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Henry Dillon, 11th Viscount Dillon

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Henry Dillon
Viscount Dillon
Arms of the Viscounts Dillon
PredecessorCharles, 10th Viscount Dillon
SuccessorCharles, 12th Viscount Dillon
Died3 November 1787 (aged 81–82)
Spouse(s)Charlotte Lee
Charles, Arthur, & others
FatherArthur Dillon, Count Dillon
MotherChristina Sheldon

Henry Dillon, 11th Viscount Dillon (1705–1787) was an Irish peer and a soldier in French service. He was the colonel proprietor of Dillon's Regiment, an Irish regiment of foot in French service, in 1741–1744 and again in 1747–1767. In the War of the Polish Succession (1733–1735), he fought at the sieges of Kehl and Philippsburg. In the War of the Austrian Succession (1740–1748), he was present at the Battle of Dettingen in 1743, on the French side, while King George II was present on the English side.

He then resigned from the colonelcy, left France and married the rich English heiress Charlotte Lee, daughter of George Lee, 2nd Earl of Lichfield, acquiring lands in Oxfordshire, England, in addition to his Irish lands. During his second term as colonel he was absent and the regiment was led by hired soldiers.

Birth and origins[edit]

Family tree
Henry Dillon with wife, parents, and other selected relatives.[a]

d. 1691

d. 1691

d. 1714





d. 1794




XXXSubject of
the article

Henry was born in 1705,[2] most likely at the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France, where the Jacobite court was. He was the second son of Arthur Dillon and his wife Christina Sheldon. His father, Arthur, had been born in 1670 in Ireland, a younger son of the 7th Viscount Dillon. Arthur had fought for the Jacobites in the Williamite War and had gone to France as the colonel of Dillon's Regiment with Mountcashel's Irish Brigade in April 1690 when Irish troops were sent to France in exchange for French troops sent to Ireland under Antoine Nompar de Caumont, duc de Lauzun. His father's family was Old English and descended from Sir Henry Dillon, who came to Ireland with Prince John in 1185.[3]

Henry's mother was a daughter of Ralph Sheldon, an English Catholic and an equerry to James II. Dominic Sheldon, the Jacobite general, was her uncle. She served as maid of honour to Queen Mary of Modena, James II's second wife.[4] Both parents were thus Jacobites and Catholics. Henry had four brothers and three sisters,[5] who are listed in his father's article. His elder brother Charles played an important role in his life as he would precede him in the viscountcy and in the colonelcy.[6]

Early life[edit]

While a child, Henry lived with his mother at the court in exile of James Francis Edward (the old pretender) at the Château-Vieux de Saint-Germain-en-Laye.[7] James II had died in 1701.[8] King Louis XIV of France recognised James Francis Edward as the rightful king of England and Ireland (as James III) and of Scotland (as James VIII).[9] Dillon's Regiment, led by Henry's father, fought for France in the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714). Louis XIV made Henry's father lieutenant-general in 1706 and comte de Dillon in 1711.[10] However, in 1713 Louis XIV signed the Peace of Utrecht recognising the Hanoverian succession and ending its support for the Jacobites.[11] James Francis Edward had to leave France and went to Lorraine, then to Avignon, a papal territory at the time, and finally to the Papal States in Italy. James Francis Edward's mother, the dowager queen, however, stayed behind at Saint-Germain-en-Laye.

In 1714 Henry's uncle the 8th Viscount Dillon died in Dublin, Ireland.[12][13][b] This uncle's father, Theobald Dillon, 7th Viscount Dillon, had been attainted as Jacobite in 1691 but had been pardoned and Henry, the 8th Viscount, had obtained the reversal of the attainder in 1693.[14] He therefore had recovered his title and lands. The 8th viscount was succeeded by his son Richard as the 9th viscount.[15]

In 1716 Henry, aged 11, was made an ensign to the colonel, his father, in the regiment.[16]

The dowager queen, Mary of Modena, died at the Château de Saint-Germain in 1718.[17][18] Henry and his parents were, however, allowed to stay in the castle. His mother lived in the castle until at least 1738.[19]

In 1722 James Francis Edward, who now resided at the Palazzo del Re in Rome,[20] created Henry's father Earl of Dillon.[21]

