Clow History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The distinguished surname Clow is of ancient Anglo-Saxon origin. It is derived from the Old English "cloh," meaning "ravine" or "steep-sided valley," and was first used to refer to a "dweller in the hollow." [1]

Early Origins of the Clow family

The surname Clow was first found in Denbighshire, where the most prominent branch of the family held a family seat from the 13th century. [2]

"The Cloughs of Plas Clough [Denbighshire] claim a Norman origin, from the Seigneurs de Rohan, and appeal to their name and arms for proof." [3]

By the 14th century the name was scattered throughout ancient Britain. The Lay Subsidy Rolls of 1332 listed Alicia del Clogh and Robert del Clogn in Lancashire. Later the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed Thomas del Clogh and Henricus de Cloghe. [4]

Exploring this last entry for Yorkshire, "the Cloughs belonged to an old gentle family of Thorp Stapleton, a member of which was a justice of the peace in the reign of James I. [Crabley] Clough is a West Riding hamlet." [5]

Early History of the Clow family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Clow research. Another 143 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1270, 1570, 1730 and 1570 are included under the topic Early Clow History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Clow Spelling Variations

Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Clough, Cluf, Cluffe, Cluff, Cloughe, Clow, De Clue and many more.

Early Notables of the Clow family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Richard Clough (d. 1570), Welsh "merchant and factor for Sir Thomas Gresham, came of a family which had been long seated in North Wales. His father, Richard Clough, was of...
Another 37 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Clow Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Clow migration to the United States +

To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Clow or a variant listed above:

Clow Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • James Fitzjames Clow, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1750 [6]
Clow Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Jacob Clow, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 [6]

Canada Clow migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Clow Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. Henry Clow U.E. who settled in Eastern District [Cornwall], Ontario c. 1783 [7]
  • Mr. Henry Clow U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1783 [7]
  • Mr. William Clow U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1783 [7]

New Zealand Clow migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Clow Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • John Clow, who landed in Papakura, Auckland, New Zealand in 1842
  • M E Clow, who landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1842
  • W Clow, who landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1842
  • Mr. Peter Clow, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Joseph Fletcher" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 31st August 1852 [8]
  • Mr. William Clow, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Joseph Fletcher" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 31st August 1852 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Clow (post 1700) +

  • Herbert Clow (1899-1924), American NFL fullback for the Duluth Kelleys in the 1924 season
  • Cheney Clow (1734-1788), American loyalist from Delaware during the American Revolution who staged a rebellion against the colonial government
  • James Clow (1837-1901), Canadian merchant, farmer and politician on Prince Edward Island
  • James Clow (1790-1861), Scottish minister, the first white settler in the area of Melbourne, Australia
  • Jenny Clow (1766-1792), Scottish domestic servant to Mrs Agnes Maclehose, who after delivering a letter to Robert Burns was seduced and bore him a child named Robert Burns Clow in 1788
  • Wesley J Clow, Canadian educator and founder of two schools in London, Ontario
  • Elizabeth Clow Peer (1936-1984), birth name of Elizabeth Peer Jansson, American journalist, the first female foreign correspondent at Newsweek


The Clow Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Sine macula
Motto Translation: Without spot.


  1. ^ Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
  2. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  4. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  5. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  6. ^ 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)
  7. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  8. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html


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