Copyright 1978 by A.J.Bostock

All right reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publisher.

Published by: A.J.Bostock, 8 Avocet Drive, Swanlow, Winsford, Cheshire. CW7 1PE

Revised: March 1990, July 1998 and August 2000




It has been said that the Cheshire gentry are remarkable for "their numbers, not to be paralleled in England in their like extent of ground; their antiquity; their loyalty; and their hospitality, no county keeping better houses". The men of Cheshire were also described as "a breed of men skilled in the warlike craft - especially archery; accustomed to war; prone to lawlessness; feared and respected throughout the country; and who have a conscious sense of community.

The following account of the Bostock family will, I believe, satisfy the above descriptions.

This history is an abridged version of a book of nearly one hundred pages written after a long study of the family. It has been produced to satisfy the number of enquiries I have received from other people bearing the surname. It is written it in a fashion that I hope will be of interest to all.

There are four sections:

I. Early Origins (c1086 - c1350)

II. The Age of Chivalry (c1350 - c1500)

III. Later Generations and Branches

IV. Bostock Heraldry

A few maps and illustrations have been added to compliment the text. Should any reader wish to know more about the family's history, then I am willing to enter into correspondence.



EARLY ORIGINS (c1086 - c1350)


The family derives its name from the village of Bostock which is situated in the very heart of the old county of Cheshire. It lies between the ancient salt-towns of Northwich and Middlewich, three miles north of the latter.

At the time of the writing of the Domesday Book the name of the village was spelt Botestoche. To discover the meaning of the name of the place two syllables need to be considered - Bote and stoche. The second element is a Saxon word meaning a secondary settlement or outlying farm. Such settlements were invariably surrounded by a fence of tree-stumps - hence the word stockade. The first element of the name is derived from a personal name, perhaps alluding to Saint Botolf who introduced the Benedictine monastic order to England in the 7th century. From this breakdown there are two possible interpretations. Either, a secondary settlement held by a man named ‘Bote’; or a farm or secondary settlement of the Benedictine monks. It is interesting to note that the church of Davenham, in which parish the village lies, was appropriated to the Benedictine priory at Chester in the medieval period. Of the two theories, I prefer the first.

In 1066 Duke William of Normandy conquered England, but it was not until 1070 that Cheshire fell to Norman control. In 1086 a large inventory of the kingdom was made - the Domesday Book. It records manors, villages and towns, giving details of population, values and the owners of the manors who were liable to taxation. It also gives the name of the dispossessed Saxon owner. The village of Bostock is stated to have been worth 10 shillings and that before the Conquest it had been owned by a Saxon named Osmer.

Osmer seems to have been a wealthy man who owned a number of Cheshire properties other than Bostock. He is recorded as holding the manors of Shipbrook, Leftwich, Davenham, Audlem, Crewe, Wistaston, Claverton, Austerston and Frith. He also had salt-houses in ‘Wich’ (Middlewich is likely, though Northwich is possible) houses in Chester and an animal enclosure. All of his properties and estates were seized by the Normans and most of them were granted to Richard de Vernon, who settled at Shipbrook and was appointed as one of the eight barons under the Norman administration of the county: he being styled ‘Baron of Shipbrook’.

Tradition records that Osmer was the ancestor of the Bostock family, but proper evidence of the fact has been lost in the mists of time. For evidence we have to rely upon the ancient pedigrees.

The Heralds compiled a pedigree of the family in 1580 that shows that the lords of the manor of Bostock were descended from the old Saxon lord. Osmer, father of Hugh, father of Richard, father of Roger, father of Gilbert, father of Ralph, father of Warren, father of Henry, father of William, father of Edward, father of Adam de Bostock, who was born circa 1280. Two antiquaries of the 16th and 17th centuries give a similar descent.


