One of the eight Madeley parishioners who petitioned for the lease of Madeley estate in 1650 (SP 23/105, p.177, quoted in C.C.C., vol. 3, p.2231). The leader of the tenants' takeover of Madeley estate; one of those who `made show' of taking the estate, as the Shropshire sequestration commissioners put it in 1650 (SP 23/236, f.185a). Described as a yeoman in the 1660 poll tax. Name not on Protestation of 25 April 1642; 2s. Irish contribution 9 May 1642; not listed on poor rating of 1651; 1s. poll tax 1660. Buried 12 November 1665 (Madeley parish register).
A member of the municipal government of Much Wenlock, Shropshire. The Franchise of Wenlock covered a large area of Shropshire, including Madeley, and had superior authority in certain matters. It was governed by a co-opting oligarchy consisting of a bailiff and `six men', the equivalent of a mayor and aldermen. Bowdler was a six-man one year in the late 1620s (Corpn. of Wenlock, first minute book, p.617); in Sept. 1644 he was again chosen, serving from 1645 to 1648 or 9 (ibid, pp.701, 709, 727, 741). On 19 September 1646 his name appeared, with 57 other Wenlock burgesses, on an order replacing the town clerk (who was perhaps expelled for corruption) (ibid, pp.710-11 et seq; see TSAS op. cit, note 9, 2nd series, vol. 6 , p.280). He was again a six-man from the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 until 1664 (second minute book).