Rowse History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Rowse family name dates back to 1066 when the Norman Conquest of England introduced a plethora of new names and words into Britain. It comes from an early member of the family who was a person with red hair which was in turn derived from the Old French nickname le rous, meaning redhead. Another equally valid derivation suggests that the name is a shortened form of the Norman given name Rufus. [1] [2] [3]

Early Origins of the Rowse family

The surname Rowse was first found in Devon. The first on record was Radulphus le Rufus, a knight in the train of William the Conqueror who became one of the Justices Itinerant of the counties of Wiltshire, Dorset, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall temp. Henry II. It is from this eminent person that the family of Edmerston and Halton, co. Devon descend. [4]

"Rouse or Rowse is the name of an ancient Cornish family of Halton. Antony Rouse or Rowse, of Halton, was High Sheriff in the reign of Elizabeth. " [5]

"The manor of Helston, which was always considered as belonging to the dutchy, was alienated during the usurpation of Cromwell, when it was sold to Anthony Rowse; but on the restoration of the Stuarts, it returned again into its original channel. This manor was sold in the year 1798, under the Land-tax redemption act, to John Rogers, Esq. of Penrose, who is the present proprietor." [6]

Some of the family were also found at early time further north at Mearly in Lancashire. "The chief part of the township was granted by Jordan le Rous to Stephen, afterwards called de Merley, whose daughter married Adam de Nowell, and carried the Hall and manor into that family, 38th of Edward III." [7]

And still farther north, Rousay and Eagleshay is a parish, in the North Isles of the county of Orkney, Scotland. [8]

By the time of the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273, the popularity of the name was evident. That rolls included: Alexander le Rous, Cambridgeshire; Juliana la Rouse, Oxfordshire; Alicia Rouze, Cambridgeshire; John le Rus, Lincolnshire; Gilbert Russ, Lincolnshire; and Lucia la Russe, Oxfordshire. [9]

Once more into the archives we delved to find the Assize Rolls for Lancashire listing Wilekin Rous in 1225; John Russe in Wiltshire in 1218; Symon le Rus in the Feet of Fines for Huntingdonshire in 1253; and Margareta le Ruse in Staffordshire in 1285. [10]

Early History of the Rowse family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Rowse research. Another 290 words (21 lines of text) covering the years 1579, 1659, 1608, 1670, 1656, 1730, 1776, 1731, 1411, 1491, 1411, 1574, 1652, 1600, 1579, 1659, 1618, 1680, 1660, 1645, 1626, 1605, 1677, 1653, 1660, 1608, 1676, 1654, 1660 and 1650 are included under the topic Early Rowse History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Rowse 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 Rous, Rouse, Rowse and others.

Early Notables of the Rowse family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was John Rous or Ross (c. 1411-1491), the English antiquary of Warwick, born at Warwick about 1411, was son of Geoffrey Rous, a descendant of the Rowses or Rouses of Brinkelow, Warwickshire; John Russe or Rouse (1574-1652), Bodley's librarian, born in Northamptonshire, Fellow of Oriel College in 1600; Francis Rous (1579-1659), English hymnist, fourth son of Sir Anthony Rous of Halton St. Dominick, Cornwall; John Rous (c 1618-1680), an English politician, Member of...
Another 80 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Rowse Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Rowse 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 Rowse or a variant listed above:

Rowse Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Robert Rowse, who landed in Maryland in 1651 [11]
  • Bridget Rowse, who arrived in Maryland in 1658 [11]
  • Nath Rowse, who arrived in Maryland in 1658 [11]
  • Ann Rowse, who landed in Virginia in 1662 [11]
  • Jone Rowse, who landed in Virginia in 1664 [11]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Rowse Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Edward Rowse, aged 25, who arrived in Maine in 1812 [11]
  • Mr. Henry Rowse, (b. 1832), aged 19, Cornish settler departing from Penzance aboard the ship "Marquis of Chandos" arriving in the United States on 7 June 1851 [12]
  • Mr. Thomas Rowse, (b. 1860), aged 26, Cornish miner departing from Liverpool aboard the ship "Aurania" arriving in New York, USA on 2 August 1886 [12]

