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The Bowles of Canada and their Roots in Ireland and Great Britain

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The Boles of Cork

This page is the story of a group of Boles siblings who settled in Cork but there were other Bowles in Cork as well.  For their stories see The Bowles of Cork

To a varying extent, England had been in control of parts of Ireland since 1169.  In 1603 England gained more control over Ireland with the Treaty of Mellifont signed with the last strong militant clan in Ireland, the O'Neill.  Wishing to strengthen their position they then started to bring in English and Scottish settlers to occupy their new land.  The settlement lands were allotted to Englishmen who had position or influence with the King of England, Charles I, who awarded specific areas to his supporters.  These landowners then brought in Protestant tenants from England and Scotland to farm their lands.

Before 1641 the old Irish Nobility still remained a power in the country alongside the newer English nobility.  Then the Irish rebelled against the English occupation in the "Great rebellion of 1641".  In an effort to put down the rebellion and to bring more Protestant English into Ireland, the English Parliament passed an "Adventurer's Act" which provided for the confiscation of rebel-owned Irish estates, and their subsequent sale to those subscribers known as Adventurers.  However, the Boles were already there as they are on record as Lord Percival's tenants as early as 1639.

We have no reference for where the Boles came from in England.  There are several indications that they had a family connection to Lord Percival's steward John Hodder.  If they moved to Ireland as tenant's of Percival's due to a family connection to the Hodder family in England that would suggest a Wiltshire/Dorset/Somerset origin for the Boles and there were several Boles families in that area at that time.  Another recently discovered possibility are the descendants of a Roger Bole of Saltash, Cornwall who died in 1614 leaving property in the Diocese of Cork and Ross to his wife and his young son William.  He may have been the family connection that brought other members from the extensive Bole family around Saltash and Pillaton.

By the 1640's Thomas and Richard Boles were married and raising their families in co. Cork.  Richard was on land at Moyge townlands just NE of Liscarroll.  Thomas also started near Liscarroll but then sold those lands to Richard and moved down to Imokilly (now Mogeely near Castlemartyr) where he was a tenant of Admiral Penn and his son, William Penn, (see Boles references in William Penn's Journal) and later became involved in trade through the port of Youghal.

A Davis pedigree from the 1800's connects these Boles to Sir William Boles of Clerkenwell, England although no references are given for the claim and it is generally not credited today.  Sir William's own ancestors are claimed to be the Bolles of Lincolnshire although the exact family connection is lost today.  He has been associated in writings with Colonel Richard Boles "who fell in 1643 while gallantly defending himself in Alton Church against the forces of Sir William Waller and to whom there is a memorial tablet in Winchester Cathedral".  They would have been the right age to be cousins or even brothers but that has not been documented. 

See The Boles of Cork Family Tree

Rent rolls for Liscarroll list both Richard and Thomas Boles as Percival's tenants in 1639 and 1641.  ref.   This is confirmed by a letter written during the Rebellion of 1641 by Perceval's steward, John Hodder, which reports that Thomas Bowles' house was "in goods safety as yet." ref.  and a Map of Liscarroll Tenants at Start of Rebellion ref. shows Thomas holding a lease on 1 1/2 ploughlands at Ballynaboule. Richard held land at Kilgrogan and Rath in the manor of Armagh which was quickly seized by James Barry after which they abandoned their lands and took refuge in Cork City.  Richard recounts in a deposition he made in 1645 how Barry dispossessed him from his lands.  Full text   Lord Perceval was the landowner for the area around Moyge.   The Percevals also had estates in Somerset which gives us another possible site in England for the Boles origin.

As well as being ordered to defend his own lands, Percival was appointed the Commissary General of Victuals for the Army, which meant that he was responsible for running the system under which the English army received food supplies during this period.  He appointed several people to important posts including Thomas Boles as the Commissary for the port of Youghal on the south coast of Cork.  The Commissariat was a civil, not a military appointment, and would indicate that Thomas probably had a background in trade and had clerical skills.

Richard Boles made depositions in Cork in 1642 regarding his losses in the rebellion (see The 1641 Depositions) and then again with much greater detail in London on April 28, 1645.  Full text of the deposition  He stated that during the rebellion of 1641, Sir William Poore of Kilbolane (and others) did much mischief against Liscarroll and were in the fight in September 1642.  (Egmont MSS Vol. 1, pp. 27 and 253)  This confirms Richard Boles presence in co. Cork in 1641 and already as a landowner in the Liscarroll area.  In the deposition he mentions that his wife was "lying in", i.e. pregnant, in 1641.  This would likely have been his first possession of the property at Ballynalty, 3 miles from Liscarroll, to which his title was confirmed in 1666.  This doesn't confirm that he was actually a soldier although as a citizen of the city he would certainly have been tasked with defending it. 

