Wednesday, 29 December 2021

1st Earl of Gosford


The founder of this noble family in Ulster,

ARCHIBALD ACHESON (1583-1634), descended from a good family in Scotland, was seated at Gosford, Haddingtonshire, previous to his settlement in the Province, where we find him in 1610.

Sir Archibald Acheson, 1st Baronet
(Image: Scottish National Portrait Gallery)

In the following year he had passed patent for a large proportion of land in County Armagh, and at the same time his younger brother, Henry, passed patent for a smaller proportion in the said county, which lands he afterwards assigned to Sir Archibald.

Mr Acheson returned to Scotland and there died unmarried.

He was "so steady and zealous a friend" of the protestant interest in Ulster that seven years after he obtained this grant (according to the survey made by Nicholas Pynnar) he had 203 men upon his estate capable of bearing arms.

In 1612, he obtained another grant from JAMES I of a small proportion of land in County Cavan containing 1,000 acres.

Mr Acheson was created a baronet of Nova Scotia in 1628, designated of Market Hill, County Armagh.

In 1630 Sir Archibald obtained, in conjunction with Pierce and Walter Crosbie, a tract of land in Nova Scotia, Canada, called Bonavia.

He was also Solicitor-General, a Senator of Justice, and many years Secretary of State for Scotland, which latter office he continued to fill until his decease in 1634.

He died at Letterkenny, County Donegal, at his nephew's house, Sir William Semple, Knight.

Sir Archibald was succeeded in the title and estates by his eldest son,

SIR PATRICK ACHESON, 2nd Baronet (c1611-38), at whose decease, without issue, the title devolved upon his half-brother,

SIR GEORGE ACHESON, 3rd Baronet (1629-85), High Sheriff of County Armagh, 1655-6, who was succeeded by his only son,

SIR NICHOLAS ACHESON, 4th Baronet (c1655-1701), MP for County Armagh, 1695-9, High Sheriff of County Armagh, 1695, who wedded, in 1676, Anne Taylor, and had issue,
ARTHUR, his successor;
Nichola Anne.
Sir Nicholas was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR ARTHUR ACHESON, 5th Baronet (1688-1749),  High Sheriff of County Armagh, 1728, MP for Mullingar, 1727-48, who wedded, in 1715, Anne, daughter of the Rt Hon Philip Savage, Chancellor of the Exchequer in Ireland, and had issue,
ARCHIBALD, his successor;
Nichola; Anne.
Sir Arthur was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

SIR ARCHIBALD ACHESON, 6th Baronet (1718-90), High Sheriff of County Armagh, 1751, who was elevated to the peerage, in 1776, in the dignity of Baron Gosford, of Market Hill, County Armagh; and advanced to a viscountcy, 1785, as Viscount Gosford.

His lordship married, in 1740, Mary, youngest daughter of John Richardson, of RICHHILL CASTLE, County Armagh, and had issue,
ARTHUR, his successor;
Anna Maria; Nicolas; Julia Henrietta;
Lucinda; Mary.
Sir Archibald was succeeded by his eldest son,

ARTHUR, 2nd Viscount (c1745-1807), who was advanced to the dignity of an earldom, in 1806, as EARL OF GOSFORD.

Arthur, 1st Earl of Gosford (Image: The National Trust, Florence Court)

His lordship espoused, in 1774, Millicent, daughter of Lieutenant-General Edward Pole, and had issue,
ARCHIBALD, his successor;
Edward, CB, lieutenant-colonel in the army;
Olivia, m Brigadier R B Sparrow, of Brampton Park;
Mary, m Lieutenant-General Lord William Bentinck GCB;
Millicent, m Rev J H Barber MA.
 His lordship was succeeded by his only son,

ARCHIBALD, 2nd Earl (1776-1849), GCB, PC, Governor of Canada, MP for County Armagh, 1797-1807, Lord-Lieutenant of County Armagh, 1831-49, who married, in 1805, Mary, only daughter of Robert Sparrow, of Worlingham Hall, Suffolk, and had issue,
ARCHIBALD, his successor;
Mary; Millicent French.
His lordship was succeeded by his son,

