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Colonel Holcroft Blood

Parentage
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.

Early Life
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.

Military Career
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.

Personal Life
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.

Tm Holcroft Blood







Item I further will and bequeath to my said son another annuity of one hundred pounds p annum on the said funds of ninety nine years to be purchased with the moneys of mine in the hands of Mrs Edward Lightfoot of London Linen Draper to him and his heirs for ever after the decease of his said mother

In the name of God Amen

Know all men by these presents, That I Holcroft Blood of the Tower of London Esq. Brigadier General of her Majesties Armies Collonell of A Regiment of foot and Colonell of the traine of Artillery being by the grace of God in sound judgement of mind but indisposed in body doe hereby make and declare this my last will and Testament in the manner following

Imprimis I commend my soul unto the hands of Almighty God and Jesus Christ my blessed saviour and redeemer and my body to the earth to be decently buried according the the manner and custom of this place where it may please God I shall dye and my wordly goods and chattels it hath pleased God to bestow upon me (after my just debts are paid) disposed of in the manner and forms following
Imprimis I will and bequeath unto my wife Elizabeth Blood the sum of forty shillings

Item I will and bequeath unto my natural son Holcroft Blood an Annuity in The Exchequer on The Parliamentary funds, the sum of one hundred pounds per annum for ninety nine years and in case of his death before age or marriage, this said annuity to appertain and belong to his mother Dorothy Cook

Item I will and bequeath to my dear and intirely beloved friend Mrs Dorothy Cook of the City of Dort in the province of Holland our annuity of an hundred pounds per annum to be purchased on the annuities as aforesaid.

Item I will and bequeath and hereby further ordain unto the said Dorothy Cook to her sole use and behalf forever all money bonds plate jewels watches household goods linens houses and camp furniture as likewise all pay or arrears of pay that shall or may be due to me at my decease as Brigadier Colonell of Foot and the Artillery and Engineer and whatever office I may be lawfully possessed of at my decease except what is otherwise disposed off by this my will and Testament

Item I will and bequeath unto my sisters Mary Corbett and Elizabeth Edwards each fifty pounds English money.

Item I will and bequeath unto my Cousin Edmund Blood Lieutenant in my Regiment one guinea also to my good friends Richard Andrews of London Stationer and to his wife Mary each ten pounds English and to Mrs Edward Lightfoot of London Linen Draper five pounds and to Collonel Sabin ten shillings for a ring

Item I will and bequeath unto my good friends James Poundbury Lieutenant and Controller of the Train of Artillery in the Low Countryes to Captain William Leather paymaster of the said Traine and to Captain Richard King of the Earl of Orrerys Regiment to each of them five guineas.

Item I will and order the said James Poundbury my executor of this my last will and testament and overseer and I also desire that the said Captain William Leather and Captain King to be overseers and to take care of the education of my said son Holcroft Blood.

Item I further ordain and appoint that if any disputes or difficulties arise by or amongst any of the Legatees of this my will and testament they shall be decided by the said oveseers or any two of them and if the legatees shall not abide and agree to the said decision on any of said they are hereby deprived and cutt off from all advantages arising to them my this will with one shilling only

I witness whereof I have hereunto sett my hands and seal this eighteenth day of August one thousand seven hundred and seven in the city of Brussells in the Dutchy of Brabant declaring this sheet of paper writt on three sides to contain my last will and testament and I do hereby make void all other wills and testaments avowing this to be my last will as above specified Witness as above

Said Holcraft Blood made done and executed in the presence of us John Pawlett Wm Coffin Jacob Deighton

Last Will and Testament of Holcraft Blood Sentence of Holcraft Blood of Brussells 26 July 1708 PROB 11/504 Records of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury
Name of Register Barrett Quire Numbers 223 - 261
From National Archives Documents Online
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