The entire history of Boston, Lincolnshire – from salt-making during the Roman occupation to the current flood barrier construction – is laid out in a new book that I was fortunate enough to participate in.
BOSTON – THE SMALL TOWN WITH A BIG STORY, is now available online from the Shodfriars Hall website or in Boston, Lincolnshire at Shodfriars’ Cafe, Blackfriars Arts Centre, Boston Guildhall or Fydell House.
The book is the brainchild of Boston Borough Councillor, Richard Austin, who felt there had never been a book published which dealt with the entirety of the town’s history. As a result, Richard assembled a team of writers to tackle 55 topics covering almost 2,000 years of history up to the modern-day.
“I didn’t want it to be an academic tome, but a book which anyone could access, dip in and out of and learn more about Boston beyond what is readily known. Boston has a rich heritage, but only a small bit is understood by the majority of people. This book is an easy read, with plenty of illustrations and it’s my hope that it will whet the appetite for people to want to find out more.”
The book was launched at a full-day sell-out conference – An Untold Story: From the Stump to the Statue – at Boston’s Blackfriars Arts Centre on Saturday.
Saturday’s conference was chaired by TV historian Jonathan Foyle, who has appeared on Time Team, Meet the Ancestors and Climbing Great Buildings.
The American guest speaker, Barry Cotton, explained the untold story of how ten men from Boston, Lincolnshire, in 1630 were central figures in the founding of Boston, Massachusetts, and the USA. Eve LaPlante, from the Partnership of the Historic Bostons in America, then eloquently explained how Anne Hutchinson, from Alford, at the same time, laid the foundations of women’s rights at the beginnings of the United States of America. These Lincolnshire men and women helped establish the USA we know today.
Local historian Neil Wright described the situation in Boston in 1630 that encouraged the large emigration to America from Lincolnshire at that time.
The day was supported by the Boston Heritage Forum to highlight the “rich and diverse” history of the Borough of Boston and the Forum wants it to be used to promote the area as a good place to live, work and visit.
Once again, the book is now available online from the Shodfriars Hall website or in Boston, Lincolnshire at Shodfriars’ Cafe, Blackfriars Arts Centre, Boston Guildhall or Fydell House.
A symposium was held in Boston, Lincolnshire at the Blackfriars Theatre and Arts Centre on Saturday, September 7th to address the role of Boston (Lincs) in the foundation of the USA, and in particular the role of people from Boston, and elsewhere in Lincolnshire, in the founding of Boston (Mass) and the colony of Massachusetts Bay in New England in the 1630s. The inspiration for the symposium and much of the organisation of the event was by Richard Austin, BEM, a former Mayor of Boston (Lincs), who was assisted by many other people.
The Symposium Chairman was Dr. Jonathan Foyle, an author of seven books on historic architecture, presenter of several series on BBC television, and a former Chief Executive of the British office of the World Monuments Fund.
There were three speakers,
of whom two came from the USA.
Barry Arthur Cotton is the 7th great-grandson of the Rev. John Cotton, the Puritan Patriarch of New England. Barry has served as National Chairman and President of the Winthrop Society is a Trustee of the Partnership of the Historic Bostons and has authored articles for the Winthrop Journal and the Mayflower Quarterly.
Eve LaPlante is a direct descendant of Anne Hutchinson and John Cotton with degrees from Princeton and Harvard. She has published articles, essays, and five non-fiction books, including American Jezebel, the story of the colonial heretic and founding mother Anne Hutchinson. LaPlante’s second ancestor biography, Salem Witch Judge, won the 2008 Massachusetts Book Award for Nonfiction.
Neil Richard Wright has
been researching and writing books and articles on the history of Boston
(Lincs) since the 1960s. He has
published 17 books, many about the history of Boston, and over 50
articles. He is a past Chairman of the
Society for Lincolnshire History and Archaeology and a Trustee of the
Partnership of the Historic Bostons. He
has visited Boston (Mass) several times in recent years and has given talks at
some Charter Day events (which mark the foundation of Boston (Mass) in 1630).
The Symposium was a
sell-out success with all 224 seats in the theatre being taken. The theatre was built in the 1960s and the
front of house facilities are located in the remains of part of the Dominican
Friary which was built in the 13th century, hence the name of the
theatre. Blackfriars went through a
difficult patch about ten years ago but is now flourishing.
The Symposium began about 10 am with a welcome and introduction by Jonathan Foyle.