Richard father of Hugh, father of Osmer, father of Richard, father of Roger, father of Gilbert, father of William, father of Warren, father of Henry, father of Arthur, father of William, father of Edward, father of Adam de Bostock. Leycester, the 17th century antiquary states that Osmer held the ‘fee’ of Shipbrook in the time of William the Conqueror and that his father, Hugh, was the lord of Bostock prior to 1066, but the evidence of Domesday refutes this detail. However, if the substance of the old genealogies are correct then the family is truly of ancient origins, reaching back to a generation before the Conquest !

One pedigree, quoted by Ormerod in his History of Cheshire, does not show a descent from Osmer. It states that an Adam was the head of the family and that he was the father of Ralph, who was father to Warren, father of Gilbert, father of William, father of Phillip, father of Adam de Bostock. My research has shown this descent to be unlikely and for the time being I accept the Saxon descent, though the evidence is lacking.

All the pedigrees include a fact that is also unfortunately lacking in proof. It is alleged that Warren de Bostock married Havice, widow of Roger, earl of Lincoln and Winchester. She was one of the daughters of Hugh, fifth earl of Chester, and sister to Rannulph, the sixth earl. When the earl of Lincoln died in 1215 Havice granted that honour to her brother and when he died in 1232, the earldom passed to her daughter, the wife of John de Lacy, baron of Halton and constable of Chester. By marriage Havice was closely related to the sons of King Henry II - kings Richard and John. If the marriage between Warren and Havice did occur it was certainly an important match.


In view of the uncertain descent during the 12th and 13th centuries it is sufficient to consider the lives of a few characters only, where they occur in documentary evidence.

The first to appear is Roger, father of Gilbert. The two men are mentioned in a deed dated 1174 on the occasion of the marriage of Amice, an illegitimate daughter of Earl Hugh of Chester, to Randle Mainwaring of Warmingham. Gilbert is mentioned in a document of the late-12th century concerning fishing rights in the river Dane, which ran through Bostock. The document shows his seal which bears an eagle with its wings displayed and the inscription S. Gilberti de Bostocke.

A document of 1218 is witnessed by "Gilbert et Willielmo de Bostoc, filio suo". Later William acknowledged in the county court that he held his lands -the manor of Bostock- from Warren de Vernon, baron of Shipbrook, by virtue of military service. He frequently occurs in documents relating to the salt town of Middlewich. The documents are dated 1253, 1260, 1273, 1274 and 1275. In the last he is styled 'lord of Bostock'. In 1260 William appeared in the court at Chester charged with offences contrary to forest law. In 1280 he was a juror summoned to determine the extent of the manor of Frodsham that was declared forfeit on account of the treason of David, brother of Llewellyn, Prince of Wales, the lord of the manor. In that same year William was involved in a dispute over  lands in Moulton, a neighbouring settlement to Bostock. William's claim was upheld in 1289.

Phillip de Bostock occurs in many deeds dated between 1260 and 1288. From A dated 1270 we know that he was a son of William: "Joceramo fratre Phillipo filio Willio de Bostoc". The deed is a grant of premises in Bridge Street, Chester, to a Hugh Bostock, by Alice de Helesby, on the occasion of the marriage of Hugh and her daughter, Havice.

Phillip had a son named, Adam, and a grandson also named Adam who was living in 1354. These cannot have been in the main-line as this last named Adam was described as being a tenant of another Adam, son of Adam de Bostock’, and this a more senior line they may have been cousins. Adam was certainly a popular family name!

An Adam de Bostock, lord of the manor of Bostock, who was born circa 1280, journeyed to Scotland with King Edward I's army: he may have been at the battle of Stirling on 11 September 1297. The following July, he was at the battle of Falkirk where he received the honour of knighthood from the ‘Hammer of the Scots’.

Early in the 14th century, Sir Adam was appointed as one of the king's purveyors for the hundred of Northwich prior to a further expedition to Scotland. Between 1316 and 1343 he occurs many times in documents relating to the administration of the town of Middlewich and its salt industry; he also occurs in documents of a civil nature. In 1343, he granted to Nicholas, son of Ralph Vernon of Shipbrook, a parcel of land in Whatcroft, with rights to fish in the river Dane; this was on the occasion of the marriage of Adam's daughter to Nicholas.

