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

Irish Despard Origins

The other person involved with White and Despard was Hugh Hutchinson (d 1728), about whom I have found very little except indications that he had good wealth. I suspect that he was a grand-son of the Richard Hutchinson, who died in 1670, and who had six surviving sons.

The commercially successful Hutchinson family emigrated to Massachusetts in 1633/4 and were deeply involved in religious issues there. Richard was back in England by 1643 serving Sir Henry Vane, Governor of the Massachusetts Bay colony. The latter was Navy treasurer in 1645 with Richard as his deputy; and then in 1650 Richard was appointed in Vane’s place until the restoration, when he successfully cleared his accounts. Samuel Pepys believed that the finances of the Navy had never been better handled than while he was treasurer. Richard Hutchinson then resumed his transatlantic trading activities, and was an active East India Company officer and stockholder. He is said to have lost £60,000 in the great fire of London, but still died a very wealthy man.

His trading connections were numerous and included Thomas Kendall, William Thompson (an East India Company Governor), George Thompson and their elder brother Maurice Thompson. His involvement with the latter included the Virginia tobacco trade. Maurice Thompson was one of the most successful businessmen of that time and we will deal with him and his family below. Richard Hutchinson (d1670) had a son Richard who also pursued an active City of London career as a councillor, merchant and East India Company officer. He was also Solicitor/lawyer at the Customs. He died in 1699 and it seems likely that Hugh Hutchinson was his son or nephew. His association with John Despard at Bantry (and the family’s continued contact into the late 1800’s), and the Hutchinson trading connection to the Thompsons who were kin to the Annesleys, may indicate an earlier relationship between these families.

I have tried to lay out in Tree 2 the members of the Thompson and Annesley families who seem relevant. There were three cross marriages between these families: The first was Sir John Thompson who married in 1668 Frances, daughter of Arthur Annesley; the second was Arthur’s grandson, also Arthur, who married John Thompson’s daughter Mary in 1701; the third was Mary’s brother Maurice Thompson who married Arthur’s cousin, Elizabeth Annesley. One has to say the families were close.



  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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