The Mysterious John BOWNESS

Discussion in 'Cumberland' started by Figgs, May 5, 2013.

  1. Figgs

    Figgs Well-Known Member

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    I have been hunting for his birth data for many years. I have his wife, his children, his marriage, his occupation and his death......but no clue as to where he came from.

    We are talking roughly 1730 to 1740 for a birth year......just a guess. He somehow ended up in Flimby and after a long search and the help of a Tasmanian researcher, would you believe......I found their marriage (in the wrong parish book of course) to Mary Allanby of Flimby.

    There are some Bownesses in the wee town of Flimby, but I don't think he is a close relation. He and Mary moved to Whitehaven and had several children. In 1766 they had the first..."John Allanby Bowness"...ok that ties in with the mother's maiden name. Son John A. didn't marry till he was around 52 and died a year later. He worked as an Agent for Lord Lowther, the coal mine magnate. I have letters from John Allanby Bowness to Lord Lowther. He named a John Benn as executor of his Will.

    Mary Allanby Bowness died roughly in 1801.....I have her Will which was proved in 1803. In it she names various sons and daughters and they were rather wealthy as she left the girls 150 GBP each, along with ball gowns.

    Son #2 was William Bowness, born in 1768 and he is the one that I descend from. He moved in the very late 1700's to Kirkton, Scotland, just north of Dumfries. We have all stayed in the house he bought in 1795 and were just enthralled. The church is across the street and the tombstone has to be 15 feet tall and names many Bownesses. (frugal Scots??). Two of his sons and a daughter came to Prince Edward Island in Canada in 1827 and were considered pioneers there. My father was the first to leave PEI.

    OK, I have thoroughly traced us back to William Bowness of Kirkton. But I have two brickwalls on my hands. First of all, where the heck was the original John born. He died in 1787 in Whitehaven. And even more mysterious is that every child of his other than John Allanby and William seemed to disappear off the earth!! There is nothing re marriages or deaths for these people. I rather suspect one "daughter" was really William's daughter, which would be Mary's granddaughter, not a daughter. She died relatively young up in Kirkton so may have been in ill health.

    But these other daughters who got all that money and silk ball gowns simply disappeared!!! Their names were as follows.....Mary, Fanny and Elizabeth, along with Margaret. There were other sons and she left money and property to one.....Phillip. John A. was wealthy, William had gone to Scotland and so she left everything to Phillip and the girls, it seems.

    I have written out the story of my mysterious Bownesses mostly from memory as my FTM on Windows 7 is not working well. Using PAF and it is pretty good for this.

    Another tidbit that was fascinating is that the mother.....Mary Allanby Bowness......had 12 siblings. One of them (William Allanby) went to PEI 50 years earlier than my direct ancestors and he was in the military but drawing half-pay. He bought a huge amount of land and was having trouble making the payments. His wife was rather outspoken and I have seen snippets from letters she wrote to a relative.....demanding money and help. This "relative" was the Duke of Portland....blew me away!! And the year William was in PEI was around 1770.

    So lots of meat in this mysterious stew of Bownesses. I just can't find where the first one came from and I know it is a more common surname in Windermere. Perhaps he had a cousin in Flimby. When I was there in 2004, I found that there were no Bownesses living in the Lake District so that too is baffling.

    Now you have the story and any hints or help would be most welcome. I have hit brick walls with ALL of my lines, both English and Spanish. So have lots more to ask about.

    Thanks to all.
     
  2. Huncamunca

    Huncamunca The Knowledgeable One

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    Hello Heather

    I don't know anything about Cumberland I'm afraid, but here are a few thoughts in case they are helpful.

    Have you checked all relevant probate indexes, for Bowness & Allanby folk? According to the map in Phillimore's Atlas and Index of Parish Registers, Flimby was in the territory of the Consistory Court of Carlisle, and Whitehaven in the territory of the Archdeaconry Court of Richmond. Wills for testators from that region might also be proved at the one of the archbishops' courts, the Prerogative Court of York (PCY) or Prerogative Court of Canterbury (PCC). Unless the testator had property outside of the Province of York there would be no need to go to the highest ecclesiastical court, the PCC, for probate.

