A tribute to the life and work of Brian Torode

R L Boulton & Sons

The following notes are the result of joint research by Brian Torode and Richard Barton…

Believed to be founded in 1839 because Patrick Conoley recalls date of the Centenary Dinner as 1939. H.H. Martyn dated the move to Cheltenham as 1866/1867.

According to Great Grand daughter in an article ‘Well Known Victorian Carver & Mason, or Sculptor – Richard Lockwood Boulton’ (Yahoo Questions/Answers):

‘…had one brother at least called William Boulton who married a Charlotte whom he predeceased. She came from Darwin, Nr Blackburn, Lancs. and later married a Mr. Eastwood.

R.L.B. had five children with his first wife, Martha Dutson, and five children with his second wife, Fanny Cowley. Lived between 1832-1905. He was born in Thornton Dale, nr. Pickering in the East Riding of Yorkshire. Died in Bournemouth and is buried in Charlton Kings, Cheltenham…’

From ‘Lives Revisited’ by Charlton Kings Local History Society 2005:-

Richard Lockwood Boulton

Richard Lockwood Boulton was born in 1833 in Thornton Dale, a village just west of Pickering, Yorkshire. He trained as a monumental mason and sculptor and moved down to Birmingham in about 1855, where he met and married Martha Mary Dutson, born in Herefordshire in 1834. Their first child Lockwood Dutson, was born there in 1857. An excellent craftsman and master of his trade, in 1861 he moved to Worcester, where he was appointed to carry out restoration work on the Cathedral. Two more children were born in Worcester: Gilbert Dutson (1866) and Martha Miriam Dean Dutson in 1867. Richard stayed in Worcester until 1866, when he moved his family to Cheltenham, where he felt the large number of churches under construction would offer him more work. In 1871 he was established with a workshop in London Road, Charlton Kings. In August 1873 his wife Martha died at the age of 44 and was buried at St Mary’s. By 1876 Richard had married for a second time, to Fanny, and three further children were born, all in Cheltenham: Frank C. (1877), Bertha (1879) and Evelyn M. (1880). As business grew, he established showrooms at Glack Villa, otherwise 25, Promenade Villas, and in 1881the family was living over the shop. He was then employing 21 men. However, Gilbert Dutson, then 15, was a boarder at Devon County School, Buckland and his sister Martha Miriam, then 14, was boarding at a private Ladies’ School at 8, Spa Road, South Hamlet, Gloucester. Lockwood was then 24 and appears not to have been in the country at this time. Richard Boulton died in 1906, aged 72 and joined his first wife in Charlton Kings. There followed in adjoining graves Gilbert Dutson (1936) and his wife Ethel Elizabeth (1927), Lockwood Dutson (1927) and his wife Mary Ann Elizabeth (1916) and Richard William (1935), another son by the second marriage, and his daughter Phyllis (1942), the wife of Arthur Nathaniel Price of Marle Hill Court, who died in 1959 and is buried with her. There is a plaque to Phyllis Price inside the church. In 1920 Richard William Boulton presented the lychgate at the west end of the church, as a thank-offering for peace and in memory of his father and nephew. It is a work of art in oak and stone, carved with vine tracery and bearing the words:-

“Lord God of Hosts who made the conflict cease

Grant us that we be worthy of Thy peace”…

The rest of the article is from John Whittaker’s ‘The Best’…

From ‘Cheltenham in Pictures’ by Bryan Little, 1967, David & Charles.

pages 92-94:-

‘The firm of Boulton, well known for sculpture in churches and elsewhere, was started in London about 1838, with branches in Birmingham and Worcester. Some twenty years later Richard L. Boulton combined all its forces at Cheltenham; the town’s equidistance from England’s main commercial centres helped in his decision. Boulton’s became the country’s leading ecclesiastical sculptors with an astonishing output of statues, altar-pieces, pulpits and other church furnishings. They have rendered the designs of many prominent architects. Despite today’s simpler tastes, they retain a considerable business.

Captions: ‘Boulton’s – Cheltenham College has some important sculpture executed by Boulton’s. The great reredos in the chapel was among their largest commissions, while smaller carvings in the cloisters commemorate our present Queen’s visit in 1951.’ ‘One of Boulton’s craftsmen at work on the new statue of Hippocrates lately set up in the Pittville Pump Room; that of Aesculapius is one the right (see page 52).’

(replacing those made by Gahagan of Bath)

Peter F. Anson, Fashions in Church Furnishings 1840-1940, 1960, Faith Press,

page 352:

‘Wood and stone carvings for churches have been provided by such firms as Boulton and Sons (Cheltenham), Earley & Co (Dublin)…’

Denis Evinson, Catholic Churches of London, 1998, Sheffield Academic Press, P. 27:

‘Rising firms supplied sculpted furnishings – Thomas Earp…; R.L. Boulton at Haverstock Hill, Kilburn, Soho Square, Hammersmith and Tower Hill; …’

Roderick O’Donnell, ‘The Later Pugins’, in ‘Pugin – A Gothic Passion’, V & A 1994,

Page 262:

Edward Welby Pugin (1834-1875) – ‘For architectural carving, after employing a number of different hands such as Lane and Lewis of Birmingham, and Farmer and Earp of London, her finally came to prefer R.L. Boulton of Cheltenham.’ (footnote ‘For Boulton see the Tablet, 1863, pp. 746-7 and the Builder 1863, p.902’)

The Diaries of Gilbert Blount, architect:

Our Lady, Clapham – ‘Wardell’s Clapham church altar are from Boltons’ workshops Lambeth’ from front of 1851.

Denis Evinson, Catholic Churches of London, 1998, Sheffield Academic Press, pages 172-173:

Our Immaculate Lady of Victories, Clapham Park Road – ‘Designs were obtained from William Wardell for a Decorated Gothic church and building began. The foundation stone was laid on 2 August 1849 and the church was opened by Wiseman, now a cardinal, on 14 May 1851…

The sanctuary retains its furnishings designed by Wardell. The altar is of stone, the seven panels of its frontal with angels and scenes of Our Lord’s Passion. The reredos consists of three niches containing the throne in the centre with figures of Jesus and Mary to left and right. Above the niches are gables and pinnacles, all extravagantly crocketed. Between them are angels in smaller niches, holding quatrefoils with the Instruments of the Passion.’

Christopher Martin, A Glimpse of Heaven, English Heritage 2006, Page 82:

Our Lady Star of the Sea, Greenwich (1846-1851; W.W. Wardell). ‘Wardell designed the High Altar, possibly with Pugin and George Myers lending a hand. It was made by Boulton and Swailes and was exhibited at the 1851 Great Exhibition…’

Christopher Martin, A Glimpse of Heaven, English Heritage 2006, Page 108:

All Saints’, Barton-upon-Irwell, Manchester (1865-8) ‘Pugin’s sanctuary has one of the most dramatic reredoses in the county. It is a fantastic tableau of angels seemingly airborne above the tabernacle, bearing aloft a jewelled and golden crown. The artist who carved it and the no less exuberant altar, as well as the altar in the chantry, may have been either J R Boulton of Cheltenham or E E Geflowski of Liverpool…’

Roderick O’Donnell, ‘The Later Pugins’, in ‘Pugin – A Gothic Passion’, V & A 1994,

Page 266:

All Saints’, Barton-upon-Irwell, Manchester (1865-8) is Pugin’s most lavish church… The roof is another of Pugin’s ‘double-backed principal’ types, with much iron-tieing in evidence… springing from wall posts supported on harp-playing angels, which can be attributed to Pugin’s favourite sculptor Richard L. Boulton.

The high altar is a fine example of Pugin’s design, executed by Boulton. The tripartite bas-relief of the Annunciation and the reredos with four scenes from the life of Christ flank the Hardman tabernacle surmounted by stone angels carrying a Hardman brass corona…

Finally the de Trafford chantry… The altar has a lifesize Deposition of Christ and a possibly later reredos, both attributable to Boulton.’

Page 269:

Peter Paul Pugin (1851-1904) – ‘He took as much delight as his father and brother in designing altars and other fixed architectural furniture, and pleaded with the Glasgow Archdiocese Finance Board for higher percentages for this intricate work. He had his favourite sculptors: R.L. Boulton, later Wall of Cheltenham, and Hardman for stained glass and metalwork. He was reprimanded by the Finance Board for including the names of these practitioners in his tender specifications. Painted wooden statues, altars by Boulton and stencilling by Alphege Pippet are also associated with Peter Paul’s interiors, for instance the high altar at St Peter Patrick’s, Glasgow (1903) and the destroyed high altar at Motherwell Cathedral.’

From The Buildings of England – Gloucestershire and the Forest of Dean by David Verey and Alan Brooks, 2002, Yale,(Pevsner, Verey & Brooks, The Forest &…) pages 108-9:

Two church carving firms of national repute were based in Cheltenham. R.L. Boulton & Sons, founded by Richard Lockwood Boulton c. 1832-1905) who moved from Worcester c.1860, produced a huge number of screens, pulpits and altarpieces as well as much carving in stone (for example, the large angels especially popular with John Middleton). Just as prolific and adaptable were H.H. Martyn & Co., founded by Herbert Henry Martyn (1842-1937), also from Worcester. Their carved woodwork rose to an especially high quality after 1899, under the direction of Henry Dean (-1922). Much work of these two firms can be found in the expensively furnished Cheltenham churches, where perhaps even more outstanding are the wrought iron screens designed by H.A. Prothero; these were usually manufactured by another local firm, that founded by William Letheren (1836-1910).

From Roger H. Harper, Victorian Architectural Competitions, 1983, Mansell Publishing, page 55:

Bishop Hooper’s Memorial 1862

  1. Thornhill (Dublin)

  2. Boulton (Worcester)

B XX 571

Julian Orbach, Blue Guide, Victorian Architecture in Britain, 1987, A. & C. Black, page 337:

Northampton Town Hall – ‘(1861-64; E.W. Godwin), one of the outstanding High Victorian public buildings, the influence of Ruskin pre-eminent in the Continental Gothic (French and Italian) forms, the structural polychromy, the full scheme of sculptural decoration (by T. Nicholls the reliefs, the statues and fine naturalistic capitals by R. Boulton) and in the overall resemblance to the Oxford Museum (via Scott’s rejected Foreign Office design).’

Michael W. Brooks, ‘John Ruskin and Victorian Architecture’, 1989, Thames and Hudson, Page 206, illustrations Figs 81,82:

Northampton Town Hall – ‘Godwin faced a practical problem in carrying out an ambitious sculptural program – he had to find a carver prepared to go beyond stock designs and naturalistic foliage. The town fathers, not surprisingly, had their own candidate for such profitable employment, but Godwin fought for his own man, who had read and been inspired by ‘The Stones of Venice’. This was presumably R. Boulton of Worcester, though some of the sculpture was done by a Mr. Nichols and the capitals and smaller pieces were executed by Mr. Edwin White (fig 82). There was a great deal of work to be done: there are full-length statues and deeply carved capitals; there are tympana and heraldic shields carved in low relief; there are moldings and traceries; there is a cornice and pierced parapet; there is even a mason’s mark on the base to remind the passerby that the building is rooted in medieval traditions of craftsmanship…’

‘Fig 82. Carving from the Northampton Town Hall. R. Boulton. Building News 1865.’

Roderick O’Donnell, ‘The Pugins and the Catholic Midlands:

St Marie, Rugby – ‘E.W. Pugin’s church (1863-4), also of stone, but handled quite differently from his father’s, was added in two phases, with sculpture by his favoured sculptor, R.L. Boulton of Cheltenham… The magnificent high altar is by Donnelly, a Coventry architect, also carved by R.L. Boulton…’

Peter Howell and Ian Sutton, The Faber Guide to Victorian Churches, Victorian Society 1989:

Belmont Abbey – Reredos 1865 by R.L. Boulton

Roderick O’Donnell, ‘The Pugins and the Catholic Midlands:

Belmont Abbey – Designed by E.W. Pugin ‘(The carved angels playing musical instruments on the choir capitals were probably carved by the Cheltenham sculptor R.L. Boulton.)’

‘Unlike E.W. Pugin’s ‘benediction altars’, it did not have an elaborate ‘throne’ or spire, but instead a sort of removable superstructure – a crown-like termination, worked in metal, and now displayed on the Lady Altar. Carved by R.L. Boulton, the altar was made up in two parts, the first in 1865 and the reredos in 1866. The latter is a magnificent example of Boulton’s skill, with choirs of demi-figure angels holding musical instruments in swooning states of adoration centred over the position of the tabernacle, above which two angels hold a projecting stone crown. (Tablet 1866) ‘Rationalized’ in the 1950s…’

Christopher Martin, A Glimpse of Heaven, English Heritage 2006, Page 155:

Belmont Abbey – (1866), ‘Below is an extraordinarily dense and lively reredos by

R L Boulton of Cheltenham (1866) with carved whote angels in attitudes of swooning adoration; their wings and musical instruments are painted gold’ as is the crown they hold out reverently above the tabernacle. The original altar, more or less contemporary with the reredos, was destroyed in the 1970s re-ordering.’

James Stevens Curl, Piety Proclaimed, 2002, colour illustration VI and dust jacket:

St Leonard, Newland, Worcestershire – ‘Chancel of the church of St Leonard, Newland, Worcestershire (consecrated 1864), designed by P.C. Hardwick. The scheme for the wall-paintings, realised from 1864 over two decades, was devised by James Skinner, the first incumbent, and carried out by Clayton & Bell. The east window was by John Hardman, and the reredos was carved by Boulton of Cheltenham.’

Peter Howell, ‘The Eyre Mortuary Chapel Bath’, Mausolea & Monuments Trust Newsletter No II March 2005:

Eyre Mortuary Chapel, Bath – ‘The cemetery is dominated by the striking Gothic chapel built as the burial place of the Eyre family in 1859, and consecrated by Bishop Clifford of Clifton in 1863… The altar is of alabaster; in the centre of the its gradine is a panel painted with similar crosses. Beneath the altar four open arches, with colonettes of Irish serpentine, reveal a stone figure of the dead Christ, carved by Boulton of Cheltenham. Behind is a panel pf black and white marble…’

Hello and Goodbye to H.H. Martyn (1862-1874):

From ‘The Best’ by John Whittaker, Antony Rowe Ltd 1998, pages 12-15:

‘I (H.H. Martyn) was much troubled at the prospect before me, being nigh penniless and conscious of the fact that my knowledge of the craft was nearly negligible, but summing up courage I paid a visit to another master (R.L. Boulton), who had recently been appointed to restoration work at the Cathedral (Worcester), and to carry out this and his other commissions had built a temporary structure or studio at the back of his residence.

Of course this man was one who knew his business and had a considerable reputation all over the country amongst leading architects. Having listened to my application for work, and making no objection to the wage I asked, which was thirty shillings a week, he at once engaged me, but the sense of my ignorance was forced on me as I saw the work done in that studio, dulling the happiness which I felt at this prosperous opening.

The work I was put to do was simple and within my experience, and gave satisfaction, especially to me. For my first job he asked me to take piece work, and very readily accepted the price I named; the job was wood carving of a rough kind which I did in a portion of the studio curtained off from the stone shop.

So I saw nothing of him until leaving off time when he came to look at my work; this he said would do nicely and asked if I had done a dozen paterae, so called, which would amount to less than the stipulated wage, and I can see his astonished face and hear his expletives now when I told him that I had completed forty-eight, earning nearly three times the ordinary wage.

Under these circumstances I started and, by working very hard, did fairly well, but alas! When I was put into the other shop to carve stone I soon had excess of humiliation, for I found that even the young apprentices could do better work; still I struggled on with set teeth, often tears on my cheeks, and being not altogether a dullard I rapidly improved…

I did not remain long in Worcester, and being sent to work at various places in the country my wife generally accompanied me; one such place was at Torquay where I was sent to carve at St Mary Magdalene Church, Upton, for Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, and had a very unpleasant experience.

One morning while at the studio a message was brought to me which called me to the governor, who, for it was early, was still in bed; he at once instructed meto proceed by the first train, taking my tools to this town some two hundred miles away, and while he lay in bed he made a sketch of the sort of design I was to work out, this being necessary as at that time my knowledge was small, adding certain instructions which to emphasise he wrote across the paper.

Behold me then on the scaffold inside the chancel trying my best to carry out the instructions given.

Unthinkingly, or rather ignorantly, I placed my coat and tool bag on the undraped altar table, and a few days later was startled to see a gentleman enter, who perceiving my lack of reverence of things holy, ran up the aisle and with a savage sweep cleared the table, then ascended the scaffold with, I am afraid, a swear word, demanded to know what instructions I was acting on. Feeling horribly nervous I foolishly handed him the paper containing same, across which was written, ‘use plenty of fake.’ Now ‘faking’ was a process by which labour was saved and cheap effects obtained, and I fairly trembled as I watched the effect that sentence caused the gentleman. He blurted out several well known words, then hoped he would be forgiven (as by the way did I) then seeing me as limp as I expect I should be facing a roaring lion, he became more merciful saying, ‘I cannot altogether blame you, young man, but your employer is a blank, blank, blank, and now let me warn you that if ever you work on my jobs again and I find you using ‘fake’, I shall at once have you ignominiously turned away’, though he did not use quite that language, and I believe the letter he favoured my employer with was painfully brief and pointed.

Having completed the work I returned home somewhat nervously, but the master said but little about it although a few years later, while carving at a convent for one of the ablest Gothic architects of that time, he stood smilingly by whilst I was being slated by the mad architect, and though I knew that I was blameless in the matter said softly, “Now I have paid you back for showing my instructions to Scott in Torquay.”

Other venues where H.H. Martyn probably worked for Mr Boulton include the reredos of Holy Trinity Church at Shrub Hill, Worcester, and at SS Philip and James, Hallow , Worcester, where the reredos is by Boultons. Also work on the chancel and Lady Chapel of Worcester Cathedral where in the spandrels is sculpture of foliage and animals and many religious scenes by Boultons. (All from Pevsner)

About this time (1866-67), my employer having completed his restorative work at the Cathedral in my native city, removed his studio to Cheltenham, where considerable church building was in progress; thither, I with my bag and baggage, which included my wife and one babe, settled in apartments near the new studio (presumably the premises in London Road, Charlton Kings, that he occupied in 1871)

Of the generous donor of the fine, new Gothic Church nearby, which I was then adorning…(presumably Holy Apostles’, Charlton Kings)

About this period I became a proud rate-payer, being able to leave apartments and start a home of our own, for on completing some profitable ‘piece-work’, I had considerable balance to draw. Well can I remember the joy I felt as I watched my grudging employer doling out the separate coins, grumbling as each sovereign fell into my nervous hand, with his “Tut-tut! Sixteen!” – a scratch of his head, “seventeen, tut, what a lot!” and so on until, with a deep sigh of relief, he fumbled out the last sovereign…

About two years later, (1874) being annoyed with the injustice of my employer, I suddenly determined to leave him and commence business for myself. For some time he had been in the habit of putting young apprentices to do work for an architect who often referred appreciatively to my work and if the boys’ work came in for condemnation he would openly say that it was mine; on one occasion he sent some photographs of special work designed and executed by myself to South Kensington, and on their application for the name of the craftsman who had executed it, replied by sending, with mine, several other names of youths who had not even seen the work. These things did not cause me much annoyance, but more serious injustice did.

Thus I came to leave a studio where I had some years of pleasure in hard work and where, I admit, I had learned a great deal, to start afresh with about as much capital as I had married on…

When my late employer, who had been away, heard of the step I had taken, he came to me and finding me firm in my intention, gave me this advice: “Don’t you go seeking orders – let them come to you,” and I assured him that I fully intended to secure all the commissions I could.

