This is an attempt to document some of the history of the Brownlow family. Follow the links in this page to find out more about individual topics or return to the contents page to navigate.

Although the spelling of the name after about 1750 is Brownlow, prior to this time most people were illiterate and so the name is spelt in many ways, the most common alternatives being Brownlowe, Brownloe and Brownley.

The name Brownlow is of Anglo-Saxon origin and is of two parts, Brown (descriptive) and Lowe (topographical). Lowe is a small hill and so the name was possibly given to a family living on a small hill covered with bracken, giving it a brown colour.

Coat of Arms

The family seems long to have existed in England, for in 1325 a certain William de Brounley was one of those who accompanied Edward II on an expedition to Flanders.

Belton House Belton House The family has long been associated with the English and Irish nobility. Richard Brownlow (1553-1638) was granted arms in 1593 and his son 'Old' Sir John Brownlow (1590-1679) was the first Baronet of Belton in England. 'Young' Sir John Brownlow (1659-1697) built the family seat "Belton House". Lord Brownlow is descended from this family.
Another John Brownlow of Nottingham moved to Ireland in 1610 and his son Sir William Brownlow was knighted in 1622 and from this family Lord Lurgan is descended. In 1839 Charles Brownlow was raised to the peerage as the first Lord Lurgan and he built "Brownlow House" (alias "Lurgan Castle"). It is likely that the Irish and English branches of the family are related but this has not been proved without doubt. Brownlow House Brownlow House

Research has been carried out by many people. Lady Elizabeth Cust has published "The Records of the Cust Family Series II – The Brownlows of Belton, 1909" and she refers to a manuscript document written in 1855 by the Reverend John Brownlow (1795-1890). Unfortunately this document seems to have been lost, however, the author does have a copy of a family tree compiled in accordance with the manuscript. Some details have been extracted from this and embellished with information from Lady Cust's book and some details of the Irish family. An assumption has been made that the Irish family is descended from John Brownlowe of Nottingham.

The author has researched his own family and some of these details are included. There is a common link between John Brownley (1649-1716) of Dunham and the same person according to the Reverend John Brownlow but there are some discrepancies. Lady Elizabeth Cust also questions this early history.

A considerable amount of information has been collected by Joyce Brownlow of the Wirral (UK) and by Rodger Brownlow of Lincolnshire (UK) and it is hoped to include some of this soon. Some additional information was provided by David Brownlee of Southampton (UK) and David Brownlow of Georgia (USA). Other people who are researching the Brownlow name include Michael Brownlow in Australia and Bette Brownlow in the USA. Some other information is included from David Macadam of UK. If you have any further information about the Brownlow family please send an Email to Mike Brownlow of London (UK).

Mike Brownlow 1998