Yeovil People

John Woodman Bowring

Baker of South Street


John Woodman Bowring was born in late April or early May 1792 and was baptised at St John's church on 11 May 1792. He was the son of Yeovil baker Robert Bowring or Bowering (1752-1831) and Tryphena née Woodman (1757-1830).

Nothing is known of John's early life, but he was a baker like his father, initially of Kingston (1822) and later (certainly by 1841) of South Street. He married a girl named Susanna, also known as Susan (1747-1841), who was not originally from Somerset. They were to have at least four children, all born in Yeovil: John Woodman Jnr (b1820), Frederick Robert (1822-1889), Hubert (b1826) and a daughter Tryphena (b1828).

In 1813, John's father, Robert, had purchased a 'court' of six cottages (see Map below) from the Corporation. Situated off the northern side of South Street, opposite Pen Hill, the cottages were known as Bowring's Row, or Bowring's Court. The dwellings had gardens on the western side of their access path. John owned the properties following his father's death until at least 1847, when he put the properties up for sale with a reserve price of £130 although there was no bid at that time. The properties were eventually sold and Bowring's Row was finally declared unfit for habitation in September 1906.

John Bowring was listed in the 1832 Register of Voters by virtue of owning a freehold house in South Street.

The 1841 census recorded John and Susan living in South Street, together with Tryphena, two male servants and two female servants. John gave his occupation simply as 'baker'.

Susanna died in 1841 and in the 1851 census, 58-year-old John was recorded as a widower living in South Street with his daughter Tryphena, aged 23. John gave his occupation as "Baker, Master, employing 2 men" and living with him were two baker's journeymen, a housemaid, nursemaid and a monthly nurse. Living next door was John's 25-year-old son Hubert who described himself as a "Coal Merchant, Ship broker and Commission Agent". Hubert's wife, 25-year-old Ann had been born in Jersey, Channel Islands, as were their two daughters Ann and Emma, aged 3 and 1 respectively. A one-day-old daughter, born in Yeovil, was listed as "Not Named".

John Woodman Bowring died in Yeovil during October 1852, aged 60.



This map is based on the 1886 Ordnance Survey, but rotated 90° with the Borough at extreme left and South Street at extreme right. Bowring's Row is seen at top right running parallel with the southern part of Tabernacle Lane.




The record of John's baptism of 11 May 1792 in St John's parish register.


The will of John woodman bowring, 1852


This is the last Will and Testament of me John Woodman Bowring of Yeovil in the County of Somerset Baker I give and bequeath unto my daughter Tryphena Bowring all the furniture of the parlor in my dwelling House including the Piano Forte and also all the furniture of the bed room over the said Parlor usually occupied by my said daughter All the residue of my personal estate goods chattels [word illegible] and effects I give and bequeath unto my trustees and executors hereinafter named upon trust to call in and convert the same into money and to pay and apply the same in the manner herein after expressed I give and devise all my messuages cottages lands and hereditaments whatsoever and wheresoever unto my friend Robert Bond of Northover in the said County Yeoman and my Nephew Robert Palmer of [Comeldon ?] in the County of Wilts Yeoman their heirs executors administrators and assigns according to the nature thereof respectively Nevertheless upon the trusts following that is to say Upon trust as soon as conveniently may be after my decease to sell and dispose of the same either by public auction or by private contract and either together or in parcels and subject to such conditions and generally in such manner as may be thought expedient and to convey and assure the same when old unto the purchaser or respective purchasers thereof and as to the monies to arise from the conversion of my residuary personal estate upon trust therewith in the first place to pay and discharge all my just debts funeral and testamentary expenses and the costs and charges of carrying this my Will into execution and upon trust in the next place to pay and divide the residue of such monies unto and equally between my four children John Woodman Bowring Frederick Robert Bowring Hubert Bowring and the said Tryphena Bowring and their respective executors administrators and assigns and I appoint the said Robert Bond and Robert Palmer Executors of this my Will and give them full power to compound for all debts due to me and to settle all my accounts and affairs as they may think proper and desirable and I declare that each of them shall be chargeable only with his respective actual receipts and that they shall not be accountable the for the other nor for any losses which may happen to my Estate and Effects so as the same be not occasioned by their or his wilful neglect or default In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand this ninth day of March One thousand eight hundred and forty nine

John Woodman Bowring

Signed by the above named John Woodman Bowring as and for his last Will and Testament in the presence of us present at the same time who at his request in his presence and in the presence of each other have hereunto subscribed our names as Witnesses

John Batten       James James (Clerk to Mr J Batten)

On the 14th day of December 1852 Administration with the [word illegible] annexed of the goods chattels and credits of John Woodman Bowring late of Yeovil in the County of Somerset Baker deceased was granted to Hubert Bowring the the Son one of the residuary Legatees named in the said Will having been first sworn by him [Comon ?] duly to administer Robert Bond and Robert Palmer the Nephew the Executors and Residuary Legatees in trusts named in the said Will having renounced as well the Probate and execution of the said Will as Letters of Administration with the said Will annexed of the goods of the said deceased as by Acts of Court appears


Transcribed by Bob Osborn