A tribute to the life and work of Brian Torode

Family Portraits of the Blount Family of Mapledurham

The original collection of fourteen Family Portraits once hung in the drawing room belonging to the solicitor, Alfred Francis Blount (elder brother of the architect Gilbert Blount) who died at 1, Montagu-square, London, on 17th March 1895. His widow, Charlotte, married Alfred Ashley Westby and died in the Auvergne in 1923. The portraits were eventually bought by Alfred’s niece, Emma May, nee Blount.

Patrick Rogers wrote about Alfred Blount in the Westminster Cathedral Magazine, ‘Oremus’ in 2001:

“That land is for sale, I wish you to buy it.” Cardinal Manning was addressing his solicitor, Alfred Blount, in November 1882. What both men were looking at, from the Cardinal’s residence at the bottom of Carlisle Place, was Tothill Fields Prison. Blount formed a company and bought the site in 1884. The western half was immediately sold to the Cardinal at cost, the remainder to a property developer. On the land sold to the Cardinal now stands Westminster Cathedral.


For more information about the family of Joseph Blount of Mapledurham and his wife, Mary Canning, please see the article entitled ‘Mary Blount, nee Canning’:

(Should you wish to reproduce these  images please apply to the webmaster at


Michael Blount I was born on 26th March 1693 at Mapledurham and married Mary Agnes Tichborne (1695-1777). He died on 2nd November 1739 at Winchester and was buried at Tichborne near Alresford, Hampshire. Michael and Mary Agnes were the Great II Grandparents of Gilbert Blount.


Mary Agnes Blount nee Tichborne (1695-1777), Wife of Michael Blount I

The first portrait is marked “Lady unknown”, it is almost certainly Mary Agnes Tichborne {1695-1777}. She was a wealthy co-heiress of her father, Sir Henry Joseph Tichborne. They were an old catholic family who lived at Tichborne, Hampshire and she married Michael Blount I {1693-1739} in 1716. They lived near her family in Hampshire most of the time, because her husband’s home, Mapledurham, was in a very poor state of repair. After her husband’s death, she moved to Mapleduham and is buried there. He was buried in St James’ Cemetery, Winchester. Her great, great, grandson, Gilbert Blount {1819-1876} was to design alterations to the family house and garden in the 1850’s.



Michael Blount II {1719-1792}

Michael Blount II {1719-1792} was the son of Michael I and Mary Agnes. He married Mary Eugenia Strickland {1723-1765} in 1742. He was a hoarder of nearly 3,000 letters and documents, obsessed with health issues and a hypochondriac.



Portraits at Mapledurham: Above Michael Blount II [1719-1792] with his wife, Mary Eugenia Strickland [1723-1765] and below is her father, Mannock Strickland.


dscf1976Michael Blount III (1743-1821) brother of Mary Eugenia Blount and great uncle of Gilbert Robert Blount. There is a similar portrait of him at Mapledurham House.

Michael Blount III {1743-1821} is marked “Man no name”, but it is a copy, or the original of a painting by George Romney which is at Mapledurham House. He was the son of Michael Blount II and he married Elenora Fitzgerald {1761-1782} in 1781, however, she died four months after the birth of her daughter, Maria. His second wife was Catherine Wright {nee Petre} {1760-1845}.

Possibly Michael Blount 1743-1821


Portrait of  Michael Blount III at Mapledurham with his wives, Eleanora and Catherine


Mary Eugenia Blount {1746-1828}

Mary Eugenia Blount {1746-1828} was the daughter of Michael II and his wife Mary Agnes Strickland. She married Charles Stonor {1737-1781} in 1765. They had seven children. In 1774 they moved to Bath and were there at the time of the Gordon Riots escaping back to Stonor House early in the morning leaving “the Catholic Chapel in flames”. They moved to Gravelines, Normandy in 1781, Charles dying three months later. Very quickly she married Thomas Canning {1755-1825} in 1783, by which time she was totally blind. She had another two children and they lived at Purley {on the opposite side of the river Thames to Mapledurham} until Thomas died. She died at Stonor and is buried in the Canning Vault at Purley.

She was Great Aunt of Gilbert Blount, sister-in-law (twice over) of Mary Canning of Cheltenham.  and mother of the first Lord Camoys.



Thomas Canning (1755-1825), the husband of Mary Eugenia Blount (above)

Thomas Canning {1755-1825} was the second husband of Mary Blount – see above. He was the son of Francis Canning of Foxcote House, nr Chipping Campden, Glos. He was an impoverished solicitor – Mary removing the contents of Stonor House, as her first husband did not leave a will.

Their two sons were Thomas {1785-1824} who also became a solicitor and Edward Thomas {1788-1854}. Both were born in London.


Thomas Cannng {1785-1824}


DSCF3113 (3)

Edward Thomas Canning {1788-1854)


Edward married Louisa Georgina Spencer {1792-1854}- grand daughter of the 3rd Duke of Marlborough, 22 October 1832 at the British Embassy Chapel, Paris. She died 1854 and was buried at St James’, Reading. Edward continued living in Cunningham Place, London until his death in 1857 and was buried with his wife at Reading. He was the last male descendant of the Foxcote Cannings.

