New information about Robert Fowle – and another link to the Prior of Southwark

In my last post I wrote about Robert Fowle, the ‘captain in Ireland’ who married Mary Burton, daughter of Nicholas Burton of Carshalton, Surrey. Nicholas Burton had married Eleanor, widow of William Fowle of Mitcham, after the latter’s death in 1547. I’m interested in this branch of the Fowle family because of their possible connection with my own Fowle ancestors, and specifically because William’s will bequeaths property to Bartholomew Fowle, the former prior of St Mary Overy, Southwark, whom some sources claim was the brother of my 13 x great grandfather Gabriel Fowle of Lewes, Sussex.

via muddlefamilies.info

(via muddlefamilies.info)

My fellow Fowle family researcher, Bill Green, has reminded me that Robert Fowle is mentioned in Catherine Pullein’s history of the village of Rotherfield, Sussex, which was published in 1928. Pullein has two chapters on the Fowles, though Bill has himself cast doubt on her pedigree of the family, and its reliance on inaccurate information gathered at the Heralds’ visitations in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Nevertheless, Pullein’s book contains useful information that adds to, and in some instances corrects, what I’d managed to discover about Robert Fowle and his relatives.

I’d forgotten that a Robert Fowle is mentioned in the Fowle family pedigree included in the records of the Visitations of Sussex, on which Pullein relies so heavily. According to this source, my ancestor Gabriel Fowle was the son of Nicholas Fowle and his wife Joan Vince of Lamberhurst, and the grandson of Thomas Fowle of Lamberhurst and his wife Ellen. Thomas is said to have died in the seventeenth year of the reign of Henry VII (i.e. in 1502) and Nicholas at some time during the same reign (i.e. before 1509). As Bill points out, there is no evidence to support these claims, and indeed they are contradicted by the evidence of Nicholas’ will, which was actually made in 1522.

Also to be treated with caution is the same source’s listing of the children of Nicholas Fowle. Gabriel is said to have had an older brother William, who lived at Riverhall in Wadhurst, Sussex, and two younger brothers: Bartholomew, the prior of Southwark, and Robert, who lived in Carshalton, Surrey. In fact, Nicholas’ will gives his sons’ names as Thomas and John, not Bartholomew and Robert. However, the pedigree gets at least one thing right: it correctly names Gabriel’s son Magnus, even if it claims that the latter’s daughter married someone with the surname ‘Bird’ from Burwash, when in fact Agnes Fowle married Edward Byne of that village.

Elizabethan harquebusiers and pikemen on the march in Ireland (via www.alderneywreck.com)

Elizabethan harquebusiers and pikemen on the march in Ireland (via http://www.alderneywreck.com)

However, it is interesting for our purposes that the Heralds discovered a connection of some kind between the Fowles of Lamberhurst and those of Surrey, and a link between both branches and Bartholomew Fowle of Southwark. The Visitation pedigree claims that it was the son of Robert Fowle of Carshalton, also named Robert, who served in Ireland. The information about him is in Latin and describes Robert Fowle the younger as ‘p[ro]positus Marischellus Conucie usus in bello Tirenensi in hiberniae’: in other words, he was Provost Marshall of Connaught during the war in Tyrone, Ireland. If we compare this to the Surrey Visitation records, we have to conclude that it was Robert the younger who married Mary Burton. Pullein, who seems unaware that Mary’s mother (or possibly stepmother) was the widow of William Fowle of Mitcham, failed to find any reference to a Fowle in the Carshalton parish registers before 1557, when Eleanor Fowle married John Russell; in the following year Joan Fowle is said to have married John Haydon. Pullein writes: ‘doubtless they were Robert’s daughters, named after his grandmother and mother’. This is contradicted by Tyler’s notes, my original source for the information about William Fowle of Mitcham, which claim that Eleanor and Joan were actually William’s daughters.

Pullein reports that she has failed to find a will for either Robert the elder or his son. However, on making enquiries at the Four Courts in Dublin (presumably about Robert Fowle the younger), ‘a copy of a letter doing duty as a will, and addressed to “Cousin Boyle”, was received, and was wholly disappointing since no relatives we named except “my wife daughter and her children”, a rather puzzling phrase that suggests that he had lost his first wife and married a widow with a daughter’. The letter is dated 1595 and Pullein notes a source that claims Robert Fowle the younger ‘lost his life in a skirmish of arms in Ireland’ and that probate was made on 15th January 1595/6 to the executor, Robert Boyle. The latter was apparently born in Cantebury in 1566 and went to Ireland in 1588 where, after a distinguished legal career he was created the first Earl of Cork in 1620. I wonder if Boyle was a relation of Robert Fowle’s unnamed second wife?

At this stage it’s impossible to prove or disprove Pullein’s and the Heralds’ claim that Robert Fowle of Carshalton was descended from the Fowles of Lamberhurst. If this turns out to be true, then the same would probably apply to William Fowle of nearby Mitcham. How and why these members of the family came to re-locate from the borders of Kent and Sussex to Surrey, some forty miles away, remains a mystery.

St James' Palace and garden (via www.gardenvisit.com)

St James’ Palace and garden (via http://www.gardenvisit.com)

Even more intriguing than Pullein’s additional information about Robert Fowle, however, is her discovery of yet another branch of the family with a connection to Bartholomew Fowle of Southwark. Apparently the record of the Visitation of London for the years 1633-34 and 1635 includes a Fowle pedigree of four generations, headed by a coat of arms that is very similar to that of the Fowles of Riverhall in Sussex. The first person in the tree, one Adam Fowle, is described as ‘Keeper of the house and garden of St James’ and ‘servant to Queen Elizabeth’. However, for our purposes, the most interesting part of the description is that which states he was ‘nephew to the prior of S. Mary, co. Surrey’.

