Bowles DNA Project
The Bowles name in Limerick extends back into the earliest known records
of Bowles in Ireland.
In the earliest days we find Bolles, Bolds and Bowles which appear to have originally been separate families although the distinction seems to have been lost in later years.
The castle was owned by Thomas Birsey of Kent, England. He died and left it to his wife Dorothy who settled it on a Richard Archbold in 1624. She then married Symon Bolles of Kent who wanted it back from Archbold and brought a suit for its recovery in Chancery Court. The papers have not been examined enough yet to see what the resolution was. My thanks to Geoff Bowles for discovering this document and for making it available to me. Text of Chancery Court document
Also, a Simon Boles is mentioned in Pender’s Census as holding land in Cork in 1659. Simon was not a common name then so there is a good chance they may be the same person. At that time there were only three known Boles in all of Ireland and Cork and Limerick do have a common border. The question is whether Symon Boles ever took possession of Callow Castle. There are very few early 1600’s references to check.
One record which may help us identify Symon Bolles of Kent is in the Canterbury Cathedral Archives. It has not yet been checked but according to the A2A online list of UK Archives materials it contains a 1639 reference to Simon Bowles of Woodchurch, co. Kent. ref.
Also in the 1640's, the Boles of Cork were well established near Liscarroll in the north of Cork quite close to the south border of East Limerick and by the 1660's were active in the Quaker Meeting at Charleville which is right beside the border. They also married into the D'Arcy and Evans families of Knockaderry, co. Limerick.
It is only from the mid-1700's that I have any extensive records for Bowles in co. Limerick. These are located in two different parts of county Limerick and do not appear to have had any connection with each other or perhaps I just haven't discovered one yet.
There are extensive records for the name Bolds and Bowles in Limerick town going back to the mid-1700's and there are Bowles living there yet today. The popular J. J. Bowles pub is a historic pub in Thomondgate which has been in the Bowles family for many generations and which was re-named in the 1900's for the famous Irish Handball Champion J. J. Bowles who held 25 All Ireland Handball titles in a row and who was a member of that family line. Newspaper article Postcard Plaque
The other early concentration of Bowles families are the Bowles of Oola on the Tipperary border. These records also go back to the early 1700's and seem to have more connections to The Bowles of Cork and The Bowles of Tipperary than to the above Bowles of Limerick town.
Click on this link for a listing of many Bowles births, marriages and deaths references in Limerick from the late 1800's. The civil records are organized by Poor Law Union boundaries which do not correspond to the above listed parishes.
The search continues. Any contributions would certainly be welcome.
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