Show ContentsBowry History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The distinguished surname Bowry emerged among the industrious people of Flanders, which was an important trading partner and political ally of Britain during the Middle Ages. As a result of the frequent commercial intercourse between the Flemish and English nations, many Flemish migrants settled in Britain. In early times, people were known by only a single name. However, as the population grew and people traveled further afield, it became increasingly necessary to assume an additional name to differentiate between bearers of the same personal name. Occupational surnames were derived from the common trades of the medieval era. The surname Bowry is an occupational name for a chamber-servant. The surname Bowry is derived from buring, which is a derivative of the Old English word bur, which means cottage, chamber, or bower. [1] The name may also be a local surname applied to someone who lived at such a cottage or chamber.

Alternatively, it could have originated in Beaurain, near Cambrai, Flanders as Wybert de Beaurain was later listed occurs in the Magni Rotuli Scaccarii Normanniae (1180-1198) in Normandy. [2]

Occasionally, Bowry is a patronymic surname derived from the Flemish personal name Beauring.

Early Origins of the Bowry family

The surname Bowry was first found in Somerset where Walter Bowryng is considered to be one of the first records of the family. He was listed there as holding lands 1 Edward III (during the first year's reign of Edward III.) [3]

Another source notes another early record of the family in Cheshire, Henry Bourying as holding lands there in 1302. The same source notes Walter Bowryng in the Subsidy Rolls of Somerset in 1327. [4] This could indeed be the same as the aforementioned.

In Devon, "Bowringsleigh was the property and residence of the ancient family of Bowring." [5] It is noted that the family were lords of the manor from about 1330 to the early sixteenth century. By example, Thomas Bowring (c.1440-1504), the English-born lawyer and judge who was Lord Chief Justice of Ireland held an estate near West Alvington, Devon and also acquired lands in Somerset and Gloucestershire.

Like many Newfoundlanders from Devon, the famed Benjamin Bowring (1788-1846) moved to St. John's, Newfoundland in 1811 and founded Bowring Brothers Ltd. (Bowring) which later became one of the most prestigious group of Canadian retail stores.

Early History of the Bowry family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bowry research. Another 165 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1200, 1327, 1516, 1778 and 1846 are included under the topic Early Bowry History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bowry Spelling Variations

Flemish surnames are characterized by a large number of spelling variations. One reason for this is that medieval English lacked definite spelling rules. The spellings of surnames were also influenced by the official court languages, which were French and Latin. Names were rarely spelled consistently in medieval times. Scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to specific spelling rules, and people often had their names registered in several different forms throughout their lives. One of the greatest reasons for change is the linguistic uniqueness of the Flemish settlers in England, who spoke a language closely related to Dutch. The pronunciation and spelling of Flemish names were often altered to suit the tastes of English-speaking people. In many cases, the first, final, or middle syllables of surnames were eliminated. The name has been spelled Bowering, Bowring, Bawering, Bawring, Bowerin, Bowrin, Boweren, Bowerring, Bourring and many more.

Early Notables of the Bowry family (pre 1700)

Another 38 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bowry Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Bowry migration to the United States +

An investigation of the immigration and passenger lists has revealed a number of people bearing the name Bowry:

Bowry Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Elizabeth Bowry, who landed in Maryland in 1671 [6]
  • William Bowry, who arrived in Maryland in 1671 [6]
  • Andrew Bowry, who arrived in Maryland in 1673 [6]

Contemporary Notables of the name Bowry (post 1700) +

  • Robert Bowry (b. 1971), English-born, Kittian footballer

  1. Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  2. 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)
  3. Dickinson, F.H., Kirby's Quest for Somerset of 16th of Edward the 3rd London: Harrison and Sons, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St, Martin's Lane, 1889. Print.
  4. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  5. Worth, R.N., A History of Devonshire London: Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, E.G., 1895. Digital
  6. 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) on Facebook