Thursday, 23 July 2015

Virginia Park

THE MARQUESSES OF HEADFORT WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY MEATH, WITH 7,544 ACRES

THEY OWNED A FURTHER 14,220 ACRES IN COUNTY CAVAN AND 12,851 ACRES IN WESTMORLAND


THOMAS TAYLOR, of Ringmer, Sussex, died in 1629, and was succeeded by his son,

JOHN TAYLOR, of Battle, Sussex, who died in 1638, leaving an only son,

THOMAS TAYLOR, who removed to Ireland, in 1653, in the train of Sir William Petty, in order to undertake the Down Survey,
in which kingdom, he purchased lands in 1660, of which the town and townlands of Kells formed a portion, having disposed of his estates in England. After the Restoration, Mr Taylor was appointed one of the sub-commissioners of the court of claims.
In 1669-70, he was deputy receiver-general under Sir George Carteret, and immediately before his death he officiated as vice-treasurer and treasurer-at-war.

Mr Taylor married, in 1658, Anne, daughter of William Axtell, of Berkhamstead, Hertfordshire, and had one surviving son, THOMAS, his heir, and one daughter, Anne, married to Sir Nicholas Acheson Bt.

Mr Taylor died in 1682, was succeeded by his son,

THE RT HON THOMAS TAYLOR (1662-1736), who was created a baronet, in 1704, and sworn of the Privy Council in 1726.

Sir Thomas wedded Anne, daughter of Sir Robert Cotton Bt, of Combermere, and had issue,
THOMAShis heir;
Robert, Dean of Clonfert;
Henry;
James;
Henrietta; Salisbury; Anne.
Sir Thomas died in 1736 was succeeded by his eldest son,

THE RT HON SIR THOMAS TAYLOR (1657-96), 2nd Baronet, MP and a privy counsellor, who married Mary, daughter of John Graham, of Platten, County Meath, and left, with a daughter, Henrietta, an only son, 

SIR THOMAS TAYLOR, 3rd Baronet, KP, PC, MP, born in 1724, who wedded, in 1754, Jane, eldest daughter of the Rt Hon Hercules Langford Rowley, by Elizabeth, Viscountess Langford, by whom he had issue,
THOMAS;
Robert, a general in the army;
Clotworthy, created Baron Langford;
Henry Edward, in holy orders;
Henrietta.
Sir Thomas was elevated to the peerage, in 1760, as Baron Headfort; advanced to a viscountcy, in 1762, as Viscount Headfort; and further advanced, to the dignity of an earldom, in 1766, as Earl of Bective.

Lord Bective was installed, in 1783, a Founder Knight of the Most Illustrious Order of St Patrick (KP), and sworn of the Privy Council of Ireland.

He died in 1795, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

THOMAS, 2nd Earl, born in 1757, who assumed the surname of TAYLOUR from his patronymic.

His lordship was created MARQUESS OF HEADFORT, in 1800.

Dying in 1828, he was succeeded by his eldest son,

THOMAS, 2nd Marquess, KP (1787-1870),
MP for co Meath, 1812-29; Lord Lieutenant of Cavan, 1831-70; Privy Counsellor, 1835; a Lord of the Bedchamber, 1835-37; a Lord-in-Waiting, 1837-41; Knight of St Patrick, 1839.
THOMAS, 3rd Marquess, KP, PC,(1822-94),
High Sheriff of Meath, 1844; and of Cavan, 1846; State Steward to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, 1852-3; High Sheriff of Westmorland, 1853; MP for Westmorland, 1854-70; Lord Lieutenant of Meath, 1876-94; Privy Counsellor, 1879; Knight of St Patrick 1885.
GEOFFREY THOMAS, 4th Marquess, Senator of the Irish Free State, 1922-28.
The heir apparent is the present holder's son, Thomas Rupert Charles Christopher Taylour, styled Earl of Bective (b 1989).
The Taylour family became very much involved in the political life of the locality, and several members of the family served as MPs for Kells and the county of Meath.

They were also a "Patrick Family", the 1st Earl, and 1st, 2nd and 3rd Marquesses all having been appointed Knights of St Patrick.


His seat, Headfort House, in County Meath, was the only Adam house in Ireland.

In 1901 the 4th Marquess, an eminent horticulturist, caused a sensation when he converted to Rome to marry a showgirl called Rosie Boote.

A figure of great dignity, she remained the dominant personality in the family during young Michael's youth and early adult life.

Virginia, in the county of Cavan, was named after ELIZABETH I, "the Virgin Queen". It owes its origin to the plantation of Ulster in 1609.

The lands eventually passed into the possession of Lucas Plunkett, Earl of Bective, a Roman Catholic, who was later created Earl of Fingall.

It can also be said that Lucas Plunkett, along with his son Christopher, frustrated the plans of the Government to proceed with the development of the town and its incorporation during his tenure.

He was sympathetic to the rebel Irish and sided with them against the planters during the 1641 Rebellion and the Williamite Wars of 1688-91, earning him the label of 'traitor'.

Consequently it fell to Thomas, 1st Marquess of Headfort, and his successors, to fulfil the patent in relation to the development of the town in the second half of the 18th century and 19th century - the patent which was originally granted to Captain Ridgeway in 1612.


Lord Headfort maintained a beautiful park beside lough Ramor, where he had a hunting lodge (above) in plain, rambling, Picturesque cottage style; a two-storey house with a three-bay centre and single-storey, three-bay wings.

The family often stayed here during the summer or autumn months, between 1750 and 1939.

The former hunting lodge is now a hotel, located on the shores of Lough Ramor.

The Headforts also owned 12,851 acres in Westmorland and 7,544 acres in County Meath.

First published in July, 2011.  Headfort arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

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