The Ancestry of Charles BLOUNT of Claverley SAL
I first began my research into the BLOUNT family in September 1959. On 10th January 1968 I had a letter from the Rev C.J. Raby of Claverley which enabled me to trace my ancestry back to Charles BLUNT (or BLOUNT) who married Mary SMITH at Claverley on 29th June 1736. I have been trying to find the origins of Charles BLUNT ever since. There is no record of his baptism or burial in the registers at Claverley.
There was a Catherine BLUNT daughter of a Charles and Mary BLUNT baptised at Hopton Wafers Church 4th December 1737 and I thought Charles might have come from Hopton Wafers. I also discovered that a Katherine BLUNT was buried as an infant at Cleobury Mortimer Church on 13th December 1737. Hopton Wafers and Cleobury Mortimer are neighbouring parishes so I assumed this to be the same child, but there is no reference to a Charles BLUNT's baptism or burial in either place. Nor are there any other children of a Charles and Mary BLUNT recorded as being baptised in neighbouring parishes until Elizabeth BLUNT at Claverley on 13th March 1741.
On 8th March 1969 I heard from the Shropshire Record Office. They had examined the vestry books from Claverley for me. The only one mentioning the name BLOUNT was the Overseers of the poor Account Book for 1709-1760. In 1755 referring to the Sixth Months Pay (February) it says:
"Gave Charles BLUNT to by coles. 10s."
Ten shillings seems a lot of money to buy coal, and I wonder if Charles had a private coal shaft which he used to supply coal to the Overseers for distribution to the poor, rather than him being in need himself for help from the Overseers.
I began to look into other vestry records for Settlement Certificates which might refer to Charles BLUNT and Mary SMITH, thinking it was odd that they were allowed to settle in Claverley unless they had the Â“proper papersÂ” to prove they would be no liability on the funds of the Overseers. For the year 1686 I found a reference to a Charles BLUNT, married with one child, moving from the hamlet of Amblecote to Oldswinford in Â“The Poor Law & Settlement Documents of the Church of St. MaryÂ’s, Old Swinford 1651-1794Â” transcribed by Nigel R. Perry and published by the Birmingham & Midland Society for Genealogy and Heraldry. In the Old Swinford Parish Registers there is a Charles BLUNT baptised 16th June 1635. His father is a Walter BLUNT. I have not been able to follow this family any further.
I did a spiral search through the parishes around Claverley but in none did I find a Charles BLOUNT born between 1696 and 1716. There was a Charles BLUNT (or BRUNT) baptised in Ludlow 10th March 1719, parents - George & Elizabeth BLUNT, but if this is our missing ancestor he was only 18 years 3 months old when he married Mary SMITH. My search extended to thirty miles around Claverley in every direction - and the Charles BLUNT from Ludlow was the only likely candidate. This search needs repeating to check my work.
It has been suggested that Charles made Mary, who was younger than himself - say 15 or 15, pregnant, and that the child which died was the result of that pregnancy, but there is 1 year 5 months from the date of the marriage to the birth of that child so this scenario does not work. The idea was that after the marriage and the death of the child, the families would not let Charles and Mary live together until she was 21, and that would explain the long gap from 1837 to 1841 between their first two children. This idea must be rejected.
I examined the pedigrees in the book by Sir Alexander CROKE: "Genealogical History of the CROKE Family Formerly Named LE BLOUNT" (Oxford 1823). Only 150 copies of this book were ever published. I am fortunate enough to own the copy of this book which was given by Sir Alexander to the British Museum but which he exchanged for another copy when he discovered some of the pages had been inserted in the wrong order. But none of his family trees contained a suitable Charles.
I began collecting BLOUNT families who were alive between 1630 and 1730 using the IGI. So far I have covered Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Oxfordshire, Derbyshire but there are no Charles BLUNT's of a suitable age.
I have listed every Charles BLOUNT or BLUNT I have come across at any date thinking that names run in families, maybe one of these families will point me back to the origins of our family.