Pullein found an earlier and fuller pedigree of the same family in the Middlesex pedigrees collected by Richard Mundy, Somerset Herald, in 1623. In this pedigree, the coat of arms is apparently identical with that of the Riverhall branch of the family. Much of the information given echoes that of the London pedigree, though no mention is made of the Prior of Southwark. However, from this earlier version we learn that Adam Fowle was of Faversham in Kent, but ‘descended out of Sussex’.

Both pedigrees have Adam marrying Anne Dryland, also from Kent, the widow of a man named Webb. Their son was Alphonsus Fowle, described in the earlier pedigree as a justice of the peace in Middlesex, ‘dwelling near St James’, beyond Westminster’, and in the later pedigree as ‘sometime servant’ to Queen Elizabeth, King James, Prince Henry and Prince Charles’ as well as (like his father before him) ‘sometime keeper of the house and gardens of St James’. Alphonsus Fowle was said to be still alive and 74 years old in 1634: I’ve found the record of hs baptism at St Martin in the Fields in 1559. He was married firstly to Eleanor, daughter of a Mr Medley, who died in 1624, and secondly to Ellen, daughter of Mr Chapman of Tuts(h)am Hall, which was near Maidstone, and widow of John Lawrence of Essex.

Catherine Pullein was unable to find any reference to Adam Fowle in the parish registers, nor was she able to locate his will. The only references I can find to Adam Fowle at the National Archives are two certificates of residence, from 1563 and 1571, declaring him to be liable for taxation in the Royal Household. His son Alphonsus made a will in 1635 but, as Pullein reports, there are no clues in it as to his father’s origins or connection to any other branches of the Fowle family. Pullein speculates that Adam might be have been another son of Robert Fowle the elder of Carshalton; but if so, it seems odd that he did not figure in the Surrey pedigree, especially given his status as a royal servant.

As an alternative, Pullein falls back on the explanation that ‘nephew’, like ‘cousin’, was used very broadly at this period. However, the name given at the end of the London pedigree – presumably the Heralds’ informant? – is Alphonsus Fowle. This is probably Adam’s grandson, another Adolphus (who by this stage was married with a daughter), rather than Adam’s 74-year-old son. Nevertheless, it seems unlikely that this Alphonsus would have made a mistake, or used an inaccurate term, about a key relationship of his grandfather’s, especially as his own father was still alive to correct him.

This means that Adam Fowle’s father was the brother of Bartholomew Fowle, prior of St Mary Overy in Southwark. Since Adam was said to be ‘descended out of Sussex’ there’s a good chance that he was connected to the Lamberhurst or Wadhurst Fowles in some way. Now, if we could only find the name of Adam Fowle’s father…

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Burton and Fowle

Following on from my discussion of the last will and testament of William Fowle of Mitcham, Surrey, who died in 1547: I’ve uncovered some additional information about the family of Nicholas Burton of Carshalton, who married William’s widow Eleanor after his death.

According to the records of the heraldic visitations of Surrey, made in 1530, 1572 and 1623, Nicholas Burton of Carshalton had three sons and two daughters. It’s not clear how many of these children, if any, were the product of Nicholas’ marriage to Eleanor Fowle, or indeed whether he had been married before.

Martin Barnham, future Sheriff of Kent (right), with his mother and brother (via wikimedia)

Martin Barnham, future Sheriff of Kent (right), with his mother and brother (via wikimedia)

As I reported in the last post, Nicholas Burton’s eldest son Richard married Anne Hampton, daughter of Barnard Hampton, who was Clerk of the Council under Edward VI, Queen Mary, and Elizabeth I. Richard and Anne Hampton had four surviving children. Their eldest son Henry Burton was made a Knight of the Bath; he married firstly Winifred Lodbrooke, daughter of London merchant Jonas Lodbrooke, and secondly Judith, daughter of Sir Martin Calthorp of Hickling, Norfolk, and Lord Mayor of London, and widow of Sir Martin Barnham, Sheriff of Kent (see image above). A second son, Barnard Burton of Croydon, was ‘one of the Privy Chamber to King James’; he married Martha, daughter of John Bray of Surrey and widow of John Guilpen. A third son was Charles Burton, about whom there is no further information. Richard and Anne Burton also had a daughter Anne who married Richard Fenton of Madingley.

The other two sons of Nicholas Burton were Nicholas the younger and William, a ‘doctor of phissick’, who married the daughter of a man named Ball of Cambridge, who was a Justice of the Peace. Nicholas’ daughter Mabel married Thomas Howard, the first Viscount Bindon (see the previous post). His other daughter, Maria or Mary, married Robert Fowle; it seems highly likely that the latter was a relative of William Fowle.

The Visitation document helpfully describes Robert Fowle as ‘a Captaine in Ireland’. I’m fairly certain that he is the Captain Robert Fowle who was Provost Marshall of Connaught in 1581. According to a note to the Selected Letters of Edmund Spenser, Fowle was ‘appointed by Grey on Maltby’s recommendation’, a letter by the former to the Privy Council of 9th December 1581 describing his ‘sufficiencie in service, and his well deserving of longe tyme’.

