The Bowles of Neatishead, co. Norfolk
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 The Bowles of Neatishead, co. Norfolk

Back to The Bowles of Norfolk and Suffolk

This subject has not been thoroughly researched.  I'm just putting down some notes on record which were assembled on one branch of this family as an unintentional side product during another Bowles research project.  Rather than lose this information it is recorded here as a starting point for more work in this area in the future.  My thanks to Mike Thomas and others on the Bowles_research_UK forum for doing all the spadework on this subject.

Robert Bowles, Grocer and Draper

Robert Bowles was born about 1830 in Neatishead, Norfolk, the son of the town's harness maker John Bowles.  By 1851 Robert was working as a Shop Assistant for Robert Venables, a draper with a shop in the Old Post Office Yard, Marketplace, Eastside, Norwich.  By 1853 Robert had his own draper and grocer's shop in Redgrave, Suffolk.  This was an "old established and well accustomed Grocer's and Draper's Shop with garden and paddock adjoining, containing 2 acres, very pleasantly and advantageously situated in the Village of Redgrave and now in full trade.  The house, which is replete with every convenience, contains parlour, keeping room, entrance hall, and spacious shop in front; good kitchen, store-room and wash house, extensive and excellent cellarage, 4 spacious and airy sleeping rooms and 3 good attics; the whole well arranged and in thorough repair.  The detached buildings comprise extensive and spacious warehouses, stable, gig-house, and other convenient offices.  The garden is partly walled in and well planted; and there is a pump of excellent spring water on the premises."  Those are the details from his advertisement to sell his lease on this shop in 1853.  He tried again in 1856 but did not find a buyer and so he extended his lease for another 5 years after which he either managed to find a buyer or he just allowed his lease to lapse as he had already engaged a larger business elsewhere.
         Pass your mouse over a clipping to see a readable copy
The July 1856 advertisement stated that Robert "intends to remove to a distance" and the 1861 notice states Robert would quit the shop "at Michaelmas, having engaged a larger business".  This identical ad was also placed in Dublin papers in 1861 leading to the mistaken belief that Robert had moved his family to Dublin where by an apparent complete coincidence another Robert Bowles advertised that he was opening a larger shop and warehouse.  However, the Robert Bowles in Dublin was in the agricultural implement business and we know that this Robert Bowles remained a draper and just moved to another location in Norfolk.
In 1861 Robert moved his family on to Holt, Norfolk where he had a Draper and Grocer's shop in the Marketplace. ref. This was a fairly large business as in 1871 he had two draper's assistants, three grocer's assistants, a warehouseman and two domestic servants living in his own accommodation.  Holt is only about 25 miles from Redgrave so his intention to "remove to a distance" was somewhat misleading.
By the 1901 census, Robert, widowed, had retired to a smaller house with 10 rooms on Nelson Road South in Great Yarmouth where he was cared for by his two youngest daughters, Ethel and Edith and one live-in servant.
Robert died in Yarmouth in June 1912 at age 82.

Robert Bowles' Family Tree

John Bowles b. ~ 1801 England (he was a harness maker in Neatishead, Norfolk)
m. Judith (b. ~ 1801  England) ~ 1820
1.  Sophia Bowles b. ~ 1821 England
2.  John Bowles b. ~ 1823 England
3.  Eliza Bowles b. ~ 1825 England
4.  William Bowles b. ~ 1827 England
5.  Anne Bowles b. ~ 1829 England
6.  Robert Bowles b. ~ 1830 Neatishead, Norfolk, England
m. Frances (Fanny) Grout Butler (b. ~ Aylsham, Norfolk) Apr-June 1851 Tunstead RD
6.1  Lucy Bowles b. ~ 1854 Redgrave, Suffolk
6.2  Mary Bowles b. ~ 1856 Redgrave, Suffolk
6.3  Ellen Bowles b. ~ 1858 Redgrave, Suffolk
6.4  Fanny Bowles b. ~ 1859 Redgrave, Suffolk
6.5  Robert Bowles b. ~ 1860 Redgrave, Suffolk
6.6  Henry (Harry) Bowles  b. ~ Jan. 1861 Redgrave, Suffolk
6.7  Herbert Bowles b. ~ 1862 Walton, Norfolk
6.8  Frederick Bowles b. ~ 1863 Walton, Norfolk
6.9  Agnes Bowles b. ~ 1867 Walton, Norfolk
6.10 Ethel May Bowles b. ~ 1872  Walton, Norfolk
6.11 Edith Bowles b. ~ 1874 Holt, Norfolk
Fanny d. betw. 1881 and 1891
7.  Alfred Bowles b. ~ 1832 England
8.  Alice Bowles b. ~ 1833 England
9.  George Bowles b. ~ 1835 England
10. Elizabeth Bowles b. ~ 1838 England

Sources:  (click on an image to see a readable copy)

1841 Census Neatishead, Norfolk         1851 Census Norwich, Norfolk              1861 Census Redgrave, Suffolk







1871  Census Holt, Norfolk                   1881 Census Holt, Norfolk                  1891 Census Holt, Norfolk



1901 Census Yarmouth, Norfolk             1911 Census Yarmouth, Norfolk



This site was last updated 10/19/18