Wednesday, 9 June 2021

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 Ulster, adopted into the family shield the Canton charged with the Harp of Ireland, and settled at Limavady, County Londonderry.

JOHN ALEXANDER, of Eridy, County Donegal, 1610, had issue,
ANDREW, his heir;
The eldest son,

THE REV DR ANDREW ALEXANDER, of Eridy, married Dorothea, daughter of the Rev James Caulfeild, and had issue,

CAPTAIN ANDREW ALEXANDERof Londonderry, who wedded firstly, Miss Philips, daughter of Sir Thomas Philips, and had issue, JACOB, ancestor of ALEXANDER OF ROE PARK.

He espoused secondly, Miss Hillhouse, daughter of the Laird of Hilles, and had issue,

JOHN ALEXANDER (c1670-1747), of Ballyclose, County Londonderry, and of Gunsland, County Donegal, who married Anne, daughter of John White, and had issue,
NATHANIEL, of whom hereafter;
The second son,

NATHANIEL ALEXANDER (1689-1761), of Gunsland, Alderman of Londonderry, 1755, married Elizabeth, daughter of William McClintock, of DUNMORE, County Donegal, and had issue,
William, of London; barrister; d 1774;
John, died young;
Nathaniel, died young;
Robert (1722-90), of BOOMHALL;
JAMES, of whom hereafter;
Mary Jane; Rebecca; Elizabeth; Ann; Jane.
The youngest son,

JAMES ALEXANDER (1730-1802), MP for Londonderry, 1775-90, High Sheriff of County Armagh, 1801, having filled several important offices in India, was elevated to the peerage, in 1790, in the dignity of Baron Caledon, of Caledon, County Tyrone.
James Alexander entered into the East India service, abroad, early in life, and returned to England with a plentiful fortune in 1764, and was chosen and reappointed by the directors to the rank of Sixth Member of the Bengal Council in 1766, where he discharged the offices of Governor of Patna, Governor of Consinbugar, resident at the nabob of Bengal's court at Murshidabad, and second in the government of Bengal. 
On his return in 1772, he purchased the extensive manor, castle, and estate of Caledon, from which his lordship took his title.
His lordship was advanced to a viscountcy, in 1797, as Viscount Caledon; and further advanced, in 1800, to the dignity of an earldom, as EARL OF CALEDON.

In 1774 his lordship married Anne, second daughter of James Crawford, of CRAWFORDSBURN, County Down, and had issue,
DUPRÉ, his successor;
Mabella, m to 11th Lord Blayney;
His lordship was succeeded by his only son,

DUPRÉ, 2nd Earl (1777-1839), KP, MP for Newtownards, 1800, High Sheriff of County Armagh, 1801, who espoused, in 1811, Catherine, second daughter of Philip, 3rd Earl of Hardwicke, and had issue, an only child,

JAMES DUPRÉ, 3rd Earl (1812-55), High Sheriff of County Armagh, 1836, MP for County Tyrone, 1837-9, who married, in 1845, the Lady Jane Frederica Harriet Mary Grimston, daughter of James, 1st Earl of Verulam, and had issue,
JAMES, his successor;
Walter Philip;
Jane Charlotte Elizabeth.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES, 4th Earl (1846-98), KP DL, who wedded, in 1884, the Lady Elizabeth Graham-Toler, daughter of Hector, 3rd Earl of Norbury, and had issue,
ERIC JAMES DESMOND, his successor;
Herbrand Charles, father of the 6th Earl;
Harold Rupert Leofric George, cr EARL ALEXANDER OF TUNIS;
William Sigismund Patrick.
1st Earl Alexander of Tunis (Image: Imperial War Museum) 

His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

ERIC JAMES DESMOND, 5th Earl (1885-1968), who died unmarried, when the family honours reverted to his cousin,

DENIS JAMES, 6th Earl (1920--1980), Major, Irish Guards, Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel, Ulster Defence Regiment, 1970-78,
The heir apparent is the present holder's son Frederick James Alexander, styled Viscount Alexander.
Lord Caledon's Dress Chariot, 19th Century (Image: Science Museum Postcard)

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 Earl and Countess of Caledon HERE.

Two Earls were Knights of St Patrick. It is quite possible that, had the Order of St Patrick been extant at the time, Field-Marshal the Earl Alexander of Tunis would have been installed as a Knight.

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,

Anonymous said...

Look at website for some useful info.

Unknown said...

I have had my family tree done and the old earls of Caledon are my ancestors. Nice to know the history of my family.
Paul Du pre