Adam married twice. His first marriage was to Jane, daughter of William Brereton, lord of the manor of Brereton. He next married a lady called Matilda, who, in 1350, as his widow, sued John de St. Pierre of Malpas for dower: she claimed four messuages and sixty acres of land in and around the village of Bostock. (The acreage stated is in Cheshire acres and represents about 126 statute acres.) Although Adam was lord of the manor he held it on the basis of feudal tenure and his superior lord was St.Pierre, a descendant of an heiress of the Vernon family who had been the barons of Shipbrook.

Ralph de Bostock, Adam's brother, served the abbot of Vale Royal as his seneschal (steward of the manor and household responsible for legal and domestic administration). He was no doubt a busy man for during the first half of the 14th century the peasants living and working on the abbey estates rebelled against the abbot's authority and there were many bloody feuds. Ralph's son, William, is recorded as a monk at the abbey in 1346.





THE AGE OF CHIVALRY (c1350 - c1500)


i. ADAM de BOSTOCK (c1330 - 1374)

Adam is rarely found in documentary evidence as he was probably away in France in the service of Edward, prince of Wales and earl of Chester - the Black Prince. In 1357, he was pardoned for a misdemeanour on account of his good services in south-west France, especially at the famous battle of Poitiers (1356). He may have served in the earlier campaigns in Normandy that culminated in that other famous battle of Crecy (1346). Adam followed the Prince to Spain in 1367 and was knighted on the field of the battle of Najera on 3 April.

Adam married Margerey, a daughter an co-heiress of Sir John de Wettenhall, by whom he had sons, Adam, David (who settled at Churton), William, Thomas and Richard.

In 1374 Adam's inquisition post mortem was held. The enquiry revealed that on the day of his death the manor of Bostock had already been granted to the parson of Davenham and the vicar of Weaverham, to hold as trustees until the eldest son and heir should attain the age of twenty-four. The son, Adam, was then aged eight. It was stated that the manor was worth 20 marks (13 6s 8d or 13.33) per annum, and that it was held by military service from the heirs of the St.Pierre family. Adam also held a messuage and a small parcel of land at Little Stanthurle (Stanthorne) valued at 46s 8d (2.33) per annum. A further enquiry, held in 1387, revealed that the heir of the St.Pierre family was a Sir Walter de Cockesyne (Cokesay) of Kidderminster, Warwickshire.

Adam had a brother, William, who served on the French campaigns. On 30 September 1361, he was appointed seneschal of the Prince's manor of Frodsham. He was still acting as such in 1363 when he and his brother, David, paid a recognizance of 20 marks to the earl of Chester. In 1356, William married Joan, a daughter of the Norreys family of Speke; she was the widow of Sir John Danyers of Tabley, a renowned campaigner in France. Danyers captured a valuable prisoner at the siege of Caen in 1346, and during the battle of Crecy replanted the Prince's banner after its near capture. For these exploits he received a cash reward out of the revenues of the manor of Frodsham.

In 1366, William is mentioned as a witness to the Inquisition post mortem of Sir John le Warde (son of Hugh Bostock, alias ‘le Warde’): Adam’s uncle. Other witnesses included Adam de Bostock and his son, Adam. William died in 1387 when his wife sued for dower of lands in Wimboldsley.

Another brother, Ralph, lived in Moulton and founded a family that was to live there for many centuries.

ii. ADAM de BOSTOCK (1365 – 1414)

We know something of the childhood of this next lord of Bostock: a document exists that gives us details. Adam’s prob etat (proof of age) was heard at Middlewich in May 1386. Witnesses gave evidence that he was born at Bostock on 25 March 1365 and was baptised at Davenham church. The document also tells us that after his father’s death the Prince of Wales granted Adam’s wardship to Sir William Legh of Bagguley. Adam then lived in the houshold of the old knight’s son, Randle, where he was taught all that was necessary for a boy of those times. When Adam was sixteen his guardian died and he was placed under the care of Sir Henry Bradshaw of Bradshaw, whose daughter, Janet, he married.

