My ancestors in late-seventeenth-century London

A few days ago I posted a timeline, covering the second half of the seventeenth century and the first half of the eighteenth, for the Boulton family, who were connected to my Byne and Forrest ancestors by marriage. In this post I’m doing something similar for the Bynes and the Forrests, but I’m restricting it to the later decades of the seventeenth century – broadly speaking, the years of Cromwell’s Commonwealth and of the Stuart Restoration – since there is so much more information for this branch of my maternal family.

London from Southwark, 17th century

London from Southwark, 17th century

Contemporary national events are given in italics, while my direct ancestors’ names are in bold the first time they are mentioned. A quick reminder: Magnus Byne, rector of Clayton in Sussex, and Thomas Forrest, citizen and haberdasher of London, were my 9 x great grandfathers; their children John Byne, citizen and stationer, and Alice Forrest, were my 8 x great grandparents; and John and Alice’s daughter Mary was my 7 x great grandmother. Mary Byne married my 7 x great grandfather Joseph Greene, a citizen and goldsmith, the son of another of my 8 x great grandfathers, Captain William Greene, a mariner of Ratcliffe and warden of Trinity House.

All locations are in London, unless otherwise specified. I hope this timeline gives a clearer sense of the chronology of my family’s lives in the capital in the turbulent later decades of the seventeenth century. 

1650             Thomas Forrest marries Anne Borrowes, St Bartholomew the Great

1651               Battle of Worcester

Birth of John, son of Magnus (1) and Anne Byne, Sussex

1653              Oliver Cromwell becomes Lord Protector

1655               (?) Birth of Alice, daughter of Thomas and Anne Forrest

1658               Death of Cromwell

1660              Restoration of the monarchy under King Charles II

1661               Death of Anne, wife of Magnus Byne, Clayton, Sussex 

1662               Magnus Byne marries Sarah Bartlett 

1664               Birth of Magnus Byne (2), son of Magnus and Sarah Byne, Clayton, Sussex

1665               Great Plague of London

1666               Great Fire of London

Birth of Sarah, daughter of Magnus and Sarah Byne, Clayton, Sussex

1668               (?) Stephen Byne, son of Magnus Byne (1), marries Rebecca Whiting, London

1669               Death of Sarah, wife of Magnus Byne, Sussex

1670

1671               (?) Death of Magnus Byne, Sussex

1674               Death of Stephen Byne, Tower Hill

Magnus Byne (2) at Merchant Taylors’ school

1675               (?) John Byne, stationer, son of Magnus Byne (1), marries Alice Forrest

1676               Birth of Alice, daughter of John and Alice Byne

                        William Greene marries Elizabeth Elliott, St Bartholomew the Less

1677               Birth of Joseph, son of William and Elizabeth Greene, Ratcliffe, Stepney

1678               Death of Thomas Forrest, Little Tower Hill

1679               Birth of John, son of John and Alice Byne, Tower Hill

1680

1683               Birth of Mary, daughter of John and Alice Byne

1685               Accession of King James II

Birth of Magnus Byne (3), son of John and Alice Byne

1686               Birth of Thomas, son of John and Alice Byne

Death of Captain William Greene, Ratcliffe, Stepney

1688               King James II deposed by William of Orange

1689               Death of John Byne, Tower Hill

1690              Magnus Byne (2) marries Jane Dakin, St George the Martyr, Southwark

1692               Joseph Greene apprenticed to Joseph Strong, goldsmith

1695               Thomas and Magnus Byne (3) at Merchant Taylors’ School 

1700              Death of William Forrest of Badsey, Worcestershire, brother of Thomas

1701               Joseph Greene marries Mary Byne, St Botolph, Aldgate

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The quest for William Boulton

In recent posts I’ve been revisiting what we know about Richard, Peter, Thomas and Elizabeth Boulton, four siblings who lived in London in the later decades of the seventeenth century and the early decades of the eighteenth. I’m fairly certain that their mother was Alice Boulton née Forrest, the sister of my 9 x great grandfather Thomas Forrest, a London citizen and haberdasher. As for their father, my theory is that his name was William Boulton, but until recently this has been unsubstantiated speculation. However, I’m now in a position to confirm that the theory is correct.

My initial source for understanding the complex relationships within the Boulton family was the 1698 will of William Forrest of Badsey, Worcestershire, brother of Alice Forrest and of my ancestor Thomas. The will includes the following bequests:

To William Grace and Hester children of Mr Thomas Saunders of Moore twenty shillings apeece To my Sister Alice Boulton five pounds To my Cozen Elizabeth Markland twenty shillings to buy her a ring To my Cozen Alice Bolton daughter of Peter Bolton twenty shillings.

