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

Irish Despard Origins

The 1701 Will of Arthur’s grandson, James Annesley the Earl of Anglesey, makes his  brother Arthur and John Thompson, Lord Haversham and Mr J. Coote his executors for his estate in Ireland (Adjudged cases in the Courts of Chancery, Kings Bench Vol 2). This second Arthur Annesley was married to John Thompson’s daughter Mary. This would imply that a relationship of trust was maintained between these families.

This I believe facilitated the rapid grant to the Despards of the use of Rushin, Garryduff and Coolbally in 1692, as well as the extensive property at Bantry. Elizabeth Anne Despard’s marriage to a Thompson may also have been a reason for these grants.

It does not however answer the question of ‘why were these grants made’. The Annesley and Coote connections imply a connection to the English government or to King William. This in turn would indicate that Despards had activities or involvements that resulted in favoured treatment at that time.

In Dublin there is a Deed box (Collis and Ward, parcel 11) in the National Archives that contains a number of much later property transfers. These include a recital of grant. The summarised details are as follows:

In 1864 Richard Brooke Despard (of New York) seems to have sold property to John Parker and Vere Dawson. The recital indicates that this was acquired originally by William Despard in 1709 from The Company for the Making of Hollow Sword Blades and included a number of listed properties making a total of 2,101 acres on which a half-yearly rent of £70 was due, which could be ceased against the payment of £1,000 to the Governor (of the Company) at ‘Strongbow’s Tomb’ at Christchurch in Dublin.

An 1827 Deed records that Francis Despard of Strangford Co. Down was administrator for the Humphries family. Jane Despard had married John Humphries, and she was the only daughter of John Despard. The latter had the following property: Gurteenmele 235 acres leased 24.11.1714 from William Despard of Kilaghy (whose sons were William and Samuel Despard) – and 1,000 acres in Upper Ossory granted by St. Leger Gilbert on 24.5.1693 to Henry Despard the father of the above John.



  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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