Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Will of Robert Blake of Bridgwater, Somerset - The National Archives PROB 11/267/111, probated 20 Aug 1657

This is the will of Admiral Robert Blake. Somehow this great and illustrious Admiral of the British Navy doesn’t really need an introduction. His fame and character have transcended the century in which he lived and he is one of the great heroes of England forever remembered by every school child learning of his great victories protecting the shores of England from any and all comers. I remember asking my Grandfather if we were related to Admiral Blake and he said no he did not think so. That was not a tradition that was handed down in his family. In all likelihood he is very correct as I can not find a link between my line in Andover and the Blake family of Calne other than by collateral marriages. The link between the Blake family of Calne and the Blake family first at Over Stowey and Humphry Blake as the first of the line is also obscured by the veils of time. There is a strong conviction on the part of some that the father of Humphry was a John Blake who was descendant of the Blake family of Calne. However, this John is said to be a descendant of John Blake of Nether Wallop son of Robert Blake and Avis Wallop. In his will John does not name a son of his body so one is left to wonder whose son this John is and how he connects with the Blake family of Calne and the Blake family of Overstowey. Is he the stepping stone between? Time may answer that question but at the moment there isn’t any historical proof for this claim.

The yDNA study might do it one day as more people test with a clear paper trail back to Humphry and to the Blake family at Calne. It is a mystery and an exciting one I do believe.

I continue on with the Robert Blake wills as this is now two of them complete. There remains another four Robert Blake wills from 1753, 1782, 1817 and 1836 still to come. After that Roger Blake 1785, Susanna Blake 1653, Thomas Blake 1826, William Blake 1667, 1773, 1799, 1821, and 1832.

Once Somerset is complete I am considering moving on to Wiltshire and doing the 31 wills there since all of these counties (Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire) are side by side and then I would move to Hampshire and complete the ten wills there along with twenty older wills that I have acquired from Family Search. Although going through alphabetically is a nice logical path these wills are working together rather nicely at the moment so I think I will keep on this new path.

Then the wills remaining are from Durham (1), Essex (14), Gloucestershire (should perhaps consider doing this next as this area too lies beside Somerset, 19), Hertfordshire (5), Huntingdonshire (2), Kent (26), Lancashire (4), Lincolnshire (3), London (42), Middlesex (150), Norfolk (14), Northamptonshire (6), Northumberland (4), Nottinghamshire (1), Oxfordshire (this too could come before the others, 13), Rutland (4), Shropshire (1), Suffolk (11), Surrey (61), Sussex (7), Warwickshire (7), Worcestershire (1) and Miscellaneous which includes navy wills, other British Isles, and foreign (82). My path is starting to change in my mind away from alphabetical. I believe I will move from Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire to London and then work out from London. The Miscellaneous wills I will work on after all the county wills are done.

A long exercise but probably worth while in the long run. Alphabetical worked very well for the first group that I did as I selected particular items from the counties the first trip to Kew and this second trip I acquired all of them. In total there remains 551 wills for the Blake family plus another 100 plus downloaded from Ancestry but these might be duplicated in the London/Middlesex number so will wait to check that out until I am doing London and Middlesex. The Dorset wills which I downloaded I have not yet compared and this is a good reminder to do that as well. There are eight new wills for Dorset - Annabella Blake 1723, Griffin Blake 1608, Hannah Blake 1780, John Blake 1686, John Blake 1761, Katharine Blake 1760, Mary Blake 1776 and Robert Blake 1705. I believe that I will do these eight wills when I finish Somerset before moving on to Wiltshire.

Transcriber: Elizabeth Kipp
Recorded: 27 Oct 2013
Source: The National Archives, PROB 11/267/111
Testator: Robert Blake
Place: Bridgwater, Somerset, England
Type of Record: Will
Date of document: 13 Mar 1655, probated 20 Aug 1657
Condition: 17th century English, legible copy

[Margin]: Robert
[Margin]: Blake
[Top]: The last Will and Testament of me Robert
[Top]: Blake written w[i]th my owne hand as followeth