The defeat of the Armada

The defeat of the Armada

Following the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588, when many Spanish sailors and soldiers were shipwrecked in Ireland, the Calendar of State Papers contains the following entry (my emphasis):

Upon Monday the 16th of September, it was thought good by the Governor and Council, forasmuch as many of the Spaniards who escaped shipwreck were kept by divers gentlemen and others of the province, and used with more favour than they thought meet, to set forth a proclamation, upon pain of death,that every man who had or kept any of them should presently bring them in, and deliver them to Robert Fowle, the Provost Marshal, the justices of peace, the sheriffs, or other head officers, or else that any man who should detain any of them above four hours after the publication of the said proclamation to be held and reputed as a traitor, which he published in every place for avoiding of further peril. Whereupon Teige Ne Bully O’Flaherty and many others brought their prisoners to Galway, and for that there were many Spaniards brought to the town of Galway from other parts of the province, besides those which the townsmen had taken prisoners beffore, he despatched Robert Fowle, the Provost Marshal, Captain Nathaniel Smythe and John Byrte [thither] with warrant and commission to put them all to the sword, saving the noblemen or such [principal] gentlemen as were among them, and afterwards to repair to O’Flaherty’s country [to make] earnest search who kept any Spaniards in their hands [and to] execute them in like manner, and take view of the great ordnance, munition, and oth[er] things which were in the two ships that were lost inthat country, and see how it might be sa[ved for] the use of Her Majesty. Whereupon they executed 300 men at Galway.

There are many other references in the same document to Fowle’s role as Provost Marshall, including his involvement in negotiations with Irish rebel leaders and his disagreement with the tactics of Sir Richard Bingham, the governor of Connaught, whose ‘intemperate dealings and bad instruments’ he blamed for a rebellion in the province. Another officer, a Captain John Merbery, described Captain Fowle as ‘a professed enemy to Sir R. Bingham and always a stirrer of the State.’ (See Wikipedia’s account of Bingham’s controversial career.)

16th century map of Connacht (Connaught)

16th century map of Connacht (Connaught)

Another opinion, which seems to be that of Bingham himself, claimed that ‘no officer in Connaught hath so much broken the composition and exacted from the subjects inordinately as Mr. Fowle hath, what by cessing of his horses and horse boys, and placing his deputy marshals in every county, who hath gone up and down with 20 or 30 horses, eating and spoiling and exacting of money.’ On the other hand, Fowle himself claimed in a letter to Lord Burghley: ‘The general discontent in Connaught grew upon some unruly proceedings of bad officers. The Burkes and others still continue in those mistrustful terms towards Sir Richard Bingham and all his ministers.’ The dispute resulted in both men petitioning Queen Elizabeth against the other.

The British Museum and the National Library of Ireland hold copies of a ‘statement of the accompts of Capt. Robert Fowle, late Provost-Marshal of Connaught, set down and signed by Philip Hore, Feb. 26, 1599’, suggesting that he died some time in the 1590s.

Unfortunately, I’ve yet to discover anything about Captain Robert Fowle’s origins, or his possible connection to my own Fowle ancestors.

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Analysing the will of William Fowle of Mitcham, Surrey (died 1547)

In the previous post I shared my transcription of the will of William Fowle of Mitcham, Surrey, which is dated 1547. I’m interested in William primarily because his will makes bequests to Bartholomew Fowle, a priest who had been the prior of St Mary Overy, Southwark, until its dissolution in 1539, and whose precise relationship to my own Fowle ancestors I’m seeking to clarify.

Churchyard, Mitcham, Surrey

Churchyard, Mitcham, Surrey

In this post I want to explore what William Fowle’s will can tell us about him, his family, and perhaps his connection to Bartholomew. We learn from his will that William was married to a woman named Ellyn and that they had two daughters, Eleanor and Joan, both of whom were under the age of twenty-one and unmarried when their father made his will. William also had a brother Richard, who was given a degree of responsibility for seeing that William’s wishes were fulfilled after his death. Interestingly, William entrusted Richard with ensuring that some of his money was used to maintain and repair highways in Kent, which suggests a family connection to the county, despite William’s residence in Surrey. I know that my own Fowle ancestors originated in Kent: my 13 x great grandfather Gabriel Fowle was born in Lamberhurst, on the Kent-Sussex border.

In his will William Fowle describes himself as a ‘yeoman’, but he was also something of a landowner. He mentions a farm in Mitcham, which was perhaps where he lived, but also an interest in the ‘parsonage and lordship’ of Mitcham and in the parsonage and a garden in nearby Bansted, as well as the garden in Camberwell that he bequeaths to Bartholomew Fowle. Interestingly, it seems that the priory of St Mary Overy owned land in Mitcham, knowns as the manor of Mitcham Canons. According to one source, at the time of the Dissolution the priory ‘held 6 acres of wood at 12d. an acre, 7s. rent and the rectory of Mitcham, worth £16.’ I wonder if this rectory is identical with the parsonage mentioned in William Fowle’s will?

Reconstruction of a Tudor farm (via flickr.com)

Reconstruction of a Tudor farm (via flickr.com)

William Fowle makes two bequests to ‘Sir Bartholomew Fowle’, priest. The first relates to ‘my …. gardeyn with thappurtenances at Camberwell’. Camberwell is about eight miles from Mitcham: in the sixteenth century, both were villages deep in the Surrey countryside but are now part of the urban sprawl of south London. Camberwell is also about three miles from Southwark, where Bartholomew Fowle was given a house to live after the surrender of his priory to Thomas Cromwell. The second bequest to Bartholomew consists of ‘all suche money as Sir Edward Boughton knight and his sonne do owe unto me by their obligacon with condicion’. This seems to be the Sir Edward Boughton of Woolwich who in the thirty-seventh year of Henry VIII’s reign ‘conveyed to that king two parcels of land, called Bowton’s Docks, and two parcels, called Our Lady-hill, and Sand-hill’ in Woolwich. Sir Edward died in 1550 and his son may be the Nicholas Boughton of Plumstead who died ten years later.

