Sir George Hamilton, 1st Baronet, of Donalong

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George Hamilton
Baronet of Donalong and Nenagh
SuccessorJames Hamilton
Bornc. 1607
Spouse(s)Mary Butler
James, George, Anthony, Richard, & others
FatherJames, 1st Earl of Abercorn
MotherMarion Boyd

Sir George Hamilton, 1st Baronet (c. 1608 – 1679), born in Scotland, inherited land in Ireland and fought in the Irish Army for the royalists under his brother-in-law James Butler, 1st Duke of Ormond during the Confederate Wars and the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland, during which he defended Nenagh Castle against Henry Ireton. He was father of Antoine Hamilton, author of the Mémoires du Comte de Grammont, of Richard Hamilton, Jacobite general, and of Elizabeth, Countess de Gramont, "la belle Hamilton".

Birth and origins[edit]

George was born about 1608,[1][2] probably in Paisley, Scotland. He was the fourth son of James Hamilton and his wife Marion Boyd. His father had been created 1st Earl of Abercorn by James VI and I in 1606. His paternal grandfather was Claud Hamilton, the 1st Lord of Paisley. George's mother was a daughter of Thomas Boyd, 6th Lord Boyd of Kilmarnock in Scotland.

George's father had been a Protestant, but his mother, Marion Boyd, was a recusant, who brought him, like all his siblings, up in the Catholic faith. His uncle George Hamilton of Greenlaw and Roscrea pushed in the same direction.[3]

George had four brothers and four sister,[4] who are listed in his father's article.

Family tree
George Hamilton with wife, parents, and other selected relatives. Earls 3 to 5 are not shown. Earl 3 descends from Earl 2. Earls 4 & 5 descend from Claud Hamilton of Strabane.[a]
1st Ld


d. 1616
1st Earl


d. 1632
& Roscrea

d. bef. 1657
2nd Earl

d. c. 1670
2nd Baron
of Strabane

d. 1638
1st Bt.

c. 1608 –

d. 1680
d. 1676
c. 1655 –
d. 1691
c. 1630 –

d. 1709
d. 1687
R. N.
6th Earl

c. 1661 –
d. 1692
d. 1737
XXXEarls of

Early life[edit]

George was about 11 years old on 23 March 1618 when his father, the 1st Earl of Abercorn, died.[8] His father had been an undertaker in James VI and I's 1611 Plantation of Ulster and had as such acquired large estates in Ireland, mainly around Strabane in County Tyrone. George's eldest brother, James, succeeded to his father's title of Earl of Abercorn, but the Irish lands were shared among the younger sons according to his father's will. The lion's share, including Strabane, went to George's elder brother Claud. George inherited Donalong,[9] which would later appear in the territorial designation of his baronetcy in 1660. His father had predeceased his paternal grandfather, the 1st Lord Paisley, who died three years later in 1621.[10] George's eldest brother James, the 2nd Earl of Abercorn, inherited at that time the title of Lord Paisley and the family's Scottish lands.

George Hamilton also became the owner of land around Roscrea and Nenagh in northern Munster, probably when his uncle George of Greenlaw and Roscrea died. He also became owner, together with Sir Basil Brooke and Sir George Russell of the Knockaunderrig Silver Mine at Knockanroe in the Silvermine Mountains at the village of Silvermines, south of Nenagh.[11]

In 1627 Hamilton succeeded Sir Roger Hope to the command of a company of foot in the Irish Army.[12]

Marriage and children[edit]

In 1629 George Hamilton married Mary Butler, youngest daughter of Thomas Butler, Viscount Thurles.[13][14] Her eldest brother, James, thereby became his brother-in-law, who would become his boss when appointed commander-in-chief of the Irish army.

George and Mary had six sons:

  1. James (died 1673), became ranger of Hyde Park and lost a leg in a sea-fight;[15]
  2. George (died 1676), killed in French service at the Col de Saverne.[16]
  3. Anthony (1646–1720), fought for the Jacobites and wrote the Mémoires du comte de Grammont;[17]
  4. Thomas (died 1687), served in the Royal Navy and died in Boston, Massachusetts;[18][19][20]
  5. Richard (died 1717),[21] fought for the Jacobites and was taken prisoner at the Boyne.[22]
  6. John (died 1691), Colonel in the Irish army, comte de Hamilton, was killed in the Battle of Aughrim;[23]

—and three daughters:

  1. Elizabeth (1641–1708), a famous beauty, married Philibert de Gramont;[24]
  2. Lucia (died 1676), married Sir Donough O'Brien in 1674.[25]
  3. Margaret, married in July 1674 Mathew Forde of Seaforde County Down and Coolgreany County Wexford.[26]


In 1632 his mother died in Edinburgh.[27]

Some time before 1634 he was created a baronet and thus became Sir George, but the territorial designation and the baronetage (country) are unknown.[28]

In 1641, at the beginning of the Irish Rebellion, Sir George was, during a visit to England, suspected to support the rebellion as he was Catholic. He was arrested and shortly held at the Tower of London but was soon released on bail.[29] In that same year Phelim O'Neill burned Strabane Castle and sent him Jean Gordon, his brother Claude's widow and her children who had been living in Strabane Castle.[30]

On 2 February 1642 the Knockaunderrig Silver Mine, which Sir George operated together with Sir Basil Brooks and Sir William Russell, was attacked by local rebels under the leadership of Hugh O'Kennedy and 32 Protestant English miners seem to have been killed.[31]

On 5 June 1646 Owen Roe O'Neil with the Confederate Ulster army defeated the Covenanters under Robert Monro.[32] O'Neill then marched south to Kilkenny as directed by Rinuccini, the papal nuncio.[33][34] Leinster and Munster was treated as enemy territory and on 17 September 1646, O'Neil attacked and captured Roscrea where Sir George's wife and children lived. The Ulstermen spared his family but put everybody else to the sword.[35][36] O'Neill then menaced Dublin in November 1646.

It seems that Sir George had been with the King in England. In January 1647 he returned to Dublin with a message instructing Ormond to hand Dublin over to the English rather than the Irish.[37]

In January 1649 Sir George was appointed receiver-general of the revenues for Ireland succeeding to Lord Roscommon.[38] He was also made a colonel of foot in the Irish army and upheld the Royalist cause against Cromwell. In 1649 he was appointed governor of Nenagh[39] for his brother in law, James Butler, at that time the Marquess of Ormond, leader of the royalists. At the end of 1650 he defended Nenagh Castle against the Parliamentarian army under Henry Ireton, which attacked it on the way from the siege of Limerick back to their winter quarters at Kilkenny. He surrendered the castle on 10 November 1650 after Ireton had menaced to breach its walls with artillery.[40][41]

A round castellated tower
The keep of Nenagh Castle

French exile[edit]

His Irish lands were confiscated, and in spring 1651 he and his family followed Ormond into French exile. They first went to Caen[42] where Ormond's wife Elizabeth Preston lived since 1648.[43] Ormond introduced him to Charles II's exile court at the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye.[44] His wife went to Paris where she lived in the convent of the Feuillantines.[45] In 1656 or 1657 Charles sent him, together with Donough MacCarty, 2nd Viscount Muskerry, to Madrid on a diplomatic mission.[46]

Restoration and death[edit]

In 1660, after the Restoration, he returned to London and stayed at the court of Charles II at Whitehall. In that same year the king created him Baronet of Donalong and Nenagh for his services to the royal cause.[13] The two places mentioned in the territorial designation of the baronetcy are both in Ireland but quite far from each other. Donalong (also spelled Dunnalong) refers to his lands in County Tyrone, Ulster, whereas Nenagh refers to the town in County Tipperary, Munster, of which he had been governor. Although several sources mention the creation of the baronetcy, it seems to have never been carried out entirely.[b]

He died in 1679 at the age of 71 or 72 years.[51] He was succeeded by his grandson James Hamilton, 6th Earl of Abercorn, who never assumed the title of Baronet[51] but would later succeed to the earldom of Abercorn.

