Papers of the Wickham-Boynton Family (incorporating Griffith) of Burton Agnes

Scope and Content

The archive comprises legal and estate papers rather than personal papers. In U DDWB/12 and U DDWB/15 there are medieval deeds for Little Kelk and Rudston originally belonging to Bridlington Priory and some are printed in an edition of W T Lancaster The chartulary of Bridlington Priory (1912). Some of the earliest material in the collections are to be found here, though U DDWB generally is very rich in medieval charters. The collections also include enclosure awards for Burton Agnes (1718, 1759), Haisthorpe (1723) and Barmston (1758). There are manorial records for Burton Agnes (1791-1875) as well as a court roll for the manor of Haisthorpe for 1414. A few papers specifically relating to the early nineteenth-century financial management of Sir Francis Bonyton are at DDWB2/13.

The collections are arranged as follows: U DDWB has estate records for Bainton (1349); Barmston (1317-1819), including the 1528 admiralty ratification of the rights and privileges of Margaret Boynton and an abstract of the title of Francis Boynton through to 1734; Bempton (late 12th century); Boynton (late 12th century to 1613); Burton Agnes (c.1172-1766), including gifts and deeds of the Merlay, Sommerville and Griffith families and 'the cutting of the intale' of the Boynton family in 1700; Burton Agnes and Thornholme (1315-1597); Caythorpe in the parish of Rudston (mid-12th century-mid-13th century); Gransmoor in the parish of Burton Agnes (1483, 1591); Grindale (1331); Haisthorpe (1414-1803); Hull (1592-1636); Little Kelk (c.1185-1592); Nafferton (1 item 1231-49); Ottringham (1614-1730); Rudston (late 12th century-1730); Sutton upon Derwent (1309); Swaythorpe (1545); Thornholme (early 13th century-1722); Wansford (1398); various townships (early 13th century-1833), including an early 13th century exchange between Bridlington Priory and Walter Boynton, records relating to the Sommerville and Greystoke families, letters patent of 1498 to Walter Griffith to give him custody of the infant John Thornholme and his possessions, a document dated 24 October 1656 and entitled 'A particular of Agnes Burton, Haistrop, Thurnam, Harpham and Kelk Parva, the remaingeinge lands of Sir Henry Griffith deceased and discendinge upon Sir Francis Boynton' and 1811 mortgages of Francis Boynton provided by John Lockwood solicitor; Nottinghamshire (1481); Yorkshire, North and West Riding (late 12th century-1792), including a 500 year lease from Griffith Boynton to Constance Boynton as her marriage portion of £4000 in 1702. Various deeds in U DDWB include a copy of Walter Griffith's pedigree; a 1435 defeasance related to the marriage settlement of Walter Griffith and Joan Nevill; the grant of Edward VI in 1550 of the wardship and marriage of Gabriel St Quintin; a 1662 indulgence of the archbishop of York allowing Francis Boynton, his wife and four others to eat meat during fasting, the marriage licence of Griffith Boynton and Anne White dated 1742 and a series of pardons granted to Robert Place (1415), Francis Boynton (1604), Henry Boynton (1604), Matthew Boynton (1626), Henry Griffith (1626) and Francis Boynton (1661).

U DDWB contains the marriage settlements of Gervase Clifton and Agnes Griffith (1482); Matthew Boynton and Frances Griffith (1613); Henry Griffith and Mary Willoughby (1620); Henry Griffith and Margaret Wortley (1636); William Boynton and Elizabeth Barnard (1661); Francis Cobb and Barbara Hebblethwaite (1690); Francis Boynton and Frances Hebblethwaite (1703); Griffith Boynton and Rebecca White (1728); Griffith Boynton and Anne White (1742); James Kemplin and Isabel Ganton (1748); William St Quintin and Charlotte Fane (1758). U DDWB contains the wills of John de Thornholme (1383); Thomas Smith (1467); Martin Boynton (1518); Thomas Boynton (1520); Margaret Boynton (1533); Matthew Boynton (1540); Cecily Boynton (1550); Thomas Boynton (c.1581); John Thornholme (1597); Katherine Calverley (1603); Francis Boynton (1640); Martha Barnard (1667); William Boynton (1689); William Cobb (1696); Elizabeth (Boynton) Royston (1706); Griffith Boynton (1708); Richard Simpson (1727); Griffith Boynton (1757); Griffith Boynton (1771); Griffith Boynton (1794).

