BLACKETT, Sir Edward, 2nd Bt. (1649-1718), of Newby, Yorks. and Dartmouth Street, London
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Family and Education
bap. 25 Oct. 1649, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Sir William Blackett, 1st Bt.†, by Elizabeth, da. of Michael Kirkley, merchant, of Newcastle; bro. of Sir William Blackett, 1st Bt.* m. (1) settlement 28 Apr. 1674, Mary, da. and h. of Thomas Norton of Langthorne, Yorks., 1s. d.v.p.; (2) settlement 25 Nov. 1676, Mary (d. 1696), da. of Sir John Yorke† of Richmond, Yorks., 6s. 6da.; (3) 21 Oct. 1699, Diana (d. 1713), da. of Sir George Booth†, 1st Baron Delamere, of Dunham Massey, Cheshire, sis. of Hon. Henry Booth†, wid. of Sir Ralph Delaval, 2nd Bt., of Seaton Delaval, Northumb., 1s. d.v.p. suc. fa. as 2nd Bt. 16 May 1680.1
Member, merchant adventurers’ co. of Newcastle-upon-Tyne 1672, hostmen’s co. 1684; sheriff, Northumb. 1679–80; freeman, Ripon Sept. 1688.2
The son of a wealthy Newcastle merchant, Blackett inherited estates in Northumberland and Yorkshire. His first two marriages brought him further property in the latter county, the second bringing him lands worth £2,000 p.a., so that by the 1680s Blackett was a significant figure in both counties. He chose to emphasize his standing through the construction of Newby Hall at a cost of over £32,000. Contemporaries generally deemed this money well spent, two visitors to the house in 1703 describing Newby Hall as ‘one of the most pleasant and most perfect that we ever saw’, but this opinion was not universally held, as in 1701 one traveller carped that ‘this house, were it not so cried up, might pass for a very good one, but the name it has got . . . prepares travellers to expect a much finer building’.3
Blackett had first entered public life during the Exclusion Crisis, pursuing the recusancy fines of Northumberland Catholics while sheriff, and when returned to the Convention for Ripon voted against declaring the throne vacant. Though Blackett was nominated in 1693 as one of three candidates for sheriff of Yorkshire, William III chose to ignore him. In 1697 he declared his intention of standing at the next election and, despite one observer’s worry that he ‘talks of more things than he puts into execution’, he was returned unopposed for Northumberland the following year. The Tory sympathies suggested by what little is known of his prior political allegiance appear to be confirmed by an analysis of the new House classing Blackett as a likely opponent of a standing army. However, on 18 Jan. 1699 he voted against the third reading of the disbanding bill. His unexpected support for the Court is most explicable in terms of his brother Sir William’s decision to oppose disbandment, but there is little evidence of his political allegiance following this vote. In early 1700 a classification of the Commons into interests listed Blackett under the independent Whig the 2nd Earl of Warrington, a judgment probably based upon Blackett’s marriage in 1699 to Warrington’s aunt. He decided against standing for Northumberland at the first 1701 election and, though urged in November 1701 and again in 1705 to forward his name for the county, he never stood for election again.4
Though he had resolved to live in retirement Blackett maintained electoral interests in a number of Yorkshire boroughs, most notably Ripon, as well as concerning himself in Yorkshire and Northumberland county elections, generally exercising his interest in favour of Tory candidates. He exerted himself in the election of his under-age nephew Sir William Blackett, 2nd Bt.*, at Newcastle in 1710, supporting his campaign and lobbying Yorkshire Members to be his ‘friends’ should a petition be presented against his nephew. His wealth was further augmented by his third marriage and by the marriage, with a portion of £8,000, of one of his sons to his third wife’s only daughter, the heir to the Delaval lands at Seaton Delaval. Blackett, however, only obtained the portion in 1715 following protracted legal action, in which year he was awarded both the principal and interest amounting to £14,624. Blackett died on 22 Apr. 1718, and was buried in Ripon Minster. He was succeeded by his eldest surviving son Edward, whose son sat for Northumberland under George III.5
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Authors: Eveline Cruickshanks / Richard Harrison
- 1. New Hist. Northumb. xii. 277; NRA report 6531 (Blackett [Matfen] mss), p. 59; J. Hodgson, Hist. Northumb. pt. ii(1), 259.
- 2. Newcastle Merchant Adventurers (Surtees Soc. ci), 98; Newcastle Hostmen’s Co. (Surtees Soc. cv), 272; Ripon Millenary Rec. ed Harrison, 78.
- 3. VCH N. Riding Yorks. i. 296, 451; Hodgson, 259; Blathwayt Diary ed. Hardwick, 22–23; Add. 47057, ff. 31–32.
- 4. L. Gooch, The Desperate Faction?, 3; Hull Univ. Lib. Bosville mss DDBM/32/1, [–] to Godfrey Bosville, 21 Nov. 1693; Luttrell, Brief Relation, iii. 395; Add. 70018, f. 217; 70019, f. 285; Huntington Lib. Stowe mss 58(1), pp. 17–18; Northumb. RO, Blackett (Matfen) mss, Bp. Moore of Norwich to Blackett, 13 Nov. 1701, Duke of Somerset to [same], 15 Mar. 1704–5.
- 5. N. Yorks. RO, Swinton mss, Danby pprs. ‘persons to be elected’, 24 Nov. 1701; Add. 24475, f. 138; Blackett (Matfen) mss ZBL 189, Blackett to Sir William Blackett, 2nd Bt., 3 Sept. , same to [–], 4 Oct. 1710, same to Thomas Forster II*, 8 Oct. 1710 (Speck trans.); ZBL 190, same to Paul Foley II*, 27 Aug. 1713, same to Robert Fairfax*, 4 Sept. 1713 (Speck trans.); New Hist. Northumb. ix. 162–3; PCC 72 Tenison.