Notes, citations, and sources[edit]


  1. ^ This family tree is based on a drawn pedigree[5] and written genealogies of the Abercorns.[6][7] Also see the lists of siblings and children in the text.
  2. ^ Most sources agree that George Hamilton (d. 1681) was created a Baronet of Donalong and Nenagh in 1660. However, some say it was in the peerage of Ireland,[47][48][49] others in that of Scotland.[13] Lodge (1789b) says it is in the baronetage of Nova Scotia.[50] Hamilton's grandson succeeded him in 1679 and should have become the 2nd Baronet Hamilton of Donalong and Nenagh, but never assumed the title.[51] This might indicate that this baronetcy had never been created. Cokayne (1903) comments "This non-assumption of the dignity throws some little doubt on its creation."[52]


  1. ^ a b Wasser 2004, p. 838, left column, line 35. "His fourth son, Sir George Hamilton, first baronet (c. 1608–1679) soldier and landowner "
  2. ^ Cokayne 1903, p. 305, line 4. "... was b. [born] probably about 1607;"
  3. ^ Wasser 2004, p. 838 left column, line 36. "... was raised, along with his siblings, by his uncle, Sir George Hamilton of Greenlaw, who converted them to Roman Catholicism."
  4. ^ Millar 1890, p. 177, left column, line 22"Abercorn married Marion, eldest daughter of Thomas, fifth Lord Boyd, by whom he had five sons and four daughters."
  5. ^ Cokayne 1910, p. 4. "Tabular pedigree of the Earls of Abercorn"
  6. ^ Cokayne 1910, p. 2–11.
  7. ^ Paul 1904, p. 37–74.
  8. ^ a b Cokayne 1910, p. 3, line 1. "He [James Hamilton] d. v.p. [predeceased his father] at Monkton 23 Mar. and was bur. 29 Ap. 1618 in the Abbey Church, Paisley, age 43."
  9. ^ Lodge 1789b, p. 110. "The great proportion and manor of Donalong on his third son George and his heirs ... [footnote]"
  10. ^ a b Holmes 2004, p. 778, right column. "Lord Claud lived in retirement for over twenty years, dying in 1621, and was buried in Paisley Abbey"
  11. ^ Gleeson 1937, p. 106. "In the times of Charles I, Sir G. Hamilton procured the concession for mine royal and had expended several 1000 pounds."
  12. ^ Lodge 1789b, p. 117. "On 16 October 1627 he succeeded Sir Roger Hope (who died 7 September) in the command of his company in the army."
  13. ^ a b c d Burke & Burke 1915, p. 54, right column, line 33. "4. George (Sir), 1st Bart. of Donalong ... m. [married] 1629 Mary 3rd dau. [daughter] of Thomas Viscount Thurles and sister of the 1st Duke of Ormonde. He d. [died] 1679. She d. Aug 1680 ..."
  14. ^ Lodge 1789a, p. 40, line 14. "Mary, married to Sir George Hamilton, ancestor by her to the Earl of Abercorn, and died in August 1680."
  15. ^ Burke & Burke 1915, p. 54, right column, line 38. "1. James, Col. ... he d.v.p. [predeceased his father] of a wound received in a naval engagement with the Dutch, 6 June 1673 and was buried in Westminster Abbey."
  16. ^ a b Sergeant 1913, p. 217. "At the beginning of June [1676] he took part in the battle of Zebernstieg [Col de Saverne] and was engaged in covering the French retreat on Saverne when he was killed by a musket-shot."
  17. ^ Burke & Burke 1915, p. 54, right column, line 59. "Anthony, the celebrated Count Hamilton, author of 'Mémoires de Grammont', Lieut.-Gen. in the French service, d. [died] 20 April 1719, aged 74."
  18. ^ Burke 1869, p. 3, left column, line 25. "Thomas, in the sea service; d. in New England."
  19. ^ Clark 1921, p. 74. "[Thomas Hamilton] rendered James no small service in capturing, off the west coast of Scotland, some of the ships which the Earl of Argyle had equipped to aid Monmouth in his rising."
