Nicholas Blundell 1669-1737
Nicholas BLUNDELL 1669-1737
Born at Little Crosby, Lancashire, son of William Blundell and Mary Eyre. Educated at home by his grandfather and at the English Jesuit College at St Omer, Flanders. He inherited his father’s estates in the Liverpool region in 1702, and the ‘great diurnal’ he kept from 1702 to 1728 is a valuable record of his managing them, as well as of many other social activities and events. Married Frances Langdale with whom he had two daughters. A Roman Catholic family, for much of 1716-1717 they lived in voluntary exile in Flanders.
Blundell most likely inherited books from his grandfather’s library. His ‘great diurnal’ furnishes some evidence of his regular reading (including reading aloud) of mainly religious books, along with habits of book borrowing, lending and purchasing (such as at a two-day book auction at Liverpool in 1707), but titles are very rarely mentioned. His taking care in his library’s arrangement is suggested by occasional references to time spent reordering the books in his closet, with categories of ‘spirituall’, ‘phisick’, ‘scholasticall’ and ‘schoolbooks’ noted. On returning to England after a visit to Flanders in 1723 his luggage was searched ‘and some Spirituall Books & pictures taken from me to be burned'. In 1725 others met the more mundane fate of being ‘damnifyed by the wet in my Closet’.
In Blundell’s probate inventory (Lancashire Archives DDBl/54/24; reprinted in Tyrer and Bagley) ‘A Parcell of Books mostly old’ in his closet was not given a value, seemingly merely subsumed into the valuation of 5s 6d. of the closet’s other contents; if not sold, these would presumably have passed to his daughter Frances who inherited the Crosby estate. This document also notes bequests of ‘The Lives of the Saints in fol.’ to his wife, ‘any 6 of his Books, Except Manuscripts’ to his brother Joseph, ‘four of his Spirituall Books which she’ll chuse if worth her acceptance’ to his sister-in-law, and ‘Parsons Directory neatly bound and guilded’ to his nephew.
Further research into Blundell’s detailed Disbursement Book (at Lancashire Archives) kept from 1702 until the time of his death will yield more information on his book and pamphlet purchases.
- Crosby, A.G. ‘Blundell, Nicholas (1669–1737), diarist and landowner’. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
- Tyrer, F. and J. J. Bagley, eds. The great diurnal of Nicholas Blundell of Little Crosby, Lancashire. 3 vols. Chester, 1968-72.