Sunday, September 29, 2013

Will of Elizabeth Blake, widow, of Over Stowey, Somerset - The National Archives PROB 11/255/325, probated 16 May 1656

Elizabeth Blake, the testatrix, was the wife of Robert Blake and this Robert probably the son of Robert Blake, yeoman of Halse, who left his will which was probated 15 Jun 1639. Is this family descendant of Thomas Blake of Wedmore since Robert (will probated 1639) mentions John Blake of Kingston as one of his Executors in Trust:

In this will Robert mentions his sons Robert, Edmond, John, and Richard and daughters Grace, Jane and Edith.

The will of Robert (husband of Elizabeth the testatrix and will still to be transcribed) mentions his brother Edmund and the same children as below in the will of his widow Elizabeth, John, Robert and Grace.

Perhaps the clue lies in John Selleck one of the overseers in the will below. He is named as brother in the will and brother in law in the probate so probably brother in law. Now is he the husband of one of Elizabeth’s sister(s) or married to one of Robert’s sisters Grace, Jane or Edith?

Agnes Blake was married to Robert whose will was probated in 1639 and her will also blogged:

She too mentions Robert, Edmond, John and Richard as sons and Grace, Jane and Edith as daughters. Her will was probated in 1641. She does not mention grandchildren so the marriage of Robert Blake and Elizabeth (unknown) must be in 1641 or after which would mean that none of the three children of Robert and Elizabeth was older than 15 when Elizabeth wrote her will or older than 11 when Robert wrote his will.

Returning again to the Visitations of Somersetshire 1623 and the entry for the Perry family. Elizabeth Perry daughter of John Perry and Joane James married first John Smith and second Robert Blake. Since the visitation was taken in 1623 this Elizabeth is an aunt to the children of her sibling Robert married to Elizabeth Warren. The children of Robert and Elizabeth Perry are married and have children of their own. This is not the Elizabeth Blake who has left the present will as she would be too elderly to be her. The Elizabeth Perry in the visitations would be born circa 1550-1560. That helps to eliminate this family at Halse as being part of the present Blake family being examined although I wonder who Robert Blake married to Elizabeth Perry was.

Perhaps this is the time to look at the articles published in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register by Clifford L. Stott. I had found the published accounts for the Blake Family of Andover, Hampshire linking that family to the Somerset Blake family and knew them to be absolutely incorrect since wills existed to disprove the connection first suggested by Horatio Gates Somerby and stated to be erroneous in this article published in the April Register of 2009. Finding this verification of what I had found from the wills is possibly what led me onwards into eventually taking on the Blake-one-name study at the Guild of one name studies.

In this paper Thomas Blake (son of Humphrey and Agnis Blake) is said to have married Ann Castleton but the records in the Blake Museum at Bridgwater list this Thomas as marrying Isobel and that he was buried 8 Dec 1580 at Wedmore. This couple baptized nine children at Wedmore namely:

1.    John baptized 29 Mar 1561; deceased by 1570
2.    Joan baptized 7 Aug 1562; deceased by 1572
3.    Thomas baptized 21 May 1563 (married to Alice Tutton 10 Feb 1587 at Wedmore) and buried there 16 Apr 1613.
4.    Edward baptized 16 Sep 1565 and buried 23 Mar 1569 at Wedmore
5.    Lucia baptized 28 Jun 1568 married to Robert Jarvis 11 Jan 1586 at Wedmore
6.    John baptized 6 Dec 1570; buried 9 Dec 1570
7.    Joan baptized 20 Jan 1572
8.    Edward baptized 13 Mar 1575 and buried 17 Oct 1576 at Wedmore
9.    Elizabeth baptized 18 Oct 1577

Clifford Stott has stated that this is only a possibility as there were other Blake families and deciding that this Thomas was the son of Humphrey was unclear.

The will of Thomas Blake of Wedmore was blogged:

and he has written it 17 Dec 1577. Only four of these children have survived to 1577 namely Thomas, Lucia, John and Elizabeth. His elder brother John (the elder) was buried 10 Dec 1576 at Overstowey which leaves his younger brother John Blake the younger to be the John Blake mentioned in the will of Thomas Blake.

Thomas Blake son of the testatrix married Alice Tutton 10 Feb 1587 at Wedmore as mentioned earlier. Thomas buried 16 April 1613 and Alice buried 23 Jul 1632 both at Wedmore.