  20. ^ Sewall 1878, p. 176. "May 9 [1687]. Hamilton, Capt. of the Kingsfisher dies."
  21. ^ Burke 1869, p. 3, left column, line 26. "Richard, lieut.-gen., d. in France."
  22. ^ Boulger 1911, p. 155. "Richard Hamilton had been wounded and taken prisoner by the time that William's cavalry came down from Donore on the right flank of the Irish infantry commanded by him in and behind Oldbridge."
  23. ^ Burke 1869, p. 3, left column, line 27. "John, Colonel in the army of James II., killed at the battle of Aughrim."
  24. ^ Burke 1869, p. 3, left column, line 29. "Elizabeth, the beautiful and accomplished wife of Philibert, comte de Grammont; she d. 1708."
  25. ^ Burke 1869, p. 3, left column, line 31. "Lucia, m. [married] to Sir Donogh of Lamineagh, Bart"
  26. ^ Burke 1869, p. 3, left column, line 33. "Margaret, m. [married] to Mathew Forde, Esq. of Seaforde."
  27. ^ a b Cokayne 1910, p. 3, line 3. "His widow, a prominent Rom. Cath., who was excommunicated in the kirk of Paisley on 20 Jan. 1628, d. [died] in the Canongate, Edinburgh, 26 Aug., and was bur. 13 Sep. 1632 with her husband."
  28. ^ Wasser 2004, p. 838, left column, line 41. "Some time before 5 June 1634 he was made a baronet but of which country is not known."
  29. ^ a b Sergeant 1913, p. 145, line 16. "Although arrested as a Papist in 1641, during a visit to England, sent to the Tower, and deprived of his commission in the army ... "
  30. ^ Graham 1841, p. 277. "He carried the unfortunate lady to his castle at Kinnaird, where he kept her two or three days, and then sent her to Sir George Hamilton ..."
  31. ^ a b Gleeson 1937, p. 109. "... the alleged murder of 32 Protestants, men, women and children, at the mine workings ..."
  32. ^ Cusack 1871, p. 317. "... encamped at Benburb. Here, on the 5th of June A.D. 1646 he [Owen Roe O’Neill] won a victory ..."
  33. ^ Hayes-McCoy 1990, p. 197. "He [Owen Roe O'Neill] listened to the nuncio's plea, 'quitted the opportunity of conquest in Ulster' and marched south."
  34. ^ Coffey 1914, p. 178. "Now seemed the time to follow up the victory of Benburb and subdue the whole North of Ireland; but it was not to be for letters from the Nuncio cause O'Neill to withdraw from the North and move South ..."
  35. ^ Sergeant 1913, p. 145, line 21. "For some reason, when the rebel leader Owen O'Neill took Roscrea, Tipperary, the home of the Hamiltons, in September 1646, and put the inhabitants to the sword, he spared Lady Hamilton and her young children ..."
  36. ^ a b Carte 1851, p. 265. "... after taking Roscrea on Sept. 17, and putting man, woman, and child to the sword, except sir G. Hamilton's lady, sister to the marquis of Ormond ..."
  37. ^ Carte 1851, p. 299. "About the same time [Jan 1647], some persons of quality (particularly sir G. Hamilton the younger) arrive at dublin, having been privately dispatched with signification of his majesty's pleasure, upon the advertisement he had received of the condition of Ireland to this purpose; 'that if it were possible for the marquis to keep Dublin ... but if there we or should be a necessity ... he should rather put them into the hands of the English than of the Irish.' "
  38. ^ a b Clark 1921, p. 5. "In January 1649, after the peace between the Lord Lieutenant and the Confederates, Sir George was appointed Receiver-General of the Revenues for Ireland, in the place of the Earl of Roscommon who had died."
  39. ^ Wasser 2004, p. 838, left column, line 48. "In 1649 he was made governor of Nenagh Castle ... "
  40. ^ a b Warner 1768, p. 228. "... taking Nenagh and two other castles, on the tenth of November, he came to his winter quarters at Kilkenny."
