Show ContentsFowkes History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Fowkes is an ancient Norman name that arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The name Fowkes 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 Fowkes family

The surname Fowkes 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

"Thomas Fouque occurs on the Exchequer Rolls of the Duchy about 1198. Robert Fulco was one of the Justiciaries in 1267." 3

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. 4

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 Fowkes family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Fowkes research. Another 101 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1538, 1589, 1596, 1597, 1616, 1638, 1644, 1652, 1653, 1662, 1685, 1690, 1710, 1754 and 1765 are included under the topic Early Fowkes History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Fowkes 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 Folke, Folk, Folkes, Fulke, Fooke, Fooks, Foolk, Fowke and many more.

Early Notables of the Fowkes family

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was

  • William Fowkes (died 1616), of Enfield, Middlesex, was an English Member of Parliament for Lichfield in 1597

Ireland Migration of the Fowkes family to Ireland

Some of the Fowkes 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 Fowkes 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 Fowkes or a variant listed above were:

Fowkes Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John H Fowkes, who landed in Mississippi in 1851 5

Australia Fowkes migration to Australia +

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

Fowkes Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Fowkes, English convict who was convicted in Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Baring" in December 1818, arriving in New South Wales, Australia 6
  • Mr. William Fowkes who was convicted in Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England for life, transported aboard the "Elizabeth" on 3rd October 1831, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) 7
  • Mr. George Fowkes, British Convict who was convicted in Nottingham, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Asia" on 20th July 1837, arriving in New South Wales, Australia 8

West Indies Fowkes migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. 9
Fowkes Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Richard Fowkes, who settled in Jamaica in 1685

Contemporary Notables of the name Fowkes (post 1700) +

  • Frederick M. Fowkes, American contemporary researcher who identified Fowkes hypothesis and Fowkes Theory
  • Bruce Fowkes, American co-founder of Richards, Fowkes & Co. is an American organ-builder in 1988, based in Ooltewah, Tennessee
  • Mary Fowkes (1954-2020), American physician and neuropathologist, noted for her early autopsies of COVID-19 victims that contributed to the identification of long-term effects of the novel coronavirus
  • Conard Fowkes (1933-2009), American actor, known for his roles in the soap operas The Secret Storm, Search For Tomorrow, Dark Shadows, The Edge of Night
  • Robert Allen Fowkes (1913-1998), noted American linguist
  • Charles Christopher Fowkes CBE, DSO (1894-1966), nicknamed "Fluffy," an English officer in the British Army during World War II
  • Frederick Luther Fowkes (1857-1939), Canadian merchant and political figure in Ontario
  • Francis Fowkes (1823-1865), British engineer and architect, and a Captain in the Corps of Royal Engineers

The Fowkes 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. 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. 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. 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. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 16th September 2020). Retrieved from
  7. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 9th March 2022). Retrieved from
  8. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 7th February 2020). Retrieved from
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