I’ve been revisiting the Forrest family, a branch of my maternal family tree with roots in London and Worcestershire. Thomas Forrest, a London citizen and haberdasher who died in 1678, was my 9 x great grandfather. His daughter Alice married Sussex-born stationer John Byne (1651 – 1689): they were my 8 x great grandparents. In the last post I reported some new information about the Forrest family and the families that were linked with them by marriage, including the Boultons, a number of whose members were leading lights in the East India Company. I’m fairly certain that both families had their origins in Worcestershire, probably in the area around Fladbury on the River Avon between Evesham and Pershore. I believe that another Alice Forrest, who was almost certainly Thomas Forrest’s sister, married William Boulton, and that they migrated to London some time in the mid-seventeenth century.
Since writing the last post, I’ve discovered some more information about Major Peter Boulton, one of the sons of William and Alice Boulton. As reported before, I’m now quite sure that Peter Boulton was married twice. His first marriage was in 1691 to Elizabeth Bushell of Fladbury and they seem to have had two children, Elizabeth and Alice. Elizabeth must have died by 1699 when Peter Boulton married for a second time, to Posthuma Landick of Bath. In the last post I noted my suspicion that Peter’s original connection to Bath, to which he and Posthuma would retire, perhaps some time in the 1730s, was through his first wife Elizabeth Bushell. It was the fact that Peter Boulton’s great niece Elizabeth Jemblin would marry Bath apothecary and sometime mayor of the city Edward Bushell Collibee, that first made me suspect that the Bushells might have a connection with the city, and that this might explain how Peter came to be living there. Searching for information about the Bushell and Collibee families of Bath, I discovered a large number of wills from the late-seventeenth and early-eighteenth centuries. Purely by chance, the first of these wills that I read contained a reference to Peter Boulton. Not only that, but there was also the hint of a link with the Landick family. Edward Bushell the elder, a gentleman of Bath, died in 1701. From his will we learn that he had sons named Edward and John, the latter having a son of his own named Richard. He also had daughters (presumably at this stage unmarried, since they shared their father’s surname) with the names Ann and Frances. Intriguingly, Edward also had a daughter named Elizabeth Landick. He mentions two cousins: Frances and Thomas, the latter being the proprietor of the Three Tunns in Bath. In his will Edward Bushell also describes Peter Boulton as his ‘cousin’, but their precise relationship remains unclear. By 1701 Peter had been married to Posthuma Landick for two years, so it’s possible that this was his sole connection to Edward: perhaps Posthuma was a sister or cousin of the member of the Landick family who married Elizabeth Bushell, Edward’s daughter? Or perhaps Edward Bushell was already linked to Peter Boulton through the latter’s first wife, another Elizabeth Bushell? Some credence is given to the latter suggestion by another Bushell will made a few years earlier. In 1696 Samuel Bushell of Bath had made his will. He refers to his wife, yet another Elizabeth Bushell, but there is no mention of any children, so perhaps Samuel was still quite a young man when he died. However, he does bequeath money to ‘my cosen Alice Boulton daughter of my brother-in-law Peter Boulton’. Since this will was made three years before Peter Boulton married Posthuma Landick, it must mean that Samuel was the brother of Peter’s first wife Elizabeth Bushell, thus confirming the connection between the Bushells of Fladbury and those of Bath. The will is also confirmation that Peter and Elizabeth Boulton’s daughter Alice was still alive in 1696, but that her sister Elizabeth, mentioned with her in a London record of the previous year, had probably died, since she is not mentioned in the will. I suspect that the absence of any reference to Peter’s wife, and Samuel’s sister, Elizabeth means that she too had died by this date. Unfortunately, Samuel Bushell doesn’t mention any siblings or cousins in his will, so his relationship to Edward Bushell the elder is unclear. And of course Edward’s will doesn’t refer to Samuel, since he had been dead for five years when it was written. Perhaps Samuel was a brother or even a cousin of Edward’s, like the Thomas Bushell mentioned in the latter’s will? This was probably the Thomas Bushell who made his own will in 1721. The will mentions Thomas’ daughters Elizabeth and Mary, his nieces Eleanor and Mary Ford, and his sister Frances Purlewent. Perhaps the latter was the wife of Samuel Purlewent who witnessed Peter Boulton’s will in 1743 and who would in 1755, four years before his death, be a party to a case in Chancery involving Edward Bushell Collibee and Peter Boulton’s granddaughter Mary.
For our purposes, the most interesting aspect of the will is that Thomas Bushell leaves one hundred pounds to Eleanor ‘Gospright’ daughter of Peter Boulton of London, gunsmith. I already knew that a daughter of Peter Boulton’s had married Captain Richard Gosfreight, but I had concluded that it must be Alice, since she and Elizabeth were the only two Boulton daughters I knew of. It now appears that there was at least a third Boulton daughter, and it seems likely that she was the product of Peter’s second marriage, to Posthuma Landick. It’s also interesting to learn that, at late as 1721, Peter Boulton was still ‘of London’, despite his connection by marriage with the Bushells and the Landicks of Bath. That Peter Boulton’s daughter Alice did not marry Richard Gosfreight, and perhaps even remained unmarried, is confirmed by a reference in the will of Edward Bushell the younger, who died in 1724. Edward’s will makes a bequest to Alice Boulton, daughter of Peter Boulton. This will is also useful for throwing light on the connection between the Bushell and Collibee families. Edward mentions two of his sisters – Elizabeth Landick and Ann Collibee, the latter obviously having married since her father made his will 1701. The ‘probatum’ following the will again refers to these two sisters, the former said to be a widow and the latter the wife of William Collibee. Ann Collibee (née Bushell?) made her will in 1729. The first person she mentions is her cousin Mr Peter Boulton. We also discover that Edward Bushell Collibee was her son – his middle name making sense if she was, indeed, born a Bushell. We know from other sources that Edward Bushell Collibee’s father William was, like him, an apothecary and mayor of Bath. William Collibee was born in 1672 and died in 1728; he was mayor in 1719/20. Edward Bushell Collibee was born in about 1707 and was mayor on a number of occasions between the 1750s and 1780s; he died in 1795. The will of John Bushell, brother of Ann and of Edward the younger, who died in 1703, just two years after his father Edward Bushell the elder, mentions his wife Anne, his son Richard, his brother Edward and his sisters Frances Bushell and Elizabeth Landick. John also makes reference to his brother-in-law William Collibee and to his nephew George Collibee, son of his sister-in law Mary Collibee. She was almost certainly the Mary Collibee who made her own will in 1725, in which she mentions a daughter named Ann and sons Richard, Benjamin, George, Anthony and William. Mary also refers to her sister Anne Bushell, a widow. If this was the widow of John Bushell, does it actually mean sister-in-law, or was John’s wife born a Collibee, thus creating a double connection between the two families? The will of Mary Collibee’s son Richard Collibee, who died in 1740, mentions his brothers George and Benjamin Collibee and his sister Ann Collibee. He also refers to his nephew Edward Bushell Collibee, to his aunt Mrs Ann Bushell (John Bushell’s widow?) and to his cousin Richard Bushell, ‘gentleman deceased’. This complicates the emerging Bushell-Collibee family tree still further. It will take further research to untangle the web of relationships between the two families, and to determine the precise nature of their connection with Peter Boulton and his first and second wives. The history of the Bushell, Collibee and Boulton families in the early eighteenth century is interesting in its own right, and to my knowledge it hasn’t been explored or written about before. However, I also remain hopeful that at some stage it will throw light on the origins of my Forrest ancestors, with whom these families were intimately connected.