Knowles Surname Genealogy
knoll, meaning a hill-top, originated from the Old English cnoll
and gave rise to the Knowles surname, a locational surname
describing someone who lived by a hill-top.
Knowles Resources on
Knolle name appeared at various locations in the 13th century, to be
century later by Knolles or Knollys.
Knolles or Knollys was a bowman from Cheshire who rose through the
fighting in France to lead a company of men which pillaged and ravaged
Brittany countryside (the ruined gables of burned buildings came to be
Knolly’s mitres). His one legacy back in
London, the Knollys Rose Ceremony,
fact came about because of actions taken by his wife.
Knollys, probably unrelated, was a grocer who rose to be Mayor
of London in
1399. His descendants rose to political
prominence during Tudor times with Sir Francis Knollys, a prominent
statesman at the time of Queen Elizabeth.
They made their home at Rotherford Greys in Oxfordshire. Much later Knollys courtiers were Sir William
Knollys, comptroller of the Prince of Wales’ household in Victorian
his son Francis, private secretary to both Edward VII and George V.
Another line of Knollys, probably
illegitimate, began with Charles Knowles who joined the Navy and rose
its ranks in the mid 18th century. He
was also, briefly, Governor of Jamaica.
His son, also Charles, commanded ships during the Napoleonic
The Knowles spelling had become the norm in
England by the 17th century.
numbers, according to the 1881 census, were in Lancashire. The most
well-known name there, particularly during the 19th century, was Andrew Knowles.
Andrew Knowles had been born in 1783 into a
family whose mining interests dated back to Elizabethan times and whose
descendants were to dominate the coal mining industry in Lancashire
end of the Victorian era.
name was also prominent in the Lancashire cotton industry.
In 1883 Thomas Knowles patented a balance
estimated to estimate the ‘counts’ of a sample of yarn without the need
calculations or tables. This balance was
a staple of the industry for the next fifty years.
The Knowles name in cotton spinning dated
back to 1800 in Bolton. Knowles Ltd. was
formed as a company in 1904 and it continued to operate until the
1950’s. The 1948 booklet A
Century and a Half of Cotton Spinning by William Crankshaw and
Alfred Blackburn outlined the Knowles’ history.
Ireland. The Gaelic O’Tauthghail sept
sometimes became Newell and sometimes Knowles under English rule; while
number of Knowles from England came and settled in Ireland in the 17th
centuries. Thomas Knowles took over
Cappoge castle near Dublin during Cromwell’s time.
James Knowles, born in Dublin, was the cousin
of the playwright Richard Brinley Sheridan.
A schoolmaster and lexicographer, he brought his family to
1793 where his son, James Sheridan Knowles, made his mark in the
Many Knowles came from the Ballymena area of
county Antrim. The first Knowles there was
apparently a soldier with Cromwell. A
number later emigrated:
left for America in the 1770's and fought on the American side in the
Revolutionary War. He settled in White
county, Tennessee in 1806.
Knowles departed with his family for Lanark county, Ontario in the
two brothers, William and Hugh Knowles,
set off for Australia in the 1890's. William Knowles became a
Knowles still remain in the
area. David Knowles, for instance, runs a
large dairy farm at Cullybacky near Ballymena.
America. Early Knowles in New England were:
Knowles, who arrived as a 25 year old
servant on the Susan and Ellen in
1635 and settled in Rhode Island;
Knowles, a mariner, who arrived in 1638 and made his home on Cape Cod;
John Knowles, who came in 1650 and
settled in Northampton, New Hampshire.
descendants of Richard and John Bowles were outlined in two
by Virginia Hufbauer that came out in the 1970’s.
Edmund Knowles, known as Old
Silverhead, was the progenitor for a sizeable number of the
Knowles in America today. He came in
1699 and settled in what is today Delaware.
Many of his descendants later headed south to North Carolina and
Georgia. A later Edmund Knowles arrived
in Greene county, Georgia in 1788. Some
of these Knowles had moved onto Indiana by 1820.
Knowles name first appeared in Bermuda
in the late 1620’s where Damon Knowles was a tenant farmer and
close on forty years. Some have sought
to connect him with the Knowles who were among the early settlers in
Bahamas in the 1650’s, but there is no clear link.
Knowles, a mulatto plantation owner on Long Island in the
1750’s, was the
first of a growing number of Knowles of white, black and mixed race
in the Bahamas. They have included:
Knowles, a sea captain who went to
Key West in Florida in the late 1880’s. He
and his wife Araminta raised twelve children there.
Many other Knowles followed him from Bahamas in
the next twenty years.
who rose to become the first Chief Justice of the newly independent
Knowles, who moved from Alabama to
Houston and became a music executive. He
managed the group Destiny’s Child and his daughter is the mega-star
Knowles. Mathew is also the father-in-law of the
rapper Jay Z.
Mark Knowles, a doubles
champion in the world of tennis recently retired.
If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:
a leading English courtier and statesman at the
time of Queen Elizabeth.
Sheridan Knowles, Irish-born, was a prominent actor and playwright
London in the early 19th century.
Knowles founded the company of his name which was to dominate coal
in Lancashire during the 19th century.
Knowles is an American mega-star singer.
Her father is of Caribbean Bahamas background, her mother of
- 26,000 in the UK (most numerous
- 11,000 in America (most numerous in Florida)
- 12,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)
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