13 February 2021 at 8:57 pm #574889
Does anyone have information about this 17th century telescope maker based in London. Blethyn is a Welsh name.
Jack15 February 2021 at 12:59 pm #583852Roy HughesParticipant
No new information I’m afraid.
But his 150 inch (fl) telescope pictured in the online catalogue of the British Optical Association Museum is truly the stangest thing I’ve come across in a long time.
Good luck in your hunt.
Roy17 February 2021 at 4:24 pm #583853
I discovered this telescope on a visit to Knebworth House in July 2019.
This is no 3 of only 2 other known Blethyn telescopes in the World.
Its been on display for decades unnoticed!
I am writing a short article about it for the Antique Telescope Society.
Essex UK17 February 2021 at 5:39 pm #583854Roy HughesParticipant
Thanks for the great photograph.
It appears to be in super condition. Maybe one careful owner from new 🙂
Given the difficulty of using it when fully extended, I doubt it was ever used in earnest. At least not without some kind of pole and cradle arrangement.
Roy.17 February 2021 at 9:13 pm #583855
There is a birth record for Theodore Blethin, born 12 May 1701, Holborn, London. Parents Thomas and Anne Blethin. Could this be your man?18 February 2021 at 8:17 am #583856
Doubtful, Blethyn’s telescopes date from around 1650.
Where did you get this information from ?
Its possible he was a relative of John Bleyghton a mathematical instrument maker in London around 1624-54. He was succeeded by his son John II. They also signed with the names Blaton – Blyton – Blighton.
Thanks for your efforts.
Essex UK18 February 2021 at 10:18 am #583857
The data are from England, Select Births and Christenings, 1538-1975, which you can access via Ancestry.com.
It’s an unusual name so they could be related – and it is the only close match in the database, although records are, of course, incomplete. On the plus side, the location seems good and Holborn was in an area where opticians businesses gathered. Possibly a grandson? Or possibly the date from which Blethyn is believed to have been active is awry?
All worth further work. I’ll have a root around and see what I can find if it will help – though I’ve no wish to get in your way.
Alan.18 February 2021 at 12:21 pm #583858
Here’s a better match: Theodore Blethin, b. 14 Mar 1616, bap. 23 Mar 1616, Mathern, Monmouthshire, Wales. Father: Phileman.
Source: Monmouthshire, Wales, Anglican Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1551-1994.
And this looks very likely to be his daughter: Anne Blethen, d. 1657, buried 22 Feb 1657, St Andrew’s, Holborn, London. Father: Theorder Blethen.
Source: London, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials 1538-1812 (London Metropolitan Archive).
Alan19 February 2021 at 5:47 pm #583860
You are not getting in my way.
This information was previously unknown.
Thanks for your efforts.
Essex UK19 February 2021 at 5:51 pm #583861
Looks like a good match.
I suspect he was buried in London.
Jack19 February 2021 at 7:12 pm #583862
Glad to be of help. I’ll see if I can find a burial record next week. I’ll probably have to go through the appropriate parish register if I can find it, as many of the entries have not been digitised. But it’s worth a try.
Alan19 February 2021 at 7:32 pm #583863
Do you have a date for the last known telescope he produced? That would narrow down the search for his year of death.
Alan20 February 2021 at 1:40 am #583864David C RaymentParticipant
A Theodore Blethin appears in Boyds Inhabitants of London (44802). Citizen and Fishmonger. Fishmonger after 1633. Free 1641. Bookbinder 1641 poll tax.
Further, entry #9 above mentions a Phileman as having a son Theodore who was baptized at Mathern. According to Alumni Oxonienses a William Blethin BCL (who was Bishop of Llandaff), is buried in the chancel of the church at Matherne Co Monmouth and he is noted as the father of Philemon. Philemon is noted as being of age 19 on 16 March 1601-02 (does not mean he was born on 16 March). William died 15 Oct 1590. This Philemon was last noted as vicar of Dorstone. Hereford in 1619. A note states “see Foster’s Index Ecclesiasticus.22 February 2021 at 2:30 pm #583869
I will give you an answer by the end of this week.
Essex UK22 February 2021 at 2:32 pm #583870
We’ll see if the digitized records reveal anything ?
Thanks for your efforts,
Essex UK22 February 2021 at 2:37 pm #583871
Thanks for the information, very interesting.
If you find out anything more, please post.
Essex UK22 February 2021 at 2:59 pm #583872
I have searched for the name Philemon in the index, can’t see an entry, perhaps I’ve missed something !
Essex UK23 February 2021 at 11:35 am #583873
There is a marriage record showing Philemon Blethin married Susana Godwin on 21 April 1610 at Mathern, Monmouthshire. Source: Monmouthshire, Wales, Anglican Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1551-1994 accessible via Ancestry.co.uk.
Alan23 February 2021 at 5:42 pm #583874David C RaymentParticipant
Which index did you search?
Further info: Philemon Blethin MA, is listed on the Clergy of the Church of England Database (1619 – 1642). Admission as vicar to Dorstone, Hereford is 12/10/1621. He married Susana Godwin on 21 April 1610, she being the daughter of Dr Godwin, possibly Franciscus Godwyne (1562-1633). Francis Godwin was later the Bishop of Hereford and he had associations with Matherne, Monmouthshire. Francis apparently wrote the first story about space travel in English literature: The man in the Moone: or A Discourse of a Voyage Thither by Domingo Gonsales, the Speedy Messenger, which was published posthumously in 1638 (source: Encyclopaedia Britannica). He was the great uncle of Jonathan Swift (Wikipedia).
Children of Philemon and Susana are:
1. Susana b. 21 July 1613; bpt. 26 July 1613
2. Ann b. 1614
3. Godwin b. 3 January 1615; bpt. 7 January 1615
4. Theodore b. 14 March 1616; bpt. 23 March 1616
5. Francis b. 22 February 1620?; bpt 3 March 1620
All Monmouthshire. Please treat these dates with a little caution as the entries do not appear to be in sequence with at least one date heading missing.
Further, there are papers listed on the National Archives index as being held at Lambeth Palace dated 16 October 1655. Title: Dorstone Vicarage Hereford. Description: James Whiting. The death of Philemon Blethin. Thomas Dainty, stationer, of St Michael Quern, London.
Dainty was also a bookseller – maybe a business connection with Theodore the bookbinder?
Of course, none of the above may relate to your telescope maker, but at first sight it does look rather promising and, without any other candidates, is worthy of further research.23 February 2021 at 6:02 pm #583875
What is the source document for the record for Ann Blethin 1614? It does not appear to be in the Ancestry database.
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