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

Irish Despard Origins

The second contradiction is that the parliamentary record shows William D the MP as marrying Frances (1708), daughter of Major Samuel Greene (MP for Cashel 1692-3, 1695-9, 1703-10) and this accords with the family records, as this is how the Killaghy estate came to the family. However, O’Hart’s ‘Irish Pedigrees’ shows that he married Frances, daughter of William Roe of Roe’s Green, Co. Tipperary, whose wife was Jane, daughter of Samuel Greene. The diaries and other records show Jane Greene did marry William Roe. However it was her sister Frances that married Despard, and Jane and Frances had two sisters – Anne married in 1722 to Sir Charles Levigne (his father Sir Richard was Solicitor-General for Ireland and then Lord-Chief-Justice and Speaker of the House of Commons – his widow Mary married Charles Annesley in 1732; he was the son of Charles Annesley married to Margaret Eyre, Tree 2), and Dorothy married to Richard Allen MP (a younger son of the first Viscount Allen of King’s County). O’Hart shows all these sisters as being the daughters of William Roe and Jane Greene. (I note that a William Roe was pilloried in Cork in 1722 for repeating the seditious sentence, ‘may King James III enjoy his own again!’.)

The admissions records of Trinity College Dublin show two Despards arriving on 2nd December 1692, and a number subsequent to that; however there are none before that time. The two first admissions were John D son of William D (of Coolbally) and Elizabeth Croasdaile, and William D son of Henry D (of Rushin, Queen’s Co. – wife unknown). John D married Maria Gray (or Grey) daughter of William Gray of Cuddo, Queen’s Co.



  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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