From this, I was able to conclude that William Forrest had a sister named Alice and that she was married to a man with the surname Boulton. Putting this together with evidence from other Boulton family wills, I was also able to discover that Peter Boulton and Elizabeth Markland (née Boulton) were Alice’s son and daughter by Mr Boulton, their other children being Captain Richard Boulton, Thomas Boulton and the woman (possibly Margaret Boulton) who married Thomas Saunders of Moor, a hamlet in the parish of Fladbury, Worcestershire, where I believe the Forrest family, and perhaps the Boultons, had their roots.

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

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

Frustratingly, neither the 1737 will of Captain Richard Boulton nor that made by his brother Peter in 1743, mention their father’s Christian name. However, we know from various sources that the Boultons lived in the parish of All Hallows Barking in the City of London, and if we search the records of that parish in the second half of the seventeenth century, we find a William and Alice Boulton living there in 1695. Could these be the parents of Richard, Peter, Thomas and Elizabeth? Although the name ‘William’ does not occur among the surviving children (though it might have belonged to a son who died infancy?) it’s perhaps no coincidence that two of them – Thomas Boulton and Margaret (?) Saunders – gave this name to one of their sons.

Confirmation of William’s name comes, after a fashion, in the contemporary tax records. In 1666 we find a William Boulton paying Hearth Tax on a property in Chitterling Alley in the parish of All Hallows Barking. Nearly thirty years later, in the records for the Four Shillings in a Pound Aid of 1693/4, we find Peter Boulton living in the same place. At the same time, a William Boulton is paying tax on a property in nearby Priest Alley. He was still paying land tax in Priest Alley in 1703 and 1706, but a year later Peter Boulton began paying tax on the same property. We know that it’s the same house, since the next-door neighbour is the same person: a certain Thomas Ayliffe.

What seems to have happened is that, having originally owned a house in Chitterling Alley, William Boulton later purchased a property in neighbouring Priest Alley, while his son Peter took over the Chitterling Alley property. After William’s death, presumably in 1706 or thereabouts, Peter moved into his house in Priest Alley.

Part of Rocque's 1746 map of London.

Part of Rocque’s 1746 map of London, showing Chitterling Alley and Priest Alley, close to the church of All Hallows Barking.

Further evidence that William Boulton might have been the name of Alice’s husband comes in my recent discovery of what appears to be an apprenticeship indenture for his son Thomas. We know that Thomas Boulton married a woman named Bridget and that they had two sons, Captain Richard Boulton the younger and William. When the latter was baptised, his father Thomas was described as a goldsmith, and as I noted in a recent post, it seems likely that he was the Thomas Boulton who was apprenticed to goldsmith John Smith in 1684. Not only was this Thomas Boulton’s father called William, but he was also described as a London gunmaker: the same profession as Thomas’ brother Peter.

Coincidentally, as I was writing this post, I received an email from Brian Godwin, an expert on sixteenth- and seventeenth-century gunmaking, in answer to a query that I had sent him only a few hours earlier. Brian kindly attached a photocopied entry for Peter Boulton from H.L.Blackmore’s Dictionary of London Gunmakers (1986) which reads as follows:

Son of William, appr. to father, 1680; free of Gunmakers Co. by patrimony, 1684. Fined by Gunmakers Co. for giving ‘the Master opprobrious words with the threatening to Post him up a Coward at the Exchange if he did not fight him,’ 1700; fined again for assaulting the Master, 1702. Elected Assistant, 1710; Master, 1710. Gunmaker to Ordnance, 1688 – 1715; East India Co., 1698 – 1721. Last ref., 1741.

This is a richly informative entry. It provides confirmation that Peter Boulton’s name was indeed William and that he was, like him, a gunsmith. We learn that Peter was apprenticed to his own father in 1680, when he would have been about fifteen years old, and that he gained his freedom four years later, at the age of about nineteen. We also learn that Peter Boulton was, to say the least, a spirited youth. I assume that the master with whom he exchanged ‘opprobrious words’ and whom he challenged to a fight and later actually assaulted, was not his own father. It would be fascinating to learn the identity of the man, and the cause of their dispute.

Tower Hill in the late 17th century

Tower Hill in the late seventeenth century

The fact that, eight years after these events, Peter became a master gunsmith himself, seems to demonstrate that he got over his youthful high spirits. His belligerent reputation obviously did not prevent him serving as a gunmaker to the Office of Ordnance, which supplied arms and munitions to the Army and Navy and was based at the Tower of London, conveniently close to Peter Boulton’s premises in Tower Street. I wonder if his work for the East India Company came about as a result of his brother Richard’s role as a captain and later director for ther Company?

