Henry Crabb Boulton (1709 – 1773)

In the last post I promised to summarise what I’ve been able to discover about Henry Crabb Boulton, the East India Company director and Member of Parliament, who (according to Ancestry) was my 3rd cousin 8 x removed. In this post, I plan to write about Henry’s two families of origin: the Boultons and the Crabbs.

The Boulton family

As I noted in the previous post, my interest in the Boulton family derives from their connection by marriage to my Forrest ancestors. Both families appear to have had their roots in Worcestershire. I believe that the Forrest family came from the village of Fladbury on the River Avon, about five miles west of Evesham, and it’s possible that the Boultons had their origins in the same area.

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

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

Some time in the early decades of the seventeenth century, two brothers and a sister were born into the Forrest family in or around Fladbury. William Forrest appears to have stayed in Worcestershire, where he either inherited or purchased property in the village of Badsey near Evesham. Thomas Forrest, my 9 x great grandfather, moved to London, where he set up in business as a haberdasher in the Tower Hill area. Thomas’ daughter Alice married Sussex-born stationer John Byne in 1675: they were my 8 x great grandparents.

Alice Forrest, the sister of William and Thomas, married a man named William Boulton some time in the 1650s or 1660s. It’s unclear whether they were married in London or moved there soon afterwards. We know very little about William Boulton and his origins, but we do know that the couple were living in the parish of All Hallows Barking, to the west of the Tower of London, in 1666, when they were paying hearth tax there. They were also included in a list of London inhabitants in 1695, by which time their children had all left home. At this time they were living in Chitterling Alley, in a medium-sized property with a total of eight hearths. It’s possible that William Boulton was a merchant or mariner and that he had connections with the East India Company, since at least one of his sons and three of his grandsons ended up working for the company.

Church of All Hallows Barking, London

Church of All Hallows Barking, London

Piecing together the information I’ve been able to glean from parish records and wills, I’ve come to the conclusion that William and Alice Boulton had the following children:

Richard Boulton worked for the East India Company, attaining the rank of captain, then as a ship’s husband or agent, 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. He appears to have remained unmarried and died in 1737.

Peter Boulton 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 was a gunsmith in the City of London, living near Tower Street. His first marriage was to Elizabeth Bushell of Fladbury and his second to Posthuma Landick of Bath. Peter Boulton’s daughter Alice married Captain Richard Gosfreight in 1720. Peter and Posthuma Boulton owned property in Bath, to which they retired, and where Peter died in 1743.

Another son, possibly named William, married a woman named Bridget and they had two sons – William, and Captain Richard Boulton the younger. Richard, who worked for the East India Company like his uncle and namesake, also seems to have remained unmarried. He died at his property in Perdiswell near Worcester, in 1745.

Elizabeth Boulton married naval commissioner Martin Markland .The Marklands were neighbours of Major Peter Boulton in the parish of All Hallows Barking.

Mary Boulton married a Mr Lewes, about whom nothing further is known.

Finally, we come to a Miss Boulton, whose first name is still a mystery, but may well have been Hester or Grace, since these were the names of her daughters. This Miss Boulton married Thomas Saunders, a ‘gent’ from the hamlet of Moor, near Fladbury. Saunders was included in a list of non-jurors drawn up after the Jacobite rebellion of 1745, but I’m not sure what this tells us about his religious affiliation.

Thomas and Grace Saunders had three children: William, Grace and Hester. I haven’t been able to find out anything about William. Grace Saunders married London salter James Jemblin , probably in the first decade of the 18th century, 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, who would later serve as mayor of Bath, and who was probably related in some way to the Bushells of Worcestershire. By 1740 John Jemblin was living in Evesham, where he may have inherited property from his father.

The Crabb family

We don’t know whether Thomas and Grace Saunders lived in Worcestershire or London: it’s possible that they owned property in both places. But we do know that their daughter Hester was living in the parish of All Hallows Barking in the City of London, close to her Boulton relatives, when she married Thomas Crabb on 12th October 1708, at the church of St Paul, Benet’s Wharf.

What do we know about Thomas Crabb? According to the marriage record, he was from Whitechapel, and he and Hester would live in that part of London for a time after their marriage. As for Thomas’ origins, to some extent they remain shrouded in uncertainty. I wonder if he was the son of Isaac Crabb who was paying tax ‘for house and vaults’ in Priest Alley in the parish of All Hallows Barking in 1715? It seems too much of a coincidence that his next door neighbour was Martin Markland, who was married to Hester Saunders’ aunt Elizabeth Boulton, and that the house after that was occupied by her uncle Major Peter Boulton.

