Saturday, November 3, 2012

Will of Thomas Blake gentleman of Saint Albans Hertfordshire - National Archives PROB 11/26/55, probated 20 Feb 1536/37

I have just one will from Hertfordshire and it is for Thomas Blake and was probated 20 Feb 1536/37. The Blake family in Hertfordshire appears at Abbots Walden in Saint Albans in the early part of the 1500s living at Abbots Walden which was part of the large monastic centre at St Albans dismantled during the late 1530s early 1540s. British History online discussing the Abbots Walden has a write up on the property mentioned below:


The church of Abbots Walden was probably granted to the monastery of St. Albans by Wulfgar with the manor, (fn. 124) and was confirmed to them by King John. (fn. 125) In 1188 the obventions from the church were assigned with the licence of Pope Clement III to the guests' prebend. (fn. 126) One mark per annum from the church of Walden was granted in 1194 to the church of St. Mary of Pré near St. Albans, (fn. 127) and in 1257 a pension of 40s. per annum paid by the vicar of Walden was assigned by the abbot to provide bread and ale for the monks and their guests. (fn. 128) Part of the tithes of Walden were assigned to the hospital of St. Julian, (fn. 129) and some seem to have belonged to the refectorar. (fn. 130) In 1513 the site of the rectory and the tithes were leased for thirty-one years to Thomas Blake, for a rent of £19 payable to the refectorar. (fn. 131) This lease was renewed in 1534, and Blake apparently transferred it to Thomas Hoo. (fn. 132) The rectory and advowson of the vicarage were granted in 1544 to the dean and chapter of St. Paul's, London, (fn. 133) and the patronage has been vested in them since. The lease of the rectory was renewed in 1621 to William Hoo for four lives, and he mortgaged it in 1623 to John Saunders, Richard Franklyn, and Richard Collett. (fn. 134) The rectory was sold with the Bury, and the great tithes are now received by the earl of Strathmore. (fn. 135)

The National Archives has under Access to Archives the Estate and family papers of the Blake family of Danesbury, Welwyn, Hertfordshire 1776 - 1924 and they are held by the Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies and a short history follows from the Access to Archives website :

Administrative history:
In 1797 William Blake married Mary Nash, daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth Nash, and granddaughter of John Darker. By this settlement the Darker estates in Leicestershire, Derbyshire, Northamptonshire and Huntingdonshire, including the advowson of Queniboro', Leics, were settled on William and Mary, after the death of Edward Lovedon. Edward Lovedon, who died c.1821, was the second husband of Elizabeth Nash, daughter and heir of John Darker.

In 1805 Blake purchased a house in Portland Place, and in 1819 he took a lease on St. John's Lodge, Welwyn, which he subsequently purchased in 1824, and altered the name to Danesbury. He added other pieces of land to this estate, and was an enthusiastic shot and landowner. In 1826 he became a J P for Hertfordshire, and in 1836 served as High Sheriff. He was involved in the local police committee in 1843, and in negotiations about the London to York Railway in 1848.
He had eight children; of the three sons, William John was MP for Newport, 1837-1841, Frederic served in the 33rd Regiment in Ireland, Gibraltar, Canada and the Crimea, and Henry Woolaston was a partner in Boulton, Watt & Co, engineers and iron founders.
Four of the daughters were married, Mary to Baron de Biel of Germany, Ellen to John Alexander Hankey, Caroline to Henry Davidson, and Emily to Christopher William Fuller: Fanny, the unmarried sister, lived at home. William Blake died in 1852 and was succeeded by his eldest son William John Blake.

I do not know if these two lines are connected at all. William Blake married Mary Nash at Saint Mary, St Marylebone Road, St Marylebone, London, England. My thought it that this line is likely from the Blake lines in London.

There was an Edward/Edmund Blake (buried 30 June 1598 (C07210-1 Family Search)) baptizing children at Redbourn Hertfordshire in the 1570s/1580s namely (C01769-8 Family Search):

Isabell Blake baptized 20 Jun 1574
Catherina Blake baptized 1 Jun 1582

Redbourn runs adjacent to the parish of St Michaels in Saint Albans so is perhaps quite interesting.

There is a Thomas Blake baptizing children at Baldock Hertfordshire namely (C07210-1 Family Search):

William Blake baptized 23 Mar 1560
Dorathey Blake baptized Jul 1563
Agnes Blake baptized 26 Dec 1565

and a John Blake baptizing at Baldock namely(C07210-1 Family Search):

James Blake baptized Aug 1572

Baldock is interestingly enough just 11 miles south of Welwyn Hertfordshire.

There was a John Blake at Hemel Hempstead Hertfordshire baptizing children namely (C07241-1 Family Search):

John Blake baptized 25 Jun 1587
Sara Blake baptized 1 Mar 1589
William Blake baptized 3 Mar 1593
Daniell Blake baptized Dec 1596

Hemel Hempstead is 6 miles NW of St Albans.

Marriages in the 1500s in Hertfordshire for Blake:

John Blake and Isabell Rolfe 31 Aug 1583 Great Gaddesden (M04738-2 Family Search)

Great Gaddesden is three miles from Hemel Hempstead.

