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

Irish Despard Origins

Lambert had a son called Mark and a daughter Ann who died on 24.8.1692. This means that Lambert may have been there for at least ten years before starting the ironworks (and he could have been called Despard or another name prior to that reported date). His date of arrival in America is not shown. Was this also 1692 and did his daughter die on the voyage over? Given that the first Despards were recorded at Trinity College in December 1692 – one might think that this was probably the year that Despards moved from England.

The coincidence of Despard involvement in three separate iron-works is interesting. The main promoters of ironworks in Ireland in the 1600’s were Charles Coote (Earl of Mountrath) and Richard Boyle (Earl of Cork) who were both impressively industrious men.

So, returning to Bantry – who were these business partners and associates of John Despard?  The Whites had been established in Ireland for generations. They were an integral part of the business community, the Church and the administration in Ireland, especially in the south-west. It seems that Whites were also associated with Sir William Petty’s ironworks by Kenmare, Kerry. Sir Patrick White was a Baron of the Exchequer 1535-59 and Nicholas White was appointed Master of the Rolls in 1572. Stephen and Nicholas White of Limerick had a licence to import six hundred hogsheads of wine, four hundred weys of salt, forty hogsheads of honey and twenty hogsheads of dry ware in May 1559 (this combination almost certainly meant from Bordeaux).  A Dominick White emigrated in the time of James 1 to Bordeaux, where he had considerable house, property and presumably business interests which passed to his four sons. In 1665 King Charles wrote to the Lord Lieutenant for John White, merchant, ‘…. he lived most part of the late distracted times in England or abroad…White shall have full leave to trade by wholesale or retail by import and transport, as fully as any other person had formerly leave to do..’. In 1677 Sir Stephen White had 2,159 acres in Limerick and the Parliament of Dublin records many Whites including Nicholas of New Ross, merchant. The attainders of 1691, following the defeat of the French and Jacobite forces, included 22 Whites.



  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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