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

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The Bowles of Eltham

Back to The Bowles of Kent

Eltham is today considered a part of London county but in the 18th Century it was 8 miles SE of London in Kent county.

An 1845 map showing the Eltham area South East of London. 


Several Bowles families lived in this small area of only a few square mile although in quite different times. 

See also The Bowles of Bromley The Bolles of Chislehurst.

Joseph Bowles of Carlow and Quebec City of my own direct Bowles line in Canada retired to Crystal Palace Road in Sydenham in the late 1870's.


The Bowles of Eltham

John Bowles of Eltham, was the second son of Charles Bowles of Chatham who left him a substantial fortune on his death in 1659.  John invested wisely in trade in the Mediterranean and greatly increased his fortune.  His country residence was at Eltham and his town house was in Mark Lane, London.  In 1668, he became the financial backer for the first factory in Britain to manufacture "looking glass plates" which had previously been a secret of the Venetians and later obtained sole possession of the factory.  He then built a larger facility at Ratcliffe in 1680 which the family operated for well over the next 100 years for the manufacture of "crown" window glass, each piece having a crown embossed in the centre of the pane. ref.

See The Bowles Glassworks

The parish church of St. John the Baptist in Eltham contains the tombs of Katherine, wife of John Bowles, merchant, 1670;  Mr. Phineas Bowles, 1718; Rebecca Lady Henley, his daughter, 1743 and Charles Bowles, Gent. 1727.

A branch of this line later settled in Surrey.  See The Bowles of Surrey

Two brothers in this line, William and Thomas, sons of Phineas Bowles of Loughborough House, were active in the early years of 'the Caribbean trade' (the slave trade).  See The Bowles of Eltham in the South Seas Company

Another brother, John, fell out with his father, was disenherited and told to learn a trade.  I believe that he did become a shoemaker, moved to Ireland to start again and established The Bowles of Ballickmoyler line.  The major proof is that John Bowles of Ballickmoyler was later joined there by William Bowles of Wingfield, co. Wexford who was Phineas Bowles of Loughborough House's grandson.  See John and William Bowles of Ballickmoyler.

See also  John Bowles of Eltham's Family Tree

This site was last updated 02/14/21