Analysing the will of Richard Boulton Esquire

In the previous post I shared my transcription of the last will and testament of Richard Boulton of the parish of St Olave Hart Street, an early eighteenth-century gentleman associated with the East India Company, who I believe was related to my 8 x great grandmother Alice Byne née Forrest. In this post, I want to begin to tease out what we can learn from this will about Boulton, his family, and his connection to my ancestors.

Part of Rocque's 1746 map of London, showing St Olave Hart Street and St Helen Bishopsgate

Part of Rocque’s 1746 map of London, showing St Olave Hart Street and St Helen Bishopsgate

Richard Boulton’s will makes direct reference to four people described as his brothers or sisters. These are: Peter Boulton, Bridget Boulton, Posthumous Boulton and Mary Lewes. Obviously, Peter must be a blood brother of the will’s author, while Mary’s maiden name must have been Boulton before she married a Mr Lewes. However, I’ve discovered from other sources that both Bridget Boulton and the unusually named Posthumous or Posthuma Boulton were in fact Richard’s sisters-in-law rather than his blood relations. Bridget was the mother of Captain Richard Boulton Junior and William Boulton, both described in this will as its author’s nephews, so she must have been married to another of Richard’s brothers (who is not named here). Posthuma Boulton was the wife of the Peter Boulton mentioned in this will and whose own will of 1741, which I will discuss in another post, confirms her relationship to him.

In addition to these three siblings (Peter, Mary and the unnamed husband of Bridget), the will also points implicitly to the existence of others, in its reference to various nephews and nieces of the testator. For example, Richard Boulton mentions his niece Hester Crabb and his nephews Henry Crabb and Richard Crabb. We must assume that these were three siblings, the daughter of an unnamed Mr Crabb who must have married another sister of Richard’s. Esther or Hester Crabb, one of the two people who confirms the authenticity of the memorandum to the will, is said to be a widow. If Crabb was her married name then she can’t be the niece mentioned in the will, so I assume she must be these children’s mother and therefore a sister of Richard Boulton’s.

The will also mentions a niece named Mary Gosfreight, the daughter of Captain Richard Gosfreight, who must therefore be Richard Boulton’s brother-in law, married to another Boulton sister. Then there are references to a nephew named John Jamblen, who presumably was related to the Francis Jemblen who, with Esther Crabb, vouched for the memorandum to the will. John Jamblen’s father must have married yet another sister of Richard Boulton. Finally we read of a niece named Alice Bigglestone, husband of William Bigglestone. In theory, she could be the daughter of either a brother or sister of the will’s author, either one already named or an additional sibling.

It’s difficult to know where to begin unraveling the various interwoven threads of this extended family, but I’ll begin with the Crabbs, since researching them has also enlightened me about Richard Boulton himself and his connection with the East India Company. Looking for records of the Crabb family in the parish registers has proven to be a fruitless task so far. I’ve found no record of a marriage between Esther or Hester Boulton and anyone with the surname Crabb, nor have I found evidence of the births or baptisms of their children Henry, Richard and Hester. However, searches elsewhere on the internet have been more productive.

A record of the House of Commons, 1754 – 1790 has a substantial entry on Henry Crabb Boulton, who apparently followed the instruction in his uncle’s will and added the latter’s surname to his own, as did his brother Richard. The entry for Henry informs us that he was born in about 1709, and that his mother’s name was indeed Hester. He entered the office of the East India Company in 1727 and rose to become a director and eventually chairman of the company. Apparently Henry lived for a time in Crosby Square in the parish of St Helen Bishopsgate. His brother Richard also worked for the EIC for some 20 years. Henry served in Parliament as Member for Worcester for a number of years, dying in 1773. The same entry records that Henry’s cousin Richard Boulton – the Captain Richard Boulton Junior of their uncle’s will – also served with the East India Company, before retiring to Worcestershire a wealthy man (I’ll be discussing his will of 1740 in another post).

