Recorded in various spellings including Bowra, Bowery, and Bowry, this is an English surname. It has three possible origins, although all are from the same derivation. This is the Olde English pre 7th century word "bur", meaning a bower, which was either a small cottage or the inner room of a large house. Ther surname is either topographical for someone who lived in a small cottage, or secondly it may be occupational for a house servant, one who worked in the bower, and thirdly it may be locational. If the latter it derives from the villages of East and West Bower in Somerset, or from Bowers Gifford in Essex. The settlement in Somerset was first recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Bur", and that in Essex as "Bura", and as "Bures" in the Curia Regis rolls of Essex in 1203. Other early examples of the surname recording include: Alice Burrer of Cambridgeshire in 1279; Henry del Boure of Cheshire in 1287; William le Bourere of Surrey in 1332; Mary Bowry who married John Gaffy at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on February 13th 1631, and William Bowery, whose daughter Mary was christened at St Olave's church, Southwark, on March 22nd 1718. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hugo le Burer. This was dated 1218, in the Assize Court rolls of Lincolnshire, during the reign of King Henry 111rd, 1216 - 1272. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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