Written 3rd May 2006 by Neil Gowlland.

[Note by John Gowlland 10th March 2009.  Since Neil wrote this article nearly three years, efforts have continued to find the forebears of our ancestor Joseph Gowlland (born about 1708).  Exhaustive searches have been concentrated on Kent, and a very kind volunteer searched, on our behalf, the parishes to the west and south of Dover, namely Appledore, Burmarsh, Cheriton, Elmstead, Fairfield, Folkstone, Hope, Hythe, Ivychurch, Lydd, Lympne, Mersham, Midley, Monks Horton, New Romney, Newchurch, Old Romney, Postling, St Mary in the Marsh, Saltwood, Sellindge, Snaregate, Snave, Stelling Minnis, Stowting and West Hythe. (The records at Folkestone Library for Breznett and Brookland are in poor condition and some entries are impossible to read. Dymchurch is almost totally illegible).  Absolutely nothing was found.

More in hope than expectation, John Gowlland has spent some time in the Lewes Archives of East Sussex, and more visits are planned.  The intention is to go through the records for variant spellings of Gowland in the Rye area (see map below), sometimes confirming the earlier entries from the I.G.I. and elsewhere, and sometimes supplementing them.  When each parish has been checked, the results are summarised in three tables below, divided into Baptisms, Marriages and Burials.  The Source of the entry is indicated in the right-hand column, as:-         


East Sussex Archives in Lewes


Ickleshall Parish Transcript (see below)


International Genealogical Index


National Burial Index


Edwin H Dunkin Registers of Lewes sub-archdeaconry


Sussex Family History Group



Where the same event occurs in two or more records, the ESA record has been preferred.

Interestingly, where the records have already been indexed in the Archives, the genealogists responsible have made no distinction between Gowland, Gowlande, Gouland, Goland and Golland, and (in most cases) Goulding, Gowlding, Goldland and Golding. 

There are no two-L Gowllands in these records.  Perhaps this should not surprise us.  After all, in the 1841 census, the majority of entries, even for known two-L Gowllands, spelt the name with only one L; and this variant spelling continued (to a decreasing extent) in later censuses

One final point  -  verification of the records by examining the tombstones is virtually impossible  -  as the photo below shows clearly, any original 18th and 19th century inscriptions have almost certainly disappeared, either by weathering of the stone or by growth of lichen]

This brief article consists of various records of Gowlands and Goulands that I have found using various, identified, sources and which have been supplemented by records from the National Burial Index that Rosemary Milton-Thompson sent me. All are in an area roughly centred on Rye in East Sussex. I have also noticed some Golands and Goldlands, without taking details, in the Romney Marsh area, which is in West Kent on the border with East Sussex. Since I have lived in Geneva for over forty years, my memory of English geography is necessarily limited. I may have included some villages which do not fall within the noticeably dense grouping of Gowlands etc in the East Sussex area and may have excluded others which do.

The purpose of this article is merely to list information in the hope that detailed research will be undertaken at some time. I believe that searches of parish records may reveal further information. 

I also hope that this article can be extended as a data base for early Gowlands and alternative spellings in South-East England. GPG listed a number of villages where Gowlands had been found in an area roughly north of Canterbury (click here). Canterbury itself and also Chilham can be added to that list. 

In any event, if anybody can add to this article, they should contact John Gowlland.  


East Sussex on a present-day map



Year Date Surname First name Comments Source


20th May Gowland Elizabeth widow ESA


St George, Brede - April 2009


    ST GEORGE, BREDE BAPTISMS 1560 - 1812  
Year Date Surname First name Comments Source


17th April Gowlding Ruth daughter of John ESA
1661 3rd March Goulding John son of John jnr ESA
1663 14th June Gowland Samuel son of John Gowland jnr ESA
1663 6th August Gowland Thomas son of John Gowland Sr ESA
1665 29th January Gowland Elizabeth daughter of John Gowland ESA.
1667 3rd April Gowland George son of John & Elizabeth Gowland ESA
1667 21st November Gowland George son of John & Joane Gowland ESA