ARCHIBALD, 3rd Earl (1806-64), KP, MP for County Armagh, 1830-47, Lord-Lieutenant of County Armagh, 1864, who wedded, in 1832, the Lady Theodosia Brabazon, only daughter of John, 10th Earl of Meath, of KILRUDDERY HOUSE, and had issue,
Edward Archibald Brabazon, Major-General in the army);
Mary; Gertrude Emily; Ruthanne; Edith; Katherine French.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

ARCHIBALD BRABAZON SPARROW, 4th Earl (1841-1922), KP, Lord-Lieutenant of County Armagh, 1882, who wedded, in 1876, the Lady Louisa Augusta Beatrice Montagu, second daughter of William, 7th Duke of Manchester, KP, of TANDRAGEE CASTLE, County Armagh, and had issue,
Patrick George Edward Cavendish;
Alexandra Louise Elizabeth; Mary; Theodosia Louisa Augusta.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

ARCHIBALD CHARLES MONTAGU BRABAZON, 5th Earl (1877-1954), MC, DL, who espoused firstly, in 1910, Caroline Mildred, daughter of John Ridgely Carter, and had issue,
Patrick Bernard Victor Montagu;
Patricia; Camilla Mildred Nicola; Mary Virginia Shirley.
He married secondly, in 1928, Beatrice, daughter of Arthur Clafin.

His lordship was succeeded by his elder son,

ARCHIBALD ALEXANDER JOHN STANLEY, 6th Earl (1911-66), who married firstly, in 1935, Francesca Augusta Maria, daughter of Francesco Cagiati, and had issue,
Francesca Georgina Caroline; Isabella Augusta.
He wedded secondly, in 1960, Cynthia Margaret, daughter of Henry Cave West.
His lordship was succeeded by his son,

CHARLES DAVID ALEXANDER JOHN SPARROW, 7th and present Earl (1942-), who married, in 1983, Lynette Redmond.

The heir presumptive is the present holder's first cousin, Nicholas Hope Carter Acheson (b 1947), eldest son of the Hon Patrick Bernard Victor Montagu Acheson (1915–2005), second son of the 5th Earl.

The Earls of Gosford owned 6,417 acres of land in County Cavan.

GOSFORD FOREST PARK, near Markethill, County Armagh, is one of the most beautiful demesnes in Northern Ireland.

There are woodland and forest walks; the walled garden; and a caravan and camping site within the park.

Gosford Castle is one of the largest houses in Northern Ireland.

The estate was sold to the NI Government shortly after the 2nd world war. 

The mansion was restored between 2006-8 and has been divided into a number of apartments.

The Gosford Papers are deposited at PRONI.

Former town house ~ 105, Harley Street.

First published November, 2009. Gosford arms courtesy of European Heraldry.


Anonymous said...

Patrick MacNaghten used to say he had the biggest house in the North - but there are lots of claimants! I shouldn't think Gosford counts in any event, given that, as you say, it's now apartments. From what I've seen it's been totally ruined..I'm no fan of 'country house apartments' and these seem particularly bad.

Of all Armagh's great houses (and there wasn't many of them) none of them are with their original family; the houses at Tynan and Drumbanagher are gone, but both those estates are still with the original families, which is something.

Anonymous said...

I have stayed in the 5 star luxury accommodation 2b sth stable yard in gosford castle and it was fabulous, modern and a beautiful location. great time spent here well worth a visit. The outside of the castle has been cleaned and it looks fantastic. Great walking trails with in the grounds of the 640 park. Julie Greene

Ron Stedman said...

I stayed at Gosford several times during 1972/3 I especially remember the location of the NAAFI shop and taking your chances, dodging the falling masonry whilst making purchases at same!

Unknown said...

I am a descendant of the Acheson family located in Australia. There is also a Gosford House located in ROCKHAMPTON QLD Australia.. it is a shame the castle did not remain property of the original families a real shame indeed ..