Tuesday, 12 March 2013

The Ruling Caste by David Gilmour

Recently, I have been focusing my genealogical time on India as I work on a book about part of my family who spent time in India. Nothing special, except the research has unravelled some real surprises and I felt the stories were worthy of being shared through a wider audience.

The Ruling Caste: Imperial Lives in theā€¦As part of that research I wanted to fully understand India during the Victorian period and I came across The Ruling Caste by David Gilmour.

As always I turned to the index and was delighted to see a reference to another family connection.

It is those references I thought I would share here -

"Lewin Bowring felt that the great void in his life was travel. In 1854 he therefore set off on a long journeys through Rajputana, China (where his father, whom he had not seen for 10 years, was Governor of Hong Kong), France, Italy and Central Europe (which he toured three times), and the British Isles, where he inspected seventeen cathedrals" (page 276 Source Unpublished Memoirs).

"Lewin Bowring, who joined the Bengal Civil Service in 1843, won several prizes at Haileybury for Persian, Sanskrit and Hindustani. Yet on arrival in India he found his proficiency in these languages was "nearly useless" "(Page 40 Source Unpublished Memoirs)

I think we always assume that those who travelled to overseas destinations did so with little chance of returning home. That is a inaccurate. The amount of travel depended on your means in terms of financial and your status. The family whom I have been researching made several journeys, yet the time it took to travel and the conditions must have been very trying.


  1. Travel in those days took so long, but it seems so many people traveled. The distances they went surprised me.

  2. Anonymous2:23 pm

    How exciting to find a reference to a family connection in this book Julie!
    I've found "Historical Fiction" to be particularly useful in coming to understand a little of the historical background in the lands of my Ancestors...

  3. Great discoveries Julie and a pertinent reminder. My seafaring ancestprs were happy to make voyages long after their days at sea were over and among my Clare (Ireland) research I've found that some first migrated to the US the returned to Britain and on to Oz.


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