LIVES OF THE BISHOPS OF EXETER
OFFSPRING BLACKALL, born in London (of which city his father, Thomas Blackall, was an alderman), but of an Oxfordshire family originally, educated at Catharine Hall, Cambridge, Rector of St. Mary's Aldermanbury, London, and Chaplain to Queen Mary, the consort of King William III. The translation of Bishop Trelawny opened the see of Exeter (by the Queen's command, in opposition to the wishes of her ministers) to this respectable scholar and theologian, and he was consecrated by Archbishop Tenison on 8th February, 1708. By his interest at Court he succeeded in retaining for his life the deanery of S. Burian, and on 20th August, 1708, appointed Mr. William Denham his registrar there. From the conviction that society ought to promote with all the means in its power the enlightenment of the indigent classes, he warmly recommended the institution of charity schools in Exeter;' and he lived to see the schools in a flourishing condition. His death, which took place on 29th November, 1716, aged 66, in consequence of a fall from his horse, excited deep and universal regret. Had Queen Mary lived, Ely would probably have had him for her bishop, instead of Exeter.
The remains of the prelate were deposited on 2nd December on the south side of the cathedral choir. In his will, bearing date 4th July, 1715, he directed that his "burial may be decent, but very private, and without a funeral sermon, in the place where I shall happen to die; neither would I have a stone with any inscription over my grave, nor any monument erected to my memory." By his relict Ann (Dillingham), who survived him till 29th December, 1762, he left a family of seven children - John, Theophilus, Charles, Elizabeth, Ann, Mary, and Jane. In virtue of the Primate Tenison's letter of 4th June, 1709, Bishop Blackall was installed Treasurer of Exeter Church; since which period succeeding bishops have retained this dignity in commendam.
His works, collected and edited by his friend, Dr. Dawes, Archbishop of York, testify how decidedly he was opposed to the democratical principles of Dr. Hoadley, afterwards successively Bishop of Bangor, Hereford, Salisbury, and Winchester!
John Blackall, Esq., M.D., great grandson of the bishop, has an excellent portrait of the prelate by Michael Dahl. This Swedish painter was much patronized by Queen Anne's court, and died in England in 1743, aged 87.
Arms: - Argent, a Greyhound courant sable, collared or; on a chief dancette of the second, three besants.
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