Nicholas Netterville, 1st Viscount Netterville

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Nicholas Netterville of Dowth, County Meath, Ireland, was born in 1581, and succeeded his father, John Netterville, in the family estate on 20 September 1601. Although an enemy accused them of being "but a mean family" the Nettervilles had been in Ireland since c.1280 and had been established at Dowth since before 1500; they were related to many of the leading families of The Pale including Lord Howth and the Luttrells of Luttrellstown Castle. Nicholas was the grandson of Luke Netterville, judge of the Court of King's Bench (Ireland) and nephew of the statesman Richard Netterville. His mother was Eleanor Gernon, daughter of Sir James Gernon. Being "a person of many good qualities" [1] he was created, 3 April 1622, Viscount Netterville,[2] of Dowth in the County Meath, taking his seat, 14 July 1634. He died in 1654 and was buried at Mountown, County Dublin.[3]

Rebellion of 1641 and Confederacy[edit]

Despite the Crown's previous regard for him, his loyalty was gravely suspect during the Irish Rebellion of 1641 and the ensuing English Civil War.[4] His eldest son John was one of the staunchest supporters of toleration for Roman Catholics, and since Nicholas permitted two of his younger sons to become Jesuits, there can be little doubt where his own religious sympathies lay. As a result, he and his sons seem to have played a double game during the Rebellion, professing their loyalty to the Crown while secretly offering support to the rebels.[5]

On 26 July 1644 he took the oath of association to the Irish Confederacy and was one of three commissioners sent to accompany the Papal Nuncio, Giovanni Battista Rinuccini, to Kilkenny. In 1647 he took an oath that the Church be restored to its pre-Reformation state, but he actively opposed the Nuncio in 1648 and later joined with Ormonde.[6]

Last years[edit]

Under the Act for the Settlement of Ireland 1652 Lord Netterville and his eldest son were denied a pardon for their lives and estates, but he does not seem to have been seriously ill-treated,[7] whether because of his age or because John's wife, a daughter of Richard Weston, 1st Earl of Portland, used her influence on his behalf, is uncertain.

Marriages and issue[edit]

The Viscount married firstly Eleanor, daughter of Sir John Bathe, Esq., of Drumcondra, Dublin, and had eight sons:[8]

and five daughters:

Luke, Patrick, Richard and Thomas all took part in the 1641 Rebellion; Christopher and Nicholas were Jesuits. Patrick and Robert founded junior branches of the family from whom later Viscounts were descended.

Eleanor died in 1634 and the Viscount remarried Mary, daughter of Alderman Brice of Drogheda; it was her third marriage. They had no children.

See also[edit]

Butler dynasty


  1. ^ Cokayne, George Edward (1895). Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct, or Dormant, Volume 6. London: George Bell & Sons, pp. 9-10
  2. ^ Courthope, William (1889). Debrett's Complete Peerage of the United Kingdom and Ireland. London: J. G. & F. Rivington, p. 610
  3. ^ Cokayne, George Edward (1895). Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct, or Dormant, Volume 6. London: George Bell & Sons, pp. 9-10
  4. ^ Bagwell, Richard "John Netterville " Dictionary of National Biography 1885-1900 Vol. 40 pp.236-7
  5. ^ Bagwell, pp.236-7
  6. ^ Bagwell, pp.236-7
  7. ^ Bagwell, pp.236-7
  8. ^ Burke, Sir Bernard (1866). A Genealogical History of the Dormant, Abeyant, Forfeited, and Extinct Peerages of the British Empire. London: Harrison and Sons, p. 392
Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by
New Creation
Viscount Netterville
Succeeded by
John Netterville