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Chapter III -- The Sons of Joseph Boultbee, The Elder [The Patriarch]
TPB continues ...

     The daughters of the first Thomas Boultbee of Stordon Grange have been noticed in the previous chapter. We now have to exhibit the history of his two sons Thomas and Joseph.
    [For Joseph see Chapter V. Thomas was baptised at Breedon-on-the-Hill Church on December 30, 1689. This indicates that his father was not yet living at Stordon Grange, but somewhere in or near the village of Griffydam since Breedon was its parish church. The parish church of Stordon Grange was Osgathorpe. See also our note regarding the taking up of the lease of Stordon . Ed.]
     Thomas, the elder, like his cousin John, the son of William of Osgathorpe, was of Lincoln College, Oxford, where he proceeded to the degree of M.A. in 1713, at which time he would have been 24 years of age. He married Lucy Shirley, a near relative of Earl Ferrers but in what precise degree is not known. In 1714 he was presented by the Earl to the family living of Brailsford which has generally been held by a Shirley; in addition to this he was Rector of [the parish of] Shirley to which he suceeded in 1718. Both of these parishes are in Derbyshire, and are about three miles apart. Brailsford lies about seven miles north-west of Derby. The two livings would now produce about 1400 per annum, and must even then been valuable.
     [Family tradition states that Thomas was also Private Chaplain to the Earl and would have presumably conducted services on occasion in the Chapel of the Earl's seat at Staunton Harold Hall near Breedon. We add here a transcription of a most interesting document dated 1773, signed by Thomas rather shakily, and having been written otherwise by another hand. His replies to his Bishop's questionnaire give us an excellent picture of his parishes and the duties expected then of an incumbent, although because of his advanced age he was at that time assisted by curates at both Brailsford and Shirley. We think that the word hospital in answer No. VI means an almshouse for aged parishioners of either, or both, sexes, supported by money from a charitable trust set up for that purpose. Such establishments were sometimes called hospitals. Ed.]:-
July 28th, 1773
An Answer to the Interrogatories of the Honble and Right Revd Father in God Brownlow Lord Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry.
  1. Brailsford Parish extends from East to West 3 Miles, and from North to South almost as far. The Church is in the Centre, almost half a Mile from any House; Three Hamlets and Part of a fourth lie round it. The whole contains 85 Houses. No Families of Note, 30 Farmers, chiefly Tenants at Will, the rest poor Cottagers.
  2. There is no Papist in the Parish, nor has anything to do here.
  3. In the year 1714, when I first came to Brailsford, there were 2 Families that were Papists, 2 Quakers, and 10 Presbyterians, many of which were leading Men in my Parish but, I thank God, I have now neither Papist, nor Dissenter of any Denomination. but alas! too many Absenters!
  4. I reside constantly in the Parsonage House, but being 84 years of Age, I have by your Lordship's Licence Mr. Hendall an Assistant in Deacon's Orders, who resides in the Parish, and serves no other Cure, his salary 40 a year.
  5. Public Service is performed twice every Sunday, and one Sermon; except on the first Sunday in the Month I go in the afternoon to Shirley 2 measur'd Miles from hence. I have a Chapel at Osmaston a small village of 25 Houses, 3 miles remote from Brailsford, served by Mr. Evans, my Curate at Shirley; Shirley lies between Brailsford and Osmaston. No Prayers on the Weekdays except Ash Wednesday, Holy Thursday Good Friday, Jan. 30th Nov. 5th May 29th and state Holy days, and then but a small Congregation; the Parishioners pleading their Remoteness from the Church for them for Newcome in the Afternoons betwixt Easter and Whitsuntide; I Catechise the Children at the same time and expound it to them in the most familiar Manner I can. There are no unbaptized Persons. The Sacrament is administered 6 times in the year: upon an Average 30 Communicants each time.
  6. No Free-school, nor Hospital here.
  7. No Charity school.
  8. The sum of 20 was left by Mrs. Elizth Poole, and the sum of 20 by Mr. Lavonell late Rector here for the use of the Poor. I distribute the Interest Christmas Day and Easter Sunday.
  9. My Living is reputed, now Corn being dear, to be worth 250 a year.
  10. The Money given at the Offertory, I distribute to the poor Communicants, except there be any sick or Infirm, that cannot attend, who have their Share.
  11. I remember nothing more worth troubling your Lordship with: But shall at all times be glad of your Advice and ready to obey your Directions, Who am
  My Lord,
    Your Lordship's
Most Dutifull Humble Servant
    Thos: Boultbee
        Recr of Brailsford

