The family name Bluett, derived from the French
- Bleu, arrived in England during the Anglo Norman invasion.
Verbal reports have been circulated amongst some Bluetts in Australia that
the first reputed Bluett in England was Richard, a half brother of
William 1 - the Conqueror of England. But this cannot be verified
with documents. There may be Bluetts in England who have access
to this information, the only certainty for which I have documentation
is a Ralph Blouet whose name was entered in the Domesday Book in
Later records in the same book have a Cedbald Blauet amongst the Templars of Hertforshire in 1185. And Robert Bluet noted in the Curia Regis Rolls of Wiltshire in 1196. Finally Geoffrey le Bleuit was recorded in the Subsidy Rolls of Cambridgeshire in 1327 AD.
The Bluetts in Ireland must have migrated to the centre of Ireland after the invasion of Henry II. Henry in 1171, encouraged by the Pope to bring the Irish Church back into obedience, crossed the sea from Milford Haven to Waterford with a large army, to assert his authority over Ireland. He marched to Dublin and the size of his forces compelled both the English lords and the Irish princes, especially the overlord, Roderic O'Connor, to pay homage, and to accept his claim to be "Lord of Ireland" a title which succeeding English king adopted. (Plantagenet Somerset Fry 1967:47)
Because Henry saw his mission as a religious one or at least endorsed by the Church he would have taken clerics with him as well as Knights at Arms and other courtiers.
There is evidence that Bluetts were in residence from the time of arrival of the Anglo Normans, who gradually occupied the south of Ireland and, with it, that rich tract of valley known as the 'Golden Vein' which stretches through parts of the present counties of Limerick and Tipperary. Kilmallock town was, in all likelihood, founded by one of the families known as the Geraldines.
(Gerard A. Lee 1965:145 Medieval Kilmallock in the North Munster Antiquarian Journal)
In the article there is mention of the Abbey of Kilmallock, now in ruins. The land for the Abbey was purchased by the Dominican fathers from John Bluett, senior burgess of that town. The bishop of diocese, being the feudal lord of Kilmallock objected to their presence. However the purchase was confirmed on 31st December, 1291 by an inquisition of twelve men of the town at Cashel. When the friars had confirmed possession of the meadow, they eventually built the magnificent church and Friary, which was probably abandoned in 1790, and is now separated from the old town by the remaining fragments of an ancient stone wall.
At the time of Charles II there was a survey done in 1655 which lists castles held by men of the town and includes a castle belonging to James Bluett in Limerick Street.
The Antiquarian Journal also states that most of the surnames used in the Black Book of Limerick which was compiled in the thirteenth century for the Bishopric, have died out. But some names have endured and remained common up to the present day.
The names are White, Fleming, Bluett and Smith. The christian names of the people referred to are, however, traditional and include those of John, William, Thomas, James, Walter, Nicholas and Robert.
When Rory O'Connor's High Kingship ended after
the Norman invasion the area was ruled by various Normans until it reverted
to the crown in the time of Henry III and he decreed it should remain a
royal manor. It eventually reverted to the Geraldines who ruled over
four Munster counties and in time became more Irish than the Irish.
They were defenders of the Catholic Faith in the country.
The Baggots of Baggotstown, a Catholic family allied themselves with the Geraldines, who upheld reapprochment with the Gael, through friendship, literature and social intercourse. In 1609 Baggotstown Castle was finally granted to a Baggot. The Baggots were driven out by Cromwell and various titled Englishmen held the land. But while many of the large landowners remained in control of their estates, the common people survived as tenants.
But Catholics were persecuted by the Penal Laws. The object of these laws was to deprive catholics of all civil rights and to reduce them a condition of brutal ignorance.
Before the years of the potato famine and the great exodus of Irish from Ireland there were Bluetts in residence at Baggotstown with a legacy of being gentlemen farmers probably because they were considered not to be true Irish even though they were Catholics. They were also clerics or clergy.
The family coat of arms is A squirrel sejant, or, in his paw an acorn, vert. Fructed. Motto - In Deo Omnia.
The coat of arms indicates a clerical family of ancient origin, probably descended from royalty through the distaff side, that is the feminine descent and the stripe goes from left to right - sometimes known as the bar sinister - meaning of illegitimate descent.
The Bluetts were probably of Norman descent and owned property in the town of Kilmallock, County Limerick, in the 15th Century. Interestingly, for the past couple of generations, some of them have been priests and nuns and one family has five priests now - three of them in Florida, United States. All the Bluetts in east Limerick are related, though the name is sometimes spelled Blewett or Blewitt.'