Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Will of John Blake, Esquire, Lieutenant Colonel in His Majesty's 24th or second Warwickshire Regiment of Foot - The National Archives PROB 11/1439, probated 21 Mar 1806

The testator John Blake Esquire may be the Lieutenant Colonel John Blake pictured in this miniature at Bonhams:

However, the year of his appointment is listed as 1797 and this will is written on the 4th Mar 1795 naming himself as a Lieutenant Colonel. At that time he would have been in Canada so perhaps a field appointment later ratified. No ideas on that as I am not overly knowledgeable on the military. A son Arthur Blake is mentioned in the writeup about this particular miniature and that he was also in the military.

Looking at a copy of the Gazette online Tuesday 4 Sep to at 8 Sep 1804

War Office 8 Sep 1804
3d 1st Regiment of Foot Colonel John Blake from the 24th Foot, to be Lieutenant Colonel.

24th (Ensigns without Purchase) John Blake, Gent to be Ensign

Another website on the Napoleonic Wars:

Lt. Col. John Blake

Born Galway c.1762; Major in 24th Foot 22 September 1795; Lieutenant-Colonel 25 March 1797; brevet Colonel 9 January 1798; local Brigadier-General in Egypt 1801; Lieutenant-Colonel in 3rd Foot 8 August 1804; retired December 1804; died 1836. This man born in 1762 is unlikely to be the individual in the miniature as this man is somewhat older than 28 years of age!

Sorting out all of these John Blake entries is a bit of a mystery!

An online tree on Geni (link above) mentions that John Blake’s date of birth is the 20th of February 1744 and that he is a son of Nathaniel and Elizabeth (Masters) Blake with siblings Arthur, Nathaniel, Ann, Elizabeth, Julia, Mary and Sarah Blake (Mary and Sarah were not named in the will). This online tree does mention that Julia is married to Thomas Rugge. Ann is married to John Knight (and the mother of Henry Knight). Mary is mentioned as the wife of John Lee. Sarah and Elizabeth are not listed as married. Arthur, the brother, is said to be married to Ann and the father of John and Arthur Blake. Some individuals in this family were said to be born at Charlinch, Somerset.

In the will below the testator mentions his nephews Nathaniel Blake, John Blake, Arthur Blake and William Knight. He mentions his sisters Julia Rugge, Ann Knight and Elizabeth Blake and his nieces Ann and Elizabeth Knight. This would appear to be a family from Somerset (he does mention Charlinch Somerset in his will with respect to William Score whom he has asked to be a Trustee). He names William Knight, his nephew, as his Executor.

An online tree for the Blake family of Bridgwater does have a Nathaniel Blake married to an Elizabeth Masters (she was his second wife) and they married the 30 Aug 1731at Long Sutton near Glastonbury (verified on Find My Past and Nathaniel Blake lived at Long Load near Gastonbury and his wife Elizabeth Masters was of Milton, Martock). The births of the children above would fit into that time frame. However no children are shown on that online tree for this couple. He was said to be the Nathaniel Blake baptized 28 Nov 1689 at Aisholt Somerset son of Roger Blake and Susannah Taylor. That Roger being a son of Humphry Blake (the elder) and Elizabeth Upton. That Humphry being a son of Humphry Blake and Elizabeth Giles. That Humphry being a son of Humphrey Blake and Ann James. That Humphrey being a son of John Blake (the elder) and Johan. That John being a son of Humphrey Blake and Agnis of Bishops Lydeard and Over Stowey. That would make this John Blake, testator, a 2nd cousin 4x removed of Admiral Robert Blake. Admiral Robert Blake would be a second cousin of the 2x great grandfather of this John Blake namely Humphry Blake married to Elizabeth Giles.

Since the age of this John Blake better fits the miniature shown above and the contents of the will point to Somerset as the likely home of this John Blake, I will attempt to investigate this particular family of Nathaniel Blake and Elizabeth Masters to see if I can fit it into the Nathaniel Blake said to be baptized 28 Nov 1689 at Aisholt Somerset.   

