Captain Sir William Bolton

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Captain Sir William Bolton

Birthdate: (53)
Birthplace: Ipswich, Suffolk, England, United Kingdom
Death: December 16, 1830 (53)
Costessey, Norfolk, England, United Kingdom
Place of Burial: Costessey, Norfolk, England, United Kingdom
Immediate Family:

Son of Rev. William Bolton and Mary Bolton
Husband of Dame Catherine Bolton
Father of Emma Horatia Foley; Mary Anne Bolton; Ellen Catherine Girdlestone; (Unnamed) Bolton and William Horatio Bolton
Brother of Mary Ann Marshaw Peirson; Emily Bolton; Rebecca Bolton; Dorothea Bolton and Horatio Bolton

Occupation: Naval officer
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Captain Sir William Bolton

Wikipedia: entry
FS family tree
Name William Bolton
Gender Male
Christening Date 26 Dec 1777
Christening Date (Original) 26 DEC 1777
Father's Name Wm. Bolton
Mother's Name Mary
"England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," database, FamilySearch ( : 11 February 2018, William Bolton, 26 Dec 1777); citing SAINT MATTHEW,IPSWICH,SUFFOLK,ENGLAND, index based upon data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City; FHL microfilm 919,615, 919,616, 919,617, 919,618.

Note: Date of birth is calculated based on his age at death (53 on 22 December 1830).

William Bolton was his wife Catherine's cousin.
Name: Sir William Bolton Knight
Gender: Male
Record Type: Marriage
Marriage Date: 18 May 1803
Marriage Place: St George Hanover Square, Westminster, England
Spouse: Catherine Bolton
Register Type: Bishop's Transcript
(See attachment under Sources.)

Married by special licence, at the Piccadilly home of Emma, Lady Hamilton, by Rev. William Bolton, Rector of Holles (the groom's father), witnessed by Lord Nelson's sister Charlotte Mary Nelson (later Hood, and Duchess of Bronte), and Emma Hamilton's daughter Emma Carew (known by the name surname Hartley at that time).
See attached source.
Origin: London, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1932 for William Bolton Knight, Westminster, St George, Hanover Square, 1800-1805. (London Metropolitan Archives; London, England; Reference Number: DL/T/089/002) Via Ancestry.

19 May 1803 - knighted:
According to Sir William's obituary in The Annual Biography and Obituary (1832), Nelson had received his appointment as Commander-in-Chief of the British fleet in the Mediterranean on the 16th, and sailed from Portsmouth (for Toulon) on the same day. It had been signified to him that he could be installed by proxy, provided that a relation stood in for him; so he deputed his nephew Sir William accordingly. So Sir W. was knighted the day after his marriage, on the honourable occasion of being proxy for Lord Nelson on the occasion of his being invested with the insignia of his last additional orders.
June 1813 - shown as a knight on the baptism record of his first daughter, Mary Ann:
"England, Norfolk Bishop's Transcripts, 1685-1941," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 20 May 2014), Norfolk > Archdeaconry of Norfolk > 1814 > A-C > image 148 of 301; Record Office, Central Library, Norwich.
Name: William Bolton
Gender: Male
Birth Date: 1777
Death Age: 53
Burial Date: 22 Dec 1830
Burial Place: Costessey, Norfolk, England
FHL Film Number: 1471073
"England, Norfolk Bishop's Transcripts, 1685-1941," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 12 February 2018), William Bolton, 22 Dec 1830; citing Burial, Costessey, Norfolk, England, Record Office, Central Library, Norwich; FHL microfilm 1,471,073.
Document here:

Grave at St Edmunds:
Memorial window at Burnham Westgate:
Gravestone Photographic Resource - photo of memorial window, for William, Catherine and [Jemima] Susanna Bolton.
Sir William Bolton (death) 16/12/1830 (est. age) 53 (DOB) 1777 (first name on monument - Captain RN.)
Dame Catherine Bolton (death) 22/04/1857 (est. age) 76 (DOB) 20/11/1781
Susanna Bolton (death) 10/08/1864 (est. age) 83 (DOB) 20/11/1781

