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

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Sorting Out The Bowles of Kilcooly and Killenaule and Area

Back to The Bowles of Kilcooly, The Bowles of Fethard, The Bowles of Killenaule, The Bowles of Lower Crohane or The Bowles of Springhill

Note: this page is currently under construction

Note: the following discussion makes a lot of statements without giving source references as this page is just an attempt to sort out the Bowles family members who are documented with source references on one of the above mentioned pages.  Please see the relevant page for each of the Bowles lines mentioned in the following.  The Kilcooly page includes The Commons and Bawnlea which are both in Kilcooly parish.  The Bowles of Lower Crohane includes Coolquill which is in Lower Crohane parish.


Background - The Catholic Reality in South Tipperary

I imagine most of us would expect that the general image we have of the oppression which the Catholic tenantry received from the Protestant landholding class would apply in this area and certainly it did by the 1800's but in the period in which we first find the Bowles here it was not that simple.  South Tipperary, particularly in the baronies of Slieverdagh and Iffa and Offa, was one of the last holdouts of Catholic authority in Ireland.  After the rebellion in the 1640's and the subsequent sweep of southern Ireland by Cromwell in 1649 most of the Old English large landowners, still largely Catholic, were replaced by the New English creating a renewed loyalty to England.  However, in this area at the end of the 17th century two of the largest landowners were still Old English families who could trace their position in Ireland back to the 1500's: the Butlers of Clonmel (the powerful Dukes of Ormond) and the Everards of Fethard.  The next level of landowners under them and their tenantry were also still predominately Catholic. 

However their last hopes were dashed due to their support of the Jacobite rising of 1715 after which James Butler was attainted and forced to sell off his estates, principally to his former larger tenants and other members of Old English families, while Sir Redmond Everard fled to France.  With Everard's departure the control of the Corporation of Fethard came under Cornelius O'Callaghan who was also from a long established Catholic family who had converted, at least nominally, to Anglicanism.

 In 1751 after Everard died in France his estate in Fethard was sold to a Bordeaux wine merchant, Thomas Barton, whose son William Barton attempted to wrest control of the Corporation of Fethard from O'Callaghan.  Before this O'Callaghan could appoint Freemen on his own authority many of whom would likely have been Catholics but Barton's presence limited that ability.  In 1755 O'Callaghan fought off Barton's attempt to be elected a Burgess by assembling a large number of his supporters to be sworn in as Freemen of Fethard at the annual general meeting.  That required his supporters swear allegiance to the Crown and deny the Pope's authority, at least nominally.  Barton continued to build support as more and more Protestant influence was exerted over the region.  From 1773 to 1775 O'Callaghan was able to fight off Barton's next attempts to control the Corporation by using his majority to elect an even larger number of his supporters as Freemen.  While Barton protested the process he was not able to accuse O'Callaghan's supporters of being ineligible Catholics.  It was no longer possible for Catholics to prosper and especially to hold prominent positions in this area unless they first publicly converted to the State religion.  Which they did.

These events are relevant to my Bowles study as O'Callaghan's appointments to the Corporation included a Charles and David Bowles who were sworn in 1755.  They were both in the list of his supporters who were elected in 1773 to 1775 as was a George Bowles, farmer of Coolquill, who was admitted in 1771 and later voted in from 1773 to 1775 and a John Bowles, smith of Fethard, who was admitted in 1771 and sworn in 1773

See also The Bowles as Freemen of the Corporation Of Fethard


The Bowles of South Tipperary


Bowles is not a common name in Ireland.  Boal and Bole are found in the north and appears to have originated with the Scottish tenantry settled there in the 1600's.  It is only found as Bowles in any numbers in the south especially in Cork, Tipperary and of course in Dublin.  It's rarely found in most other counties.  In Tipperary it's found in one specific area in the south stretching from Kilcooly to Fethard, a total distance of about 18 miles, possibly indicating some common origin which upon closer examination does appear to be the case.

We know that Charles Bowles was Catholic as he baptized a son in the Catholic parish at Killenaule in 1747.  Of course they may be two different Charles but there are no earlier references for a Charles Bowles in this area and being Catholic and from nearby Killenaule is entirely consistent with his being an associate of O'Callaghan's at Fethard in 1755. 

We also know that an Ann Bowles and husband James Meagher baptized children at the Killenaule Catholic parish church in 1748 and 1751.  Charles and Ann were likely siblings born in the 1720's or earlier.   The David Bowles who was also sworn to the Corporation in 1755 with Charles may have been another sibling or possibly their father.

While we thought earlier that the Bowles were an Anglo-Irish family with a Catholic branch it now seems possible that they were an Old English Irish family in Killenaule in the 1740's of which a branch converted to Anglicanism. 

The use of the three given names David, Charles and Anne are highly indicative of a continuing line of Bowles in this area from the early 1700's through the Bowles lines in Fethard and in Kilcooly, both in the early 1800's.  The given name David in particular is seldom found in any other Bowles lines in this period in Ireland although it appears here frequently.  The names John, George and William are also commonly found in these Bowles lines but that's as they are in most Anglo-Irish families.

