Rowell/Rowle probably derives from “Ruh Hyll”, Old English for “Rough Hill”.

1531 : "King Henry VIII wrote to Cardinal Wolsey requesting him to select ...100 men ... to go to Berwick in time of necessity". Selected from Allendale included George Rowle and Hewghe Rowle. (Source:

“Allendale and Whitfield”, Dickinson.)

Rowells in the Fallowfield Muster Roll (Hexhamshire) of 1538:

“Alix with hors and harness

Geo, Henre, Anton, James with neither hors nor harness Georg, Edward able with hors and harness”

(Source:”History of Northumberland” Volume 4.)

Rowell Grayne Update

I have appended below further details on the English Border Family Rowell, who are most closely associated, by Records, with the Hexhamshire (Allendale) District of Northumberland.

As a percentage of the population the highest concentration of Rowells in an English County is to be found in Northumberland. The Scottish Border Clans of Douglas and Turnbull both "claim" the name Rowell as a Sept, or branch, of their Clan.

Rowells defending the Border

“Places on the middle niches hereafter written by John Eure peticapitan in the absence of Sir William Eure knight lieutenant of said niche by the commandment of Thomas Lorde Dacre to him given by his familiar and trusty svant Cuthbert Heton, gentilman, thought unto the said John most beneficiale for garrysons to be said in as well for defence of the said border as to the annoyance of the Scotts, which townships and places has promised and ar contented to take soldiors to burde that is to say, Heppell - John Bilton, Sande Snaclon & Thomas Johnson XX ti persons - Harbottell - Ann Lighton Hew Green XVIIj - Alwenton - Willm Brown Xlj - iurrodon - John Wardhaugh XIj - Bittlesden - Persevell Selby TX - Scranwood - Sande Layng, John Scroggs, Robert Howey tic George Howy XXXi j - Alnem - Robert Howy, Robert Watson, Willm, Gair & Thomas Mantyll XXX - and between the towns of Scranwood & Alnem X psons - Ingham - George Ogle IX -'Whittingham - Thom Roull, Thomas Tailyor, Cuthbert Dychebum & Thomas Yong XXXVj Unthank - John Unthank Xij at ijs Viij p per week each persons borde” (id. No.216) (Source: A History of Northumberland by John Hodgson, Vol-II P-4.76 Copied from Lord Dacre's Ledger Book for 1523.)

In 1531 King Henry VIII wrote to Cardinal Wolsey requesting him to select 100 men : "The names of such persons as be appointed to go to Berwick in the time of necessity when they be called upon of the regaly of Hexham, belonging [to] my lord Archbishop his grace of York;" viz., in the town of Hexham 19 names; John Heron to find two men for Halyden; in Est Alwende 24 names, and in West Alwend 20; in the forest of Newlands 13; in the Wall 9; in Acom, 9; the prior of Hexham's servants 13 (including 5 men of Gilbert Erington for Erington). Total inaccurately given as "120 persons, whereof the captain to have put back 20 after his discretion, and 100 to have remained."Selected from Allendale included George Rowle and Hewghe Rowle. (Source: “Allendale and Whitfield”, Dickinson.)

In 1538 Allexander Rowll was recorded in the Dotland (Hexham) Muster Roll, “able with hors and harnes.” In 1538 the following Rowells were recorded in the Fallowfield Muster Roll (Hexhamshire) : “Georg Rowll, Herre Rowll, Anton Rowll, Herre Rowll: able with hors and harness. James Rowll; neither hors nor harnes. Georg Rowll, Edward Rowell: able with hors and harnes.” (Source: ”History of Northumberland” Volume 4.)
There was only one Rowell mentioned in the 1580’s Musters in the English Borders. John Rowle, a Horseman, of Orde, in the Muster of Horse on the East March in September 1584. (Source: Calendar of Border Papers, Volume 1 Page 159.)

Reiving and Victims of Reiving

Border Papers, Volume 1, Middle March Bills, for 1590:“Robert Lisley of Hazande and George Karr of Dodington upon Dande Rowle of Bowdoun for reset of 5 kye and oxen. “
“Presentment: William Rowell of le hole howse, yeoman; at le bughe stole one ewe worth 4s., from Ann Bell of Hexham, widow.; George Armstrong of Emley, yeoman, entertained him afterwards on the same day at Emley.” (Source: QSI/1, f90v (458) 21 May 4 James I 1606). Pedants will observe that this was, technically, a reive.

The Rowles in the Grieveships of Allendale, were victims of Reivers raids: “Cuthbert Rewle and George Dawson of Allondale complain upon William Ellott younger of the Steille, and “Martius Gib”, & c., for stealing 9 kye at Easter 1588.” (Calendar of Border papers Volume 1 Page 350.) “Hewghe Rowle and John Rowle of Catton in Allondale complain upon William Ellot called “Will of the Steile” the elder, and his son Will, Andrew Karr man to Robine Ellot and others, for stealing from Catton 30 kye and oxen, 4 horses and meares, and sundry prisoners, Cuthbert Rowle, Clement Troop ( and 15 others named - ransoming them from 13s 4d to 5L, taking their horses, value 40s to 5L, a “slewe dog” price 10L, a sword and spear price 20s) six days after St. Luke’s day 1589.)
(Source: Calendar of Border papers Volume 1 Page 347.)
At nearby Dotland, Robert Roule, amongst others, complained “upon Arche Ellott son to Martin Ellot, James Ellott Martin’s man, Will Ellott of the Steill elder, and Will Elliot younger, Arche “Cowfowle”, Steven and John Scheill for stealing 16 Kye and Oxen, and insight worth 26L sterling, on the 21st January 1588.” (Source: Calendar of Border papers, Volume 1 Page 350.)

Paul Redgate