JB wrote, in ink or pencil, into his copy of
the History a great deal of additional information and notes of interest
one way and another, the most important being the results of his
investigations into the later life of Robert Boultbee (see page ) but none of his written comments refer to the early family members mentioned by TPB in the first two chapters of the History.
Among the several loose papers in his copy, however, was a memorandum dated March 11th, 1896. This shows that JB had himself done some interesting research with special reference to the first Boultbee of the History, the first Thomas of Griffydam, Leicestershire, and his possible forebears in Yorkshire. This memorandum was certainly not available to Walter Richard Pownall, and it here follows:-
| There is a surmise that our first
Leicestershire Thomas Boultbee of Griffydam is a descendant of the
Boulbys of E. and N.E. Yorkshire. Bearing in mind Mary Kempson's (née
Boultbee) account of the family that they left the North in consequence
of troubles there and altered the name from Boultby to Boultbee, and
came into Leicestershire, and, having realised all their personal
property in the north, bought property in Leicestershire - then one
looks for a Thos. B in Yorkshire whose dates answer and combine with
such dates as we are assured of - the first date that we have affecting
Thos. B is that in 1636 he married Mary Baxter at Breedon Church,
Leicestershire, so he must have been in Leicestershire anterior to that
date, how many years we cannot say. From letters from Miss Sherwood of
Prospect House, Whitby, who is a Boulby in descent and much interested
in the Boulby family, I gather from the abstract of a will she sent me
recently, that there was about that time a Thomas Boulby (a son of
George Boulby) who might answer to our Thomas Boultbee - the copy she
sent is as follows:
In this Will we have the names of Thomas B and his sister Elizabeth B, their father George and their grandfather Edward -- The record would appear thus:-
The dates seem to fit in -- assuming that
Thomas was our Thos -- he leaves Yorkshire anterior to 1636 and works as
a basket maker according to our tradition -- then his father George
dies 1642. Thomas realises his share of the property and purchases
property in Leicestershire (as our Thomas did) surprising his neighbours
in coming out as a monied man of means sufficient to purchase property
there -- before his father's death he had to work at a handicraft.
(The twin villages of Lastingham and
Spaunton lie below the southern edge of the North Yorkshire Moors
approximately halfway between Thirsk, and Scarborough on the east coast.
Spaunton had no church. Boltby village is some 5 miles north-east of
Thirsk, and about 16 miles west of Lastingham).
At first sight, the Lastingham group looks potentially promising. Here we have a Thomas who could have been born about the right period, a sister Elizabeth, their father who died in 1642, and a grandfather who was still alive in December, 1641.
JB equates this Thomas with the first Thomas of Griffydam of the History. We have to admit that this is possible, but if so a move on his part to Leicestershire could not have been caused by any contemporary troubles in the North, the first half of the 17th century being peaceful, apart from squabbles between Charles I and his Parliament, until the onset of the Civil War in 1642. There seems no obvious reason why the Lastingham Thomas, the eldest son, inheriting leasehold property and goods from his father should want, or need, to move so far away. Moreover, the Thomas of the History was married at Breedon-on-the-Hill Church, Leicestershire in 1636. However, as we have said, and JB surmised, it is possible that they are one and the same person, Lastingham Thomas having migrated several years before the death of his father. In his possible persona of the Legendary Basket maker from the North, at some later time, he surprises his neighbours by becoming a man of property, perhaps having realised the value of his inheritance in 1642. This scenario is plausible but its stumbling block is that it cannot be related to any troublous times in the North.
Against it there are further points. At that time Thomas and Elizabeth were very common given names, particularly the latter, and it could be just coincidence that they occur in the Lastingham family. We think that 1642 is somewhat late for their surname not to include the letter t, even allowing for the many different spellings of the name which persisted in church registers and other records for a long time. Thomas of Griffydam's surname, according to the record of his marriage was definitely Boultby. It really seems unlikely that he was Boulby in Yorkshire and Boultby in Leicestershire. Even phonetic spelling by whoever wrote the entry in the Breedon register could hardly have made such a mistake.
On balance, with all due respect to a fine piece of deduction by JB -- acting on the information sent to him by the Whitby lady descended from Boulbys -- we have to say that we are not entirely convinced that the family history has been traced back further to the Boulby family of Lastingham. That family could have been descended from quite early Boulbys. Reference to page of the History will confirm that Boulbys, and the variation Bowlby, were in Yorkshire and nearby Durham. There are ample early Yorkshire instances in Appendix 1 of the name being spelt with a t where there could have been no phonetic confusion.
JB finds the name Margaret for Thomas of Griffydam's great-granddaughter significant with a connection to Lastingham, but we note below another possible reason for the choice of that name.
We think that another solution to the problem of who migrated to Leicestershire from the North is one which merits serious consideration, and which could meet its various aspects. This was worked out by Walter Richard Pownall in Appendix 1. It seems simplest to recapitulate its salient points here, adding our editorial comments.
In 1595, a Robert Boltbye's Will is proved and in 1603 that of his wife, Elizabeth, her name now being spelt Boultbye. Both lived in the village whose modern name is Goadby Marwood, Leicestershire, north-east of Melton Mowbray. Records unknown to TPB, JB, or Walter Richard Pownall show that in the late 16th and early 17th centuries there were other Boultbees (we use the later spelling for convenience) with various spelling differences in their surnames in the records, living in the general area. The History starts with Thomas of Griffydam in the middle of the 17th century and yet there were apparently Boultbees already established in Leicestershire for some time. This puzzle has long concerned the Editors.