Part of Rocque's 1746 map of London, showing the area around the church of All Hallows Barking

Part of Rocque’s 1746 map of London, showing the area around the church of All Hallows Barking

This Isaac Crabb was a merchant who had been born into a family of Quaker clothiers in Wiltshire. He was almost certainly the Isaac Crabb of All Hallows Barking, who married the delightfully named Freelove Crispe, daughter of Thomas Crispe of Wimbledon, at St Nicholas Cole Abbey in September 1685. A case recorded in the National Archives concerns a dispute between Isaac Crabb on the one hand, and on the other side Thomas Crabb, a clothier of Marlborough, Wiltshire, and Thomas Crispe, a draper of London, concerning property in Wimbledon and Savernake Forest, Wiltshire. This may have been a disagreement over a marriage settlement, and it’s possible that Thomas Crabb was Isaac’s father.

At any event, Thomas and Freelove Crabbe had a son named Thomas christened at the church of St Dunstan in the East in London in 1687: this date would fit well with what we know of the Thomas Crabb who married Hester Saunders, making him twenty-one at the time of their marriage. The parish clerk at St Dunstan’s recorded Thomas’ mother’s name as ‘Trulove’, but by the time his sister Hester was christened in the following year, Freelove had reverted to her original (and possibly Quaker-derived?) first name.

Birth and early life

St Mary's church, Whitechapel

St Mary’s church, Whitechapel

Thomas Crabb and Hester Saunders were living in Leman Street, which ran north to south between Ayliff Street and Rosemary Lane, close to Goodman fields, when Henry, their first child, was baptised at the church of St Mary, Whitechapel, on 12th September 1709. I haven’t yet found a christening record for Henry’s brother Richard, but other records lead me to believe that he was probably born in about 1710. I’ve found no evidence of any other surviving children born to Thomas and Hester Crabb.

Henry Crabb’s childhood is a blank as far as the records are concerned. The first definite date that we have for him, after his birth, is 1727, when he entered the office of the East India Company. Henry would have been about eighteen years old at the time. By this time his great uncle Richard Boulton the elder and his second cousin Richard Boulton the younger, would have been established figures in the East India Company, and no doubt their influence was of help in facilitating their young relative’s entry into the organisation.

Unlike his brother Richard, who became a sea captain like his Boulton relatives, Henry seems to have followed a purely deskbound career in the East India Company, but it was a career in which he rose rapidly through the ranks. By 1729, two years after joining, he was working as a clerk in the pay office. In the following year, he was appointed assistant paymaster and the year after that joint paymaster. By 1737, when he was still only twenty-eight years old, Henry was the East India Company’s sole paymaster and the clerk to their committee of shipping.

Heir and executor

The East India Company, by Thomas Rowlandson (1808)

The East India Company, by Thomas Rowlandson (1808)

1737 was also the year in which Richard Boulton the elder, of St Olave, Hart Street, in the City of London, made his will, appointing Henry as join executor with Richard Boulton junior and Richard Gosfright, to whom he entrusted the task of administering his various interests in the East India Company and Blackwall Yard. The elder Richard Boulton had no surviving children of his own, and had probably never married. Therefore the main beneficiaries of his will were the brothers Henry and Richard Crabb and their cousin John Jemblin, son of their mother’s sister Grace and her husband James Jemblin. However, these three were only to come into possession of their share of Richard Boulton’s estate upon taking to themselves the additional surname Boulton.

A codicil was annexed to the will, and this was witnessed by Francis Jemblin, James’ Jemblin’s son by a second marriage, and by Henry and Richard Crabb’s mother Hester, who is described in the record as a widow of All Hallows Barking, confirming that her husband Thomas Crabb had died by this date.

In the following year, 1738/9, Henry Crabb’s brother Richard got married, at the church of St Mary at Hill in the City of London, to Frances Heames. Richard was said to be of the parish of All Hallows Barking and Frances of the parish of St Peter within the Tower of London. Richard and Frances would have two sons, Richard and Henry, to whom we shall return.

Henry Crabb Boulton senior, however, seems never to have married. In 1745, the year of the Jacobite uprising, he and Richard became the beneficiaries of another will, that of their second cousin, Richard Boulton the younger, who had retired to the manor of Perdiswell on the outskirts of Worcester. Both brothers benefited from the will, and Henry was appointed sole executor: a tribute, perhaps, to the skills he had developed managing the payroll of the East India Company. Once again, we learn that Henry’s and Richard’s mother Hester was still alive, and living now at Tower Hill, London.

Member of Parliament and Company Director

From the early 1750s onwards until his death, Henry Crabb Boulton enjoyed a number of spells as a director of the East India Company. Then, in about 1754, he was first elected as Member of Parliament for Worcester, another sign of the Boulton family’s longstanding connection to that part of the country. The History of Parliament Online includes the following information about Henry’s parliamentary career:

In Dupplin’s list of 1754 he was classed as ‘doubtful’; but on 24 Dec. 1755 Sandwich informed Newcastle that Boulton had ‘attended and voted in every question in support of the measures of Government’. In 1761 Boulton was re-elected at Worcester after a contest. Bute’s list of December 1761 classes him as a supporter of Newcastle, and he voted with the Opposition on the peace preliminaries, 9 and 10 Dec. 1762; and on Wilkes, 15 Nov. 1763, and general warrants, 15 and 18 Feb. 1764.

