Friday, February 18, 2011

Henry Blake of Christchurch and his will of 10 Jul 1594 and probated 15 Oct 1594

 There are four wills at the National Archives for the Blake family at Christchurch including the will of Henry Blake of 10 Jul 1594 and probated 15 Oct 1594 and the other three are the wills of William Blake, mercer, Elizabeth Blake widow and Samuel Blake brandy merchant (dated 8 Mar 1745, 12 May 1752 and 13 Feb 1812 respectively). I  have not read the last three having only transcribed the will of Henry Blake thus far. The Hampshire Record Office holds some early Blake wills at Christchurch - Robert Black (Blacke) 1547, Richard Blake husbandman 1559, Richard Black (Blacke) 1565, William Blake husbandman 1585, Margaret Blake widow (Hubborn) 1592, Agnes Blake widow 1607, John Blake husbandman (Hubborn), 1613,  Mary Blake widow 1636, John Blake senior yeoman (Hubborn) 1660. The Blake family continues (particularly at Hubborn well into the 1700s (as far as I have checked thus far) at Christchurch. I have not made a decision on the Black/Blacke entries that I find. Possibly it is a freestanding name but occasionally the Blake name is spelled that way in the Parish Record when it is obviously a member of the Blake family.

The oldest will at Christchurch is that of Richard Blake husbandman in 1559. William Blake husbandman leaves a will in 1585. We then jump to wills for individuals living at Hubborn, Christchurch and continuing John Blake husbandman at Hubborn, Christchurch leaves a will in 1613 and the Blake family continues at Hubborn at least into the 1700s which is as far as I have checked thus far. I wonder if Richard Blake husbandman in 1559 was also at Hubborn.

An Auction Ad appeared in 1812 which has some information on Hubborn:

ARABLE LAND, containing by estimation 10 acres, situate at Hubborn, in the parish of Christchurch, now in the occupation of the proprietor, Mr. Nicholas Verge. - The premises are admirably adapted either for the purposes of husbandry or building; they command extensive views of the sea, Isle of Wight, Needles, and surrounding country; and a brook of fine water runs through the whole. There are two Brick-Kilns on the Estate, in full work, and abundance of excellent clay. (Salisbury and Winchester Journal, Monday, June 8, 1812 -

 The will of Agnes Blake widow in 1607 is perhaps the wife of Henry Blake (he mentions her name is Agnes) and no special location is given other than Christchurch in the Hampshire Record Office online catalogue. By the will Henry and Agnes do not have any living children. Instead this is a will that mentions siblings, other relatives and friends. Placing Henry in the Blake family of the 1500s will be a challenge I suspect. Henry is a name that occurs in the Blake family near Calne, Wiltshire in the 1300s and 1400s. There was also a Henry Blake baptizing children in 1622 at Andover. It would be interesting to read the will of Agnes Blake widow in 1607 in case it reveals more information about this particular Blake family. At the moment though they are an orphan Blake family at Christchurch although he has a sister Amy. Henry mentions a Joseph Blake (no relationship stated but he wants to help provide for the upbringing of the children of Joseph)  in his will and that his sister is Amy Fuller and that she has children. The Fuller family receive one quarter of his property. The will of Henry follows:
Recorded: 17 February 2011
Source: The National Archives PRO 11/84, Kew, London, UK, #303/265 (images by me)
Place: Christchurch, Hampshire, England
Testator: Henry Blake
Type of Record: Will
Dated: 10 Jul 1594 and probated 15 Oct 1594
Read: Electronic copy
Condition: scan, smudges, old English writing good, contrast medium

