Thursday, January 3, 2013

Will of Thomas Blake, Minister of the Gospel, Tamworth, Warwickshire - The National Archives PROB 11/61/261, probated 20 Nov 1657

This is the last of the Blake wills that we photographed at Kew in October of 2010. I have come to a rapid end of the wills although I have discovered that I never published the will of Roger Blake of Pinhills probated in 1557 and that one will follow this one. I will then move on to transcribe other wills for my family lines but will continue working away on my Blake and Pincombe one name studies each day as well. Completing the transcriptions of the remainder of the wills is one of my New Years Resolutions as I find that I have strayed away from my other family lines in this past year with my growing interest in my two one name studies. Going back further in my other family lines would involve visits to the Record Offices of the various counties in which they lived and at this time I am not planning on doing that. However, as I acquire information on these other lines I will follow through and post whatever I do find.

Thomas Blake was a Minister of the Gospel at Tamworth Warwickshire. I was quite interested in this will because William Blake (Clerk) served one year in Lincoln as a minister and one year as a schoolteacher in Warwickshire before returning to Andover to marry Ann Hellier. Why he didn't remain as a priest is a mystery perhaps best solved by his writing the baptisms of his children in the parish register at Andover during the Commonwealth period when this was considered to be a civil registration and dates of birth recorded. Many priests in this time period did record secretly in the parish registers but the Andover registers are scant in this time period so that the registration of his three children baptized at Penton Mewsey where he lived in the Andover Parish Registers for St Mary is perhaps significant. Was he being defiant and did this rather exclude him from being a priest during these turbulent times? A question that belongs to the ages. I was curious at this Thomas Blake in Warwick as this is not a place where a lot of Blake families were found in this time period.

Thomas is not old enough to be other than a cousin to William Blake or perhaps completely unrelated. The will may or may not reveal that secret. However the Wikipedia article has him as a native of Staffordshire.

Thomas Blake is listed in the Oxford University Alumni:

Blake, Thomas, of co. Stafford, pleb. Christ Church, matric. 25 Oct 1616, aged 19; B.A. May, 1620, M.A. 21 Feb., 1622-3, vicar of St. Alkmund's, Shrewsbury, 1645-50, Minister of Tamworth, co. Stafford, and Warwick, until his death, buried there 11 Jun 1657. See Ath., iii. 431; & D.N.B.

There is a wikipedia article devoted to him:
Thomas Blake (1597?-1657) was an English clergyman and controversialist.

He was a native of Staffordshire, and entered Christ Church College, Oxford, in 1616 in his nineteenth year. He proceeded B.A. and M. A., and having obtained orders, had some minor church position. In 1648 he subscribed to the solemn league and covenant in 1648 among the ministers of Shropshire, and soon after, while he was pastor of St. Alkmond's in Shrewsbury, he received a call to Tamworth. He was nominated one of the assistants to the commissioners of Staffordshire for the ejecting of scandalous ministers and schoolmasters.

Blake died at Tamworth, and was interred in his own church on 11 June 1657. His funeral sermon was preached by Anthony Burgesse, and was published in 1658, along with an oration by Samuel Shaw, then schoolmaster at Tamworth Works (article includes his works).

Samuel Beresford his nephew is listed in the Oxford University Alumni:

Beresford, Samuel, B.A. from Magdalen Coll., Cambridge 1637; M.A. from Queen's Coll., Cambridge, incorp. 10 July 1655, ejected from St Werburgs, Derby in 1662, died Oct., 1697. See Calamy, i, 403.

Thomas Blake nephew of the testator is perhaps this Thomas listed in the Oxford Alumni:

Blake, Thomas, 'serv.' St. John's Coll., matric. 28 March, 1655.

