The Sankey coat of arms used by my great grandfather

Sankey of Ottawa

Ontario Canada

Sankey is a township in England, on the Mersey River just east of Liverpool. The name is probably Norse in origin, describing the sand islands at the mouth of Sankey Creek that were used to make salt for the Saxon kings. Anyone who lived there before the modern use of surnames arose in England would have used the name to indicate where they lived. So, holders of the name are not necessarily related to each other, and modern DNA evidence confirms this - although my male-line origin is Norse through the Vikings who conquered Normandy in the 800's, others are of Saxon origin and some French. My earliest known Sankey ancestor lived in Shropshire, and his grandchildren moved to Ireland during the reign of Elizabeth I.

The modern Sankey arms, argent on a bend sable three fishes, were granted in Ireland in 1646 to Hierom Sankey, a member of the British parliament from 1654, who was knighted by Cromwell in 1657. They are identical to much earlier arms in Sankey township which had fallen into disuse - these must have been very early and originated from either the clergy or from the crusades. Hierom's arms and estate were granted to Richard Sankey in 1687.

In many countries, arms are borne by an individual, but in Ireland, arms belong to all descendants of the grantee (not, however, to anyone of the same name, as some believe). So, as a direct descendant of Richard, I am entitled to use them. The drawing is from a copy used by my great grandfather Matthew Henry Sankey, of Lurganbrae Fermanagh.

The arms were given new life in Canada with the grant to my father, Charles Alfred Sankey of St.Catharines Ont., of arms "argent on a bend sable three fishes or". In Canada, arms are granted solely to an individual, so the right to use these new arms has passed to me. On my death, they may be passed to any direct descendant of the original grantee, male or female; their last name need not be Sankey.

The Sankey motto, sancta clavis coeli fides, may be translated as "the holy key to heaven is faith". It probably originated with Hierom, being the sort of Latin pun that would commend itself to a proctor of Oxford.

A Few Early Years
A Mother's Recipes
The Ship Cutty Sark
My Ancestral Names
My Sankey Ancestors
Best-Gardner's 'Pedigrees'
Our Trip to Europe - 1955
The Ordeal of the Cutty Sark
The Irwins of Granby Quebec
My Woolley & Neil Ancestors
The Watsons of Granby Quebec
In Sight of Abbotsford Mountain
Travels of Charles Arthur Sankey
A Story of the Sankeys in Ireland
An Eastern Townships' Childhood
The Niagara Symphony 1948-1978
Mungo Ponton, a Canadian Pioneer
William Hutton, a Canadian Pioneer
Joseph Baker, United Empire Loyalist
Essays by Charles Alfred Sankey, 33
Wallaces of the Pennines, Canadian Pioneers

The Sankey DNA Study

John Sankey