In 1730 Henry's elder brother Charles took over as colonel of Dillon's Regiment as their father retired.[22][23] Henry, aged 25, was promoted captain.[24] In 1733 his father died at the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye.[25] Charles, already colonel, now also succeeded in his father's titles, becoming the 2nd Count Dillon in France and the 2nd Earl of Dillon in the Jacobite peerage.[26]

In the War of the Polish Succession (1733–1735), Dillon's Regiment was part of Louis XV's Rhine army, commanded until his sudden death by James FitzJames, 1st Duke of Berwick, an illegitimate son of James, Duke of York, later James II. Henry fought under his elder brother Charles at the sieges of Kehl (1733) and Philippsburg (1734) where Berwick was beheaded by a cannonball.[27][28]

In 1737 Richard, the 9th Viscount, died in Ireland and Charles, already comte and earl, succeeded as the 10th viscount in the Irish peerage (see family tree).[29][30]

Viscount and colonel[edit]

Colour of Dillon's Regiment, showing the Irish harp in the centre

On 24 October 1741 Henry's elder brother Charles, the 10th Viscount and colonel of Dillon's Regiment, died in London without surviving children.[31][32] Charles was buried in St Pancras churchyard where Catholics were usually buried in London.[33][34] Henry succeeded him in all his titles: 11th Viscount Dillon, Earl of Dillon in the Jacobite peerage,[35] and comte de Dillon in France. He also became colonel proprietor of Dillon's regiment.[36]

In the War of the Austrian Succession (1740–1748) France challenged the succession of Maria Theresa to the Habsburg monarchy. Lord Dillon, as he now was, participated in the Battle of Dettingen 27 June 1743.[37] Being a peer of Ireland, Dillon resigned the colonelcy in favour of his younger brother James and left France in 1744 as England prepared a law to forbid its citizens to fight for foreign countries.[38] His brother James succeeded him as colonel-proprietor of Dillon's Regiment.[39]

Marriage and children[edit]

On 26 October 1744 Dillon, aged 39, married Charlotte Lee, second daughter of George Lee, 2nd Earl of Lichfield in a Catholic ceremony at the chapel of the Portuguese Embassy in London.[40][41][42] She was probably born late in 1724 and accordingly was 19 at the time. Her father had died in 1742 and her brother George Henry had succeeded as the 3rd earl.[43] Charlotte was a great-granddaughter of Charles II and Barbara Villiers by her paternal grandmother Charlotte Fitzroy.[44]

Henry and Charlotte had at least seven children:

  1. Charles (1745–1813), succeeded him as the 12th Viscount Dillon[45]
  2. Frances (1747–1825), married Sir William Jerningham, 6th Baronet Baronet Jerningham[46]
  3. Arthur (1750–1794), became colonel proprietor of Dillon's Regiment and was guillotined after the French Revolution[47]
  4. Catherine (1752–1797)[48]
  5. Laura (born 1754)[49]
  6. Charlotte (1755–1782), married Valentine Browne, 1st Earl of Kenmare (1754–1812)[50]
  7. Henry (1759–1837), became the last colonel of Dillon's Regiment and married Frances Trant[51]

Second term as colonel[edit]

Dillon's brother James commanded the regiment as colonel-proprietor from 1744 to 1745 when he was killed in the Battle of Fontenoy[52] fighting under Maréchal de Saxe for France against the English under the Duke of Cumberland. Thereupon the fourth brother, Edward, succeeded as colonel. He continued to fight with the regiment under de Saxe against the English under Cumberland, but in 1747 he was wounded at the Battle of Lauffeld, taken prisoner, and died.[53]

Dillon's brother Edward's unexpected death created a vacancy in the colonelcy of Dillon's Regiment that was hard to fill. The four brothers Charles, Henry, James, and Edward, had served one after the other as colonel, the fifth brother, Arthur Richard Dillon, was in holy orders. The only son born to Dillon, Charles, was 18 months old at the time and destined to be viscount, not colonel. Eventually, Louis XV allowed Dillon, to serve a second term as colonel, even if absent abroad.[54] This second term lasted 20 years 1747–1767, during which the regiment fought in the Seven Years' War (1756–1763) under several hired commanders. During these twenty years another son was born and grew up. This was Arthur, born 3 September 1750. He became owner and colonel of Dillon's Regiment on 25 August 1767 at the age of 16.[55][c] He went to France and was sent to America to fight in the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783) against the English.[56]