British History online mentions Little Onn which Thomas Blake (the testator) owned and gave to his brother John Blake by this will:
by indenture of 1st October, 1649, sold to Thomas Blake, of the town of Salop, in the county of Salop, Clerk, and Jane his wife, for seven score pounds, all that his messuage, cottage or tenement, with the appurtenances, wherein one Francis Maynard did then inhabit, situate in Onne, otherwise called Little Onne, in the county of Stafford, together with all houses, edifices, buildings, barns, stables, orchards, gardens, lands, meadows, leasowes, pastures, commons, woods, underwoods, reversions, profits, commodities, and hereditaments to the said messuage belonging (one meadow, commonly called Chenfford meadow, lying in the lordship of Church Eaton, in the said county of Stafford, only excepted); all which premises were then in the holding of the said Francis Maynard and Thomas Haynes or their assigns. This deed is witnessed by Philip Astley, John James, Mathew Birch, John Blake, Richard Joylinge, William Astley, Thomas Blake, junior, and John Blake, junior. (fn. 59)

By another indenture of 18th August, 1657, between John Blake the elder, of Little Onne, and his son John Blake the younger, the said John Blake the elder, quoting the former indenture of 1649, between William James, Clerk, and Thomas Blake, Clerk, now deceased, and Jane his wife, and the heirs and assigns of the said Thomas, concerning a messuage, &c., wherein Francis Maynard and Katherine, wife of Thomas Haynes, did then and do now inhabit, in Little Onne, all which premises are, or late were, in the tenure of John Blake the elder, John Blake the younger, Francis Maynard, and Katherine Haynes, under the present title of John Blake the younger; all which premises descended and came to John Blake the elder as brother and heir of the said Thomas Blake, deceased, from and after the decease of the said Jane Blake. The said John Blake the elder now gives over the same premises to his son the said John Blake the younger. (fn. 60)

By indenture of 2nd January, 3 James II. (1686–7), between John Blake, of Little Onne, in co. Stafford, gent., of one part, and Thomas Blake, his son and heir apparent, of the other part, the said John Blake, as well for the natural love and affection, &c., which he bears to his son the said Thomas, as for the sum of £400 to him paid by the said Thomas, gives to the said Thomas all that his messuage, farm, or dwelling house, with the appurtenances, wherein the said John Blake doth now inhabit and dwell, together with all houses, out-houses, &c., now in the possession of the said John Blake, all which are situate in Little Onne, and all that messuage or tenement in Little Onne, now in possession of Humphrey Parkes, together with all out-houses, &c., and all that cottage in Little Onne aforesaid, now in possession of Joseph Hilton, reserving to himself an annual sum of £5 during the term of his natural life. The witnesses to this deed are John Keelinge, Mary Blake, and John Stanley. (fn. 60)

On 5th October, 1771, John Blake, son and heir of Thomas Blake, left his estate at Little Onn to Thomas Scott, of Walsall, nephew of his wife Ann Blake. Thomas Scott mortgaged the property to Thomas Freeman, of Lincolnshire; and on 20th January, 1793, Freeman and Scott sold it to Henry Crockett the younger, Esq., (fn. 61) of Little Onn.

