Name & Coat of Arms History

     The surname Echols is an orthographical or dialectical variant of the English surname Eccles of two distinct origins. In the first place, it is of locative origin, being derived from the place name by or near which the original bearer lived. In this case, the surname Eccles is derived from the Welsh word “eglwys” meaning “church” in turn derived from the Latin element “ecclesia” and this from the Greek “ekklesia” meaning “gathering, assembly”, a derivation of “ekkalein” meaning “to summon, call out”. Thus, the surname Echols was originally applied to one who lived by or near a church. Alternatively, the surname Echols is of toponymic origin, deriving from the place name where or near which the original bearer was born or resided. In this case, the surname is derived from the place name Eccles, the name of several places located in England (Kent, Lancashire, Norfolk, Berwick). Hence, here the surname Echols signifies “one from Eccles”. Such places are believed to have been the sites of notable pre-Anglo-Saxon churches or Christian communities.
     Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. Almost every city, town or village existing in the Middle Ages has served to name one or more families. Where a man lived was his means of identification. When a man left his birthplace or village where he had been known, and went elsewhere, people would likely refer to him by the name of his former residence or birthplace, or by the name of the land which he owned.

     Originally the coat of arms identified the wearer, either in battle or in tournaments. Completely covered in body and facial armour the knight could be spotted and known by the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped garment which enveloped him. This surname is most common in Gloucester and Warwickshire. A certain Solomon Eagles, who was a Quaker musician in London in the second half of the 17th century, was also known as Eccles, and may well have been of Huguenot origin. The Bristol family of this name are probably descended from a certain William Eagles, burgess in 1630. As Bristol traders, they also acquired estates in Carolina whence the name became established in North America. Between the 11th and 15th centuries it became customary for surnames to be assumed in Europe, but were not commonplace in England or Scotland before the Norman Conquest of 1066. They are to be found in the Domesday Book of 1086. Those of gentler blood assumed surnames at this time, but it was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) that second names became general practice for all people. Early records of the name mention Adam Warin de Eccles, 1170 Scotland. Peter Ekels was recorded in 1378 in County Lancashire. Johannes Eclus of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379.

A silver shield with two crossed blue halberts.
Silver - Peace and sincerity. Blue - Loyalty and truth.
Halbert -
Execution of military duty.
A broken halbert.
Se defendendo
In his own defense

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

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