Sunday, August 18, 2013

Will of Thomas Blake, Gentleman, Plymtree, Devon - The National Archives PROB 11/1032/77 - probated 6 Jun 1777

Thomas Blake, the testator, lived at Plymtree, Devon. According to Genuki in 1850 William Blake Esquire was one of the larger landowners there. Indeed Thomas bequeaths all of his property to William (possibly an ancestor of the William Blake in 1850) Blake his brother.

John Marks was perhaps married to Elizabeth (Betty) Blake since he is brother in law to Thomas Blake. Thomas does not mention a wife. Robert Marks was baptized 4 Feb 1766 at Pitminster son of John and Betty Marks. John Marks was baptized 1 Jul 1761 at Pitminster son of John and Betty Marks.

I did find baptisms for Trull online (home of Mr. William Blake, brother to the deceased):

Blake     Elizabeth     24 Jun 1689     d Robert
Blake     Joan     14 Apr 1691     d Robert
Blake     Edith     06 May 1695     d Robert
Blake     Mary     06 Apr 1697     d Robert
Blake     Elizabeth     10 Apr 1711     d Thomas/Elizabeth
Blake     Thomas     13 Jan 1712     s Mr Thomas (deceased)/Mrs Elizabeth
Blake     Thomas     28 Jun 1763     s Mr William, Cutsey
Blake     William     11 Jun 1766     s Mr & Mrs Blake of Cutsey
Blake     Betty     09 Aug 1769     d Mr & Mrs Blake of Cutsey
Blake     Betty     03 Dec 1794     d William/Betty
Blake     William     19 May 1797     s William/Betty, bn 31 Jan 1797
Blake     Thomas     02 Feb 1802     s William/Betty, bn 22 Apr 1801
Blake     William     29 Jan 1830     s William/Mary, Cutsey, gent
Blake     Thomas     11 Jul 1831     s William/Mary, Cutsey, gent,bn 05 Jun 1831
Blake     William     11 Jul 1831     s William/Mary, Cutsey, gent
Blake     Elizabeth     24 Sep 1834     d William/Mary, Cutsey, gent
Blake     Mary     30 Dec 1835     d William/Mary, Cursey, gent
Blake     Robert     29 Jun 1890     s Sarah Ann, domestic servant

Marriages for Blake family members at Trull:

Blake     Elizabeth     Thomas Cogan     18 Sep 1705    
Blake     Joan     James Osmond     03 Mar 1708    
Blake     Margaret     John Baker     24 May 1709    
Blake     Charlotte     Edward Long     12 Feb 1843
Blake     Mary     James Burston Corner     20 Oct 1864    

Burials for Blake family members at Trull:

Blake     Elizabeth     22 Nov 1698
Blake     Margaret     17 Apr 1705
Blake     Robert     16 Feb 1710           Mr, Pitminster
Blake     Thomas     19 Aug 1712         
Blake     Elizabeth     01 Feb 1736           Mrs
Blake     Mary     07 Oct 1743
Blake     Richard     11 Jul 1748    
Blake     Betty     14 Jun 1785    
Blake     Betty     10 Jan 1798          
Blake     William     11 Jan 1811
Blake     Thomas     16 Feb 1813     12     Cutsey
Blake     William     12 Sep 1826     60     Cutsey
Blake     William     13 Apr 1832     2     2yr 3mn, Cutsey          
Blake     Betty     26 Nov 1840     70    
Blake     William     14 Jan 1864     66          
Blake     Mary     19 Sep 1876     70     
Blake     Thomas     09 Nov 1880     49     Cutsey

Cutsey is a hamlet in the Parish of Trull. Cutsey House is listed as a Grade II Building. The Blake family can be found as early as 1710 in the records at Cutsey with the mention in the 1710 will of Robert Blake of Pitminster (he was married to Margaret Thomas). Looking this record up on the online catalogue of the Somerset Record Office lead me to DD|CH/120/4 which covers the sale of a piece of land to Robert Blake of Pitminster in 1709 and then the purchase of this land by Richard Blake of Angersleigh (the testator Thomas Blake of Plimtree was the eldest son of this Richard Blake and this was the house called Harpers and the meadow in 1760). I can not find anyone who has traced this family down online from Richard.

From the will, Thomas, the testator, has a brother William of Trull who lives at Cutsey from the records above.

I then was lucky to find a write up by a descendant of this William Blake’s son William.

