As mentioned on the English Ancestry of the Bowlings page, a likely relative of the Maryland family was Roger Bowling of Charnock Richard, a shoemaker who wrote a will 17 Sept. 1673, proved on 10 Nov. 1673. He refers to his children: John Bowling, Thomas Bowling, James Bowling, Ann Bowling, Jenet Bowling, eldest daughter Elizabeth (wife of John Radcliffe). He also mentioned a grandson Roger Bowling, son of John. Several of these names coincide what is known of the first generations of the Bowlings of Southern Maryland, who were born in the period 1630-45.
Roger the Shoemaker’s death and likely wife can be fairly clearly established by two facts:
- The burial of Roger Bowling of Charnock Richard on 18 Sept 1673 at St Wilfrids, Standish. This is the day after his will is written.
- The burial of Elizabeth Bowling, wife of Roger Bowling, of Charnock Richard on 14 July 1654 at St Wilfrids, Standish. The name, place and time make it likely that this Elizabeth was the wife of Roger the Shoemaker, although Roger was a common name. If he did not remarry (he makes no mention of a wife in his 1673 will), then we can probably assume all his children were by his wife Elizabeth.
But there is a reason to doubt that this Roger was the parent of all the Maryland immigrants: in 1673 Roger’s “eldest daughter Elizabeth” was the wife of John Ratcliffe in England and died in 1676, whereas Elizabeth Bowling of Maryland was the wife of Thomas Speake of Maryland and their son John Bowling was born in the 1660s and son Bowling Speake was born in 1675. So at least Elizabeth (Bowling) Speake of Maryland was not the child of Roger Bowling the Shoemaker (d. 1673).
But the identical location (Charnock Richard area), the similarity of names (James, Thomas, John, Roger) and the common profession of shoemaking (Thomas Bowling of Maryland and his son John were also shoemakers) suggest that brothers James and Thomas (who had sons John and Roger) were close relatives of this Roger Bowling (d. 1673). In particular, this is the only mention of a James Bowling in the 17th century English records for Lancashire (although it should be emphasized that these records are not complete).
Accordingly, it would seem quite possible that James and Thomas Bowling of Maryland were sons of Roger the Shoemaker — except that Elizabeth (Bowling) Speake would not then be their sister but some cousin. That is a possibility because James Bowling refers to Elizabeth’s sons John and Bowling Speake as “cousins” whereas he refers to his “brother” Thomas’s sons John and Roger as “nephews”. Also, James leaves significant real estate to his brother Thomas (and sons) in England but only his “wearing apparel” to the Speake “cousins”, even though he knows them well right there in Maryland. However, Thomas Speake does refer to James Bowling (his executor) as “brother-in-law” and we would need to read that as expressing general kindred and not specifically the birth brother of his wife.
The baptisms of about fifty Bowlings are attested in southern Lancashire from the 1550 to 1650, and Roger is a name found in several generations, so locating the specific line is not easy. The fact that there is no baptismal record for the children mentioned in Roger’s will of 1673 suggests that there could be many more Bowlings than attested in the church records.
In fact, there is only one baptism recorded in the period before 1655 for a child of Roger Bowling:
- Margaret, da. of Roger Boolinge of Charnock Richard, bapt 19 May 1643 at St. Laurence’s, Chorley.
- Margaret Bowling, daughter of Roger Bowling, of Charnock Richard on 19 Oct 1661 buried at St Wilfrids, Standish.
Why is only this one baptism attested when we know Roger the Shoemaker had several children in that period? Was Margaret the daughter of a different Roger? Or did the family usually baptize their children in private Catholic ceremonies, but find it prudent during the English Civil War to baptize the child publicly?
There is only one baptismal record for a Roger Bowling before 1650 :
- Roger son of Hughe Bowlinge of Charnock Richard, bapt. 21 Feb 1618/9 (1619 in the new style) at the St. Laurence’s, Chorley.
In principle, this could be Roger the Shoemaker (d. 1673). But in that case, he would be too young to be the father of James Bowling of Maryland (born 1635-37), especially since James is named third among the sons of Roger the Shoemaker.
Accordingly, if Roger the Shoemaker is the father of James and Thomas Bowling of Maryland, his baptism is unrecorded. That would not be a surprise since the baptisms of none of the children in Roger the Shoemaker’s will are recorded.
Later Roger Bowlings
There are at least three other Roger Bowlings in this same parish who are a generation or two younger and must be distinguished both from Roger the Shoemaker (d. 1673) and from
a) Roger (b. c. 1630-1640). This Roger and Elizabeth Bowling had a number of children baptized between 1661 and 1678 (Ellen, Hugh, Roger, Henry, Ann, Elizabeth).
b) Roger (b. 1666), son of Roger and Elizabeth above.
c) Roger (b. 1658), son of John Bowling & Allis, bapt. 21 Mar 1657/8 St Wilfrids, Standish.
d) Roger (b. 1677), son of Thomas Bowling of Maryland.
There are date deaths for two of these (but which two?):
- Roger Bowling (d. 1701) of Charnock Richard was buried 22 Sep 1701 St Wilfrids, Standish.
- Roger Bowling (d. 1701) of Charnock Richard was buried 7 Aug 1702 St Wilfrids, Standish.