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Coat of Arms

It is generally held that Leod was the younger son of Olaf the Black, one of the last Norse kings of Man and the North Isles. Scholars now doubt Leod’s direct royal origin and he may have been a foster son. Olaf died around 1237, and Leod inherited the Islands of Lewis and Harris, with part of Skye. Marriage to the daughter of the Norse seneschal or steward of Skye took the family to Dunvegan which.....

Heraldry Database: Griffiths


Surname:  Griffiths
Branch:  Griffiths
Origins:  Welsh
More Info:  Wales

Motto:  Le bon temps viendra, The Good Times Will Come.
Arms:  Gules, three lioncels passant in pale argent armed azure.
Crest:  A lion passant sable.

View the Heraldry Dictionary for help.

Griphiud is the old Welsh form of this name, “iud,” meaning chief. We also note in 1392 Gruffydd ap Madog Vnyon.

Although there are now many families with this name the armorial bearings illustrated represent one only. One very ancient family Griffiths derive from one of the most distinguished lines in Cambrian genealogy.

Deducing descent from no less a person than Tudor Trevor, Lord of Hereford, Bromfield, Thirk, both the Maelors and Oswestry.

The Welsh surname Griffith is patronymic in origin, belonging to that category of surnames derived from the forename of the original bearer’s father. In this instance, the surname signifies the “son or descendant of Gruffydd”. Noted early Welsh bearers of the name include Griffith ap (son of) Cynan who was the king of north Wales and the founder of the first Royal Tribe of Wales while Gruffydd ap Llewllyn (d. 1063) was one of the most able rulers of Wales in the Middle Ages, scoring some notable victories over the English until he was eventually defeated by King Harold in 1063. Other early Welsh references include one Blethin ab Gryffydd who appears in the Subsidy Rolls of 1295 while Gruffydd ap Madag Dynon is recorded in the extent The Extent of Chirkland in 1392. June Gryffydd is listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk in 1524 while John ap Griffith, of Bangor is listed in the Bills ab Chester in 1585. Edward ap Griffith, of Halewood is recorded in the same records in 1581. Records relating to the arrival of bearers of the name to the “New World” include one Owen Griffith who settled in Virginia in 1666 while in Gillen’s, “Founders of Australia” one John Griffiths (1758-1844) is recorded. He served at Port Jackson in the company of Captain James Meredith, arriving in New South Wales on board the “Friendship”. He was sent to Norfolk Island in 1789 where he held nearly one hundred acres of land.

Name Variations:  Griff, Griffith, Griffiths, Griffeth, Griffeths, Griffin, Griffins.

One or more of the following publications has been referenced for this article.
The General Armory; Sir Bernard Burke - 1842.
A Handbook of Mottoes; C.N. Elvin - 1860.


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