TPB continues ...
    One of our family (James then Curate of Trinity Church, Nottingham) visited Brailsford in 1853 and preached there [This is JB. Ed.] The Parish Clerk said that his father remembered the old Rector and used to describe him as a very generous man of great bodily vigour, fond of hunting, and farming his glebe of 79 acres. At the same time he was careful of his duty as it was understood in those days, and able to perform his service up to the time of his death. An old servant of his had only died six years previously. This may be noted as a singular instance of a chain of two links only between the year of decession of William III, and the outbreak of the Chartist disturbances in 1848. It is singular also that one of the Shirley family -- the father of the late Bishop of Sodor and Man -- who succeeded Thomas Boultbee as Rector of Brailsford held the living for a period of 67 years, dying at an advanced age in 1847. So that the two Rectors held the living for a period of 129 years!
    [This is rather a confusing statement. William III came to the throne in 1689, the year of Thomas' birth and died in 1702. In fact there were not two, but three, links in the Rectorial chain of 129 years referred to by TPB. The list of Rectors in Brailsford Church records that Thomas was succeeded in 1781 by the Reverend John Gardiner, who may have been a connection of the Ferrers family. He was followed in 1838 by Bishop Walter Shirley who relinquished the living in 1847. 1714, when Thomas was appointed, to 1847 is actually 133 years. It may be noted that Thomas, 66 years, and the Reverend Gardiner, 57 years, are excellent examples of the sometimes extraordinarily long tenures of country livings in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Ed.]
    The old Rector was deemed in South Derbyshire great in the Scriptures as well as mighty in the saddle, and there was an eccentric person known as Hurden Billy who is even now not quite forgotten among the Country houses of Derbyshire. Whatever may have been his real name he was always known by this appellation from his homely garments which he always wore. He was a privileged character to whom was granted admission to the libraries of the country gentlemen where he seems to have perplexed himself and others with hard questions. But when these referred to matters of Holy Scripture, his favourite referee is said to have been the Rector of Brailsford. Referring for a moment to the question of the family tradition it may be noted that the lives of the Rector and his father carry us from 1663 to 1780, and that the Rector was well remembered by his grandchildren living far on into the present century. It would seem to follow that the tradition, unless it belongs to yet older times than we have supposed, can have been subjected to but few transmissions. The consequence of the few lives is that the tradition must be proportionally trustworthy while it opens the door to more vivid regrets when we consider how much more definite it might have been, and how much the old Rector must have known which has failed to reach us. The break up at Stordon which followed soon after his death may be partly the cause of this, and his line of the family ceased to possess a central home, and family relics, if ever cared for, seem to have perished.
    Two or perhaps three portraits of the Rector were painted by his grandson Thomas who studied under Sir Joshua Reynolds [click here for more on this point. Ed.] and acquired considerable skill as a portrait painter. One of them is in possession of the Author, and another in possession of the Reverend George Herbert of The Grove, Llangarren, Ross, Hereford.
    [JB notes that this latter one is the original portrait, the other or others, are copies and that he now has the original. The Reverend George Herbert, a cousin, was the husband of TPB's sister Maria Jane. Ed.]
    He appears in the close fitting wig with bands and gown, which are usually seen in the portraits of the clergy in the last century. Representing him at the age of 85, these likenesses give the idea of a hale old man of considerable vigour with open blue eyes, large straight nose, firm mouth and rather fresh complexion. If to this we add that the towering height of his stature was 6 feet 4 inches we have the picture before us of our redoubtable Ancestor of a hundred years ago.

This portrait was done when Thomas was aged 85.

     The Rector of Brailsford lost his wife in 1750, and on a slab within the Communion rails he placed this inscription over her remains:-

Here lyeth
The body of Lucy wife
of the Rev. Mr. Thomas
Boultbee Rr. of this
She died March ye 19th
A.D. 1750 [*] aged 54
 Pietate )
     et      ) Nulli Secunda
[* By modern dating, she died in 1751. Ed.]

