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By Robert Bain Pub. 1938 ( 4th Ed. 1961 )
Extracts of interest..........
The name Gow is derived from the Gaelic word 'Gobha' meaning blacksmith or armourer, but it may be a shortening of Mac gobhann (MacGowan), 'son of the smith'.
The names Gow and MacGowan are found in connection with several clans - a smith being essential to every clan - but the main Highland branch is believed to be connected with the MacPhersons and the Clan Chattan. This connection is, according to traditional tale, based on an incident said to have taken place at a Clan conflict on the North Inch of Perth in 1396, when Henry Wynd, known as 'an gobh crom' (the crooked smith) - who was immortalised by Sir Walter Scott as Hal o' the Wynd in 'The Fair Maid of Perth' took part in the conflict on behalf of one of the clans. The Gows made their homes chiefly in the shires of Perth and Inverness. The MacGowans appear to be more widely scattered through Scotland and in earlier times were found in Sterling, Glascow, Fife, Dumphries and in the Lowlands.
A clan MacGowan is said to have been located in or near Nithsdale in the 12th Century.
GAELIC NAME Mac S'Ghobhainn
CREST BADGE A cat sejant, proper.
MOTTO Touch not the cat bot a glove

(Touch not the cat without a glove.)


Comments from Peter F. McGowan --

Coats of Arms do not belong to every one in the Clan, but are awarded to a leader, who has applied for one from the Authority who issues them. This C of A can only be used by the owner, and on his death is inherited by his older son, a process that goes on for ever. If the older son dies them the C of A can not be used unless another son applies for and is awarded it. He, the new owner has then to suggest a Charge (or change) to the arms that must be approved by the authority, These charges are, an addition to the original and quite often are added to the top of the Helmet, hence, thistles, swords, animals, etc. added to the picture. 

This is clearly seen in the samples below which are all McGowan ( and Name derivations) Coats of Arms. The one that has a flaming torch was awarded to one group that won a battle, using a nasty trick of appearing down a gully in the middle of the night with torches and catching the enemy fast asleep. Sneaky aye!!!

The McGowans were closely connected to the McPherson clan and they both have the same Motto, and share the same or similar Tartan. 

It is doubtful if there would have been a blood relationship between many of the McGowans, as the original names were regularly given to show what their skill was, ie. Metal worker, sword maker, blacksmith = Gowan or son of, McGowan. It is not possible that the McGowans from the Western Highlands would be blood related to the Lowland Scots using the same name from the Eastern border country. A D.N.A. test of to days various McGowans would, I think, show not too many similarities. 

It is there for plain that we McGowans have no right to legally display a Coat of Arms, as, Grandfather Frank was a second son, Great Grandfather Edward was a third son and I have no idea where Great Great Grand father William came in the family, let alone know where his Father Edward happened to be in the family. 

Written as an opinion by Peter McGowan, ie. by a 2nd son of a 1st son of a 2nd son of a 3rd son of who knows whatever.......

McGown was first used as a surname among the ancient Scottish people known as the Picts. It was a name for a metalworker. The Gaelic form of the name is Mac Ghobhainn, which means son of the smith. 

Spelling variations include: MacGowan, McGowan, MacGowin, McGowin, MacGowen, McGowen, Gow, Gowan, Gowen, Gowin, MacGavin, McGavin and many more. 

First found in Invernessshire where they were seated from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D. 

Some of the first settlers of this name or some of its variants were: Thomas Gowen who settled in Virginia in 1635; James Gowen settled in Annapolis in 1729; Duncan Gowan settled in the Barbados in 1745; John and Walter Gow arrived in New York in 1820. 

(Above is a small excerpt from our 1800 word history) Motto Translated: Don't touch the cat without a glove. Origin Displayed: Scottish 

The name MacPherson began among the people of an ancient Scottish tribe called the Picts. It was a name for a parson. The Gaelic forms of the names are Mac a'Phearsain and Mac a Phearsoin, which mean son of the parson. 

Spelling variations include: MacPherson, McPherson, MacPhersone, Mac a'Phearsoin (Gaelic) and many more. 

First found in Inverness where they were seated from early times and their first records appeared on the early census rolls taken by the early Kings of Britain to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects. 

Some of the first settlers of this name or some of its variants were: Aeneas MacPherson, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1685; Alexander McPherson, who settled in south Carolina in 1716; along with Angus, Daniel, Donald, Duncan, John. 

Following are some of the many Coats of Arms found on the internet. All different, and none that I can discern, can be called the original. Some shonky web sites will make up a C of A, (completely bogus) and sell it to you. 












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