Adam grew up during the reign of Richard II. When the king began to recruit an army in Cheshire, Adam answered the call and became one of the captains of the sovereign’s elite bodyguard of archers. King Richard would go nowhere without his guard that was split into seven watches in order to give him constant protection. The archers wore party-coloured green and white uniform jackets that were divided vertically, with green to the wearer’s right. The guard came in for much criticism. Chroniclers record them as ‘arrogant and insolent ruffians’; as ‘men who were naturally bestial and ready for any iniquity’; as ‘men who treated the people with contempt and were guilty of theft, violence and adultery’; and as men who considered themselves as ‘the equals of nobles’. A number of Bostocks entered crown service in the guard: John, and his son Thomas; William, and his son Thomas; Thomas, son of Adam; and David and John, sons of David. Each received 6d. (2.5p) a day for life. Three other members of the family received annuities of 100 shillings (5) for service as men-at-arms: ‘Captain’ Adam, David de Bostock of Churton and Richard de Bostock.

Adam’s beligerent character is further reflected in his constant feuds with the abbot of Vale Royal; on one occasion he was bound over to keep the peace with a surety of over 200 pledged by Ralph de Vernon of Shipbrook and David de Bostock of Churton. In 1398, Adam gave evidence against the abbot in a case concerning the mismanagement of the Abbey through the sale of its endowments and causing waste. Hamon de Bostock and Thomas de Bostock (Adam's brother) also gave evidence.

Despite his allegiance to King Richard, Adam fared well enough under the Lancastrian king. In 1400 he was given command of sixteen archers in an army of 500 Cheshire men who marched to Scotland in July.

Rebellion against King Henry IV culminated in the battle of Shrewsbury in 1403. Adam had a command in the rebel army that was eventually defeated. Confiscation of lands held by the rebels was ordered, though it does not seem that it was actually executed against Adam. His friends and neighbours were not so lucky: On 23 July, three days after the battle, Sir Richard Vernon, baron of Shipbrook, and Sir Richard Venables, baron of Kinderton, were executed and their bodies displayed on the"city gates of Chester.

Adam's children were Ralph, Henry (who lived at Huxley), Hugh, William (who lived at Huntingdon), Matilda, Margaret, Elizabeth and Agnes.

After his death it was recorded that Adam had held the manor of Bostock, valued at 20 per annum, from Hugh Cokesay by military service. He also held the manor of Huxley, half the manor of Wettenhall and lands in Tattenhall, Christleton, Tatton, Eccleston and Coppenhall, to a total value of 63 3s 2d (63.16) per annum, directly from the earl of Chester.

iii. RALPH de BOSTOCK (1392 - 1421)

The next lord of Bostock was born in 1392 according to his prob etat dated 1415.

Ralph, like his father and grandfather, was an experienced warrior, for he spent much of his time in France. On 17 July 1415, letters of protection were made out in favour of Ralph, in which he is styled as an 'esquire' in the king's retinue. Such letters had the effect of protecting the subject from civil litigation whilst serving abroad. He fought at the famous battle of Agincourt in 1415 and apparently received the order of knighthood there. Following the battle, Sir Ralph joined Sir Richard Hastings company. In December Sir Ralph was garrisoned at Harfleur, in the duke of Exeter's company. The following year he led a company of archers back to France. Then, in 1417, he was commissioned to raise 3000 marks in the Northwich hundred to help finance a further invasion of France and, on 9 July, he again obtained 'letters'. He was in France in 1419 and 1420; on the latter occasion he was one of fifteen Cheshire captains commanding 180 archers from the county.

