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Chapter XIX -- The Children of Thomas Boultbee and Elizabeth Wair Their Descendants

Written by Walter Richard Pownall Boultbee (1886-1975)
Walter Ernest Boultbee
(1886 - 1975)
(photograph about 1905)

    The following must be read in conjunction with the Introductory and Chapter I of Thomas Boultbee's Account of the Family. The importance and value of his research work cannot be overestimated; were it not for that we should know nothing. He uses the modern spelling of the name even when quoting documents. It is confusing and not always easy to decide whether he is correct or not. I have used the form given in the document, even though there appear variations, see the Chaplain's Will as noted below [year 1433. Ed.].
    But he made two assumptions:

  1. That it was Thomas of Griffydam himself who came south from Yorkshire in troublous times, which times he equates with the Civil War.
  2. That the family is of peasant origin.
    The first of these has worried other than the writer, and with the second he is not prepared to agree. Some further details of which the Canon had no cognisance have come to light. [The Canon is TPB. Ed.]
    Hence this essay.
    The first question is Whence came we? Domesday Survey gives Hugh, son of Baldric, as owner of the village of Bolteby in the North Riding of Yorkshire. The name of the village was subsequently adopted as the family name of what became a great Baronial family, and to which there are many references over two and a half centuries. The main line became extinct on the death of Sir Adam de Bolteby, Baron of Tindale, in 1304, leaving no male heir. The estates passed to his two daughters.

    But were there no collateral branches? There must have been, although how remote we do not know, for in:-

