BOWYER, William (1612-79), of Denham, Bucks.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

bap. 29 June 1612, 1st s. of Sir Henry Bowyer (d.1613), of Denham by Anne, da. and h. of Sir Nicholas Salter of Enfield, Mdx., farmer of the customs 1604-21. educ. Jesus, Camb. 1628; L. Inn 1630. m. 29 May 1634, Margaret (d. 8 Jan. 1679), da. of Sir John Weld of Arnolds, Edmonton, Mdx., 6s (at least 2 d.v.p.) 3da. suc. gdfa. 1616; kntd. by 8 June 1660; cr. Bt. 25 June 1660.1

Offices Held

Sheriff, Bucks. 1646-7, commr. for assessment 1648, Aug. 1660-d., militia 1648, Mar. 1660, j.p. Bucks. Mar. 1660-d., Mdx. July 1660-d.; lt.-col. of militia ft. Bucks. Apr. 1660, dep. lt. c. Aug. 1660-bef. 1670, commr. for corporations 1662-3, loyal and indigent officers 1662, recusants, Bucks. and Mdx. 1675.2

Gent. of the privy chamber 1665-d.3


Bowyer came from a cadet branch of a Sussex family which had represented Chichester and other local boroughs under the Tudors. His grandfather, a teller of the Exchequer, obtained a grant of Denham in 1596 and sat for Appleby under James I. Bowyer avoided commitment during the Civil War, and held no office between 1648 and the eve of the Restoration. Nevertheless he sat in Richard Cromwell’s Parliament, and was returned for the county in 1660. Doubtless a court supporter, he was given a baronetcy; but he was not active in the Convention, in which he was appointed only to the committees to inquire into the queen mother’s jointure, to preserve timber in the Forest of Dean, and to make Covent Garden parochial. Lord Wharton marked him as a friend to be managed by Edmund Petty. He made no recorded speeches, but on 3 Dec. was teller against the restitution of the dukedom of Norfolk.4

Bowyer headed the Buckinghamshire poll in 1661, but he was no more active in the Cavalier Parliament, though Wharton again listed him as a friend. He was appointed to the committee of elections and privileges in six sessions, and to only four others, none of them of political importance. A defaulter on a call of the House in 1668, he was nevertheless included by Sir Thomas Osborne in the following year among those Members who had usually voted for supply. He was outlawed for debt about this time, but his court appointment protected him from arrest by his creditors. Nevertheless he was compelled to sell much of the Denham estate to Sir Roger Hill, though he retained Denham Court. In the working lists he was assigned to the lord keeper (Heneage Finch). His reliability as a government supporter was suspect in 1676, and Sir Richard Wiseman noted that he ‘seldom attends, and I am myself very little known to him; but I design to be brought [into touch] with him’ through his colleague, (Sir) William Tyringham. His last committee was that for taking affidavits in the country in the 1677 session. He was marked ‘doubly vile’ on Shaftesbury’s list, and included in both lists of the court party in 1678. Bowyer died on 2 Oct. 1679 and was buried at Denham. The next member of the family to sit was George Bowyer, a naval officer who was returned for Queenborough on the Admiralty interest in 1784.5

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: M. W. Helms / Leonard Naylor / Geoffrey Jaggar


  • 1. Lipscomb, Bucks. iv. 446, 453; CJ, viii. 59.
  • 2. Merc. Pub. 12 Apr. 1660; Huntington Lib. Stowe mss 2/452.
  • 3. Carlisle, Privy Chamber, 176.
  • 4. Lipscomb, iv. 446; VCH Bucks. iii. 258; R. H. Lathbury, Hist. Denham, 292-6.
  • 5. CJ, ix. 49, 52, 55; Lipscomb, iv. 446, 447; Lathbury, 305; VCH Bucks. iii. 258, 279, 280.