BOWERMAN (BOREMAN), George (c.1646-83), of East Greenwich, Kent.
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Family and Education
b. c.1646, o.s. of George Bowerman of East Greenwich by w. Alice. educ. L. Inn 1667. m. lic. 21 July 1669, aged 23, Sarah, da. of Isaac Lyte, Skinner, of London and Mortlake, Surr., 1da. suc. fa. 1668.1
Under-clerk in Chancery ?1667-8; master of the ballast office 1668-77; commr. for assessment, Kent 1673-8, recusants 1675, j.p. by 1680-d.2
The Bowermans had been royal servants since at least the reign of Elizabeth I, and although Bowerman’s father strayed from the path of uncompromising loyalty by taking a lease of the ballast office from the Protectorate, he hastened to redress his error at the Restoration by agreeing to double the rent to £2,000 a year, and was appointed keeper of the wardrobe and privy lodgings at Greenwich. His patent, giving him a monopoly of ballast between London Bridge and the Nore, was described as ‘no less oppressive than illegal’. He employed 240 men, and cleared £1,500 a year profit.3
Bowerman, after serving in the Six Clerks’ office of Chancery, succeeded his father in the patent. His marriage brought him Dorset connexions, since his wife’s brother-in-law was headmaster of Sherborne; it also linked him with the Goodenough brothers, who as under-sheriffs of London played such an important part in returning suitable juries during the Popish Plot and the exclusion crisis. He may have been urged to enter Parliament by Sir William Bowerman, clerk comptroller of the Household, who claimed kin in Dorset, and could also have recommended him to his colleague on the board of green cloth, (Sir) Winston Churchill. Bowerman began to establish an interest at Bridport some time before the sudden death of Humphrey Bishop in November 1675. The inordinate delay in the execution of the writ, of which he complained, must have been intended to damage his chances; nevertheless, when it came to a poll, his principal opponent ( Wadham Strangways) withdrew, and Bowerman defeated the other candidate, John Hurding (who enjoyed the advantage of being the sheriff’s step-father) by two to one. But the election had been ruinously expensive; he had to borrow £2,500, making over the ballast office (worth £700 p.a.) as security.4
Meanwhile, Bowerman had taken his seat in the House, but he was not to enjoy the indulgence traditionally granted to new Members. Hardly had he been named to his first committee when he was the subject of a personal attack by William Garway over the regular use of his yacht for carrying over recruits to the French army. Bowerman either could not or dared not reply. He was noted by opposition pamphleteers as a member of the Court party and a placeman. Needless to say Shaftesbury marked him ‘thrice vile’. He sat on 11 committees, none of political significance.5
On the dissolution of the Cavalier Parliament, Bowerman wrote to Thomas Strangways:
I received a letter from Bridport yesterday wherein I find that all their voices are at your and Mr Wadham’s disposal. If you have thoughts to stand yourself or to put in some particular friend, I would by no means give you any trouble.
In the event Strangways wrote to the corporation in favour of his brother Wadham Strangways and George Ryves, though the latter failed to secure a seat. No more is heard of Bowerman; probably his purse was exhausted, for it was in the King’s Bench prison that he made his will on 19 Apr. 1683. He was buried at Greenwich a week later.6
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: John. P. Ferris
- 1. PCC 134 Hene; Mar. Lic. (Harl. Soc. xxiv), 12; Mortlake Par. Reg. 82; Soc. of Genealogists, Greenwich reg.
- 2. HMC Lords, ii. 354.
- 3. Hasted, Kent, i. 418; CSP Dom. 1657-8, pp. 37-38; 1663-4, p. 95; 1664-5, p. 258.
- 4. CSP Dom. 1664-5, p. 340; 1673-5, pp. 34, 47; J. R. Woodhead, Rulers of London, 109; HMC Lords, ii. 353-4; SP29/402/162.
- 5. Grey, iv. 256.
- 6. Dorset RO, D124, letter of 1 Feb. 679; PCC 53 Drax; Drake, Hundred of Blackheath, 116.