Sunday, 17 July 2016

House of MacDonnell

THE EARLDOM OF ANTRIM WAS CREATED IN 1620 FOR RANDAL MacSORLEY MacDONNELL, VISCOUNT DUNLUCE

JOHN MacDONALD, also called John Mor, styled in 1472 "heir apparent to his father", was in treaty with EDWARD IV.

He married Sabina, daughter of Phelim O'Neill, surnamed Bacach, or the Lame, by whom he had a son,

SIR JOHN MacDONALD, surnamed Cathanach, from being fostered by the O'Cathans in Ulster.

In 1493 he was at the head of the clan Iain Mhòr, when the Lordship of the Isles was finally forfeited.

He married Cecelia, daughter of Robert Savage, Lord of the Ardes, and had issue,
ALEXANDER, of whom hereafter;
John Mor, executed 1499;
John Og, executed 1499;
Donald Balloch, executed 1499;
Angus Ileach, fled to Ireland;
Agnes.
The eldest son,

ALEXANDER (c1480-1536), fled to Ireland with his surviving brother, Angus Ileach, after the execution of their father and brothers.

In 1517 he supported Sir Donald MacDonald, of Lochalsh, who was in rebellion against the government, and in 1529 he was again in rebellion, and ravaged the lands of the Campbells with fire and sword, but obtained a pardon for himself and his followers in 1531, and a grant of lands in the South Isles and Kintyre.

The next year he was sent with 8,000 men to assist the Scots of Ulster, then at war with England.

He married Catherine, daughter of John MacDonald, of Ardnamurchan, and had, with three daughters (Alice married Sir Moses Hill),
Donald, born blind;
James;
Angus;
Coll;
SORLEY BOY;
Alistair;
Donald;
Brian Carrach;
Ranold;
Maeve; Mary; Alice.
The fifth son,

SORLEY BOY MacDONNELL (c1505-90), was appointed by his eldest brother Lord of the Route, County Antrim, in 1558.

On his brother's death, he seized on the Ulster estates of his family, and after various conflicts with the native Irish and the English forces, he became a faithful subject of ELIZABETH I, and being of Scottish birth was made a free denizen of Ireland in 1573.

Sorley Boy wedded Mary, daughter of Conn O'Neill, 1st Earl of Tyrone, and had, among other issue,
Alaster, dsp;
RANDAL MacSORLEY, 1st EARL OF ANTRIM;
James MacSorley (Sir), dsp;
Angus.
Sorley Boy died at Dunaneeny Castle, near Ballycastle, County Antrim.

His eldest surviving son,

SIR RANDAL MacSORLEY MacDONNELL KBof Dunluce, County Antrim, having zealously promoted the English interest in Ireland in the reigns of ELIZABETH I and JAMES I, was created by the latter, in 1618, Viscount Dunluce.

His lordship was advanced to the dignity of an earldom, in 1620, as EARL OF ANTRIM.

He was also sworn of the Privy Council and appointed to the command of a regiment.

His lordship married Alice, daughter of Hugh O'Neill, and sister of Hugh, the last Earl of Tyrone.

Dying in 1636, he was succeeded by his elder son,

RANDAL, 2nd Earl (1609-82), who, for the many essential services he had rendered to the Crown, was advanced to the dignity of a marquessate, as MARQUESS OF ANTRIM, by CHARLES I, in 1644.

His lordship wedded firstly, in 1635, the Lady Katherine Manners, daughter and heir of Francis, 6th Earl of Rutland, and widow of George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham.

He espoused secondly, Rose, daughter of Sir Henry O'Neill, Knight, of Shane's Castle, County Antrim, but had no issue.

When his lordship died in 1683 the marquessate expired, but the other honours devolved upon his brother,

ALEXANDER, 3rd Earl (1615-99), who, actively espousing JAMES II in Ireland, in the war of the Revolution, was attainted of high treason; but, being subsequently included in the treaty of Limerick, his lands and honours were restored.

His lordship espoused firstly, the Lady Elizabeth Annesley, second daughter of Arthur, 1st Earl of Anglesey, by whom, who died in 1669, he had no issue.

He married secondly, Helena, third daughter of Sir John Burke, Knight, of Derrymaclachtney, County Galway.

The 3rd Earl was succeeded by his only son,

RANDAL, 4th Earl (1680-1721), who wedded Rachael, eldest daughter of Clotworthy, Viscount Massereene, and was succeeded by his only son,

ALEXANDER, 5th Earl (1713-55), who, being in minority at his father's decease, was left under the guardianship of the Dowager Lady Massereene and Lord Massereene, who brought him up in the reformed religion (his predecessors had previously adhered to the church of Rome).

His lordship espoused firstly, Elizabeth, daughter of Matthew Pennefather, Comptroller and Accountant-general of Ireland, but by her had no surviving issue.

He married secondly, in 1739, Anne, eldest daughter and heir of Charles Patrick Plunket MP, of Dillonstown, County Louth, by whom he had one son and two daughters.

He wedded thirdly, Catherine, youngest daughter of Thomas Meredyth, of Newtown, County Meath, without issue.

He died in 1755, and was succeeded by his son,

RANDAL WILLIAM, 6th Earl (1749-91), who espoused firstly, in 1774, Letitia, eldest daughter of Harvey, 1st Viscount Mountmorres, and widow of the Hon Arthur Trevor, only son of Arthur, Viscount Dungannon, by whom he had issue,
ANNE CATHERINE, his successor;
CHARLOTTE, late Countess.
The 6th Earl, having no male issue, obtained a new patent, dated 1785, creating him Viscount Dunluce and EARL OF ANTRIM, with remainder to his daughters primogeniturely.

In 1789, his lordship was advanced to a marquessate, as MARQUESS OF ANTRIM (2nd creation), but without any special reversionary grant.

When he died in 1791, all the honours ceased, except the patent of 1785, which devolved, according to the special limitation, upon his elder daughter,

ANNE CATHERINE,  as COUNTESS OF ANTRIM in her own right (1775-1834).

Her ladyship married firstly, in 1799, Sir Henry Vane-Tempest Bt, of Wynyard, County Durham, and by him had an only daughter, THE LADY FRANCES ANNE EMILY VANE, who inherited her father's great estates, and wedded Charles William, Marquess of Londonderry.

Lady Antrim wedded secondly, in 1817, Edmund Phelps, who assumed the surname of MacDonnell.

Her ladyship was succeeded by her sister,

CHARLOTTE KERR, as Countess of Antrim; who espoused, in 1799, Vice-Admiral Lord Mark Robert Kerr, third son of William, 5th Marquess of Lothian, and had surviving issue,
HUGH SEYMOUR, her successor;
Mark;
Arthur Schomberg;
Georgiana Emily Jane; Caroline Mary;
Charlotte Elizabeth; Fanny.
Her ladyship was succeeded by her eldest son,

HUGH SEYMOUR, 9th Earl (1812-55);

The heir apparent is the present holder's son Randal Alexander St John McDonnell, styled Viscount Dunluce (b 1967). 
The heir apparent's heir apparent is his son the Hon Alexander David Somerled McDonnell (b 2006).

Antrim arms courtesy of European Heraldry. First published in March, 2012.

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