George Blackburne founded the family in Meath. He died in 1769 leaving his son, Richard, who founded the family at Tankardstown, his son, Edward and his son, Anthony, who founded the family at Parsonstown. Richard who settled at Great Footstown, married Elizabeth Hopkins and died in 1798. Their eldest son, Francis, lived at Rathfarnham Castle. Francis was born at Footstown and received his early education at Dunshaughlin. Francis was a distinguished lawyer, holding the important legal appointments of Attorney-General, Master of the Rolls, Lord Chief Justice, Lord Justice of Appeal, and Lord High Chancellor. Educated at Trinity College Francis was called to the Irish bar in 1805. In 1819 Tankardstown was purchased by Francis Blackburne for a sum of £1200 sterling. Blackburne is believed to be the builder of Tankardstown House. He was Attorney General for Ireland in the 1830s and 1840s. He was unpopular with liberals and nationalists. Daniel O’Connell described him as a ‘vile Orange tool.’ Francis married Jane Martley of Ballyfallon, Athboy. Their son, William Martley, succeeded to the property at Tankardstown following his father’s death in 1867. William Martley’s eldest son was Francis William who became a judge.
Francis Blackburne in Dictionary of Irish Biography – Royal Irish Academy