In 1419 Sir Ralph and others assisted Sir Peter de Dutton to raid the how of Sir William Atherton. The raiders stole 40 oxen and 40 cows and assaulted Atherton's servants. Such feuding was common in the county at this time.

It is likely that Sir Ralph died in France. He had 'letters' in the summer of 1420 and by 22 January 1421 he had died. The extent of his estates was determined later in the year: it was held that he died seized of the manor of Bostock, half the manor of Wettenhall and lands in Occlestone, Calveley, Alsager, Moulton, Tatton and Church Lawton.

Ralph married Isabel, the daughter and heiress of William de Lawton of Wigland, who in her own right was also heiress to half of the ancient barony of Malpas. The couple had the following children: Adam, Hugh (who lived at Wharton) and Henry (who lived in Middlewich). He may have had another son who was ancestor of a branch that lived at Calveley.

iv. ADAM de BOSTOCK (1412 - 1475)

In 1433 an enquiry was held to determine the age of Sir Ralph’s heir. Witnesses recorded that Adam de Bostock was the son and heir of Sir Ralph who was a tenant-in-chief of the king. At the hearing held at Tarporley, William de Bostock of Huntington, aged 60 years, was the senior witness. He stated on oath that Adam was aged 21 years and that he had been born at Bostock and baptised at Davenham church. Other witnesses included David de Bostock of Churton, aged 54; Ralph de Bostock, aged 49; and Henry de Bostock, aged 60. All testified that Adam was born in September 1412.

For some time during his minority Adam was placed in the care of John de Kingsley, but details of his youth are vague. In 1424, recognizances were made on condition that the young Adam did not leave the inner bailey of Chester Castle where, for some reason, he was confined. Adam was a problem for his guardian, for in 1427, there began a series of feuds with Kingsley, with the support of his cousin, Hugh de Bostock of Hassall. Adam constantly had to find sureties for his good behaviour. In 1434, he was bound over five times in sureties ranging from 100 to 200. It was not only his guardian who suffered from Adam’s activities, for others too asked that he be bound over.

In 1434, Adam was commissioned to arrest Henry Moreton and John Croxton for murder: he was assisted in the venture by his brothers Hugh and Henry and cousin Ralph of Bunbury - the young rebel had turned policeman !

Thomas, abbot of Vale Royal, was the next person to be subject of Adam’s violent behaviour. In 1449, Thoms de Bostock, Adam de Bostock (son of David) and Hugh Venables stood as sureties for Adam’s behaviour. In 1452 he was bound over in the sum of 200.

Adam took his part in the great dynastic struggle known as the Wars of the Roses. In 1455, Queen Margaret visited Cheshire to seek support for the Lancastrian cause and distributed her badge of the white swan. The army, led by James lord Audley, moved out of Cheshire in an effort to prevent Richard Neville, earl of Salisbury, from reaching Richard, duke of York at Ludlow. The desperate battle which followed the move was fought at Blore Heath on 23 September. The Lancastrians were defeated and Audley was slain along with many of the knights and esquires from Cheshire who wore the white swan badge. Tradition records that Sir Adam de Bostock was slain at the battle, however he occurs in 1462 and his inquisition post mortem was not heard until 1475. If an Adam did die in battle, then it must have been a son of this Adam, who would have been about 18 years old.

In 1462, Adam and his son, Ralph, were bound over to be loyal to the Yorkist king, Edward IV.

Adam married Elizabeth, daughter and one of two heiresses of Sir Hugh Venables, baron of Kinderton. Adam's children were: Ralph, William, Nicholas, John, Eleanor, Jane, Margaret and Elizabeth.

The enquiry into Adam’s estate, heard in 1475, states that Adam died in May of that year, leaving his heir aged 30 years.

v. RALPH de BOSTOCK (c1440 - 1482)

Ralph's year of birth is not known for sure. According to his father's 'Inquisition' it was circa 1445, but according to the 'inquisition' of Hugh Venables of Kinderton he was 20 years old in December 1460 - a five years discrepancy. The earlier is the more likely.

