I found a free map online and inserted the numbers into the counties:
The Devon numbers are very large because John Blake/Blak was Clerk of the King's Works during the reign of Richard II and suffered confiscation of his estates so that the number of records directly related to him include 21 of the 36 leaving a substantial number of records nevertheless for Devonshire. There is a clustering around Worcestershire. There are a substantial number of entries in "traditional" Blake area across Devon, Somerset, Wiltshire and Hampshire. London has Blake entries dating back to 1342. The Blake family was located at Swaffham Norfolk in 1450 with Simon Blake being named as keeper of the seal in the town, lordship and warren of Swafham (28 Henry VI, volume 5, page 329). Hampshire having more entires than Wiltshire rather surprised me and a good number of these were from the Portsmouth/Southampton area.
There is some clustering but it is noticeable that even in this early time period the Blake family could be found in many of the counties of England.
The surprise find though was the entry concerning France. I am including it in its entirety because the entry (although only one Blake) is from 30 May 1274 and located on membrane 15 in the 24th year of the reign of Edward I, volume 3, page 189. The entry below includes Richard le Blak of Rouen. Rouen is located in Normandy on the River Seine and is the capital of Upper Normandy in modern times and was the historic capital city of Normandy.
"Licence, until Michaelmas, for Walter le Aketon, merchant of Rouen, to
come to England to trade and to carry his wools and merchandise to the
usual fairs and markets by the public streets and common ways, provided
he do not carry or cause to be carried his wools or merchandise out of the
kingdom, nor deal with the Flemings or others of the power of the countess
of Flanders in the kingdom, or in any way communicate with them, during
the contention between the king and the said countess.
[30 May 1274 Westminster, 2 Edward I, volume 1, pages 51 - 52, Calendar of Patent Rolls]
The like for the following :—
Peter de Bules, merchant of Rouen
William Burnell, merchant of Rouen
Hugh le Coynte, merchant of Rouen
Robert le Balauncer, merchant of Rouen
William de Toftes, merchant of Rouen
Matthew de Walle Richeri, merchant of Rouen
Richard le Mynnot, merchant of Rouen
William de Cryel, merchant of Rouen
Nicholas Veisin, merchant of Rouen
Antonin de Beuvays, merchant of Rouen
Nicholas de Fovill, merchant of Rouen
John de Alneto, merchant of Rouen
6 June [1274 Westminster etc]
Richard le Vilein, merchant of Rouen
Henry Lovet, merchant of Rouen
Walter Peitevin, merchant of Rouen
Hubin de Sancto Martino, of Huy.
John Tafurnawe, of Huy, merchant of Almain.
Henry le Soriz, of Huy, merchant of Almain.
Ralph de Leges, merchant of Leges.
John Henneman, merchant of Leges.
Libert de Leges, merchant of Leges.
John Nicholas, merchant of Deu.
Herewail, merchant of Huy.
Cono Dain, merchant of Huy.
Donrician Daundevale, merchant of Huy.
John Fox, of Brabant, merchant.
John Proppe, merchant of Malins.
John Perewez, of Huy, merchant of Brabant.
John Nicard, merchant of Huy.
Peter de Sauveye, merchant of Rouecestre.
Peter Cosyn, citizen of London.
Reginald de Menachato, merchant of Piacenza.
Conrad Nerbode, merchant of Almain.
Arnold de Dik, merchant of Malyns.
Nicholas Flambard, merchant of Rouen.
John de Torpmimie, merchant of Almain.
Geoffrey Aungevyn, merchant of Rouen.
William Cirurgyen, of Northampton.
William Bek, of London,
Henry Lovet, of Rouen.
Atinus Pruudalis, of Piacenza.
Hugelin Hugelinell, fellow of Nicholas Teste.
Nicholas Teste, fellow of Aldebrand Malagale.
John Winterman, merchant of Almain,
Luke de Lukes, merchant of Lucca.
Gotmar de Lubek, merchant of Almain.
Conrad de Affle, merchant of Almain.
Godschalc le Wyse, merchant of Almain.
Christopher de Munchy, merchant of Beuvays
Robert de Messegewell, merchant of Rouen.
John Donadeu, merchant of Cahors.
Everard de Duncy, merchant of Amiens
James Piket, merchant of Amiens
Warin Piket, merchant of Amiens
Warin Reinevall, merchant of Amiens.
Giles de Mundider, merchant of Amiens
Jacomin de Sancto Fuscencio, merchant of Amiens
Everard le Franceis, merchant of Amiens
Richard le Blak, merchant of Rouen.
