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The Bowles of Fethard

Back to The Bowles of Tipperary

See also The Bowles of Fethard's Family Tree

Note:  As The Bowles of Crohane were likely connected to the Bowles of Fethard and the Bowles of Crohane were closely connected to the Bowles of Bawnlea; that DNA testing has proven that descendants of the Bawnlea Bowles and the Springhill Bowles share a close connection to a common ancestor and that The Bowles of Springhill were members of the Killenaule RC parish there is a very good possibility that the Bowles of Bawnlea, Springhill, Crohane, Killenaule and Fethard were all closely related.  See Sorting Out The Bowles of Killenaule and Kilcooly

As usual in this early period the spelling of their surname within the same family varied greatly in both original source material and in early and even recent transcriptions.  Boles and Bowles appear regularly with Bowls and Bowels occasionally. 


Some Background

The Everard family held much of the land around Fethard  from the 1400's under the Butler family, the Lords of Ormonde.  Meanwhile, Thomas Barton of Norwich, England, had settled in Fermanagh with the Earl of Essex in 1599.  The Barton's built a profitable wine trade in Ireland, eventually founding the Barton &  Gustier wine firm in Bordeaux, France and building a considerable fortune.  In 1752, Thomas Barton's great-grandson, Thomas Barton of Curraghmore, Fermanagh, bought the Grove and Fethard interests from Sir Edmond Everard's estate, built a new house in Fethard and settled in the town.  His only son William Barton (1723-1792) took over the management of these properties shortly after. 

The First Known Bowles Connection to Fethard

Epaphroditus Marsh was originally from Hannington, Wiltshire but settled in Fethard in the late 1600's.  He was a Member of Parliament for Fethard to the Irish House of Commons in Dublin in 1703-1713 and from 1715 until his death in 1719.  His Will of that year left £35 (quite a large sum in those days) to John Bowles of Longcott, Berkshire to settle in full any claim he may have against his estate. ref. That would indicate they had done business of some sort prior to 1719.  Longcott and Hannington are only about 6 miles apart. We also have a land deed memorial from 1734 involving a John Bowles of Lechlade, Gloucester, a Thomas Bowles of Wexford and others. ref.  Lechlade is only about 4 miles north of Hannington.  Overall this is a pretty small area.  Possibly John Bowles of Longcott in 1719 and John Bowles of nearby Lechlade in 1734 were either the same person or were closely related.  However, while it's tempting, that's a bit too disjoint to indicate any connection between those John Bowles and the Bowles of Fethard.

Bowles in Fethard

The earliest reference for Bowles in Fethard is the The List of Freemen of the Corporation of Fethard which lists six Bowles: (source: Extracts from the Minutes of the Corporation of Fethard, co. Tipperary, Rev. W.G. Skehan; The Irish Genealogist Vol. 4, #2 Oct 1969 pp 81-92; #3 Nov 1970 pp 183-193; # 4 Nov 1971, pp 308-322; continued by Michael O'Donnell for the late Rev Skehan, #6 Nov. 1973 pp 616-624; Vol 5 #1 Nov 1974, pp 72-86; #2 Nov 1975, pp 201-216; #3 Nov 1976 pp 370-382)




Date Admitted

Date Sworn

Date Voted

Sam. Bowles






Charles Bowles






David Bowles






John Bowels






George Bowles






Thomas Bowles






This does not mean that all of these Bowles lived in Fethard as during the struggle for control of the Corporation of Fethard between the O'Callaghan and Barton families many people, some from far distant and with no actual connection to the town, were admitted as Freemen of Fethard.  For a discussion of how these Bowles fit into that struggle see The Bowles as Freemen of Fethard.

I hope to have someone examine the Minutes of the Corporation of Fethard to see if any comment in there helps us identify any of these Bowles further.

