August 2004

The Bostock - Bostwick Reunion took place in and around Northwich, Cheshire, UK from Friday 20th August to Sunday 22nd August 2004. It was a great success. Many new friendships were made, and much was seen and learned in the place where the Bostock family originated.

Many photos were taken, which can be accessed using the following links (some links are not active yet):

These links take you to the presentations made on Friday evening:

Reception and Presentations - Friday, 20th August

We gathered at the River Suite in the Floatel, Northwich. This hotel floats on the River Weaver. Most of the bedrooms are on ground level with windows facing direct to the river, with ducks, swans, and river houseboats in view most of the time. The River Suite has a prominent position on the waterfront and made a fine reception and meeting area for the Reunion.

This Friday had seen some heavy and persistent raining across much of the country, but the bad weather had blown itself out by the time we started the Reunion. Doors opened at 6:00 pm, and soon the participants were coming through the doors. As few of the participants had met before, we attached name tags to all as they entered. We had fancy cocktails to get the party started, and we had many genealogical items on display to keep the curious intrigued. Here are some of the things that could be seen:

  • Bostock of Bostock and Toxteth Park, and Ashton Bostock of Penmaen, Glamorgan
  • Bostock Hall Brochure
  • Bostocks of Duffield Early Research
  • Bostocks Hamburger Grill and Bar
  • Burke's Peerage World Book of Bostocks
  • Cheshire Parishes
  • DNA Kits
  • Domesday Book Studies
  • Family Scrapbook from Burt Bostwick
  • Geoffrey Rowley Bostock's (Edward's father) Pedigree by the College of Arms
  • Geoffrey Rowley Bostock's Armorial Bearings by the College of Arms
  • Heage Posters
  • Henry Anthon Bostwick's "Genealogy of the Bostwick Family of America"
  • "Loyalist Isaac Bostwick of New Brunswick, Canada" by Sharon Dubeau
  • Mark Bostock's Autobiography
  • South Carolina Car Number Plate

Further detail on these items can be seen from their labels, which are included among the photographs. Also on display were 80 Bostock souvenir mugs and 59 Bostock souvenir plates, which the participants had ordered, and were now for collection. See the photos for pictures of these souvenirs. It is possible to order further copies from the suppliers. Email Roland if you are interested.

Next we took a buffet with wine, and the photos record that everyone was getting along just fine.

At about 8:00 Roland used his bell to quell the chatter, and we started some serious speaking. First it was Roland giving a welcoming speech, recognising the great contribution that some participants had made, travelling from far afield to be at this Reunion. In particular we had 9 Bostwicks from the USA, 2 Bostocks from Hawaii, 2 more from Australia, and yet 2 more from New Zealand. We also had another 30 Bostocks from England, ranging in age from 2 years to 95 years 364 days.

Burt Bostwick, who had originally floated the idea for a Reunion, replied. Then it was Bill Bostock's turn. Bill is our webmaster and he gave a short history how he came to set up the site, hoping to make a fortune by selling convenient Bostock email ids, but now he just gives them away.

Then it was Roland again. This time giving a presentation titled Bostocks Where and When. You can see the charts he used. He started from the Domesday records, and analysed where Bostocks can be found in the Parish Register records from 1550 - 1837, and then continued the analysis using the Birth Registration indexes from 1837 - 2000. The analysis clearly shows the dispersion of the family from Davenham in Cheshire in 1550 to many counties today. The total numbers were also impressive, starting at 4 baptisms per year in 1550, and rising to 110 births being registered per year, around 1900.

Next it was Tony Bostock giving the main presentation. Tony also started from 1087, and the Domesday Book record of Botestoch. He explained that the likelihood of Saxon Osmer's descendants being the inhabitants of Botestoch Manor was not high. It was at least as likely that the Norman Richard de Vernon would have put his own family into the manors, including Botestoch, and we may well be descended from Norman families.

Tony also addressed the problem of "too many Arthurs". While it was not disputed that Arthur Bostock who emigrated to Connecticut was baptised in Tarporley in 1603, and was the son of another Arthur. The ancestry of this Arthur is far from certain. But the line showed in the Bostocks of Bostock family tree is certainly possible, just not proven.