1    First I bequeath my Soule into the
2    hands of my most mercifull Redeemer the Lord Jesus Christ by him to be presented
3    to the heavenly father pure and spotless through the washing of his blood which
4    he shed for the remission of my sinnes, And after a short separation from
5    the bodie to be againe united with the same by the power of his eternall spirit
6    and so to be for ever with the Lord. Item unto the towne of Bridgwater I give
7    One hundred pounds to be distributed among the poore thereof at the discretion
8    of Humphry Blake my brother and of the Mayor for the time being, Item
9    unto the towne of Taunton I give one hundred pounds To be distributed
10    among the poore of both parishes at the discretion of Samuel Perry once-
11    my Lieutenant Colonell And Mr George Newton Minister of the Gospell
12    there and of the Mayor for the time being Item I give unto Humphry
13    Blake my brother the Mannor of Crandon cum Puriton with all the rights
14    thereto apperteyning To him and to his heires for ever Item I give unto
15    my brother Doctor William Blake three hundred pounds, Item unto my
16    Brother George Blake I give three hundred pounds Also unto my brother
17    Nicholas Blake I give three hundred pounds Item unto my brother Beniamin
18    Blake I give my dwelling house situate in Saint Maries’ Street in Bridgwater
19    with the garden and appurtenances As also my other house thereto adioyning
20    purchased of the widdowe Coxe Likewise I give unto him All the claime I have
21    in Eleaven Acres of Meadowe and pasture (more or lesse) lying in the village
22    of Ham in the parish of Bridgwater lately in the possession of the widdowe
23    Vinecombe deceased Item unto my Sister Bridget Bowdich wife of Henry
24    Bowdich one hundred pounds And to the children of the bodie of Henry
25    Bowdich aforesaid I give the summe of Nine hundred pounds to be disposed
26    among them according to the discretion of Humphry William George
27    Nicholas and Beniamin Blake aforesaid my Brothers or of any three
28    of them Item unto my brother Smythes Goldsmith in Cheapside I give
29    the summe of one hundred pounds Item unto my Nephew Robert Blake
30    sonne to Samuell Blake my brother deceased I give the gold chaine
31    bestowed on me by the late Parliament of England Also all the claime I have
32    in an Annuitie of twentie pounds payable out of the farme of Pawlett Item
33    unto my Nephew Samuell Blake younger sonne to Samuell my brother
34    deceased I give two hundred pounds, I give unto Sarah Quarrell daughter of my
35    late Niece Sarah Quarrell by her husband Peter Quarrell now dwelling in Taunton I
36    give the summe of two hundred pounds To be disposed of for the benefit of the said
37    Sarah Quarrell according to the discretion of Humphry Nicholas and Beniamin Blake
38    my brothers aforesaid Item unto my cosin John Blake sonne unto my brother
39    Nicholas Blake I give one hundred pounds Item unto my Cosin John Avery of
40    Pawlett once a Souldier with me in Taunton Castle I give Fiftie pounds Item
41    unto Thomas Blake sonne of my Cosin William Blake once Commander of the Tresco
42    frigott, Deceased, now abord of the Centurion frigott in the service, I give fiftie
43    pounds Item All my Plate Linen Bedding withal my provisions aboard the
44    Shipp Naseby I give unto my Nephews Robert and Samuell Blake aforesaid
45    and unto my Nephew John Blake aforesaid to be divided betweene them by even and
46    equall por[t]ions, Item unto the Negro called domingo my servant I give the
47    summe of fiftie pounds to be disposed of by my aforesaid Nephew Captaine
48    Robert Blake and captaine Thomas Adams for his better education in the knowledge
49    and feare of God Item unto my Servants James Knowles and Nicholas Bartlett,
50    I give to each of them tenn pounds Item unto the widdowe Owen of Bridg-
51    water the Relict of Mr Owen, Minister, I give tenn pounds Item unto
52    Eleanor Potter, widdowe, I give tenn pounds All the rest of my goods and Chattells
53    I doe give and bequeath unto George Nicholas and Beniamin Blake my brothers
54    aforesaid And also to Alexander Blake my brother to be equally divided among
55    them whome I doe appoint and ordaine to be the executors of this my last will
    [Page 2]
56    and testament Robert Blake Signed and sealed aboard the Naseby March the thirteenth one
57    thousand sixe hundred Fiftie five in Ellnis Road in the presence of Roger Outton J Hynd
58    Antho: ______ John Bowne
59    This will was proved at London before the Judges for Probate of wills and granting
60    administra[t]iene lawfully authorized the twentieth day of August in the yeare
61    of our Lord God one thousand six hundred fiftie seaven by the oathe of George
62    Blake Beniamin Blake and Alexander Blake the natural and lawfull brothers of the
63    said deceased and three of the Executors named in his said will To whome was
64    p[er]mitted Administra[t]ion of all and singular the said deceased goods Chattells and
65    debts, They being first in due forme of law sworne well and truly to administer the
66    same Power is nevertheless hereby reserved to make the probate and grant like
67    administra[t]ion to Nicholas Blake his brother also and other executor therein named
68    whensoever he shall come and legally desire the same
69    The same will was againe proved at London before the Judges for
70    probate of wills and granting Administra[t]ene lawfully authorized the second day of
71    September in the yeare of our Lord God one thousand sixe hundred Fiftie
72    seaven by the oath of Nicholas Blake the brother also and other executor therein
73    named To whome likewise Administra[t]ion of the said goods Chattells and debts of the
74    said deceased was granted and committed he being in like manner first sworne
75    well and truly to administer

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