|Administrative / biographical background:
In 1797 William Blake married Mary Nash, daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth Nash, and granddaughter of John Darker. By this settlement the Darker estates in Leicestershire, Derbyshire, Northamptonshire and Huntingdonshire, including the advowson of Queniboro', Leics, were settled on William and Mary, after the death of Edward Lovedon. Edward Lovedon, who died c.1821, was the second husband of Elizabeth Nash, daughter and heir of John Darker.
In 1805 Blake purchased a house in Portland Place, and in 1819 he took a lease on St. John's Lodge, Welwyn, which he subsequently purchased in 1824, and altered the name to Danesbury. He added other pieces of land to this estate, and was an enthusiastic shot and landowner. In 1826 he became a J P for Hertfordshire, and in 1836 served as High Sheriff. He was involved in the local police committee in 1843, and in negotiations about the London to York Railway in 1848.
He had eight children; of the three sons, William John was MP for Newport, 1837-1841, Frederic served in the 33rd Regiment in Ireland, Gibraltar, Canada and the Crimea, and Henry Woolaston was a partner in Boulton, Watt & Co, engineers and ironfounders.
Four of the daughters were married, Mary to Baron de Biel of Germany, Ellen to John Alexander Hankey, Caroline to Henry Davidson, and Emily to Christopher William Fuller: Fanny, the unmarried sister, lived at home. William Blake died in 1852 and was succeeded by his eldest son William John Blake.