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Blackwells of Derbyshire 1400-1700

(c) HTML Draft Aug.1996 David Blackwell email:

This is an outline of a work in progress on the Blackwells of Derbyshire, which I've been working on since 1984. I have collected over 30 early Blackwell wills mostly from Lichfield, and several Chancery court cases of the 1500 & 1600's, plus material from the Bagshaw Collection at Sheffield Library and the Duke of Portland papers(DDP) at Nottingham Record Office. Inaddition I have had the help of many people. The Blackwells were involved in farming, lead mining, smelting and marketing. They may be a pre-conquest family who were dispossessed of the manor of Blackwell. It appears they were its caretaker or leaseholder for its owner the Priory of Lenton for generations. Currently, I am researching connections between Blackwells in Derbyshire, Kent, and Watford Hertfordshire. And I am trying to research London Blackwells. I hope people might help me in proving or disproving the following connections.

Currently (8-96) of interest is the will (dated 1515 and found in the History of Bedsfordshire by Jack Davis) of Robert Blackwell10  (see below) and his son George. The names match those found in Manningham's 1499 will. Time will tell if contradicting evidence is found. DCB

One connection is in the will of Richard Blackwell of Blackwell Derbyshire dated 1503. He names his six sons and three of his five daughters. It mentions his son Sir William parson of Ash (spelled Hasch). Another is a grant of land (Bag.C.1254A) dated 3 Dec. 1502 also shows William Blackwell as rector of the church of Ash (co.Kent).

The other connection is a Chancery Court case C3/209/78 PF4393 1575-87 concerning disputed land in Litton Derbyshire. It gives 5 generations of descendants of a William Blackwell. And there is a will of a William Blackwell dated 1514 at St. Albans Herts. mentioning a son Robert and a Philip Blackwell, who are also in the court case as William's son and grandson. More evidence is needed to show if these are the same William or cousins.  It may be the land (50 acres) came from the Litton family as dowery.

Philip Blackwell(d.1978) has shown there are many early Blackwells. London had a Blackwell Hall in it from the 1300's to the 1600's. But the records are too sparse to show relationships. Philip's work on the Watford Blackwells (1500 to today) is very good but where did they come from? I propose they are from Derbyshire. So let me relate this genealogy of the Blackwells of the Peak in Derbyshire.

The following is constructed from many wills, plus the Kirk Ireton pedigree chart confirmed to JB of Blackwall, K.I. by Isaac Heard Lancaster Herald 1764, Reg. of Nobility & Gentry. v.2 fol.668, plus the Eyre work by R.Meredith, plus notes by Wooley, etc. at the Society of Genealogist in London, and other sources. Much work remains to be done.

Descendants of Richard and Agnes(Tunstead) Blackwell (circa 1500)

Richard9 Blackwell and his wife Agnes(Tunstead) had six sons (Ralph(will 1527), Richard, Robert(will 1515), Hugh, William,  and Thomas(will 1554)) and five daughters. Their brass inlaid tomb stone is in Taddington Church. His will is dated 1503 Sheffield Archive: Bagshaw Item1303. It mentions his children, wife, much land, and other people. Richard had a 90 year lease of the manor from Lenton Priory which was later contested in court after its dissolution. (Can anyone in the Boston to Casco Bay Maine area help me read these contested court cases? I have xeroxed copies of them, also some 8mm and VSH videotape of other records.)

A coat of arms was granted to Richard Blackwell and are on his tomb:
Arms: Argent, a Talbot courant, sable on a chief decette of the second three besants.
Crest: A demi Talbot couped proper of the second, a helmet.
Motto: Malo mori quam foedari ( I had rather die than be dishonored)
The dog indicates service to the king as a courier, messager or ambassador.
The three besants (circles) represent Saracen coins with which the crusaders used to decorate their shields. The helmet represents knighthood.

Reported ancestry of Richard9 Blackwell (d.1503)

The Kirk Ireton Blackwall chart shows the following ancestry and many descendants.

  1. Robert Blackwell1 (ca.1267),
  2. Sir John Blackwell2 (d.1307),
  3. Ralph Blackwell3 (ca.1367),
  4. Adam Blackwell4 (ca.1385),
  5. Robert Blackwell5 (ca.1408 m.__ Poole),
  6. William Blackwell6 (m.d.o.Meverell of Throwley),
  7. John Blackwell7,
  8. Robert Blackwell8.(m.Isabel sister of Sir Robert Litton of Litton, keeper of the Great Wardrobe of Henry VII) (I am researching these ancestors separately, see Wedgwood's Hist.Parl.Biog. for Litton).
    It now appears that Robert8 Blackwell's grandson Robert10 (son of Richard Blackwell9) whose 1515 will was found (by Jack Davis) in the History of Bedfordshire is a chancery clerk for Henry VII. see below. The question now is : is this Robert8 the chancery clerk of Richard III in 1483? or does Richard9 have a brother Robert9?

Descendants of Richard and Agnes Blackwell

I would like to research records of the Duke of Rutland at Belvoir (who owned leaseholds in Litton leased to some Blackwells ca.1600). I also hope to research in-law wills and I would welcome any help in finding and transcribing in-law wills and finding other references.

I do not currently have time to follow up other promising leads such as the Blount family who may be associated with the Virginia Blackwells or the Alsop family who may be associated with the New York Blackwells or the Sacheverell family.

I will be putting my note on these web pages as time permits.
I am also interested in reading work of others, especially pre 1700.
I have yet to transcribe or organize much of the material so far collected.

Comments, corrections, and additions welcomed.

David Craig Blackwell email
72 Center St.,Groveland, Massachusetts, 01834 U.S.A., phone (508) 373-2358 home,
(508) 475-9090 x 1678 work, (508) 475-2157 work FAX.