    Some indexes to Archdeaconry of Richmond wills are online here:
    http://
    archiveswiki.wyjs.org.uk/index.php?title=Archdeaconry_of_Richmond_Probate_Records

    You may be able to see indexes for the Carlisle and PCY wills as part of the 'National Wills Collection' on origins.net (a pay site; many of their probate indexes are lumped together in the 'British Record Society' section.)

    PCC wills are as I'm sure you know available through TNA.

    Another avenue to investigate might be records of land ownership / tenancy. Survival of such records is very patchy. The relevant county record office is the usual place to try first. It might be worth a look at Access to Archives (A2A) in case anything turns up in the catalogues there:

    http://www.
    nationalarchives.gov.uk/a2a/

    Click on 'Advanced search'. Try doing searching 'this exact wording or phrase' for John Bowness to begin with. You could restrict the date range but try it without filling in anything else first.

    However, do bear in mind that a lot of documents aren't included in online catalogues at all, or if they are, often aren't described in much detail.

    Re. the later Bownesses who disappeared, have you checked all the various databases on Scotland's People and the catalogues on the National Archives of Scotland website, in case William wasn't the only one who moved north of the border?
     
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  3. Figgs

    Figgs Well-Known Member

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    It has been a good 5 or 6 years since I stopped looking and I really can't remember where I got all of the documents I have. John Bowness wrote a lot of letters to his boss (Lord Lowther) and I bought copies at Carlisle cuz Chris Dickinson discovered them before I went to England in 2004. The Will for Mary Bowness was wherever my good friend went in London and she got that for me at that time. The Archdeaconry of Richmond rings a bell. Sorry for my ignorance, but not being English, I was totally unaware of a lot of these places to look and was merely searching parish records in Whitehaven and Flimby (and Camerton, etc).

    The A2A sounds familiar and I think that is where Chris found the documents. It is doubly hard when there are TWO towns named Bowness!!

    It is time for me to pull out all of the info I have and go over it with maybe Chris Dickinson and Ann Brownrigg who know a lot about my search. Dad messed up and had the first John Bowness married to the wrong person. It took me a couple of years to untangle his research (and he was a brilliant man, btw........found Deeds to Land, etc up in Scotland for William....how, I don't know) As far as I know, none of the siblings moved to Scotland, but that doesn't mean they didn't. Heck, I even found an illegitimate daughter of William's with the housekeeper and tracked her into a marriage and 2 children. These people were just plain elusive.

    Because they were well-to-do and connected to the Lords and Ladies, I don't think they did a flit or changed their names or all of the usual stuff. I think it is time I dusted off my briefcase and went over to the local LDS spot and relearn how to search these folk. I did have all the films but they probably returned them. I have always been in touch with my friend Dorothy who is a top notch Jamaican researcher here in my area and she can bring me up to date with the new computers, etc. Our Jamaican films are there.....not sure on Whitehaven or Scotland tho.

    Many thanks, Jane. It is hard when everything of mine is pre 1837 and I never used anything after that date so am rather unsure of myself (not to mention I haven't a clue what the initials stand for on a lot of them) Fast learning curve ahead, methinks.
     
  4. Figgs

    Figgs Well-Known Member

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    Looking at the A2A and know that is where Chris D pointed my nose........for the $180 worth of letters. The Will for Mary B was free cuz Annie Brownrigg was in London and got it for me for free. We are still in touch and had mega giggles on Skype 2 nights ago and I will get her to join up cuz while she has a Brit accent, she is Brazilian and speaks 3 languages. Plus she is so nice and a lot of fun.
     
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  5. Sarah

    Sarah New Member

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  6. Sarah

    Sarah New Member

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    Hi,
    There are people surnamed Bowness still living in the area. I live just a few miles from Flimby and there is a firm of builders called Bowness Builders, named after the owner a Mr Bowness. If you google the company name it comes up with the address.
    The 1730/40/50 time was a time of upheaval on the coast. I've lost my Bragg line at this point too. Maryport was just being developed it was a planned new town so many people moved to this area to the new port / town.
     
