This name was a baptismal name 'the son of Hugh'. The name was derived from the Old English word 'hoh' and also meant the dweller by the projecting piece of land. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. Early records of the name mention Roger del Howes, 1273 County Cambridge. Richard del Howes was documented in the year 1273 in the County of Sussex. William de Howe of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. A notable member of the name was Elias Howe (1819-67) the American inventor, born in Spencer, Massachusetts. He worked as a mechanic in Lowell and Boston, where he constructed and patented in 1846, the first sewing machine. He made an unsuccessful visit to England to introduce his invention and, in returning in 1847 to Boston, found his patent had been infringed. Harassed by poverty, he entered on seven year's war of litigation to protect his rights, and was ultimately successful in 1854, and amassed a fortune. It was a popular given name among the Normans in England, partly due to the fame of St. Hugh of Lincoln (1140-1200) who was born in Burgundy and who established the first Carthusian monastery in England. The name was also used in honour of St. Hugh of Cluny (1024-1109). In Scotland the name has been widely used as an equivalent of the Celtic Aodh meaning 'Fire'. The French Romantic novelist Victor Hugo (1802-85) was the grandson of a carpenter born in Nancy. The name is common in this form in Lorraine. Hugo himself claims descent from illustrious forebears of this name, such as Pierre-Antoine Hugo, born in 1532, who was Privy Counsellor to the Grand Duke of Lorraine, and a Louis Hugo who was a bishop. Christiaan Huygens (1629-95) who first formulated the wave theory of light, was a member of a prominent Dutch family; his grandfather, father and brother were all in the service of the Dutch royal family. His father Constantin (1596-1687) was an equally distinguished 17th century classical Dutch scholar, and knighted by James I.
The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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