Originally a follower of Laurence Sulivan in East India Company politics, Boulton later attached himself to Clive, and went over to Administration with him; Jenkinson reported to Grenville on 20 Apr. 1764 that Clive had said Boulton might be depended on, though ‘a great rogue’. Harris notes that during the debate of 1 Mar. 1765 on the bill to regulate splitting East India Company votes, Boulton was ‘at the head of the government party’.

In Rockingham’s list of July 1765 Boulton was classed as ‘pro’, and in that of November 1766 as ‘Whig’. When, on 9 Dec. 1766 Beckford moved for an inquiry into East India Company affairs, Boulton voted for the motion, and though he ‘said much against it, owned that the Company could not govern their servants, nor could Clive go on without the interposition of Government’.

No other votes by him are reported in this Parliament, but he spoke several times on East India affairs, and on 1 May 1767 when Beckford was again to move for an inquiry, Boulton, on behalf of the Company, informed the House that there ‘was now a prospect of accommodation with the ministry’. In Townshend’s list of January 1767 he was classed as ‘doubtful’, and in Newcastle’s of 2 Mar. as ‘doubtful or absent’. In 1768 Boulton was returned unopposed for Worcester.

For various periods in the 1760s, Henry Crabb Boulton served as chairman of the East India Company, the organisation that he had joined as a humble clerk in the pay office forty years earlier.

London and Leatherhead

Thorncroft

Thorncroft

From about 1755, Henry Crabb Boulton’s name appears in directories as a merchant living in Crosby Square, Bishopsgate, in London. His brother Richard also seems to have lived in the same area. In 1763, Henry became the owner of Thorncroft manor in Leatherhead, Surrey, where he lived for the next ten years until his death. Apparently, the manor at Thorncroft had belonged originally to Sir Richard Dalton, but after taking possession in 1763 Henry Crabb Boulton commissioned Sir Robert Taylor to build a new house on the site of the old. The date of construction has been given as 1772 with further enlargements in 1800. The house apparently remains much the same today, though with some modern additions.

Henry Crabb Boulton died in 1773. In the next post, I’ll write about what we learn from his last will and testament.

Posted in Boulton, Bushell, Byne, Collibee, Crabb, Forrest, Gosfreigth, Jemblin, Landick, Markland, Saunders | Leave a comment

Back to the Boultons

I’ve been corresponding with Deborah Kirk, who is researching the history of Langtons, a former manor house in Hornchurch, Essex. Debbie got in touch after she came across my posts about Captain Richard Gosfr(e)ight, who appears to have lived at Langtons in the early decades of the eighteenth century. However, it’s possible that Richard owned a different property in Hornchurch, and that Langtons was built after his death by one of his heirs.

Langtons, Hornchurch

Langtons, Hornchurch

My original interest in Richard Gosfright stemmed from the fact that his first wife was the daughter of Major Peter Boulton, a member of the family that was linked by marriage to my Forrest ancestors. I was first alerted to the connection between the Forrest and Boulton families by the wills of my 8 x great grandmother Alice Byne née Forrest, daughter of London haberdasher Thomas Forrest, and of Thomas’ brother William.

As well as family ties, Richard Gosfright also had business connections with the Boultons. Peter Boulton’s brother Richard was the partner, with four other former East India Company sea captains, in the ownership of Blackwall Yard, a shipyard on the Thames at London. Gosfright, a ship’s husband and former mariner like Richard Boulton, also had an interest in this concern. When Richard drew up his will in 1737, he appointed Gosfright, by then married to his niece, as one of the executors.

Blackwall Yard from the Thames, by Francis Holman (1729 - 1784)

Blackwall Yard from the Thames, by Francis Holman (1729 – 1784)

Debbie Kirk has kindly supplied me with the details of both of Richard Gosfright’s marriages, which I had been lacking. As a result, I now know that the name of Richard’s first wife, the daughter of Peter Boulton, was Alice (this was also the name of Peter’s mother, who was born Alice Forrest) and that the couple were married in Romford in 1720. Their only daughter Mary was probably born in the following year. Alice Gosfright must have died shortly afterwards, perhaps in childbirth, since in 1729 Richard married his second wife, Catherine March. Thanks to Debbie’s detective work, I now know that this marriage took place in Calcutta, which suggests that Richard Gosfright was still working as a sea captain after his marriage, and also (perhaps) that Catherine belonged to a family with East India Company connections. It’s possible that Richard and Catherine’s two daughters, Sarah and Frances, were born in India, and this may explain why records of their births have proven hard to come by.

Calcutta in 1786. From an etching by Thomas Daniel. (Via sankalpa.tripod.com)

Calcutta in 1786. From an etching by Thomas Daniel.
(Via sankalpa.tripod.com)

When Richard Gosfright made his own will in 1746, he appointed two co-executors: his wife Catherine and his ‘good friend’ Henry Crabb Boulton. Henry, by then rising through the ranks of the East India Company and soon to be elected Member of Parliament for Worcester, was the second cousin of Gosfright’s first wife Alice, and the great-nephew, and principal heir, of his former partner Richard Boulton. For some time, I’ve been meaning to write more about Henry Crabb Boulton, and my correspondence with Debbie Kirk has now prompted me to do so. In the next post, I’ll try to summarise what I’ve been able to discover about Henry’s life.

