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

Home  My Story  My Bowles Family  Bowles in Canada  Bowles in Ireland  Bowles in Great Britain  Bowles in the US

Origin of the Name  People's Lives  Related Links  New Additions

The Earliest Bowles in England

The Bowles name goes back to far before the earliest records available so it will probably never be possible to establish all of the places of origin of the family name in England.

See some various theories about The Origin of The Bowles Name

It has been generally accepted that many of the most prominent Bowles lines in England descended from, or at least claimed descent from, an Allen Bolle, Lord of Swineshead, Lincolnshire who was thought to be of Norman descent with the implication that his ancestors arrived in England with William of Normandy in 1066.  That turns out to not be entirely true.  Some new information regarding the Bolle's early history in Lincolnshire indicates a merchant-class origin for that line most likely with Anglo-Saxon/Viking roots.  See The Bolles of Swineshead 

However I believe I can show that there was a Bowles ancestor who did indeed arrive in England with William the Conqueror in 1066.  That was Ernold de Builli, brother of Roger de Busli of Tickhill, Yorkshire who was a close companion of William's. Roger had sold the rights to his estate in Busli, Normandy to help finance William's invasion of England.  After the success of that venture he was awarded a huge grant of land in Yorkshire, and Nottinghamshire and smaller holdings in Derbyshire, Devonshire, Lancashire, Leicestershire and Lincolnshire.  He left no adult male heir and so played only a short role in England's history but his brother Ernold, who held land under Roger in Yorkshire, did leave descendants who settled in many places, particularly in Bedfordshire who were, or at least I believe I can make a convincing case that they were, the origin of a Bowles line in Bedfordshire that then spread out from there.  See The Bowles of Yorkshire

Another family, brothers William and Hugh de Boeles, were closely connected to the Royal Court in the 1200's and also had a documented connection to a direct descendant of Ernold de Builli's.  There will be much more on this to come but for now, please see Hugh de Boeles of Rushall, Staffordshire

More recently I have documented the early history of the Bolles of Kent who, far from being descendants of the Bolles of Swineshead, go back much further to the early 1200's. It's not known yet whether these Boles were all members of the same branch or whether they had Norman or Anglo-Saxon roots.  Several of the earliest references point to Anglo-Saxon origins for many of them while others indicate a strong association with the Norman rulers.

Other Bowles lines in England with long and significant histories include:

The Bolles of Haugh  
This branch includes Sir John Bolle, the Hero of Cadiz, who later held important positions in Ireland and the ghost of his Mistress, The Green Lady of Thorpe Hall.
The Bolles of Gosberton   
This branch includes the Lord Mayor of London and leads to The Bowles of Chatham, Kent which includes a Secretary of the Navy, a Lieutenant General and John Bowles of Eltham, the founder of the first factory in England to make looking glass plates and "Crown" window glass.
The Bolles of Osberton   
This branch leads to the merchant family of Deale, Kent and from 1614 the settlement of the New England colony of Wells, Maine.
The Bowles of Bromley
This branch includes the suppliers of tents and pavilions to the Rulers of England from Elizabeth I to James II.
The Bowles Family of London, Printers
This branch includes three generations of famous 17th and 18th century London publishers, the "Father" of the English Country Garden and leads to the Parker-Bowles of today. 

For all that I have on the Bowles lines in England please see The Bowles in England by County


This site was last updated 10/19/18