Colonel Holcroft BloodParentage
Holcroft Blood was the son of the famous, or infamous, Colonel Thomas Blood who stole the Crown Jewels from the Tower of London in 1671. Thomas Blood was Irish and a member of the Parliamentarian army in the Civil War. Blood's mother, and the source of his unusual first name, was Mary Holcroft of Holcroft Hall, Lancashire, who Thomas Blood married at Newchurch, Lancashire on the 21st July 1650.
The exact year of Holcroft Blood's birth is not known, but was sometime in the later 1650s, and probably in Ireland to which his parents had returned. At an early age he left home, serving at sea in the Dutch War in 1672. He is understood to have studied engineering while serving as a Cadet, a title later changed to Engineer, in the French guards. This may follow from a warrant of 1669 which allowed for two cadets to receive their training abroad.
After his studies he returned to England and served as a Captain in the army. He was wounded at the siege of Carrickfergus in August 1689, receiving his promotion to Major shortly after this.
He took part in the War of the Augsburg League, (also known as the War of the Grand Alliance) 1688-1697, being noted at the taking of Namur in 1695, where Blood served as a Lieutenant Colonel and engineer.
From 26 August 1703 until his death in August 1707 he had command of the regiment that was known by his name. This regiment in 1751 became the 17th Foot, and later the Leicestershire Regiment. It still exists as the Royal Leicestershire Regiment.
He commanded the artillery on the left wing of the army at the storming of the Schellenberg, 2nd July 1704, his artillery consisting of 36 guns, being six 12 pounder, ten 9 pounder and twenty 3 pounder guns, plus four howitzers
He commanded the artillery at the Battle of Blenheim, and here his reputation as an engineer was enhanced by his actions at Hochstadt. He was promoted to Brigadier General. He died at Brussels on 30th August 1707.
His will, given in full below, gives an insight into his personal life. His widow is bequeathed a very small amount of money, the bulk of his estate passing to his mistress and his natural born son, also called Holcroft.