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Newsletter No. 2 -- July 1997 


The details below are in approximately chronological order of the lives of the people concerned, starting with the earliest.

John Boultbee, 3rd son of Thomas, The Rector of Brailsford.

    JB's 1889 copy of the History recorded no more information about him other than the year of his birth - 1731 - all that either he, or TPB, had been able to find out. In 1994 it seemed reasonable to speculate in the new edition that the discovery of a John Boultbee, of Manchester, who had married twice, and had had four children by his first wife, might be the Brailsford John. The strong coincidence of family names given to the three elder children and the likelihood that he had left home to make his way as a younger son forced to take up a profession or trade, seemed to be significant but could not, at that time, be taken further.
    The next development came in 1996. Newsletter No.1, of that year, recorded the further discovery that the John Boultbee of Manchester was an apothecary, was also referred to as a "druggist" in 1763, and that he apparently died in 1777. Though interesting as a suitable occupation for our John, these details did not materially help towards a more positive identification. There the problem rested until 1999 when much more information was found by Dennis Heathcote, to whom again we record thanks for another most valuable contribution to our History.
    Dennis found that this John was also described as a "Chymist and Druggist", carrying on this profession from his shop at 16 Market Street Lane, Manchester, employing two apprentices. He made his Will in 1776, the year he died (not 1777 as previously believed) and after his death the business was taken over on the 23rd July, 1776, by William Brown.
    John's parish church was St. Anne's, where his children were baptized. He was buried there 7th May, 1776, his second wife following him on 29th September, 1776. (His first wife, Mary, was also buried at St. Anne's on 22nd November, 1774).
    We now have a little more information about the children. Only Lucy, born in 1765, survived infancy, though we know no more of her other than that she was alive at the time her father made his Will. The elder son, Thomas, was born in 1764, not 1763, and died in 1767, Joseph was born and died in 1773, and Maria was born and died in 1774.
    It is plain that John moved in highly respectable social circles, named executors and witnesses to the Will included a gentleman, a merchant, and two architects, all of whom are well represented in the city archives.
    We come now to the terms of the Will and the crucial statement in it which must finally confirm John's parentage. He leaves his estate equally between his wife Sarah and daughter Lucy in trust until Lucy comes of age, the interest on capital to be used for her upbringing and education. If, however Sarah and Lucy die then half of bequests is to be divided equally between John's brother Thomas, and John's sister, Sarah Turner.
    In 1776, of the Rector of Brailsford's children, Thomas the eldest son was 52 and living at Stordon Grange, and the daughter Sarah had been married since 1749 to John Turner, she being the eldest surviving sister to the best of our knowledge. The other brother Joseph, though still alive, for reasons set out in the History had become estranged from his family and it cannot therefore be too surprising that no brother Joseph is mentioned in John's Will.
    A completely different and otherwise unidentified John Boultbee living in Manchester might conceivably have had a brother named Thomas but is not really likely to have one of that name as well as a sister referred to by her correct given and married names. This evidence, combined with the family given names of the three elder children - Thomas, for father and brother, Lucy for mother and Joseph that of the other brother - must surely confirm that John, The "Chymist and Druggist", was indeed the youngest son of the Rector of Brailsford.
    The above are the presently known facts about this fairly prosperous family but it was also a tragic one. John loses his first wife and three infant children within a period of ten years. Assuming Lucy survives after her father's death she is then left an orphan of only eleven having lost both parents and her step-mother within two years, as well as all her siblings, and she would probably have only been able to remember the two youngest. In the absence of anything more known about her perhaps she did survive to maturity and was looked after by one of the executors there being sufficient to support her from the money left in John's Will.
    We may wonder why Manchester, far from home in Derbyshire, and how and why did John become an apothecary there? The following is put forward as a possible explanation, though it is only guesswork.
    As noted in the History, younger sons of gentry were usually expected to make their own way and they were often apprenticed to a trade, no shame or social stigma being attached. Indeed some young men were deliberately apprenticed to London City Livery Companies since these were considered eventually to lead to prestigious and lucrative careers. However, in John's case it is possible that his father applied for advice and help from the "Corporation of the Sons of the Clergy" - still very much extant and flourishing in its charitable work for widows and dependants of Anglican clergy in need of relief from financial worries or other distress. This charity was initially founded in 1655 to help clergy who had remained loyal to the Crown during the Commonwealth, many of whom had been deprived of their livings and consequently often destitute and with few prospects for any children. After the Restoration it continued and was granted a Royal Charter in 1678 by King Charles II. Apprenticeship fees of 15 - 20 were paid by the Corporation for clergy children, both boys and girls, and annual accounts were published in the press of the day in the 18th century. No record of an apprenticeship for John appears in the Corporation's archives - if it had it would have been around 1745 when John would have been 14 or 15 - but having been perhaps approached by the Rector, for help in finding a position with a professional man, the Corporation could have replied that they knew of an apothecary in Manchester in need of a bright young man from a clerical family prepared to be diligent towards gaining the necessary professional qualifications. That John does not appear in the Corporation's archives could just mean that, in fact, the Rector himself had paid the cost of John's indentures, not the Corporation, having taken up their suggestion of the Manchester position.

