Origins of the Surname of Hope - Section 9

     9. Hope Family Heraldry

As I indicated on the Hope Origins page I believe that the Scottish section of those with the surname of Hope is made up of two distinct groups.  These being referred to as the Scottish Border Hopes and the Edinburgh Hopes. 

Scottish Border Hopes Heraldry.

It is very unlikely that there will be any heraldry connected with a specific Border Hope family due to the derivation of the name being from many different valley locations - see Hope Origins page.  However, there is heraldry connected to named valleys that include the name Hop(e) that have become habitational names, as listed below.  The diverse nature of this heraldry confirms  the concept that the surname of Hope is derived from various  sources.

Soonhope - Siver shield with red Chevron and three red Stars.

1774 Hopkirk - Silver shield with a blue/silver Fess with crossed swords and a blue Chief with three gold Bezants.  (The Bezants must surely be a nod towards the Edinburgh Hopes? - see below.)

1800 Hopkirk - Red shield with silver Engrailed Cross and four gold Fleur de Lys.

Wauchope - Blue shield with two gold stars and a gold Wheatsheaf.

Hopringle - Pringle - Silver shield with black band and three gold escallops (Shells).

Trollope - Green shield with three silver hinds.

Wannop (North Northumbria) - Green shield with three gold lion rampants.


Edinburgh Hopes Heraldry.

The first evidence of Hope heraldry in Scotland was that of John Hope (c1472-1554) who built himself a fine house, with a private chapel, in the High Street of Edinburgh. It is recorded later that on the lintel of the house was the name of Johnne Hope with a defaced coat of arms; on the lowest crowstep there was another armorial shield with his initials.   This building was demolished in the 1800s,  Unfortunately it would appear  that the coat of arms was not recorded.  When John Hope's grandson Sir Thomas Hope of Craighall (1573-1646) matriculated his arms he chose three bezants and a gold Chevron on a blue field. The bezants (gold circles) were a bold statement that the family were from a banking heritage.  Was this an original design or had Sir Thomas seen these armorials on his grandfather's house or had inherited them from his father Henry Hope?  

Henry's wife Jacqueline de Tott had her own armorial - Or a fess gules fretty of the field between a fleur de lis of the second and a torteau.   This translates as gold shield with red cross hatched band across the centre with a red fleur de lis above and a red circle below.   In 1767 an Oliver Hope only son of Isaac Hope Esq of Rotterdam matriculated his arms with the Lord Lyon in Edinburgh - this record indicates that he was descended from Sir Thomas Hope of Craighall.   Oliver differenced his arms from that of Craighall be adding a red Crescent below the chevron and also a red Annulet (ring) on the chevron.

Sir Thomas' house Craighall in Fife had incorporated  the remnants of an old Craighall Castle which had been the seat of Kininmonth of that Ilk whose armorial included a chevron - did Sir Thomas borrow the Kininmonth chevron and also the blue field?  See comparison of the two armorials below.  ( For more on Craighall see Section 3.3. - Craighall Castle.   Gold/Blue are the National colours of Sweden - was the selection of these two colours by Thomas a nod to the Swedish heritage of his wife Jaqueline?  In any event the bezants and chevron can also be seen in Amsterdam on the pediment (gable to the Dutch) of the former offices of Hope and Co at Keizersgracht 444-446.  As well as the bezants/chevron  of Hope (Craighall) the motto of At Spes Non Fracta bacame the Logo of Hope & Co.  More about the Dutch Hope family can be found in Section 4 - Amsterdam/Rotterdam Hopes.


Keizersgracht 444-446 is the large white building, the brown building to the left No 448 was the private residence of the Hope family.


         Comparison of the Craighall and Kinninmont Armorials.


Sir Thomas for supporters (the figures on either side of the shield) on his armorial chose Ladies attired in long flowing green dresses with garlands in their hair and supporting an anchor - the Hope Ladies.  These figures  and the anchors represent Hope as in esperance.    He had a rainbow on the crest indicating esperance and the motto also referred to esperance - At Spes Infracta.   This is known as canting heraldry.   However it does seem overdone and perhaps Sir Thomas was making a statement that he thought that his family name was derived from Hope - the virtue of the mind - Esperance and not a topographical feature and also possibly that the name was derived from the Dutch/Flemish Van de Hoop.   In the latter case a simple genealogical DNA test would indicate whether the Hope family of Craighall have Flemish origins or not.   The emblem of the anchor representing Hope is probably from the bible - Hebrews 6:19 - 1) From the King James Bible - Which hope we have as an anchor for the soul, both sure and steadfast. 2) From the Good News Bible - We have this hope as an anchor for lives.  It is safe and sure.  It is possible that in the first century the anchor predated the cross as a Christian emblem.