William I believe had two siblings – older brother Thomas and younger sister Betty. William was younger than the testator of this will, Thomas, and with the naming of children the same in each generation it is somewhat confusing. However from the records above for Trull this does seem to fit in well. William Blake (baptized 11 Jun 1766 (died 2 Sep 1826 and married to Betty Farrant) was listed as “of Cutsey, Trull and Plymtree, Devon.” This fits with the will as this William would have inherited both his father’s property and his uncle Thomas’ property (the testator). Older brother Thomas does seem to be missing and isn’t mentioned in the writeup.

I am now quoting from the webpage mentioned above: William Blake and Betty Farrant “had only one surviving son ……. William Blake, who was baptised in Trull on 30 January 1797 and died on 9 January 1864. He was married to Mary Thomas, who died on 18 September 1876, aged 70. It is their grave (I would imagine they are buried there) that forms one of the three graves in the group in the churchyard at All Saints Church, Trull.  They had four children (…….. Thomas, (another) William Blake (who died at 2), Elizabeth, who lived at Dipford (built by her father years before when he retired there and left Cutsey in the hands of Thomas) and their final child, Mary Blake.

Thomas Blake of Cutsey, Trull (Grave 1 in All Saints Church Grave Yard) with his wife, Eleanor. Thomas Blake then inherited Cutsey from his father (William). Thomas died when he was 49, but his wife was to live to the ripe old age of 83. (Gravestone 1 at All Saints Church above.) As a result of them apparently having no children, Eleanor moved out of Cutsey to "Broadlands", where she lived until her death.” At this point Cutsey following the death of Thomas’ sisters would move from the Blake family to the Clatworthy which the article mentions.

This clarifies the descent of the properties mentioned in the will to William Blake. Now to take the family back in time. William Blake and Thomas (the testator) Blake were brothers and sons of Richard Blake as mentioned in the document in the online catalogue at the Somerset Record Office website.

Records from the National Archives fonds for the Blake Family of Trull:

These papers were donated by the descendants of one of the sisters of Thomas Blake mentioned above who inherited Cutsey when Thomas had no descendants.

DD\CT/12 - 1667: Plot of ground at Socke (Pratt family). Thomas Blake living at Plymtree in 1760.

DD\CT/14 – 1709: Messuage at Ashcombe, Marke Family (documents relating to litigation)

DD\CT/18 – 1707-1883: Agreement previous to marriage of John Baker of Shepton Mallet, clothier, and Elizabeth Blake of Angersleigh, spinster, 1746; inventory of Robert Blake of Pitminster, 1711, and receipts for legacies, etc., under his will, 1711-29; appointment of guardians for Thomas Blake, 1749; releases, bonds, etc., 1707-87; account of the personal estate of Thomas Blake of Cutsey in Trull, etc., 1881-83.

DD\CT/30 – 1777-1794: Notebook with a few pages only used containing notes of timber measured, remedies (animals) and occasional memoranda, probably kept Wm. Blake of Plymtree; the notebook originally belonged to William Pratt in 1734.

DD\CT/50 – 1624-1737: Land called Lanes Meadows, 1624-1644 (Hancock and Thomas families of Trull), and 1731-1737 (Blake family); the 18th century deeds also relate to a messuage and 2a (not described). Settlement previous to marriage of Richard Blake and Mary Buncombe, both of Trull, 1732, also relates to buildings on the East side of the hall of the messuage called Lower Harpers (parents of the testator).

DD\CT/52 – 1709, 1717-1762: Documents relating to Blake Taunton Deane property in the tithing of Woodland in the hundred of Holway, including surrender previous to the marriage of Wm. Blake of Trull and Betty Long of Pitminster, 1762 (brother of the testator). Earliest document is bond relating to 15a in the tithing of Rumwell sold by Thomas Blake to Peter Risdon of Trull.

DD\CT/54 – 1696-1768: Higher and Lower Harpers/Harpus in Angersleigh and Trull respectively and leashold land held under the Gale Famnily; agreement and postnuptial settlement, Blake/Buncombe, 1732, relating to the fgirst named properties – abstract of title to Higher Harpers, reciting from 1611.

DD\CT/55 – 1583-1762:  Parsons Field acquired by Richard Blake of Trull in 1747.

DD\CT/57 – 1671-1718: Release of dower by Elizabeth Blake, widow, of Halse to son Robert, 1671; mortgage by Robert Blake of Trull of messuage and 30 a., late parcel of manor, 1688; settlement previous to marriage of Robert Blake and Joan, daughter of Faithfull Cape, clerk, all of Halse, 1718, relating to moiety of house and 10a.

