Home Page & Contact

The Geneal Geologist
supporting collaborative family history and DNA research since 1979. Online since 1998


of C18th/C20th East Kent

- Synopsis Revised October 2017, by “The Geneal Geologist” -

The ancestral families of Mary Ann BOWLES, my 3xGGM, wife of Jeremiah GRACE and matriarch of the GRACE family lineage.
Primarily the East Kent families of BOWLES, GIBBS, KNIGHT, LAWRENCE & SPAIN.
Join the discussion at The Family of Jeremiah GRACE on Facebook.


Thomas BOWLES was a Ramsgate Boatman, living in Strand Street, Sandwich, Kent in 1817, married to Martha KNIGHT (1792-1866). My 4xGGPs married at Woodnesborough, near Sandwich, in October 1816.

Research suggests that Thomas is probably the “Thomas BOWLES of Ramsgate” who died and was buried in Dover in Jun 1818, possibly due to a maritime accident or being a prisoner in Dover castle (aged 28, so born around 1789) since Martha BOWLES (his widow) remarried mariner William STEED in Ramsgate in 1820. The latter is proven by William & Martha STEED being resident with the GRACE family on the 1841 Ramsgate census in King Street, Ramsgate. Thomas & Martha's only child, Mary Ann BOWLES (1817, baptised at St Clement) of Sandwich married Jeremiah GRACE on 22 Oct 1836 at Ramsgate St George (my 3xGGPs). Subsequent census confirms Martha KNIGHT as the 1792 d/o Henry KNIGHT & Elizabeth LAWRENCE of Wickhambreux. See below.

Of all the available BOWLES information (including independent research), the most interesting is probably Henry BOWLES, another mariner also residing in Strand Street, Sandwich, at the same time as my Thomas. It is most likely that they were brothers. This is important as Henry is shown to be born in Marylebone (London) on the 1851 census (s/o John & Ann from baptism) and not locally in Kent. There is a corresponding child in Marylebone to match Thomas, one year previously.

Therefore, John BOWLES & Ann (my assumed 5xGGPs) are in Marylebone for the few years to baptise three children, however they may be the 1780 marriage in Deal between a John BOWLES & Ann THOMAS, the area more associated with the BOWLES name. This is not proven. Their Marylebone children are:

·      Ann BOWLES (1788);

·      Thomas BOWLES (1790-1818), the mariner of Strand Street, Sandwich, my 4xGGF;

·      Henry BOWLES (1791-1865), mariner of Strand Street, Sandwich = Martha SPRATLING of Woodnesborough (c1794-1884 Reading) in 1811 Sandwich:

§  Richard Henry BOWLES – abt Oct 1812, c. 8 Nov 1812 at St Clement. Richard is probably the 1846 death in Sandwich, in which case he may be the one recorded in St Bartholomew’s Hospital, Sandwich (cabinet maker) in 1841;

§  Henry BOWLES - 6 Aug 1815 Strand Street, c. 24 Sep 1815 St Clement. He is buried in Reading, Berkshire in 1898. In 1848, he married Elizabeth GRIGGS (1824-79) of Woodnesborough (5 children), then widow Susan Annabella RUMLEY nee HARDING in 1879 Reading:

o   Richard Henry BOWLES (1850-1921), storekeeper = Elizabeth KNIGHT in 1873 Reading. The couple lived for a time in Croydon, Surrey, then settled in Lancashire. After Elizabeth’s death, he remarried Ellen (possibly AINSWORTH) and had a daughter in 1891:

§  Vincent James BOWLES (1875-1941) = Mary Ellen WALSH (1882-1954) in 1902. Couple lived in Flintshire. Vincent died aboard the SS Farfield (Chief Engineer);

§  Henry Charles Leonard BOWLES (1876-1949) = Annie Ellen KEATES in 1913. The couple lived in Crewe;

§  May Evelyn BOWLES (1880);

§  Claude Adolphus BOWLES (1886-1943) = Eliza HOLLAND in 1913 and lived in Latchford, Cheshire;