As for William Boulton, I’m still unable to find a will for him, or any evidence of his date or place of birth. I’m fairly sure that he was born in Worcestershire (his wife Alice was born in the county, and three of their children found marriage partners from there), but so far I’ve failed to discover any reference to him in local wills.

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The Boultons and the Bushells: connections and questions

In the last post I revisited the life of Major Peter Boulton, a London citizen and gunsmith. He was the brother of Captain Richard Boulton of the East India Company and the son of William Boulton and Alice Forrest, the sister of my 9 x great grandfather Thomas Forrest. 

In this post I want to explore further Peter Boulton’s connection with the Bushell family. In 1691, when he was about 26 years old, Peter married Elizabeth Bushell of Fladbury, Worcestershire (the marriage licence gives her name as ‘Bushwell’ and her place of birth as ‘Flatbury’, but we can dismiss these as clerical errors). Elizabeth was said to be 21 years old at the time, which means that she must have been born in about 1670. I’ve searched the parish records, via The Genealogist, for evidence of Elizabeth’s baptism, but although there are many Bushells in the Fladbury register, and a number of Elizabeth Bushells, none of them match this date.

As I noted in the last post, we know that Peter and Elizabeth Boulton had two daughters, Alice and Elizabeth, both of them born by 1695, when the young family was living in London and Peter was working there as a master gunmaker. We also know that Peter’s wife Elizabeth had died by 1699, when she would have been in her late twenties, because this was the year that Peter married his second wife, Posthuma Landick of Bath.

Bath in the 18th century

Bath in the 18th century

The only clue we have about Elizabeth Bushell’s origins comes in the will of one Samuel Bushell, a gentleman of Bath, who died in 1696. In his will Samuel leaves money to ‘my cosen Alice Boulton daughter of my brother-in-law Peter Boulton’. By ‘cosen’, I’m fairly sure that Samuel means ‘niece’ (as I’ve often noted, ‘cousin’ could mean any relative at this period). Since Peter was still married to Elizabeth at this point, it means that Samuel Bushell must have been Elizabeth Boulton née Bushell’s brother. Samuel’s will mentions his wife, also Elizabeth, but no children, suggesting that (like his sister Elizabeth Boulton) he may have died young.

So we have two Bushell siblings, Elizabeth and Samuel, both probably born in the 1670s, both married, but both dying in the 1690s when they were still young adults. However, this prompts the question as to how Elizabeth could be described as ‘of Fladbury’ at the time of her marriage, while her brother Samuel was living in Bath.

We know that the Bushell family had a branch in Bath, but the connection between them and the Bushells of Fladbury is still a mystery. We also know that the mother of Peter Boulton’s second wife Posthuma Landick was a Bushell (in fact, another Elizabeth Bushell). Born in Bath in 1676, Posthuma was the daughter of David and Elizabeth Landick. We know that Elizabeth Landick was born a Bushell, since the will of Edward Bushell the elder, who died in 1701, mentions a daughter of that name. The same will refers to Peter Boulton as a ‘cousin’ (by this time, he had been married to Posthuma for two years).

Elizabeth Landick née Bushell had a number of siblings. John Bushell died two years after his father, in 1703. Edward Bushell the younger died in 1724; his will included a bequest to Alice, daughter of Peter Boulton. Ann Bushell married William Collibee, an apothecary and mayor of Bath; in her will of 1729, Ann Collibee describes Peter Boulton as a ‘cousin’. John, Edward and Ann were the uncles and aunt of Peter’s wife Posthuma.

How does Samuel Bushell fit into this family? Was he another son of Edward Bushell the elder? And how did his sister Elizabeth, Peter Boulton’s first wife, come to be living in Fladbury, some seventy miles from Bath? These are questions that, at this stage, remain unanswered.

Fladbury parish church (via geograph)

Fladbury parish church, Worcestershire (via geograph)

There’s another mystery thrown up by the Bushell wills. In his will of 1724, Edward Bushell the younger states: ‘I give Alice Boulton daughter of Peter Boulton ten pounds’. However, we know that Alice had married Captain Richard Gosfreight four years earlier. We might dismiss the use of Alice’s maiden name as an oversight, if it weren’t for another anomaly which occurs in the will of Thomas Bushell who died in 1721. I’m not entirely sure of Thomas’ connection to the other Bushells of Bath, though a Thomas Bushell, the proprietor of the Three Tunns, was described as a ‘cousin’ by Edward Bushell the elder in his will of 1701. Thomas leaves a hundred pounds to ‘Eleanor Gospright [sic] Daughter of Peter Bolton [sic] of London Gunsmith’. Is this another error, or do these two references cast doubt on the question of which daughter of Peter Boulton married Richard Gosfreight?

