The Hingston Arms

Someone with the name Hingston seems to have been awarded, or assumed, a coat of arms at some time. The right to bear arms is awarded to an individual, not to a family, although by tradition the coat of arms is passed from father to son. There are complex rules relating to the incorporation of a mother's arms. However, in the middle-ages, anyone could assume arms for themselves, the only rule being that your arms should not knowingly conflict with anyone else.

Good sources of reference on Heraldry are to be found at the Heraldica site.

We have two images of the arms, taken from family sources, neither of particularly high quality, and also a description. They agree overall, but differ in detail. We also have a number of entries taken from reference books.

The best image is shown below. It is taken from a painting, hanging on the wall of a member of Tree HH in Canada. It is signed W.A.Black, Sept 18, 1937, and has written on the back "Hingston Coat of Arms - Danish battle-axe held in hand of knight in armour. Hind's head with sprig of holly". The motto "Non Mutat Genus Solum" has been translated by Frederick Sweet as "The clan alone does not change".

Non .............. Mutat ....... Genus ...... Solum

(Not or No) (change) (race or family) (only)

The colours in this view are not believed to be accurate - they do not follow the rules of "tincture" which apply to virtually all heraldry; they were designed to ensure that the arms are clearly distinctive in the heat of battle.

Arms from tree HH

A coat of arms is displayed in the Allen and Dymond tree (which relates primarily to Tree HD) as a drawing; my copy of it is of very poor quality.

In this version only the fore-arm is shown and it is upright rather than horizontal. The leaves in the deer's mouth look to me like oak rather than holly but on such a poor picture it is difficult to be sure. The motto is illegible.

This version of the arm has been sent to me by Richard Hingston who is unaware of how it came into his family's possession. The significant difference from the other versions is the different motto "Absque Labore Nihil", which if my bad Latin is anything to go by means "without work, nothing". (Added 5/9/2000, CJB)

I am grateful to Dr Andrew Gray (, Image Librarian of the Heraldry Society for the following information (and for permission to show the above image).

In Ruislip Church, Middlesex, there is a hatchment showing the naked version of the arms, as attributed by Papworth and Burke to the Buckinghamshire Hingensons. It is tentatively ascribed to John Hingston, mentioned in an enclosure award of 1824, but no further biographical details have yet been found. His wife appears to be a Mills. The crest is a squirrel sejeant.

From the Will of Mary Anne Hingeston, Widow of Ruislip, Middlesex 30 March 1849 PROB 11/2089. She was the widow of John Hingeston; she had been born Mary Ann Milles and died 1849; her husband was John Hingeston of Hatton Garden, originally of Ipswich, who died 1811 (Will of John Hingeston of Hatton Garden, Middlesex 16 October 1811 PROB 11/1526). Their marriage licence is dated 1798. Although she was buried in St Martin's Ruislip, her husband had asked to be buried in Ipswich. It is possible there was some estrangement between them; the Hingeston family was extensive, as the will of his great-nephew also attests, yet his widow pointedly ignores them all in favour of Milles nephews and nieces. Perhaps the John Hingeston's bequests to his bastard daughter provide a clue to this!

The description is as follows

Dexter background black Gules a dexter arm embowed in fess issuant from the sinister or holding a battleaxe in pale argent (Hingeston), impaling, Quarterly, 1st and 4th, Ermine a millrind sable (Milles), 2nd and 3rd, Argent a saltire gules ( ) Crest: A squirrel sejant proper. Mantling: Gules and argent. Motto: Non timide sed caute (Not cowardly but cautious) Winged skull below. For John Hingeston of Hatton Garden, originally from Ipswich, who married May 1798 Mary Ann Milles and died s.p.legit. 1811, buried in Ipswich; she died in Eastcote 1848, buried in Ruislip. (Prerogative Court of Canterbury wills at Public Record Office; Vicar General Marriage Licences; Enclosure Award of 1824 probably refers to his nephew or great-nephew, both John)

This version of the crest has been sent to me by Alan Lawton <> who is descended from the New Zealand Line (HX) but he does not know where the crest originated. The motto translates as "Honour without stain", or "Without stain, honour".

The crest below is on a set of Crown Derby soup bowls, about 200 years old, purchased in Boston, MA, by Margaret Ruttenberg <>. She wrote to me because of the similarity of the crest to the device on the Hingston shield. It is presumed that the bowls were part of a service made specifically for a family but we do not know who. We know that some Richard Hingston (HD#11) had links with Richard Cookworthy, the English Inventor who discovered the secret of porcelain in 1768, and who was associated with th Plymouth Pottery but there appears to be no family connection with Crown Derby.

These arms were supposedly derived from those of Major James Hingston, an officer in the army of the English Parliament. The arms seem to have been granted to his son James, who purchased Aglish on his retirement from the Commisariat in Ireland. They are described as Azure a chevron ermine between three leopard's faces salient proper. Crest. A demi lion rampant proper. Motto Deum posui adjutorem (I have taken God for my helper). The image, which is taken from the Irish Book of Arms replaces the lower Leopard's face with a Maltese Cross.

Glover's Ordinary is a collection of Heraldry carried out in Elizabethan times. It appears to feature at least two Heyngeston lines - can someone locate it and extract anything relevant? Glover's Ordinary is said to be included in Edmondson's "Complete Body of Heraldry" Complete body of heraldry : containing an historical enquiry into the origins of armories and the rise and progress of heraldry, considered as a science ... the proper methods of blazoning and marshalling armorial bearings ... the arms, quarterings, crest, published in 1780

According to Gatfield - Guide to Printed Books and Manuscripts relating to Heraldry amd Genealogy, there is a Hingeston pedigree, with notes by D.E.Davy. British Museum Add. MS. No. 19135.

(moved from Odds and Ends page)

HM#17 Francis Charles Hingeston-Randolph said that the Courtenays, Earls of Devon, quarter the Hingeston Arms, one of them having married Elizabeth Hingeston, of Wonwell, one of the coheiresses of that line?  It is so.  In the visitation of 1620 (Devon) the Arms are given are given thus; quarterly, 1 Courtenay; 2 Redvers; 3 Hingeston; 4 Courtenay. However, modern representations of the Courtenay Arms do not show the Hingston Link.

(added 14 Aug 2015)

The arms are also described by Hambly, who appears to have been unaware of Allen and Dymond's work although he was almost certainly related to their tree.

Hambly's description is:-

Arms of Hingston:- a bent arm holding a battleaxe.

Crest:- Deer with olive branch in mouth.

No colours are given and this is not a standard heraldic description, but it clearly matches with features of the other two pictures.

In reference books we find the following.

Burke's The General Armoury of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales gives:-

Papworth's Ordinary of Arms is a listing of families, catalogued by images within their coats of arms. I assume you were not meant to take this onto the battlefield to check up who was on your side! I looked it up under "axe" Glossary -

Full version of armsThe adjacent image has been produced by me by tracing the Allen and Dymond image, adding the motto from the Canadian image, and taking the colours from the text books. Where necessary I have used artistic licence to fill in the gaps. As this is an amalgam from various sources it is likely to have errors. It should not be regarded as definitive. I also apologise for my poor artistry!


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Page updated by Chris Burgoyne on 31st May 2011