DD\CT/57A -1707: Articles of agreement previous to marriage of Robert Blake of Trull and Margaret Durstone of Pitminster relating to her Taunton Deane lands in various tithings in the hundred of Poundisford.

DD\CT/58 – 1789-1818: Settlement previous to marriage of John Ashford, jun., of Broad Clyst [Devon] and Betty, daughter of William Blake of Plymtree, 1789 relating to capital messuage and farm called Lymbury with associated papers.

DD\CT/60 – 1712-1827: Probate and other copies of wills and letters of admon (all Blake): Thos., 1713 (admon). Eliz. 1735, Mary, 1755 (admon), Wm. 1826, pr. 1827, all of Trull, Robt. of Pitminster, 1709, pr. 1712, Thos. of Angersleigh, 1763, pr. 1767, Thos. o Plymtree, 1777.

DD\CT/63 – 1698-1787: Miscellaneous personal papers, receipts for legacies, bonds, release to trustees, appointment of guardian, including inventories of Robert of Pitminster, 1711, and Thomas of Trull, 1712, and a schedule (by rooms) of furniture lent my mother (? By Thomas Blake), 1711. Are Robert Blake and Thomas Blake brothers with Robert father of Robert Blake of Halse and Thomas being the father of Richard of Trull (father of the present testator)?

DD\CT/70 – not dated, post 1703: Draft answers to bill of complaint of Edward Musgrave by Robert and Margaret Blake, Margaret Thomas, et al. arising out of will of Bottolph Thomas, father and husband respectively of the two last named (Margaret).

DD\CT/80 – early 20th century: Scraps of notes, in pencil, about the Blake family 18 – 19 century. (Since these documents were passed to the Somerset Archive and Record Service by the Clatworthy family (author of the webpage above on the descendants of William Blake of Trull) I would suspect they do not contain anything further back than what was used in the webpage but if I am ever in Taunton I shall check on that!)

Names mentioned in the will:

Thomas Skinner, Bridgewater
John Mathews, Lessee at Tyes
Mr. William Blake of Trull, brother to the testator
John Marks, Pitminster, tanner, brother in law
Robert Marks, son of John above, nephew
John Marks, son of John above, nephew
Mr. William Pratt, gentleman of Plimptree, cousin (deceased)
Mrs. Joan Pratt of Willand, Devon (widow of William above?)
Mr. John Pratt of Willand, Devon (son of Mrs. Joan Pratt), gentleman
Mrs. Dorothy Pratt of Willand, Devon (wife of Mr. John Pratt)
Betty Pratt of Willand, Devon (daughter of John and Dorothy)
Ann Hicks Pratt (daughter of John and Dorothy)
William Buncombe of Pitminster, gentleman, cousin
Alexander Meaddock, yeoman, of Angersleigh, tenant
Alice Wier, maidservant
Betty Lock, maidservant
John Stileham, manservant
John Walker, servant
Robert Richards, servant
John Eveleigh, apprentice
Thomas Always, apprentice
John Leaman, apprentice
Mary Hellier
(Old) John Richards
James Huish and his wife of Cullompton, gentleman
Mr. Wright, sellor
Bernard Wright, witness
John Critchett, witness
John Tucker, witness

This is perhaps the line of the son of John Blake the elder who was buried 10 Dec 1576 at Overstowey Somerset. He was the eldest son of Humphrey Blake  who was buried 28 Dec 1558 at Overstowey. John’s brother Robert (married to Margaret Symonds) was a merchant at Bridgewater and grandfather of Lord High Admiral Robert Blake.

John Blake the elder and his wife Johan had seven children some of whom lived at Pitminster.

His son William was buried 13 Jun 1642 at Pitminster and William and his wife Anne had seven children namely Robert married to Sara Wicham 3 Mar 1616 at Pitminster, Grace buried 5 Jan 1622 at Pitminster, Eme buried 27 Jul 1593 at Pitminster (an infant), William married Agnes Band (the American Blake family at Boston claims this particular line), John, Anne married to Thomas Bidgood 24 Nov 1629, and Richard.

His daughter Alice married James Richard 2 Oct 1569 at Overstowey but both were buried at Pitminster (Alice 17 Aug 1585).

An interesting will that may help with linking families in the future.

