BLAKE, Andrew, of Lewes, Suss.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
poss. s. of Richard Blake (fl. 1368) of Lewes. m. bef. 1408, Margaret.1
Blake witnessed deeds at Lewes from 1385 onwards. Nothing is recorded of his own property holdings there, but he is known to have acted as a trustee of those belonging to Stephen Holt*. However, when Holt died in 1398 he refused to make a settlement in favour of the deceased’s son William. Furthermore, it was alleged at the Sussex assizes in November 1401 that Blake and others, including William Holt and John Bedford I*, had wrongfully dispossessed Simon Benefeld* of property in Cliffe and South Malling near Lewes, although Blake and Bedford, not being principals in the affair, were given an acquittal.2
From 1379 onwards Blake is regularly recorded exporting wool from the ports of Sussex, and importing such goods as iron, canvas, alum and madder. He began by using ships from Seaford, but later came to prefer those of Zeeland. In 1397 he and Robert Hore of Lewes, his partner in several commercial dealings, bought wool costing £100 from Richard, earl of Arundel, but shortly after the earl’s arrest for treason in July that year a special commission was issued to seize the wool remaining in Lewes castle, together with the merchants’ bond, which as forfeited goods were then granted to the earl of Somerset. A year later a further sum of £40, which Blake and others owed to the late Earl Richard, was granted to three royal servants. Meanwhile, on 26 Apr. 1398, Blake had taken out a royal pardon, no doubt with a view to protecting his own possessions from confiscation, given his connexions with the earl. Indeed, the pardon specifically referred to the support he had offered to Arundel and his fellow Lords Appellant when they had seized power ten years earlier.3
Jointly with John Aubrey, Blake owned the Margaret of Hoke, which in October 1402 was under arrest at Southampton for Henry IV’s service. In December 1403 two ships of Zeeland, which he and a London merchant had chartered to import herring, garlic and onions, were similarly seized at Sandwich; he succeeded, however, in obtaining permission for them to complete their voyage to Seaford, on condition that they returned to royal employment after unloading. When elected to Parliament at the beginning of Henry V’s reign, both Blake and his fellow Member for Lewes, John Maryot, also a wool merchant, were engaged in suits in the central courts. On 24 May 1413, while the Commons were in session, they appeared in Chancery to offer sureties, the one for the other in their respective cases. At an unknown date before the end of the reign Blake sued Richard Studley of Colchester for debt, but the defendant failed to appear in the common pleas to respond to the charge.4