Another portion of the property, which was purchased by William James, from John Dyott, was sold by the same William James, on 25th October, 1652, for £440, to Elizabeth Collier, late wife of Richard Collier, of Befcote, in the county of Stafford, who conveyed it, by indenture of 19th September, 1654, to her son and heir John Collier. (fn. 62) On 16th December, 1681, it was apparently settled by John Collier, of Befcote, and Elizabeth his wife, on his son and heir Richard Collier and Mary his wife, daughter of Francis Yeomans. Again, on 8th April, 1703, a marriage settlement was made by Mary Collier, of Woodford Grange, widow of John Collier, son and heir of Richard Collier, late of Woodford Grange, deceased, of the first part; William Byrths, of Pillington, and William Collier, of Befcote, of the second part; and Elizabeth Byrths, of Pillington, spinster, daughter of William Byrths, of the third part. (fn. 62) On 7th January, 1731, Elizabeth Collier, widow and relict of John Collier, of Little Onn, and John Collier, son and heir of John Collier, deceased, conveyed the property to George Brown, of Acton Trussel, as trustee. (fn. 62) A few years later it seems to have been mortgaged by John Collier in part to Robert Crockett, and in part to Sarah Jennings, widow of the Rev. Walter Jennings, Rector of Church Eaton, and daughter and co-heir of Walter Skrimsher, of Orslow, Gent., from whom it passed to her grandson, Abraham Bracebridge, of Atherstone Hall, co. Warwick, Esq., the son and heir of Abraham Bracebridge, of Atherstone Hall, Esq., by his second wife, Mary, daughter and co-heir of the Rev. Walter Jennings and Sarah his wife. The said Abraham Bracebridge the younger (who died in 1798), and his sister Mary (who seems to have been her grandmother's executrix), John Collier, and Robert Crockett, assigned the mortgage, in March, 1742, to Blest Colclough, and on 25th March, 1743, the property was finally conveyed to Robert Crockett, of Shuston, Gent., grandfather of the before mentioned Henry Crockett, junior, and the first of the family who acquired an estate at Little Onn, where they afterwards became possessed of the whole township, and several adjoining properties in the parish of Church Eaton and in the neighbouring townships.

By another indenture of 4th October, 1651, William James, of the city of Durham, Clerk, sells to Thomas Blake, of Tamworth, in the county of Warwick, Clerk, and Mary Blake, of Little Onne, spinster, sister of the said Thomas Blake, for the sum of £100, all that his messuage or tenement, with the appurtenances, in Little Onne, now or late in the tenure of John Blake, brother of the said Thomas Blake, or his assigns, and all houses, lands, &c., to the said messuage or tenement belonging, lying or being in Little Onne or Church Eaton or one of them, or elsewhere in the county of Stafford. This is witnessed by William Jennings, William Jervis, John Blake, Richard Joylinge, Thomas Blake, and John Blake the younger. (fn. 63)

Perhaps this was the small estate which Mary Vaughton, widow, John Blake and Thomas Blake, mortgaged in 1692 to Thomas Bowers, who conveyed it in the following year to John Pitt, who sold it on 21st January, 1697, to Edward James. On 4th September, 1729, Edward James left it, by will, to William Dale, of Booden, who sold it the same year to Simon Busby, who by deed of 7th May, 1814, conveyed it to Henry Crockett, Esq., in exchange for some other land. But this was only a portion of the James estate in Little Onn for by indenture of 4th February, 12 William III. (1700), between Edward James, of Little Onn, yeoman, and Margery his wife, on the one part, and George Cookes, of Moddersall, co. Staff., yeoman, Robert Lake, of Woollaston, yeoman, and Francis James, of Little Onn, yeoman, of the other part, the said Edward James makes a settlement of his estates, whereby, after providing for his wife's jointure, he settles all his lands in Little Onne and Wood Eaton on himself for term of life, with remainder to his son Edward James the younger and his right heirs. (fn. 64)

Interestingly this portion contains a small genealogical chart on the Blake family labeled Pedigree of Blake.

Three siblings (no parents named) which included Thomas Blake, cler, of Shrewsbury, 1649; of Tamworth, 1651; dead s.p. married to Jane 1649, John Blake of Little Onn, yeoman, 1649 - 1687 married (wife not named) with son John Blake oc 1649; of Little Onn, gent., 1687 married (wife not named) with son Thomas Blake, son and heir apparent, grantee of his father, 1687 married (wife not named) with son John Blake, son and heir of Thomas, 5th Oct., 1771, left his estate at Little Onn to his wife's nephew, Thomas Scott, married to Ann, and the third sibling was Mary Blake of Little Onn, spinster, 1651.

