Fowke History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Fowke arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The name Fowke comes from the Norman personal name Fulco. The line of this name descends from the noble house of Fulco Nerra, who held the title of Count of Anjou, Normandy. [1] Guido Fitz-Fulco of Normandy was listed in the Magni Rotuli Scaccarii Normanniae (1180-1195.)

Early Origins of the Fowke family

The surname Fowke was first found in Norfolk where they were granted lands by William de Warrene. The first confirmed record of the family was Folco or Fulco who was listed in the Domesday Book of 1086. [2] Rotuli Curiae Regis rolls list Robert, Geoffry, Theobald, William F. Fulco in England, 1199.

The mix of forename and surname entries continued for some time as the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 lists Folkes (without surname) in Cambridgeshire; John Folke in Cambridgeshire; and Matilda Folkis in Buckinghamshire. [3]

The ffolkes variant was first coined by Sir Martin Browne ffolkes, 1st Baronet, FRS (1749-1821.) He was born Martin Folkes but chose to use the "ffolkes" spelling later in life. His descendants continued the tradition.

Early History of the Fowke family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Fowke research. Another 101 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1653, 1685, 1596, 1662, 1644, 1652, 1638, 1710, 1690, 1765, 1690, 1754 and 1690 are included under the topic Early Fowke History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Fowke Spelling Variations

Multitudes of spelling variations are a hallmark of Anglo Norman names. Most of these names evolved in the 11th and 12th century, in the time after the Normans introduced their own Norman French language into a country where Old and Middle English had no spelling rules and the languages of the court were French and Latin. To make matters worse, medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, so names frequently appeared differently in the various documents in which they were recorded. The name was spelled Folke, Folk, Folkes, Fulke, Fooke, Fooks, Foolk, Fowke and many more.

Early Notables of the Fowke family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was John Fowke (c. 1596-1662), an English merchant and politician, Sheriff of London in 1644 and Lord Mayor of London in 1652; Phineas Fowke, M.D. (1638-1710), an English physician from Bishop Burton, Yorkshire; and Lieutenant General Thomas Fowke (ca. 1690-1765)...
Another 46 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Fowke Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Fowke family to Ireland

Some of the Fowke family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 43 words (3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Fowke migration to the United States +

Because of this political and religious unrest within English society, many people decided to immigrate to the colonies. Families left for Ireland, North America, and Australia in enormous numbers, traveling at high cost in extremely inhospitable conditions. The New World in particular was a desirable destination, but the long voyage caused many to arrive sick and starving. Those who made it, though, were welcomed by opportunities far greater than they had known at home in England. Many of these families went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Fowke or a variant listed above:

Fowke Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • William Fowke, who arrived in Virginia in 1645 [4]
  • Gerard Fowke, who arrived in Virginia in 1650 [4]
  • Tho Fowke, who landed in Virginia in 1652 [4]
  • Richard Fowke, who arrived in Virginia in 1653 [4]
  • Gerrard Fowke, who settled in Virginia in 1654
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Fowke Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Job Fowke, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1812 [4]

New Zealand Fowke 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:

Fowke Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mrs. Margaret Fowke, (b. 1826), aged 39, British settler travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Indian Empire" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 23rd July 1865 [5]
  • Mr. Charles Fowke, (b. 1827), aged 38, British fisherman travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Indian Empire" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 23rd July 1865 [5]
  • Mr. Thomas Fowke, (b. 1848), aged 17, British fisherman travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Indian Empire" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 23rd July 1865 [5]
  • Mr. Charles Fowke, (b. 1850), aged 15, British labourer travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Indian Empire" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 23rd July 1865 [5]
  • Miss Sarah Fowke, (b. 1854), aged 11, British settler travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Indian Empire" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 23rd July 1865 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Fowke (post 1700) +

  • Gerard Fowke (1855-1933), American archeologist and geologist best known for his studies of Native American mounds
  • Gustavus Henry Spencer Fowke (1880-1946), English army officer and also a first-class cricketer who played for Leicestershire and the Army between 1899 and 1927
  • Philip Francis Fowke (b. 1950), English pianist
  • Frederick Luther Fowke (1857-1939), Canadian merchant and politician who represented Ontario South in the Canadian House of Commons from 1908 to 1911
  • Lieutenant General Sir George Henry Fowke KCB, KCMG (1864-1936), British Army general, member of the British Expeditionary Force during the First World War
  • Edith Fowke CM (1913-1996), Canadian folklorist
  • Sir David Frederick Gustavus Fowke (b. 1950), 5th Baronet of Lowesby, County of Leicester
  • Sir Frederick Woollaston Rawdon Fowke (1910-1987), 4th Baronet of Lowesby, County of Leicester
  • Sir Frederick Ferrers Conant Fowke (1879-1948), 3rd Baronet of Lowesby, County of Leicester
  • Sir Frederick Thomas Fowke (1816-1897), 2nd Baronet of Lowesby, County of Leicester
  • ... (Another 2 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


The Fowke 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: Qui sera sera
Motto Translation: Whatever will be.


  1. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  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. ^ 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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