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Coat of arms of the Washington family

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Title: Coat of arms of the Washington family  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Charles Washington, John Washington, Augustine Washington, Samuel Washington, George Washington Birthplace National Monument
Collection: Coats of Arms with Stars, Family Coats of Arms, George Washington, Personal Coats of Arms
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Coat of arms of the Washington family

Arms of the head of the Washington Family
Greater coat of arms of the family
George Washington bookplate

The coat of arms of the Washington family was first used to identify the family in the twelfth century, when the Washington family took possession of President of the United States of America from 1789 to 1797. John Wessington (also Washington) (died 1451) was an English Benedictine who became prior of Durham Abbey.

The design (three red stars over two horizontal red bars on a white field) is often said to have inspired the Stars and Stripes flag, and has been used since 1938 as the coat of arms and flag of the District of Columbia. It is also found on the Purple Heart.

The notion that it inspired the design of the American flag dates to the celebratory and patriotic climate of the year 1876, which saw the publication of Washington: A Drama in Five Acts, a drama in verse by the popular English poet St. Nicholas. Undeniably the coat of arms does consist of two elements, the stars and the stripes, and a red and white coloration, but it lacks any blue coloration.


  • Description 1
  • Variations and similar arms 2
  • Architectural occurrences 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


The simple blazon is:

"Argent two bars Gules, in chief three mullets of the second."[1]

Variations and similar arms

Some authorities in the twelfth century displayed the arms with the colours reversed (gules two bars argent, in chief three mullets of the second). An almost identical coat of arms was used by the Le Moyne family, who were described as landowners at Grafham in Huntingdonshire in the reign of Henry II. Their arms was: "Argent, two bars Sable, in chief three mullets of the second", with only the colour of the mullets and bars being different.[2]

Architectural occurrences

  • The oldest surviving occurrence may be a stained glass window in the Old Library of Trinity College, Oxford. The window is believed to have been moved from what was the chapel of Durham College, Oxford. Durham College was created for the training of Benedictine monks from Durham Abbey. Durham College was disestablished by Henry VIII. Sir Thomas Pope purchased the site in 1555 and used it for the creation of Trinity College. An image of the window appears here.
  • The Washington Window in Selby Abbey, in the British market town of Selby, contains a variant of the Washington coat of arms in the original 14th century stained glass. It is thought to be a benefaction to the abbey to commemorate John Wessington, Prior of Durham (1416–1446). The arms are distinguished from the usual Washington arms by having pierced mullets.
  • The Washington coat of arms can also be seen at the parish church in Garsdon, near Malmesbury, Wiltshire, where a branch of the family moved in Tudor times. A Washington memorial accompanies it.[3][4]
  • George Washington's coat of arms is engraved in stone in the porch of an ancient church in the tiny Dorset hamlet of Steeple, a church that incidentally lacks a steeple.[5] The Washington coat of arms is also painted in scarlet on the roof interior, quartered with those of the squires of Steeple village, the Lawrence family, who are allied with the Washingtons by the marriage of one of its sons, Edmund Lawrence to Agnes de Wessington in 1390.
  • The Washington coat of arms is engraved in stone inside a side room in the Walter E. Washington, mayor of Washington, D.C., from 2 January 1975 - 2 January 1979[6]
  • The Washington coat of arms can be seen (with the colours reversed) on a memorial to John Wessington in the cloisters of Durham Cathedral, where he was Prior.
  • The Washington coat of arms is engraved in stone in the parish church of [7]
  • The Washington coat of arms can be seen with many coat of arms in a stain glass window in St Laurence Church in Chorley, the same place where it is said to be the birthplace of Myles Standish.
  • The Washington coat of arms can be seen in stone in the parish church of St John in lozenge-shaped, as is the custom for women in England.[8]
  • The Washington coat of arms can be seen in stone on the outside of Hylton Castle, Sunderland, an 11th-century fortified manor house.[9]
  • The Washington coat of arms appears in a memorial to Lawrence Washington (died 1619), great-uncle of All Saints Church, Maidstone.[10]
  • The Washington coat of arms can be seen in a memorial window in All Saint's Church in Maldon, Essex, where Lawrence Washington is buried.[11]
  • The Washington coat of arms is engraved in stone on the tomb of the first Lawrence Washington (died 1619) in the chancel of Great Brington's parish church of St Mary.[12]
  • The Washington coat of arms is placed prominently above the entrance door at Church of St Mary the Virgin, Fawsley.
  • The Washington coat of arms, quartered with that of Kitson, whose family married into that of Washington, can be seen in a stained glass window in Hengrave Hall in Suffolk.[13]
  • The Washington coat of arms appears with many other coats of arms in the main east stained glass window of St Martin's Church, Bowness-on-Windermere (Cumbria), in the fifth light from the left, on the top row.[14]
  • The Washington coat of arms appears in stone on the grave of a James Washington (d. 1580) in the north chapel of the parish church of Saint Laurence in [16]


  1. ^ The General Armory of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, Comprising a Registry of Armorial Bearings from the Earliest to the Present Time, Sir Bernard BURKE, Harrison, London, 1884, P 1080
  2. ^
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  5. ^
  6. ^
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  10. ^ Harris, Brian (2006)Harris's Guide to Churches and Cathedrals ISBN 978-0-09-191251-2
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^

External links

  • [1]
  • by Marc LeepsonFlag: An American BiographyThe website for
  • The Washington Window in Selby Abbey
  • Wiltshire History Centre, records of Washington Memorial, Garsdon.[2]
  • Sulgrave Manor
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