Prior to the 17thC the name "Boulding" was virtually unknown in Kent. The name appears to start life in the 13thC as "de Bollyng" or "de Bullyng". Gradually, however, by the late 16thC a "d" appears to have been inserted into Bollyng more and more frequently. By the 18thC the name - with an added "d" - became the norm and the name can be found as "Bolden", "Boulden" or "Bolding" etc sometimes with the different spellings in the same document.
That the name starts life with the preposition "de" is certainly suggestive of a locative name - and this spelling - "de Bollyng" or "de Bullyng" - more or less continues unchanged up to and until around the late 16thC and early 17thC. It's highly likely that "Bullyng" or "Bollyng" was an early attempt to write "Boulogne" although Boulogne wasn't occupied by the English until the Hundred Years war between 1337 to 1453.
There is a Bullinge Corner (NGR 120662) by the junction of All Saints Church, Whitstable, where it is known the family was in possession of property; "Bullinge Borough" in the Hundred of Upper Whitstable. It is uncertain whether the place name is taken from the family or the other way around. It is more likely that this was a Bullyng family property as they seem to have been an important family in the Hundred of Whitstable because in 1315 we find a John de Bullynge paid 2/6d in the Lay Subsidy Rolls, a not insubstantial amount.
The first noting of the family in Kent - found to date - is a mention in the Whitstable Hundred Rolls of Richard de Bullyng in 1274 - possibly even the father of John who paid 2/6d tax 40 years later in 1315:
"they say that Henry Malemains and his associates, collectors of the tax of one-twentieth, took 13s. more than the assessed amount from this hundred and Hamo de la Forstall, the sheriff, took 1 mark unjustly from a certain John Symon' who had accompanied a certain man towards the church and and he killed that man on returning from church, afterwards the same John was acquitted by the jury. Then the same Hamo took 5s. from Richard le Nute accusing him of being in debt to the Jews and he had never been so. The same Hamo took 5s. from Richard de Bulling in the same way and 3s. from Joceus de la Brok for a similar reason."
Some twenty nine years after the first appearance of the name in Kent, in the year of 1303, the name appears in the Court Manor rolls of Tremworth Manor, a manor which approximates roughly to modern day Crundale parish near Wye, a tiny isolated parish of but few families, situated between Canterbury and Ashford in Kent.
Crundale appears to be the very centre of the origin of the family with Bouldings and Bouldens living very nearby, even to this day. Hardly anyone of this name from Kent does not stem from this little parish or the nearby parishes of Wye, Godmersham, Waltham and Elmsted.
There appears to have been a strong connection between the Bollyng family of Crundale (Bollyng and Bullyng are interchangeable) and the Bollyngs of Whitstable in Kent because in 1315 the family appear to have held land there as noted in the Inquisitions Post Mortem. This connection is known to have lasted until the mid 17th Century.
Inquisitions Post Mortem; Dodyndale near Canterbury. 1/4 fee held by John Polre. & 1/3 of a fee held by Robert de Grauntcurt; John s of John de Bullynge; John Springe; John Baukyn; Walter de la Haye; Thomas de Bullynge; John Leger & John s of Richard de Bullynge. Dodingdale was held for many years jointly with Tremworth Manor - and this manor approximates to the parish of Crundale. 8 Edward II 8 (July 1314 - 7 July 1315)."
One wonders whether the "John son of Richard de Bullynge" is the one and the same John we have already met paying 2/6d in Whitstable in 1315. This would link this John, son of Richard, in Whistable with Dodingdale and thus Crundale.
The High Sherrif of Kent, William Roper (circa 1496 - 1578), in 1521 married Margaret, the favourite daughter of the Lord High Chancellor and author of Utopia, Sir Thomas More. William's father, John Roper (circa 1453 - 1524) of Eltham, died in 1524 and left a legacy "to pray for the soul of Ric. Bollinge"; Richard, is almost certainly Richard Bollinge (circa 1455 - 1517) of Crundale and Godmersham. Richard's neighbour in Godmersham, Jane Frognalle, is also remembered in this Will. The Ropers and Bollyngs both had property in St Dunstan's Canterbury and would have been well known to each other and were almost certainly family. John Swann (14?? - 1498), former Mayor of Canterbury, was married to Joan Bollyng (circa 1444 - 1504) and he left money in his Will to William Roper.
The Boulding family, from the very start of the 14th Century onwards, was regularly found at the Wye Manor Court for the "Assize of Ale". The Assize of Ale was normally a fine levied for selling short measure or, indeed, bad beer or bread. However, a suggestion has been made that, rather than it being a fine per se, it was an early method of licensing brewing not dissimilar to that which we have today where the sale of alcohol is licensed.
The Boulding link with brewing was maintained until the late 18th Century when the family members were generally noted as maltsters and owned the Red Lion pub (c1600-1750) in Wye, a small market town next to Crundale, The Swan in Lynsted (1772-1775) and The Three Crowns (1759-1791+) in Sittingbourne.
The name Boulding/en is also found today in Norfolk and Warwickshire and a number of Bouldens in Cornwall but more interestingly in north Holland and Denmark suggesting possible Saxon origins, for the suffix "ing" means "son of" in early English thus arriving at a meaning of "son of the bold".
There is also the famous Bolling family of Bolling Hall near Bradford, once a powerful family until they supported the wrong side in the Wars of the Roses and one often wonders if the Kentish Bollyngs were an offshoot of this family. Possibly this connection is already found this because in the Calendar of entries in the Papal registers, Petitions to the Pope: "1364 f82 Thomas, son of Robert Bolling of Sandwich. For a benefice in the gift of the prior and convent of St. John's, Beverley." This is a direct link with the Kentish family and the Bollyngs "up North".
Bolling is, of course, the same name as Boleyn. Anne's father signed his own name "Bollyng" in a letter written to his daughter at Hever (see letter hanging on the wall at Hever, Kent).
One of the first settlers to America in Jamestown, Virgina, was a Thomas Boulding who made his voyage in 1607 on The Swan which pre-dates the Mayflower by nearly 13 years.
1926: Bonnington's "grand old man" Mr Charles Boulding, passed away on Sunday at the age of 90 years. By his death the district loses a truly remarkable man, who never experienced a days illness in all his 90 years. He was born in September 1836 and for the past 50 years resided at Goddards Farm, Bonnington. For a number of years he was in partnership with his brother [George] at Court Lodge Farm. He also had extensive agricultural and grazing interests in Romney Marsh.
Mr Boulding's very active career included public work as Overseer, Guardian, District Councillor (East Ashford Union) and Rate Collector. He was a Tory of the old school and it is interesting to note that his last political activity took him to Bilsington by motor car to record his vote at the General Election 2 years ago. On this occasion he was accompanied by Mr William Higgins who was the same age, 88, and has since died. Mr Boulding could relate many humorous political stories of the old days. He was then a man much sought after at social functions being a keen dancer and singer. For many years he played the bassoon in Aldington Church choir. He was a staunch Churchman and a bell ringer. In his younger days he was a good goalrunner and supporter of foxhunting and coursing. Only 2 years ago Mr William Blacklocks, of Lydd, claimed him as guest at the Coursing Club annual dinner.
Mr Boulding will be widely missed as a gentleman of sterling character, loved and respected by many throughout the county. His wife died 34 years ago. There were no children, but deceased leaves a brother Mr Hy Boulding, of Kennington and a sister, Mrs Washford of Croydon. Longevity evidently is hereditary, for his father reached the age of 74 and his mother lived to see her 91st birthday.