Lichfield inheritance[edit]

Charlotte, Dillon's wife turned out to be a rich heiress. Her father, George Lee, 2nd Earl of Lichfield, had died in 1742, two years before her marriage. The 3rd earl, her only surviving brother George Lee, 3rd Earl of Lichfield married in 1745, but his marriage was childless. When he died in 1772, he was succeeded by their uncle Robert Lee, 4th Earl of Lichfield, whose marriage also was childless. When the uncle, the 4th Earl, died 4 November 1776, the earldom became extinct.[57] Charlotte, the eldest surviving sister of the second earl, was the nearest relative and inherited the Lichfield estate.[58] However, Henry and Charlotte never went to live at Ditchley House, which was probably inhabited by the last Earl's widow, Catharine, who survived until 1784.[59]

Death, succession, and timeline[edit]

Dillon died 15 September 1787 in Mansfield Street, London, and was buried at St. Pancras churchyard.[60] He was succeeded by his eldest son, Charles, as the 12th Viscount.[61]

As only the year but neither the month nor the day of his birth is known, his age could be a year younger.
Age Date Event
0 1705 Born, probably at the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye.[62]
7–8 1713, 11 Apr The Peace of Utrecht ended the War of the Spanish Succession and France drops the Jacobites.[11]
8–9 1714, 13 Jan Uncle Henry, the 8th Viscount, died and was succeeded by his son Richard.[13]
8–9 1715, 1 Sep Death of Louis XIV; Regency until the majority of Louis XV[63]
10–11 1716 Made an ensign to the colonel, his father, in Dillon's Regiment.[16]
52–53 1723, 16 Feb Majority of Louis XV[64]
24–25 1730 Became captain,[24] whereas Charles, the future 10th Viscount, became colonel[23]
27–28 1733, 5 Feb Father died at the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye.[25]
31–32 1737 Richard, the 9th Viscount died and was succeeded by Henry's elder brother Charles.[29]
35–36 1741, 24 Oct Brother Charles, the 10th Viscount, died and he succeeded as the 11th Viscount.[33]
37–38 1743, 27 Jun Present at the Battle of Dettingen.[37]
37–38 1744 Resigned the colonelcy in favour of his younger brother James and left France.[39]
38–39 1744, 26 Oct Married Charlotte Lee, daughter of the 2nd Earl of Lichfield.[41]
39–40 1745, 11 May Brother James fell at the Battle of Fontenoy.[65]
41–42 1747, 2 Jul Brother Edward mortally wounded at the Battle of Lauffeld.[66]
42–43 1748, 18 Oct The Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle ended the War of the Austrian Succession.[67]
51–52 1757 Mother died in Paris.[68]
61–62 1767, 25 Aug Son Arthur took over as colonel and owner of Dillon's Regiment.[55]
70–71 1776, 4 Nov Wife inherited when the last earl of Lichfield died.[57]
81–82 1787, 15 Sep Died in London.[60]

Notes and references[edit]


  1. ^ This family tree is partly derived from the Dillon family tree pictured in La Tour du Pin.[1] Also see the list of children in the text.
  2. ^ Burke gives 13 January 1713, but Cokayne gives 13 January 1713/4 making it clear that Burke's date in an unadjusted Old Style date.
  3. ^ (Burke & Burke 1915)[36] give the second term as 1744–1772.


