Cold History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Cornwall, one of the original six "Celtic nations" is the homeland to the surname Cold. A revival of the Cornish language which began in the 9th century AD has begun. No doubt this was the language spoken by distant forebears of the Cold family. Though surnames became common during medieval times, English people were formerly known only by a single name. The way in which hereditary surnames were adopted in medieval England is fascinating. Many Cornish surnames appear to be topographic surnames, which were given to people who resided near physical features such as hills, streams, churches, or types of trees, many are actually habitation surnames. The name Cold is a local type of surname and the Cold family lived in south west England. Their name, however, is derived from the Old English word coll, which means hill, and indicates that the original bearer lived near such a land form.

Cole is a hamlet in the parish of Pitcomb, union of Wincanton, hundred of Bruton, in Somerset and is a tything, in the parish, union, and hundred of Malmesbury, Malmesbury and Kingswood, in Wiltshire. [1]

Alternatively, the name could have been "derived from the name of an ancestor. 'the son of Nicholas,' from nickname Cole. " [2]

The name is also a "very ancient Teutonic personal name. In Domesday Book, it appears as a baptismal and later in the [Hundredorum Rolls] as a family name. " [3]

"The distribution in the Domesday Book of 1086 suggests that it is more often from the Old English Cola, an original byname from Old English col 'coal' in the sense 'coal-black, swarthy' " [4]

Interestingly "Koyl, Coyll, Coil, or Coel was an ancient name, borne by two kings of Britain, the first of whom reigned A.D. 125." [5] These may actually refer to Old King Cole. It is generally thought that this nursery rhyme was probably based on a real person; however there are various theories as to his origin.

Early Origins of the Cold family

The surname Cold was first found in south west England. "Essentially south of England names, especially in the south - west, rarely occurring north of a line drawn west from the Wash. Cole is best distributed and has its principal homes in Devon and Wiltshire. Coles is most numerous in Somerset. " [6]

The first record of the name was found in the Domesday Book of 1086 which listed Cola and Cole. [7] From this earliest record we look to Kent to find Cola filius Lanterii there c. 1145 and a few years later, we find Robertus filius Cole listed in the Assize Rolls of Lincolnshire in 1206. Geoffrey, Richard Cole were both listed in 1148 in Winton, Hampshire and a few years later as Knights Templar in 1185. [4]

Moving further north, in Yorkshire the Latin source "Cartularium Abbatiale de Whiteby, Ordinis S. Benedicti" noted Rand' filius Cole temp. 13th century. Later the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed Johannes Cole and Elias Cole as holding lands there at that time. [2]

Early History of the Cold family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cold research. Another 90 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1500, 1580, 1622, 1681, 1656, 1663, 1627, 1697, 1616, 1697, 1659, 1660, 1590, 1680, 1633, 1713, 1634 and 1797 are included under the topic Early Cold History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Cold Spelling Variations

Cornish surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The official court languages, which were Latin and French, were also influential on the spelling of a surname. Since the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. Lastly, spelling variations often resulted from the linguistic differences between the people of Cornwall and the rest of England. The Cornish spoke a unique Brythonic Celtic language which was first recorded in written documents during the 10th century. However, they became increasingly Anglicized, and Cornish became extinct as a spoken language in 1777, although it has been revived by Cornish patriots in the modern era. The name has been spelled Cole, Coles, Coal, Coale, Coalas and others.

Early Notables of the Cold family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family at this time was Henry Cole (1500?-1580), Dean of St. Paul's, a native of Godshill in the Isle of Wight; Richard Cole, Sheriff of Newcastle; Thomas Cole (1622-1681), an English politician, Member of Parliament for Hampshire (1656), High Sheriff of Hampshire in 1663; Thomas Cole (1627?-1697), an English independent minister; William Coles (1616-1697), an English lawyer and politician, Member of Parliament for Downton in 1659 and 1660; Eunice Cole (c. 1590-1680), English...
Another 76 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Cold Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Cold family to Ireland

Some of the Cold family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 47 words (3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Cold migration to the United States +

Amongst the settlers in North America with this distinguished name Cold were

Cold Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Robert Cold, who arrived in Maryland in 1654 [8]

New Zealand Cold migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Cold Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • James Cold, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ionic" in 1884


The Cold Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Deum Cole regem serva
Motto Translation: Worship God, obey the King.


  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  4. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  5. ^ Dixon, Bernard Homer, Surnames. London: John Wilson and son, 1857. Print
  6. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  7. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  8. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)


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