    ST GEORGE, BREDE MARRIAGES 1559 - 1837  
Year Date Surnames First name Comments Source


28th January Gouland Robert Widower ESA
  and Pilcher Martha Widow  


    ST GEORGE, BREDE BURIALS 1659 - 1780  
Year Date Surname First name Comments Source


5th July Gowland Bridggatt wife of Robert ESA
1667 3rd April Gowland John jnr   ESA
1667 9th April Gowland George son of John & Elizabeth ESA
1670 18th October Gowland John son of John & Joane ESA
1671 11th April Gowland Joane wife of John ESA
1671 17th June Gowland John   ESA
1672 23rd Nov Gowland Ruth daughter of John and Joane ESA
1685 26th December Gowland Dorothy wife of Robert ESA
1689 25th January Gowland George of Udimore ESA
1696 19th September Gowland Ann wife of Nicholas of Peasmarch ESA






Year Date Surname First name Comments Source


25th October Goland Ann   IGI
  and Taylor Edward   IGI




    ST GEORGE (?), CROWHURST BAPTISMS 1676 - 1677  
Year Date Surname First name Comments Source


16th April Gowland Robert Son of Robert Goland IGI
1677 26th August Gowland George Son of Robt Goland IGI

For a record of this Licence Application to the Archdeaconry of Lewes, click here.

Year Date Surname First name Comments Source


13th September Goland Eliza   IGI
  and Sole Frances    


Year Date Surname First name Comments Source


3rd February Goland Robert   ESA
1690 25th April Goland George (BT - s George)  [??] ESA



Year Date Surnames First name Comments Source


15th July Gouland John   IGI
  and Luck Elizabeth   IGI


1675 10th July Gowland Robert Of Crowhurst.   Licence application for DR
  and Lucke Elizabeth Of Crowhurst     wedding above DR
For a record of this Licence Application to the Archdeaconry of Lewes, click here.
1733 1st July Goland Thomas   IGI
  and Alman Mary   IGI


Year Date Surname First name Comments Source


11th December Gotland John almsman SFHG



14/5/1615 Christening: John, s. of George Gowlande

28/12/1618 Marriage: Richard Foster and Joane Gouland

1/2/1626 Marriage: John Gouland and Anne Purphle, widow

11/8/1701 Christening: Susannah, d. of Saml. and Susannah Gowland

2/4/1704 Christening: Tho., s. Samuell and Susannah Gowland

Source for the above is http://www.parish-thethought.us/ick.doc. This is a transcript of parish registers and details of its history are given at the top of the page.

St Nicholas, Icklesham - April 2009

Year Date Surname First name Comments Source


12th December Gouland George (Challen BT)  ** ESA
1629 8th April Gouland John (Challen BT) ** ESA
1700 2nd September Gowland Susannah daughter of Thomas labr (Challen BT) ** ESA

** Challen BT.        BT indicates the Bishop's Transcripts.   These were also known as Parish Register Transcripts.  From 1598 an annual return was made to the Bishop of a copy of all entries from the Parish Register for that year to about Easter or Lady Day. Some are less good than the originals and some more so, and it is always recommended that they are checked against the Registers. As they are sometimes copied by a Church Warden they can include more details that the Registers, useful for the family historian.

They were used by Mr W H Challen in preparing summaries of details for numerous East Sussex parishes: frequently he found that these did not agree with the parish records. 

[Ancestry.com has a reference to the will of George Gowland or Gouland proved in 1619].