The page from the Tyler Index to Wills (apparently compiled by Frank Watt Tyler) which was my original source of information about William Fowle, and which I reproduced in my last post, contains the beginnings of a family tree. As I understand it, the author suggests that Willam Fowle’s widow Ellyn, also known as Eleanor, married for a second time after William’s death in 1547. Her new husband was a certain Nicholas Burton from Carshalton, about three miles to the south of Mitcham. Interestingly, Burton was the owner of the manor of Mitcham Canons, formerly the property of the priory of St Mary Overy. According to one source:

In 1545 Henry VIII sold the manor of Mitcham, described as lately belonging to St. Mary Overy and demised together with Buckwood (comprising 7 acres) to Thomas Fremonds, to Nicholas Spackman and Christopher Harbottell, citizen and haberdasher of London. Licence was given to Spackman and Harbottell in 1550 to alienate to Sir John Gresham, who again received licence the next year to alienate to Spackman and Harbottell. (fn. 12) They re-alienated to Laurence Warren, who conveyed the manor to Nicholas Burton.

The same source states that in 1589 a Richard Burton died ‘seised of the manor of Mitcham, leaving a son Henry’. Tyler’s notes suggest some confusion between Nicholas and Richard Burton. Although Nicholas is said to have married William Fowle’s widow Eleanor, William’s daughter Eleanor is described, at the time of her marriage to John Russell on 18th April 1558, as ‘Ellenor Fowle daughter of Richard Burton’. Tyler further suggests that at least one child resulted from the second marriage of William’s widow to Nicholas Burton: a daughter named Maria. In 1566 she apparently married a Robert Fowle, who presumably was a relative of her mother’s first husband William.

Old map showing Mitcham and Carshalton (via visionofbritain.org.uk)

Old map showing Mitcham and Carshalton (via visionofbritain.org.uk)

Nicholas Burton seems to have died before his wife, as Tyler has a note at the foot of the page which reads ‘3.5.1574 = Elnar Burton, w[idow].’ This could be read as the date of Eleanor’s death, but the ‘=’ sign when used elsewhere denotes a marriage, and above Eleanor’s name is the name of one Randall Hurlestone. He was the author of a virulently anti-Catholic book entitled ‘News from Rome concerning the blasphemous sacrifice of the papisticall Masse with dyvers other treatises very Godly and profitable’, published in 1549 by Edmond Campion, who was (ironically) the father of the future Catholic saint and martyr of that name.

If Eleanor Burton, formerly Fowle, did indeed marry for a third time to this man, then it seems an odd decision for the relative of a former Catholic priest. However, we now that religious loyalties were volatile during this period, and that contrasting opinions were often held within the same family (witness the example of the Campions).

A final note on this page suggests that Richard Burton married Anne Hampton in 1574. Another source gives the date as 9th November and describes Anne as ‘the daughter and sole heiress of Barnard Hampton, Clerk of the Council to Edward VI. Mary, and Elizabeth’, and Richard as ‘brother to Mabell Viscountess Bindon, and uncle to Frances Duchess of Richmond and Lennox’.

On 7th June 1576 Thomas Howard, 1st Viscount Bindon, married (for a third time) to Mabel Burton, the daughter of Nicholas Burton of Carshalton, Surrey. Howard’s will, proved in 1582/3, bequeathed ‘£2000 for the better preferment and advancement of Frances Howard my daughter, my loving sister in law Mary Fowle, wife unto Robert Fowle, gentleman, shall have the government and education of my said daughter until her marriage, etc., or if the said Mary shall happen to die or depart out of the Realm of England I will the government etc. to my loving brother in law Richard Burton of Carshalton in Surry, esq. or to mine executors until the time of her marriage unless she be preferred to her Majesty in service. And I wholly refer her advancement in marriage unto her Majesty.’ Richard Burton was also one of the executors of the will. Richard Burton of Carshalton made his own will in 1588, forgiving the debt of ‘Robert Fowle gent and brother in law’ and making him one of the overseers and beneficiaries of the will.

My analysis of William Fowle’s will, and of Tyler’s notes, has supplied some useful information about William’s family and its connections. However, I’m still no clearer about his relationship with Bartholomew Fowle. It’s odd that, despite the generosity of William’s bequests to Bartholomew, he fails to provide any information about their relationship. Further research is clearly needed, perhaps into the identities of William’s brother Richard Fowle, and the Robert Fowle who married Maria Burton.

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A new clue in the search for Bartholomew Fowle

Earlier this year I wrote about my quest for information about Bartholomew Fowle, an Augustinian canon who was the prior of St Mary Overy, Southwark, at the time of its ‘surrender’ in 1539 to Henry VIII’s enforcer Thomas Cromwell. According to some sources, Bartholomew was a close relation, and possibly the brother, of my 13 x great grandfather Gabriel Fowle, the master of the Free Grammar School in Lewes, Sussex. In that earlier post, I was able to provide some new information about Bartholomew Fowle’s life and career, though it wasn’t possible to prove the connection with my own Fowle ancestors.

St Mary Overy in the 17th century by Wenceslas Hollar

St Mary Overy  by Wenceslas Hollar

References to Bartholomew Fowle in the contemporary records are few and far between. However, this week I’ve come across a new source of information, and one that may in time help us to understand Bartholomew’s family background. In searching for Bartholomew’s name online at Ancestry, I found myself directed to a collection of documents labelled ‘Kent, England, Tyler Index to Wills, 1460 – 1882′ consisting of a large number of typed and handwritten notes that appear to have been composed in the 1930s. One of the handwritten pages refers to the 1547 will of a certain William Fowle, which apparently mentions ‘Sir Bartholomew Fowle priest’. In medieval and Tudor times ‘sir’ was a common honorific title given to priests. Could this be ‘our’ Bartholomew?

