This image of our coat of arms illustrates what "gules on a cross argent and five fluer de lis of the field" actually looks like. The words come from the 11th century French system of heraldry which greatly influenced the terminology used in Britain and all over Western Europe. They are generally defined as follows:
Gules - the heraldic name of the tincture red. The term is probably derived from the Latin gula, which in Old French is found as gueule, i.e. the "red throat of an animal." Or it may be derived from the Arabic gule, a red rose. Others, again, have tried to find the origin in the Hebrew word gulade, which
signifies red cloth.
Argent - the tincture silver; comes from late Middle English denoting silver coins; Old French from the Latin argentum.
Fleur-de-lis - the lily; an ancient symbol that came to signify saintliness or divine right; adopted by the French Monarchy in the 12th century as a symbol of the king's divinely approved right to rule.
Research shows that the family name Jewitt is also of Norman (French) origin and that our earliest ancestors probably arrived in England around the Norman Conquest of 1066. Early Jewitt ancestry has been traced back to Henri de Juatt, a knight of the First Crusade 1096-1099, and Henry Jewet may well have inherited the coat of arms through which he was later granted his office of "forrester and parker."
Portrait of King Henry VII holding a Tudor Rose, wearing collar of the Order of the Golden Fleece, oil on panel dated 1505 by an unknown artist. National Portrait Gallery, London.
In his research, Dad noted the following:
Grant of Arms to Henry Jewet
5 July 1486 - Henry VII
gules, on a cross argent
five fleurs -de-lis of the field
On the family tree we don't have the exact connection between Henry Jewett c. 1594 and Henry Jewet c. 1486, but clearly Dad's research had pointed to this as part of our family's heritage. So one of our projects is to figure out if we can document that connection. Meanwhile, what exactly is a grant of arms? According to Wikepedia: "in its most general sense, it encompasses all matters relating to the duties and responsibilities of officers of arms."
A further scan of the internet uncovers this on several Jewitt websites:
July 5, 1486, King Henry VII., of England, granted to Henry Jewet certain offices for life, viz., "Forrester of Windsor Forest and Parker of Sunnyng-Hill Park within Windsor Forest," but no reason is given in the grant for these honors.
There will be more in future posts with connections to the more established Jewitt genealogical sites and the historical document this is derived from, but for now, it is pretty neat just to think that we are descendants of a royal park ranger officially appointed by Henry VII.
Of course we all know who Henry VII of England was, right? Well in case you forgot, we again refer to our handy Wikipedia resource:
Henry won the throne in 1485 when his forces defeated the forces of Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field, the culmination of the Wars of the Roses. Henry was the last king of England to win his throne on the field of battle. Henry was successful in restoring the power and stability of the English monarchy after the political upheavals of the civil wars. He founded the Tudor dynasty and, after a reign of nearly 24 years, was peacefully succeeded by his son, Henry VIII.
Next we explore: what does "gules on a cross argent and five fluer-de-lis of the field" mean?
Links to Related Sites
Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust
Rod Collins - Lincolnshire Thro' History, Life, Lens and Words
The Old Palace Lincoln - Elegant Bed and Breakfast
National Portrait Gallery - London
College of Arms
The Jewett Family of America
History and Geneaology of the Jewitts of America
Marvinas Bay Lodge
First Peoples of Canada