In the 1737 will of Captain Richard Boulton the elder we find the following (my emphasis):

I give and bequeath to my Nephew John Jamblen the sum of five hundred pounds of like Lawfull money 

And in a memorandum to the same will we read this:

Appeared personally Hester Crabb of the parish of All Hallows Barking London widow and Francis Jemblin of Ingram Court Fenchurch Street London Gentleman 

Three years later, in his will of 1740, Captain Richard Boulton the younger, nephew of the first Richard Boulton, bequeaths ‘my Cousin John Jemblin of Evesham in the… County of Worcester twenty Guineas’.

John and Francis Jemblin (or Jemblen or Jamblin) were both the sons of James Jemblin, a London citizen and salter (a trader in salt) whose family was originally from Jersey in the Channel Islands. We know that this is the ‘right’ family because James Jemblin’s will of 1723 nominates Richard Boulton, presumably the elder, as one of the executors of his will – and also for another reason which I will come on to.

Church of St Dunstan in the East, City of London

Church of St Dunstan in the East, City of London

Searching the parish records, we find that on 30th July 1707, John Jemblin, son of James and Grace Jemblin, was christened at the church of St Dunstan in the East in the City of London. On 14th July 1709, the same couple had a son named Thomas baptised at the same church. On 23rd June 1710, James and Grace had a daughter named Elizabeth christened there.

Grace must have died soon afterwards, perhaps in childbirth, because on 9th September 1711, James Jemblin of the parish of St Dunstan in the East, a widower, married Mary Yates a ‘single woman’ of the parish of St Edmund King and Martyr, Lombard Street, in her home parish church. This second marriage would also produce three children. Francis Jemblin was christened at St Dunstan’s on 21st November 1712; James on 18th April 1715; and Mary on 4th April 1717.

James Jemblin died in February 1723. We know from his will, written shortly before his death, that his second wife Mary had predeceased him. Moreover, the only children mentioned in the will are John, Francis and Elizabeth, so we must assume that Thomas, James and Mary all died before reaching adulthood. The three surviving children, together with James’ mother Margaret (also mentioned in his will), are listed as his orphans and dependants in an official document from this period.

Part of Rocque's 1746 map of London, showing area around church of St Dunstan in the East

Part of Rocque’s 1746 map of London, showing area around church of St Dunstan in the East

On 13th April 1708 James Jemblin had been admitted as a freeman of the City of London, in the Company of Salters. From 1707 until 1718, he paid land tax on a property in Rood Precinct, presumably near Rood Lane, off Tower Street in the parish of St Dunstan in the East (see map above). In 1722, his name could be found in the poll book for the election of Members of Parliament for the City of London, under the category of ‘salters’. He voted for Heysham, Barnard and Godfrey– two Whigs and a Tory. It’s possible that James Jemblin retired to the country at some point, since a marginal note to his will (see below) describes him as living in Woodford, Essex; or it might simply be that he maintained a second home, as did so many 18th century merchants.  (A later ancestor of mine, my 4 x great grandfather William Holdsworth, a shoemaker and carrier, also retired to Woodford; even more modestly, John Felix Londors, another ancestor, who worked as a farm labourer, was born in the village in 1785.)

I’m reproducing my transcription of James Jemblin’s will below. The reference to Captain Richard Boulton is one piece of evidence linking the Jemblins and the Boulton family. The marginal note is curious, seeming to suggest that Boulton and the other executors left at least part of James Jemblin’s will ‘unadministered’ ; however, the note is useful in telling us that James’ daughter Elizabeth was still alive in 1765 and that she had married a man named Edward Colliver. We must assume that James’ two sons, John and Francis, had died by this date.

City of London in the 18th century

City of London in the 18th century

But there is another reference in the will that ties James Jemblin to the Boulton family, albeit in a way that undermines one of my earlier theories about the Boultons.  James refers to ‘my Sister Hester Crabb of Tower Street London Widow’. We know that Hester’s maiden name was Saunders, and that in all likelihood she was the daughter of Thomas Saunders of Moor, near Fladbury in Worcestershire, referred to in the 1698 will of William Forrest of Badsey, brother of my 9 x great grandfather Thomas Forrest. So unless we come across new information that Hester was actually born a Jemblin, then she can’t literally be James’s sister and is more likely to have been his sister-in-law. Indeed we know from other wills that it was common to refer to in-laws in this way.

