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Bowie Coat of Arms / Bowie Family Crest

Bowie Coat of Arms / Bowie Family Crest

The surname BOWIE derived from the Gaelic 'buidhe' meaning 'yellow or fair haired'. Early records of the name mention John Boye, alis Boee, a Scotsman living at Yarmouth, had letters of denisation in England in 1481. John Bowey was granted remission for holding Dumbarton Castle against the king in 1489. Andrew Bowye was a notary public in Scone in 1570. Elizabeth Boway was charged with being a disorderly person (i.e.non-conforming) in the parish of Carsfern in 1684. The acquisition of surnames in Europe during the past eight hundred years has been affected by many factors, including social class and social structure. On the whole, the richer and more powerful classes tended to acquire surnames earlier than the working classes and the poor, while surnames were quicker to catch on in urban areas than in more sparsely populated rural areas. These facts suggest that the origin of surnames is associated with the emergence of bureaucracies. As long as land tenure, military service, and fealty were matters of direct relationship between a lord and his vassals, the need did not arise for fixed distinguishing epithets to mark out one carl from another. But as societies became more complex, and as such matters as the management of tenure and in particular the collection of taxes were delegated to special functionaries, it became imperative to have a more complex system of nomenclature to distinguish one individual from another reliably and unambiguously. The first people in Scotland to acquire fixed surnames were the nobles and great landowners, who called themselves, or were called by others, after the lands they possessed. Surnames originating in this way are known as territorial. Formerly lords of baronies and regalities and farmers were inclined to magnify their importance and to sign letters and documents with the names of their baronies and farms instead of their Christian names and surnames. The abuse of this style of speech and writing was carried so far that an Act was passed in the Scots parliament in 1672 forbidding the practice and declaring that it was allowed only to noblemen and bishops to subscribe by their titles.


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Last Updated: Dec. 1st, 2021

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