ANTHONY DE BLAQUIERE, a French noble of Guyenne, married Elizabeth de Montiel, and by her had a son, Florence, who settled at Lozère, Languedoc, and was father of
JEAN DE BLAQUIERE, who took refuge in England in consequence of the revocation of the edict of Nantes, in 1685.
This Jean married Mary Elizabeth, daughter of Peter de Varennes, and died in 1753, having had issue,
Lewis, died unmarried, 1754;The fifth and youngest son,
Matthew, died in the East Indies;
John Elias, died in infancy;
James, a military officer;
JOHN, of whom hereafter;
Catherine; Jane; Mary; Susanna.
LIEUTENANT-COLONEL JOHN DE BLAQUIERE (1732-1812), was nominated Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, in 1772, and invested, in 1774, as a Knight Commander of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath.
Sir John was created a baronet in 1784, and sworn of the Privy Council in Ireland.
He held various public offices and was secretary of Legation at Paris 1771-2 (one of his responsibilities it was rumoured was to keep an eye on Bonnie Prince Charlie) and later became Chief Secretary to Lord Harcourt, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland 1772-7, and Bailiff of Phoenix Park in Dublin.He was created BARON DE BLAQUIERE, of Ardkill, County Londonderry, in 1800.
His lordship married, in 1775, Eleanor, daughter of Robert Dobson, of Anne's Grove, County Cork, by whom he had issue, five sons and three daughters, viz.
JOHN, his heir;His eldest son and heir,
WILLIAM, of whom hereafter;
Edmund, died young;
George (1782-26); m, in 1826, the relict of Mr Leigh;
JOHN (1776-1844), 2nd Baron, of Ardkill, County Londonderry; Alnager and Collector of the Subsidies of Alnage in Ireland, 1797-1817, when the office was abolished; ca 1812 he was a prisoner in France, and never established his right to vote.
The 2nd Baron died unmarried and the family honours devolved upon his next brother,
WILLIAM (1778-1851), 3rd Baron, FRS, a distinguished general in the Army, who married, in 1811, Harriet, daughter of George, 1st Marquess Townshend.
His lordship and Lady Harriet separated in 1814.
The 3rd Baron died at Norwood, Surrey, by shooting himself, while suffering from smallpox.
He served in Flanders, at the Cape of Good Hope, and in India; major-general, 1813; lieutenant-general, 1825; general, 1841.
His eldest son,
JOHN (1812-71), 4th Baron, married firstly, in 1849, Anna, daughter of John Christie; and secondly, in 1852, Eleanor Amelia, daughter of William, 1st Baron Hylton, in a childless marriage.
The titles thereafter devolved upon his next brother,
WILLIAM (1814-89), 5th Baron; captain, Royal Navy; married Anna Maria, daughter of John Wormald, in 1862 at St. Marylebone Church, Marylebone, London.
He died without issue, and was buried at Brockworth Manor, Gloucestershire.
On the decease of the 5th Baron in 1889, the titles became extinct.
THE CHIEF SECRETARY'S LODGE, Phoenix Park, Dublin, was surrounded by 62 acres of parkland and was completed in 1776.
It was purchased by HM Government in 1782 and became the official residence of the Chief Secretary until 1922, when it became US Ambassador's residence.
I have written an article about the Chief Secretary's Lodge here.
PORTLEMAN HOUSE (or Port Loman), near Mullingar, County Westmeath, former residence of the 1st Baron de Blaquiere, was an 18th century house of three storeys and six bays.
It was built on rising ground above Lough Owel. The grounds comprised eight acres.
The main entrance was in a pillared recess; elaborate curved staircase. It is now demolished.
Blaquiere was the fifth son of Jean de Blaquiere, a French merchant who had emigrated to England in 1732, and his wife Marie Elizabeth de Varennes. He at first served in the Army, in the 18th Dragoons (later the 17th Dragoons), where he achieved the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel.
In 1771 Blaquiere was appointed Secretary of Legation at the British Embassy in Paris, a post he held until 1772. The latter year Lord Harcourt, HM Ambassador in Paris, was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and Blaquiere joined him as Chief Secretary for Ireland.
He became a Privy Counsellor the same year and was appointed a Knight Commander of the Bath two years later.
Blaquiere was to remain Chief Secretary until Harcourt's resignation in January, 1777. He had been elected to the Irish House of Commons for Old Leighlin in 1773, a seat he held until 1783.
After a few months for Enniskillen in 1783, he sat then for Carlingford from 1783-90; for Charleville from 1790-98; and for Newtownards from 1798 till the Act of Union in 1801.
In 1784 Blaquiere was created a baronet, of Ardkill in the County of Londonderry; and in 1800 he was raised to the peerage as 1st Baron de Blaquiere, of Ardkill in the County of Londonderry.
Lord de Blaquiere also sat as MP for Rye from 1801-02 and for Downton from 1802-06.
I HAVE BEEN so far unable to find any record of the de Blaquieres owning a residence in County Londonderry, despite the name Ardkill being in their territorial title.
It is, perhaps, more likely that they simply owned land.
The Ardkill estate, Clondermot, County Londonderry, by marriage: The estate was bought for him by Alexander Tompkins, of Prehen, County Londonderry, father of Maria Tompkins (wife of Robert Dobson), and grandfather of Eleanor Dobson, the 1st Barons' wife.
First published in September, 2010. Blaquiere arms courtesy of European Heraldry.