Thursday, 12 May 2022

1st Viscount Charlemont


The settlement of this noble family in Ireland took place in the reign of ELIZABETH I, when THE RT HON SIR TOBY CAULFEILD (1565-1627), a distinguished and gallant soldier, was employed in that part of Her Majesty's dominions against the formidable Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone. This gentleman was the son of Alexander Caulfeild, Recorder of Oxford, who was descended from ancestors of great antiquity and worth settled in that county, and at Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire.

In 1615, Sir Toby was appointed one of the council for the province of Munster. The next year, 1616, he joined in commission with the Lord Deputy of Ireland (Oliver St John, 1st Viscount Grandison), and others, for parcelling out the escheated lands in Ulster to such British undertakers as were named in the several tables of assignation.

In these employments, the King (JAMES I) found him so faithful, diligent, and prudent, that His Majesty deemed him highly deserving the peerage, and accordingly created him, in 1620, Lord Caulfeild, Baron Charlemont, with limitation of the honour to his nephew, Sir William Caulfeild, Knight.

His lordship died unmarried, in 1627, and was succeeded by the said 

SIR WILLIAM CAULFEILD, 2nd Baron (1587-1640), who took his seat in parliament, 1634, after the Lord Chancellor of Ireland had moved to know the pleasure of the House, whether he should be admitted to this place, having brought neither writ of summons nor patent; whereupon it was resolved that his lordship should be admitted, inasmuch as they were all satisfied that he was a Lord of Parliament.

His lordship, High Sheriff of County Tyrone, 1620, wedded Mary, daughter of Sir John King, Knight (ancestor of the Earls of Kingston), and had issue,
TOBY, his successor;
ROBERT, successor to his brother;
WILLIAM, created Viscount Charlemont;
Anne; Mary; Margaret.
His lordship, Master-General of the Ordnance, 1627-34, was succeeded by his eldest son, 

TOBY, 3rd Baron (1621-42), who also succeeded his late father as Governor of Charlemont Fort, 1640, and there resided with his company of the 97th Regiment of Foot, in garrison.

This fort was a place of considerable strength and importance during the rebellion of 1641; but his lordship suffered himself to be surprised, in that year; and being made prisoner, with his whole family, was subsequently murdered, by the orders, it is said, of Sir Phelim O'Neill.

This unfortunate nobleman, dying unmarried, was succeeded by his brother, 

ROBERT, 4th Baron (1622-42), who died a few months afterwards from an overdose of a prescription of opium, and was succeeded by his next brother,

WILLIAM, 5th Baron (1624-71), who apprehended Sir Phelim O'Neill and had him executed for the murder of his brother, the 3rd Baron.

His lordship having filled, after the Restoration, several high and confidential situations, was advanced to a viscountcy, 1655, as Viscount Charlemont, of County Armagh.

He wedded Sarah, second daughter of Charles, 2nd Viscount Drogheda, and had issue,
WILLIAM, his successor;
Mary; Alice; Elizabeth.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

WILLIAM, 2nd Viscount (c1655-1726); who opposed with zeal the cause of WILLIAM III against JAMES II.

His lordship espoused Anne, daughter of the Most Rev James Margetson, Lord Archbishop of Armagh, by whom he had, with five daughters, five sons to survive infancy, namely,
JAMES, his successor;
Thomas, Governor of Annapolis;
Charles (Rev), Rector of Donaghenry;
John, MP;
Henry Charles.
He died after enjoying the peerage more than half a century, in 1726, and was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

JAMES, 3rd Viscount (1682-1734), MP for Charlemont, 1703-4 and 1713-26, who married Elizabeth, only daughter of the Rt Hon Francis Bernard, of Castle Mahon, County Cork, one of the Judges of the Court of Common Pleas in Ireland, and had issue,
JAMES, of whom hereafter;
The elder son, Francis, wedded Mary, only daughter of John, Lord Eyre; though was lost, with his lady, infant child, and servant, in a hurricane, during his passage to Ireland from London, in 1775, to fulfil his parliamentary duties as MP for Charlemont.

The Hon Francis Caulfeild left issue, Colonel James Eyre Caulfeild, born in 1765, and Eleanor, who married William, 3rd Earl of Wicklow.

The 3rd Viscount was succeeded by his only surviving son,

JAMES, 4th Viscount (1728-99), KP, who was advanced to an earldom, in 1763, in the dignity of EARL OF CHARLEMONT.

