Bowyer History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Bowyer is an Anglo-Saxon name. The name was originally given to a maker or trader of bows. A Bowyer's Company still exists in London. [1]

Some sources claim that the name was derived from the French name Bouvier as the Magni Rotuli Scaccarii Normanniae lists Hugo Bouvier and John Bouvier were of Normandy, 1180-95. [2]

Early Origins of the Bowyer family

The surname Bowyer was first found in Buckinghamshire but other branches of the family were also found in Berkshire, Staffordshire and Sussex. Buckinghamshire was the home to two baronetcies: Denham Court and in the twentieth century, Weston Underwood.

One of the first records of the family in Britain was William Bowyer who was listed in Sussex the the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273. The same source lists William le Boghyere, but no county. [3]

Early History of the Bowyer family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bowyer research. Another 92 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1558, 1588, 1641, 1614, 1641, 1613, 1681, 1660, 1679, 1623, 1666, 1612, 1679, 1659, 1679, 1653, 1691, 1699, 1777, 1761, 1767, 1649, 1642, 1644 and 1644 are included under the topic Early Bowyer History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bowyer Spelling Variations

One relatively recent invention that did much to standardize English spelling was the printing press. However, before its invention even the most literate people recorded their names according to sound rather than spelling. The spelling variations under which the name Bowyer has appeared include Bowyer, Bowyers, Bowyere, Bowyear and others.

Early Notables of the Bowyer family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include Sir William Bowyer, Lord Mayor of London; Sir William Bowyer (c 1588-1641), an English politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1614 and 1641; Sir Edmund Bowyer (1613-1681), an English politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1660 to 1679; and Sir John Bowyer, 1st Baronet (1623-1666) English soldier and politician. Sir William Bowyer, 1st Baronet (1612-1679), was an English politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1659 and 1679...
Another 81 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bowyer Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Bowyer family to Ireland

Some of the Bowyer family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Bowyer migration to the United States +

At this time, the shores of the New World beckoned many English families that felt that the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. Thousands left England at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. A great portion of these settlers never survived the journey and even a greater number arrived sick, starving, and without a penny. The survivors, however, were often greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. These English settlers made significant contributions to those colonies that would eventually become the United States and Canada. An examination of early immigration records and passenger ship lists revealed that people bearing the name Bowyer arrived in North America very early:

Bowyer Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Daniel Bowyer who settled in Virginia in 1635
  • Daniell Bowyer, aged 30, who arrived in Virginia in 1635 [4]
  • Tho Bowyer, aged 19, who landed in Virginia in 1635 [4]
  • Hen Bowyer, who arrived in Virginia in 1653 [4]
  • Henry Bowyer, who settled in Virginia in 1653
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Bowyer Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Gabriel Bowyer, who arrived in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania in 1743 [4]
  • John Bowyer, who settled in Augusta county in Virginia in 1762 with his son Michael
  • Michael Bowyer, who arrived in Virginia in 1780 [4]
Bowyer Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Joseph Bowyer, aged 46, who landed in Missouri in 1846 [4]
  • Garon Bowyer, aged 30, who landed in Missouri in 1846 [4]

Canada Bowyer migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Bowyer Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Peter Bowyer, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1749

Australia Bowyer migration to Australia +

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

Bowyer Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Robert Bowyer, British convict who was convicted in Berkshire, England for life, transported aboard the "Henry Tanner" on 27th June 1834, settling in New South Wales, Australia [5]
  • Eliza Bowyer, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Ramillies" in 1849 [6]
  • Richard Bowyer, aged 29, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Catherine" in 1851 [7]
  • Richard Bowyer, aged 29, a shepherd, who arrived in South Australia in 1851 aboard the ship "Catherine" [7]
  • Thomas Henry Bowyer, aged 44, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Norman"
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Bowyer 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:

Bowyer Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • F Bowyer, who landed in Hokianga, New Zealand in 1827
  • Francis Bowyer, who landed in Bay of Islands, New Zealand in 1836 aboard the ship "Patriot"
  • Clarissa Bowyer, aged 16, a servant, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "La Hogue" in 1874
  • Katherine Bowyer, aged 22, a servant, who arrived in Hawkes Bay aboard the ship "Queen of the North" in 1874

Contemporary Notables of the name Bowyer (post 1700) +

  • Rear Admiral John Marshall Bowyer (1853-1912), American officer in the United States Navy
  • Clint Bowyer (b. 1979), American race car (NASCAR) driver
  • John M. Bowyer, American politician, U.S. Consul in Guazacualo, 1829 [8]
  • Frank C. Bowyer, American politician, Mayor of Tampa, Florida, 1898-1900 [8]
  • Cincinnatus W. Bowyer, American politician, Postmaster at Independence, Missouri, 1841-43 [8]
  • Dr. Adrian Bowyer M.B.E. (b. 1952), born in London, English Inventor, engineer and Mathematician, was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire on 29th December 2018 for services to 3D Printing [9]
  • Kevin John Bowyer (b. 1961), English organist
  • Lee David Bowyer (b. 1977), English professional footballer
  • Frank Bowyer (1922-1999), English footballer who played for Stoke City
  • Brendan Bowyer (1938-2020), Irish singer best known for fronting the Royal Showband and The Big Eight
  • ... (Another 5 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Hood
  • Mr. Walter F Bowyer (b. 1922), English Stoker 1st Class serving for the Royal Navy from Shoreham-by-Sea, Sussex, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [10]
  • Mr. Thomas R Bowyer (b. 1916), English Ordinary Telegraphist serving for the Royal Navy from Barnton, Cheshire, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [10]


The Bowyer Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Contentment passe richesse
Motto Translation: Contentment surpasses riches.


  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. 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. ^ Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  4. ^ 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)
  5. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 7th January 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/henry-tanner
  6. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) RAMILIES 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849Ramillies.htm
  7. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) CATHERINE 1851. Retrieved http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1851Catherine.htm
  8. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, December 11) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  9. ^ "Birthday and New Year Honours Lists (1940 to 2019)." Issue 62507, 28 December 2018 | London Gazette, The Gazette, Dec. 2018, www.thegazette.co.uk/honours-lists
  10. ^ H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from http://www.hmshood.com/crew/memorial/roh_24may41.htm


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