BOWER, Robert (d.1606), of Salisbury, Wilts.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

4th s. of Thomas Bower of West Lavington by Dorothy, da. of William Bechett of Wilton. m. (1) Elizabeth (d.1575), da. of John Kente of Salisbury, 1da.; (2) 1575 Margaret, da. of one Coryett, 7da.

Offices Held

One of the 24, Salisbury by 1580, mayor 1584-5, alderman.


During the 1580s many citizens of Salisbury were reluctant to accept municipal office. Bower was one who refused to continue in office as one of the 24. The authorities allowed them further time to take their oaths, and Bower may have relented, for he was among the 24 again before 1593, the year of his election to Parliament. In general he was not reluctant to accept duties and, on one occasion, was sent to London to follow the city’s affairs. During his mayoralty the new council house was brought into use, and he established the custom whereby the mayor sat every Wednesday between one and two in the afternoon to settle disputes. In 1593 he helped to draw up a list of grievances against the officers of the bishop of Salisbury. Early in 1596, for an unascertained reason, he received a peremptory summons to appear before the Privy Council. In 1597 he accompanied Giles Hutchens to London to answer a quo warranto brought against the mayor and commonalty. They were also to certify the state of the markets to the justices of assize, in accordance with the Privy Council’s order for provision of bread and drink. As late as 1606, Bower was negotiating with the dean and chapter about a new charter. In the Parliament of 1593 he was appointed to a cloth committee as burgess for Salisbury (15 Nov.).

He died in 1606. In his will, made 10 Mar. and proved 8 July of that year, he requested burial in the parish church of St. Thomas, and gave 40s. ‘for breaking of the ground’. Provision was made for the poor and his large number of female relatives, and 20s. given to the chamber of Salisbury. Lands in Sarum Chippingham were devised to his eldest daughter Anne, and the residue to his wife, the sole executrix, with remainder to four other daughters, each of whom received £100.

PCC 57 Stafforde; Hoare, Wilts. Salisbury, passim; APC, xxv. 229; City of Salisbury ms D(34), f. 154; D’Ewes, 501.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: W.J.J.