Year Date Surname First name Comments Source


14th November Goland Mary Jane   IGI
    Winser William Barnes Son of John Winser  




    ST MARY, NORTHIAM BURIALS 1713 - 1731  
Year Date Surname First name Comments Source


14th December Goldland Ann daughter of John & Eolizabeth SFHG
1731 19th January Goldland Elizabeth wife of John SFHG

Note  -  this variant spelling of "Goldland" appears nowhere else.  In all the 18th and 19th centuries, its only appearance is in burial certificates from around 1700 - 1702 in the family of Thomas Goldland in Clairton, Yorkshire, and in a single census entry for 1861 in Bellerby in Yorkshire for three persons,  a husband, wife and grand-daughter.  Otherwise it is totally unknown.



Year Date Surname First name Comments Source


4th August Goland Thomas   IGI
  and Ticehurst Ann   IGI
1818 13th May Goland Hannah   IGI
  and Dungate George   IGI
1818 20th June Goland George   IGI
  and Upton Martha   IGI



Year Date Surname First name Comments Source


19th September Goldland Nicholas   ESA
1783 17th November Goland Samuel   ESA
1797 11th May Goland Mary   ESA
1811 4th May Goland Samuel   ESA
1822 22nd February Goland Esora? 8 months  Winchelsea ESA
1828 2nd December Goland Thomas 78 years ESA
1837 3rd October Goland Jane 32 years ESA
1843 28th December Goland Ann 70 years ESA




 25/10/1685 Christening: Alice, d. of John and Elizabeth Gouland

23/10/1687 Christening: John, s. of John and Elizabeth Gouland

9/2/1688 Christening: Samuel, s. of John and Elizabeth Gowland (1689 per modern calendar)

Source for all the above is IGI. 

Year Date Surname First name Comments Source


17th December Gowland Alice daughter of John & Elizabeth SFHG
1687 10th November Gowland John son of John & Elizabeth SFHG
1690 29th July Gowland John senior SFHG



    ST MARY (?), RYE MARRIAGE 1823  
Year Date Surname First name Comments Source


25th April Goland Susanna   IGI
  and Filmer Thos   IGI



Year Date Surname First name Comments Source


12th March Goland Martha wife of Robert ESA




St Mary, Udimore - April 2009

    ST MARY, UDIMORE BAPTISMS 1560 - 1801  
Year Date Surname First name Comments Source


27th September Gowland Sarah daughter of Robert & Dorothy of Rye ESA
1686 17th October Gowland Robert son of Robert & Elizabeth of Brede ESA
1688 7th October Gowland John son of Robert & Elizabeth of Brede ESA
1723 8th March Goland Samuel son of Samuell & Susanna ESA
1726 24th July Goland Thos son of Susan widow ESA
1760 6th July Goland Sarah daughter of Thos & Elizabeth ESA
1762 24th October Goland Martha daughter of Thos & Elizabeth ESA
1797 21st May Goland Eleanor daughter of Thos & Mary ESA
1799 27th August Goland Catherine daughter of Edward & Mary ESA
1801 21st July Goland Charlotte daughter of Thomas & Mary ESA


    ST MARY, UDIMORE MARRIAGES 1560 - 1812  
Year Date Surnames First name Comments Source


1st May Adams Stephen Of this parish ESA
  and Gowland Elizabeth Spinster of this parish ESA
1787 20th December Cooper Benjamin Of this parish ESA
  and Goland Sarah Of this parish, by licence ESA
1793 4th September Goland Edward Of this parish ESA
  and Seers Mary Of this parish, by licence ESA
1797 23rd February Goland Thomas Of this parish ESA
  and Rolfe Mary Of this parish, by licence ESA


    ST MARY, UDIMORE BURIALS 1559 - 1812  
Year Date Surname First name Comments Source


17th April Gowland Elizabeth wife of Robert ESA
1691 28th September Gowland Susannah wife of Robert of Brede ESA
1695 20th February Gowland Robert   ESA
1696 12th November Gowland Elizabeth widow ESA
1725 28th January Goland Samuell   ESA
1787 17th July Goland Elizabeth wife of Thos ESA
1801 9th September Goland Charlotte daughter of Thomas & Mary ESA
1808 26th February Goland Thomas aged 82 ESA
1845 20th September Goland Thomas Beckley ESA
1851 18th March Goland Mary Tenterden ESA


Three headstone are in the graveyard at St Mary's, Udimore, as follows:-

No 38    GOLAND

Sacred  /  to the memory of  /  THOMAS GOLAND  /  who died Feb.y 10 1808  /  aged 81 years.