Posted in Boulton, Byne, Crabb, Forrest, Gosfreigth | 2 Comments

Four generations of the Londors family

A comment from a distant relative on an earlier post has prompted me to take another look at my Londors ancestors. My mother was born Joyce Alma Londors in East Ham in 1933. Her father George John Londors (1896 – 1960), a gardener at the City of London Cemetery in Wanstead, was the son of another George Londors, who worked as a gravedigger at the same place. I’ve traced the family back a few more generations: the Londors family lived in Barkingside and before that in nearby Woodford, and most of the men were farm labourers.

Map of Barkingside in the early 19th century, showing locations where the Londors family lived and worked

Map of Barkingside in the early 19th century, showing locations where the Londors family lived and worked

The information that I’ve managed to gather about the Londors family can be found in numerous posts on this site, either by clicking on ‘Londors’ in the list of surnames, or by entering the name of a particular person in the ‘search’ box. However, I realise that it can be confusing for newcomers wanting to explore the family’s history to get a broad overview, particularly when similar names recur in each generation.

So, for those who don’t have access to my family tree at Ancestry, here is a (fairly) simple summary of the history of the Londors family (the links take you to posts with more information about particular individuals).

Christening record for John-Felix Londors, Woodford, 1785

Christening record for John-Felix Londors, Woodford, 7th August 1785 (foot of page)

First generation 

John and Hannah Londors lived in Woodford, Essex. They might be the John Londors and Hannah Ackerley who were married in Spitalfields in 1782. Hannah could be the Hannah Landy who died in Woodford in 1790. John may have married a second wife, Sarah Reeves, at Spitalfields in 1792. John and Hannah Londors had these children:

Mary Elizabeth (1783)

Mary Anne (1784)

John-Felix (1785)

Elizabeth (1787)

Second generation 

John-Felix Londors was married twice. In 1815 John Londors and Elizabeth Plane were married in Barking. They had a son, John, who was born in 1816 and died in 1817. Elizabeth Londors died in 1816.

In 1826 John Londors married his second wife, Mary Anne Schofield, in Barking. Born in 1802, Mary Anne was the daughter of William and Mary Schofield of Barkingside. John died in 1876 and Mary died in 1887. John and Mary Anne Londors had these children:

John Schofield (1827)

Sarah (1830)

Elizabeth (1832)

William (1837)

Mary Ann (1840)

James (1843)

George (1846)

Third generation

John Schofield Londors married Sarah Anne Brown in 1851. John died in 1915 and Sarah died in 1901.They had these children:

Sarah Ann (1852)

Alma (1855)

Alice Mary Ann (1859)

Edith (1861)

George (1863) –

Albert (1866)

Naomi Emma (1870)

Sarah Londors never married and died in 1908.

Elizabeth Londors married George Smith in 1851. George died in 1893 and Elizabeth died some time after 1901. They had these children:

Elizabeth (1854)

Mary Anne (1855)

George (1857)

Sarah Ann (1860)

Maria (1862)

William (1864)

Henry (1866)

Alfred (1869)

Ernest Victor (1878)

William Londors married Caroline Harriet Feller in 1864. William died in 1899, but the date of Caroline’s death is unknown. They had these children:

William George (1864)

James John (1867)

John (1869)

Mary Ann (1871)

Caroline Harriet (1874)

Elizabeth Sarah (1876)

Sarah Ann (1878)

George Robert (1880)

Charles (1882)

Mary Ann Londors never married. She died in Barkingside in 1931.

James Londors never married. He died in Barkingside in 1926.

George Londors died in 1856 at the age of ten.

Fourth generation 

  1. The children of John Schofield and Sarah Londors

Sarah Ann Londors married William Orgar. They had these children:

William John (1875)

Ernest Albert (1878)

Albert Victor (1888)

Alma Londors married James John Clyne in 1891. They had no children.

Alice Mary Ann Londors married Thomas Beale in 1880. They had these children:

Elizabeth Alice (1881)

Alma Edith (1884)

Edith Londors married in 1884. Name of husband unknown.

George Londors married Sarah Ann Shaw in 1896. George died in 1834 and Sarah died in 1947. They had these children:

George John (1896)

Albert Isaac (1900)

Ernest (1903)

William James (1904)

Albert Londors does not seem to have married. No records after 1901.

Naomi Emma Londors married George Henry Huggett in 1895. They had a son, Albert Edward (1904). 

  1. The children of William and Caroline Londors

William George Londors may have married Julia Petersen Brent in 1906. I haven’t found records for any children.

James John Londors seems not to have married.

