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General Blakeney Inn, Gosford Street

Gosford St 1912 Fry William Blakeney, 1st Baron Blakeney (1672 - 1761), was an Irish soldier known for his unsuccessful defence of the Spanish island of Minorca following the Battle of Minorca in 1756. In 1747 George II made Blakeney the lieutenant-general and lieutenant-governor of Minorca. He was left in charge there for ten years. In the Seven Years War, the French made a swift attack on Minorca, landing on 18 April 1756. After a month's seige, a British fleet arrived under the Honourable John Byng. A naval battle followed against the French fleet under the Marquis de la Gallisonniere and Byng retreated to Gibraltar for repairs. Blakeney and the British garrison held out for another seventy-two days before being compelled to surrender. Total ruins were the prize for the victors. Blakeney and the garrison returned to Britain as heroes. Byng was tried and executed for cowardice in the face of the enemy: not what was expected of the British Navy. That would encourage the others! Jobsons Coventry Mercury records a sale by candle at this pub, on the north side of Gosford Street, on 18th August 1765. In a will of 1774 this inn was left by T. Raby to his son, W. Raby. It had been bought from the late Joseph Ash, a brewer, and his son, Dr. Ash. Owners ? Joseph Ash to c1714 T. Raby from c1714 W. Raby Probate Copy of the 10th. Sept., 1773 Will of Thomas Raby appointing his wife Anne and Thomas Wilday (of Coventry, victualler) executors PA/101/8/897 19th Mar, 1774. These documents are held at Coventry Archives. Contents: The testator bequeaths all realty to his wife for life, then the "General Blakeney" inn (on the northern side of Gosford St., occupied by John Satchwell) with a messuage behind it built by the testator and inhabited by -- Oswin (both bought from the late Joseph Ash of Coventry, brewer, and his son Dr. Ash) will go to the testator's son William, "Stone House" on the northern side of Far Gosford St. (occupied by the testator, its garden having been bought from John Lightbourn and his wife Mary) will pass to the testator's daughter Sarah (with remainder to his children William and Mary if Sarah dies unmarried and under 21) and a messuage adjoining "Stone House" on the west and with ground extending to the Almond Field (let to Thomas Bryan and -- Cooper, bequeathed to the testator's wife by her late grandfather John Hallsey) will be acquired by the testator's daughter Mary (wife of Edward Dan of Stoke, Coventry, worstead-weaver); Ann [I] has a tenement on the southern side of Far Gosford St. (bought from the John Tolleys, father and son,and let to William Bond) with one behind it (occupied by John Picard and purchased from her brother John Dowse) in fee, charged with the testator's debts; the daughter Sarah is committed to the executors during her minority.

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