Over the past few weeks I’ve been tracing the connections between my Forrest ancestors and the Boulton family. Here is a summary of what I think we now know about these two families.
Some time in the early- to mid-seventeenth century – perhaps in the 1630s and 1640s, in the period leaving up to the English Civil War – two brothers and a sister were born to the Forrest family, probably somewhere in Worcestershire, though we can’t be sure. There may have been additional siblings, but at present we only have definite information about these three:
William Forrest stayed in (or alternatively moved to) Worcestershire, where he either inherited or purchased property in the village of Badsey near Evesham and worked as a yeoman farmer. He was probably unmarried, or else his wife and/or children had died by the time he made his will in 1698. William died in 1700.
Thomas Forrest, my 9 x great grandfather, came to (or alternatively was born in) London, where he was probably apprenticed to a haberdasher some time in the 1640s. Thomas married his wife Anne Burrows in 1650 and they settled in the Tower Hill area, in the parish of St Botolph, Aldgate, where he pursued his trade as a haberdasher. Thomas and Anne had a son Thomas junior, who seems to have died young, and a daughter Alice – my 8 x great grandmother. She married Sussex-born stationer John Byne in about 1675.
Alice Forrest married a man with the surname Boulton, whose family (also?) had their roots in Worcestershire, probably some time in the 1650s or 1660s. They either moved to London themselves; if not, then most or all of their children did so as adults.
Alice Forrest and Mr Boulton had the following children that we know about:
Richard Boulton (the elder) was probably born in the 1660s or 1670s. He worked for the East India Company, attaining the rank of captain, then as a ship’s husband, with a financial interest in Blackwall Yard to the east of London. Richard lived in Crutched Friars in the parish of St Olave Hart Street in the City of London. He died in 1737, and since his will makes no mention of a wife or children, we must assume either that he was unmarried, or that his wife and/or children had died at an earlier date.
Peter Boulton was probably also born in the 166os or 1670s. He must have served in the army or navy (perhaps in the East India Company like his brother?) since he attained the rank of major. Peter worked as a gunsmith in the City of London, living near Tower Street. He may have married Elizabeth Bushwell of Fladbury, Worcestershire in 1691, but later he was certainly married to a woman named Posthuma. In about 1708 he had a son named Peter who studied at Cambridge but who seems to have died at a young age. He also had a daughter, possibly the Alice Boulton mentioned in William Forrest’s will, who married Captain Richard Gosfreight in about 1720, but died soon after giving birth to a daughter, Mary. The latter married Walter Gibbs, a Bath apothecary, and later Rev Robert Clarke. Peter and Posthuma Boulton owned property in Bath, to which they retired. Peter Boulton died in 1743.
Mr Boulton (first name uncertain, possibly William) married a woman named Bridget and they had two sons – Captain Richard Boulton the younger, and William. The former, who worked for the East India Company like his uncle, seems to have remained unmarried. He died at his property in Perdiswell, Worcestershire, in 1745, when his mother and his brother, but apparently not his father, were still living.
Elizabeth Boulton married naval commissioner Martin Markland some time before 1698. Markland’s will of 1715 describes Peter Boulton and Richard Boulton the elder as brothers-in-law, and Richard describes the Marklands’ daughter Alice, who was born around 1701 and who married surgeon William Bigglestone in 1725, as his niece. The Marklands were neighbours of Major Peter Boulton in the City of London.
Miss Boulton (first name unknown – possibly Hester or Grace) married Thomas Saunders of the hamlet of Moor, near Fladbury, Worcestershire, perhaps in the 1680s. They had three children – William, Grace and Hester – the latter two at least still being unmarried when William Forrest made his will in 1698. Hester Saunders married Thomas Crabb in London in about 1706 and they had two sons, Henry and Richard, both of whom worked for the East India Company and assumed the additional surname Boulton on inheriting property from their cousin Richard Boulton the younger. Grace Saunders married London salter James Jemblin around the same time and they had a son named John and a daughter Elizabeth. Grace died, possibly giving birth to Elizabeth, and James remarried. Elizabeth Jemblin married Edward Bushell Collibee, later mayor of Bath. John Jemblin was living in Evesham by 1740.
Mary Boulton married a Mr Lewes. Mrs Mary Lewes of London is described as a sister in the 1737 will of Richard Boulton the elder, and is also left money in the 1741 will of Richard Boulton the younger.
My 8 x great grandmother Alice Byne née Forrest was the daughter of Thomas Forrest and the niece of both William Forrest of Badsey, and the Alice Forrest who married Mr Boulton. This means that she was the cousin of the latter’s children. So when Alice appointed her ‘cousin’ Richard Boulton the elder as overseer of her will, she was using the term literally, rather than in the loose way we’ve seen it used in other family wills of the time.
There’s still more work to be done on the origins of both the Forrest and the Boulton families, and on their possible Worcestershire origins.