BOWERMAN, William (d.c.1590), of Wells, Som.

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

3rd s. of James Bowerman of Hemyock, Devon by Isabella, da. of William Carvanyell of Taunton. m. by 1566, Elizabeth, da. of Robert Longe of Longe, wid. of Henry Clark, 1s. 1da.

Offices Held

Freeman, Wells 1566, recorder 1574; j.p. Wells 1572-86, Som. from c.1573.1


Bowerman, the nephew of a sub-dean of Wells, was associated with the family of Bishop Thomas Godwyn. He leased land in Westbury and the rectory of Northlode from the bishopric, and his daughter married the bishop’s eldest son. He was admitted a freeman of Wells through his marriage with a freeman’s widow, and was thenceforth active in local affairs. His post of recorder suggests he may have been a lawyer, though no legal education has been found for him. Returned to Parliament by the borough, he served on Commons committees concerning presentations (19 May 1572), recoveries (the same day), and the ‘bill for traversing of the county in actions upon the case’ (13 Feb. 1576). On 24 Feb. 1581 he was given leave of absence ‘for his necessary affairs’ at the next Somerset assizes. He died between 18 Sept. 1590, when he made his will, and 23 Feb. 1591 when it was proved. He left leases of his property to his wife with reversion to his son Andrew, made bequests to a number of servants, towards the repair of Wells cathedral and St. Cuthbert’s, Wells, and to the poor of three parishes, and made provision for the inmates of the Wells almshouses. To the corporation he left £10 to buy and store coal in summer to be sold at a low price to the poor in winter.2

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: W.J.J.


  • 1. Rylands Eng. ms 311; Som. Wills ed Brown, ser. 1, 68-9; E178/1966; Wells act. bk. 1553-1623, f. 102v.
  • 2. LR 4/257/83, f. 224 seq.; rents and survs. roll 951; SC 6/Eliz./2013, 2014; E178/1966; Wells Charters (Som. Rec. Soc. xlvi), 14, 114, 182; Som. Enrolled Deeds (Som. Rec. Soc. li), 130, 133 et passim; CJ, i. 95, 105, 129; D’Ewes, 207, 300; PCC 11 Sainberbe.