In 1458 Ralph married Elizabeth Dutton, daughter and heiress of Sir Thomas de Dutton of Dutton: they had two children, William and Anne.

Ralph figured in the civil wars of the time. As mentioned above he was bound over, with his father, to be loyal to King Edward in the sum of 500 marks. He stuck to his allegiance and fought for the Yorkist cause at the battle of Hedgeley Moor (25 April 1464), serving in the retinue of Richard Neville, earl of Warwick. On 14 April 1471, he fought at the battle of Barnet. As a result of his loyalty to the Yorkist cause and in consideration of his services in the north of England "at his own cost", he received licence to enter his share of the barony of Kinderton. The rights to the barony were in dispute between Ralph and his brother-in-law Richard Cotton. As a result of Ralph's reward of the licence a number of feuds broke out. Another branch of the Venables family also put forward a claim to the barony. On 10 February 1468, Ralph and his kinsman, Sir Wiliam de Brereton, were bound over in the sum of 1000 to keep the peace towards William Venables. Ralph was bound over a further six times over the next two years; twice, in 1472 and 1473 it was in the sum of 1000. On only one occasion was Venables bound over to keep the peace towards Bostock and Brereton.

In 1482, Ralph died from poisoning, whether by accident or design is open to speculation. His inquisition post mortem was held that year and reveals that Ralph held the manor of Bostock from the earl of Chester and that it was valued at 10 3s (10.15) per annum. He also held the manor of Wigland, and lands in Newton (Middlewich), Huxley, Foulewiche, Bradley, Occlestone, Marsheton, Brereton, Legh and Newton (in Wirral). Ralph's son and, heir is given as William, then aged 13 years.

Ralph had an illegitimate son, John, who campaigned in Scotland and fought at the battle of Flodden in 1513. He fought in the retinue of the abbot of Vale Royal with Sir George Holford, and together they commanded 300 men.A record of his military activities is held in the British Library's Harleian Collection. John,s descendants continued to live in and around Bostock and Over.

vi. WILLIAM de BOSTOCK (1470 - c1515?)

The last of the main line of the family had his age proved in 1481 at an enquiry held in Tarvin church. A number of witnesses testified that they held candles and torches in Little Budworth church when William was baptised; they stated that his god-fathers were William de Bostock of Wimbaldsley and Sir William Stanley. It was this same William Stanley who changed sides at the battle of Bosworth in 1485 and caused King Richard III to lose the battle and the crown.

William died without any known issue and left his sister, Anne, to inherit the manor of Bostock. She married Sir John Savage of Clifton, whose armoured effigy, and those of his parents and son, lie in Macclesfield church. Savage's inquisition post mortem states that he held, amongst other valuable properties, the manor of Bostock and lands in Huxley and Alsager. These are described as comprising of 12 messuages, 300 acres of pasture, 300 acres of arable land, 40 of meadow, 60 of wood and 30 of turbary. The acreages given are Cheshire acres equivalent to about 2.1 statute acres, therefore Savage inherited a little over 1500 acres through his marriage. Anne's ‘inquisition’ was held in 1536. She held in dower lands in Huxley, Occlestone, Wetenhall, Wigland, Malpas, Iscoyde, Aggeton, Chidlowe, Cuddington and Fulwiche.

With this William, the senior, male line of the Bostock family, lords of Bostock, comes to an end. Branches that sprouted throughout the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries allowed the name to continue in many places in the county and elsewhere in England.






As the family progressed through the centuries so it increased with branches settling all around the county and elsewhere. Branches of the main line settled at Moulton, Davenham, Leftwich, Middlewich, Sandbach, Hassall, Tarporley, Huxley, Tattenhall, Churton, Farndon, Huntingdon, Chester, Malpas, Congleton and Macclesfield. Outside the county families are to be found in Holt (Denbighshire), London, Hertfordshire, Berkshire, Lancashire and Salop. Each of these can be traced back to Cheshire. From these places families spread into other counties and abroad, including America and Australia. It would be too involved to trace the descent of any one branch so I have just mentioned some of the interesting characters to be found.

