Thursday, May 24, 2012

Blake family of Norfolk

I received a very interesting document from a descendant of the Norfolk Blake family. They had visited Wimbotsham Norfolk and his document included images of the Church and the parish registers for the Blake family that lived at Tonwell Manor. He had a few queries as well which I shall answer as best as I am able. It is always great to hear from members of the Blake family worldwide. Ours is a fascinating family although I am still thinking that the name Blake may have arisen spontaneously in several different areas. But there is always the remote possibility that the male line of a particular Blake family may have died out and the child of a sister may have changed his surname to Blake at the request of a grandfather or uncle. There are some examples of the Blake name being hyphenated but thus far that is to ensure that the surname of the mother is remembered.

The history of the Blake family in Norfolk can first be looked at with the Visitation of Norfolk (1563, 1589 and 1613) found on page 38 of this publication ( ) and with further note: Harl. 1552, ink fo. 106, pencil 100. The Arms of this family: Ermine, a pile indented sable bezootée between two lions' gawbs erased and erect gules, over all a bendlet vert, a mullet for difference argent.

John Blake of Swaffam married to a sister of Sir John Spilman, knight and their son Jasper Blake of Wynbotsham in Norfolk married to Agnes daughter of John Pygott of Stradsett in Norfolk. Their children were Peter Blake of Wynbotsam (eldest son) married to Beatrix daughter of Richard Badyscroft [Batchcroft] of Bekswell in Norfolk, second son Henry and daughter Alice. The children of Peter Blake and Beatrix Batchcroft were: first son Jasper Blake of Wynbotsam married to Anne daughter of Thomas Amyas of Depham in Norfolk), second son John Blake, third son Thomas Blake and fourth son Frances. The children of Jasper Blake and Anne Amyas are listed as Jasper Blake and Beatrix. This Visitation is unsigned and notably the first John is generally said to be Peter Blake rather than John Blake. The wife of this Peter was said to be Elizabeth Spilman/Spellman.

I did find The Visitation of Norfolk in the year 1563 online at Internet Archive ( but was unable to download a good .epub of this document. However reading it online I was able to save the images. The author of this Visitation was William Harvey, Norfolk and Norwich Archeological Society, it was printed by Miller and Leavins in 1895 and is volume 2 which was edited by Brig. General Bulwer.  In this Visitation you can see the error in the later Visitations which used this earlier version.  Peter Blake of Southery and after of Wimbotsham, purchased the Manor of Tonwell from John Skott of London 3 Edw IV and held his first court with John Fincham, Henry Spilman 9 Ed IV (1470). His will was dated 21 Oct and proven 23 Nov 1500, buried at Wimbotsham. Peter married Elizabeth ____ and she held the Manor of Tonwells for life under her husband's will. This couple had three children listed, Sir John Blake Clerk of Swaffham, Peter Blage of Swaffam, gent married sister of Sir John Spelman, Knight and Mary unmarried in 1500 (named in her father's will. There is a note: In Harl. MSS 1552, fo. 106, this Peter Blague is called John Blake of Swaffham.

The child of Peter Blage of Swaffam and Elizabeth Spelman is named Jasper Blage of Wimbotsham in Norfolk, gent. Devisee of Manor of Tonwells under his grandfather's will. Held his first Court 11 Hen VIII (1526). Will dated 17 July and probated 22 Aug 1547. Buried at Wimbotsham. Jasper married first Agnes daughter of John Pigott of Stradsett in Norfolk, gent. Jasper married second Anne daughter of Robert Blundervile of Newton Flatman by Constance, daughter of William Gurney of Barsham. She was widow of John Bastard, son and heir of John Bastard of Lynn Bishop. Her marriage settlement with Jasper Blake dated 34 Henry VIII. The first marriage only has children listed with Peter Blage as 1st son of Wimbotsam, Norfolk son and heir, buried at Wimbotsham, 24 Oct 1570. Will dated 16 October and proven 7 Dec 1570. This Peter was married to Beatrix daughter of Richard Badiscroff (Batchcroft) of Bakeswell in Norfolk, gent by Margaret his wife daughter and heir of Richard Aylmer Alderman of Norwich and sister of Christopher Bachecrofte. She afterwards married 18 Jan 1571 Richard Killingworthe at Wimbatsham and was buried there 31 May 1597. The other children of Peter Blage and Agnes Pigott were Henry 2nd son, Thomas 3rd son under 16 in 1547, John 4th son under 16 in 1547, Elizabeth named in father's will 1547 and Alice a minor in 1547.