T[estator] Henri Blake

1    In the name of God amen The tennth daye of Julie Anno
2    dom[in]i millesimo quingentesimo nonagesimo quarto. I Henry Blake of Christchurche
3    in the countie of South[ampton] sicke in bodie but of good and perfect memorye thankes be to
4    god do ordaine and make this my last will and testamente in manner and forme
5    followinge, first and principallie I give and bequeath my soule into the handes of
6    almightie god my maker and redeemer, and my bodie to be burieth in the Churche or
7    Church yard of Christchurch aforesaid. Item, I give to my parishe churche two busshells
8    of wheate, Item to the Cathederall church of winchester twelve pound. Item I give unto
9    Roberte Tymer halfe my leafe of the meadowes after the decease of my wife. Item I give
10    to his sonn Henrye Tymer a quarter of my _oate with such furniture as to the same
11    belongeth. Item I give to my godsonn Henry Lea two sheepe and a silver spoone to be
12    delivered within the monthe after my decease. And a cowe after the decease of my wife
13    Item I give to Henry Pilgrim a sheepe and a stears bullock after the decease of my
14    wife. Item I give to the rest of my godchildren or every of them five pence Item I
15    give to Richard Heliar a steare Bullocke and an heifer bullocke and two sheepe to be
16    delivered after the decease of my wife Item I give to Elizabeth Clarke alias Vincente a
17    sheepe and a bullocke to be delivered at her marriage Item I give to Josephe Blake all
18    my wearinge apparrell, my best gowne and my best cloake excepted, and a sacke
19    of Barley, and two busshells of wheate and two bushells of Pit to be delivered th[e ]one
20    halfe at the month, and the other halfe the next yeare followinge Item I give to the
21    said Josephe Blake halfe the pickers and of Pit and an half of Barley about __westos
22    Item I give to Josephe Blakes children one bullocke amongst them, towardes theire
    [Page 2]
23    bringing up and a cowe after the death of my wife. Item I give to Agnes Heliar
24    my wife's goddaughter a bullocke of two years oulde. Item to Agnes Parker my wyve's
25    goddaughter a silver spoone Item I give to John Goddiers children to each of them a
26    lambe Item I give to John Newman a busshell of wheate Item I give to my sister
27    Amye Fuller and her children the fourth parte of my corne and cattle, a brasse pott
28    a platter and a pottenger a candlesticke and a bedstead to be delivered after the
29    decease of my wife Item I give to the poore people to be delivered at my buriall fourtie
30    shillinges and other fortie shillings more to be delivered after the decease of my wife
31    at the discrecion of my overseers All the rest of my goodes both moveable and immoveable
32    my debta and funeralls dischardges I give and bequeath unto Agnes Blake my
33    wife whom I make and appoynte my full and whole executrix Item I doe appoint
34    and ordaine my overseers my trustie and wel[l ]beloved in Christ William Lea Clearke
35    Thoms Packe and John Neale and I doe give to everie of them for theire paines
36    to be taken herein five shillinges

 Joseph Blake sounds like he might be a relative in that he has given him most of his wearing apparel. Henry Blake's will is interesting in that it mentions so many friends at a time when family would probably be considered to be the "first taker" of one's estate. The will of Agnes Blake in 1607 would be quite interesting is suspect and perhaps reveal more about this family.

I continue proofreading the Parish Registers at Upper Clatford. I became somewhat distracted looking at wills for a couple of days. I find reading microfilm can be hard on the eyes day after day so tend to move about to other things on occasion. In this case, it proved to be a most worthwhile exercise transcribing the will of Nicholas Blake.

I also transcribed the will of James Blake of Knights Enham and St George Bloomsbury Middlesex written 3 January 1727 and probated 8 July 1734. When I transcribed the Knights Enham parish register I thought I would find many Blake families there because that was where Nicholas and Robert Blake lived in the 1500s. They were the patriarchs of the two rather large Blake families in the Andover area in the 1500s so it was rather a surprise to find that by the very late 1600s there were very few Blake families attendant at the Knights Enham Church although they continued to remember the Church there in their wills. I have not yet worked through the possibilities for the parentage of James Blake but will do that later. His will proved to be an extremely interesting one and indeed it was contested and required two people who were familiar with his writing to enter proof of its legitimacy. Having once thus been determined the widow of James Blake, named Executrix in the will, renounced administration and inheritance both for herself and for her six daughters. There are a number of entries (margin) that lend to the suspicion that James Blake died perhaps in debt and his creditors were attempting to recover their debts from the property at Knights Enham. It was not resolved until 1790 as there had been an Indenture on the property in 1706 which left legal ownership in some doubt. It will make for interesting reading later once I have clarified some of the text (the notes in the margin are somewhat difficult to read). I will try to resolve the parentage of James but other than trying to find the marriages of his six daughters I will not trace this family any further down since my one name study looks solely at the Blake surname. In the case of my own personal family it will terminate with me since I too have married out of the Blake family.

I may transcribe the other three Blake wills at Christchurch or I may move on to other Hampshire wills closer to Andover. Curiosity drove me to look at Christchurch and the answer may lie in discovering more about the Wiltshire Blake family that gradually moved down towards Salisbury then to the New Forest area. To do that I need to transcribe the 30 odd wills that I have for the Wiltshire Blake family most located near Calne. Once I have finished looking at Hampshire wills then I shall move on to Surrey, Middlesex and London where the Blake family at Eastontown moved. I may be able to better understand why Richard Blake of the Tower Ward (Blog of 14 and 15 February 2011)  moved there from Eastontown. It was his cousins who also lived in Surrey/London/Middlesex. He is mentioned in the Visitation of London of 1633. I wonder what sort of tragedy happened between the Visitation in 1633 and his burial in 1644 at Andover. In the Visitation it is mentioned that he has two sons but no children (and no wife) are listed in his will. Is it the same Richard one might ask? Well his will clearly places him in the family of Richard Blake and Jone Blake of Andover.

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