Viscount Massereene

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John Clotworthy,
1st Viscount Massereene

Viscount Massereene is a title in the Peerage of Ireland. It was created in 1660, along with the subsidiary title of Baron Loughneagh. From 1665 to 1816 the Skeffington Baronetcy of Fisherwick was attached to the viscountcy and from 1756 to 1816 the Viscounts also held the title of Earl of Massereene. Since 1843 the peerages are united with titles of Viscount Ferrard, of Oriel and Baron Oriel, both in the Peerage of Ireland, and Baron Oriel, in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. The Viscount also holds the subsidiary titles of Baron Loughneagh (1660) and Baron Oriel (1790) in the Peerage of Ireland and Baron Oriel (1821) in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. As Baron Oriel, he sat in the House of Lords until 1999.

The family seat was Chilham Castle, near Canterbury, Kent.

Viscount Massereene[edit]

John Clotworthy was a prominent Anglo-Irish politician during the Civil War. In 1660 he was created Baron Loughneugh and Viscount Massereene in the Peerage of Ireland, with remainder to his son-in-law Sir John Skeffington, 4th Baronet, of Fisherwick, the husband of his daughter the Hon. Mary Clotworthy, and in default thereof to his heirs general. This makes the peerages unique in being the only extant Irish peerages that can descend through heirs general rather than heirs male only. Lord Massereene was succeeded according to the special remainder by his son-in-law, the second Viscount. In 1756 his great-grandson, the fifth Viscount, was created Earl of Massereene in Peerage of Ireland. However, the earldom and baronetcy became extinct in 1816 on the death of his grandson, the fourth Earl. The barony of Loughneugh and viscountcy of Massereene were inherited according to the special remainder (which allowed them to be passed on through the female line) by his daughter Harriet, the ninth Viscountess. She was the wife of Thomas Henry Foster, 2nd Viscount Ferrard (see below). Lord Ferrard and Lady Massereene were both succeeded by their son, the tenth Viscount Massereene and third Viscount Ferrard. In 1817 he assumed by Royal license the surname of Skeffington in lieu of Foster. His son, the eleventh and fourth Viscount, notably served as Lord Lieutenant of County Louth. His son, the twelfth and fifth Viscount, was Lord Lieutenant of Antrim and a member of the Senate of Northern Ireland. As of 2010 the titles are held by the latter's grandson, the fourteenth and seventh Viscount, who succeeded his father in 1992. Both he and his father have been presidents of the Conservative Monday Club.

Viscount Ferrard and Baron Oriel[edit]

John Foster, 1st Baron Oriel

John Foster served as Chancellor of the Irish Exchequer and as Speaker of the Irish House of Commons and also represented County Louth in the British House of Commons. In 1821 he was created Baron Oriel, of Ferrard in the County of Louth, in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. His wife Margaretta Amelia Foster was created Baroness Oriel, of Collon, in 1790, and Viscountess Ferrard, of Oriel in 1797, both in the Peerage of Ireland. Both Lord Oriel and Lady Ferrard were succeeded by their son, the second Viscount. He was the husband of Harriet Skeffington, 9th Viscountess Massereene. Both he and his wife were succeeded by their son, the tenth Viscount Massereene and ninth Viscount Ferrard. The titles remain united. For later history of the peerages, see above.

Skeffington baronets, of Fisherwick[edit]

William Skeffington was High Sheriff of Staffordshire in 1601 and 1623. On 8 May 1627 he was created a Baronet, of Fisherwick in the County of Stafford, in the Baronetage of England. The second Baronet was Member of Parliament for Newcastle under Lyme and served as High Sheriff of Staffordshire in 1637. The fourth Baronet married Hon. Mary Clotworthy, daughter of John Clotworthy, 1st Viscount Massereene. In 1665 he succeeded his father-in-law as second Viscount Massereene according to a special remainder in the letters patent. The titles remained united until the extinction of the baronetcy in 1816. For later history of the titles, see above.

Viscounts Massereene (1660)[edit]

Earls of Massereene (1756)[edit]

Viscounts Massereene; reverted (1660)[edit]

The heir apparent is the present holder's son Hon. Charles Clotworthy Whyte-Melville Foster Skeffington (born 1973).

Viscounts Ferrard (1797)[edit]

see above for further succession

Barons Oriel (1821)[edit]

see above for further succession

Skeffington baronets, of Fisherwick (1627)[edit]

see above for further succession


  1. ^ O'Sullivan, Donal, Carolan: The Life Times and Music of an Irish Harper, London, 1958, Vol. II, p. 63

Further reading[edit]

  • The Extraordinary Career of the 2nd Earl of Massereene, 1743–1805; a volume of select documents with explanatory notes and introduction by A. P. W. Malcomson. (Ulster Characters.) Belfast: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1972 ISBN 0-337-02282-8