By 1649 Thomas was styled as Captain Boles and was also a merchant of some kind with a shop in Cork city while Richard had established himself as a malt merchant in the same city.  William established himself at Kanturk, co. Cork but little is known about him and he died "without issue".  A sister, Joanne Boles, married a Daniel Crone and settled near Christchurch, co. Cork.  It's possible that a John Bowles of Bandon may have also been their brother.  Thomas' title as Captain may also have been awarded to him only after the rebellion as a reward for his support as its first appearance is in the depositions taken in 1655 (see below). 

In 1649, Oliver Cromwell resolved to finally settle the rebellion by invading the country with his Parliamentary troops and totally subjugate the country.  He landed in Dublin in August and bloodily subdued one rebellious city after another.  In both Drogheda and Wicklow after the fall of the cities his troops massacred thousands of the residents.  This resulted in heavily garrisoned cities fighting to the last man rather than surrendering and being slaughtered while officers in other less well defended cities rebelled against their Royalist commanders and joined the Parliamentary side.  Both Thomas and Richard Boles were instrumental in the revolt in Cork city which resulted in the handing over of the city to Cromwell's forces but which also saved the city from destruction.  See Thomas and Richard Boles Role in the Revolt of Cork.  These transcripts describe both men as merchants and Thomas promised Captain Myhill that he would raise support amongst the townspeople.  Richard is described as being with a group of townspeople who were turning Irishmen loyal to Ormonde out of their houses.  This lends more strength to the argument that Thomas only received the title of Captain after these events although he was addressed with the title by 1655.

Cromwell used the Adventurer's Act to reward his supporters well.  He redistributed over half the country (11 of 20 million acres) to the New English establishment who were made up of the Adventurers, other Parliamentary supporters and English soldiers in lieu of arrears of pay and to the Hollow Sword Blade Company of England in payment for their arms for his army.  Richard and Thomas were probably just confirmed in the lands they already held.  The restoration of Charles II and the Act of Settlement in 1660 returned about one third of these lands to Catholic Royalists.  However, most of the new land owners including Thomas and Richard (in 1666) were able to maintain their lands by swearing fealty to the Crown.   Under the Act of Settlement, officers of Ormonde's Royalist army who had served under him up to 1649, received compensation out of the fund of confiscated lands.  A formal list of 49 Officers (referring to the year 1649 not just to 49 men as is often stated) was drawn up in 1660 to identify those who qualified for compensation.  This list includes both Thomas and Richard Boles which would indicate that both were serving in the Duke of Ormonde's army prior to 1649.  The distribution was finally completed in 1675, Richard receiving his title to larger land holdings at Ballynalty in 1666.

The 1659 Census of Ireland lists William Bowles in Kilfinnie, Kilfaghnabegg parish, co. Cork and Richard Bowles and his second son, Francis, living at Ballynalta, near Moyge in co. Cork.  Moyge is 2 miles northeast of Liscarroll in Northern Cork.  The ruins of the mansion built at Moyge by Richard's grandson in the mid-1700's still stand but are much overgrown.

That census also lists a Simon Bowles at Mogalla townland, Isishskarra parish but so far we have no further records for him or where Mogalla was for certain.  He would likely have been at Magooly a couple of miles west of Inishcarra village and straight west of Cork city.  The name is also somewhat similar to Mogeely which is in Mogeely parish.  If Mogalla is actually Mogeely which includes the Castlemartyr area where Thomas' descendants lived this would indicate a connection between Simon and Thomas.

18th Century

(under construction)

19th Century

(under construction)
I believe John Boles Gaggin was a descendant of Thomas Boles' line.  He served as Assistant Gold Commissioner in British Columbia, Canada in the 1860's.

One line settled

See The Boles of Cork Family Tree


Branches of the Boles of Cork

The Boles of Kilbree (Thomas Boles' line) (later of Imogeely or Mogeely and Youghal)

The Boles of Moyge  (Richard Boles' line) (note: includes the townlands of Kilbreedy (Killabraher) and Ballynatra (Ballynalty)

The Bowles of Aghern (Thomas Boles)


Branches of the Boles of Cork in Neighbouring Counties

The Boles of Woodhouse, co. Tipperary (Mogirban, Magorban, Moggerbane) (Richard's line)

The Boles of Ballintrane, co. Carlow (Ballintrain) (Richard's line)

The Boles of Dublin (Richard's line)

Note: I would like to express my appreciation to Nick Boles of London, a direct descendant of the Boles of Cork, who provided a huge amount of information and guidance to me while I was developing the Boles of Cork pages in particular but also on several other Bowles in Ireland and Bowles in England pages.

This site was last updated 03/02/20