Rowe History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Norman Conquest of England in 1066 brought many new words to England from which surnames were formed. Rowe was one of these new Norman names. It was specifically tailored to its first bearer, who was a person with red hair. Looking back even further, we found the name was originally derived from the Old French nickname le rous, meaning redhead. [1] Further to the north in Scotland, the name has a different meaning, specifically "row, signifies a low, small, narrow peninsula." [2]

Early Origins of the Rowe family

The surname Rowe was first found in Norfolk where Turchil le Roux was granted lands by King William after his attendance upon him at Hastings. His son Ralph the Red (Roux) went with King Henry to the Crusades and held the Castle of Pont-echanfre near Bernai in Vexin Normandy. He died in the wreck of the "Blanche Neuf" with the King's two sons and their estates became divided. [3]

In Somerset, "Leighland, in the parish of Old Cleeve, was the property of the Poyntz family. From them it descended to the Rowes, in the reign of William III. John Rowe, as I learn from the parish register of Arlington, married Ursula Chi chester, on 25th November, 1697, yet left no issue ; but to him William Widdicombe, Esq., devised his estate of Bickham, adjoining. Robert Rowe, the nephew of the said John, married Prudence Chichester, 15th August, 1706, and had several children ; one of them, Elizabeth, became the wife of John Needham, of Hilston, county Monmouth." [4]

Early History of the Rowe family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Rowe research. Another 119 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1368, 1426, 1441, 1477, 1581, 1747, 1581, 1644, 1559, 1592, 1661, 1592, 1607, 1674, 1718, 1715, 1626, 1677, 1654, 1657, 1705, 1640, 1719, 1674, 1737, 1641, 1717, 1525, 1580, 1525, 1580, 1595, 1672, 1641, 1717 and are included under the topic Early Rowe History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Rowe Spelling Variations

A multitude of spelling variations characterize Norman surnames. Many variations occurred because Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England also had a pronounced effect, as did the court languages of Latin and French. Therefore, one person was often referred to by several different spellings in a single lifetime. The various spellings include Rowe, Roe, Row and others.

Early Notables of the Rowe family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Sir Thomas Roe (c. 1581-1644), an English diplomat, chancellor of the Order of the Garter; Sir Thomas Rowe, Lord Mayor of London in 1559; Owen Rowe, (c. 1592-1661), English haberdasher in London, one of the regicides of King Charles I; Sir William Rowe, Lord Mayor of London in 1592; Sir Henry Rowe, Lord Mayor of London in 1607; Nicholas Rowe (1674-1718), English poet and miscellaneous writer, appointed Poet Laureate in 1715; John Rowe (1626-1677), an English clergyman, lecturer to Westminster Abbey (1654); and his son, Thomas Rowe (1657-1705), an English nonconformist minister, tutor...
Another 126 words (9 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Rowe Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Rowe family to Ireland

Some of the Rowe family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 68 words (5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Rowe migration to the United States +

Many English families left England, to avoid the chaos of their homeland and migrated to the many British colonies abroad. Although the conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and some travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute, once in the colonies, many of the families prospered and made valuable contributions to the cultures of what would become the United States and Canada. Research into the origins of individual families in North America has revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Rowe or a variant listed above:

Rowe Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Mary Rowe, who landed in Virginia in 1620 [5]
  • Mary Rowe and her husband settled in Virginia in 1624
  • Henry Rowe, who settled in Boston in 1630
  • Nicholas Rowe, who landed in Portsmouth, NH in 1640 [5]
  • Matthew Rowe, who arrived in New Haven, Connecticut in 1650 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Rowe Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Jacob Rowe, who arrived in Virginia in 1758 [5]
Rowe Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Frederick Rowe, who arrived in Maryland in 1804 [5]
  • Peter Rowe, aged 23, who arrived in New York in 1812 [5]
  • Robert Rowe, aged 32, who landed in New York in 1812 [5]
  • Pierce Rowe, who settled in Charleston in 1820
  • George Rowe, who landed in Charleston, South Carolina in 1834 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Rowe migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Rowe Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Sgt. John Rowe U.E. who settled in Home District [York County], Ontario c. 1786 he served in Butlers Rangers [6]
Rowe Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Mary Rowe, aged 21, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the ship "Perceval" from Plymouth, England
  • Mr. Thomas Rowe, aged 3 who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Jessie" departing 18th April 1847 from Limerick, Ireland; the ship arrived on 26th June 1847 but he died on board [7]
  • Mr. Thomas Rowe who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Marchioness of Abercorn" departing 15th June 1847 from Londonderry, Ireland; the ship arrived on 5th August 1847 but he died on board [7]

