Irish Surname - Blake
Blake is believed to be a Norman name of welsh origin. In Old English the word 'blac' referred to a person with dark hair or skin and the word 'blaac' referred to someone with pale hair or skin, so the actual original meaning is unknown as it could pertain to either.
Richard Caddell 'The Black' came to Ireland from Wales with the Normans in the 12th century. He was known as Niger or Le Blaca (the black one) and his descendents assumed the name Blake from his nickname. A descendent of his was commanded in 1303 as Sheriff of Connaught. The Blakes were one of the original fourteen Tribes of Galway - the 'Tribes' were groupings of wealthy merchant families in the county. By the end of the 18th century, the Blakes had squandered their money and lost most of their estates.
In 1752 an amateur horse rider called Edward Blake challenged a neighbour to race him from Buttevant in north Cork to Doneraile, four miles away, while all the time keeping the Doneraile steeple in sight. Hence was born the racing word 'steeplechase'.
Virtus sola Nobilitat = Virtue alone ennobles
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