The children of Peter Blage and Beatrix Batchcroft were Jasper 1st son, John 2nd son of the Isle of Ely , named in his father's will, Thomas 3rd son named in his father's will (this Thomas had a son Thomas Blake who was Clerk of Shelford Cambridge, Curate of Narford, Vicar of Wereham (buried there 30 Sep 1566 and he was executor to will of his uncle Francis), this Thomas had a daughter who was the wife of Thomas Self with a son Lionel Self, Clerk, under age 35 Geo. II and a son Richard son and heir, gent, died 1682) and Francis 4th son baptized at Wimbotsham 19 Dec 6 Elizabeth, died 1642, mentioned in his father's will; his will proven in London, his nephew Thomas Blake, Clerk, of Shelford, Cambridge, executor.

Jasper Blage (son of Peter and Beatrix (Batchcroft) Blage) married Anne daughter of Thomas Amyas of Deopham, Norfolk, gent. Marriage settlement dated 10 Dec 34 Eliz and she was buried at Wimbotsham 3 Jan 1597/98. Jasper and Anne had the following children: Jasper of Wimbotsham, gent, only son and heir baptized 27 Sep 1592, Churchwarden of Wimbotsham 1612, and registered his Pedigree in Heralds College 1614, alienated all his lands to Roger Pratt, Esquire, 1623; Elline baptized at Wimbotsham 26 Nov 1593 and buried 4 Mar 1593/94; Anne baptized at Wimbotsham 23 Oct 1597 buried 3 Jan 1597/98, Beatrix baptized at Wimbotsham 7 Oct 1595, Executrix of her father's will, was married to Roger, son of Gregory Pratt, of Ryston, Esquire. Roger bought the Manor of Tonwells of Jasper Blake and Jane baptized 23 Oct 1597 buried 3 Jan 1597/98.

Jasper married Frances (unknown) who was living 21 James I and was at that time his wife. This is the Jasper Blake thought to have gone to New Hampshire Colony around 1643 although he has sold his land to his brother in law in 1623. A 20 year difference seems like a long time between selling his land and emigrating to America but the usual reference book for Jasper Blake: Descendants of Jasper Blake: Emigrant from England to Hampton, N.H., ca 1643. by Carlton E Blake 1980 Gateway Press Inc: Baltimore puts forward either the above hypothesis or that this Jasper Blake had a son Jasper Blake who was the emigrant. Jasper Blake (b 1592, baptized 27 Sep 1592) and son of Jasper Blake and Anne Amyas was said to be married to Frances (unknown) by 1624 according to the Visitation.

There is a burial for a Jasper Blake 18 Aug 1657 at All Saints Parish Church in Necton, Norfolk. Necton is 4 miles west of Swaffham and 17 miles west of Wimbotsham. No baptism for a child of Jasper Blake and Frances in the time frame. One hypothesis that crosses my mind is that he and Frances with their child/children did go to America but returned to Norfolk later leaving their descendants in the New Hampshire Colony. I think it is a thought which I would follow in looking at this family. The name Jasper is very very unusual.

The Blake family is absent from the 1664 Visitation of Norfolk.

While I was searching out information for the Norfolk Blake family I came across a book I had not had the occasion to read yet: History of the Borough of Calne (Wiltshire) and in one of the articles dealing with Tithings of Calne was mentioned: Tithing of Blakelonde mentioned in the Certificate of Muster of the men of the Hundred of Calne taken in 30 Henry (page 95). There was more information which I shall put into a later blog. This particular book mentions Robert le Blake with respect to the Tithing of Blakelonde and paying subsidy. I need to read the article more thoroughly and report back to my blog. As my memory, this blog is serving me very well.

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