Australia Rowe migration to Australia +

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

Rowe Settlers in Australia in the 18th Century
  • Mr. John Rowe (b. 1757), aged 28, Cornish settler convicted in Launceston, Cornwall, UK 19th March 1785, sentenced for 7 years for stealing 2 cloth coats from a dwelling, valued at 67 shillings, transported aboard the ship "Scarborough" on 13th May 1787 to New South Wales, Australia [8]
  • Mr. William Rowe (b. 1755), aged 30, Cornish settler convicted in Launceston, Cornwall, UK 19th March 1784, sentenced for 7 years for stealing a bag and money from Benjamin Odgers, transported aboard the ship "Scarborough" on 13th May 1787 to New South Wales, Australia [8]
Rowe Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. James Rowe(b. 1804), aged 21, Cornish settler convicted in Cornwall, UK on 21st March 1825, sentenced for 7 years for housebreaking and stealing part of a fowl and 2 pieces of pork, transported aboard the ship "Midas" on 7th October 1826 to New South Wales, Australia [8]
  • Mr. Richard Rowe(b. 1808), aged 21, Cornish settler convicted in Cornwall, UK on 25th March 1828, sentenced for life for housebreaking, transported aboard the ship "York" on 30th April 1829 to Van Diemen's Land, Tasmania, Australia [8]
  • Mr. Hannibal Rowe (b. 1815), aged 19, Cornish settler convicted in Cornwall, UK on 27th March 1834, sentenced for 7 years for stealing money from William Harris and other unknown persons, transported aboard the ship "Augusta Jessie" on 27th September 1834 to Van Diemen's Land, Tasmania, Australia [9]
  • Mr. Hannibal Rowe, English convict who was convicted in Cornwall, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Augusta Jessie" on 27 September 1834, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [10]
  • Mr. Hannibal Rowe, (b. 1815), aged 19 born in Camborne, Cornwall, UK convicted in Truro on 8th April 1834, sentenced for 7 years for stealing money, transported aboard the ship "Augusta Jessie" in 1834 to Van Diemen's Land, Tasmania, Australia, he died on board 10th December 1834 [11]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Rowe 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:

Rowe Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • William Rowe, aged 39, a labourer, who arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "Gertrude" in 1841
  • Frances Rowe, aged 38, who arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "Gertrude" in 1841
  • Mr. Rowe, Australian settler travelling from Sydney aboard the ship "Earl of Lonsdale" arriving in Bay of Islands, North Island, New Zealand on 11th April 1841 [12]
  • Anthony Rowe, aged 21, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Olympus" in 1842
  • Mr. Henry Rowe, British settler arriving as Detachment of the Royal New Zealand Fencibles travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Sir George Symour" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 26th November 1847 [13]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Rowe (post 1700) +

