Blake, Sir Valentine (1560–c.1634), merchant and mayor of Galway, was eldest of three sons of Walter Blake of Galway and Juliana Blake, daughter of James Browne of Galway. A leading merchant, trading at least with Spain and Portugal, by 1592 he was described as the richest man in Galway. He possessed extensive landed property in Co.s Galway, Mayo, and Clare, partly inherited but mostly acquired by himself, often through mortgage; in particular, he owned former monastic property at Knockmoy, erected into a manor in 1622, with fairs and markets. He resided in Galway or at Menlo. He aided the lord president, Richard Bingham (qv), in combat with the Burkes (1592), and reported (1599) rumours of Spanish invasion plans to Bingham's successor Conyers Clifford (qv), apparently obtaining information through his brother James (qv), who seems to have lived as a double agent in Spain. A bailiff for Galway (1586), he was delegated by the civic authorities to travel to England to seek security of Galway estates and liberties (October 1603). He was elected mayor 29 September 1611; his brief tenure involved a reform of civic government, but he was displaced (13 November) by the vice-president, Oliver St John (qv), for failure to take the oath of supremacy.
Elected MP for Galway (1613) he joined in the petition of catholic MPs to James I against alleged electoral malpractices, and was among those singled out for a summons to England 27 January 1614. He received a patent as a baronet on 10 July 1622, and was knighted on 29 November 1622. Remaining active in Galway affairs, he was among the 1627 commissioners for Co. Galway (probably appointed to raise funds for the army) and was again elected mayor (1630–31), waiving the recent augmentation to the mayoral stipend. He was apparently elected for Galway for the 1634–5 parliament. The death date usually cited for him (2 January 1634) antedates the elections, and 2 January 1635 (new style) – meaning that he died between sessions – is more likely. He was buried in St Francis's abbey, Galway, in the chapel of St Mary of Loretto, which he had erected in token of his visit to Loretto and Rome in 1616. He married first Margaret, daughter of Robuck French of Galway, by whom he had two sons (including his eldest, Thomas (qv)) and three daughters; and second Annabel, daughter of James Lynch.