William Cole, 3rd Earl of Enniskillen

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The Earl of Enniskillen
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
In office
1840 – 1886
Hereditary Peerage
Preceded byJohn Cole
Succeeded byLowry Cole
Personal details
Born25 January 1807
Died12 November 1886

The Rt. Hon. William Willoughby Cole, 3rd Earl of Enniskillen, FRS (25 January 1807 – 12 November 1886), known by his courtesy title of Viscount Cole from 1807 to 1840, was an Irish palaeontologist and Conservative Member of Parliament. He also served as the first Imperial Grand Master of the Orange Order from 1866 until his death. He was Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland from 1846 until his death.

Background and education[edit]

Cole was born into the Ulster branch of 'the Ascendancy', the Anglo-Irish aristocracy. He was the son of John Willoughby Cole, 2nd Earl of Enniskillen and his wife, Lady Charlotte Paget. The young Lord Cole was educated at Harrow and Christ Church, Oxford. In his youth he began to devote his leisure to the study and collection of fossil fishes, with his friend Sir Philip Grey Egerton, and he amassed a fine collection at Florence Court, his home just south-west of Enniskillen. This included many specimens that were described and figured by Agassiz and Egerton. This collection was subsequently acquired by the British Museum.

Political career[edit]

Lord Enniskillen was also involved in politics and represented (as Lord Cole) Fermanagh in the House of Commons between 1831 and 1840, when he succeeded his father, to become the third Earl, and entered the House of Lords as Baron Grinstead. In Dublin, he was a member of the Kildare Street Club.[1]


Florence Court, County Fermanagh

Lord Enniskillen married, firstly, Jane Casamaijor, daughter of James Casamaijor, in 1844, by whom he had seven children:

  • John Willoughby Michael Cole, Viscount Cole (16 December 1844 – 15 April 1850)
  • Lowry Cole, 4th Earl of Enniskillen (1845–1924)
  • Lady Charlotte June Cole (10 May 1847 – 3 September 1933), married James Hugh Smith-Barry and had issue
  • Lady Florence Mary Cole (5 August 1849 – 23 March 1924), married John Crichton, 4th Earl Erne and had issue
  • The Hon. Arthur Edward Casamaijor Cole (9 March 1851 – 17 August 1908), married and had issue
  • Lady Alice Elizabeth Cole (4 February 1853 – 25 August 1931), married Evelyn Ashley and had issue
  • Lady Jane Evelyn Cole (21 April 1855 – 19 March 1941)

After her death in 1855 he married, secondly, The Hon. Mary Emma Brodrick, daughter of The 6th Viscount Midleton, in 1865. He died in November 1886, aged 79, and was succeeded in his titles by his second but eldest surviving son from his first marriage, Lowry. The Countess of Enniskillen died in 1896.


  1. ^ Thomas Hay Sweet Escott, Club Makers and Club Members (1913), pp. 329–333


  • Kidd, Charles, Williamson, David (editors). Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage (1990 edition). New York: St Martin's Press, 1990.
  • ‹The template Rayment is being considered for deletion.› Leigh Rayment's Peerage Pages [self-published source][better source needed]
  • ‹The template Rayment-hc is being considered for deletion.› Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs
  • Lundy, Darryl. "FAQ". The Peerage.[unreliable source]

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Mervyn Archdall
Viscount Corry
Member of Parliament for Fermanagh
With: Mervyn Archdall 1831–1835
Mervyn Edward Archdale 1835–1840
Succeeded by
Mervyn Edward Archdale
Sir Arthur Brooke, Bt
Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by
John Willoughby Cole
Earl of Enniskillen
Succeeded by
Lowry Egerton Cole