BOWYER, William III (1558-1616), of Denham, Bucks.

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

b. 1558, 1st surv. s. of Alderman Francis Bowyer, grocer, of London by Elizabeth, da. and coh. of William Tillesworth of London. m. Mary, da. and coh. of Thomas Preison of Westminster, 3s. of whom at least 1 d.v.p. suc. fa. 1581. Kntd. 1603.3

Offices Held

Teller of the Exchequer from 1602.4


Bowyer may have been the ‘Will-us Boier, gen.’ named on a Crown Office list5 as replacing Henry MacWilliam who is known to have died late in December 1586. The identification is guesswork however: William Bowyer I is another possibility. No doubt attaches to the identity of the Member for Dunheved, for there Bowyer was returned through the Cecils, father and son, who were at this time competing with the Earl of Essex for parliamentary nominations. Bowyer was brother-in-law of Henry Maynard, Lord Burghley’s secretary. On 28 Nov. 1597 Bowyer reported to the House of Commons that he had been subpoenaed to appear in Chancery by one James Bedle. The documents in the case show that on 29 Nov. a bill of complaint was filed in Chancery by Elizabeth Bedle, widow, of Denham, and James Bedle, her son, disputing Bowyer’s claim to some lands there. Whatever the outcome in 1597, another member of the Bedle family brought a further suit on the matter in Chancery in May 1600, and in the following year Bowyer retaliated against the Bedles in the Star Chamber. Apart from this privilege matter the only record of Bowyer’s activity in the Commons is his sitting on a committee concerned with a highway at Aylesbury (11 Jan. 1598).6

Bowyer was created an honorary MA at Oxford in 1605 and given honorary admission to Gray’s Inn in 1609. He unsuccessfully attempted to gain a customs place through Michael Hickes in 1605, and was granted a life pension of 10s. a day in 1611. He died 3 Aug. 1616. His eldest son, Sir Henry, having predeceased him, the heir was his ‘sweet grandson’ William. In his will, made  20 July 1614, he asked to be buried in Denham church ‘in decent manner without any great pomp, yet seemly for my calling’. There were small bequests to the poor of Denham, Uxbridge and Westminster, and to various relatives and servants. The grandson received £100, and a son Robert household goods in St. Stephen’s, Westminster, together with the advowson of Newton Valence, Hampshire. To the two clerks serving in his office at the time of his death he left a gold ring apiece, provided they helped his executors—his wife and son Robert—and made up his books; he stated that he did not owe ‘the office’ a penny. As overseers he appointed his ‘loving nephew’ Sir William Maynard, and his cousin Robert Bowyer II, ‘clerk of the Upper House of Parliament’.7

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Authors: J.E.M. / P. W. Hasler


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
  • 2. Folger V. b. 298.
  • 3. C142/193/38; W. Berry, Co. Genealogies, Suss. 134-5; PCC 27 Darcy.
  • 4. Patent roll 44 Eliz.; CSP Dom. Add. 1580-1625, p. 446.
  • 5. Hatfield CP244/4.
  • 6. D’Ewes, 564, 577; C2 Eliz. B.20/40, B.16/33; St. Ch. 5 B46/9; patent roll 9 Jas.; Lansd. 89, f. 144.
  • 7. Wards 7/55/90; PCC 77 Cope.