§  Ethel Grace BOWLES (1891);

o   Anne Elizabeth BOWLES (1852-69);

o   Henry James BOWLES (1856-1907) = Maria COLEMAN in 1884 Reading. After Henry’s death, Maria remarried to Nelson PROWER in 1909 and moved to Canada with her surviving sons in 1910:

§  Henry Charles BOWLES (1885-1974) – Alberta, Canada;

§  William John BOWLES (1887-1971) – San Diego, California;

§  Alfred Ernest BOWLES (1890-1905);

§  Benjamin Herbert BOWLES (1892-1980) – BC, Canada;

o   Charles George BOWLES (1859) = Jane Elizabeth GRIGGS (1862-1916) in Sandwich, and lived in Plumstead, Kent:

§  Florence Catherine BOWLES (1884);

§  Charles Henry James BOWLES (1885-1951) = Selina Maria HARDEN in 1910;

§  Henry Richard BOWLES (1887-1905);

§  Ada Mabel BOWLES (1889);

§  Sydney Gordon BOWLES (1893-1912);

§  Ernest Edward BOWLES (1895-1949);

§  Ethel Gertrude BOWLES (1901);

o   Martha BOWLES (1861) = Amos FISHER in 1889 Reading;

§  Ann BOWLES - 10 Sep 1817 Strand Street, c. 30 Nov 1817 St Clement. She is probably the burial recorded in Aug 1818, aged 0;



There are over 700 connected GIBBS / GIBBES family members in the greater East Kent family tree. My 6xGGM Sarah GIBBS was part of the Elmstone family, who had their family seat in the village and manor of Elmstone since the C14th. Ancestors were connected to the court of king Richard III of England, having moved up from their original seat in Venton, Devon. All GIBBS (or GIBBES) in East Kent appear to be related, with all lines having similar naming patterns. Genealogical records also indicate that members of this family settled in Somerset, Hertfordshire, Warwickshire and the Derry townland in Donoughmore parish, County Cork, Ireland.

Venton (Fenton) Manor near Dartington, Devon – C15th/C16th Ancestral Home of the GIBBS

The family claim Norman origins, which is now appearing to be demonstrated by a few GIBBS men connected to the Kent families, all providing the haplotype I-M253, with a suggested match from a GIBBES in the US (see below); “I” being the Viking haplogroup and the Vikings having settled in Normandy. I am collecting the Y-DNA results of any GIBBS or GIBBS men who match I-M253 so that they can be tied in genealogically as well as genetically. It also now reported that several HAWKINS Y-DNA participants had long suspected that they were related to the lineage of Giles GIBBS of Somerset/Dorset, c.1600, through extra-marital liaisons. These Y-DNA connections have been verified through conventional genealogical sources. Please contact me on my research blog to exchange information.

C17th Elmstone Court on the site of the old Elmstone Manor, C16th Ancestral Home of the GIBBS family in East Kent

In the C17th, two GIBBS brothers were involved in a Barbados sugar plantation, before moving on to settle in the Carolina colonies. The present-day GIBBES families in South Carolina are descendants of these brothers, including a former colonial governor and other local notables. Present-day GIBBES in the US are included in the greater Kent family tree.

James Shoolbred Gibbes Sr (1819-1888), my 7th cousin 5x removed, Charleston merchant and patron of the arts, who bequeathed the funds for the building of the Gibbes Museum, Charleston, SC.
Painted George W. Flagg

You can read more about the history of the GIBBS family on the Ballynoe House Blog.


