Tuesday 12 March 2024

1st Baron Lecale

REAR-ADMIRAL THE RT HON LORD CHARLES JAMES FITZGERALD MP (1756-1810), third son of JAMES, 1ST DUKE OF LEINSTER, and brother of William, 2nd Duke of Leinster, was elevated to the peerage, in 1800, in the dignity of BARON LECALE, of Ardglass, County Down.

Lord Charles had natural issue by an unknown lady,
HENRY, died in 1803;
Anna Maria.
His lordship wedded, in 1808, Julia, widow of Thomas Carton, of Monkstown, County Dublin, though the marriage was without further issue.

The 1st Baron's sister-in-law, Lady Henry FitzGerald, became de jure 21ST BARONESS DE ROS.

Lord Charles was raised amidst the splendour of CARTON HOUSE, near Maynooth, County Kildare, ancestral seat of the Dukes of Leinster, premier dukes, marquesses and earls of Ireland.

Leinster House was the family's Dublin residence.

In 1790, Lord Charles bought Ardglass Castle (also known as The Newark), County Down, and transformed it into a residence.

Early in his life, he joined the Royal Navy and quickly distinguished himself as an able captain.

He faced action on many occasions and eventually attained the rank of Rear-Admiral of the Red.

After his career in the Navy, Lord Charles, a privy counsellor, sat as MP for County Kildare, 1776-90, Cavan Borough, 1790-7, and Ardfert, 1798-1800.

Ardglass Castle (Robert J Welch/NMNI)

He inherited the Ardglass estate in 1790 and eradicated half of the 'New Works' to make his manorial home, perhaps to the designs of Charles Lilly.

When Lord Lecale became ill, and later died, William Ogilvie, who had married the Duchess of Leinster, bought the former estate for £28,000 and began to create the modern-day village of Ardglass.

Lord Lecale was married and had a son and daughter.

His only son, Henry, drowned at sea while serving with the Navy, in 1803, in the West Indies (Civita Vecchia), and soon afterwards his wife died also. 

Lord Lecale is buried at Bright parish church, County Down, where there is an elegant monument to his memory.

The barony became extinct in 1810.

Ardglass Castle is now better known as the club-house of Ardglass golf club.

First published in 2009.   Lecale arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

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