Tag Archives: Richard Canning

Rev. John Bullen

John Bullen was a subscriber to Kirby’s Historical Account.

The Rev. Mr. John Bullen (c. 1712—1774) was ordained Deacon in 1736 and Priest in 1738. His first appointment was as Rector of Newbourne in Suffolk, a post that had been earlier held by Robert Hingestone. The patron was Thomas Western, Esq, himself also a subscriber.

Newbourne St. Mary’s

Rev. Bullen retained his position at Newbourne until his death in 1774, adding to it the livings of Rector of Kennet, just over the border into Cambridgeshire, and Vicar of Rushmere, taking over from Rev. Richard Canning, both in 1756.

While John Bullen lived the quiet life of a country vicar in Kennet, his (second) son Joseph went to sea and had a vigorous and illustrious career in the Navy. He fought in the Caribbean during the American War of Independence, served with Nelson on the Agamemnon (as did William Bolton – I’ll leave it to the naval historians to determine if they were on the ship at the same time), he was 69 times under fire, retired to land, and lived to the ripe old age of 96 as Admiral Bullen.

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.

Richard Canning

The Revd Richard Canning (1708—1775) was a Suffolk clergyman, and author of several books. He was the (anonymous) author of An account of the gifts and legacies that have been given and bequeathed to charitable uses in the town of Ipswich; with some account of the present state and management and some proposals for the future regulation of them, published in Ipswich in 1747. This was not a completely disinterested account, as a careful parsing of the title shows. Back in 1743, a commission had been set up to investigate the various charitable donations that had been given to be used in Ipswich, and to check that the conditions of these donations were being properly fulfilled. Clearly, such an investigation would be unnecessary unless there was a sense, in certain quarters, that there was a certain amount of misdirection going on. The investigation was partly an attack on the current political powers in Ipswich. Canning collected 113 subscribers, mostly from local people, among them Kirby. Canning himself took six copies of the book, as did his friend Rev. Henry Hubbard.

Canning was actually born in Plymouth, but moved to Suffolk at a young age when his father retired to Ipswich after a career as a naval commander. He went to Westminster School, and on to St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, graduating in 1729, and gaining a master’s degree from Peterhouse in 1735. He married Cordelia Westhorp in 1739 and they had two children, a son Richard, and a daughter Cordelia. Canning’s wife died in 1751, but he never remarried. His first clerical appointment was as curate at St Lawrence, Ipswich, in 1734, and he gradually gathered other livings, maintaining a plurality of up to four at times.

According to his DNB article, “Canning was a pillar of Anglican life in Suffolk, and a leading member of the clerical, literary, and musical circles to which the young Thomas Gainsborough belonged until he left for Bath in 1759”. Gainsborough painted a portrait of Canning about 1757.

(This picture is from The Art Fund, and is reversed).

Canning gave the picture to Henry Hubbard, and in return, Hubbard had his own portrait done by Gainsborough and gave it to Canning. Hubbard’s portrait is very similar, but he is facing the other way (i.e., to the right, whereas Canning is looking to the left).

Canning also appears to have been the editor who prepared the much revised and enlarged 1764 second edition of John Kirby’s Suffolk Traveller, although a number of other people also had a hand in the work.

Canning’s DNB article is here.