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Two Thomas Bowles, both Merchants of Bristol and London

Back to The Bowles of Eltham or The Bowles of Eltham's Family Tree

There were two Thomas Bowles who were merchants in Bristol and London and have become intermixed in some family trees online.

The Thomas Bowles, a merchant in London in the early 1700's, was not the same Thomas Bowles who outfitted a privateer in Bristol in the late 1600's although both had indeed been merchants of Bristol and London.

The Thomas Bowles of the late 1600's played a significant role in England's merchant trade as a senior officer in the South Seas Company but he died in 1721 when the other Thomas was busy raising a young family in London.  See Thomas Bowles of Hagley,Worchestershire for the earlier Thomas and the following for the later one.

A Thomas Bowles was admitted to the Society of Merchant Venturers of Bristol on March 8, 1716 by apprenticeship. (Admissions to the Society of Merchant Venturers of Bristol, Book of Charters, vol. I) 

I believe that to have been Thomas, b. 1692, son of Phineas Bowles of Loughborough House and Margaret Docwra, of the John Bowles of Eltham line (Thomas is 3.4.6 in the John Bowles of Eltham's Family Tree).  He would have been the right age to have started his apprenticeship at age 16 in 1708 and to have completed his 7 year apprenticeship by 1716.  Also we know that his younger brother Richard (b. Feb. 1702) (Richard is 3.4.13 in the above mentioned tree) was apprenticed to a Thomas Bowles of Bristol, Merchant in Feb. 1718. ( UK, Register of Duties Paid for Apprentices' Indentures, 1710-1811 Feb. 5, 1717/18 entries)

It makes sense that Richard would have been apprenticed to his own brother.

Thomas Bowles married Susannah (Sukey) Hickman (d. of Henry and Margaret Hickman of Bristol) on Dec. 20, 1716  at St Augustine-the-Less, Bristol.

A further connection is made in the Will of Dame Susannah Clutterbuck (dated Sept.4, 1716, proved Dec. 5, 1717) in which she named Miss Sukey Kirkman as her heir; she also left bequests to her husband John Romsey of Bristol, Esq., Giles Eyre of Bristol, Esq., her nieces Henrietta Francis Longford, Elizabeth Longford and Margaret Longford, nephews William Longford, William Kirkman, Poole Kirkman, Esq. and Henry Kirkman, Joseph Edwards of Bristol, Gent.; she also refers to her late brother Benjamin Poole, Esq., her late sister Kirkman and her sister Elizabeth Longford.  She left property in Henbury and Old Sodbury, Glouc. (note: this extraction, found online, was made using the name Kirkman but viewing the original document it is clearly Hickman which is also confirmed in the following conveyance and in a shorter extract of her will found on the Wills of Gloucester web site although this extract unfortunately omits the appointment of Sukey Hickman as her heir)

This conveyance was offered on eBay a few years ago:  OLD SODBURY: Conveyance of Hampsteed Farm in Old Sodbury, Gloucestershire, between Giles Eyre of Middle Temple, Joseph Edwards of Bristol, Gent, Thomas Bowles Late of Bristol, now London, Merchant, and Sukey his wife, William Hickman of London, Gent, Richard Longford of Middle Temple, Gent, William Thatcher of Highgate, Gent, and Henrietta his wife, Elizabeth Longford, Margaret Longford and William Okey of Bristol, Brewer. Dated 26 June 1722 in the 8th year of the reign of King George I  Property: All that farmhouse called Hampsteed with buildings, garden, paddocks, etc., on the south side of a lane leading to Horwood. Also many named fields and lands in the parish of Old Sodbury. Medium: Manuscript in English on vellum. Condition: Dirt marks and creasing, generally good. Characteristics: Signatures and red wax seals. Revenue and tax stamps. 5 pages. Document Size (Approx.): 60 by 70 cm

Just as a side note, the following tree explains the above relationships:

Sir William Poole of Poole Hall, Devon m. Margaret

1.    Susannah Poole m.(1) Sir William Clutterbuck (Mayor of Bristol 1682)

Sir William d. by 1708

m.(2) John Romsey

Susannah d. Dec. 1717

2.    Margaret (d. 1707) m. Henry Hickman

2.1   William Hickman

2.2   Poole Hickman

2.3   Henry Hickman

2.4   Susannah (Sukey) Hickman b. ~ 1695

m. Thomas Bowles (b. 1695) 1716 Bristol

3.    Elizabeth Poole (deceased) m. Richard Longford

3.1   Henrietta Francia Longford

3.2   Elizabeth Longford

3.3   Margaret Longford

3.4   William Longford

Another document in the National Archives refers to this inheritance:

Reference: C 11/923/19

Description:Short title: Longford v Romsey.

Document type: Depositions.

Plaintiffs: Richard Longford, gent and Elizabeth Longford his wife, William Longford, Henrietta Frances Longford, Elizabeth Longford and Margaret Longford infants (by said Richard Longford their father), Thomas Bowles and Sukey Bowles his wife infant (by said Thomas Bowles) and William Hickman (legatees of Dame Susannah Chitterbuck, deceased).

Defendants: Margaret Poole, John Romsey, Gyles Eyre, Samuel Fox and Joseph Edwards.

Depositions taken at Bristol.

Date of bill (or first document): 1717

Held by:The National Archives, Kew

As indicated in the above conveyance, Thomas Bowles, late of Bristol, Merchant was 'of London' by 1722. 

See Thomas at 3.4.6 in the John Bowles of Eltham's Family Tree

This site was last updated 10/19/18