We know more about the other two Bowles mentioned in connection with O'Callaghan's support in the Corporation of Fethard, John Bowles a smith of Fethard and George Bowles a farmer of Coolquill.  They both first appear in the Corporation minutes 16 years after David and Charles, and then all four attended the same meeting of the Corporation in 1773, and so may represent the next generation in the family.  In fact we know that John Bowles of Fethard was born about 1744 (he married in 1769 and raised a family in Fethard; two of his sons were also smiths) and George Bowles of Coolquill in Crohane parish was born about 1735 as he died in 1777 at age 42 and was buried in Killenaule. 

We have an extensive family tree for John Bowles of Fethard's known seven children including two sons who emigrated to Nova Scotia in the 1820's.  George Bowles had at least one son John, born about 1760, who was holding 8 acres in Lower Crohane parish under Anthony Guy Luther in 1830 and John had at least two children, Charles, born about 1790, and William, born in 1801, who were holding land at Lower Crohane under the same landlord in 1850 and almost certainly a third son David who, along with John Bowles Sr and Charles and William Bowles, all signed the Anti-Catholic Petition at Crohane in 1827.  This same petition was also signed by Charles Bowles of Bawnlea in Kilcooly parish.

All of the above lines were Protestant although descended from the same line as the Charles Bowles who was Catholic in 1747.  We also have a Joseph Bowles of Springhill, the townland adjacent to Killenaule to the west, who baptized a son John Bowles at the Catholic parish church in Killenaule in 1790.  John was later of The Commons and then Valcartier, Quebec.  John likely had at least one older brother, George, so Joseph was probably born in the 1760's.  Through DNA testing of their descendants in Canada we have established that the two Catholic Bowles of The Commons and the Protestant Bowles of Bawnlea were closely related.  See Kits N36565 and 38140 in Group 9 of the Bowles DNA Study

John, George, Charles and Catherine Bowles and Rose Semple, all of The Commons, appear to have been siblings, the children of Joseph Bowles and Ellen Mackey of Springhill, an estate on the western edge of Killenaule.  See an analysis of that connection on the Bowles of Springhill page.

There are indications that there was some connection between the Bowles of the Commons and The Bowles of Oola, Limerick.  The case for this may be weaker but what I have is presented here.

There is a strong possibility of a link between The Bowles of Fethard and the Bowles of Crohane and also the Bowles of Bawnlea and The Bowles of Crohane.  See the Crohane page for a discussion of those possibilities.


Considering what we know about the Bowles at these locations:


The earliest Bowles references in the Killenaule area so far where a Charles Bowls and wife Anna Delahunty who baptized children there in the Catholic parish in 1748 and 1750 and an Anna Bowls and husband Jacob (James) Meagher who baptized children there in 1748 and 1751.  Based on that Charles and Anna Bowls were probably siblings born in the 1720's. 

From that we have:

Two children of a Mr. Bowles living in the parish of Killenaule and Moyglass in the Catholic Diocese of Cashel and Emly. That doesn't mean that the family lived in the town of Killenaule, the Killenaule parish included all or portions of the civil parishes of Cooleagh, Graystown, Kilconnell, Kilcooly, Killenaule, Lickfinn, Magorban, Magowry, Rathcool, St John the Baptist and St Johnstown including 19 townlands (see the townlands in Killenaule parish listed on the Townlands site).

Mr. Bowles (likely also a local resident, the Catholic population didn't move around much then)
1.  Charles Bowls b. ca. mid 1720's m. Anna Delahunty ca. 1745
1.1  Peter Bowls bp. Feb. 7, 1748 Killenaule parish
1.2  Edmund Bowls bp. Apr. 1750 Killenaule parish
2.  Anna Bowls b. ca. mid 1720's m. James Meagher ca. 1745
2.1  ? (name not recorded) Meagher bp. May 29, 1748 Killenaule parish
2.2  John Meagher bp. Nov. 17, 1751 Killenaule parish

That's not to say that they didn't have other children as the records for this early period can be quite incomplete.


Then in the Protestant cemetery in Killenaule there are two memorial stones one of which is for the eldest Bowles mentioned in the area, George Bowles, who died in 1777 at age 42, so he was born about 1735.

Ann Bowles b. ~ 1757 Killenaule m. George Ryall at Fethard 1777

Joseph Bowles of Springhill, b. bef. 1770, m. Ellen Mackey; sons John (b. 1790,



The connection between The Bowles of The Commons, Kilcooly and The Bowles of Oola, Limerick is based on (still working on this one/needs more documentation, the rather weak case so far is here)

The 1766 Religious Census of Tipperary lists one, a Protestant named John Bowles, in Doon parish which crossed the Tipperary/Limerick border and included Oola.

