BOSWORTH, Edward - I63740

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Bosworth Coat of Arms

BOSWORTH is an ancient English surname, derived from the name of a place. Thomas G. Gentry, in Family Names, 1892, 180, states it is from the Anglo-Saxon words bos, an ox, and weordb, value, price, and signifies ox-value. Spelling varies frequently- Bossworthe, Boseworth, Boasworth, Bozewurth, etc.


The immigrant ancestor was Edward BOSWORTH, who, with wife Mary, sons Benjamin and Nathaniel, and daughter Mary with her husband, William Buckland, sailed from Gravesend, England, in the ship Elizabeth and Dorcas, in the spring of 1634.[2] A son Edward may have also been of this family[3], and an older son Jonathan bad preceded them to America, settling at New Towne, later called Cambridge. This vessel proved to be unfortunate in having been injured upon a rock at the Scilly Isles, in mid ocean, and the voyage proving longer than anticipated, provisions were inadequate.[4] A scourge broke out on board, and many passengers died and were buried at sea. John Winthrop in his History of New, England, and Samuel Sewall, in his Diary (3: 396), both speak of the afflictions which befell, and of Edward Bosworth who died just before the ship landed at Boston.

Edward Bosworth, the Father, being ready to dye, asked to be carried upon the Deck, that he might see Canaan. When he had seen the Land he resigned his Soul and dyed: was carried ashoar and buried at Boston, writes Samuel Sewall. (Henry Sewall, father of the first chief justice of the name of Samuel, came over in this same ship.)

That this family had come from Coventry, in the heart of England, seems probable, since "on I September 1640 two of the sons, Benjamin and Nathaniell Bosworth charge bills upon Joseph Bosworth of Coventry in the County of Wark shoomaker for tenne pounds to be paid by Thomas Lund of London leatherdresser or his assignes upon 20 dayes sight. (I s.)

A bond to pay it accordingly by Will Buckland carpenter & Thomas Turner of Hingham. (1 s.) A writing for Counter security. All dated 1 Sept. 1640.."[5]

According to a writer in Boston Transcript (24 October 1923): "He (Edward Bosworth) was perhaps of Coventry. Tradition is that they were a gypsy family getting into Scotland some centuries ago, where they were granted arms."

Crozier, in General Armory (26) describes their coat-of-arms as: Gules, a cross vair between four annulets argent, the crest being: A lily proper-slipped and leaved. Burke[6], agrees with this statement. Mrs. Mary Bosworth Clarke, however, in Bosworth Genealogy, (Part 1: 35), printed at San Francisco, 1926, says this crest was "given by James II to his natural son, James Fits-James, when he raised him to the peerage and gave him, among other titles, that of 'Baron Bosworth.' I feel sure the American Bosworths have no desire to claim this crest; besides, it was created after our ancestors left England, and became extinct when James 11 was banished."

The Bosworth Family Association use as a crest on their bulletin and stationery, the one appearing in connection with this sketch. Descendants of Edward Bosworth in two different lines, possess two different coats-of-arms, though showing a common origin. The one which denotes the greatest antiquity, being bestowed "when arms were young and scarce used," is the following, commonly used by the Bosworth family: Or, a lion rampant gules, collared argent. Crest: A demi-lion rampant, ppr. Motto: Animus valet. "The history of the coat-of-arms throws the family back into Scotland in very early times. No family can use the red lion except they are Scotch, and then only by permission of the king. The Bosworth coat-of-arms is precisely the same as the king's except the silver collar (the king's is a gold collar), which proves they must have been in royal favor or they could not have used it."[7]

The widow of Edward Bosworth, with her young sons and daughter Mary and husband, went to Hingham, Massachusetts, where they were joined by the older son Jonathan.[8] He made deposition in 1639, stating his age to be twenty-six years[9], and Paige, in his History of Cambridge (32), says he was in that place in 1632, in 1635 owning a house and land on the westerly side of Garden Street, not far from the Botanical Gardens. The Records of Town and Selectmen of Cambridge (1: 4, 5) show he - was granted land 5 August 1633. But he removed to Hingham, to be near his folks, presumably, being granted a two-acre lot there in 1637[10], which was located on Bachelor Street, not far from the corner of what is now South Street. Later, this son Jonathan participated in a drawing for lots in Rehoboth (1660), where his name also appears as witness to the transfer of a tract of land from the Indians, said tract including what is now Attleboro, Massachusetts, and Cumberland, Rhode Island.[11]

Jonathan Bosworth and his brothers Nathaniel and Benjamin, and brother-in-law, William Buckland, were ordered by the General Court, held at Newtowne, 6 July 1635, "in consideration of money disbursed by Mr. Henry Sewall for the transportation of Edward Bosworth and his family," to pay the twenty pounds due said Sewall, each to pay five pounds.[12]

According to the records, it is evident the widow of Edward Bosworth was not able to support herself and family without help, for on 5 August 1634, "At a Court holden at New Towne," it was ordered that "such moneyes as shalbe layde out for the mainetenance of Widd. Bosworth and her famyly shalbe payde againe by the Treasurer."[13]

Benjamin, eighteen years old when he came with his parents, was granted land in Hingham, the year following their arrival, his property being on Weary-all (Otis) Hill[14], evidently very near that granted to his brother-in-law, William Buckland.

