Friday, 19 June 2015

1st Earl of Caledon

The elder branch of this family was ennobled, in 1663, by the title of EARL OF STIRLING, in the person of WILLIAM ALEXANDER, of Menstrie, Clackmannanshire. 
The name of ALEXANDER was assumed from the Christian name of its founder, Alexander Macdonald, of Menstrie. 
This branch, on removing into Ireland, adopted into the family shield the Canton charged with the Harp of Ireland, and settled at Limavady, County Londonderry.
CAPTAIN ANDREW ALEXANDER, of Londonderry, was attainted, in 1689, by the parliament of Dublin, held by King JAMES II after his abdication.

From him descended, 

NATHANIEL ALEXANDER, who married Elizabeth, daughter of William McClintock, of Dunore, County Donegal, and had issue,
JAMES, of whom we treat;
The youngest son,

JAMES ALEXANDER (1730-1802), having filled several important offices in India, was elevated to the Peerage, in 1790, by the title of Baron Caledon, of Caledon, County Tyrone.

In 1797, his lordship was advanced to the dignity of Viscount Caledon; and, in 1800, his lordship was further advanced to the dignity of an earldom, as EARL OF CALEDON.

In 1774 he married Anne, 2nd daughter of James Crawford, of Crawfordsburn, County Down, and had issue,
Mabella, m to 11th Lord Blayney;
His lordship was succeeded by his son,

DUPRÉ, 2nd Earl, who espoused, in 1811, Catherine, second daughter of Philip, 3rd Earl of Hardwicke.
The heir apparent is the present holder's son Frederick James Alexander, styled Viscount Alexander.

Nathaniel Alexander arrived at Fort St George, Madras, in 1752, at the age of twenty-three, and became a factor there.

He rose rapidly in power and influence and in 1762 became the Eleventh in Council at Fort St George, Civil and Military Paymaster, and Military Storekeeper. He returned to the British Isles in 1763.

In 1766 he returned to India, this time having been appointed to a very senior civic position at Fort William, Calcutta.

A commentator at the time said: 
"you have given him every kind of curry that ever was invented at Madras. He deserves it; he deserves a great fortune, for he has a noble spirit. ..."
In 1772 Alexander left India again.

James Alexander, one of relatively few Ulstermen in the Bengal civil service, believed that he was worth about £150,000 when he left Bengal in 1772.

He acquired nearly 9,000 acres in Ulster, from which he hoped to derive an annual income of some £7,000.

In 1776, Alexander purchased the Caledon estate in Counties Tyrone and Armagh for £96,400 from the 7th Earl of Cork and Orrery, whose father had acquired it by marriage into the Hamilton family of Caledon in 1738.

He had already acquired property nearer his native Londonderry: the house and demesne of Boom Hall, outside Londonderry; the Church-land estate of Moville, County Donegal; and a fee simple estate near Ballycastle, County Antrim.

The Caledon estate was extended by piecemeal purchases of adjoining townlands and by the leasing of other adjoining townlands belonging to the Archbishop of Armagh.

Another extensive but more remote property at Castlederg, County Tyrone, known as the Derg estate, was purchased in 1861 by the guardians of the 4th Earl of Caledon from a kinsman of the Alexanders, Sir Robert Ferguson, through the Landed Estates Court.

Lord Caledon inherited Tyttenhanger Park in Hertfordshire, which had belonged to Lord Hardwicke's mother, the sister and heiress of Sir Henry Pope Blount Bt.

I have written an article about the present Lord and Lady Caledon here.

Caledon Castle is pictured above.

In 1872, the Earls of Caledon were the third largest landowners in County Tyrone, with 29,236 acres.

Caledon arms courtesy of European Heraldry.   First published in December, 2009.


Sharon Owens said...

My grandfather worked in the Caledon woollen mills in his teens and found them to be good employers. He had to go to England to look for work when the family home in Tyrone was burnt down in the 1920s, so I believe. My grandfather was given a reference which he kept all his life: it said he was "hardworking and sober".

My Gran was also born in Caledon, in The Dyan street. I'd love to look into the history of Caledon - could you recommend any good books?

Merry Christmas,

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