Earl of Longford

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Earl of Longford is a title that has been created twice in the Peerage of Ireland. It was first bestowed upon Francis Aungier, 3rd Baron Aungier of Longford, in 1677, with remainder to his younger brother Ambrose. He had previously represented Surrey in the House of Commons and had already been created Viscount Longford in the Peerage of Ireland in 1675, with similar remainder. He was succeeded according to the special remainder (and normally in the barony) by his brother Ambrose, the second Earl. On his death in 1706 all the titles became extinct. The title of Baron Aungier of Longford was created in the Peerage of Ireland in 1621 for the first Earl's grandfather Sir Francis Aungier, Master of the Rolls in Ireland. The latter was succeeded by his eldest son Gerald, the second Baron, who in his turn was succeeded by his nephew, the aforementioned third Baron and first Earl of Longford, the eldest son of Ambrose Aungier, Chancellor of St Patrick's Cathedral, second son of the first Baron. Gerald Aungier, brother of the first Earl, was Governor of Bombay.

Alice Aungier, sister of the first and second Earl of Longford, married Sir James Cuffe, Member of Parliament for County Mayo. Their son Francis Cuffe also represented County Mayo in the Irish Parliament. Francis's son Michael Cuffe sat as Member of Parliament for County Mayo and Longford Borough. Michael's daughter Elizabeth Cuffe married Thomas Pakenham, of Pakenham Hall, just outside Castlepollard, County Westmeath, in 1739. Thomas represented Longford Borough in the Irish House of Commons. In 1756 the Longford title held by his wife's ancestors was revived when he was raised to the Peerage of Ireland as Baron Longford, in the County of Longford. In 1785 the earldom was also revived when Elizabeth was created Countess of Longford in her own right in the Peerage of Ireland. Lord Longford was succeeded by his eldest son, the second Baron. He represented Longford County in the Irish Parliament. He died aged only 49 and was succeeded by his son, the third Baron. In 1794 he also succeeded his grandmother as second Earl of Longford. Lord Longford sat in the British House of Lords as one of the 28 original Irish Representative Peers. In 1821 he was created Baron Silchester, of Silchester in the County of Southampton, in the Peerage of the United Kingdom, which gave him and his descendants an automatic seat in the House of Lords.

He was succeeded by his eldest son, the third Earl. He died unmarried and was succeeded by his younger brother, the fourth Earl. He was a Conservative politician and served under the Earl of Derby and Benjamin Disraeli as Under-Secretary of State for War from 1866 to 1868. His son, the fifth Earl, was Lord-Lieutenant of County Longford from 1887 to 1915. Lord Longford was killed in action at Gallipoli in 1915. He was succeeded by his eldest son, the sixth Earl. He was a minor playwright and poet and also sat as a member of the Republic of Ireland Senate between 1946 and 1948.

He died childless and was succeeded by his younger brother, the seventh Earl. He was a prominent Labour politician and social activist. In 1945, sixteen years before he succeeded his elder brother, he was raised to the Peerage of the United Kingdom in his own right as Baron Pakenham, of Cowley in the City of Oxford. Lord Longford served in the Labour administrations of Clement Attlee and Harold Wilson as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, First Lord of the Admiralty, Lord Privy Seal, Leader of the House of Lords and Secretary of State for the Colonies. In 1999, at the age of 94 and after the House of Lords Act 1999 removed the automatic right of hereditary peers to sit in the House of Lords, Lord Longford was created a life peer as Baron Pakenham of Cowley, of Cowley in the County of Oxfordshire. He was therefore able to remain a member of the House of Lords until his death in 2001.

As of 2010 the titles are held by his eldest son, the eighth Earl. He does not use his title and did not use his courtesy title of Lord Silchester which he was entitled to from 1961 to 2001. Known simply as Thomas Pakenham, he is a writer and historian.

Several other members of the Pakenham family have also gained distinction. Henry Pakenham, great-grandfather of the first Baron, represented Navan in the Irish House of Commons. His son Sir Thomas Pakenham, grandfather of the first Baron, sat as Member of Parliament for Augher. Sir Thomas's son Edward Pakenham, father of the first Baron, represented County Westmeath in the Irish Parliament. The Honourable Sir Thomas Pakenham, third son of the first Baron and the Countess of Longford, was an Admiral in the Royal Navy. His fourth son Sir John Pakenham was also an Admiral in the Royal Navy while his fifth son Sir Richard Pakenham was a noted diplomat and served as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to the United States from 1843 to 1847. The Honourable Sir Edward Pakenham, second son of the second Baron, was a Major-General in the Army and was killed at the Battle of New Orleans in 1815. The Honourable Sir Hercules Pakenham (1781–1850), third son of the second Baron, was a Lieutenant-General in the Army and Member of Parliament for Westmeath. He was the father of 1) Edward Pakenham, Member of Parliament for Antrim, and 2) Sir Thomas Pakenham, also a Lieutenant-General. The latter's eldest son Hercules Pakenham was an Ulster Unionist Party member of the Senate of Northern Ireland. The Honourable Thomas Alexander Pakenham (1820–1889), third son of the second Earl, was a Rear-Admiral in the Royal Navy. His second son Sir William Pakenham was an Admiral in the Royal Navy. The Honourable Sir Francis Pakenham, seventh son of the second Earl, was a diplomat and notably served as Ambassador to Sweden. Lady Violet Pakenham, daughter of the sixth Earl, was a writer and critic and the wife of the author Anthony Powell. Elizabeth Pakenham (born Harman), Countess of Longford, wife of the seventh Earl, was a writer and social activist. Lady Antonia Fraser and Rachel Billington, daughters of the seventh Earl, are both prominent authors. Lady Judith Kazantzis, daughter of the seventh Earl, is a poet. The Honourable Sir Michael Pakenham, third son of the seventh Earl, is a diplomat.

The ancestral seat of the Pakenham family is Tullynally Castle, County Westmeath. Previously known as Pakenham Hall, it was renamed by the current owner, Thomas Pakenham.

Barons Aungier of Longford (1621)[edit]

Earls of Longford; First Creation (1677)[edit]

Barons Longford (1756)[edit]

Earls of Longford; Second Creation (1785)[edit]

The heir apparent is the present holder's eldest son Edward Melchior Pakenham, Lord Silchester (born 1970)

References[edit]