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Revisiting the life of Major Peter Boulton, gunsmith (1665 – 1743)

Following on from my recent posts about Elizabeth Boulton, Thomas Boulton, and Captain Richard Boulton, I’ve decided to revisit what we know about their brother, Peter Boulton, in the hope that this might throw further light on the questions still surrounding the Boulton family.

What do we know for certain about Peter Boulton? We know from the record of his first marriage on 26th June 1691, at St James’ Westminster, to Elizabeth Bushell of Fladbury, Worcestershire, that he was born in about 1665, since he was about 26 years old when the marriage licence was issued (Elizabeth was 21). The licence gives Peter’s address as the parish of All Hallows Barking in the City of London, whose records are still not available online, so it’s difficult to find details of Peter’s birth or baptism. I thought I had made a breakthrough when I found a record of the baptism of Peter Boulton, son of William and Alice, in Putney, on 10th August 1664. Since we know that these were the names of Peter’s parents, then perhaps the family had a country home in the suburb, or perhaps they moved there to escape the Great Plague? But then I found many other Boulton records in Putney and concluded that this was a different family, and the names were just a coincidence. And anyway, the plague which forced many families to flee the city did not strike until the following year.

The Great Plague of 1665 (via the National Archives)

The Great Plague of 1665 (via the National Archives)

Peter and Elizabeth Boulton’s marriage licence also describes Peter as a gun maker. In 1687, a citizen and gunmaker by the name of Peter Boulton took on an apprentice by the name of Edmund Castle or Castell, ‘son of Robert Castle of Churchill in the County of Oxford, yeoman’. If this is ‘our’ Peter, then he would have been about 23 years old at the time, and would recently have finished his own apprenticeship and been made a freeman or citizen of London. (Edmund Castle would become a citizen and gunmaker in his own right, up until his death in the parish of St Anne, Limehouse, in 1753).

The next definite record that we have for Peter Boulton is from the list of ‘London inhabitants within the walls’ drawn up in 1695, when Peter would have been about 30 years old and had been married for four years. Under ‘Boulton’, the record includes an entry for ‘Peter; Eliz, w[ife]; Alice, d[aughter]; Eliz, d[aughter].’ We know that Peter Boulton was married to Elizabeth, and we know that they had a daughter named Alice, since Samuel Bushell of Bath, Elizabeth’s brother, leaves money in his will of 1696 to ‘my cosen Alice Boulton daughter of my brother-in-law Peter Boulton’, while in the following year William Forrest of Badsey, Worcestershire, brother of my 9 x great grandfather Thomas Forrest, makes a bequest in his will to ‘my Cozen Alice Bolton daughter of Peter Bolton’. The fact that neither Samuel nor William make any mention of Elizabeth suggests that she may have died in infancy. Thus we can conclude that Peter and Elizabeth Boulton had two daughters born between about 1692 and 1695.

Bath Abbey (via Wikipedia)

Bath Abbey (via Wikipedia)

However, we also know that Peter’s first wife Elizabeth died some time between 1695 and 1699, perhaps in childbirth, since Peter would marry for a second time on 31st December 1699. His second wife was Posthuma Landick and the wedding took place at Bath Abbey. Born in 1676, Posthuma was 23 years old when she married Peter Boulton. She was the daughter of David Landick (‘late deceased’ – hence her unusual first name?) and his wife Elizabeth, who seems to have been born a Bushell, suggesting that Peter may have met his second wife through the relatives of his first. It’s possible that it was as a result of his marriage to Posthuma that Peter Boulton came into the possession of property in Bath, or alternatively that his marriage led to him buying a second home close to his wife’s family.

Peter and Posthuma Boulton certainly retained a home in London for the first twenty years or so of their marriage. When I had a quick look through the parish register of All Hallows Barking, on my visit to the London Metropolitan Archives two years ago, I found the record of the baptism of Edward, son of Peter and Posthuma Boulton, on 5th May 1703. (It’s possible that the child was named after Edward Bushell, Posthuma’s maternal grandfather, who had died two years earlier.) We can also surmise from later records that they had a son Peter some five years later, in about 1708.

Part of Rocque's 1746 map of London.

Part of Rocque’s 1746 map of London.

It was in 1703 that Peter Boulton first appeared in the extant London land tax records, when a Captain Peter Boulton can be found living in Black Raven Court, close to Rose Court and to Chitterling Lane. He was at the same address in 1706, though by now he had risen to the rank of major. How do we account for these military titles, given that (as far as we know) Peter Boulton worked as a master gunsmith in the City of London, and did not join the army, or the East India Company like his brother Captain Richard Boulton?

