The Blois Family

Joshua Kirby dedicated Plate 7, South view of Blithburgh Church and Priory, of his Twelve Prints to Sir Charles Blois, Bart, and Plate 11, Tomb of Henry Howard, Earl of Surry, to the Rev. Mr. Ralph Blois. Both Charles and Ralph were subscribers to the prints and accompanying Historical Account. The Blois family were wealthy landowners in Suffolk (indeed, still are) who had made their money in trade in the 16th and 17th centuries. The family seat was at Grundisburgh Hall a few miles northeast of Ipswich, which an ancestor, Sir William Blois, had inherited from the Brooke family by marriage (his first wife was a Brooke, and his second was the widow and heiress of his brother-in-law).

© Copyright Chris Holifield and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

The Blois family had a long connection to Blythburgh Church as patrons, and at the time of the Twelve Prints, Rev. Ralph Blois was curate of Blythburgh. I do not know of any Blois connection to Henry Howard (who was beheaded in 1546), nor indeed to Framlingham, where the tomb is.

The baronetcy was created in 1686 by King James II and the first baronet, Sir Charles Blois, lived on to be 80, dying in 1738. Sir Charles married twice, firstly Mary Kemp, daughter of Sir Robert Kemp. Charles and Mary had four children, Robert, William, Charles, and Mary. William married Jane Kemp, his mother’s niece via her brother Robert’s second marriage, and William and Jane had two children, Charles and Mary. The two elder sons of Sir Charles, Robert and William, both pre-deceased their father, and so the younger Charles inherited the title from his grandfather in 1738, and it is this second Sir Charles Blois, Bart who is our subscriber.

The Rev. Ralph Blois was a son of the original Sir Charles by his second wife, Ann Hawtrey. Ralph married Elizabeth, daughter of Reginald Rabett. Ralph’s sister Ann married Samuel Thompson, Esq, of Ufford. Along with Charles and Ralph Blois, Ralph’s father-in-law, Reginald Rabett, and his brother-in-law Samuel Thompson, were subscribers to the Historical Account, and Jane Kemp’s brother, Sir John Kemp, was a subscriber to the first edition of Method of Perspective.

The younger Sir Charles Blois died in 1760 unmarried and the title passed to his uncle Charles, who the Complete Baronetage says, `was a lunatic’, and who died unmarried in December 1761. The title then briefly passed to Rev. Ralph before he died in May 1762, whereupon the title passed down to Ralph’s son John and out of our history.

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  1. Pingback: John and William Dade | Kirby and his world

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