The first contribution was
an illustrated presentation by Neil Wright, describing the natural,
architectural and cultural environment of Boston (Lincs) in the 1630s and
comparing and contrasting that with the situation in Massachusetts when the
immigrants from England arrived there.
In referring to the Puritan culture of old Boston at that time he
described how that had arisen, and referred to some of the people involved in
Barry Cotton then spoke on “Leading Men of the two Puritan Bostons”, describing their role in the companies created to facilitate immigration to the New World, and the involvement of other prominent figures including the Earls of Warwick and Lincoln, the Dowager Countess of Lincoln, John Winthrop, and Ferdinando Gorges. He indicated the origins of some of the 166 people who went from the wider Boston area to New England in the Great Migration of the 1630s and ‘40s, and showed the dominance that the men from old Boston had in the new Boston for the first 60 or so years. Barry enjoys sharing his information and I hope much will appear in his forthcoming books on John Cotton and the Boston Men.
Before the lunch break, Jonathan Foyle officially launched a new book on the history of Boston (Lincs), entitled “Boston – The small town with a big story”. It contains fifty-five contributions from numerous authors, including Eve LaPlante, Barry Cotton, and Neil Wright, dealing with aspects of Boston’s history from 1066 to the 21st century. It is well illustrated with many pictures of Boston past and present. The numerous authors appeared on stage for a group photograph and many signed copies of the books that were for sale during the day.
The lunch arrangements ran
very smoothly. The attendees went from
the theatre through the garden of Fydell House (1726) into the side entrance of
the Guildhall (c.1390) where they each picked up a box filled with selected
delicious items, and could also get a drink.
They then demonstrated their ingenuity in finding places to sit and eat
their lunch in the garden or the Guildhall.
We were very lucky to have good weather, sunny and not too cold.
After lunch, everyone returned to the theatre for the final talk, an inspiring address by Eve LaPlante on her ancestor Anne Hutchinson. Hutchinson came from Alford in Lincolnshire, and many times made the long journey on horseback with some of her family to hear John Cotton preach in Boston (Lincs). She then followed him to America and her knowledge and ability as a midwife made her a respected member of society. Hutchinson’s ability to interpret the sermons she heard and to discuss them with the women of the new colony, and later with many men, made her a controversial figure, a heretic, and she was eventually driven out of Massachusetts. She then co-founded the colony of Rhode Island which adopted a more tolerant approach to freedom of religion, as later reflected in the US Constitution’s Bill of Rights.
There then followed a
Question Time session, chaired by Jonathan Foyle, when the three speakers
responded to questions from the audience.
The first question was, “how should Boston prepare to commemorate the
migration of 1630 in 2030?” Several
ideas were suggested, including some from the audience. It is not too soon to start to prepare for
that event, and perhaps a few people with a particular interest could take a
lead in preparing for it in the original Boston. The creation of a Heritage Centre, and
perhaps a genealogy centre, were possibilities. It would be necessary to try to make young
people aware of this important period in the history of both Bostons’. Young people are concerned about global
warming and the environment, so they might respond to the matter of how
settlers reacted to the new environment they encountered in the New World.
The Symposium finished at 3pm, and attendees then had the chance to join one of three tours. One group went to visit the original building of Boston Grammar School (1567), which inspired John Cotton to found the Boston Latin School (which still flourishes) in the new Boston in the 1630s. A small group went to look at Shodfriars, a 15th-century half-timbered building with an 1877 addition, which it is hoped will be restored in the near future and made available for public use, such as, perhaps, a visitor centre or cultural centre. The third option was a guided tour of historic sites within Boston.
The Symposium and the new book are both intended to make old Boston’s history better known, and thereby to attract more tourists to the area. They should also help to inspire people to start to prepare for the events in 2030 to commemorate the foundation of the new Boston. It had been commented that the information on display at Tattershall Castle, run by the National Trust, suggested that nothing important had happened there in the 17th century. As that was the home of the Earl of Lincoln, who was actively involved and whose sister Arbella gave her name to the flagship of the Winthrop fleet, we need to try to persuade the National Trust that it needs to remedy that omission in its literature and to prepare for the Castle to become involved in the 2030 celebrations.
