My 4 x great grandfather James Blanch, a patten maker and later an exciseman, was born in Tewkesbury in 1755, grew up in Bristol, and spent most of his adult life in London, firstly in Soho and later at Saffron Hill, on the borders of Clerkenwell and Holborn. He was married twice: first to Jane Barlow in 1779, and then in 1792 to Sophia Atkins. From his first marriage, James had three children who survived to adulthood: Maria, born in 1781; Elizabeth Ann, 1783; and James junior, 1784. James’ second marriage resulted in six surviving children: Mary Ann, born in 1794; Thomas, 1797; John, 1802 (my 3 x great grandfather); William Henry, 1804; Joseph, 1807; and David, 1810.


St Andrew’s church, Holborn, where a number of James Blanch’s children were christened

Little is known about what became of two of these children. It’s possible that Elizabeth Ann Blanch never married and that she is the person of that name who died at Wilson Street, off Grays Inn Road, in February 1853, at the age of seventy. As for Joseph Blanch, he may have who emigrated to Australia in 1826, at the age of nineteen, and lived with his brother James in New South Wales.

We have much better information about James Blanch’s other children and their marriages, which took place as follows:

1811 Maria Blanch married John Rodbard at St Luke’s, Chelsea

1813 James Blanch junior married Sarah Empson at St Dunstan’s, Stepney

1820 Thomas Blanch married Ann Akerman Fletcher at St Anne’s, Soho

1825 William Henry Blanch married Martha Sarah Stokes at St Anne’s, Limehouse

1827 John Blanch married Keziah Holdsworth at St Anne’s, Limehouse

1828 Mary Ann Blanch married Thomas Harrison at St George the Martyr, Southwark

1835 David Blanch married Sarah Dickson at St Anne’s, Soho

In the next few posts I’ll summarise what we know about each of these, before returning to the story of my 3 x great grandparents John and Keziah.