F U I M U S

Under the Cobb coat of arms you will see the word Fuimus. This is Latin, a form of the verb "to be" as in "to be or not to be." Since fuimus is the plural past tense, the literal meaning is "We have been."

 

F U I M U S

F U I M U S

As I was growing up, the family used to joke that fuimus meant the Cobbs were a bunch of has-beens, an English expression for someone who has seen better days.

 

About the Cobb Motto

The family motto FUIMUS means we have made our mark. This motto appears on the Cobb family crest and has been used on seal or signet rings like this one, where the text is engraved in reverse so that it can be read in the wax impression made by the ring:

Most Latin mottos need some interpretation and that is how we read the literal "we have been" to mean"Our presence has been felt" or possibly "We have made our mark." There is certainly some historical basis for this assertion if you look at the history of the English County of Kent, which is where the Cobb family was centered for over 500 hundred years.

Several Cobbs were influential in the Cinque Ports, a strategic alliance of port cities on the southern coast of England. Cobbs were also instrumental in the water management project that tamed the Romney Marshes (once notorious as a refuge for smugglers). Development of a breed of sheep that would thrive on the reclaimed marshland was pioneered by Cobbs, who then successfully exported the Romney Marsh breed to New Zeeland and Australia (where the Cobb Stagecoach Company became a major factor in opening up new territories).

In fact, the more I study the Cobbs of Kent, the more I see a strong tendency to explore and develop new lands. This was not really reflected on the family tree I grew up with--where many branches just come to an end but, as I am now finding, those branches span the oceans, to places like Amarica, New Zealand, and Australia.

We should point out that other families have used Fuimus as a motto, perhaps most notably the Bruce clan, the most famous of which was Robert the Bruce, who fought to free Scotland from the English in the 14th century. Of course, the history of families and clans and countries is never straightforward. While some people count Bruce a Celtic hero, his family was actually Norman, invading England from Normandy in 1066. It was in the 12th century that the Bruces followed David I to Scotland when he became King, receiving lands in Dumfriesshire in return.

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This page updated September, 2006, by webbloke at cobb.com © Copyright, 1996-2006, Stephen Cobb