     On the 11th of March in the same year, the Rector's venerable father had breathed his last. Scarcely could he have seen the earth closed over those remains in Breedon Church when on 19th of the same month his wife was called away. It must not be put down to the poverty of his invention but rather to the affection which recognized kindred excellence in the two best loved women, that he inscribed in that sad year on his mother's and on his wife's graves the same high eulogium. In plain English he wrote on the slab at Breedon over Mary his mother In piety and virtue inferior to none whereas at Brailsford in more dignified Latin he recorded of Lucy the Rector's wife Pietate et virtute nulli secunda. The Rector survived his wife many years and the inscription on a small slab near that which marks her grave will tell the remainder of the tale.  [The Rector's memorial below is incorrect in stating that he was Rector for 63 years. It was 66 years -- see also our note above -- Thomas was Rector from 1714 until his death in 1780 at Stordon Grange on the 27th of October. It appears that wrong information was given for the preparation of this inscription. Ed.]
Sacred to the memory
of the Rev Mr
Thomas Boultbee A.M.
Rector of this Parish
63 years
He died the 29th day of
October Anno Dom 1780
In the 92nd year of his age
Editorial Note:

     The particular purpose here is to set out the full record of what is now known about the Rector of Brailsford's children, as opposed to what TPB wrote about them which, as we found, is incomplete. However, before we enlarge on this, since this editorial note contains the first reference in the new History to Bishops' Transcripts which are here of crucial value, some explanation of what they are is appropriate.
     In 1538, during the reign of King Henry VIII and at the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries, parochial clergy were thereafter, by law, required to keep a register of all baptisms, marriages and deaths in their parish, although many surviving such registers were not actually started until long after that date. Beginning in 1598, copies were required to be sent by the incumbent to his Bishop, and these became known as Bishops' Transcripts. Nowadays they can be a valuable source of information where original registers have been lost, destroyed by enemy action 1939-1945, or damaged and illegible for some other reason such as storage in damp conditions. The Transcripts only record, however, what they were sent from parishes -- a less than conscientious parish priest may not always have passed on his records regularly, or a new incumbent may not have realised there were gaps. Consequently the Transcripts do not always constitute a correct and continuous alternative record.
    Editorial perusal of the Brailsford Transcripts has revealed that Thomas and Lucy had ten children, three sons and seven daughters, whereas TPB only noted two sons and four daughters. (It has also become clear that the parents' marriage was earlier than had been previously thought by family historians. While we do not, as yet, know where it took place, it must have been in 1714 when Thomas, as he says above , first came to Brailsford.)
    The Editors have felt that they should at least attempt an explanation of how and why TPB's record of the Rector's children was incomplete to the extent it was, although we have generally been reluctant to put forward speculations and surmises in the new History unless we thought them reasonable and likely. How far some of what follows may be accepted as such we leave our readers to decide for themselves.
    Before we properly begin our explanation we set out below a table of the Rector's children as now known, indicating with an asterisk those whom TPB did not mention.

