Friday, March 29, 2013

Buller wills now completed - is Buller a singleton ancestral family?

I have now completed all the Buller wills that were collected on our first trip to Kew. I did not find any answers to the question - Who is Christopher Buller with regard to his parentage? There are many unresearched lines in the Buller family and I now have a few good places to start working on that when the Buller day arrives in my research calendar. I would like to find Christopher in memory of my maternal grandmother as she used to talk about her family in England but she did not know the details beyond what I know and actually I was able to push back before her grandparents although she may have had that knowledge.

The Buller family is a quite fascinating one. They have played a huge role in the military history of the United Kingdom and I can only hope that one day someone will take on the Buller name as a one name study. This set of blogs will help them to get started plus I have other information. Would I ever take it on? That is a good question. Certainly not in the next ten years as I intend to devote a great deal of time to my Blake one name study and my Pincombe one name study. After that who knows.

The Hucks family at St Mary Magdalen Bermondsey interested me because of the middle name of Robert Hucks Buller, younger brother to my Henry Christopher Buller. He was a Cooper so perhaps was involved in a business way with Christopher Buller since they lived and worked in the same area of Bermondsey. Perhaps one day I will find a connection between the two families but at the moment that is quite unknown.

The earliest mention of the Buller family that I have seen thus far is in the Somerset Archives  in the Bonvile family deeds etc. DD/HI/B/425 and involves a legal claim to wife's dower interest in property of her late husband, Alexander Buller, 1532. The Visitation takes the family back to Ralfe Buller who lived at Wood, Somerset.

There is a will for Alexander Buller at The National Archives which I did not acquire yet. I will purchase that one on the next Buller research day but in the meantime I found a transcription online in the Fulgham Family Database on World Connect:

From the National Archives website: Will of Alexander Buller, probated 5 Jun 1526 and reference PROB11/22/143.

Alexander Buller, Esq., of Wood, Diocese of Bath and Wells.
Will dated 1526, proved same year. (Porch 7.)
To be buried at Knoll ; my father-in-law John Horsey the elder ; my brother
John Horsey ; my wife Elizabeth ; John Buller my son and heir.

Will 7 Jan 1525 Wood, parish of St Gile of Knoll, Somerset ((1887-1890), Abstracts of Somersetshire Wills, Hereinafter cited as SOM Wills.); Ref. 7 Porch. "Alexander Buller, esquire, of Wood, within the diocese of Bathe. My body to be buried within the parish churche of St Gile of Knoll, within the chauncell. To the cathedral church of Wells 6 shillings 8 pence. To the brotherhede of the Crosse in the church of Ilmystre 20 shillings. To Sir Henry Lymary, curate of Knoll 3 shillings 4 pence. To my olde servant Robert Butler 13 shillings 4 pence. To my olde servant Thomas Lumbard 13 shillings 4 pence. To my olde servant Peter Thorne 13 shillings 4 pence. To my servant John Hayes 6 shillings 8 pence. To my father in law John Horssey th' elder my sorell amlyng gelding, & to my brother John Horssey the choyse of any of my trotting geldings. Residue: Elizabeth my wife, and John Buller my son and heire (executors).
Overseers: J. Horssey elder & yonger. Witnesses: Sir Henry Lymary, curate, John Horssey the elder & yonger, Peter Thorne."
Inq. P.M. 18 Henry VIII, No. 17 (Vivan, Vis CON.).
Buried in 1526 St Gile of Knoll, Wood, Somerset (SOM Wills.).
Probate on 5 Jun 1526 Somerset.

From Somerset Genuki Knowle St Giles is a parish in the hundred of South Petherton, county Somerset, 3 miles SW of Ilminster.

From the Somerset Record Office Catalogue: A/CTP/2/1/92 - deeds relating to the manor of Knowle (St. Giles) dated 1485-1507 may have some information on Wood.

As I continued to delve into early Buller records I found on the British History online site:

For the Manor of Knowle:
In 1303 Hugh de Beauchamp and Ralph of Stocklinch held lands in South Illeigh and Knowle under Matthew de Esse and Humphrey de Kail. (fn. 29) This indicates an earlier subinfeudation of Knowle with Chaffcombe manor by Alan de Furneaux or Geoffrey his son to Oliver Avenel (d. c. 1226), and a subsequent descent with the halves of Chaffcombe manor through Avenel's daughters. The estate was subdivided, the Beauchamp half ultimately becoming the manor of KNOWLE ST. GILES, and the Stocklinch half comprising the farm or manor and mills of Illeigh. By 1386 two thirds of the Beauchamp lands in Knowle had been granted to John Dillington, probably in right of Elizabeth his wife, for life together with the reversion of the remaining third on Nicholas Buller's death. Thereafter the lands were to pass to Thomas and Joan Buller and their descendants. (fn. 30) When James Goodwin purchased John (VI) Buller's moiety of Chaffcombe manor in 1612 he was also offered Knowle manor for £800, but refused it. (fn. 31) In the same year Buller sold Knowle to William Powell, archdeacon of Bath (d. 1614), (fn. 32) who was succeeded by his son Samuel (I) Powell (d. 1656–7). (fn. 33) The manor then passed by successive sons to Marmaduke (d. 1682), Samuel (II) (d. 1722), Samuel (III) (d. 1738), and Samuel (IV) (d. 1739). (fn. 34) Sarah Powell (d. 1783), mother of the last, executed leases in Knowle until her second son Henry (d. 1769) came of age, and on his death she and her daughter Mary acted as joint lords. (fn. 35) Mary Powell (d. 1787) succeeded her mother and, on her death, the manor passed to her cousin the Revd. Thomas Alford (d. 1805) of Ashill, grandson of Samuel (III) Powell's sister Frances. (fn. 36) Alford agreed to sell the estate to Lord Poulett in 1797, although the sale was completed by Alford's widow Sarah, and son Edward in 1811. (fn. 37) Thereafter the manor descended through successive Earls Poulett, the lordship being omitted from the sale of the estate in 1912. (fn. 38) William John Norton was described as lord between 1927 and 1931, (fn. 39) but no subsequent reference to the manor has been traced, nor any mention of a manorhouse.

