Howel History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the name Howel are thought to have lived among the ancient Britons, who inhabited in the hills and Moors of present day Wales. This particular surname was derived from the Welsh personal name Hoel, which was originally derived from the Old Welsh name Houel. This name was imported by Welsh settlers into the English counties bordering Wales; however, in the eastern English counties, the name was brought by Breton settlers. The Breton forms of the name were Houuel, Huwel, Huwal, and Howael.

Early Origins of the Howel family

The surname Howel was first found in Monmouthshire (Welsh: Sir Fynwy), where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.

Vychan Howel that is, Howel the Little (d. 825), was a Welsh prince, said to have been son of Rhodri, a reputed descendant of Cunedda and King of Gwynedd, or North Wales. "But Rhodri died in 754, and nothing is heard of Howel or of his brother Cynan whom the tenth-century genealogy of Owain ab Howel Dda makes son of Rhodri, until over fifty years later. Possibly they were Rhodri's grandsons, who emerge from obscurity when the downfall of the Mercian overlordship gave Welsh kings a better chance to attain to power. In 813 there was war between Howel and his brother Cynan, in which Howel conquered. It apparently arose from Cynan driving Howel out of Anglesey, and resulted in Howel's restoration in 814. In 816 Howel was again expelled, but the Saxons invaded Snowdon and slew Cynan. This probably brought Howel back again. He died in 825. The name Vychan comes from a late authority." [1]

Dda Howel, that is, Howel the Good (d. 950), the most famous of the early Welsh kings, was the son of Cadell, the son of Rhodri Mawr, through whom his pedigree was traced by a tenth-century writer up to Cunedda and thence to 'Anne, cousin of the Blessed Virgin.' [1]

Howel ab Ieuav, or Howel Ddrwg, that is, Howel The Bad (d. 984), the North Welsh prince, was the son of Ieuav, son of Idwal, who was imprisoned and deprived of his territory by his brother Iago about 969. [1]

Howel ab Edwin (d. 1044), the South Welsh prince, was son of Edwin, son of Eineon, who was the son of Owain, the eldest son and successor of Howel Dda [q. v.] [1]

Early History of the Howel family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Howel research. Another 100 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1086, 1300, 1313, 1588, 1650, 1644, 1645, 1625, 1679, 1657, 1660, 1593 and 1666 are included under the topic Early Howel History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Howel Spelling Variations

Although there are comparatively few Welsh surnames, they have a great many spelling variations. Variations of Welsh names began almost immediately after their acceptance within Welsh society. In the Middle Ages, it was up to priests and the few other people that recorded names in official documents to decide how to spell the names that they heard. Variations that occurred because of improper recording increased dramatically as the names were later transliterated into English. The Brythonic Celtic language of Wales, known by natives as Cymraeg, featured many highly inflected sounds that could not be properly captured by the English language. Spelling variations were, however, also carried out according to an individual's design: a branch loyalty within the family, a religious adherence, or even patriotic affiliations were all indicated by the particular variation of one's name. The spelling variations of the name Howel have included Howell, Howel, Hawell, Howels, Howells, Hovell and many more.

Early Notables of the Howel family (pre 1700)

Prominent amongst the family during the late Middle Ages was Rt. Rev. Thomas Howell (1588-1650), Welsh Bishop of Bristol from 1644 to 1645, born in Llangamarch, Brecknockshire; Francis Howell (1625-1679), Principal of Jesus College, Oxford from 1657 to 1660; and James Howell (c.1593-1666) famous writer who lead a colourful life...
Another 50 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Howel Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Howel family to Ireland

Some of the Howel family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 49 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Howel migration to the United States +

The Welsh began to emigrate to North America in the late 1800s and early 1900s in search of land, work, and freedom. Those that arrived helped shape the industry, commerce, and the cultural heritage of both Canada and the United States. The records regarding immigration and passenger show a number of people bearing the name Howel:

Howel Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Owen Howel, who settled in Virginia in 1635
  • Morgan Howel, who settled in Virginia in 1653
  • Thomas Howel, who settled in New England in 1654
  • William Howel, who settled in Barbados in 1654
  • David Howel, who settled in Barbados in 1654
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Howel Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Howel, who arrived in America in 1782 [2]

Australia Howel migration to Australia +

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

Howel Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mougley Howel, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Phoebe" in 1846 [3]


  1. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  2. ^ 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)
  3. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) PHEOBE/PHOEBE 1845. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1846Phoebe.htm


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