Archbishop of York, civil servant; b. probably c. 1350; d. Cawood Castle, Yorkshire, Oct. 20, 1423. He was a doctor of canon and civil law by 1386. As a young man of knightly family, he accompanied Henry despen ser, bishop of Norwich, on his crusade to Flanders (1382). From c. 1385 to the mid-1390s he was an official of the Roman Curia. During the parliamentary crisis under Richard II, Bowet was accused by the Appellants in 1388 and was excluded from pardon. But with the restoration of Richard II to real power, he was back in royal grace. Through John of Gaunt's good offices, he was made constable of Bordeaux (1396). When Bolingbroke (later King Henry IV) was banished, Bowet joined him in exile. Although he was subsequently condemned to death by a parliamentary commission set up by Richard II, his sentence was later commuted to perpetual exile and confiscation of all domains and benefices. But upon Henry IV's return to England and coronation, Bowet's possessions were returned, and Henry added new benefices. An integral part of the new regime, Bowet was made bishop of bath and wells in 1401 and was briefly treasurer of England (1402). He was charged to defend Carmathen during Owain Glyndwr's rebellion. In 1407, despite his mismanagement of the Diocese of Bath and Wells (he left debts to his successor), he was translated to the archbishopric of York, succeeding the executed Abp. Richard scrope. After his appointment to York, his interest and involvement in state matters declined. In 1411 the king remitted Bowet's debts in consideration of his diplomatic and state services.
Bibliography: Register from Bath and Wells, ed. t. s. holmes (Somerset Record Society 13; London 1899). t. f. tout, The Dictionary of National Biography from the Earliest Times to 1900 (London 1885–1900) 2:971–973. a. h. thompson, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques (Paris 1912–) 10:304–306. a. steel, Richard II (Cambridge, Eng. 1941; repr.1963). a. h. thompson, The English Clergy and Their Organization in the Later Middle Ages (Oxford 1947). Biographical Register of the Scholars of the University of Cambridge before 1500 (Cambridge, Eng. 1963) 83–84.