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

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The Earliest Bowles in England

Back to The Bowles of England


The Bowles name goes back to far before the earliest records available so it will never be possible to establish all of the places of origin of the family name in England.

See some theories about The Origin of The Bowles Name

It has been generally accepted that many of the most prominent Bowles lines in England descended from, or at least claimed descent from, an Allen Bolle, Lord of Swineshead, Lincolnshire who was thought to be of Norman descent with the implication that his ancestors arrived in England with William of Normandy in 1066.  That turns out to not be entirely true.  Some new information regarding the Bolle's early history in Lincolnshire indicates a merchant-class origin for that line most likely with Anglo-Saxon/Viking roots.  See The Bolles of Swineshead 

However I believe I can show that there was a Bowles ancestor who did indeed arrive in England with William the Conqueror in 1066.  That was Ernold de Builli, brother of Roger de Busli of Tickhill, Yorkshire who was a close companion of William's.  Roger had sold the rights to his estate in Busli, Normandy to help finance William's invasion of England.  After the success of that venture he was awarded a huge grant of land in Yorkshire, and Nottinghamshire and smaller holdings in Derbyshire, Devonshire, Lancashire, Leicestershire and Lincolnshire.  He left no adult male heir and so played only a short role in England's history but his brother Ernold, who held land under Roger in Yorkshire, did leave descendants who settled in Bedfordshire.  See The Bowles of Yorkshire

Another family, The 'de Boeles' from Bouelles, Normandy are believed to have also arrived with William's army in 1066.  Their descendants were found in Bedfordshire by the 1100's and in many other counties by the 1200's.  Brothers William and Hugh de Boeles, were closely connected to the Royal Court in the 1200's.  I have found no sign of William's line but Hugh's line seems to have prospered in Staffordshire.

One or possibly both of these were, or at least I believe I can make a convincing case that they were, the origin of Bowles line(s) in Bedfordshire that then spread out from there.

More recently I have documented the early history of the Bolles of Kent who, far from being descendants of the Bolles of Swineshead as had been believed, go back much further to the early 1200's right in Kent.


This site was last updated 12/29/19