A branch of the family continued to reside at Bostock Hall, farming the manor as tenants of the savage family. This branch was the next senior line as it was descended from William Bostock, brother of Ralph de Bostock (1445 - 1482). William seems to have resided at Stapleford (near Chester) and Bostock. He married Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of Robert Done of Utkinton. Despite this marriage, the Heralds, in recording the Bostock genealogy in 1580, state that William had fifteen illegitimate children! Many of William’s children continued to live in and around Bostock and I am descended from one of these lines.

Several generations later, William’s direct descendant, Cheney Bostock (1621 - 1675), lived in Leftwich; suggest that he was the last of the family to live in Bostock Hall. Cheney was named after his grandmother, Isabell Cheney. It is alleged that he was captain of the guard at the scaffold on the occasion of the execution of King Charles I. He had served the Parliamentary Army in Colonel Brooke’s Regiment of Foot. Cheney had property in Leftwich, Bostock, Northwich and Hartford.

The Civil War caused the family to split. Cheney served in Cromwell's army, but the Bostocks of Holt (Denbigh) were 'Royalists'. George Edward Bostock of Holt (1605 - 1663) raised funds for the cause and served as a captain in Sir John Owen's Regiment of Foot: he rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the same regiment. He became a Justice of the Peace for the county of Denbigh. On 14 August 1663, whilst sitting in judgement at Llanrush Quarter Sessions, he collapsed and died. It was said at the time that "his death was occasioned by a surfeit of drink, which he took at ye time of ye Quarter Sessions"!

The Bostock family of Holt were direct cousins of the Bostocks of Churton, and close kinsfolk of the family at Tattenhall. During the Civil War, John Bostock of Tattenhall was 'Clerk to the Council of War for the Army of the Commonwealth' - another Roundhead. In his official capacity he was stationed at Nantwich and was found guilty of the following: "On Saturday the xvi of June 1643, John Bostock of Tattenhall, esqr., learned in the Lawes, Clerk unto the Council of Warr, at Namptwiche, beinge taken with the Acte of Adultery with Alice Chetewode in the vicarage house of Namptwiche, upon the Sabothe day att tyme of Dyvyne servis was by judgement of the same councell adjudged to stand in the markett place upon the markett daye, beinge Saturdaye, duringe most parte of that daye, with papers upon his breast signifyinge his offence, which was executed according to, with his whore standine by him."

Some Puritan he was!

A family that established itself very early was that which settled at Moulton. On 18 October 1642, a case was heard at Knutsford Quarter Sessions in which the complainant was Ralph Bostock of Moulton, and the accused was his younger brother Robert: the offence alleged was one of assault and threatening behaviour. Robert was apparently a dissolute and disorderly character and was jealous of his brother's inheritance as the eldest son. On one occasion Robert assaulted Ralph with a long-handled cleaver knocking him senseless and might have killed him had Ralph’s servants not come to his aid. Ralph stated that his family were constantly in fear of Robert who "carried the bill daily, ready sharpened". Robert was never brought to justice as he fled to Scotland and thence Ireland.

From a branch at Tarporley there emerged a family living at Whethemstead, near St. Albans in Hertfordshire. John Bostock of Whethemstead was born in 1383 and became a clerk in Holy Orders. In 1420 he became abbot of St. Albans and was a great friend to Humphrey, duke of Gloucester, an adventurous soldier and patron of literature and brother to King Henry V. Abbot John was a chronicler of his times and wrote a great deal about the Wars of the Roses. He died in 1465.

A Bostock family settled at Abingdon in Berkshire. Members of the family became civic dignitaries - mayors of the borough and governors and benefactors of the hospital there. Other families too had members who rose to civic prominence, as those of Macclesfield and Congleton.





