Cogswell Family Association
A non-profit corporation, organized in Mass., in 1989, dedicated to preserving the history of the Cogswell family



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The Cogswell Arms and Crest

The Coat of Arms first appears in 1337 when it was granted to Sir John de Coggeshall, b. 1302, d. 1361, by King Edward III, who knighted Sir John in 1337. We have not been able to ascertain the exact date of the ceremony. The Arms that Sir John chose were a cross between four escallops. The choice of a sable cross on a white or silver field is of great significance, denoting service in the Crusades (1092 -1297). From these dates it is certain that John himself did not see service, but that he was knighted during his term of duty as Sheriff of Essex and Hertfordshire and chose his arms in memory of an ancestor who was in Palestine.

Ralph Coggeshalle was at Jerusalem when that city was besieged by Saladin. One can conjecture that John was in some way connected with Ralph, and chose his arms in Ralph’s memory.

The Crest was procured by John Coggeshall of Fornham St. Genovese on 5 September 1575 of Robert Cooke Clarancieux, Duke of Clarence, this being a buck couchant, sable horned and elved or mantled gu dubbed silver. The motto chosen denoted valiance and courage:

"Nec Sperno Nec Timeo" meaning "Neither do I despise nor fear."

During our researches we have found many instances of Cogswells using the Arms and/or Crest, and thus we know that the change of surname is recognised by the College of Heralds. Charles [3735] Cogswell of Nova Scotia, b. 12 May 1813, used them on his coach and would have paid an Armorial Bearings Tax to enable him to do so. Maurice Cogswell still has in his possession silver and tableware belonging to Charles, bearing the Crest. On the cover of the "Bicentenary of a Gunmaker" the history of Cogswell and Harrison, the crest appears. We have in our possession a piece of tracing paper 6" X 5" headed "Miss Cogswell Grimsby" which shows the Arms and Crest, and under these is written "Copied for Mr. Benjamin Cogswell in 1822, from the Heralds Office."

A descendant of this Benjamin, the Rev. Thomas Smith Cogswell, who, incidentally, did an enormous amount of research on this subject, took the unusual step of prefacing his will with the words: "This is the last will and testament of me, Thomas Smith Cogswell, formerly of the Vicarage, Cringleford, Norwich … aforesaid, descended from the Cogswell - Coggeswells of Westbury and Dilton, Wiltshire, and through them collaterally, with the American Cogswells and more remotely from Cogshalls, Coxalls, and Coggeshalls of Essex, Suffolk, and Norfolk." Use of the Crest was made by the Rev. Thomas on his notepaper, etc.

Taken from "The Search for a Heritage" by Alan & Mickey Cogswell






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