It would also be interesting to see whether any Bowles appears on:  A map of the town and lands of Fethard (Co. Tipperary), belonging to William Barton. Surveyed by William Steile. 1752. Shows tenant names.  Dublin: National Library of Ireland, Manuscript map: 21 F. 55 (5)

Both the Minutes and this map are held at the National Library in Dublin.


John Bowles of Fethard, smith, who was admitted 16 years after Charles and David, is most likely the son of one of them.  See John Bowles of Fethard below.

George Bowles of Coolquill (near Crohane about 3 miles east of Killenaule, see The Bowles of Crohane), farmer, is possibly another son of either Charles or David.  In either case I believe that John and George were brothers as they were of the same generation, both appear in the Corporation minutes on the same day and as both their lines used the given names John, David and Charles. 

The given names Charles and David are also associated with The Bowles of Kilcooly.  This connection could be through the Bartons as William Barton's son Thomas (1757-1820), who would have become the Bowles landlord in Fethard, married Mary Chambre Brabazon-Barker whose brother Chamber Brabazon-Barker was the landlord of the Bowles of Kilcooly


John Bowles of Fethard

John Bowles was born about 1744 although we don't know where.  His father may have been either Charles or David Bowles who were both admitted as Freemen to the Corporation of Fethard in 1755.  John was admitted to the Corporation in 1771 at which time his occupation is given as "smith".  This could either refer to a blacksmith or a tinsmith also called a whitesmith.  In 1773 he was sworn in as a Freeman. He was a tenant of the Barton family as he is listed in the Barton Ledger of 1780 as holding land under William Barton at an annual cost of £9.19.6.  (Ref.: National Archives of Ireland MS 5876) 

He married Grace Woods in about 1769 and raised a family in Fethard.  His son, Charles, apparently kept to the family trade as the 1824 Pigot Directory of Ireland lists Charles Boles of Fethard as a smith.  Their son Robert became a shoemaker and is later described as "of Clonmel".  We also know of a Charles Bowles who was a "shoemaker at Clonmel" in 1840.  This might be either the previously mentioned Charles having given up the smith trade he had in 1824 and having gone into partnership with Robert or it might be a second Charles we haven't placed yet.  Both Robert and another son of John and Grace's, William (see below), served in the Tipperary Militia.  (I have a lot of research on their service in the militia but I haven't received permission from the National Archives yet to publish the documents I would need to show to tell that story thoroughly.  There will be more to come on this subject.)

It's interesting that while Robert was serving in Galway with the Tipperary Militia, his wife, Rebecca Ryan, travelled from Tipperary to Fermanagh when she was expecting their second daughter, Grace.  Robert took leave from the militia shortly after the baby's birth in Enniskillen in 1813.  However, his duty papers indicate that he gave Strabane as his destination.  Strabane is actually in co. Tyrone but not that far from the Fermanagh border.   It's also possibly not a coincidence that Robert's mother's family, the Woods, also lived in that area.  See The Woods of Tyrone.  Rebecca may well have travelled to the Bowles and/or Woods family home while expecting her baby as her husband was away from home and she would have needed their family's care.

Robert (and another relation named David) emigrated to Guysborough county, Nova Scotia in 1823. 

See John Boles of Fethard's Family Tree and The Bowles of Guysborough Co. for more information on this family.

His brother, William who also served in the Tipperary Militia with him, seems to have settled in county Kerry.  See The Boles of Kerry.


Other Bowles References in the Fethard area

John Napper (b. ~ 1775 Fethard) m. Mary Bowles (b. ~ 1784)
Emigrated to Hemmingford, Quebec about 1820
Edmund Bowles living on Kerry Street in Fethard in 1850 (index to Griffith's Valuation of Ireland, 1848-1864)
Compiled from Griffith’s Valuation by Michael O Donnell
Edmund Bowles, Kerry Street, house, yard and garden of 3 roods and 8 perches, ref. 70/58
Note: 1 acre = 4 roods, 1 rood = 40 perches

This site was last updated 04/17/22