Transcriber: Elizabeth Kipp
Recorded: 17 Aug 2013
Source: The National Archives, PROB 11/1032/77
Testator: Thomas Blake, Gentleman
Place: Plymtree, Devon, England
Type of Record: Will
Date of document: 10 Mar 1777, probated 6 Jun 1777
Condition: 18th century English, legible copy

 [Margin]: Thomas
[Margin]: Blake

1    In the Name of God Amen
2    I Thomas Blake of the parish of Plymstree
3   In the County of Devon Gentleman make this
4    my last Will and Testament in manner following
5    whereas I have contracted and agreed to and
6    with Thomas Skinner of Bridgewater in the
7    County of Somerset Farrier for the purchase of the
8    Fee Simple and Inheritance of all those Closes or
9    parcels of Land called Sock Close and Pines Close
10    part of an Estate called Tyes The Field or Close
11    called the Hay Downs the Field called Langlands
12    the Long Beat Land, the South Down and Clarkes
13    Meadow part of an Estate called Clarkes and also
14    the Court Garden and West Plott thereunto
15    belonging which I now Rent of the aforesaid
16    Thomas Skinner also the dwelling house and Orchard
17    part of the said Estate called Tyes now in the
18    possession of one John Matthew all which said
19    premises are situate within the said parish of
20    Plimstree for the price of Sum of seven hundred
21    pounds, and have lent the said Thomas Skinner the
22    sum of three hundred pounds upon his Bond before
23    a Fine could be levied and a good Title made New I
24    do hereby order and direct that my Brother William
25    Blake of Trull in the County of Sommerset aforesaid
26    Gentleman as soon as a good Title can be made to the
    [Page 2]
27    aforesaid premises do carry the said Contract into
28    execution and pay the Residue of the said seven
29    hundred pounds the purchase Money upon proper
30    conveyances being executed by him by the said
31    Thomas Skinner I give devise and bequeath unto
32    John Marks of the parish of Pitminster in the
33    County of Sommerset aforesaid Tanner my Brother
34    in Law All that my Messuage or Tenement called
35    Harpers situate lying and being in the parish of
36    Angersley in the said County of Sommerset To hold
37    to him and his assigns for and during the term of
38    his natural Life and after his decease I give and
39    devise the same unto his Son my Nephew Robert
40    Marks his heirs and assigns forever But in case my
41    said Cousin Robert Marks shall happen to dye in the
42    life time of his said Father then and in such case I
43    give devise and bequeath the said Estate called
44    Harpers after the death of my said Brother in
45    Law John Marks unto his Son my Nephew John
46    Marks his heirs and assigns for ever also I give and
47    bequeath unto my aforesaid Cousin John
48    Marks the Sum of Five hundred pounds over and
49    above the Sum of two hundred pounds given and
50    bequeathed unto him in and by the last Will and
51    Testament of my late cousin Mr William Pratt
52    of Plimptree aforesaid Gentleman deceased to be
53    paid him when he shall have attained his age of
54    twenty one years Also I give and bequeath unto
55    my aforesaid Nephew Robert Marks the Sum of
56    Seven hundred pounds to be paid him when he
57    shall have attained his age of twenty one years
58    also I give and bequeath unto my Cousin Joan
59    Pratt of the Parish of William in the County of
60    Devon aforesaid Widow, and unto my Cousin John Pratt
61    of the same place Gentleman her Son and unto
62    Dorothy his Wife and unto my Cousin Betty Pratt and
63    Ann Hicks Pratt her daughters the Sum of ten pounds
64    each to be paid unto them respectively within six
65    months after my decease Also I give and bequeath unto
66    my Cousin William Buncombe of the parish of
67    Pitminster aforesaid Gentleman and unto his Wife the
68    sum of ten Guineas each to be paid unto them
69    respectively within six Months after my decease also
70    I give and bequeath unto my Tenant Alexander
71    Meaddock of Angersley aforesaid yeoman and unto
72    his Wife ten Guineas each to be paid unto them
73    respectively within six Months after my decease as a
74    reward for their care industry and honest behavior
75    ever since they were my Tenants Also I give and
76    bequeath unto my servant Maid Alice Wier the
77    sum of ten pounds to be paid her within one
    [Page 3]
78    month after my decease Also I give her a suit of
79    Mourning throughout Also I give unto my Servant
80    Maid Betty Lock the Sum of Five pounds to be paid
81    her within one Month after my decease Also I give
82    her a Suit of Mourning throughout Also I give and bequeath
83    unto my Man Servant John Hileham the Sum of Five
84    pounds and unto my Servants John Walker and Robert
85    Richards one Guinea each if living with me at the
86    time of my death and to my apprentices John Eveleigh
87    Thomas Always and John Seaman ten Shillings each