The day I retired from Boulton’s employment I met one of the ordinary workmen, a clever stonemason, (E.A. Emms) who, hearing of my intention, at once offered to join me in the venture, and I accepted his offer…’

Kelly’s Directory 1930:

E.A. Emms, Hales Road, Cheltenham
For Memorials and Everything in Marble. Phone 2391. Est. 1874.

Pevsner, Verey & Brooks, The Forest &…, P. 309:

St Peter, Clearwell – ‘A lavish estate church rebuilt on a new site in 1863-4 by John Middleton…; the decoration was completed in 1866. Much rich carving by Boulton, especially the foliage capitals and big angel corbels, tripled on the chancel arch, above it, two roundels with Alpha and Omega signs, flanking a vesica with a foliated cross with passion flower terminations… Carved and gilded reredos, executed by John Roddis of Birmingham.’

Pevsner, Verey & Brooks, The Forest &…, P. 231:

All Saints’ Pittville – ‘The magnum opus of John Middleton, designed 1865, mostly built 1866-68…Sumptious interior, lined in Bath stone with bands of blue Forest stone, everything rich and proficiently designed. The five-bay nave arcades with alternate blue and white voussoirs are supported on polished red granite columns with boldly carved stone capitals. In the spandrels above statues of the Apostles under canopies, and, between the clerestorey windows, medallions of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. All the carving is by Boulton…

Equally lavish stone and marble pulpit, carved by Boulton in 1872, the fine sounding board added by Prothero.’

Pevsner, Verey & Brooks, The Forest &…, P. 217:

Holy Apostles, Charlton Kings – ‘By John Middleton, designed 1865, mostly built 1866-9, though the lavish internal decoration was not completed until 1871… and a Caen stone and marble reredos. The carving is mostly by Boulton.’

Peter Howell and Ian Sutton, The Faber Guide to Victorian Churches, Victorian Society 1989:

St Philip and St James, Hallow, Worcs. – ‘This surprisingly grand church by W.J. Hopkins dates from 1867-9… The well-raised chancel has an effective reredos – an almost life-size Crucifixion scene (by R. Boulton of Cheltenham)…

Pevsner, Verey & Brooks, The Forest &…, P. 165:

Holy Trinity, Badgeworth – ‘The church was restored in 1868-9 by John Middleton…

Middleton’s chancel follows the C14 Dec style, but in an exaggerated and self-assured Victorian way; large angel corbels no doubt carved by Boulton.’

Pevsner, Verey & Brooks, The Forest &…, P. 628:

St Anne, Oxenhall – ‘Rebuilt by John Middleton, 1867-8…The chancel arch, banded blue and white and decorated with fleurons, has polished granite shafts with deeply carved floriated capitals resting on corbels with large groups of angels, carved by Boulton.’

Pevsner, Verey & Brooks, The Forest &…, P. 781:

St Mary Magdalene, Twyning – ‘Mostly rebuilt 1867-70 by John Middleton… Ornate rectangular stone and marble pulpit typical of Middleton, probably executed by Boulton, with a large inset carving of the Sermon on the Mount.’

Brian Whatmore, Eglwys y Plwyf Llangynllo Parish Church, 1998, Copy Shop Ltd,

St Cynllo, Llangynllo – Built between 1868-1870 – ‘The whole of the exquisite and delicate carving for which the church has become so highly recognised was entrusted to Messrs R.L. Boulton & Sons, Sculptors and Carvers of Cheltenham.’

The Buildings of Wales, Lloyd, Orbach and Scourfield, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion, Yale, P.526:

St Cynllo, Llangynllo – Built 1867-1870, by John Middleton for the Lloyds of Bronwydd and the Tylers of Mount Gernos – ‘The interior has something of the feeling of Middleton’s much better funded English works (All Saints, 1868, and St Stephen, 1873, in Cheltenham, displaying the full punch of his excessive sculptural detail (by Boulton of Cheltenham), set against polychrome walls.’

Pevsner, Verey & Brooks, Cotswolds, P.287

St Giles, Coberley – Rock-faced nave and chancel by John Middleton of Cheltenham 1868-71. The s. chapel … ‘Inside, the chapel is divided from the chancel and nave by arcades of one and two bays in Middleton’s best Late E.E. style, with realistically carved capitals of ferns, acorns etc., as well as much figure carving, all no doubt by Boulton.’

Pevsner, Verey & Brooks, Cotswolds, P.257:

Cirencester Cemetery, Chesterton Lane – 1869-71 by Medland & Son. Boundary wall, lodge and two Dec. chapels, both with spiky spirelets. Of local stone, with Bath stone dressings. Good carving by Boulton.

Roderick O’Donnell, ‘The Pugins and the Catholic Midlands:

Stanbrook Abbey – ‘E.W. Pugin, who was frequently employed by the Benedictine Order, built their red brick church (1869-71) and then the cloisters to connect with the earlier buildings… The interior structure is stone faced, with fine carving by R.L. Boulton: E.W. Pugin called his angels ‘perfection’ (Stanbrook Abbey Archives, E.W. Pugin to Shepherd. 16 May 1870; Building News, X (1868), p. 674; Builder (1871), p. 733; 1878), pp. 350-2), now unfortunately all painted over. E.W. Pugin’s altar and reredos were installed in 1878, once again carved by Boulton. (Irish Builder, 13 (1871), p. 243)’

Peter Howell, Chairman of Stanbrook Abbey Trust adds:

‘Did you know that Boulton was a donor of the Via Crucis?’
‘Pro Dono Dederunt… IV Ricardus Boulton…’

Pevsner, Verey & Brooks, Cotswolds, P.323:

St Michael, Dowdeswell – Monuments – ‘and Richard Massy Gordon Died 1869, Boulton, an unhappy little broken column in a Gothic setting; …’

Pevsner, Verey & Brooks, Cotswolds, P.746:

Franciscan Convent, Woodchester – ‘Hansom’s church, opened in 1869, comprises a spacious sanctuary, nuns’ choir, and ante-chapel; beneath are a library and several small rooms. Wooden vaulted roof; large Dec window. Reredos carved by Boulton.

Pevsner, Verey & Brooks, The Forest &…, P. 345:

St Mary, Dymock – ‘The church was restored and reseated in 1869-71 by Middleton & Goodman… Expensive stone font, probably by Middleton, carved by Boulton.’

Cheltenham Mercury 14.9.1872:

Winchester Guildhall/Whitley Court/St John’s Worcester/Temple Church, Bristol

Mr Boulton is engaged on extensive sculpture in new Guildhall at Winchester. At his Chelt. Studio may be seen new reredos for chapel at Whitley Court; new pulpit for Temple Church, Bristol; a remarkable monument for churchyard at Worcester St John’s – it contains enamel on porcelain painting of deceased.

Pevsner, Verey & Brooks, The Forest &…, P. 461:

Whitefield Presbyterian Church, Park Road, Gloucester – ‘1870-2 by Medland & Son. The show front faces The Park … the stone-gabled double doorway. This contains a tympanum of George Whitfield preaching to a large crowd, deeply carved by R.L. Boulton, other carving mostly by H.C. Frith…’

Pevsner, Verey & Brooks, The Forest &…, P. 821:

St Martin, Woolstone – ‘severely restored by Middleton & Goodman, 1871-3… Wooden pulpit and all other furnishings by Middleton, carved by R.L. Boulton.’

Pevsner, Verey & Brooks, The Forest &…, P. 232:

All Saints’ Pittville – Equally lavish stone and marble pulpit, carved by Boulton in 1872, the fine sounding board added by Prothero.’


St Mary, Yorkshire Street, BurnleyOpened 1849, Probably 1872c – Towneley Chapel – Mahogany carved altarpiece, double gilt, by Boultons of Cheltenham. Total cost £2,500.

C.M. 15.3.1873:

St Mary’s, Cheltenham – During past week massive tablet erect in (Cheltenham) Parish Church, lower part of S.E. Chancel Window. White marble slab, exquisitely executed by Mr R. Boulton, sculptor of Chelt., from designs of Mr Darby, architect.

C.M. 23.8.1873:

16 August at 16 Cambray Lodge, aged 44, Martha Mary Dutson, beloved wife of Mr. Richard Boulton, Sculptor

The Buildings of Wales, Lloyd, Orbach and Scourfield, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion, Yale, P393:

Aberaeron, Holy Trinity Church – (Middleton & Goodman 1871-2) Font and Pulpit. Heavily shafted stone and marble, 1873, carved by R. Boulton.

Pevsner, Verey & Brooks, Cotswold, P.746:

Woodchester Priory – ‘The largely unaltered s chapel of the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste contains a recumbent alabaster effigy of William Leigh died 1873, by Richard Boulton of Cheltenham. He is shown vested in the robe of a Knight of St Gregory, holding in his hands a model of his church.’

Basil F.L. Clarke, Parish Churches of London, 1966, B.T. Batsford Ltd, London,

P. 110:

St Luke, Redcliffe Square, London – ‘The architect was George Godwin in 1872-3,…

Most of the interior carving was done by Boulton and Sons of Cheltenham in 1874. The arcades have statues of saints, and there are Protestant divines in the spandrels (1889)…’

The Buildings of Wales, Lloyd, Orbach and Scourfield, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion, Yale, P.405:

Our Lady and St Winefride Catholic Church, Aberystwyth – (George Jones & Son 1874-5) – ‘Contemporary fittings include a carved stone reredos by R. Boulton of Cheltenham, stone pulpit and drum font.’

The Buildings of Wales, Lloyd, Orbach and Scourfield, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion, Yale, P.509:

St Tysul, Llandysul – ‘Fittings. By Middleton of 1874, the elaborate stone pulpit, carved by R. Boulton’

C.M. 30.10.1875:

Married at All Saints, Richard Lockwood Boulton Sculptor to Fanny Cowley, eldest surviving daughter of George Woodward.

Pevsner, Verey & Brooks, The Forest &…, P. 793:

St Peter, Wapley – ‘Monuments… Rev. Horatio James died 1876, by Boulton; Gothic, of white marble.’

