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Cowgills (Other than in America)

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The earliest known references to Cowgill individuals were several families in the general area of Bordley and one in nearby Ilkley parish listed as “de Colgyll” on a tax list of 1379, and as Colgill by 1458. From 1522 the name regularly appears near there as Cowgill, sometimes in variant spellings. By 1600 there appeared to be two distinct Cowgill family groups, one centered near Thornton in Craven and the other near Ilkley. Several Cowgills from the general Thornton line have proven relationships through dna testing, and have also proven relationships (through dna testing) with the American lines originating there in 1682. To date noone from the general Ilkley line has been dna tested, so it is possible, but unlikely, that the two lines (Thornton and Ilkley) are unrelated. The Cowgills remained largely in West Yorkshire and neighboring Lancashire through the 1700s, with the major exception of the one family that left for America (descended from the Edmund in the table below).

As mentioned in the Notes (below), there is some guesswork involved in these trees due to missing or incomplete data, or some families may have foregone birth or death registration in the church in order to avoid the fees for such registrations before civil registration was instituted in 1837. Cases in doubt have been flagged in the text. One especially troubling linkage concerns Thomas Cowgill of Manningham who died childless in 1763, who is postulated as the great-grandson of the Christopher Cowgill b in 1610 (see table below). The entry on Thomas discusses the problems and the available evidence. Hopefully someone will find a land transfer or other document that will clear up this puzzle.

Navigating The Trees

The two tables below outline the primary Thornton in Craven and Ilkley Cowgill family trees, as well as the family head for each of the "stray" lines (i.e., individuals or a family line that cannot, as yet, be linked to a specific tree). Clicking on the underlined names will take you to a detailed tree on that line on another page. Once on a page it can be searched by going to your browser's Edit function and selecting Find. There is a complete site search capability on the Home page.

The Cowgill Family Tree

The Home page has more background on the origin of the Cowgill surname and its likely place-name location.

The poll tax of 1379 contains the first known references to the Cowgill family. It listed four separate families, all of them resident in Yorkshire:

1379 Robert de Colgill, a married man living in Threshfield, Linton in Craven Parish
John (Johannes) de Colgyll and Alice (Alicia) de Colgyll, both single and living in Arncliffe,
Thomas Golgyll (sic) an unmarried man living in Malham, Kirkby Malhamdale Parish
John (Johannes) de Colgyll, a married man living in Nesfield, Ilkley Parish

There were no Cowgills in other counties.

The John at Nesfield is probably the same individual mentioned in the Ilkley Court Rolls for 1401 as owing "servive to Lord's mill". A Thomas Colgill, possibly a son of John, is mentioned in Ilkley Court Rolls for 1458. Separately, but possibly a son of Thomas, is a John Colgill who d 1521 at Ilkley leaving a will. His children appear in subsequent records as Cowgills. These are the known beginnings of what will be called the Ilkley line.

The Loan Book of 1522/3 (see Early Tudor Craven : subsidies and assessments, 1510-1547, Hoyle, Richard W., 1985) lists two Cowgills:

Brian Cowgill in East Marton as tenant to Lord Clifford, 6s 8d (in Loan Book of 1522);
John Cowgill in Gargrave as tenant to Richard Lester (probably Lister), 6s 8d (in Loan Book of 1523)

Robert Cowgill, bur 5 Feb 1586/7? (the smudged parish register entry appears to be “R-----“; apparently for an adult, but could be for Rosamund, dau of Bryan/Brian), Thornton in Craven, m Ann ____, bur 17 Feb 1566, Thornton in Craven. Robert was listed on a Lay Subsidy Roll of 1543 for Thornton in Craven. Is he father of Richard Cowgill?

A Richard Cowgill, bur 16 Feb 1618/19, at Thornton in Craven, is a possible son of Robert and the beginning of the known Thornton in Craven line.

Family Head Year Born Year Died Known Children/Comments
Thornton in Craven Line
Richard Cowgill 15?? 1619 Bryan, Agnes (1), James, Ann, Ellen, Agnes (2), William

Bryan 1540s 1599 Rosamund, Bartholomew, John, Barbara, Robert, Emery, Christopher, Alice, William, Margaret, Mary
Rosamund 1567 ???? data on her father's page

Bartholomew 1570 1637 Martin, Barbara, Bryan, Helena, Jonathan, John, Joseph
Martin 1600 1664 Jane, Anna, Martin (1st), Martin (2nd), Margaretta, Joseph - see Bartholomew's page
Barbara 1602 1610 data on her father's page
Bryan 1604 1673 none known - see Bartholomew's page
Helena 1606 1606 data on her father's page
Jonathan ca 1608 1679 Jane, John - see Bartholomew's page
John 1610 1662? Christopher (1st), Christopher (2nd) , Agnes (?), John - see Bartholomew's page
Joseph  1616 1696 James, Bartholomew, Mary, Ann, unknown son, Abraham, Susanna, Jennett(?) - see Bartholomew's page

