Bowne Manor (to 1769)

John Bowne III owned the land at 94 Main Street in Matawan, which he inherited from his grandfather, Governor Andrew Bowne, after Governor Bowne’s death in 1707.1 (Governor Andrew Bowne, it should be noted, was the brother of Captain John Bowne I.) The Mansion was built on the land in 1723 and John Bowne III sold the land and structures on it – including the mansion – to John Burrowes in 1769.

The mansion was built following most of the basic rules for Georgian architecture, which was the primary style of homes constructed from 1700-1780. Some of the typical features, seen in the mansion, include a symmetrical layout with a centered entry way, a raised foundation, a front door with a rectangular transom above it, a cornice with decorative moldings (usually dentils, as seen on the mansion), double-hung sash windows with small lights (nine or twelve panes) separated by thick wooden muntins, wood-frame with shingle or clapboard walls (upper windows touch cornice in most two-story examples), commonly side-gabled and sometimes with a gambrel or hipped roof, a layout with a central hall, and high ceilings (10-11 feet) smoothly plastered, painted and decorated with molded or carved ornament (high-style).2

The eastern part of what was known as the “famous Bowne manor house” (also seen as the “Crawford-Bowne Manor House”) at Crawford’s Corner in Holmdel Township, was built by Captain John Bowne I sometime prior 1684. The western part was built by his son, Obadiah Bowne, in 1701.3

In 1701 he built the entire western part, with a fine English hall and stairway, with a massive arch, supported on each side by triple carved columns, which were all kept intact. The immense parlor, with beautiful arches and an enormous double chimney, which ran from the cellar and took in almost the entire western end of the house, had a large open fireplace, surrounded by Biblical tiles, which was walled up. This western part of the Manor house, built by Obadiah Bowne, was like the eastern part, built in a most substantial manner, the walls, which were very thick, being filled in with clay. The floor beams were of hewn logs, some of them sixteen inches square, while the laths were of the toughest swamp oak, worked to proper dimensions with the axe, and the shingles were scalloped. The nails used were made by a blacksmith from wrought iron, some of them are in possession of the family. This Manor house was 75 feet by 45 feet.4

Unfortunately, the Bowne-Crawford manor house was destroyed by fire on June 17, 1895. It was owned, by inheritance, by Anna Lawrence Crawford. Miss Crawford was the great-granddaughter of William Crawford and Catherine Bowne. (Catherine Bowne was the youngest child of John Bowne II and Anne Lippitt.)

If you look at the hall and stairway in the western part of the Bowne-Crawford manor house (pictured below), built by Obadiah Bowne in 1701, it bears more than a passing resemblance to the Burrowes Mansion, built in 1723.

Bowne-Crawford HallBurrowes Mansion hall


1, 4 Ogden, Mary Depue (Editor), “Crawford, William Henry 1809-1874,” Monmouth County NJ Archives Biographies; (, 1917).
2 “Architectural Style Guide”, Historic New England, Web.
3 Americana, January 1922-December 1922, Volume XVI: page 88.