Friday, January 9, 2009

Blake family at Andover

Following my extraction of the CMB Blake information from the Penton Mewsey register, I continued reading through the various wills and other documents that I have on hand from the Hampshire Record Office. I had noticed the Blake families at Andover when I was reading through the Parish Registers and couldn't account for a couple of the lines after 1750 and the wills provide the answers for those lines. It has been a while since I really thought about Blake but the mistake in the marriage reminded me that a lot of my work on Blake had been done fairly early on (back to Thomas b 1685) as I had my grandfather's memories to build on.

My ancestor William Blake (b 9 Aug 1615 Foxcott, Andover) married Ann Hellier 5 Sep 1644 and they had at least six children which included three sons and three daughters. The eldest son John died by 1649 when a third son was named John. The second son was William b 9 Aug 1647 and he is referred to as William Blake Clerke - I haven't traced his line at all yet. John (b 10 May 1649) married Elizabeth by 1684 and they have 11 children but only six survive infancy with my Thomas being the eldest (b 21 Feb 1685), Margaret (b 8 Jan 1689), John (b 23 Nov 1690), Elizabeth (b 27 Oct 1695), William (b 9 Jan 1698) and Joseph (b 24 Feb 1702). Thomas is buried in 1714 (leaves a widow and one son Thomas), I have no information on Margaret, John, Elizabeth, William or Joseph. This family is not at Penton Mewsey because the John that is there is already baptizing children by the 1680s. The sons do not appear to have stayed at Andover other than Thomas and his son Thomas. The daughters may be the burials found in the 1700s (at least Elizabeth; I do not recall Margaret offhand). Joseph (grandson of the elder Thomas) is baptized at Andover in 1730 (my 4x great grandfather).

The Abbots Ann John is a mystery but the Penton Mewsey register may solve that mystery. Going back to William (b 1615), he had 17 siblings (of whom seven did not survive infancy) and they are not found at Andover records in their adulthood so are they the source of the Blake family at Penton Mewsey and at Abbots Ann (all places are within two miles of each other)? The Will of William (b c 1587) and married to Dorothy Magdwicke is very complete mentioning all of his children (probated 1645 as well as Dorothy's will probated 1648). I have purchased a number of documents on the various properties/parcels of land that he mentions in his will to better understand where these family members went by the mid 1600s.

What amazed me as I read the wills was how well Richard (father to William b c 1587) had managed his 50 pound legacy from his father. This legacy was almost an afterthought in the will as William (b c 1516) mentions all of his elder sons with an eye to ensuring that the male line was enshrined with his properties but Richard wasn't included as he probably thought that by son four he had really covered all of his bases. So Richard just received his 50 pounds and we next find him in Andover with a Draper Shop and 12 children (three did not survive infancy) in the parish records and then his will of 1623.

It also wasn't a comfortable time to be a Blake after Restoration in 1668 since the Blake family of Somerset had supported Cromwell. Perhaps this family simply kept very quiet during this time period in order not to draw attention to themselves resulting in a loss of records for the family lines that moved away from Andover during this time period. Certainly the registers show the impact with family members being referred to as Mr. Richard Blake, Mr. William Blake in the early 1600s but in the late 1600s no such designation is given (but also the eldest children of William had moved to Essington Hampshire with Richard's descendants being the Blake family found at Andover (as well as descendants of Robert Blake at Knights/Kings Enham). William (b 1615) died at Foxcott in 1696. The Robert Blake line at Andover could also be the ancestors of Blake family members found at Penton Mewsey which is part of the complication in looking at this family.

So my day was spent thinking about my Blake family line and in between shoveling the snow away from our latest deluge.

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