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Re: Irish, Danish, or English?

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  • Jeff
    Martha, as to William de Arcubus of course people have every right to consider the tale as being a genuine explanation of the origins of the Bowes surname
    Message 1 of 9 , Jan 4, 2009
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      Martha, as to 'William de Arcubus' of course people have every right
      to consider the tale as being a genuine explanation of the origins of
      the Bowes surname (in England). My comments were in no way an appeal
      to limit anyone's freedom of interpretation. There are however in my
      view serious questions about the credibility of that tale. For
      example if we accept the story, based on a supposed manuscript from a
      nearby monastery, (released into circulation around 1838 during a
      period when certain Bowes of Durham were forging alliances with some
      very influential 'royal' circles) we have to agree that the Bowes
      name derives from the Norman period as a 'gift' in recognistion of
      the supposed courage of one individual supported by bowmen.

      Apart from the slight problem of heraldic titles and awards not being
      given until much later in English history, we have to also consider
      the placename of Bowes village itself. There are a number of accounts
      that this settlement only came into being in the 12th Century, which
      would, if correct, add some support to the Norman origins of Bowes.
      However, if we look at the various names which the village has had,
      we can see it was first called 'Bogis', a name clearly related to the
      Danish/Saxon 'Bogas'. This suggests pre-Norman beginnings for the
      Bowes settlement and undermines the notion that the village was named
      after William de Arcubus/Bowes. Certainly that region was under heavy
      Saxon and later Danish influence and it would not at all be
      surprising that its beginnings are to be located during that time,
      consider too the Danish sounding, River Greta, which runs past the
      village.

      Below is a rough chronological list of the various names given to
      that settlement:

      Bogis, Boues, Bouys (xii cent.); Bouas, Boghes (xiii cent.); Bouexe,
      Boughes, Bowes (xiv cent.).

      There are indeed no doubt many Bowes lines in County Durham, some
      perhaps the descendents of the landowning Bowes from that region.
      Many others will no doubt have been ordinary folk from humble and
      difficult conditions. One wonders whose versions of history appears
      in the records, thus far we are dazzled by the seeminglky fabulous
      deeds of Norman knights and archers. I suspect the truth is more
      ancient still and rests within the 6th to 10th Century, when Germanic
      speaking peoples, first Saxon, later Danish, settled by the bends and
      bows of the river which now runs alongside Bowes in County Durham.

      Apart from the few hundred Norman knights (captains) which invaded
      Ireland in 1169, the majority of the force were Welsh and Flemish,
      with additional numbers of English troops. These latter came
      predominantly from the West, and South West of England, regions where
      the Bowes name is extremely rare, even today. Moreover at that time
      many ordinaly folk had not then adopted surnames, only the elite had
      begun to use them.

