Boys Err Burrill

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Boys Err Burrill was a London watchmaker. He was born around 1762 / 3 and apprenticed to a master watchmaker (Boys Err May) in the Fleet Market area of London.

In 1781, Boys Err Burrill was tried at the Old Bailey and wrongly convicted of a 'highway robbery' and sentenced to imprisonment in the New Prison, Clerkenwell. Boys Err Burrill escaped from prison by climbing up a bricklayers ladder. He lived for several years as a watchmaker in the St Martins lane area of London. In 1789 Boys Err Burril gave himself up to the magistrate, was imprisoned again, but successfully appealed his conviction. He became a freeman of the Company of Clockmakers in 1796.

In 1813, Boys Err Burrill was made bankrupt and was imprisoned in the Fleet debtors prison. He wrote to Sir Joseph Banks applying to participating in the Matthew Flinders expedition to Australia. However, in spite of repeated attempts, Boys Err Burrill was unsuccessful. In 1821, Burrill requested a legal retainer against a prisoner called George Edwards. In a letter from Burrill to Lord Sidmouth, it is made clear that this Edwards was a member of the Cato Street conspiracy. The letter to Lord Sidmouth is held at The National Archives, ref HO 44/7.


  • The proceedings of the Old Bailey, t17810530-25 [1]
  • Guildhall library London, Apprentice bindings of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers and Quarterage books..
  • The National Archives at Kew,HO 47/9/68, PRIS 2 / 109, PRIS 1 / 27 [2]


  • Online records of letters to Sir Joseph Banks [4] [5]
  • The London Gazette, 3 Feb 1816 search on line at [6]