Major Rowland Francis Bowen (27 February 1916 – 4 September 1978) was a British Army officer and a cricket researcher, historian and writer.

Educated at Westminster School, Bowen received an emergency commission in April 1942 into the Indian Army.[1] He spent many years in Egypt, Sudan and India before returning to England in 1951 and joining the Royal Engineers as a captain, working at the War Office and ultimately being promoted to the rank of major.[2] He later worked for the Joint Intelligence Bureau, part of Britain's military intelligence establishment.[3]

He became involved in cricket research and history in 1958 and, in 1963, he founded the magazine The Cricket Quarterly which ran until 1970.[2] He is best known for his book Cricket: A History of its Growth and Development throughout the World (1970)[4] which has been described as "indispensable" but also as "spikily controversial and vigorously wide-ranging".[5] In John Arlott's review of the book for Wisden, he commented that it was "unique in my experience as a major work on cricket written from a wide view, in disapproval of the game's establishment and in expectation of the demise of the first-class game".[6]

An eccentric and difficult man – "Bowen never made an influential friend he couldn’t turn into an avowed adversary"[3] – Bowen amputated his perfectly healthy right leg below the knee in September 1968.[3]

In 1974 he married a widow, Anne Valerie Jodelko, who had two visually-impaired sons. He died four years later, at Buckfastleigh, Devon, aged 62.[3]


  1. ^ London Gazette 3 July 1942
  2. ^ a b The Cricketer 1978 – obituary.
  3. ^ a b c d Jackson, Russell (22 July 2017). "Cricket Historian, Writer, Surgeon, Spy: The Mad World of Major Rowland Bowen". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 October 2019.
  4. ^ Rowland Bowen, Cricket: A History of its Growth and Development, Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1970
  5. ^ Eric Midwinter, W G Grace: His Life and Times, George Allen and Unwin, 1981.
  6. ^ John Arlott, "Cricket Books, 1970", Wisden Cricketer's Almanack 1971, p. 1069.