Wednesday, 1 December 2010

10th Earl of Shaftesbury

Anthony, 10th Earl of Shaftesbury, was an honourable and decent gentleman, by all accounts.

He wasn't short of a bob or two, and lived at the family seat in Dorset.

Lord Shaftesbury attended the House of Lords and was Chairman of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and nobody had a bad word to say about him.

The 10th Earl's life changed in 2002: He married for the third time and the subsequent turn of events led, ultimately, to his death.

His third wife and brother-in-law were convicted of his murder in 2005, a vile and heinous act.

Anthony Shaftesbury's wealth was a factor in his demise, because it attracted the wrong sort of people at the nightclubs he frequented in France, where he then lived.

He felt lonely and craved female company.

He started drinking, and this made him particularly vulnerable. Coupled with his naïvety or, if you like, lack of being "street-wise", as Americans would say, he became easy prey to this undesirable company.

Tragically his heir Anthony, Lord Ashley, who became the 11th Earl, suddenly died of a heart attack whilst in the USA in 2005.

His second son Nicholas is now 12th Earl of Shaftesbury.

The Shaftesbury family had strong connections with Northern Ireland: the 8th Earl married, in 1857, Lady Harriet Chichester, whose family seat was Belfast Castle.

Subsequently, the Shaftesburys acquired much of the Donegall Estate, including Belfast Castle, through this marriage.

Thus the Shaftesburys acquired the rights to Lough Neagh.

To this day Lord Donegall remains Hereditary Lord High Admiral of Lough Neagh and Governor of Carrickfergus Castle.

Lady Harriet was the 3rd Marquess of Donegall's only daughter.

Shaftesbury Square in Belfast is named after the 7th Earl, Lady Harriet's father-in-law.

The 9th Earl, KP, GCVO, CBE, PC, the murdered 10th Earl's grandfather, was Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1907; HM Lord-Lieutenant of Belfast; and Chancellor of Queen's University, among other distinguished positions in the Province.

The 9th Earl decided to give Belfast Castle and estate to the City of Belfast in 1934, when the Shaftesbury connection with the Province ended.

First published February, 2008.


Gavin Bamford said...

" ,,,when the Shaftesbury connection with the Province ended.
... "

Does the Shaftesbury family nottill own Loug Neagh? Was there not a major oncrn when the 10th & 11th dies regarding death duties and having to raise chargeto NI water for ui Lough Neagh?

Regards, gGavin

Timothy Belmont said...

Quite correct. I think they still own certain rights to Lough Neagh.

I was really referring to their leaving NI and no longer residing there. You're right, though!

All the best,