Show ContentsChown History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Chown is a name whose history on English soil dates back to the wave of migration that followed the Norman Conquest of England of 1066. The Chown family lived in Kent, where they held lands and a family seat at Fairbourne (later Fairlawn). "This family is said to be from. Castle Chiowne, Chioune, Chun, or Choon, which some interpret a 'house in a croft.'" [1]

Early Origins of the Chown family

The surname Chown was first found in Kent, where the Chown family was anciently seated as Lords of the Manor of Fairbourne (later Fairlawn). At the taking of the Domesday Book in 1086, a survey initiated by Duke William after his conquest of England at Hastings in 1066, this estate was held by Hugh le Vendee, nephew of Herbert and Ralph de Courbepine from the tenant in chief, the Bishop of Bayeux, and it is from Hugh which the family is conjecturally descended. [2]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 included listings for the name as a forename and a surname: Chun Mervyn, Cambridgeshire; Chun Pimme, Cambridgeshire; Chun Pistor, Cambridgeshire; William Chaun, Lincolnshire; and Hugh Chone, Oxfordshire. [3]

Early History of the Chown family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Chown research. Another 169 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1379, 1583, 1596, 1613, 1639, 1659 and 1668 are included under the topic Early Chown History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Chown Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. When the Normans became the ruling people of England in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled Chowne, Chown, Chiowne, Chioune, Choon, Chiown, Cone, Chone, Cowne, Cown, Coun, Coune, Chune, Choone and many more.

Early Notables of the Chown family

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was

  • Thomas Chowne (1583-1639), a religious writer from Sussex

United States Chown migration to the United States +

For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Chown or a variant listed above were:

Chown Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Henry Chown, who landed in Virginia in 1664 [4]
Chown Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • George Chown who settled in New York State in 1812
  • George Chown, aged 24, who landed in New York in 1812 [4]

Australia Chown migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Chown Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • John R Chown, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Santipore" in 1848 [5]
  • Thomas Chown, British convict from stationed on HMS Impregnable, who was transported aboard the "Adelaide" on April 16, 1855, settling in Western Australia [6]

Contemporary Notables of the name Chown (post 1700) +

  • Jeffrey Chown, American professor of communication studies at Northern Illinois University
  • Gary Chown (b. 1951), Canadian former CFL offensive lineman and linebacker for the Montreal Alouettes (1974-1977)
  • Alf Chown (b. 1932), former Australian rules footballer who played for Hawthorn in 1953
  • Marcus Chown (b. 1959), British science writer, journalist and broadcaster, currently cosmology consultant for New Scientist magazine
  • Bruce Chown OC FRSC (1893-1986), Canadian scientist who researched the Rhesus blood factor, posthumously inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame in 1995
  • Samuel Dwight Chown (1853-1933), Canadian Methodist minister who led the Methodist Church of Canada into the United Church of Canada in 1925, eponym of Mount Chown and Chown Glacier, Alberta
  • James Edward "Jim" Chown (b. 1952), Australian politician, Member of the Western Australian Legislative Council for Agricultural Region (2009-)
  • Alice Amelia Chown (1866-1949), Canadian feminist, pacifist, socialist and author
  • Gordon Chown (1922-2002), Canadian politician, Member of Parliament for Winnipeg South, Manitoba, Canada, 1957-1963
  • Bruce Chown OC, FRSC (1893-1986), Canadian scientist, best known for his research into the Rhesus factor and helped produced a Rh immune vaccine
  • ... (Another 2 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Royal Oak
  • William E. Chown, British Officers’ Cook 1st Class with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak (1939) when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he survived the sinking [7]

  1. Charnock, Richard, Stephen, Ludus Patronymicus of The Etymology of Curious Surnames. London: Trubner & Co., 60 Paternoster Row, 1868. Print.
  2. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  5. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) SANTIPORE 1848. Retrieved from
  6. State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2014, November 17) Adelaide voyage to Western Australia, Australia in 1855 with 261 passengers. Retrieved from
  7. Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from on Facebook