Origins & Variations

Origins and Variations

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Surname Origins

The Bolstridge surname is relatively new and apart from a burial in 1609 at Adderbury, near Banbury Oxfordshire, of one Marget Boulesdtridg, (This entry was found in the recently published National Burial Index and further examination of the local registers may turn up more information), the earliest records found so far are those at Bedworth near Coventry Warwickshire in 1669.

There is a large amount of circumstantial information to assert that the Bulstrode family of Sole End were the source of the Bolstridge name in this area. The earliest registers to survive at Bedworth are from 1640, (virtually unreadable from microfilm until 1653), and from 1670 at Astley, the two most likely places that the Bulstrodes would baptise their children. Edward, Richard, Henry and John, sons of Edward and Margaret are well documented but we have to assume that the earliest Bulstrodes mentioned in the Bedworth registers, (Thomas & Rebecca and Francis & Jane), are also Edward's sons. I have searched both the PCC and Lichfield probate calendars but Edward Bulstrode's will cannot be found. His death, being before 1660, probate should have been granted by the PCC but it could be that probate was delayed and could have been proved in some obscure court which was common practice for lawyers, the search goes on!

Norman Dudley in his book "The Bolstridges Alias Bulstrode of Warwickshire" relies  the assumption that the origin of the Bolstridge/Boulstridge name is due to local dialect, an assumption I personally have great difficulty with.
Usual procedures for this period are that the parish clerk would copy entries to the official parchment register from the Rector or Curate's paper copy. The minister officiating at the ceremony would write down what he heard or knew of the parents names. Thomas Bulstrode was assumedly the son of Edward and therefore likely to be both literate and speak without local dialect, after all, his father was the a local Justice. A local would therefore attempt to write phonetically what he heard. This raises the prospect that the correct pronunciation of Bulstrode in formal English at the time was in fact Boulstridge. This raises the prospect that the "new" name could have arisen anywhere. Locally Baddesley is still pronounced Badgersley and Upton Uopton and as recent as 1835 Piggot's directory of Staffordshire states "Wednesfield pronounced locally as Wedgefield".


The Significance of Bedworth Register Entries.

Examining the Bedworth registers we find the following :

William Bulstrode born 12 May, bapt. 5 June 1655
Thomas Bulstrode bapt. 14 July 1657 (this was written in at a later stage )
1659-1661 no register entries at all
Francis Bolstrod bapt. 1 July 1661(squeezed in at top of page out of order and in different hand)
1662 - April 1663 few entries at all register quite disorganised.
1663 Register in new hand and back to normal.
James Bolstridge Bapt. 2 May 1669
Samuel Bulstrodg Bapt. 5 May 1672
Jone Bulstrog Bapt. 21 Jan 1676
From 1678 - 1681 there are 4 entries of Bulstrod until Thomas son of Thomas junior reverts to Bolstridge on March 19th 1681.

All further entries at Bedworth then are either Bulstrodg(e) Bolstrig(e) or Boulstridg(e)

The first two entries in 1655 and 1657 were made during the incumbency of the Presbyterian minister Ryder. Bedworth was a Parliamentarian town and Bulstrodes by and large appear to have been parliamentarians. Ryder was more than likely acquainted with the Bulstrodes and therefore would almost certainly get the name correct. It is significant that William, the first child baptised had his date of birth entered. This was unusual for the Bedworth register and could signify the first born of someone of importance. In 1672 Ryder was ejected from his living for failing to accept the Catholic Prayer book and was replaced by John Symcocks and, in 1673, Nicholas Chamberlaine from Wooten was invested and remained there until his death in 1715. Ryder was granted a licence to preach at his house in 1672 but no doubt had been enjoying a congregation there before. Although at this stage these unlicensed preachers were not supposed to carry out baptisms many did. The added entries to the register may well be the work of a sympathetic clerk making sure the record was right.

In Appendix II of his book Norman states that he believes the Bolstridges of Binfield are an offshoot of the Bedworth Family that returned to Berkshire. There really is no evidence of this. He states "Henry's (Bulstrode) son, Henry, who was baptised at Warfield in 1675, was buried at Binfield in Berkshire on 15th October 1730, as Henry Boulstridge" He then goes on to say "The first occurrence of the name in the Binfield parish registers was on the occasion of the baptism of Hannah Boulstridge, the daughter of Henry, junior, and his wife Hannah, on 21st May 1711" An examination of the IGI entries for Berkshire shows these observations in a different light. There is, for at least 100years confusion in the spelling of the name. In the late 17th and early 18th centuries a consolidation of replacing the "de" with "dge". This leads me to believe that the pronunciation of the name "Bulstrode" in the 17th/18th centuries was in fact Boulstrodge the degeneration to Boulstridge/Bolstridge was a natural progression from this. Henry Bulstrode of Binfield was almost certainly a descendant of the original family from Horton Park further evidence that the name could have arrived independently elsewhere. Click here for the relevant IGI extracts I have yet to fully explore this connection.