In 1636 he was given a home-lot of five acres on Town (South) Street, near West and Fort Hill Streets. Near Hornbine church, Rehoboth, there is a small burying-ground called the Bosworth Cemetery, where a number of Bosworths and Joneses are buried.[15] Records of Hingham, so carefully kept by the Reverend Peter Hobart, first pastor there, show that "May 18, 1648, Widow Bosworth died."

CHILDREN, so far as known, and all born in England:

  1. Mary, born probably about 1611; married William BUCKLAND.
  2. Jonathan, born 1613; married Elizabeth Howland. Lived in Cambridge, Hingham (1635 to about 1650), and Rehoboth later, where his name appears in a list of those taking the oath of fidelity in 1658. He was a very prominent man, and large landowner. He died at Rehoboth, 3 January 1687, and Elizabeth, his widow, died at Swansea, Massachusetts, 15 June 1705 "Almost ninety one years of Age." They were the parents of two sons (one of whom married a daughter of John Howland, the Mayflower Pilgrim), and six daughters.[16]
  3. Benjamin, born 1615; married (1) unknown ; married (2), Mrs. Beatrice Joscelyn, widow of Abraham Joscelyn and daughter of Philip Hampson, citizen and merchant tailor of London. They were married at Lancaster, Massachusetts, 16 November 1671. He is called sergeant; was a large landowner, fence viewer, freeman in 1680 at Hull, etc . He owned land at Stow in 1682, removing there 14 December of that year, selling his home lot in Hull with the buildings and other property to Robert Gould, sen. Was one of the first selectmen of Stow, and on commissions and important committees. Benjamin Buckland was the father of two children, a son and daughter, born to his first wife, both baptized at Hingham by Reverend Hobart, 6 April 1647. His second wife had a daughter by her first marriage. He died in Boston, November 1700, aged 75 years, and was probably buried in Granary Burying Ground, near there, where eleven years later his widow was also interred.[17]
  4. Nathaniel, born 4 September 1617; married about 1645 or 1646 Bridget, thought to be the daughter of Jeremiah Bellamy. Was of Hull from about the time of marriage, where he held many offices of trust, being deputy to court, 1680, given power to marry, represented the town in agreements, etc., until about 1682, when he bought land in Bristol then in Massachusetts but since 1747 in Rhode Island and removed there with his family. Three of his sons went with him to Bristol, three remaining residents of Hull. The house he built at Bristol on the banks of Silver Creek, is still standing, and has been kept in the line of succession ever since. Judge Bourn, member of the first Continental Congress, was of this lineage, and once owner of the old house. Nathaniel's name appears on the Founders Tablet in Memorial Hall of Bristol; was the first deacon of the church there, and held positions of civic responsibility. He died 31 August 1690, in the 73d year of his age, his tombstone, near the wall of the Congregational church in Bristol states. He was the father of four daughters and six sons, probably all born in Hull, though most of them baptized at Hingham.[18]


Mary BOSWORTH, born in England, married there William BUCKLAND, and with him came to this country in 1634.

For continuation of this family line please see the BUCKLAND biography.

  1. The Ancestry & Posterity of Joseph Smith and Emma Hale by Audentia Smith Anderson (1926)
  2. New England Genealogies, Cutter, 4: 2042.
  3. Records of Massachusetts 2: 5
  4. History of New England, John Winthrop, 1: 161.
  5. Manuscript Note Book of Thomas Lechford, paragraph 172.
  6. General Armory, 1884, 102
  7. Bosworth Genealogy, Part 1: 34.
  8. New England Genealogies, Cutter, 4: 2042.
  9. Manuscript Note Book of Thomas Lechford, 54
  10. New England Historical and Genealogical Register 2: 151
  11. History of Rehoboth, 1643-1918, Rev. George H. Tilton, 1918, 46, 57.
  12. Massachusetts Colony Records 1: 123, 15 2.
  13. Massachusetts Colony Records 1: 123.
  14. Hingham Genealogies, Lincoln, 2: 87
  15. History of Rehoboth, Tilton, 299.
  16. Bosworth Genealogy, Mary Bosworth Clark, Part , 1: 61-75.
  17. Ibid. 77-94.
  18. Ibid. 95-113.