The following information from Google books:

Baptisms at Wedmore:

John son of Thomas Blake 29 Mar 1561
Johanna Blake 7 Aug 1562
Thomas Blake 21 May 1563
Issebella daughter of John Blake 14 Feb 1564
Edward son of Thomas Blake 16 Sep 1565
Essebella daughter of John Blake de Cocklade 3 Mar 1567
Lucia daughter of Thomas Blake de Blackforde 28 Jun 1568
Christiana daughter of John Blake 2 Feb 1569
John son of Thomas Blake 6 Dec 1570; buried 9 Dec 1570
John son of Thomas Blake 20 Jan 1571
Maria daughter of John Blake 23 Mar 1571
Grace daughter of John Blake 16 Feb 1574
Edward son of Thomas Blake 13 Mar 1574
Elizabeth daughter of Thomas Blake 18 Oct 1577
Edith daughter of John Blake 8 Dec 1578
Margaret daughter of John Blake 1 Oct 1581
Elizabeth daughter of Thomas Blake 3 Jun 1588
Richard son of Thomas Blake 29 Nov 1590
Maria daughter of Thomas Blake de Blackforde 14 Jul 1596
Joanna daughter of Richard Blake 18 Jan 1599; buried 30 Mar 1606
Joanna daughter of Thomas Blake de Blackford 4 Jun 1600
John son of Richard Blake 29 Sep 1602; buried 1 May 1603
Richard son of Richard Blake 5 Aug 1604
John son of Richard Blake 7 Jun 1607
Benjamin Blake son of Josias Blake 19 Feb 1670; buried 25 Feb 1671

Marriages at Wedmore:

William Hourcombe and Julia Blake 26 Sep 1569
Thomas Wall and Alice Blake 1 Jun 1581
Robert Jarvis and Lucia Blake 1 Nov 1586
Thomas Blake and Alice Tutton 2 Oct 1587
William Yeascombe and Johanne Blake 20 April 1588
William Downe and Johanne Blake 24 May 1593
Thomas Rainold de Blagdonn and Isabella Blake de Cocklake 7 Feb 1594
Richard Blake and Edeth Pytt (widow) 4 Nov 1598
John Coles and Christiana Blake 19 Apr 1599
Richard Adames and Grace Blake 12 Nov 1601
Richard Vowles and Mariam Blake 1 Jul 1602
Edmund Colborne and Mariam Blake 29 Apr 1619
Robert Pope and Joan Blake 6 Feb 1622
Richard Blake and Margery Quicke 11 Jul 1625
John Smith and Margery Blake (widow) 11 Apr 1627
Richard Blake and Joan Champeny (widow) 29 Oct 1629
William Yescombe and Joane Blake 15 Jan 1634
John Blake and Sibbell Warman 10 May 1653
William Tayler and Joana Blake de Cocklake 26 Sep 1678
Thomas Barns and Elizabeth Blake 5 Dec 1719
James Blake and Sarah Beacham 2 Jul 1749

As can be seen the Blake family has virtually disappeared from Wedmore by the 1630s with just the occasional marriage.

This still does not answer the question about Robert and Elizabeth Blake (the testatrix) and their family. That Elizabeth is remembering the poor of Overstowey where she currently lives and the poor of Halse does give one pause to think that she may have moved back to Overstowey after the death of her husband in 1562.

Presumably Thomas and John baptizing children at Wedmore are the sons of Thomas who left his will at Wedmore dated 1577 and probated 1581. Indeed looking at the burials for Wedmore he must be the Thomas Blake buried at Wedmore 8 Dec 1580. Along with Thomas in the 1560s and he lived at Blackford there is a John Blake baptizing children at Wedmore and he lived at Cocklade. This John Blake is John Blake the younger married to Christian Jugg 18 Aug 1558 at Over Stowey.

Looking at the families having children in the latter part of the 1580s and early 1600s at  Wedmore:

Thomas Blake and Alice Tutton married 2 Oct 1587 (son of Thomas Blake)

Elizabeth 3 Jun 1588
Richard 29 Nov 1590
Maria 14 Jul 1596
Joanna 4 Jun 1600

Richard Blake and Edeth Pytt (widow) married 4 Nov 1598 (son of John Blake the younger)

Joanna 18 Jan 1599; buried 30 Mar 1606
John 29 Sep 1602; buried 1 May 1603
Richard 5 Aug 1604
John 7 Jun 1607

Having worked through that exercise I can see that there isn’t a Robert Blake born at Wedmore in this time period. There remains only Richard son of Thomas carrying the Blake surname as I do not have any children for his younger brother John.

Richard Blake married to Edith Pitt is the only descendant of John Blake the younger carrying the Blake surname and it is known from the registers that Richard was buried at Wedmore 2 Jan 1630. His son Richard married Margery Quicke and they had a son John who married Sibbell Warman and this John was buried 13 Feb 1673 at Wedmore. This John does not appear to have baptized any children at Wedmore.

Working through all of this it does make sense that Thomas Blake (son of Humphrey) and John Blake the younger (son of Humphrey) could be brothers and both living at Wedmore. I feel that the Blake Museum at Bridgwater has probably done extensive research on the children of Humphrey Blake (great grandfather of Admiral Robert Blake) and this meander through the data does agree totally with their chart.