      From: 'Parishes: Bowes', A History of the County of York North
      Riding: Volume 1 (1914), pp. 42-49. URL: http://www.british-
      history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=64715 Date accessed: 04 January
      2009.isnot being awardedMy appeal, to lay that character to rest, was
      a general call to focus on more solid ground in the quest for
      establishing probable roots for the name. Regards, --- In
      bowesvariantsdna@yahoogroups.com, "mhbowes11" <mhbowes@...> wrote:
      >
      > Jeff, you may be entirely right about William de Arcubus. It's
      certainly clear that the part of
      > the story about the coat of arms being granted long before crests
      came into being is
      > absolutely false. There's also a good probability that the rest of
      the story was fanciful. So
      > much poor research has served to boost reputations it could easily
      fall into this category.
      > However, I can't yet rule out that, as with many myths, including
      those of Irish origin, it
      > could be part true, part false. I'm skeptical (esp. given the
      account of Fulco de Bowes), but
      > as far as I know, there's nothing in writing to say that William de
      Arcubus (or Bowes by
      > another name) *didn't* live in Bowes Castle at some point, even if
      the other part of the
      > story is false. Is there any record of the castle's inhabitants?
      Might part of the story be
      > true?
      >
      > I'm not sure if by asking if "we" can lay the Arcubus story to rest
      you meant you and I or
      > the whole group. For the record, I am inclined for this group to
      encourage everyone to
      > feel comfortable stating what for them is a conclusion, but I'd
      hate to see finalizing
      > matters *as a group* by putting themes to rest for all. Many have
      to come to conclusions
      > in their own time, after their own investigation. I would not want
      them to feel unwelcome
      > or uncomfortable if they are still pondering the complex past and
      volumes of
      > "information," good and bad, available to consider. Many also have
      long cherished family
      > stories that are hard to let go of, even in the face of strong
      challenges in the record.
      > (That's true on the Irish and English side.) I would also want
      *them* to feel comfortable
      > and as if they belong to this group. It's easier to be an open
      group and have friendly
      > disagreements between members than to be an open group if you have
      to agree to a list
      > of points to feel at ease and included.
      >
      > On the whole though, the more I think about it, I personally
      believe you make a good
      > case.
      >
      > > They were, however, possessed of lands in Bowes at an early
      period,
      > > but it is from this Fulco de Bowes, rather than the traditional
      > > William de Arcubus, that their pedigree is to be traced. Sir Adam
      de
      > > Bowes, fourth son of Stephen de Bowes, who was fourth in descent
      from
      > > the above Fulco, was a man "learned in the lawes," whom Edward
      III.,
      > > in 1331, appointed Chief Justice of the King's Bench.
      >
      > I have the feeling there are more Bowes lineages from NE England
      then this one, making
      > telling the story of English origins more complex than being able
      to refer to "them" or
      > "they" and a single lineage. Based on some of your other thoughts I
      have a feeling this is
      > how you see it too? Hopefully the DNA project will help confirm or
      disprove this.
      >
      > I agree there is no evidence I've seen of any Bowes having come
      over with the Normans.
      > Great list you posted. I've never seen that. But does it list all
      who came over? Was there a
      > larger "army" of some sort consisting of people less important
      individually such that they
      > didn't make the list? If so, did any of them come from areas
      outside the general area most
      > Normans came to Ireland from? I don't know the answers, and I'm not
      hoping for a
      > Norman Bowes come to Ireland (just interested in what really
      happened), but for the sake
      > of covering bases, I do wonder. Perhaps you've already studied this
      issue to have ruled
      > these possibilities out completely. I tend to leave possibilities
      open until I'm certain
      > they're impossibilities. According to what I know so far, though,
      I'd say a Bowes coming
      > over with Normans is more improbable than probable, but not yet
      disproved.
      > >
      > > Final thoughts. The Bowes-Lyon issue is a red, if exotically
      royal,
      > > herring. The Queen Mother's earliest ancestor who bore the name
      > > being, John Bowes, 9th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne (July
      17,
      > > 1737 - March 7, 1776). The point being he was born as, John Lyon,
      > > only later adopting the name 'bowes'. In 1767 he married Mary
      Eleanor
      > > Bowes, and upon the request of the bride's father, assumed his
      wife's
      > > name. This change of name required an Act of Parliament. That
      family
      > > came not surprisingly from County Durham a stronghold of the
      Bowes
      > > name. This makes the Queen Mother's connections to the Bowes name
      > > somewhat distant and indirect, and certainly has no genuine
      meaning
      > > for those Bowes with English roots, who have perhaps been
      misinformed
      > > about the Bowes-Lyon connection.
      > >
      >
      > Here I am more inclined to wax clinical and make genetic
      distinctions. I don't see the
      > Bowes-Lyon connection as altogether meaningless to any Bowes today
      who can prove a
      > paper trail to Mary Eleanor Bowes, but if it were me I would do my
      best to put it in
      > perspective. I would determine whether I was a direct descendent of
      Mary Eleanor Bowes,
      > and if so could then say that I and the Queen Mother share a direct
      descendent in a
      > female Bowes. On the other hand, they could share a common ancestor
      with Mary Eleanor
      > Bowes, making them x cousins x times removed, and have an even more
      distant, yet real,
      > genetic relationship to the Queen Mother. You're right that the
      connection is meaningless
      > in the sense of sharing a surname lineage with specific matching Y-
      DNA markers. The