C.M. 16.12.1876:

Redcliffe Square, South Kensington – A handsome pulpit of marble and alabaster has been lately made by Mr. R.L. Boulton, sculptor, at his new works Wellington Street, for Rev. Hancock, formerly of St Luke’s, for his new church, Redcliffe Sq., S. Kensington. Also other work for this church (details)

The Builder January 27th 1877:

All Saints’Church, Cheltenham. The reredos of this church has lately been completed from the designs of Mr. J. Middleton, architect, of Cheltenham, and the work has been executed by Mr. Boulton, carver of the same place. The reredos runs round the east end of the chancel, and is divided into five compartments, each compartment consisting of three arches. The divisions are marked by angels, 2ft 6in. high, standing under canopies, above which rise marble pillars which are carried up to support the groining of the chancel. Of these angels some are holding symbols of the “passion” while others have their hands joined in an attitude of prayer. Smaller angels playing on musical instruments occupy the spandrels. The plinth and pillars are of English, Irish and Italian marble, the larger angels of Caen stone, and the rest of the work is alabaster. The three centre compartments, forming the reredos proper, contain representations in relief of our “Lord bearing His Cross,” the “Crucifixion,” and the “Entombment,” the other arches being filled in with incised work of black cement on an alabaster ground.

The pulpit is constructed of materials similar to those used in the reredos. The figures at the angles represent Noah, Joseph, Elijah, St John Baptist, St Chrysostom, and St Augustine, the heads in the medallions being those of Our Lord and the evangelists.

The dimensions of the chancel are 45ft. by 25ft.: those of the nave and aisles being 93ft. by 56ft. 2in., internal measurement.’

All Saints:
Cost was £900.
1886 Head of B.V.M. on South Porch donated by Mr Wall
Before 1892 Tympanum by A.B. Wall
1892 Picture – Head of Peter, 1892, presented by H.H. Martyn.
1898 Carved work in Lady Chapel by Messrs. Martyn
Lectern and stained glass in Church were by Hardmans.

Some Account of St Gregory’s Catholic Church, Cheltenham, and of its Sculptures and Decorations, 1877, Williams and Sons, High Street, Cheltenham:

St Gregory’s Church, Cheltenham – ‘The work of completing the Church, in 1876, being intrusted to Mr. Boulton, also of Cheltenham…’

‘The West Entrance…This beautiful piece of sculpture was executed by Mr. Boulton, under the direction of the Architect, as were also the Stations of the Cross etc., hereinafter described.’

‘The Pulpit. Here is an admirable piece of workmanship, showing in the centreour Lord preaching on the Mount; on the left St Gregory; and on the right St Benedict. This piece of sculpture was executed by Mr. Boulton with his own hand.’

Presumably also the Organ screen

Accounts for the completion of St Gregory’s Cheltenham:

  • September 30th 1878 Richard Boulton £51.10.0d
  • September 17th 1878 Richard Boulton £51
  • June 26th 1878 Richard Boulton £51
  • January 12th 1878 Richard Boulton £150
  • January 9th 1878 Richard Boulton £50
  • November 23rd 1877 Richard Boulton £50
  • August 30th 1877 Richard Boulton £83.7.10d
  • April 18th 1877 Richard Boulton £100
  • March 9th 1877 Richard Boulton £100
  • January 10th 1877 Richard Boulton £200
  • October 7th 1876 Richard L. Boulton £2.10.0d
  • September 27th 1876 Richard Lockwood Boulton £200
  • September 1st 1876 Richard Lockwood Boulton £200
  • August 2nd 1876 Richard Lockwood Boulton £100
  • July 5th 1876 Richard Lockwood Boulton £100
  • June 2nd 1876 Richard Lockwood Boulton £100
  • May 6th 1876 Mr Boulton £100
  • April 17th 1879 Martyn & Emms Angels £7.17.6d (Nave?)
  • June 27th 1879 Martyn & Emms Angels £7.17.6d
  • July 9th 1880 Wall – Sculptor £120 (St Benedict’s Chapel)

Pevsner, Verey & Brooks, The Forest &…, P.238:

St Gregory, (R.C.), Cheltenham – ‘Plenteous carving, the early work, e.g. the reredos, by Thomas Farmer, the later (Pulpit, Stations of the Cross, etc.) by Boulton, who executed the external (ritually) w tympanum as late as 1876.’

Norman May’s Guide to Cheltenham, P. 39:

St Matthew, Cheltenham – 1877-1879, ‘In the tympanum of the north porch is a fine sculpture in bas-relief of St Matthew sitting at the receipt of custom, executed by Mr. Boulton.’

Pevsner, Verey & Brooks, Cotswold, P.728:

St Peter, Winchcombe – ‘Stone reredos of 1881 by Wyatt, with carved figures by Boulton.’

Denis Evinson, Catholic Churches of London, 1998, Sheffield Academic Press,

P. 154:

Our Lady of Dolours, Fulham Road, London – ‘J.A. Hansom having died in 1882, his son J.S. Hansom designed the pulpit of 1883, and the magnificent reredos of Caen stone constructed by George Porter of Chelsea, with statues by Boulton of Cheltenham, and the tabernacle by Hardman. Sadly these were taken down when the chancel was reordered in 1976.’

Julian Orbach, Blue Guide, Victorian Architecture in Britain, 1987, A. & C. Black, page 439:

Wolverhampton Museum & Art Gallery – ‘(1883, J.A. Chatwin), ornate Italianate with columned frontispiece to the front and side. Bath stone with red granite shafts to the street front centre. Blank upper floors and long carved reliefs (R. Boulton) of the arts and sciences.’

Christopher Martin, A Glimpse of Heaven, English Heritage 2006, Page 135:

St David’s Cathedral, Cardiff – (J J Scoles 1884-7), ‘Photographs suggest the original High Altar (by Messrs Boulton of Cheltenham) was well worth looking at. It was elaborate in marble and gold, its reredos rising up in three crocketed peaks with mysterious dark niches and attendant angels.’

Christopher Martin, A Glimpse of Heaven, English Heritage 2006, Page 93:

Sodality Chapel, St Francis Xavier, Liverpool – (1885-7; Edmund Kirby), ‘In the sanctuary is the altar of the Annunciation with carvings by J R Boulton of Cheltenham of Mary and Jesus with seventeen Jesuit saints…’

Basil F.L. Clarke, Parish Churches of London, 1966, B.T. Batsford Ltd, London,


St Cuthbert’s, Philbeach Gardens, London – ‘and the foundation stone of the permanent church – a stone specially brought from Holy Island – was laid on 7 July 1884. The consecration was on 11 November 1887… St Cuthbert’s … has been furnished with quite exceptional lavishness. The walls are covered with diaper work by the Guild of St Peter, under Mrs. Dalton. Statues in the clerestory are by Boulton of Cheltenham…’

Pevsner, Verey & Brooks, The Forest &…, P. 250:

Cheltenham College Chapel – ‘In the narthex several tablets from the former chapel, with portrait profiles in roundels, mostly by Boulton, mid-1880s.’

Gloucestershire Notes and Queries 1887, No 1326, page 396:

‘Lieutenant Colonel John D.H. Stewart C.M.G. a marble tablet designed by Mr. R. L. Boulton of Cheltenham has lately been erected in the chapel of Cheltenham College. It bears a profile likeness of the deceased with this inscription… An engraving of the tablet has appeared in the Graphic Newspaper April 3 1886’

Edward Conybeare, ‘Our Lady and the English Martyrs, Cambridge’, John S. Burns & Co:

Our Lady and the English Martyrs, Cambridge – ‘From among the several designs submitted by different firms, Messrs Dunn and Hansom of Newcastle were chosen as architects with Messrs. Rattee and Kett of Cambridge as the builders. Work on the new church commenced in 1885. The foundation stone being laid by Dr. Riddell, Bishop of Northampton, on 30th June 1887… The completed church was consecrated on 8th October 1890…’

‘From the foundation to the plinth the church is built of Casterton stone, the plinth being of Ancaster and the remainder Coombe Down. The interior facing of the walls and the groined roofs are Bath stone of the Farleigh Down variety, the detached shafts in the nave being of Plymouth marble and those in the Ante-chapel of Newbiggin stone. The architects were Messrs. Dunn and Hansom of Newcastle and the builders Messrs Rattee and Kett of Cambridge. The carving on the exterior was by Mr Ovens of Preston, that of the interior, including the benches in the nave, by Messrs Rattee and Kett. Mr Boulton of Cheltenham was responsible for the statues at the entrances and of the interior, the Stations of the Cross, the altars, the font and the baldacchino. The sanctuary screens and the pulpit were carved by Mr Ralph Hedley of Newcastle….’

Christopher Martin, A Glimpse of Heaven, English Heritage 2006, Page 140:

Our Lady & the English Martyrs, Cambridge(Dunn and Hansom 1885-1890), ‘The stone High Altar contains relics of the martyrs, and there is a gloriously carved oak baldacchino (by Boulton of Cheltenham and painted by Westlake) above it. In the niches of the piers of the baldacchino are intense carvings of the martyrs…’

C.M. 27.11.1886:

Local sculptor Mr Ovens (a pupil of Mr Boulton of this town) has completed a bust or Dr. Berwick, late Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle. He has completed some splendid works of statuary for some of the largest and most noted Catholic places of worship in the country.

