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23 Jan 2024
updated 23 Jan 2024

Salvins and Bowlbys

In particularly idle moments, I sometimes wondered about Salvin Bowlby's first name – it was a bit exotic to be a Christian name, and although one was familiar with surnames being used as middle names (as in my own case), it (apparently) wasn't his middle name. All very muddle-headed of me, as his Generation Table (derived from the thepeerage.com website) eventually reveals.

#IndividualSpouse / PartnerFamily
‑9Anthony Salvin
(d 1707)
Eleanor Peacock

daughter of Simon Peacock of Burnall, 8th baronet
James Salvin
(d 1753)
‑8James Salvin
(d 1753)
Ruth Kempe Anthony Salvin
(d 1785)
‑7Anthony Salvin
(d 1785)

of Sunderland Bridge House
Anne Smith

daughter of George Smith of Burnall
Eleanora Elizabeth Salvin
(28 Dec 1760 –
15 Aug 1842)
‑6Eleanora Elizabeth Salvin
(28 Dec 1760 –
15 Aug 1842)
Rev Thomas Bowlby
(27 Sep 1762 –
28 Jan 1835)
(m 3 Mar 1786)
Rev Edward Bowlby
(12 Jun 1795 –
25 Jun 1860)

and 13 others
‑5Rev Edward Bowlby
(12 Jun 1795 –
25 Jun 1860)
Hannah Hodgson
(d 1 Jan 1831)
(m 27 Jun 1829)
Edward Salvin Bowlby
(23 Jun 1830 –
4 Nov 1902)
Caroline Randall
(d 25 Jul 1905)
(m 10 Jan 1853)
Rev Charles Edward Bowlby
(2 Dec 1833 –
25 Sep 1893)

and 5 others
‑4Rev Charles Edward Bowlby
(2 Dec 1833 –
25 Sep 1893)

Sophia Louise Sargeaunt
(m 1 Jun 1858)
(d 19 Apr 1891)

daughter of Rev John Sargeaunt
Lt Col Charles William Bowlby
(6 May 1861 –
27 Mar 1934)

Col Robert Russell Bowlby
(18 Aug 1863 –
17 Jun 1948)
‑3Lt Col Charles William Bowlby
(6 May 1861 –
27 Mar 1934)


Akahista, Durrus then Coomhola Lodge, Bantry
Fanny Sarah Alicia Katherine White
(d 27 Mar 1934)
(m 4 Nov 1885)

daughter of Capt Edward Richard White of Coomhola Lodge, Bantry
Adelbert Charles Edward Salvin Bowlby
(20 Oct 1886 –
29 Jul 1974)

Margaret Eleanora Salvin Bowlby
(b 10 Feb 1894)

Gerard William Salvin Bowlby
(b 10 Feb 1901)
‑2Adelbert Charles Edward Salvin Bowlby
(20 Oct 1886 –
29 Jul 1974)

First World War

of Coomhola Lodge, Bantry
Frances Leader
(m 28 Mar 1910)

daughter of Dr Richard Radley Leader MD JP
Charles Edward John Bowlby
(22 Jun 1911 –
15 Feb 1959)
Love affairNatural daughter
(b 1933)
Phyllis R Deacon
(m Q4 1972, Westminster 5E 1482)

previously his housekeeper and carer
‑1Charles Edward (Ted) John Bowlby
(22 Jun 1911 –
15 Feb 1959)
one brief and unsuccessful marriage sp

The explanation of Salvin's name is simple enough – who in their right mind would parade around with a Germanic monicker, guaranteed to raise the hackles of his fellow officers in the British Army or Royal Flying Corps?

And living in the Irish Free State and its successors, it could be interpreted as obtrusively Anglo-Saxon – a euphemism for the repressive forces of the British army in Ireland after (or indeed before) the Easter Rising in 1916, and that wouldn't be a social asset either.

His next two Christian names, Charles Edward had a taint of Jacobinism to them – not a good idea in English contexts – so that only Salvin remained as an option. Indeed, both his brother and sister had the benefit of it in this way, as part of their birthright, and it could be seen as a gesture of sibling solidarity.

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In my own recollection, Salvin was seldom if ever seen in Bantry even on Market Days or Saturdays; not a gregarious man, and with a kindly but reserved nature, he had probably left such things many years previously to his wife Frances. But she had been increasingly afflicted with arthritis and in her later years took up residence in the nearby Baytree Hotel. In their teenage days my wife Sonia and sister-in-law Susie would visit her with goody-baskets of nice things to eat and drink.

On just one or two occasions, when Sonia and I were staying with her parents Ron and Audrey, over Christmas perhaps, I can clearly recall the Kaulback Opel station-wagon negotiating the increasingly narrow and bumpy lanes and the trailing fronds of damp moss, as Ron negotiated the natural discouragements to the ungodly in their quest for Coomhola Lodge.

Salvin himself became decreasingly able to manage the running of the house and gardens, eventually engaging a housekeeper to look after such things, and goodness me, children, he ended up marrying her and leaving her the house!

This eventuality was not quite so predestined as it seemed in the way of such things. He and Frances had once had a son and heir, but had disowned and disinherited him for the unforgivable dishonour of treason. And anyway, he was dead by then.

In a world of shifting political allegiances and emotional loyalties, the concept of treason is always fluid, and no more so (historically) than in Ireland. The fates of Wolfe Tone, Roger Casement, Erskine Childers, Michael Collins et al, are witness to this. However, the twists and turns of 'Ted' Bowlby's career are evidence of personal opportunism rather than political conviction; he offered his services to the Nazi regime and made numerous radio broadcasts of what he later claimed were merely anti-Semitic and anti-Soviet rather than anti-British. And so, in the end, he died of cancer (in a London hospital) rather than by the more heroic rope or bullet reserved for traitors.