Last name: Bowden

This interesting name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and has two possible sources. It can either be topographical, describing a "dweller by the top of a hill", from the Olde English pre 7th Century phrase, "bufan dune", meaning "above the hill"; or it may be locational from any of the places called Bowden or Bowdon. Bowden in Devonshire and Derbyshire, and Bowdon in Cheshire are composed of the Olde English elements "boga", arched or rounded, and "dun", hill; hence, an "arched or rounded hill"; while Bowden in Leicestershire, recorded as "Bugedone" in the Domesday Book of 1086, comes from the Olde English female personal name "Burcge" (masculine "Buga"), and "dun"; hence, "Burcge's hill". There are places of the name in Scotland, from the Gaelic "both an duin", translating as "house on the hill", but the name is not widespread here. In the modern idiom the surname can be found recorded as Bowden, Bowdon and Bawdon. The surname was first recorded in the beginning of the 13th Century (see below), and other early recordings include: Richard de Bouldone, Parson of the parish of Edilstone, who rendered homage in 1296, according to the Documents Relating to Scotland; John de Boghedon, who appeared in the Place Names of Devonshire in 1333; and William de Bolden, who was Abbot of Kelso in 1370, as recorded in the Monastic Annals of Teviotdale. John Bowden, aged 24 yrs., was an early American settler in Virginia in July 1635, having arrived there on the "Paule" of London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard de Boulden, which was dated circa 1200, in "Liber S. Marie de Calchou: Registrum Kelso 1113 - 1567", Scotland, during the reign of King William "The Lion" of Scotland, 1165 - 1214. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

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Morgan Bowden

I'm in England and my family pronounce it as in "bow down"!

Naomi Bowden King

I live in SC but was born in Muncie Ind. My dads family came from Fentress county Tenn. I think they came up from the Carolinas. (not sure) we pronounce it like take a bow. I have tried to research our bunch but we have so many Johns and Marys it gets confusing. lol. Im glad to see there are several Bowdens around.

Mary Russell

I was born in south Carolina. If I had my real grandfathers last name I'd be Mary Bowden. Wonder if we are related!

Steve Bowden

Im from Vancouver BC Can. and have never meant another Bowden. We pronounce Bow as in "crossbow" There is a town Bowden in Alberta. I love my last name.!


I am a Bowden who as far as I know my family originates from Salisbury England, now living in Cumbria. Its amazing to see how many Bowdens there are

I am from Connecticut, USA and I pronounce it like bow tie as well.

Jesse Bowden
My father's family is from California that's where his brothers and sisters still live. My whole life I've only ever met one other Bowden. We also pronounce it like "take a bow".

Ashlee Bowden
I have never met another family with the last name bowden.... & we also pronounce it like "Take a bow". I am from MI

I am a Bowden from Norwich Norfolk and it's great to see all you lovely Bowdens out there as there is not many in Norfolk. We also pronounce it as bow not the tie.

Alexander Gordon
Is Bowden & Gordon from same same origin? Meaning is the same + area, except Gordons left Norway - probably to be free from the monarchs & their religions to practice their pagan lifestyles.

Matt Bowden
My dad's family was in boston. I'm the first to break a long history of Bowden males in my lineage with the names "Perry Sxxxxx Bowden." My father is Scott. His Father was Stanely. I was to be Seth but my mom didn't like the names. I have no idea where we came from. But my grandad Stanley's father is known as "The Doctor." They were in Georgia before the war. Stanley served in the Navy.

Andrew Bowden
Father and Nephew also sporting the cleft chin . Very interesting .

Kelly Bowden
My brother and I both have cleft chins and we pronounce it "take a bow" also. So interesting :)

tom bowden
do any other bowdens find that the cleft chin is prominent in bowden males? i have one my dad has one and my great grandpa had one.

James Bowden
A cleft chin is prominent in my line of Bowdens. We also pronounce it like "take a bow".

Pretty sure my grandfather, Noel Bowden, had a cleft chin.

Mark Bowden

My father and I both have one too, and we pronounce it like take a bow.

Andrew Bowden
Hi, im a Bowden from Taunton Somerset .Im suprised to see so many Bowden's living in the states.This was also the first i'd heard of a town called Bowden in Devon . Will have to visit it now.

Chris Bowden
There are a sprinkling of Bowden's here in Alaska. Our family has been here since the early 1900's. Before that we seemed to have come from the Seattle area.

John Bowden
I am John Bowden from around the Dayton ohio area! All I know is the main area where my family lived was in Monterey Tenn. Other than that I really know very little about my family's history!

Dawn Bowden
Hi, I'm a Bowden from Bristol so guessing that we probably originated from Devon! I pronounce it Bow as in "take a bow", not "bow tie"!

Andrew Bowden
I also pronounce it Bow as in 'take a bow'.

thomas bowden
im from toronto ontario and i also pronounce bow as in take a bow, i hate when ppl say it like bow tie and ive done reaserch and found that the bowden surname came over to england during the conquest of william the conquerer so the name is of norman descent originating from old bodin in normandy.

