Author Topic: John BOSS & Mary NEWBERRY (Loughborough, c.1780)  (Read 127 times)

Offline Garen

  • RootsChat Senior
  • ****
  • Posts: 266
    • View Profile
John BOSS & Mary NEWBERRY (Loughborough, c.1780)
« on: Sunday 28 June 20 18:20 BST (UK) »
I wonder if anyone with connections to Midlands Boswell / Boss familes has any thoughts on the marriage of John Boss and Mary Newberry at Nottingham in 1780 - I'm doubtful that this John Boss was a Boswell, or even a Roamny Gypsy at all, but I may be ignorant of some better sources.

I was introduced to the marriage through the work of Robert Dawson who included it in 'Henry Dry-Bread' (DGLG 1988) and 'The Genealogy of the Romany Boswells' (RTFHS 2004), and of course I've seen it on the web and a couple of later publications since then - though perhaps Bob Dawson is the original source.

On the Leicestershire marriage license for the marriage (30 Oct 1780) John Boss is described as a butcher, age 21, and Mary Newberry as a widow, also 21 (though these may be minimum ages for marriage). Butcher doesn't seem like a Gypsy occupation to me, and certainly not a good one for travelling with. Also John Boss signs his own name - unusual. Then the surrogates and witnesses aren't names you might recognise from the community: Samuel Newton, William Beer and Thomas Nadin.

Mary Newberry was a widow and described in the Leicestershire license, at least, as "of Loughborough", though she is described as "of this parish" in the Nottingham St Mary's marriage. However, her previous husband seems to have been a William Newberry, butcher of Loughborough, himself a widower when he married Mary in May 1775 - Mary's maiden name being Wood.

A child was born to William and Molly Newberry (I'm aware this version of the name fits nicely in with the George Borrow story and 'Grey Moll') in Loughborough in 1776, Parnell Newberry. William Newberry appears to have died in Loughborough in 1779 (burial), and then Mary remarried to John Boss.

To complete the connection, John Boss was apprenticed to William Newberry, butcher, in Loughborough in 1778. So in other words, Mary married the master, and then when widowed, the apprentice. (William Newberry's first wife, by the way, seems to have been Elizabeth Heames, married in 1766.)

The fact that John Boss was apprenticed to William seems to point to John being a settled parishoner rather than a traveller.

To make things a little more confusing, in Loughborough in 1752 a William Boss married a Parnell Newberry and they had two children I can find: John Boss (1759) and Parnell Boss (1761). These may be the parents of John Boss, apprentice butcher (right age for the 1780 marriage), and it's quite probable, I think, that Mary Wood's two husbands were related, cousins perhaps.

The Parnell Newberry who was born in 1776 to William the butcher and Mary Wood seems to have married a cavalryman, George Opfferman, in Birmingham in 1798. I think he died in 1815 and she went into service in the royal household, specifically in the silver scullery from 1827 until 1838.

Her namesake and possible step-aunt, Parnell Boss (b.1761), might have married a William Fisher in Northampton in 1785 and died there in 1843. I mention these because both marriages are away from Loughborough, and could indicate some travelling, but doesn't exclude many other possibilities.

Of course John Boss and Mary Newberry had a son, John, baptised in Loughborough in 1781,  sometimes considered to be 'the Flaming Tinman' (if it's not his father, but the age might fit better for the son) - but that may not be the right John if he was the son a Loughborough butcher.

I'd be very grateful for any input from someone more expert than me on the Midlands Boswells. I'm decsended from them, by the way, through Anselo's daughter, Tresi, and the Sherriffs.

Thanks for reading!
- Garen.
Second Anglo-Afghan War 1878-80 -
Family research -