Page from Tyler Index to Wills

Page from Tyler Index to Wills (via Ancestry.co.uk)

I searched for William Fowle online and found the will of William Fowle of Mitcham, Surrey, dated 1547, in the collection of wills at the National Archives. I’ve done my best to transcribe the will (see below). There are a few indecipherable words – indicated thus [ ] – and some about which I was unsure – these are followed by a bracketed question mark thus [?]. In the next post, I’ll discuss what the will can tell us about William Fowle, his family, and the connection with Bartholomew Fowle.

In the name of god Amen The      daie of May in the first yeare of the Reign of our Soveraigne lord Edward the sixt by the grace of god kinge of England France & Ireland I William Ffowle of micham in the Countie of Surrey yeoman (although sick of body yet being of hole mynde and in good and parfitt remembrance thanks be unto Almyghtie god make devise and ordeyne this my [ ] testament conteyning herein my last will in manner and forme folowing tha tis to saye Ffirst I betake [?] and comend my soule iinto thandes of Almightie god my maker & Redemer And I will my body to be buried where I and [     ] by the discretion of myne Executor hereafter written And I bequeath to the church of mycham [   ] for tithes [   ] forgotten to be paid xx Item I bequeath to my daughter Eleanor Thirtie pounds Remayning now in my brother Richard Ffowles handes which xxxil I will shall so remayne untill she be of lawfull age of xxi yeres yf she be not in the mean tyme married, and then to be paid unto her. Item I bequeath unto Joane my daughter other Thirtie pounds to be paid unto her out of my other goodes. Item I assigne and bequeath unto my said daughter Eleanor all my right tithe Interest and termes of yeres of all my leases aswell of [   ] other concernyng the parsonage and lordship of Micham, after the decease [?] of Ellyn myne entirely beloved wyfe. And I will Sir bartholomewe ffowle preist shall enyoie all my lease and Interest of and in my [   ] and the gardeyn with thappurtenances at Camberwell in the said Countie. And after his decease I give and bequeath all my [   ] lease interest and terme of yeres of and in the same [   ] to come to my said daughter Eleanor. And I bequeath unto my said daughter Joane all myn Interest and terme of yeres of all my lease [   ] concernyng the psonage of Bansted with all thappurtenances ceonteyned within the said leases And if any of my said daughters happen to deceas before lawfull age or daie of mariage Then I [   ] thother to be hir heire in all the bequests to her befor made. And if they shall both happen to dye before any of them [       ] lawfully begotten Then I give and assyne all the right Interest and term of yeres than to com of the said leases and reversions concernying the parsonage of Bansted aforesaid with thappurtenances contayne within the same leases unto my foresaid brother Richard ffowle his heires Executors and assigned And yf it happen both my said daughters to depart this [   ] psent lyf without yssue lawfully begotten Then I will give and bequeath ffifteen pounds [ ] of the said some of xxxli remayning in my said brother Richards hands to be bestowed in maintaining and repairing of high waies within the Countie of Kent where it shall be [   ] by my said brother most     [   ] And theother fifteen pounds I give and bequath to my brother Richard And in case my wife shalbe [   ] unto my said brother Richard all the forsaid leases concernyng the messaueg and lordship of Micham And my [   ] and tithe garden with thappurtenances at Camberwell and Bansted above [   ] with their apurtnenances . And [ ] to to be [   ] to the [   ] feoffment in the Lawe unto my said wife and her assignes to make [   ] of all the said leases unto my children before named when they or either of them come to lawfull age or daie of mariage to their before [   ] as aforesaid And if my said wife shall refuse so to do and deliver the said leases than as now and now as then. I will that yt shalbe lawfull unto my said brother Richard to enter into my said [   ] and messauge Micham aforsaid there to seise upon as manner [   ] My goodes and catalles as well with the houses as upon all the lands and to cause the same to be lawfully praised [?] By indifferent [ ] And that [   ] to make equall pticion and division thereof to and arrange my said children And I will that my said brother Immediately upon the [   ] into his handes of the foresaid leases be come bounde unto my said wife for his bond feoffment in the lawe in a convenient and reasonable form, to      [   ] the said leases, so long as they shall remayne in his handes or   [ ] at [ ] tym as yt shalbe required by my said wyf for [   ] of all my said farmes And I will that my wife immediately after the probate Of this my testament be come bound unto my said brother for the payment of the [   ] and some of xxxil to my forsaid daughter Joane above bequeathed. And if my saide wife do refuse so to doe than I will it shalbe lawfull unto my said brother to enter into my said farme of Micham and there to seise upon all my goodes and to make [   ] to the said some of xxxil and [  ] he then to be come bound unto my wife for payment thereof unto my said daughter Joane at the daye of her mariage Item I bequeath graunt and assigne unto the said Ellyn my wife my newe orchard which I purchased and bought of [  ] [   ], to have and to hold the same orchard, with thappurtenances unto the same Ellyn and her asignes during her naturall lyfe. And after her decease I will the said orchard to remayne unto the foresaid Eleanor my daughter her heires and assignes for every And also I give and bequeath unto the said Eleanor my daughter yls yerely untill she come to thage of xxy yeres for her apparell. And I will my wife be bounde to paye the some out of my goodes Item I give and bequeath unto Sir Bartholomew Ffowle preist all suche money as Sir Edward Boughton knight and his sonne do owe unto me by their obligacon with condicion. The residue of all my goods Catalls and debts after my debts paide my funerall expenses pformed and these my Legacies conteyned in this my    [   ] testament fulfilled I wholy give and bequeath to my entirely beloved wife whome I make and ordeyn my soule Executrix These hereafter subscribed being present and witnesses And for more faith [  ] I have hereunder published my name the daye and yere above written and also sette my seale By me Willm Ffowle   [  ] me Johan E[   ] notary public and [ ] and [   ] by me Henry Frrimay witnes.

