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The Bowles of Earsham, Norfolk

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still under construction
I have not researched this family in England yet.  I just came across their two members in Ireland while researching The Bowles of Dublin

Two Members of the Bowles of Earsham in Ireland

In 1639 William Bedell of Kilmore, co. Cavan wrote letters to his friends in England. They were mostly about personal matters but they were collected and later published as he was an important person.  Bedell was the Bishop of Kilmore Diocese who became a martyr of the Reformation during the Irish Rebellion of 1641.

As an outspoken proponent of the Reformation in England he had been appointed Provost of Trinity College, Dublin in 1627, despite his having no prior connection to Ireland but that was somewhere he would be less disruptive.  There he learned of corruption in the church in Ireland which fired him up.  At Trinity he decreed that the New Testament should be read in Gaelic to extend its understanding to the people.  In 1629 he was appointed to become Bishop of Kilmore and Ardagh.  From that authority he set himself to reform the abuses of his own diocese by stopping the corruption, bribery and graft in his own parishes.  He also encouraged literacy and religious enlightment by encouraging the use of the Irish language in all aspects of church affairs.  He is noted for commissioning the translation of the Bible into Irish by the Protestant Rector of Templeport parish, the Rev. Muircheartach Ó Cionga.  He would only appoint Irish speakers to parishes.

Admittedly, his goal was to convert the Catholics in his diocese to the Anglican Church, although it was to his version of the Reformed Anglican Church.  That put him at risk in the anti-Protestant areas which he continued to enter as he evangelized.  He was noted for the law being applied to all regardless of religion.  He sided with the Catholic community of Kilmore against the excesses of the Chancellor of the diocese, Alan Cooke, but the church courts supported Cooke and they could not remove him.  In 1641 with the Irish Rebellion, Kilmore was taken back by the O'Reillys.  Due to Bedell's work they "gave comfortable words to the Bishop" and his house at Kilmore, co. Cavan was left untouched.  Unfortunately, his house became a haven for both Protestant refugees from the rebellion and also Catholics who were unwilling to join it.  The rebels eventually had to deal with them so they were seized and imprisoned in Cloughoughter Castle.  Despite pressure that they be killed they were only held prisoner possibly as the rebellion was heading towards a truce with Charles I.  In 1642 Bedell was released but the imprisonment had done its damage and he died shortly after.  He received an honourable funeral attended by his O'Reilly captors and was buried next to his wife, Leah Bowles, at Kilmore.

She's the reason that Bedell is on the Bowles of Earsham page.  Leah Bowles was the daughter of John Bowles of Earsham, Norfolk. 
From 1639 to 1640 when Bedell was working within the hostile Catholic community in Kilmore diocese he couldn't be sure of receiving his mail so in the letters that he sent to England he asked them to respond to him by addressing their letters to his 'brother' 'Mr. Phillip Bowles merchant at his house in Lyme Street', Dublin. (see excerpts from his letters Two Biographies of William Bedell below)
The Phillip Bowles in Dublin was his wife Leah's brother Phillip.
These references in Bedell's letters are the only references that I have for Phillip Bowles, merchant, living in Dublin in 1639-40.

John Bowles of Earsham's Family Tree

John Bowles, Esq. of Earsham, Norfolk

m. Anne Astley (b. ca. 1545; John of Melton Constable, Frances Cheney of Sittingbourne, Kent) (widow of Richard L’Estrange of Hunstanton) 1571


1.       Philip Bowles bp. Feb. 2, 1576/77 Earsham, Norfolk (a merchant of Lyme Street, Dublin; on record 1639-40)

2.       John Bowles bp. Mar. 31, 1578 Earsham

3.       Leah Bowles  b. ca 1581 (30 when married 2nd)

m.(1) Robert Maw, Esq., Recorder of Bury St Edmunds (b. ca. 1535 Rendlesham, Suffolk; John, Alice Pinder)

