BLOUNT, Cuthbert (by 1515-59/61), of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumb.
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Family and Education
b. by 1515. m. by 1547, Barbara, da. of James Lawson of Newcastle, 5s. 1da.1
Sheriff, Newcastle 1548-9, mayor 1553-4, alderman by 1555: gov. merchant adventurers of Newcastle 1553; v.-adm. in the north by 1558.2
Nothing has been discovered about the parentage or origin of Cuthbert Blount, but the fact that no-one of his surname had been previously connected with the government of Newcastle suggests that he was a recent arrival there. It was in February 1527 that he was apprenticed to John Blaxton, a leading merchant and councilman in the town, but the date of his admission to the Newcastle merchant adventurers’ is not known. He was certainly established as a merchant by 1539, being so described as executor of the will of George Burrell, a fellow-merchant, in September 1539 as well as in a grant to him and John Swinburne of a presentation by the abbey of Blanchland, which was finally dissolved in that year. He attended the muster at Newcastle in 1539, and within the next dozen years, to judge from the number of apprentices he took, he was in a fair way of business.3
The scope of Blount’s trading is reflected in his dealings with foreign merchants: in June 1552 he owed money to a merchant of Bordeaux and in September the Privy Council directed him to obey an order by the Duke of Northumberland in a matter between another Frenchman and himself. During Mary’s reign he had dealings with Danzig and possibly also with Spain. He was active on behalf of the Newcastle merchant adventurers: deputed with Robert Lewen to go to London on the company’s affairs, a mission for which they were to be paid 8s. a day and their expenses refunded if they went abroad, Blount received £25 9s.4d. from the company in 1556. He also acted for the crown overseas: in February 1561 Elizabeth told the King of Poland that Blount had been unable to answer charges brought against him in Danzig because Queen Mary had used him on business the nature of which could not be specified.4
Blount’s municipal progress kept pace with his commercial advance. By 1555, when he was elected to Parliament with his fellow-merchant and alderman (Sir) Robert Brandling, he had himself become an alderman and was so styled on the return: two years later he was reappointed when the number of aldermen in the town was increased from six to ten. Of his part in the proceedings of the Commons nothing is known save that he was not listed among the Members who followed Sir Anthony Kingston in opposing the government, but he was presumably concerned with the bill for the quantity of salmon barrels at Berwick and Newcastle which received its first and only reading on 13 Nov. 1555. It was with Brandling that Blount wrote on 28 Dec. 1556 to the 5th Earl of Shrewsbury to seek his advice on the troubled situation in Newcastle: they told the earl that they had submitted a bill to the Privy Council and that the mayor was also consulting Bishop Tunstall of Durham.5
Unlike most merchants of his standing, Blount seems to have had little interest in acquiring property. In addition to what he held in Newcastle he had a burgage in Hartlepool. In 1552-3 he and another merchant bought most of the 5th Earl of Westmorland’s rights in the manor of Cambois in Northumberland; he also had a lease from the earl of coal mines in the lordship of Winlaton, county Durham, but this he later conveyed to Christopher Cooke.6
The close of Mary’s reign saw Blount momentarily in trouble. He had been made vice-admiral of the ships in the north, but in May 1558 the Privy Council ordered the admiral to remove him from that post because of his failure to answer charges made against him at Danzig, and in July the Earl of Westmorland was instructed to send him under safe conduct to the Council. What came of this is not known, but Blount cannot have been seriously compromised because before the year was out he was returned to Parliament for the second time. The date of his death is unknown, but Elizabeth referred to it in her letter of 8 Feb. 1561 to the King of Poland. His will was not proved until October 1569.7
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: M. J. Taylor
- 1. Date of birth estimated from apprenticeship. Wills and Inventories, iii (Surtees Soc. cxii), 19-20; Arch. Ael. (ser. 4), xviii. 62; Northumb. Co. Hist. xiii. 393.
- 2. Arch. Ael. (ser. 4), xviii. 35-36; J. Brand, Newcastle, ii. 240; APC, vi. 316, 343.
- 3. Newcastle Merchant Adventurers, ii (Surtees Soc. ci), 190, 197-8; N. Country Wills, i (ibid. cxvi), 165; Northumb. Co. Hist. vi. 241; R. Welford, Newcastle and Gateshead, ii. 184.
- 4. APC, iv. 81, 119; Welford, ii. 367; Newcastle Merchant Adventurers, i (ibid. xciii), 87-88; ii (ibid. ci), 167.
- 5. C219/24/231; CPR, 1555-7, p. 399; CJ, i. 44; HMC Shrewsbury and Talbot, ii. 47.
- 6. CPR, 1548-9, p. 296; Hodgson, Northumb. ii(2), 362; Arch. Ael. (ser. 3), iv. 12.
- 7. 7 APC, vi. 316, 343; Wills and Inventories, iii. 19-20.