Whatever is the origin of this Blake family at Staffordshire they are definitely there in the early to mid 1600s. There is a short writeup on Thomas in "The history and antiquities of the collegiate church of Tamworth" by Charles Ferrers Raymund Palmer, 1871, London: Simpkin, Marshall, and Co.  page 126:

Thomas Blake was born in Staffordshire about the year 1597. He entered Christ Church in the University of Oxford in 1616 but whether in condition of a student or servitor Anthony a Wood did not know, took the degrees of B.A., May 5th 1620 and M.A. Feb. 21st 1622-3, and afterwards had some petit employment in the church bestowed on him. He was appointed to the Vicarage here Nov. 12th 1629 by Sir John Repington, and the Guardians of the School gave him the office of the two curates so that he became both Vicar and perpetual curate and resided in the College House. In the Parish Register is the entry: "Aprill, 1631: 27. Mar. Thomas Blake, Minister of Tam., and Jane Wagstaff of Drayton Basset." It does not appear that he had any issue.

Interestingly he was nominated by Oliver Cromwell to be one of the assistants to the commissioners of Staffordshire for the ejecting of such whom they called ignorant and scandalous ministers and schoolmasters. Whilst searching the database for the Church of England Clergy I did find a William Blake ejected from Tamworth as a schoolmaster. It could be that this was my ancestor! as he may have become a schoolmaster after serving one year as priest at Lincoln.

After transcribing the will I found in the Notes and Queries for Somerset and Dorset a copy of an earlier transcription of this will with the notation included: was this Thomas Blake related to the Somerset Blake family? The original transcriber was a "Mr. Kent, deceased." This was No. 91, Somerset and Dorset Notes and Queries (December 1907). Handy for checking my transcription.

Transcriber: Elizabeth Kipp
Recorded:  1 Jan 2013
Source: The National Archives PROB 11/61/261
Testator: Thomas Blake, Minister of the Gospel
Place: Tamworth, Warwickshire, England
Type of Record: Will
Dated: 11 Jan 1655/56, probated 20 Nov 1657
Read: Electronic copy images
Condition: middle English writing script and elaborate