John Londors married Sarah Ann Adams in 1891. She died in 1945 and he died in 1952. They had these children:

Lily Sarah (1892)

John Albert (1893)

Alfred Frederick (1895)

George (1896)

Emma (1898)

Nellie Pretoria (1900)

Annie (1901)

Grace (1907)

Mary Ann Londors married Elliott French Scarborough. They had these children:

Emma Lydia (1895)

Edith Mary (1896)

Jack Herbert (1899)

Caroline Harriet Londors married John James Prudence in 1892. Caroline died in 1970. They had these children:

William (1892)

Charles (1894)

Elizabeth (1897)

John (1900)

Elizabeth Sarah Londors married Charles William Taylor. They had these children:

William (1896)

George (1897)

Frederick (1900)

John Alfred (1900)

Ellen Caroline (1901)

I have no further information about Sarah Ann Londors.

George Robert Londors married Ellen Barley in 1904. They had these children:

Albert (1907)

John Frederick (1909)

Charles Londors married Emma Alice. Charles was registered as a ‘civilian death’ during the Second World War. They had a son John Charles (1907).

Posted in Londors, Plane, Schofield | Leave a comment

The last will and testament of John White, mariner and shipwright

I’ve been revisiting the records for my maternal 8 x great grandfather Captain William Greene of Ratcliffe, Stepney, who died in January 1685/6. Our knowledge of Captain Greene’s family is sketchy, but it’s clear from his will of October 1685 that he had a daughter Mary who survived him. There is just one reference to her in the will:

I give and bequeath unto my loveing daughter Mary White late Mary Greene the sume of Twenty shillings of lawfull money of England.

From this we can conclude that, by the time her father made his will, Mary was married to a man named White. Earlier in his will William Greene mentions ‘my two grandchildren William Greene and Mary Greene’. From their surname, I assume these were the children of an unnamed and probably deceased son. Since William doesn’t mention any grandchildren named White, I assume that at this stage Mary didn’t have any children of her own, or at least any who had survived, and she may not have been married long.

St. Dunstan's church, Stepney

St. Dunstan’s church, Stepney

William Greene was buried at the church of St Dunstan and All Saints, Stepney, on 6th January 1685/6. The parish register of the church records the baptism, just two weeks later, on 19th January, of ‘Mary daughter of John White of Ratcliffe mariner & of Mary uxor’. The same child was buried on 31st July 1686, at the age of just six months. I’ve been unable to find evidence of any other children born to the couple. Although we can’t be sure, it seems quite likely that this record relates to Mary White née Greene, daughter of Captain William Greene. There are other couples named John and Mary White in the contemporary local records: one John White was a sawyer in Limehouse, for example, while another was a Spitalfields cutler. However, the fact that Mary’s father was also a mariner, and that her family home was in Ratcliffe, suggests that this is the right couple.

There are a number of wills relating to mariners named John White living in or near Stepney in the last quarter of the seventeenth century. However, there is only one in which the testator refers to a wife named Mary, and that is the last will and testament of John White of Ratcliffe, signed and sealed on 28th August 1689, in the first year of the reign of William and Mary (who had seized the throne in the coup that ousted King James II earlier that year). This John White describes himself as a shipwright, rather than a mariner, but the two occupations were by no means incompatible.

The Thames at London in the 17th century

Ships on the Thames at London in the 17th century

The will seems to follow a standard format used by mariners about to embark on a sea voyage, granting what seems to be power of attorney to his wife Mary. This means that, unhelpfully for our purposes, John White’s will contains minimal information about his family and other circumstances. The document is labelled on the reverse side as ‘Letter of Attorney and Will from Mr John White’, and beneath this is the following description, in a mixture of Latin and English:

Testator fuit p— de Stepney Sed mort obist apud Maryland Mense Septembri 1696 ad navem n—  ye preservacon

In other words, the testator was from (the parish of?) Stepney, but died in Maryland in the month of September 1696, on board a ship called the Preservation. I’ve found a reference to this document in a collection of North American wills registered in London. This describes John as a shipwright of Ratcliffe, Middlesex, who died on the ship Preservation. However, it gives the location of his death as ‘VA’ – i.e. Virginia – rather than Maryland. The record includes the useful information that the will was proved on 8th October 1697 by John’s widow Mary, thus confirming that Mary survived him.

Seventeenth century map of Virginia and Maryland

Seventeenth century map of Virginia and Maryland

I haven’t been able to find out anything about the Preservation, except that the same book of wills refers to two other London mariners’ deaths on board the same ship, also in Virginia. On 10th March 1699 the will of Josiah Dixon of Aldgate, and on 17th December 1706 the will of Jasper Ellixon of Ratcliffe Highway, Stepney, were proven. In the latter case, the Preservation is described as a merchant ship. These additional references also confirm that the ship sailed regularly between London and Virginia. Virginia and Maryland, which had both been settled since the early decades of the seventeenth century, were neighbouring colonies, and for a ship anchored in Chesapeake Bay, for example, it might be difficult to determine which colony was nearer (see map above). Alternatively, the designation of the site of John White’s  and these other sailors’ death as ‘Virginia’ might be evidence of a continuing habit of using this name to describe the whole of the eastern seaboard from Maine to North Carolina.

