|A more extensive account of this family can be accessed via the above link. A. G. Blachford known as Jack sadly died in 1993 and his account of the family appears by kind permission of his descendant Owen Strickland. The account below concentrates upon those members of this family that lived in Dorchester and seeks to provide more detailed genealogical resource material for researchers.|
According to the above mentioned Family History, Richard Blachford (1570-1652) of Dorchester was the son of William Blachford (c1545-1624) of Holleway in the Parish of Whitestaunton(1) which sits on the southern boundary of the County of Somerset on its border with Devon just 3 miles north west of Chard. It also states that " Richard spent his early years in the employ of Gilbert Smyth, a merchant in the town of Exeter who imported and exported goods through the port of Weymouth" and that "He started his own business in Dorchester in approximately 1593 going into partnership with John Finn and also with his eldest son John, importing and exporting wool and other goods through many ports between Bristol and London". I leave it to others to research and verify this ancestry as my interest is in the family in Dorchester (2). Even in Dorchester the records are fragmentary and it is difficult to distinguish individuals because of the habit of naming sons after their fathers so we have several generations of Richard, John and Thomas Blachford's. In constructing this account therefore I have wherever possible referred to original source material.
Richard Blachford (c1570-1652) of Dorchester whom I shall in future refer to as 'Richard the Elder' had a son Richard Blachford (c1601-1635) whom I shall call 'Richard the younger' .
Richard the younger became a merchant of London and fortunately for us recorded his Family Pedigree (under the name of Blashford) before the Heralds at the Visitation of London in 1633(3). I have reproduced this entry above for ease of reference. We therefore have a prime source from which to base our account and know for certain that his father Richard the elder married Frances Combe of Ashmore and that they had eight children together.
The Blachford Coat of Arms are also recorded in 'The General Armoury of England' (4) and this informs us that the arms of 'Blachford of London and Dorchester' were only awarded in 1629. If as postulated in the family history William Blachford died in 1624 this suggests that they were awarded to Richard the elder who was head of the family at this date. The arms shown in the visitation record are however his sons, Richard the younger, so the Blatchford Coat of Arms is correctly depicted on the left of the shield. The coat of arms on the right of the shield, with the ostrich feathers at the top, are the arms of the Molyns Family. They were ancestors of Richard the younger's wife Eleanor Wareton and can be viewed on page 121 of the Visitations of Hampshire.
Returning to Richard the elder's wife Frances Combe, her grandfather Walter Combe had leased the manor farm of Ashmore from Sir William Powlett in 1563. Walter had at least 2 sons, John Combe (c1557-1608) who was the eldest son (and Frances father), and Richard Combe of Farnham in Dorset (c1559) who was later to buy the farm outright from Sir William in 1619 for £2,482(5,6). If Richard Blachford followed tradition he would have married Frances in her home parish possibly around the year 1597, but unfortunately parish registers have not survived prior to 1651 so it is difficult to be certain. Coming from such a wealthy family I would also have expected Frances to have had a marriage settlement under which she would have taken her inheritance. John Combe of Ashmore died in 1608 and as expected she is not mentioned in his will which was proved on 19th August that year(7). Her farther however leaves many bequests to his godchildren and one of these is to John Blachford who was Richard and Frances eldest child. There is no mention of his wife who presumably pre-deceased him, or heirs which explains how Richard Combe inherited the lease and subsequently purchased manor farm.
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