Tuesday, 4 August 2020

House of Wellesley

The surname of this eminent family was originally COWLEY, or COLLEY, and it deduces, paternally, its descent from 

WALTER COWLEY, Solicitor-General for Ireland in 1537; who, on surrendering that office, in 1546, to John Bathe, was appointed, in 1548, Surveyor-General of that kingdom.

The elder son and heir of this learned person,

THE RT HON SIR HENRY COLLEY, of Castle Carbery, who was a captain in ELIZABETH I's army, a privy counsellor, and a personage of considerable influence, wedded Catherine, daughter of Sir Thomas Cusack, of Cussington, County Meath, Lord Chancellor of Ireland, and had two sons,
George (Sir), of Edenderry;
HENRY, of whom hereafter.
Sir Henry Colley, of Castle Carbery, in the reign of ELIZABETH I, was Constable of Philipstown Fort, Seneschal of the King's County, and providore of the army.

He married, in 1561, Anne, second daughter of the Most Rev Adam Loftus, Lord Archbishop of Dublin, by whom he had two sons and three daughters, and was succeeded by his elder son,

SIR HENRY COLLEY, of Castle Carbery, who married Anne, daughter and heiress of Christopher Peyton, Auditor-General of Ireland; and dying in 1637, was succeeded by his eldest son,

DUDLEY COLLEY (c1621-74), of Castle Carbery, MP for Philipstown, 1661, who espoused firstly, Anne, daughter of Henry Warren, of Grangebegg, County Kildare, and had eight sons and seven daughters; of whom

ELIZABETH, the third but eldest surviving daughter, married Garrett Wellesley, of Dangan, County Meath.

Mr Wellesley was succeeded by his elder son,

WILLIAM WELLESLEY, of Dangan, at whose decease, without an heir, the estates devolved upon his brother,

GARRETT WELLESLEY, who died without issue, in 1728, when all his estates devolved upon his cousin,

RICHARD COLLEY, on that gentleman's assumption of the surname and arms of WELLESLEY.

Mr Colley's younger son,

RICHARD COLLEY (c1690-1758), having succeeded, in 1728, to the estates of the Wellesley family, assumed the surname and arms of WELLESLEY.

This gentleman's descendant, Elizabeth Colley, married Garrett Wellesley, of Dangan, by whom she was mother of Garrett Wellesley, member in several parliaments for County Meath, who died in 1728, leaving all his estates to his cousin, Richard Colley, second son of Henry, above named, on condition of his taking the name and arms of WELLESLEY.

In 1713, Mr Colley had been appointed Second Chamberlain of the Court of Exchequer in Ireland, and MP for Trim, 1729-46, until elevated to the peerage, in 1746, in the dignity of Baron Mornington.

His lordship wedded, in 1719, Elizabeth, eldest daughter of John Sale LL.D, registrar of the diocese of Dublin, and MP for Carysfort, by whom he had one surviving son and four daughters.

On his decease, in 1758, he was succeeded by his only son,

GARRETT, 2nd Baron (1735-81); who was further advanced, in 1760, to the dignities of Viscount Mornington and EARL OF MORNINGTON.

He espoused, in 1759, Anne, daughter of Arthur, Viscount Dungannon, of Belvoir Park, Newtownbreda, County Down.

Lady Mornington subsequently enjoyed the multiplied glories and well-earned honours of her children.

They had issue,
RICHARD, 2nd Earl of Mornington and 1st Marquess Wellesley;
Arthur Gerald, died in childhood;
WILLIAM, Baron Maryborough;
and five other offspring.



The very eminent family of Wesley, or Wellesley, or, as it was formerly written, de Welesley, alias Welseley, was founded in Ireland by a gentleman of that name, of an ancient Anglo-Saxon family, who held the honourable station of standard-bearer to HENRY II; and having accompanied that monarch into Ireland in 1172, obtained for his military services large grants of land in the counties of Meath and Kildare, a considerable portion of which his descendants enjoyed.

From this successful soldier descended

WILLIAM DE WELLESLEY, High Sheriff of County Kildare, 1368, who appears to have been summoned to parliament as a baron of the realm, by the title of Baron Noragh, in 1330, and had a grant by patent from EDWARD II of the custody of Kildare castle for life; but that monarch conferring subsequently the office upon John FitzThomas, Earl of Kildare, together with the county of Kildare, to hold to his male heirs forever, William de Wellesley was removed, and lost the fee of £20 a year annexed thereunto; in recompense whereof, however, EDWARD III granted him a commission, dated 1342.

His lordship was father of

SIR RICHARD DE WELLESLEY, who served the office of High Sheriff of County Kildare, 1415-16 and 1422.

This gentleman does not appear to have inherited the barony from his father, and for what reason that dignity ceased with the first possessor has not been ascertained.

Sir Richard wedded Johan, eldest daughter and eventually heiress of Sir Nicholas de Castlemartin, by which alliance he obtained the lordships of Dangan, Mornington, Clonabreany, and several other manors, and was succeeded by his son,

GERALD DE WELLESLEY, of Dangan, from whom lineally descended

WILLIAM WELLESLEY, of Dangan Castle, who wedded Elizabeth, daughter of James Cusack, of Portrane, County Dublin; and was succeeded by his eldest son,


This gentleman espoused Anne, widow of Christopher Nugent (brother of 1st Earl of Westmeath); by whom he was father of Garrett Wellesley, who wedded, as stated above, Miss Colley. 

First published in March, 2012.

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