Friday, May 4, 2012

Will of Nicholas Blake, Merchant of Plymouth, National Archives PROB 11/195, Image Reference 556/17708, probated 9 Apr 1646

The Devon Blake family is found in quite a few places in Devon and this early will was a surprise when I first spotted it on the National Archives website. I had thought the family in Devon was principally in the North Devon area. Is this the Nicholas that was Mayor of Plymouth in 1626 just two years before his will was written? From the webpage Nicholas Blake is listed as mayor from 1625 to 1626.

From Notes and Queries page 424 (3rd S.I. May 31, 1962), "There is on record the will of a certain Robert Reade of Linkenholt, HAM, in which the testator bequeaths a portion of his estate to his cousin Nicholas Blake, who it appears was Mayor of Plymouth in 1626..."  Also from the "Calendar of State Papers, Domestic Series, of the Reign of Charles 1: 1625-1626, by Great Britain. Public Record Office and available at Google: . Page 493: Dec 10: 70. Will of Robert Reade of Linkenholt, co. Hants: He provides for his wife Mildred, and leaves legacies to his brother Henry Reade, his nephew and cousin Francis, his brother-in-law Francis Windebank, his brother George, and his cousin Nicholas Blake. Dec. 10. 71. Deed of appointment by the said Robert Reade, declaring the trusts on which Francis Windebank, Henry Reade, and Nicholas Blake should hold the manor of Linkenholt, which was conveyed to them on the 7th Dec. 1624. This will is held by the Hampshire Record Office with finding number 1627A/48 and named Will and inventory of Robert Reade of Linkenholt, Hampshire, gent and 1627.

Also of interest is the listing on the Devon Genuki webpages where a will is mentioned for Nicholas Blake with date 1627. Interesting that the date of writing is recorded rather than the date of probate. Also one wonders why is it nineteen years later when probate is taken - Did Nicholas die nineteen years later. By 1646 his Executor is William his fifth son and son of his "second" wife Jane (at least she was not his first wife as he mentions that his older children have a different mother).

In another book about Martin Blake: The Life and Times of Martin Blake it is noted that Nicholas Blake was baptized 23 July 1593 at Plymouth. "The Life and Times of Martin Blake, B.D. (1593 - 1673) vicar of Barnstaple and prebendary of Exeter Cathedral, with some account of his conflicts with the Puritan Lecturers and persecutions." The author: John Frederick Chanter, M.A. Rector of Parracombe, Devon. London: John Lane, The Bodley Head, 1910. Reading through the book the author comments "The Blakes of Plymouth appear to have been a somewhat obscure family there; they do not seem to have been in any way connected with the family of Blake of Comb, in the county of Devon and their pedigree is in the Visitation of Cornwall nor are they connected with John Blake, Rector of Charles, North Devon 1568 - 1614." The author then procedes to give a history of Nicholas Blake. The first Blake in Plymouth found by the author was a William Blake whose name appears on a deed 14 Jul 1561 in Plymouth as one of the founders of the old Grammar School. William had a son Nicholas Blake born in 1552 but was semi orphaned and raised by his mother. Nicholas married first Joan Goddard 29 Nov 1590 at St Andrews Church, Plymouth and they had seven sons and seven daughters of whom Martin was one. His first wife was buried 17 Dec 1619 and he married Jane (related to Matthew Sutcliffe, Dean of Exeter) and they had two sons and three daughters. Continuing from the text: "Nicholas Blake of Plymouth was, as his son  tells us, a merchant, and prospered, and became mayor of his native town in 1625, which honour, however, was his undoing, as during his year of office he advanced large sums of money to the Government, in connection with the Cadiz expedition, and was unable to obtain repayment from a Government who were always short of money. He had to sell his estates, and was imprisoned for debt. After his release he left Plymouth, and joined his son Martin at Barnstaple, and died there in 1645-6 and was buried near the South Wall of the Parish Church (wills of Nicholas Blake, proved, April 9, 1646, and Martin Blake, dated September 1656). His second wife, Jane Blake, was also buried there, July 16, 1674, at a very advanced age.``

Amazing how much you can find out about a family just searching online in the archived books! I will investigate if this is a Hampshire or Wiltshire Blake line since he is a cousin to Robert Read at Linkenholt HAM. Linkenholt being just 10 miles north of Andover. Another William to discover and this one would have been born in the early 1500s but where was he born! Interesting that I should do this will shortly after the will of William Blake at Speen, Berkshire which is just nine miles north east of Linkenholt and he left his will in 1552. Going sideways and looking at collateral lines can sometimes reveal interesting linking details.