DDWB2 contains estate and legal papers of the Boynton family (especially Francis Boynton) in the nineteenth century in the following sections: Barmston (1767-1932), including leases and tenancy agreements, largely of the 1810s and 1820s and an original bundle relating to enclosure; Burton Agnes (1716-1920), including leases and tenancy agreements, inventories of the personal effects and furniture of Lady Boynton deceased 1889, papers to do with drainage, 19 letters of a dispute between Henry Boynton and Robert Hall 1848-9 and a 1920s insurance policy for Burton Agnes Hall; Haisthorpe (1817); Rudston (1774-1894) including leases, an 1814 plan of the estate and enclosure material; various townships (1706-1944) including an abstract of the title of Francis Boynton, details of his income 1806-10, mortgages arranged with the solicitor John Lockwood and papers related to his financial arrangements with Henry John Shepherd, leases, agreements, a copy of the will of Griffith Boynton (1771) and John Harrison (1774) and a copy of the marriage settlement of Griffith Boynton and Charlotte Topham (1765); a lease for Wood Hall in the parish of Ellerby (1853); accounts (1788-1899) especially household and estate accounts of the first three decades of the nineteenth century and Francis Boynton's accounts with his creditor, John Lockwood; correspondence (1794-1877) including 40 letters of John Lockwood to Henry John Shepherd about the finances of Francis Boynton, as well as two family letters dated 1869 and 1877; rentals (1808-1854) largely for the estates of Francis Boynton in 1808; settlements (1784-1886) including the marriage settlements of George Parkhurst and Mary Boynton (1784), Francis Boynton and Sally Bucktrout (1815), Henry Boynton and Louisa Strickland (1833), Henry Boynton and Harriet Lightfoot (1843) William Mussenden and Katherine Maude Boynton (1866); papers of Francis Boynton (1795-1833) amounting to more on his financial arrangements with John Lockwood; various documents (1788-1875) including bonds of John Lockwood; wills (1771-1898) of Griffith Boynton (1771), Griffith Boynton (1794), Mary Parkhurst (probate 1815), Henry Boynton (1854), Henry Boynton (1861), Harriet Boynton (1869), Henry Sommerville Boynton (1898) and a miscellaneous section (1784-1869) including a memorial for Henry Boynton (1869) and certificates of baptism, marriage and burial for the Boyntons, Griffiths, St Quintons and others dated 1707-1815.

Administrative / Biographical History

The home of the Wickham-Boynton family, Burton Agnes Hall near Bridlington in the East Riding of Yorkshire, has descended through two families, the Griffiths and the Boyntons, without sale, for several hundred years. After the Norman conquest the estate passed from the king to Robert de Brus. The medieval hall, built circa 1170, may have been built by his successor, Roger de Stuteville and when the male line of the de Stuteville family failed the hall and manor passed into the de Merlay family through the marriage of Alice de Stuteville to Roger de Merlay. In 1274 it passed again through an heiress, this time to Robert de Sommerville, and it stayed in that family just two generations until failure of the male line again saw its transfer, this time to the Griffith family through the marriage of Joan de Sommerville to Rees ap Griffith in 1355. The papers in DDWB, DDWB(2) and DWB relate to the Griffith family and the Boyntons who succeeded to Burton Agnes also through marriage in 1654 (Wood, Burton Agnes old manor house, pp.1-2; Allison, Victoria county history of Yorkshire East Riding, pp.106-8).

The Griffiths were a Welsh family who had settled in Staffordshire in the thirteenth century. Walter Griffith, who died in 1481, was responsible for restoring the Norman manor house and adding the fifteenth-century roof. The Griffith family chapel in the church at Burton Agnes was built circa 1500 and the family played an important part in the affairs of the north during the sixteenth century. The second Sir Walter Griffith became high sherriff of Yorkshire in 1501 and was governor of Scarborough castle until his death in 1531. His son, George, was knighted a year later and was in turn succeeded by his son, another Walter Griffith, in 1559. The latter's son, Sir Henry Griffith, was knighted by James I in 1603 and was responsible for building the Elizabethan/Jacobean new Burton Agnes hall around the same time when appointed high sheriff of Yorkshire. The new hall stands next to the original Norman manor house. The latter became service quarters and a laundry and has had several alterations since those made in the fifteenth century (Wood, Burton Agnes old manor house, p.2; Pevsner & Neave, York and the East Riding, pp. 365, 367).

