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The Bolles of Bolle Hall, Swineshead parish

See also The Bolles of Swineshead and The Family Tree of the Bolles of Swineshead


For the first part of the Bolles of Swineshead story see The Roots of the Bolles of Swineshead

See more information about the actual Bolle Hall


This page will contradict the long accepted claim in the Bolle of Haugh pedigree that an Alan of Swineshead, father of Thomas Bole of Bole, was the Lord of Swineshead.  Please see The Lords of Swineshead and The Question of the Bolle as Lords of Swineshead.


The Hundred Roll of 1274 documents that a John Bolle was living in Kirton wapentake, the administrative district which included Swineshead parish, and an Allan Bolle and a Thomas Bolle were referenced in an inquisition held in Elloe wapentake just to the south of Kirton.  Although this doesn’t place them at Bolle Hall, this is consistent with the top two levels in The Bolles of Haugh Pedigree that show the earliest known Bolle of Haugh ancestor was an Allan of Swineshead and his son was Thomas Bolle of Bolle Hall.  So far I can just say that people of that name were in the immediate area and according to references in the Hundred Roll that John Bolle was of enough authority in the Swineshead area to have influence over the hanging of thieves and that Thomas Bolle was accused by some for abusing his office as a royal sub-bailiff in the area around Moulton, Whaplode etc.



The next levels of the Haugh pedigree can be confirmed. 



William Bolle (1)


The earliest Bolle mentioned in the Bolles of Haugh Pedigree that I could find an original source reference for is William Bolle (ca. 1270-1326) of Swineshead. 


In this reference from November 1311 he was referred to as ‘the attorney of John la Warre, Lord of Swineshead’.  This is notable as John la Warre had been Lord of Swineshead for only 1 year at that point.  The Gresley family had been the Lords of the Manor of Swineshead since about 1070 when this land was first awarded to Sir Albert de Gresley by William of Normandy following his conquest of England in 1066.  Sir Thomas Gresley (1280-1310) was the 8th Lord of Swineshead but he died with no heir in 1310 and the estate passed to Thomas’ sister Joan’s husband, John la Warre of Ewyas, Wales (now Hereford).  John la Warre already held extensive land in Somerset, Hereford, Wiltshire, Wales, Northampton, Surrey and Shropshire and through Joan he acquired her father’s holdings of Wakerle, co. Northampton;  the Manor of Manchester, co. Lancaster and the Manor of Swynesheved in Lincolnshire in September 1310.


With all that property, la Warre would have been too busy to see to the day-to-day business end of running Swineshead Manor so he would need a trusted local representative.  When one of la Warre’s tenants, William de Staunton, fell into debt, the Sheriff of Lincolnshire was not able to locate him within his bailiwick and reported back to the chancery court that he had seized all Staunton’s land and chattels and delivered them to ‘William Bolle, the attorney of John la Warre’.  Attorney did not mean what it means today, it was just a person appointed to represent another person on a specific occasion but it did indicate a level of trust that la Warre must have had in William.


As la Warre had only been Lord of Swineshead for one year at this point it has to be considered whether his trust in William could have been based on an earlier association with him.  See Was There a Previous Connection Between William Bolle and John La Warre?



In the 1300’s abbeys were run as businesses often with a son of the founding family or another leading local family as the Abbot.  Faith was a strong driving force and the church was seen as being able to influence the future of the soul after death.  Gifts of land and other assets to the church often followed an inheritance for the sake of prayers for their ancestor’s souls.  Those grants are very helpful to establish the lines and dates of descent at least in the better-off landholding families.  Well run abbeys were skilled at developing those donated lands, building manors on donated land to lease and running their own farm operations with donated labor coming from their parish. In the 1320’s John the carpenter, son of Thomas Bolle of Algarkirk, gave Crowland Abbey an acre of sea-marsh lying between the sea-marsh of John Bolle and Foscedyke towards the east and John the Carpenter’s land toward the west, the south abutting on the sea-marsh of the Abbot of Crowland and the north on the sea-dyke.  Ref. (Spalding Gentlemen’s Society, Wrest Park Cartulary, f. 132, no. 12)

Note: the preceding reference is a very important one to illustrate a major problem in medieval genealogy.  Two John Bolles held land adjacent to each other at Fosdike in the 1320's.  Usually in a legal document they would be identified as John Bolles of some-place and John Bolles of some-other-place to distinguish them.  However, in this case the second John Bolle has been referred to as John the Carpenter, son of Thomas Bolle of Algarkirk.  The first problem is that if he was known colloquially as John the Carpenter he may well have also appeared in other references of the time as John the Carpenter and even possibly for the rest of his life as John Carpenter with his children carrying on that surname.  However, if there was also in that area a William Blake (for example) and a William the Carpenter, son of William Blake, then such a junior line may also have gone on as a William Carpenter with his children also carrying on the Carpenter surname but the two men named Carpenter and their families may have had no family relation to each other at all.  Another problem is that while John the Carpenter used that name in the 1320's, later on if the senior John Bolle died then John Carpenter may have reverted to the name John Bolle now that the carpenter reference is not needed to identify him.  Worse, a John Carpenter in future generations may be a descendant of the example Blake line and have no connection to the first John Carpenter.