From The Herts Genealogist and Antiquary, 1899 (William Brigg)))  ( :
f. 55. JOHN WAGSTAFFE. {DaL 21 Jidy 1448). Bur. at
S^ Peters, viz. ^ in primo ingressu dicti Cimiterii sub capella
ibidem de ChameU'; Benedict Edryssh chaplain; Kobt.
Andrew ; The anchorites of S^ Peters & S^ Michaels ; John
Wortyng skinner ; Lawrence West ; Edw. West ; Eustachia
dau. of my wife ; John Blake ; The convent of the friars minors
of Ware ; The office of the Bursar of S* Albans &c ; Wife
Julian & Rich. Studeley exors. (Pr. 29 Aug. 1448).

This short excerpt is interesting in that it mentions John Blake prior to 1500 in Hertfordshire namely at Ware. Ware is 15 miles ENE of St Albans, 9 miles E of Welwyn  and 14 miles SSE of Baldock.

The will itself does provide us with details on the family of Thomas. He married a widow and his estate moved into the hands of the Hoo family through his stepson Thomas Hoo. He has a cousin Gregory Warren who received half of his estate. He had a daughter Jane (deceased) and an uncle Thomas Blake married to Margaret (both deceased).

The process by which I chose a will for Hertfordshire (I choose one for each county that had early wills for the Blake family) was I picked the oldest one when there weren't very many wills:

National Archives holds six wills for Blake at Hertfordshire (including the current one being transcribed not listed below):

Will of Susannah Blake, widow of Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire probated 11 Jun 1850
Will of Ezekiel Blake, Wine and Spirit Merchant of Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire probated 20 Aug 1833
Will of Samuel Blake, Wheelwright of Aldenham, Hertfordshire probated 7 Jan 1724
Will of John Blake, farmer of Hatfield, Hertfordshire probated 21 Sep 1831
Will of William Blake, gentleman of Cheshunt, Hertfordshire probated 7 Jun 1803

Looking at The Visitation of Hertfordshire 1572 for the Hoo family of Paul's Walden. Maud Bardolfe first married Thomas Hoo of Paul's Walden and it was her son Thomas Hoo who married (unknown) Newman with their son Thomas marrying Lucy Brockett  and it is he who has signed the Visitation for this family.

The 1634 Visitation of Hertfordshire lists Thomas Hoo married to Lucy Brockett with their son Thomas married to Helen Perient their son William married to Susan Stermont. This William living in 1635 has filled in the Visitation and has a son Thomas then 21 years old in 1634.

I did not find any Blake entries in the Visitations for Hertfordshire.

Transcriber: Elizabeth Kipp
Recorded: 29 Oct 2012
Source:  The National Archives, PROB 11/26/55
Name of testator: Thomas Blake, gentleman
Place: Saint Albans, Hertfordshire, England
Type of Record: Will
Dated 25 Nov 1536, probated 20 Feb 1536/37
Read: Electronic file images
Condition: light text, middle English writing, 16th century
[In margin] T[estator] Thome
[In margin] Blake

