BLOFIELD, Thomas (c.1635-1708), of Norwich Hoveton, Norf.
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Family and Education
b. c.1635, 1st s. of Robert Blofield, rector of Westwick 1636-44, 1653-70, Thorpe-next-Norwich 1642-4, 1660-70 by 1st w. Mary, da. of Thomas Layer of Booton, Norf. m. by 1664, Elizabeth, da. of Henry Negus, hosier, of Norwich, wid. of one Watson, s.p. suc. fa. 1670.1
Freeman, Norwich 1661, sheriff 1685-6, mayor 1691-2; commr. for assessment, Norf. and Norwich 1689-90; receiver of taxes, Norf. 1692-3, j.p. by 1701-d.; dep.-lt. Norwich by 1701-d.2
Blofield came from a Norfolk yeoman family which can be traced back to the middle of the 15th century. But his grandfather became a lawyer, and his father, a younger son, was a clerical pluralist. ‘A sober and grave divine’, he was sequestrated and imprisoned in the Civil War, but restored to one of his livings in 1653. Blofield himself was apprenticed to a Norwich craftsman and married his master’s daughter. He subscribed £3 to the voluntary gift to Charles II in 1662.3
Blofield first stood as an independent Tory in 1685. Successful in 1689 he voted to agree with the Lords that the throne was not vacant, according to Anthony Rowe. A moderately active Member of the Convention, he was appointed to 27 committees, including those to inquire into abuses in the measurement of worsteds, charges of corruption against William Harbord, and the delay in relieving Londonderry. After the recess he was among those ordered to report on war expenditure and to consider setting up a ‘court of conscience’ for small claims for his constituency. He probably introduced a private bill to discharge the Duke of Norfolk from certain claims, since he was the first Member named to the committee. He continued to act with the Tories under William III, though he signed the Association in 1696. He died on 17 Oct. 1708, in his 74th year, and was buried at Hoveton St. John, the only member of the family to sit in Parliament. His epitaph records that he was
for many years justice of the peace and deputy lieutenant, once mayor and six times a representative in Parliament for the city of Norwich, in all which stations he signalized himself for his eminent zeal and steadiness to the Established Church, his loyal affection to his sovereign and the English monarchy, and an unwearied diligence in promoting the interest, trade and welfare of his country, his knowledge in which was equalled by few, his integrity exceeded by none.4
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: Paula Watson
- 1. Vis. Norf. (Harl. Soc. lxxxv), 27; A. G. Matthews, Walker Revised, 264.
- 2. Reg. Norwich Freemen ed. Millican, 88; H. Le Strange, Norf. Official Lists, 114, 115; Cal. Treas. Bks. ix. 1539.
- 3. R. W. Ketton-Cremer, Norf. in the Civil War, 245; Norwich Vol. Gift (Norf. Rec. Soc. i), 82.
- 4. Add. 27448, f. 304; W. Rye, Norf. Fams. 66.