William Somerville, 1st Baron Athlumney

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The Lord Athlumney

Chief Secretary for Ireland
In office
22 July 1847 – 21 February 1852
Prime MinisterLord John Russell
Preceded byHenry Labouchere
Succeeded byLord Naas
Personal details
Born1802 (1802)
Died7 December 1873 (1873-12-08)
Dover, Kent
Political partyLiberal
Spouse(s)(1) Lady Maria Conyngham
(d. 1843)
(2) Maria Jones
Alma materChrist Church, Oxford

William Meredyth Somerville, 1st Baron Athlumney, 1st Baron Meredyth PC (1802 – 7 December 1873), known as Sir William Somerville, Bt, between 1831 and 1863, was an Anglo-Irish Liberal politician. He was born in 1802.

Background and education[edit]

Athlumney was the son of Sir Marcus Somerville, 4th Baronet of Somerville, in the County of Meath, and Mary Anne, daughter of Sir Richard Gorges-Meredyth, 1st Baronet. He was educated at Christ Church, Oxford.

Political career[edit]

Athlumney was returned to Parliament for Drogheda in 1837, a seat he held until 1852, and served under Lord John Russell as Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department from 1846 to 1847 and as Chief Secretary for Ireland from 1847 to 1852 during the worst of the Great Famine. In 1847 he was sworn of the Privy Council. He lost his seat in the 1852 general election, but was successfully returned for Canterbury in 1854, and continued to represent this constituency until 1865. In 1863 he was raised to the Peerage of Ireland as Baron Athlumney, of Somerville and Dollarstown in the County of Meath, and in 1866 he was further honoured when he was created Baron Meredyth, of Dollarstown in the County of Meath, in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. This second title commemorated his descent from the Meredyth family.


Lord Athlumney married firstly Lady Maria Harriet, daughter of Henry Conyngham, 1st Marquess Conyngham, in 1832. They had one son (who died as an infant) and one daughter. After her death in December 1843 he married secondly Maria Georgiana Elizabeth, daughter of Herbert George Jones, in 1860. They had two sons (of whom the youngest died as a child). Lord Athlumney died in Dover, Kent, in December 1873 and was succeeded by his eldest and only surviving son from his second marriage, James. Lady Athlumney died in January 1899, aged 67.



External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Hon. Randal Plunkett
Member of Parliament for Drogheda
Succeeded by
James McCann
Preceded by
Henry Plumptre Gipps
Henry Butler-Johnstone
Member of Parliament for Canterbury
With: Charles Manners Lushington 1854–1857
Henry Butler-Johnstone 1857–1862
Henry Munro-Butler-Johnstone 1862–1865
Succeeded by
Henry Munro-Butler-Johnstone
John Walter Huddlestone
Political offices
Preceded by
Hon. John Manners-Sutton
Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department
Succeeded by
Sir Denis La Marchant, Bt
Preceded by
Henry Labouchere
Chief Secretary for Ireland
Succeeded by
Lord Naas
Peerage of Ireland
New creation Baron Athlumney
Succeeded by
James Somerville
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Meredyth
Succeeded by
James Somerville
Baronetage of Ireland
Preceded by
Marcus Somerville
(of Somerville)
Succeeded by
James Somerville