1978 advert for Hovis
The name was coined by London student Herbert Grime in a national competition set by S. Fitton & Sons Ltd to find a trading name for their patent flour which was rich in wheat germ. Grime won £25 when he coined the word from the Latin phrase hominis vis – “the strength of man”.
The Hovis process was patented on 6 October 1887 by Richard “Stoney” Smith (1836–1900), and S. Fitton & Sons Ltd developed the brand, milling the flour and selling it along with Hovis branded baking tins to other bakers. They became Hovis Limited in 1918. They also ran a mill in Macclesfield.
After a succession of mergers, Hovis eventually became part of Rank Hovis McDougall in 1962, now the quoted food conglomerate RHM, which also owns the Mother’s Pride and Nimble bread brands. The bread making division has been known as British Bakeries since 1955.
The Hovis part of the business still specialises in high wheatgerm wholemeal flour, the bread being baked independently.
Info gleaned from Wikipedia