Show ContentsTower History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The vast movement of people that followed the Norman Conquest of England of 1066 brought the Tower family name to the British Isles. They lived in Lancashire. Tower indicates that the original bearer lived in the tower of a castle. [1] In Normandy, the name was originally "De Tours, [having] descended from the Umfrevilles of Normandy, Barons of Prudhoe." [2] [3]

Early Origins of the Tower family

The surname Tower was first found in Lancashire where they held a family seat from ancient times, and were the Lords of the manor of Lowick or Lofwick. William of Tours accompanied William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings, and was granted estates under tenant in Chief, the Baron of Kendall. Some branches of this distinguished line remained in Lancashire, while others branched south to Sowerby in Lincolnshire, and Isle of Ely. Others of this family adopted the name Lowick and Lofwick and remained in Lancashire.

"William de Lancaster, first Baron of Kendal, granted certain lands here, temp. Henry II., to the Towers family, who conveyed them to the Lofwics in the reign of John. The estate was held by the Lofwics until it passed by marriage, in the reign of Henry VI." [4]

Gilbert le Tower was one of the first entries for the family in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273. [5]

Further to the north in Scotland, "the family of Towers of Inverleith descended from Walter Towers, a Frenchman, merchant in Edinburgh in the reign of David II and William de Tours, vallet of Scotland, was made prisoner in a battle on the March of Scotland, 1359." [6]

Early History of the Tower family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Tower research. Another 199 words (14 lines of text) covering the years 1352, 1640, 1633, 1423, 1457, 1462, 1508, 1558, 1605 and 1649 are included under the topic Early Tower History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Tower 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 Tower, Towers, Toure, Toures, Lowick, Lofwick and others.

Early Notables of the Tower family (pre 1700)

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

Tower Ranking

In the United States, the name Tower is the 5,077th most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. [7]

Ireland Migration of the Tower family to Ireland

Some of the Tower family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 32 words (2 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Tower 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 Tower or a variant listed above:

Tower Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Tower, who settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1637
  • John Tower, who arrived in Hingham, Massachusetts in 1637 [8]
  • Francis Tower, who arrived in Maryland in 1638 [8]
  • John Tower, who settled in New England with five children in 1641
  • Robert Tower, who landed in Virginia in 1650 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Tower Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • James Tower, aged 22, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1805 [8]
  • Mary Tower, who arrived in New York in 1808 [8]
  • Catharine Tower, who landed in New York in 1808 [8]
  • Ann Tower, who arrived in New York in 1808 [8]
  • Peggy Tower, who arrived in New York in 1808 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Tower migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Tower Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Jos Tower, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1760

Australia Tower migration to Australia +

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

Tower Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Elizabeth Tower, aged 31, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lysander" in 1851 [9]
  • Peter Tower, aged 22, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lysander" in 1851 [9]

Contemporary Notables of the name Tower (post 1700) +

  • Elizabeth C. "Liz" Tower (1920-2013), American artist and philanthropist
  • Zealous Bates Tower (1819-1900), American soldier and civil engineer who served as a general in the Union Army during the American Civil War
  • William Lawrence Tower (b. 1872), American zoologist
  • John Goodwin Tower (1925-1991), American politician, eponym of the Tower Commission that investigated the Iran-Contra Affair
  • Joan Tower (b. 1938), American composer of classical music
  • Charlemagne Tower Jr. (1848-1923), American diplomat
  • Mr. William John Tower M.B.E., British Major for the Coldstream Guards was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire on 17th June 2017
  • Major General Philip Thomas Tower CB, DSO, MBE (1917-2006), British former commander of Royal Military College, Sandhurst
  • Alan Tower Waterman (1892-1967), American physicist, eponym of the Alan T. Waterman Award and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom

HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. M Tower, British Stoker 2nd Class, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales (1941) and survived the sinking [10]

  1. Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
  2. 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)
  3. Barber, Henry, British Family Names London: Elliot Stock, 62 Paternoster Row, 1894. Print.
  4. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  5. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  6. 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)
  7. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  8. 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)
  9. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) LYSANDER 1851. Retrieved
  10. HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from on Facebook