Recorded in many forms including: Gow, Gowan, Gowans, Gowanson, Gowen, Gowing, Goan, Goane, Goance, Guan, and Going, as well as dialectals such as Quogan, Quoane, Quonne, this is a 'British' surname. Logic would suggest that this surname should be more popular than it is because in pre 7th century Olde English and Gaelic it means "smith". However spelt the derivation is from the word "gobha", meaning an iron worker, and it is recorded in Scotland and Ireland as MacGowan and McGowan, meaning the son of the ironworker. In England, Smith as a surname has almost twice the popularity of any other name and yet the highest proportion of all Smiths is to be found in the county of Aberdeen, Scotland! In Scotland the (Mac)Gowan's are regarded as being part of the Clan Chattan, although quite why this should be so, is unclear. Examples of early surname recordings taken from the surving charters and registers of the British Isles include: Alexander Gowansoun, who it is recorded was 'hanged in Dundee' in 1578, although for what crime is not known, Michael Gow, who was arrested in Perth in 1595 for 'raiding', Philip Gowen, a witness at the church of St James Clerkenwell in the city of London on January 6th 1616, Colin Gowin of Tiree, who was denounced as a rebel in 1695, Mary Goan at St Martins in the Field, Westminster, on August 17th 1727, and David Gowing, who was christened at the famous church of St Mary-le-Bone, in the city of London, on January 16th 1785. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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