Chute Family Coat of Arms
Chute Family Coat of Arms

The varying incarnations of the Chute Family Coat of Arms are one way of tracking genealogical lines. The basic foundation of the coat of arms has always been three silver swords with gold pommels (handles) laying horizontally, in a vertical row on a red background -- or, as heraldry experts describe it: "Gules three swords barwise"."

This three swords configuration appears in two variations: in one, all three swords are facing the same direction - the points of the swords are facing left ("the points to the dexter"). In the second variation, the second of those three swords (the middle one) is facing the opposite direction than the other two, the first and the third - or, in heraldic terminology: "the middlemost sword encountering the first and last".

As you've read in the Chute Mysteries, it appears that until we can find official record of Lionel Chute, Sr. being the son of Anthony of Kent, the entire American line descended from Lionel is not officially able to nail the Chute Coat of Arms over the fireplace - according to the College of Arms in London. Unofficially, I will be adding examples of the different Chute Coats of Arms found in a variety of different sources, that you can use as templates if you want to nail a historical Family Crest over the fireplace anyway, as well as other items of interest on this subject - since we on this side of the Atlantic seem to take a perverse pleasure in thumbing our collective North American noses at the College of Arms. (One of the best examples of the Chute Family coat of arms, including the colors that were used, can be found on Lance Chute's web site - check out the "Links" section.) But here's hoping that we're the generation of Chute researchers who find that official documentation - it's out there, somewhere.

Click here for a copy of an annotated letter from the College of Arms specifically addressing the subject of the Anthony of Kent-Lionel Chute, Jr. line of connection to the armigerous British Chutes. A. Lionel Chute, Jr. of New Hampshire initiated the research and the correspondence; he has annotated the letter, indicating the relevance of the findings.

From the Boston Transcript, 23 OCT 1937

The caption reads: "No. 46 in the Roll of Arms registered by the Committee on Heraldry of the New England Historic Genealogical Society:

Arms of LIONEL CHUTE of Ipswich, Mass. Gules three swords barwise the points to the dexter, silver hilts and pomels gold. (Only men and their unmarried daughters descended in male lines from emigrants who owned the coat can use it with propriety.)

NOTE: This sketch is probably incorrect. The description of Lionel Chute's arms reads: "Gules, three swords barwise argent, hilted and pommeled Or: and had this addition or augmentation: (illegible) of mullets nine, the middlemost sword encountering the first and last, on a canton argent and vert, a lyon of England; and, for a crest or cognescence, a dexter hand couped at ye wrist holding a broken sword proper. Given to Philip Chowte, Captain of Camber Cstle and Standard bearer to ye men at arms at ye seige of Bollonnge in France by Henry ye Eighth."

Translation: Three silver swords, with gold hilts and pommels, laying horizontally in a vertical row, the middle sword facing the opposite direction from the first and third, on a silver and green background, a lion of England and, for the crest, a left hand cut off at the wrist, holding a broken sword aloft."

From the article "Chute Coat of Arms", authored by Hazel Kraft Eilers, January 1969

Chute Family Coat of Arms

In February of 1969 by Francis Marion Porter Abdalla wrote to George M. Chute, Jr., mentioning an article she had seen:

"On the basis of the Chute article in the January "Hobbies" magazine, I wrote to Mrs. Eilers and she gave me your address. I am interested in your book (the 1967 supplement of the Chute Family history)."

Fortunately, I was able to locate a copy of this issue of "Hobbies" magazine on e-Bay, and discovered it was an article on the Chute Family Coat of Arms, written by Hazel Kraft Eilers in January of 1969, complete with a sketch of the Coat of Arms, which didn't exactly match the other examples on this page, as it seems a bit more floral and detailed, and which is reproduced on the right. Unless Eilders sketched this Coat of Arms herself, she doesn't specify the source for this specific version of the Chute Coat of Arms. With the exception of an article on Lionel Chute Jr.'s occupation as the Ipswich Schoolmaster, most of her sources are well documented.

For the full text of the article, click here.

