Tag Archives: Reginald Rabett

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.

Unqualitied Persons

Since we are on the subject of Alexander Bence, I reproduce below a legal notice from the Ipswich Journal of January 1748 on the protection of game in Suffolk. It well illustrates the interconnections between the gentry and better-off people in the fairly small world of the Suffolk countryside, shows the social gulf between classes, and is the first time I met the term “unqualitied persons”. It is also worth noting that no less than ten of the people named in the notice were Kirby subscribers (I have put their names in bold).

Whereas the Right Honourable the Lord Viscount Hereford, Sir Robert Kemp, Bart. Sir John Rous, Bart. Sir Charles Blois, Bart. Alexander Bence, Esq; John Rush, Esq; Charles Scrivener, Esq; Reginald Rabett, Esq; Nicholas Jacob, Esq; Thomas World, Esq; John Damer, Esq; Dudley North, Esq; Charles Long, Esq; Thomas Gooch, Esq; Philip Bewster, Esq; and others, have entered into an Agreement and Subscription for the Preservation of the GAME within the Hundreds of Blything, Wangford, Plomsgate and Hoxne, in the County of Suffolk; and for prosecuting by Action, Information, or otherwise such unquality’d as shall offend against all or any of the Statutes made for Preservation of the Game: And by such their Agreement have appointed Peter Pullyn, of Halesworth in the said County, their Attorney and Sollicitor for the Purposes in the said Agreement aforementioned.

    These are therefore to certify, That if any Person or Persons will inform against any such unquality’d Person or Persons, who shall take, kill, or destroy in the Night-time, or have in their Possessions any Hares, Pheasants, or Partridges, within the said Hundreds, so as such Person or Persons may be convicted thereof, he or they shall receive of the said Peter Pullyn, on the Conviction of such Person or Persons offending, FIVE POUNDS (over and above the Reward allowed by Act of Parliament) and his or their Name or Names shall not be discovered, unless the Offender or Offenders stand a Tryal at Law, or make Defence to any Indictment or Informations, nor until the Time of such Tryal or Conviction of the Offender or Offenders; And that if any Person or Persons unlawfully take, kill, or destroy and Fish, in any several Rivers or Fishery, or out of inclosed Fish-Ponds within the said Hundreds (without leave of the Owner or Owners thereof) he or they who shall make such Discoveries shall be well rewarded for the same.

    N.B. The Subscribers desire all Noblemen and Gentlemen to have their Titles or Names, with the Day of the Month, wrote on the Direction of any Game to be sent by any Stage-Coach, Waggon, Carts, Carriers, or otherwise; they being determined to prosecute the Drivers of such Stage-Coaches, Waggons and Carts, and the Carriers who shall have any Game in their Custodies that have not such Directions upon the Game as aforesaid.