Wednesday, 15 January 2020

1st Viscount Valentia

This family derives its surname from the lordship of Annesley, Nottinghamshire, where its patriarch,

RICHARD DE ANNESLEY, was seated at the time of the general survey in 1079.

From this Richard descended

SIR JOHN ANNESLEY, Knight, of Headington, Oxfordshire, MP for Nottinghamshire during the reigns of EDWARD III and RICHARD II.

This gentleman married Isabel, sister and co-heir of Sir John Chandos, one of the Knights of the Garter at the institution of that noble order, Viscount of Saint Sauveur in the Cotentin, Normandy, Seneschal of Poitou, Constable of Aquitaine, etc.

Sir John died in 1410, and was succeeded by his son,

THOMAS ANNESLEY, of Annesley, MP for Nottinghamshire, whose great-grandson,

WILLIAM ANNESLEY, of Rodington, had, with other children,

ROBERT ANNESLEY, of Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire; who died in 1553, and was succeeded by his son,

GEORGE ANNESLEY, of Newport Pagnell, whose eldest son,

ROBERT ANNESLEY, was a naval officer in the reign of ELIZABETH I, and also a captain in Her Majesty's army raised to suppress the Earl of Desmond's rebellion; after which he became an undertaker in the plantation of Munster.

He wedded Beatrice, daughter of John Cornwall, of Moor Park, Herefordshire, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR FRANCIS ANNESLEY (c1585-1660), Knight, who filled for forty years several of the highest situations in Ireland.

In 1612, he was constituted constable of Mountnorris Castle; and in 1614, Sir Francis represented County Armagh in parliament.

This gentleman was a protagonist in the plantation of Ulster.

Upon the institution of the order of Baronets of Ireland, Sir Francis was the second person upon whom that dignity was conferred, in 1620, denominated of Mountnorris, County Armagh.

In 1621, he obtained a reversionary grant of the viscountcy of VALENTIA, at the decease of the then viscount (first creation), Sir Henry Power.

He was put, however, into the more immediate possession of a peerage in the dignity of Baron Mountnorris, of Mountnorris, County Armagh.

His lordship married firstly, Dorothea, daughter of Sir John Philipps Bt, of Picton Castle, Pembrokeshire, by whom he had ARTHUR, his successor, and other children.

He wedded secondly, Jane, daughter of Sir John Stanhope, by whom he had several children, the eldest of whom, FRANCIS, espoused Deborah, daughter of the Most Rev Henry Jones, Lord Bishop of Meath, and was father of FRANCIS, of Thorganby, Yorkshire, who married had issue,
FRANCIS, ancestor of the Annesleys of Bletchingdon;
Martin, in holy orders;
William, ancestor of the EARLS ANNESLEY.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

ARTHUR, 2nd Viscount (1614-86); who was enrolled amongst the peers of England, in 1661, in the dignities of Baron Annesley, of Newport Pagnell, and EARL OF ANGLESEY.

His lordship, Treasurer of the Royal Navy, 1667, Lord Privy Seal, 1673, married Elizabeth, daughter and co-heiress of Sir James Altham, of Oxey, Hertfordshire, one of the Barons of the Exchequer, and had issue,
Altham, cr Baron Altham;
Richard (Very Rev);
Dorothy; Elizabeth; Frances; Philippa; Anne.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES, 2nd Earl (c1645-90), who wedded Elizabeth, daughter of John, 8th Earl of Rutland, and had issue,
JAMES, 3rd Earl;
JOHN, 4th Earl;
ARTHUR, 5th Earl;
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES, 3rd Earl (1670-1702), who espoused the Lady Catherine Darnley, natural daughter of JAMES II by Catherine Sedley, Countess of Dorchester, and left an only daughter and heir,

CATHERINE, married to William Phipps, son of Sir Constantine Phipps, LORD CHANCELLOR OF IRELAND, and had a son, CONSTANTINE PHIPPS, who was created Baron Mulgrave.

His lordship was succeeded by his brother,

JOHN, 4th Earl (1676-1710), who wedded, in 1706, the Lady Henrietta Stanley, eldest daughter and co-heir of William, 9th Earl of Derby, by whom he had no surviving issue.

He was succeeded by his brother,

ARTHUR, 5th Earl, who espoused Mary, daughter of John Thompson, 1st Baron Haversham; but dying issueless, in 1737, the honours devolved upon his kinsman,

RICHARD, 6th Earl (c1693-1761), 5th Baron Altham, as 6th Earl of Anglesey (revert to descendants of Altham, second son of 1st Earl).

