Manuscripts and Special Collections

Biography of Abraham Blackborne (-1720) and his family


Abraham Blackborne was a London tobacco merchant, who joined Sir Richard Levett  in partnership at around the time of his marriage with Sir Richard Levett's daughter Mary (1689-1764). He was a nephew of Robert Blackborne (c.1620-1701), Admiralty Secretary and Secretary to the East Indies, and a cousin of William Hewer of Clapham (d 1715), clerk to Thomas Pepys. Abraham was a beneficiary in Hewer's will for a quarter-share of his estate. This share was inherited by his grandson, the Rev. Abraham Blackborne. A further part of the Hewer fortune remained tied up in life interests, and was finally able to be paid to Thomas Blackborne Thoroton Hildyard after 1878.

Abraham Blackborne died in 1720, and his widow Mary married Robert Thoroton three years later. The four children of Abraham and Mary's marriage were close to the three surviving children of her second. Her son Thomas Thoroton inherited money from his half-brother Levett Blackborne, and the residue of the estate of his brother-in-law Charles Newton, as well as the Thoroton family properties.

Mary's eldest son Levett Blackborne (d 1781) was a lawyer and trustee for the Thoroton family, and left the £20,000 proceeds of sale of his Kew estate in his will for his half-brother Thomas Thoroton and his heirs. Levett also owned property at Old Leake, Lincolnshire, and Rainham, Essex, inherited from his uncle William Blackborne. He gave up the Rainham property to another relative, Jane Greeves or Greaves, and left the Leake property in his will to his nephew Francis Chaplin.

Rev. Abraham Blackborne (1715-1797) was Abraham and Mary's second son. He studied at Peterhouse, Cambridge, and was chaplain to Charles, Earl of Elgin and Kincardine. He was presented to the vicarage of Dagenham, Essex, by his uncle William Blackborne (d 1756) who was patron of the living, in 1739. He was later given permission to hold the additional living of Hampton, Middlesex.


  • Father unknown 
    • Robert Blackborne (c.1620-1701), Admiralty Secretary and Secretary to the E. Indies, married Ann. No children 
    • James Blackborne (-1694), of Devon, married Susan Deering
      • Ann (1665-) 
      • William (1671-) 
      • Judith (1673-) 
      • Abraham (1681-) 
      • Isaac (1681-) 
      • Susan 
    • Ann (-1693), married Thomas Hewer (-1665), stationer of London 
      • William Hewer (1642-1715), clerk to Samuel Pepys, M.P., of Clapham. Unmarried
    • Unknown 
      • Abraham Blackborne (-1720), merchant, married Mary Levett (1689-1764), who married 2ndly Robert Thoroton
        • Susanna (1712-), unmarried 
        • Mary (1713-), married Charles Newton
          • Mary Newton, married Charles Arnett and had five children
        • Levett Blackborne (-1781), lawyer and judge. Unmarried. 
        • Rev. Abraham Blackborne (1715-1797), vicar of Dagenham 1739-1797, also Hampton, Middlesex, married Francis Fanshawe (1720-1795), daughter of Thomas Fanshawe of Parsloes, Essex. No children. 
      • Isaac (-1710), merchant with his twin brother Abraham, died in Batavia 
      • Samuel (-1694) 
      • William (-1756), of Hornchurch and Rainham, Essex, married Jane Austin/Austen (-1722) in 1695. Left property to his nephew Levett Blackborne 
        • Jane (1696-), married Daniel Houghton 
        • Jane Houghton, married firstly Mr Sandford, married secondly in 1757 Peter Greeves/Greaves. No children 
        • Olympia Houghton, married John Burridge Leigh of Rushall, Staffordshire 
          • Rev. William Leigh 
        • Mary (-1739), married Charles Mathew Goring, later 5th Baronet (1706-1769), in 1731, as his first wife 
          • Sir Harry Goring, 6th Baronet (1739-1824) 
      • Anne (-1726) married Samuel Edgely in 1691 
        • Hewer Edgely (1692-1728), heir to his cousin William Hewer of Clapham, took the surname Hewer in 1715. Married Elizabeth Stuart (-1785), daughter of Sir Simeon Stuart, 2nd Baronet, in 1718. No children 
        • Ann Edgely (1695-), married John Jackson, son of Samuel Pepys’s sister Paulina 
          • Ann Jackson, married Brabazon Hallowes 
        • Susanna Edgely (1698-1717), unmarried  

Archive Collections

  • Title deeds, family wills and settlements, and legal papers relating to the estates held by Abraham Blackborne, Levett Blackborne and the Rev. Abraham Blackborne, in the Thoroton Hildyard Collection (THF) held by Manuscripts and Special Collections, The University of Nottingham.

Published Sources

  • Myles Thoroton Hildyard. The Thorotons (privately printed, 1991) [King’s Meadow Campus East Midlands Special Collection Oversize Not 150.V30 THO]. 

Manuscripts and Special Collections

Kings Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

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