3.1  Nicholas Maw (Dr.)  bp. Feb. 25, 1601/02 Bury St Edmunds (studied under Dr. Maw of Peterhouse) d. ca. 1635 London

3.2  John Maw bp. June 19, 1603 Bury St Edmunds (died young)

3.3  Leah Maw bp. Nov. 16, 1604 Bury St Edmunds (raised by Bedell) d. 1637 Ireland

3.4  Robert Maw bp. Dec. 10, 1606 (died young)

3.5  Edward Maw bp. Mar. 22, 1607 Bury St Edmunds (raised by Bedell) d. 1641 Ireland

Robert d. 1609 bur. June 1, 1609 Bury St Edmunds

m.(2) William Bedell, Bishop of Kilmore (b. 1571 Black Notley, Essex) Jan. 29, 1611 St Mary’s, Bury St Edmunds (Provost of Trinity College, Dublin 1627; Bishop of Kilmore and Ardagh 1629-1633; Bishop of Kilmore 1633-1642)

3.6  William Bedell bp. Feb. 14, 1612/13 Bury St Edmunds

3.7  Grace Bedell bp. May 29, 1614 Bury St Edmunds d. 1624 bur. Apr. 25, 1624 Horningsheath

3.8  John Bedell bp. Aug. 9, 1616 Bury St Edmunds; d. 1635 Kilmore

3.9  Ambrose Bedell bp. Mar. 21, 1618 Horningsheath

William d. Feb. 7, 1641/42 Loughoughter Castle (of fever while a captive in the rebellion)

John d. 1597 bur. Mar. 11, 1597/98 Earsham

Anne d. 1598 bur. Aug. 30, 1598 Earsham

The above church register entries are all from A True Relation of The Life and Death of William Bedell, Lord Bishop of Kilmore in Ireland  by Thomas Wharton Jones, printed by The Camden Society


Two Biographies of William Bedell Bishop of Kilmore by E. S. Shuckburgh, Cambridge 1902



Thomas Bowles m. Ursula

1.       Mary Margaret Bowles bp. Dec. 3, 1575 Earsham, Norfolk

2.       Elizabeth Bowles (as Bawlles) bp. May 27, 1576 Earsham

3.       Margaret Bowles bp. Dec. 28, 1578 Earsham

4.       Robert Bowles (as Baules) bp. Sept. 3, 1581 Earsham

5.       Anne Bowles (as Bawles) bp. Dec. 6, 1584 Earsham

6.       Ursula Bowles (as Baules) bp. May 9, 1585 Earsham

7.       Antonye Bowles (as Balles) bp. Apr. 13, 1593 Earsham


Thomas Bales

1.       Anne Bales bur. June 13, 1614 Earsham

Thomas Balles bur. July 27, 1619 Earsham


Margaret Balles wife of Thomas Balles bur. Sept. 17, 1585 Earsham


Thomas Balles son of Thomas bur. Dec. 31, 1591 Earsham


William Balles m. Dorothye Blewett Feb. 24, 1594 Earsham

1.        infant Balles bur. Jan. 12, 1595/96 Earsham

2.       Philip Balles bp. Apr. 3, 1597 Earsham

3.       William Balles bp. Nov. 20, 1600 Earsham

4.       Elizabeth Balles bur. Jan. 22, 1601/02 Earsham


Robert Ballis

1.        Mary Ballis bur. Feb. 17, 1609 Earsham


Mary Bowels mar. John Rudd 1695 Earsham


Susan Bowles mar. John Stork 1706 Earsham


Their Howard Neighbours

Earsham is right beside Bigod Castle and Bungay, seats of the Dukes of Norfolk.  In 1687 it was held by Lord Thomas Howard of Worksop.  That would have been Lord Thomas Howard (1662-1689) (wife: Mary Savile), son of Henry Howard, 6th Duke of Norfolk (1628-1684) and brother of Henry Howard, 7th Duke of Norfolk (1655-1701)




From Two Biographies of William Bedell, Bishop of Kilmore

p. 14


p. 80
This was incorrect.  L'Estrange was her mother's first husband's name.

p. 161
p. 356
Mr Philip Bowles merchant at his house in Lyme-Streete
p. 363
my brother Philip Bowles
p. 364

This site was last updated 04/15/19