1st Earl of Charlemont KP.  Photo Credit: National Portrait Gallery

His lordship wedded, in 1768, Mary, daughter of Thomas Hickman, of Brickhill, County Clare (descended from the noble family of Windsor, Viscounts Windsor, which title became extinct in 1728), and had issue,
FRANCIS WILLIAM, his successor;
James Thomas;
Henry, MP, of Hockley Lodge, Co Armagh;
He was a distinguished patriot, and had the honour of commanding-in-chief the celebrated Volunteer Army of Ireland in 1779.

The 1st Earl was a Founder Knight of the Order of St Patrick.

His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

FRANCIS WILLIAM, 2nd Earl (1775-1863),  KP, who espoused, in 1802, Anne, daughter of William Bermingham, and had issue,
James William, styled Viscount Caulfeild (1803-23);
William Francis (1805-7);
Maria Melosina; Emily Charlotte.
His lordship died without surviving male issue, when the family honours reverted to his cousin,

JAMES MOLYNEUX, 3rd Earl (1820-92), KP (son of the Hon Henry Caulfeild, second son of 1st Earl), Lord-Lieutenant of County Tyrone, MP for Armagh, 1847-67.

His lordship married twice, though both marriages were without issue, when the earldom and barony expired, and the remaining peerages devolved upon his kinsman,

JAMES ALFRED, 7th Viscount (1830-1913), CB JP DL, of Loy House, Cookstown, and Drumcairne, County Tyrone,
Captain, Coldstream Guards; fought in the Crimean War; Vice Lord-Lieutenant of County Tyrone, 1868; High Sheriff of County Tyrone, 1868; Comptroller of the Household of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, 1868-95; Honorary Colonel, 3rd Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers; Usher of the Black Rod of the Order of St Patrick, 1879-1913.
JAMES EDWARD,  8th Viscount  (1880-1949), PC DL, was elected to the Northern Ireland Parliament as a Senator, where he sat from 1925-37, and was sometime Minister for Education.
James Alfred Caulfeild, 7th Viscount (1830–1913);
James Edward Caulfeild, 8th Viscount; (1880–1949);
Charles Edward St George Caulfeild, 9th Viscount (1887–1962);
Robert Toby St George Caulfeild, 10th Viscount (1881–1967);
Charles St George Caulfeild, 11th Viscount (1884–1971);
Richard St George Caulfeild, 12th Viscount (1887–1979);
Charles Wilberforce Caulfeild, 13th Viscount (1899–1985);
John Day Caulfeild, 14th Viscount Charlemont (1934–2001);
John Dodd Caulfeild, 15th Viscount (b 1966).
The heir apparent is the present holder's son, the Hon Shane Andrew Caulfeild (b 1996).

The Charlemonts were a Patrick family, three members of whom were Knights of St Patrick.

Castle Caulfeild, County Tyrone

Lord Charlemont was the greatest landowner in County Armagh, owning 20,695 acres a century ago.

He also owned almost 6,000 acres in County Tyrone.

During more recent times, the 8th Viscount, PC (NI), DL (1880-1949) was elected to the House of Lords as a Representative Peer; and to the Northern Ireland Parliament as a senator.

He sat in the NI Senate from 1925-37 and was Minister for Education for all but the first of his years.

Lord Charlemont's main country seat, near the village of Moy, County Tyrone, was Roxborough Castle.

The exquisite gates are all that remain.

The Castle was burnt by Irish republicans in 1922.

Charlemont Fort, on the County Armagh side of the river, was burnt in 1920.

Charlemont Fort, with Roxborough Castle in the Background

Subsequently Lord Charlemont lived at another residence, Drumcairne, near Stewartstown in County Tyrone.

It is thought that he eventually moved to the sea-side resort of Newcastle in County Down.

He inherited the titles from his uncle in 1913.

Having no children, the titles passed, on his death, to a cousin.

The 14th Viscount lived in Ontario, Canada and the viscountcy is still extant with the present 15th Viscount Charlemont. 

Earl of Charlemont's arms courtesy of European Heraldry.    First published in December, 2009.


Sandy said...

One wonders, in all these cases, what happened to the land. 26,000 acres even a century ago would have had considerable value. Is it really possible to have spend what remained after taxation? Was it sold piecemeal?
One doesn't retire to Newcastle unless all the money had gone!

Anonymous said...

