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

Irish Despard Origins

Hence in 1692 there had to be a very compelling reason for the move to Ireland. But what was it? Despards were clearly intelligent, well connected and well financed, hence I did not expect to find any document or record that would directly supply an answer. As a result I had to explore other information and the events of that time.

In this article I will detail my summarised findings on Despard marriages, property and activities around that time, as well as giving a background to those families with whom we were connected. This information has been sourced from family records and public documents. I will also give an outline of the significant events affecting both England and Ireland in the period 1688-1700. Of significance too are the ‘Secret Treaty of Dover’ in 1670 (see Article) and the ‘Rye House Plot’ in 1683. The former granted King Charles II funding from France in return for foreign policies favourable to France; and those involved in the negotiations and the routing of this funding are relevant to this article. The latter was a plot to assassinate King Charles and his brother James and to promote the Duke of Monmouth, Charles’s illegitimate son, in order to avoid a Catholic succession; and many of the families involved also appear in this article.

The Despard diaries record some of the first marriages, but I have used parliamentary records, the admission records of Trinity College, Dublin and certain other documents to either verify or adjust this information. The result is Tree 1 below. I do not intend to go through the complete subsequent family tree. I will merely highlight details of the early marriages and the resultant connections.



  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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