Thursday, September 9, 2010

Blake Wills

I decided over the past couple of days to review my transcriptions for my Blake wills in the 1500s since I transcribed them several years ago when I was just beginning my journey in genealogy it seemed prudent to review them. Surprisingly I did quite well back then but did do a lot of cleaning up of the wills.

I wanted to see if William who died in 1582 at Knights Enham had given any hints in his will about cousins. He did not. He mentioned his brother Edmund and sisters Elizabeth and Alice. Elizabeth had married Monday and Alice was married to Godwyn. Edmund's family is mentioned and he had a son Steven about whom nothing further is known. William's father was Nicholas as Nicholas mentioned in his will his sons William and Edmund and daughters Ann Godwyn and Elizabeth unmarried. On glancing at his will I think I need to read that one through as well. I did William his son and William's son William's will these past two days. Both are quite lengthy with William (father) having a seven page will.

Reading through Nicholas' will and moving it to my next style for transcription revealed to me that between 1547 and 1582 Steven son of Edmund had died as the property which had been willed to Edmund by his father was now in William's will of 1582. It would appear to be the only way to understand why Edmund's property is now willed to William's children.

Nicholas' will added a few new thoughts as well. Nicholas mentions the children of William which means that at least two of his children were born by 1547 which works well with my thinking in regard to the two oldest John and William. This William's will (grandson of Nicholas) of 1607 details the same property that had been passed by Nicholas to his father William. William mentions his friend Richard Blake and this is the mystery actually. Who is this Richard Blake? If he was the youngest brother of his father then he would refer to him as uncle. The age though would be interesting as his father was likely born in the 1540s whereas his youngest brother was not likely born until the late 1550s which would make him a contemporary with the children of William. It is a mystery although I still have these two William Blake families living close together - one at Eastontown and the other at Knights Enham.

Finding the Wiltshire chart which lists William Blake (died 1582) as married to Avice Ripley does raise the question of William being married twice but the time span does not appear to work for that plus we have the chart with John Blake as the eldest son of William and Avice Blake and his wife Margaret Blake listed as the daughter of William Blake aforesaid which could only be William and Avice Blake looking at the Chart.

By other records this John is the son of William and Elizabeth Blake and he married Margaret Blake.

Checking the tax records in this time period (1571) there are three William Blakes - one at Knights Enham, one at Lockerley and one at Andover. Lockerley is close to East Dean and West Dean which is quite interesting as there is a Nicholas Blake at East Dean/West Dean.

Nicholas Blake (d 1547) had a brother Robert (d 1542) who had a large family. He was married to Agnes with six sons: Robert, John the Elder, William, Thomas, Richard and John the Younger. These men can all be found on the tax rolls at Penton Mewsey, West Tytherley, and Knights Enham in 1571.

By 1594 there is a John Blake at Knights Enham, John Blake at Fifield, Peter Blake at Andover, Richard Blake at West Tytherley, Richard Blake at Andover.

By 1598 there is a John Blake sen and John Blake jun at Penton Mewsey, John Blake at Enham, Peter Blake at Andover, Richard Blake at Andover, Robert Blake at Kings Enham, William Blake at Kings Enham and a widow Blake at Tytherley.

The 1665 tax rolls continue to show Blake families at Lockerley, Tytherley, Abbots Ann, East Aston, Kings Enham, Andover, Penton Mewsey, Foscott, Wherwell and a few others.

The earliest tax rolls should be the most useful before the large families of Robert and then his nephew William dominate the tax rolls. At Quarley there is a mysterious Gilbert Blak that I can not fit into this Blake family. Quarley is just about three miles west of Andover south of the present A303. The Blake and the Gilbert families intermarried in the 1500s and later in the 1700s with a Gilbert descendant marrying Charles Blake at Abbotts Ann. The line of that Charles is not precisely known.

Throw into that mix another Robert Blake line at West Enham and he married Maude Snell and their three sons were: William Blake, Richard Blake and Thomas Blake. I believe that the wills for these four men are all at the Winchester Record Office and eventually I shall read them. He is living at the same time as Nicholas' brother Robert but they are two separate people.

A really neat way to separate all of these lines may be yDNA. With enough people testing we might be able to determine if they are all descendants of the Wiltshire Blake family or are they from the Norfolk Blake line? The Norfolk Blake line is now well established by yDNA studies

With several people now working on the Blake line independently perhaps we may yet solve the ancestry of these many lines.

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