Cowers History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The vast movement of people that followed the Norman Conquest of England of 1066 brought the Cowers family name to the British Isles. They lived in the district north of Paris which is known in Old French as Gohiere. There are also numerous places in Normandy called Gouy, to which the Anglo-Norman French suffix er was added to make "Gower."

Early Origins of the Cowers family

The surname Cowers was first found in Yorkshire, where a family of Gower, ancestors of the Duke of Sutherland, held a family seat in Stittenham Township, "descended from Sir Nicholas Gower, knight of the shire for this county in the reign of Edward III., and seated at Stittenham from about the same period."

Another reference is more specific. "All of Antiquities agree that this family is one of the oldest in the county of York, though they differ as to its patriarch, whom some say will have to be Sir Alan Gowers, said to be sheriff of that county at the time of the Norman Conquest, while others with greater probability assert that it descended from on Guhyer, whose son, called William Fitz-Guher of Stittenham, was charged with a mark for his lands in the sheriff's account in 1167." [1]

It is generally agreed that Gower the Poet was from the Stittenham stock. [1] Today Stittenham is a township in the parish of Sheriff with as few as 92 inhabitants in the late 1800s. [2]

The Gower spelling was generally adopted about the time of Edward I, but early records show the wide variety of spellings in use at that time. By example, "Adelard de Guer witnessed a charter of Geoffrey de Mandeville, Earl of Essex, 1136; from which family Roger de Guer held a fief in 1165 when Hugh de Goher held a fee from the Earl of Warwick. William Guhier obtained a pardon in Oxford 1158 being also of Essex, for after 1152 the Abbey of Tilteney, Essex, acquired lands of the fief of William Goer. This William Guhier or Goer was Lord of Stittenham in Yorkshire, and was dead A.D. 1200. "[3]

Early History of the Cowers family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cowers research. Another 269 words (19 lines of text) covering the years 1066, 1195, 1198, 1130, 1347, 1325, 1408, 1365, 1543, 1577, 1575, 1585, 1638, 1711 and 1700 are included under the topic Early Cowers History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Cowers Spelling Variations

A multitude of spelling variations characterize Norman surnames. Many variations occurred because Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England also had a pronounced effect, as did the court languages of Latin and French. Therefore, one person was often referred to by several different spellings in a single lifetime. The various spellings include Gower, Gowers, Gowar, Gowars, Goward, Gore, Goher, Gurr, Goer and many more.

Early Notables of the Cowers family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family at this time was Henry Gower, (d. 1347), Bishop of St. David's and "was sprung from a noble family who settled probably in the English-speaking peninsula of Gower, not far from Swansea." [4] John Gower (1325?-1408), was an English poet and acquired the Lordship of Aldington, Kent in 1365. He was probably nephew and heir-male of Sir Robert Gower of Kent, remembered mainly for three long poems. Sir Thomas...
Another 71 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Cowers Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Cowers family to Ireland

Some of the Cowers family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 36 words (3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Cowers family

Many English families left England, to avoid the chaos of their homeland and migrated to the many British colonies abroad. Although the conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and some travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute, once in the colonies, many of the families prospered and made valuable contributions to the cultures of what would become the United States and Canada. Research into the origins of individual families in North America has revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Cowers or a variant listed above: Thomas Gower, who settled in Virginia in 1606; Richard Gower, who settled in Virginia in 1637; Nicholas Gower, who settled in Virginia in 1638; John Gower, who settled in Virginia in 1653.



The Cowers 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: Frangas non flectes
Motto Translation: Thou may'st break, but shalt not bend me.


  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 2 of 3
  4. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print


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