Anglo-French Relations The Cloak of Secrecy A personal voyage of detection

Irish Despard Origins

A visit to Dublin to The National Archives of Ireland, the National Library and the Trinity College records, was interesting but records were few; however, some glimmers of light emanated from these.

There was a 1702 submission, adjusting intended Queen’s county land grants, the named submitters include Henry Bandon, Warburton, St Leger Gilbert and William and John Despard.

The William Despard mentioned could have been either one of three William D’s. John Despard introduced a new name reflected in Tree 1. In 1702 therefore these two were not shy about standing alongside established Irish families and claiming rights.

There was also an extract from the de Vesci papers. A deed of November 1712 between John Davis of one part and Hugh Hutchinson of Blackrock, Richard White of Whiddy Island and John Despard of Glangarm (could this be a misspelling of Glengariff in County Cork, which the Diaries record as a Despard property) of the second part, and relates to a grant of property including the town lands of Bantry, and of (considerable) adjoining property, as held by Major George Walters (a Cromwellian, who shipped many Irish to Spain) from Lord Valentia (Annesley), for a term of years from 12 Charles II.

Records of the first Despard properties show that Henry Despard was of Rushin and William, the Member of Parliament, was of ‘Coolbally’ (260 acres), and Despards also had Garryduff (435 acres). These last two were properties that had been granted to Arthur Annesley, so were presumably on lease from him or more probably his son, although the date and acreage granted remains open. I do not know when Rushin was acquired, nor have I seen a record of sale, so it may also have been on a short lease from St Leger Gilbert who acquired it from Charles, Earl of Mountrath (Coote).




  1. Please don’t publish my name or email. I have not read everything here, so perhaps I missed this information, but the reason that the Despards in Ireland are traced only to the date you mention is that the family, as Huguenots had fled to Ireland from France after The Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre.

    1. Thank you for that. However – from 1572 until 1692 there are no records showing the use of the Despard or d’Espard names in either Ireland or England. There are no records of the use of that name in France before that date. Balzac, writing in circa 1840 used that name in a coded fashion which I analyse in my article.

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