Last name: Knowles

Recorded in several forms as shown in the recordings below, this ancient and very English name is either topographical or just possibly a nickname. Taking the former, it derives from the pre 7th century word "cnoll", or the Middle English "knol", both meaning a hill top, and hence describing a person who lived at such a place. Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided obvious and convenient distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages. A second possible origin is that it may be a nickname surname, since there are references in ancient records to the personal name of "Cnoll". This was used in the transferred sense of a short, stout person. Early recordings of the surname from both sources include: Robert de la Cnolle of Devonshire in 1185; Thomas Knolle of Cambridgeshire in 1279; and William atte Knowle of Sussex in 1296. Henry Knowles was an early emigrant to the American colonies, leaving London on the ship "Susan and Ellin" in April 1635, bound for Virginia colony. An early coat of arms has the blazon of a blue field, charged with a hawk seizing a partridge, and on the chief three blue bird. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Christopher Knolles. This was dated 1407, in the "Register of the Freemen of the City of York", during the reign of Henry 1V, known as "Henry of Bolingbroke", 1399 - 1413. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

© Copyright: Name Origin Research 1980 - 2017

Surname Scroll

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karen knowles
I'm a Knowles too. My grand parents are from England!

Dan Hill
I am a Knowles too. In my research, It was spelled so differently over time such as Knol, Knole, Knowells, Knolls and more. My family is from Devon!

Sharyn Farnaby
I am a Knowles by birth and that side of the family came from Cornwall. Interestingly I am always happiest living on a hill (and almost always have done so) as I am terrified of flooding. But I am tall - not short and stout!

Reginald Knowles

amanda knowles

From Nashville tn

Im the only Knowles from Manchester,England,my family came from Yorkshire but don't know how to trace or contact anyone from my family tree??

Maxwell Knowles
I'm from near Manchester England and also very tall but I have never lived on a hill...

Jasmine Knowles
I am a knowles born in The Bahamas.

Judith Knowles
This was my maiden name. My father was Floyd Marcus Knowles. I was born in Miami Fl.

Terry knowles
Both my parents are from England. Henry Douglas Knowles is dad. Rita Wilson is mom . Born in Yorkshire England

Carl knowles
Very interesting.. might a knowles who is quite short ..5'9 and rugby stock so stout..and my family home was at the top of a hill.. I live on the top of a hill now.. I've traced our family back through Yorkshire and I think it's Lancaster origin.. earliest coat of arms is from a medieval book.. canr remember the name but a really good read

Graham Knowles
All our Knowles's are from Aberdeenshire in Scotland.

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