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

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The Bolles of Swineshead Parish

Back to The Bowles of Lincolnshire

NOTE: It has been generally believed that this line had their roots in the town of Swineshead with the earliest of the line, Allen or Alleyn, being the Lord of the Manor of Swineshead with his residence at Bolle Hall in Swineshead.  See  The Question of the Bolle as Lords of Swineshead.  In fact, 'of Swineshead' refers to the larger parish of Swineshead.  Bolle Hall was located at the far southern edge of the parish near Hoffleet and partly in Wigtoft parish.  There actually was a continuing line of Lords of Swineshead for many generations but they were of a much higher nobility than the Bolles who only had much smaller holdings nearby. Their Bolle Hall was on land which they held as tenants of the Manor of Stevening which was located just outside the town of Swineshead to the SW.

See The Roots of the Bolles of Swineshead

See The Bolles of Bolle Hall and Bolle Hall of Swineshead

See The Norman Origins of The Name

and The Bolles of Swineshead Family Tree

The Swineshead Bolles line of descent leads directly to the Bowles of Haugh, where the Bolle line first acquired their great wealth and prestige through marriage to a heiress of the Haugh family, and from there to the Osberton, Gosberton and Bromley lines.  The Bowles of Myddleton House, Enfield are also generally accepted to be of this line of descent.

The Bolles of Swineshead over time divided up to found several other main Bowles branches in England although the exact descent is not known.  An interesting, but very incorrect, note from the Medieval Mosaic:

The "antient and unblamed Family" of Bolles remained for six hundred years in the county of Lincoln. Osbert de Boelles is (as we have seen) mentioned there in the first part of the twelfth century; and the last heir male, John Bolle, of Thorpe Hall, died in 1732. Their original seat was a manor-house, to which they gave its name of Bolle Hall, in Swineshead, where they held large possessions by knight service of the Earls of Richmond1; and in the beginning of the fourteenth century they were also tenants in capite of the Crown of lands in Conningesby, parcel of the manor of Scrivelby2. Towards the close of Edward IV.'s reign they divided into two branches. "The elder, by an intermarriage with the heiress of the family of Hough, became settled at Hough, or Haugh, near Alford, and the other at Gosberkirke, now Gosberton3. Before the division of these branches, the Bolles family had several times represented the co. of Lincoln in parliament, and had filled the offices of sheriff and escheator of the same county; and we find them erecting chantries and bestowing lands to charitable uses at Algarkirke, Wygtoft, and other places; a clear indication of the wealth of this family in those early times."—Illingworth's Parish of Scampton. The elder line afterwards became seated at Thorpe Hall, near Louth; and many of the name lie buried in Haugh and Louth churches. Sir John Bolle of Thorpe was the hero of a romantic adventure told in a contemporary ballad as "The Spanish Ladye's Love."  He was a gallant soldier, who served Queen Elizabeth in Spain and Italy4; was knighted after the taking of Cadiz; commanded at the storming of the Irish castles of Lifford and Donolong5, and was appointed Governor of Kinsale by the Earl of Essex.

The Bolles of New England line is the only current one which can document its claim to a descent from Swineshead.  The Joseph Bolles who sailed for America on the Prester John in 1623 was the younger brother of John Bolles of Osberton, and inherited this estate on his death in 1666. He settled in Wells, Maine, and founded the extensive American family of Bolles.  Please see their web site at The Bolles Family Association.  The Osberton line is otherwise extinct today. 



1  Their holdings were rather modest (under construction)

This site was last updated 12/29/19