    1396John Bolteby was witness to a Will of Robert Cooke of Hexham.
1398John Bolteby was Vicar of Wakefield certainly till 1416.
1409John Bolteby was a party to a deed concerning premises in Coxwold, Kexby, Moor Monkton, etc. The first is close to the village of Bolteby, the others to York.
These three entries may well refer to the same man.
1433The Will of Robert Boltbye, alias Coke, of York, Chaplain was proved.
    From the Torre M.S. City of York, it appears that Robert Bolteby by appointment by the Archbishop by lapse on 10th February, 1410 to be Cantarist of Ergom vel Eyrous Chantry, a chantry founded in the Chapel of St. William upon Ouse Bridge at the Altar of St. Mary for the souls of John de Ergom and Juliana his wife.
1584Allane Stavely married Eva, daughter of Sir Adam de Boltby of Ravensthorp, in Felixkirk.
    The Canon quotes a letter, dated 1862, saying this Sir Adam was a Bishopric (i.e. Durham) Knight and who was buried 1600 and something at Gainford. He thinks there must be some confusion with the Sir Adam of 1304. But he did know of the marriage. There was no such confusion. Gainford is just over the border into Durham, midway between Darlington and Barnard Castle. Felixkirk (Ravensthorp) is about three miles north-east of Thirsk and Bolteby two miles further on.
1595In Leicestershire, the Will of Robert Boltbye of Goodbye was proved.
1603That of his wife Elizabeth Boultbye, also of Godebye was proved.
    The Canon states there is a Will, dated 1603, of Elizabeth Boultbye or Boultbie, of Caseby near Hinkley but gives no details. The Archivist of Leicestershire tells me he has no knowledge of such a Will. There may be some confusion with that of Godebye.
1636Thomas Boultby of Griffydam married Mary Baxter at Breedon-on-the-Hill.
1637In Church Rowe, Helmsley :-
    Thomas Boultbie holds at will one cottage with one garden containing one rood; and paies at the said Feasts yearlie 10s. I can find no further reference to him.
    From the foregoing we see that the name, one way and another, does continue in Yorks but with a serious gap between 1433 and 1584 after which year it appears in Leics. Also that two were priests and therefore celibate.
    At the moment, I am interested in the Sir Adam of Ravensthorp. Both Christian names of Adam and Eva were frequent in the family prior to 1304, indeed Eva was the name of the younger daughter of the last Sir Adam de Bolteby. A Writ of Inquisition dated 1272 on Nicholas de Bolteby states that he died seized of premises in Ravenscroft (in Felixkirk), Trilleby (Thirlby), and Bolteby. The two former are within a mile or so of the last. Other names mentioned are Adam, his brother and heir; and Adam the latter's son, whose wife was Philippa. I have not seen the pedigree but the son was likely to have been the Sir Adam who died in 1304. I suggest that the original stock did survive around Ravensthorp and that he, the Sir Adam of 1584, was a direct collateral descendant of the great family, but that the median e had by then been dropped, as it was with the village name.
    If the daughter married in 1584 then a likely date for this Sir Adam's birth would be around 1534, in which year his Father and Uncles would be fully matured men, probably of some standing and fairly well to do.
    Now we come to the legend of the Basket maker.
    He was said to have come from the North in troublous times. Thomas of Griffydam married in 1636, at which date it must be presumed he had been settled down for some years and was a known character. For this reason I do not think he is the same man as Thomas Boultbie of Helmsley in 1637. Why should he keep on a cottage and a very small holding at so great a distance? [Helmsley is in Yorkshire, about 100 miles to the north of Griffydam. Ed.]
    In any case there were no troublous times in Yorks until about 1642, and then only mild and chiefly naval. The Legend cannot possibly refer to him, Thomas of Griffydam.
    The Administration granted for the settlement of his estate is not given by the Canon. [It will be found onbelow Ed.]
    But 100 years earlier there were indeed real troublous time in Yorks, the years of the Pilgrimage of Grace, 1536 and 1537. It must always be remembered that there was a religious background to these insurrections. The first rising although bad, simmered out under Royal promises, but these not having been kept a second rising took place in 1537. This was repressed with the utmost ferocity; for instance, four Abbots were hanged in their own Abbey gateways. What chance of mercy had lesser folk!
    One can quite understand a man implicated in it fleeing for his life, but he would have to go far and change his name. Nor would he be able to transfer his wealth. If he had, on the contrary, disapproved of the rising, he might well wish to leave for fear of reprisals. In this case he would be able quietly to dispose of his property and to take the proceeds with him.
    The following extract is from a short M.S. in the handwriting of Mary Kempson (née Boultbee). So far as I know the spelling and punctuation are hers:-
    Langley Castle was the residence of the Boultbee's. They left it in the time of troubles in the North, altered the name from Boultby to Boultbee and came into Leicestershire with all their Pirsnall Property, built cottages on the Common for Workpeople such as Blacksmith Lath Cutter Common Chairmakers, each year bought up all Lord Stanfords wood and imployed these people, took Stordon Grange of old Sir G. Beaumont on Building Lease for 99 years this place was near the woods and the people employed. Further particulars of the Boultby's or Boultbee's may be seen in the History of Northumberland.
    The common mentioned was, prior to the enclosures in 1803 an extensive tract of unenclosed land stretching from St. George's to Worthington.
    This is a most interesting document. The information was, no doubt, obtained when a girl from her Grandfather, the Rector of Brailsford. He would really know facts and so the contents may well be very close to the truth. Written in middle age there would be some errors of recollection. She infers that the family continued to exist through collaterals and confirms the legend of troublous times, but these obviously anterior to the Civil War. Also that they sold up and were well off. An interesting thing is the confirmation of the spelling Boultby.
