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The de Boeles of Bedfordshire

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See also Several Histories of the de Boeles of Bedfordshire and Their Connections to Ramsey Abbey and to Newnham Priory
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Note: to aid readability this account will be given without references stated throughout but extensive references to substantiate the following can be found on The de Boeles of Bedfordshire References
The de Boeles, undoubtedly a line which originated in the ville of Bouelles in Normandy, first appears in Bedfordshire by 1165. They were associated with both the Barons Beauchamp of Bedford as well as the Barons Beauchamp of Eaton-Socon, Bedfordshire.  That would be consistent with them having been knights under the powerful Norman Lord Hugh de Gournay at the Battle of Hastings when William, Prince of Normandy invaded England in 1066.  Hugh's son Hugh is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 with three holdings in Essex including 2 plowlands in Ardleigh, Essex while Geoffrey de Mandeville held 6 plowlands there.  If the de Boeles had accompanied de Gournay to England they would likely have been settled on one of his holdings.  We have no record of the 2 or 3 generations which would have occurred over the next 60 years but the de Boeles surname would almost certainly have been retained.  In 1144, Geoffrey de Mandeville's grandson of the same name, the 1st Earl of Essex, died.  His widow, Rohese de Vere, then married Payn de Beauchamp, Lord of Bedford, only to be widowed a second time in 1155.  When their son Simon de Beauchamp reached the age of majority in 1165, Rohese and son Simon founded Newnham Priory.  One of the witnesses on the priory's founding charter was a Henry de Boeles
While this is the earliest record that I can find for a de Boeles in Bedfordshire we really don't know if the family had already been there for previous generations or if Henry arrived there from Essex with Rohese de Vere or through some other connection but their presence in Norman England well prior to the wave of Anglo-Norman re-settlement after King John's loss of Normandy in 1203, and their historic connection in Normandy to Hugh de Gournay would be 'consistent' with the family's arrival in England in 1066.
In any case they were soon well established in Bedfordshire with connections at the highest level.  There were actually two Barons Beauchamp in Bedfordshire, the one of Bedford and the other of Eaton-Socon.  Although the connection between them doesn't seem to be known, Henry de Boeles was connected to both of them.  He was not only witness to Simon de Beauchamp, Baron of Bedford's founding of Newnham Priory in 1165, he was also William de Beauchamp's, Simon's son and heir (in 1207),  steward.  In about 1187 Henry married Auda de Beauchamp, daughter of Hugh de Beauchamp, Baron of Eaton Socon.  Auda brought some major landholdings to Henry including a half share in the Honour of Wardon where they made their home at Roxton Manor.  They had at least three sons and a daughter, Auda de Boeles, who became an attendant to two Queens.  See Henry de Boeles of Roxton Manor
Contemporary to Henry there was also a Simon de Boeles who was holding land under Hugh de Beauchamp by 1170.  Simon's line can be traced at Gravenhurst for five more generations for sure by which time they had become de Boweles.  References to de Boweles in this area can be found well into the 1400's and there are Bowles in that area today.  His descendants also held land in Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire.  See Simon de Boeles of Gravenhurst, Bedfordshire

Connections to the de Builli Family?

The de Boeles of Bedfordshire are often linked to the de Builli family which was already settled there when the de Boeles first appear on record in Bedfordshire (Beds).  Henry and Simon have even been stated to be younger brothers of John de Builli of Kimberworth, Yorkshire who married Cecily de Bussei of Old Wardon, Beds by 1164.  That assumption seems to have been based on Simon's son Peter de Boeles later holding Old Wardon Manor which earlier John de Builli had held, a situation which is most easily explained by a line of descent.  One author even assumed that John de Builli had left the manor to his nephew Peter de Boeles in his Will although no such Will has survived.  In fact the inheritence of the manor was much more complicated than that but it does not require any relationship between them.
 William Espec was the Lord of Wardone Manor in 1086.  He left it to his son Walter whose heirs were his three sisters, Hawise, Albready and Adeline.  As the elder Hawise received Wardone Manor, by then termed Old Wardon, which she brought to her husband William de Bussei and were passed to their daughters Cecily and Maud de Bussei.  Cecily brought her half share to her husband John de Builli.   Maud de Bussei's moiety (half share) of Old Wardon Manor was brought to her husband Hugh Wake and then to their son James who married Aline de Stukeley, the widow and heir of Walter de Stukeley.  Aline survived James and left Old Wardon Manor to her three daughters by her first husband, one of which, Mary de Stukeley, took her share of the manor to her husband Simon's son Peter de Bueles resulting in the de Builli and the de Boeles each holding a share in the same land.  This line of descent can be seen more clearly in The de Builli and The de Boeles of Bedfordshire Family Trees.

This site was last updated 06/12/22