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

Irish Despard Origins

As a short post-script, I note the fact that the coats of arms used by Despards subsequent to 1700 were ‘argent, two bars gules’, and also ‘argent three bars gules’. The former were the same as the arms of the Earls of Kendal (who used ‘argent, two bars gules, in a canton gules, a lion passant guardant, or’ – see Richard III Article), and Jean de Foix (the Grailly line) and his inheritors were Earls of Kendal. The latter arms were the same as those used by the family of Busli (Bussey), who were relations of the de Grailly (Grelley), both arriving in England with William of Normandy in 1066. The legitimate lines of both these English based families had died out by the mid 1300’s. The earliest crest used by the Despards that I have found was an armed dexter (left) hand holding an upright dagger. I note that the Irish for dagger is grilly (eg. Lis-na-Grilly is fort of the dagger). Grilly was also the village near Lake Geneva in Switzerland from whence the de Grailly (de Foix) family originated. If a new background for the Despards was created as I have indicated, the use of this crest and the coats of arms, might also have been considered an amusing play on history.

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  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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