John 1572 1634 Edmund, John, James, William, Christopher, Elizabeth
Edmund 1602 1642 John, Edmund, James (or Jacob) - see John's page
John 1604 1692 Bartholomew, Mary, Jonathan, Jane, Margaret - see John's page
James 1606 ???? Elizabeth, Jennett - see John's page
William 1607 1672 John, Edward, Isabel, Alice, William - see John's page
Christopher 1610 1633 James, Christopher (?), John (?) - see John's page
Elizabeth 1619 ???? data on her father's page
Barbara 1574 ???? data on her father's page
Robert 1576 1652 Ambrose
Ambrose 1612 1677 John, Robert, Anne, William, Margaret - see Robert's page
Emery 1579 ???? Ann; Emery's data on his father's page

Christopher 1583 1640s(?) dau, William, Brian

dau 1620 ???? data on her father's page
William 1621 1698 none, if correct William (see text) - see Christopher's page
Brian 1625 1716 Jane, Francis, Ann, Mary, Jonathan, Rosamund, William - see Christopher's page
Alice 1586 1587 data on her father's page
William 1588 1640s(?) Robert, James (?), Christopher, William, Alice; data on his father's page
Robert 1632 ca 1671 none
James(?) 1635 1671 none known
Christopher 1637 1683 none known
William 1639 1639
Alice 1642 ????
Margaret 1605 ???? data on her father's page
Mary ???? ???? data on her father's page
Agnes(1) ???? ???? data on her father's (Richard's) page

James ???? ???? Richard, Margaret, dau, John, Bryan, Ann(e), Christopher, Barbara, Genett
Richard 1622 1675 none known; data on his father's page
Margaret 1624 ???? data on her father's page
dau 1625 ???? data on her father's page
John 1627 ???? unknown

Bryan 1628 1705 Richard, Elizabeth, Agnes, Margaret, Mary, Alice, Bryan, Ellen (1st), Ellen (2nd)
Richard ???? ???? unknown; see data on his father's page
Elizabeth ???? 1656 data on her father's page
Agnes 1660 1682 data on her father's page
Margaret 1663 1699 data on her father's page
Mary 1666 1730 data on her father's page
Alice 1668 ???? data on her father's page
Bryan 1671 1752 Mary (1st), William, Mary (2nd), James, Margaret, Susanna, Grace, Ellen, Mary (3rd), John, Jonas; data on his father's page
Ellen (1st) 1674 1674 data on her father's page
Ellen (2nd) 1677 1699 data on her father's page
Ann(e) 1632 ???? data on her father's page
Christopher 1634 1677? Jennet, Elizabeth, Mary (Marie), Priscilla, Margaret, John; data on his father's page
Jennet ???? ????
Elizabeth ???? ????
Mary ???? ????
Priscilla ???? ????
Margaret 1656 ????
John ???? 1727 none known
Barbara 1636 ???? data on her father's page
Genett 1638 1710 data on her father's page
Ann 1597 ???? data on her father's (Richard's) page
Ellen 1600 ???? data on her father's (Richard's) page
Agnes(2) 1605 ???? data on her father's (Richard's) page
William ???? 1658 none, if correct William (see text on his father's page); data on Richard's page
Ilkley Line
John Colgill all entries on Ilkley Line page 14?? 1521 William, Elizabeth
William Cowgill
15?? 1588 John, Jane
15?? 1661 Margaret, Thomas (?), Francis (son), Frances (dau), Joan, William, Henry, John;
Thomas ???? 1626 Thomas, Frances
Francis ???? ???? John, Lewis, Ann, William, Francis
Frances 1600 1600
Joan 1600 1600
William 1602 1658 none known
Henry 1605 1662 none known
John 1609 1628 none known
1587 ????
???? ????

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List of Strays (unlinked lines)

Family Head Year Born Year Died Known Children Comments
Jonathan Cowgill ca 1768 1827 Eliza, Thomas, Sarah no birth record; was a butcher in Huddersfield.
Eliza Cowgill 1807 1825? “reputed child” of Jonathan Cowgill and Martha Catton
Thomas Cowgill 1808 1870 Jonathan, William, Benjamin, John, Martha, George “reputed child” of Jonathan Cowgill and Martha Catton
Sarah Cowgill 1810 18?? included Jonathan Cowgill Clifford “reputed child” of Jonathan Cowgill and Martha Catton
John Cowgill* ???? 1768 Joseph, Ellen, John, Ann, Eleanor, Sarah May be Coghill
Joseph Cowgill 1734 1783 Elizabeth, John, Ellin, Joseph (1st), Ruth, Richard, Joseph (2nd), James, Joseph (3rd)
Ellen Cowgill 1736 1736 as Coggill
John Cowgill 1737 ???? as Coggill
Ann Cowgill 1740 ????
Eleanor Cowgill 1745 ????
Sarah Cowgill ???? 1763

* This line may well be a branch of the Coghill or Cogill family. Need DNA to link to Cowgills. The Coghill family had a branch in this area before 1600.

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Arch          - archives
b               - born, date of birth
bapt          - baptized or christened
bur            - buried, place of burial
d               - died, date of death
dau            - daughter
div             - divorced
m               - married, date of marriage

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