[It is more than likely that TPB was not aware of this manuscript, which was evidently preserved in the Kempson family. JB states:- The following is a copy of an account of the B. family which Walter had given him in September 1890 by Miss Morton, granddaughter of Mary B. and written in Mary Boultbee's handwriting. Walter is JB's second son, Walter Ernest, and Mary B. is Mary Boultbee (1757-1840) who married John Kempson. Their daughter, Mary, married Charles Morton in 1825.
    The true value of this fragment which must have been written in or before 1840, the year when Mary Kempson died, lies in earlier written confirmation, i.e. before TPB wrote the History, that the story of the migration from the North had always been handed on, however much the details and date of this event had become distorted with the passage of time.
    Further notes on Langley Castle (click here) explain that it could not have been the Boultbee home at the period of the migration. Ed.]
    With regard to the spelling of the name. In the days when Clerics acted as clerks, the name remains more or less constant as Bolteby, but with the dissolution of the Monasteries changes commence. It now appears as if written phonetically, varying from Boltby, Boltbye, Boultbey, Boultbie, to Boultby. Chapter II of the History gives many other forms. It would appear that the u made its appearance towards the end of the 16th century, possibly owing to the differences of pronunciation between Yorks and Leics dialects. It should be noted that the spelling Boultby was used in the Administration, in his Will by Joseph of Griffydam and in fact in all those proved down to 1751, but that of Joseph of Swannington, proved 1754, and all later ones use the ee.
    When or why the change took place we shall never know, but Thomas of Brailsford used the ee when at Oxford in 1707. That I have checked with Lincoln College. He always used it at Brailsford. Perhaps they did find peasant families with much the same name using a y and to distinguish themselves adopted the ee. Is that what Mary Kempson is trying to tell us?
    It has been suggested to me that the legend is a myth, promulgated early in the family history to cover the fact that it is of peasant origin. If true, then we are, but it would be very curious if a peasant family had such knowledge of another family so far distant both in time and space, yet with much the same pronunciation of name. I do not however think any member from earliest recorded times has thought of himself as such. Indeed they do not seem to have been so regarded in the county and could never have contracted the marriages they did had there been any such suspicion: they were accepted as gentlefolk. Thomas of Stordon, 1665 - 1750 was in any case sufficiently affluent to be able to take a 99 year lease of Stordon and to send his son to Oxford where he took his B.A. in 1711.
    Can any conclusion be arrived at from the foregoing? I suggest it can, but, and it is a very big but, there is not one scintilla of proof. Such as it is it is based on a very few known facts and much supposition. The reader may disagree entirely but the writer would be thoroughly happy to have his, the reader's, remarks and criticism on any points.
    This then is the suggestion - that the family does come from the de Bolteby's through a collateral branch; that the legend is true, was known to Thomas of Griffydam, is not of him, but refers to his Great Grandfather.
    A Boltby, a man of some substance and possibly an Uncle of Sir Adam of Ravensthorp, came south shortly after 1537 having realised his property. Leics would be far enough if he had not participated in the rebellion or, if he had opposed it actively, to save him from reprisals, nor need the name be changed. He settled and had three sons, one being Robert of Goodbye, a second the Grandfather of Thomas of Griffydam and a third the founder of the family which to this day spells the name with a y.
    He would have told his sons and grandsons of the Troublous times, the horrors of which would be very vivid to him and they passed it on. Whence the legend.
    Against this suggestion may be set the fact that the names of Adam and Eva except as follows do not survive. I have extracts only from a Will, dated 1780, of Adam Boultby who appoints his brother Thomas as executor and to whom he left a legacy in trust for his, Thomas', children Margaret and Adam. Also, how and when did the use of Thomas and Joseph as names for the eldest and second sons arise? Further there do appear Wills, viz. those of Robert of Goodbye and of his wife, using the form Boultbye or Boltbye. We cannot say definitely whether or no they belonged to the family.
    The Canon makes much of the reputed strong adherence of the family to the Royalist cause in the Civil War, but he produces no evidence; neither does Mary Kempson who might well have done so. This does not affect the suggestion above.
    Robert of Goodbye, what a charming name, modern Goadby Marwood, seems to have been a prosperous man for only such, in those days, made Wills. He speaks of my lease implying a long one, as does his widow eight years later.
    Goadby is some four miles, north-north-east of Melton Mowbray, isolated and there is still a Goadby Hall Farm. It is regretted the Church records do not go far enough back to be of value.
    There is another even smaller hamlet Goadby near Leicester but it has not and never has had a Church.
    Of Thomas of Griffydam's father we have no record, but on the parents' decease Thomas seems to have come into money and to have been in quite a big way of business.
    It is suggested that the Elizabeth who married Clement Jarram in 1640 was his sister, and that she had kept house for the father. On his death she came to Thomas. He, either already married or about to be, was thankful to get her off his hands by marriage, to whomever it might be.
    The other Boultbys apparently went to London where they engaged in commerce. That the family still exists I know, but have never met any.

