Friday, 4 June 2021

The Pottinger Baronetcy

This family is a branch of the Pottingers of Berkshire, seated in that county since the Conquest, and members of which frequently sat for Reading in the 17th century.

THOMAS POTTINGER (c1633-1715), of Mount Pottinger, County Down, son of Edward Pottinger, of Kirkwall, Orkney, married, in 1663, Janet, daughter and heiress of Hugh Doake, Sovereign of Belfast, 1647; and secondly, in 1682, Esther Eccles, sister of Hugh Eccles (Sovereign of Belfast, 1674), and had issue.

Of his sons,

EDWARD POTTINGER had the honour of conveying WILLIAM III to Ireland; but sailing on HMS Dartmouth the day after landing His Majesty, to intercept the ships coming from France with supplies for JAMES II, was lost with all his ship's crew, leaving, by Margaret his wife, daughter of Sir William Strickland Bt, of Boynton, in Yorkshire, and had, by her, three daughters, his co-heirs, the eldest daughter married Sir Patrick Butler Bt, of Garryhunden; the second, Vesey, of Lucan, ancestor of the noble family of de Vesci; and the third, Leslie, of Castle Leslie, County Monaghan.

Another son of Thomas Pottinger,

THOMAS POTTINGER, High Sheriff of the county when WILLIAM III landed in Ulster, when Mr Pottinger met and welcomed the King at the head of all the nobility and gentry of the county, and afterwards provided His Majesty's army with provisions, clothes, and money, by which he was enabled to advance and gain the battle of the Boyne.

He wedded, in 1685, MISS ECCLES, of Fintona, County Tyrone, and had a daughter, a son, Edward, and an elder son,

JOSEPH POTTINGER, who married Mary, daughter of the Lady Mary Dunlop, and granddaughter of the Earl of Dundonald, and was father of

THOMAS POTTINGER, High Sheriff of County Down, 1759, who wedded, in 1752, Frances, third daughter of Eldred Curwen, of Workington and Sella Park, Cumberland, MP for Cockermouth, 1738-41, and had issue,
ELDRED CURWEN, his heir;
The elder son, 

ELDRED CURWEN POTTINGER (1758-1807), of Mount Pottinger, County Down, married, in 1779, Anne, daughter of Robert Gordon, of FLORIDA MANOR, County Down, and had issue,
THOMAS, his heir, of Kilbride house, Co Kildare; m Miss Fulton and had issue;
Robert, military officer, East India Company;
HENRY, 1st Baronet;
Eldred Curwen, East India Company;
Charles James Fox, military officer, East India Company, d 1834;
John, Midshipman RN;
Edward, died in infancy;
Charlotte; Alicia; Frances.
The eldest son,

THOMAS POTTINGER, married firstly, Charlotte Moore, and had issue, a son,
ELDRED POTTINGER CB (1811-43), renowned for his heroic exploits at Herat, Afghanistan.
He wedded secondly, in 1814, Eliza, daughter of John Williamson Fulton, and had further issue (with three sons and four daughters) a son, Major-General John Pottinger (1815-77).

Mr Pottinger's younger son, 

LIEUTENANT-GENERAL THE RT HON SIR HENRY POTTINGER GCB (1789-1856), born at Mount Pottinger, near Belfast, espoused, in 1820, Miss Cooke, eldest daughter of Richard Cooke, of Dublin, by his wife, the daughter of Sir Joseph Gilpin (a descendant of the Gilpins of Westmorland), and had issue,
Eldred Elphinstone, died in infancy;
FREDERICK WILLIAM, his successor;
Henrietta Maria. 
Sir Henry was created a baronet in 1839, designated of Richmond, Surrey.

His brother William erected a memorial tablet to him at St George's Church, High Street, Belfast, in 1861.

Sir Henry was succeeded in the baronetcy by his eldest surviving son,

SIR FREDERICK WILLIAM POTTINGER, 2nd Baronet (1831-65), born in India, who emigrated to Australia where he became a police inspector.

Sir Frederick was succeeded by his brother,

SIR HENRY POTTINGER, 3rd Baronet (1834-1909), whose only child, Ethel Adeline Pottinger, married, in 1885, Henry Meysey Meysey-Thompson, 1st and last Baron Knaresborough, son of Sir Harry Stephen Meysey-Thompson, 1st Baronet, and Elizabeth Anne Croft.

She died in 1922.

The 3rd Baronet died at Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, without male issue, when the title became extinct.

