John Ponsonby (politician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For other people named John Ponsonby, see John Ponsonby (disambiguation).
John Ponsonby.
Ponsonby's town house
5 Henrietta Street Dublin

John Ponsonby, PC (Ire) (29 March 1713 – 16 August 1787), styled The Honourable from 1724, was an Irish politician.


The second son of Brabazon Ponsonby, 1st Earl of Bessborough, in 1739 Ponsonby entered the Irish House of Commons for Newtownards, becoming its speaker in 1756. He also served as First Commissioner of the Revenue and he became a member of the Privy Council of Ireland in 1746. In 1761, Ponsonby was elected for Kilkenny County and Armagh Borough, and sat for the first. In 1768, he stood also for Gowran and Newtownards, and in 1776 for Carlow Borough, but chose each time Kilkenny County, which he represented until 1783. Subsequently Ponsonby was again returned for Newtownards and sat for this constituency until his death in 1787.

Belonging to one of the great families which at this time monopolized the government of Ireland, Ponsonby was one of the principal "undertakers," men who controlled the whole of the king's business in Ireland, and he retained the chief authority until George Townshend, 1st Marquess Townshend became lord-lieutenant in 1767. Then followed a struggle for supremacy between the Ponsonby faction and the party dependent on Townshend, one result of this being that Ponsonby resigned the speakership in 1771.

He married in 1743 Lady Elizabeth Cavendish, daughter of the 3rd Duke of Devonshire, a connection which was of great importance to the Ponsonbys. (His older brother, William Ponsonby, 2nd Earl of Bessborough, had married the Duke's eldest daughter in 1739.) His sons, William Ponsonby, 1st Baron Ponsonby of Imokilly, and George Ponsonby, were also politicians of distinction. His daughter Catherine married Richard Boyle, 2nd Earl of Shannon, and was mother to Henry Boyle, 3rd Earl of Shannon.


  • Mosley, Charles (editor). (1999). Burke's Peerage & Baronetage, 106th edition
  • Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 
Parliament of Ireland
Preceded by
Sir John Vesey, 2nd Bt
Robert Jocelyn
Member of Parliament for Newtownards
With: Sir John Vesey, 2nd Bt 1739–1750
Chambre Brabazon Ponsonby 1750–1760
Succeeded by
Richard Ponsonby
Redmond Morres
Preceded by
Henry Flood
Patrick Wemys
Member of Parliament for Kilkenny County
With: James Agar 1761–1776
Hon. Edmund Butler 1776–1779
Joseph Deane 1779–1783
Succeeded by
William Brabazon Ponsonby
Hon. Henry Welbore Agar
Preceded by
Edward Knatchbull
Francis Russell, Marquess of Tavistock
Member of Parliament for Armagh Borough
With: Robert Cuninghame
Succeeded by
Robert Cuninghame
Hon. Barry Maxwell
Preceded by
George Dunbar
William Henry Burton
Member of Parliament for Gowran
With: James Agar
Succeeded by
Arthur Browne
Henry Prittie
Preceded by
Richard Ponsonby
Redmond Morres
Member of Parliament for Newtownards
With: Thomas Le Hunt
Succeeded by
Thomas Le Hunt
Sir William Morres, 1st Bt
Preceded by
Edward Hoare
James Somerville
Member of Parliament for Carlow Borough
With: John Prendergast
Succeeded by
John Prendergast
Arthur Dawson
Preceded by
William Brabazon Ponsonby
Lodge Evans Morres
Member of Parliament for Newtownards
With: George Lowther 1783–1785
Sir William Morres, 3rd Bt 1785–1787
Succeeded by
Henry Alexander
Sir William Morres, 3rd Bt
Political offices
Preceded by
Henry Boyle
Speaker of the Irish House of Commons
Succeeded by
Edmund Sexton Pery