One explanation is suggested by ‘A List of the Principal Officers of the Trained Bands of London’, published in 1704, in which a Peter Boulton features as one of the captains of the Blue Regiment under Colonel Sir Thomas Cooke. The latter was a London alderman and (interestingly) a governor of the East India Company, which Peter’s brother Richard would later serve as a director. The trained bands were local militia regiments organised on a county basis and membership was open to freeholders and householders.

In every year from 1707 to 1716 Major Peter Boulton could be found living in Priest Alley, which was also next to Rose Court, so it’s unclear whether this represented a change of address, or a renaming of the location. Two houses away was Martin Markland, the Navy Board official who had married Peter’s sister Elizabeth in 1691. Next to them was one Isaac Crabb, who might possibly have been a relative (perhaps the father?) of Thomas Crabb, who was married to Peter’s niece Hester Saunders. Peter was still there in 1717, but now Isaac Crabb had gone and Martin Markland had recently died, so that it was ‘Widow Markland’ (Peter’s sister Elizabeth) who was the occupant of one of the neighbouring houses.

We know that Peter Boulton was still working as a London gunsmith in 1717, because of the account given in 1747 by Samuel Hullock, a convicted murderer, shortly before his execution at Newgate, in which he states that at the age of fourteen his parents ‘bound him out to the Trade of a Gunsmith’ and that having spent short periods as an apprentice to two other masters, ‘I came to Major Peter Boulton, a Gunsmith in Tower-street, and was turned over to him in October, 1717, whom I served to his Satisfaction the Remainder of my Time, and 3 Months over; having before I became his Servant scarce served a Year.’ Hullock then relates how he began to ‘take Delight in the Female Sex, in going Abroad with them’ and how ‘some of those I was acquainted with lived in the Mint, and they wanted me to rob my Master if I cou’d lay Hands convenently on Plate, or any thing else worth while.’ Hullock claims that he refused and ‘forsook this Company’ for a time. He continues:

At this Time I took it into my Head to stay at Home with the Servants of my Master’s House, which displeased my Master and Mistress [presumably Peter and Posthuma Boulton] greatly; insomuch that they gave themselves a deal of Trouble to talk to me. But I being too fond of the Sex to listen to any Body’s Advice, took no Notice of what they said, at least it made no Impression.

For immediately upon that I went over Tower-Hill that Night, where I met a Woman for my Purpose, and being concern’d with her, she gave me the Foul Disease, of which I took proper Care in Time.

However our Foreman wrote to my Master then at Bath, who having receiv’d an Account of my Behaviour, immediately ordered me to be turned away.

But I made a great Hurry about it, and the Alderman’s Beadle was sent for to keep Peace, for fear of my being Angry, and abusing him that sent my Master Word of what I had done, and what had happen’d, so he seems always to have been a passionate and vicious Fellow.

Nevertheless having been out of my Time about a Year and a half, and being hired to work by the Year, I insisted on having a Month’s Warning.

In that Time I sent to my Master, who returned me for Answer, that I might stay as long as I pleased. But when the Month was up, I packed up my Alls, and away I went, and fixed on a Lodging where I became first acquainted with my Wife that now is, with whom I had lived some Years, and had two Children, tho’ not yet married.

This account, as well as giving us a fascinating insight into the life of the Boulton household, confirms that the family maintained a house in Bath as well as their London property. The Tower Street address need not concern us: Priest Alley may have been encompassed in the general Tower Street area, or it could be that Peter’s workshop was a short distance from the Boulton family home.

The Boultons were still in Priest Alley in 1718 and 1720, and also between 1722 and 1728, though from 1726 ‘Widow Markland’ was joined by her son-in-law William Bigglestone (and presumably his wife, Elizabeth’s daughter Alice), and in 1728 Elizabeth is no longer mentioned, suggesting that this might have been the year that she died. The land tax record for 1728 is the last that I can find for Peter Boulton, which may mean that after this he and Posthuma retired to their house in Bath. Peter would have been about 62 years old at this time.

What became of Peter Boulton’s children? I’ve already suggested that Elizabeth, Peter’s daughter from his first marriage to Elizabeth Bushell, must have died in infancy. As for Alice, his other daughter from the same marriage, we know that in 1720 she married shipowner Richard Gosfreight, another retired East India Company captain and a business partner of Peter’s brother Richard. Gosfright was a wealthy man who owned Langtons, a manor house in Hornchurch, Essex. Richard and Alice had a daughter Mary, probably born in the following year, but it seems likely that Alice died shortly aferwards, perhaps as a result of childbirth. Mary would eventually marry Walter Gibbs, an apothecary in Bath, and it seems likely that she was introduced to him by her maternal grandparents.