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  7. Figgs

    Figgs Well-Known Member

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    Thank you so much for this information. No one has given me any tidbits to go on for about 10 years!!! Do you think John Bowness might have been born in Maryport then? I wish he had a middle name! what was the "upheaval" on the coast at that time, or do you know. There was a Bowness family in Flimby at that time but no John. I often wondered if they were cousins or something like that. The Allanbys were easier to track in that small town and did get back 2 more generations.

    Once again......thank you so much for this. I will now do some more searching.
     
  8. Sarah

    Sarah New Member

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    Maryport as far as I understand was built by the Senhouse family near the small village of Ellenborough. Mrs Senhouse was called Mary, hence Maryport. So as it was built it must have attracted people to move there. My guess is that they were probably mainly from other coastal places as the businesses setting up were probably largely water based. Maryport was originally part of Dearham parish. I have booklets of the memorial Inscriptions of Dearham and Crosscanonby (next parish) and there are no Bowness entries. There are three gravestones for Allanby at Crosscanonby, from the 1868-79 era. By the way Flimby is small now and was very small 200 years ago. There were Quakers in the area, there's a small Quaker burial ground along the coast from Flimby at Beckfoot.
     
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  9. Huncamunca

    Huncamunca The Knowledgeable One

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    I wonder if this death announcement in the Lancaster Gazette of Saturday 9 August 1806 might be a missing link . . .

    [after the announcement of a death on 'Sunday se'nnight']

    'Same day, suddenly, at Appleby, Mrs. Orton, widow, sister to the late Mr. John Bowness, officer in his Majesty's Customs, at Whitehaven.'​

    Was your John's father a customs officer? (If so there may be records about his career at Kew.)

    Could his sister Mrs Orton be Elizabeth Bowness who married James Orton at Appleby on 24 October 1776, according to FamilySearch?

    Hope this gives you some new leads!
     
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  10. Figgs

    Figgs Well-Known Member

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    You are totally AMAZING!! I think this is a huge breakthrough in the mystery. I had precious little to go on that would find John Bowness Senior but when I went to Carlisle 10 years ago, I bought a pile of letters by a person of that name and I was pretty sure they were by his son, John Allanby Bowness. I hoped there would be a middle initial, but no luck.

    However, some kind soul added a couple of newspaper pages from Whitehaven and the one was half of his obituary........it said he was a "Land Waiter", which I found out was a "Customs Officer"......BINGO!! That little personal detail is huge in identifying this man.

    There are a possible 2 John Bownesses of the right decade and Appleby was #1 on the List, Kendal second.....so you hit that one on the head too!!

    Bowness is a name more common in Westmorland than Cumberland, but I couldn't see how John would meet up with his wife on the coast in Flimby just north of Whitehaven, however there is a Bowness family there, but no tie in that I could find.

    There are many ties to Orton and Raisbeck in Westmorland via marriage and a house purchase and even in his Will, John Junior left pots of money to a Rev. George Bowness & his children in Orton.

    I can't thank you enough for the very positive leads you have given me!! I may never know how he met up with Mary Allanby in Flimby, but that simple piece of paper I got, giving his occupation 10 years ago, was the "Eureka Moment" with your research. I am so blown away by this.....you have no idea!!

    Hugs........Heather{-(^^)-}
     
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  11. Huncamunca

    Huncamunca The Knowledgeable One

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    So glad to have been able to help, Heather. :)

    A few bits and bobs about James and Elizabeth Orton . . .

    There's an MI at Appleby St Lawrence to James Orton (d. 1 August 1801 aged 60) and his wife Elizabeth (d. 31 July 1806 aged 63), according to a list here:

    http://
    archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/read/ENG-WESTMORLAND/2003-09/1062988151

    Though the MI has James dying in 1801 I wonder if this is an error for 1804 (easily done on MIs where some parts of numbers were carved more deeply than others). That's because I'd like him to be the James Orton of Appleby, sub distributor of stamps, whose will is dated 28 April 1804 and proved 18 September 1804. There's an abstract here:

    http://
    freepages.misc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~enzedders/westmorland/osurnames.htm

    which mentions wife Elizabeth Orton and niece Frances Bowness, among others. Also NB that an Eleanor Bowness was a witness. It looks like there is a will for Elizabeth too. The National Archives' catalogue ref. IR 26/301/277 is described as 'Abstract of Will of Elizabeth Orton, Widow of Appleby, Westmorland. Proved in the Court of Carlisle.' (date given as 26 Feb 1807). This can be downloaded for £3.36:

    http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/Details?uri=D7164549
     
  12. Figgs

    Figgs Well-Known Member

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    Yes, John had a dtr Fanny which could be Frances!! And I have a lot of strays in my notes from WES. Knew the person transcribing the WES MI's & accuracy was not one of her strong points. So it well could be 1804.