Tony then referenced some of the Bostock noblemen and knights, and how the family lost its sizeable estates for the lack of a male heir. And he showed some early and contrasting portraits of Lionel Bostock and William Bostock of Abingdon, Berkshire, and ended with some interesting examples of the arms used by various Bostock families. See his presentation, and his Short History of the Bostock Family on this site.

We had time for an open session of Questions and Answers. One question was directed to Burt Bostwick to explain what the DNA kits were all about. Burt answered that the DNA testing involved was specifically for males in the family, and tested certain genes in the Y chromosome which were usually passed down with very little change over dozens of generations. The test would therefore give a strong indication whether the Bostock and Bostwick males in the room shared a common male ancestor back to 1087. However the test is still quite expensive. The package requires at least 6 males to take the test, and would cost $100 per participant. Any male Bostock or Bostwick ready to participate in this scheme should contact Burt directly, or through Roland.

This ended our first evening.

Visit to the local environs in Cheshire - Saturday 21st August

Tony had arranged this trip, and gave the commentary in the caoch. Who better to supply us with a coach than Bostocks Coaches. Their coaches are of the highest quality and they looked after our needs very well over the next 2 days, see the photos. The trip started by a visit to St Helen's Church at Tarporley. Tony had arranged that the church would be open for us, and that Maurice Hunt would give us some background on the history of the building.

Maurice gave us an interesting talk, and we then had 30 minutes or so to look over the church inside and out (more photos) before moving on to our lunch stop, which was the Wild Boar Hotel in Beeston, nearby. This hotel has a classic timber and wattle appearance - see the photos - and many interesting features inside too. Lunch was a simple buffet.

After lunch we made for Middlewich. Tony had hoped the church would also be opened for us, as the screen separating the knave from the main aisle is much famed for its intricate artwork, but we had been delayed by having to take the alternate route for high vehicles, and by the time we arrived the church was closed, so this was a short visit inspecting the church from the outside. We did however fing a significant Bostock gravestone, that was unexpected, and notes of the inscription were duly made.

Our trip concluded with a visit to Bostock Green. As Tony had explained the evening before, there is no great family connection with the current Bostock Hall. It was built not so long ago, about 1870, and no Bostocks have ever lived in it, nor indeed is it actually on the site of the original Bostock Manor. We had requested permission to drive our coach into Bostock Hall, but representatives of the current residents refused any such access. Instead, Tony showed us a clump of trees not far away, with signs of a surrounding moat, which he advanced as the most probable site of the original Bostock Hall.

We drove past Bostock Hall with just a short pause to see its gates, and stopped again in the village of Bostock Green, a quiet and peaceful place, with some neatly built and well maintained brick cottages. We walked for a while round the green at Bostock Green, and amused ourselves by spotting all the various mentionings of the Bostock name. It is a very small place, but large enough to have a prominent "Bostock Social Club". The Bostock Parish Council seemed almost over-zealous in the number of notices it posted in this small area, including the notice that Bostock Residents only are allowed to use the playing field. I fancy that included us, so we walked across it.

Then it was back to our Floatel for a short break before our next party.

Edward Bostock's 96th Birthday Party

Everyone attending the reunion was invited to celebrate Edward's 96th birthday party, which we held in the River Suite at the Floatel. Many of Edward's nephews and nieces, and their children, added to our numbers so that we were a gathering of 65, including 13 children.

The party was simple enough, Edward's daughter Ann had baked a super birthday cake, and had the icing specialists decorate it with Edward's own coat of arms. It was truly a work of art, and delicious in the eating. The only drinks were champagne and orange juice, which made us all very happy.

Once we were all there, Roland started some speeches. The main theme of Roland's speech was that Edward still had many hurdles to cross. He may be 96, but he would surely like to receive the Queen's telegram for attaining 100, and then he really should be aiming to outlive the oldest Bostocks and Bostwicks that we know of. This is actually a hard act to follow, as one Harriet Matilda Bostwick (see Bostwicks Part 80B) lived to the extraordinary age of 107 years and 355 days, but Edward promised he would give it his best shot.

After Roland, Bob Bostwick also paid tribute to Edward, and gave him a jar of blueberries, brought from America, that he much prized, for his birthday gift.