Magdalen Hall, Oxford

Magdalen Hall, Oxford

As for Peter’s two sons from his second marriage to Posthuma Landick, I can find no trace of Edward Boulton after his baptism in 1703, so we should probably conclude that he died in infancy. Peter Boulton the younger, on the other hand, matriculated at Magdalen Hall, Oxford in 1723 or 1724 at the age of 15, graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in 1727 and a Masters in 1730, when he would have been 21 years old. However, I’ve found no more references to him in the records and his absence from his father’s will suggests that he must have died as a young man.

Having retired to Bath, Peter Boulton made his will on 19th October 1740 and it was proved at London on 9th July 1743. Peter would have been about 78 years old when he died.

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A Boulton family timeline

To assist me in my continuing attempt to piece together the story of the Boulton family, who were connected to my Forrest ancestors by marriage, I’ve drawn up a timeline of events in the family’s history, in the second half of the seventeenth century and the first half of the eighteenth. Contemporary historical events are in italics, and dates and names about which there’s still some uncertainty are accompanied by a question mark (?)

Church of All Hallows Barking, London

Church of All Hallows Barking, London

1660               Restoration of monarchy

(?) William Boulton marries Alice Forrest 

1661               (?) Birth of Margaret (?), daughter of William and Alice Boulton

1663               (?) Birth of Mary, daughter of William and Alice Boulton

1665               Great Plague of London

Birth of Peter, son of William and Alice Boulton

1666               Great Fire of London 

William Boulton paying tax in Chitterling Alley, All Hallows Barking

1667               (?) Birth of Elizabeth, daughter of William and Alice Boulton

1668               Birth of Thomas, son of William and Alice Boulton

1669               Birth of Richard, son of William and Alice Boulton 

1670

1680 (?)       Margaret (?) Boulton marries Thomas Saunders of Moor, Fladbury

1684               Birth of William, son of Thomas and Margaret (?) Saunders

Thomas Boulton apprenticed as goldsmith

1685               Accession of King James II

1687               Peter Boulton, gunmaker, takes on apprentice Edmund Castle

1688 (?)         King James II deposed; William of Orange seizes throne

Birth of Hester, daughter of Thomas and Margaret (?) Saunders

1686               Elizabeth Boulton marries John Littleton

1690

1691               Peter Boulton marries Elizabeth Bushell of Fladbury at St James

Westminster

1692               (?) Birth of Alice, daughter of Peter and Elizabeth Boulton

Thomas Boulton marries Bridget Nutting at St Paul Covent Garden

(?) Death of John Littleton

1694               Elizabeth Littleton née Boulton marries Martin Markland

1695               Peter and Elizabeth Boulton and daughters Alice and Elizabeth living in All

Hallows Barking

William and Alice Boulton living in All Hallows Barking

1697               Birth of Peter, son Martin and Elizabeth Markland

(?) Death of Elizabeth, wife of Peter Boulton

1698               William Forrest of Badsey makes his will

1699               Peter Boulton marries Posthuma Landick at Bath Abbey

1700              Death of William Forrest of Badsey

1701               Birth of Alice, daughter of Martin and Elizabeth Markland

1702               Accession of Queen Anne

1703               Birth of Edward, son of Peter and Posthuma Landick

Birth of Richard, son of Thomas and Bridget Boulton

1706 (?)         Grace Saunders marries James Jemblin

1707               Birth of John, son of James and Grace Jemblin

1708               Hester Saunders marries Thomas Crabb at St Benet Pauls Wharf

Peter Boulton and Marklands living in Priest Alley, All Hallows Barking

Birth of Peter Boulton junior

Birth of William, son of Thomas and Bridget Boulton

1709               Birth of Henry, son of Thomas and Hester Crabb

1710               (?) Death of Grace Jemblin née Saunders

1711               James Jemblin marries Mary Yates

1714               George of Hanover crowned George I 

1715               Jacobite rebellion in Scotland

1717               Death of Martin Markland

‘Widow Markland’ living in Priest Alley

Peter Boulton trading as gunsmith in Tower Street

1718               Richard Boulton senior becomes director of East India Company (until 1736) 

1720              (?) Alice, daughter of Peter Boulton, marries Richard Gosfreight

1721               (?) Birth of Mary, daughter of Richard and Alice Gosfreight

1723               Richard Boulton senior becomes member of Committee for Shipping

1725               Alice Markland marries William Bigglestone

1727               Accession of George II

1728               (?) Death of Alice Gosfreight née Boulton

1729               Richard Gosfreight marries Catherine March in Calcutta

1730              Peter Boulton junior gains Masters degree from Magdalen Hall, Oxford

1737               Death of Richard Boulton senior at Crutched Friars, London

1740               Richard Boulton junior makes his will at Perdiswell, Worcester

1743               Death of Peter Boulton in Bath

1745               Jacobite rebellion in Scotland and England   

Death of Richard Boulton junior

1746               Death of Richard Gosfreight at Langtons, Hornchurch

Posted in Boulton, Bushell, Forrest, Gosfreigth, Jemblin, Landick, Littleton, Saunders | Leave a comment

Captain Richard Boulton in the London land tax records: 1715 – 1737

In the last post I cleared up some of the confusion surrounding the two Captain Richard Boultons, uncle and nephew, who served with the East India Company in the early decades of the eighteenth century. As a footnote to that post, I’ve been searching for ‘Captain Richard Boulton’ in the land tax records and have found the following.