On the evening of 7th September, a Symposium dinner was held at the Boston and County Club, located just off Wide Bargate. About one hundred people attended, including His Worship Councillor Anton Dani, Mayor of Boston, and Councillor Tony Bridges, Chairman of Lincolnshire County Council. An excellent meal was served, and many toasts were made and drunk before Jonathan Foyle gave an excellent impromptu after-dinner talk. Neil Wright attended as his alter ego, Sandra Lezinsky, in a strappy, glittery, yellow full-length dress, and had conversations with many people who said how excellent the whole day had been. I hope that this enthusiasm will lead to attendees spreading the word of the umbilical connection between the two Bostons, and help to prepare for 2030.
My FamilyTree DNA test results resulted in a new Haplogroup that contains both my results and two Singletons. The Haplogroup is defined as BY2574.Cascading down from Z255 to L159 to ZZ7_1, Haplogroup BY2574 shares BY2573 with a Byrne and a Brabazon as shown on THE BIG TREE Chart for R-ZZ7. Thanks to the wonderful work of Alex Williamson, those who take FamilyTree DNA’s Big Y Test are able to see how their haplogroup is embedded in a broader DNA Tree. http://www.ytree.net/DisplayTree.php?blockID=132
As a result, a Singleton and I were able to make email contact with each other to establish a historical/genealogical nexus with DNA testing. Both families appear in English History during the 12th century in the Chartulary of Cockersand, Vol. I, Part II, p.263 states that Huck de Singleton was born c1100 at Little Singleton, Kirkham, Lancashire and died in Broughton, Preston, Lancashire sometime after 1170.
Three generations later, Huck’s grandson, Robert de Singleton, had a son named Richard (circa 1204) who purchased land in the village of Cottam and thus changed his surname to Cottam and became Richard de Cottam. “Geoffrey de Glazebrook and Edith his wife released to Richard de Cottam an oxgang of land in Bilsborrow in 1227.”Final Conc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), i, 47.
R-ZZ7 separates into haplogroups as detailed in Big Tree data for R-ZZ7 (above). The Big Tree data for R-ZZ7 above shows two Singletons and a single Cotton under R-BY2574 with a single Byrne under R-BY2573. Yet, R-ZZ7 is dominated by the Irish O’ Byrne Clan descended from Bran mac Málmórda, King of Leinster, of the Uí Faelain. The single Byrne in haplogrop R-BY2573 is Irish while the two Singletons and single Cotton in haplogroup R-BY2574 are English. As I am the single Cotton sharing haplogroup R-BY2574 with two Singleton cousins, I cannot help but be curious as to how and why our Irish DNA journeyed across the Irish Sea. Surprisingly, the answer appears that they were taken to across the Irish Sea with Vikings fleeing Dublin.
The Viking Kingdom of Dublin was established in Ireland in the mid-9th century. Early in the 10th century, however, a united Irish force from the Kingdoms of Brega and Leinster drove the Viking King Ímar ua Ímair and his warlord, Ingimundr, out of Dublin in 902AD. Ingimundr fled across the Irish Sea to the Wirral Peninsula in the far north of the Kingdom of Mercia between Wales and The Dane Law. King Ímar ua Ímair led his followers to Scotland where he confronted Constantine, King of the Picts, and was eventually defeated by Constantine at Strath Erenn. In 917, Ímar ua Ímair returned to Dublin and defeated the armies of Leinster. Ingimundr and his followers settled on the Wirral Peninsula between the Dee and Mersey estuaries and may have struck a deal with Æthelflæd, Lady of the Mercians and daughter of Alfred the Great, to safeguard the surrounding region from Viking raids. A study published in Molecular Biology and Evolution in February 2008 shows that up to 50% of men on the Wirral Peninsula are of Scandinavian ancestry.The Viking’s were notorious for capturing slaves and a large number of Irish slaves must have accompanied Ingimundr when he fled Dublin for the Wirral Peninsula in 902- including the ancestor of the Singleton/Cotton haplogroup R-BY2574. In Ireland, the King of Leinster, “Braen mac Máelmórda” was deposed in 1018 and the ClanO’Byrne was established. The time period between the Wirral Peninsula migration and the establishment of the O’Byrne line is about 100 years and coincides with the approximate separation of Singleton/Cotton haplogroup R-BY2574 from the older Irish O’Byrne haplogroup R-BY2573.
The Lancashire Chartulary, Series XX. Charter No. II (A.D. 1153-1160 Stephen to Henry II) contains the first historical mention of the surname “Singleton” as Ughtred, son of Huck de Singleton, of the village of Broughton in Amounderness. Just north of the Wirral Peninsula is what is now Lancashire. Historically it was divided into the Six Hundreds of Lancashire and included the Amounderness Hundred that was strategically important in the 10th century in the Dublin-York (Jórvík) axis of power. The towns of Singleton and Cottam existed in 10th century Amounderness and still lie just north of Preston in Lancashire.