[Margin] T[estament]
[Margin] Thomas
[Margin]: Blake

1    January The Eleaventhe One Thousand Six hundred Fiftie Five
2    I Thomas Blake of Tamworth
3    in the Countie of Warwick minister of the Gospell enjoying a good measure
4    of health and in good and perfect memory by the Blessing of God doe
5    make and ordeine this my Last will and Testament in Manner and Forme following
6    First I give and bequeath to my deare wife Jane Blake the moyetie or one halfe
7    of my Meadow Called by the name of Smith's Meadow scituate and being in
8    Cannock
    [Page 2]
9    Cannock and Great Wryly or either of them in ye Countie of Stafford and to her heires
10    forever. Empowering her by this my Last Will and Testament to dispose of it in Fee
11    Simple at pleasure Onley desiring that in Case she or such person to whom she
12    shall dispose of it shall think fit to put it to sale That my heires shall have the
13    refusall of it at the price which I paid for it viz [a vi]t One hundred and Eightie pounds
14    The other Moyetie or halfe of my said Meadow together with all that is mine
15    in Little Onn in the said Countie of Stafford I give and bequeath to my
16    Brother John Blake on whom it ought to descend requireing him to Let it descend
17    or the greatest part of it to his eldest Sonne Thomas Blake unlesse he shall deserve
18    otherwise then he hath his parte done Item I give to my Nephew Mr. William Rocke
19    nowe Minister of Mathfield my Julius and Tremelius Bible together with
20    anie other one Book or One mans Works that he shall chose out of my studie
21    Item I give to my said deare wife All my English divinite Bookes
22    which my Overseers after named shall judge meet for her use and my friends
23    and hers desireing her when she shall judge meet to dispose of them amongst
24    them. Item I give All the rest of my Bookes together with all my manuscripts
25    to my Nephew Mr Samuel Beresford now Minister of Bremingham Aston.
26    Item I give to my nephew Thomas Blake one silver Cann
27    on which the Leters of my Name and his are engraven. All the rest of my
28    goodes Chattles Moveable or unmoveable with debts due to me I give and bequeath
29    to my said deare wife expecting and requireing That she shall dispose one
30    Full halfe of them or the vallue of the said Full One half of them at Least
31    amongst my Freinds That is my Brothers and sisters and their Children
32    according to her best discre[t]ion and theire necessities and deservings advising
33    advising her to hasten as soone as she is in powere the makeing of her will or else the distribu-
34    tion of such one full halfe or vallue of it That my inten[t]ions be not by delayes
35    disappointed. And my will further is That she shall have the use of the cann
36    before bequeathed dureing her Life Item I make and appoint my
37    my said deare wife Jane Blake sole Executrix of this my last will and
38    Testament Item I appoint John Swinfen of Swinfen, Esquire and Thomas
39    Fox of Tamworth Gent Overseers of this my last will and Testament
40    requesting them with theire best advice to be assisting to my said deare wife
41    in the disposeing of her selfe and discharge of her trust. In Witnes
42    whereof to this my last will and Testament written with my owne hand
43    I have put to my hand and Seale. My will further is That the Overseers of
44    this my last will shall have Twentie shillings a peece to buy them Rings
45    Thomas Blake Sealed subscribed and Published by the said Thomas
46    Blake as and for his Last will and Testament the daie and yeare above written
47    in the presence of Tho: Fox Judith Fox Nicho: Parker Anne
48    Davill
49    The Fifth day of June in the
50    Yeare of the Lord One Thousand Six hundred
51    Fiftie and Seaven, Thomas Blake minister of the
52    Gospell did declare his mind and will further to be That his Brother
53    John Blake should dispose of all the Land at Little Onn in the Fee Simple
54    upon these Termes That the Summe of One Hundred Pounds should be
55    paid to his Nephew Samuel Beresford Minister of the gospell by the
56    said John Blake out of the monies oweing by him to his said Brother
57    Thomas Blake. And this Hundred pounds was to be for the use of Sarah Blake
58    To be paid her as a Legacie from her Uncle the said Thomas Blake for paym[en]t
59    whereof unto the said Sarah Blake his mind was that the said Samuel
60    Beresford should give security to his Executrix And he did declare his mind
    [Page 3]
61    further to be that Hanna Blake have Five pounds a yeare paid her by
62    the said John Blake dureing the Tearme of her naturall Life. And
63    further he did declare that his said Brother John Blake should pay to
64    his Nephew Thomas Chamberlaine the summe of Twentie pounds. And
65    his mind further was that Thomas Blake nephew to the said Thomas Blake
66    Minister as aforesaid should have the Moyetie of the Meadow which sometimes
67    was given to Jane Blake the Relict of the said Thomas Blake And that Gerald
68    Wagstaffe should have his Lease which was in Shrewsburie in leie of it
69    Lastlie his mind and will was That in case his Brother John Blake should
70    not make good the Tearmes proposed as aforesaid Thomas Blake eldest
71    Sonne to the said John Blake should be possessed of all the Lands which did
72    belong to the said Thomas Blake in Litle Onn And that John Blake minor
73    sonne to the said John should have noe benefit by his Unckle's will not share
74    in his Unckles estate estate In the pres[ent]s of Samuel Beresford Penelope
75    Beresford
76    This will together with the dive__ls or Codicill hereunto
77    ament was Proved at London the Twentieth day of November
78    in the yeare One Thousand Six hundred Fiftie Seaven Before the
79    Judges for Probat of wills and graunting Administra[t]ions Lawfullie
80    authorized By the oath of Jane the Relict and sole Executrix named
81    in the said will To whom was graunted Administra[t]ion of all and
82    singuler the goods Chattles and debts of the said deceased She being by
83    Commission first sworne truly to Administer the same The truth of
84    the said Codicill being attested by the desposi[t]ion of Samuel Beresford
85    Cur and Penelope Beresford witnesses thereunto

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