Then it was Christopher, Edward's youngest brother's turn. Christopher is just 81, and claimed to have hardly known Edward until such time as he finished school and they therefore met as adults. But time has brought them close together, each being City of London accountants. Christopher told a number of stories including that in the war years, when the neighbouring office caught fire due to bombing, Edward was credited as having saved his office by hosing it down while the fire next door was raging.

Finally Edward had his chance to reply, and also recounted some tales of the war years, when he served as a warden in the Civil Defence, and had a few scares, as well as good times.

Next we had the blowing out of candles (15 not 96), and the cutting of the cake, followed by its eating. All said this was a very happy party, and it was good for Edward's relatives to be able to meet their more distant cousins from the USA, and vice versa.

Winnington Hall - evening of 21st August

This evening we had booked in at Winnington Hall Restaurant in Winnington, near Northwich, and we had already selected our menu choices. We had our own room, which was quite baronial, and had rather expected them to set us up with 2 long tables, whereas they had laid out tables of various sizes, so we spent some minutes re-arranging to fewer larger tables.

We had not all come by coach, and there were 5 empty seats still waiting for Paul Bostock and his family, but we needed to start our meal. Eventually Paul arrived. They had gone first to Willington Hall Restaurant near Tarporley. It was a bit of a challenge getting everyone with the correct meals, but it all got sorted, and the food and wine was good.

We had a few speeches reserved for this evening too. Sibyl and Colin Laing started, giving a short account of life in Buckingham, where Sibyl's father had been a GP. Then it was Paul Bostock's turn. He spoke briefly on the importance of maintaining the history of the family. Burt Bostwick came in with a few words, then Bob Bostwick. Bob amused us with a tale or too, and also that he had wished for some time to see the place of his ancestors and meet his English cousins. This Reunion had made all that possible, and he was profoundly gratified to be part of it.

Touched by Bob's speech, Edward Bostock thanked all for their contributions, and we all returned back to the Floatel.

Church Service at St. Wilfrid's, Davenham - Sunday 22nd august

The next option was to attend the morning Holy Communion Service at St. Wilfrid's, Davenham, the parish church wich includes Bostock Green, and where well over a 100 Bostock's had been baptised, married and buried over the centuries.

The curate who took the service had reserved a section of pews for us. He asked Roland to say a few words to explain our presence there that day, then the service continued. Ann Hillier, Roland's sister, read the lesson.

Visit to Chester

The visit to Chester had been arranged by Graham Bostock, from Chester. Our Bostocks coach left Northwich at 1:30 pm arriving at Chester shortly after 2:00. The coach driver entertained us during the trip by pointing out various sites along the way.

In Chester, we left our Bostocks coach to take a regular City Tours bus, which was open at the top, where we congregated, for the weather was fine. The bus tours are well planned. Pauline was our guide and had many things to tell us, of the many old buildings and features to be found in the justly admired city.

The bus tour took about 1 hour, after which we had a further 45 minutes to see more of the city in our own time. Then it was time to make the return trip to Northwich.

The Bull's Head - evening of Sunday 22nd August

By Sunday evening our Reunion party had reduced to its core size. Bob Bostwick had found a lift to Scotland (with his golf clubs), so he took it. Nancy Black and Marian Wagner felt in need of a short rest. All of Edward and Roland's relatives had by now gone their separate ways. But we were now a comfortable group of 12, being Bill and Rosy Bostock, Burt Bostwick, Derek and Joyce Bostock, Edward and Roland Bostock, Sibyl and Colin Laing, Tom and Jennifer Bostock, and Tony Bostock. Graham and Sue Bostock also arrived later to complete the party.

Tony had selected The Bull's Head in Davenham for this last evening together. This was a friendly country inn, and gave us good service, and a very jolly last evening was had by us all. This was not meant to be an evening for speeches, but Edward felt impelled to make his appreciation known for everyone's contribution to the reunion, and Roland also spoke in similar vein. In particular he thanked all those present for their unwavering support to the concept of the Reunion from the day we first announced it in May 2003. All those present had immediately said they would come to this Reunion, and so they did, even if they happened to live in Australia (Tom and Jennifer) or New Zealand (Sibyl and Colin).

Our final act was to link hands and sing the Auld Lang Syne (Days of long ago).

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