His lordship was not left, however, in uninterrupted enjoyment of the honours; for soon after his accession, a claimant arose in the person of Mr James Annesley, who asserted that he was himself the son of Arthur, 4th Lord Altham, and a publication entitled "The Adventures of an Unfortunate Young Nobleman" gave a very interesting and extraordinary narrative of his case.

In that statement it was alleged that Mr Annesley was the true and lawful son and heir of Arthur, Lord Altham, and that he had been kidnapped and transported by his uncle RICHARD, to make room for his own accession to the honours and estates of the family.

Mr Annesley followed up the matter, instituted a suit at law for the recovery of the estates, and after a trial in the Court of Exchequer in Ireland, James Annesley versus Richard, called Earl of Anglesey, begun in 1743, and continued daily, obtained a VERDICT.

It is believed, however, that he did not live long after, as the uncle, notwithstanding this decision, continued to enjoy the honours and fortune.

The conduct of that person throughout the whole course of his iniquitous career, fully sustained the presumption that he had been very capable of committing the foul crime thus laid to his charge.

He is said to have married three wives, two of whom he heartlessly abandoned; and the offspring of the third was unable but partially to establish his legitimacy.

The second lady, Miss Simpson, he wedded when a half-pay officer, without title or fortune, and for some years afterwards was maintained chiefly by her father and friends.

After his accession to the barony of Altham, and subsequently to the earldom of Anglesey, this lady was received at the viceregal court in Dublin as the consort of his lordship, and so introduced by himself.

He cohabited with her for several years, during which time he had three daughters, and these, with their mother, he eventually left to starve.

His third wife was a Miss Donovan, whom he espoused in the lifetime of the second, under the allegation that he had a wife living when he married Miss Simpson, and that his marriage with that unhappy lady was therefore illegal.

To Juliana Donovan he appears to have been married in 1741, immediately after the decease of Ann Prust, the first wife, by his own chaplain, the Rev L Neil, at his seat, Camolin Park, County Wexford.

By her he had an only son and three daughters,
ARTHUR, his successor;
Richarda; Juliana; Catherine.
When the 6th Earl died, the legitimacy of his son was contested by the heir-at-law, John Annesley, of Ballysack, who petitioned the Irish parliament to be admitted to the honours of the family.

The matter excited great public interest, and was pending in the Irish House of Lords for almost four years, when their lordships came to a decision, establishing the marriage with Miss Donovan , and confirming the right of her son,

ARTHUR (1744-1816), as 8th Viscount, to the viscountcy of Valentia and the other Irish honours.

His lordship on coming of age, in 1765, and taking his seat in the Irish House of Lords, applied for as writ as EARL OF ANGLESEY to the English parliament; by there the decision was against him, and the writ was, of course, denied.

He continued, however, to sit as Viscount Valentia (his claim being a second time investigated and confirmed in Ireland), and was created, in 1793, EARL OF MOUNTNORRIS.

His lordship married firstly, in 1767, Lucy, only daughter of George, 1st Baron Lyttelton, by whom he had,
GEORGE, his heir;
Juliana Lucy; Hester Annabella.
He wedded secondly, in 1783, Sarah, third daughter of the Rt Hon Sir Henry Cavendish Bt, and the Baroness Waterpark, by whom he left at his decease,
Henry Arthur;
Catherine; Frances Caroline; Juliana.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

GEORGE, 2nd Earl and 9th Viscount Valentia (1770-1844), who married, in 1790, Anne, daughter of William, 2nd Viscount Courtenay, and had issue,
GEORGE ARTHUR (1793-1841);
William (Rev), 1796-1830.
His lordship died without surviving male issue, when the earldom of MOUNTNORRIS expired.

The viscountcy of VALENTIA and the other Irish titles, however, passed to his lordship's third cousin twice removed,

ARTHUR, 10th Viscount,
  • Caryl Arthur Annesley, 12th Viscount (1883–1949);
  • William Monckton Annesley, 13th Viscount (1875–1951);
  • Francis Dighton Annesley, 14th Viscount (1888–1983);
  • Richard John Dighton Annesley, 15th Viscount (1929–2005);
  • Francis William Dighton Annesley, 16th Viscount (b 1959).
The heir presumptive is the present holder's brother, the Hon Peter John Annesley.
CAMOLIN PARK, County Wexford, was a square house dating from the 18th century, sold by Lord Valentia in 1858.

It stood ruinous for many years until it was demolished completely about 1974.

First published in January, 2016. Valentia arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

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