Bowse History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Bowse comes from the ancient Norman culture that was established in Britain after the Conquest of 1066. It was a name for a person who frequently used the informal Norman greeting beu sire, which means good sir, or fine sir. [1]

Another source presumes the name could have been from the French word "bussiere," and literally meant "dweller in the place planted with bushes." [2]

"Bourcher or Bourchier are not the original form of this great name, which, derived from Boursseres in Burgundy, passed through various stages of transmutation as Berseres, Bursers, Boussers, Burcer, Bowser (as it is given by Duchesne) Burghcher, &c, &c, before it finally reached the one in which it is familiar to us. Urso de Berseres, in 1086, held Senly in Buckinghamshire [3] and Sylvester de Bursers, in 1165, was a tenant of the Honour of Clare, in Suffolk [4]. " [5]

Early Origins of the Bowse family

The surname Bowse was first found in Essex. They were originally from Bouchier in Normandy, and arrived in England with Duke William in 1066. [6]

John de Bourchier (d.circa 1330) was an English Judge of the Common Pleas and the earliest ancestor of the family. His son, Robert Bourchier or Boussier was 1st Baron Bourchier (died 1349) and held the position of Lord Chancellor of England, the first layman to hold the post. His son, John Bourchier, 2nd Baron Bourchier (d. 1400), was a soldier and diplomat. [7]

"The eldest of the sons, Henry Earl of Ewe and Essex, Lord Treasurer of England, was grandfather of Henry, the second and last Earl of Essex, a gallant courtier of his day, and captain of Henry the Eighth's body guard, who attended his royal master into France as Lieut.-General of all the Spears: and at the famous tournament which Henry held in the eighth year of his reign, the Earl of Essex, with the King himself, the Duke of Suffolk, and Nicholas Carew, answered all comers. A few years after, his lordship again attended his sovereign to France, and swelled the pageantry upon the field of the Cloth of Gold. The Earl died in consequence of a fall from his horse in 1539, and his barony of Bourchier was eventually inherited by the descendants of his sister Cicely." [8]

Early History of the Bowse family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bowse research. Another 107 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1066, 1400, 1409, 1400, 1409, 1405, 1467, 1533, 1587, 1654, 1643, 1595, 1660, 1491, 1551, 1535, 1605 and 1589 are included under the topic Early Bowse History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bowse Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. When the Normans became the ruling people of England in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled Bowser, Bouchier, Boucher, Bourchier, Bowesar, Bowsher and many more.

Early Notables of the Bowse family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was John Bourchier, 2nd Baron Bourchier (d. 1400), soldier and diplomat in the service of the crown; Bartholomew Bourchier, 3rd Baron Bourchier (died 1409), member of Parliament, summoned to Parliament the first time 9 September 1400, the year of his father's death, continued to be summoned until 1409, but obtained an exemption from attended in 1405, no records of military service, unlike his father and grandfather; John Bourchier, 2nd Baron Berners (1467-1533), an English soldier, statesman and translator; General Sir...
Another 87 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bowse Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Bowse family to Ireland

Some of the Bowse family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 47 words (3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Bowse migration to the United States +

For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Bowse or a variant listed above were:

Bowse Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Bowse, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1761 [9]

Australia Bowse migration to Australia +

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

Bowse Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • John Bowse, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Sir Charles Forbes" in 1839 [10]


  1. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  4. ^ Liber Niger Scutarii ("Black Book of the Exchequer"), containing reports by county on feudal holdings in England in 1166 (reign of Henry II)
  5. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 1 of 3
  6. ^ 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)
  7. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  8. ^ Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
  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. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) SIR CHARLES FORBES (originally Charles Forbes) 1839. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1839SirCharlesForbes.htm


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