On the other hand, if Hester Crabb née Saunders was James Jemblin’s sister-in-law  then that means that she was his wife’s sister. It so happens that we know Hester had a sister called Grace – the name of James Jemblin’s first wife. This would also fit with what we learn from other wills. Richard Boulton the elder describes Hester Crabb as his niece, which I think is accurate, but inaccurately describe her sons Henry and Richard as his nephews, when it seems they were actually his great nephews. His description of John Jemblin, son of James and Grace, as a nephew may be similarly inaccurate. If Hester Crabb was Richard Boulton’s niece, then so was her sister Grace, meaning that John Jemblin was another great nephew.  If I’m right, then Hester Crabb and Francis Jemblin, who appeared together in 1737 to authenticate Richard Boulton’s will, were aunt and nephew.

Market place, Evesham

Market place, Evesham

Of course, the connection with the Boultons only makes sense if another part of my theory remains true, and Thomas Saunders, father of both Hester and Grace, was married to a sister of Richard, Peter and the other Boulton siblings. Finally, if it turns out that John Jemblin’s mother Grace was originally from Worcestershire, then the reference to him in the 1740 will of Richard Boulton the younger, as ‘of Evesham’ makes sense. Perhaps he inherited property there from his Saunders relatives, and retired there after the deaths of his parents.

My transcription of James Jemblin’s will follows:

I James Jemblin Citizen and Salter of London do make this my last Will and testament in manner following  and first I recommend my Soul to Almighty God my Creator hoping for Salvation through the merits of his son Jesus Christ my Saviour and Redeemer and as to my worldly Estate I give and devise the same as follows that it to say my mind and will is that all my just Debts and Funerall Expenses shall be first paid thereout and then I give and devise the sume of fifteen hundred pounds unto my oldest son John Jemblin to be paid him when he shall attaine the age of twenty one years and I give and devise the sume of one thousand pounds unto my Daughter Elizabeth Jemblin to be also paid her when she shall attaine the Age of twenty one years or be marryed with the Consent of my Executors hereafter named which shall first happen and I give and devise unto my Son Francis Jemblin the sume of Eight hundred pounds to be paid him also when he shall ataine the age of twenty one years and I give and devise to my Mother Margaret Jemblin of the Island of Jersey Widow the sume of ten pounds per annum for and during her life to be paid her out of my personall Estate by my Executors hereafter named Item I give to my Sister Hester Crabb of Tower Street London Widow the sume of ten pounds for mourning and to my Executors hereafter named the sume of thirty pounds a peice Item I give my said son John my Diamond Ring which was his Mothers and to my daughter Elizabeth a Diamond Ring which was her mothers And all the rest and residue of my real and personal Estate of what kind or nature so ever or wheresoever I give and devise the same unto and amongst my said Children equally between them to goe and be divided amongst them when they shall attaine their respective ages of twenty one years And my mind and Will is that if either or both of my said sons shall happen to dye before he or they shall attaine their respective ages of twenty one years or if y said Daughter shall happen to dye before she shall attaine her age of twenty one years or be married as aforesaid that then and in such Cases the respective Legacies and Shares of my Estate before given to such of my said Children as shall so happen to dye as aforesaid shall go and be paid and divided equally between the survivors of my said Children and if but one shall happen to survive them to such survivor and I do hereby nominate constitute and appoint Captain Richard Boulton of Crutched Fryars London Thomas Carbonell of Mark Lane London Merchant and James Creed of London Merchant to be the Executors of this my last Will and Testament and I do hereby devise to my said executors the Guardianship and Tuition of my said Children until they shall attaine their ages of twenty one years and I do particularly request the friendship and care of my said Executors in the prudent Education of my said Children and lastly I do hereby revoke and make void all former Wills by me made and do publish and declare this to be my last Will and Testament In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this fifteenth day of February Anno Domini 1723. James Jemblin signed sealed published and declared by the said James Jemblin to be his last Will and testament in our presence in witness whereof we have hereunto set our hands as Witnesses in the presence of the said Testator. Wm: Dandy Thos. Stainbank Charles Catliffe.

The will is accompanied by this barely legible marginal note:

On the third day of January 1765 ??? with the ??? of the Goods Chattells and Credits of James Jemblin late of Woodford in the County of Essex deceased left unadministered by Richard Bolton Thomas Carbonnell and Sir James Creed Knight the Executors named in the said will now also respectively deceased was granted to Elizabeth Colliver formerly Jemblin Wife of Edward Colliver the natural and lawful daughter of the deceased and as such the surviving Residuary Legatee named in the said Will having been first sworn duly to administer the said Sir James Creed ??? the said Richard Bolton and Thomas Carbonnell and Dame Mary Creed Widow the Relict and sole Executrix of the Will of the said Sir James Creed dying intestate before She had taken upon herself  ??? with the said ??? of the said James Jemblin deceased.