Gawer History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The history of the Gawer family name begins after the Norman Conquest of 1066. 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 Gawer family

The surname Gawer 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 Gawer family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gawer 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 Gawer History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Gawer 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 Gower, Gowers, Gowar, Gowars, Goward, Gore, Goher, Gurr, Goer and many more.

Early Notables of the Gawer 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 Gawer Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Gawer family to Ireland

Some of the Gawer 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 Gawer family

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 Gawer or a variant listed above were: 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 Gawer 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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