My next interesting ancestor is from the late Tudor period and early Stuart period. At this point the Lowmans of Devon were part of the gentry – they didn’t have any official titles as far as I can work out (like Earl or Duke), but they owned land and came from a long line of wealth with a coat of arms. The Lowman’s appear to be an ancient wealthy family going back pre-Norman conquest, but I cannot really find anything online pre Phillip’s grandfather Thomas, born in 1502. The area they lived in Devon has a village called Uplowman on the river Lowman, so I suspect that’s their ancestral seat but I think I’ll need to go to Devon and look at actual archives to find anything further.
The records of the Lowman’s in the 1500s is pretty patchy in the marriage/birth/death records, but luckily Henry St George wrote a book called ‘Visitation of the county of Devon in the year 1620‘ in 1620 covering the Lowman family:
Some other sources contained dates to piece it all together. Our Phillip here is the first entry on the middle row – Phillip Lowman of Whitestone.
Phillip is the only one where I found some extra information – I found the house he bought in 1596, which still exists today – Sutton Barton Farmhouse, now a luxury self catering holiday home. The history page mentions that ‘About the year 1600, Peter Franklyn, Esq., sold part of the estate, but retained the house of Sutton Lucy and a portion of the manor lands.’ He actually sold this to Phillip in 1596. The Farmhouse still has a fireplace from 1591 – I find it crazy that something still exists that my 11th great grandfather may have touched!
His wife, Anne/Agnis was the daughter of John Giles of Bowden – an MP for Totnes and Bowden in Devon in 1586. John Giles was the grandson of another John Giles, mayor of Totnes 1517-18, reputedly the wealthiest merchant in Devon. John senior, born in 1476, is the oldest ancestor I can find with reliable dates. I cannot find any dates for his father, also called John (they were so inventive with names back then…).
It’s hard to tell what happened to the Lowman’s – by the late 18th century they weren’t rich, and my ancestor Josiah/Josias moved from Devon to London. His son was a butcher, grandson a fisherman then missionary and generally appeared to be working class Londoners.