The land was all sold on foot of the Ashbourne and Wyndham Acts. These were basically communist legislation whereby tenant farmers could gain the freehold (the money being provided to them by the government). There were no small freehold farmers two hundred years ago.


mary quinn brady said...

My Mother worked as a cook's assitant/maid for Lady Charlemont @Drumcairn House between the years of approximately 1925-1930. I have a letter of recommendation from Lady Charlemont on Drumcairn House stationery that she wrote for my mother when she immigrated to Canada. My mother's name was Mary Quinn Brady. Does anyone have information, about the house staff, especially the main cook. My mother always spoke so kindly regarding the Caulfield family and especially her friend the cook, whose name I have forgotten. thanks, I was named after my mom, Mary Quinn Brady, Chicago

Anonymous said...

The 1885 Ashborne Act offered an exit for larger landowners to diversify their assets out of an agricultural depression that was to last decades and which, by its end, had effectively bankrupted the "Landed Gentry" who had remained economically undiversified.

The voluntary British system of land ownership reform of the Wyndham Land Act of 1903 may have been "communistic" as far as distributing land to tenants was concerned but the price for those landowners who accepted across Ireland in the early C20 was extremely good in real terms compared to the subsequent slump in agricultural land prices over the next fifty years of the twentieth century. For any landowner in southern Ireland who had not sold under the Wyndham terms the Irish Free State introduced the compulsory sales of the 1923 Hogan Act at a price 25% lower than 1903 despite huge price inflation over the period 1903-23.

Even so, despite the Bolshevik scale of Irish land reform it should be remembered that the owners were bought out, not expropriated as in say post-1917 Russia or Peru after the 1968 Revolution in that country.

Anonymous said...

To Mary Quinn Brady - the 15th Viscount Charlemont lives in Ontario, Canada. His address is listed on I don't know if he could help, but he would no doubt be able to put you in touch with someone who could. VC

Anonymous said...

If you go to Google maps, you can very clearly make out the outline of Charelmont Fort (on the South, Charlemont side of the Blackwater), and also of Roxborough Castle (on the North, Moy side). You can also see the gates of Roxborough Castle on Google Streetview (just north of the bridge, on the right), and part of the old estate walls around the village. I read elsewhere on the web that the council used one of the former ornamental lakes (on the drive to the former Roxborough Castle) as a rubbish tip! VC

Anonymous said...

There is a book currently being researched by one of the former PRONI archivists, on the Caulfeild family from 1450-1950, which is scheduled to be published by the Ulster Historical Foundation in 2016/17.

Dr. Perry Glenn Lovett said...

Our ancestors came to Virginia at the time of the American Revolution. They were Protestants and quickly went by the name Cawlfield. Everyone by that name here appears to be of the same group.The family tradition is that they came from Northern Ireland and are related to Sir Toby. In that he had no issue, it would have to be descent from his father.

oldmanofthewest said...

My maternal grandmother Laura Foxford worked on the domestic staff of the 7th earl at Drumcairne, Stewartstown. When he died he left enough money to each of his staff to emigrate if that was their wish. My grandmother, who had been born in Plymouth and whose father an ex-Royal Navy Chief Petty Officer who, on retirement, worked in the pre-partition Irish Coastguard Service, opted to move to New York. My grandfather Robert Russell, whose family farm abutted Drumcairne, followed her. They were married in America and my mother, who celebrated her 100th brithday in February of this year, was born there in 1916. They returned to Ireland around 1920. I have a delightful little lady's fob watch in silver which the Earl gave my grandmother in 1911, according to the engraved inscription

Timothy Belmont said...


What a marvellous anecdote. Thank you. Tim.

Anonymous said...

Charlemont Fort appears to have been burnt in 1920 (not 1922) -

Also, the current link for Charlemont Fort is now dead.

Maureen Hall said...

My great Aunt Elizabeth Reilly worked for Lord Charlemint*s Mother Mrs Caulfield. Elizabeth (or Lizzie as she was known) died in Feb.1930 And I have a very old copy of a newspaper cutting headed “Peer mourns his old nurse”. . We have no conn3ction with these dis taunt relations. Can anyone help.

Tracey Pargeter said...

Lord Charelemont Marshall Vic, Australia. Sparrow road Marshall. Clarelmont. Earl in Aus 1834. St. Albans Stud. History of land and tiles on web 2019, lived there , family farmed land. Related to Day Canada/. Other title and paper work lost, still chasing history.

Tracey Pargeter said...

Wheeler family Ontario Canadia.Condor near Hamilton Vic