BLOUNT, John (by 1471-1531), of Knightley, Staffs. and Kinlet, Salop.
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Family and Education
b. by 1471, 1st s. of Sir Thomas Blount of Kinlet by Anne, da. of Sir Richard Croft of Croft Castle, Herefs.; bro. of Robert II and Walter II. m. 1 Aug. 1492, Catherine, da. and coh. of Hugh Peshall of Knightley, 3s. Sir George, Henry and William 5da. suc. fa. c.1525. Kntd. Nov./Dec. 1529.2
Esquire of the body by 1509; parker, Cleobury, Salop 1519, jt. steward of the lordships of Bewdley, Worcs. and Cleobury Mortimer, Salop 1519; j.p. Staffs. 1520-6, Salop 1529-d.; sheriff, Staffs. 1526-7, Salop 1530-d.3
The gentle family of Blount had long possessed property in Staffordshire as well as in Shropshire, and its holding there was enlarged by John Blount’s marriage to a local heiress. During his father’s lifetime he occupied his wife’s family home at Knightley, and it was in Staffordshire that he first held office as a justice and sheriff. However, it is only after the death of his uncle and namesake (d.bef. Feb. 1519) that we can be sure that the John Blount named to Staffordshire commissions is the Member. He carried little weight in Shropshire until he succeeded to the headship of the family, but thereafter he was one of the leading figures in the county.4
Apart from the details of his marriage, its settlement (24 Feb. 1491) and celebration at Kinlet, nothing has come to light about Blount until 1504, when he was bound over with several kinsmen and neighbours in a series of recognizances. His grandfather Sir Richard Croft stood close to Henry VII and he doubtless assisted Blount to procure a post in the Household. In 1509 Blount attended the funeral of Henry VII and the coronation of his successor. In the following decade he was a frequent attendant at the court, and in 1513 he accompanied Henry VIII to northern France as a captain in the army that besieged Tournai. Seven years later he returned to France, not to fight but to witness the pacific royal encounter at the Field of Cloth of Gold. Presumably he was in considerable favour about this time with the King, who had taken his daughter Elizabeth as mistress: Elizabeth had been appointed a lady-in-waiting to Catherine of Aragon at the beginning of the reign, and in 1519 she bore the King a son, Henry Fitzroy, later Duke of Richmond.5
When Mary Boleyn displaced Elizabeth as the object of the King’s affection, John Blount apparently retired from the court to manage his estates and to play a more active role in local government. In 1526 he obtained livery of his inheritance and a year later he wrote to Cromwell to intercede on his behalf with Wolsey. His election to Parliament in 1529 as a knight for Shropshire was doubtless a recognition of his newly acquired status in the county and his recent appointment to the bench: his fellow-knight Sir Thomas Cornwall was a distant relation, and both men could trace their descent from Henry III’s brother. This was probably not the occasion of Blount’s first appearance in the Commons: with royal support he may have sat for Shropshire or Staffordshire during his father’s lifetime, but in the absence of the names for the earlier Parliaments his Membership is hypothetical. His grandson Richmond was summoned to the Lords in the autumn of 1529 as the leading temporal peer, and his son-in-law Sir Gilbert Tailboys, Richmond’s stepfather, who was chosen for another county, was elevated before the year was out. Even though Blount is not known to have had any part in Richmond’s upbringing, he shared in the distribution of honours to those connected with the boy and after the Parliament opened he received a knighthood.6
Blount was given a further mark of royal favour when in the autumn of 1530 he was pricked sheriff of Shropshire. He did not survive his term of office, for he died on 27 Feb. 1531, midway through the second session of the Parliament. His death was noted on the list of its Members revised in the following year, and Cromwell then considered possible replacements, but the outcome of the ensuing by-election is not known. Blount’s fellow-knight Cornwall completed his term as sheriff.