Robert Boultbee, 1763 - 1835

    Reference to page 95 of the History will show that he was buried at Kegworth, Leicestershire, in 1835, but with some doubt about the wording on his gravestone as reported to JB in 1890 by the Rector of Kegworth i.e. whether Robert himself was "of Stordon Grange or that his parents were". Confirmation of either statement would, of course, prove who Robert of the gravestone actually was.
    A search for the stone by a Family member some years ago was not successful and we now know why, thanks to an investigation early in 1999 on our behalf by Margaret Whieldon, a family connection. Margaret found that Kegworth churchyard had been levelled and all gravestones not claimed were covered up with earth and grassed over. However, the inscriptions on the buried stones had been copied and these records are preserved in the village museum. The exact positions of the stones including that of Robert, were recorded on a plan. The inscription on his stone, which was of slate, read :-



(T. Archer must have been the monumental mason)

    The details given to JB stated, and were repeated in the History in good faith by him, that Robert was buried on September 2nd, 1835. This must, in fact, have been a mistake by the Kegworth Rector, since it is clear from the inscription that the death date was September 19th and therefore Robert must have been buried on 21st or 22nd September.

    The grave of Robert's second wife, Jane, who died in 1857, must also be hidden under grass in the churchyard. JB was also informed that she was buried there, the curate Peter Lilly officiating.

John "The Rambler" Boultbee, 1799 - 1854

    Some interesting letters of his have recently been found which add to the story of his time in Western Australia at the early Swan River settlement, now the area of the cities of Perth and Fremantle, though they only illustrate further the difficulties of his life there. The "Ephemina", on which he had sailed from Hobart, Tasmania, arrived at Fremantle on October 9th, 1829. It would appear that his job as coxswain on the Governor's boat must have been obtained almost immediately although it only lasted a few months. By February, 1830, we find him writing to the Colonial Secretary's office in Perth seeking a post as clerk, having been reduced to working as a labourer for a Mr. Trigg, but this application had no success. Exactly a year later he tries again for a clerical post in the Governor's office and is again rebuffed. Transcripts of his letters follow, which have not always been easy to decipher.
Perth 7th Feby, 1830
(addressed to P. Brown Esq. Colonial Secretary)

    Having understood that you were in want of a clerk in your Office, I have taken the liberty of writing to you to say that I should be happy to engage with you, provided the delay is tolerably reasonable.
    Thro' a series of adverse trials I have been reduced to the necessity of working as a common labourer with Mr. Trigg, with whom I have lived ever since I left the ship. I agreed with him only by the week, but as I have not been used to such an employment I should be glad to accept a situation in an office and have formerly been engaged in a similar capacity.
    I am at a loss for reference, unless I refer you to Mr. James, who can satisfy you as to my respectability. I can only say that I consider myself fully competent for anything of the sort, & am convinced I should give satisfaction.
    I have not mentioned my intended change to Mr. Trigg, but he now thinks I was dissatisfied, but I have not the least objection to your making any enquiries of him respecting me in such a manner as will not convey the most distant idea of my being about to leave him - but if I was certain of something better, I myself would immediately tell him that I had changed my views.
    For your information I will acquaint you with a brief account of myself since leaving home in 1821 [sic., 1823 in fact] in the Brig Woodlark which vessel I came passenger in, to Van Diemen's Land as a free settler, then I got robbed & being entirely disgusted with the state of society there, I left it & came here as a sailor in the Ephemina.
    Tomorrow morning, I will do myself the honour of waiting on your ..?.. office, & you will then be able to judge whether I should suit.
    I am
         Your obedient and humble servt
             Jno. Boultbee
This letter, numbered A487, was received "Feby 7th 1830" and noted "John Boultbee - Application for a Situation" - all in clerkly copperplate hand. The second letter applied to the Governor's office, which we can be sure about because this high official was addressed as "Your Excellency" which term we find in John's letter.
Fremantle Feby 8th 1831
    Having applied to Mr. Scott for the vacant situation as a clerk in the Harbour Master's office, I was requested to make the application to your Excellency. Mr. Scott at the same time expressing a wish that he had some person in that capacity.
    I hope that your Excellency will not consider me presumptious in thus again troubling you with a letter & I should feel extremely sorry if the application should be considered unreasonable (although I was once discharged from your Excellency's service) as I am not aware during the five months that I was under your command, that I ever committed myself.
[NOTE. This is rather obscure but must refer to his service as coxswain on the Governor's boat]