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Revisiting the will of Thomas Fowle of Lamberhurst (died 1525)

Nearly two years ago I posted my transcription of the last will and testament of Thomas Fowle of Lamberhurst, Kent, who died in 1525. At the time I mistakenly believed Thomas to be my 15 x great grandfather, and the father of Nicholas Fowle of Lamberhurst. However, I’ve since realised that Thomas was almost certainly Nicholas’ son, and therefore the brother of my 13 x great grandfather Gabriel Fowle, who was the master of the Free Grammar School in Lewes.

Countryside near Lamberhurst (via geograph.co.uk)

Countryside near Lamberhurst (via geograph.co.uk)

As I wrote in an earlier post, Nicholas Fowle of Lamberhurst made his own will in 1522/23, in the sixth year of the reign of Henry VIII. From Nicholas’ will we can conclude that he was married to a woman named Elizabeth and that they had three sons: Thomas, John and Gabriel. The will divides Nicholas’ lands between his wife and his three sons, with Thomas to receive a number of properties in the parish of Lamberhurst, including one called ‘the byne’ in the town itself.

Fowle family researcher Bill Green infers from Nicholas’ will that Thomas was probably the firstborn son, and that he may have been born in the 1490s. That Thomas was still a young man when he died can also be inferred from his own will: firstly from its date, soon after the death of his father, and from the fact that, though he was married by this time, his two children, a daughter named Elizabeth and a son whose name is not given, were not yet of age. It’s possible that Thomas Fowle married his wife Elizabeth in about 1515 or shortly thereafter.

Wyngaerde's 1542 panorama of London, from Southwark

Wyngaerde’s 1542 panorama of London, from Southwark

As I noted when I first wrote about Thomas’ will, one of the most intriguing things about this brief document is its references to the church of St Margaret in Southwark. Thomas’ home was in Lamberhurst, some fifty miles away. And yet not only does Thomas ask to be buried in the churchyard at St Margaret’s but he leaves money to the church and to priests associated with it. What was the connection between a young landowner with family and property in rural Kent, and a church on the southern outskirts of London?

The Southwark connection is of interest because of the theory, reproduced in a number of documents but not convincingly proven, that Bartholomew Fowle, the prior of Southwark at the time of the dissolution of the monasteries, was a close relative of Thomas’: according to some sources, he may even have been his brother. In my most recent post about Bartholomew, earlier this year, I noted that he was originally a member of the Augustinian priory of St Mary and Nicholas at Leeds, Kent (about 18 miles from Lamberhurst), before moving in 1509 to the priory of St Mary Overy in Southwark, where he was elected prior in 1513 or thereabouts, a post he held until the priory was ‘surrendered’ to Thomas Cromwell in 1539.

When I first analysed Thomas Fowle’s will, I assumed that St Margaret’s church was identical with the Augustinian priory and speculated that the ‘gostely’ or spiritual father to whom Thomas bequeaths a sum of money might actually be Bartholomew himself. Either that, or Bartholomew might be the ‘high master of Saint Margaret’ who is also left money by Thomas. However, further research has made me more cautious about leaping to such conclusions. Establishing the precise link between the various churches of Southwark is quite difficult, but I understand that St Margaret’s was the parish church for the northern part of Southwark during the Middle Ages. It was granted to the priory of St Mary Overy during the reign of Henry I, in other words before 1135 (the priory had been established in 1106), but this does not necessarily mean that it formed part of the establishment: the priory was also granted a number of other churches in the City of London and elsewhere, as well as properties in Kent and Berkshire. It was only under Henry VIII, and after the forced closure of the priory, that St Margaret’s was united with the nearby church of St Mary Magdalene and the original priory church became the parish church of St Saviour (and much later, the Anglican cathedral of Southwark).

St Mary Overy, Southwark

St Mary Overy, Southwark

So at the time of Thomas Fowle’s death, the church of St Margaret, Southwark, was a separate parish church, albeit under the general supervision of the nearby priory of St Mary Overy. However, we know that St Margaret’s, Southwark, was also home to the Perpetual Guild or Fraternity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, founded in the reign of Henry VI and later incorporated under Henry VII to manage parish affairs and charities for the people of the northern part of Southwark. In fact, at least one of the priests named in Thomas Fowle’s will appears to have been associated with the fraternity. ‘Sir Richard Dawson morowe masse priest’ was one of the witnesses to the will – a ‘morrow mass priest’ being simply one who said the morning or early mass in a parish church. The Clergy Database includes an entry in 1541, two years after the dissolution of Southwark Priory, for a stipendiary priest by the name of ‘Ricardus Dawson’ at St Saviour’s church, Southwark, where his stipend was paid by ‘the Fraternity of the Blessed Mary in St Saviour’s church’.

