This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is from an occupational name for a bird-catcher or hunter of wild birds. In the medieval period a fowler would have been an important position, and all major houses would have employed one. The derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th Century "fugelere", hunter of wild birds. Job-descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and later became hereditary. There are several namebearers listed in the "Dictionary of National Biography", many being men of the church, the others tending towards innovation, such as John Fowler (1826 - 1864), who invented the steam plough,in 1858 he received a prize from the Royal Agricultural Society for his steam cultivator, and William Fowler (1761 - 1832), an artist, who was said to have introduced lead lines in representing coloured glass. The name reached the New World in the early 17th Century, when it is recorded that one George Fowler, aged 22 yrs., sailed aboard the "Primrose" in July 1635, bound for Virginia. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Fugelere, which was dated 1218, witness in the "Assize Court Rolls of Lancashire", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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