Members of Family 11 of the Cotton DNA Project include the surnames COTTON, COTTAM AND COTHAM. The Cotton surname has been proven back to Roland Cotton born London, England 1558. The Cottam surname shows a lineage back to St. Michael on Wyre, Lancashire, England to a Thomas Cottam circa 1740 and a William Cottam born 1779.
The Cotton DNA Project attempts to bridge genealogical proofs with DNA Test results. Fortunately for Family 11, the Cotton surname genealogical proof has been confirmed by a large number of prestigious lineage and hereditary societies. In addition, the Family DNA Big Y test is the most extensive DNA test available. Shown above in yellow highlight, the Cotton line’s placement has been further defined several more subclades or subgroupings under Haplogroup R-ZZ7. To my surprise, a link between the Cottam and the Cotton surnames has been revealed in results of my recent Big Y Test and is displayed on the Big Tree .
The subclade DYS435=12 groups the Cotton line solidly with the Irish Sea or Leinister Modality as the group is dominated by Z16430 and the Clan O’Byrne. The Byrne family is named after the King of Leinster “Braen mac Máelmórda”, who was deposed in 1018. However, along with the Clan Byrne subclade Z16430 is the subclade BY2573 containing a Byrne ,two Singletons and a Cotton (me). Further research seems to indicate that the Singletons took their name from the Lancashire township of Singleton. Later, in the early 12th Century, a Singleton purchased land in the nearby township of Cottam and took the surname “de Cottam”. As a result, it seems that a potential nexus of historical and DNA data exists showing that Cottam and Cotton surnames derive from the Singleton family of Lancashire early in the 14th century.
“The Lancashire Chartulary, Series XX. Charter No. II (A.D. 1153-1160 Stephen to Henry II) shows the confirmation of William Warren, Count of Mortain, to Ughtred, son of Huck de Singleton, of the village of Broughton in Amounderness. “ A note by the Chetham Society, XXX. Page 5, in their Latin comments about the Charter state, “Broctun, now Broughton, in the parish of Preston, was assessed to Danegeld in 1066 as on teamland, and was a member of Earl Tostig’s great manor of Preston in Amounderness. Hucca or Uck is the Anglo-Saxon Hoc, a tribal name retained in the place name “Hucking”. The individual so named in the charter seems to have been the successor of the preconquest thane or drengh of Broughton, and Singleton. He was the ancestor of the Singleton family, which with its various offshoots at one time held estates in Amounderness. Ughtred, son of Huck, is frequently mentioned in charters and other records of the time of Henry II. At Michaelmas, 23 Henry II, 1177, he rendered account at the Treasury of 5 marks to have the King’s confirmation or warranty of land which he held by the gift of Geoffrey de Valoiness…” Based on this charter and the notes of the Chetham Society, the following lineage has been established.1
Huck (Ecke) de Singleton (lived about 1125)
Ughtred (Uctred) de Singleton (lived about 1153)
Robert de Singleton (lived about 1180)
Richard de Cottam (lived about 1204)
Richard, son of Robert, owned land in the village of Cottam and thus changed his surname to conform to the common practice “of being from a place” i.e. Robert de Singleton and Richard de Cottam. (Pipe Roll, No. 71, m.I.) From the Cockersand Chartulary it appears that Richard de Cottam was son of Robert, son of Ughtred, who was brother of Richard de Singleton (1180-1212)1Geoffrey de Glazebrook and Edith his wife in 1227 released to Richard de Cottam an oxgang of land in Bilsborrow; Final Conc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), i, 47. He is believed to be the Richard son of Robert who granted land to Cockersand Abbey (Chartul. [Chet. Soc] i, 269), Robert being son of Uctred and brother of Richard de Singleton, also benefactors of the abbey; ibid. 264, 268. John de Cottam was plaintiff in 1304 and William de Cottam defendant in the following year; De Banco R. 152, m. 22 d.; 155, m. 144. William de Cottam was again defendant in 1311; ibid. 184, m. 23 d. He contributed to the subsidy of 1332; Exch. Lay Subs. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), 60. Sir Adam de Hoghton (as guardian of Thomas the heir of Sir Adam Banastre) gave Adam de Singleton the wardship of John son and heir of John de Cottam of Bilsborrow, the tenure being of Banastre by knight’s service; Dods. MSS. cxlix, fol. 118. The Cottams then fall into obscurity, but from a pleading of 1570 it appears that in the time of Henry IV Richard son of William Cottam married Margaret daughter of John de Fleetwood and then had land in Bilsborrow settled on him. The descent continues: s. Oliver -s. Richard -s. John -s. Richard -sons Richard (who had a son John), Nicholas and Henry. Henry’s daughter Elizabeth married Christopher Parkinson, and these were plaintiffs in 1570, Joan Topping, widow, being defendant; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 228, m. 10 d. The duchy rent was claimed by the king’s bailiff in 1522; Ducatus Lanc. (Rec. Com.), i, 212.4