  41. ^ R. Y. 1833, p. 298, line 10. "The terrible Ireton, when Cromwell left him as his deputy in Ireland, on his way to the siege of Limerick in 1651 battered it from the high ground to the east, and the garrison, finding it untenable, surrendered it at discretion, when, as local tradition has it, Ireton caused its Governor to be hung out of the topmost window of the keep."
  42. ^ a b Millar 1890, p. 177, left column, line 46. "... the Marquis of Ormonde, whom he [Sir George Hamilton] followed to Caen in the spring of 1651 with his wife and family."
  43. ^ Carte 1851, p. 384. "The marchioness of Ormond had landed in that country on June 23d [1648], with her three sons and two daughters, and had taken up her residence at Caen"
  44. ^ Williams 2014, p. 261. "... Ormond's Roman Catholic brother-in-law Sir George Hamilton, were incorporated into the exiled court at Paris through Ormond's good word."
  45. ^ Clark 1921, p. 8, line 27. "... his [Antoine Hamilton's] mother and his aunt, Lady Muskerry, had apartments at the Couvent des Feuillantines in Paris ..."
  46. ^ Clark 1921, p. 9. "A little later [in 1657], Charles ... despatched Sir George Hamilton and his brother-in-law, Lord Muskerry, to Madrid to find out whether it would be agreeable to the King of Spain that the Irish now in Spain and those who would come over from the French should be sent immediately into Ireland."
  47. ^ Burke 1869, p. 2, right column, bottom. "George (Sir) of Donalong, co. Tyrone, and Nenagh, co. Tipperary, created a baronet of Ireland, in 1660, for his services to the royal cause."
  48. ^ a b Millar 1890, p. 177, left column, line 48. "On the Restoration he returned to England, was created a baronet of Ireland in 1660, and received other grants from Charles II in recompense for his services."
  49. ^ Cokayne 1903, p. 305, line 7. "... the Restoration about which period (1660?) he is said to have been created a baronet [I.] ..."
  50. ^ Lodge1789b, p. 111. "Sir George Hamilton, Baronet of Nova Scotia, ancestor to the present Earl of Abercorn."
  51. ^ a b c d Burke & Burke 1915, p. 55, left column, bottom. "James, 6th Earl of Abercorn, who had declined assuming the title of Baronet on the decease of his grandfather, 1679, and was known as Captain Hamilton."
  52. ^ Cokayne 1903, p. 305, note c. "This non-assumption of the dignity throws some little doubt on its creation."
  53. ^ Fryde et al. 1986, p. 44, line 16. "Charles I. ... acc. 27 Mar. 1625 ..."
  54. ^ Fryde et al. 1986, p. 169, line 4. "1643, 13 Nov. /21 Jan. 1644 /James Butler, 1st m. of Ormond, L.L. [Lord Lieutenant] (appd by K. Charles I)"
  55. ^ Duffy 2002, p. 114. "When the latter [O'Neill] scored a surprise victory at Benburn, on 5 June 1646, over the Ulster Scots led by General Robert Munro, it seemed that the confederates were in sight of victory ..."
  56. ^ Fryde et al. 1986, p. 44, line 17. "Charles I. ... exec. 30 Jan. 1649 ..."
  57. ^ Fryde et al. 1986, p. 44, line 39. "Charles II. ... acc. 29 May 1660 ..."
  58. ^ Debrett 1816, p. 93, line 7. "d. [died] of a wound in 1673 received commanding a regiment of foot, on board of the navy, with the Duke of York in one of his sea expeditions against the Dutch."
  59. ^ Paul 1904, p. 57, line 3. "His regiment being embarked on board the navy, in one of the expeditions of the Duke of York against the Dutch, Colonel Hamilton had one of his legs taken off by a cannon ball of which wound he died 6 June 1673 ..."


Further reading[edit]

Baronetage of Ireland
New creation Baronet
(of Donalong, Tyrone)
Succeeded by