This interesting surname is of English habitational origin deriving from the Olde English pre 7th Century "stow" meaning a "meeting place", but more specifically a "holy place". The name was originally given to one dwelling by a hermitage, monastery or church. Several places in England are named with this element including Stow Cum Quy in Cambridgeshire (spelt Stoua in the Domesday Book, of 1066). The surname from this source is recorded in the latter half of the 10th Century, (see below). Places called Stow are found in Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and Staffordshire. An interesting namebearer was William Henry Stowe (1825 - 1855), the scholar and journalist, joined the staff of 'The Times' in 1852 and was their correspondant in the crimea, he died of fever at Balaclava. The Coat of Arms is green, a cross ragulee between four leopards faces all gold, the Crest being on a ducal coronet, a leopard's face gold between two green wings. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Winobus de Stoue, which was dated circa 975, "the Book of Ely", Cambridgeshire, during the reign of King Edward, known as the Martyr, 975 - 978. 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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