Actual inscription shown on window:
Sir William Bolton Knt Capt. RN. died Dec 16th 1830 aged 53
Dame Catherine Bolton born Nov 20th 1781 died April 22nd 1857
Susanna Bolton born Nov 20th 1781 died August 10th 1864

Also here on findagrave

There are many pictures of the exterior and interior of St Mary's Burnham Westgate here.,_William
Royal Naval Biography by John Marshall
SIR WILLIAM BOLTON, KNT. [Post-Captain of 1805.]
This officer has been frequently described to us as a nephew of the late Vice-Admiral Viscount Nelson: such, however, is not the case; he being the eldest son of the Rev. William Bolton, Rector of Hollesby, co. Suffolk, and of Brancaster, in Norfolk; brother of Thomas Bolton, Esq. who married Susannah, eldest sister of that great officer, under whose auspices he commenced his naval career at the commencement of 1793, and with whom he continued to serve, as a Midshipman and Lieutenant, during the greater part of the French revolutionary war. He was advanced to the rank of Commander in 1801, appointed to the Childers sloop Of war in 1803, and posted April 10, 1805.
Captain Bolton subsequently commanded the Eurydice, Druid, Endymion, and Forth frigates, on the Mediterranean, Irish, Channel, and North American stations. Among the captures made by him in those ships were le Basque, French national brig, of 16 guns and 112 men, laden with flour, &c. for the relief of Guadaloupe; le Milan, privateer, of 14 guns and 80 men; and the Regent, American letter of marque, of 5 guns and 35 men.
In May, 1803, Captain Bolton acted as proxy for Lord Nelson at his installation as a K.B., and on that occasion received the honor of knighthood. He married his first cousin, Catherine, second daughter of the above mentioned Thomas Bolton, Esq. of Cranwich, Norfolk, (whose eldest son is presumptive heir to the Nelson Earldom).
Long and detailed obit in The Annual biography and obituary, 1833, pp.77-85, detailing life, career, character, etc. Or here for a different format.
(Attached as a source, converted to PDF from plain text version.)
Also a shorter obit. in The Gentleman's Magazine (London, England, 1831), Volume 149, p.271.
This one says he died at Cossey, which is a variation in spelling of Costessey. This may have been at Costessy Hall, the family home of the Jerninghams.
Engraved coin, probably unique, with image of Sir William Bolton, was sold in Nov 2011 for £414 by Timeline Auctions in London. Note that some info is not correct; he has been confused with another Captain William Bolton. (See attachment.)
"Captain Sir William Boulton, 1777-1830, was married to Catherine Bolton, daughter of Susanna Nelson (sister to Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson of Trafalgar fame). He was a midshipman in the 32-gun frigate HMS Blanche from 1795 to 1797, when this token was probably made by or for him and it is very likely that this is the ship depicted on the token. He commanded the sloop Arrow at the Battle of Copenhagen (1801), served in HMS Eurydice in 1805 (this was the first ship in which Fletcher Christian, later of HMS Bounty under Captain Bligh, served in 1783), he captained HMS Fisgard 1805-1808, HMS Druid from 1808-1810 and HMS Endymion from 1810."
The Dispatches and Letters of Vice Admiral Lord Viscount Nelson with Notes by Sir Nicholas Harris Nicolas January 1802, to April 1804, Vol. 5 (1845) can be searched to show letters to or with mention of Captain Bolton.

Several of these letters have been added in the form of events to the Timeline.

In a letter to Emma Hamilton, Nelson writes that Captain Bolton is looking thin, but that he conducts himself very well; there is no prize-money to pay him, and he worries about "poor blind Mrs Bolton" (William's mother?) being in want in her old days.

Of some interest is the fact that Nelson has taken to signing his letters "Nelson and Bronte", showing his attachment to an area of Sicily, then the Duchy of Bronte, created in 1799 by King Ferdinand III created Bronte as a reward the help he had provided him in suppressing the revolution in Naples and so in recovering his throne.
There's also a connection to Charlotte Mary Hood, Duchess of Bronté, who was a witness at the wedding of Sir William and Catherine Bolton.

This volume can also be found in Google Books.

Some other facts picked from the long obituary mentioned above (The Annual biography and obituary, 1833).

Sir William's parents both outlived him (dying about 10 years later).