      > Queen Mother has no Y-DNA and her father had Lyon Y-DNA, not Bowes.
      Further, I
      > suspect no one today could claim an unbroken female descent from
      Mary Eleanor Bowes,
      > though it's possible (I haven't examined her pedigree). Assuming
      the Queen also does not
      > have an unbroken female descent from Mary Eleanor Bowes, or even if
      only one of the two
      > lines or the other didn't, a female Bowes today could not claim
      shared mtDNA with the
      > Queen Mother. But, there are always autosomal chromosomes (the non-
      sex
      > chromosomes). If someone can prove relatedness to Mary Eleanor
      Bowes, I'd say they
      > probably have what is by now an invisible and genetically
      insignificant amount of shared
      > autosomal genes with the Queen Mother line. In addition to genetic
      meaning to
      > relationships, many of us value our family's story beyond the Y-DNA
      surname matches,
      > but for me it would be important for the integrity of the story to
      understand and convey
      > the exact relatedness. In this case, as a footnote, but not
      altogether meaningless. All that
      > said, I have no evidence whatsoever of a connection between my male
      Bowes line and
      > Mary Eleanor Bowes and am not looking for one. But I would love to
      have a "certified"
      > male Bowes from that line join the project so we'd know those
      markers, and I would hope
      > that would verify for some other Bowes, many of whom have been told
      by family they are
      > part of the Bowes lineage that married into the royal family
      (albeit through a female
      > Bowes), whether or not that is true. It strikes me as a major part
      of the Bowes One-Name
      > Study, while DNA study results and interpretation provide a means
      for clarification.
      >
      > > In conclusion I feel having read around this subject that the
      Bowes
      > > surname as it relates to Bowes Village in County Durham, has
      perhaps
      > > two lines of origin. One being the earlier Danish/Saxon places
      name,
      > > Bogas, the original name perhaps of the settlement there, the
      other
      > > deriving from two 12/13th Century names, Fulco and Gerrard de
      Bowes.
      >
      > I also feel sure of these. Hopefully the facts of it will emerge
      over time as we pursue all
      > this.
      >
      > > I must state here however that I remain slightly unconvinced that
      the
      > > Bowes element of 'de Bowes' is Norman, thus I wonder if the name
      > > maybe some later corruption recided by chroniclers? What does
      appear
      > > clear though is that a number of Bowes are documented as have
      having
      > > held land in the area around, and possibly earlier, the time of
      the
      > > Norman conquest. This does not in itself mean they were
      of 'noble'
      > > origins or possessed of any formal titles. Could it be that the
      Bowes
      > > of Durham in question were Saxon landholders of some local status
      > > that either adopted or were given more 'Norman' sounding names?
      This
      > > would certainly explain the still, to my thinking at
      > > least,unconvincing assertion that Bowes is a Norman name.
      >
      > I agree. I especially think Bowes itself is not Norman, but along
      with the other possibilities
      > you mention it's possible Normans (not necessarily nobles or elite
      as you say) used the
      > place name and their own culture's construction to take the
      name "de Bowes." In line with
      > your thinking, I just recalled from a linguistics course I took
      that French was the official
      > language of England for 300 years after the Normans came, so not
      unlikely some Saxons
      > conformed.
      >
      > As the risk of straying off topic a tad, I lost the source but
      here's the note I kept about
      > this:
      >
      > "French was the official language of England for 300 years after
      the Norman conquest.
      > During that time most of our original English language, which had a
      grammar more like
      > that of Turkish, was lost, along with a rich body of literature and
      philosophy in Old
      > English. The only reason the King's English came to be standard
      English was that when
      > English was reinstituted as the official language of England, the
      upper classes, who at that
      > time were busy acquainting themselves with Latin literature (having
      lost most of their
      > own), controlled and designated as preferred the new English that
      emerged. But the old
      > Greek and Latin perspective, which England adopted, that there is
      somehow a pure
      > language, is totally false from a linguistic perspective.
      Furthermore, language is spoken
      > first (most languages don't even have a written version). It is
      only in very literate cultures
      > like ours that it is mistakenly believed that language is primarily
      written. Thus, the written
      > grammars for English that came from the Latin branches (English
      originated along another
      > language branch entirely) became the model for speech among the
      well-educated--an
      > inversion of the linguistic experience that has only served to make
      millions of people feel
      > inadequate in their use of language."
      >
      > I think we're learning a thing or two about the living language of
      surnames!
      >
      > Clarification about the Haplogroup I1 Group 3 having Danish
      haplotype: I emailed with
      > Ken Nordtvedt today and he updated his interpretation in light of
      his growth in
      > understanding the haplogroup. He says they're definitely Anglo-
      Saxon, but not clearly
      > Danish at all. Do you know, Jeff, how concentrated were the Anglo-
      Saxon in the
      > Bowes/Danelaw, England area vs the Danish? Just curious. Ken was
      more inclined to say
      > this group is probably from Germany, but the percentages in the
      personal pages for
      > Recent Ancestral Origins don't yet support that. It says, "You
      match 1 person out of 8,388
      > people from Germany. Which is < 0.1% of the population tested from
      Germany," not
      > making the 2% threshold for "significantly" or the 4% for "highly
      significantly" indicating
      > the place of origin. Maybe as the database grows.
      >
      > That's it for now. Will rest my arm awhile.
      >
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