Craighal - Burkes..jpg

below are three variations of the armorials for the Hopes of Hopetoun - The Marquis of Linlithgow.  The first I refer to as the "Bad Hair Day" armorial.   Here the Hope Ladies have black hair and are described heraldrically as "hair dishevelled".  The following two armorials have the more traditional blondes.






The Hopetoun arms are differenced from those of Craighall by the addition of a green bay leaf on  the chevron.   The bay leaf is from the Foulis arms - James Hope of Hopetoun (1614 - 1661) having married Anne Foulis the heiress of Leadhills.  The Hopetoun armorial, of course, includes the Coronet of a Marquis.  The armorials also include the Hope Ladies as supporters.  The Hope of Kerse - a branch that was extinct by 1794 added a roebuck to the chevron of the Craighall arms.  Alexander Hope of Granton added a red rose to the chevron of the Craighall arms.   The descendants of the Hopetouns the Hope-Veres have the Hopetoun arms, anchors and the Weir arms.   The Hope-Johnstone (Earls of Annandale) branch have anchors as charges on their armorial.  The Hope-Dunbars have the Hopetoun armorial as one quarter of their arms differenced by the addition of a gold star between the upper bezants.   Hope of Craighead have the Hopetoun arms differenced by the addition of two quill pens on the chevron and a red anchor on the globe of the crest - interestingly these arms have two rams for supporters which would be very appropriate for a Scottish Borders Hope armorial.



The splendid Hope of Hopetoun Armorial at the head of the stairs at Hopetoun House.



Flag flying at Hopetoun House April 2008.

The above flag is that of Adrian, Earl of Hopetoun.   His flag is differenced from that of his father the Marquis by the addition of the heraldic first son cadency mark known as a Label.    The label is basically a stripe across the top with three downwards proturbances (known as Points) - in this case the label is coloured red.


The heraldry of the Dutch Van der Hoop family also include ladies attired in long flowing green dresses with garlands in their hair and supporting an anchor - The Hope Ladies again.   The heraldry of the Hoop families in Hollond are full of these ladies, and anchors, not only as supporters, but also on the shield itself.    One of the Hoop armorials has the lady with a tawny orange scarf flowing from her shoulder and one hand supporting a palm - is this heraldry alluding to the Dutch East Indies or even Dutch West Indies?  The Hoops obviously had no doubt that their name was derived from esperance

An example of the Hopetoun armorial can be seen on the stained glass windows in Parliament House (The Parliament House, now part of the Law Courts near St. Giles High Kirk).  

Charles Hope (1681 - 1742) the First Earl of Hopetoun married the sister of the 2nd Marquess a Annandale.  It was at this time, master minded by the widowed mother of Charles the Lady Margaret Hamilton, that the construction of Hopetoun House began.   The Annandale connection can be seen with the armorial on the pediment above the ballroom  entrance  and also in the private Hopetoun "loft" in the nearby Abercorn Kirk - below.





Armorial in Abercorn Kirk

Another stained glass window that includes the arms of Hopetoun can be found in the Parish Church of Stobo in Peeblesshire.   This window celebrates the marriage of Anne Hope-Johnstone and Grahame Mongomery of Stobo in 1845. 

At Abbotsford, in the Borders, the home of Sir Walter Scott, can be found the Hopetoun family motto - At Spes Non Fracta - incised on the mantelpiece of the fireplace in the chapel.  

The following are some variations of the Hope motto:

Craighall - At Spes Infracta.

Hopetoun - At  Spes Non Fracta.

Balcomy - At Spes Solamen. 

Granton - Spero Suspiro Donec. (This is the motto that was latterly on the pediment of Craighall Castle).

Glendevon - Spes Mea Non Fracta.

Rankeilor - At Spes Infracta (Same as Craighall).

Craighead - Spes Non Est Fracta.

For a family tree showing the connection between the Craighalls, Hopetouns, Hope-Vere and Hope-Johnstone families etc go to Section 3 - Edinburgh Hopes page.

The Craighall motto can also be found in association with an anchor on memorial headstones and memorial tablets that have no connection with the Hope Family for instance the Leckie memorial tablets in the Leckie Memorial Church in Peebles - shown below.  The motto below the shield is faint but the crest of an anchor can be seen.  The shield at first sight looks like the Hope armorial but the Leckie has three red roses instead of the gold circles.  



The motto in association with an emblem of a sailing ship in distress has also an association with the Leckie family and also can found in the arms of Dick of Prestonfield Edinburgh - see two examples below. 




The sailing ship in distress with the motto are also those of Greig of Fraserburgh.   The Greig arms have gravitated to Norway where Greig has become Grieg and were those of the famous composer.  Other families have the  motto for instance the family of Hood and also of Kennard who were big in coal mining in Wales and the motto has continued with the Civic Arms of Blaenavon Town Council there.  Spec non fracta has appeared very recently in the latin translation of Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham as a translation of There is still Hope! 