"...imbibed, at an early age, a decided taste for the classics and polite literature. He passed 1786 and 1787 in France, with his parents, where he acquired a competent knowledge of the French language. He was full fifteen years of age before he went to sea." Later mastered Greek, and competent knowledge of German, Spanish and Italian.

"...commenced his naval career as Midshipman on board the old Agamemnon, of 64 guns, at Chatham, soon after Nelson had been appointed to the command of her [30th of January, 1793]...until August, 1795....was with him in all his responsible and memorable missions in the Mediterranean at this period."

There follows an extensive account of his naval career.

"Sir William Bolton was tall, erect, and graceful in his person, fair in his complexion, and handsome in his features, with a classic forehead, a fine Roman nose, and a full blue eye, which was exceedingly quick and intelligent. To see him, was to see a gentleman in mind and manner as well as figure. Such is a faint outline of the person) of him, who was generally reckoned, when in his prime, one of the handsomest officers in the navy. To uncommon natural talents, and quickness of comprehension, was united a mind richly cultivated and highly polished, at the same time that it was endowed with the blander attributes of humanity ; a mind not less remarkable for urbanity and feelings of social kind- ness, than for unobtrusive dignity and pride, according to Swift's acceptation of the term. In these he was too delicate and scrupulous, perhaps, when we consider the vanity of man; at least, he has been thought so by many of his friends. His sensibility, which was tremblingly alive, could brook nothing repulsive to either ; in short, no cavalier of yore, no lady's knight, no high-born and noble-minded maiden, could ever be nicer on these points than was Sir William Bolton. When- ever he waited on ‘the powers that be’, it was in order to render the tribute of respect due to them, not to crave any favour: indeed, he seldom or never asked a favour for him- self, although often for his friends, whom he was anxious to serve when he could. To say that Sir William Bolton was an affectionate husband, a tender parent, and a sincere friend, would be negative praise, indeed; he was virtually all these, and a great deal more.

He was naturally averse to all display ; never claiming, or contending for superiority. He never took an unbecoming advantage of his brief authority, while in command ; on the contrary, to the officers under him he was invariably kind and friendly, and duly supported them in their authority. When- ever he had occasion to reprove an officer, or young gentle- man, it was briefly, gently, and in a mild and subdued tone of voice. On these occasions, too, he was apt to inti- mate his disapprobation in gentle admonitions or hints, in a manner peculiar to himself, in which more was meant than met the ear. Estimating the feelings in the breast of gentle- men by his own, he would touch, but never wound them - much less openly or unnecessarily ; and was so fortunate as never to have occasion to try any one of his own officers or men by a court-martial. He was, to use a nautical phrase, captain of his own ship. He always saw and heard with his own eyes and ears, and judged for himself accordingly ; and although he duly supported his officers, and was as complaisant to them, individually, as one gentleman could possibly be to an- other, yet he would on no account tolerate the least oppression, or even illiberal proceeding, from a superior to an inferior, nor yet illiberality in any shape towards equals. Ingratitude and invidious meanness he could not endure ; and various are the instances that could be adduced of his abhorrence of any thing like calumny. To the young gentlemen in particular, who sailed under him, he was always good and indulgent, and made due allowance for the youthful follies, while he re- probated the idea of turpitude in them ; and to his men he was ever considerate and humane. In short, he was truly a man of letters, an excellent scholar, a thorough sailor, and a most amiable and honourable man; kind, humane, and feeling in his nature ; social, affable, generous, and charitable in his disposition ; polished in his manners ; sincere and warm in his friendships ; a Christian in his faith and hope. - Malevolence itself could not impugn his actions, founded as they were on integrity of heart."

Note – possible image here: (pending response from NMM).
Career information, including naval appointments, ships, and details of a specific battle.
There are many references pertaining to Captain William Bolton in the National Archives, but none downloadable, it appears. This one has the title "Sir William Bolton; Rank: Post Captain; Date of Seniority: 10 April 1805 as post captain."

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Captain Sir William Bolton's Timeline

January 1, 1777
Ipswich, Suffolk, England, United Kingdom
December 26, 1777
Ipswich, Suffolk, England, United Kingdom
- 1830
Age 16
Royal Navy