BLACKETT, Walter (1707-77), of Calverley, nr. Leeds, Yorks. and Wallington Hall, Northumb.
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Family and Education
b. 18 Dec. 1707, o.s. of Sir Walter Calverley, 1st Bt., of Calverley by Julia, da. of Sir William Blackett, 1st Bt., M.P., of Wallington. educ. Westminster 1717; Balliol, Oxf. 1724. m. 29 Sept. 1729, Elizabeth Orde, natural da. and testamentary h. of his mat. uncle, Sir William Blackett, 2nd Bt., and assumed name of Blackett by Act of Parliament 1733, 1da. suc. fa. 15 Oct. 1749.
Alderman of Newcastle 1729, mayor 1735, 1748, 1756, 1764, 1771; sheriff, Northumb. 1731-2.
The son of a Jacobite who fled the country in the Fifteen, Blackett succeeded in 1728 to the estates and mines of his uncle, Sir William Blackett. The income from the estates scarcely covered the interest on the debts with which they were encumbered, but the yield of the coal and lead mines was raised from £4,500 to £5,500 p.a.1 Returned for Newcastle as a Tory in 1734, he continued to represent it for over 40 years, voting against the Walpole and Pelham Administrations. In 1741 he is described as ‘at the height of his popularity ... styled the patriot, the opposer of the court, and the father of the poor’. He was one of the prominent Tories who agreed to support the Prince of Wales’s programme in 1747.2 He built a public library in 1736, raised and contributed liberally to funds for the unemployed during the hard winter of 1739-40, and endowed the Newcastle Infirmary in 1751.3 When in 1750 Wallington, inherited from his uncle, was put up for sale by order of the court of Chancery, he bought it for £70,000, afterwards selling his Yorkshire estates, including Calverley, for £112,000.4 His only reported speeches in this period were against the Saxon subsidy on 22 Jan. 1752, and a week later for Lord Harley’s motion against subsidy treaties in time of peace.