The list of tenants of Thomas of Multone, Lord of Fleet (sons Alan and Lambert de Multone and Thomas de Lucy) in 1315 includes a Simon Bolle.  Ref.

Land between the messuage of Simon son of Gilbert and the church and between the bank and Westgate:

Richard son of Roger atte Green the plot of Simon Bolle and returns per year 18d and 3 days of boon work

On page 150 there is a summary of boon work days owed annually to the Manor of Fleet which has Ro(ger) son of Asceline on Simon Bolle’s plot owing the 3 days.

The land in the Fells south of Swineshead was very swampy but the landowners and church leaders built dikes and drainage canals to reclaim the swamps as very valuable meadow land.  Then began a period of competition for these lands as ages old grants were studied to see just what rights may have been retained when their families made grants to the abbeys in the past.  Claims and counter-claims were regularly made as the various factions argued over their rights to these valuable meadows.  As the king rarely ruled on church matters (until Henry VIII’s time) they sometimes escalated into armed encounters.


The abbot of Crowland Abbey, which had originally founded Spalding Priory, attempted to supplant the Abbot of Spalding’s use of church land within the manors for which Crowland still held the charters but that was met with resistance and an offensive onto his own lands.  In July 1329 he complained to the king that Walter, the prior of Spalding, with his men of Spalding and Moulton, including Alan of Multon, Thomas de Fleet of Holbech, John Bolle of Whaplode, William son of John of the same (so William Bolle?) and an Alan Bolle (of Moulton), had cut down the beams supporting his dikes protecting his abbey and crop lands had been flooded, they had also extorted tolls from persons coming to the Crowland fair and assaulted the officers he had appointed to collect those tolls within his own manors of Spalding, Holbech, Whaplode and Sutton.  Ref. (Patent Rolls of Edward III)


In another land dispute, in 1332, Thomas Wake of Liddell and his men of East and West Deeping and Barholm prevented Crowland’s bailiffs from collecting tolls and other dues from the fair there and hindered merchants from attending and also broke into the abbey’s close at Baston and seized livestock from several of the abbey’s manors and held them at West Deeping until a fine of £500 was paid.  However, the abbot had other plans.  Accompanied by his monks and several other men he raided Wake’s manor assaulted Wake’s servants and carried away his animals.


Later Wake raised a dike to manage the water on his own land which caused it to flow onto Crowland’s land and in June 1342 Wake complained to the king that ‘the Abbot of Crowland with several monks and many others (the list of men is stated this time and included a Richard Bole) broke a dike in his marsh at Depyng (Deeping) causing his land to be flooded so that he lost the profits of the marsh for a great while and carried away his fish’.   (Patent Rolls of Edward III)


One last reference in the south of Lincolnshire.  In 1349, a William Bolle, chaplain to the church of St George Stamford (west of Deeping) was appointed to the ministry of that church.  The appointment came from King Edward III as the church was normally under the abbot of St Fromond (of France) but was temporarily in the king’s hands due to the present war with France. (Patent Rolls of Edward III)


John Bolle (1)

 under construction


William Bolle (2)

In 1348 William, son of John Bolle of Swineshead, settled 1 messuage (property) of 45 acres of land, 29 acres of meadow and 97 acres of pasture which were in the parishes of Swineshead, Wigtoft and Bicker on himself and his wife Alice.  The land description fits as the family home and land of Bolle Hall near Hoffleet which was right at the meeting point of those three parishes.  The Bolle land had been divided into 3 parcels due to the dower rights of the surviving two widows of the previous two generations but by temporarily granting all 3 parcels to two feofees (Robert de Spaigne and Robert Daniel), who in the same document then granted their rights to the land back to William and Alice, the property would be combined back into one again on the death of the two widows.  His own portion had been 2/3 of that land with 1/6 held by dower right by Joan the widow of John Bolle (so William’s mother) and 1/6 by dower rights of another widow, Joan now the wife of John de Meres (so almost certainly William (1)’s widow and William (2)’s great-aunt now remarried).  This charter, along with William Bolle (1)’s IPM of 1326, is an excellent confirmation of the descent of Bolle Hall in the Bolle line of inheritance as stated in the Bolle of Haugh Pedigree.


