The Weald of Kent, Surrey and Sussex

The Fowle Family of Riverhall
by William R. Green
published in 2017

 

What follows is the history of a prominent branch of the Fowle family whose name first surfaces with regularity in southeastern England in the 15th Century. Following the Middle Ages there were numerous, undoubtedly related, Fowle families living at scattered locations in Sussex and adjacent Kent. With time the descendants of these families began to scatter, not only in England, but also throughout the world. By the early 17th Century members of the extended Fowle family resided in Massachusetts Colony in the New World, and were living in later times in many corners of the world including India, South Africa, Canada, and Australia (1). In the 19th Century the Fowle branch that is the subject of this paper left England for the then "frontier" of America where they were to prosper.
For more than 25 years the author has attempted to trace the genealogy of one of the more significant branches of the Fowle family, whose residence for a period of nearly 200 years was at Riverhall, located near Wadhurst, Sussex. Currently the study involves data recorded over a span of more than 700 years. What follows then describes this branch before, during, and after its residence in the dwelling for which it became known. Over the years there seems to have been a great deal of interest by numerous Fowles in proving an ancestral tie to the Fowles of Riverhall (1)(2). For the most part these efforts have been made by members of family branches that split from the Fowle Line described here, prior to its tenure at Riverhall.
This, the third edition of an original document of May, 1992, has been significantly updated in several sections thanks to the identification of much new pertinent material and the generous help of some descendants of the Fowle family.
The author has tried to describe this Fowle family in the context of its contemporary history. He makes no pretense at being an historical or genealogical expert. However, by using both published and unpublished information and oral family remembrances, garnished with a certain amount of admitted "license", he has tried his best to portray the lives of the Fowles during the times in which they lived.
Many sources of information have been used in this effort with noted references cited at the end of the paper. By no means did the search for information exhaust all possible sources. More information continues to be identified and it is believed that bits and pieces of additional data concerning the Fowle family are yet to be discovered.
The author has reported upon the continuously recorded Fowle pedigree dating from the 15th Century. He has also devoted a chapter of this paper to scattered data from which conjecture may suggest possible but highly speculative roots of the Fowles in earlier centuries.
The following history then is written for the edification and interest of the Fowle family, their descendants, and others interested in those times and in the places the family inhabited. I invite them one and all, to point out errors or omissions and to generate new information, which will allow an even greater understanding of this ancient and fascinating family.

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