Family Of Thomas Boultbee Rector Of Brailsford

    It seems certain that TPB had consulted neither the Brailsford Church Register nor the relevant Bishops' Transcripts, though he must have visited Brailsford Church at least once when he copied down the memorial inscriptions to the Rector, his wife, and the daughters Elizabeth and Martha. We think a partial answer to the problem of his omission of four children lies in his remark, see above, that The Rector was well remembered by his grandchildren living far on into the present century. While all of them would have remembered him in their youth, nevertheless three were dead before TPB was even born (1818) and only three granddaughters can be regarded as living well into the 19th century -- Mary and Jane who both died in 1840, and Frances who died in 1845. The grandson Joseph, though he died in 1821, knew his aunt Martha well enough to be appointed executor of her Will. Jane, after her mother's death in 1789, was taken under Martha's wing. She -- Jane -- was Joseph's favourite sister and was later close to her nephew Thomas, who was Joseph's son and TPB's father.
     It seems to us most likely that the, albeit as it turned out very incomplete, chain of recollection going back to the Rector's children, went from Martha to the grandchildren Joseph and Jane and from them -- probably mostly from Jane -- to TPB's father. While TPB, as a young man, must have had a general idea of his own family's descent from the Rector, we also think he did not begin to be seriously interested until he started working on the History, and at that time his principal source of information was his father. By then, in the early 1860's, Martha had been dead for more than 50 years, Joseph for forty, and Jane for twenty. TPB, in good faith, wrote down what he had been told with no reason to suppose that it was not the whole story.
     If we may consider Martha as an early conduit of information, we can easily accept that the very existence of her infant sister Lucy could have been forgotten, with her birth 20 years before that of Martha. The daughters Mary and Anna Maria pose more of a problem, their birth dates also only being known from the Transcripts not from TPB, and therefore apparently not having been passed on. There is the possibility that they both married very young, Mary before Martha was born, and moved away some distance, losing contact with the family. TPB did know the birth date of Sarah and the death date of Frances but no more. Sarah we now know did marry, and possibly also Frances -- the latter's early death when Martha was then only ten years old -- may have contributed to lack of knowledge of her. It seems significant to us that Elizabeth was the only daughter to have had a memorial to her in the Church during her father's lifetime.
     The problems arising from little being known about four of the daughters are difficult enough, but an even more perplexing question now confronts us. How was it that TPB apparently did not know that the Rector had a son named Joseph and knew no more of the brother John than his birth date, and did his father Thomas really know nothing of them either? On the face of it, this would seem to be very unlikely, but we have been forced to the conclusion that it was so. TPB's father Thomas was not born until 1793, and as a young boy was living with his parents on a farm at Bunny Nottinghamshire, and his aunt Jane at Bunny Park, seat of her husband, Sir Thomas Parkyns. When hardly more than a schoolboy, Thomas was sent away to Liverpool in 1807 to make his fortune, according to JB, remaining far away in the North for many years. We have mentioned above that he was close to his aunt Jane (see page ) and the period when this was happening must have been before he went to Liverpool. Memories, sixty years or so later, of what she may have chosen to tell him of family history may be excused if they were not complete.
     However, it is our opinion that all future mention of Joseph in the Rector's family was discouraged, perhaps even forbidden, at an early date around 1747, even his sister Martha later suppressing what she must have known, or if she did speak about him to her nephew and niece, Joseph and Jane, insisting that it went no further. We think that a serious upheaval did happen in the Rector's family and that it concerned Joseph, otherwise it is impossible to believe that all memory of him in the family should have been obliterated, and that his existence would not have been known to the Rector's grandchildren.
     The foregoing is our general explanation of TPB's omissions of four of the Rector's children. More detailed comments specific to Joseph and John will be found in our notes which follow. These include all that TPB wrote and our editorial additions.

The Rector's children were:-

  1. Mary born in 1715. See above for further notes.
  2. Lucy born and died in 1717. She only lived two weeks.
  3. Frances, TPB said of her - of another daughter Frances nothing is known but her death in 1747. The Transcripts give her birth date of 1720. See above for further notes.
  4. Anna Maria omitted by TPB. See above for further notes.
  5. Thomas -- All that we have from TPB about sons is -- The Rector of Brailsford had two sons, Thomas and John, born respectively in 1724 and 1731. It had long been decided that Thomas was to inherit the tenancy of Stordon Grange and he is the subject of TPB's Chapter VI. For John, see below.
  6. Joseph -- Some while before his appearance in the Bishops' Transcripts, we had become aware of his existence, hitherto unknown, which we also owe to Dennis Heathcote. His researches showed that Joseph had been born in 1726 and had matriculated at Lincoln College, Oxford (his father's old College) in 1746, having gone there from Repton School. The records of both College and School give him as son of Thomas Boultbee of Brailsford, Clerk ("in Holy Orders" is inferred). Joseph married Anna Maria Burgin on August 15, 1747 and had at least two children, William and Dorothy Burgin. Anna Maria was born in 1724 and died in 1798. Later he was farming at Worthington, a village very near Stordon Grange. Joseph died in 1785, and these are the facts of his life as we know them at present.
        He received a good school education followed by University. As Thomas, his elder brother, was to take over Stordon Grange, our surmise is that Joseph was expected and wished by his father to take Holy Orders, University education being the usual preliminary to entering the Church. However, we further surmise that either he rebelled against the parental wish, or made a marriage very soon after leaving Oxford, and at an age much younger than would have been normal, which was not approved of by his father. Perhaps a combination of these two factors led to Joseph becoming a kind of family non-person, in disgrace and not to be even mentioned in the family circle, eventually being provided with a farm where he could be under the eye of brother Thomas. Defiance of parental wishes and authority, even for grown-up children, was no light matter in that age. Is it too fanciful to see in the portrait of the Rector that strong face implacably set against Joseph?
  7. Sarah -- All that we know from TPB is -- born 1729 of whom nothing further is known. We now know that she married John Turner in 1749, when aged twenty.
  8. John -- We think that the lack of knowledge about John other than his birth date, which TPB gives us, and which would have been passed on through Martha, actually has a simple explanation which we put forward with some confidence.
         Where sons were concerned in an 18th century family considered to be gentry, the English custom of primogeniture operated, whereby the eldest son inherited the family property and land. Where there were several sons, the next in age generally entered the Church or armed forces and younger sons were expected to make their own way or they were often apprenticed to a trade. In the Brailsford family we see Thomas inheriting Stordon Grange, and Joseph, as we have postulated, was originally destined for the Church. There is no record of either Thomas or John having been to Repton School, and they would have received their education from their father. It is unlikely that the Rector's finances would have run to putting all his sons through University in any case. Our conclusion is that John left home as a young man to make his way as a matter of course, though we do not know what career he adopted. However, recent research has turned up the intriguing possibility that he settled in Lancashire, married twice and had several children if he and the John hereunder are one and the same person.