A document held by Somerset Heritage Centre is a Petition to Chancery by Nathaniel Blake of Glastonbury, innholder, and his wife Elizabeth daughter of Philip Masters of Milton Falconbridge, Martock, concerning her estate (Reference: DD/S/BT/25/1/11 after 1724). At least this does along with the marriage verify the names and the places. No will found for Philip Masters.

There is a baptism at Charlinch, Somerset for John Blake son of Nathaniel and Elizabeth Blake baptized 24 Feb 1745. The website of Martin Southwood is most helpful:

Other baptisms at Charlinch (see above website under Charlinch) for the children of Nathaniel and Elizabeth Blake:

Elizabeth Blake baptized 19 Jul 1746
Arthur Blake baptized 30 Nov 1747
Julia Blake baptized 9 Aug 1749
Mary Blake baptized 11 Oct 1752
Sarah Blake baptized 31 Dec 1755

Arthur Blake buried at Charlinch 20 Apr 1785 (Mr)
Nathaniel Blake buried at Charlinch 11 Nov 1785 (Mr. aged 87 years)
Nathaniel Blake buried at Charlinch 31 May 1787 (Mr)

If this is the father of John Blake who died aged 87 years then he was born in 1698 and not the Nathaniel Blake listed as baptized 28 Nov 1689 at Aisholt Somerset son of Roger Blake and Susannah Taylor. Nathaniel born circa 1689 and marrying in 1731 to Elizabeth Masters and having children up to 1755 would have been 52 when he married and 67 when his last child was baptized. Not impossible but certainly something to look at carefully.

I do not have a Nathaniel Blake born circa 1698 in any of my records thus far. Given his proximity to the Blake family of Over Stowey and Bridgwater it is possible that he is part of that family. But the line coming down does appear to be verified by the will below. Moving back in time will be more of a challenge as I do not have access to the Parish Registers for Charlinch, Glastonbury and Aisholt in particular prior to 1744 to look at Baptisms and Burials for the Blake family.

Definitely though the Nathaniel Blake baptized in 1689 at Aisholt appears to have died 12 Apr 1735 at Glastonbury (this is recorded on the tree at Geni mentioned above thus making it somewhat peculiar that children are named to him born after this date!) thus breaking the link between the Nathaniel Blake who married Elizabeth Masters in 1731 and this Nathaniel Blake married to an Elizabeth with the children mentioned above baptized at Charlinch unless the date of death is incorrect. Two children not mentioned as baptized at Charlinch (the registers online begin in 1744) are Nathaniel (assumed because Nathaniel mentioned in the will was not the son of Arthur and there was a burial for a Mr Nathaniel Blake in 1787 at Charlinch) and Ann.

At this point I have simply broken the line between this family and the Admiral; hopefully more records will help to relink this line into the Blake family of Over Stowey and Bridgwater.

Transcriber: Elizabeth Kipp
Recorded: 25 Jan 2017
Source:  The National Archives, PROB 11/1439
Name of testator: John Blake, Esquire, Lieutenant Colonel in His Majesty’s 24th or second Warwickshire Regiment of Foot
Place: Unknown
Type of Record: Will
Dated: 4 Mar 1795, probated 21 Mar 1806

