Howson History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Howson family

The surname Howson was first found in Midlothian, where "the old Scottish mode of spelling Hugh was Hew, as especially in the family of Dalrymple. In Renfrewshire, where the surname abounds, it is pronounced Hewie's-son." [1]

According to the voice of tradition, "the family are descended from John Howison, burgess of Edinburgh, 1450. The first ancestor of the family and his son, were farmers, and rescued James I from an attack made upon him when he had strayed from his attendants, while hunting near Cramond Bridge, and having saved the king's life by beating off his assailants with their flails, held a basin and a towel to wash his wounds. For these timely services they were rewarded with a grant of the lands of Braehead, the reddendo in the charter being 'Servitium Lava-cri,' a service that was complied with to George IV, at the banquet of the magistrates of Edinburgh in 1822." [2]

Another source confirms John Howison, was burgess of Edinburgh in 1450, but makes no mention of saving the king. This source notes "his son had a charter of Cramond Regis, 1465. Nicholas Howvson, [was] presbyter of S. Andrew's diocese, 1475. John Howison admitted burgess of Aberdeen, 1406, and another John Howison was member of assize in an Aberdeen shipping case, 1451." [3]

Further to the south in England, the family claim descent from the Normans. There the Magni Rotuli Scaccarii Normanniae lists Roger Housin in 1198. [4]

In Norfolk, early records show Simon Howissone was rector of Attleburgh in 1374 and John Howesson was rector of Scoulton. [5]

A few years later, Henricus Howesson was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379. [6]

In about the same area, Henry Howsone was listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Cumberland in 1332. Later in Yorkshire, Thomas Hughesson was listed there in 1389; and William Hewson was found there in 1437. [7]

Early History of the Howson family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Howson research. Another 168 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1300, 1600, 1567, 1546, 1567, 1519, 1628, 1711, 1787, 1557, 1632, 1619, 1628, 1557, 1577, 1587, 1603, 1592 and 1598 are included under the topic Early Howson History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Howson Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Howison, Howieson, Howeson, Howyson, Howson and others.

Early Notables of the Howson family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family at this time was John Howson (c.1557-1632), English academic, Bishop of Oxford from 1619, Bishop of Durham from 1628. He was "born in the parish of St. Bride, London, about 1557, was educated at St. Paul's School, whence he proceeded to Christ Church, Oxford, and was elected a...
Another 51 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Howson Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Howson migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Howson Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Peter Howson, aged 31, who landed in America in 1634 [8]
  • Eliz Howson, who arrived in Virginia in 1663 [8]
  • Rich Howson, who arrived in Virginia in 1664 [8]
  • Samuel Howson, who landed in Maryland in 1670 [8]
Howson Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William Howson, aged 50, who immigrated to the United States from Doncaster, England, in 1893
  • Henry Howson, aged 20, who settled in America from Leeds, in 1898
Howson Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • William Howson, aged 46, who landed in America from London, in 1904
  • John Howson, aged 49, who immigrated to the United States from Harthill, Scotland, in 1907
  • Anthony Howson, aged 23, who immigrated to the United States from Accrington, England, in 1907
  • George Henry Howson, aged 27, who landed in America from High Shields, England, in 1909
  • Wm. A. Howson, aged 41, who settled in America, in 1909
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Howson migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Howson Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
  • Florence Howson, aged 62, who landed in St. John's, Newfoundland, in 1907

Australia Howson migration to Australia +

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

Howson Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Henry John Howson who was convicted in Cumbria (Cumberland), England for 14 years, transported aboard the "Circassian" on 4th November 1832, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [9]

New Zealand Howson 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:

Howson Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Miss Jane Ann Howson, (b. 1834), aged 24, British settler travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Indiana" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 28th November 1858 [10]
  • Mr. Robert Howson, (b. 1836), aged 22, British carpenter and sawyer travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Indiana" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 28th November 1858 [10]

Contemporary Notables of the name Howson (post 1700) +

  • Nicholas C Howson J.D.,, American Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Michigan
  • Julie B. Howson, American Democrat politician, Candidate for Connecticut State House of Representatives from Newtown, 1946 [11]
  • Peter Howson OBE (b. 1958), Scottish painter
  • John Saul Howson (1816-1885), English divine, Dean of Chester, born 5 May 1816 at Giggleswick-in-Craven, Yorkshire, the son of the Rev. John Howson, who for more than forty years had been connected with Giggleswick grammar school, and was long its headmaster [12]
  • Major George Arthur Howson MC (1886-1936), British Army officer in the First World War, founder and chairman of the Royal British Legion Poppy Factory
  • The Venerable James Francis Howson (1856-1934), Archdeacon of Craven from 1928 to 1934
  • Emma Howson (1844-1928), Australian opera singer and actress
  • Charles Howson (1896-1976), English professional footballer
  • Professor Colin Howson (b. 1945), British-born, Canadian Professor of Philosophy at the University of Toronto
  • Susan Howson (b. 1973), British mathematician at the University of Nottingham
  • ... (Another 11 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Repulse
  • Mr. William P Howson, British Petty Officer Stoker, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking [13]


The Howson 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: Sursum corda
Motto Translation: Hearts upwards.


  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Sims, Clifford Stanley The Origin and Signification of Scottish Surnames. 1862. Print.
  3. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  4. ^ 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)
  5. ^ Rye, Walter, A History of Norfolk. London: Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, 1885. Print
  6. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  7. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  8. ^ 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)
  9. ^ Convict Records of Australia (Retrieved 8th February 2021, retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/circassian)
  10. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  11. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 27) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  12. ^ Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 7 August 2020
  13. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html


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