Mowes History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The first people to use the distinguished Mowes family name in England were found in the settlement of Meaux (Meux) in the East Riding of Yorkshire and accordingly, most sources agree that the name is a Yorkshire name.

Looking back further, Meaux is a commune in the Seine-et-Marne department in the Île-de-France region in France and it is here that it is thought that the family originated. Roger Muse was listed in the "Norman Exchequer Rolls of 1198-1203 and Godfridus de la Mosca held a fief from Philip Augustus of the honour of Malherbe. " [1]

Alternatively the name could have been derived from the Old English word Meaw which meant "a gull" or a "sea-mew." To complicate matters more, Meaw was also an Old English personal name and mue, derived from an Old French word was a cage for hawks that was used while they were mewing or moulting. [2] [3]

We believe that the name is more likely to have been a local name originating in Normandy, as opposed to an occupational name.

Early Origins of the Mowes family

The surname Mowes was first found in Yorkshire at Meux or Maeux, (pronouced 'mews') a township, in the parish of Waghen, union of Beverley, Middle division of the wapentake of Holderness in the East Riding. [4]

And it is here that the first record of the name, Algarus filius Meawes was listed in 1016 as an Old English byname. Over one hundred years later, John de Mehus was listed in the Feet of Fines in 1196. A few years later, Hugo de Mues was listed in the Pipe Rolls of 1201. Thomas de Meuse was listed in the Feet of Fines in 1282. [5]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 listed Isabel Mus and John de Muse in Essex. John le Mouse or Mows was found in Wiltshire in the Palgraves's Parliamentary Writs (1307-1325.) [1]

Again in Yorkshire, "in 1309, Thomas Mus de Arkilgarth,chaplain, was, with several others, prosecuted by Eve de Kaggardgill of Arkilgarth in Richmondshiro, for the murder of her husband. William Peverel of Dover's Charter to Shrewsbury Abbey is witnessed by William de Musca and another William de Musca (or the same?) held half a knight's fee of William de Ros in Northamptonshire." [1]

"One of the persecuted [Knights] Templars in 1309 was Brother Philip de Mewes, who, 'being advised and earnestly exhorted to abandon his religious profession, replied that he would rather die than do so.' " [1]

Later, the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 had two listings of the family (both in the East Riding): William de Mewse; and John de Mewhes. Bother held land there at that time. [6]

Early History of the Mowes family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Mowes research. Another 177 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1641, 1829, 1831, 1619, 1706, 1672, 1619, 1637, 1641, 1645, 1642, 1657, 1640, 1644, 1641 and 1657 are included under the topic Early Mowes History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Mowes Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, Anglo-Norman surnames like Mowes are characterized by many spelling variations. Scribes and monks in the Middle Ages spelled names they sounded, so it is common to find several variations that refer to a single person. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages such as Norman French and Latin, even literate people regularly changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Mowes include Mew, Mews, Mewes, Meux, Mewis, Muse, Mewsse, Mowse, Meaux and many more.

Early Notables of the Mowes family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Peter Mews (1619-1706), an English Royalist theologian and Bishop of Bath and Wells in 1672, from Caundle Purse, Dorset. Born at Purse Candle, near Sherborne, Dorset, on 25 March 1619, he was sent to Merchant Taylors' School at the charge of his uncle, Dr. Winniffe, then dean of St. Paul's. He was elected scholar of St. John's College, Oxford, 11 June 1637, and...
Another 71 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Mowes Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Mowes family

Faced with the chaos present in England at that time, many English families looked towards the open frontiers of the New World with its opportunities to escape oppression and starvation. People migrated to North America, as well as Australia and Ireland in droves, paying exorbitant rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, but those who did see the shores of North America were welcomed with great opportunity. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America carried the name Mowes, or a variant listed above: Jeremy, Dorothy, and William Mew, who arrived in Barbados in 1654; Carolina Mewes settled in Texas in 1854. In Newfoundland, John Mew was a merchant of St. John's in 1805..



  1. ^ 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
  2. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  3. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  4. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  5. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  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)


Houseofnames.com on Facebook