From the "Lionel Chute Scroll" (LCS)

The "Lionel Chute Scroll" (LCS) was in fact not in Lionel's possession at all, but was commissioned by Lionel's descendant Thomas Chute of Marblehead, Massachusetts, several generations later.

It was this scroll that precipitated the rumor that Thomas had arrived on American shores directly from Great Britain (he had not). According to Lionel Chute, "Thomas Chute of Marblehead, Massachusetts hired John Gore, a Boston carriage painter, to profesionally render his Chute coat of arms. The elaborate drawing of Chute arms that resulted still survives as a component of the Gore Roll, believed to be the oldest portfolio of American arms in existence. It is unclear when Thomas' arms were drawn: the rendering includes the date 1719 in its title, but John Gore (1718-1796) would have been an infant at the time, and the watermark of the paper used for the roll has since been dated to around 1731. The consensus among Gore Roll historians is that all of the arms, including Thomas Chute's, were drawn in the mid or late 18th century. But regardless of when precisely this version of Chute arms was made, it is significant for 2 reasons. First, it shows that Thomas, unlike his parents or any of his siblings, had a keen interest in Chute heraldry, enough to commission an artist to do a professional rendering. Second, the arms that Thomas had Gore draw are mistakenly those of Philip Chute of Appledore (e.g., including the Royal Lion augmentation), the exact same arms that are displayed, also incorrectly, in the LCS." (see below)

For an analysis of the Suffolk line of descent, see Lionel's Father Was Not Anthony: Part 2.

This priceless Chute family possession has been protected and cared for by descendants of the Ariel Parish Chute family since its creation in the 18th century.

From William Berry's "Pedigrees of the Families of the County of Kent"

Published in 1830, page 173. This appears next to the family line extending from George Chute/Elizabeth Gage through the couple's grandchildren. The description reads:

"Arms - Gu. three swords, barways, points to the dexter, ar. pomels and hilts or., within an orle of mullets of the third, on a canton, per fesse, ar. and vert., a lion of England.

Crest - a gauntlet ppr. holding a broken sword ar. pomel and hilt or.

Note - the middle sword should encounter the other two, by being turned contrariwise."

Note that the example Berry provided (right) doesn't reflect his "Note", as the middle sword is contrarily NOT facing "contrariwise", and as Berry himself is from the College of Arms, you'd think he would have come up with a better example.

From Burke's Peerage, the Wiggett-Chute Line

This is the post-Philip Coat of Arms, quartered with the Wiggett family crest. The date of the edition was not included on the copy received, but it had to be one of the post-1953 editions, as the latest date of birth listed in the entry was of that year.

Philip's Coat of Arms, Carried to North America

"Thomas Chute of Marblehead", according to the Gore Roll, had this coat of arms. Note that little chubby bare hand grasping the broken sword: the hand is bare in the Wiggett-Chute version, but is covered by an iron glove in Berry's version of Philip of Appledore's. This was sent to us by the New England Genealogical Society. This does, however, appear to correctly represent the middle sword facing a different direction than the first and the third, which more accurately represents Philip's version.

The importance of this, however, is that this belonged to Thomas Chute, as this is more likely to be the version that Lionel brought with him, as opposed to the more simplified version at the top of the page. Note we are still missing the "Fortune de guerre" inscription.

You can still see Philip's coat of arms, hanging on the north wall of Horne Chapel in Appledore. Photo courtesy of Francis Chute.

A Similar Coat of Arms: The Allin Family

Interestingly enough, there is a description of another coat of arms which, in description, seems remarkably similar to ours:

"Arms -- Gules three swords barwise argent points to the sinister, hilt and pommels or, between four mullets, two in chief and two in base of the third. Crest -- On a Bible a hand couped close holding a sword erect."

The three major differences here are the Bible, that the points are pointing the opposite direction than ours, and the sword held aloft is not a broken one.


Regrettably, there was no sketch or photo of the coat of arms for comparison purposes, but it would be interesting to learn how far back the Allin family coat of arms goes.

