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

Irish Despard Origins

Samuel may have been the son of Dr Samuel Annesley who was a well-regarded Puritan minister, who mentored Daniel Defoe. His mother was the daughter of John White a Member of Parliament for Southwark, and a Puritan Lawyer. He died in 1645 and was commemorated in the Temple Church with these lines:

“Here lyeth a John, a burning shining light,
His name, life, actions were all White.”

Whether he had a connection to the Richard White of Bantry I have not discovered. A daughter of Dr Samuel’s was Susanna, who married Samuel Wesley, and was mother to John and Charles Wesley, founders of Wesleyism.

If my thoughts on the requirements for funds flow from the Treaty of Dover are correct, the Annesleys do not appear to have had the trading network needed at that time. The Thompsons that were business associates of Richard Hutchinson did have both the network and the existing volume of trade as well as the French connections. It was Maurice Thompson’s son John Thompson who, even though he was a serving Sheriff, was given special permission to ‘live beyond the seas’ (in France) for six months on 13.5.1670, a month before the signing of the Treaty of Dover.

Quoting from Richard B. Sheridan’s ‘Sugar and Slavery’ (1974): ‘Maurice Thompson stands on a par with the Courteens and Martin Noell as a founder and developer of the Caribbean colonies. Extensive trade with Africa, the East and West Indies, and North America, besides numerous privateering voyages, entitle him to rank as one of the leading merchant-adventurers of his time. We learn of his extensive ‘interloping’ activities in Canada, of his powerful ‘combine’ to monopolise the entire tobacco output of Virginia, of the five ships he and his brother sent to the coast of Africa in 1656, of his leadership in the Guinea Company, of Cromwell favouring the Maurice Thompson group in the East India trade, and of Thompson dispatching eleven ships on his own account to India in 1656.



  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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