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Surname:  Wiseman
Branch:  Wiseman
Origins:  British
More Info:  England

Background:  Old English, Wis and Mann, 'the wise, discreet man', clearly used as a personal name. An attribute, the meaning not always literal. Meanings recorded later may have existed earlier. It was also used of a man skilled in the hidden arts, as magic, witchcraft and the like, 'magician, wizard' (1382 Wycliff).

Motto:  Sapit qui Deum sapit, He is wise who has knowledge of God.
Arms:  Sa. a chev. erm. betw. three cronels of tilting-spears ar.
Crest:  A tower or, port ar. on the top a demi Moor habited in mail, all ppr. in his dexter hand a dart of the first, plumed and headed of the second, in his sinister a Roman shield of the first, wreathed round the head ar. and sa.

View the Heraldry Dictionary for help.

An old surname in Angus and Moray. Andrea Wysman witnessed excambion of the lands of Dolays Mychel in 1232 (REM., p. 88), and in the following year attested a confirmation charter by Andrew, bishop of Moray(Pluscardyn, 203). Thomas Wisman, prepositus of Elgin, was one of an inquest concerning the king's garden there, 1261 (APS.,i, p. 99 red; Elgin, n, p. 475), and he and William Wisman were jurors on inquest concerning the lands of Mefth, 1262 (Bain, i,2323). William Wysman witnessed a charter by the earl of Ross, 1263 (REM., p. 279), designed 'de Fores' in 1266 (ER., i, p. 34), c. 1278 and 1286 attested charters bv Hugh Herock, burgess of Elgin (REM., p. 284, 461). He may be the William Wysman of Elginshire who rendered homage at Elgin, 1295, and was appointed sheriff of Elgin, 1305(Bain, n, p. 183, 209, 458). Adam dictus Wiseman made a grant of lands to Coldingham Priory, 1285 (Raine, 262). William Wiseman obtained from David n the barony of Don forfeited by David de Strabolgi (Stodart, a. p. 311), and Willelmus Wyseman, senior, and Willelmus Wyseman, junior, were jurors on an inquest held regarding the episcopal lands of Aldrochty, 1393 ( REM., p. 205). Patrick Wyisman was admitted burgess of Aberdeen, 1484 (NSCM., i, p. 31), and Marion Wyseman is recorded in Goslingtown, Stanehaven, 1630 (Lanark CR.). Vvseman 1393, Vysman 1601, Wisman 1667.

Another Account:
The family has produced a number of outstanding religious leaders. Prominent are General Clarence Wiseman, head of the Salvation Army, 1974-1977, and, Cardinal Nicholas Patrick Wiseman, 1802-1865, first Archbishop of Westminister.

Some family members were crusaders and this may be reflected in the religious theme of the family motto. An early family coat of arms contains, on its crest, a "moor" emerging from a tower and armed with a spear or a dart. This may also be related to the crusade involvement since a "moor" can be an "arab". Another coat of arms displays God's hand in blessing and a number of crosses on the white chevron.

Some were mercinaries and fought in the armies of many European countries. They were well represented in WW1 and in WW2 and many were killed in action. Several have been prominent in the British armed forces and include Lieutenant-General Somerset Molyneux Wiseman-Clarke, commanding officer of the Kings Own Scottish Borderers Regiment ( 1903 ), and Rear Admiral Sir William Saltonstall Wiseman.

A modern military hero was Lieutenant Osborne Beeman Wiseman. He was a pilot during the Battle of Midway, WW2. As a result of his bravery he was awarded the Navy Cross and the USS WISEMAN DE 667 was named for him.

They were among the original settlers in Canada, USA, Australia, New Zealand.

The list of family notables, and achievements is respectable. There is a current Baron Wiseman and an original knighthood was conferred on Sir John Wyseman in 1513 by king Henry 8th. The honour resulted from Sir John's bravery in action at the Battle of Spurs in the 100 years war.

Name Variations:  Wiseman, Wyseman, Wisman, Wise, Wyse.

One or more of the following publications has been referenced for this article.
The General Armory; Sir Bernard Burke - 1842.
A Handbook of Mottoes; C.N. Elvin - 1860.
English Surnames; C.M. Matthews - 1966.
A Dictionary of English Surnames; P.H. Reaney - 1958.

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