Coat of Arms

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Ancestors & Descendants of James Francis Helvetius Hobler  (1765-1844)   

 Hobler :: Coat of Arms

The Hobler Coat of Arms associated with the family of James Francis Helvetius Hobler is European in origin.  It is not the surname coat of arms normally associated with the Hoblers of England.  The English coat of arms features a blue shield with six red roses on a gold fess, between six gold acorns.  Clearly, this is not the German-Nordic arms as carried by the family of JFH Hobler.  Family members refer to the arms as the 'Hobler' coat of arms but its origins are yet to be determined.  What we do know is that the arms were in use in the mid 1800s by JFH Hobler's eldest son Francis, referenced by the 'Hobler' blazon. 

Hobler Family Coat of Arms

Hobler Family Coat of Arms

The above stained glass window is located in the Dining Room Hall of the City of London School, London ENG.
Original image compliments of Terry J. Heard (
Archivist, City of London School), 2007
Image digitally rendered by Erica Rowyn, 2008

The arms are represented by an edged shield featuring a red field covered in grapevines.  A white bend is accompanied by an Eurasian brown bear walking upward towards the hoist.  The helm is a traditional Esquire, or Gentleman's Helmet.  That is, it is steel in profile, ornamented with gold and is presented with the visor down.  The wreath (torse) is red and white, while the crest features the head of a bear.  The surrounding mantle is white and gold.  The arms feature the motto Dominus providebit, which is Latin for the Lord will provide.

The arms are very similar to those of the arms of Bern, the homeland of the JFH Hobler's ancestors in Switzerland.  According to T. F. Mills (18 October, 1997), Count Berchtold V of Zahringia founded the city of Bern in 1160. Legend claims that he killed a large bear in the forest near the new town and named Bern in honour of the beast.

What is interesting to note however, is that the Hobler bear appears to resemble a she-bear in that it does not posses the mandatory red phallic symbol as dictated by Swiss convention. 

"The bear is a common charge in heraldry, inherited from its totemic use among Germanic peoples and interpreted as symbolizing strength, cunning and ferocity in the protection of one's kindred. Numerous cities around the world have adopted the bear in their arms, notably the Swiss capital Bern, which takes its name from the German for bear, Bär. The bear is also the name-emblem of Berlin Bärlein meaning small bear. In Switzerland, heraldic bears had to be painted with bright red penises, or be mocked for using she-bears. The omission of this led to a war in 1579 between St. Gallen and the canton of Appenzell."

Bears in heraldry. (2008, June 14). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.

Traditionally, heraldic beats are displayed as either male or female.  During Victorian times a tendency towards a strict moral code saw them evolve as asexual creatures.  It's quite possible that this is the case in the Hobler example above.  

Alternately the lack of a red phallic symbol may be a genuine mistake or a deliberate anglicising of the arms to accommodate the English branch of the family.  Another scenario is that the arms are not Swiss in origin, perhaps pre-dating to a French or German heritage.  

It's equally possible that the brown she-bear is an accurate representation of the Hobler bear.  Perhaps the female bear possesses a symbolic meaning specific to the Hobler family.  

The Eurasian brown bear has brown fur, which ranges in shade from yellow, red to nearly black.  Over time they have roamed throughout Europe so as a locality marker the depiction of a bear on the arms provides little in the way of information.  

Suffice to say that the bear in heraldry generally represents strength, cunning and tenacity in the defence of family.

Tschachtlan Chronicles

The hunt for the bear as depicted in the
Tschachtlan chronicles. The original
coat of arms (black bear on white shield)
feature in the picture above the gate.
Compliments of Wikipedia.

Bern Coat of Arms

Bern Coat of Arms

Of greater interest is the use of grapevines on the red field.  According to Hobler descendant Isabella Simpson, in a letter to niece Dulcie Simpson Robertson (1920), the Hobler family owned extensive vineyards in Vaud. Wealth and prosperity experienced by descendants is said to have originated from this ownership.  The Arms of Twann (birthplace of Jacob Hubler) depict a vine tree between two sickles.  Although relatively small in wine circles, Twann currently offers over a hundred different wines from 19 wine vintners.  Perhaps there is some credence to the writings of Dulcie Robertson?

As for the remainder of the blazon, the use of a bend generally denotes defence or protection.  This is amplified in the use of the bear, which also implies protection of ones kindred.  The wreath is generally made from a pair of ribbons that are twisted together, representing either the principal metal and/or the colours of the shield.  White (also represented as Silver) is said to symbolise peace, sincerity and in some instances nobility.  Red is the colour of fortitude & generosity, often associated with the warrior or martyr.

Hobler Family Crest  [© 2008 Erica Rowyn]

Hobler :: Crest

In addition to the coat of arms, the Hoblers also have a family crest or seal (depending on application).  The crest is the figure which sits on the torse above the helmet on the family coat of arms.  It is generally based on the shield although occasionally a beast will be added despite the lack of an animal on the shield.  While the Hobler family crest, as exampled above in the arms, features a bear couped (cut in a straight horizontal line), personal letterhead used by the Hobler family, utilises a variation of the crest.  Instead of a bear couped, the crest on the letterhead depicts a bear-sejant, or standing bear (as pictured right).  Beneath the crest is the Latin phrase Esse quam videri (pronounced e-sA kwäm-wi-'dA-rE) meaning to be rather than to seem.

Hobler Family Crest

Family Letterhead

Original letterhead images compliments of Australian descendant Liisa Hobler, 2002
Images digitally rendered by Erica Rowyn, 2008


 © ERowyn ^ top