From the premise of the 1595 Robert Boltbye, Appendix 1 advances the suggestion that a Boltby had fled to Leicestershire from Yorkshire in the troublous times engendered by the savage putting down of the religious uprisings known as the Pilgrimage of Grace in the reign of Henry VIII. This Boltby, it is further surmised, eventually had three sons -- one being the 1595 Robert (who according to his Will had no sons), the second the grandfather of Thomas of Griffydam, and a third son whose descendants retained the Boultby spelling of the name which is still found today. (See page for late 17th century Boultbys of London).
On this last paragraph we have some comments. The early Boultbees of the History were undoubtedly Protestants. In the years of the Pilgrimage of Grace England was still officially a Catholic country. Though the Reformed faith had by then begun to gain some ground. It is possible that a migrating father of Robert, as a secret follower of the teachings of the new religion, was escaping from a situation where dissent was equally dangerous for rebelling Catholics or secret Protestants.
There is yet a further possibility that it was, in fact, Robert who had migrated in the troublous times of the persecution of Protestants in the reign of Mary I, when the North and Yorkshire were still, generally, Catholic strongholds. If he died in 1595, he could have been born in Yorkshire around 1535 to 1540, and if we project that onwards some 20 to 25 years he would have been a young man at the time of his migrating to a safer place, a small village in the depths of rural country, reasonably secure from Government searchers after heretics, and Goadby Marwood would have fulfilled that necessity. Leicestershire offering a haven could equally well apply if it was his father who migrated. Why Leicestershire was chosen is a problem which may never be solved -- perhaps it was by pure chance -- the fleeing migrant may have just gone on and on ever further south until he found somewhere he thought was safe enough. It seems unlikely, partly from the distance involved, that Yorkshire Boultbees knew that they had distant relations there.
Reverting to JB's memorandum and his comments about Thomas of Griffydam's great-granddaughter, the Will of Robert of Goadby Marwood in Appendix 1 refers to his daughter Margaret. If we do accept that a brother of Robert was Thomas' grandfather then Robert's daughter was Thomas' aunt, and this name was given to the great-granddaughter, Margaret Fukes, for this reason, rather than her being named after the Margaret of the Lastingham family as JB surmises.
There still remains the puzzle of who exactly was the basket maker of the History who, apparently rather suddenly, turns into a man of property. Was he Thomas, originally of Lastingham, and now of Griffydam, who realises his inheritance in Yorkshire from his father George in 1642, or Thomas the grandson of Robert of Goadby Marwood's surmised brother, and also now of Griffydam, who inherits from his father who had perhaps continued to live in the Melton Mowbray area? The few inhabitants of Griffydam may have been quite ignorant of those parts, or that Thomas had relations there, and so the means on his part to acquire property would have come as a surprise to them.
While Appendix 2 has been concerned with alternative possibilities adding to the early history of the family, they are still only reasonable speculations. Chapters I and II of the History show that TPB himself was not at all sure that the Thomas who married at Breedon Church in 1636 was indeed at the head of our family tree. The odds are that he probably was, but only further research might be able to confirm this or not, and to solve other intriguing problems which arise from it.
The Editors continue research from various sources of information, but there will come a time when they can no longer undertake it. Their thoughts have turned to the long term when a member of the family, perhaps not yet even born, will decide to pursue a particular aspect of the family history, which had not been satisfactorily resolved up till then. If and when such a situation comes about, we can say now that details of such possible sources of information of which we are aware, will have been recorded, and will be available from a designated family member to anyone who feels they would like to do some research themselves.
To end this Appendix, it is appropriate to include another memorandum by JB dated January 1901, which was also found among the loose papers in his copy. This, though it does not add to the 1896 one in respect of family relationships is additionally concerned with the family name and its various spellings at different times. It also contains his most ingenious theory of how the early mediaeval baronial family of de Bolteby's name originated. The memorandum reads as follows:-
| My belief with regard to the name of B. is
that Bolteby or Boltby is the proper name and is a place name --
Nicholas de Bolteby -- a Danish village. Nicholas de B. goes into
Northumberland, there are no male descendants after his son Adam de B.
but some of his collateral relatives no doubt followed the great man
further north and settled in Northumberland and Durham Co(unties).
Names soon got altered in those days -- phonetically spelt according as
pronounced by one or other who had not caught the correct way -- soon
altered to Boultby -- then the 't' left out, then Bowlby (Durham), and
Boulby (Yorks) -- then comes a revision to the phonetic Boultby with a
little more emphasis on the last syllable 'by' turned into 'bee' or
possibly Thos. B had traditionary recollections of the original
pronunciation of Bolteby, so we go on. Evidently Thomas, a smart chap
wherever he hailed from -- which accounts for the cuteness of the six or
so generations after him down to James Boultbee, son of Hugh, son of
James B. [JB. Ed.]
To have come over with William the Conqueror is an assumption of some families. It has been so assumed traditionally in respect of Sir Nicholas de Bolteby to whom Wm. gave the Manor of Ravensthorpe near Thirsk -- in which Manor is the village of Boltby.
I was reading the other day concerning the French and German War, and among the places named was Boult-aux-Bois. The thought came -- if Nicholas B. came with the Conqueror, could he have hailed from that locality and so been called Nicholas de Boult-aux-Bois -- easily pronounced by Saxons Boulteby or other forms of phonetic pronunciation, and that the village of Boltby was named from him and not vice versa. There is not much in it I dare say but it's curious and might have happened -- the 'aux' becoming e and 'bois' becoming by or bee.
We must give JB all due credit, at the age of 73, for being still alert to find something which he thought might add interest to any aspect of the Family History, and to record it.