1    In the name of god amen the xxv ti daye of Novembre in the yere of o[u]r lorde god a thousand
2    five hundrethe xxxvj I Thomas Blake of the towne of Saint Albans in the Countie of Hertf[ordshire]
3    gentleman of hole mynde and good remembrance lauding and praising be unto Almightie god
4    make and ordayne this my p[re]sent Laste will and testament in man[ner] and forme folowing First
5    I comende my soule unto Almightie god and to o[u][r blessed Lady and to all the holy company of
6    hevin and my bodie to be buried w[ith]in the Churche of Saint Petir in the Chapell of o[u]r Ladye
7    It[e]me I give and Bequithe to the highe aulter for my tythes forgoten xij d It[e]m to Saint Albanes
8    chryme xij d It[e]m I will that a Graveston be Bought and laide upon me It[e]m I will
9    threescore lodis of stones be laide in the hyghe weye bitwen the the Charwell Chapell and wotehall
10    It[e]m I give and bequethe unto Gregory Waren th[e ]elder my Cosen after my deceas and my wiffes
11    all the yeres of my lease and farme that I have of the monastery of Saint Albanes called Gimberds
12    Wall th[e ]appurtenancs thereto belonging on and my said wife discharginge moneys x s or so s of my
13    bonds that I am bounden in to the Abbot and Convent of the said monastery Also I give and bequethe
14    my lease and ferme called the p[ar]songe of Abbots Walden unto Thomas Hoo and to his wife and
15    unto the longer liver of them Bothe aftir my deceas and my wife And as it happen any of the
16    yeres of the said lease and ferme to be undetermyned aftir the deceas of the said Thomas Hoo and
17    his wife that then thes yeres soo undetermyned shall remayne to Thomas Hoo the younger
18    my godsonne Also I give and bequeth unto the said Thomas Hoo th[e ]elder after my deceas and my
    [Page 2]
19    wiffes all suche farmes bushells scotells shovilles dungeforks cartes and cartladders and longe ladders
20    that belongethe to the barne after the deceas of me and my wif Alsoe I give to the said Thomas Hoo th[e ]elder my
21    grounde that I have of Stagenhoo and alsoe a close that I have By copie sometyme Willia[m] Hannswis
22    Item I will that Maude mywif aftir my deceas shal[l ]have the occupa[t]ion of the hous or tent that I
23    dwell in here w[ith]all the bedde hangingis sperwers capelles formes stoles cubberds coffers all
24    the brasse laten and pewter w[i]t[h] all other ymplements and necessaries whate so ev[er] they bee except
25    myne napery and my plate during hir lif And half the brasse and half the pewter latten before
26    expressed And twoo fetherbeddis w[i]t[h] their apparell my wife to have to give and dispose at hir
27    pleasure, the other half of the brasse pewter and latten w[i]t[h] all the bedding except the spervers
28    testers and hangingis the oon half thereof to remayne to my cosen Gregory Waren th[e ]elder
29    and the other half to Thomas Hoo th[e ]elder and Thomas Hoo the younger All houshold and
30    necessaries as is before reherced aftir the deceas of me and my wif Except before except I give to
31    my cosen Gregory Waren th[e ]elder holy to remayne to hym w[i]t[h]oute let of any man And as to the
32    disposi[c]ion of my plate masers and spones aftir my deceas I will it shal[l ]be solde, except  five m[ar]kes
33    worthe of the same plate my wif to have and to give at her pleasure And the Residue of the said
34    plate comyng to fynd a prise to singe for me and my wif my father soule and mother soule my
35    doughter Jane's soule my uncle Thomas Blake soule and Margaret his wife and all other s[hres]ten souleis
36    Item I give and bequethe xx li in money for an yerely obite to be kept w[i]t[h]in the church of Saint
37    Peter by the space of xx ti yeres aftir my deceas yerely to be kept and thereat to be expended xx s  And
38    the said preste to sing oon yere at Saint Peters in Saint Albanes and at other yere at Abbots
39    Walden and there to praye for the soules afore named Item I bequethe to Abbots Walden churche
40    five marks in money Item I will that xx li over and above the funding of a prist above said shall
41    alsoe goe to the finding of a prist to singe as is afore appoynted Item I give to Edmond Newsome
42    aftir my deceas all suche bedding brasse and pweter that I have at my barne at Abbots
43    Walden except my bedd that I lie on, the whiche bed I will remayne to the bedding of my ho[u]ses
44    that I dwell in Item I give and bequeth unto my woman s[er]vante Blanche Gowtson oon
45    fetherbed w[i]t[h] a Bolster oon paire of blanckets of lynnen oon paire of shetes oon cov[er]let that
46    which was Grayns Item I give and Bequeth 10 li to be bestowed in the hyghe weye
47    under Threfferengrove Item I give and Bequeth unto Elizabeth Penyfather at the tyme
48    of her mariage x s Item I give and Bequethe to Richard Raurrigge my s[er]vant vj s vij d Item I
49    give and Bequethe unto Thomas Catelyn when he is maried xx s and ij paire of shetis Item
50    I give and Bequethe to Thomas Hethe a cote clothe of Russet, and also to the same Thomas
51    in money vj s viij d Item I doe forgive and remyt unto William Myles and Agnes his wife vj li
52    whiche they doe owe me Item I doe forgive and remyt unto Rauf Etevyason all suche money
53    as he dothe owe me Item I give and Bequethe unto B Thomas Smythe my prist my gowne furred
54    w[i]t[h] foxe Item I give and Bequeth unto the said B Thomas a paire of shetis Item I will that Mawde
55    my wif have a paire of floxen shets to give and dispose at hir pleasure And the Residue of all my
56    napery the oon half thereof I give to Gregory Waren th[e ]elder my cosen and his children And
57    the other half to remayne to Thomas Hoo th[e ]elder and Thomas Hoo the younger Item I give and
58    bequethe unto Agnes Myles the wif of William Myles aftir my decease xx s Item I give to
59    mother Barnarde during her life xx s to be paide quarterly Item I will that all suche willes
60    bequests and legacies made by me Thomas Blake bering date any tyme before this my p[resen]t
61    laste will shall from thensforthe be frustrate voide and of none effect to all intents And this
62    my p[re]sente laste will to be in strengthe and of good effect The Residue of all my goods not
63    bequethed aftir my detts paid and this my last will executed and fulfilled I putt it to the
64    discre[c]ion of  my Executors to bestowe for my soule and for the soules of them aforenamyd, as they
65    shall thinke most beste aftir their discre[c]ion And I doe make and ordeyn myne executors to the
66    p[er]formance of this my present laste will Gregory Waren th[e ]elder Thomas Knyghton and Thomas
67    Hoo th[e ]elder gentlemen and I doe give to ev[er] oon of my said Executors for their diligent labo[ur]s
68    xx s In Witnes whereof I the said Thomas Blake to this my present laste will have putte my seall
69    the daye and yere above said Theis bering witnes John Cowley Thomas Chipwith gentleman
70    Br George Penton prist Br Thomas Smythe prist George Rufford Thomas Stawonton John
71    Spenser John Burley more and other

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