BOWES, William (1585/7-1649), of Barnes, Bishop Wearmouth, co. Dur.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



Family and Education

b. 1585/7, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Ralph Bowes† of Aske, Yorks. and Barnes, co. Dur. and Joan, da. and h. of William Headlam of Nunthorpe, Yorks., wid. of Francis Bowes of Streatlam, co. Dur.1 m. by 1641 (with £600), Anne da. of Edward Ventris of Great Shelford, Cambs. 1s. 1 other ch.2 suc. fa. 1623.3 d. 2 Feb. 1649.4

Offices Held

Commr. sewers, co. Dur. 1630.5


Bowes’s grandfather, the soldier and diplomat Robert Bowes†, inherited his mother’s manor of Aske, a mile to the north of Richmond, and his wife’s manors of Barnes and Hamildon on the Durham coast; he was also granted the manor of Gilling, Yorkshire for his diplomatic services. His son Ralph also married an heiress, the widow of his first cousin, but her lands were sold to the Streatlam branch of the family.6 Bowes himself must have been born between the baptism of his elder brother in 1584, and a younger brother, baptized on 30 Oct. 1588. He should not be confused with William Bowes of Biddick, his second cousin once removed, who died in the spring of 1620.7

Dogged by debts arising from Robert Bowes’s services to the Crown, the family sold Aske and Gilling to Humphrey Wharton in 1609-11. Their influence in Yorkshire thus dwindled, though in 1618 Robert Bowes’s widow bequeathed the Richmond corporation £40 for a revolving loans fund, on condition ‘that no popish recusant nor non-communicant’ should be a recipient.8 At the Richmond election of January 1621 Bowes faced considerable competition, and would probably not have been returned without the support of Sir Thomas Wharton*, the new lord of the manor of Aske. He left no trace on the records of his only Parliament, though as a Yorkshire burgess he was entitled to attend the committees for two estate bills and the River Ouse navigation bill.9

Bowes inherited his father’s Durham estates, later valued at £310 p.a., in 1623. He is not known to have stood for re-election at Richmond in 1624, when he was replaced by Christopher Pepper, one of his rivals in 1621. He clearly experienced financial problems, borrowing from both relatives and London scriveners, while during the Civil War his estate was extended by his sister when he failed to pay her life annuity.10 Bowes apparently married late in life, as his son William was only born in 1641; his wife brought him a dowry of at least £300, and received a jointure estate of £150 a year.11 Two brothers fought as royalists, but he himself played no known part in the first Civil War. He may have become involved in the second, however, as his estate was sequestrated in June 1648, and he was presumably seeking to compound when he died in London on 2 Feb. 1649.12

Though dated 3 Jan. 1649, Bowes’s will was probably drafted in the summer of 1642. In it he bequeathed his goods to his wife for maintenance of their son, outlined his plans for the repayment of his debts, and left small cash bequests to several of his brothers. Administration of his will was granted to his sister Elinor Short in March 1649; but a new grant was made to his mother-in-law, Frances Ventris, in the following December.13 Bowes’s cousins Thomas Bowes of Streatlam and Robert Collingwood applied to compound for his estate on behalf of his son in June 1650, and the fine of £926 10s. was paid off by November 1652.14 His son died in 1662, after which the property passed to a niece.15

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Simon Healy


  • 1. R. Surtees, Hist. and Antiq. of co. Palatine of Durham, iv. 112; Durham Vis. Peds. ed. Foster, 38.
  • 2. Vis. Cambs. (Harl. Soc. xli), 53; Surtees, iv. pt. 1, p. 112; PROB 11/171, f. 181; 11/210, ff. 207v-8; CCC, 2386.
  • 3. DURH 3/189/110.
  • 4. CCC, 2386.
  • 5. C181/4, f. 58.
  • 6. Dur. Vis. Peds. ed. Foster, 37-8; Surtees, iv. 103; VCH Yorks. (N. Riding), i. 74; E134/7Jas.I/Hil.23, deposition of George Hussey.
  • 7. DURH 3/189/110; Dur. Vis. Peds. ed. Foster, 38; Surtees, iv. 110, 112.
  • 8. DURH 3/88/17; APC, 1599-1600, p. 326; VCH N. Riding, i. 60-1, 74; N. Yorks. RO, DC/RMB, II/1/1, unfol. (entry of 12 June 1618).
  • 9. J.J. Cartwright, Chapters in Yorks. Hist. 203-4; CJ, i. 562a, 605b, 623b.
  • 10. Comp. Delinquent Royalists in Dur. and Northumb. (Surtees Soc. cxi), 126-7; PROB 11/210, ff. 207-8; Durham UL, ms 942.81B7, ff. 147-8; LC4/200, f. 109v; N. Yorks. RO, MIC 1513/1796, 2607-8, 2654, 2671-2; PROB 11/210, f. 207v.
  • 11. Surtees, iv. 112; PROB 11/210, ff. 207v-8.
  • 12. P.R. Newman, Roy. Officers in Eng. and Wales, 38-9 (the ref. to their parentage is incorrect); CCC, 2385-6.
  • 13. PROB 11/210, ff. 207v-8; Durham RO, EP/Biw 1.
  • 14. CCC, 2385-6; Comp. Delinquent Royalists, 126-7.
  • 15. Surtees, iv. 112.