People of Note

Colton has given birth to and housed a number of people of note, either within the county or nationally. Members of the Society have spent many thousands of hours researching local people who have had an impact on the lives of others, whether in Colton or further a field. Currently, we have organised the resulting articles about some of these people and they are listed below. Please click on a name to see the full article. Maybe one of these people is a relative! We welcome any further information you may have about this person and invite you to make contact with us to tell us more.

The DeWasteney Family
Lords of the Manor of Colton until the 14th. Century. 

The Aston Family
Lords of the Manor from the 17th.-18th. Century. Lord Aston an important courtier. 

The Blount Family
Lords of the Manor into the 18th.& 19th. Century. 

The Boughey Family
Their allegiance to their faith caused them great hardship in the 17th. Century.

John Heyliger Burt
18th Century owner of Colton House and plantations in the West Indies. 

Frederic Bonney
Victorian Explorer, botanist and distinguished photographer. 

Rev. F. P. Parker
Rector of Colton and important Staffordshire Antiquarian. 

The Bagot Family
Lords of the smaller Colton Manor until the 20th. Century. 

Frederic Bonney

A local man, who went exploring in Australia and took a unique collection of photographs of Aborigines.

The DeWasteney Family

The great Domesday Record compiled for William the Conqueror to show the land holdings he had acquired at his conquest of England, shows that Colton was divided into two larger manors and one smaller one. They were given by William along with many other Manors to two great Norman Barons; Robert of Stafford and Roger of Montgomery. Robert of Stafford appears to have had as his tenant Geofrey (Goisfrid) whose family eventually assumed the name DeWasteney.

The family owned land in Lincolnshire and we are not sure when they first came to Colton but they appear to be well established in Colton by 1166 when the Black Roll of Exchequer states that Geoffrey is holding a water mill (presumably the one recorded in Domesday) and a manor.

In 1240 Sir William DeWasteney obtained a grant from King Henry III to hold a weekly market every Friday at his manor in Colton. This must have been of great importance to the village – a turning point in its history. In 1260’s Stephen DeWasteney appears to have been a supporter of Simon de Montford in the Barons uprising against the King because in 1267his name appears in the Patent Rolls as being granted a pardon by Henry III. By the late 1260’s the family appear to own most of Colton.

The family seem to have resided in Colton for many years because they appear in many deeds, land transactions and other matters. They remained the Lords of the main Manor of Colton until late in the 14th. Century when it passes by the marriage of Thomasine DeWasteney, sole heiress to the manor, to Nicholas of the Gresley family.

The Aston Family

The Aston family were Lords of the Manor in nearby Tixall and for a long time had held important positions at court. The first Walter Aston had held Mary Queen of Scots briefly captive for Elizabeth I at his Tixall mansion following the unmasking of the Babbington Plot.

His grandson the third Walter Aston purchased the main Colton Manor from the Gresley family in 1610 for £16,000; a considerable amount of money in the 17th. Century. He was already a Knight of the Bath and a gentleman of the Privy chamber in the court of James I. He was a staunch protestant when he purchased Colton. He was given the important appointment of Ambassador to Spain for James I in 1619. The long time he spent in Spain as the Ambassador virtually ruined him as most of the time he had to pay his own expenses.

Upon his return to England at the death of James I he pleaded to Charles I for repayment. He was rewarded for his services to the crown by being created Lord Aston of Forfar. He returned to Spain again as Ambassador until 1638 and it was during this second stay that he and his son Herbert converted to Catholicism. This was a period in English history when to be a practicing Catholic was outlawed and his family would subsequently suffer some hardship for their adherence to the Catholic faith.

There are a number of letters in the ‘Tixall collection’ held in the Staffordshire Archives that show Sir Walter clearly resided for some time at Colton. Upon his death in 1639 his first son Walter, inherited the Tixall estates and the Baronetcy. His wife Gertrude continued to live at Colton Hall and the family were soon paying fines for being Recusants. Some time around 1648, Colton Hall burnt down and Lord Aston sold the ruined Colton Hall to Walter Chetwynd of Rugeley but his brother Herbert received the land. Herbert had already built a house called Bellamour at Colton on land given to him by his father upon his marriage. The ruins of this house can still be seen on entry into the village.

Herbert achieved notoriety towards the end of his life when he was implicated in the Popish Plot. This plot allegedly intended to kill the King, was eventually exposed as a hoax but not before Herbert had spent some time in the Tower of London under threat of Execution.

