Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Blakeway, John Brickdale

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BLAKEWAY, JOHN BRICKDALE (1765–1826), topographer, was the eldest son of Joshua Blakeway, of Shrewsbury, by Elizabeth, sister of Matthew Brickdale, M.P. in several parliaments for the city of Bristol. He was born at Shrewsbury on 24 June 1765, and educated in the free school there. In 1775 he was removed to Westminster, at which school he remained till 1782, when he proceeded to Oriel College, Oxford (B.A. 1786, M.A. 1795). On leaving the university he entered at Lincoln's Inn, and was called to the bar in 1789. He followed the law more as an amusement than as a necessary means of support, and began to go the Oxford circuit. Suddenly he found his hereditary expectations destroyed, and he was compelled to provide himself with an income by his own exertions. In these circumstances the expensive profession of the law was no longer to be thought of. He resolved to enter the church, and was ordained in 1793.

In 1794 he was presented by his uncle, the Rev. Edward Blakeway, to the ministry of the Royal Peculiar of St. Mary's, Shrewsbury, and on his uncle's death he became official of the peculiar, and also succeeded him in the vicarage of Neen Savage, Shropshire, and in the rectory of Felton, Somersetshire. In 1800 he was presented to the vicarage of Kinlet. He was elected a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1807. From 1800 till 1816 he divided his time between Kinlet and Shrewsbury, but, finding it inconvenient to keep up two houses, he gave up Felton and Kinlet in that year, and thenceforward resided exclusively in his native town. He died at the council house, Shrewsbury, on 10 March 1826, and was buried in St. Mary's Church, where a fine Gothic monument, executed by John Carline, was erected to his memory by his parishioners.

His works are:

  1. 'An Attempt to ascertain the Author of the Letters published under the signature of Junius,' Shrewsbury, 1813, 8vo. He ascribes the authorship of these famous letters to Horne Tooke.
  2. 'The Sequel of an Attempt to ascertain the Author of the Letters published under the signature of Junius,' London, 1815, 8vo.
  3. 'A History of Shrewsbury,' 2 vols., London, 1825, 4to. Written in collaboration with the Ven. Hugh Owen, F.S.A., archdeacon of Salop.
  4. 'The Sheriffs of Shropshire, with their armorial bearings, and notices, biographical and genealogical, of their families,' Shrewsbury, 1831, fol.
  5. Single sermons, and a tract on the subject of Regeneration.

[Salopian Journal. 15, 22, and 29 March 1826; Gent. Mag. xcvi. (i.) 277, 369; Leighton's Guide through the Town of Shrewsbury, 72, 73, 182; Cat. of Printed Books in Brit. Mus.]

T. C.