    There are many references to the name of Bolby, Bolbie and Boulby. They do not include the letter t and I have ignored them.

Will of Robert Boltbye

1595 In the name of god amen the x daye of agust the yeare above sayd I Robert boltbye of Goodbye in the countye of le, laborar sick in bodye but of perfyt remembrance god be thanked do make this my laste will and Testiment in manor and forme followinge. Fyrste I bequeth my soule to the mercye of god in Jesu Christe my onely lord and saviour by whose merites I trust onley to be savid, my bodye to the earth in the church yard of Goodbye a forsayd. I geve to the church of Lincoln iid I geve unto my daughter Amy vil xiiis iiiid to be payed within ii yeares after my death. I geve unto my daughter Margrart vil xiiis iiiid to be payed ii years after her eldist sister. I geve unto my daughter Elizabeth vil xiiis iiiid to be payed ii yeares after her former sisters. I will that my sonne in lawe shall remaine in house with my wif so longe as my wif shall think well of theme they behavinge themselves dutifull as yt behovith an honist son in law. I give unto Thomas Gracke iis the resudue of my goodes within unbequethed with the lease of my house movable and unmovable my debts payed my body honistly buryed I geve unto my welbelovid wif, whom I mak my full Executor, witnes unto this my will Thomas Gracak, Davy Roberts, John Elwood

    Probatum apud Leic. ultimo Octobris 1595 Juramento Relicte executricis eius Cui etc de bene etc. Juratum examinatum

Will of Elizabeth Boultbye

    In the name of god amen. The xxith daye of februarie anno domini 1602. I Elizabeth Boultbye of Godebye In the county of Leicester widow sicke of bodye but of good and perfect remembrance of minde god be thanked therefore, doe make constitute and ordaine this my last will and Testament In maner and forme followinge. First I give and commit my soule Into the handes of allmightye god my maker and redemer beseeching the lord to pardon mine offences and to receive my soule and my bodye to be buried in the Church yeard of Godebye aforesaid. Item I give and bequeath until William Freeman my sonne in law the lease of my house in Consideration That I owe unto Amy Freeman, his wife five poundes of her childs parte and portion. Item I give unto Margret Boultbye my daughter a white Cowe after my discease. Item two pillowes, ii pillow-beares One boulster, ii blankets a green hilling the best, ii fine flaxen sheetes and one paire of other sheetes One boardcloth, a new pan, iiii peces pewder, a candlesticke, a salt a sawser a Towell a great Chist in the chamber, a posset, a maller The Iling Cowle ii shelve boardes and I give unto the siad Margret Boultbye and Elizabeth Gond togither the brake havell with all the woode on it and under it. Item I give unto Jellian Newbon a browne Cowe and II Ewe sheepe after my discease and a petticoate Two gownes One Hollye day apron a kerchife and a vayle of the best and my hollye day hatt. Item I give unto Elizabth Gond ii Ewes after my departure and the peece of brakes beyond the gutter during the lease, ii peece of pewder dishes of the smaller sort, a great coffer a peece of raw cloth of v ells at the weaver a yeard kerchife and ii Crosclothes, a red blanket and a chaffendish [chafing dish Ed.]. Item I give unto Hellen Freeman a coffer at my bedsfeete and one sheepe. Item I give unto William Freeman the sonne of William Freeman One sheepe, Item I give unto Thomas Woodcocke one sheepe. Lastlye all the residue of my goods not given nor bequeathed my debtes paid Legacies and funerall expences discharged I give and bequeath unto William Freeman ny sonne in law aforesaid. whom I make full and sole executor of this my last will and testament And I desire Michaell Woodcocke and John Elward To be trustye supervisores hereof to see that it be executed according to the true meaning hereof.

