Efforts to uncover a coat of arms has its own entire study - heraldry. There are many angles to heraldry - from the quite serious study, both genealogically and historically, to the light and fanciful. To date, we know Charles Cotsford Bowlby was granted a coat-of-arms, but other, more ancient coats-of-arms have not as yet been officially traced to the original owner. Once a grant is made, it is made to that specific person and his heirs forever. Only those who directly descend from that person's heirs, indeed first born son usually, may formally bear the arms in question.

We continue to explore this aspect of our heritage. There are other strict rules regarding who has actual authority to display their coats of arms. Perhaps amongst us, we'll find one interested in understanding those rules, and sharing them. For the rest of us at the moment, this remain an interesting aspect.

**PLEASE** feel free to contribute information you have regarding this effort.

David Eric Bowlby drew our name beautifully as a family present in 1982. He has allowed Neil Robert Bowlby to scan and contribute his work to our family site. The no color version of the beautiful BOWLBY is available here, (something for your budding artist to colorize) while a printable color version is available here. We have reduced the sizes of these drawings and scans to allow you to easily print them. Unfortunately, this results in some loss of detail. These drawings are most beautiful, and freely available to our cousins. Our many thanks David and Neil!

Warning: There are several less than authoritative sources regarding this study. Please be careful about spending your hard earned money...

This image was produced by a collaborative effort between Steven Madewell and Don Smith. The shield and wreath are Steven's work, and the crest is Don's. Steven uncovered the following information:

BLAZON:..Sable (black), three hinds' heads erased Argent (silver).
CREST:..Two branches of thorn in orle.

Cf. the 2 entries for Boulby/Bowlby in Burke's "General Armory", pg. 105 & supp.


NOTE:..Originally seated in the North Riding co. York, presumed to have taken the name from Boulby, near Whitby, afterwards, for some generations, settled in the city of Durham; now represented by Charles Cotsford Bowlby, Esq., of London.

BLAZON:..Azure (blue), three mallets Or (gold).

Cf. the 2 entries for Boulby/Bowlby in Burke's "General Armory", pg. 105 & supp.

An additional contribution in this study comes from Jim Bowlby 1/2000:

My daughter and son-in-law picked this up at Disney World. It's produced by The Historical Research Center. It came with the following description:


It was not until the early Middle Ages that surnames were first used to distinguish between numbers of people bearing the same personal, or Christian, name. With the growth of documentation in the later Middle Ages such names became essential and a person whose distinguishing name described his trade, his place of residence, his fathers name, or some personal characteristic passed that name onto his children and the surname became hereditary.

The English surname Bowlby is of local origin, that is, it was descriptive of the place where the original bearer once lived or held land. In this case, it is derived from the parish of Boltby which is situated in Yorkshire. The name Bowlby is a modification of this. The original bearer of this surname therefore hailed from this place. Records of this surname in England date back to the thirteenth century. An example of this is Adam de Bolteby of Yorkshire who was mentioned in the Hundred Rolls of 1273. The prefix "de" in this surname, meaning "of/from" is common in names of local origin.

English Origin:

Type Description Translation
Blazon of Arms Azure Three mallets or. The background colour azure (blue) signifies Loyalty and Truth. The mallet is a symbol of Strength and Determination
Crest Two branches of thorn in orle. The thorn denotes an affliction with which one is unfairly burdened.

This image of a hand drawn crest and shield was scanned in by Maddy Hume. It was given to her by her Aunt June Rose Bowlby.
The Motto translated means, "Yield Not To Evil".