Thursday, 1 September 2016

1st Earl of Enniskillen

By a deed of WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR, it appears that the COLES were of the rank of barons, and were residents in Hampshire during that monarch's reign.

The first of the family, however, who settled in Ulster, was

SIR WILLIAM COLE, Knight, who fixed his abode early in the reign of JAMES I, in County Fermanagh.

This gentleman became an undertaker in the plantation of Ulster, and had an assignment, in 1611, of 1,000 acres of escheated lands, in the county wherein he resided; to which, in 1612, were added 320 acres in the same county; eighty whereof were assigned for the town of Enniskillen; and that town was then incorporated by charter, consisting of a provost and twelve burgesses, Sir William being the first provost.

Sir William raised a regiment, which he commanded against the rebels, in 1643, with important success.

He wedded twice: Firstly, to Susannah, daughter and heiress of John Croft, of Lancaster, by whom he had two daughters; and secondly, to Catherine, daughter of Sir Laurence Parsons, of Birr, County Offaly, second baron of the Irish Exchequer, by whom he left, at his decease, in 1653,
MICHAEL, his successor;
John, of Newland; MP for Fermanagh; cr baronet, 1660;
Mary; Margaret.
The elder son,

SIR MICHAEL COLE, Knight, MP for Enniskillen, wedded Alice, daughter of Chidley Coote; and secondly, in 1672, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Cole Bt, and had issue,

JOHN COLE (1680-1726), of Florence Court, MP for Enniskillen, who wedded Florence, daughter of Sir Bourchier Wrey Bt, of Trebitch, Cornwall, and had issue,
Henry (Rev);
JOHN, of whom hereafter;
Letitia; Florence.
The younger son,

JOHN COLE (1709-67), of Florence Court, MP for Enniskillen, was elevated to the peerage, in 1760, as Baron Mountflorence, of Florence Court, County Fermanagh.

His lordship espoused Elizabeth, daughter of Hugh Willoughby Montgomery, of Carrow, County Fermanagh, and had issue,
WILLIAM, his successor;
Arthur, m Letitia Hamilton;
Flora Caroline; Catherine.
His lordship was succeeded by his elder son,

WILLIAM WILLOUGHBY, 2nd Baron (1748-1803), who was created Viscount Enniskillen in 1776; and advanced to the dignity of an earldom, in 1789, as EARL OF ENNISKILLEN.

His lordship married, in 1763, Anne, daughter of Galbraith Lowry-Corry, of Ahenis, County Tyrone, and sister of Armar, 1st Earl of Belmore, and had issue,
JOHN WILLOUGHBY, his successor;
Galbraith Lowry (Sir), GCB, General in the army;
William Montgomery (Very Rev), Dean of Waterford;
Arthur Henry, MP for Enniskillen;
Henrietta Frances; Sarah; Elizabeth Anne; Florence.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN WILLOUGHBY, 2nd Earl (1768-1840), KP, who married, in 1805, the Lady Charlotte Paget, daughter of Henry, 1st Earl of Uxbridge, and had issue.


The 2nd and 4th Earls were Knights of the Most Illustrious Order of St Patrick.

ANDREW JOHN GALBRAITH, 7th Earl, is married to Sarah Frances Caroline, daughter of Major-General Keith Edwards.



Lord Enniskillen was educated at Eton; Captain, the Irish Guards, 1965; managing director, Kenya Airways, 1979-81.

He succeeded to the earldom in 1989, following the death of his father, the 6th Earl.

Lord and Lady Enniskillen have three daughters: Lady Amanda, Lady Emma and Lady Lucy.

The heir presumptive is the present earl's first cousin, Berkeley Arthur Cole (b 1949).

He is the eldest son of the Hon Arthur Gerald Cole (1920–2005), younger brother of the 6th Earl. 


The ancestral seat was Florence Court, near Enniskillen, County Fermanagh (now a property of The National Trust), though several generations of the family have had roots in Kenya, where the 7th Earl and his family live.

First published February, 2010.   Enniskillen arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

3 comments :

Anonymous said...

I note Lord Enniskillen is currently selling his Mundui Estate in Kenya for some £3m.

Anonymous said...

There are still descendants of John Cole in Ulster and some reasonably close, geographically, to Florencecourt.

Cody James Cole said...

A good portion of their family branched out to Australia, were I and many other descendants reside.