Saturday, 25 July 2020

1st Baron Mountjoy

The origin and history of this most ancient and distinguished family has been elaborately investigated by Sir Alexander Croke, of Studley Priory, Oxfordshire, who traces it from the Counts of Guînes, in Picardy, France, a race of nobles descended themselves from the Scandinavian rulers of Denmark.

It gave birth to three distinct races of peers, viz. the Lords of Guînes, in France; the Barons of Ixworth, in Suffolk (which barony ceased with Sir William Blount, Baron of Ixworth, who was slain fighting under the banner of Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester, at the battle of Lewes, and subsequently attainted, by Parliament, in the reign of HENRY III); and the Barons Mountjoy, of Thurveston, Derbyshire, which barony expired in 1681.

RUDOLPH, 3rd Count of Guînes, had three sons by his wife, Rosetta, daughter of the Count of Saint-Pol, all of whom accompanied the NORMAN in his expedition against England, in 1066; and, contributing to the triumph of their chief, shared amply in the spoils of conquest.

One of the brothers returned to his native country; the other two adopted that which they had so gallantly helped to win, and abided there.

Of these,

SIR ROBERT LE BLOUNT was the first feudal Baron of Ixworth, but of him presently.

SIR WILLIAM LE BLOUNT was a general of foot at Hastings, and had grants of seven Lordships in Lincolnshire.

MARIA LE BLOUNT, sole heiress of her line, marrying, in the next century, SIR STEPHEN LE BLOUNT, united the families of the two brothers.

The elder son,

SIR ROBERT LE BLOUNT, had the command of WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR's ships of war, and was styled "DUX NAVIUM MILITARIUM."

His portion of the Spolia Opima embraced thirteen manors in Suffolk, of which county he was the first feudal baron of Ixworth (the place of his abode), and Lord of Orford Castle.

Sir Robert married Gundreda, youngest daughter of Henry, Earl Ferrers, and had a son and heir,

GILBERT LE BLOUNT, 2nd Baron of Ixworth; from whom we pass to

WILLIAM LE BLOUNT, 6th Baron of Ixworth, who was standard-bearer to Simon de Montfort, and fell at the battle of Lewes, 1264.

He was attainted, and the Barony of Ixworth forfeited.

Sir William left no issue, so that the representation of the family devolved upon his uncle,

SIR STEPHEN LE BLOUNT, who wedded, as stated, MARIA LE BLOUNT, heiress of Saxlingham, and had two sons,
ROBERT, his heir;
The elder son,

SIR ROBERT BLOUNT, espoused Isobel, daughter and co-heir of the feudal Lord of Odinsels, by whom he acquired the Manor of Belton, Rutland, and had issue (with two other sons),

SIR WILLIAM BLOUNT, who married the Lady Isobel de Beauchamp, daughter of William, 1st Earl of Warwick, and had a son,

SIR WALTER LE BLOUNT, of Warwickshire, who wedded Johanna, third sister and co-heir of Sir William de Sodington, and acquired the Estate of Sodington, Worcestershire.

Sir Walter died in 1332, and was succeeded by his elder son,

SIR WILLIAM LE BLOUNT, who wedded Margaret, daughter and co-heir of Theobald, 2nd Baron de Verdon, but dying issueless, left his property to his brother,

SIR JOHN BLOUNT, of Sodington, who espoused Isolda, daughter and heir of Sir Thomas Mountjoy, of Derbyshire, whence the title of MOUNTJOY was afterwards assumed as a barony by a member of the family.

Sir John's third son,

SIR WALTER BLOUNT, was father of

SIR THOMAS BLOUNT (1378-1456), who wedded Margery, daughter of Thomas Gresley, and had issue,
Thomas (Sir), 1414-68;
WALTER, of whom hereafter;
The younger son,

SIR WALTER BLOUNT KG (c1416-74), of Thurveston, Derbyshire, espoused firstly, before 1443, Helena, daughter of Sir John Byron, of Clayton, Lancashire, and had issue,
WILLIAM (1442-71), father of EDWARD, 2nd Baron;
JOHN, 3rd Baron;
Anne; Elizabeth.
He married secondly, ca 1467, Anne, widow of Humphrey, 1st Duke of Buckingham.

Sir Walter was elevated to the peerage, in 1465, in the dignity of BARON MOUNTJOY.

His lordship's eldest son, William, was slain at the battle of Barnet, 1471, and he was succeeded by his grandson,

EDWARD, 2nd Baron (1464-75), who dsp, and was succeeded by his uncle,

JOHN, 3rd Baron (c1450-85), who married, ca 1477, Lora, daughter of Edward Berkeley,  and had issue,
WILLIAM, his successor;
Lora; Constance.
THE family line passed uninterruptedly until we come to

CHARLES, 8th Baron (1563-1606), KG, LORD DEPUTY OF IRELAND, 1600-3, LORD LIEUTENANT OF IRELAND, 1603-4, who was created, in 1603, EARL OF DEVONSHIRE.

The 1st Earl died without legitimate issue at Savoy House, London, when the titles expired.

MOUNTJOY CASTLE is located near the village of Mountjoy, County Tyrone, on a hill overlooking Lough Neagh.

The castle was built by the 8th Baron Mountjoy in 1602, and partly burned in 1643 by Captain Turlough Gruama O'Quin.

It is a two-storey brick building and the lower storey is stone-faced on the outside.

The castle comprises a central rectangular block with four spear-shaped angle towers with gun loops.

The northwest tower is partly demolished and the west curtain wall destroyed.

The entrance was on the south side of the east curtain wall.

On the first floor there are some wide windows.

Mountjoy Fort

MOUNTJOY FORT, which stood near the castle on the south-western edge of Lough Neagh, was discovered by a team of archeologists in 2018.

First published in July, 2018.

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