William specified that he and Alice would hold the land for their lives but, as they had no male heir, after their decease the land would pass to John Bolle and wife Katherine and their heirs.  Their relationship to William is not explicitly stated but that would be William’s brother John and wife Katherine Goddard.  After that, if John and Katherine should predecease him and they should have no surviving heirs, the land was to go to the other children of John Bolle (Senior, their father).  Their brother Godfrey had predeceased then by 1333 but there may have been other younger brothers.  Lacking such a surviving heir only then was the land to go to William’s heir as would be decided in an Inquisition Post Mortem. 


On that same day (January 27, 1348) another agreement was signed in which John and Katherine paid William and Alice 20 marks of silver and 1 rose yearly for another messuage, 3 salt works, 13 ½ acres of land, 2 ½ acres of meadow, 5 acres of marsh and 7s 4d of rent in Swineshead, Wigtoft, Bicker and Donnington and for William’s rights to the 1 ½ acres of that land held by John de Meres and his wife Joan as her dower rights of William’s inheritance for the term of John and Katherine and their heir’s lives with the same defaults as the above. Ref 3a


The statement that John paid 20 marks for the property is not necessarily true.  The Medieval Genealogy’s page explaining the Feet of Fines states that they were often a neat way to legally assign property within the family and that the fee paid in those cases was just a round sum stated to ensure the legality of the document as a land sale although no payment may actually have changed hands.  Ref: http://www.medievalgenealogy.org.uk/fines/format.shtml


Joan’s dower rights were for a 1/3 share in three specific parcels of land (see William Bolle’s Inquisitions Post Mortem): a plot in Coningesby, the Bolle home and land near Hoffleet and a parcel of land in Swineshead, Wigtoft and Donnington held under John de Holand. 


The plot in Coningesby is not mentioned so we don’t know so far whether that land had been seized by the king after Cecily’s death or if it was still in the family and William was still keeping that for himself.  The parcel containing their home was passed to his brother John in the first document and the third parcel then must be for the land they held under John de Holland.  The parish names given are correct with the addition of Bicker but there are some properties listed in Joan’s dower rights IPM (ex. Holdefrith, the marsh of Estevening, a meadow called Crakestevene) which I cannot place


John Bolle (2)

William (2)'s brother

 under construction


Randulph Bolle

 under construction

(heir to his father by 1371; also heir to his Uncle Godfrey; appointed commissioner for ‘parts of Holand’ in 1359 to investigate the misuse of authority by public officials (sheriffs, stewards, bailiffs, ministers etc.) ref. 12; attorney for Sir John de Cressy in 1366; appointed as commissioner of the peace and justice of the assize for parts of Holand in 1369 ref. 13; declared to be exempt from being put on assizes, juries or recognitions and from appointment as mayor, sheriff, escheator, coroner or other bailiff or minister of the king against his will in 1373 ref. 14; appointed as a tax assessor in parts of Holand, co. Lincoln in 1379 ref. 6; in January 1389 he was a witness on a land grant ref. 21)
(although he is of Gosberkirke this is the Swineshead Randulph Bolle as he was referred to in 1360 as ‘Randolf Bolle of Swineshead of Gosberkirke’ as an executor of Master John de Langetoft’s Will  ref. 2, possibly he used ‘of Swineshead’ to identify himself as a member of the senior line of Bolles and also ‘of Gosberkirke’ as he actually lived there)   
(the Bolle of Haugh pedigree says he was Escheator of Lincolnshire but that was a William Bolle, possibly Randolph’s brother below)
His wife Katherine Pulverton was (heir to her father by 1369; she brought land in Algerkyrke to Randulph of Gosberton in 1360; of Swineshead from 1378)
Randulph was living in 1389; likely living in 1392 when his brother William made an application to the king to be allowed to give a large holding in Wigtoft to the chaplain of Wigtoft and his successors to celebrate divine service daily at the altar of St Mary Ref. 8.  But dead by 1396 when his widow granted some land in Algarkirke to the chaplain of the church there  possibly prior to her own death or another family member's.  ref. 9 

The National Library of Wales

Lease for 5 years of a piece of meadow called le Ouxpastr', , and if 2 ...,


Material type:     Text

Language:  Latin

Year: 1383

Level:        File.

Summary:  1 Lord John la Warre, kt, lord of Swynesheued. 2 Ralph Bolle of Swynesheued. Lease for 5 years of a piece of meadow called le Ouxpastr', [ ? p. Swineshead, Lincolnshire], and if 2 dies within the aforesaid term there will be no constraint upon his heirs to rent the aforesaid meadow beyond the first day of March following his death. Annual rent: 100s. Dated at Swynesheued. Latin. Armorial seal of 2 (damaged). Deed repaired prior to purchase by NLW.




William Bolle (3)


 under construction

John Bolle (3)


 under construction

William Bolle (4)


 under construction

John Bolle (4) – later of Haugh

    See The Bolles of Haugh



This site was last updated 01/09/20