The following description of the “Olmsted Coat of Arms” appears in the 1912 Genealogy of the Olmsted Family in America.
The Arms which appear in this volume are recorded as being born by one Richard Olmsted, a man of some social standing, and his connection with the immigrants, James and Richard, is pretty well established. They were found in the study of the Rector of Dimmington, born about 1580, who was a native of Felsted, Essex County, England, the headquarters of the Olmsteds, after they disappear from Olmsted Hall.
Another Olmsted Coat of Arms is that of John Olmsted, of Stansted Hall, in Halsted, County Essex. He was Master of the Horse to the Earl of Oxford, A.D., 1518. [Described as] S.3 horses’ heads erased, Bits, reins and tassels, arg.; canton, ermine.
Still another is that which is described as follows: “The arms of the Olmsted Family are described by James Usher, who painted them, and gathered a part of his information through his London agent from the College of Heraldry in that city, and also from the collections of John Coles, who flourished as a Heraldic writer and collector of arms, at or near Hartford, Conn., about the year 1785, as follows: Ermine on a fesse, gules. Three towers, argent. Crst, a Tower, sable. Issuing there from, a lion’s head, argent. Motto, `Bes vivit que bene.’ [Tanslation] He lives twice who lives well.
Ermine signifies white, dotted with black figures. It is an emblem of unsullied honor, and indicates that the original bearer of the arms held high judicial position. The towers indicate that some bearer of the arms was in command of a Fortress. The lion’s head is used in arms to denote bravery, magnanimity and strength. The fesse indicates the belt of a Knight. In heraldic language, gules means red and is an emblem of courage; argent means silver and is an emblem of purity; sable means black and is an emblem of antiquity. It is well to call attention to the fact that the moto, used with coats of arms, is not an essential part of the insignia, the bearers being at liberty to select such motto as may suit their own taste.