A Great Gothic Fane – The Catholic Church of St. John the Baptist, Norwich, 1913, page 217:

St John the Baptist Cathedral, Norwich – Built between 1882 and 1910. ‘Mr. James Ovens, of Norwich, sculptor and carver, is responsible for the greater part of the beautiful carving. He is well known in Catholic circles throughout England and Ireland, and the churches at Cambridge, Bungay, Stoneyhurst college, etc., contain fine specimens from his chisel…’

Anthony Rossi, Norwich Roman Catholic Cathedral – A Building History, 1998, Miscellany I, the Chapels Society, page 22-3:

‘The stonework – The stone carvings of which these shields form part are another outstanding feature of St John’s. Apart from the tympanum outside the north transept already mentioned, carved in the workshop of Robert Bridgeman and Sons of Lichfield, most of the work is said to have been done by James Ovens, who according to A Great Gothic Fane was…(see above); he apparently began as an obscure monumental mason working from a yard in Stafford Street a short distance from St John’s. The quantity of stone carving is so great and so varied that even allowing for the extended building period it is difficult to believe that it can all have been the work of one man, though there is most certainly a stylistic consistency in all the smaller details within the cathedral. When the nave opened one reported that the major part of the carving had been done by Mr. J. Ovens of Dereham Road and that ‘what remained was entrusted to Messrs Farmer and Brindley of London’. At the end of James Ovens’s life the Duke contributed to the cost of keeping him in a Sanatorium…’

From ‘The Garden Town of England, Cheltenham, Illustrated’ 1889 Advertisement:

Sunningend, High Street, Cheltenham
H.H. Martyn
Architectural Sculptor and Carver
Church Fittings in Marble, Alabaster, Stone, or Wood
Thoroughly Careful Work guaranteed with Reasonable Prices
References, Photos, or Models supplied
The Best Monumental Yard in Cheltenham
Inscriptions neatly and promptly executed
Designs and Estimates Free

Public Monument and Sculpture Association Webite – National Recording Project:

Translator’s Memorial, St Asaph – 1888-1892. Designed by Middleton & Prothero. Erected by Collins of Tewkesbury. Tercentenary memorial of the translation of the Bible into Welsh by Bishop Morgan. Work apparently by both R.L. Boulton and H.H. Martyn. Sculptures included statues of Bishop Morgan, contemporary Bishops and other advisors in the translation; all contained within ogee headed niches.

The Buildings of Wales, Lloyd, Orbach and Scourfield, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion, Yale, P.402:

St Michael’s Church, Aberystwyth – (Nicholson & Son of Hereford 1889-90) – ‘Elaborate leaf-carved capitals and other details by R. Boulton & Sons of Cheltenham, who also made the Ancaster stone Last Supper Reredos and Font’

Christopher Martin, A Glimpse of Heaven, English Heritage 2006, Page 112:

High Altar, Holy Name of Jesus, Manchester – (J.S. Hansom 1890) – ‘The High Altar is the focal point (the sight lines are excellent) and it was never moved to accommodate any re-ordering. It was designed by J s Hansom in 1890, after he had taken over the firm. It is of alabaster inlaid with green Russian malachite and its frontal is based on Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper. Behind it the Caen stone reredos rears up in a great white, stalagmite-like cliff of crocketed spikes. Within its niches are statues in alabaster of ten Jesuit saints by R J (sic) Boulton.’

Pevsner, Verey & Brooks, Cotswold, P.323:

St Michael, Dowdeswell – Monuments – ‘another by Boulton, opposite (his of 1869 to R.M. Gordon), of 1892

Pevsner, Verey & Brooks, The Forest &…, P. 726:

Tewkesbury Abbey – ‘Most of the choir furnishings are late C19. – The screen, 1892 by J.O. Scott, carved in oak by Boulton, is rather fussy.’

Pevsner, Verey & Brooks, The Forest &…, P. 260:

Neptune Fountain, Promenade, Cheltenham – ‘In front of Royscot house a fine fountain of 1892-3, designed by the Borough surveyor Joseph Hall, the sculpture of Neptune with sea-horses and tritons carved in Portland stone also by Boulton & Sons.’

Christopher Martin, A Glimpse of Heaven, English Heritage 2006, Page 131:

St Wilfrid, Preston – (Pugin & Pugin; post 1895),‘The firm of Pugin and Pugin designed the Lady Altar, which was carved by R L Boulton of Cheltenham’

St Wilfrid, Preston – ‘The Lady Altar was designed by Pugin and Pugin and carved by R.L. Boulton.’ (Faber Guide)

Denis Evinson, Catholic Churches of London, 1998, Sheffield Academic Press, P. 59:

St Patrick, Soho Square, London – ‘The foundation stone was laid on 18 June 1891, and the church was opened on 17 March 1893…The campanile in five arcaded stages houses the portico with its Corinthian columns and pilasters, its pediment decorated with the Papal arms and above it a statue of St Patrick by Boulton.’

Pevsner, Verey & Brooks, Cotswold, P.256:

St Peter’s (R.C.) Cirencester – 1895-96 by A.J.C. Scoles. Altar carved by Boulton & Sons

Extracted from the ‘Standard’, Vol.LX, No.3070, 15 February 1896 (J.K. Vose, Cirencester Post-Reformation Catholicism and St Peter’s Parish, 1995, (Glos & N. Avon Catholic History Society):

‘The altar is the work of Messrs Boulton and Sons, Sculptors of Cheltenham, and is designed in the style of 13th century architecture. The altar niches and canopies are of Caen stone, there being three niches on either side of the alabaster throne carrying the crucifix. The niches are occupied by figures, in Bath stone, of St Patrick, St Cecilia, St Martin, St James the Apostle, St Teresa, and St Dominic. The backs of the altar niches are of alabaster, and the super altar and pillars of marble.’

Columba Ryan, ‘A Guide and History of Hawkesyard Priory and Spode House’, 1962, Hawkesyard Priory:

Hawkesyard Priory – The Church – June 12th 1896 Bishop Ilsley laid foundation stone – Mr E. Goldie was the architect – Elaborate Reredos and High Altar – ‘all the altar reredos in the church are the work of Messrs. Boulton and Wall.’ (full description and photograph given)

Denis Evinson, Catholic Churches of London, 1998, Sheffield Academic Press, P.83:

Sacred Heart, Quex Road, Kilburn, London – ‘The elaborately sculpted Lady Altar to the south was executed by Boulton & Sons in 1899 to the design of the architects (the brothers Pugin). In its frontal is the Annunciation; in the reredos, panels bearing the Nativity and the Flight into Egypt flank a central niche containing a statue of Our Lady.’

From ‘The Best’ by John Whittaker, page 39:

Cheltenham College Chapel – ‘Between 1893 and 1896 Martyns also carried out a considerable number of carvings in stone for Cheltenham Gentlemen’s College Chapel… Boultons was also involved in the work and certainly produced the stone reredos which is very similar to that of Malvern College and Winchester and Truro Cathedrals. The stone carvers were probably the same as Martyns used as the men would go where the work was available…’

Pevsner, Verey & Brooks, The Forest &…, P. 250:

Cheltenham College Chapel – ‘Huge stone reredos, with many figures, modelled on Winchester Cathedral; by Prothero, carved by Boulton & Sons, 1902-3.’

Denis Evinson, Catholic Churches of London, 1998, Sheffield Academic Press, P. 77:

St Dominic, Haverstock Hill, London – ‘The altar rails (flanked by statues of the Sacred Heart and St Dominic, 1899 by Boulton)…’

Advertisement 1900 (?):


‘In Marble Alabaster, Terra-Cotta, Stone, and Wood, ALTARS by Special Machinery at Reduced Cost. Catholic Art Sculpture by Boulton & Sons, Cheltenham.

These works are of a far higher order than mere decorations of this description.” – Art Journal.

Sculpture of the Highest Order of Art
Approved by his Holiness Leo XIII,
Approved by The Queen
Exhibitors at the Royal Academy
Medals at the London Exhibition, 1851
Medals at the Paris Exhibition, 1855

Established 35 Years

Memorials of Every Description’

Pevsner, Verey & Brooks, The Forest &…, P. 357:

St Mary Magdalene, Elmstone Hardwicke – Monuments – ‘…and one by Boulton & sons to Harry Brookes died 1901, with a small Boer War scene.’

Pevsner, Verey & Brooks, Cotswolds P.289:

Coberley – ‘On the miniscule green a cross with tapering octagonal stone shaft and square sundial head, added by Boulton in 1902’

Cheltenham Chronicle and Gloucestershire Graphic, June 27, 1903:

Westminster Cathedral – Gloucestershire Gossip – ‘By the mere accident of birth the late Cardinal Vaughan was a Gloucestrian, he having been born in the Cathedral City on April 15th, 1832… I have occasionally seen the Cardinal strolling about the G.W.R. platform at Gloucester, waiting for his connection to Ross or London. And the last time I saw him was in September, 1901, when his commanding figure, arrayed in long black sdoutane and his neck encircled by scarlet stock, at once attracted general attention. I did not happen to see him when he privately visited Cheltenham a year or two ago on business in connection with sculpture for his cathedral. …’

(Which firm??? – Martyns did the canons’ stalls for Westminster Cathedral in 1904 and late some choir stalls (Gimson) – see ‘The Best’)

Obituary of R.L. Boulton – Cheltenham Examiner January 25th 1905:

R.L. died at Bournemouth on Jan. 23rd 1905. (aged c.73.)
R.L. retired in 1893, handing over his business to his four sons. He came to Cheltenham in c. 1876 after carrying out a series of important sculpture works for Sir Gilbert Scott at Worcester, Hereford and Lichfield Cathedrals. He exhibited his work at the Academy and obtained medals at the Exhibition (1851) in London and also at Paris. Four of the present (1905) sculptors’ businesses in Cheltenham were established by his apprentices. R.L. was largely responsible for giving to Cheltenham a reputation as a centre for ecclesiastical art. Amongst his most important works–

Sculpture at Winchester Cathedral
Courts of Justice at Bombay
Municipal Buildings at Birmingham
Keble College, Oxford

(in handwriting – Town Hall, Northampton)

Obituary (?) – on scrap of paper – seems garbled! Check details!

Died at Bournemouth

of Charlton Kings

in St Gregory’s Church over night. Last Rites given by Monsignor Owens
Requiem Mass at St Gregory’s

Bournemouth attended by Fr Philip Wright

came to Cheltenham in 1876

Aged 73 at death.

