Friday, 1 July 2016

1st Earl of Erne

THE EARLDOM OF ERNE WAS CREATED IN 1789 FOR JOHN, 2ND BARON ERNE

This name originally assumed from the barony of Crichton, Edinburgh.

WILLIAM DE CRICHTON, living about 1240, was ancestor of the Crichtons, Viscounts Frendraught, which title ceased with Lewis, 5th Viscount, about 1699; and of

JOHN CREIGHTON, of Crum [sic] Castle, County Fermanagh, settled in County Fermanagh during the 17th century.

This John married Mary, daughter of Sir Gerald Irvine, of Castle Irvine, and was succeeded by his son,

ABRAHAM CREIGHTON, MP for County Fermanagh, who commanded a regiment of foot in WILLIAM III's service at the battle of Aughrim, 1692.

He represented County Fermanagh in parliament.

Colonel Creighton married Mary, daughter of the Rt Rev James Spottiswood, Lord Bishop of Clogher.

He died in 1705, and was succeeded by his only surviving son,

DAVID CREIGHTON (c1670-1728), celebrated for his gallant defence, in 1689, of the family seat of Crom Castle, against a large body of the royal army (King JAMES II's).

Having repulsed the assailants, young Creighton made a sally, at the instant that a corps of Enniskilleners was approaching to the relief of the castle, which movement placed the besiegers between two fires, and caused dreadful slaughter.

The enemy attempting to accomplish his retreat across an arm of Lough Erne, near Crom Castle, that spot became the scene of such carnage, that it bore the name of the "Bloody Pass".

This gentleman represented Enniskillen in parliament, and attaining the rank of major-general in the army, was appointed governor of the royal hospital of Kilmainham.

He wedded, in 1700, Catherine, second daughter of Richard Southwell, of Castle Mattress, County Limerick, and sister of 1st Lord Southwell.

He was succeeded by his only son,

ABRAHAM CREIGHTON (c1700-72), who was elevated to the peerage, in 1768, by the title of Baron Erne, of Crom Castle.

His lordship espoused Elizabeth, eldest daughter of  John Rogerson, Lord Chief Justice of the Court of King's Bench in Ireland, by whom he had issue,
David, died young;
JOHN, his successor;
Abraham;
Meliora; Charlotte; Mary.
He married secondly, in 1762, Jane, only daughter of John King, of Charlestown, County Roscommon, and widow of Arthur Acheson, by whom he had no issue.

His lordship was succeeded by his elder surviving son,

JOHN, 2nd Baron (1731-1828), who was elevated to the dignity of Viscount Erne, in 1781; and advanced to the dignity of an earldom, as EARL OF ERNE, in 1789.

His lordship wedded firstly, in 1761, Catherine, 2nd daughter of the Rt Rev Robert Howard, Lord Bishop of Elphin, and sister of the Viscount Wicklow, by whom he had issue,
ABRAHAM, his successor;
John;
Elizabeth; Catherine.
This nobleman espoused secondly, in 1776, Lady Mary Hervey, eldest daughter of the Rt Hon and Rt Rev Frederick Augustus [Hervey], Earl of Bristol, and Lord Bishop of Derry, and had an only daughter, Elizabeth Caroline Mary, who wedded James Archibald, Lord Wharncliffe.

His lordship was succeeded by his son and heir,

ABRAHAM, 2nd Earl (1765-1842), MP for Lifford, 1790-97, changed the spelling of the family name to CRICHTON.

He died a bachelor and was succeeded by his nephew,

JOHN, 3rd Earl (1802-85), KP, who wedded, in 1837, Selina Griselda, daughter of the Rev Charles Cobbe Beresford, and had issue,
JOHN HENRY, his successor;
Charles Frederick;
Henry George Louis (Sir), KCB;
Louisa Anne Catherine.
His lordship was installed a Knight of the Most Illustrious Order of St Patrick, 1868.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN HENRY, 4th Earl (1839-1914), KP, PC, who wedded, in 1870, the Lady Florence Mary Cole, daughter of  William Willoughby, 3rd Earl of Enniskillen, and had issue,
Henry William, MVO, DSO, dvp;
George Arthur Charles (Sir), GCVO;
Arthur Owen;
James Archibald, DSO;
Evelyn Louisa Selina;
Mabel Florence Mary, MBE.
His lordship was appointed a Knight of the Most Illustrious Order of St Patrick, 1889.

He was succeeded by his grandson,

JOHN HENRY GEORGE, 5th Earl (1907-40), DL, who espoused, in 1931, the Lady Davidema Katharine Cynthia Mary Millicent Bulwer-Lytton, daughter of Victor, 2nd Earl of Lytton, and had issue,
HENRY GEORGE VICTOR JOHN, his successor;
Rosanagh Mary; Antonia Pamela Mary.
His lordship was a Page of Honour to GEORGE V, 1921-24, and a Lord-in-Waiting to GEORGE VI.

He was killed in action in France during the 2nd World War.

  • John Henry Michael Ninian Crichton, 7th Earl (b 1971).
The heir presumptive is the 4th earl's great-grandson, Charles David Blayney Crichton (b 1953), and his son, Oliver Charles Martin Crichton (b 1995) is his heir apparent.
*****
Crom Castle, County Fermanagh, is the ancestral seat of the Earls of Erne.

Crom Estate, however, has been a property of the National Trust since 1988.

The name Crom is traditionally pronounced "Crum", as in bread-crumb.

The 6th Earl, who died on the 23rd December, 2015, is survived by wife Anna, Countess of Erne, and his son and four daughters: John, 7th Earl; Lady Cleone; Lady Davina; Lady Katherine; and Lady Tara.

The 6th Earl retired as HM Lord-Lieutenant for County Fermanagh on the 9th July, 2012, having served 25 years in office.

One of his final official engagements was to welcome Her Majesty The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh to the county during Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee tour, on the 26th June, 2012.

CROM CASTLE, near Newtownbutler, County Fermanagh, is a large castellated mansion combining baronial and Tudor-Revival elements.

It was built in 1829 to the design of Edward Blore (who also completed the design of Buckingham Palace).

I visited the Castle about thirty years ago and can vouch for its substantial size. There used to be an indoor swimming-pool, though this has been taken away and, it is thought, turned into accommodation.

Although remote, Crom is one of my favourite places in Northern Ireland; I always relish revisiting it. I stayed on the estate several times during the eighties.

In those days, if my memory serves me correctly, the family had a golden retriever called Boomer which visited us at our cottage occasionally.

*****

The then housekeeper, Mrs Johnston, was a well-known tea-leaf reader in those parts.

One night there was a knock on the door. It was a man inquiring if we read "tea"in a local accent.

At first we were puzzled and uncomprehending as to what he meant; later we discovered Mrs Johnston's talented gift! 

Erne arms courtesy of European Heraldry.   First published December, 2009.

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