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

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The Bowles of Yorkshire

Back to The Bowles of England

I believe that I can show that some of the Bowles lines in England originated with two Norman families who were either related to each other or at least were closely connected somehow and who were both in the highest levels of Norman Nobility.  For a discussion of their relationship see The de Busli/de Builli and de Bouelles/de Boeles Connection
Two Norman Nobles, Roger de Busli, who helped finance and otherwise supported William Prince of Normandy's conquest of England in 1066 and for his efforts was awarded a huge barony, the Honour of Tickhill, which included almost 200 manors across five counties but mostly in South Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire, and Roger's brother, Ernold de Builli who held several manors within Roger's holding both settled in Yorkshire.
See also The de Boelles of Bedfordshire and The de Boeles for more on another family which was connected somehow to the de Busli/de Builli and from which I believe several Bowles lines developed.

While The Bolles of Swineshead, Lincolnshire are widely believed to have been the earliest ancestor of many of the Bowles lines in England.  I believe they were certainly significant ancestors of ours but a line that originated in Normandy which settled in Yorkshire was a much earlier and more important root of the Bowles name.

In the late 1800's several historians actively searched for a Norman origin for the Bolles of Swineshead.  They were able to find scattered references for names like Bowles, possibly Boels or Booles, in various locations throughout England, but no incontestible proof was ever found.  That didn't stop the assumption from appearing in many published family histories which are repeated to this day throughout the internet.  Only one family historian I've found, who I believe would have dearly loved to have proven his family's Norman origin, was more practical about the available evidence.  W. H. Bowles in his ‘Records of the Bowles Family’ (privately published in 1918) assesses and then rather dismisses the possibility when he wrote “I have seen several ingenious theories of the origin if the Bowles family in England.  Among these is the inevitable formula that ‘we came over with the Conqueror’ ...... of positive evidence there is none, and without wasting space on conjecture I will pass on to the post-Conquest history of the family”.

The Battle Abbey Rolls are the most comprehensive contemporary record of the Norman knights who accompanied William the Conqueror to England in 1066.  Various copies of the original roll include one knight named Boels or Bools who has been generally identified in family histories as being the ancestor of the Bolles of Lincolnshire line but several de Busli family histories state that they are references to a Roger de Busli, son of the Lord de Busli, who sold off his holdings in Normandy in order to help fund William's invasion of England.  In return, following William's successful conquest, Roger was awarded a huge landholding in northern England which spanned much of Nottinghamshire and South Yorkshire and some adjacent parts of Lincolnshire, Leicestershire and Derbyshire.  Roger built his principle castle at Tickhill, Yorkshire.  One of his main tenants was his brother Ernold de Builli who established his castle at Kimberworth, Yorkshire.

See The de Busli Family Tree


This site was last updated 06/23/19