Canada Rowse migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Rowse Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. George Rowse U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784 [13]

Australia Rowse migration to Australia +

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

Rowse Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Miss Anne Rowse, (b. 1835), aged 24, Cornish housemaid departing from Plymouth on 23rd February 1859 aboard the ship "Herald" arriving in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on 1st June 1859 [14]
  • Miss Susan Ann Rowse, (b. 1842), aged 20, Cornish settler travelling aboard the ship "Utopia" arriving in Queensland, Australia on 11th November 1862 [15]
  • Mr. William Rowse, (b. 1836), aged 26, Cornish settler travelling aboard the ship "Utopia" arriving in Queensland, Australia on 11th November 1862 [15]
  • Mr. Joseph Rowse, (b. 1847), aged 29, Cornish miner travelling aboard the ship "Star of India" arriving in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia on 16th June 1876 [16]
  • Mrs. Jane Rowse, (b. 1851), aged 25, Cornish settler travelling aboard the ship "Star of India" arriving in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia on 16th June 1876 [16]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Rowse 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:

Rowse Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mrs. Catherine Rowse, (b. 1850), aged 28, Cornish settler departing on 10th July 1878 aboard the ship "Waitangi" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 13th October 1878 [17]
  • Mr. David Rowse, (b. 1877), aged 9 months, Cornish settler departing on 10th July 1878 aboard the ship "Waitangi" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 13th October 1878 [17]
  • Miss Louisa Rowse, (b. 1867), aged 11, Cornish settler departing on 10th July 1878 aboard the ship "Waitangi" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 13th October 1878 [17]
  • Mr. William Chas Rowse, (b. 1875), aged 3, Cornish settler departing on 10th July 1878 aboard the ship "Waitangi" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 13th October 1878 [17]
  • Mr. William Henry Rowse, (b. 1851), aged 27, Cornish farm labourer departing on 10th July 1878 aboard the ship "Waitangi" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 13th October 1878 [17]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Rowse 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. [18]
Rowse Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Thomas Rowse settled with his wife and servants in Barbados in 1680

Contemporary Notables of the name Rowse (post 1700) +

  • Samuel W. Rowse (1822-1901), American illustrator, lithographer, and painter, best known for his drawings of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau
  • Michael Rowse (b. 1948), English born, naturalised citizen of the People's Republic of China, Director-General of InvestHK, a department of the Hong Kong Government
  • Bob Rowse (b. 1926), former Australian rules footballer who played with Melbourne in 1951
  • Herbert James Rowse (1887-1963), English architect from Liverpool, best known for his work in Liverpool, including India Buildings, the entrances to and ventilation towers of the Mersey Tunnel, and the Philharmonic Hall
  • Alfred Leslie "A. L." Rowse CH FRSL FBA FRHistS (1903-1997), Cornish historian, best known for his work on Elizabethan England and his poetry about Cornwall
  • Rowse Babcock, American politician, Rhode Island Presidential Elector for Rhode Island, 1848; Presidential Elector for Rhode Island, 1864 [19]


The Rowse 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: Vescitur Christo
Motto Translation: He feeds on Christ.


  1. ^ Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  2. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  3. ^ Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
  4. ^ Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
  5. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  6. ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  7. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  8. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  9. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  10. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  11. ^ 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)
  12. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 2018, April 30). Emigrants to New York 1820 - 1891 [PDF]. Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_new_york_1820_1891.pdf
  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. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_australia_victoria.pdf
  15. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retreived 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_australia_queensland.pdf
  16. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 2018, April 19). Emigrants to Australia NSW 1860 -88 [PDF]. Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/nsw_passenger_lists_1860_88.pdf
  17. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 2018, April 30). Emigrants to Lyttelton 1858-84 [PDF]. Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/new_zealand_assisted.pdf
  18. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  19. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 19) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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