Sunday, August 17, 2008

Hilary's Family Tree - Part 3

• Part One: David Moneypenny here
• Part Two: Henry Charles Bowker here

Hilary's surname is very distinctive - Bowker. There aren't that many Bowkers in the world, so the chances are that the Bowker family tree is small and well-integrated. There are only 2590 Bowkers on the current UK electoral roll. Here's a link to the origins of the name, which seem to be French/Norman.

So when I recently found a George Bowker in Rev George Hill's classic text "The Plantation in Ulster" (1877), I was intrigued. There is probably a connection.

On page 463 it says that on 10 April 1616, George Bowker was leased the "poll" at Derhowe, and another at Dromany, both in County Cavan. Both were leased for 21 years to him by the local "undertaker" or landlord, an Englishman called Sir John Fish, who was originally from Bedfordshire and who had been granted 2,000 acres in the Loughtee barony (in the north west of the county, around Swanlinbar, Glangelvin and Dowra - just south of Fermanagh's Lough Erne and not far from the Marble Arch caves which we visited last week.)

By the way, a "poll" was a quantity of land, of around 25 acres. So George Bowker's lease of two polls for 21 years wasn't an early example of exploitation of migrant workers from eastern Europe!