Herbert died in 1689 and the Colton estates passed to his eldest son John. He died childless so the Colton estate reverted to James, the fifth Lord Aston- the Tixall line of the family. His heir, Mary Aston married into the Blount family of Worcestershire and upon the death of her father, his estates including Colton, passed through her marriage into the Blount family. Thus in 1766 Sir Walter Blount became the new owner of the Colton Manor.


A History of Staffordshire. Greenslade and Stuart. Phillimore 1998

Colton and the DeWasteneys. Rev. F.P.Parker. Private publ. 1879

The Blount Family

Sir Walter Blount inherited the main manor of Colton through his wife, Mary Aston, in 1770. The Blount family had their main family seat at Mawley Hall in Soddington, Worcestershire.

This family could trace their ancestry back to a lord in the service of William at the Conquest. They numbered amongst their ancestors “that warlike Blount” mentioned by Shakespeare in Henry IV as a brave opponent of Hotspur.

After her husband’s death Mary, Lady Blount, lived at Bellamour in Colton and in 1796, she had a larger house built close to the first one for her second son Edward. The Blount’s were a Catholic family at a time when Catholics could not practice their faith openly. Therefore included in the building was a chapel so that the family could practice their faith in secret. Some of Edward’s children are recorded as being baptised there.

 Mary is seen here on the left in this picture.

Image: Painting with Mary Blount in it

She died a terrible death in 1805 whilst staying with her son, burnt to death when her dress caught fire. Her son Edward Blount continued to live in Colton until he sold the property in 1824.

The Boughey Family

The Boughey or Boghay family came to live in Colton sometime in the late 1540’s probably from the Audley area in north Staffordshire. They were a family of Yeoman farmers who had prospered by good marriages and wise land deals. They purchased the farm in Colton that had been previously known as The Grange from George Fowler who had acquired it at the Dissolution of the Monastries from Henry VIII. It had previously belonged to St. Thomas’s Priory in Stafford. The cost of purchase by the Boughey’s was £100.

Sampson, the first of the Boughey’s in Colton, renamed the farm Boughey Hall Farm and entered Colton village society as a fairly prosperous land owner. Sampson, his son George and in turn, his son Sampson, all hold various offices within the parish over the next century. The last Sampson Boughey died without male heirs in 1658 and the estate passed to his five daughters. The youngest daughter Constance married Whitehall Degge, son of Sir Simon Degge a distinguished Staffordshire judge and antiquarian. Whitehall and Constance bought out the other sisters for £750 and became the sole owners of Boughey Hall Farm.

Image: Photo of Boughey Hall Farm today

Boughey Hall Farm as it looks today

Constance had two children by this marriage, the first, a little girl, died in infancy. Shortly afterwards her husband Whitehall died and Constance was left a widow with a son. The Boughey’s were a Catholic family and in 1678 Constance married again, this time to a very prominent Catholic, Thomas Whitgreave of Moseley Old Hall near Wolverhampton. Thomas Whitgreave was famous for being one of the rescuers of Charles II as he fled from Cromwell’s troops after the Battle of Worcester. On his accession King Charles had rewarded Thomas for his brave help. By this marriage Boughey Hall farm passed into the Whitgreave family and remained so until the 1920’s.

When Constance remarried she went to live at Moseley Old Hall taking her son with her. Moseley was an important centre for Catholics in the area and they frequently secretly harboured Jesuit priests despite the risk to their lives for doing so. Sir Simon Degge, her father in law by her first marriage, knew this and began proceedings in the Star Chamber to gain custody of his young grandson so that he could not be brought up in a Catholic household. Unfortunately for Constance he succeeded and she was never to have contact with him again.

John Heyliger Burt

John Heyliger Burt lived in Colton House from 1792 to 1817. Born in 1764, from his father he inherited money and power. He was left at the age of 24 many thousands of pounds in his fathers will and a 450 acre sugar plantation in St Croix, a small island in the Caribbean.

His father had been a member of the Council of Nevis, his grandfather a Chief Justice of St Kitts, his great grandfather Deputy Governor of Nevis and his uncle Governor of the Leeward Islands. His mother’s family had been Governors of St Eustatius and was connected to two USA presidential families.

John married Judith Robinson in 1796 she was the widow of Rowland Okeover, a family that could trace their family history back to 1095. She bought money and estates to the marriage.

