BLAKISTON, William (c.1621-85), of Old Malton, Yorks. and Pittington Hall, co. Dur.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Oct. 1679

Family and Education

b. c.1621, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of William Blakiston of Newton Hall, Durham by Anne, da. and coh. of Francis Briggs of Old Malton. educ. Peterhouse, Camb. adm. 17 Nov. 1639, aged 18; G. Inn 1641. m. aft. 1645, Mary, da. of Sir William Belasyse of Morton, co. Dur., wid. of Henry Simpson of Pittington Hall, 1da. d.v.p. suc. fa. 1628.1

Offices Held

Lt.-col. of horse (royalist) 1642-?4.2

J.p. co. Dur. July 1660-d., commr. for assessment, Aug. 1660-1, 1663-80, loyal and indigent officers 1662, receiver of taxes 1662-3, farmer of excise 1662-5; freeman, Durham 1663; dep. lt. co. Dur. by 1664-d., v.-adm. 1666-d., commr. for recusants 1675; mayor, Durham 1678-9; commr. for carriage of coals, Newcastle-upon-Tyne 1679.3


Blakiston was descended from a cadet branch of a family established at the Durham village from which they took their name by the 14th century. His father was probably born in Durham, but moved to Yorkshire on marrying an heiress. John Blakiston the regicide who represented Newcastle in the Long Parliament, was a cousin; but Blakiston himself served in the Cavalier army as second-in-command to his namesake, William Blakiston of Archdeacon Newton, who was knighted in 1643. Blakiston compounded for delinquency in 1645, but was fined only £60. Shortly afterwards he acquired by marriage the lease of Pittington Hall, and on the sale of capitular lands was obliged to purchase the reversion for £1,525 12s. He may have been the ‘William Blackstone’ bailed in March 1652, for an unspecified offence, probably political. Claiming that he had been ‘sequestered, plundered, imprisoned and decimated’, and still ‘carried marks about him’ of his loyalty, he petitioned the commissioners for the Restoration land settlement to oblige the dean and chapter of Durham, in renewing his lease, to take into consideration the sum he had already paid for the reversion. Of unimpeachable loyalty, he was proposed for the order of the Royal Oak, with an income of £600. But in 1663 Dean Carleton accused Blakiston of insufficient zeal in proceeding against one of those involved in the Derwentdale plot and of threatening to ‘pull the gowns of some Durham prebendaries over their ears’. Blakiston, however, supported Bishop Cosin in the re-establishment of his palatine rights and in his opposition to parliamentary representation, and, unlike John Tempest, he was never removed from local office.4

Blakiston was unsuccessful for Durham City at the first general election of 1679, but won the seat in September after a closely fought contest. Doubtless an opponent of exclusion, he left no trace on the records of the second Exclusion Parliament. He did not stand again, though when he petitioned in 1681 for payment of £400 due to him as vice-admiral, the King emphasized his ‘particular regard to the petitioner’s great loyalty and good services’. Blakiston died on 1 Jan. 1685 and was buried at St. Oswald’s, Durham, the last of his line.5

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: Gillian Hampson / Geoffrey Jaggar


  • 1. Surtees, Dur. iii. 163.
  • 2. List of Officers Claiming (1663), 13.
  • 3. Cal. Treas. Bks. i. 380, 430, 633, 1205; vii. 157; Surtees, iv. pt. 2, p. 23; CSP Dom. 1664-5, p. 40; 1671-2, p. 231; Dur. Univ. Jnl. xlvii. 114, Bean, Six N. Counties, 147; Dur. Univ. Lib. Mickleton Spearman mss 2/89.
  • 4. VCH Dur. iii. 308; Surtees, i. 113, 115; ii. 255; iii. 162-3; List of Officers Claiming, 13; Cal. Comm. Comp. 989; CSP Dom. 1651-2, p. 185; 1664-5, p. 40; Cal. Cl. SP, v. 212; Cosin Corresp. (Surtees Soc. lv), 4-6, 11, 212; C. Sharp, Parl. Rep. Dur. (1831), ix; Durham Cathedral Lib. Hunter mss 7/138; Allan mss 7/194, Durham Univ. Lib., Original Letters to Durham 1593-1662.
  • 5. HMC Astley, 41; Sharp, 33-34; Cal. Treas. Bks. vii. 157, 183; Surtees, iii. 163.