Blake, John (c.1594–1680), merchant, was the eldest son, of the four sons and one daughter, of Nicholas Blake, merchant, of Galway, and his second wife, Juliana, daughter of Valentine French. He was head of the senior, but by no means most prosperous, branch of the Blake family, one of the ‘tribes’ of Galway. He traded abroad, certainly to Lisbon (1616) for his father, and to the Canary islands (1622) on his own account. He married Mary French and had four sons and four daughters. Much of his property apparently fell to mortgage in the 1620s. On 4 June 1640 he was recognised by the courts as direct descendant of the thirteenth-century founder of the Blake landed fortunes, and his resulting land claims were upheld.
Blake appears to have been one of the jurors empanelled in 1637 to find crown title to the county of the town of Galway. By 1638 he was serving on Galway town council and was an alderman by 1643. He was elected as an MP for Athenry, where he owned property, in 1640. Following the 1641 insurrection, he was named in 1642 to a council of eight vested with emergency powers over Galway town by the corporation, though his later Galway career is confused by the presence of an active namesake, the recorder John Blake fitzRobert. Certainly he supported the confederate war effort financially, and acted as confederate receiver general for Connacht for at least the period February 1645 to December 1646. He may have been the John Blake who attended at least two of the confederate general assemblies. He was mayor of Galway from 29 September 1646 to 29 September 1647, greeting the papal nuncio Rinuccini (qv) upon his arrival in the town. As mayor he signed the corporation order condemning Conor O'Mahony's (qv) Disputatio apologetica as liable to ‘alienate the hearts’ of catholic subjects from their allegiance to Charles I, and insisting that they ‘damne the same, with the author thereof, if we light on them, to scorching and revenging fire, which they deserve’ (Hardiman, 123–4). After his term of office he continued to act as overseer of fortifications begun during his mayoralty. By April 1649 he was accused of profiting from the war and of obstructing revenue collection in Galway. He appears to have leant to the clerical side in the confederate controversies from 1648, supporting the municipal–clerical mission to Charles, duke of Lorraine, in 1651. In the 1650s he suffered confiscation of his lands and was transplanted to Mullaghmore, Co. Galway. He was unsuccessful in seeking a return of his earlier holdings at the restoration, but he was secured in the Mullaghmore property. At least two of his sons acted as Montserrat merchants; one, Henry, returned to found the line of Blake of Renvyle, Co. Mayo, later reckoned the senior family line.