Bowles History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Bowles reached English shores for the first time with the ancestors of the Bowles family as they migrated following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Bowles family lived in Lincolnshire. The name, however, is a reference to the family's former residence in Bouelles, near Neufchatel, in Normandy. [1]

The Domesday Book "presents us with two tenants in chief called Bolle and Bollo, the former in Hants, and the latter in Dorset. Bouelles is the name of a place near Neufchatel in Normandy. " [2]

However, two junior sources claim the name is a trade name for "one who made or sold concave vessels or bowls." [3] [4]

And one source claims the name was "probably from the sign of an inn, as 'John at the Bowl,' i. e., at the sign of the bowl." [5]

Early Origins of the Bowles family

The surname Bowles was first found in Lincolnshire where they settled after the Norman Conquest. They were originally from Bouelles, near Neufchatel in Normandy where it was listed under the spellings Bowles or Buelles. [1]

"Bowles is an old Wiltshire name. The most influential families bearing this name are said to have come from Bristol during the 15th century. In the following century they were resident in Burcombe, and during the 18th century they supplied sheriffs and members of parliament for the county." [6]

Entries in early rolls were scarce, but we did find: John de Boweles in the Feet of Fines for Huntingdonshire in 1292. [7]

Early History of the Bowles family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bowles research. Another 100 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1613, 1662, 1644, 1645, 1619, 1663, 1661, 1663, 1669, 1714, 1690, 1702, 1714, 1722, 1637, 1762, 1850, 1652, 1742, 1696, 1773, 1728 and 1786 are included under the topic Early Bowles History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bowles Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names tend to be marked by an enormous number of spelling variations. This is largely due to the fact that Old and Middle English lacked any spelling rules when Norman French was introduced in the 11th century. The languages of the English courts at that time were French and Latin. These various languages mixed quite freely in the evolving social milieu. The final element of this mix is that medieval scribes spelled words according to their sounds rather than any definite rules, so a name was often spelled in as many different ways as the number of documents it appeared in. The name was spelled Bowles, Bolles, Boles, Bowls, Boals and others.

Early Notables of the Bowles family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Edward Bowles (1613-1662), an English Presbyterian minister from Sutton, Bedfordshire. His father, Oliver Bowles, B.D., minister of Sutton, was one of the oldest members of the Westminster Assembly. Bowles was educated at Catherine Hall, Cambridge, under Sibbes and Brownrigge. He was chaplain to the second Earl of Manchester, and after the surrender of York, 15 July 1644, was appointed one of the four parliamentary ministers in that city, officiating alternately at the minister and Allhallows-on-the-Pavement. On 10 June 1645 the House of Commons voted him 100l. as one of the ministers in the...
Another 154 words (11 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bowles Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bowles Ranking

In the United States, the name Bowles is the 1,419th most popular surname with an estimated 22,383 people with that name. [8]

Ireland Migration of the Bowles family to Ireland

Some of the Bowles family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 32 words (2 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Bowles migration to the United States +

Because of the political and religious discontent in England, families began to migrate abroad in enormous numbers. Faced with persecution and starvation at home, the open frontiers and generally less oppressive social environment of the New World seemed tantalizing indeed to many English people. The trip was difficult, and not all made it unscathed, but many of those who did get to Canada and the United States made important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers with Bowles name or one of its variants:

Bowles Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Bowles, who settled in New England in 1630
  • Thomas Bowles, who settled in Virginia in 1630
  • Geo Bowles, who landed in Virginia in 1636 [9]
  • Edward Bowles, who arrived in Maryland in 1650 [9]
  • Elizabeth Bowles, who arrived in Maryland in 1650 [9]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Bowles Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Anne Bowles, who arrived in Virginia in 1704 [9]
  • Pallister Bowles, who landed in Virginia in 1713 [9]
  • Isabella Bowles, who landed in Virginia in 1714 [9]
  • James Bowles, who arrived in Maryland in 1729 [9]
Bowles Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Mrs. H Bowles, who arrived in New York, NY in 1810 [9]
  • W A Bowles, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 [9]

Canada Bowles migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Bowles Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • William Bowles, who arrived in Anapolis (Annapolis), Nova Scotia in 1760
Bowles Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Bowles, aged 2 who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Lotus" departing 15th April 1847 from Liverpool, England; the ship arrived on 24th June 1847 but he died on board [10]

Australia Bowles migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Bowles Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Nathaniel Bowles, (b. 1804), aged 17, English brass founder who was convicted in Stafford, Staffordshire, England for life for house breaking, transported aboard the "Claudine" on 20th May 1821, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [11]
  • Mr. Thomas Bowles, English convict who was convicted in Gloucester, Gloucestershire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Caledonia" in 19th June 1822, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [12]
  • Mr. John Bowles, English convict who was convicted in Yarmouth, Norfolk, England for life, transported aboard the "Blenheim" on 11th March 1837, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [13]
  • Miss Eliza Bowles, (b. 1819), aged 18, Irish maid who was convicted in Limerick, Ireland for 7 years for stealing, transported aboard the "Diamond" on 29th November 1837, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [14]
  • Mr. Thomas Bowles, British Convict who was convicted in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Asiatic" on 26th May 1843, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [15]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Bowles migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Bowles Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Jesse Bowles, aged 42, a labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "New Era" in 1855
  • Margaret Bowles, aged 33, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "New Era" in 1855
  • George Bowles, aged 12, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "New Era" in 1855
  • John Bowles, aged 10, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "New Era" in 1855
  • Frederick Bowles, aged 8, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "New Era" in 1855
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Bowles (post 1700) +

  • Erskine Boyce Bowles (b. 1945), American businessman and politician, Chairperson of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (2010)
  • Paul Frederic Bowles (1910-1999), American composer, author, and translator, best known for his first novel The Sheltering Sky (1949)
  • Brian Christopher Bowles (b. 1976), American former Major League Baseball relief pitcher
  • William Augustus "Estajoca" Bowles (1763-1805), American-English adventurer and organizer of Native American attempts to create their own state
  • Chester Bowles, American Diplomat and politician, Governor of Connecticut in 1948, Ambassador to India (1951-53)
  • Samuel Bowles, American newspaper editor
  • Jane Bowles (1917-1973), American writer and playwright
  • Chester Bliss Bowles (1901-1986), American Democratic Party politician, Governor of Connecticut, 1949-51; U.S. Ambassador to India, 1951-53, 1963-69; Nepal, 1951-53 [16]
  • Charles E. Bowles (1884-1957), American Republican politician, Mayor of Detroit, Michigan, 1930; Candidate for U.S. Representative from Michigan 15th District, 1932, 1934; Candidate for Circuit Judge in Michigan 3rd Circuit, 1941 [16]
  • Carl H. Bowles, American Republican politician, Member of Kentucky State House of Representatives, 1968-69, 1974-75 [16]
  • ... (Another 36 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


Suggested Readings for the name Bowles +

  • The Boyle-Bole-Boles (also Bowles) Descendants of James Boyle of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania by David B. Boles.
  • A Journey with the Bowles Family: Some Memories Along the Way by Charles A. Bowles.

  1. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  2. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  4. ^ Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  5. ^ Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
  6. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  7. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  8. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  9. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  10. ^ Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 65)
  11. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 17th February 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/claudine
  12. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 30th November 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/caledonia
  13. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 15th October 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/blenheim
  14. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 1st July 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/Diamond
  15. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 14th July 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/asiatic
  16. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 16) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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