William Bowland, 16th Lord of Bowland
The lordship of Bowland was created in the late twelfth century, being co-terminous with the Duchy of Lancaster from the late fourteenth century. At the Restoration, it was granted by the Crown to the Duke of Albemarle and thereafter descended through the Montagu, Buccleuch and Towneley families before Bowland acquired it in 2009 from Charles Strachey, 4th Baron O'Hagan.
Traditionally, the Lord of Bowland has been known as Lord of the Fells. The title is thought to have become customary during the high medieval period as a description of the Lords' rugged upland demesne. Bowland Fells, more commonly known as the Forest of Bowland, is an area of barren gritstone fells, deep valleys and peat moorland, mostly in north-east Lancashire, England. A small part lies in North Yorkshire, and much of the area was historically part of the West Riding of Yorkshire.
Like the subsidiary titles Lord of the Isles and Lord of Mann, Lord of the Fells has royal associations. After 1399, the Sovereign was lord paramount of the Forest and Liberty of Bowland and as such, styled Lord King of Bowland .
William Bowland is reported to be a Cambridge University don who has ancestral links to the Forest but he has shunned personal publicity. Since 2010, he has been active in Bowland affairs - in particular, raising funds for good causes and championing local traditions. However, while granting an interview to a local newspaper in 2010, he declined to be photographed. As a result, there has been much press speculation about "the mystery lord".
In April 2010, it was reported that Bowland had revived two ancient historic offices of the Forest of Bowland: those of Bowbearer and Chief Steward. Robert Parker of Browsholme Hall became Bowbearer. However, the appointment of Charles Bowman as Chief Steward was short-lived.
In April 2011, Bowland made an official visit to the Forest with his Bowbearer in attendance. A month later, former Steward to the Honor of Clitheroe Michael Parkinson, a partner with chartered surveyors Ingham & Yorke of Clitheroe, assumed the role of the Chief Steward, the first formal appointment since 1922.
- Forest of Bowland official website
- "Lord of Bowland title sold at auction". Lancashire Telegraph. 31 October 2009.
- "Lordship snapped up". Lancashire Evening Post. 1 November 2009.
- C J Spencer and S W Jolly, 'Bowland: the rise and decline, abandonment and revival of a medieval lordship' The Escutcheon: Journal of the Cambridge University Heraldic & Genealogical Society 15, 2010 Download
- "Our Lord of the Fells". Longridge & Ribble Valley News. 8 December 2010.
- "That Wicker Man Moment". Forest of Bowland official website. 20 January 2011.
- "Buyer of aristocratic title revealed". Lancashire Evening Post. 10 November 2009.
- "New Lord of Bowland is don at top university". Lancashire Telegraph. 13 November 2009.
- "Keeping up traditions of beautiful Bowland". Lancashire Evening Post. 22 April 2010.
- Forest of Bowland Identity Makes a Comeback, Clitheroe Advertiser, 18 April 2011 http://www.clitheroeadvertiser.co.uk/community/forest_of_bowland_identity_makes_a_comeback_1_3299690
- Our Lord of the Fells, Longridge and Ribble Valley News, 8 December 2010 http://www.swindlehursts-united.co.uk/lob.html
- Lancashire Evening Post, http://www.lep.co.uk/community/mystery_lord_refutes_status_symbol_claims_1_748826
- "Ancient titles rise again". Lancashire Evening Post. 2 April 2010.
- "First Bowbearer of the Forest appointed for 150 years". Clitheroe Advertiser. 15 April 2010.
- Garstang Courier http://www.garstangcourier.co.uk/73/Ancient-titles-rise-again.6200640.jp
- Sign for the Times http://www.forestofbowland.com/node/2656
- "Michael Parkinson, Esq Authorised Biography – Debrett’s People of Today". www.debretts.com. Retrieved 2011-04-05
- Ingham & Yorke http://www.inghamandyorke.com
- Clitheroe Man is Chief Steward of All He Surveys, Lancashire Telegraph, 1 June 2011: http://www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk/news/9059535.Clitheroe_man_is_chief_steward_of_all_he_surveys/
- New Chief Steward of Forest of Bowland announced, Clitheroe Advertiser and Times, 7 June 2011: http://www.clitheroeadvertiser.co.uk:80/news/new_chief_steward_of_forest_of_bowland_announced_1_3454283