I’ve yet to find any record for John White’s widow Mary after 1697. It’s possible she remarried, or she may have returned to live with her widowed stepmother Elizabeth Greene, who would herself survive for another ten or twenty years or so.

There were two witnesses to John White’s will. Thomas Cook seems to have been another Stepney mariner, while Thomas Quilter Senior may have been the ‘gentleman’ of Ratcliffe who made his will in 1723, or possibly his father. My transcription of John White’s will follows:

Know all men by this p[re]sents that I John White of Ratcliffe in the parrish of Stepney als Stebenheath in the County of Midlsx. Shipwright Have made ordained Constituted and Appointed and by these presents in my stead and place doe make ordaine Constitute and Appoint my welbeloved wife Mary White of the same parrish and County to be my true and Lawfull Attorney Deputy and Asigne for me in my name and to mine owne use and behoofe to ask demand, require, recover, buy [?] receive and take All and singular such sume and & sumes of mony debts, dues, adventures [?], ticketts, goods wares, merchandises Chattells Rents, Claimes and all other demands whatsoever, which now and or hereafter shall become due Owing and Appertaining unto me the said John White By or from any manner of person or persons whoatsoever whether the same be or shall be by Bond Bill agreement gift or bequest or for my service on board any ship or ships or any vessell or vessells or by any other wayes or means howsoever, Giving and by these presents granting unto my said Attorney my full and whole power Strength and Authority to use any Lawfull wayes or means for the recovery of the same or any part thereof and in Case of Refusal or non payment thereof to sue arrest attack, Impload, Imprison and Condemne, And upon payment of the same or any other Composicon againe to Release discharge and sett free, The Attorney or more —– under her to substitute and appoint and the same again at pleasue to revoake, And generally to doe Execute performe fulfull and finish all things whatsoever needful and Expedient to be done in and about the Execucon of the promises as fully to all intents and purposes as I myselfe might or Could doe if they and their personally present. Hereby Ratifying and Confirming all, and whatsoever my said Attorney her substitutes shale doe by vertue how of And when it shale pleas god to take me out of this present world then my mind and meaning is that this writing shall be taken as my Last will and Testament and I give and bequeath (after my Just debts satisfied) unto my said welbeloved wife Mary White All and Singular my goods debts Chattels wages adventures [?] sume and sums of mony and all other temporale Estate of what kind nature and quality soever and wheresoer shall then of right belong unto me whome by these presnets I doe make nominate and appoint to be full and sole Executrix of this my last will and Testament Renouncing and Revoaking all former and o ther wills gifts and bequests by me heretofore made or given In witness whereof I have hereunto put my hand and seale dated the twenty eighth day of August Anno Domi 1689 And in the first yeare of King William and Queene Mary of England John White W His marke Signed sealed published & declared in the presence of Thomas Cook Thomas Quilter Sr.

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The marriage of William Greene and Elizabeth Elliott

On 20th March 1676 (1677 by modern reckoning), a scrivener named Thomas Sumerly, from the east London suburb of Shadwell, published a marriage allegation on behalf of William Greene, a 50-year-old widower, and Elizabeth Elliott, a widow of 35, both of them from nearby Stepney. Four years earlier, Sumerly had been  a witness to the last will and testament of his friend John Elliott, a well-to-do carpenter and Elizabeth’s late husband. The allegation ‘prayed Lycence’ for William and Elizabeth to be married ‘in ye parish Church of St Bartholomew the Lesse or St Paul Shadwell’.

The marriage allegation for William Greene and Elizabeth Elliott

The marriage allegation for William Greene and Elizabeth Elliott

I’m almost certain that the William Greene who married Elizabeth Elliott was Captain William Greene of Ratfliffe, and that he and Elizabeth were my 8 x great grandparents. Just two weeks before this allegation was published, ‘Jane wife of Capt. Willm. Green of Ratcliffe’ had been buried at the parish church of St Dunstan and All Saints, Stepney. About eleven months after the allegation was made, a child named Joseph Greene, ‘son of Capt. Willm. Green of Ratcliff mariner and Elizabeth uxor’, was christened at St Dunstan’s. Joseph was my 7 x great grandfather. Clearly, Captain Greene had remarried in the interim, to a woman named Elizabeth, and this marriage to Elizabeth Elliott seems to fit the bill.

However, until yesterday I hadn’t been able to locate a record of the marriage of William and Elizabeth. I’d found a reference, in the parish register of St Botolph’s, Aldgate, to a marriage between William Greene and Elizabeth Leate on 7th February 1677. Since Leate or Leete was Elizabeth Elliott’s maiden name, I’d managed to half-persuade myself that this might be the right record, despite the fact that it describes William as a bachelor, and that February 1677 was almost a year after the allegation was made. Not only that, but St Botolph’s, despite its proximity to Stepney, was not even one of the churches mentioned in the marriage allegation.

