My paternal great-grandmother was Eva Bowes.

Eva's parents were Robert Bowes and Mary Elizabeth Leman.

Robert Bowes
Robert Bowes was born in 1854 in Carleton St Peter, near Loddon, county Norfolk.He worked as a Painter/Glazier/Signwriter and was also known to have an artistic/musical flair. In 1879 he married Mary Elizabeth Leman, d/o William Leman and Mary Rudd.
Robert and Mary Bowes had three known children:
Eva (1887)
Frederick (1889) See my blog about him here
Winifred (1892)

In the 1880s Robert and Mary Elizabeth lived in Lowestoft, county Suffolk but sometime before the 1890s they had moved back to Beccles where they took up a more permanent residency. Robert continued working as a Painter but also took on odd jobs such as Gardening. In the 1890s it is believed that Robert and Mary ran a Fruiterer's Shop in New Market, Beccles but this was short-lived as Robert died in 1902. Mary, then widowed, moved to Nightingale Place/Blyburgate Street where she lived until her death in 1923.
It is believed that Mary Elizabeth Bowes was a devoted mother and grand-mother. She dearly loved her family and my grandmother Freda often spoke of her with great warmth and affection. Robert and Mary Bowes's daughter Eva was the only child of theirs to ever marry. Robert and Mary's other children Frederick and Winifred lived together in Beccles until their deaths. Fred Bowes played the piano at the Beccles cinema and with "The Leggettonians" (a local music troupe). Later in his life, Fred went blind but he still continued to play piano.

Mary Elizabeth and Eva, 1887


The Bowes (pronounced "bows") ancestry has been traced back as far as the 1600s with Thomas Bowes baptised in Lyng, co. Norfolk in 1647. Thomas is believed to be the son of Simon Bowes who married Amy Richardson in 1644 in Lyng.

The Bowes were Tenant Farmers and Agricultural/Farm Labourers who lived in Lyng for hundreds of years before moving to Elsing, co. Norfolk around the 1820s. Names of farms the Bowes worked and owned were: Three Bridges Farm, Fustyweed and Penny Spot Farm (pictured below, courtesy of David Fox):

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