BLAGRAVE, Anthony (1680-1744), of Southcote, Reading, Berks.
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Family and Education
bap. 21 Sept. 1680, 1st s. of John Blagrave† of Southcote by Hester, da. of William Gore, merchant, of Barrow Gurney, Som. and London. educ. St. John’s, Oxf. 1696. m. bef. 1706, his cos. Mary, da. of William Gore of Barrow Gurney (gds. of William Gore supra), 2s. 5da. (2 d.v.p.). suc. fa. 1704.1
Freeman, Reading 1701; sheriff, Berks. 1712–13.2
Blagrave came from a Whiggish family. His father, a Member of the Exclusion Parliaments, had been perceived as a possible collaborator of James II, and later was probably an investor in the Bank of England. Active after the Revolution as a justice and deputy-lieutenant in Berkshire, he was also consulted on county elections and by Reading corporation on some internal affairs. The basis of the Blagrave interest in Reading was property. Apart from Southcote, the family held a large number of houses (described unfavourably by Hearne in 1714), as well as other property leased from the crown in partnership with the Dalbys. Blagrave himself was admitted to the freedom of the borough on 13 Nov. 1701, just a few days prior to his election to the Commons. Lord Spencer (Charles*) failed to realize that Blagrave’s victory over Sir Owen Buckingham* represented a loss for the Whigs, possibly because of the traditional political views of the Blagrave family. Robert Harley* was better informed, listing Blagrave with the Tories in an analysis of the newly elected Parliament. Blagrave was appointed to a single drafting committee in January 1702 and his name also appeared on the ‘white list’ of those who favoured the motion of 26 Feb. vindicating the proceedings of the Commons in the impeachment of William III’s Whig ministers.3
Blagrave stood down at the 1702 election, for some unknown reason. His father died in March 1704 and it is likely that around this time he married his first cousin once removed, thereby acquiring considerable property in Somerset. He regained his seat in 1708, being classed as a Tory on a list of early 1708 with the returns added, an analysis confirmed by the Earl of Sunderland (Charles Spencer), who this time accounted his election a loss for the Whigs. His only recorded tellership occurred on 14 Apr. 1709, a vain effort to keep some words in the Lords’ bill preserving the rights of patrons to advowsons. The tellers involved suggest that this view was held by Tory Churchmen. Not surprisingly, Blagrave voted in 1710 against the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell. He stood down again at the 1710 election, probably in favour of John Dalby*. He did not return to the Commons until 1722, by which time the Jacobites seem to have entertained hopes of his commitment to their cause, his name appearing on a list sent to the Pretender in 1721. After retiring from the Commons again in 1727 he had the pleasure of seeing his eldest son, John, returned for Reading in a by-election in 1739. By the time Blagrave was buried in December 1744 he had become a wealthy man, able to bequeath his estates in Berkshire and Somerset to John, £5,000 to his second son, and £4,000 apiece to his three surviving daughters.4
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: Stuart Handley
- 1. St. Mary’s, Reading Par. Reg. i. 88, 111, 114; ii. 146, 151; Vis. Berks. (Harl. Soc. lvi), 173.
- 2. Berks. RO, Reading corp. diary, 13 Nov. 1701.
- 3. Duckett, Penal Laws and Test Act (1883), 237; DZA, Bonet despatch 6/16 July 1694; CSP Dom. 1700–2, p. 249; HMC Downshire, i. 558, 562; Reading corp. diary, 2 June 1690, 21 Dec. 1691; Hearne Colls. iv. 358–9; Cal. Treas. Bks. and Pprs. 1742–5, p. 124; Bull. IHR, xlv. 44.
- 4. J. Collinson, Som. ii. 206, 309; P. S. Fritz, Ministers and Jacobitism 1715–45, p.151; St. Mary’s, Reading Par. Reg. ii. 174; PCC 3 Seymer.