Simpson History



Simpson Coat of Arms


1) To download the above Coat of Arms as a high-quality image suitable for framing, click here.
     (This is a $50 value for free!)

2) If you prefer a Coat of Arms with a little less feathers, click here.

3) If you prefer a Coat of Arms with a little less feathers, plus the Simpson motto, click here.

4) If you prefer a Coat of Arms with no feathers (great for online signatures), click here.

Simpson Motto:

 Nil desperandum

Motto Translated:

 Never despair

Picture3 Shield

Chief, domination, authority, wisdom, achievement in battle

Picture4 Lion:

Fierce courage, this symbol can also represent a great Warrior or Chief

Picture5 Crescent:  

Hope of glory, one who has been enlightened, sign of the second son

Picture6 Red:

Warrior, martyr, military strength

Picture7 Gold:


Picture8 Green:

Hope, loyalty in love

Simpson Clan Tartan


Heraldry, or the study of armorial bearings, is an adjunct to the study of family history. Coat armor, it is important to note, was completely unknown in Europe before the twelfth century, and did not appear in England until about 1250. Its sudden rise has been ascribed to several varied events, including the First Crusade (1097), the advent of body armor, and the growing use of seals on personal documents.

In any case, the early development of the use of heraldic devices followed closely upon the need for better identification, and the trend became widespread. First embellished on shields and other pieces of armor, the imaginative, elaborate heraldic designs soon were transferred to surcoats, horse trappings, and even private possessions. These early insignia, including bends (diagonal stripes), fesses (horizontal stripes), chevrons, and crosses, were chosen because they were conspicuous, even in the chaos of bloody battle. For the same reason bright colors were used. Charges, or the representations of animals and natural objects, did not become popular until the second half of the twelfth century.

With the advent of gunpowder in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, and the concomitant decline of armor as an essential in warfare, the need for armorial bearings also waned. By then, though, coats-of-arms were cherished for their decorative effect, and the family crests were handed down from proud sire to aspiring son. The ancient art was debased by the frenzied efforts of many people to coin their own armorial bearings and adorn them with embellishments and devices of doubtful historical significance.

Central authorities were established to inquire into the validity of the new creations. Their work was generally ineffectual in maintaining the simplicity and purity of the earlier designs, but their thorough records have subsequently proved very useful to the genealogical researcher. These records, showing hereditary usage of certain symbols and devices, represent in many cases the only means for unraveling the complex familial relationships of medieval Europe.

In the United States, where the democratic tradition has mitigated interest in holding and preserving official armorial bearings, there is nonetheless a great informal interest in the science of heraldry. The question of rightful ownership of coat armor does not pertain in this country, for the very nature of the settlement and development of America makes it unlikely that any more that a few families have legitimate claim to specific insignia. Heraldry is instead highly regarded for its aesthetic and historical qualities - for the symbols, devices and the colors generally associated with any particular surname tell a story of our ancestors.

Figure A is perhaps the only Simpson coat of arms that definitely has been verified for Simpson immigrants in America. It was copied from an engraving on the surface of a fine silver flagron donated by John Simpson (unfortunately, not related to any of the Johns in this web site) to the Old South Church in Boston. The same coat of arms has also been found on various family bookplates dating back to about the time of the American Revolution. Figure A was first registered in Scotland to a Simpson family in the town of Udoch in the year 1672. It is one of nineteen Simpson coats of arms registered in Great Britain.

Figure B is one of the oldest of Simpson family arms. It dates back to the late fourteenth and early fifteenth century, and belongs to one of the earlier branches of the Simpsons living in Yorkshire, England.

Note that the coat of arms at the top of this page is a combination of the two below.

Figure A Figure B
Picture1 Picture2

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