Northumberland Blacketts (Berwick-upon-Tweed and Bamburgh)

Submitted by alkirtley on Thu, 11/21/2019 - 11:28

n 1663 John Blackett, the son of Nicholas, was baptised at Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland. He married Jane Cunningham in Bamburgh, in 1687 and settled in Beadnell, a coastal village a few miles to the south, where at least eight of their children were born. From this line descend a number of notable Blacketts, including Henry Blackett, the co-founder of Hurst and Blackett, publishers, (see Blacketts and literature), James Douglas Blackett and his brother William Richard, (grandsons of James Blackett of Bamburgh, a Trinity House agent), who were members of the London Stock Exchange, (see Stock Exchange Blacketts), and George Forster Blackett, after whom the town of Blackett, New South Wales,now a suburb of Sydney, is named (see Blacke(t)ts down under). Another member of this line, Captain Alexander Anderson, who married the step-sister of John Blackett, also settled in New South Wales. Yet another member of this line, William Blackett (1830/31-1898) settled in Quebec, Canada, and at least one of his children moved to Massachusetts, USA.

These Northumberland Blacketts now form part of the main Blackett tree due to the marriage in 1950 of Elizabeth Eily Dennison, a descendant of Nicholas Blackett, to Francis Hugh Blackett, who later became the 11th baronet. However, the ancestral connection between Nicholas and the Blacketts of Woodcroft, Co. Durham has not yet been established.

It is believed that Nicholas had four brothers, Edward, Thomas, William and John, all of whom, (or all of whose descendants), have connections, plus a sister, Elizabeth. These connections are tenuous and no baptismal records of any of the six children have been found, but it seems possible that branches of the family moved back and forth between Berwick Upon Tweed and locations further south in Northumberland, including Bedlington, a few miles north of Newcastle. All six children have been shown in the tree as sons of an unknown Blackett, but the connections between them may not be secure. As mentioned above this tree forms part of the main Blackett tree as it is connected through the marriage of a descendant.

One of the descendants of Nicholas’s brother John Blackett mentioned above, William Blackett (1730/1-1795), married Jane Lodge in Leeds, Yorkshire in 1756, where they had at least twelve children. Their elder children were baptised at a non-conformist church, but from 1769 the children of the marriage were baptised at St. Peter’s Parish Church in Leeds. In 1779 their youngest son James was born in the Woodhouse area of the city. James became a Wesleyan minister, and married Anne Catharine Randolph in 1810 in Bristol, Gloucestershire. James and Anne then moved to Warwickshire where their first two sons were born, two further sons being born in Staffordshire. Their second son, James, born 1812, married Ann Parker of Attleborough, Norfolk in 1839 and then moved to Yorkshire. Two of James’s grandsons, James William Blackett and his brother Charles Herbert (Bert) Blackett, together with their mother Emma, emigrated to the USA in 1891 and settled in New York State, USA.

Another son of William and Jane, William, remained in the Leeds area, but in 1854 his grandson, William Blackett Pollard, emigrated with his family to Launceston, Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania). William was in poor health and died the following year but his family remained in Australia.
(NB. At his burial in Leeds in 1795 William is described as a master mariner, which may appear strange, given the distance of Leeds from the sea. However the Aire and Calder rivers had been made navigable in 1699, linking Leeds with the Ouse and Humber rivers and with the sea.)

In 1786 John Blackett married Elizabeth Whitely in Bradford, Yorkshire, and had at least 6 children born in Leeds. The family were staunch Methodists. Around 1805 they emigrated to Albany, New York State, where John/Jonathan was naturalised in 1808, dying a few years later. The two eldest children moved to New York City and lived there for many years. At the age of 17 or 18 the youngest son William moved with his step-father and family to New Brunswick, New Jersey, where he married Sarah Eliza Stevenson in 1823, and in 1826 to New York City, where he ran a successful hardware store. In 1856 he moved to Clermont, Iowa where he established another store, and was subsequently joined there by his sons James and Henry. He finally established a store in Lawler, Chickasaw County, which his son Henry eventually took over. James’s grandson, Vernive Hill Blackett, ran one of America’s largest advertising agencies, which was responsible for the creation of the “soap opera”, as outlined in Blacketts in politics.
The circumstantial evidence suggests that John Blackett was a son of William Blackett and Jane Lodge mentioned above, and was his son John, bapt. 1767, and he is shown in the tree as such.

It is possible that there is a further distant connection between these Northumberland Blacketts and the Blacketts of Wylam. On 4 October 1712 an advertisement appeared in the Newcastle Courant stating “Newham [a hamlet of Bamburgh] adv., to be sold, the estate of the late Mr. Ch. Blacket, deceased. Apply to John Blacket of Wylam, one of the trustees.” John was Christopher’s elder brother, and Christopher had inherited lands at Newham under the Will of their father, John Blackett, who had died in 1707. Not all of the Newham estate was sold, however, as Christopher’s son, also Christopher, of Haughton-le-Skerne, County Durham, died in 1738 possessed of a one third share of lands at Newham, most of which were let, other than Newham Hall and a small farm reserved for his own use. All of these were sold to the Duke of Northumberland by a Mrs. Blackett (probably Christopher’s widow, who had remarried) in 1789 for £11,500. In 1785 John Blackett Esq. had granted a lease of a farm in Newham, and John Blackett of Wylam sold Newham Hall, probably part of the same estate, to the Duke of Northumberland in 1789. The Duke thus became the sole owner of Newham. The link between the Bamurgh and Wylam Blacketts may be no more than a coincidence, however. In his 1707 Will John Blackett makes no mention of any of the Bamburgh Blacketts and it is not clear how he acquired the Newham estate.

The maritime connection suggested by James Blackett’s Trinity House connection, and the family’s later move to Wapping, then a strongly maritime area, strongly suggest that this family included the Captain J. Blackett who in 1776 built at his own expense two lighthouses off the coast of Bamburgh. (See Blackett aids to shipping). In 1825 Captain Blackett’s family sold the lease of one of the lighthouses to Trinity House for £36,484, more than enough to establish two members of the family on the stock exchange!

For a descendancy chart of the unknown Blackett who was possibly the father of Nicholas and his four brothers and one sister mentioned in the third paragraph above please click here.