Lowndes – the family history

Lowndes Arms

Don’t pronounce the ‘de’ with any accent, Lowndes then rhymes with `mounds’ as in `great mounds of buffalo poo spread across the plain’ (i.e. where was it all in Dances with Wolves etc?).

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Lowndes is a Norman* name. Guillaume, Seigneur de Lownde came over with William 1 (the Conqueror, or, as he was known at the time, William the Bastard. Because he was that as well.). de Lownde appears to have been a ‘noble’ or a standard bearer. I can find no certain proof of this origin, though it is known that a grandson was a Standard Bearer. However, some Googling uncovers nine or ten other family names also claiming succession from Norman standard bearers at the Battle of Hastings. Thus, it may well have been a specific rank, eg. one per regiment or equivalent. As well as a de Lownde, there appear to have been:

Standard Bearers at Hastings

  • Thurstan the Standard Bearer‘ or Toustain FitzRolf’ or Toustain Fitz Rou.
    – this character appears to have been ‘the’ personal standard bearer to William.
  • Jaque Brabazon
  • Robert de Todeni – could be the same as;
  • Robert de Tosny, or Tonei, or , later Stafford, later Madeley
  • Ralph de Toeni
  • Whalley / Worley
  • Gilbert Tyson or de Tesson
  • Randulph Peverell
  • Walter Giffard
  • Sylvester de Grimston

Some of these have documented proof, others not (that I have found). Also, the grandson of the original deLownde was a Standard Bearer during the Crusades. de Lounde is not on the Battel Roll but it appears that in general the rank of Standard Bearer did not make it on to that list.

The deLownde family whipped the Anglo Saxons into shape in Cheshire, on the border with Wales. We are all scions of that line.

Alternative theories and other early refs:

From Matt Lownds in Brazil:

  • Lowndes may derive for the Old Norse word for grove “lund” (think that’s a fact I ran across on your site, though I remember being told this by my Dad decades ago.
  • The Norman French word for grove is “londe” (see http://www.viking.no/e/france/lndscpe-place-names.htm ).
  • La Londe is a village outside Caen in Normandy, whose first recorded seigneur (Lord of the Manor?) was one Guillaume in 1113 (see http://www.mairie-la-londe.fr/dhtml/home.php?id=182 ). So maybe, just maybe, he was one and the same as one of the William de Lowndes’ recorded on your site as being a descendent of William the Bastard’s side-kick Guillaume, Seigneur de Lounde (certainly until well into the Plantagenet period it wasn’t unusual for Anglo-Norman nobles to hold land on both sides of the Channel).

Other findings:

The greatest Lowndes was William ‘Ways and Means’ Lowndes, Chancellor of the Exchequer (Secretary to the Treasury) in the early 1700’s in England. He’s closely followed by William Lowndes (from the South Carolina branch) who was a US Senator in the later 1700s (confusingly, he chaired the US ‘Ways and Means’ committee!).

“Take care of the pence, and the pounds will take care of themselves” – William Lowndes

The least great Lowndes (well, OK, Lounds) was a journalist in the US film Manhunter, the predecessor to The Silence of the Lambs. He was tied to a wheelchair, his nose bitten off, after which he was covered with petrol (gas) and set alight. Ho hum.

My own branch of the family must have crossed the border and mixed with the Celts because I come from a line of Clywdian miners. My grandfather took a postal degree and became Secratery to a private Water Company. My father was teacher of English and history.

* The Normans were a group of ‘north-men’ i.e. Norwegens (Vikings) who carved out a small kingdom in northern Gaul (France) in the early 800’s. They became assimilated (Frenchified) and the aristocracy became powerful and friendly to the Anglo-Saxon kings of England. William was promised the throne of England by king Harold’s father (at least, thats what the Normans say), which is why he invaded when Harold took the throne. He must of known about the Danish invasion in the north as it is highly likely that the Norman invasion would have failed under normal circumstances – a hard fight in Yorkshire followed by 3 days forced march is not the best prep. for a fight. Mind you I’m glad the Normans won – otherwise we’d all be French!

I found an early days version of this page in the wayback machine. Spooky.

On to Heraldry...


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