Henry Griffith was succeeded in 1620 by his son, also Henry Griffith, who was knighted by Charles I in 1627 and was a royalist during the civil wars of the 1640s before surrendering to parliament and taking the national covenant. When he died in 1654 the estate passed to the son of his sister, Frances, who was married to Matthew Boynton (Wood, Burton Agnes old manor house, p.2; Musgrave, Burton Agnes Hall, p.8).

The Boyntons claim their descent from an eleventh-century lord of the manor of Bovington or Boynton. They became lords of the manor of Acklam in Cleveland, but this manor, along with other family land, was forfeited to the king after Sir Henry Boynton was beheaded in 1405 for supporting the rebellion of Henry Percy, earl of Northumberland. Sir Henry's eldest son, Thomas, died without issue and his second son, William, petitioned for return of land at Boynton. In this he was successful and his grandson, Henry, greatly expanded the family estates again by marrying Margaret, daughter of Martin de la See, lord of the manor of Barmston who died in 1494 (there is a picture of his tomb at DDMM/8/1) (Hawkesbury, Some East Riding families, p.6; Collier, The Boynton family, pp.1-10; Foster, Pedigrees).

Henry Boynton died only a year after Martin de la See and his wife took a religious vow not to remarry and was admitted of Corpus Christi York in 1513. She was a votary and patroness to the priory of Nun Cotham. She appointed Cuthbert Tunstall, bishop of Durham, one of the executors of her will, written in 1533 (DDWB/25/6). Margaret Boynton died in 1536, by which time her two eldest sons had predeceased her and she was succeeded to Barmston by her grandson, Matthew Boynton (c.1504-1541), who was married to Anne Bulmer of Wilton. He was appointed chief steward of the king's possessions in the counties of York and Lincolnshire and one of their daughters, Cicely, became maid of honour to Queen Elizabeth. The Boyntons became financially very healthy in the sixteenth century. They held compact estates around Bridlington and lived in a moated manor house at Barmston, the remains of which can still be seen. Matthew's eldest son Thomas (b. circa 1523) was MP for Boroughbridge and high sheriff of Yorkshire and when he died in 1582 he left a personal estate of £2454 (Collier, The Boynton family, pp.13-15; English, The great landowners of East Yorkshire, p.16; Morris, A series of picturesque views, i, p.90; Ward, East Yorkshire landed estates, p.26; Foster, Pedigrees).

Thomas Boynton was succeeded by his son, Francis, who also served as high sheriff of Yorkshire and sat on the council of the North. By the time of his death in 1617 the family had accumulated the manors of Barmston, Roxby, Acklam, Rudston, as well as lands in Boynton and the rectories of Barmston and Bridlington with their tithes. He married Dorothy, who was the heiress of Christopher Place and they had four children two of whom died in infancy. His only son to survive to adulthood was Matthew, born circa 1591. He paid £1100 for his baronetcy in 1618 and married Frances Griffith, who became sole heiress of her brother, Sir Henry Griffith of Burton Agnes (Collier, The Boynton family, pp.18-19; English, The great landowners of East Yorkshire, p.16; Foster, Pedigrees).

Matthew Boynton sat for Hedon in the parliament of 1628, but he came under scrutiny in the 1630s for his religious tendencies and eventually fled to Holland. He had returned by 1640 when he sat in parliament for Scarborough though his allegiance before the outbreak of hostilities in 1642 was ambiguous. Some sources say he was a royalist, but it is clear he also had orders from parliament to observe the activities of John Hotham and his son whose own loyalties wavered the other way, from parliamentarianism to royalism. He and his younger son, Matthew, were responsible for the capture of the Hothams, who were both executed for their change of allegiance. They then received the surrender of Scarborough castle from Hugh Cholmley who had also switched allegiance from parliamentarianism to royalism, but he was allowed to flee abroad. Matthew Boynton was then made governor of Scarborough castle until his death in 1647 when the younger Matthew Boynton succeeded him before, very ironically, changing sides and becoming a royalist (Allison, Victoria county history of Yorkshire East Riding, p.71 citing R A Marchant, Puritans and the church courts in the diocese of York, 1560-1642, pp.122, 241-2; Collier, The Boynton family, pp.20-1; Ross, Celebrities of the Yorkshire wolds, pp.31-3).

