Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Bowser Name
French in origin, the surname Bowser which was derived from the Norman term “beu sir” which translates to mean “fine gentlemen” or “beu chere” which translates to pretty face. The Americanized version of the name is Bonser. In its earliest incarnation the surname would have been used as a nickname.
In Europe the practice of using surnames was most commonly attributed to the French aristocracy. However, it was not until the middle ages that the practice took hold for the general population. Up until that era, the only people who engaged in the practice were the nobility but as communities grew and immigration became more prevalent the adoption of the practice of using surnames by the general population served several practical purposes. It gave governments a reliable way to track people for tax and census purposes and it made distinguishing one person from another easier. Those not of the noble class would often be identified by their given name plus their occupation while others may have been identified by their given name and one of their parent’s names. Others may have used surnames which derived from a defining physical trait or a familiar geographical location, a topographical landmark found near the individual’s home or birthplace, or the name of the village in which the person lived.
Literacy was an accomplishment usually found only among the nobility, government scribes, and the clergy, for this reason, most of the earliest recordings of names are found in church or government documents. However, one apparent issue with the record keeping of the time was the lack of continuity in the spelling of many names, a fact which could be attributed to a lack of spelling guidelines in use by the scribes and record keepers. This is apparent in the variations found of the name in the afore mentioned records. Variations in the spelling of the name found in older records include but are not limited to; Bowser; Bowsher; Bouchier; Bowesar; Boucerh,; and Bourchier among others. One of the earliest records of someone bearing a variation of the name, ThomasBelcher, can be found in tax rolls of London dated 1219. The tax rolls, were a series of census and tax records kept by the
English Treasury by order of King Henry III, with the oldest dating back to the 12th century. These documents are considered the oldest concentric set of records documenting English governance in the United Kingdom spanning a period of over seven centuries
After the founding of America, Canada, and other lands abroad, migration began to occur in greater volume than ever before. Some of the first immigrants to America were Hen Bowser who landed and settled in Virginia in 1666.
Some of the earliest settlers to Canada were John and Mary Bowser who arrived and settled in Nova Scotia in 1750 and George Bowser arrived and settled in Wellington, New Zealand in 1883.
Worldwide, the highest concentration of people with the surname Bowser are found in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Belgium. By state, the largest percentile of those with the surname Bowser live in Pennsylvania, Indiana, New Jersey, and Ohio.
There are many notable people with the surname Bowser. Sir John Bowser , a noted journalist and politician, was born in London but moved to Melbourne, Australia with his family when he was a young boy. As a young man he briefly relocated to Scotland to attend Edinburgh, University where he studied journalism and English. After graduation he returned to Australia. He settled in Wangaratta and accepted a position managing the local newspaper, the Wangaratta Chronical, which he eventually purchased.
Bowser began his political career in 1894 and retired from politics in 1929. Bowser was knighted in 1927 in recognition of his service.
Bowser Coat of Arms Meaning
The three main devices (symbols) in the Bowser blazon are the water bouget, cross and two lions conjoined. The three main tinctures (colors) are ermine, or and azure .
Ermine is a very ancient pattern, and distinctive to observe. It was borne alone by John de Monfort, the Earl of Richmond and Duke of Brittany in the late 14th century It has a long association with royalty and the nobility in general and hence represents “Dignity” wherever it is found . The ermine pattern is white with, typically, a three dots and a dart grouping representing the tail of the furred creature.. The ermine spot is sometimes found alone as a special charge on the shield.
Or is the heraldic metal Gold, often shown as a bold, bright yellow colour. It is said to show “Generosity and elevation of the mind” . Later heralds, of a more poetic nature liked to refer to it as Topaz, after the gemstone, and, for obvious reasons associated it with the Sun . In drawings without colour it is usually represented by many small dots, or by the letter ‘O’ .
Azure is the heraldic colour blue, usually quite a deep, dark shade of the colour (there is a lighter blue that sometimes occurs, known as celestial azure). If colour printing is not available then it can be represented by closely spaced horizontal lines in a scheme known as “hatching” . The word is thought to originate from the Arabic lazura and it represents the colour of the eastern sky. It is also said to be the colour associated by the Catholic Church with the Virgin Mary and hence of particular significance .
A wide variety of inanimate objects appear in coats of arms, so of them still recognisable today, others now rather obscure. The images used are often simplified and stylised, the water bouget is a typical case of the later, such that the casual observer would be hard pressed to discern its function. It represents in fact a yoke with two skins attached to be worn over the shoulder and has been found in coats of arms almost from the beginning of the art. . Somewhat literally, Wade suggests that their appearance on arms may have been due to a holder who had “brought water to an army or beseiged place”.
No other symbol appearing in heraldry is subject to as much variation as the cross . Mediaeval Europe was a deeply religious and Christian and many of the nobility wanted to show their devotion by adopting the symbol of the cross as part of the arms. In its basic form, the cross is created from two broad bands of colour at right angles covering the whole extent of the shield. It has been subject to all manner of embellishment, and the interested reader is referred to the references, especially Parker’s Heraldic dictionary for many examples of these. Suffice it to say that any armiger would be proud to have such an important device as part of their arms.
The art of heraldry would be significantly poorer if we were without the lion in all its forms. Most general works on Heraldry devote at least one chapter solely to this magnificent creature and its multifarious depictions . Some of the earliest known examples of heraldry, dating right back to the knighting of Geoffrey of Anjou in 1127, where he is shown with six such beasts upon his shield .The great authority on heraldic symbology, Wade, points out the high place that the lion holds in heraldry, “as the emblem of deathless courage” , a sentiment echoed equally today.