Prowse History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Prowse thought to be of Norman heritage. It is a name for a person who was a proud, haughty, or brave being derived from the Old French word prous.

Early Origins of the Prowse family

The surname Prowse was first found in Devon where they held a family seat from very early times and were granted lands by Duke William of Normandy, their liege Lord, for their distinguished assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D. However, some remained in Normandy as Drogon Prose was listed there in the Magni Rotuli Scaccarii Normanniae (1180-1195.) [1]

Early History of the Prowse family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Prowse research. Another 153 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 160 and 1608 are included under the topic Early Prowse History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Prowse Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. When the Normans became the ruling people of England in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled Prouse, Prouze, Prowse, Prowze, Prouz, Prowes and others.

Early Notables of the Prowse family (pre 1700)

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


United States Prowse migration to the United States +

For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Prowse or a variant listed above were:

Prowse Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • George Prowse, who arrived in Virginia in 1623 [2]
  • William Prowse, who arrived in Virginia in 1624 [2]
  • John Prowse, who landed in Virginia in 1639 [2]
  • John Prowse, who settled in Virginia in 1639
  • Charles Prowse, who landed in Maryland in 1673 [2]

Australia Prowse migration to Australia +

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

Prowse Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Jacob Prowse, aged 30, a labourer, who arrived in Kangaroo Island aboard the ship "Buffalo" in 1836 [3]
  • Nancy Prowse, aged 24, who arrived in Kangaroo Island aboard the ship "Buffalo" in 1836 [3]
  • Mary Prowse, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Success" in 1848 [4]
  • Thomas Prowse, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Glen Huntley" in 1849 [5]
  • Thomas Prowse, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Pakenham" in 1849 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Prowse 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:

Prowse Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Miss Louisa Prowse, British settler travelling from Gravesend, UK aboard the ship "Anne Longton" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 9th October 1857 [7]
  • Miss Mary Anne Prowse, British settler travelling from Gravesend, UK aboard the ship "Anne Longton" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 9th October 1857 [7]
  • Richard Prowse, aged 27, a farm labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Halcione" in 1870
  • Margaret Prowse, aged 29, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Halcione" in 1870
  • Mrs. Margaret Prowse, (b. 1843), aged 29, Cornish settler departing on 20th April 1872 aboard the ship "Halcione" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand on 27th July 1872 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Prowse (post 1700) +

  • William Jeffrey Prowse (1836-1871), English humourist, born at Torquay, Devon
  • George Henry Prowse (1896-1918), English Royal Navy sailor, recipient of the Victoria Cross
  • William Prowse (1752-1826), British rear-admiral, born in Devon, Flag-Captain to Calder in the Prince of Wales (1800-1802)
  • Daniel Woodley Prowse (1834-1914), Newfoundland, lawyer, politician, judge, and historian
  • James Harper Prowse (1913-1976), Canadian politician, barrister and solicitor
  • Thomas William Lemuel Prowse (1888-1973), Canadian businessman, Lieutenant Governor of Prince Edward Island (1950-1958)
  • David Prowse (b. 1935), British actor, best known for his role as Darth Vader in Star Wars
  • Edgar Wylie Prowse (1905-1977), Australian politician

Empress of Ireland
  • Mr. James Bebbington Prowse, British Assistant Steward from United Kingdom who worked aboard the Empress of Ireland and survived the sinking [9]
HMS Royal Oak
  • George Prowse, British Senior Master with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he survived the sinking [10]
RMS Lusitania
  • Mr. Thomas Prowse, English Assistant Pantry Steward from Liverpool, England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking [11]


  1. ^ 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)
  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. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) HMS BUFFALO 1836. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1836Buffalo.htm
  4. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) SUCCESS 1848. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1848Success.htm
  5. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The GLEN HUNTLEY 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849GlenHuntly.htm
  6. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The PAKENHAM 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849Pakenham.htm
  7. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  8. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 2018, April 30). Emigrants to Wellington 1872-1880 [PDF]. Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_nz_wellington.pdf    
  9. ^ Commemoration Empress of Ireland 2014. (Retrieved 2014, June 17) . Retrieved from http://www.empress2014.ca/seclangen/listepsc1.html
  10. ^ Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship68.html
  11. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 7) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/


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