Transcript of

Sir Thomas Benjamin Bowring [Obituary]

Trans. Devon. Assoc., vol.  48, (1916), p. 43.

Prepared by Michael Steer

The obituary was read at the Association’s July 1916 Plymouth meeting. The Moretonhampstead History Society has a highly informative page about Unitarian and philanthropist Sir Thomas and the Bowring family. Devon Archives and Local Studies Service holds a statutory declaration (1913) by Sir Thomas Benjamin Bowring of his ownership of “a dwellinghouse in Eagle Court, now occupied by Elizabeth Cleave, which is to be sold to Mary Jane Parker, wife of Bartholomew Parker of Moretonhampstead, builder”. The obituary, from a copy of a rare and much sought-after journal can be downloaded from the Internet Archive. Google has sponsored the digitisation of books from several libraries. These books, on which copyright has expired, are available for free educational and research use, both as individual books and as full collections to aid researchers.

Sir T. B. Bowring, the son of Edward and Emma Bowring, was born in Newfoundland in 1848, and lived in New York for many years as representative of a well-known shipping company of Liverpool and London, of which he subsequently became the head, and in 1891 came to reside in London and Devon. His residence in Devon was at Pitt House, Moretonhampstead, in which town he built, furnished with books, and handed over to the Parish Council, free of all cost, the Moretonhampstead Free Library. He built a number of workmen's cottages in the parish, and every year in connection with the local Horticultural Society offered prizes for the best tilled gardens and allotments. He also contributed handsomely to the support of the Unitarian Chapel at Moretonhampstead.
He became a life member of the Devonshire Association in 1890. He was knighted in 1914, and had been a County Magistrate since 1906.
He died on the 18th October, 1915, and was buried at Moretonhampstead.