Reyner de Furnar', merchant of Florence.
John Weremund, merchant of Caumbrey,
Alan de Sakintot, merchant of Rouen.
John Parwale, merchant of Malines.
Henry de Laghene, merchant of Malines.
Henry de Lewe, merchant of Brabant.
John de Mes, merchant of Amiens.
Walter Aketon, merchant of Fouen,
John Dunadeu, merchant of Cahors.
John de Burgundia, merchant of Amiens
Drogo Malherbe, merchant of Amiens
John Dare, merchant of Amiens
Ingelram Beremere, merchant of Amiens
Gilbert Bonnavel, merchant of Amiens"
The earliest Blake entry (prior to the one for Richard le Blak from Rouen, France) is for Willelmum le Blake and he was located in Hertfordshire during the reign of Henry III and the time period is the 30 Jan 1230. The entry is in Latin:
Hertford.—Adam filiis Willelmi, Petrus de Goldinton, Petrus de
Welles et Johannes de Marcham justiciarii ad assisam nove dissaisine
capiendam apud Hertford in octabis clausi [Pasche], quam Radulfus de
Wudiford aramiavit versus Petrum de Essewell, Walterum Coleman,
Augustinum Juvenem, Willelmum le Blake, Walterum filiurn Geroldi,
Ricardurn Stiward et Galfridum de Sandon de tenemento in Eswell;
salvis etc. Teste rege, apud Westmonasterium, xxx die Januarii.
I believe that it concerns a land dispute and one of these days I will translate it into English but putting it into a translator online:
Hertford.-the sons of Adam, William, Peter de Goldinton, Peter of
Welles and John MARCH of justices of assize of novel restored
taken at Hertford in the octave closed [Easter], which Ralph de
Wudiford aramiavit against Peter de Essewell, Walter Coleman,
Young Augustine, William le Blake, his son Walter Gerold,
Ricardurn Stiward and Geoffrey of Sandon Eswell tenement in;
compliance etc.. Witnessed by the king, at Westminster, on the thirtieth day of January.
The entry for Richard le Blak merchant at Rouen, France was a rather interesting entry. Many of the Blake families in England were involved in the wool trade either as farmers or tradesmen. At this early point in time finding a William le Blake already involved in land dealings as early as 1230 and then a Richard le Blak a merchant from Rouen, France in 1274 were certainly very interesting entries. It does suggest the possible entry into England of Blake families over a time period. Have these names been anglicized for entry into the rolls? A lot of questions arise from these Calendar Rolls. If Blake came in 1066 would you see such a wide distribution of families in several hundred years? With surnames coming later to the British Isles, can one assume that all of the early members of the le Blake, le Blak families were originally from France? A few interesting queries and I do now wonder if French Archives would add to the information on this family.To add to this is the family head on the Blake Pedigree Chart held at the Swindon and Wiltshire Record Office is named Richard Blaake/Blake/Blague living in the time period of Edward I and Edward II. The Chart does include the note with respect to the property in Essex which was deeded to Knights Templar but the document held by The National Archives has a Roger le Blake in that transaction. Possibly an error in reading the old document at the time that the chart was produced (1690) or a misunderstanding or is Roger related to Richard. I am thinking it is an error and that two distinct Blake lines were confused at the time of the making of the Chart especially as Roger was living in Herefordshire and not Wiltshire whereas it is known that a Robert Blake (married to Avis Wallop) was in Wiltshire at Quemerford in the late 1400s and early 1500s (buried circa 1515). It is this line that traced back to Richard Blake living during the reigns of Edward I and Edward II. Reading the original documents next trip to Kew is a high priority.
The online repository that has the Calendar of Patent Rolls (http://www.uiowa.edu/~acadtech/patentrolls/) is a freely searchable set of files made available as a project of Professor G.R. Boynton and the University of Iowa Libraries. Thanks to them for making this set of documents available.
Searching on the National Archives of the UK site gives three documents for le Blak and 55 for le Blake but none earlier than 1286. Finding the document for Richard le Blak of Rouen, France has given me more pause for thought with regard to the deep origins of the Blake families of the British Isles.
The distinct haplogroups for Blake in the Blake yDNA study are even more interesting with respect to the distribution for Blake/Blak found in an examination of the Calendar of Patent Rolls. More people testing their yDNA for Blake can only lead to a greater understanding of the deep ancestry of the Blake family of the British Isles.