No 39    GOLAND       

Beneath are deposited  / the remains of  /  WILLIAM SKINNER  /  late of Brede who died  /  12th December 1708  /  aged .. years  /  Also ELIZABETH his wife  /  who died ... (Note! register gives Elizabeth wife Thos. GOLAND b. 17 Jul 1787) JOHN WILHET / relict of  ... / she died 21st July 1787  /  aged .. years.

No 60    GOLAND

Sacred  /  to the memory of  /  THOMAS GOLAND  /  who died Sept.r 17 1843  /  aged 70 years  /  Also of  /  MARY GOLAND his wife  /  who died March 13th 1851  /  aged 80 years.



Year Date Surname First name Comments Source


19th January Goland Sarah Daughter of Edwsard [sic] Goland & Mary IGI




NOTICED IN PASSING       [Note by JGG - where found in the I G I these have been included above: where other entries are later found in the East Sussex Archives, they will be added].

Golands in Brenzett, Crowhurst, Hastings, Peasmarsh and Rye,  Goldlands in Crowhurst, Newenden and Pett, and Goulder in West Malling.


Neil Gowlland, May 2006





For a map showing the parishes of Sussex, click here.   Note that the whole of Sussex is covered.  However, by clicking on the right-hand side you can enlarge the area of "The Gowlland Connection".






Relating to the same general area as the above, we have obtained a conveyance of 1663 from the East Sussex Archives in Lewes, one of the witnesses being Robert Goulland [sic].

The general description of the document is as follows:


FILE - Conveyance for 126 - ref. AMS 1565  - date: 13 Apr 1663

Scope and Content

William Jorden of Winchelsea, gent, and his wife Dorothy Jorden, with Jeremy Jorden of Udimore, gent and Francis Jorden of Winchelsea, gent (sons of William Jorden of Udimore, gent, deceased), to John Bolld of Marden in Kent, only son of Robert Bolld of Marden, yeoman
Messuage or farm called Jacobs with barns, stables, stalls, buildings and 120a in Brede, Udimore and Sedlescombe, occupied by John Stoneham (E, W: land of Thomas Sackville, esq; W: land of William Bishopp, gent; N: land of Thomas Sackville, esq; S, E, W: road from Sedlescombe to Brede)
Subject to a mortgage for 500 by WJ to Herbert Lunsford of Hastings, gent, deceased
W: Thomas Lake, Elizabeth Browne; W to seisin: Alexander Weldish, Robert Bolld, Robert Goulland, James Besbeech

For the complete final page, click here; and for the detailed list of witness, click here

Note that Robert was illiterate, signing with his mark; and thus the spelling of the surname may be correct or not.


Note on East Sussex Marriage Licences

Sussex was in the Diocese of Chichester, divided into two archdeaconries - Chichester for west Sussex and Lewes for the east. Both archdeaconries exercised active probate jurisdictions, and issued marriage licences. Those issued by Lewes Archdeaconry court in the period 1670 to 1739 were recorded in a series of registers (E3, E4, E5 and E6), which were edited by Edwin H. W. Dunkin and published by the Sussex Record Society in 1907. Each entry gives the date of the licence, the full names of bride and groom, with parish for each, and often stating whether the bride was a widow or maiden. To obtain a licence it was necessary for the parties to obtain a bond, with two sureties. One of these was often the prospective husband; the other might be a relative or other respectable person. From the bonds the names of the sureties were also copied into the register, sometimes together with the name of the church at which the wedding was intended to take place.



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    ST MARY BURIALS 1560 - 1812  
Year Date Surname First name Comments Source


17th April Gowlding Ruth d of John