Odds & Ends
The Coat of Arms
of the MAY Family
The Coat of Arms used
by the MAY family is described in heraldic terms as:
Gules, a fesse
between eight billets or.
with a crest,
Out of ducal coronet or, a leopard's head proper.
and the motto,
Fortis et Fidelis
These arms appear to
have first been used by Thomas MAY of Faunt in Sussex during the time of
King Edward IV (in the late 15th century). The well-known MAY family of
Sussex and Kent, therefore, have the right to bear these arms; as do their
male line descendants, the MAYs of North-East Hampshire &
Mid-Berkshire amongst them. Later variants on these arms have also been
granted to other, apparently unrelated, families bearing the name of MAY.
The arms have been displayed by the Hampshire & Berkshire MAYs in a
number of places over the centuries:
SCLATER family, including the present Lord BASING, quarter the arms
of MAY with their own as descendants of Elizabeth MAY (b. 1683)
eldest daughter and heiress of John MAY (1652-1722) of Worting.
Elizabeth THOYTS (1860-1949) recorded that her ancestor, Charles MAY
(1670-1714) of Basingstoke used these arm.
Buckeridge NOYES (1732-1795) of Reading, son of Mary eldest daughter
and heiress of Charles MAY (1670-1714) of Basingstoke, quartered the
arms of MAY with his own upon his funerary hatchment, now lost, but
once displayed in St. Mary's Church in Reading.
snuff-box, engraved with the May family crest and once belonging to
Daniel MAY (d.1740) of Burghfield, is still in the possession of his
collateral descendant, Lynne White of Somerset.
Anne MAY (1848-1931) recorded that, after the death of Jane
Wickham in 1917, most of the family possessions were sold off,
including a great quantity of her great grandfather Thomas
MAY (1737-1800) of Brimpton's
plate, all marked with the May crest.
Anne MAY (1848-1931) records at the same sale, the
old May silver, all marked with the crest, including a set of four
1746 salt cellars which had belonged to her great great grandfather
James MAY (1700-1774) of Long Sutton.
Anne MAY (1848-1931) possessed a number of books which had belonged
to her great grandfather, Thomas MAY (1737-1800) of Brimpton,
featuring bookplates of the family
Blackall SIMONDS (1761-1834) of Reading displayed the SIMONDS arms
impaling, a rather corrupt version, of his wife Elizabeth MAY
(1763-1842)'s arms along the borders of Thomas Pride's Map of
Reading (1790) to which he was a subscriber.
MAY (1766-1836) and her husband, Revd. John Symonds Breedon
(1755-1826) of Bere Court, both displayed the MAY arms on their
funerary hatchments, impaling the arms of BREEDON. These can still
be seen in St. James' Church, Pangbourne.
MAY Brewery used the MAY arms as its corporate symbol throughout the
18th, 19th & 20th centuries.
John MAY (1837-1920) displays the family arms upon the cover of his
Century silver spoons bearing the leopard's head crest are still in
the possession of the descendants of Morgan MAY (1818-1902) of May
Township, Minnesota, USA