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.

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amanda knowles

From Nashville tn

Reginald Knowles

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!

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!

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

Chris Knowles
There are a lot of Knowles in Lancashire, England. I'm one!

carla knowles

my grandma was a Knowles by birth,.. born Audenshaw-Denton area, could we be related do you think?


Chris, I'm one also by way of Edmund "Old Silverhead" Knowles.

Tom try this

Does anyone know how Knowles got in the Bahamas?

Google Knowles Sea Captain and he should come up, from what I read There was a sea captain from Nova Scotia who went to Bahamas and married a woman there, they had several children, she died I think and he remarried another Bahamian woman (black) and he returned to Nova Scotia. He was actually a governor in Bahamas and when he returned to Nova Scotia he became Governor there. There is also a Knowles Island in Nova Scotia. If you google all these details you should come up with an answer to your question, Good Luck!

A. Knowles
There is also some information regarding the Knowles that were American colonists in the Virginia and/or Carolinas that were Loyalists to the British crown. After the American Revolutionary War, they moved to the Bahamas, as it was a British holding. They settled there and that is where my family is from!

Pat Knowles
Robert knowles my gr grandad arrived king williams town 1848 and his daughter kathleen was my grand mo and she had my dad ronald william frome willy banks and then married peter banks his brother. Her mom was a rosa hunter and im looking for any fam info-kathleen died 70's aged 66? Can remember her but would love pic of her-i apparently look like her!

Lily Knowles
i am always looking for my roots, therefore, i research my name quite often. i knew that knowles meant "one that lives on a hill" , but my sister is really short so it is funny to find that the base word was used to describe short people:)