Matthew Boynton's wife predeceased him by 13 years after bearing him 12 children. Their eldest son Frances (b.1618), thus became heir to Barmston and Burton Agnes and he succeeded to the latter on the death of his uncle in 1654, seven years after the death of his father. He made a profitable marriage to Constance, daughter of Viscount Saye and Sele (chamberlain to the household of Charles II) and the couple lived quietly at Barmston until their deaths in the 1690s. Francis Boynton's eldest son, William (b.1643), who was the first member of the family to move from Barmston to Burton Agnes, was MP for Hedon 1680-5, but predeceased his father in 1689. His son, Griffith Boynton (b.1664), thus succeeded his grandfather to the baronetcy and estate (he was responsible for the major alterations at Burton Agnes), but his two marriages failed to produce children and on his death in 1731 the inheritance shifted to his cousin, Francis (b.1677) whose father was Henry Boynton, the younger surviving son of Francis and Constance and rector for 47 years at Barmston (Foster, Pedigrees; Collier, The Boynton family, pp.24-9; Allison, Victoria county history of Yorkshire East Riding, p.109).

Through the eighteenth century the Boyntons continued to be involved in both local and national politics. However they also amassed increasing debts, so they demolished the house at Barmston and in 1771 sought statutory permission to sell property and this was a process that continued well into the nineteenth century, by which time the estates were considerably reduced. Francis Boynton, 4th baronet, was educated at St John's college, Cambridge and studied law. He became recorder of Beverley and was MP for Hedon 1734-9, but his attendance was very poor. His wife, Frances Hebblethwaite, had six children, though the first born son died in infancy. When Francis Boynton died in 1739 he was thus succeeded to the baronetcy and the lands by his second son, Griffith Boynton (b.1712). Griffith Boynton was also a lawyer and was admitted to Gray's Inn in 1730. He married Anne White, but she died giving birth to their only child, a son born in 1743. He did not remarry and himself died in 1761 to be suceeded by Griffith Boynton, 6th baronet (Foster, Pedigrees; Collier, The Boynton family, pp.29-33; Allison, Victoria county history of Yorkshire East Riding, p.109; English, The great landowners of East Yorkshire, p.28; Sedgwick, The house of commons, p.481).

Griffith Boynton, 6th baronet, was returned MP for Beverley, but there is no record of him ever speaking in parliament and there is only one registered vote recorded. He married first Charlotte Topham, and their respective arms are quartered in the pediment above the Burton Agnes chimneypiece brought from Barmston in the 1760s (the arms of Thomas Griffith [d.1582] and his three wives are elaborately carved into the Elizabethan wood below). Charlotte Boynton died at the age of 26 only two hours after giving birth to a stillborn daughter in 1767 and Griffith Boynton married Mary Hebblethwaite less than a year later. By her he had three sons who were destined to inherit the baronetcy and estates in turn. He was succeeded on his death in 1778 by Griffith Boynton (b.1769) who was educated at Trinity College Cambridge and married Ann Parkhurst. The marriage was childless and he was succeeded by his brother Francis Boynton (b.1777) who married Sarah Bucktrout. They also had no children and when he died in 1832 he was succeeded by the youngest brother, Henry Boynton, who had been born after his father's death, in 1778 (Namier & Brooke, The house of commons, p.109; Foster, Pedigrees; Pevsner & Neave, York and the East Riding, p.369; Collier, The Boynton family, pp.34-5).

