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Coats of Arms

Figure 1

Figure 2
Tinctures & Metals
Gules (red)
Azure (blue)
Vert (green)
Purpure (purple)
Sable (black)
Or (gold)
Argent (silver)
This short article does not attempt to explain the rules governing heraldry and the granting of coats of arms. This is covered elswhere on the Internet. Both the College of Arms and the Heraldry Society offer brief introductions to the subject on their websites.

There are a number of different coats of arms associated with the surnames Mead, Meade and Mede listed in Burke’s Encyclopędia of Heraldry. Three of these are associated with the families from Somerset, Essex and Cambridgeshire. The blazons (written descriptions) for these arms are set out below.
Mead. Gules a chevron ermine between three trefoils slipped argent. Crest—A reindeer trippant vert. (Figure1).
Mead. Sable a chevron erminois between three pelicans or, vulning themselves proper. (Figure 5).
Meade (counties of Cambridgeshire and Somerset). Gules a chevron ermine between three trefoils slipped argent. (Figure 3).
Meade (county of Essex). Sable a chevron between three pelicans or, vulned gules. Crest—An eagle displayed, or. (Figure 2).
Mede, or Meade (counties of Cambridgeshire and Cornwall) Gules a chevron ermine between three trefoils (another, cinquefoils) argent. (Figure 3).

The earliest of these arms appeared in the 14th century when the family lived in and around Bristol. These arms (figure 3) are particularly associated with Phillip Mede (1415-75) who was Mayor of Bristol, three times between 1458 and 1469.

The Meade family of Leicestershire have arms very similar to those of the Meade family of Essex.

Meade (County of Leicestershire). Sable a chevron between three pelicans, wings endorsed or, vulning themselves proper (Figure 4).

In Ireland the Meade family is descended from the Earls of Clanwilliam and have arms very similar to the family of the same name in Somerset and Cambridgeshire, the only difference being the tincture of the field (colour of the shield) which is azure (blue) rather than gules (red).

Meade (Earl of Clanwilliam). Azure a chevron ermine between three trefoils slipped argent. (Figure 6). Crest—An eagle displayed with two heads sable armed or. Supporters—Dexter, an eagle close sable; sinister, a falcon close proper beaked and legged or, each collared and chained or. Motto—Toujours pret.

Figure 3

Figure 4

Figure 5

Figure 6

The tomb of Thomas Meade,
St Nicholas Church, Elmdon, Essex.