The Charnley Family Crest / Coat of Arms
Coat of Arms: A silver shield with three silver crosses crosslet on a black diagonal stripe or bend.
Crest: A lapwing.
Motto: “Soyez content” translated is "Be content".
The silver in the Shield signifies peace and sincerity.
The Bend (i.e., the broad, diagonal band or stripe across the shield) represents either a scarf worn like a sash, or the shield suspender of a knight or military commander. Some claim that a Bend represents a scaling ladder. It has often been granted to those who have distinguished themselves as knights. The Bend also signifies defence or protection and is a bearing of high honour.
The black (sable) in the Bend signifies constancy or grief.
The Cross Crosslet signifies the fourfold mystery of the cross and may also refer to families who engaged in the Crusades.
As the family motto is in French the Cross Crosslet could in fact be a Cross Bottony. The Cross Bottony symbolizes the past and the future of the gospel of Christianity and is generally found on French arms. The name bottony is derived from the French bouton, a bud or knob. It is a cross ending in three lobes like the trefoil leaf and occurs rather frequently.
The Lapwing bird symbolizes strategy because it outwits hunters by leading them away from its nest. Those who bear the sign of the lapwing are shrewd strategists in battle and watchful for friends. A lapwing also represents divine intervention or guidance.
Spelling variations include: Chernock, Charnock, Chernick, Chernocke and many more.
The Charnley family traces their ancestral roots back to Anglo Saxon origin and first appeared in ancient medieval records in Lancashire where they were seated from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.
From very early on the Charnley family not only held lands and estates in England but were also actively allied with other influential families. They also branched out into other territories and holdings, before taking the long voyage to the new world.