Richard Wesley, 1st Baron Mornington

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Richard Colley Wesley
Died 31 January 1758(1758-01-31)
Title 1st Baron Mornington
Tenure 1746-1758
Nationality Irish
Residence Dangan Castle
Spouse(s) Elizabeth Sale
Parents Henry Colley
Mary Usher

Richard Colley Wesley, 1st Baron Mornington (c. 1690 – 31 January 1758) was an Irish peer, best remembered as the grandfather of the 1st Duke of Wellington.

He graduated from the University of Dublin in 1711. Between 1729 and 1746 he represented Trim in the Irish House of Commons. He was High Sheriff of Meath in 1734, and held a number of sinecures including Chamberlain to the Court of Exchequer (Ireland). He was created Baron Mornington in the Peerage of Ireland on 9 July 1746.

He married Elizabeth Sale, daughter of John Sale, Registrar of the Diocese of Dublin, on 23 December 1719. She died on 17 June 1738. They had one son, Garett, and two daughters, Frances Crosbie and Elizabeth Fortescue.

He was the eldest son of son of Henry Colley and Mary, daughter of Sir William Ussher; brother of Henry Colley, father of Garret Wesley, 1st Earl of Mornington, father-in-law to Chichester Fortescue and William Francis Crosbie, and grandfather of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington and Richard Wellesley, 1st Marquess Wellesley. He took the name Wesley, which later generations changed back the older form Wellesley, on inheriting the estates of his cousin Garret Wesley. The Colley or Cowley family had come to Ireland from Rutland about 1500; Sir Henry Colley (died 1584) married Catherine Cusack, whose grandmother was a Wellesley.

In his Tour in Ireland (1752) Richard Pococke described Dangan Castle, Mornington's home, as follows: "We soon after came to Dangan the seat of Lord Mornington situated on a most beautiful flat, with an Amphitheater of hills rising round it, one over another, in a most beautiful manner; at the lower end is a very large piece of water, at one corner of which is an Island, it is a regular fortification, there is a ship a sloop and boats on the water, and a yard for building; the hill beyond it, is improved into a beautiful wilderness: on a round hill near the house is a Temple, and the hills round are adorned with obelisks: Pillars and some buildings, altogether the most beautiful thing I ever saw."[1]

Wellington's biographer described him as "a civilised and eccentric country genetleman".[2] The diarist Mary Delaney, (who was Garret's godmother) visiting Dangan in 1748 after a 17-year gap, found him "the same good-humoured, agreeable man he was on my last visit", and praised him as the man with most merits and fewest faults of anyone she knew, valuing wealth only as a means to make others happy. He was proud of, and fostered, his son's musical talent: he was also extravagant, and died in debt, beginning the cycle of indebtedness which led to his eldest grandson Richard selling Dangan 40 years later.[3]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Tour, page 181
  2. ^ Longford, Elizabeth Wellington-the Years of the Sword Panther Edition 1971 p.30
  3. ^ Longford pp.30-31