William O'Brien, 4th Earl of Inchiquin

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William McWilliam O'Brien, 4th Earl of Inchiquin, KB, PC(I) (1700 – 18 July 1777) was an Irish peer and politician.

Background[edit]

O'Brien was the eldest son of William O'Brien, 3rd Earl of Inchiquin and his wife, Mary (née Villiers), sister of the 1st Earl of Jersey, and inherited his father's titles in 1719. He founded the predecessor of the present day Royal Cork Yacht Club, the Water Club of the Cork Harbour, in 1720.

Political career[edit]

Inchiquin was Whig Member of Parliament for Windsor from 1722 to 1727, for Tamworth from 1727 to 1734, for Camelford from 1741 to 1747 and for Aylesbury from 1747 to 1754. In 1725, he had been appointed a Knight Companion of the Order of the Bath. From 1740 to 1741, he was Grand Master of the Premier Grand Lodge of England, Governor of County Clare from 1741 to 1777 and Custos Rotulorum of County Clare from 1762 to 1767. From 1744 to 1751, he was a Lord of the Bedchamber to Frederick, Prince of Wales and admitted to the Privy Council of Ireland in 1753. On his death in 1777, without surviving male heirs, his titles passed to his nephew, Murrough O'Brien, who was later created Marquess of Thomond.

Family[edit]

On 29 March 1720, he married his cousin, Lady Anne Hamilton, the eldest daughter and heiress of George Hamilton, 1st Earl of Orkney, and his wife Elizabeth (née Villiers). His wife became 2nd Countess of Orkney in her own right in 1737. They had five children:

  • Lady Mary (c.1721–1791), later 3rd Countess of Orkney
  • William, styled Lord O'Brien (1725–1727)
  • George, styled Lord O'Brien (1727–1728)
  • Augustus, styled Lord O'Brien (died in infancy)
  • Murrough, styled Lord O'Brien, later styled Viscount Kirkwall (1731–1741)

He married, secondly, Mary Moore, daughter of Stephen Moore, 1st Viscount Mount Cashell and Alicia Colville, on 12 October 1761

Additionally, Inchiquin was feted by antiquarians and many of the works of Irish history produced at this time are dedicated to him; as an Anglican deriving his lineage from an old Gaelic family, he was a politique choice for those wishing to disseminate their work in Ascendancy Ireland and Hanoverian Britain.

References[edit]

Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Sir Henry Ashurst
Samuel Travers
Member of Parliament for Windsor
17221727
With: Earl of Burford 1722–1726
Lord Vere Beauclerk 1726–1727
Succeeded by
Lord Vere Beauclerk
Viscount Malpas
Preceded by
Hon. Francis Willoughby
Hon. George Compton
Member of Parliament for Tamworth
17271734
With: Thomas Willoughby
Succeeded by
Lord John Sackville
Hon. George Compton
Preceded by
Sir Thomas Lyttelton
Hon. James Cholmondeley
Member of Parliament for Camelford
17411747
With: Charles Montagu
Succeeded by
The Earl of Londonderry
Samuel Martin
Preceded by
Charles Pilsworth
Hon. William Stanhope
Member of Parliament for Aylesbury
17471754
With: Edward Willes
Succeeded by
Thomas Potter
John Willes
Masonic offices
Preceded by
Lord Paisley
Grand Master of the
Premier Grand Lodge of England

1726–1727
Succeeded by
The Lord Coleraine
Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by
William O'Brien
Earl of Inchiquin
1719–1777
Succeeded by
Murrough O'Brien