Guild of One-Name Studies
One-name studies, Genealogy
Category: 2 - A study where research using core genealogical datasets and transcriptions is well under way, but currently in some countries only.
DNA website: www.familytreedna.com/public/Boyns
Contact: Mrs Kathryn Ellis
The origin of the name fascinates us all. There have been many theories over the years. Despite the fact there are many place names in the West of Cornwall around St Just where the family have been for 400 years beginning BO as in Botallack - Bojewyan - Boscaswell and Bosavern it seems that family members have thought it might have an Irish origin coming from the River Boyne or even Dutch or German as Boyens certainly is a name in this part of the world. There was even a Pope with the name Boeyns! To support the Dutch theory it is known from A Survey of Cornwall by Richard Carew that Dutch Mineral men were brought over to Cornwall in the 1500's. It appears they were more advanced with explosives at the time so there expertise was very useful to the expanding mining industry in Cornwall.
I also have a curiosity of the very similar and common name in South Wales of Bowen. There was a lot of trade between Cornwall and Wales at this time.
However all this is forgetting the place name connection BO in the area. BO in the Cornish language referring to the dwelling of so for instance the name Bosyweyn seen in 1302 which by 1732 had changed half a dozen times and was Bojuyan is the dwelling of Syweyn.(1302) The name of Syweyn is not known but could be a form of Ewan or some similar name.
There are other examples - In the 13th century in an exert from a Feet of Fines there is a reference to Roger De Bowen 1 Masage and 1 acre at Boswens ( now Bosweddan) by Boshean (now Bosean) which again places the name deriving from the family home.
There are a few famous and infamous Boyns.
Nicholas Bowens/Boyens 1720 bought and lived at Boswedden and laterly Hendra, He owned property at Hendra, Tregevean, Bosavern, Mill Lane and the house north of the raebit. He is said to have commenced Cape Mine. In 1883 there is documentation of his grandson claiming mineral rights for Cape Cornwall mine. His Great grandson said he commenced the deep adit at Botallack and made his son Nicholas 1747 Captain and his son Henry did bookeeping and smithing.
Nicholas 1747 son of Nicholas 1720 said to have been made Captain of Botallack by his father and then commenced Wheal Owles however the date is unknown.
John 1792 was a son of Nicholas 1747 he was known as Purser Boyns of Boswedden and worked at Wheal Owles 1834 - 1861. He was at Wheal Owles from 1834 - 1861 and his name is seen on a lease for a sett at Kenidjack in 1834.
Richard Boyns 1822 was a grandson of Nicholas 1747 via his son Nicholas 1785 He married Mary Boyns a 1st cousin. Mary's brother Richard 1831 was the well later known as Richard 'Banker' Boyns. He became Purser of Wheal Owles in 1861 taking over from his Uncle John Boyns 1792. From 1864 -1870 he was Purser and Manager of Boswedden and Wheal Castle. The Royal Cornwall Gazette 27th May 1869 reports that this Richard Boyns was presented with a silver tea service weighing 162 ozs and valued at 100 guinea as a testimonial by Wheal Owles adventurers for the skill and energy with which he had worked the mine and as a momento of his gaining more than £4000 by his stocking tin. The article refers to the presentation being made to Captain Boyns who was the purser. His title of Captain came from the fact he commanded the Duke of Cornwall Rifle Volunteers 1864-1883. The Poldark Mine Museum at Wendron also have a large pewter tea pot presented to Richard Boyns Esq on 19th November 1869 by John Roscorla. He later was remembered for being fined £15 plus costs for not having kept accurate maps of the mine to within six months of the disaster in 1893. He never recovered from this and was none to be a recluse in later life. He had ten issue. Three died young and only one son married of the remaining seven children descendants of which live in USA
Richard 'Banker' Boyns 1831 was a grandson of Nicholas 1747. Perhaps the most well known Boyns he was a much respected Grocer, Farmer, Bank Manager. In the mid 1870's he began supporting various local mines at at time when they were struggling. He found investment to keep Wheal Owles going in the late 1870's and keep many St Just men working when things were getting tough. He was presented in 1880 with the Botallack Epergne which had been made by Messers Mapin and Webb in London at a cost of £250 paid for by Public subscription at a time when the mining industry was already suffering . The extract from the Mining Journal says - A well merited honour has been conferred upon Mr R Boyns of The Bank, St Just by the presentation of a handsome and valuable epergne in recognition of his untiring and indeed Herculean efforts while depression was at its worst however in 1883 by which time the price of tin had slumped even further Richard had lost all his money and disappeared. His affairs where dealt with by bankruptcy. He was later heard to be in America where he had quite a following as a Minister for the Episcopalian Church and where his children were sent to join him. He married and was widowed twice In Cornwall whilst still having a young family. His descendants now live in USA.
The son of Richard Banker Boyns Richard Edward Boyns 1857 a solicitor who dealt with his father's affairs was also a writer and used the Pseudonym Edward Bosanketh. He wrote a novel called Tin in 1888 which for many was clearly based on the goings on in the Tin Industry at the time his father disappeared. The main character was a Charles East who disappeared as his father had done. The Bolitho family owners of Bolitho's Bank which is now part of Barclays Group where incensed by the allegations made in the book and bought up and burned as many copies of the book as they could find. In 1988 Justin Brooke reprinted the novel and also a key to tin which is fascinating. Richard Edward Boyns 1857 made many visit to USA to visit his siblings over the years and later published a sequel to Tin and other novels in the USA. Richard Edward never married and had no issue.
Henry Boyns 1820 was a Great grandson of Nicholas 1720 and was very well respected for possessing an innate intelligence but little education. He often spoke of the history of the mines in the local area. He worked as Manger at Wheal Owles 1856, Agent at Botallack 1857-1866 and was manager there 1866-1872. Manager of Levant 1872-1875. He also was manager for Brimley mine in Devon 1877-1880. Purser and chief agent of Molland in Devon 1876-1880. His obituary says he worked in every mine except North Levant. He was a lay preacher and active Methodist. He married three times with one son who died young and daughter to the first marriage.
John Boyns 1817 the brother of Henry 1820 was also very well respected. From 1840 he worked as Agent under John Boyns 1792. In 1856 he was Purser at Wheal Bounds. 1857-1861 Agent of Bollowal and 1862- 1883 Jnr Manager. Bosorne Manager 1861-1863. At Botallack 1862-71 he as agent and conducted Price Arthur through Botallack in 1862. Later in 1865 he conducted the Prince and Princess of Wales later King Edward and Princess Alexandra around Botallack. In 1866-1870 he was Agent at Wheal Owles. In 1883/4 Manager of Wheal Castle. He also inspected Mine in Italy and was manager of the Lanzi Mining Co. He married once with no issue.
Results from the Cornish Group done on the ftdna website indicate that the Cornish Group have roots from Ireland and connect with the group known as Nial and the Nine Hostages. Nicholas 1660@ remains the earliest clear Bowens/Boyns in Cornwall on paper. I always remember as a child a joke that we came across from Ireland on a Millstone! I was not sure if the name Boyns was being associated with the famous River Boyne but in more recent years as the name had changed over the years from Bowens to BOYENS then Boyns in Cornwall there was always the possibility that they might have German roots due to the use of Boyens in Germany and the fact that miners were brought across from Germany in the 1600's to help us blast the mines. DNA has clarified this point.
More recently now that Ancestry is testing once again I have had some recent contact that several people from the Boyens tree in London have tested and match each other as expected and this clearly links them back to the Cornwall group. This new test is producing some excellent results for more recent centuries.
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