Friday, 2 July 2021

The Blakiston Baronets

This family is very ancient, being descended from the Blakistons, of Blakiston, County Durham; two members of which family were created baronets; one by JAMES I, in 1615, and the other, by CHARLES I, in 1642.

MATTHEW BLAKISTON (c1702-74), an eminent merchant of London, was elected an alderman in 1750; served the office of sheriff in 1753; and filled the civic chair in 1760.

In 1759, Mr Alderman Blakiston received the honour of Knighthood.

Sir Matthew was created a baronet in 1763, designated of the City of London.

He was twice married: By his first marriage he had one son, who died unmarried; and by the second, which took place in 1760, with Annabella, daughter of Thomas Bayly, MP for Derby, he had an only son, his successor, at his demise in 1774,

SIR MATTHEW, 2nd Baronet (1761-1806), born in the Mansion House during the mayoralty of his father.

He married, in 1782, Anne, daughter of John Rochford, of Clogrennane, County Carlow, by whom he left six sons at his decease, the eldest of whom,

SIR MATTHEW, 3rd Baronet (1783-1862).

As of 2008, the title is held by the 8th Baronet's eldest son, Sir Ferguson Blakiston, 9th Baronet, who lives in New Zealand.


John Blakiston-Houston, MP for Down North, was a son of Richard Blakiston-Houston (of Orangefield, County Down), a younger son of the 2nd Baronet.

His third son,

Charles Blakiston-Houston, was MP for Belfast Dock from 1929-33; and his fifth and youngest son, John Blakiston-Houston (1881–1959), was a major-general in the Army.

BELTRIM estate in County Tyrone forms part of the Blakiston-Houston estate.

Richard Patrick Blakiston-Houston, OBE JP DL, born in 1948; educated at Eton; JP and DL of County Down; Professional Associate, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, 1972; High Sheriff of County Down, 1989.

He lived in 2003 at Beltrim Castle, County Tyrone, and The Roddens, Ballywalter, County Down.

It's believed that the Blakiston-Houstons are distantly related to General Sam Houston, after which Houston, Texas, USA, was named.

Orangefield House taken by the Lady Mabel Annesley (Image: © PRONI 2011)

ORANGEFIELD PARK in east Belfast was the family home of the Houston family in the 19th century. The head of the family, John Holmes Houston, was a partner in the Belfast Banking Company and lived at Orangefield House with his family. 

Orangefield was situated at the end of what is now Houston Park and the estate itself extended to almost 300 acres. John and Eliza's daughter, Mary Isabella, was born in 1793 and later married Richard Bayly Blakiston.

The two families joined names, leaving J Blakiston-Houston in charge of the Orangefield estate from 1857.

In 1934, the Blakiston-Houston family offered Belfast Corporation (now the council) part of the Orangefield estate to develop as a public park. The corporation, although keen to buy the land, felt that the price was too high. 

After lengthy negotiations, they bought part of the site in 1938 for £20,000. Development work was put on hold due to World War II and plans for the park were only drawn up in 1947. 
First published in August, 2011.


Rob Davis said...

I am an RAF Historian specialising in Bomber Command. I note the death of Section Officer (=RAF Flying Officer) Barbara Kathleen (Patsy) Blakiston-Houston on March 16th 1942 when the aircraft in which she was a passenger, A Wellington B.III (X3599) crashed near Thomas Mount, County Down. Whilst I have ancestral information on her parents, I would be most interested to know more about her. and the reason for the aircraft crash. The only survivor was a Sgt Henderson, the pilot being Flying Officer Harold Eric Hunter (RNZAF/402060) of 57 Squadron, RAF Feltwell.

ChrisR said...

Hi Rob
In relation to the crash from, what I have been led to believe the crash was the result of a navigational error. The weather on the day of the crash was poor, low lying cloud. Another unconfirmed story I was once told was the pilot had taken a detour to fly over the Blakiston-Houston estate, miscalculated his position and didn’t realise he was so close to the Mourne Mountains. Thomas Mountain is situated at the foot of Slieve Donad.
I have visited the crash site and Barbara’s grave which is in a Churchyard in Seaforde Co. Down.