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

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The Two Bowles Gardeners and the Bowles of Silvermines

- Any Connection?

Back to Walter Bowles, a Gardener of Tipperary, Wales, Carlow and Dublin or William Bowles, a Gardener of Seapark, Wicklow or The Bowles of Silvermines
This is an examination of what we know about Walter Bowles, a gardener, and the Bowles line in Silvermines, co. Tipperary to see if there could be a connection between the two.  If there is sufficient potential of that then further research will be needed and proof of a connection or of no connection may be found in time.  Regardless of that outcome I will also examine whether there is enough known about the two gardeners, Walter Bowles and William Bowles to assess the potential for their connection.

Walter Bowles

What we know about Walter (see his family tree page for the sources of this information):
1.  He was born in Ireland in about 1815
2.  His father's name was James Bowles, a bootmaker
3.  His mother's name may have been Elizabeth (based on the Irish Child Naming Tradition and the name that he gave his first daughter)
4.  His wife Ellen (they married in Wales) born about 1812 was also born in Ireland
5.  Ellen's father was James Sullivan, a weaver
6.  The witnesses at their marriage in May 1840 were a couple Thomas and Margaret Parry; Thomas was a shoemaker born in Wales while his wife Margaret was from Kilbeg, Ireland
7.  In the 1841 census ref. which recorded 488 people living in Gwespyr, there were only five other people there from Ireland other than Walter, his wife Ellen and the witness at their marriage Margaret Parry
8.  Walter and Ellen were in Wales from their marriage in May 1840 until June 1841 when the census was taken but their first born, Elizabeth, was baptized in Tipperary on June 12, 1842 when Walter was working as a gardener at the Spring House estate.

The Bowles of Silvermines

James (2) Bowles, a shoemaker (2) of Silvermines, and his wife Elizabeth (3) Barber were married in 1812 but we only know of a son William born about 1820, a daughter Elizabeth born about 1834, three others, James, Jane and Sarah, all apparently younger than William whom they followed to emigrate to Australia in the 1850's.  James and Elizabeth probably did have other children between 1812 and 1820 (1) and as they only moved to Silvermines around 1848 their eldest children would probably not have accompanied them there. 
I don't know yet where the Bowles lived before Silvermines but Elizabeth Barber was probably from this area.  We find a John Barber of Nenagh holding land at Silvermines in 1828 and on William Street in Nenagh in the 1830's to 1850's.  Nenagh is the larger center about 6 miles north of Silvermines.  In 1838 the Petty Session at Nenagh heard a complaint from James Sullivan (5) that John Barber had 'refused to return a piece of stuff given him to press' (5, 'stuff' was used then as a generic term for woven fabric or material).
So there is a good match here for both Walter's parents and for his wife Ellen's father, not only in their names but also in their occupations.
The witness at their marriage, Margaret Parry from Kilbeg, may also have been from this area.  Silvermines is in Kilmore parish and in Ireland where a town name has the suffix 'more' (ie. big) there is usually a town with the suffix 'beg' (ie. little) nearby.  There is currently a Kylebeg in Kilmore parish which was likely Margaret's Kilbeg.  The Tipperary Townlands database
gives the same Irish spelling An Choill Bheag for both Kilbeg and Kylebeg.  That leads to another either significant lead or just a pure coincidence as there actually was a Boles in Kylebeg at that time. 
There is no proof here yet that Walter was an elder son of James and Elizabeth Bowles of Silvermines but what we know about Walter is consistent with such a connection so further research would be warranted.  A report to the English Parliament listing 'The Name and Residence of Each Person in Ireland to whom Licenses have been Granted to keep Arms as of May 11, 1836' includes an Andrew Boles of Kilebeg, co. Tipperary who was granted the right to keep 1 gun by Magistrate James Dempster of Nenagh. 

William Bowles, a gardener, of Seapark in co. Wicklow

When Walter Bowles arrived in Dublin some time before 1870 (Walter Jr's marriage in which they were both stated to be gardeners) William Bowles, also a gardener, was living at 15 Wexford Street (1868). 
Other than that there is nothing further that we know of so far to connect them.  They were both gardeners living within a short walk of St Stephens Green but on opposite sides. 

William and Walter Bowles Neighbourhood (Georgian Dublin)

This was an area that must have employed a huge number of gardeners judging by the landscaped gardens shown in this detail of Dublin in 1836. 
William lived on the western edge of this area but Walter lived right in the heart of Georgian Dublin, at that time the wealthiest part of the city. 

The streets were layed out with whole blocks of Georgian style houses on very narrow but long lots which allowed for elaborate gardens behind each house ending at their carriage house on an access lane which ran behind the block.  This was the first neighbourhood where indoor plumbing was in common usage.
The gardeners, plumbers and other tradesmen needed to maintain this lifestyle lived nearby but in rather less grand lots on the connecting streets between the Georgian blocks or off their back lanes.  This street map shows Lad Lane with the sewer line running down the middle of it and the water pipes leading to two pumps which supplied the water pressure to the houses on Fitzwilliam Street.  Walter Sr the gardener and Walter Jr the plumber were in the right place for their careers but William Bowles Sr and Jr would move down to Wicklow to work at the Seapark estate by 1869.


This site was last updated 10/19/18