BLAGRAVE, John (1630-1704), of Reading, Berks.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Mar. 1679
Oct. 1679

Family and Education

bap. 12 Aug. 1630, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Anthony Blagrave of Bulmarsh, Sonning by Dorothy, da. of Thomas Dolman of Shaw, nr. Newbury. educ. St. John’s Oxf. 1650, BA 1651, MA 1653; M. Temple 1655. m. lic. 28 Feb. 1665, ‘aged 28’, Hester, da. of William Gore, merchant, of Morden, Surr. and Barrow Gurney, Som., 2s. (1 d.v.p.) 3da. suc. fa. 1657, cos. Alexander in Southcot estate by 1698.1

Offices Held

Fellow of St. John’s 1651-?55, commr. for assessment, Berks. Aug. 1660-80, 1689-90, Oxon. 1679-80; j.p. Berks. 1662-?81, by 1695-d., Wallingford 1664; commr. for recusants, Berks. 1675; freeman, Reading 1679; capt. of militia horse, Berks. by 1680, maj. by 1683.2


Blagrave’s great-grandmother married as her second husband William Grey, MP for Reading in 1547, and bequeathed to the children of her first marriage much of the abbey property. Indeed Blagrave and his younger brother, George Blagrave of Bulmarsh, were said to own ‘about half the town’ between them. His grandfather sat for the borough in 1601, but Daniel Blagrave, the regicide, came from a cadet branch, and Blagrave’s father took no part in the Civil War. Blagrave has to be distinguished from his much older cousin, John Blagrave of Southcot, steward to Bulstrode Whitelocke during the Interregnum. Probably a moderate Presbyterian, Blagrave was returned unopposed at the general election of 1660 for Reading, but was totally inactive in the Convention and did not seek re-election in 1661. His income was estimated at £800 p.a. in 1667. He regained his seat in the Exclusion Parliaments, and was marked ‘honest’ on Shaftesbury’s list; but he served on no committees in 1679, obtained leave for a fortnight on 15 Apr., and was absent from the division on the exclusion bill. Unopposed in the autumn, he was similarly inactive in the second Exclusion Parliament. He again won decisively in 1681, and at Oxford he was named not only to the committee of elections and privileges, but also to those to recommend a more convenient place for Parliament’s sitting, and to draw up the third exclusion bill. He was removed from local office, and after the Rye House Plot information was given that he and Nathan Knight had attended a Whig meeting at a Reading tavern on the invitation of Lord Lovelace (John Lovelace). He was among those arrested at the time of Monmouth’s invasion in 1685, and when he applied for bail Judge Jeffreys told him ‘that he had a mind to be bailed that he might go to King Perkin’. He was mentioned as a candidate for Reading acceptable to the dissenters in September 1688, but he did not stand again. He was appointed to local office after the Revolution, and was buried at Sonning on 9 Mar. 1704. His son Anthony was three times elected for Reading as a Tory between 1701 and 1727.3

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: M. W. Helms / Leonard Naylor / Geoffrey Jaggar


  • 1. Berks. RO, Sonning par. reg.; Vis. Berks. (Harl. Soc. lvi), 173; London Mar. Lic. ed. Foster, 138; Reading Univ. Lib. H. C. Cherry, ‘Bercherienses Prosapiae’, 1, pp. 23, 25; PCC 80 Ash.
  • 2. HMC Downshire, i. 562; Berks. RO, Reading corp. diary, 4 Feb. 1679; CSP Dom. July-Sept. 1683, p. 389.
  • 3. VCH Berks. iii. 219, 365-6; C. H. Josten, Ashmole, 1003; BL, M636/17, Isham to Verney, 26 Feb. [1661]; Salisbury Cathedral Lib., Bp. Seth Ward, Liber Notitiae, f. 53; HMC 11th Rep. VII, 197; CSP Dom. July-Sept. 1683, p. 389; 1685, p. 186; R. Morrice, Entering Bk. 1, pp. 146, 147; 2, p. 292; St. Mary’s, Reading, par. reg.