    Witnes Robert Drayton Everard Carter John Collinson Michaell Wodcocke John Elward

    Probatum apud Leicestriam ultimo die mensis Aprilis Anno domini 1603. Juramento executoris etc Cui etc de bene etc jurato. Juratum examinatum

    I was interested in the legacy to the Church of Lincoln iid. The Lincoln Archivist has been kind enough to give a solution and as it may be of general interest it follows:
    There is quite a simple explanation for the bequest of Robert Boltbye to the Church at Lincoln. All parishes in the former Archdeaconries attached to the diocese of Lincoln are thought to have made some sort of contribution to the Church of Lincoln, meaning the Cathedral church, and occasionally references to the payment of what were called smoke farthings for the Church of Lincoln were made. This pattern of giving was followed out by private persons who often left some small bequests to the Cathedral in addition to their own parish church and this might go for anywhere in the diocese, i.e. The archdeaconries of Lincoln, Bedford, Buckingham, Huntingdon, and, ending pre-reformation days, Oxford and Northampton. Hence there need not have been any sort of personal connection with Lincoln as a place on the part of such testators.

Administration of Thomas Boultby

    Noverint universi per presentes nos Thomam Boultby de Griffith Damme parochie de Breedon in Comitatu Leic. weaver et Aliciam Baggale de Worthington in comitatu Leic. viduam teneri et firmiter obligari venerabili et egregio viro Clementi Breton Clerico sacre Theologie Professori Archidiacono Leicestrensi in decem libris bonae et legalis monatae Angliae solvendis eidem Clementi Breton aut suo recto attornato executoribus administratoribus sive assignatis suis, Ad quam quidem solucionem bene et fideliter faciendum obligamus nos et utrumque nostrum pro separatoto et insolido heredes executores et administratores nostros firmiter per presentes Sigillis nostris sigillatas. Datum decimo septimo die mensis Martii ad stylum Anglie anno Domini millesimo sexcentesimo sexagesimo secundo, annoque regni serenissimi Domini nostri Caroli 2di dei gracia Angliae Scotiae Franciae et Hiberniae Regis fideo defensoris etc. decimo quinto.
    (Know all men by these presents that we Thomas Boultby of Griffith Damme in the parish of Breedon in the county of Leicester, weaver, and Alice Baggale of Worthington in the county of Leicester, widow, are held and firmly bound to the venerable and noble Clement Breton, clerk, Professor of Sacred Theology, Archdeacon of Leicester, in ten pounds of good and lawful money of England to be paid to the same Clement Breton or his right attorney, executors, administrators, or assigns, and we bind ourselves and each one of us to make this payment well and faithfully, separately and together, our heirs, executors and administrators by these presents sealed with our seals. Given on the seventeenth day of the month of March by the style of England in the year of Our Lord 1662, and in the year of the reign of our most serene Lord Charles the Second by the grace of God of England, Scotland France and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, etc., the fifteenth.)
    The condicoun of this obligacoun is, that if the above bounden Thomas Boultby ye sonne of Thomas Boultby, whilest he lived, of Griffith Damme in ye Archdeaconry of Leic. defunct, who died intestate without any his last will or testament made or declared, that yet doth appeare, do well and truly administer the goodes credites and chattells of ye said defunct, and pay ye debtes, and legacies, if any be, so farre as ye said goodes credites and chattells will thereunto extend and ye law shall charge him and do make and cause to be exhibited into ye Registry of ye Archdeaconry of leic. a nice and perfect inventarie of all and singuler ye goods credites and chattells indifferently priced, and render a just and faithful accompt of ye said administracoun upon oath to be taken when he shall be thereunto lawfully called or warned, and further do pay and discharge such partes and percouns out of ye said goods credites and chattells, if any remainder be found upon ye said accompt First examined and allowed to such person and persons and in such manner as ye above named doctor Clement Breton or his surrogate or other Judge competent shall assigne and appoint ye same, and finally do from time to time at all times hereafter save harmelesse and indemnified ye same doctor Clement Breton and all other his officers and Minister for all things concerning ye premisses in every respecte Then this present obligacoun shal be utterly void, and of none effect, or els remaine in full power and vertue.
    Signed sealed and delivered to ye use of etc.

