BLAGRAVE, Anthony (c.1555-1628), of Bulmershe Court, Sonning, Berks.
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Family and Education
b. c.1555, 1st s. of John Blagrave of Bulmershe Court by Anne, da. of Sir Anthony Hungerford† of Down Ampney, Glos. educ. Clifford’s Inn; L. Inn 18 June 1580. m. Jane, da. of Sir John Borlase of Bockmer, Bucks., 2s. 3da. suc. fa. 5 Oct. 1597.1
J.p. Berks. from 1601, sheriff 1604-5.
There is no evidence that Blagrave was a practicing lawyer. Rather, it appears, he lived the life of a country gentleman at the manor of Bulmershe Court, which his father sold to him in 1576, and of which he was in full possession after the death of his grandmother in February 1579. In 1597 he succeeded to his father’s other property—mainly in Reading—and thereafter filled the usual county offices. The Blagraves seem to have been supporters of the Cecils and not in favour with the local great men, Sir Francis Knollys and his son William. In 1580 Sir Francis wrote to the masters of requests to oppose the claim of a certain Roger Clifford to sue for land in forma pauperis, as the action was unnecessary, and was brought at the instigation of John and Anthony Blagrave, who desired the land for themselves. The Blagraves were certainly involved in disputes over their estates, and possibly with Knollys. In August 1601 John, brother of Anthony Blagrave, wrote to Robert Cecil recalling that his family would have lost their Reading property some 16 years before if it had not been for the support of Cecil’s father ‘against the mighty ones of that time’; he went on to report on the controversy in Reading over the appointment of a new high steward (the opposing nominees being Cecil and Sir William Knollys) in which he was clearly one of Cecil’s partisans. It may be that Cecil gave his support to Blagrave’s election for Reading in that year, though Blagrave’s own influence was probably quite strong enough. As the only Member with the right initials it is probable that he was the ‘A.B.’ who supposedly reported the Queen’s ‘golden speech’.2
He died 29 Apr. 1628. His will, made on 6 Apr. 1626, was proved 13 May 1628. With the exception of £100 to each of two unmarried granddaughters and certain minor bequests, all his property went to his younger son Anthony, the sole executor. His elder son John (d.1655) presumably inherited his land.3