Surname Variations

Because the name is so uncommon many different spellings are to be found in parish registers and some of the early census data. This problem is further exacerbated by contemporary transcriptions i.e. the 1881 census, the Warwickshire 1851 census and the IGI. Transcribers, unaware of the name, have made some quite remarkable guesses. The GRO indices are by no means exempt as correct entries in marriages registers have been entered in the GRO indices incorrect. The name in the UK today however has developed into the following forms and these are discussed in detail below. Please refer to the surname distribution maps which illustrates the development of the current forms. 








Bolstridge This is by far the most common form of the name. By the 1720's it was in almost universal use in the Bedworth area and has survived there to this day, those Bolstridges who moved to Birmingham and Nottingham generally adopted this form. For a long time in Ratcliffe Culey and the surrounding area it was interchangeable with Boulstridge. Most of the USA family seem to have adopted the Bolstridge form.

Bolestridge The families descended John Boulstridge who in 1889 settled in Canada tend to use the Bolestridge version of the name although he was registered as Boulstridge. His father used the Boulstridge version of the name throughout his short life and his headstone reflects this, however the Ratcliffe Culey entry for his marriage is as Bolestridge. This variation may well have died out in this country only one family found in the Electoral Roll at Brackley, NTH. 

Boulstridge As mentioned before this was very often interchangeable with Bolstridge but after 1861 James of Ratcliffe Culey who was baptised Bolstridge married as Bolestridge to Elizabeth Blower assumed Boulstridge as his surname was buried as such and his gravestone is inscribed James Boulstridge. This can be very confusing as his first cousin, another James living at Ratcliffe during the same period, ( my great great grandfather), was baptised James Boulstridge married Elizabeth Tredwell as James Boultridge adopted the name Bolstridge and was buried as such. William Bolstridge, born in 1805 in Ratcliffe Culey moved with his family to Dordon in 1838. Here he adopted the Boulstridge variation and is the source of the many Boulstridges in the area. It is sometimes seen as the alternative Bouldsbridge although this is usually a transcription error. The vast majority of families using this form of the name are descended from Ratcliffe Culey.

Bouldstridge Thomas Bolstridge was a master weaver and one of the sons of Francis and Eleanor, a freeholder of Bedworth Woodlands. Thomas  had moved to London for a while where his first three children were baptised under the surname Bouldstridge, however,  their return to Coventry further children were baptised Bolstridge. Thomas and Ann's second son, also called Thomas, returned to London and carried out his trade as weaver, adopting the surname Bouldstridge and he is the source of the London branch of the family which became relatively prosperous. A point of interest is an event that happened  in June 2000:-.


A certain Mr. Boulstridge from the south coast of England had a serious disagreement with the local social services department which was widely reported. The BBC TV NEWS  featured the story and the newscaster referred to him as Bouldstridge, the local BBC reporter referred to him as Bolstridge and the local social services director  referred to him as Bulstrode!!.



Throughout the 19th century the London Bouldstridges consistently used this variation however many of the children of Edward Francis Bouldstridge and Harriet Austing, who never married were registered as Austing with a second forename Boulstridge although later using the surname Bouldstridge, confusing!


Bostridge A recently discovered variation, Bolstridge has often been mis-transcribed as such. The earliest version found was that of the marriage entry of Thomas Bostridge and the widow Hannah Arnold at Astley in 1769 however further references to Thomas and Hannah were Bolstridge. In 1801 John Bolstridge and Mary his wife baptised 5 children at Maxstoke Warwickshire, the eldest being 17 and the youngest 6 all as Bolstridge. In 1805 the eldest of these, James, married as James Boastridge but his daughter Mary was baptised in 1806 as Bolstridge. For  40 years afterwards there was considerable confusion between Bolstridge Bostridge and Boastridge before reverting to Bolstridge. John Daniel born in 1787 however moved to Newton in the parish of Ryton upon Dunsmore where he married Rebecca Birditt as John Daniel Bostridge. All his children were baptised as Bostridge and assumed this variation of the surname. The latest record found of this branch of the surname is in 1894 when according to the GRO indices Samuel Burdett Bostridge, John Daniels grandson, married at Aston juxta Birmingham. It is interesting to note that there are a nest of Bostridges / Bowstridges in south London I would like to hear from anyone researching this line in case they are linked although I suspect it could be a derivation of Bowstreet.


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