The Babb Coat of Arms

The Babb Coat of Arms

I’ve been working on re-proofing some of the earlier research in the context of what we now know about the Babbs of Devon. In the year since I received the letter I’ve worked to capture every record I can get my hands on from Early Devon. There is a little more work still to do on that and I will continue my work until I’m satisfied that we’ve found everything that is possible in the County.

Today, I referred back to the research report I had received just over a year ago from the Chester Herald at the Royal College of Arms, and found some interesting tidbits that had initially escaped my attention.

So, today I want to talk about the Babb Coat of Arms that is commonly used to represent our family. I’ve previously covered that we are unable to determine the owner of the Arms. But some information is available that sheds some light on the symbolism it uses.

There are a number of variations of these Arms, but this is the most accurate example I’ve found. The Arms comes from a description written in a 19th Century book by the name of Burke’s General Armory. It contains descriptions that allow for the recreation of the Arms at will. Burke seldom included his sources which is why we are unable to discern to whom the Arms were claimed by. Remember, that they were never submitted or approved by the College of Arms, so they are by definition, illegitimate. That sounds pretty much like a Babb to me. ; )

The exact description reads as follows:

You’ll see the note about “Babb, or Babe”. There has always been the question of our surname having come from Babe, which is a medieval term for Baby. However, there are not any Babe family members appearing in the Devon Records. Furthermore, I had to look up the location of Castle Derver because I was unfamiliar with Louth County. It turns out to be in Ireland and there is not a single instance of an English Babb line residing in that entire county prior to 1911 when a family moved to the area from Wales.

So, we are not connected to the Babes. (No Pun Intended).

Now, on to the exact description and its meaning:
Arms: Barry of six ar. and sa, on a canton of the last, a leopard’s face.
Crest: A dexter hand erect pointing with two fingers to the sun ppr.

Translation:
Arms: Six horizontal lines of Black and Silver, with a Black open space in the top left corner, emblazoned by a Leopard’s face of Gold.
Crest: A purple palm sided right hand erect pointing with two fingers to the sun.

What does it mean

Colors for Arms would have been considered very carefully. The Black indicates Death, the Silver is associated with peace and sincerity. The hand appears to have been severed, which is why it has turned purple. This aligns to a story told about two brothers racing to an island and the first one to touch the ground would inherit the island. One of them seeing he was about to lose, cut his hand off and threw it to shore to claim his inheritance.

There’s no topping that story, so I’ll end here. Have a great day!

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