The de Boulers

The first ‘Bowdler’ in England Baldwin de Boulers was from Boelare, Flanders and was son of Stephen, Baron of Boelare. He came to England in 1105 when he was granted the Lordship of Montgomery by Henry I King of England in marriage with Sybil de Falaise. Sybil is described as the ‘niece’ of Henry but was more likely an illegitimate daughter.

Montgomery Castle had been built in the 1070s (not long after the Norman conquest) by Roger, Earl of Shrewsbury who named it after his home in Normandy. It had become the property of the crown in 1102 when Robert of Montgomery rebelled against the king. It was in an important location just east of the ford of Rhyd Whyman over the river Severn and was known as one of the Marcher Lordships.

After Baldwin, Montgomery was held by his son Stephen who was slain by Llywelyn ap Madog of Powys in 1152. The lordship passed to Baldwins grandsons Robert then Baldwin. It is presumably from the first or second Baldwin that the Welsh name of Montgomery, Trefaldwyn (a mutation from Tre Baldwin) arose.

Montgomery itself was lost in 1207 when it was overrun by the Welsh and presumably the second Baldwin was killed.

The right to the lordship was then legally contested amongst surviving relatives. It was eventually sold by Stephen de Stanton, a son of Sybil, daughter of the first Baldwin, to Thomas de Erdington, of Erdington (Warwickshire) in 1214-15. The sale was confirmed by King John who, however, handed the lordship to Gwenwynwyn, Prince of Powys, in 1216; but he was almost immediately driven out by Llywelyn ap Iorwerth (Llywelyn the Great), Prince of Gwynedd.

It is believed that all modern Bowdlers come from Robert de Bollers (c1140-1203). His descendants settled on the English side of the border in Shropshire, where they remained for many generations.

The castle fell into decay although it was briefly reoccupied in 1223 when the area came back under English control and the new castle of Montgomery was built in a new location. The original Montgomery castle of the de Boulers is on a site known as Hen Domen and is situated to the west of the modern Montgomery town (Powys, Wales).

A later Baldwin de Bollers married Christiana de Marrington and Marrington in Shropshire then came into the Bowdler family.