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The Scottish Nation

BOWMAN, a surname derived from the ancient practice of archery, the bearer of a bow and arrows being called a bowman. The name is properly English, though found in Scotland. On the 29th December 1572, one Janet Bowman, or ‘Jonet Boyman,’ as it is spelled in the Criminal Records, described as ‘spous to William Steill,’ was indicted for witchcraft, and being convicted was burnt at Edinburgh. About the middle of the last century the lands of Logie, in the parish of that name in Fife, were the property of Walter Bowman, Esq., who long resided at Egham in Surrey. This gentleman executed a very strict entail of the property, his library especially being placed under the most particular injunctions for its preservation. He had travelled much on the continent, and appears to have collected a considerable portion of the books there. With many valuable editions of the ancient classics, particularly a fine edition of Pliny’s Natural History, and a splendid illuminated edition of Ptolemy, the library contains a rich collection of engravings, a great number of maps and charts, and a well-preserved copy of Bleau’s Atlas. By the terms of the entail, the heir is prohibited from lending the books out; but he is bound to keep a suitable room for them in his house, and to allow free access to it to the neighbouring gentlemen, there to read and study. He is also bound to have a basin at hand, with water and a towel, that the books may not be soiled with unclean hands. Women and children are expressly prohibited from admission to the library. [Leighton’s History of County of Fife, vol. ii. p. 50.]

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