         All the children were baptised at St. Anne's, Manchester, and they all died in infancy except Lucy. We feel we are justified in including the above details as there is no other John that we know of who would fit the dates. The names of the three elder children seem to us to be rather more than a coincidence -- Thomas for his father and brother, Lucy for his mother, and Joseph for his other brother. If this really is the Brailsford John the perpetuation of these names seems to indicate memories of the past even if contact had been severed.
         A move from Brailsford to the North in the middle 1700's and no male descendants would explain why a hundred years and more later neither TPB nor his father knew any more about John. This has been a disappointment to the Editors as we would like to know what profession, or trade, John pursued. {Since publication we have discovered he was a pharmacist (Apothecary/Druggist)in 18th century medics published by PHIBB} We do not know of any Manchester connection with the family generally at that time otherwise. Martha,it would appear, was not able to pass on anything more than his birth date.
  9. Elizabeth -- TPB's entry for her is as follows:-
    Elizabeth born 1733 and buried at Brailsford in 1754. There is a tablet to her memory in the chancel with the following inscription:-
    Lyeth interred
    The body of Mrs.*
    Elizabeth Boultbee
    Born March ye 4th 1733
    Sept the 14th 1754
    * Mrs. is on the tablet. So called in those days even of unmarried females. (By modern dating, she was born in 1734). The affectionate Latin words perhaps indicate that she was the favourite daughter, sadly dying young, probably of consumption.
  10. Martha -- TPB tells us:-
    Martha was born 1737 and married William Leaper Smith of Derby February 1, 1770. She also was buried in the chancel at Brailsford and there is a mural tablet with this inscription:-
    Near this place in the grave of
    her husband, are interred the remains of
    Martha Smith, youngest daughter of
    Thomas Boultbee, A.M., late Rector of
    Brailsford, who died January 16th 1810
    Aged 72
    What TPB wrote about Martha is then followed by some charming personal details about her and her husband written by JB. These he would have had from his father, who was also born in the age of peruke and tail, and who gave JB in addition the information that his, i.e. JB's, grandfather Joseph, Martha's nephew, was the executor of her Will.
JB notes ....
    William Leaper Smith is remembered still by the writer's father [Thomas, the Vicar of Bidford. Ed.] as a stately gentleman of the old school with the peruke and tail of the last century, and his wife as a person of medium height, particular in her dress, and with the air of Society. It was by them that their niece Jane was introduced to Sir Thomas Parkyns, Baronet, whom she afterwards married. The writer's grandfather, Joseph Boultbee of Bunny, was executor to Mrs. Smith's Will, and received a legacy in money, plate, and some of the treasured old table damask. [William was born in 1729 and died in 1803. He was Mayor of Derby in 1776. Ed.]

[To conclude this part of Chapter IV, we emphasize that TPB being unaware of four of the Rector's children is quite a different situation to that of his occasional omission of children in Chapter V. There he could have had no help from his father, and was dependent on what he could find out from the distant cousins of the family of the Rector's brother Joseph. Ed.]

Click below for
Brailsford Church (All Saints)
Shirley Church (St. Matthew)
(Written by the Editors)

Chapter V -- Joseph Boultbee of Coleorton and His Descendants
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