I guessed that Charles might be the grandson of one of the families who supported the King against Parliament during the Civil War. I contacted the House of LordÂ’s Library for lists of such "delinquents" (as they were called) because I found there was a reference to a Charles BLOUNT in the Journals of the House of Commons for July 3rd 1644. When I looked into this record it referred to Sir Charles BLOUNT of Bicester. He was the eldest Son of Sir Richard BLOUNT (1564-1619). Charles was probably born before 1592 and married Dorothy CLARKE of Capheaton. He was killed at Oxford on 1st June 1644 by accident by a sentry,
"at the north port, by the sentinell, for not standing at his command."
He had three sons, Michael (died without issue in 1649), Walter (died without issue in 1650), James (who died in 1671) and one daughter (Ann). I do not know what family James had. On 23rd June 1989 I had a marvellous letter from Mrs Jill Wishert chairman of the Bicester Local History Society about this family:
"I ... checked my copy of J.C. BlomfieldÂ’s Â“Deanery of Bicester - Part II History of BicesterÂ” [This is a locally well-known and quite widely available series of published parish/village histories by a local Dean of Launton, near Bicester... It was published in 1884 and together with John Dunkin and White Kennett ... provides the factual basis for much of the Victoria County History on Bicester and are widely used].
"The name Â‘Sir Charles BLOUNTÂ’ had been vaguely familiar to me - but Civil War is not one of my favourite topics and I couldnÂ’t place it. BlomfieldÂ’s work is not indexed, though mostly chronological. I was therefore pleased to discover the following (p.34):
"'Sir Charles BLOUNT was resident in the Priory, certainly in 1627-28. He was a staunch Royalist and was killed at the Battle of Oxford in 1644 where he was buried. Other members of this family were resident as late as 1646 but ten years after that date the property was sold.'
"And later - after a long piece about the introduction of the game of Bowls, that being a Roundhead game (but nonetheless introduced by Sir Charles by his construction of a Bowling Green in the Old Grange Yard at the Priory.) - it records, 'Sir Charles BLOUNT, whom Parliament described as a Papist and a delinquent...'"
There were other such delinquent BLOUNT families who lost their lands and fortune, confiscated by Parliament, for supporting King Charles. One of these is the family of Sir Walter BLOUNT of Rock and Sodington who was knighted by King Charles I on 15th October 1642. He was an ardent supporter of the King and imprisoned both at Oxford and the Tower of London for his loyalty. His house at Sodington was burnt and his estates were confiscated on 2nd November 1652. He had 7 sons and four daughters. This was the family which built Mawley Hall in 1730 which is less than twelve miles from Claverley as the crow flies, and less than three miles from Hopton Wafers and Cleobury Mortimer. Perhaps Walter BLOUNT or another of these delinquent families spawned Charles. But so far this pathway has not thrown up our Charles. There is a lot more work to be done.
However on the other side in the Civil War there was a Captain Charles BLUNT in the Earl of StamfordÂ’s Regiment in 1642 and an Ensign Charles BLOUNT went on the Irish Expedition under Philip Lord Wharton. Maybe our Charles BLUNT was a Roundhead!
Conscious that I was only an amateur where record-searching was concerned, in May 1989 I employed Sue Cleaves, a professional genealogist, to see if she could track down Charles BLUNT. Although she waded through the following records she did not find a suitable Charles BLUNT:
George Morris, "Shropshire Genealogies Vol. IV."
T. Hardwick, "Pedigrees of Heralds Visitation of Shropshire Vol. I."
Blakeway, "Pedigrees of Shropshire families."
There is a Rev Robin BLOUNT in the Church of England ministry, and he is descended through George BLOUNT, the youngest son of John BLOUNT, and Mary CHAPMAN, his first wife, while I am descended through Edwin BLOUNT, son of John BLOUNT and Ann WYNN, his second wife. We both have the same great-great grandfather, so Charles BLUNT, John BLOUNTÂ’s grandfather, is our common ancestor. His family has researched the BLOUNTs using the records of the College of Arms in London: the pedigree also starts with Charles BLUNT of Claverley. They too could push it no further back than Charles.