Writ dated at Westminster, June 10th, 21st year of Edward I (1293), directed to the sheriff of Lancaster and his coroners, reciting the same terms as the previous writ (No. LXXI) the petition of the venerable father R. Bishop of Coventre and Lichfield respecting the lands and chattels of Richard de Cotton, clerk, which had been taken into the King’s hands owing to a charge against the said Richard, of the death of William le Paumere, and directing the sheriff to make inquiry as to the said Richard’s conversation and reputation….. By the oath of 12 free and liege men of the neighborhood of Amundernesse, who say that Richard de Cotton is of good and honest conversation and of good report nor was he ever a public or notorious malefactor except for the death of William le Paumere of which he was accused (arectatus) before the Justices in the last year at Lancaster, of which he afterwards solely vindicated (expurgavit) his innocence.5
† John de Cottam (lived about 1344)
1 Cheshire, Record Society of Lancashire and. Record Society for the Publication of Original Documents Relating to Lancashire and Cheshire, 1903.
2 Farrer, William, and J Brownbill. The Victoria History of the County of Lancaster, 1908
3 Singleton, Sam, Singleton Family Association. A History of John Singleton of American Fork, Utah, His Ancestors and Descendants, Spanish Fork, Utah: JMart Publishing Company, 1973.
4 Cheshire, Record Society of Lancashire and. Record Society for the Publication of Original Documents Relating to Lancashire and Cheshire, 1903.
Genealogical research can only go so far as it is based on written documentation. The farther back in time one goes written records become more and more scarce. Ultimately, written records are nonexistent.
DNA research now provides a means to trace one’s ancestry back in time by determining the most recent genetic mutation in your genome. Males test their yDNA to determine the heritage of their father’s line. Tests for 12, 37, 67 or 111 genetic markers are available. The more markers tested, the more specific the results. Once results are received, however, further research is needed.
For example, I tested R1b1a2a1a1b4f or L159.2+. The R1b haplogroup arrived in Europe about 35,000 to 40,000 years ago and was the first culture in Europe to leave cave art. Today over 50% of Europeans are R1b with the highest number in the British Isles.
My test consisted of 67 markers and determined that my male line fits the L159.2+ mutation known as the Leinster Modal. This mutation is found in the ancient Irish kings of Leinster and most particular in Diarmait Mac Murchada, who was King of Leinster in the early 12th century.
The theory is that the R1b1a2a1a subclade is common to a number of British Celtic tribes migrated to southern Ireland and southwest England between 4th and 8th century. Among these are the Dumnonii that settled Cornwall and in the southern Ireland.
Recently, I expanded DNA testing to 111 markers and have moved deeper down the L159.2+ haplogroup and now am classified R-ZZ7_1.
This places my DNA in what is termed the Irish Sea Modality as I share many traits of the Irish Clan Byrne. To dig even deeper, however, I am taking the ‘Big Y Test’.
The Big Y product is a Y-chromosome direct paternal lineage test. That has been designed to explore deep ancestral links on our common paternal tree. Big Y tests thousands of known branch markers as well as millions of places where there may be new branch markers. The test is intended for those with an interest in advancing science and may also be of great interest to genealogy researchers of a specific lineage. To learn more about the methodology and science behind the Big Y test Family Tree DNA has produced a Big Y white paper published August 28, 2014 and sells the Big Y product as a Y-chromosome direct paternal lineage test.
RDNA testing is not only helpful in placing one’s family geographically in the history of human migration, it can determine a common ancestor in a range of 3 to 10 generations. For example, several Cottons who have no proven genealogical link to the Rev. John Cotton, who helped found Boston MA in the early 1630s have been linked to his line through DNA test results. (Family 11 on this link)