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

Irish Despard Origins

Then on 24.4.1823 there was an action brought before the Master of the Rolls by Francis Despard and Green Despard (sons of Francis Green Despard). This refers to the lease of 1,000 acres from St. Leger Gilbert dated 24.5.1693 to Henry Despard of Rushin. Given that there was no evidenced sale of Rushin, it seems probable that these Despards moved to their new property, vacating Rushin.

It seems that Henry’s sons included/were Henry and John, the latter receiving the above property by conveyance dated 16.3.1713, and in 1721 he married Elizabeth Willington, having a son Thomas who died in his father’s lifetime and the second son John and daughter Jane (as mentioned above). John the father died in 1743.

An 1864 Deed also records 164 acres of Ballicloughlin being transferred from William Dawson Hutchinson to Richard Brooke Despard. (These being originally devised from John Despard to William Despard 24.11.1714)

Then there was an article in the Irish Times dated 4.11.2002 headed ‘Where’s that/Donore’ by Flann o’Riain who sadly died in 2008, so following his sources is not an option. In the article he states that in 1693 Henry Despard leased 2,825 acres in Queen’s County. Donore was a fine Despard house held until the early 1900’s.

The property listed above shows 1,000 acres definitely granted by way of lease (not purchase) by St Leger Gilbert in 1693. Elsewhere we have William Despard buying 398 acres in Queen’s co. in 1702 from The Company for the Making of Hollow Sword Blades. Then the above deeds indicate a purchase of 2,101 acres from that company in 1709; it would seem that he was in part making a purchase of the properties that he had on lease.

There is neither evidence nor an indication that Despard’s had earlier property in Ireland. They may have had earlier investment property, but the first residences seem to have been Rushin, Coolbally, Garryduff and at Bantry. These connect to Coote and importantly to Annesley. The fact that two of the Queen’s County properties and Bantry were held of Annesley must be more than mere coincidence.



  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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