  1. ^ La Tour du Pin 1913, pp. 14–15. "Note généalogique sur la Maison des Lords Dillon"
  2. ^ Burke & Burke 1915, p. 646, right column, line 63a. "Hemry, 11th Viscount Dillon, b. [born] 1705 ..."
  3. ^ Webb 1878, p. 149, line 7. "... [Sir Henry Dillon] came to Ireland in 1185 as secretary to Prince John ..."
  4. ^ Burke & Burke 1915, p. 646, right column, line 18b. "He m. [married] Christina, Maid of Honour to Mary, wife of James II), dau. [daughter] of Ralph Sheldon, and d. [died] 5 Feb. 1733 ..."
  5. ^ O'Callaghan 1854, p. 48, line 36a. "Lieutenant-General Arthur Dillon, besides daughters, had 5 sons."
  6. ^ Cokayne 1916, p. 360, line 10. "10. Charles (Dillon) Viscount Dillon of Costello-Gallen [I. [Ireland] ] ..."
  7. ^ Corp 2004, p. 76. "James II was given the larger of the two royal châteaux, known as the château-vieux. The other, the château-neuf was retained by Louis as the official residence of the governor of the town ..."
  8. ^ Burke & Burke 1915, p. 38. "James II (who d. [died] 16 Sept. 1701, at St. Germains, where he was buried.) ..."
  9. ^ MacLeod 1999, p. 349. "... Louis XIV recognised his thirteen-year-old son as king."
  10. ^ Burke & Burke 1915, p. 646, right column, line 16. "He [Arthur Dillon] was created Count Dillon by Louis XIV, 1711 ..."
  11. ^ a b Miller 1971, p. 147, line 8. "On 11 April 1713 the peace was signed at Utrecht: in return for the acknowledgement of his grandson as Philip V of Spain, Louis had had to recognize the Hanoverian and Protestant succession in England."
  12. ^ Burke & Burke 1915, p. 646, right column, line 49. "He [Henry, the 8th Viscount] dying 13 Jan. 1713, left issue a son his successor ..."
  13. ^ a b Cokayne 1916, p. 359, line 34. "He [Henry, the 8th Viscount] d. [died] in Dublin, 13 and was bur. [buried] 23 Jan 1713/4 at Ballyhawnis, co. Mayo."
  14. ^ Lodge 1789, p. 195, line 1. "After this period it appears by a rule book of the Court of King's Bench, in Trinity Term (6. Will and Mary) that the outlawry against his father was reversed by the judgement of the said court, and which judgement was duly entered up and enrolled, and also examined by the House of Lords, 2 December 1697, when the Lord Viscount Massereene reported that the said outlawry was reversed."
  15. ^ Cokayne 1916, p. 360, line 3. "9. Richard (Dillon) Viscount Dillon of Costello-Gallen [I. [Ireland] ] ..."
  16. ^ a b O'Callaghan 1854, p. 49, line 2. "... was, when very young, or in 1716, Ensign to the colonel, his father;"
  17. ^ Dangeau 1859, p. 304. "Samedi 7 [May 1718] – On apprit ce matin, chez le roi, que la reine d'Angleterre étoit morte à Saint-Germain; Elle est morte comme une sainte, et comme elle a toujours vécu."
  18. ^ Debrett 1828a, p. cxxv, line 14. "... [Mary of Modena] survived him and d. [died] 8 May 1718 ..."
  19. ^ Corp2004, p. 338. "The other occupants included ... the dowager Countess Dillon (née Sheldon) ..."
  20. ^ Corp 2011, p. [1]. "... in the years after 1719 King James III and the Stuart court occupied the Palazzo del Re at the north end of the Piazza dei Santi Apostoli ..."
  21. ^ Burke & Burke 1915, p. 646, right column, line 18a. "... and was created Earl Dillon, 1722, by the Old Pretender."
  22. ^ O'Callaghan 1854, p. 48, line 42b. "... [Charles Dillon became] and Colonel, May 1st 1730."
  23. ^ a b O'Callaghan 1854, p. 48, line 36b. "In 1730, quitting the service, as he was then in his 60th year, resigned his regiment to his eldest son;"
  24. ^ a b O'Callaghan 1854, p. 49, line 3a. "[Henry] became full captain in May, 1730."
  25. ^ a b O'Callaghan 1854, p. 48, line 38. "... died February 5th, at the Palace of St. Germain-en-Laye, aged 63 years."
