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Walter Bowles, a Gardener of Tipperary, Carlow and Wales

Back to The Bowles of Dublin

While there have been hundreds if not thousands of Bowles/Boles references in Ireland there are only a handful for any with the given name Walter.  With the exception of one reference in Northern Ireland and one in Cahir, all the rest are consistent with the story of just one Walter Bowles, a gardener, who originated in county Tipperary, worked in Wales, Tipperary and Carlow and finally settled in Dublin.

We know from his marriage registration and a census record in Wales that Walter was born in Ireland ca. 1815 and that his father was James Bowles, a bootmaker. 

To distinguish him from the other Walters in Tipperary I have started to think of him as Walter the Gardener.  See Walter Bowles the Gardener's  Family Tree

Walter first appears with his marriage to Ellen Sullivan in Gwespyr, Flintshire, Wales in 1840.  Oddly their marriage occurred on May 6 but the church banns which are required prior to the marriage were only made on May 10 so it's possible that they had only recently arrived.   The marriage registration states that they were both living on the Talacre estate where Walter was employed as a gardener and that his father was James Bowles, a bootmaker, and her father was James Sullivan, a weaver.  Their witnesses were Thomas and Margaret Parry. 

The Talacre estate was the residence of Sir Edward Mostyn.  The gardens were laid in the late 1830's featuring a walled garden the walls of which incorporated an older banquet house which had been part of an earlier garden designed by Capability Brown.  The banquet house had been made into the Gardener's House so Walter was one of the first gardener's hired to live in it and maintain the new gardens.

The June 1841 Census of Pentre Ucha, Gwespyr, Flintshire shows Walter (26, so born about 1815) and his wife Ellen (29) were both born in Ireland.  No children are listed.  Walter is still listed as a gardener.

The couple that were witnesses at Walter and Ellen's marriage in 1840, Thomas and Margaret Parry, are listed in Gwespyr in the 1841, 1851 and 1861 censuses from which we learn that Thomas was a shoemaker and that Margaret was born in Killbeg, Ireland.  That may indicate another connection to Silvermines which is in Kilmore civil parish.  Where there is a Kilmore there is often a Kilbeg nearby (the first bigger, the second smaller) but I haven't yet been able to confirm that.

This is probably just a strange coincidence but one of the few Walter Bowles in Britain was a Walter Bowles (b. ~ 1514) who died in Pembrokeshire, Wales.  I doubt there could be any connection given the 300 year gap but you never know.  There might have been some earlier family connection which brought Walter back to Wales in 1841. ref.


By June 1842, Walter Bowles and his wife, Ellen, were back in Ireland baptizing a child, Elizabeth, in Tipperary (town). ref.  At this time, Walter was a gardener at Simon Lowe's estate house, Spring House, which was famous for its gardens.  The remains of the estate house are now on the grounds of Kilshane House near Bansha. ref.

See the Walled Gardens at Kilshane House, Springhouse townland





Click on a map for a larger image
In 1851 Walter was a gardener at Johnstown House in county Carlow when their son James was born.  Johnstown House was occupied by the Bunbury family (the ancestors of my friend Turtle Bunbury, see his article Bunbury of Johnstown, co. Carlow) from its construction in the early 1700's until they sold it to John Campion in 1819.  Campion sold it to Thomas Elliott by 1837 who substantially rebuilt it in the 1840's.  Walter would have worked for the Elliotts in 1851 although I don't know for how many years he was there.
                                                              Johnstown House today
Some time later Walter moved on to Dublin.  In 1870, he is still listed as a gardener in his son Walter's (the plumber) marriage registration in Dublin and also in his son's second marriage in 1881.  Walter the gardener passed away in 1885 at his son's residence at 4 Lad Lane in Dublin.
Walter Bowles Jr. (known to me as Walter the plumber) married Mary Anne Harris in Dublin in 1870.  According to parish records they were in Tyrone in 1874, in Donegal in 1876, in Kerry in 1878 and back in Dublin by 1881 where he remained until his death in 1933.  His descendants still live in Dublin today.
Note: there was one other Walter in the southern part of Ireland which the above does not explain.  That is a Walter Bowles listed in the Griffiths Valuation of 1849/50 as holding land in Duninga townland, Grangesilvia parish, Kilkenny.   I have no idea where he might fit in.

Possibility of Another Family Member of Walter's In Dublin

While gardener is a relatively unusual occupation, there was another gardener, William Bowles, in Dublin when Walter arrived there.  While there seems to be no documented link it's always possible they may have been connected although the William Bowles story then continued on in co. Wicklow.  See William Bowles, a Gardener of Seapark, co. Wicklow

Possibility of Walter Bowles' Connection to the Bowles of Silvermines

From what we know of Walter so far I believe the best candidate for his father, James Bowles a bootmaker, would be James Bowles of Silvermines


See The Two Bowles Gardeners and the Bowles of Silvermines - Any Connection?


This site was last updated 10/19/18