Henry Boynton, 9th baronet, married Mary Gray and had 10 children. His eldest son, Henry (b.1811), succeeded on his death in 1854 and made a career for himself in the local militia. His first wife, Louisa Strickland, died without leaving children in 1841 and he remarried in 1843. His second wife, Harriet Lightfoot, had two children, Henry Sommerville Boynton (b.1844) and Katherine Maude Boynton who married William Mussenden, general of the 8th Hussars. Henry Sommerville Boynton, 11th baronet succeeded his father in 1869 and was the 31st and last descendant in direct line from Walter de Bovington or Boynton. He was a traveller and naturalist whose large collection of stuffed birds was later destroyed by a bomb in 1940. When he died in 1899 he left behind a daughter, Cicely Mabel Boynton, who was born in 1877 and who married Thomas Lamplugh Wickham (Musgrave, Burton Agnes Hall, p.9; Collier, The Boynton family, pp.35-9).

In the late nineteenth century the estate of the Boynton family went through further contraction; in 1879 the 11th baronet's 9300 acres had a gross annual value of £10,000, but by 1910 the estate was only 5500 acres in size. Having no son, Sir Henry Boynton's title was inherited by his cousin, Sir Griffith Boynton and it has passed down through his heirs. His daughter, Cicely, owned the estate until she died in 1947 to be succeeded by her younger son (the elder having died on active service in 1942), Marcus Wickham Boynton, who in 1948 put the old Norman hall in the hands of the ministry of works and who opened up the 'new' Elizabethan/Jacobean hall (and its fine collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings) to the public to solve the family's financial difficulties. The estate is now in the hands of his nephew (Musgrave, Burton Agnes Hall, p.10; Wood, Burton Agnes old manor house, Intro. and p.2).

Access Information

Access will be granted to any accredited reader

Other Finding Aids

Entry in Landed family and estate archives subject guide

Custodial History

DDWB deposited originally in the East Riding Record Office and transferred to Hull University Archives by Captain Marcus Wickham Boynton through Messrs. Crust, Todd and Mills in 1974; DDWB2 deposited through Messrs. Crust, Todd and Mills in 1981. Donated via Donald Carrick, on the authority of Sandersons Solicitors (successor to Crust, Todd and Mills), June 1999.

Related Material

Other papers of the Wickham Boynton family are at U DWB

From the Miscellaneous Local History Collection [U DDX/16/200, 207, 217, 222, 228, 239, 248-9, 342, 346, 368-9]

From the Papers of Crust Todd and Mills Solicitors [U DDCV/26/36; U DDCV/31; U DDCV/40; U DDCV/204/30]

From the Papers of Duesbery Family [U DDDU/11/96-97]

From the Papers of the Constable Maxwell Family [U DDEV/68/248]

From the Papers of the Hotham Family [U DDHO/4/19-20]

From the Papers of John Lockwood [U DDJL/4/18]

From the Papers relating to the East Riding of Yorkshire collected by Sir Clive Milnes-Coates [U DDMC/4/1]

From the Papers of Kenneth A MacMahon [U DDMM/28/13]

From the Papers of the Preston Family [U DDPR/7/157]

From the Papers of the St Quintin Family [U DDSQ; U DDSQ(2)/1/1; U DDSQ(2)/18/1; U DDSQ(3)/17/5]

Other repositories:

Griffith and Boynton family papers [DDWN], East Riding of Yorkshire Archives Service

Wilberforce House, Hull

Morrice MSS, Dr Williams Library, London


  • Allison, K J, Victoria county history of Yorkshire: East Riding (1971)
  • Collier, C V, An account of the Boynton family (1914)
  • English, Barbara, The great landowners of East Yorkshire 1530-1910 (1990)
  • Foster, J, Pedigrees of the county families of Yorkshire (1874-5)
  • Hall, Ivan, Samuel Buck's Yorkshire sketchbook (1979)
  • Morris, F O, A series of picturesque views of seats of the noblemen and gentlemen of Great Britain and Ireland (1880)
  • Musgrave, E I, Burton Agnes Hall near Bridlington, East Yorkshire: a souvenir handbook (1950)
  • Namier, L & Brooke, J, The house of commons 1754-1790 2 vols. (1964)
  • Neave, D & Pevsner, N, The buildings of England: York and the East Riding (1995)
  • Ross, F, Celebrities of the Yorkshire wolds (1878)
  • Sedgwick, R, The house of commons 1715-1754 2 vols. (1970)
  • Ward, J T, East Yorkshire landed estates in the nineteenth century (1967)
  • Wood, Margaret, Burton Agnes old manor house (1956)