  26. ^ Ruvigny 1904, p. 41, line 13. "II. Charles (Dillon) second Earl, Viscount and Baron (Dillon) [Scotland]" ...
  27. ^ O'Callaghan 1854, p. 49, line 3b. "... in the war from 1733 to 1735, against the Germans, served at the sieges of Kehl and Philipsburgh ..."
  28. ^ Handley 2004, p. 883. "While he was inspecting the frontline on 12 June 1634, three cannonballs came directly to the place one of which took off his head ..."
  29. ^ a b Debrett 1828b, p. 748, line 24. "... whose only son Richard, 9th viscount, d. [died] without male issue, 1737;"
  30. ^ Burke & Burke 1915, p. 646, right column, line 56. "He [the 9th Viscount] was s. [succeeded] by his cousin Charles, 10th Viscount Dillon ..."
  31. ^ Burke & Burke 1915, p. 646, right column, line 57. "Charles, 10th Viscount Dillon, Col. proprietor of Dillon Regt., 1730–1741 (refer to Arthur, son of Theobald, 7th Viscount). He m. [married] 16 Jan. 1734-5 his cousin Frances, only child of 9th Viscount Dillon and had an only son Charles b. [born] 10 Nov. 1738; d. [died] May 1739. He d. 24  Oct. 1741 ..."
  32. ^ "A List of Deaths for the year 1741". Gentleman's Magazine. New series. Vol. 11. 1741. p. 554, left column, bottom. [24 October] The Lord Dillon of Ireland and Colonel of a Regiment in the French Service.
  33. ^ a b Cokayne 1916, p. 360, line 18. "He [Charles] d. [died] there [in London] s.p.s. [without surviving issue], 24 and was buried 27 Oct 1741 at St. Pancras, Midx. [Middlesex]."
  34. ^ Palmer 1870, p. 27}ps=. "... inside the church and on the churchyard, both of which were long noted as burial site of Roman Catholics who died in London and its vicinity.".
  35. ^ Ruvigny 1904, p. 41, line 20. "III. Henry (Dillon), third earl, viscount, baron [Dillon], [S. [Scotland] ] ..."
  36. ^ a b Burke & Burke 1915, p. 646, right column, line 63b. "[Henry] Col. proprietor of Dillon Regt., 1741–1744 and 1747–72;"
  37. ^ a b O'Callaghan 1854, p. 49, line 8. "... the Battle of Etingen where he was present ..."
  38. ^ O'Callaghan 1854, p. 49, line 10. "... an Act of Parliament being then in preparation to prevent British subjects from entering foreign service ..."
  39. ^ a b O'Callaghan 1854, p. 49, line 18. "When he was about to quit France, in 1744, he resigned his regiment there to his next brother, the Chevalier Jacques (or James) de Dillon, Knight of Malta ..."
  40. ^ Cokayne 1916, p. 360, line 22. "He m. [married], 26 Oct. 1744, at the Portuguese Embassy Chapel, Charlotte, 1st da. [daughter] and eventually h. [heiress] of George Henry [Lee], 2nd Earl of Lichfield ..."
  41. ^ a b Debrett 1828b, p. 748, line 32. "... [Henry] m. [married] 26 Oct. 1744, Charlotte Lee, eldest da. [daughter] of George-Henry, 2nd Earl of Lichfield, and at length sole h. [heiress] to the estates of the earls of Lichfield ..."
  42. ^ "A List of Marriages for the year 1745". Gentleman's Magazine. New series. Vol. 15. 1745. p. 51, right column, bottom. 26. [October] At the Portugal ambassador's chapel, the Lord Viscount Dillon, —to the Lady Charlotte Lee, sister to the Earl of Lichfield.
  43. ^ Burke 1866, p. 317, right column, line . "The earl [of Lichfield] d. [died] 13 February 1742, and was s. [succeeded] by his eldest son George Henry Lee, 3rd earl."
  44. ^ Burke 1866, p. 317, right column, line 29. "His lordship [Edward Lee, 1st Earl] m. [married] Lady Charlotte Fits-Roy, natural dau. [daughter] of King Charles II., by Barbara Villiers, Duchess of Cleveland ..."
  45. ^ Debrett 1828b, p. 749. "Charles, 12th viscount, whose claim to the viscountcy was established by the house of lords in Ireland, after a solemn hearing, 18 March 1788; b. [born] 6. Nov 1745 ..."
  46. ^ Debrett 1828a, p. 315. "Sir William [Jerningham], 6th bart. [baronet], m. [married] June 1767, Frances Dillon, eldest da. [daughter] of Henry, 11th Viscount Dillon ..."
