In 1425 William wanted to get the family land back. To do that he laid out how those lands had been in the family for centuries. More than 500 years later Margaret Imrie was writing a history of the mansion at Burton Agnes. To do that she had to tell part of the story of the Boynton family.
When you start looking around for lineages of the Yorkshire Boyntons you find many sources; most of them falling between William de Boynton and Margaret Imrie. This is an introduction to those sources with appropriate warnings about how to read them and what to take seriously and what not to take seriously.
William de Boynton
Henry de Boynton did not want Henry IV as king. He was forewarned by the king. Then he joined the insurrection of 1405, lost his head and his land was attainted, which means the king took it back. The feudal relationship was -- the land was the king's, and you held it from him. If you did something the king did not like he could take it back. But kings seem to have been forgiving in those days. It was not Henry IV. It was Henry VI, at the ripe old age of 3, who was willing to forgive and return the land. William was the son of Henry de Boynton, and was Henry's heir because his older brother, Thomas, had died without issue [as they say]. So William went to court to request return of the family land. There are two sets of documents connected with the return of the land -- William's appeal in 1425 and the order to return the land in 1427. Both lay out the lineage of the Boyntons as they acquired the land. William's story:
When in doubt set up an office. Two kings and a queen were in doubt. So they set up an office to do a who's who of the leading families of England. The office was established. Officials were sent to every county in the land, they issued invitations to distinguished families to be counted, and recorded the information they received. One is available from late in the fifteenth century, several from the sixteenth century and two from the seventeenth century. These are pedigrees of the families extant at those times. By the fifteenth century there was no one to ask about the Boyntons of Boynton; hence, there are no records for them in the visitations. Heraldic Visitations.
The Nineteenth Century
Skip ahead to the nineteenth century: Between 1801 and 1805 William Betham published a five volume work on the English Baronets. In the preface he says about the historical work he is following what might be said about all historical work.
The first attempt, that I know of, to accomplish a history of the Baronets of England, was made in 1720, by Arthur Collins, Esq. . . . His book, indeed, abounded with mistakes, as all such works must necessarily do, till revised and improved by new editions. [p. viii]
Betham organized his publication in chronological order. That put Matthew Boynton, the twenty-third baronet, in the first volume of The Baronetage of England. In 1884 John Farnham Boynton, an American, reprinted the Boynton section of Betham's book as a small booklet and added his own notes to it. John Farnham Boynton added more error than correction in his effort to trace the Yorkshire Boynton family line.
In 1840 Poulson published his history of Holderness and Foster synthesized the various pedigrees that were being re-discovered, which he published in 1874. Their works were quite different. Poulson wrote a history of the part of the East Riding of Yorkshire called Holderness. The Boyntons lived in Holderness, and Poulson devoted a section of his book to them. Foster produced a book of Yorkshire pedigrees, and the Boynton pedigree is included.
The nineteenth century produced a romance -- Bartholomew. Bartholomew de Boynton was the Norman ascestor who every gentry family dreamed of having in their background. In England it was a Norman conqueror that made your lineage; in the U.S. it is a daughter of the American revolution -- I suppose -- though I prefer arriving before 1640. Betham puts Bartholomew first without comment. Both Poulson and Foster nod in the direction of Bartholomew, but both acknowledge that there is no evidence for his existence. John Farnham Boynton notes that he is not in the Domesday book where he should be if he was to be the original Boynton.
Also from the 19th century we do not have: A genealogy of the desc. of Wm. & John Boynton, by J.F. & C.H. Boynton (1897).
Family lineage became a profitable business in the 19th century. Many families were interested in tracing their roots -- especially if there was a chance that the roots ran to a distinguished family. The king's herald was still at work, but that office could not keep up with the demand. Bernard Burke was an early and successful complier of family lineages. Burke's A Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Peerage and Baronetage of the British Empire was published as an annual volume. We have reproduced the Boynton lineage from one volume in the 19th century and one in the middle of the 20th century. We have reproduced the lineage only to Matthew Boynton in the 17th century.
Carus Collier had two advantages over earlier Boynton genealogists: 1) the publication of medieval documents by county historical societies and the English government; 2) records privately held by the Boynton family. By 1900 the Yorkshire Archaeological Society had published 44 volumes of medieval records from Yorkshire in its Record series, and the Surtees Society had published 119 volumes of medieval records from northern England in its record series. The English government had published summaries of medieval government documents -- patent rolls, close rolls, fine rolls, pipe rolls, inquisitions post mortem, ancient deeds, feudal aids and others -- in great numbers. Collier had access to a wealth of published materials that had not been available earlier. In addition, the Boynton family had a substantial collection of deeds, wills, and other documents at Burton Agnes. The collection of more than 1,600 documents was deposited with the library of the University of Hull later in the 20th century. Many of those records are now available from the library on the internet. Collier also had a long standing interest in medieval history [obituary], which prepared him for documents in latin and the esoterica of medieval relationships. The result is the best documented account of the Boynton family available. The focus is almost wholly genealogy; the documentary evidence is used to substantiate the description of who begat whom. It leaves how Boyntons went about their lives to others. It is a little known book. It is infrequently cited, and we could find it in only two libraries -- one in the U.S. and the other in York. The chapters about Boynton genealogy are available here. [Collier on Boyntons] With the benefit of records published later in the 20th century one can conclude that Collier was incorrect at some points, but considerably fewer than those who preceeded him.
Victoria's County Histories
Queen Victoria was convinced to invest in history. Much of the publication of medieval government records happened during her reign. In addition, she sponsored a series of county histories that are best understood as Domesday revisited. These are histories of the land. The Domesday book serves as the starting point, and the authors trace who did what with the land from 1080 to the beginning of the 20th century. They are heavily documented books; footnotes by the thousands. The history of the North Riding of Yorkshire was published in 1924. Since the Boyntons held land in Acklam and Roxby from 1230 until the seventeenth century, when they sold it, one can put together a lineage of the Boynton-triangle-Boyntons from the coverage of Acklam and Roxby in that history. [Victoria's History of the North Riding].
The most recent account is by Margaret Imrie (1993), The Manor Houses of Burton Agnes and their Owners, which picks up the Boynton-Triangle Boyntons at 1400 and carries that line forward to the present. The book also contains an account of the line to American Boyntons. [ancestors of Burton Agnes Boyntons][ancestors of American Boyntons]
Finally, our account of the lineage of the Boyntons who left for American in 1638. It is based on the sources listed above and much other research. We compare our account with three of the previous accounts.
The Boyntons Who Left Yorkshire for America in 1638
1We know more about the dates of death than we do about dates of birth. There were no birth records for most of the period, but death often involved official documents -- wills and inquisitions.
In addition there are four websites that focus on Boynton genealogy:
Boynton by Katherine Cochrane at
Boynton by Donald K. Dillaby
Boynton Genealogy by Mike Pluvoy at
Boynton Genealogy 34 Generations by Douglas Quine at