It is a great pity that the seal with which John Hope added his name to the Ragman's Roll in 1286 at Berwick has been lost.   One can only wonder what might have been on the seal - it could have perhaps given valuable clue to his heritage.  


The Hope-Morley family - Baron Hollenden of Hall Place in Kent are descended from a Samuel Hope of Liverpool.   Their armorial makes a nod to the Hopes by including small anchors on the chain collars of the two stag supporters.    More about their ancestors can be found on the Lancashire section of the English Hopes page.

English Hope Heraldry.jpg

The heraldry of Robert Hope of Grangefield Derbyshire in England is a silver shield with a black engrailed chevron and three birds (Cornish Choughs).   The crest is a winged Cornish Chough.  It should be noted that although Robert Hope used this heraldry it is not in fact registered at the English College of Arms, in common with many other other English arms.   The only commonality with the Scottish Hopes is the chevron.   The different heraldry between the Scottish and English families indicates two distinct families. 

However the Derbyshire Hope heraldry is similar to that of the arms of the Hope family of Broughton, Flintshire and similar to the Civic Arms of the County of Flintshire in North Wales which are a silver field with a black engrailed cross and four Cornish Choughs.   The Cornish Chough is a heraldic device but the birds are a type of raven and  it is in fact recognised as a Celtic emblem.  The Raven is also considered as a Nordic emblem.  The Chough emblem has strong Cornish associations and also in connection with the legends of King Arthur. However the chough is a member of the crow family and the crow was considered a bird of prophecy and an emblem of Hope .   It's caw was interpreted as cras, cras, tomorrow, tomorrow, hence the proverb, Quod hodie non est, cras erit.  This translated as "what is not today shall be tomorrow."  However the raven also has probably a more strong Nordic connection as in the Raven Banner where it is the symbol of Odin the Norse god.

North Wales and The Isle of Man.

The Hope family of Broughton, Flintshire, mentioned in Section 6 North Wales of the Hope Origins page have heraldry very similar to the Hope family of Derbyshire and also to that of the Arms of Flintshire.  Hope of Broughton arms below right.   It is of note that several Welsh families have the choughs on their armorials. However the birds could be sheldrakes and not choughs - see Kirwan armorial in the Irish section below.

The Flinshire arms, below, are based on old arms attributed to King Edwin of Tegeingle who was King of Tegeingle in Saxon Times.   His Kingdom covered that part of the present county lying north of Mold to Hawarden.   His palace was at Llys Edwin near the town of Northope (North Hope).  The commonality of the Derbyshire and Flintshire arms and the fact there are towns of Hope, Hopton and Hope Valley in Derbyshire and  towns of Hope, Northop and Hope Mountain in Fintshire is significant.  There is also a possible nordic connection as mentioned above.   The nordic connection is enhanced by the armorial of the Isle of Man, see below.


Civic Arms of Flintshire



The armorial to the left below is of the Isle of Man, includes a raven as a supporter.   The raven must allude to the Norse origins of the island.  The armorial on the right below is of the District Council of Caithness in the extreme north east of Scotland.   Caithness along with Sutherland were under the control of the Norse Jarls of Orkney and the raven must allude to this connection.  The armorial for the Shetland Islands Council - not shown - also has a raven on the sail of a galley.




In Co. Westmeath a Thomas Hope a son of Walter Hope of Mulingar died in 1611. He had an armorial that has no commonality what so ever with the Scottish or English heraldry and one wonders where the origin of this complex blazon originates.   This Irish heraldry predating that of Craighall.  The blazon is Argent, two lion's heads erased Gules, langued Azul, Chief vair, Pile wavy Contre-ermine. Bordure vert. 



The border on the armorial indicates a descent cadency mark.  The crest of one of the Hope families of Mullingar is a palm tree - possibly alluding to a connection with plantations either is the East Indies or West Indies - similar to the Van der Hoops. A lot more information on the Hope Families of Ireland in Section 7 - Irish Hopes. 






The armorial of Kirwan - on right - an Irish family that is remembered as being one of the Fourteen Tribes of Galway.   I have included this amorial as it is of interest as it is similar to the Arms of the Hope family of Flintshire in North Wales - see appropriate sections above.   The Kirwan armorial is differenced from the Hope armorials by the chevron being plain, not engrailed.   However the birds are sheldrakes.  Also it does have a different motto.  The blazon of the Kirwans is as follows - Argent, a chevron, between three sheldrakes, sable, beaked and legged, gules. There does not appear to be any other connection between the Hope and Kirwan families. 



Some Hope families that do not have any connection with the aristocratic lines have used the Hope motto in conjunction with the rainbow/world crest as a "logo" on Monumental Inscriptions on headstones, on book covers and on china/silverware etc.



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