[In margin] John Blake, Esquire

1    This is the last Will and Testament
2    of me John Blake Lieutenant Colonel in his
3    Majesty’s 24th or second Warwickshire Regiment of
4    Foot revoking all other Wills by me made in form
5    following First I Give and bequeath unto my
6    Nephew Nathaniel Blake when he attained the
7    age of Twenty one years the Sum of Three hundred
8    pounds to each of my Nephews John Blake and
9    Arthur Blake the Sum of One hundred pounds
10    when they shall respectively attain the age of
11    Twenty one years To my Sister Ann Knight and to
12    my Nieces Ann Knight and Elizabeth Knight the
13    Sum of Twenty pounds apiece to be paid them
14    respectively by my Executors hereinafter named
15    with three Calendar Months next after my decease
16    also I give and bequeath unto William Score of
17    Charlinch in the County of Somerset Gentleman
18    his Executors and Administrators three clear
19    annuities of Fifteen pounds to be paid by my
20    said Executor in half yearly payments on Lady
21    Day and Michaelmas Day The first payment
22    to begin in and be made on such of the said days as
23    shall first and next happen after my decease In
24    Trust nevertheless that he the said William Score
25    his Exors or Admors do and shall apply and dispose of
26    the said several annuities of Fifteen pounds in the
27    education and Maintenance of my said three
28    Nephews Nathaniel Blake John Blake and Arthur
29    Blake until they shall respectively attain the age of
30    Twenty one years if my said Sister Ann Knight
31    and my Sister Elizabeth Blake or either of them
32    shall so long live But in Case of the death of
33    any or either of my said Nephews before the
34    attainment of the age of Twenty one years Then
35    the Annuity or Annuities so directed to be applied
36    and disposed of in the Education and maintenance
37    as aforesaid of each of my said Nephews as shall
38    happen to die shall of course cease and be no longer
39    paid or payable also I Give devise and bequeath unto
40    my Sister Julia Rugge Thirty pounds to be paid by
41    my Executor hereinafter named within Six Months
42    after my decease Also I Give and bequeath unto
43    my Sister Julia Rugge for and during the term of
44    her natural life if my said Sister Ann Knight and
45    Elizabeth Blake shall both so long live one clear
46    annuity of Twenty pounds to be paid to my said
47    Executor in half yearly payments on Lady Day
48    and Michaelmas Day the first payment thereof to
49    begin and be made on such of the said Feast days
50    as shall first and next happen after my decease all
51    the rest residue of my Goods and personal Estate
52    whatsoever and wheresoever I Give devise and bequeath
53    unto my Nephew William Knight his heirs Exors
54    Administrators and Assigns respectively and of this my last
55    Will and Testament do make constitute and appoint him
56    sole Executor provided always and my Will is that in
57    case my said Executor shall at any time after my
58    decease receive of and from David Roberts late of
59    London Esquire or the Representative of John Roberts late
60    of London Esquire deceased the Sum of five hundred
61    thirty nine pounds fifteen shilling and one penny
62    under and by virtue of an award bearing date the
63    twenty ninth day of August one thousand seven
64    hundred and eighty nine duly executed by Thomas
65    Lowten of the Inner Temple London Gentleman and
66    which said Sum of Five hundred thirty nine
67    pounds fifteen shilling and one penny the thereto
68    awarded to be paid by them the said David Roberts
69    and John Robert since deceased to me then I Give
70    and bequeath unto my said Nephew John Blake
71    when of the age of Twenty one years the further
72    Sum of One hundred and Fifty pounds To my said
73    Nephew Arthur Blake when of the age of twenty
74    one years the like Sum of one hundred and fifty
75    pounds and to my said Sister Julia Rugge the
76    further Sum of Forty pounds and I hereby direct
77    my said Executor to pay the three last mentioned
78    Sums accordingly In Witness whereof I have to
79    this my last Will and Testament set my hand and
80    Seal this fourth day of March in the year of our
81    Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninty Five
82    Jas Blake Signed Sealed published and declared
83    by the said John Blake as and for his last Will and
84    Testament in the presence of us who at his request
85    and in his presence have subscribed our Names as
86    Witnesses Henry Coles G Coombs
87    James Stoefs
88    This Will was proved at London on the
89    twenty first day of March in the year of our
90    Lord one thousand eight hundred and Six
91    before the worshipful Charles Coote doctor of Laws
92    Surrogate of the Right honorable Sir William
93    Wynne Knight doctor of Laws Master Keeper or
94    Commissary of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury
95    lawfully constituted by the oath of William Knight
96    Esquire the Newphew of the deceased and the sole
97    Executor named in the said Will to whom Admon was
98    granted of all and Singular the Goods Chattels and
99    Credits of the said deceased he having been first sworn
100    duly to administer

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