Show ContentsKnowlton History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Knowlton is one of the thousands of new names that the Norman Conquest brought to England in 1066. The Knowlton family lived in the township of Knowlton, Kent, from whence their name is taken.

Early Origins of the Knowlton family

The surname Knowlton was first found in Kent where they held a family seat from ancient times, and were granted the lands by King William the Conqueror for their assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. They were conjecturally descended from Thurstan, a Norman noble, who held the lands of Knowlton, originally spelt Chenoltone, from the Bishop of Bayeux.

Early History of the Knowlton family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Knowlton research. Another 33 words (2 lines of text) covering the years 1692, 1782 and 1728 are included under the topic Early Knowlton History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Knowlton 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 Knowltone, Knowlten, Nowlton, Nolton, Knowelden and others.

Early Notables of the Knowlton family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Thomas Knowlton (1692-1782), English gardener and botanist who was superintendent at an early age of Dr. Sherard at Eltham, Kent...
Another 28 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Knowlton Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Knowlton Ranking

In the United States, the name Knowlton is the 3,377th most popular surname with an estimated 9,948 people with that name. [1]

United States Knowlton 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 Knowlton or a variant listed above:

Knowlton Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Thomas Knowlton, who settled in Hingham Massachusetts in 1630
  • William Knowlton, who arrived in Hingham, Massachusetts in 1635 [2]
  • John Knowlton, who landed in Ipswich, Massachusetts in 1641 [2]
  • Thomas Knowlton, who arrived in Ipswich, Massachusetts in 1648 [2]
Knowlton Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • J W Knowlton, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850 [2]
  • O Knowlton, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 [2]
  • T. N. Knowlton, who arrived in San Francisco in 1851

Canada Knowlton migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Knowlton Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. Knowlton Thomas U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784 [3]
Knowlton Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

New Zealand Knowlton 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:

Knowlton Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. G. Knowlton, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Norfolk" arriving in Wellington, North Island, New Zealand on 18th June 1880 [5]
  • Mrs. Knowlton, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Norfolk" arriving in Wellington, North Island, New Zealand on 18th June 1880 [5]

Contemporary Notables of the name Knowlton (post 1700) +

  • Daniel Gibson Knowlton (b. 1922), American classicist bookbinder at Brown University
  • Wiram Knowlton (1816-1863), American politician and jurist
  • Markeith Knowlton (b. 1983), American CFL football linebacker
  • Donald Snow "Don" Knowlton (1892-1976), American public relations executive, co-founder of Hill + Knowlton (Strategies) in 1927
  • Ebenezer Knowlton (1815-1874), American co-founder of Bates College, Congressman, abolitionist, and Free Will Baptist minister
  • Thomas Knowlton (1740-1776), American patriot who served in the French and Indian war, considered to be America's first intelligence professional, founder of Knowlton's Rangers in 1776
  • Austin Eldon Knowlton (1909-2003), American architect
  • Charles Knowlton (1800-1850), American physician and writer
  • Miles Justice Knowlton, American Baptist missionary to China
  • Amos Knowlton, American politician, Member of Connecticut State House of Representatives from Ashford, 1827-28, 1832, 1839 [6]
  • ... (Another 37 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

  1. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  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. Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  4. Seary E.R., Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, Montreal: McGill's-Queen's Universtity Press 1998 ISBN 0-7735-1782-0
  5. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from
  6. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 6) . Retrieved from on Facebook