The earliest known use of the Gowlland name  -  1748

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Site last updated on 14th December 2017   -   for details click here

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Dedication and Acknowledgements.


This website is dedicated to the memory of Geoffrey Price Gowlland (1908 – 1974), who for more than fifteen years, during war-time and afterwards, devoted literally hundreds of hours of work to compiling the most complete Family Tree of the Gowllands ever assembled.



Some fifteen years ago his daughter Rosemary took up the task of carrying on his work, using the more up-to-date resources of a computerised database (“Family Tree Maker”), and obtaining information from archives, both national and private, and from the internet.


Additional information has been kindly provided by John Hollingsworth Gowlland (1940 - 2012), Neil Gowlland (1939 - ) and Juliet Phillips (1940 - ).


The website has been put together by Geoffrey’s son John Gowlland.

If you would like any further information regarding anything to do with the Gowlland Family, please contact by e-mail Mrs Rosemary Milton-Thompson (née Gowlland) or John Gowlland.

If you are seeking magnifiers or inspection mirrors, please e-mail to Gowlland Optical Limited, or visit their website; and if you need medical and surgical instruments, please e-mail to Gowllands Limited, or visit their website.

The Gowlland Family, and in particular the direct descendants of the correspondents included herein, assert their rights to the copyright of this web site and all its contents: unauthorised reproduction by any media is specifically forbidden without the written permission of Rosemary Milton-Thompson and/or John Gowlland.



















































Latest alterations to website 


4th October 2017

Details of headstone of John Gowland, and his daughter Elizabeth, in the churchyard of All Saints Church, Findsbury – click here

7th August 2017

1794 baptism record from St Andrews, Canterbury, of William Henry Gowlland, son of Richard Symons Gowlland, published - click here.  He died a few months later.

3rd August 2017

A new family tree has come into our possession, and it is proving very interesting.  There are some obvious errors, but by and large it coincides with ours.atree.jpg

The major departure is that it shows six Gowl(l)and entries predating Joseph Gowland’s 1734 marriage, the point at which all trees and accompanying records begin; and these six entries carry dates.  As will be seen in the extract so far published (click here), they are, in date order, Richard (1529), George (1540), Huimphrey (1611), Stephen (1613), Thomas (1638) and Joseph (1710).  There is no indication as to whether the dates refer to Birth, Marriage or Death; nor the source(s) of the information.

Five of the names are commonly found in subsequent generations of Gowllands but “Humphrey” has not been found elsewhere.  As of today there is no trace of this Humphrey anywhere.  However, there is a Humphrey Gowling of the era and, according to (below) this was used up to the 17th Century as an alternative form of Gowland.  More research is needed on this.

Last name: Gowland

Recorded in several spelling forms including Gowland, Gowlin, Gowling, Gowlling, and possibly others , this deceptively simple name is in fact of complex and conjectural etymology. There are three (at least) possible sources, and all that can be said with relative certainty is that in its modern spelling form it is 17th Century. The first possibility is that the origin is medieval English, and a developed form of "Gulling". This was a nickname diminutive derived from the (sea) gull, and supposedly described one with a pale complexion, however, given the rapacious habits of seagulls, it may have other interpretations. The second possible origin is French Huguenot, from "Gouelin", again a nickname diminutive which translates as "the younger gourmet", from the Old French word "Goulu", a big eater! The third possibility is as a variant form of the popular locational name Gowland, which derives from some "lost" medieval village believed to have been in East Anglia. The name also appears in Devon, but not before May 3rd 1721, when John Gowland married Joan Taylor at Kenn, near Exeter. Interesting recordings from London Church Registers include: Jean Gouelin, a witness at the French Huguenot Church, Threadneedle Street, on March 31st 1678, and William Gowling, the son of Humphrey Gowling, who was christened at St. Botolph's without Aldgate, on October 1st 1690. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger Gulling, which was dated 1203, in the "Pipe Rolls of Hampshire", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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.    Read more:

15th May 2017

Rosemary and John had the very great pleasure of meeting the grandson of Henry Orford Gowlland (1865 – 1928) from Canada, with his delightful partner.  Also John finally overcame the apparently insuperable problems which had prevented publishing new details to the website for many months.

24th July 2016

Mention of a “J H Gowlland” as a prisoner of war in Germany 1043 – 45.  Stalag 357 was occupied mainly by Army detainees, although there were a small number of Air Force personnel.   There used to be a website where individual’s stories about their captivity in this particular camp could be found . Regrettably this disappeared in mid-2017. 



Clearly this is John Hollingsworth Gowlland, who we know flew on some of the most important bombing missions in WW2.  He was very helpful in providing information for us in the early days of developing the website; and we hope it may be possible to add to it a biography of his quite eventful war service.  .

















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