Saturday, February 13, 2010

Visitations - Blake family

I decided to look at the Buller family in the Visitations and extracted all the records that pertain to this family. There were a surprising number of them but only one set that was original to the family with all the remainder being marriages into families that were in the various Visitations. As I was checking Surrey I noticed that I had missed one of the Blake Visitations.

This is an exceedingly important one as it turned out. The Blake family in Surrey are the grandchildren of John Blake last at Eastontown and the eldest son of William (eldest son of Nicholas Blake). This is the ancestor of Diana, Princess of Wales - Thomas Blake married to Dorothy Mayowe and the son of Thomas Blake married to Eleanor Hall (daughter of Robert Hall (brother to Sir John Hall). They are using the name Blague alias Blake and their ancestry back to Nicholas is not shown. However matching this up with earlier Visitations clearly shows their relationship to Nicholas Blake.

The most fascinating part of all of this is the family coat of arms that they are using and which has presumably been accepted by the Heraldic Society since it is published and signed by Richard Blake son of Thomas Blake and Dorothy Mayhew. The Arms are quartered with the top left section Blake, the top right is for the Dur[r]ant family, the bottom left for the Bellott (Billet) family and the fourth quarter unfinished except for the Blake chevron. This is the first proof that I have found for the claimed relationship between the Hampshire and the Wiltshire Blake families.

By this point in time this Blake family is probably not in communication with my line at Andover. When Richard (brother of John mentioned) above wrote his will (on his deathbed it would appear) he foreclosed on the mortgage that he held for his eldest brother John on Eastontown. Richard had a large family and was providing for them in his will and probably felt he had to do that. Eastontown had to be sold to pay the mortgage and this Blake family moved to Essington (Hampshire) in that generation. This Visitation clearly notes that Thomas Blake married to Elinor Hall lived at Essington. It is also the first mention that I have seen that William Blake brother of Thomas Blake of Essington had been knighted. He is referred to as Sir William Blake of Kensington Knight. This William was married twice with the first being to Mary Beverley (daughter of Henry Beverley of Yorkshire). No mention is made of his marriages or children.

He does appear on a London Visitation as Blake of Hales House where the lineage is traced back to William Blake of Eastontown but no coat of arms accompanies this Visitation listing. In this earlier Visitation he has not been knighted but rather serves as a County of Middlesex Justice of the Peace.

I am always been ambivalent of the relationship between the Hampshire and the Wiltshire Blake families. The family lore seemed weak although Barrie Blake on his webpages ( shows the clear marking of the line back. As he traces it back my line descended from Henry Blake married to Elizabeth Durrant (coat of arms includes this family). Then his son William Blake married Elizabeth Power. Their son Henry married Margaret Billett (coat of arms includes this family) and they had two sons Robert Blake and William Blake. This William is then said to have married Mary Cole and their children are listed as Nicholas, Humphrey, Alice, Henry, Robert and Margery Blake. The only problem that I have with this is that the mother of Nicholas Blake left her will in 1527 stating that her children were Nicholas, Robert and Elizabeth (married to Mylne). Of course this Humphrey is said to be the Blake that headed the Somerset Blake family moving there in the early 1500s to Plainsfield. Not mentioning him though does seem odd. The name of the mother of Nicholas was Jone Blake on the will not Mary which is also rather confusing. The other children could have died although there are descendants listed for them. This is the accepted line though for this Blake family in published material. The Nicholas in the online tree and my Nicholas are indeed the same person. I just need to continue collecting data so that I can either support the published literature or contradict it :)

This would mean for my line: myself, Ernest Edward George Blake, Samuel George Blake, Edward Blake, John Blake, Thomas Blake, Joseph Blake, Thomas Blake, Thomas Blake, John Blake, William Blake, William Blake, Richard Blake, William Blake, Nicholas Blake (he is the furtherest back that I can show by records) and then the published material would show William Blake (married to Mary Coles (will contradicts this first name)), William Blake, Henry Blake (married to Margaret Billett), William Blake (married to Elizabeth Power), Henry Blake (married to Elizabeth Durrant), Robert de Blakeland (married to Anne Cole), Robert de Blakeland.

The line down from Nicholas matches the historical material of the time (wills and land records). Nicholas married Margaret [unknown] and their children were William, Edmund, Alice (married to Christopher Godwin 16 Oct 1542), Elizabeth (married to Richard Mondaye) and one that I do not have Ezod (no further information). Ezod is not listed in Nicholas' will of 1547 nor does his mother list him in her will of 18 Dec 1558. However, he could have died much earlier.

I need to transcribe the Blake wills that I have from the 1500s in Wiltshire. Once that is done I may have a clearer picture of this family line in Wiltshire and how it connects into my Andover Hampshire line. At the moment though I am in conflict with all published lines down to my Nicholas Blake. The Visitations have not to this point linked the Wiltshire and the Hampshire Blake families other than the fact that they both used the "Blake" coat of arms attributed to Robert Blake married to Avis Wallop which appears in a sketch of the stained glass window to them at Calne Wiltshire. This coat of arms published with the descendants of John older brother to my Richard is very very interesting. One generation back at a time. I need to find the name of Jone Blake's husband who died before she wrote her will in 1527 and whose children were Robert, Nicholas and Elizabeth (married to Mr. Mylne).

Now the "match" of the yDNA with another Blake member becomes even more important in the scheme of things. I do not have any idea of this person's ancestry. Perhaps in time more will test and an even clearer picture will emerge. But in the meantime this is my first clue that I find to be historically significant that the Hampshire and the Wiltshire Blake families do indeed share common ancestry.

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