Church of St Bartholomew the Less, City of London

Church of St Bartholomew the Less, City of London (via wikimedia)

Then, yesterday morning, carrying out another sweep through the records at Ancestry, I came across a reference to a marriage on 23rd March 1676 between William Greene and Elizabeth Elliott – at St Bartholomew the Less, one of the two churches named in the allegation published by Thomas Sumerly. Unfortunately, it’s an index-only record: it seems that the parish records for St Bartholomew have not been fully digitised. This marriage took place three days after the allegation was published by Thomas Sumerly, so I think there’s a fair chance it’s the right one.

St Bartholomew the Less is a small church in the City of London, associated with St Bartholomew’s Hospital. Only a selection of its parish records have been digitised and uploaded to Ancestry: unfortunately they don’t include marriages for 1676. The complete parish records for the church are held by St Barts’ own archive and can be viewed by arrangement. I’m hoping it will be possible to pay a visit, if only to see whether the register includes any details – such as age, occupation or home parish – that would confirm that the William Greene and Elizabeth Elliott who were married on 23rd March 1676 were in fact my ancestors.

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The will of John Greene of Newcastle, mariner (1668)

In the previous post I explored a theory about the family background of my 8 x great grandfather, Captain William Greene of Ratcliffe. I speculated that he might have been the son of another William Greene, a chirurgeon  (surgeon) who also lived in Ratcliffe and had a son named William baptised at Stepney parish church in 1623/4. However, I’ve been unable to find any conclusive proof of this connection, so for now I’m continuing to explore other possibilities.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m still hoping to find some kind of link between my ancestor Captain Greene and another mariner of Ratcliffe, also named William Greene, who died in 1634. In his will, this William Greene made bequests to ‘my sonnes William Greene and Bartholomew Greene both of the parish abovesaid in the Countie of Midd Marriners’ and to ‘my Grandchildren beinge the sonnes and daughters of my three sonnes viz in number seaven’. The identity of the elder William Greene’s third son is revealed in the will of his widow, Elizabeth Greene, who died in 1655, in which she refers to one of her late husband’s surviving grandchildren as ‘John Greene the sonne of John Greene of New Castle Marriner’.

caribbean-1923-barbados-after-ligon-1657.-old-vintage-map-of-the-islands-190406-p

For some time, I’ve been searching for information about John Greene (father or son), and today I finally tracked down a document that may offer some clues about his life. In the Durham Probate Records I came across a reference to the will of John Greene, mariner, of Newcastle upon Tyne, who made his will in May 1668. Apparently this was a noncupative or oral will, made aboard the May Flower of Newcastle, in Carlisle Bay, off Bridgetown, Barbados.

John Greene’s will has been digitised and can be accessed via the FamilySearch site. I’ve now downloaded a copy and transcribed the document, which is fairly brief, as you might expect of a will taken down by dictation from a sick and dying man, on a ship thousands of miles from home. When I first came across the reference to the will, I assumed it was made by John Greene senior, the son of the William Greene who died in 1634. However, I now think that if it has any connection to the Greenes of Ratcliffe, it is more likely to be the will of William Greene’s grandson, also John, assuming that the latter followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather by going to sea. I base my hunch on the fact that the John Greene who made this will refers to a brother named Joseph, and we know that the older John Greene only had two brothers, William the younger and Bartholomew. On the other hand, if it is the same family, then the fact that it includes the names of two family members – Joseph, and also his and John’s mother Dorothy – that might provide clues to uncovering the link, if any exists, with the Stepney Greenes. It’s also interesting that the master of the May Flower was Thomas Green, though the will gives no suggestion that the two men were related, and the shared surname may simply be a coincidence.

John Greene's will of 1668

John Greene’s will of 1668

I’ve been unable to find out very much about Thomas Green or his ship, except that it certainly wasn’t the famous Mayflower that transported the pilgrims to the New World more than half a century earlier: it seems there were a number of ships bearing the same name in the seventeenth century. At this period Barbados was an important British colony, dominated by sugar plantations and increasingly reliant on slave labour transported from Africa: the May Flower may well have taken part in this trade. During the 1660s, Barbados suffered a number of misfortunes, including a fire in Bridgetown and a major hurricane in 1667, and a drought in 1668, the year of John Greene’s death, which ruined some plantation owners.

My transcription of the will follows, and I hope that in future posts I’ll be able to report further findings on John Greene’s identity and his possible link with my Stepney ancestors.

Memorandum That in the Month of May in the yeare of our Lord God One Thousand Six Hundred Sixty Eight, John Green late whilst he lived of the Towne & County of Newcastle upon Tyne mariner, being then aboard the Ship called the May flower of Newcastle aforesd, whereof Thomas Green was then Master in Carlisle–bay at the Barbadoes, and being sicke and weake in body yet of sound and pfect memory, and being demanded by the sayd Thomas Green, how? and in what mannner? he would dispose of his Estaite, in case it should please God, to call him out of this mortall life, he the sayd John Green with A: serious intencon, and resolucon, to make & declare his last Will & Testament Nuncupative by word of mouth, answered and sayd, in these or the very like words in Effort following (vizt) The one halfe of my Estaite I give and bequeath to my brother Joseph Green: and the other halfe thereof I Give and bequeath unto my mother Dorothy Green Which words, or words tending to the same Effort & purpose were uttered by the sayd John Green being of pfect minde and memory, as and for his last Will & Testament Nuncupative in the psence and hearing of the sayd Thomas Green, and of John Chester Chirurgion of the sayd Shipp.

