Much confusion, and even misinformation, exists regarding the Arms of the Fitzhugh family. Besides our own family, there have been either four or five other Fitzhugh families. Two of these from Buckinghamshire and Essex have probably died out. Another, the Barons Fitzhugh of Ravensworth have definitely done so, leaving two families in England, and two in America. One of these in England and one in America are the separate branches of the same family covered in this website. The other English family is descended from a Fitzhugh family of Kingsthorpe, Northamptonshire, and the other American family are the Maryland Fitzhughs referred to earlier. Whether the Maryland Fitzhughs descend from the Kingsthorpe Fitzhughs is not known.
The arms of my branch of the Fitzhugh family (including the American branch) are:
Quarterly, 1&4 Ermine, on a Chief Gules, Three Martlets Or; 2&3 Argent, Three Chevrons Sable, each charged with a Bezant.
These were confirmed by The College of Arms to our family in 1566, although they may well have been in use in 1487 and earlier. They certainly predate the College of Arms itself. Only our family, both the American and English branches, have the right to bear these arms. Unfortunately, William the Immigrant used the wrong arms, which is particularly perplexing as his father, Henry Fitzhugh, Mayor of Bedford used the correct arms in 1648 on a Bedford Council document.
The incorrect arms have been used by William the Immigrant and his descendants ever since the 1680s. This seems to be entirely due to an error by William which provoked an insulting correspondence between William and his brother in England, who obviously knew better. The fact is that no one has the right to bear these arms, either then or now. Much further information and explanation is given in the book “The History of the Fitzhugh Family” which can be purchased elsewhere on this site from the page The Fitzhugh Family History.
The incorrect coat of arms, used by William Fitzhugh, which in fact belonged to the Barons Fitzhugh of Ravensworth, an ancient noble family who became extinct in 1512. Their arms were:
Azure, Three Chevrons interlaced in Base Or; a Chief Or.