Transcriber: Elizabeth Kipp
Recorded: 3 May 2012
Source:  The National Archives PROB 11/195, Image Reference 556/17708  (images by me)
Name of testator: Nicholas Blake, Merchant of Plymouth
Place: Plymouth, Devon, England
Type of Record: Will
Dated: 20 Sep 1627, probated 9 Apr 1646
Read: Electronic file
Condition: old writing, 17th century, bold copy
[In margin] Testam[ent]
[In margin] Nicholai Blake

1    In the Name of God Amen The
2    Twentieth day of September in the third yeare of the raigne of our Soveraigne
3    Lord Charles by the grace of god Kinge of England Scotland France and Ireland
4    defender of the faith etc Anno D[o]m[ini] One thousand six hundred twentie seven I Nicholas
5    Blake of Plymouth in the County of Devon Merchant beinge in perfect health and memory
6    praise and laude be given to Almighty god for the same doe make and ordeyne this my last
7    will and testament in writinge in manner and forme followinge First and principally I committ
8    and comend my soule into the handes of Almighty god my maker and to his onely begotten
9    sonne Jesus Christ my saviour and redeemer hopinge and assuredly trustinge by his
10    merritts death and passion onely to have pardon and for remission ofe all my sinnes And my
11    body I committ to the earth from whence it came to be buried in Christian buriall at the
12    discretion ofe my Executors hereafter named. And as touchinge my worldly goods and
13    estate which god of his infinite goodnes hath bestowed on me I give and bequeath as
14    followeth, First I give and bequeath unto Jane Blake my now wife the dwellinge house
15    wherein I now dwell lyinge within the Borough of Plymouth in Streete there called
16    Whymple Street with all the household goods in the same as now standeth duringe hir
17    naturall life Alsoe I give and bequeath unto the said Jane my wife the rent of Catdowne
18    duringe hir naturall life with the invertion of the same ife it fall by hir life tyme to lett and
19    sett at hir best profit and beheese at a rent or tyme for ther lives or one and Twenty yeares
20    in possession soe as the rent be preserved as it is now sett for unto my heire hereafter
21    nominated in this my will Alsoe I give and bequeath unto Jane my wife all the said profit
22    and benefitt ofe my third parte that may be made of my liveinge at higher Toire
23    duringe hir naturall life either for the Rent reserved ife it be leased or in hand to count
24    their lives or one and Twenty yeares reservinge the old rent unto my said heire and
25    in possession Alsoe I give and bequeath unto the said Jane my wife the profitt and
26    benefitt of all those fyve houses or Tenements at Britton side within the B_____h
27    abovesaid mentioned the Landes of Percy too and duringe his naturall life, Alsoe I give
28    and bequeath unto the said Jane my wife the rent ofe one close of Land at the Stone House Poole Pike
29    neare Stone house Mill poole now in the Tenure of John Nicholson with power
30    to sett and lett the same reservinge the yearely Rent that now itt yeildeth if itt
31    happen to fall duringe hir life for one two or three lyves or for one and twenty
32    yeares and that in possession. Item I give unto Judeth Blake my eldest daughter
33    the summe of Tenn poundes sterlinge. Item I give and bequeath unto Robert Blake
34    my third sonne the summe of fifty poundes sterlinge to be paid by my Executor hereafter
35    named within two yeares after my death by Twenty five poundes per Annum.
36    I give and bequeath unto Nicholas Blake my fourth sonne the summe of Tenn
37    poundes sterlinge to be paid by my Executor within one yeare after my decease
38    Item
    [Page 2]
39    Item I give and bequeath unto William Blake my fifth sonne begotten on the body
40    of the said Jane my now wife my foresaid dwellinge house lyinge in Plymouth
41    aforesaid in the said Streete called Whymple Streete, And alsoe the aforesaid
42    Tenement called Catdowne withall and singular the Appurten[an]ces thereunto
43    belonginge now in the possession of Phillip Andrew the elder of Plymouth
44    abovesaid Merchant his Assignee or Assignees together with a house or tenement
45    there allso beinge now in the possession of one Robert Rancke Shipwrighte which
46    he holdeth in lease from me. And alsoe the thirde parte of all that the foresaid
47    Tenement called  higher Toire with all and singular the Appurten[an]ces. And likewise
48    all the aforesaid houses or Tenement at Britton side aforesaid sometimes the lands
49    of the aforesaid Priory  with all and singuler the Appurten[an]ces thereunto
50    belonginge. And alsoe all that the aforesaid close of land called Stonehouse
51    poole parke lyeinge neare Stonehouse Mill poole. To have and to hold all and
52    singular the above said bequeathed premisses with there and every of theire
53    Appurten[an]ces unto the aforesaid William Blake and to his heires and Assignes
54    forever to hies and these onely proper use and beheese for evermore Reservinge the
55    abovesaid perticuler estates bequeathed to my said wife in manner as aforesaid
56    And I doe here by make and ordeyne the abovesaid William Blake my full and
57    whole Executor of this my last will and Testament. And I doe nominate and
58    appointe my truley and wel[l ]beloved freindes Thomas Flinch and Stephen Conntie
59    to be my Overseers in the execu[t]ion of the same And for theire paines in that
60    behalfe I give to each of them Tenn shillinges In witnes whereof I have hereunto
61    sett my hand and seale the day and yere first above written Nicholas Blake, Signed
62    Sealed and published in the presence of us James Pruvis Richard Clapper
63    Richard Sisdon

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