Anne Marie Canning (2)

Mother Anne-Marie Canning {1748-1820}

Anne-Marie Canning {1748-1820} was the elder sister of Thomas Canning who married Mary Blount and Mary Canning {1754-1843} who married Mary Blount’s brother Joseph. She was a nun in Paris and later became superioress of the Convent “Dames Anglaises”, which later became know as the English Augustines. It was the only “English” convent to survive the French Revolution and it was to play an important part in her sister’s life after her husband Joseph died in 1793.-see article Mary Canning and her family.



Mary Canning {1754-1843}

Mary Canning {1754-1843} sister of Anne-Marie and Thomas Canning. She was born at Foxcote House and married Joseph Blount {1752-1793} in the house chapel 1776. They had seven children. The eldest, Mary died at her aunt’s convent school in Paris aged 14 and the twins, Anne and Martha died within a month of their birth 1785. After her husband’s death, she went to live in the convent in the Fosse St Victor, with her two surviving daughters and sister. Her two sons were to join her just before the French revolution started and they were all held prisoners until finally escaping to England in the early 1800’s. Mary settled initially in  Cheltenham with her daughter, Frances, but could not resist the fascination of Paris and returned. When the 1830 riots broke out, she returned to Cheltenham and died there in 1843. She was one of the first to be buried at St Benet’s, Kemerton, Gloucestershire. The picture was painted in September 1839 by Williams of Cheltenham.

Mary Blount nee Canning

Joseph Blount (husband of Mary Canning

Joseph Blount {1752-1793}

Joseph Blount {1752-1793} was the second son of Michael II and married Mary Canning {above}. He went to school in France-Douai College, to study philosophy and on his return in 1770, was fortunate enough to become a protégé of Charles Woolfe, a lawyer. After their marriage, the family leased Britwell House nr Watlington, Oxon, from Thomas Weld, and the last four children were born there. The family moved to France, following a very generous legacy from Charles Woolfe. Joseph died on New Year’s Day 1793, and is buried in St Cyr, near Lyons. The portrait was painted by C. Borne in 1765, presumably while he was studying.

Elizabeth Riddell nee Blount

Elizabeth Blount {1778-1849}

Elizabeth Blount {1778-1849}, the second child of Joseph and Mary Blount, married Ralf Riddell of Felton, Northumberland in 1801. They had seven children. The eldest, Thomas, was to use his mother’s nephew, Gilbert Blount, to design and build a church at Felton {1856}. She was instrumental in gaining Gilbert, a place in the office of Anthony Salvin for his architectural training. She was a major benefactor of Bishop Ullathorne’s cathedral – St Chad’s, in Birmingham. She died at Leamington and is buried at Kemerton, Gloucestershire, next to her mother. This was painted by T. Chevenin of Paris in 1793, as were the following three pictures of her siblings.


Joseph Blount of Hurstbourne Tarrant (2)

Joseph Blount {1779-1863}

Joseph Blount {1779-1863} was the eldest son of Joseph and Mary Blount. He married Jane Satterthwaite [1779-1807] in Lancaster in 1807 but she died only six months later. He married for the second time, Anne Martin {1786-1820} of Hurstbourne Tarrant, Hampshire. They had a daughter Frances [1819], who after her mother’s death went to live with her aunt and grandmother in Cheltenham. Joseph was a confirmed radical and became known as The Poor Man’s Friend putting out food on the wall outside his house in Hurstbourne Tarrant. When he died he requested to be buried in the middle of the road so that the carts and carriages could drive over him. This was not allowed so he was buried with his second wife, with a large flat top stone so children could play marbles!

Michael Joseph Blount (2)


Frances Blount [1780-1861}

Frances Blount [1780-1861] was the third daughter of Joseph and Mary Blount and lived in Cheltenham. After her mother died in 1843, she moved to Clifton where she died in 1861. She too, is buried at Kemerton next to her mother and sister. Her nephew, Gilbert, designed all three headstones which are still there.



Michael Joseph Blount a

Michael Joseph Blount [1783-1868]

Michael Joseph Blount [1783-1868] youngest son of Joseph and Mary Blount. He married Catherine Wright [1780-1856] – daughter of his uncle’s second wife by her first marriage to Francis Wright a banker, in 1816. They had two sons, Alfred {1817-1895] and Gilbert [1819-1876] the architect, and two daughters, [1820-1855] and Louisa [1823-1857]. He was High Sheriff of Oxfordshire 1832, and is buried in the Blount family vault at St James’ Church in Reading with his wife and sister Louisa. His son Gilbert with his wife Sophia and three unmarried daughters were to join him.

Michael Joseph Blount c


Gilbert Robert Blount {1819-1876}

Gilbert Blount Miniature 2

Blount 39

Sophia Margaret, nee Brown, wife of Gilbert Robert Blount with (left to right) Emma (who later married William May), Louisa and Marjorie (1876)

Mrs Gilbert Blount and 3 daughters - Copy (2)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: