Rev. Thomas Bolton (1697—1772)

The Rev. Thomas Bolton was a member of the Bolton family of Woodbridge, one of the children of Samuel Bolton, a surgeon. He grew up in Woodbridge and in the usual way of things, went on to Cambridge and was ordained deacon in 1720 and priest in 1721. He was for a time Rector of Barham, resigning to take up the position of Rector at Hollesley, a position he held from 1739 until his death.

Hollesley Church

Hollesley is only half a dozen miles from Woodbridge, with Ipswich another 6 or 7 miles onwards. From 1739 to 1743, Rev. Bolton was also Headmaster at Ipswich School, being succeeded by Robert Hingestone. Thomas Bolton married Mary Bird and they had four children, Samuel, Thomas, Martha, and Mary. His grandson Thomas married Susannah Nelson, eldest sister of Horatio, Lord Nelson; and a great-grandson, Sir William Bolton, married his cousin Catherine, a daughter of Thomas and Susannah, and served with Nelson for many years. William Bolton was unable to be at the Battle of Trafalgar, being on other service, a circumstance which apparently caused Nelson to exclaim, “Billy, Billy, out of luck!” Another great-grandson of Thomas Bolton was killed at Waterloo.

Along with Kirby’s Historical Account, Bolton also (not surprisingly) subscribed to Rev. Richard Canning‘s Account of the Gifts and Legacies…In Ipswich.

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