Footnote

I wonder if there is any connection between Thomas Green, Master of the May Flower, and Thomas Greene, Captain of the Worcester, who was executed at Edinburgh in 1705 after a notorious trial for piracy, of which he was almost certainly innocent? I’m grateful to Christine Hancock, who has written about the case, for alerting me to this story in a comment on an earlier post.

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Another look at the Bodington-Greene connection

I’m making another attempt to trace the origins of my maternal 8 x great grandfather, Captain William Greene of Ratcliffe, who died in January 1685/6. Captain Greene was a mariner and Warden of Trinity House under Samuel Pepys. In the previous post, I reviewed the evidence confirming that William Greene was, indeed, my ancestor, and the father of my 7 x great grandfather, London goldsmith Joseph Greene (1677 – 1737).

Trinity House

Trinity House

I’ve always believed, though I haven’t been able to prove, that William Greene was somehow related to another mariner of the same name, who also lived in Ratcliffe, and who died in 1634. However, two years ago I speculated that William might be the son of another William Greene, who also lived in Ratcliffe, and who worked not as a mariner but as a chirurgeon (surgeon). This theory was prompted by my discovery that John Bodington, an apothecary who lived in Ratcliffe and made his will in 1728, was not only a close friend of Joseph Greene (he made him joint executor of his will) but for some reason had an interest in the will of Joseph’s mother-in-law (and my 8 x great grandmother) Alice Byne née Forrest.

My research into John Bodington’s background led me to the conclusion that he was the third person to bear that name in his family. The John Bodington who died in 1728 turns out to have been the son of another apothecary named John Bodington, also from Ratcliffe, who died in 1698. He in turn was the son of John Bodington, chirurgeon, who was not only apprenticed to William Greene of Ratcliffe, chirurgeon, but in 1638 married William’s daughter Margaret.

Interior of St Dunstan's, Stepney

Interior of St Dunstan’s, Stepney

We know from the Stepney parish records that William Greene, chirurgeon, and his first wife Agnes had a son named William, who was christened at the church of St Dunstan and All Saints on 14th March 1623/4. Could this be my 8 x great grandfather, the man who grew up to be Captain William Greene, mariner? If he survived, this William Greene would have been two months away from his 62nd birthday when he died in 1685/6: we know that Captain Greene was in his sixties when he died (the second digit of his age is obscured on his tombstone) and ‘aged 50 yeares or thereabouts’ when he married his second wife Elizabeth in 1676/7.

There are a number of posssible objections to this hypothesis. The first is that William Greene chirurgeon, makes no mention of a son William in his will of 1654. However, we know from other wills from this period that they did not always mention every heir or beneficiary. Moreover, William Greene also fails to mention his married daughter Margaret in the will, and at the same time makes reference to ‘my foure youngest daughters’ without naming any others.

Another possible objection is the unlikelihood of a chirurgeon’s son becoming a mariner. Isn’t it far more likely that William Greene junior would have become a chirurgeon, like his father? Once again, however, there might be ways of countering this objection. One is my theory that William Greene senior was, in fact, a ship’s surgeon who may have had dealings with the American colonies, so it’s possible to imagine his son growing up in surrounded by mariners and talk of sea voyages, all of which might have influenced him towards a maritime career.

HMS Monmouth

HMS Monmouth

Secondly, I’ve discovered a parallel in the family of the third John Bodington. Searching for records in the National Archives, I came across a case in Chancery from 1716, in which John Bodington of Stepney, Middlesex, was a defendant and Samuel Younghusband, a mariner, was the plaintiff. Younghusband was the purser on HMS Monmouth, which sailed to Jamaica in 1712. It appears that John Bodington’s brother Richard, said to be deceased, was a Lieutenant on the same ship. I assume the court case was a dispute over Richard’s will. Richard had been born in 1684, six years after John, but to date I’ve been unable to find any record of his death.

If the second John Bodington, a Ratcliffe apothecary and himself the son of a chirurgeon, could have a son who was a mariner, then might not William Greene, chirurgeon, also have had a son who became a ship’s captain?

Footnote

Reviewing the records for the third John Bodington – the one who died in 1728 and was a friend of Joseph Greene – I noticed that he leaves ‘six pounds apiece to buy each of them mourning’ to his two apprentices, John Letch and Moor Doughty. I recalled that one of the witnesses to the will of Joseph Greene, who died ten years later, was Joseph Letch. He was an attorney, and it seems from the will of John Letch, apothecary, who died in 1763, that he was his brother. Incidentally, it appears that Moor or Moore Doughty became a ship’s surgeon.

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