Chute Crossed with Breton

Here's an odd example of a coat of arms not easily explainable at the moment. This is from the Promptuarium Armorum held by the New England Historic Genealogical Society, combining the Chute Coat of Arms and the Breton Coat of Arms. Your first thought would be - "Ah. The Chute-Breton marriage from the 14th century." The only problem with this is the legend, which reads "Joseph Bretton of Tollingham/in Norfolk, Great Britain 1718."

So the question would be: is this the same coat of arms from the 14th century Chute-Breton marriage still being carried by an 18th century emmigrant Breton descendant who came from Norfolk (her father's name was Sir John Breton as well, according to our records), or is this another Chute-Bretton marriage in 18th century Norfolk? You'll note the Chute arms are on the left side, traditionally reserved for the husband's side of the family - see Bramston- Chute Coat of Arms, reproduced below.

Bramston and Wither Crossed with Chute

This was the Coat of Arms for Wither Bramston and Mary Chute, daughter of Thomas Lobb Chute, married in 1783. Regrettably, the full Coat of Arms was not reproduced in color. The Bramstons trace their lineage back to William Bramston, who was Sheriff of London, 18 Richard II (1394). Edmund E. Bramston, father of Wither, was Gentleman Usher to the Dowager Princess of Wales. A more recent ancestor, Sir Moundeford Bramston was knighted at the Restoration, while his brother was Baron of the Exchequer, 1678. Source: Materials for A History of the Wither Family. See Sources.

Coat of Arms Discussions

Over the years, there have been discussions as to how much importance (beyond general interest and curiosity) can be placed in a historical study of the development of coats of arms within a family. Both arguments have merit. One position is that there are many examples of coats of arms for completely different families being very similar and, as historical references, they are of very little importance. The other position is that, while that may be true, families tend not to use or adopt coats of arms without some reasoning behind the choice - meaning that while two families with a similar coat of arms may not be a direct relation, at some point they may have intermarried with, or have been influenced by the family whose coat of arms they now use. In other words, coming across a similar (if not identical) coat of arms being used by someone else, is still enough to make the historian, or genealogist, pause and examine possible relationships between the two families.

And in our case, if anyone here has spent a lot of time scanning through pages of coats of arms, you realize that our three sword barwise is not all that common. You see lots of chevrons and lots of lions, and other flowers, mythical and real animals, geometric shapes and designs, symbols, and you occasionally see swords. But the three swords barwise, silver with gold handles, on a red background, is just not all that common. And when you do come across something that - even vaguely - reminds you of the Chute Coat of Arms, it is unusual enough that you notice it.

For example, here was one that jumped out: the first was found in the Camden Role, with the inscription, "D 16 King of Denmark Gules three axes in pale or. Le Rey de Denemarche de goules od treis haches d'or." The scimitars/battle axes depicted were Scandinavian precursors of the sword. This same design was used in the Arms for the Town of Essex. An identical design but with a blue background was used by William Hurstal, who appears in both the Charles' Role, and the Saint George's Roll. At this point, nothing is known about Hurstal's ancestry.

Anthony Chute's Coat of Arms

You just have to love Anthony Chute's hand-drawn "Coat of Arms" which graces the opening page of his 1595 publication of Tabaco: The Distinct and Several Opinions of the Late and Best Physicians that have Written of the Diverse Natures and qualities Thereof. We have a King eyeballing him ferociously (you recall that King James hated tobacco), with one eye much bigger than the other, and we have the middle of the Chute swords now drawn as a tobacco pipe, while the first looks more like a parasol - and may in fact BE either an oddly shaped lance or a parasol - rather than a sword. To the right and left of the skeptical King's head, we have the traditional laurel leaf crown or reel, although these may have been intended as tobacco leaves rather than laurel.

Some day, we'll make an attempt to translate the full work out of Middle English, but in the meanwhile, the full text is now in Google Books. Search for "Tabacco By Anthony Chute".

By the way, this was obviously not a registered Chute Family Coat of Arms, and as Francis points out, we can't even be certain that Anthony drew or designed it himself. But whoever was responsible for it had a marvelous sense of humor.

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