Low History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Low was brought to England in the wave of migration that followed the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Low family lived in Worcestershire. The earliest instances of the name in England appear for the most part to be of local origin; that is, derived from the name of the place where an original bearer lived or where he once held land, the place in this instance being a hlaw, the Old English word for a hill. Any individual case may also be of nickname origin, deriving from loup, the Old French word for a wolf, or from one of the pet-names for Lawrence, such as Law or Low. [1]

Exploring the Norman (French) connection more, we found Richard Lowes was listed in Normandy 1180-95 (Magni Rotuli Scaccarii Normanniae.) [2]

Early Origins of the Low family

The surname Low was first found in Worcestershire. Later, a branch of the family was found at Alderwasley in Derbyshire. " The Le Foune or Fawne family held lands here in the reign of Henry III., and their heiress intermarried with the Lowes, who obtained a grant of the manor from Henry VIII." [3]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 include: Ralph de la Lowe, Salop (Shropshire); and Hugh de la Lowe, Herefordshire. [4]

In Somerset, Crist atte Lowe was listed there 1 Edward III (during the first year of King Edwar III.) [5]

In Cheshire, the family has a long history of serving as Mayors of Macclesfield: Thomas del Lowe, 1430; Thomas Lowe, 1448; and George Lowe, 1607. [4]

In Gloucestershire, John le Luv was listed in the Pipe Rolls for 1207 and later, Robertus Lupus and Robert le Lu were listed in the Assize Rolls for Warwickshire in 1221. Walter le Lou was found in Devon in 1242 and later again, William le Low was listed in the Assize Rolls for Lancashire in 1284. In London, Martin le Low was found there in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1275. In the same year, Robert de la Lowe was listed in the Subsidy Rolls for Worcestershire and later, Roger del Lowe was found in the Assize Rolls for Cheshire in 1288. [6]

"Essentially a name of the midlands and adjacent north - west counties, being most numerous in Derbyshire, Warwickshire, and Cheshire. Lowes is the north of England form, occurring in Northumberland and Durham, and in the North and East Ridings in the form of Lowish. In Scotland Low has an independent home in Aberdeenshire." [7]

Taking time to explore Scotland in more detail, we found the name is more commonly in the form Lowes and is: "from old lands of the name near the Loch of Lowes in Selkirkshire. Lowys, Lowis, Lowes, is a Lowland surname the first record of which appears to be in 1318. In that year Walter Lowys witnessed a charter to lands in the earldom of Dunbar. Patrick de Lowis appears as burgess of Edinburgh, 1447, and in 1449 as Patrick Lowis (without 'de') attested a renunciation by Walter Scott of Bukcleuch. There was a family of Lowis of Mener in Peeblesshire in record 1463-1464, and the family is to be traced beyond the year 1622. Thomas of Lowis in record, 1473. Families of the name were also long tenants under the see of Glasgow in Eddleston parish. Margaret Lowyss held half the lands of Burnetland, Peeblesshire, 1557. " [8]

Early History of the Low family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Low research. Another 221 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 1275, 1433, 1439, 1318, 1603, 1607, 1517, 1524, 1680, 1689, 1601, 1790, 1694, 1689, 1594, 1682, 1640, 1644, 1628, 1667, 1661, 1667, 1690, 1724, 1720, 1467, 1428, 1432, 1682, 1443, 1601, 1603, 1588, 1618, 1613, 1602 and are included under the topic Early Low History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Low Spelling Variations

Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence in the eras before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate regularly changed the spellings of their names as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Low have been found, including Lowe, Lowes, Lowis, Lowse, Low, McLoy and others.

Early Notables of the Low family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Humphrey Lowe, High Sheriff of Shropshire; George Lowe (c. 1594-1682), an English politician, Member of Parliament for Calne (1640-1644), a Royalist supporter; John Lowe (1628-1667), an English politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1661 to 1667; and Captain Edward "Ned" Low, also Lowe or Loe, (c. 1690-c. 1724), a notorious English pirate active in the Caribbean and the Bay of Hounduras during the early 1720s. John Lowe (d. 1467), bishop successively of St. Asaph and Rochester, is said to have been a native of Worcestershire. Nash ( Worcestershire, ii. 95) connects him...
Another 224 words (16 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Low Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Low World Ranking

In the United States, the name Low is the 3,338th most popular surname with an estimated 9,948 people with that name. [9] However, in Australia, the name Low is ranked the 589th most popular surname with an estimated 6,611 people with that name. [10] And in New Zealand, the name Low is the 374th popular surname with an estimated 1,714 people with that name. [11]

Ireland Migration of the Low family to Ireland

Some of the Low family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 87 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Low migration to the United States +

For many English families, the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. For such families, the shores of Ireland, Australia, and the New World beckoned. They left their homeland at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. Many arrived after the long voyage sick, starving, and without a penny. But even those were greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. Numerous English settlers who arrived in the United States and Canada at this time went on to make important contributions to the developing cultures of those countries. Many of those families went on to make significant contributions to the rapidly developing colonies in which they settled. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Low were among those contributors:

Low Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Pieter Comelissen Low, who arrived in New Netherland(s) in 1620-1664 [12]
  • William Low, who landed in Virginia in 1635 [12]
  • Peter Low, who landed in Virginia in 1637 [12]
  • Robert Low, who landed in Virginia in 1638 [12]
  • Andrew Low, who landed in New Haven, Connecticut in 1639 [12]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Low Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Sarah Low, who arrived in Virginia in 1701 [12]
  • Micajah Low, who arrived in Virginia in 1702 [12]
  • Mathew Low, aged 40, who landed in New York in 1719 [12]
  • Cconrad Low, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1732 [12]
  • Conrad Low, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1732 [12]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Low Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John Low, who landed in New York, NY in 1804 [12]
  • Philip Low, who landed in America in 1804 [12]
  • John Low, who arrived in America in 1808 [12]
  • Betsey Low, who landed in Massachusetts in 1813 [12]
  • Wesly Low, aged 10, who arrived in America in 1822 [12]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Low migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Low Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Josef Low, who landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1751
  • Joseph Low, who arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1751
  • Michel Low, who landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1751
  • Mr. John Low U.E. who settled in Sophiasburgh and Ameliasburgh [Prince Edward County], Ontario c. 1784 [13]
  • Mr. John Low U.E. (b. 1752) born in Banffshire, Scotland who settled in Saint Andrews, New Brunswick c. 1784, then Mascarene, New Brunswick in 1790 he was married twice having 13 children he died in 1844 [13]
Low Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • James Low, who landed in Esquimalt, British Columbia in 1862

Australia Low migration to Australia +

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

Low Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. George Low, English convict who was convicted in St Albans, Hertfordshire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Eden" on 27th August 1836, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [14]
  • Isobel Low "Alias Will", Scottish convict from Perth, who was transported aboard the "Angelina" on April 25, 1844, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [15]
  • Jean Low "alias Doig", Scottish convict from Edinburgh, who was transported aboard the "Angelina" on April 25, 1844, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [15]
  • Alexander Low, aged 37, a carpenter, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Dirigo" [16]
  • John Low, aged 31, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "John Bunyan" [17]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Low 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:

  • William Low, aged 30, a shepherd, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Phoebe Dunbar" between 1841 and 1850
Low Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Joseph Low, who landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1843
  • Miss Susan Low, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Simlah" arriving in Otago, South Island, New Zealand in 1851 [18]
  • Mrs. Jane Low, (b. 1832), aged 27, Scottish settler, from Forfarshire travelling from London aboard the ship "Robert Small" arriving in Lyttlelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 29th January 1860 [18]
  • Mr. John Low, (b. 1833), aged 26, Scottish farm labourer, from Forfarshire travelling from London aboard the ship "Robert Small" arriving in Lyttlelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 29th January 1860 [18]
  • Miss Elizabeth Low, (b. 1856), aged 3, Scottish settler, from Forfarshire travelling from London aboard the ship "Robert Small" arriving in Lyttlelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 29th January 1860 [18]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Low 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. [19]
Low Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • John Low, who settled in Barbados in 1663

Contemporary Notables of the name Low (post 1700) +

  • Juliette Gordon Low (1860-1927), American founder of Girl Scouts of the USA with the help of Sir Robert Baden-Powell, posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • Charles Lewis Low (1928-2017), American actor, known for his roles in Once Upon a Time in America, Goodfellas, Sleepers
  • William M. Low, American Democratic Party politician, Member of Connecticut State House of Representatives from Norwalk; Elected 1906 [20]
  • Susan E. Low, American politician, Mayor of McHenry, Illinois, 2007 [20]
  • William Low, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Kentucky, 1932 [20]
  • Stephen Low (1927-2010), American politician, U.S. Ambassador to Zambia, 1976-79; Nigeria, 1979-81 [20]
  • Seth Low (1850-1916), American Republican politician, Mayor of Brooklyn, New York, 1882-85; President, Columbia University, 1890-1900; Mayor of New York City, New York, 1902-03; Defeated, 1897, 1903 [20]
  • Robert M. Low, American politician, Prohibition Candidate for New York State Assembly from Kings County 10th District, 1920, 1921 [20]
  • Sam D. W. Low, American Democratic Party politician, U.S. Collector of Customs, 1951; Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Texas, 1956 [20]
  • Robert A. Low, American Democratic Party politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New York, 1964 [20]
  • ... (Another 51 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


The Low 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: Spero meliora
Motto Translation: I hope for better things.


  1. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ 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)
  3. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  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. ^ Dickinson, F.H., Kirby's Quest for Somerset of 16th of Edward the 3rd London: Harrison and Sons, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St, Martin's Lane, 1889. Print.
  6. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  7. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  8. ^ 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)
  9. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  10. ^ https://forebears.io/australia/surnames
  11. ^ https://forebears.io/new-zealand/surnames
  12. ^ 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)
  13. ^ 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
  14. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 20th October 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/eden
  15. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2014, November 27) Angelina voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1844 with 171 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/angelina/1844
  16. ^ South Australian Register Thursday 23rd November 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Dirigo 1854. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/dirigo1854.shtml.
  17. ^ South Australian Register Wednesday 24th May 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) John Bunyan 1854. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/johnbunyan1854.shtml
  18. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  19. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  20. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 18) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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