BOWMAN, Seymour (c.1621-1704), of Harnham, Wilts. and Lincoln's Inn.

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



27 Apr. 1660

Family and Education

b. c.1621, 2nd s. of Stephen Bowman of Harnham by Mary, da. of Sir Edward Penruddock of Compton Chamberlayne. educ. St. Mary Hall, Oxf. matric. 19 May 1637, aged 16; L. Inn 1639, called 1647. m. Dorothy, da. and h. of Edward Windover of Salisbury, Wilts., 3s. 1da. suc. fa. 1660.1

Offices Held

Clerk of the peace, Wilts. c. July 1660-96; commr. for assessment, Wilts. Aug. 1660-9, Dorset 1673-80, 1689-90; freeman, Salisbury 1685.2


Although Bowman’s family was not armigerous, they had already intermarried with the Penruddocks before leaving their native Cumberland. Bowman presumably owed his Christian name to his father’s position as man of business to the Wiltshire Seymours, which he inherited. Although a qualified barrister, he did not practise in the courts, never becoming bencher or ancient of his inn. His father was accused of encouraging recruitment for the royalist army and fined £70. But Bowman himself seems to have taken no part in the Civil War; his missing petition to the committee for compounding probably relates to a purchase of land from a recusant. But his sympathies were undoubtedly royalist; when his cousin John Penruddock was executed as leader of the Cavalier rising in 1655, Bowman was indefatigable in securing a part of his estate for the support of his widow and younger children.3

With no record of delinquency against him, Bowman was not precluded from contesting the nearby borough of Old Sarum at the general election of 1660, and was allowed to sit after a double return. His principal activity in Parliament was the compilation of a diary for the benefit of his employer’s son, Charles Seymour, who was detained in the country by ill-health. Bowman summarizes the speeches very briefly, sometimes only indicating whether they were for or against the motion, but apparently fairly, and he was seldom at a loss for a Member’s name. He may have been allowed to use the Speaker’s chamber to write up his notes, as one of his letters to Seymour is dated from there. On 21 July Denzil Holles obtained leave for him to attend the House of Lords with evidence concerning Hugh Wyndham, the judge who had condemned Penruddock with the tears rolling down his cheeks (as he now claimed). He was named to only four committees, of which the most important were for the prevention of profanity and marital separation, and he made no speeches himself (unless he was too modest to record them).4

Bowman never stood again, though he acted as Seymour’s agent at the Wiltshire election of 1661. Though appointed clerk of the peace for Wiltshire at the Restoration, he continued to serve the Seymours at least till 1668, when he bought a farm in Dorset worth £120 p.a. from Thomas Penruddock He obtained a grant of arms, and voted as a Dorset freeholder at the 1675 county by-election, and at the Wareham election of 1685. He continued to hold office after the Revolution until 1696; but he sold his Dorset property in 1692. He died in Lincoln’s Inn, apparently intestate, on 6 May 1704, and was buried in the chapel.5

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: M. W. Helms / John. P. Ferris


  • 1. Misc. Gen. et Her. (ser. 5), x. 102, Sir T. Phillipps, Vis. Wilts. 1677; Howe, Wilts. Cawden, 64.
  • 2. E. Stephens, Clerks of Counties, 179.
  • 3. Cal. Comm. Comp. 3140, 3258; Wilts. Arch. Mag. xv. 20; xxvi. 346; CSP Dom. 1656-7, p. 277.
  • 4. N. and Q. cxvi. 56-59; HMC 3rd Rep. 90; Bowman diary f. 93.
  • 5. Add. 32324, f. 74; Eg. 2539, f. 166; Hutchins, Dorset, i. 149; L. Inn Reg. ii. 646.