There are over 500 connected KNIGHT family members in the East Kent family tree. Henry KNIGHT (1757) is a member of the Wickhambreux and neighbouring village Preston by Wingham (aka Preston, or Wingham, or Preston next Wingham) KNIGHT families headed by George KNIGHT & Sarah GIBBS (my 6xGGPs). Please contact me to discuss any KNIGHT lines in East Kent, since the tree is a large one. Excluding Martha, 5 other children of Henry & Elizabeth KNIGHT (my 5xGGPs) are known at Wickhambreux:

  • Sarah KNIGHT (1786);
  • George KNIGHT (1787) = Sarah LARKIN in 1805 Wickhambreux. Children:
    • James KNIGHT (1805-73) = Mary HODGES in 1828, with subsequent children and many descendants in Wapping, Whitechapel, Spitalfields, West Ham, St George's East (eastern districts of present day Greater London (Middlesex/Essex));
    • Richard KNIGHT (1807-84) = Sarah Ann HODGES in 1927, with subsequent children and descendants also in the east end of London (St George's East & Rotherhithe);
    • Henry KNIGHT (1809-81) = Elizabeth LAYER in 1833. Their family remained in the Wingham & Staple areas of Kent;
    • Mary Ann KNIGHT (1811-71) = Thomas Gregory SAYER and lived in Stepney, London;
    • Isaac KNIGHT (1813) = Mary HUGHES and the couple moved to St George's East, London by 1851;
    • Harriet KNIGHT (1815) remained in Wingham and was unmarried by 1861;
  • Henry KNIGHT (1789) = Mary GOWARS in 1819 and settled in the Dartford area of Kent. Son Henry KNIGHT (1828) and wife Hester WALKLING have numerous descendants in the NW Kent towns of Lewisham, Sidcup, Bexley, Bromley & Dartford;
  • Elizabeth KNIGHT (1791);
  • John KNIGHT (1794-1871) = Sarah LARKIN and remained in the Wickhambreux area.


There are more than 100 connected LAWRENCE family members via my 4xGGM Elizabeth LAWRENCE (d/o John LAWRENCE & his first wife Sarah SPAIN). Please contact me to discuss any LAWRENCE lines in East Kent. The original family from Preston by Wingham & Elmstone spread out in the C19th to settle in the Kentish towns Margate, Herne Bay, Tonbridge/Tunbridge Wells, Canterbury and Dover, as well as the village of Littlebourne and further afield in Birkenhead (Cheshire). The SPAIN family are closely tied with the area immediately around Dover.


My connection to the BROWNING family is through Thomas GIBBES & Jane BROWNING (my 8xGGPs). The 1679 Will of Matthew BROWNING of Chillenden, Kent, mentions his daughter Jane, wife of Thomas GIBBES of Elmstone. Jane BROWNING appears to be the 1741 baptised d/o Matthew BROWNING & his wife Anne EVANS, although in this period baptisms only mention the father; wives are only inferred from local marriages. Matthew & Anne would be my 9xGGPs.

Matthew and his son William (who also married an Anne, and is mentioned in the same Will, along with a daughter Alice) were living in Chillenden, a neighbouring village to Wingham, Kent, i.e. a neighbouring village to Elmstone. Records suggest that Matthew was born in 1617 in nearby Nonington, one of at least 4 sons of Abraham (Abram) BROWNING and wife unknown. Abraham would be my 10xGGF.

There are 3 sons to a Christopher BROWNING baptised in Nonington in the 1580's and it is possible Abram is his son.

Deeds show that my 9xGGF Matthew BROWNING was a Yeoman Farmer in Chillenden, Kent. His holding is mentioned in several deeds years after his death: "And all that messuage or tenement with the appurtenances commonly called Chillindon Courtlodge and all buildings etc. situate in the parishes of Chillendon, Goodnestone, Northborne and Nonnington, late in the occupation of Matthew Browning and now of John Sole containing by estimation 120 acres."

Court Lodge, Chillenden was held by Matthew BROWNING, then taken over by John SOLE, who married Ann, the widow of Matthew's son William. Matthew died in 1679. William died in 1684, with his widow remarrying SOLE in 1685. Presumably in the intervening 5 years William ran the farm prior to his death, as records suggest holdings transferred directly from Matthew to SOLE.

The outline above is indicative only and not necessarily fully correct or complete.
The CreativeGraces family tree can be found on Ancestry
Home Page & Contact Info