Pioneer WM layman and schoolteacher in Sydney, NSW. Previously Master of the Great Queen Street Charity School, London, he was recommended by Joseph Butterworth and William Wilberforce to the Rev. Samuel Marsden, arrived in Sydney in 1812 and took charge of the Charity School there. He formed the first Methodist class meeting in Sydney on 6 March 1812 and preached to isolated settlers in the country areas. Deeply concerned at the spiritual destitution of the community, he joined with others in addressing a powerful appeal to the British WM Church for a preacher to be sent out. In response, Samuel Leigh arrived in 1815. Bowden helped found the Benevolent Society of NSW, the Sunday School Institution and the NSW Auxiliary of the Bible Society.