The first mention of Buller now is for Nicholas Buller in 1386 and it is that at his death there was a reversion showing that the "Stocklinch" half of the property in Knowle was involved in the name of his widow Elizabeth. The lands passed then to Thomas and Joan Buller and their descendants (Is Thomas the son of Nicholas and Elizabeth?). Is Ralfe a son of Thomas and Joan? No date is given for Thomas and Joan. The next date for a Buller on the British History Online site is John (VI) Buller's moiety of Chaffcombe manor in 1612 where the Knowle portion was also offered for sale but refused by that buyer (James Goodwin). However William Powell, archdeacon of Bath bought it in 1612 and as shown above it remained in the Powell family for a number of generations. This John (VI) is perhaps the John Buller married to Elizabeth Strangwais since he inherited property from his father John Buller of Lillesdon who died 12 Jan 1592 (married to Elizabeth Rogers).

Looking at the Visitation which begins with Ralfe Buller of Wood, Esquire and then passes down through seven generations to Alexander who died in 1526 is it possible to develop a possible timeline of these generations backwards? Alexander's son John was 24 or more at his father's death thus making Alexander about 45 or more in 1526 and giving him a possible date of birth of 1480 or earlier. His father was John Buller of Lillesdon married to Alice Sidman and this John's possible date of birth could be 1460 or earlier. Continuing in this line of though the father of this John Buller was John of Lillesdon married to Thomasine Orchard thus putting his possible date of birth at 1440 or earlier. The father of this John was John Buller married to Alice Beauchamp thus giving a date of birth of 1420 or earlier. This John's father was also John and married to (unknown) Gourney and with a possible birth date of 1400. Again the father of this John was John Buller married to Ann Staly so a possible birth date of 1380. The next generation back and the father of this John was Ralfe so a possible birth date of 1360 or earlier. The date known from the records for Nicholas Buller was 1386 and this was close to his death date likely. Nicholas' property passed to Thomas Buller and Joan his wife. If Thomas was the father of Ralfe that he would have had to be born around 1340 or earlier and his father Nicholas would have then been born around 1320. Is this reasonable? That would have made Nicholas around 66 or younger at his death on or before 1386.

Who then was Nicholas Buller and interestingly enough I wonder how he was excluded from the Visitation. What was there about Ralfe that made him stand out in the family remembrance when the Visitation was compiled?

Further down in the same article is a discussion of the capital messuage and farm of Wood:

The capital messuage and farm of WOOD, later WOODHOUSE, was first mentioned in the early 13th century, when John of Wood, of Knowle, held lands in Chaffcombe, (fn. 49) and Andrew of Wood held a virgate of land at Knowle in 1235. (fn. 50) John Buller (d. 1485) held Wood in fee under Knowle manor in 1444 and his family claimed to have held and occupied it from a much earlier date. (fn. 51) Thereafter it descended with the Buller half of Chaffcombe. Alexander Buller (d. 1526) occupied the farm under Lord Daubeney, probably as lord of the hundred, and when the Bullers moved to Lillesdon they leased Wood to George Poulett in 1573. (fn. 52) There followed successive assignments of this lease to occupiers: to John Andrews alias Fry in 1582, to Amias Preston in 1590, and to Simon Courte in 1600. (fn. 53) John (VI) Buller bought the lease from Courte in 1604 and sold it with his half of Chaffcombe to James Goodwin and others in 1612, with which it passed to John Poulett, later Lord Poulett, in 1613. (fn. 54) The farm continued in the Poulett family, being occupied by John Bluet in 1701, until its sale in 1913 to J. W. Davison. (fn. 55) In 1920 he sold it to Holliday Hartley, and Hartley conveyed it in 1924 to Mr. J. G. Vincent, the owner and occupier in 1973. (fn. 56)

This record also mentions a John Buller (died 1485) who held Wood in fee under Knowle manor in 1444. Looking at my earlier thought on charting the family back there is a John Buller in this time frame who was the ancestor of Alexander Buller. No mention of Ralfe and I must admit to being curious why this is the person remembered rather than Nicholas Buller. Are they related?

The Buller family though in my mind has now been pushed back another two generations from the Visitation. Is it a singleton family? Are all the Buller families in England theoretically sharing the same ancestor? Is Nicholas the oldest ancestor of this family?When was the Buller surname first used. The 1386 reversion is now the earliest record that I have for the Buller family with that spelling.

The Calendar of the Close Rolls does have two entries for le Bulur - is this an earlier spelling of the name Buller? This publication found online at forms part of a series of Calendars of the Close Rolls from the reign of Edward I to that of Edward IV.

An earlier record mentioned was that of Thomas le Bulur dated 1203 and he was a witness in the Assize Court Rolls of Staffordshire. However, I have not yet verifed this information found on a commercial website. Was le Bulur the original spelling for the surname Buller?

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