Arthur Dillon, Count Dillon

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Arthur Dillon
Born 1670
County Roscommon, Ireland
Died 7 February 1733 (aged 62–63)
St Germain en Laye
  • Jacobite Army
  • French Army
Rank Lieutenant général (French Army)
Battles/wars Williamite War in Ireland; Nine Years' War (1688-97); War of the Spanish Succession (1701-14)
Relations Theobald, 7th Viscount Dillon (father)

Arthur Dillon, Count Dillon (1670 in the county of Roscommon – 7 February 1733 at St Germain en Laye) was a Jacobite soldier from Ireland who served in the French army.[1]


He was a younger son of Theobald, 7th Viscount Dillon who established Dillon's Regiment in 1688 and fought for James II of England in the Williamite War in Ireland, and was killed at the Battle of Aughrim 1691. In 1690 it was agreed that an Irish Brigade of 5,400 men, including Dillon's Regiment, would be sent to France in exchange for 6 French regiments. Arthur was placed in command of the regiment and landed with it at Brest on 1 May 1690.

Dillon's Regiment saw active service as a part of the French army during the Nine Years' War (1688-97) and the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-14). Arthur was promoted to maréchal de camp aged 34 and lieutenant général at only 36. He fought with success in the campaigns of Louis-Joseph de Vendôme in Spain and of François de Neufville de Villeroy in Italy, served under Claude Louis Hector de Villars (1708) and James FitzJames, 1st Duke of Berwick (1709). He defended Briançon in August 1709 and in 1713 he captured Kaiserslautern. He was later appointed commander in Dauphiné and governor of Toulon.[2]


In 1711 Arthur was created "Comte Dillon" in France by Louis XIV; and was awarded the Irish titles "Viscount Dillon" in 1717 and "Earl of Dillon" in 1721 by the monarch he recognised as James III (see Jacobite Peerage).


He married Catherine Sheldon, the daughter of an English Jacobite family, and a maid-of-honour to Mary of Modena, queen consort of James II of England. Catherine's parents were Ralph Sheldon of Ditchford, Worcs (1633–1723) and Elisabeth, heiress of Daniel Dunn of Garnish Hall in Essex. Their children included:

He was also a grandfather of the French generals Arthur Dillon and Théobald Dillon. He was a cousin of Gerard Lally.

He was a great-grandfather of the famous memoirist Henriette-Lucy, Marquise de La Tour du Pin Gouvernet, née Henriette-Lucy Dillon.

He also had an affair in 1709 with Claudine Guérin de Tencin while she was still a nun. She managed to leave her nunnery in 1712 and in 1717 gave birth to the philosopher d'Alembert.


  1. ^ Compendium of Irish biography, 1878
  2. ^ Mme de La Tour du Pin, Memoirs; Journal d'une femme de 50 ans, appendix III
  3. ^ Burke's Peerage (2003) p.1148.