Stow History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient roots of the Stow family name are in the Anglo-Saxon culture. The name Stow comes from when the family lived in one of the many English places called Stow. However, in Worcestershire, the Old English word stow, which means place, or more specifically, holy place, was retained as part of the common vocabulary of Old English. [1]

Experts theorize that in this county, the surname Stow alludes to residence by a monastery or church. Thus, the surname Stow belongs to both the large category of Anglo-Saxon habitation names, which are derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads, and the class of topographic surnames, which were given to people who resided near physical features such as hills, streams, churches, or types of trees.

Early Origins of the Stow family

The surname Stow was first found in Cambridgeshire. Although the name has long existed as both a place and personal name in various counties, including Cambridgeshire, Essex, Gloucestershire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Shropshire, and Suffolk.

Stow Fair was a medieval fair inaugurated in 1233 and held on the 23rd of June each year at a place now called Stow Green Hill in Lincolnshire. The fair continued through the centuries until 1954. Stowe or Stow is also a small village and civil parish in Shropshire, England.

One branch of the family was found at Bedingham in Norfolk. "The church [of Bedingham] consists of a nave, chancel, and aisles, with a chapel at the east end of each aisle, and a circular tower the upper part of which is octagonal; the font is curiously sculptured, and in the chancel are some handsome monuments to the Stow family." [2]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 had the following early entries: Baldwin de Stow, Cambridgeshire; Warin de Stowe, Cambridgeshire; Fulk de Stow, Lincolnshire; and Oda de Stow, Lincolnshire. Over 100 years later, Ricardus de Stowe was listed in the Yorkshires Poll Tax Rolls of 1379. [3]

Cheshire was an early family seat of the family and it is here that records predate the Cambridgeshire entries. The Saxon Wlnobus de Sloue was listed here c. 975 and the Pipe Rolls of 1190 list Osbert de Stowa. [4]

Farther to the north in Scotland, "there is a parish of this name in Midlothian. Johan de Stowe, persone of the church of Gleinkerny in the Meirnes, rendered homage [to King Edward I of England in] 1296. Adam Stowe was one of an inquest in Dundee, 1321. " [5]

Interestingly, Stow is a parish, in the union of Gainsborough, wapentake of Well, parts of Lindsey in Lincolnshire. "This place is generally supposed to have been the Sidnacester of the Romans, and the seat of a Saxon bishopric from about 678 to 959. The ancient Watlingstreet passes near. A nunnery was founded by Godiva, wife of Leofric, Earl of Mercia, who also, with her husband, greatly augmented the revenue of Stow church, which had been built and endowed for secular priests by Eadnorth, Bishop of Dorchester." [2]

The Stout variant is most interesting in that the name and its variants were initially found at opposite ends of ancient England. To the north, Osbert Stute, Stutte was listed in the Pipe Rolls for Yorkshire in 1190-1191 while Hanry atte Stoute was found in Devon in 1330 where "Henry lived at Stout Farm in Yarcombe." [4]

Other early rolls listed William Stutte, Stute, le Estut, Stut in the Assize Rolls for Lincolnshire in 1219 and later in the Assize Rolls for Worcestershire in 1221. William Estoute was found in the Subsidy Rolls for Sussex in 1327. [4]

The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed two from the family: Willelmus Stoute; and Johannes Stoute as both holding lands there at that time. [3]

Early History of the Stow family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Stow research. Another 182 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1190, 1315, 1602, 1601, 1588, 1907, 1891, 1953, 1525, 1605, 1525, 1544, 1793, 1864, 1793 and 1816 are included under the topic Early Stow History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Stow Spelling Variations

One relatively recent invention that did much to standardize English spelling was the printing press. However, before its invention even the most literate people recorded their names according to sound rather than spelling. The spelling variations under which the name Stow has appeared include Stow, Stowe, Stoue and others.

Early Notables of the Stow family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include John Stow (c. 1525-1605), English chronicler and antiquarian who has left us some of the most valuable accounts of life in London and England in the 16th century. He was born about 1525 in the parish of St. Michael, Cornhill, London, of which his father and grandfather were parishioners. "He describes himself in his youth as fetching milk 'hot from the kine' from a farm in the Minories. In early life he followed the trade of a tailor, which was doubtless his father's occupation. In 1544 a false charge, which is not defined, was brought...
Another 145 words (10 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Stow Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Stow migration to the United States +

At this time, the shores of the New World beckoned many English families that felt that the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. Thousands left England at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. A great portion of these settlers never survived the journey and even a greater number arrived sick, starving, and without a penny. The survivors, however, were often greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. These English settlers made significant contributions to those colonies that would eventually become the United States and Canada. An examination of early immigration records and passenger ship lists revealed that people bearing the name Stow arrived in North America very early:

Stow Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Richard Stow, who landed in Massachusetts in 1630 [6]
  • Jo Stow, aged 40, who arrived in New England in 1635 [6]
  • John Stow, who landed in New England in 1636 [6]
  • Thomas Stow, who landed in Braintree, Massachusetts in 1638 [6]
  • William Stow, who arrived in Hampton, NH in 1638 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Stow Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Abraham Stow, a bonded passenger, who arrived in America in 1775
Stow Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • E Stow, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850 [6]

Australia Stow migration to Australia +

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

Stow Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Samuel Stow, English convict from London, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on September 3rd, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Australia [7]
  • Augustine Stow, who arrived in Kangaroo Island aboard the ship "Hartley" in 1837 [8]
  • Jefferson Pickman Stow, who arrived in Kangaroo Island aboard the ship "Hartley" in 1837 [8]
  • Elizabeth Stow, who arrived in Kangaroo Island aboard the ship "Hartley" in 1837 [8]
  • Randolph Stow, who arrived in Kangaroo Island aboard the ship "Hartley" in 1837 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Stow 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:

Stow Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Miss Susan Stow, (b. 1846), aged 13, British domestic servant travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Regina" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 4th December 1859 [9]
  • Mr. John Stow, (b. 1833), aged 30, English farm labourer from Suffolk travelling from London aboard the ship "Tiptree" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 20th January 1864 [9]

West Indies Stow 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. [10]
Stow Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Samvel Stow, aged 17, who landed in Barbados in 1635 [6]

Contemporary Notables of the name Stow (post 1700) +

  • James Stow (1790-1820), English engraver, born near Maidstone, Kent about 1770, son of a labourer
  • David Stow (1793-1864), Scottish educationalist and pioneer of coeducation of the sexes
  • David Stow Adam (1859-1925), Australian theologian

Pan Am Flight 103 (Lockerbie)
  • James Ralph Stow (1939-1988), American Businessman from New York, New York, America, who flew aboard the Pan Am Flight 103 from Frankfurt to Detroit, known as the Lockerbie bombing in 1988 and died [11]


  1. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  5. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  6. ^ 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)
  7. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Asia 1 voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1820 with 192 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1820
  8. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) HARTLEY 1837. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1837Hartley.htm
  9. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  10. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  11. ^ Pan Am Flight 103's victims: A list of those killed 25 years ago | syracuse.com. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2013/12/pan_am_flight_103s_victims_a_list_of_those_killed_25_years_ago.html


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