Cheltenham Chronicle and Gloucestershire Graphic – Saturday 28th January 1905:

‘Our Portrait Gallery – Mr. R.L. Boulton – A Cheltenham Sculptor. Died January 23rd 1905. Aged 72 years.’

Ibid 1st February:

Set of eight photographs – ‘Funeral of Mr Richard Boulton at Charlton Kings, Jan 27, 1905.’

June 1905 Messrs. Boulton & Sons donated to Fr Wilkinson’s retirement present.

Denis Evinson, Catholic Churches of London, 1998, Sheffield Academic Press, P. 75:

St Dominic, Haverstock Hill, London – Annunciation Chapel – ‘Below (the window by J.M. Pearce) is a cenotaph by Boulton, ornamented with shields bearing the buckler family arms. (Charles Alban Buckler, the architect and donor of this chapel, died in 1905)’

Francis W. Steer, ‘The Cathedral Church of Our Lady and Saint Philip, Arundel – A Monograph to celebrate its first hundred years 1873-1973’, P. 25:

Arundel Cathedral – ‘After the death of Bishop Butt in 1899, it was decided that his memorial should take the form of Stations of the Cross in St Philip’s church and these panels, carved by Messrs. R.L. Boulton & Sons of Cheltenham were given by the Duke of Norfolk and other members of the congregation…these Stations of the Cross are set up by the Congregation of St Philip’s Church, Arundel, 1906.’

Pevsner, Verey & Brooks, The Forest &…, P. 727:

Tewkesbury Abbey – South Transept – ‘W window by James Powell & Sons, 1906, a memorial to the builder Thomas Collins. – The alabaster monument below, by J.O. Scott, executed by Boulton, bears Collins’s portrait in low relief.’

Jane Birdsall with Richard K. Morris, ‘The Post-Reformation Monuments and the Churchyard’, Tewkesbury Abbey History, Art & Architecture, 2003, Logaston Press,

P. 226-7 and Figs. 8.7. & 17.12.):

‘In comparison, in the slightly later memorial to Thomas Collins, Gothic detail has been mixed with Renaissance – perhaps to signify his role in restoring the medieval fabric of the abbey – and his portrait bust stares out of the medallion with an uncanny realism (Fig. 8.7).

‘The finest of this genre of memorial is that to Thomas Collins (d.1900), who was so instrumental in implementing the restoration of the abbey and other properties in the town in the Victorian era. The inscriptions on his monument, executed in 1906 by R.L. Boulton, are worth quoting at length: ‘To perpetuate the memory of ‘a wise master builder’…’

Pevsner, Verey & Brooks, The Forest &…, P. 260:

Promenade, Cheltenham – Boer War memorial of 1907 by Ambrose Neil, executed by R.L. Boulton & Sons, who were also responsible for the heavy War Memorial obelisk of 1921.’

Talk by Rev Stephen Eldridge 14/10/06:

St Peter’s, Tewkesbury Road, Cheltenham – Relief of Michelangelo’s Last Supper in the reredos is one of three in Cheltenham carved by the firm of R.L. Boulton and Son.
Early twentieth century.

Letter Head of February 7th 1908 (St Mary’s Charlton Kings):

R.L. Boulton & Sons Ecclesiastical and Architectural Works, Cheltenham.
Sculptors, Carvers & Modellers
Special Machinery for working, moulding and polishing
Marble, Alabaster, Granite, Stone & Wood
Importers of Foreign Marbles
Telephone no 46
Telegrams Boultons
Medals London 1851, Paris 1855, London 1889
All Communications to be addressed to the Firm.

Patrons: His Majesty King Edward VII, Her late Majesty Queen Victoria, His Holiness the Pope, His Grace the Duke of Norfolk, His Grace the Duke of Westminster, His late Eminence Cardinal Vaughan, Dowager Countess of Denbigh Etc.

Works Executed for:
The late Sir Gilbert Scott R.A.
The late E.M. Barry Esq. RA
The late C.A. Buckler Esq
The late Sir R. Blomfield ARA
The late T. Garner Esq
The late Edmund Street, Esq. RA
A.Y. Nutt Esq
D. Powell Esq
Messrs. Prothero & Phillott FFRIBA
Messrs Pugin & Pugin (London and Liverpool)
A.E. Purdie Esq
J.O. Scott Esq FRIBA
Messrs Austin & Paley ARIBA
J.A. Chatwin Esq FRIBA
Messrs Douglas & Minshull
Messrs Dunn & Hansom
F.E. Dotchin Esq
G.H. Fellos Prynne Esq. FRIBA
Messrs Grayson & Ould FFRIBA

Birmingham Oratory Guide:

Birmingham Oratory – Church built between 1903 and 1909 – Baptistery – ‘the statue of Our Lady of Lourdes in tinted marble, carved by Messrs. Boulton and given in memory of Henry, 15th Duke of Norfolk…’

St Joseph’s Altar – ‘The alabaster statue, by Messrs. Boulton of Cheltenham, is taken from a picture by Guido Reni.’


St John the Baptist, Ivy Street, Burnley – Opened 1908-9 New Font etc. by R.L. Boulton

From a Catalogue (1909/1910c):

FOREWORD “Ars longa, vita brevis”

‘Some seventy years have elapsed since the business of R.L. Boulton & Sons was inaugurated by the brothers of Mr. Richard L. Boulton, under the title, Boulton & Swales, at the original address in Westminster Bridge Road, London, with branches at Birmingham and Worcester, and twenty years’ pronounced success ensued. But on the untimely demise of the two elder brothers, Mr. Richard L. Boulton, fifty years ago, conceived the happy idea to amalgamate under one roof the various departments spread over the kingdom, and so unto one premises the business was installed at Cheltenham, where to this day it is carried on, and is still expanding under the guidance of his four sons.

Mr. Richard L. Boulton, and exhibitor at the Academy, was awarded medals for his sculpture both at Paris and London. He was closely associated with such eminent authorities on Ecclesiastical and Architectural work as Messrs. Scott, Pugin, Street, and Sodley, and it is a significant fact that the firm has now work in hand for three of those four mentioned celebrities in the Art world. His four sons have also gained many awards for Sculpture, Modelling, and Design. For this particular class of work no other firm in the kingdom is in better position to supervise such a large number of assistants as Messrs. R.L. Boulton & Sons continuously employ, because each member of the firm is practical.

In February, 1908, Messrs. R.L. Boulton & Sons was honoured by the Appointment of Ecclesiastical Church Furnisher to His Majesty King Edward VII.

In the first illustration is shewn a corner of the Sculpture Studio, where Artists are seen employed in carving and pointing in Marble and Caen stone. Amongst the group of carvers there is one who was awarded the gold medal at South Kensington in the national competition for design in foliage carving.

In the Wood Carving Studio are to be seen figure and foliage wood carvers at work,

The latter elaborating the very handsome…’

Titles to four photos – The Carving and Pointing Studio, One view of the Church Furniture Showroom, Corner of Wood Carving Studios, Part of Joinery Shop.

From ‘The Best’ by John Whittaker, page 47:

‘Times were frequently very hard when craftsmen were without work. Sometimes to keep working they would transfer to Boultons to carve on a project and return to Martyns as other work became available…’

C.C. & G.G. 22.6.1912:

Neptune’s Fountain, Promenade, Cheltenham – ‘Mr. Thos. Carter, well-known sculptor who modelled the statuary for Neptune’s Fountain. For many years at R.L. Boulton, died in London a few days ago.

C.C. & G.G. 8.2.1913:

(Echo 7) Statue and the model by Mr Ambrose Neal of that firm…

Pevsner, Verey & Brooks, The Forest &…, P. 269:

Edward VII , Montpellier, Cheltenham – ‘In the street a sentimental statue of Edward VII holding a child by the hand, 1914 by Ambrose Neale, made by R.L. Boulton & Sons, on a granite plinth designed by J. Harold Gibbons.’

Basil F.L. Clarke, Parish Churches of London, 1966, B.T. Batsford Ltd, London,

P. 111:

St Cuthbert’s, Philbeach Gardens, London – ‘The enormous reredos, 1914, was designed by the Rev Ernest Geldart (framework by Gilbert Boulton, and carving by Taylor and Clifton). The theme is ‘the worship of the incarnate Son of God, with incense and lights’, and it includes the scenes in holy scripture in which they are mentioned. The two shafts have figures of the four Latin Doctors and the four major Prophets and 32 statues of saints: in the lower stage, above the altar, are the Apostles. There is no reredos quite like this in any other English church.’

Denis Evinson, Catholic Churches of London, 1998, Sheffield Academic Press, P. 124-5:

St Augustine, Fulham Palace Road, Hammersmith – ‘The church foundation stone was laid on 25 March 1915, and the formal opening took place on 14 October 1916…
The central concentric arches of the main entrance are sculpted with foliage and symbols of the Eucharist. These and the statue of the Virgin and Child were worked in Portland stone by R.L. Boulton of Cheltenham…

The nave piers are circular in plan, with capitals bearing symbols on four faces of incidents in the life of Christ, sculpted by Boulton…

To the south is the chapel of St Nicholas of Tolentino, an Augustinian friar of the twelfth century… On the altar steps of Italian dove grey marble is a remnant of the altar rail, made by Boulton and installed as a memorial to Prior Reid, founder of the church.’

Pevsner, Verey & Brooks, The Forest &…, P.230:

St Mary, Cheltenham – ‘Elaborate wooden reredos, and chancel panelling, 1916 by Healing & Overbury, carved by R.L. Boulton & Sons.’

From ‘The Best’ by John Whittaker, page 311:

‘Advertising…Prior to this in the Looker On, on 6th January, 1916, the company increased the size to quarter pages and included for the first time the Royal Warrant. The main competitors in the town, Boultons, were still buying spaces no larger than Martyns’ 1888 advertisements. This must have been satisfying to H.H. Martyn as an ex-employee of Boultons.’-

C.C. & G.G.:

Tewkesbury Abbey – R.L. Boulton Sculptors, Bath Road, Cheltenham Memorial (outside) Cross at Tewkesbury Abbey.


