Tag Archives: Ufford

Robert Oneby

Robert Oneby subscribed to Kirby’s Historical Account in 1748. The Oneby or Ondeby or Ownerby family traced its roots far back into history with many illustrious, and some notorious members. The branch Robert Oneby came from lived at Barwell Manor in Leicestershire, which would not make him seem an obvious candidate for a subscriber, nor indeed to be High Sheriff of Suffolk in 1750. Robert’s grandfather John Oneby bought the manor in 1660. Robert Oneby’s father, Robert married twice, firstly Judith Chester, who died in 1706. They had seven children, most of whom died young, but their son Chester served in the army. After his first wife died, Robert Sr married Susanna Webb, a cousin of Judith Chester, in 1709. The catch here was that although Susanna was 33 years old she neither sought her father’s consent, nor indeed informed him of her marriage. The Webbs were a rich family with extensive estates in Suffolk, including Ufford and Loudham, but her father was furious and cut her off in his will with a guinea. The father died in 1710, and the estates went to her brother John. Robert Jr was also born in 1710, the only child of Robert and Susanna. Susanna’s brother did not get to enjoy his estates for long, as he died in 1711 unmarried, and left the property to the infant Robert.

All my lands in Suffolk and all my other real and personal estate to my nephew and godson Robert Oneby, the son of Robert Oneby Esq. of the Inner Temple, his heirs and assigns for ever. The said Robert Oneby the elder to be my executor, and to have the management of the estate until his son be of full age.

Thus were his father’s wishes thwarted and the young Robert launched into the world. He married Mary Braceridge in 1743, and died in 1753, leaving no children. The most notorious member of the family was another grandson of John Oneby, Major John Oneby. Having purchased a commission, he served under Marlborough with distinction, his service marred only by killing a brother officer in a duel. When the regiment was sent to Jamaica he managed to kill another officer, but again escaped punishment as it took the victim eight months to die of his wounds. After the Treaty of Utracht he returned to London on half pay and whiled away his time drinking and gambling. One of those evenings occasioned another duel wherein he killed William Gower. Killing someone in cold blood was murder, but the death of an armed adversary in the heat of passion was not. Oneby’s trial turned on whether sufficient time had passed since words were first spoken for Oneby to “cool off”, and whether his actions were pre-meditated. The first jury were unsure, and referred the case to a panel of judges. The judges avoided the case for two years while Major Onerby languished in Newgate, but he eventually persuaded them to take the case, whereupon, much to his surprise, they found him guilty. All appeals for clemency having failed, he killed himself the morning he was to be executed. The extensive testimony of the witnesses was published and the case became one of the bestsellers of the time.

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.