    I have the honour to be
    Your Excellency's
    Most obedient servant
    Jno. Boultbee

   This letter, numbered 7573, was received on February 8th, 1831, and action taken February 14th as follows :-

    "Refer to Mr. Scott for information respecting this applicant and acquaint applicant that the situation is …..?….. filled up and therefore his application cannot be complied with."

    Poor John, he would have been perfectly capable of such clerical work, having had plenty of experience in it in early life before he left England. After these disappointments he perforce took whatever work he could get - see page 106 of the History - which shows not only his desperation but his extraordinary will to survive. After his second unsuccessful try for a clerical post he was employed by the Surveyor General as a chainer for about two months in 1831, but this position did not work out as we see from the following two letters addressed to the Surveyor General.
1st April 1831 Perth
    I find that my present salary does not cover my expenses by a great deal (altho' they are as moderate as possible) for after paying 3 per month for provisions, there only remains 30s. for the purchase of clothes etc. I have therefore been induced to accept an offer from a person at Fremantle of 6 a month which is considerably more to my advantage than my very low pay I have hitherto received. I have to request you to erase my name from your books and consider me no longer having any claims on your department from this date.
    John Boultbee
3rd April 1831 Fremantle
    As I have requested McDonald to call for my month's wages & sign the receipt for the same in my name, I hope you will be so kind as to let him have the 3.19s (11s. being due to you) as soon as the monthly salaries are paid.
    John Boultbee

On January 17th, 1833, John sailed for Timor aboard the whaler "Sir Francis McNaughton", the first leg of his journey to Ceylon where he arrived at Colombo on May 14th, 1834, "resolved never in the future to subject myself to the annoyance of upstarts, mates, skippers etc." He really was sometimes his own worst enemy, he could never forget he was a gentleman born, and as his Journal often shows this led to difficulties with members of the crews of ships in which he himself served as an ordinary seaman.

Charles Royston Boultbee, 1861 - 1942, and his family

    Records of families in Canada descended from Charles Royston have now been much up-dated by Rodger Wartnaby Boultbee of Spring Grove, Alberta.
    He has written an excellent "History of the Saskatchewan Boultbees" which he completed in 1998. This adds many biographical details particularly for Charles Royston himself over and above what was written in 1994 for Additional Chapter XVI for the History (subsequently revised and re-issued at the same time as Newsletter No.1, 1996). It includes the diary kept by Charles Royston of his time in, and journeys to and from, New Zealand, which was briefly mentioned in the History. Also included are many interesting family reminiscences of life in the rural mid-west of Canada a hundred years ago.


    Anyone with knowledge of Boultbee history who happened to visit the recent exhibition at the Royal Academy, London, of paintings by Sir Anthony Vandyck might have wondered whether the Sir Robert Shirley, in a splendid painting showing him dressed in Persian robes, was the founder of Staunton Harold Chapel. Most disappointingly this is not so. This Sir Robert was born c. 1581 and died in 1628. (It is possible that he was a brother of Sir Henry Shirley, 2nd Baronet, of Staunton Harold Hall, who died in 1633, and Robert would have been knighted because of his diplomatic post as Ambassador to the Shah of Persia). He habitually wore the Persian robes in which he was painted in Rome in 1622. However he did go so far as to doff his large and elaborate turban when presented to King James I. He married a Persian lady who survived him. Apparently there were several other portraits of him, one of which later belonged to the Ferrers family. The above details regarding Sir Robert were found in the 1897 edition of the Dictionary of National Biography.

February, 2000

Newsletter No. 4 -- October 2001
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