John was a magistrate, Justice of the Peace and High Sheriff of Staffordshire in 1805. He died at sea in 1817 when returning from a visit to his estate.

Frederic Bonney

Frederic Bonney was the son of the head teacher of Rugeley grammar school. His Uncle, Charles Bonney was one of the celebrated early Australian explorers who had established overland tracks for the early pastoralists.

Frederic’s elder brother had also gone out to Australia to live and work as a manager of a 2 ½ million acre sheep station at Momba on the Darling river north of Adelaide.

Frederic decided to go and work out there with him and did so for a number of years. He had developed his hobby of photography and whilst he lived there he took some of the first pictures of Aborigines and made many anthropological notes.

His work was recognised as a contribution to our understanding of life in Australia and he was made a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. He also took many pictures of the first settlers in and around the Murray River region north of Adelaide.

In later years his photographs became highly regarded by the Australians and his photographic record formed the basis of Educational books informing young Australian children about life in that area of Australia in the 19th. century. His collection is kept in the Australian Museum in Sydney and can be viewed on the internet.

Image: Photo of Bonney with Aborigines

Photograph of Bonney with Aborigines

He eventually came back to England and settled at Colton House in Colton in 1891. He was also a keen botanist, creating a considerable arboretum around the lake that used to be part of the Colton House estate, straight opposite the house and a beautiful garden to the side of his house. Many of the trees he planted can still be seen. Many of Colton’s fetes were held in the gardens with the village children visiting for May Day festivals which he recorded with his camera along with many other events during his time in the village. 

These now form a beautiful archive set of black and white photographs that present day and future residents of Colton can view. .He was very active in village life and was the first Chairman of Colton Parish Council . He was also a Justice of the Peace serving as a Magistrate in Rugeley.

Image: photo of Frederic Bonney in latter years

He was a member of the Management Committee for Rugeley Hospital and President of the Reading and Recreation Rooms in Bow Street, Rugeley. He moved back to Rugeley in 1902 where he spent the last few years of his life.

The Reverend Frederick Perrot Parker

Frederick Parker was rector of Colton for many years. He was born in Oxford in 1843. His father was a doctor in Oxford. He became a Master of Arts and a classical scholar. He became Rector of Colton in 1874 and lived in the rectory next to the church.

Image: photo of the Rectory, Colton

The Rectory in Colton

He was a very generous man and did a lot to help the parishioners of Colton. One of the kindly acts he performed was to provide a hot meal to any newly delivered Colton mother for a fortnight after she had given birth. The villagers held him in very high regard.

He was very interested in local history and is acknowledged as one of the Staffordshire antiquarians who helped establish the collection of historic documents at The William Salt library in Stafford and became one of the trustees of the collection. Whilst working on many of these documents he came across much that concerned Colton and he began to collect this information together to develop a history of the village of Colton.

He published much of what he had found as a book entitled ‘Colton and the DeWasteneys’ in 1879 and followed it with a second addition containing more of his researches. He was able to transcribe many old documents so that his two books supply present day researchers with a fund of knowledge and has provided a basis for much of our research for this web site.

He died on 21st. July 1921 still as Rector of Colton.

The Bagot Family

Image: The Baggot Family Crest

The Bagots of Blithfield are one of the oldest established families in Staffordshire. ‘Bagod’ is recorded in the Domesday book as having land holdings near Uttoxeter. In the 12th. century they established their land holding in Abbots Bromley and added Blithfield to it by marriage in the 14th. Century. They were a very distinguished family and many Bagots held positions in the courts of successive monarchs. In 1780 the then Sir William Bagot accepted a peerage and became Baron Bagot of Bagot’s Bromley. 

In 1322 Robert DeWasteney sold the smaller manor in Colton called Little Hay to Richard de Blithfield. When Elizabeth de Blithfield married Sir Ralph Bagot. Little Hay Manor in Colton became part of the landholdings of the Bagot family and remained so until the mid 20th. Century . Through the centuries one or other of the younger sons of the Bagots would live here such as Anthony Bagot in the 17th. Century but mainly it was tennanted.

Image: Little Hay

The Manor court for Colton was held at Little Hay presided over by the Bagots and the family have taken an active part in the affairs of Colton through the centuries.

Ref. A History of Staffordshire Greenslade and Stuart Phillimore. 1998

Colton and the DeWasteneys Rev. F.P.Parker Private Publ. 1879