Sixteenth century clergy

Sixteenth century clergy

As for the other priests referred to in Thomas Fowle’s will, the only William Mychell I can find in the database was a chantry priest and chaplain in Canterbury in 1540. I’ve speculated before that he may have been a relative of the Robert Michell who was prior of Southwark not long before Bartholomew Fowle. At the dissolution, Bartholomew as provided with a house ‘within the close where Dr Michell was dwelling’. The third witness to the will, with Richard Dawson and William Mychell, was ‘Willm Carnell p[ar]ishe priest and Curet of the foresaid Saint Margaretts’. The only other reference I can find to a priest of that name, at around this time, is to a William Carnell, priest, who witnessed wills in Rye, Sussex, in 1509 and 1517. Both wills included bequests to the Augustinian friars, and it’s possible that Carnell was a member of the priory at Rye before moving to Southwark. If so, it might mean that, as well as owning the ‘temporality’ or physical property of St Margaret’s, and controlling its advowson or clerical appointments, Southwark priory was also in the habit of providing its parish priest from among its own number.

Of course, none of this gets us any nearer to understanding why Thomas Fowle of Lamberhurst should want to be buried at St Margaret’s or why he leaves money to the priests associated with the church. And then there’s the unresolved question of who he means by the ‘high master’ of St Margaret. Was this the prior of Southwark, who could be said to have overall responsibility for the church? Or was it the master of the Fraternity? I even wondered at one point if there was a school associated with the church, and whether Thomas had been a pupil there, and the reference was to a school master. But that wouldn’t necessarily explain his continuing attachment to the church and his familiarity with its clergy. It’s frustrating that Thomas fails to name the ‘high master’, but explicable if this person’s role was well known. It’s less understandable that he withholds the name of his spiritual father: would it be obvious who he meant?

I believe Thomas Fowle’s association with Southwark, and the fact that Bartholomew Fowle was prior there, cannot be mere coincidence, but determining the relationship between the two men, and the exact connection between Bartholomew and my Fowle ancestors, remains frustratingly difficult.

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My ancestors in late-seventeenth-century London

A few days ago I posted a timeline, covering the second half of the seventeenth century and the first half of the eighteenth, for the Boulton family, who were connected to my Byne and Forrest ancestors by marriage. In this post I’m doing something similar for the Bynes and the Forrests, but I’m restricting it to the later decades of the seventeenth century – broadly speaking, the years of Cromwell’s Commonwealth and of the Stuart Restoration – since there is so much more information for this branch of my maternal family.

London from Southwark, 17th century

London from Southwark, 17th century

Contemporary national events are given in italics, while my direct ancestors’ names are in bold the first time they are mentioned. A quick reminder: Magnus Byne, rector of Clayton in Sussex, and Thomas Forrest, citizen and haberdasher of London, were my 9 x great grandfathers; their children John Byne, citizen and stationer, and Alice Forrest, were my 8 x great grandparents; and John and Alice’s daughter Mary was my 7 x great grandmother. Mary Byne married my 7 x great grandfather Joseph Greene, a citizen and goldsmith, the son of another of my 8 x great grandfathers, Captain William Greene, a mariner of Ratcliffe and warden of Trinity House.

All locations are in London, unless otherwise specified. I hope this timeline gives a clearer sense of the chronology of my family’s lives in the capital in the turbulent later decades of the seventeenth century. 

1650             Thomas Forrest marries Anne Borrowes, St Bartholomew the Great

1651               Battle of Worcester

Birth of John, son of Magnus (1) and Anne Byne, Sussex

1653              Oliver Cromwell becomes Lord Protector

1655               (?) Birth of Alice, daughter of Thomas and Anne Forrest

1658               Death of Cromwell

1660              Restoration of the monarchy under King Charles II

1661               Death of Anne, wife of Magnus Byne, Clayton, Sussex 

1662               Magnus Byne marries Sarah Bartlett 

1664               Birth of Magnus Byne (2), son of Magnus and Sarah Byne, Clayton, Sussex

1665               Great Plague of London

1666               Great Fire of London

Birth of Sarah, daughter of Magnus and Sarah Byne, Clayton, Sussex

1668               (?) Stephen Byne, son of Magnus Byne (1), marries Rebecca Whiting, London

1669               Death of Sarah, wife of Magnus Byne, Sussex

1670

1671               (?) Death of Magnus Byne, Sussex

1674               Death of Stephen Byne, Tower Hill

Magnus Byne (2) at Merchant Taylors’ school

1675               (?) John Byne, stationer, son of Magnus Byne (1), marries Alice Forrest

1676               Birth of Alice, daughter of John and Alice Byne

                        William Greene marries Elizabeth Elliott, St Bartholomew the Less

1677               Birth of Joseph, son of William and Elizabeth Greene, Ratcliffe, Stepney

1678               Death of Thomas Forrest, Little Tower Hill

1679               Birth of John, son of John and Alice Byne, Tower Hill

1680

1683               Birth of Mary, daughter of John and Alice Byne

1685               Accession of King James II

Birth of Magnus Byne (3), son of John and Alice Byne

1686               Birth of Thomas, son of John and Alice Byne

Death of Captain William Greene, Ratcliffe, Stepney

1688               King James II deposed by William of Orange

1689               Death of John Byne, Tower Hill

1690              Magnus Byne (2) marries Jane Dakin, St George the Martyr, Southwark

1692               Joseph Greene apprenticed to Joseph Strong, goldsmith

1695               Thomas and Magnus Byne (3) at Merchant Taylors’ School 

1700              Death of William Forrest of Badsey, Worcestershire, brother of Thomas

1701               Joseph Greene marries Mary Byne, St Botolph, Aldgate

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The quest for William Boulton

In recent posts I’ve been revisiting what we know about Richard, Peter, Thomas and Elizabeth Boulton, four siblings who lived in London in the later decades of the seventeenth century and the early decades of the eighteenth. I’m fairly certain that their mother was Alice Boulton née Forrest, the sister of my 9 x great grandfather Thomas Forrest, a London citizen and haberdasher. As for their father, my theory is that his name was William Boulton, but until recently this has been unsubstantiated speculation. However, I’m now in a position to confirm that the theory is correct.

