Penrowes History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The proud Penrowes family originated in Cornwall, a rugged coastal region in southwestern England. In early times, people were known by only a single name. However, as the population grew and people traveled further afield, it became increasingly necessary to assume an additional name to differentiate between bearers of the same personal name. The manner in which hereditary surnames arose is interesting. Local surnames are derived from where the original bearer lived, was born, or held land. The Penrowes family originally lived in the village of Penrose in the county of Cornwall.

Early Origins of the Penrowes family

The surname Penrowes was first found in Cornwall at Penrose, "a hamlet near the Land's End, possessed by the family in the XV. century, and doubtless much earlier." [1] Penrose is also "a parish, in the division and hundred of Raglan, union and county of Monmouth, Wales." [2]

"The manor of Penrose [in the parish of Sithney, Cornwall] was from an early period the property, and its barton the residence, of an ancient family of this name, who are said to have been seated here before the Conquest. The word Penrose signifies the head of the valley, or, the hill of the heath. " [3]

"One of the most ancient families of the name of Penrose resided at Penrose, Sithney, in the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries; members of this family were sheriffs of the county in the 16th century." [4]

"The manor of Borthy or Berthy, [in the parish of St. Endoer, Cornwall] to which the parish was partly indebted for its name at the time of the Norman Conquest, was for many years in the family of Penrose." [3]

Early History of the Penrowes family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Penrowes research. Another 71 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 187 and 1876 are included under the topic Early Penrowes History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Penrowes Spelling Variations

Cornish surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The official court languages, which were Latin and French, were also influential on the spelling of a surname. Since the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. Lastly, spelling variations often resulted from the linguistic differences between the people of Cornwall and the rest of England. The Cornish spoke a unique Brythonic Celtic language which was first recorded in written documents during the 10th century. However, they became increasingly Anglicized, and Cornish became extinct as a spoken language in 1777, although it has been revived by Cornish patriots in the modern era. The name has been spelled Penrose, Penrows, Penrowes and others.

Early Notables of the Penrowes family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Penrowes Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Penrowes family to Ireland

Some of the Penrowes family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Penrowes family

A look at the immigration and passenger lists has shown a number of people bearing the name Penrowes: Joe Penrose and his wife Elizabeth settled in Georgia in 1732; John Penrose settled in Maine in 1622; John, Thomas and William Penrose all arrived in Philadelphia in 1855..



  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  4. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.


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