THE RT HON THOMAS CROMWELL, EARL OF ESSEX, KG, statesman and chief minister to HENRY VIII, was attainted and executed in 1540.
THE HON SIR GREGORY CROMWELL KB (c1514-51), born at Putney, Surrey, was tutored by Richard Southwell and attended Cambridge University.
In 1539, he was summoned to Parliament as Lord Cromwell, servant of HENRY VIII, and he was created BARON CROMWELL, in 1540.
Sir Gregory wedded Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Seymour, sister of Edward, Duke of Somerset, and widow of Sir Anthony Oughtred; by whom he had three sons. The eldest son,
HENRY, 2nd Baron (1538-92), summoned to parliament in the reign of ELIZABETH I, wedded Mary, daughter of John, Marquess of Winchester.
His elder son,
EDWARD, 3rd Baron (1559-1607), was with the Earl of Essex in his expedition at sea against the Spaniards, and joined in the insurrection three years afterwards, which cost Lord Essex his head.
The 3rd Baron, however, received an especial pardon in 1601.
His lordship, having alienated his estates in England by sale, purchased the barony of Lecale in County Down from Mountjoy Blount, 1st Earl of Newport, or "made an exchange thereof".
He married twice, and, dying in Ulster, was succeeded by his son,
THOMAS, 4th Baron (1594-1653), who was created by CHARLES I, in 1624, Viscount Lecale.
His lordship was advanced to the dignity of an earldom, as EARL OF ARDGLASS, in 1645.
Lord Ardglass remained firmly attached to the interests of the King during the civil wars, notwithstanding his friendship with the Earl of Essex.The 1st Earl married Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of Robert Meverell, of Throwleigh, Staffordshire.
Ardglass was an important town during the middle ages, which would explain Cromwell's choice of title.
The 1st Earl was commander of the Regiment of Horse in Ireland for CHARLES I during the Civil War; and subsequently made his peace with Parliament, paying £460 for his "delinquency".
He was succeeded by his eldest son,
WINGFIELD, 2nd Earl (1622-68),
was educated at Stone School in Staffordshire; matriculated at Trinity College, Dublin, in 1637/8; was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Civil Laws at Oxford University in 1642. In 1649, he was taken prisoner in the Royalist cause.His only son,
THOMAS, 3rd Earl (1653-82), married a daughter of the Most Rev Michael Boyle, Lord Archbishop of Dublin and Lord Chancellor of Ireland; but dying issueless in 1682, his honours reverted to his uncle,
VERE ESSEX, 4th Earl (1623-87), PC, a son of the 1st Earl.
He married Catherine Hamilton in 1672; died at Booncastle, County Down, and was buried at Downpatrick Abbey [Down Cathedral]. Lord Ardglass was educated at Stowe School and at Finstock, Oxfordshire.This nobleman married, though died without male issue, when the titles expired; except the barony of CROMWELL, originating in the writ of 1539, devolved upon his daughter,
ELIZABETH CROMWELL, as Baroness Cromwell, in which rank her ladyship assisted at the funeral of MARY II, and the coronation of Queen Anne.
She wedded the Rt Hon Edward Southwell MP, Principal Secretary of State in Ireland, and had issue, two sons and a daughter, who died all sine prole; and another, a son, Edward Southwell, who, marrying Catherine, daughter of Edward Watson, Viscount Sondes, and sole heiress of her brothers, Lewis and Thomas, Earls of Rockingham.Her son,
EDWARD SOUTHWELL (1705-55), who, in right of his mother, succeeded to the barony of DE CLIFFORD.
Her ladyship died in 1709, and the barony of CROMWELL is now supposed to be vested in the Barons de Clifford.
Dundrum Castle was held by the 1st Earl between 1605-36.
The colours of Downpatrick High School's crest are taken from the arms of Elizabeth, Baroness Cromwell, owner of the Downpatrick estate.
The Earls of Ardglass were landlords of most of the barony of Lecale.
The lands of Lecale were held, prior to the Reformation, either by the great religious corporations in Downpatrick or by the descendants of the early English colonists.
The Church lands, having become vested in the Crown, were leased to the Earl of Kildare and, after the expiration of that lease, came into the possession of the Cromwells, Earls of Ardglass.
They still form the Downpatrick estate, except large portions of them that have been sold or leased by the Cromwells or their descendants.
The estates held by the descendants of the early English colonists were almost all confiscated under the Act of Settlement, after the termination of the civil wars of 1641.
Throwley Old Hall, Staffordshire, was a seat of the Cromwells through marriage. Elizabeth, the last of the Meverells, married Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII's chief minister, responsible for the disillusion of the monasteries. A descendant of them was Oliver Cromwell, the Lord Protector.
The writer and poet Charles Cotton married into the Cromwell family in 1669 – his 2nd wife Mary was a widow of Wingfield Cromwell. He spent time fishing the local river with his great friend Izaak Newton and building his famous fishing lodge on the River Dove.
Following the Cromwells the house passed to the last Baron de Clifford, Edward Southwell, who sold to Sir Samuel Crompton in 1790, who let the property to the reputable Phillips family.Several members of the family are interred at Down Cathedral. The 1st Earl held Dundrum Castle between 1605-36.
Ardglass arms courtesy of European Heraldry. First published in February, 2012.