In 1715 a Captain Richard Boulton was living in the sixth precinct of Aldgate ward in the City of London. The name of his street isn’t given, but on the next page are the records for Blanch Appleton Court and Mark Lane, which were both close to Crutched Friars, where we know Richard senior lived. He lived alone, though he had four ‘estates’ (I’m not sure exactly what this means: does it mean that he owned four properties?) and was paying £5 4s in rent.

Part of Rocque's 1746 map of London, showing part of Crutched Friars and surrounding area

Part of Rocque’s 1746 map of London, showing part of Crutched Friars and surrounding area

In subsequent years Richard could be found at the same address, always living alone, but paying different amounts in rent, and owning differing numbers of ‘estates’. In 1720, he had 16 estates and was paying £7 16s rent. In 1723, 1724 and 1725, he had no estates and paid £5s 10s rent. In 1729, 10 estates and rent of £7 15s. In 1730 and 1731 his rent was back to £5 and 4s. In 1732 and 1733, Richard was said to have 15 estates and he paid £2 12s in rent. In 1734, 1735,1736 and 1737, no estates are mentioned and the rent is back to £5 4s.

The fact that these land tax records come to an end in 1737, the year when we know Richard Boulton senior died, confirms that the records refer to him and not his nephew and namesake. What’s more, the date when these records begin – 1715 – may give an indication of when Richard senior retired from active service at sea. We know that he was a director of the East India Company from 1718, and that he was active as a ship owner at Blackwall Yard in the 1720s.

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The two Captain Richard Boultons: an uncle and nephew in the service of the East India Company

In my continuing quest for information about the Boulton family, I’ve been trying to sort out what we know about two men, an uncle and a nephew, both of whom served as sea captains with the East India Company – and both named Richard Boulton. I believe that some of the extant records confuse the two men, and in this post I want to try to sort out the muddle.

Richard Boulton senior was, I believe, the son of William Boulton and Alice Forrest, the latter being the sister of my 9 x great grandfather Thomas Forrest (died 1678), a London citizen and haberdasher. Richard Boulton junior was the son of Richard senior’s brother Thomas and his wife Bridget. He was probably born in 1703 (see my last post).

The Navy Office in Crutched Friars, London

The Navy Office in Crutched Friars, London

Richard Boulton senior made his will in 1737 and died in the same year, at Crutched Friars in the parish of St Olave Hart Street in the City of London. Incidentally, Crutched Friars was the home of the Navy Office (see image above), where Samuel Pepys worked. In his will Richard describes himself as a member of the East India Company and his bequests include stock in Blackwall Yard and money for a hospital at Poplar. His executors include his (great) nephews Henry and Richard Crabb, whose inheritance depends on their taking the additional surname Boulton. There is no mention in the will of a wife or any children. As for Richard Boulton junior, he is given the title ‘captain’ in his uncle Richard’s will. He made his own will in 1740, describing himself as of Perdiswell, Worcestershire, and he died in 1745. As with his uncle, there is no evidence of a wife or children in Richard junior’s will.

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

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

We can be fairly certain that the following extract, from a history of Blackwall Yard, refers to Richard Boulton senior (my emphasis in bold): 

In June 1724 the Earl and Countess of Strafford sold the yard, with 20½ acres, for £2,800, to Captain John Kirby, a shipbuilder already resident there, whose agreement to purchase the property is dated August 1722. […] Kirby’s purchase of the yard was made on behalf of a four-man syndicate, of which he was one, all of whom were retired sea captains who had worked for the East India Company and were members of London’s shipping community. On the same day as the sale, therefore, Kirby assigned three quarter-shares in the yard to his three partners, Jonathan Collett, Richard Boulton and Edward Pierson. Collett, an active ship’s husband, was described as a gentleman of Trinity Minories, and Pierson as a gentleman of Stratford Langthorne in Essex. In 1720 Pierson had been the instigator of an abortive scheme to establish a company trading to India from the Continent. The fourth partner, Boulton, was a London merchant and an important figure in the East India Company, of which he was a director from 1718 to 1736 and on the Committee for Shipping from 1723 until 1726. He was also a member of the Honourable Company of Shipwrights. 

