THE BOTHAMS OF WHITLE
1575, or before, to c. 1579
Richard Botham and his family lived in Whitle, for a short space of time, in the 1570s. Despite the limited information on him, what we have found gives a picture of a man who was struggling in the last years of his life.
The first mention of Bothams living in Sheen comes from the manor court records when on 12 April 1575 Richard Botham is fined 2d. On October 5th 1576 he is fined another 2d for trespassing on the commons.(1)
Eighteen months later Richard is ‘sick in body’ and knows he is likely to die. Despite having very little he makes his will on the 17th May 1578 giving a snapshot into his circumstances. We do not know where in Whitle he was living but he had a cottage there with a garden ‘stidd’ and a barn. Two of his neighbours, Hugh Manifold and William Mottram, had each sublet him a dole (a strip) of land. This is likely to have been in a communal field.
Richard only had a few animals and most of these are diseased or old. The records mention infected and barren sheep, old cattle, one of which is bald, and an old mare. Though he mentions an old hay rick and corn springing up from a day’s work with a plough, there is no mention of any agricultural implements in his inventory. Nor does he have any oxen to pull a plough.
Richard leaves the house and garden to his daughter Katherine and the barn to his son Thomas. Despite having three other children, as well as Katherine and Thomas, there is no record, so far, of any Bothams continuing to live in Whitle.
1. The National Archives DL 30/51/631