My initial source for understanding the complex relationships within the Boulton family was the 1698 will of William Forrest of Badsey, Worcestershire, brother of Alice Forrest and of my ancestor Thomas. The will includes the following bequests:

To William Grace and Hester children of Mr Thomas Saunders of Moore twenty shillings apeece To my Sister Alice Boulton five pounds To my Cozen Elizabeth Markland twenty shillings to buy her a ring To my Cozen Alice Bolton daughter of Peter Bolton twenty shillings.

From this, I was able to conclude that William Forrest had a sister named Alice and that she was married to a man with the surname Boulton. Putting this together with evidence from other Boulton family wills, I was also able to discover that Peter Boulton and Elizabeth Markland (née Boulton) were Alice’s son and daughter by Mr Boulton, their other children being Captain Richard Boulton, Thomas Boulton and the woman (possibly Margaret Boulton) who married Thomas Saunders of Moor, a hamlet in the parish of Fladbury, Worcestershire, where I believe the Forrest family, and perhaps the Boultons, had their roots.

Fladbury church and mill (via bbc.co.uk/history/domesday)

Fladbury church and mill (via bbc.co.uk/history/domesday)

Frustratingly, neither the 1737 will of Captain Richard Boulton nor that made by his brother Peter in 1743, mention their father’s Christian name. However, we know from various sources that the Boultons lived in the parish of All Hallows Barking in the City of London, and if we search the records of that parish in the second half of the seventeenth century, we find a William and Alice Boulton living there in 1695. Could these be the parents of Richard, Peter, Thomas and Elizabeth? Although the name ‘William’ does not occur among the surviving children (though it might have belonged to a son who died infancy?) it’s perhaps no coincidence that two of them – Thomas Boulton and Margaret (?) Saunders – gave this name to one of their sons.

Confirmation of William’s name comes, after a fashion, in the contemporary tax records. In 1666 we find a William Boulton paying Hearth Tax on a property in Chitterling Alley in the parish of All Hallows Barking. Nearly thirty years later, in the records for the Four Shillings in a Pound Aid of 1693/4, we find Peter Boulton living in the same place. At the same time, a William Boulton is paying tax on a property in nearby Priest Alley. He was still paying land tax in Priest Alley in 1703 and 1706, but a year later Peter Boulton began paying tax on the same property. We know that it’s the same house, since the next-door neighbour is the same person: a certain Thomas Ayliffe.

What seems to have happened is that, having originally owned a house in Chitterling Alley, William Boulton later purchased a property in neighbouring Priest Alley, while his son Peter took over the Chitterling Alley property. After William’s death, presumably in 1706 or thereabouts, Peter moved into his house in Priest Alley.

Part of Rocque's 1746 map of London.

Part of Rocque’s 1746 map of London, showing Chitterling Alley and Priest Alley, close to the church of All Hallows Barking.

Further evidence that William Boulton might have been the name of Alice’s husband comes in my recent discovery of what appears to be an apprenticeship indenture for his son Thomas. We know that Thomas Boulton married a woman named Bridget and that they had two sons, Captain Richard Boulton the younger and William. When the latter was baptised, his father Thomas was described as a goldsmith, and as I noted in a recent post, it seems likely that he was the Thomas Boulton who was apprenticed to goldsmith John Smith in 1684. Not only was this Thomas Boulton’s father called William, but he was also described as a London gunmaker: the same profession as Thomas’ brother Peter.

Coincidentally, as I was writing this post, I received an email from Brian Godwin, an expert on sixteenth- and seventeenth-century gunmaking, in answer to a query that I had sent him only a few hours earlier. Brian kindly attached a photocopied entry for Peter Boulton from H.L.Blackmore’s Dictionary of London Gunmakers (1986) which reads as follows:

Son of William, appr. to father, 1680; free of Gunmakers Co. by patrimony, 1684. Fined by Gunmakers Co. for giving ‘the Master opprobrious words with the threatening to Post him up a Coward at the Exchange if he did not fight him,’ 1700; fined again for assaulting the Master, 1702. Elected Assistant, 1710; Master, 1710. Gunmaker to Ordnance, 1688 – 1715; East India Co., 1698 – 1721. Last ref., 1741.

This is a richly informative entry. It provides confirmation that Peter Boulton’s name was indeed William and that he was, like him, a gunsmith. We learn that Peter was apprenticed to his own father in 1680, when he would have been about fifteen years old, and that he gained his freedom four years later, at the age of about nineteen. We also learn that Peter Boulton was, to say the least, a spirited youth. I assume that the master with whom he exchanged ‘opprobrious words’ and whom he challenged to a fight and later actually assaulted, was not his own father. It would be fascinating to learn the identity of the man, and the cause of their dispute.

Tower Hill in the late 17th century

Tower Hill in the late seventeenth century

The fact that, eight years after these events, Peter became a master gunsmith himself, seems to demonstrate that he got over his youthful high spirits. His belligerent reputation obviously did not prevent him serving as a gunmaker to the Office of Ordnance, which supplied arms and munitions to the Army and Navy and was based at the Tower of London, conveniently close to Peter Boulton’s premises in Tower Street. I wonder if his work for the East India Company came about as a result of his brother Richard’s role as a captain and later director for ther Company?

As for William Boulton, I’m still unable to find a will for him, or any evidence of his date or place of birth. I’m fairly sure that he was born in Worcestershire (his wife Alice was born in the county, and three of their children found marriage partners from there), but so far I’ve failed to discover any reference to him in local wills.

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