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Knowles Coat of Arms from Ireland and England.

  Clan Knowles of North Kildare 
© Clan Knowles.  All rights reserved.

Arms:  Vert, in chief a bugle horn or, a chevron reversed argent three roses of the field gules.  

Crest:  A lion passant or.  A gold lion, walking.  The lion represents strength and valour.

Motto:  Firmitas-Tutissimo-Virtus:  "From valour comes strength and protection."

Note:  The Irish coat of arms above has three red roses on a silver chevron and a gold bugle horn.    Vert is green and represents hope and joy. Gules is red and represents military strength. Argent is silver or white and represents peace and sincerity. The bugle horn represents strength and fortitude, the chevron is protection and the red roses represent grace and beauty.  See the War of Roses below for more information on the color of the roses.

The native Gaelic O'Tnuthghail Sept of County Kildare also sometimes anglicized their name as Knowles as well as the more usual Newell.

The establishment of Coats of Arms was introduced into Ireland by the Normans in the eleventh century and was adopted by some Gaelic families. These armorial bearings originated during the late medieval period as a means of recognition on the battlefield.  Their use gradually became the badge of identity for a family and were used in documents as personal seals and to identify property.

A coat of arms is strictly hereditary within a single family in English and Scottish heraldry.  The crest and shield were granted to one individual not to everyone with the same surname.  In Ireland, the shield was often regarded as the property of the tribal sept.  


War of the Roses (1450-1485)

The House of York was represented by the white rose and the House of Lancaster by the red rose.  These two powerful English families battled to determine who would rule.  Henry IV (1399-1413) was the first Lancaster king after his defeat of Richard II.  

After years of conflict, Edward IV (1461-1483), became the first York king.  After the death of Edward, Richard of Gloucester became Richard III.  Richard was defeated at Bosworth Field in 1485 and Henry VII became the first Tudor king.  Henry VII was a Lancaster by blood and a York by marriage.

Many of  the Knowles family in England supported the Lancaster (red rose) family.

War of Roses and Ireland

One of the great Norman Families to settle in Kildare were the Fitzgeralds.   John Fitzthomas, Lord of Offaly, who was created Earl of Kildare in 1316, received a grant of land and established Maynooth as a family seat.   Garret Mor the Eighth  Earl was a Yorkist supporter, and, following the victory of the Lancastrians in the War of the Roses, he supported the claims of the Pretenders to the English throne, Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck.

The O'Tnuthghail and other smaller septs of Kildare supported the Lancaster or red rose family.  The coat of arms in Ireland and most of the English coats display three red roses on a silver or white chevron.



Coat of Arms from Rietstap Armorial General
Shield:  "Ec.:  aux 1 et 4 d'azur seme de croix recr.  d'or: a la croix nillee du meme.
br. sur le tout.
aux 2 et 3 de gu. au chev. d'arg. ch. de troix roses du champ." 

Translation for shield:  Shield divided into quarters (a la croix)  Charge placed over four quarters (sur le tout).  Croix = cross, azure = blue, chev = chevron, seme = borders,  champ = field, d'or = color gold, nillee = cross divided, meme = corded cross,
recercele = voiding throughout (visible in the middle) extending into the field as in the Knowles shield = a cross disjoined. 
Shield divided into four quarters.  Two quarters illustrate a silver chevron with three red roses.  The other two quarters illustrate a divided blue cross on a silver field. 

Crest:  "Un elephant d'arg."   Elephant color = argent = silver or white.  
Elephant = longevity, strength and good luck. 

Motto:  Semper Paratus = Always Prepared


Several coat of arms are listed for the Knowles surname.  The General Armory lists:

  • Lovel Hill, co. Berks.  Quarterly, 1st and 4th, az. crusily of crosslets, a cross moline voided, or.  2nd and 3rd, gu. on a chev. ar. three roses of the first.  Crest:  an elephant statant ar.  (Image above).
  • Cole Ashby, co. Northhampton and Walton co. Suffolk (granted 1580.  Gu. on a chev. ar. three roses vert.  barbed and seeded of the field, on a canton of the second a fleur-de-lis of the first.  Crest:  Out of a ducal coronet gu. an elephants head ar.
  • Downton and Winchester.  Visit.  Hants, 1634.  Or. three demi lions pass. guard. gu.  Crest:  A griffin segreant. or.
  • Azure, a hawk seizing a partridge argent; on a chief of the last three bolts of the first--KNOWLES.  source:  A Glossary of Terms Used in Heraldry by James Parker  1894

Aylesham co. Norfolk.  Gu. on a chev. ar.  three roses of the field, in chief a crescent or. charged with a mullet sa. Crest:  A rams head ar. attired or.  The crescent indicates the Crusades and was introduced by the crusaders during the reign of Henry III (1216-1272).

Cross Moline Voided.
    The term as applied to the cross occurs twice in one of the two rolls which are apparently of HENRY III 's reign. Also in a roll temp. EDWARD II. two examples occur with the term voided added and one without, though in the latter voided is, no doubt, implied; hence, as the general outline was similar to the cross moline, it may be considered as a cross moline voided, or disjoined,
and drawn as in arms of KNOWLES.
source:  A Glossary of Terms Used in Heraldry by James Parker  1894
  • Newell: Ref: B730/02 Newell (no further family information recorded) Arms: Gules two hautboys [oboes] in saltire between four crosses crosslet all Or. Crest: None recorded. Motto: None recorded.

Newell: Ref: B730/03 Newell (no further family information recorded) Arms: Argent three bars Gules over all a bend engrailed Sable. Crest: None recorded. Motto: None recorded.

Copyright © 1995-2012 Clan Knowles™.   All rights reserved.   No text or images may be copied without written permission.   RMK Research  Questions or problems regarding this web site should be directed to Ronald Knowles or Séamus Ó Tnúthghail   March 20, 2012

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