    I will order that Will from Kew and dig out my WES strays and now I think most will fit!! Too many ties with Orton for them not to fit!!

    Many thanks again..
     
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  13. Huncamunca

    Huncamunca The Knowledgeable One

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    As promised here are some snippets from customs records at The National Archives.

    CUST 18/431. 'A List of the Commissioners and Officers of His Majesty's Customs, in England and Wales, with their respective Established Salaries, for Lady Day Quarter ending the 5 April 1787'

    It's arranged by port. pp.105-6 are for Whitehaven.
    At the top of the list is the Collector, Richard Wordsworth, who gets £90 p.a. for himself and £70 p.a. for his clerks; in total they are paid £40 for the quarter.

    Next comes the Landing Surveyor, John Bowness, who was paid £12 10s. for the quarter.

    There follow five 'Landing Waiters and Comptrolling Searchers'; a 'Riding Surveyor from Allenby to Skiburness and Harrington'; Riding Officers; Tide Surveyors; Tide Waiters; and Boatmen, all named. Staff based at Workington, Maryport and Harrington are also on the list.

    There are similar volumes for other years but I didn't have time to check them.

    CUST 82/178. 'Port of Whitehaven. Ages & Capacities. From 1771 To 1814'. A rather battered volume which looked like it may have been in a fire. This was a goldmine of information!

    The very first page, with the names of staff in 1771, appears to have been cut out, so I could not tell if John Bowness was there then. But he does appear on the next list, for the year ended Christmas 1772. He is no. 5 in the list, an Add[itiona]l W[aite]r & Searcher, aged 37. The list includes comments on each person's ability to do their job: for John it says 'Attends duty well' and 'to be continued' [i.e. to be kept on in the post]. Place of residence: Whitehaven. Place appointed for performance of duty: Whitehaven.

    I will transcribe all the details more fully for you, but by 1778 (when he was 43) he had risen to no. 3 in the list and was described as 'A Good Off[ice]r now acting as Land surveyor' and in 1780 he was no. 1 on the list, a Surveyor, 'a Very Good Officer'. He last appeared on the list for Christmas 1786, then aged 51.

    The stated ages of John all point to a d.o.b. of about 1735. (That fits very nicely with the John Bowness baptised in Appleby in 1734, and would tie in with him having a sister Mrs Orton there, as mentioned above.)

    There are very many records at Kew to do with the Whitehaven customs, including what look like some really interesting letter books, containing copies of letters (inward and outward). From a quick skim through one volume I got a fascinating glimpse of activities at Whitehaven. Many names are mentioned so a thorough search might reveal some real gems.

    Right, that's all for now. I will send you some photos of the documents at some point.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2014
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  14. Figgs

    Figgs Well-Known Member

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    Words fail me, Little One. You have found him as far as I can see. So much of the small things are dead on. He died in October of 1787 and that is the first year he doesn't show up on the List!! I figured he was born abt 1734.....got that one too. Job is right. And so many things. I am sitting here quite stunned!!

    I will print this off and get my head into it and I did try looking on Family Search and found him there......father is also John (so was his son, aarrgghh), but massive headway here........and a lot of research to nail it down. You just solved a 25 year old mystery that baffled my father, then me. The trail went cold.

    I simply can't thank you enough!!