Temple Guiting Church – War Memorial Mural Tablet in polished alabaster with incised letters. March 1920.

C.C. & G.G. 14.8.1920:

Winchcombe War Memorial

Pevsner, Verey & Brooks, Cotswold, P.731:

Winchcombe – ‘Plain War Memorial Cross by R.L. Boulton & Sons, 1920’

Pevsner, Verey & Brooks, The Forest &…, P. 217:

St Mary, Charlton Kings – Lychgate by Coates Carter, 1920 (Memorial both to Boulton and to the Fallen).’

Notes of B.E. Torode:

All Saints’ Pittville – Outside Calvary at All Saints, Cheltenham, was designed by Coates-Carter and executed by R.L. Boulton, stone carvers. Dedicated on 10th June 1920.

Pevsner, Verey & Brooks, The Forest &…, P. 231:

All Saints, Pittville – ‘In the sw corner of the churchyard, a huge crucifix war memorial by John Coates Carter, 1919-20.’

Pevsner, Verey & Brooks, The Forest &…, P236:

St Paul’s Cheltenham – ‘In the forecourt, which is enclosed by excellent railings contemporary with the church, a stark war memorial-cum-outdoor pulpit of 1920, by R.L. Boulton & Sons.’

Pevsner, Verey & Brooks, The Forest &…, P. 260:

War Memorial, Promenade, Cheltenham – R.L. Boulton & Sons, who were also responsible for the heavy War Memorial obelisk of 1921.’

From ‘The Best’ by John Whittaker, page 134:

‘One of the great disappointments to the staff and men working at Martyns at this time was that the ‘Broken limber’ was not chosen as Cheltenham’s War Memorial. It would have cost the town £200 more than the present stone obelisk made by Boultons, but the committee of the time turned it down…’

Pevsner, Verey & Brooks, The Forest &…, P. 436:

Yeomanry War Memorial, College Green, Gloucester – ‘On the green is the Yeomanry War Memorial of the Royal Gloucestershire Hussars, 1923 by Cash & Wright, a good design if a little out of scale; large plain cross set on a high octagonal stepped plinth. This has four fine bronze panels (with scenes of Gallipoli, Syria, Sinai and Palestine) signed by Adrian Jones, cast by R.L. Boulton & Sons.’

Denis Evinson, Catholic Churches of London, 1998, Sheffield Academic Press, P.76:

St Dominic, Haverstock Hill, London – Chapel of the Crucifixion – ‘Beneath the window is a tall Lourdes grotto in high relief, with a heavy surround, of 1923 by R.L. Boulton & Sons.’

The Buildings of Wales, Lloyd, Orbach and Scourfield, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion, Yale, P.260:

Llandovery, War Memorial – ‘1924 Bronze soldier by Boulton of Cheltenham, a copy of a figure from the L.N.E.R. memorial at Euston Station.’

Pevsner, Verey & Brooks, The Forest &…, P. 448:

St Catharine, Wotton, Gloucester – ‘Other furnishings mostly by W.E. Ellery Anderson (carved by R.L. Boulton & Sons): elaborate wooden pulpit with tester, low choir screen and lectern, 1926…’

C.C. & G.G. 27.11.1926:

New pulpit, screen (wall) and lectern by RL. Boultons at St Catharine’s Gloucester.

Boulton Gravestones at Charlton Kings:

Richard Boulton Died 23rd January 1905 aged 71 years

Martha Mary Dutson Died 16th August 1873 aged 44 years (Wife)

Lockwood Dutson Boulton Died 9th May 1927 aged 70 years and his wife Mary Ann Elizabeth Boulton Died 29th December 1916 aged 57 years

Miriam, eldest daughter, wife of Edgar Allen Died 9th March 1907 at Ledbury

Gilbert Dutson Boulton Died 9th September 1936 and Ethel Elizabeth, his wife, died 25th September 1927.

Richard William Boulton Died 28th July 1935

Phyllis wife of Arthur Price of Marle Hill Court and daughter of Richard W. Boulton 20th August 1942.

Christmas Card:

Marlehill – ‘With Xmas Greetings from Mr and Mrs R.W. Boulton’

Looker-On Directory 1916:

G. D. Boulton, Wellington House, Wellington Street

R.W. Boulton, Marle Hill Court, Marle Hill Court Road

L.D. Boulton, Selby Lodge, Cambray

Pevsner, Verey & Brooks, Cotswold, P.639:

St Edward, Stow-on-the-Wold – Rood Beam. ‘Of 1921 by Healing & Overbury, carved by R.L. Boulton’

Basil F.L. Clarke, Parish Churches of London, 1966, B.T. Batsford Ltd, London,

P. 69:

St Mary of Eton, Hackney Wick, London – ‘The altar and reredos, 1930, were designed by W. Ellery Anderson, and executed by R.L. Boulton and Sons of Cheltenham.’

From ‘The Best’ by John Whittaker, page 63:

‘Les Timms was a wood and stone carver trained in the Gothic tradition at R.L. Boultons with Fred Arkell in the early 1930s. He then went on to A.R. Mobary of Oxford, another company well known for its church carving. He moved to Martyns in 1939…’

Catalogue of 1939c:

‘By Appointment R.L. Boulton and Sons, Catholic Art Studios, Sculptors, Carvers & Modellers, Bath Road, Cheltenham

Established a Century.

Telegraphic Address Boultons 2446 Cheltenham,

National Telephone No. 2446, Cheltenham.

Our Craftsmen work in Marble, Alabaster, Granite, Stone, Mosaic, Wood.

This High Altar is to the design of T.H.B. Scott, Esq., and was executed in Alabaster and Stone for the Church of Our Lady, Upton Park.

The above Lady Altar was executed entirely in our own works and sent to Valparaiso, Chili (sic), where we sent our staff of fixers to erect the work in the Church. It is to a design of Messrs. Pugin & Pugin.

This High Altar, executed in richly coloured Marble and Caen Stone, was erected in the Convent of Notre Dame, Ashdown Park, to the designs of H.C. Smart, Esq. In addition to this, various other work was done at the same time, including Side Altars, Sanctuary and Nave Floors in patterned Marble, a number of Statues, Altar Rail, Bronze Gates etc.

St Catherine’s Church, Hoylake. Architects, Messrs. E. Kirby & Sons. The above Altar is constructed entirely in Oak. Our woodwork can be fumed to any desired shade and if necessary, treated to give it an antique appearance, or to match existing work.

Lancaster Cathedral. These Canons’ Stalls which were executed in prime Wainscot Oak and also the Bishop’s Throne in the same material. Other works in the Church were also done to the direction of Messrs. Austin & Paley, Architects, Lancaster.

R.L. Boulton & Sons Monumental Sculptors Cheltenham Architects’ Designs carried out for any Church Furniture or Memorials.

Oak Pulpit erected at the Catholic Church, Cae Nef, Salop

Alabaster and Marble Pulpit for St Francis’ Church, Glasgow.

Statue of our Lady and Holy Child, executed for Rt. Rev. Mgr. Payne V.G.. The figure is 8ft and is fixed on the top of the Tower at St Mary’s Church, Derby, and is illuminated by flood lights at night.

Statuary is our speciality and we can execute figures in Marble, Alabaster, Stone or any kind of wood or metal.

Two of the Stations of the Cross executed for the late Duke of Norfolk and erected in St Philip Neri Church, Arundel.

Recumbent effigy of the late Duchess of Norfolk erected in the Fitzalan Chapel, Arundel. The block of Statuary Marble was selected by the late Duke and carved in our Studios.

These Choir Stalls, executed in Oak are fixed in St Marie’s Church, Rugby. We have a large staff of craftsmen who work in Marble, alabaster, Stone, wood and Metal.

Stations of the Cross. We can execute these with any number of figures in either low or bold relief. The groups can be in Marble, Alabaster, Stone, Wood or Mosaic, with frames in the same or any other material.

The above is one of a set of Stations of the Cross, executed with Alabaster frames, and mosaic groups for St Anne’s Church, Blackburn, to the design of Messrs. Sandy & Norris. This combination of materials gives a rich and pleasing effect.

R. L. Boulton & Sons Monumental Sculptors Cheltenham

Tabernacle Safes. Safes can be supplied to any design and size, either simply or richly ornamented with jewels on precious metals. The two illustrated above were for the High altar at St Mary’s, Lowe House, St Helens and are the front and back of the same Safe which had two doorsa. The front was of Solid Silver burnished and lacquered.

St Anne’s Church, Keighley, Yorks. The High Altar, Rail, Gates, Statuary, Oak Stalls and Mosaic work shown above were all executed in our works and fixed by our own staff. The Reredos and Altar Frontal Panels as well as the panels in the wall over the Altar are all in mosaic, done by our own artists.

The above High Altar was executed in Alabaster and Marble to the design of Messrs Kelly & Dickie for St Patrick’s Church, Leeds.

Durban Cathedral, South Africa. Architects, Messrs. Pugin & Pugin. This High altar was executed entirely in our works in Marble, Alabaster and Stone and reached its destination without a single piece being broken in transit.

St Kentigern’s Church, Blackpool, Architect, R. Mercer, Esq., Preston. The altar illustrated above is executed in Caen Stone with Blue Forest Stone plinth. The High Altar and Lady Altar were also done by us for this Church, and Carvers sent from our Studios to carve the stonework to the main structure in situ both outside and inside.

High Altar. St Mary’s Church, Bradford, Yorks. Architect, A Gilbert Scott, Esq., London. Many different kinds of marbles are introduced into the above High altar. The main structure, including the adoring angels, is in Botticino with panels in beautifully marked Brocatelle Sienna and provides a very rich combination. The marble Sanctuary floor, dwarf wall, Altar rails and various other work and Statuary in the same Church have been executed by us.’

Pevsner, Verey & Brooks, The Forest &…, P. 458:

St Peter (R.C.) Gloucester – ‘The triptych in the Lady Chapel was restored by Boulton & Sons in 1947.’

