BLAAKE, Henry (c.1659-1731), of Pinnells, nr. Calne, Wilts. and Bristol, Glos.
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Family and Education
b. c.1659, 1st s. of Ambrose Blaake of Pinnells by Mary, da. of George Jaye of Hullavington, Wilts. educ. St. Edmund Hall, Oxf. matric. 3 July 1676, aged 17; I. Temple 1677; called 1688. m. ?1683 (with £2,000), Catherine, da. of Sir George Hungerford*, sis. of George* and Walter Hungerford*, 2s. (1 d.v.p.) 4da. (1 d.v.p.). suc. fa. 1682.1
Freeman, Wilton June–Oct. 1688; steward of sheriff’s ct. Bristol 1712–21, town clerk 1721–d.2
Waiter, port of Bristol 1709–d.3
Blaake, whose family had been settled in the vicinity of Calne since at least the 14th century, inherited the moated estate of Pinnells in 1682. Shortly afterwards he secured £2,000 from his marriage to the daughter of his near neighbour, Sir George Hungerford, and in subsequent years was able to purchase other property in the county in Chippenham, Cherhill, Calston, Stoford and Quemerford.4
These properties put Blaake in good stead when he showed a local political interest; he had been active in elections in Calne, on the Whig side, as early as 1685. Returned unopposed in 1695 with his Tory brother-in-law George Hungerford, he was named to a single drafting committee before being granted leave of absence for ten days on 14 Jan. 1696. Upon his return he was more active. He was forecast as likely to support the Court in the division of 31 Jan. on the proposed council of trade, and signed the Association the following month. Also in February he demonstrated his links with Bristol, managing through all its stages in the Commons a bill to supply Bristol with fresh water, and acting as a teller on the 11th in favour of hearing a petition from the city regarding the East India trade. On 16 Mar. he reported from the committee on the bill for erecting hospitals and workhouses in Bristol and later in the month voted for fixing the price of guineas at 22s. In the next session he voted on 25 Nov. 1696 in favour of the attainder of Sir John Fenwick†. Given leave of absence on 19 Dec., this time for three weeks, he was back in London by 3 Mar. 1697 when he was a teller for agreeing to a resolution from the committee of ways and means to grant a further duty on cider and perry. Later in March he managed a bill to amend the laws for the relief of the poor through the House. In the following session he told on 22 Dec. 1697 against committing the bill to prevent the throwing of fireworks, before receiving leave on 8 Jan. 1698 owing to his wife’s illness. Upon his return he told on two further occasions: on 10 Mar. 1698 for an amendment to the case prepared for a conference with the Lords on the bill of pains and penalties against Charles Duncombe*; and on 21 Apr. against an instruction to the committee on the coal duty bill to remove the duty on coal transported inland. He was allowed a further fortnight’s leave on 27 Apr. in order to attend George Hungerford’s funeral.5
Blaake was classed with the Court party in a comparative analysis of the new and old Parliaments in about September 1698, and soon gave further evidence to support such a conclusion. On 4 Jan. 1699 he wrote to Walter White* that he had ‘signalized himself’ by making ‘a very violent speech in the House for a standing army and was so linked into the interest of the Court that they must not expect a good vote from me this session’. He then voted against the third reading of the disbanding bill on 18 Jan., prompting Henry Chivers* to write in a letter to some friends in Calne, ‘I do really believe he will never give his country one vote, he is so linked in with the Court party’, a ‘reflection’ for which Chivers was subsequently called to account before the House. Blaake himself spent several weeks in Wiltshire after being given a fortnight’s leave of absence on 21 Jan., but he had returned in time to act as a teller on 8 Mar. 1699 against engrossing the place bill. He was a teller thrice more in this session: twice on the Malmesbury election case, and once regarding a petitioner’s claims against the agent for two packet boats. During the next session he acted as a teller on 6 Jan. 1700 for a motion that the state of the navy be referred to the committee of supply, rather than left on the table to be perused by Members. His main legislative involvement in this session was to assist in the management of two measures through the House: a bill to improve the navigation of the Avon and Frome and for cleaning Bristol’s streets, and an estate bill in favour of the Marquess of Tavistock. He was a teller on two further occasions: on 14 Mar. in favour of hearing the reports of the committee of privileges and on 4 Apr. for an additional clause to the bill imposing a duty on East Indian cloth imports.6
Blaake did not stand in the February 1701 election, but in the following November he co-operated with the electioneering efforts of Lord Wharton (Hon. Thomas*) in Wiltshire, and supported the Whig candidates for knight of the shire, William Ashe I* and Hon. Maurice Ashley*. He wrote to White:
I need not tell you how much the fate of England, nay perhaps all Europe, depends on the proceedings of the approaching Parliament, nor how necessary it is for all honest men to take care in the choice of their representatives, but I beg you to be industrious against the election for our county. Ashe and Ashley is the word, and I am sure that you and I that have voted so many times together can’t differ in that, for we both know ’em.
As regards White’s election at Chippenham, where his own father-in-law was also concerned, he commented, ‘I wish you joy of your deliverance from Squire Hungerford’s opposition’. For his own part, he was able to come in again at Calne, in all probability through the good offices of his friend Edward Bayntun*, and was listed by Robert Harley* as a Whig. He spoke on 14 Feb. 1702 in defence of the Malmesbury election petitioners. He was a teller on 28 Apr. for leave for a bill for the relief of Ignatius Gould, a merchant, with respect to the resumption of the Irish forfeitures, and subsequently reported from committee three relief bills relating to the same issue.7
Blaake did not stand again, though he was still involved in Calne elections in 1710. Before long he sold Pinnells and went to live in Bristol, where in 1709 he had been given a small customs place worth £15 a year, and where he later held office in the corporation. He made his will a few days before his death on 10 July 1731, aged 72. Asking to be buried ‘in the most private manner’ in St. Mark’s, the lord mayor’s chapel in Bristol where a monument was raised to his memory, he left £200 to each of his surviving children. Neither of his sons succeeded him in Parliament.8
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: D. W. Hayton
- 1. Wilts. N. and Q. i. 452–4; iv. 515–17; v. 46; Add. 33412, f. 138; Vis. Wilts. ed. Phillipps, 30; R. C. Hoare, Hungerfordiana, 22–24; Cal. Treas. Bks. xxiii. 93; xxix. 335; Cal. Treas. Pprs. 1731–4, p. 522; PCC 82 Aston.
- 2. Wilts. RO, G25/1/21; A. B. Beaven, Bristol Lists, 323.
- 3. Cal. Treas. Bks. xxiii. 93.
- 4. Wilts. RO, 212B/1077; 546/38; VCH Wilts. xv. 219.
- 5. A. E. W. Marsh, Hist. Calne, 184–6; Wilts. Arch. Mag. xlvi. 70.
- 6. Wilts. Arch. Mag. 73–74, 77.
- 7. Ibid. 79–80; Cocks Diary, 213.
- 8. Wilts. Arch. Mag. 69; Wilts. N. and Q. i. 452–3; iv. 515–17; Cal. Treas. Bks. xxiii. 179; xxix. 369.