Recorded as Bowmaker, Bowman,Bowmen, Boman (English), Bohmann, Bohlin (German), Beauman (French), and probably others, this is an occupational surname of pre 7th century origins. It derives from the Saxon word 'boga' meaning a bow, and '-man,' in this context describing a man skilled in both the making and the operating of a 'bow'. However 'bow' or 'boga' did not necessarily mean an archery bow. The introduction of surnames coincided with the introduction of widescale textile manufacture, a 'bow' being used as part of the process of untangling and cleaning the wool.In addition 'Archer' was also a popular descriptive surname, whilst Fletcher could be a maker of arrows or a 'flesher' of skins. What we do know is that this was a very early surname with recordings which include Adam Bogheman in the Curia Regis rolls of Westmorland in 1223, Thomas Bouman of Northumberland in the Assize Court rolls of 1279, and Nicholas the Boueman in the Assize Court Rolls of Cheshire in 1286 and 1287. In 1539 during the reign of King Henry V111th (1510 - 1547) Thomas Bowmaker of Newcastle was recorded in a list of the citizens of the city capable of bearing arms. Not surprisingly there are at least British six coats of arms granted to nameholders. Perhaps the most appropriate although undated, has the blazon of a silver shield charged with two red bows in saltire, one within the other.
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