Pevsner, Verey & Brooks, The Forest &…, P.244-5:

Pittville Pump Room, Cheltenham – ‘Surmounting the three projecting sections and giving them the necessary further emphasis are statues of Aesculapius, Hygeia and Hippocrates: copies by R.L. Boulton & Sons, 1965, of the originals by Lucius Gahagan, removed in 1937.’

Memories of Patrick Conoley

He began his apprenticeship in 1941 with R.L. Boulton & Sons combined with study at Cheltenham School of Art. From 1947 to 1951 he worked for the Company as the only figure carver. Because he was deaf he was allowed to work at Boultons throughout the War.

The premises were situated in Bath Road between the Salvation Army Citidel and Wycliffe Motors. The premises ran through to Wellington Street with a stone yard beyond. 1916 Looker-on Directory places Boultons between the Wellington Bar and Georgiana House

With regard to Martyns, Boultons had the edge over them in the quality of their stone figure carving. Martyns were perhaps better at classical statuary whereas Boultons excelled at Gothic church work. There was an understanding between the two companies that they did not poach each other’s staff.

By the time that Pat joined the firm there were no members of the Boulton Family actively engaged in the running of it. William Simon Frederick Harris was in charge. It was said that he had previously kept the peace between the Boulton brothers during their last days. He was the youngest son of William Harris a wheelwright, carpenter and undertaker etc. of the London Road, opposite the Duke of York (See Lives Revisited). The 1916 Looker-On Directory and the 1930 Kelly’s Directory for Cheltenham both give his residence as Mimosa, London Road.

William Simon Frederick Harris became Chairman of the Local Magistrates, a member of the Volunteer Fire Brigade and in 1935 Chairman of Charlton Kings U.D.C. His son William had been in Kenya and after the war he returned to be groomed by his father to run the firm. This plan did not work out and Mr Will Jnr. eventually left to run a hotel in Cornwall.

With the realisation that W.S.F. Harris would not have his son taking over the business he lost interest in Boultons and agreed to take into partnership three of the employees. These included Harold Trigg, a sculptor, Arthur Hill a joiner and Bob Coates who was a wood carver. Harold Trigg gradually took over the running of the firm from W.S.F. Harris and he received much support from his own family, he being the nephew of a successful local builder.

Trigg had worked for two years at Martyns before he went off to the War. When he returned Boultons snapped him up and one of his first jobs was to carve St John Fisher, one of a pair for Feeney of Hardmans. The statue was not a total success and received adverse comment whilst the statue of St Thomas More by Pat Conoley required only deeper carving to the body and he was told that on no account was he to touch the face. Apparently Trigg soon caught Pat Conoley up!

Others who worked as sculptors included Augustus George Hayling and also Frank Stevens who later took over Willetts, the monumental masons, in Knapp Lane

Eventually Harris withdrew his support for the firm leaving the three new partners to fend for themselves and it was at this time that Trigg moved Boultons from their premises in Bath Road across the road into a new building in the old stone yard in Wellington Street.

Harold Trigg was a successful businessman. He soon brought in work and he built up the profile of the company through his support for local cricket, the recently established Lions and much more. He also established a close working relationship with the stained glass artist, Patrick Feeney, of Hardmans of Birmingham, so much so, that when Trigg died prematurely, at the age of forty-six, Feeney and Hardmans supported Boultons. Feeney regularly came down to Cheltenham and supervised what was going-on there. Meanwhile Arthur Hill had retired and his share in the company was taken over by Tom Bryant, a joiner and furniture maker.

Things drifted on with Bob Coates and Tom Bryant but little work seemed to come in. Eventually Hardmans withdrew their support and Boultons finally collapsed as a trading entity some time before 1977. Wellington Street was sold up and Tom Bryant and Bob Coates moved to King Street where they worked as Bryant and Coates. Bob worked as a foliage carver and he also developed fibre glass moulded work especially signs for Salvation Army citadels. Tom Bryant continued with his joinery but when Corpus Christi College required the buildings during the early 1980s Tom decided to retire. Pat Conoley worked with Bryant and Coates at their premises in King Street during these final years.

Belmont Abbey Guide:

Belmont Abbey – ‘The choir stalls, made in oak by Bryant and Coates of Cheltenham in 1979, incorporate carvings from earlier stalls and are made to blend with the intrically worked stall front panels which date from 1904.’

7 comments on “R L Boulton & Sons

  1. lynne
    August 13, 2014

    Wow what a fascinating project you’ve both been working at!!! Its so interesting, I never thought about who carved what, but your work throws new light on carvings. I love the photo of Brian above, it bought a smile to my face just as he always did!

  2. Richard Barton
    August 15, 2014

    Thanks Lynne – do spread the word!

  3. Richard Barton
    June 7, 2018

    Re: Thomas Gerard Murphy B.E.M. (1904-1993)

    From Sean Murphy M.B.E.

    Your research paper on the above firm is a magnificent piece of work and finding it by accident took me completely by surprise.Thank you so much. In my case, I am trying to research my father’s apprenticeship years with “Cheltenham” – and seeing only small references to Boultons assumed he was apprenticed to Martyns.

    In 1965 he was given a present of “The Best” which I purchased and scoured for any reference to Tommy/Tom Murphy to no avail.Then I came across a draft letter in my father’s hand addressed to John Whittaker thanking him for his wonderful work and told him of his work for Martyns post 1927 when he graduated from Manchester school of Art from the Advanced Sculpture course, but not mentioning any earlier connection.

    Giles Gilbert Scott persuaded him to leave Martyns to join him at Liverpool Cathedral in 1935 in charge of the Carvers – most of whom were ex employees of Martyns !! Scott also stated that he was keen to take on my father based on three figures he had carved years earlier. Starting off enrolled in a local Modelling studio in Manchester, by 1921 he was attending night school at the Lambeth School of Art – apprenticed during the day and carving the Ipswich 1st World War Memorial – not listed by “The Best”.

    “The Best” Sammy Tomlin’s family kept a close friendship with our family and as an employee of Martyn’s was sent to help my father on his first task after qualifying -carving a hotel in Warrington (now demolished) and my father employed him again when he took over from Nathaniel Yorke (ex Martyn’s) at Liverpool Cathedral.Hetty Drew (nee Tomlin) has since passed away ,and to my shame I have lost touch with her two daughters Rachael & Wendy? but their family home was in Gotherington.

    Thank you so much for what you have already done and who knows what can emerge.You and your late friend Brian have redressed a glorious but sad part of our social history – men with such talent and ability who were the real builders of Victorian & Edwardian England.

    It is because my father was so” invisible” in so many of the official histories of the building of Liverpool Cathedral that drove me to try to piece his life together in the autumn of my own. In the hundredth and last bulletin of the Cathedral Builders there is a photograph of him in front of his carving of the Queen’s Coat of Arms. A great to me of Heraldry includes as its final picture that of “a mason” and it couldn’t even get his period of war service right (1st world war instead of 2nd) ,Joe Riley,an official historian of the Cathedral includes one photograph of my father but doesn’t even name him in the caption or anywhere else in the slim volume and the author Peter Kennerley acknowledged the help of Tom Murphy in the first addition in 1991 only to make amends with a photo of one of the last craftsmen” in the 2008 edition. My siblings think I am barking up the wrong tree and the fault lies in the shy personality of my father and his lack of assertiveness.

    So I am in the process of writing a memoir if only for the benefit of family. I have documented his commissioned work apart from the |Cathedral post war which I intend to flesh out with photographs. Fortunately I have his detailed work at the Cathedral week on week from 1935 to 1941 when he joined up. I have also his work fo Martyns from 1927 to 1934 based at Wavertree.

    The apprenticeship period is my headache.1919 his father directed him into a local studio modelling /sculpture rather than stone masonry link to Cheltenham. Lambeth school 1923 back to Manchester 1925 etc etc.

    The Archivist of the Manchester Metropolitan University Library has kindly researched and given me my father’s student records from 1919 to 1927. Included in all the information is the course syllabus and more particularly the firm of sculptors who employed him – Earp, Hobbs and Miller of Manchester.

    If you have further information please leave a comment here.

  4. christopher bourne-arton
    February 21, 2019

    Researching woodwork in St Nicholas Church West Tanfield N Yorks. Hearsay credits the priest stalls and choir pews to ‘Boltons of Cheltenham’. As they were in memory of a former Rector’s wife Circa 1930s who was independently wealthy they were probably made by the firm.
    Are the company archives retained anywhere for further research?
    Thanks for excellent work.

    • Richard Barton
      February 21, 2019

      Thanks Christopher. I think some records may be at Gloucestershire Archives but I know that a lot of material was destroyed. R

  5. Bill Jehan
    October 13, 2020

    Richard, Thank you for this interesting page. I am researching the monument to racehorse “The Continental” erected in 1902 on the lower slope of Leckhampton Hill by [Henry] Cecil Elwes of Leckhampton Court. The sculptor was Robert Henry “Bob” Cook (1866-1925) of Charlton Kings who was for more than 40 years employed as sculptor / stone mason for R. L. Boulton and Sons in Cheltenham.
    Gloucestershire Archives tell me they have no R. L. Boulton records deposited with them – do any of these records survive elsewhere? I have read that R. L. Boulton and Sons remained active in Cheltenham until 1971 – were they perhaps then absorbed by another firm of monumental masons? Thoughts on this will be appreciated.

    • Richard Barton
      October 14, 2020

      Thanks, Bill, for making contact. A few members of staff continued as Bryant and Coates and during the 1980s they had premises in a street on the north side of the Lower High Street in Cheltenham – possibly King Street. I believe the records of R L Boulton were destroyed when they ceased to trade. Patrick Conoley the sculptor continued on his own until at least 2000 and his son Christopher who lives in Hartpury is writing his father’s life story. I would imagine when Boulton’s finished many skilled staff would have transferred to their competitors H.H. Martyn. I would suggest you search the local papers re your racehorse.

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This entry was posted on August 11, 2014 by in Sculptors and tagged , , , , , , .
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