In the twelfth century it became common practise for a warrior to bear symbols to identify himself in battle; these might be devices upon his shield. Early insignia was of a simple fashion such as a plain coloured, or party coloured shield, with a geometric pattern or some beast painted on. A repeat of these symbols upon his surcoat led to them being called his 'coat of arms'.

A set of rules were developed to regulate the use of coats of arms. Certain colours were used: black, blue, red and green. Yellow and white were used to denote the metals gold and silver. In order to aid recognition over a great distance it was ordained that a coloured symbol, or charge, should not be placed on a coloured background, or a metal on a metal, only a combination of metal and colour could be allowed.

Only the senior line of the family could use the basic coat of arms; younger members of the family had to use a 'differenced' coat. A crescent on the coat of arms indicates the bearer to be a second son of the family; a star, a third son; a small bird, a fourth; and so on. Even today the rule applies so that just by bearing the name of Bostock does not imply a right to use the basic coat of arms - a legal right would have to be proved through the College of Arm in London.

The Bostock family adopted a simple shield of arms - a black shield with a silver horizontal band across the centre. In heraldic language Sable, a fess, humettee, argent. whilst the use of the horizontal band is very common, the fact that it is cut off before reaching the edges of the shield is rare in English heraldry, and is the only example in Cheshire. For a crest (the item born on top of the helmet) the family used a black bear's head, with a gold muzzle, sitting upon a yellow tree stump. The head has the appearance of having been torn off, and the tree stump the appearance of having been torn out of the ground.

The crest forms something of a pun. The tree-stump is the 'stock' of a tree, and with the bear's head we have 'Bear-stock'. In the 15th century the crest was changed to a silver ‘heraldic antelope’ a mythical creature made up of the body, head and tail of a lion, and the legs of a deer with cloven hooves. It has a small curved horn on its nose and two straight, serrated antlers. This change of crest may have been political. The Bostocks served the Black Prince and his son, King Richard II One of the Prince's badges was a 'stock' of a tree, which he distributed to his servants. The usurping Lancastrian kings used an heraldic antelope as one of their badges. Was the continued use of the 'stock' in the crest an embarrassment in the early 15th century, and was it then changed to the antelope?

In the latter part of the 13th century heraldry indicated not only the identity of an individual, but lordship and family alliances.



The arms of families allied by marriage became grouped together; such a practise is known as 'marshalling'. Generation by generation the Bostocks acquired extra lands and lordships by marrying heiresses. As they did so they added the arms of the wife's family to the Bostock arms. Eventually a complicated shield of arms, divided into many parts, known as 'quarters' was achieved. At the end of the 16th century Charles Bostock of London, a son of Robert Bostock of Bostock, bore a shield consisting of 20 'quarters'. The Bostock family of Holt bore an achievement of sixteen 'quarters'. The Abingdon branch a shield of twelve. In such a 'quartered' shield the subjects family arms always occupy the top left corner. Despite the early simple coat of arms, those of the Tudor period were very complicated. Such coats of arms are useful to the student of heraldry and genealogy as they portray a family's history through its marriage alliances.

Examples of Bostock heraldry may be seen in the church of Moreton Say, Shropshire, where there is an alabaster effigy to John Bostock; in the parish churches of Abingdon and Dartford; and on a brass effigy in the church at Whethemstead.

A number of modern-day families legally bear arms. The family who live at Sittingbourne, Kent, have the basic shield differenced by a golden eagle above the silver band; their crest is a gold bear's head, with a red muzzle, on a black tree-stump. The Bostock family of Teddington, Middlesex, bear the basic shield with two golden roses above the silver band and a Staffordshire knot below; their crest is as the ancient crest but with the knot on the tree stump.

Bostock of Bostock

Bostock of Belgrave

Bostock of Churton

Bostock of Moulton

Bostock of Moreton Say

Bostock of Whethamstead

Bostock of Whixall

Bostock of Middlewich