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The Family Name "Dewhi/urst" and a Coat of Arms

information collected, written and submitted by David Freeman email_ghost_w.gif (109 bytes)

See British History Online for a good original history of the Dewhurst family in Wiltshire, Lancashire. References to the Dewhirst spelling in Yorkshire are harder to come by...

Dewhurst is an English place name, from a so-named location in Lancashire, from the adjective "dewy" + the Middle English word "hyrst" = wooded hill. Dewhirst and Jewhurst are variations. The name Dewhurst comes from an area about six miles north of Blackburn, Lancashire, between Ribchester and Dinckley. The manor (meaning "area" not house) stretched both sides of the river Ribble and is recorded back as far as the fourteenth century.  Some books refer to a small wood or "hurst" frequently engulfed in mist or "dew" hence people living in this area were known as living at or near dewey hurst. Another theory may be from the male given name `Dewey` or `Dewie`, Welsh forms of David; hence `the dewy hurst`, or `Dewey`s hurst` or it may simply have come from Dieu (God). For example Denise of dewey hurst. Rather like Robin of Loxley - in the case of "Robin Hood". T Hirst ( Wood ) which would also suggest a link to ecclesiastical property. The list of those taking part in the Harrying of the North (1069/70) would be included in chronicle accounts and would usually only include the names of leading plantagonists.

The best description that I have come across, which ties in with most books on the subject is that of the Historical Research Centre:

The English name Dewhurst is toponymic in origin, belonging to that group of surnames derived from the place where the original bearer once dwelt or where he once held land. In this case the surname indicates simply "one from Dewhurst", a Lancashire toponym found near Blackburn. Indeed, the surname is common in Lancashire and the north of England in general. The name in fact derives from the Old English "deaw hyrst" and means "wet wood" or "damp wood", a feature near which the hamlet was located.

The surname is first documented in Lancashire in the early fourteenth century when one Roger de le Dewyhurst appears in the Coucher Book of Whalley Abby around the year 1300. In the Lay Subsidy Rolls of 1332 his name is recorded again as Roger de Dewyhurst of Livesey in the Parish of Wilpshire cum Dinkley, while one Adam del Dewyhurst, also of Wilpshire, is noted in the same sources. In the records of wills at Chester in the sixteenth century there is a note of the testaments of one Robert Dewhurst of Rivington in the year 1588, and of one Ellen Dewhurst of Scotland in 1592. The surname is also found today as Dewhirst and as Jewhurst, a dialectic phonetic spelling. The name seems to have appeared in London around 1595, however numbers have remained relatively small in Southern England.

The Dewhurst Family Coat of Arms traces its roots back to ancient times where it was carried onto the field of honour, with chivalry to defend family and allies, king and country. Old English Law says that having a wolf in the heraldic shield can mean 'A cry for the pursuit of an outlaw as one to be hunted down like a wolf' or 'Wolf man is an outlaw that needs to be hunted down.'

Help solve a mystery... Is this star.gif (1196 bytes) a DEWHURST Signet ring???

Components of the Dewhurst Coat of Arms
created by and made for John Bonny Dewhurst

dewhurst.jpg (13789 bytes)    rdewcoatrmsyel.gif (26979 bytes)

The Shield is: Ermine with three red shellfish.
The Crest is: A wolfs head ermine, three escallops gules.

The fur ermine denotes purity and loyalty.
Gules or red denotes valour and fidelity.
The escallops are a symbol of Christian pilgrim.

The motto is: "Spes Mea In Deo"

Scallop shells are a symbol of Christian pilgrim, of Christian pilgrimage and the pilgrim on the Pilgrimage who being one in need of assistance. There are three great pilgrimages in the Christian world - Rome, Jerusalem and Santiago de Compistella (or the resting place of the relic Saint, James, the first Christian martyr) which is in far north west Spain. I think this pilgrimage is about 720 kilometres long beginning at Lourdes in France and crosses and courses along the Pyrenes through the Basque county of Spain. It is normally undertaken through summer while the Milky Way cluster of stars is directly overhead. Like all great pilgrimages this one has been written of extensively over the years, however like all great pilgrimages, it is the journey that begins at the end of the pilgrimage which really counts thus I believe the motto "My hope is in God" stems from that. Many churches when baptising children with water do so by using a scallop shell to splash (pour) the water on the infants head (forehead) thus beginning their life's pilgrimage (journey) with the sign of the cross or the symbol of baptism or the mark of the scallop shell and for other Christians to help/assist them on their journey. I am not sure what the smaller symbols mean behind the three shells - maybe the stars of the Milky Way?. Our crest and motto are well rooted in Christian symbolism and history.

Arms -- Or, guttée du poix three saltires in fess between as many escallops gu.
Crest -- In front of a wolf's head erased or guttée du poix three saltires gu.
Seat -- Aireville, Skipton, Yorkshire.
Club -- Devonshire

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