THE ANTIQUITY of this family is proved by the fact, as shown in the Herald's Office, that Sir Henry Pottinger was thirty-first in lineal descent from Robert, first Saxon King of all England, and grandfather of Alfred the Great.

They are descended from a common ancestor with the Pottingers of Berkshire, settled in that county since the Conquest.

The elder branch settled in Ireland at a very early period.

One historical narrative states that Thomas de Pottinger married to Agnes, a daughter of the Earl of Warwick (presumably illegitimate) was killed at Hatfield in 1471 - the day before the battle of Barnet.

Agnes took refuge in Bruges with two sons, and an infant daughter who subsequently married Pierre Vauban, and was mother to the great marshall.

The second son became a merchant in Bruges, and from him are descended the Pottingers of Berkshire.

The eldest son entered the service of the States, and commanded a regiment of cavalry in which he was succeeded by his son or grandson Thomas, who was taken prisoner near Frankfort-on-Maine by Philip, Count de Bethune.

He escaped through the assistance of Fanny, the Count's daughter, who accompanied him to England, where they resided some years at the Hoo in Hertfordshire.

He followed Sir Walter Raleigh to Ireland, and, after the defeat of Essex by Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone, he accused Hugh De Clapham and Ambrose Seton (who commanded a Scottish contingent) of cowardice and killed them both the same day in duels, for which he was outlawed by ELIZABETH I and fled to Venice, where he was afterwards assassinated.

His wife entered a convent at Clones and survived him many years.

His eldest son Walter was killed in the expedition of Guiana under his godfather, Sir Walter Raleigh.

His second son was a naval captain and father to Thomas Pottinger, who assisted in the subjugation of Ulster with Arthur Chichester and Sir Moyses Hill, receiving grants of land both in counties Down and Antrim, where he settled and was elected sovereign of Belfast in 1661.

A fee farm grant of 1672 from Henry, Earl of Clanbrassil, to Thomas Pottinger, of Belfast, merchant (whose place of business was likely 111 High Street, near the present Pottinger's Entry), witnessed that,
the said earl, in consideration of £300, granted, bargained, sold, released, and confirmed, unto the said Thomas Pottinger, his heirs and assigns, for ever, the Townland of BALLYMACARRETT, in the Parish of Knock, in the Barony of Castlereagh and County of Down, and then in the tenure and occupation of John Kelso,
and Captain James McGill, their undertenants and cottyers, together with all and singular the castles, &c; loughs, ponds, fishings, marshes, and waye of water, ferrie and ferry boats, and all and singular other profits, commodities, emoluments, immunities, rents, reversions, remainders, appendances [sic], rights, members, advantage.
And appurtenances whatsoever, to the said townland, incident, belonging, or in any waye appertaining, by what name or names soever the same be called or known, by or belonging to, or to the same usually had, occupied, enjoyed, or reputed, accepted, used, and known as part and parcel thereof;
and also the Come Mill called by the name of Owen Corke Mill, situate neere or upon the premises; together with the lands belonging to the said Corne Mill then, in the possession of John Wilson, and his under-tenants and cottyers;
that was to say, six acres of land, part of Ballymacarrett, aforesaid, and six acres of land, part of Ballyhackamore, together with the nett profits of toll or mulcture thereunto belonging, issuing and payable out of the townes and lands of Ballymacarett, Ballyhackamore, Knocke, Ballyloghan, Strandtown, Ballymather, and Ballymaser;
and also the fynes payable thereout by the tennants inhabitinge the said townslands for not grinding their corne and grayne at the said mill, according to the covenants therein exprest, and all other incident profits and dutyes to the said mill belonginge:
Yielding and paying yearly and every year, to the said Earl, his heirs and assigns, yearly for ever, the full sum of £30 sterling.
Ballymacarrett's only residents of note at the end of the 18th century were the Pottingers, who had built a large three-storey house called Mount Pottinger, later known simply as The Mount.

Having experienced some financial difficulties, the family was forced to sell BALLYMACARRETT to Barry Yelverton, lord chief baron and later Lord Avonmore.

He began planning and building a number of streets in Ballymacarrett.

The 1st Marquess of Donegall was not keen to see another town beyond his influence being on the other side of the river, so purchased Ballymacarrett for £20,000.

The old demesne of Mount Pottinger was remodelled during the 1840s as a square of substantial gentlemen's residences complete with spacious gardens.

First published in February, 2011.

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