Though his surname is not "Fowler", Henry I is included here as an example of usage of the term in relation to a name prior to the broad introduction of surnames in Europe
Henry the Fowler, or Henry I of Germany (861–936), Duke of Saxony and King of the Germans
Richard Fowler of Foxley, English commanding officer during the Third Crusade.
The early traces of the name of Fowler date from the time when savage invaders from the northern areas of Europe altered the history and the map of Europe by their invasions and raids of what is now France and England. The name Fowler comes from the Anglo-Saxon 'Fugal", meaning fowl. It is of Anglo-Norman origin, however most of the Fowlers in America are of English descent.
Henry the Fowler became King Henry I of Saxony in 919. He united the Saxons and the Franks into what is now Germany. Some of his descendants were such good warriors that the King of France, impressed with their fighting activities and bravery offered them the area of France known as Normandy today if they would fight his battles. Many of the Fowlers had taken part in the invasion of France under the Norseman, Rolfe, about 927. In 1066 at the Battle of Hastings many Fowlers accompanied the Duke of Normandy, called William The Conqueror, and later William I, of England, when the Normans defeated King Harold. Fowlers helped to put down the powerful earls trying to revolt against the new king. They helped to build castles uniting the new kingdom where a semi-barbaric country existed before. The king demoted the earls, promoted education and set up a form of taxation. It is in these early records of taxation in England that the name Fowler first appears. Agents of the king were sent through the countryside to make land and personal property appraisals of all his subjects. The results of these inquiries were listed in the Domesday Book of 1086. This record has become an invaluable historical source today for the names of early property owners in England, and the property of the Fowlers were among those first listed.
In 1191 in Buckinghamshire, England, Richard Fowler of Foxley, accompanied King Richard the Lion Hearted to Palestine during the Third Crusade. Richard Fowler came into prominence at this time when he took with him and maintained during this crusade a body of British bowmen, all of whom were his won tenants at Buckinghamshire. This crusade was described as a glorious but fruitless effort to recover Palestine from the Saracens, however, Richard Fowler's services were considered so brilliant that the King knighted him and bestowed upon him the crest with the Fowler coat-of-arms, and a grant of land in Abbey-Cwyn-hir in England. The Fowlers of America are considered direct descendants of Sir Richard of Foxley, the hero of the third Crusade.
It was during the Third Crusade that the Fowler coat-of-arms came into existence. Tradition has it that Richard Fowler trained his company of bowmen in the skilled use of bow and spear. At Acre, near Jerusalem, a crucial stage had been reached by the Crusaders in 1191 when the Infidels surprised the camp one night. Richard Fowler and his skilled bowmen were keeping watch and through their gallant fighting, held the Infidels at bay until the rest of the army had been awakened, thus saving the forces of Richard Couer-de-Leon from destruction. In reward for his service Richard Fowler was created nobleman and received with this honor a large grant of land and of course the privilege of a coat-of-arms. The Fowler coat bears a helmet of silver, representing nobility; above the helmet is a wreath—symbol of chivalry, the emblem presented the favorite knight by a lance during a tournament.
The silver flourishings behind the helmet represent the crest of honor, while the blue flourishings represent the mantle flowing from the helmet for protection. The silver ends of the mantle also represent protection. The shield is blue and bears three lions--"Passant and Guardant"—two on the upper part of the shield and one on the lower, also bears silver chevrons upon which are three crosses. The chevrons were devrived from the war saddle and crosses represent military distinction. The motto is "Sapiens Qui Vigilat," meaning "It is the wise one who watches." The Fowler coat-of-arms, Burks periods, and is registered with the Institute of American Genealogy.
The "Fowler" surname evolved from an original use of "Fugelere" in the early 13th Century. The surname is uncommon in the United States, appearing with a rank of 250 in the 1990 Census and a rank of 267 in the 2000 Census, 27½% of the American population being accounted for surnames in the ranks of 1 to 250. In 19th Century England, "Fowler" was widespread, appearing in 35 of the 39 historic counties, with higher density in the north of England, in the 1891 Census of England and Wales. Meanwhile, in 19th Century United States, "Fowler" appears in every surveyed state in both the 1880 US Census and 1840 US Census, showing a higher concentration in New York state in each case.
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