Blacketts of Norfolk

Submitted by alkirtley on Wed, 11/20/2019 - 10:20

In 1802 Peter Blackett (1776-1845), a bricklayer, and Mary Basham (1775-1862), were married in Sculthorpe, a village a few miles inland from the north Norfolk coast. Branches of this family remained in Sculthorpe and the neighbouring villages of Burnham Thorpe, Syderstone and East Rudham for several generations, though some branches moved to the London area, and one branch of these settled in Chobham, Surrey. A number of Norfolk Blacket(t)s are shown in early Parish records by the name “Black”, possibly due to the East Anglian dialect at the time encouraging the “swallowing” of the final consonant.

Peter’s father, also Peter, was almost certainly the Peter Black (1730-1801), of Burnham Thorpe, Norfolk, who married Mary Baker in 1754 in the village of Bale, about 10 miles east of Burnham Thorpe. This Peter appears to be the son of Jacobi (i.e. James) Black and Ann Thrower, who married in Burnham Thorpe in 1729/30. His daughter, Mary Blackett (1760-1852), was employed as a nurse to look after the younger siblings of Admiral Lord Nelson (see Naval Blacketts). For a descendancy chart of James (Black) Blackett and Ann Thrower please click here. Given the rarity of the surname Black/Blacket in the county at the time, there may also be a connection to Peter Black/Blackett, baptised in Aylsham, Norfolk in 1703, the son of another Peter who died in Aylsham in 1716, his wife, Sarah having died in the village in 1712. However, given the distance between Aylsham and Burnham Thorpe, this family has been shown as a separate tree. For a descendancy chart of Peter (Black) Blackett and Sarah please click here.

A further possible connection between the families shown above and that of John (Black) Blackett (abt 1758-1832) has not yet been established, but circumstantial evidence suggests that there is one. John married Elizabeth Vincent in East Rudham in 1787. John’s grandson William and his family moved to Rotherham, Yorkshire in the 1870s, where several of his descendants settled, possibly following the example of his mother, Elizabeth, (the widow of John’s son James), who moved to Yorkshire some time in the 1860s. One of William’s grandsons, Thomas, emigrated to Canada in 1911 with his wife and settled in Toronto, Ontario. For a descendancy chart of John (Black) Blackett and Elizabeth Vincent please click here.

This John Blackett should not be confused with John (Black) Blackett, the son of John and Elizabeth, baptized at Brancaster, Norfolk in 1757. This John Blackett died unmarried at Brancaster in 1785. For a descendancy chart of his parents, John and Elizabeth, please click here.

It seems likely that any connection between at least some of the Norfolk Blacketts and those of Durham and Northumberland is due to the coastal trade between north-east England and East Anglia and London, with Blacketts settling in the coastal towns and then moving inland a few miles to the surrounding villages. This could be true of Francis Blackett (c.1752-1828), a master mariner of Lynn, Norfolk who seems to have married at least 4 times in the county. For a descendancy chart of Francis Blackett please click here.

However, Blacketts have lived in Norfolk since at least the mid-16th century. For example William Blackett, who was buried at Swannington, near Norwich in 1554 had at least three children born in the area, one of whose descendants, John Blackett, who was baptized in 1633 in Norwich, married in 1668 Anne Cosin, a niece of John Cosin (1595-1672) who was Bishop of Durham from 1660 to 1672. (This branch of the family are frequently shown in early parish records as “Blackhead”, suggesting that the name may have remained closer to the original “Blakheved” spelling of the Woodcroft Blacketts.) For a descendancy chart of William (Blackhead) Blackett please click here.

And John Blackett, the son of Robert, was baptised at St. Margaret’s, Kings Lynn on 28 Nov 1570, where, on 10 Feb 1588/9, Oliver Blackett married Agnes Dobbynson. For a descendancy chart of Oliver Blackett and Agnes Dobbynson please click here.