The question remains who is Robert Blake at Halse married to the present testatrix Elizabeth Blake of Overstowey. Is it just coincidence that she moves from Halse to Overstowey? Perhaps his will will be helpful when I reach it in a couple of weeks. Did John the second son of Thomas have a son Robert who later lived at Halse?

Looking again at the first paper on the Humphrey Blake family by Clifford Stott the children of John Blake the younger (married to Christian Jugg) I have all the children he has listed plus another 6 daughters baptized at Wedmore. Gradually as all this is pulled together I hope to be able to see the Blake family in Somerset more clearly. I also would like further proof that Thomas Blake of Wedmore and John Blake of Wedmore were siblings.

Transcriber: Elizabeth Kipp
Recorded: 29 Sep 2013
Source: The National Archives, PROB 11/255/325
Testator: Elizabeth Blake, widow
Place: Over Stowey, Somerset, England
Type of Record: Will
Date of document: 22 Dec 1655, probated 16 May 1656
Condition: 17th century English, legible copy

[Margin]: T[estament]
[Margin]: Elizabeth
[Margin]: Blake

1    In the name of God Amen It
2    Elizabeth Blake of Overstowey in the county of Somersett widowe doe
3    make and ordayne this my last will and Testament in manner and forme
4    following First I commend my Soule into the hands of Almightie God
5    my maker hopeing assuredly through the merritts of Jesus Christ my
6    saviour to bee made partaker of life ever lasting And I commit my body
7    to the earth from whence it was taken; Alsoe I give to the poore of Overstowey
8    Five shillings And to the poore of Halse Five shillings To be distributed by my
9    Overseers Alsoe I give to my sonne John Blake Fower score pounds To be disposed
10    of by my Overseers hereafter named according to their discretion for the good and
11    benifitt of my said sonne Alsoe I give to my daughter Grace Blake Fower score
12    pounds To be paid unto her within sixe monthes after her marriage or other age of
13    One and Twentie yeares which shall first happen And my Will is that my said daughter
14    shall have the profit to be raised by her said legacy yearely towards her maintenance
15    in the meanetyme And if she dye before the said Fower score pounds become payable to
16    her I give the same to my said sonne John; And if my sonne John dye before his said
17    legacie shall be disposed of as aforesaid; My will is That soe much as shall remayne
18    thereof at his death shall accrues and redowne to my sonne Robert Blake Alsoe I give
19    to my sonne John Fower silver spoones And to my daughter Grace Five silver spoones
20    my silver salt cellar and gilted Cupp, my gold ring my weareing apparel, my Holland
21    sheetes and Holland drawers for pillows and my lesser silver bowle which was given by
22    my sister Joane her Godmother All the rest of my goods and chattels I give and be-
23    queath to my said sonne Robert Whom I make and ordayne Executor of this my last Will
24    and Testament but in case my sonne Robert dye before hee shall accomplish the age of
25    One and Twentie yeares I doe make my sonne John Executor of this my last Will and
26    Testament And I desire my brother John Selleck and my brother in law William
27    Hawkins and my cozen George Comer to bee Overseers hereof and to manage
28    my two sonnes Estates for the good and benifitt of my said sonnes until they shall
29    respectively attaine to the age of seventeen yeares; And to put my daughters
30    portion to the best profit they can for her; And I further desire my brother John
31    Selleck to take letters of Administration with my will annexed dureing the minority
32    of my Executor And if he dye I desire my said brother in lawe to doe it And to bring
33    upp my Children in the feare of the Lord; And I hope my Children will be loveinge
34    one towards another and very thankefull to there supervisors for theire love and
35    And paines towards and for them In witness whereof I have hereunto sett my
36    hand and seale the two and twentieth day of December in the yeare of our lord one
37    thousand and sixe hundred Fiftie five I give to the said Overseers Twenty shillings
    [Page 2]
38    shillings a peece; And I desire the said George Comer (In case the other Overseers before
39    named dye whilst any one of my children is under the age of seventeen years to be an
40    administrator for them If neede be Elizabeth Blake Signed sealed and declared by
41    the Testatrix to bee her last will and Testament in the presence of Robert Blinman Joane
42    Blinman the marke of Joane Morris
43    The sixteenth day of May in the yeare of our Lord God One thousand six hundred
44    fiftie and sixe issued forth Letters of Administration (with the will annexed) to John
45    Sellecke the brother in lawe and Testamentary Guardian of Robert Blake the natural
46    and lawfull sonne and sole Executor of Elizabeth Blake late of Overstowey in the county
47    of Somersett widowe deceased To administer all and singular the goods Chattells and debts
48    of the said deceased according to the tenor and effect of the said will dureing the minoritie and
49    for the onely and proper use and behoofe of the said Robert Blake hee the said John Seillicke
50    being first by Commission sworne truly to administer the same

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