BLACKETT, Sir William, 2nd Bt. (1690-1728), of Pilgrim St., Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and Wallington Hall, Northumb.
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Family and Education
b. 11 Feb. 1690, 1st s. of Sir William Blackett, 1st Bt. (cr. 1685), M.P., of Wallington by Julia, da. of Sir Christopher Conyers, 2nd Bt., of Horden, co. Dur. educ. Univ. Coll. Oxf. 1705. m. 20 Sept. 1725, Lady Barbara Villiers, da. of William Villiers, M.P., 2nd Earl of Jersey, s.p. suc. fa. 29 Dec. 1705.
Mayor of Newcastle 1718; gov. Hostmen’s Co. 1725-8.
Blackett’s grandfather, M.P. for Newcastle 1673-80, was an eminent merchant, with extensive coal and lead mining interests. His father, M.P. for Newcastle 1685-90, 1695-1700, and 1705, purchased Sir John Fenwick’s estates in 1689, including Wallington and Hexham Priory.1 He himself was returned for Newcastle as a Tory in 1710, continuing to sit for it till his death. In 1715 he was expected to join the rebels, one of whom wrote:
His interest is indeed very considerable in the town of Newcastle ... and he has in his service a great many colliers and keelmen, who in flat boats called keels carry the coals from the collieries to the ships. He has likewise several lead-mines on that side of the country, which employ a great many hands ... these men were ordered to provide themselves with arms, and to be ready to go with one who is a kind of steward over them wherever he should direct.2
The local Whig authorities also thought he was ‘going over to the enemy’ but ‘did not think it advisable that he be seized till we are in a more quiet and secure state’.3 On 19 Oct., after Newcastle had been occupied by government troops and the leading Jacobites in the south had been arrested, he arrived at the house of his uncle, Sir Edward Blackett of Newby, explaining that
he came that day from Newcastle, and that he had been forced to fly from Wallington, having been pursued by Mr. Forster and a great many Northumberland gentlemen, who were then in arms against King George; and he told me he believed their design was to have forced him to have joined them, and that he was as much pursued by the King’s forces who suspected him to be in the rebels’ interest. He told me he was in no ways concerned, nor under any obligation to them, but was not willing to be taken for fear of being committed to prison, and desired me to secure him here or advise him where to go. I told him it was impossible he should be safe here, for that he came in too public a manner ... I advised him by all means to go to London, as thinking it the most secure place, and where he might best have an opportunity of accommodating things with the court.4
Taking this advice, he ‘kissed the King’s hand’ early in January 1716, at the end of the month returning to Newcastle.5 He voted against the Administration on the septennial bill in that year. When in 1718, standing for election as mayor, he was accused of being disaffected by his former Jacobite friends in the corporation, he obtained letters from the secretaries of state testifying to his loyalty.6
Sir William Blackett was possessed of both in due time but delayed to produce them till near the day of election, the confederated aldermen still carrying on their intention to put Sir William by his turn. But on Sir William’s producing the two secretaries’ letters they were thunderstruck and without hesitation gave up the contest, so that Sir William was chosen on the proper day to the great mortification of those that opposed him. The Whigs upon this success were elated to a great degree. They have got their idol, which was not the man but the defeat of those that were become so arbitrary and insolent as to make themselves merry with the affront they thought to have put upon the Whigs by choosing a mayor out of turn (a thing never done in my memory) that differs very little from a papist.7
Absent from the divisions on the repeal of the Occasional Conformity and Schism Acts and the peerage bill in 1719, he was twice committed to the custody of the serjeant at arms for defaulting on calls of the House. Re-elected till his death, 25 Sept. 1728, he left his fortune, heavily encumbered with debts, to his illegitimate daughter, Elizabeth Orde, on condition that she should within twelve months of his death marry his nephew Walter Calverley,8 who assumed the name of Blackett.
Ref Volumes: 1715-1754
Author: Eveline Cruickshanks
- 1. Hodgson, Northumb. i (2), 259.
- 2. Robt. Patten, Hist. of the Rebellion in 1715 (1745 ed.), 23.
- 3. Wm. Cotesworth to H. Liddell, Lady Cowper Diary, 187-8.
- 4. Hodgson, 269.
- 5. Newcastle Courant, 7-9 Jan. and 21-23 Jan. 1716.
- 6. Brand, Newcastle, ii. 513.
- 7. 18 Oct. 1718, Sunderland (Blenheim) mss.
- 8. CJ, xix. 61, 188; Hodgson, 259-60.