Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Blake and Buller Wills

I have started to work on the Blake Wills. But the first necessity was to sort all the material that I brought back from Kew. It included 604 images that I took and 286 wills that we downloaded. It seems like a lot but in actual fact many of the wills were only 15 lines or less including the Probatum. I wouldn't have purchased them from afar but getting to see them gives a better rounded picture of some of these elusive Blake families in particular. Although I think that my linkage from Thomas to his father John to his father William is reasonable, I would like to have another proof than parish records particularly since they lived at Andover where there were several Blake families and Blake families at Penton Mewsey, Abbotts Ann, Upper Clatford, Kimpton, Monxton, Hatherden, and a few other nearby villages. Mostly each of the family lines stayed in their particular villages but I need to be sure that I have the right line at least I feel that I need to be sure :)

I have transcribed four Blake wills that I knew would be interesting and they are. They establish the correctness of the Visitations for three generations and the mention of cousins may also be helpful once I have finished sorting them out. The wills do seem to prove that there were two distinct William Blake lines at Andover in the 1500s (one of my goals for my research at Kew). Since they mention each other in their wills it would appear that they are related although refered to as Kinsmen and I need to determine what is really meant by that term kinsmen. Is it a second cousin and on? That is the interpretation that I think is there but it could also be closer perhaps. The Blake family seems to use the term kinsman in their wills and I do not find the term in a lot of other wills that I have read. Perhaps it is frequent in the Hampshire/Wiltshire area where they lived.

As we collected the wills from Documents on Line we had prepared a framework to divide them into family lines which worked very well. My husband did all that for me along with the wills for his families - Abbs in particular. I imaged the wills that I was least interested in but the images have turned out very well. I had thought that I would just purchase them if I wanted them and I will probably still do that for the ones that are particularly helpful. It is nice to see them though although I have had absolutely no regrets in the 85 wills that I have purchased from the National Archives - they have all been helpful. But since we were there acquiring them in this fashion is most helpful to my research and I will let Blake researchers know who write to me that they would find particular wills helpful and they can then purchase them.

I imaged about 50 Buller wills from across England that I want to have a look at. I am brickwalled with Christopher Buller born in 1763 (place unknown) and this date is calculated backwards from his death registration in 1832 where his age is stated as 69 years. He died at the Workhouse Infirmary in Bermondsey and was buried at St Olave. Since he and his wife Mary Beard appeared to have attended St Mary Magdalen at Bermondsey as their children were all baptized there, I wonder at the significance of St Olave being the final resting place of their infant children buried in 1797 and 1807 respectively and his wife buried there in 1806 and Christopher himself buried there in 1832. Mary Beard's parents were buried at St Mary Magdalen. Unfortunately St Olave no longer exists and the burials were moved elsewhere. Christopher is a Slop seller/cutter (naval uniforms) and has his shop in the wharf area of Bermondsey on Tooley Street. We walked Tooley Street whilst we were in London and then traveled down Bermondsey Street and Long Lane where they lived. It was quite fascinating to do so. This area though is completely changed (bombed heavily during WWII) and the housing is 20th century for the most part.

The Church of St Mary Magdalen though still stands and we did visit. I must admit to being overwhelmed by its age although the people who attend her were most gracious in telling me about the Church and the upkeep being done. It has still the marble font where my 2x great grandfather Henry Buller would have been baptized (dates back to 1801) and a rather ancient structure called the Warden's box with its walls still intact and tables inside plus benches around the edge for tax collection and such I suspect plus meetings. I should have gone up in the balcony and really looked around but I found it sad to see that the Church needs so much work to restore it to its obvious stupendous glory. We went out and found that the cemetery was still out back and a sign saying that restoration work was in process. That was great to see and we wandered about the cemetery. I do not know if there ever were stones for the Beard family there. Elizabeth Hemsley (first wife of Henry Beard) was buried there in 1781 having been baptized there in 1744 and married there in 1766. Henry was buried there in 1795. These families are relatively new to me and I hope to discover more about them. Henry was a tanner living on Grange Road where many tanners lived. This parish had a sizeable congregation of tanners.

A lot of work ahead for me and we also want to label all of our pictures from the summer trip to the Maritimes and the fall trip to England and Europe (over 10,000 images).

We found Internet quite expensive in Europe and so did not publish to my blog whilst we were there - plus the days were so full and exhaustion sunk in quickly at night so that I was fast asleep not long after dinner. We did prepare a blog of our England/European trip which can be found on my husband's blog. We wrote that up every evening and put it on our Trafalgar Journal so that our families could see our process through London and then Europe.

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