That was probably the same person as the John Boles (born ca. 1726) who died in 1802 at age 76 and is buried in the Oola Cemetery.  All the rest of the Bowles that we have buried in that cemetery were Catholic though



John Bowles b. ca. 1744 at Fethard in 1780 holding land under Barton; sons David (b. 1771), Charles (b. 1775 m. Honora Hatcher; shoemaker at Clonmel in 1840), Jonas (b. 1778), William (b. ca. 1778), Robert (b. 1780; emigrated to Canada 1823)




The 1766 Religious Census of Tipperary does not list any Bowles in the Kilcooly/Killenaule area at all.  The Tithe Defaulters List of 1831 has a George Bowles, residence: Bawnlea.  This just means that he had been a resident there the last time that they checked as the tithe collectors were turned away in 1831 on threat of death.  ref.


John Bowles, father of Charles Bowles of Knocknahone (Crohane parish), who died in 1840 at age 78.  So John was born about 1762 and his son Charles would likely be the Charles Sr. of Crohane in the list of signers of the Anti-Catholic Petition of 1827.

The Tithe Defaulters List of 1831 has John Bowles, farmer, of Lower Crohane

The Commons

under construction

The following is a possible family tree which fits the above references but has not been confirmed.  This is presently a working hypothesis only.


George Bowles b. ~ 1735 (a Freeman of Fethard in 1771; lived Coolquill)  m. ? ~ 1754
1.  Susana Bowels  b. ~ 1756  m. Mr. Graham  d. Oct. 10, 1792 (age 36) bur. Killenaule  (Bowels spelling is only as on memorial stone)
2.  Anne Bowles b. ~ 1757 m. George Ryall Jan. 12, 1777 Fethard, Tipperary
3.  George Bowles b. ~ 1758
m. Barbara Young of Bawnlea (Note: just a theory that they fit in here really well, no proof of it yet)
(they settled at Bawnlea, Kilcooley parish ~ 1780's; emigrated to Canada in 1830)
3.1  George Bowles b. ~ 1780
(lived at Bawnlea, Kilcooley parish in 1826; may still have been there in 1831 as he is listed in the Tithe Defaulters List of that year for not having paid his tithes)
3.2  Charles Bowles b. ~ 1782 (lived at Bawnlea, Kilcooley parish in 1826; emigrated to Canada in 1827)
See The Bowles of Peel co., Ontario
3.3  Rose Bowles b. ~ 1786 Tipperary
3.4  David Bowles b. ~ 1807 Tipperary
(seems a big age gap but R. P. Bowles writes in his The Tipperary Bowles that David was much younger than his brother Charles and his sister Rose)
(he went to Canada with parents and sister Rose in 1830)
(A David Bowles signed the Anti-Catholic Petition in Crohane in 1827; that could have been this David living with his Uncle and Cousins or there was another David Bowles in that family)
George d. 1830 Peel co., Ontario
4.  John Bowles b. ~ 1762  d. June 16, 1840 age 78
(John has 8 acres at Crohane Lower under Luther in 1830, also there in 1831 (farmer); he signed as John Bowles Sen. of Crohane Parish on the Anti-Catholic Petition of 1827)
4.1  Charles Boles b. ~ 1790
Charles lived at Knocknahone in 1840 has 13.5 acres at Crohane Lower under Luther in 1850
(Charles inherited John's land so he's likely the oldest son; 8 Irish Acres in 1830 is equal to 12.8 English Acres so the .7 acres increase could either be the result of more accurate measuring or the inclusion of unusable land in 1850 which was not counted in 1830)
4.2  William Bowles b. ~ 1801 d. June 22, 1851 age 50
m. Susan ? ~ 1840  (Susan lived at Crohane after 1851; probably with daughter Jane)
William with land and houses at Ballyphillip and Lower Crohane in 1850
4.2.1  Jane Bowles b. ~ 1844  m. James Simpson (Thomas) May 8, 1862 Crohane  William Simpson b. 1865
  m. ?  (Church of Ireland)  James Simpson b. ~ 1889 d. Mar. 9, 1967 Crohane (age 78)
  m.(2) Johana (b. ~ 1864) ~ 1894  (Catholic)  Catharine (Kate) Simpson b. ~ 1895  Thomas (Tom) Simpson b. ~ 1896  John Simpson b. ~ 1897  Mary Simpson b.  1900
(note: James was baptized C of  I, rest were baptized Catholic)
1901 Census
4.2.2  John Bowles b. ~ 1851 d. Oct. 20, 1868 age 17
4.3  (possibly) David Bowles (see note on 3.4 David Bowles above)
4.4  John Bowles (theoretical based on 4. John Bowles signing the Anti-Catholic Petition in 1827 as John Bowles Sen.)
George d. Feb. 9, 1777 (age 42) bur. Killenaule 
Possibly a Dr. George Boles b. ~ 1840, son of either Charles or William

Need to check the C of I register for Crohane for more Bowles/Boles and for descendants of Jane Bowles Simpson after 1862.  Need photos of any stones in Crohane graveyard from Jane Simpson's line.  Need to check RC register for Crohane for William Simpson's RC descendants.


This site was last updated 11/27/21