Friday, May 02, 2014

Question from Anonymous - Lady Susan Bowes (or Bowser)

Hi,I am reading an online book about queen Elizabeth`s maids of honor and I could not find anything about lady Susan Bowes/Bowser (maid from1576 to 1578).
Please help me.Thank you.


  1. It would help if you could share where you were reading about this woman. I just checked all my maids of honor, maids of the chamber, maids of the court lists and don't see someone with that name.

  2. I was reading about her in a online book about Mary Shelton,but I can`t find it now.I also find her at at maids of honor list.

  3. She's mentioned in Nichols' "The Progresses and Public Processions of Queen Elizabeth" (I'm looking at the online version of the edition edited by Archer, Goldring, Clarke, etc.) with a speaking part in a Woodstock pageants as "Lady Susan," and the editors note she is probably "Lady Susan Bowes,known to have been a maid of honour" with no other particulars.

    The Bowes family was prominent, and featured two ambassadors to Scotland in Queen Elizabeth's reign. No Susans in the family I could find, though.

    The somewhat inelegant "Bowser" is a stronger possibility, especially when some Googling reveals it was the pronounced version of "Bourchier." Bourchier was a very ancient name. Another section of Nichols' account (same editors) lists "The Lady Bourser sister to the yerle of Bathe" as being attendant ("Ladye of Honour") to Queen Elizabeth at Worcester; the earl of Bath was certainly a Bourchier, so we may have run Lady Susan to earth. The editors, though, seem to present her as two different women, Susan Bowes and [Susan] Bourchier, and indeed describe the latter as "an unidentified sister of William Bourchier ... 3rd Earl of Bath."

  4. Thank you,Foose.I will do one more research and I hope I will be able to find out something more.Thank you for help.

  5. You are welcome! I did a little fossicking and learned that while the editors think that Lady Susan is "an unidentified sister of William ... 3rd Earl of Bath," there doesn't appear to be any substantiating genealogy that I could find.

    However, William's father, John Lord Fitzwarin, had a half-sister named Susan or Susanna. John, 2nd Earl of Bath, married Margaret Donington as his third wife in 1548 and became the father of this Susan, although I could not find a birth date.

    Possibly this is your Lady Susan - if she was born, say, between 1550 and 1560 (her father died in 1561), she might be about the right age to be a maid of honor in the mid-1570s.

    As I said, there is no information I could find that Susan was the sister, rather than the aunt, of William Earl of Bath. However, in one of the typical arrangements of the time, John Lord Fitzwarin married his stepmother Margaret Donington's daughter by an earlier marriage, Frances Kytson, in 1548 - maybe they did have a daughter named Susan after her aunt.

  6. Foose - your research skills continually impress me!

  7. Thanks, kb - as always I value your professional judgment. (Although I always feel I should preface these posts with, "It's just my own opinion, really, and I have often been wrong.")


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