Part of Rocque's 1746 map of London, showing churches of All Hallows Barking and St Dunstan-in-the-East

Part of Rocque’s 1746 map of London, showing churches of All Hallows Barking and St Dunstan-in-the-East

I’ve found a marriage allegation for Richard Crabb (Boulton) of the parish of All Hallows Barking, which suggests that he was born in about 1710. In 1738 he declared his intention to marry Francis Heames, aged 21, of the parish of St Peter-within-the-Tower. They appear to have had a son named Henry, who was christened in 1752 at the church of St Helen’s, Bishopsgate, and who attended Chigwell School in Essex before going up to Trinity College, Cambridge. Richard Crabb Boulton died in 1777.

The website of the Warwick University research project, East India Company at Home, 1757 – 1857, includes information about Sir Charles Raymond of Valentines in Essex, a former EIC captain, whose middle daughter Juliana married Henry Crabb Boulton, who was ‘the son of Richard Crabb who had sailed alongside Charles Raymond as a fellow captain and who also became a PMO.’ According to the website:

Richard’s brother Henry Crabb had served as a senior clerk with EIC and later became a director. Both brothers took the name Boulton from their cousin Richard Boulton who was connected to EIC for 40 years, and left property to Henry which later passed to his brother Richard.

(In one of those little ironies of family history, the 1851 census would find my 4 x great grandparents William and Mary Schofield of Barking, from another, poorer branch of my maternal family tree, living in Valentines Cottage on the Valentines estate, where William worked as a farm labourer.)

As with the Crabbs, I’ve found little evidence of the Gosfreight family in the parish registers. I’ve found no trace of Mary Gosfreight’s birth, and the only marriage I’ve come across for a Richard Gosfreight is not to a Boulton – but to Theodosia Bennett, in 1691, at St Botolph’s, Aldersgate. Of course, this might have been an earlier marriage, or Theodosia might have been married before. Or there could have been more than one Richard Gosfreight. There are various land tax records for Captain Richard Gosfreight in the 1730s and 1740s in the Tower district, and in Portsoken, Aldgate and Whitechapel. According to British History Online, Gosfreight was another East India Company employee and a partner with the Boultons in the ship building business at Blackwall Yard.

As for the Jamblen or Jemblen family, I’ve found a Francis Jamblen born to John and Mary Jamblen and christened at St Dunstan-in-the-East in November 1712, who could be the person who helped to authenticate Richard Boulton’s will twenty-five years later. I’ve yet to find any records for Richard Boulton’s sister Mary Lewes, nor any definite records for his niece ‘Collibye’, omitted from the original will by a lawyer’s error but mentioned in the memorandum.

Finally, we come to the Bigglestones, and here I think I’ve found some indication that I’m researching the ‘right’ Boulton family and that these people were in fact connected to my Forrest ancestors. On 26th July 1725, a 24-year-old bachelor from the parish of All Hallows Barking named William Bigglestone declared his intention to marry Alice Markland, a spinster of the same age and of the same parish. This document immediately caught my attention,  since Markland is another of the surnames that occurs in the will of William Forrest, brother of my 9 x great grandfather Thomas Forrest. William bequeaths ‘to my cozen Elizabeth Markland twenty shillings to buy her a ring’. This reference is inserted, perhaps significantly, between bequests to ‘my sister Alice Boulton’ and ‘my cozen Alice Bolton daughter of Peter Bolton’.

I’ve tracked down the will of Martin Markland, a gentleman of the parish of All Saints Barking, who died in 1717 and who seems to have been one of the Commissioners of the Navy. The will seems to suggest that the Alice Markland who married William Bigglestone was his daughter. He also had a wife named Elizabeth, though it’s not certain that her maiden name was Boulton. I’ll discuss Martin Markland’s will in more detail some other time, but for now I just wanted to note this piece of evidence supporting my speculations about the Boulton-Forrest connection.

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