First name

Text source

Sir William Blackett was a prominent merchant of Newcastle. From middling origins and the apprentice of a Newcastle merchant in 1636, he rose to become a member of the Merchant Adventurers’ Company in 1645 and a member of the Eastland Company in 1652. In 1673 he became a Member of Parliament for Newcastle and shortly after was awarded the first baronetcy of Newcastle also in 1673. His brother Edward was resident in Amsterdam and by 1659 William was trading with Denmark and Greenland, Sweden, Rotterdam, Amsterdam and Rouen in exporting lead, coal, salt, butter, and salmon in exchange for iron, timber, pitch, tar, peas, beans and brassware. 

Evidence of Blackett trading as far south as Bordeaux can be glimpsed on the occasion of a ship of his from the port, running aground near Whitby on the east coast of England in December 1674. DENMARK: In 1658 Blackett had a consignment of cloth and coats bound for Stockholm on the Joseph of Newcastle. During inspection at Elsinore in the Sound, the cargo was seized by Fredrik III of Denmark, taken to Copenhagen, undervalued, and a bill was made to the sum of 7142 Rixdollars to be paid at Amsterdam within six months. Blackett received word from Charles II in 1661 to pursue the case against the Danish King as it had still not been resolved and to receive compensation. Blackett received letters of marque on 10 May 1667 to pursue compensation through reprisal or confiscation of Danish goods. Blackett once again pursued his claim in 1677 to no avail. The case was still open and followed by Blackett’s son, Sir William Blackett Jnr. in June 1702. 

SWEDEN: Blackett was certainly in Stockholm in 1661. On 24 August  a group of English merchants in Stockholm signed a document in Dutch regarding a business transaction. The signatories were Samuel Lee [SSNE 8329], William Blackett , James Allen [SSNE 8328], William Horsfull [SSNE 8327] and William Carter [SSNE 8326]. It pertained also to John Cooper [SSNE 7760], Samuel Richardson [SSNE 8331]. Joseph Scott [SSNE 8330] and Peter Watson (perhaps [SSNE 5551]) (along with some non-British merchants).  

Along with Urban Hall Sr. [SSNE 394] he petitioned Secretary of State, Sir Henry Coventry to encourage Swedish envoy to Britain, Pehr Sparre to delay the implementation of the Swedish Edict of 1672 that was to place more stringent restrictions on foreign merchants operating out of Sweden. The new restrictions were to have considerable effect on the business of English factors in the central towns of Sweden in particular. His base in Newcastle and concern for affairs in central Sweden both point to a continued involvement in the Swedish iron trade. He was in correspondence with Olof Stare Starenflycht in the Swedish Admiralty in June 1662 and the notable Dutch capitalist Jacob Momma-Reenstierna, resident in Sweden, in letters dated throughout 1670. Blackett along with four aldermen of Newcastle wrote to the Navy Commissioners in January 1667 regarding the status of the contract of a ‘galliot hoy’, which had departed Newcastle for Gothenburg in late 1666, belonging to John Bower of Bridlington [SSNE 7761]. Bower’s ship had been pressed into service by the late Mayor of Newcastle, Henry Madison. Blackett presented a bill for the journey along with other work carried out on Navy frigates to the sum of 342 pounds, 2 shillings and 6 pence. Blackett, along with others again wrote to the Navy Commissioners in February 1667 on behalf of payment for John Morton [SSNE 7759], ‘a very poor man’ and a pilot on Bower’s ship. Morton was subsequently awarded the payment of 16 pounds. Blackett was noted as an agent of the King of Sweden in 1675. 

Sources: Riksarkivets ämnessamlingar. Personhistoria

Blackett-Ord, Mark, ’Blackett, Sir William’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography; Swedish Riksarkiv, Olof Stares Correspondence, XVI, 23.06.1662; Swedish Riksarkiv, Momma-Reenstierna Samlingen, Letters to Jacob Momma-Reenstierna (5), E2499, 1670; Calendar of State Papers, Domestic [CSPD], Charles II, 1673-1675, p. 444. Richard Potts to Williamson, 03.12.1674, Stockton-on-Tees; CSPD, Charles II, 1666-1667, p. 462, Sir William Blackett to the Navy Commissioners, 19.01.1667, Newcastle-upon-Tyne; CSPD, Charles II, 1666-1667, p. 501. Sir William Blackett, Marquis Milibank and Henry Brabant to the Navy Commissioners, 08.02.1667, Newcastle-upon-Tyne; CSPD, Charles II, 1660-1685, p. 282. ??.??.1668; CSPD, Charles II, 1677-1678, pp. 40-41. 21.03.1677; Calendar of Treasury Papers, III, 1702-1707, p. 24. 12.06.1702; Åström, Sven-Erik, From Stockholm to St Petersburg: Commercial Factors in the Political Relations between England and Sweden, 1675-1700, Finnish Historical Society, Helsinki, 1962, p. 60; NRS, AC7/4, Edinburgh, 24 July 1675.


This entry updated by Mr Jack Abernethy.

Service record

Arrived 1650-01-01
Capacity MERCHANT, purpose MERCHANT
Arrived 1661-08-24
Departed 0000-01-01