    in ye presence of
        Peter Whitshruve
        Jo: Freer
        John Everard

the marke of
Thomas Boultby
the marke of
Alice Baggaley

    It seems from this, that of the two sons of Thomas of Griffydam, Thomas was the elder. As his father did not marry until October 1636 a likely date for his birth is late 1637, and he might only be just of age when his father died in 1658, and not more than 24 when the Administration was granted, while Joseph would be 18 and 22 respectively.
    But who was the Alice Baggaley coupled with Thomas? It is suggested that she was another sister of the father and was active in the business, (Worthington was only a mile from Griffydam), possibly managing it after the father's death. She would then be, as woman of a mature age, an obvious person to be associated in the Administration with an inexperienced young man.
    £10 each was a large sum of money in those days with which to be bounded and suggests a considerable estate. It is possible that Thomas took the floating capital and put it to his business of webster in Breedon while Joseph had his father's business, probably still managed by his aunt.
     The dating may be of interest. The regnal year of Charles II dates not from the Restoration in 1660 but from that of the death of his Father on 30 January, 1649. It should be noted that this was common practice during this reign.
    I am greatly indebted to Dr. Joseph Hugh Boultbee for the two Wills and the Administration.
    A few words on the Coat of Arms we use may be of interest. We are not an armigerous family so there is nothing authoritative.
    The Canon gave: Azure, two arrows argent between two besants in pale.
    My Father [Walter Ernest Boultbee. Ed.] wrote: From the impression of the seal of Joseph of Bunny the description should be Gules, Two arrows argent in Saltire between two besants in fess.
    I have two bookplates, one belonging to Francis Barnett (1799-1823) and the other to Henry Townshend (1827-1904), both of which give -- Gules, two arrows argent in Saltire between two besants or in pale.
    As these are from the two lines of the family, I think they might be accepted as correct. [The bookplate illustrated below is that of Dr. Henry Boultbee (1801-1849) and is similar to the two bookplates mentioned above. Ed.]

Boultbee Crest Bookplate
Boultbee Crest Bookplate
Editorial note:
    The preceding Thoughts on the origin of the Family were written many years ago by Walter Richard Pownall, grandson of JB, and with the exception of our editorial note inserted on page 202 , are as he left them, a tribute to his dedicated research. We especially draw attention to page 201 where he gives his interesting interpretation of the family tradition of a migration from northern England in troublous times and his identification of the person who actually did migrate to establish the Family in Leicestershire. (We have more to say on these points in Appendix 2, where it is more appropriate to discuss them further.)
    He kept up his interest in family history until late in his long life, being particularly careful to keep the large tree of descent he had drawn as correct and up-to-date as possible. However, his interest was not only in the main line of descent but also in that of other branches which he had discovered which do not figure in the original History nor were they known to JB. These he pursued as far as their present-day representatives were able to recall of their antecedents, though unfortunately the information they gave him did not go sufficiently far back for their descents to be connected directly. He left among his papers enough information as a basis for future further research. Much work has now been done in this connection which has already added a great deal more to the extent and details of these branches -- and to others of which he was not aware -- although the vital links have yet to be found.
    There are several 18th century candidates, of the main line, who may have been, and probably are, the progenitors of at least four known branches. We are now hopeful that the links to at least two of them will be found in the not-too-distant future through continuing research with the spur of affectionate curiosity in TPB's memorable phrase.
    It is the Editors' intention that when these branches are able to be linked firmly to the main family tree, that the information will be circulated in the form of additional chapters to the History.

Appendix 2 -- Editorial Thoughts on the Origin Of the Family, and the Implications of the 1896 JB Memorandum
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