Both the connection to Blackwall Yard, and the dates, suggest that it’s Richard Boulton senior who is mentioned here. If Richard Boulton junior was born in 1703 or thereabouts, as I believe, then he was too young to be a director of the East India Company in 1718, and certainly much too young to be a retired sea captain.

This account throws some useful light on the life of Richard Boulton senior. From it we learn that he was firstly a sea captain with the East India Company, that later he was a London merchant and a director of the Company, and that in retirement he went into business as a shipwright or ship owner. If Richard was a retired sea captain in 1724, then he was probably a working mariner during the first two decades of the century. If so, then this suggests he was born by about 1680. Since his brother Peter was definitely born in 1665 and another brother, Thomas, may have born in 1668, it’s possible that Richard was born as early as the 1660s or 1670s.

East India House, headquarters of the East India Company

East India House, headquarters of the East India Company

So we have two Richard Boulton, both sea captains, and both working for the East India Company. It’s perhaps understandable that confusion between the two has sometimes arisen, as it does for example in an account of the life Henry Crabb Boulton on the History of Parliament Online site, which includes the following:

Richard Boulton, Henry’s patron, after some 20 years in the East India Company’s marine service and 18 in its direction, retired a wealthy man to Worcestershire whence the family apparently derived. 

The same mix-up is reproduced in the following extract from a genealogical site:

The [Boulton] family was well known in Leatherhead as they owned the Manor House at Thorncroft from 1763 and from 1781 the Lordship of the manor as well. The first owner was Henry Crabb Boulton who was followed briefly by his brother Richard and then by Richard’s son Henry Boulton jnr. In fact all three were born with the name Crabb and adopted the name Boulton only as a result of inheritance. Their patron was their cousin also a Richard Boulton who had served some 40 years in the HEIC being a Director in 1731 and 1737. He was also associated with the ownership of Blackwall Yard 1724-28. […] He was a wealthy man who retired to Worcestershire where he died in 1745. He bequeathed his manors, messuages and lands to Henry Crabb who thereupon added the name Boulton to his own.

In fact, it was Richard Boulton senior who was a director of the East India Company and was associated with Blackwall Yard, and who made the bequest to Henry Crabb. He died in 1737, and it was his nephew Richard Boulton junior who retired to Worcestershire and died in 1745.

A similar error occurs on the otherwise excellent website of the ‘East India Company at Home’ research project:

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.

As we have already established, it was Richard senior who insisted on the additional surname, and he was the Crabb brothers’ (great) uncle, not their cousin: that was Richard junior.

There’s also some confusion about who is referred to in some of the tax records and merchants’ directories from this period. An announcement in a publication entitled The Political State of Great Britain printed in 1737 records the death on 26th October ‘at his house in Crutched Friers [sic]’ of ‘Captain Richard Boulton, late a Director of the East-India Company’. We know that Richard senior died in 1737, and we also know from his will that he died in the parish of St Olave Hart Street, which included Crutched Friars.

However, another publication, The Intelligencer or Merchant’s Assistant, published in the following year – 1738 – still lists Captain Richard Boulton of Crutched Friars, London, among the merchants of the city. There are two possible explanations: either Richard junior took over his uncle’s address, and his business, after his death – or the publication was late in catching up with the news of the latter’s demise.

Fort St George on the Coromandel Coast. Belonging to the East India Company of England

Fort St George on the Coromandel Coast. Belonging to the East India Company of England

The latter explanation seems more likely, since other records suggest that Richard Boulton junior was still serving the East India Company as a mariner at about this time. A volume of The Political State of Great Britain from 1736 notes the arrival at East India House of ‘the Purser of the Beauford Captain Richard Boulton, from Coast and Bay’ [I believe this is a reference to the Coromandel coast and Bay of Bengal]. An earlier record also places Richard on the Beaufort in 1734. Interestingly, the Beaufort was owned by Jonathan Collett, one of the business partners of Richard Boulton senior, and had been launched at Blackwall Yard in 1734. Richard Boulton junior was the Beaufort’s captain on its first voyage (presumably to India) in 1735 and 1736. It seems likely that Richard senior would have been of assistance in gaining his nephew the command of the ship.

A Captain Richard Boulton had been in charge of another ship, the King George, in 1729. On balance, this is most likely to be Richard junior, since by that date his uncle, Richard senior, was director of the Company. However, the Captain Richard Boulton who commanded the Loyal Cook, bound for Amoy in China, in 1701 and 1703, must have been Richard senior, since his nephew had yet to be born.

I hope this post has helped to clear up the confusion surrounding the two Captain Richard Boultons. However, further research is still needed in order to understand the origins of this illustrious family, and how some many members of it ended up as prominent figures in the East India Company.

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