    {-(^^)-}
     
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  15. dogwithabone

    dogwithabone New Member

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    I don't know if anyone is still researching this family --I have arrived here through a different route---I have been researching the Bowness family in Raisbeck, Orton Westmorland and have been looking at a George b c 1728 d 1780. His wife Agnes nee Sharp is a relative of mine and in her will in 1816 she names John Bowness gentleman of Whitehaven as her nephew. I'm struggling to fit the Bowness family together---I have most of the info from the Orton PRs so I just wondered if anyone had anything new to add to what is on here.
     
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  16. Figgs

    Figgs Well-Known Member

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    OMG!! So glad you posted!! I am a direct descendant of William Bowness and have a will here by a John Bowness of Whitehaven which bequeathed a home in Raisbeck to his wife. And a ton of info on this Whitehaven Bowness family.

    I live in Canada and as I need my coffee to think. I will be in touch when I get there. Will have to reread our posts but my father wrote a book on our people and he believed this John Bowness Senior was Williams father. I have a lot to compare with you and there is another descendant of Williams in Ayrshire.

    Glad to meet you!! :D:D:D
     
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  17. Ma-dotcom

    Ma-dotcom A Bonza Little Digger!

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    Welcome in 'dogwithabone', lovely to see some-one take up a history with another member. Happy chatting with Heather :D
     
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  18. dogwithabone

    dogwithabone New Member

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    Hi everyone who is interested!!!
    My starting point has been Agnes Sharp who married George Bowness in Orton 12 Nov 1761--details --both of this parish, Gge curate age 35 witnesses John Bowness and John Burn. They had the following children-Elizabeth b 1762 d 1780 Orton, John b 1764 Kirkandrews/Beaumont, Cumberland, d 1792 Durham-another curate, Robert b 1767 Kirkandrews--not sure what happens to him but he is described as a clerk in his mother's will and George b 1771 Kirkandrews --in 1841 in Orton independent--interestingly living next door to a Charlotte Reveley nee Allonby b in Cartmel 1792 to a Rev John Allonby.
    There is a George b Raisbeck 1728 to father John but I haven't been able to work out how he links with nephew John -gentleman of Whitehaven mentioned in his wife's will. I am hoping to check out some possibly relevant wills at Carlisle archives soo which may shed some more light on the Bowness families of Raisbeck. I have details of the wills of John 1824, his mother Mary and also James and Elizabeth Orton of Appleby but they don't confirm enough on their own. Agnes Cleasby --who married John--if she is the one born 1776 in Orton is also a distant relative of mine and a cousin of George Bowness. I haven't been able to trace her after his death though. It's a bit difficult explaining all this on here-- I do have a tree on Ancestry if that is any use.
    Will have to leave this now but will add more info later--
    Paula
     
  19. dogwithabone

    dogwithabone New Member

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    Oops --marriage record is Gge age 33, Agnes age 35, Gge is 52 at death---all points to birth c 1728
     
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  20. arthurk

    arthurk Well-Known Member

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    A good place to find out more about clergy is the Clergy Database website at
    Code:
    http://theclergydatabase.org.uk/
    When looking at people there, the dates against the names seem to relate to appointments etc for which there are records, rather than births, deaths etc, and bearing that in mind, I've found pretty definite entries for George Bowness and John Allonby:

    Bowness, George (1753-1780) - Person ID: 4532
    Allenby, John (1764-1827) - Person ID: 5355 (There's a note about variant spellings of the surname; he seems to be a Cambridge graduate with origins in Lincolnshire.)

    Also what seem likely entries for John and Robert:
    Bowness, John (1792-1792) - Person ID: 134140 (Record of an ordination by the Bishop of Durham, but apparently nothing else.)
    Bowness, Robert (1795-1795) - Person ID: 4536 (Ordination by Bishop of Carlisle to Mallerstang, Kirkby Stephen)
    ("Clerk" in his mother's will could indicate that he was a clergyman: the official term for a clergyman is Clerk in Holy Orders, and Curate relates more to the specific appointment they held.)

    Might George have been ordained as well (but no longer in ministry in 1841)? Among the possibilities are:
    Bowness, George (1797-1798) - Person ID: 134139
    Bowness, George (1824-1829) - Person ID: 22975
    both of whom were ordained by the Bishop of Durham.

    There's a bit more information in each entry, some more than others. You need to click all the links across the top of the entry to be sure of finding it all.
     
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