London Blacketts

Submitted by alkirtley on Thu, 11/21/2019 - 11:46

Blacketts have lived in London since at least the late 1500s, and over the following centuries their numbers have been swelled by Blacketts migrating from the provinces, particularly from north-east England. Many of them became weavers following the boom in silk-weaving that commenced in the late 17th century. One branch descends from John Blackett, a seaman who married Anne Davison in Tynemouth, Northumberland in 1750, and who moved to London some time between the births of their daughter Anne in 1755 and their son William in 1759. (For a descendancy chart of John Blackett and Anne Davison please click here.) The family settled in the East End of London, initially in Mile End Old Town and St. George in the East, but by the late 18th/early 19th century their descendants had moved the short distance to Shoreditch and were concentrated in a cluster of streets including New Inn Yard, George Yard and Swan Yard. Those addresses, together with the neighbouring Holywell Lane, crop up regularly in the baptisms, marriages and burials of two further lines of Blacketts.

In 1766 Robert Henry Blackett, the son of John and Mary, was baptised in Bethnal Green, slightly east of Shoreditch. He married Sarah Brett, a widow, in 1785 in Shoreditch, and seems to have had three wives in all. This branch of the family, many of whom were weavers, lived in and around the East End of London for generations, though Robert’s great-grandson, George Frederick Blackett (1847-1925), had moved to County Durham by 1870. It is not known if there was a remaining family connection with the north east, or if George’s move was coincidental. It is now believed that Abraham Blackett, born 1770/71, who married Esther Carter in 1797 in Shoreditch, was also a son of John and Mary Blackett. In a Poor Law Settlement examination on 7 Aug 1797 Abraham states that he is aged 26 and the son of John Blackett, who had lived at Crab Tree Row, Hackney Road, Bethnal Green about 30 years previously. (We are indebted to Margaret Lewis for discovering this). Abraham and Esther had at least seven children before Abraham died in Bishopsgate Workhouse in 1820, Esther surviving until 1847. Their descendants remained in the Shoreditch and Bethnal Green areas for several generations. For a descendancy chart of John Blackett please click here.

Due to the subsequent (1923) marriage between Albert Alfred Sawyer, a descendant of the John Blackett above, and Amelia Florence Gigg, a descendant of Benjamin Blackett of Stepney, these trees both now form part of a wider tree including both the descendants of John and Benjamin. No other connection has been established between the two lines, however. Benjamin Blackett died in Dog Row, on the border between Stepney and Mile End, in 1676. Benjamin’s son Thomas seems to have owned the close known as Dog Row, which is believed to be named after dog kennels that were originally located there. Thomas died in 1701 and by his Will left Dog Row to his wife Mary until his son Thomas became of age. Thomas senior’s widow married Joshua Naylor, a cheesemonger, within a year of her husband’s death and the younger Thomas and his sister, though still minors, accused Naylor of defrauding them in 1704. Thomas junior, who, with his siblings was born in Dog Row, seems to have regained the property by 1727. His uncle, another Benjamin, moved south across the River Thames to Southwark, where several of his children were born. For a descendancy chart of Benjamin Blackett of Dog Row please click here. Please also see Blacketts of Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Massachusetts for the probable Prince Edward Island descendants of Benjamin Blackett. Thanks to extensive research by Don Blackett, it has now been established that the John Blackett who married Sarah Stuck, and who was formerly attributed to the Blackett family of Deptford, Kent, now forms part of this line. John and Sarah had at least ten children born in Aldgate, London between 1776 and 1789. Their descendants mostly settled in the Shoreditch area of London and remained there for several generations, though their 2xgreat-grandson Frederick John Blackett emigrated to Alberta, Canada with his family in 1873. 

Given that these families were living in the same small area at around the same time, it is quite possible that they were related to one another, though the precise relationships have not yet been established. The same may be true of the Deptford Blacketts, although Deptford, though relatively close to Shoreditch etc, lies south of the River Thames. There appear to have been two Blacketts living in Deptford at the beginning of the 18th century, John, a potter, and Thomas, a mariner. They have tentatively been treated as sons of an unknown Blackett, and for a descendancy chart of that unknown Blackett please click here.  

In 1702 John Blackett, a mariner and widower of Stepney, married Isabella Wright in the City of London. They had at least five children born in neighbouring Wapping, but no link has been found between them and the other London Blacketts. For a descendancy chart of John Blackett and Isabella Wright please click here.

A little further to the west George Blackett, a house painter, married Sarah Carless in Soho in 1820. Sarah was born in Shropshire but all that is known of George’s birth is that the 1841 census shows him as not being born in Middlesex. He died in St. Pancras, London in 1847, as did Sarah in 1860. The couple had at least 9 children born in that part of London between 1821 and 1839. For a desecendancy chart of George Blackett please click here.