88    and to Mary Hellier if living with me at the time of
89    my death half a Guinea and to the Old John Richards I
90    give five Shillings to be paid unto them respectively
91    within one Month after my decease Also I give and bequeath
92    unto each and every of my day Labourers at husbandry
93    the Sum of Five shillings each to be paid unto them
94    respectively within one week after my decease Also I give
95    and bequeath to the Churchwardens of Angersley
96    twenty Shillings To the Churchwardens of the parish
97    of Trull Forty Shillings To the Churchwardens of the
98    Parish of Plimptree the Sum of three pounds to be
99    paid unto them respectively within one Month after my
100    decease to be by them distributed unto and among the
101    poor of their several and respectively parishes in
102    such parts share and proportions as they shall respectively
103    think meet and proper Also I give and bequeath unto
104    James Huish of Cullompton Gentleman a Mourning
    and a hatband and belt of the best Sattyn Also I give and bequeath unto Mrs. Huish his Wife a mourning ring of a Guinea Value
104    Ring of a pound value ^ and a Book and Script of the
106    best Lattin and I do hereby request the said Mr Huish
107    and his Wife to attend my Corps to the Grave Also I
108    give devise and bequeath unto my aforesaid Brother Mr
109    William Blake his Executors Administrators and Assigns
110    all that my Leasehold Estate called Pi[r]swell in the
111    Parish of Kentisbear Also I give devise and bequeath
112    unto my said Brother William Blake his heirs and
113    assigns all those my several Messuages or Tenements
114    called Green End, Crosses, Tyes, Chases, Hawkinses, Mays
115    Mutters my part of Weaver Estate and the Regalcy
116    lately purchased of Mr Wright and all other my Lands
117    and hereditaments of what nature or kind soever situate
118    within the said Parish of Plimstree To hold to my
119    said Brother his Heirs and Assigns forever Also I
120    give devise and bequeath unto my aforesaid Brother
121    William Blake all these my several Messuages or
122    Tenements situate in the aforesaid parish of Trull in
123    the County of Sommerset called Harpers Lows Meadow
124    Herrings House and Orchard Lower Harpers Lanes Meadows
125    and all other my Messuages Lands Tenements and
126    hereditaments in the aforesaid Parish of Trull such
127    parts thereof as I am seized in Fee I give devise and
128    bequeath unto my aforesaid Brother William Blake his
129    heirs and assigns for ever and such part thereof as it
    [Page 4]
130    only Leaselives I give devise and bequeath unto him his
131    Executors administrators and assigns and all the Rest Residue
132    and Remainder of my Goods Chattells Estate and Effects of
133    what nature or kind soever after the Residue of the
134    purchase is paid to Thomas Skinner as aforesaid and my
135    debts Legacies and Funeral Expences are fully paid and
136    satisfied I hereby give and bequeath the same unto my
137    aforesaid Brother William Blake who I hereby make
138    constitute and appoint whole and sole Executor and residuary
139    legatee of this my Will and I do hereby subject and charge
140    all my said Estates as well in the parish of Plimptree
141    as in the parish of Trull with the payment of my just
142    debts and Legacies and I do hereby revoke and make void
143    all former and other Wills by me heretofore made In
144    Witness whereof I the said Thomas Blake have to this
145    my last Will and Testament written on three Sheets of
146    paper to the two first Sheets have set my hand and
147    to the last sheet my hand and seal this tenth day of
148    March in the year of our Lord one thousand seven
149    hundred seventy and seven Tho Blake
150    Signed sealed published and declared by the said Testator
151    Thomas Blake as and for his last Will and Testament in
152    the presence of us who at his request and in his presence
153    and also in the presence of each other have subscribed
154    our names as Witnesses hereunto after the interlineation
155    of the Words also “I give her a Suit of Mourning throughout
156    one Guinea each if living with me at the time of my
157    death” in the second sheet Bernd Wright John Critchett
158    John Tucker
159    This Will was proved at London the sixth day of
160    June in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred
161    and seventy seven before the Right Worshipfull Sir George
162    Hay Knight doctor of Laws Master Keeper or Commissary
163    of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury lawfully constituted
164    by the Oath of William Blake the Brother of the deceased
165    and sole Executor named in the said Will to whom
166    administration of all and singular the Goods Chattells
167    and Credits of the said deceased was granted having been
168    first sworn by Commission duly to administer

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