The marriages of Peter BLUNT and John BLUNT, sons of Charles BLUNT, were both witnessed by a Lydia BLUNT. While looking for a Charles BLUNT in the parish registers, I have also looked for a Lydia BLUNT. Maybe she was their grandmother, Charles BLUNT's mother. I have not found a single entry of this name for the 18th century for Staffordshire, Shropshire, Warwickshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire or Derbyshire. If we can find a Lydia related to a Charles BLUNT around about 1700, we might have spoor we can follow.
Margaret Bradley, the founder and secretary of the "BLOUNT One-Name Study Group," has been most helpful is suggesting ideas for finding Charles BLUNT. She found the Charles BLUNT who was baptised at Ludlow and the Settlement Certificate at Old Swinford, and the possible connection with the Blounts of Rock and Sodington quite independently of my researches. But she went one step further with a brilliant idea to try to by-pass Charles by looking at his wife, Mary SMITH. At Claverley she found a Mary SMITH baptised 10th September 1706 whose parents were William SMITH and Elizabeth. Then she found a William SMITH baptised at Smethcott 12th October 1705 and a John SMITH baptised 24th October 1708 at Cardington. Both had William SMITH and Elizabeth as parents. She also found the marriage of a William SMITH and Elizabeth DUSISTABLE (sic) at Cardington 14th April 1702. Now that is a nice sequence of children 1705, 1706 and 1708 showing that they all might be the same family. Now we must look see if there are any BLUNT connections with Smethcott or Cardington.
In "The Complete Book of Emigrants, 1607-1776" CD-ROM, I found the following entries against the names BLUNT and BLOUNT:
"BLUNT, Charles. Reprieved for transportation for Barbados May Transportation Bond June 1668. Middlesex.
"BLUNT, David. Sentenced to transportation Lent Transported May 1755 Rose. Hertfordshire.
"BLUNT, Isaac. Reprieved for transportation for Barbados January 1694. Middlesex.
"BLUNT alias BUTLER, James. Sentenced to transportation September-December 1755 Transported January 1756 Greyhound. Middlesex.
"BLUNT, Jane wife of William. Sentenced to transportation & Transported July 1772 Tayloe. Middlesex.
"BLUNT, John. Sentenced to transportation August Transported 14 yrs September 1718 Eagle Landing Certificate Charles Town March 1719. London.
"BLUNT, John. Landing Certificate Rappahannock Virginia May 1728 from Forward. Stray records.
"BLUNT, Richard. Sentenced to transportation April Transported September 1737 Pretty Patsy to Maryland. Middlesex.
"BLUNT, Sarah. Died on passage in Susannah & Sarah 1720. Stray records.
"8-9 December 1730.
"The following bound to William Burge:
"Henry DAVIES of Welshpool, Montgomery, Wales, husbandman aged 33, to serve 4 years in Jamaica;
"William WARREN of St. James, Westminster, joiner and carpenter aged 23, to serve 4 years in Jamaica;
"James HOWARD of St. Giles Cripplegate, London, husbandman aged 23, to serve 4 years in Jamaica;
"Abraham JARVIS of St. Katherine Creechurch, London, book-keeper aged 25, to serve 5 years in Jamaica;
"Charles BLUNT of Nottingham, carpenter aged 28, to serve 4 years in Jamaica;
"William FORDRED of Canterbury, Kent, tanner aged 25, to serve 4 years in Jamaica;
"Isaac WIGGINS of St. Magnus the Martyr, London, trunkmaker aged 24, to serve 4 years in Maryland. "
"8-9 December 1730 - Charles BLUNT of Nottingham, carpenter aged 28, to serve 4 years in Jamaica," made me wonder if this could be our Charles BLUNT, because 4 years in Jamaica from 1730 would bring him home in nice time to marry in June 1736.
