Cowlishaw History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The proud Cowlishaw family originated in Cornwall, a rugged coastal region in southwestern England. In early times, people were known by only a single name. However, as the population grew and people traveled further afield, it became increasingly necessary to assume an additional name to differentiate between bearers of the same personal name. The manner in which hereditary surnames arose is interesting. Local surnames are derived from where the original bearer lived, was born, or held land. The Cowlishaw family originally lived in Cornwall. Their name, however, is derived from the Old English word coll, which means hill, and indicates that the original bearer lived near such a landform. The redundancy in the name (hills hill) is likely a later addition after the initial word cole had fallen out of use and its meaning has been forgotten.

Early Origins of the Cowlishaw family

The surname Cowlishaw was first found in Cornwall where they held a family seat from very ancient times at Tremoderet. "In the church [of Higher and Lower Tredinneck, Cornwall] which is a plain Gothic structure, there is a handsome monument of stone, sustaining a recumbent figure of a knight in armour, with an inscription to the memory of Sir John Coleshill of Tremoderet, who died in 1483." [1]

"The manor of Canalissey or Cannaligee, [in St. Issey, Cornwall] was in all probability the property of the Hiwis family so early as the reign of Edward III. ; since at that period they held a large estate in this parish. From them it passed by a co-heiress to the Coleshills." [1]

"The manor of Liskeard Coleshill [in the parish of Liskeard] was possessed by a family of this latter name in the fifteenth century." [1]

There are three other places named Coleshill in Britain. Coleshill is a market town in the North Warwickshire, a village and civil parish within Chiltern district in Buckinghamshire and a small village and civil parish in the Vale of White Horse district of Oxfordshire.

Of the three places, the Warwickshire town seems to be the oldest as the first listing was found in 799 as Colleshyl. By the Domesday Book in 1086, the town was listed as Coleshelle and probably was derived from the Old English River Cole + hyll as in "hill on the River Cole." [2]

Cowlishaw is a hamlet in the township of Crompton, in the parish of Prestwick, Lancashire. "This surname has crossed over the border into Yorkshire, and is strong there. It is Americanized as Cowlinshaw." [3] There are also records of the family in Cowlishaw, Derbyshire, [4] but recent maps show no such place.

Early History of the Cowlishaw family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cowlishaw research. Another 117 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1418, 1424 and 1427 are included under the topic Early Cowlishaw History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Cowlishaw Spelling Variations

Cornish surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The official court languages, which were Latin and French, were also influential on the spelling of a surname. Since the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. Lastly, spelling variations often resulted from the linguistic differences between the people of Cornwall and the rest of England. The Cornish spoke a unique Brythonic Celtic language which was first recorded in written documents during the 10th century. However, they became increasingly Anglicized, and Cornish became extinct as a spoken language in 1777, although it has been revived by Cornish patriots in the modern era. The name has been spelled Coleshill, Colshill, Colsell, Colshull, Colshall, Cowlshaw and many more.

Early Notables of the Cowlishaw family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Cowlishaw Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Cowlishaw migration to the United States +

In the immigration and passenger lists a number of early immigrants bearing the name Cowlishaw were found:

Cowlishaw Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Anne and William Cowlishaw, who sailed to Salem, Massachusetts in 1630
Cowlishaw Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • David Cowlishaw, who arrived in Virginia in 1719 [5]
Cowlishaw Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • J. T. Cowlishaw, aged 30, who arrived in America from England, in 1892
  • Sarah Cowlishaw, aged 63, who arrived in America, in 1893
  • Elizabeth M. Cowlishaw, aged 27, who arrived in America, in 1894
  • Irene Cowlishaw, aged 38, who arrived in America, in 1895
  • Leslie Cowlishaw, aged 19, who arrived in America from London, England, in 1896
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Cowlishaw Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Isaac Cowlishaw, aged 47, who arrived in America from Leeds, England, in 1900
  • Elizabeth Cowlishaw, aged 61, who arrived in America from Heaton Chapel, England, in 1904
  • Irene T. Cowlishaw, who arrived in America, in 1905
  • Henry Albert Cowlishaw, aged 24, who arrived in America from Bristol, England, in 1908
  • Winifred M. Cowlishaw, aged 27, who arrived in America from Leeds, England, in 1921

Contemporary Notables of the name Cowlishaw (post 1700) +

  • Mary Lou Cowlishaw (1932-2010), née Miller, an American journalist and politician who served in the Illinois House of Representatives from 1983 until 2002
  • William Timothy "Tim" Cowlishaw (b. 1955), American sportswriter for The Dallas Morning News
  • George E. Cowlishaw, American Republican politician, Member of Michigan Republican State Central Committee, 1965 [6]
  • Leigh Cowlishaw (b. 1970), former English footballer who played from 1989 to 2009 and current manager for Richmond Kickers
  • Mr. Richard Cowlishaw, British sheriff, held the joint position of Sheriff of Nottingham, England from 1625 to 1626
  • William Harrison Cowlishaw (1869-1957), British architect of the European Arts and Crafts school, best known for his unique design of The Cloisters in Letchworth Garden City, Hertfordshire
  • James Cowlishaw (1834-1929), Australian politician in Queensland
  • Mike Cowlishaw, British retired IBM Fellow, a Visiting Professor at the Department of Computer Science at the University of Warwick

  1. ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  2. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  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. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  5. ^ 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)
  6. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 13) . Retrieved from on Facebook
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