In recent posts I’ve explored the lives of four Boulton siblings: Major Peter Boulton, Elizabeth Boulton, Captain Richard Boulton, and their unnamed sister, the wife of Thomas Saunders. Two other siblings are mentioned in family wills. Mary Lewes is described as a ‘sister’ in the 1737 will of Captain Richard Boulton and is also left money in the will of his nephew Richard Boulton the younger in 1745. However, to date I’ve been unable to discover anything more about Mary. We know rather more about the other remaining Boulton sibling, Thomas, and particularly about his son, Richard. They will be the focus of this final post about the children of William and Alice Boulton.
On 2nd December 1668, a child named Thomas Boulton was baptised at the church of St Mary Whitechapel. He was described in the parish register as the son of William Boulton, a gunmaker, and his wife Alice.The couple were said to be resident in East Smithfield, a district just to the east of Tower Hill (and one that we’ve come across in earlier posts, as the home of the Manser family). All of the details match what we know about the Boulton family: except the location. Every other record we have places the family in the parish of All Hallows Barking, to the west of Tower Hill.
Detail of a map of London, published in 1667, showing the extent of the Great Fire of the previous year
However, perhaps we can explain this discrepancy by noting that the Great Fire of London had broken out two years before Thomas was born, and that according to contemporary records, the part of the city where the Boultons had been living was at the eastern edge of the area damaged in the inferno. We know that the next generation of Boultons, including Peter, Richard and Elizabeth, would live in the All Hallows area as adults, so it might be that the family moved temporarily to East Smithfield while renovation and rebuilding were taking place in their home district.
In 1684, when he was sixteen years old, Thomas Boulton was apprenticed to John Smith, citizen and goldsmith. Nine years later, on 28th September 1693, Thomas, by now resident in the parish of St Bride’s, married Bridget Nutting at the church of St Paul Covent Garden. Since Bridget was only twenty years old, the licence states that she married with the consent of her mother (presumably her father had died) and ‘as attested by John Nutting, of Lincoln’s Inn, Gent.’, her brother.
Seventeenth-century goldsmiths at work
Thomas and Bridget Boulton had two sons, both of them baptised at the church of St Giles, Cripplegate, thus providing a clue as to the Boultons’ address following their marriage. On 12th February 1703 their son Richard was christened, followed five years later on 5th August 1708 by their son William. Curiously, although the record of William’s baptism gives his father’s profession as goldsmith, the parish register at the time of Richard’s christening describes him as a mariner. Could it be that, having initially trained as a goldsmith, Thomas Boulton spent some time at sea, perhaps alongside his brother Captain Richard Boulton, in the service of the East India Company? This doesn’t seem impossible, given that his own son, Richard Boulton the younger, would also serve as a sea captain with the Company.
I haven’t been able to discover much about the life of William Boulton, the younger son of Thomas and Bridget. In his will of 1737, Captain Richard Boulton the elder left William an annuity of fourteen pounds, and three years later in 1740 William’s brother Richard referred in his own will to this annuity in a way that suggests William was still alive at that date.
As for Thomas Boulton, the absence of any reference to him in later family wills suggests that he predeceased his wife Bridget. She was still alive when her brother-in-law Captain Richard Boulton the elder made his will in 1737 and when her son Captain Richard Boulton the younger made his will in 1740.
A ship of the East India Company at Blackwall
We know very little about the career of Captain Richard Boulton the younger, son of Thomas and Bridget Boulton. He was in command of the King George in 1729 and between 1734 and 1736 he captained the Beaufort. 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. Interestingly, the Beaufort was owned by Jonathan Collett, one of the business partners of Richard Boulton the elder, having been launched at Blackwall Yard in 1734.
Perdiswell Hall, Worcester, in the late eighteenth century
Like his uncle and namesake, Captain Richard Boulton the younger seems never to have married. At some point he retired from active service to Perdiswell, a manor house on the outskirts of Worcester, where he made his will in February 1740. Richard’s will includes bequests to his mother Bridget and brother William, to his uncle and aunt Peter and Posthuma Boulton, to his cousins John Jemblin (son of his uncle and aunt John and Grace Jemblin) and Alice Bigglestone (daughter of his uncle and aunt Martin and Elizabeth Markland), and to Mary Gibbs (granddaughter of Peter Boulton). However the main beneficiaries of the will were Richard Boulton’s cousin Hester Crabb and her two sons Henry and Richard Crabb. Henry Crabb, later to take the name Henry Crabb Boulton and to serve both as director of the East India Company and Member of Parliament for Worcester, seems to have benefited most from the will. Richard Boulton bequeathed Henry ‘all my Mannors Messuages Lands Tenements and Hereditaments wheresoever the same shall be situate both Freehold and Copyhold and also all the rest residue and remainder of my Goods Chattels Money Securities for Money Debts Effects and Personal Estate’, as well as naming him as sole executor of his will.