  • Hansford Rowe (1924-2017), American character actor, known for his roles in Three Days of the Condor, Dante's Peak, The Bonfire of the Vanities
  • William Leonard Rowe (1931-2015), American professor emeritus of philosophy at Purdue University
  • Brigadier-General Guy Ichabod Rowe (1886-1969), American Commanding Officer Jeffersonville Quartermaster Depot (1944-1945) [14]
  • John Rowe (1715-1787), early American property developer and merchant
  • James Nicholas "Nick" Rowe (1938-1989), United States Army officer who escaped captivity during the Vietnam War, recipient of the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star - 2, Purple Heart - 2 and many other distinctions
  • Dave Rowe (1854-1930), American Major League Baseball center fielder
  • Thomas Rowe, American Professor of pharmacology at the University of Florida
  • Misty Rowe (b. 1952), American actress
  • Alvin T. Rowe Jr., American politician, U.S. Vice Consul in Bogotá, 1932; Shanghai, 1938 [15]
  • Allen M. Rowe, American Democrat politician, Postmaster at Columbus, Ohio, 1949-63 [15]
  • ... (Another 96 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMAS Sydney II
  • Mr. James Ronald Jack Rowe (1907-1941), Australian Telegraphist from South Bunbury, Western Australia, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II and died in the sinking [16]
  • Mr. Allan Lawrence Rowe (1914-1941), Australian Able Seaman from Shenton Park, Western Australia, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II and died in the sinking [16]
  • Mr. Lindsay Thomas Rowe (1923-1941), Australian Stoker 2nd Class from Seddon, Victoria, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II and died in the sinking [16]
HMS Hood
  • Mr. Stanley G S Rowe (b. 1923), English Marine serving for the Royal Marine from Manchester, Lancashire, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [17]
HMS Prince of Wales
HMS Repulse
  • Mr. Eric Rowland Rowe, British Lieutenant "E", who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and died in the sinking [19]
  • Mr. Cyril Leslie Rowe (1909-1942), British Chief Engine Room Artificer, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking, but was listed as missing presumed killed in the evacuation of Singapore in 1942 [19]
  • Mr. Herbert William Henwood Rowe, British Joiner 2nd Class, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and died in the sinking [19]
RMS Lusitania
  • Mr. John Rowe, English Trimmer from Bootle, Lancashire, England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking [20]
RMS Titanic
  • Mr. Edward M. Rowe (d. 1912), aged 31, English Saloon 1st Class Steward from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [21]
  • Mr. George Thomas Rowe, aged 32, English Quartermaster from Gosport, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking escaping on collapsible C [21]
  • Mr. Alfred G. Rowe (d. 1912), aged 59, English First Class passenger from Liverpool, Merseyside who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking and was recovered by CS Mackay-Bennett [21]
USS Arizona
  • Mr. Eugene Joseph Rowe, American Seaman First Class from New Jersey, USA working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking [22]


The Rowe 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: Innocens non timidus
Motto Translation: Innocent but not fearful.


Suggested Readings for the name Rowe +

  • 407 The Marriage of Catherine & David: a History of Southwestern Pennsylvania Families by LaVonne R. Hanlon, The Families of Johann Martin Rau and Johann Conrad Bohne by Nancy Ann Dietrich.

  1. ^ Barber, Henry, British Family Names London: Elliot Stock, 62 Paternoster Row, 1894. Print.
  2. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. ^ 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)
  4. ^ Oliver, George, Collections Illustrating the History of the Catholic Religion in the Counties of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Wilts, and Gloucester London: Charles Dolman, 61, New Bond Street, 1857. Print
  5. ^ 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)
  6. ^ 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
  7. ^ Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 94)
  8. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 30th May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_australia_convicts.pdf
  9. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 30th May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_australia_convicts.pdf
  10. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 14th August 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/augusta-jessie
  11. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 30th May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/tasmanian_convicts_cornish.pdf
  12. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  13. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  14. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2014, March 26) Guy Rowe. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Rowe/Guy_Ichabod/USA.html
  15. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 9) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  16. ^ HMAS Sydney II, Finding Sydney Foundation - Roll of Honour. (Retrieved 2014, April 24) . Retrieved from http://www.findingsydney.com/roll.asp
  17. ^ H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from http://www.hmshood.com/crew/memorial/roh_24may41.htm
  18. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  19. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html
  20. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 7) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/
  21. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html
  22. ^ Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from http://pearl-harbor.com/arizona/casualtylist.html


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