The name Bowthorpe came from either Denmark or Norway and was originally spelt Boethorpe but, over the years, its spelling has changed to how it is today.
In 1966 the Bell School of Languages leased Bowthorpe Hall, initially as an experiment for a summer school, founded by Frank E. Bell. The school soon became popular with foreign students and it was able to purchase the hall, gardens and five acres of land to become a permanent school. Today it is still a very successful school for foreign students from all parts of the world.
Bowthorpe has a popular shopping centre with a large Roy’s store, Boots the chemist and a variety of other shops. There is a health centre and doctors surgery, police station, village hall, public houses and sports facilities.