David and Angela Taylor did some research for me into the BLOUNT/BLUNT families of Nottingham. They turned up an amazing amount in six hours. Two marriages: One of a Charles BLOUNT on 10th November 1719 to a Susan FINN by licence, but the licence calls him Charles BRUNT. They had a child Elizabeth baptised on 12th January 1720, and Charles BRUNT was buried on the same day. Susan BRUNT married 21st November 1721. So that marriage does not relate to our family, but the other one - 19th November 1698 is a possibility. A Charles BLUNT of Nottingham, painter, bachelor aged 25 married Elizabeth HICKLING of the Parish of St. Mary Nottingham aged 21 at St. Mary Nottingham. A possible baptism of this Charles BLUNT - 4th September 1672 was found at Nottingham St. Mary, showing him to be the son of John and Elizabeth.
They found no children of the marriage in the baptism records at any of the three Nottingham churches, but they did find the Will of Charles BLUNT naming the children. It mentioned his son Charles, who was out of the country when the Will was written in 1732! Robert BLUNT, Charles's brother, left money to "the poor Cathalicks" in his Will, so the family may have been Catholic.
They also found a Charles BLUNT, son of Charles BLUNT of Nottingham, painter, apprenticeship to David TAYLOR of Nottingham as a carpenter for Â£5 in 1715.
Finally we enter the region of gross speculation. My great uncle JamesÂ’s son Eric wrote to me from Papua New Guinea:
"This letter will, I fear, be very rambling and perhaps disjointed, as I intend to sit back as it were and try to recall what I can of my father's tales of the BLOUNT family.
"Here goes - Sir Edward BLOUNT was my grandfather's grandfather. He had two (or more) sons, one, a gambler and spendthrift whose losses at the tables in the French casinos were made good by Sir Edward on numerous occasions. The other son John, a steadier sort of chap fell in love with a member of the domestic staff. When Sir Edward learned of this he told John he would disinherit him if he did not drop the association immediately. John, it appears with typical BLOUNT stubbornness married the girl who became my grandfather's mother (I can't give you her name from memory.)
"During Sir Edward's visits to the Continent where he was something to do with the engineering of the French railways, John would often visit his mother secretly, taking my grandfather with him. My grandfather Edward (I see you put it as Edwin and may be right) remembers how his father was welcomed by his mother and the domestic staff. How John survived and reared his family I don't know but he experienced lean times. His children - possibly after John's death - filed claims to part of the BLOUNT estate and fortune, but ran out of funds after (I think) three days in court and so, abandoned their right. Grandfather became a coalminer and married Esther GUEST. They had nine children. I will try and place them in their correct order by memory only as I remember them all.
"My father James Edwin, Enoch, Agnes, Abraham (your grandfather), Joseph, Beulah, Lilly, Arthur - I see I've missed one somewhere - was there a John?"
In later letters he added other thoughts on this theme. Eric said his father -----
"named the people who pooled a sum of money to contest the will of Sir Edward who tried to erase all traces of his son. Now, if a court case actually resulted from this action there should be some record of it. In my first letter to you I think I gave you details of how my grandfather used to accompany his father to visit his mother when Sir Edward was in Europe. The place they visited was an enormous estate evidently within walking distance of where he - my grandfather - lived."
He also talked about Stourbridge, and Â“a village which was sinking because of salt mines underneath itÂ”, and a Â“Sir Toby BLOUNT.Â” He placed all this around 1850 which would mean it applied to John BLOUNT. However a conversation I had last year on the phone with Norman BLOUNT, a descendant of George BLOUNT, one of the sons of John BLOUNT by his first marriage, from the legends carried by his branch of the family suggested that this happened about 100 years earlier. Which would mean it applied to Charles BLOUNT (BLUNT).
Summarising (adding together reality and virtual reality):
We are looking for - a son of a Sir Edward BLOUNT called Charles BLOUNT born between 1696 and 1716 somewhere in the area around Stourbridge who was disinherited because in 1736 he married a non-Roman Catholic servant girl called Mary SMITH at Claverley in Shropshire. Two possible relatives are Lydia BLOUNT and Toby BLOUNT.
I would love to hear from anyone who has a suitable Charles BLUNT in their ancestry.