protected by the copyright laws of the United States of America.

Dave (David Quillian Barton) April 6, 2004