Christine Bowden
We pronounce our name like take a bow. Do not like the bow tie pronounciation. My father had a clef chin and his twin brother.

Hi I am a Bowden from Birmingham UK. About to start researching family tree. These comments are great. I also did not realise there were so many of us. Different parts of my family pronounce Bowden differently (cause of some debate) Some pronounce 'Bow' as in bow and arrow, whereas others pronounce @Bow' as in the bow of a ship. appreciate other peoples thoughts.

Dianne Griffin

My mother was a Bowden, pronounced as in bow and arrow. I have written a biography of Benjamin Bowden, born Constantine Cornwall 1841. He and his wife, Emma Trethowan emigrated to South Australia in 1864. It is a great story. Check it out at Dianne

steven bowden
im a bowden from lancashire and nice to see there is a few more out there, not the most common name to see about, hello all you Bowdens, wonder if we are related somehow along the line

My Bowden ancestors came from Aspull / Wigan, Lancashire. I've got a great start to a family tree on It's private, but I can send you an invite if you think you might be related and would like to help flesh out the tree. Send me an email at . Hope to hear from you.

Catherine Bowden Young

I also pronounce my maiden name (like take a bow). Mu ancestors came from France. All of this is interesting. I also have know of Bowden's in Apple Valley, Ca and their ancestors are German. So I guess there are "Bowden's" all over the world. Would be interesting to know who started it all, after Adam and Eve.


I am a bowden from south africa

Julian Bowden

A Bowden from London, England; although the family originates from Hatherliegh and Okehampton in Devon. Bow as in take a bow. Cleft chin.

Hello, I am William Jody Bowden from Central Alabama. I have always been interested in the origin of our name. Most of my family have past on , and i don't have many Bowden family members here that i know of..

Terry C Bowden
I Am a Devon Bowden, there was a lot of sons born in the past that immigrated to Australia New Zealand Canada & America. My great uncle to Canada, a William Bowden

Matt Bowden
I have a namesake in NZ and another in England, and I'm here in the states. any chance that we're all of the same lineage?

tom bowden
my grandfather is a william bowden he hails from plymouth in devon. my great grandfather is harold bettis bowden ,all the boys before my grandpa had the middlename bettis until i was born. also my great great granfather is henry bettis bowden. thought id share that just incase you know anything

Ann Bowden Lawton (nee Bowden)

Hi "Bowdens", I'm originally a Bowden (now married so am Bowden Lawton) living in north Wales, my father Robert Wyn Bowden has lived in north Wales all his life.His father, John (Jack) William Bowden was from South End on Sea, Essex born 1907. His father owned a builders merchants in Southend on Sea. I also have a brother John William Bowden living in north Wales .

thomas bowden
Im Thomas bowden from toronto canada ive researched and found that the bowden name is of norman origin and that the bowden family fought along side duke william of normandy and after defeating the anglosaxon army they were granted lands by william the conquerer for there distinguished assistance in the battle of hastings 1066 making them lords or landlords also knights at the expense of the king in time of military service. My great grandfather harold bettis bowden came from plymouth, not too far fromfrom the town of bowden in devon,England and knights in the

gareth bowden
im a bowden from stoke on trent England .

Im a Bowden from Toronto, Ontario, Canada!

Malcolm Bowden
My grandfather was Malcolm McLean, a true highlander and as our surname suggests ''from atop a hill''

Jonathan Bowden
I am from Nova Scotia Canada. Just started doing research will post as much as possible in the near future.

Johnny Bowden
I'm Johnny Bowden from Berri I'm a dog which Carden Bowden owns me.

Jo Bowden
I'm a Bowden from Northampton, England

Kyle Bowden
I live in south Texas and I am not use to seeing others with the last name Bowden. I guess there are more of us out there then I thought.

Sarah Greene
My grandparents are Bowden's in North east Texas. I have a good deal researched if I can locate it. Would you be interested? Maybe we could combine efforts. You're right though outside of my family I don't know many, if any other Bowden's in this area.

John Bowden
Welcome all Bowden's finally a place where are last name is Prevalent!

Kevin Bowden
My family appears to come from the Bristol area of England. Anyone else with a lineage from that area?

Jess Bowden
I have my family tree back to the early 1700 hundreds. I'd like to know more about the surname Bowden. If anyone has any more reseach I'd find that interesting

Cindy Moore
I come from some Bowdens of Newtownards, Ireland circa 1860, which would have been a part of the English Prostestant Reformation/Plantation area, thereby, probably primarily English Prostestant, although, not necessarily. Don't have anything as yet beyond that.

cara bowden
sadly my granparents passed away before i could ask them about our family tree wouldlove to find out more if possible some one could piont me in the right direction x

Clint Bowden
That is what I am trying to find out. Any and all info that I can find to confirm one link will indeed confirm your thoughts and mine. one link i can give you that i found is that we are related to king edward the first. but it is not directly from the bowden line. and there is a whole lot of other royalty that i have found that might be of some interest.