Sir Thomas Prendergast, 1st Baronet

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Brigadier-General Sir Thomas Prendergast, 1st Baronet (c. 1660 – 11 September 1709) was an Irish politician and soldier.

He was the son of Thomas Prendergast (d. 1725) of Croane, County Limerick, and Eleanor Condor. On 15 July 1699 he was created a baronet, of Gort, in the County of Galway. On 10 August 1697 he married Penelope Cadogan (d. 1746), sister of William Cadogan, 1st Earl Cadogan, and daughter of Henry Cadogan. On his death at the Battle of Malplaquet he was succeeded by his son Sir Thomas Prendergast, 2nd Baronet.

He received his baronetage for informing King William III of the Jacobite plot to ambush the King's coach at Turnham Green. The plot had been conceived by Sir George Barclay, who landed at Romney in January 1696 intent upon assassinating the King. Prendergast was called upon on Thursday 13 February 1696 by Captain George Porter, one of the forty-odd conspirators, to stop the coach on Saturday 15 February. However, on the Friday he went to Whitehall and informed the Earl of Portland on the conspiracy. A man named Fisher had already reported the planned assassination but the plot was taken seriously only after Prendergast's account. It was made known on the Saturday morning that the King would not be driving to Richmond, and so the plotters postponed the assassination until the following Saturday 21 February. Another informer, De La Rue, revealed the plot but the King wanted confirmation from Prendergast, whom he felt he could trust and rely on. On the morning of the plot, the conspirators heard that guards had been dispatched but soon most of them had been rounded up and were eventually charged, thanks mainly to the testimonies of Prendergast.

He was rewarded with a grant from the Treasury and the Gort estate in County Galway, which was forfeited by the O'Shaughnessy family. This, and his marriage to Penelope Cadogan, enabled his family's fortunes to grow. He became a Member of Parliament for Monaghan Borough in 1703 and rose to the rank of Brigadier-General, seeing action at the Battle of Oudenarde and finally being killed at the Battle of Malplaquet on 11 September 1709 whilst leading his regiment against the French troops at Blaregnies.

Fighting against him at both of the latter battles was William O'Shaughnessy, whose forfeited lands his family now owned.

He was succeeded to the baronetcy by his son, Thomas. His widow was greatly troubled in her later years by a protracted lawsuit with the Butler family of Ballyline over the right to certain lands in County Galway.

References[edit]

Parliament of Ireland
Preceded by
Charles Dering
Robert Echlin
Member of Parliament for Monaghan Borough
1703–1710
With: Sir Richard Vernon, 3rd Bt
Succeeded by
Sir Alexander Cairnes, 1st Bt
Sir Richard Vernon, 3rd Bt
Baronetage of Ireland
New creation Baronet
(of Gort)
1699 – 1709
Succeeded by
Thomas Prendergast