  47. ^ Burke & Burke 1915, p. 646, right column, line 73. "... was guillotined 13 April 1794, during the Reign of terror."
  48. ^ Debrett 1828b, p. 748, line 51. "Catharine, b. [born] 4 June 1752, d. [died] 24 May 1797."
  49. ^ Debrett 1828b, p. 748, line 52. "Laura, b. [born] 21 April 1754."
  50. ^ Debrett 1828b, p. 723, line 44. "Valentine (called) 5th viscount Kenmare ... m. [married] 1st 7 July 1777, Charlotte Dillon, da. [daughter] of Henry, 11th Viscount Dillon ..."
  51. ^ Burke & Burke 1915, p. 646, right column, line 85. "Henry, major-gen. in the French and English services, Col. of the Dillon Regt. (in the English army 1794–8) when on the surrender of the 2nd Bn. [battalion] at San Domingo it passed to the English Army, b. [born] 28 June 1759; m. [married] 1stly 29 Apr. 1790 Frances, dau. [daughter] of Dominick Henry Trant of Easingwold ..."
  52. ^ Burke & Burke 1915, p. 646, right column, line 23. "James, Kt. of Malta, Col. of the Dillon Regt. fell at its head at Fontenoy, 30 April 1745."
  53. ^ "List of the Killed and Wounded of the Irish Regiments in French Service at the Battle at Lauffield village, near Maestricht, July 2, 1747". Gentleman's Magazine. New series. Vol. 17. 1747. p. 377, right column. Dillon's [regiment]. Killed, the Col. prisoner, and died.
  54. ^ O'Callaghan 1854, p. 49, line 48. "From 1747 the proprietorship of the regiment was consequently allowed to remain with the Lord Henry Dillon referred to, who though resident in England drew the profits on the appointments;"
  55. ^ a b O'Callaghan 1854, p. 50, line 7. "... Arthur, born in September, 1750, was in his seventeenth year; or of an age deemed sufficient for entering upon the Colonel-Proprietorship of the regiment, which had been reserved for him in France. He accordingly obtained it by a brevet of August 25th 1767 ..."
  56. ^ O'Callaghan 1854, p. 50, line 15. "... distinguished himself, with his regiment, against the English, during the War for the Independence of the United States of America."
  57. ^ a b Burke 1866, p. 317, right column, bottom. "His lordship d. [died] 4 November 1776, when the earldom of Lichfield and minor honours became extinct."
  58. ^ Cokayne 1893, p. 75, footnote d. "His [the 2nd earl of Lichfield's] eldest sister, Charlotte, became eventually the heiress of the estates of the family of Lee."
  59. ^ Cokayne 1893, p. 76, line 11. "His [the 4th Earl of Lichfield's] widow d. [died] 8. March 1784."
  60. ^ a b Cokayne 1916, p. 360, line 25. "He [Henry the 11th Viscount] d. [died] in Mansfield Str Midx, 15 and was bur. [buried] 25 Sep 1787 at St. Pancras, Midx."
  61. ^ Debrett 1828b, p. 748, last line. "The viscount d. [died] 3 Nov 1787, and was succeeded by his only son."
  62. ^ Burke & Burke 1915, p. 646, right column, line 63. "Hemry, 11th Viscount Dillon, b. [born] 1705 ..."
  63. ^ Goubert 1984, p. 406, line 5. "1715, 1er septembre: Mort de Louis XIV."
  64. ^ Goubert 1984, p. 406, line 43. "1723, 16 février: Majorité de Louis XV."
  65. ^ Burke & Burke 1915, p. 64g, right column, line 23. "James, Kt. of Malta, Col. of the Dillon Regt. fell at its head at Fontenoy, 30 April 1745."
  66. ^ Burke & Burke 1915, p. 646, right column, line 25. "Edward, b. [born] 1720, s. [succeeded] his brother in the command of Dillon's Regt. and was mortally wounded at Lauffeld, 1747."
  67. ^ Phillips 1911, p. 450, para 2. line five. "The definite treaty was signed on the 18th of October ..."
  68. ^ O'Callaghan 1854, p. 48, line 35. "... [his mother] died in Paris in 1757, aged 77 ..."


Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by Viscount Dillon
Succeeded by