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The Power-Beresford Family

The Power family came to Ireland with Henry II at the Anglo~Norman invasion. Eight years later extensive lands in Co.Waterford were granted to Sir Robert le Poer. Sir Robert was Knight Marshal and joint governor of Ireland in 1169 with Hugh de Lacy. King John’s Bridge which spans the Clodagh River, was built by the Power family for Prince John when he came to Curraghmore to extract fealty from all the ruling chiefs, about 1185. Sir Robert's eldest son became the Baronet of Donoyle (now Dunhill) and Lord Kilmayden (now Kilmeaden). The estates of this line were confiscated by Cromwell. It is from the younger son of Sir Robert. that the Curraghmore line descended.

As early as Sept. 4th 1368 the- Powers (with the O'Hedriscolls of West Cork) were at open war with the citizens of Waterford City. They were met by John Malpas, Mayor with the city forces. The mayor was carried home "cut to pieces" and was buried in Christ Church. Again in 1461 these two septs attacked the city. The Mayor and citizens defeated them on this occasion. They captured their gallies (which had landed the O'Hedriscolls at Tramore). It was in this victory that the three gallies quartered on the city arms had their origin.

In 1461 the citizens had a statute passed in the Irish Parliament against Richard le Poer "as enemy to God and a great rebel to the King." Nevertheless, the family ruled Go.Waterford as hereditary sheriffs for many generations.

Sir Richard Power, a son-in-law of the powerful, Earl of Ormond, became a member of the Irish House of Lords on 13th Sept. 1535 when he received from Henry the titles of Lord Power and Curraghmore "the remainders of them heir male of his body forever.

Richard, 6th Lord Power, became Earl of Tyrone and Viscount Decies in 1673. He served as alderman on the corporation, elected under charter of James.

In 1690 Lord Tyrone was a colonel in King James' army and after the surrender of Cork he was brought to the Tower ' of London and beheaded for his part in the struggle against William of Orange.

When Cromwell came to Curraghmore, there was only a child and his mother living there, the father (John Og) having been slain by the White Knight. The widow invited Cromwell to lunch, and thus saved herself, the child and the house.

Lord Tyrone left two sons, John and James. John died in 1693. He was succeeded by his brother James who was the last Earl of Tyrone and died in 1704, leaving his. estates to his daughter, Lady Catherine Power. Lady Catherine married Sir Marcus Beresford in 1717 and Curraghmore passed into the hands of the Beresford family. Sir Marcus was given the titles of Earl of Tyrone, Viscount Tyrone, and Baron Beresford, by George lst on 4th Nov. 1720.

His ancestor, Tristram Beresford, came over to Coleraine in the reign of James I as manager of the New Plantation of Ulster. Tristram’s son was created baronet. It was the 4th Baronet who married Lady Catherine. He died in 1763. His son George de la Poer, 2nd Earl of Tyrone, was born in 1735 and he was the person on whom the title "Marquis of Waterford" was first conferred in 1789. The first Marquis died in London in 1800. He is buried at Clonegam.

John Beresford (1739-1805), whose mother was a de la Poer, exercised almost unlimited political influence which he employed in suppression of the 1798 Insurrection and in furthering the passing of the Act of Union. Many of the best architectural features of Dublin can be attributed to his efforts.

When the Curraghmore Rangers were formed (to protect the country from an expected French invasion) on Nov. lst 1779, they had at their head Colonel George Earl of Tyrone. The Dungarvan Volunteers. also formed on the same day, had as their Colonel Right Hon. John Beresford.

Henry de la Poer Beresford - 2nd son of the first Marquis was second Marquis (the heir having been killed in a riding accident at the age of 13). He died on July 16th 1826, a few weeks after he lost the election to Villiers Stuart (O'Connell's candidate for catholic emancipation.) This event marked the turning of the tide in Irish history.

Henry de la Poer Beresford, 3rd Marquis, was born 26th.April, 1811 and married the Hon. Louisa Stuart. He rode in the Grand National during the famine and was not popular. Henry was killed in 1859 and as he had no heir, his brother John was 4th Marquis. He married Christiana Leslie of Glasslough and they had five sons, the oldest of whom was the present Lords great-grandfather. Henry died in 1866,. He had been rector of Mullaghbrack, Armagh. John Henry de la Poer Beresford, fifth Marquis was married twice, first to Lady Florence Grosvenor (who died in childbirth and whose monument is inserted in a window at Clonegam) and later Lady Blanche Somerset, only, daughter of the 8th Duke of Beaufort. He was Lord Lieutenant of Co. Waterford and Hon. Colonel of the South Irish Division of the Royal Artillery. Three of their children survived -Henry (called Tyrone) born 1875 and Lady Susan and Lady Clodagh. Lady Clodagh wrote a book called "Victorian Days". In it she tells how her father (5th Marquis) would get threatening letters signed "Captain Moonlight.

The, 6th Marquis was Lord Lieutenant of Waterford County and also of Northumberland, and was Hon. Colonel of the South Irish Horse. He married Lady Beatrix Fitzmaurice, daughter of the 5th Marquis of Landsdowne.

The first, third, fifth and sixth Marquis' were Knights of Saint Patrick and their flags can be seen in Dublin Castle.

The 7th Marquis (John Charles de la Poer Beresford) married Juliet Lindsay in Oct. 1930. In 1934 he was found in the gun room at Curraghmore with a bullet wound in his temple. The verdict at the inquest was accidental death.

The Beresfords had a powerful position in Ireland during the Penal Days. At the time of James 1 , a Parliament was set up to represent the people. However, pocket boroughs were created so that the people could not send a majority to the chamber,being too poor to pay the expenses. Thus, the Parliament became a machine to suppress the Catholics.

These pocket boroughs were at the service of the younger brothers of the ruling families. Lord William Beresford, son of the 4th Marquis, got the V.C. Archibald Forbes, the great war correspondent, related that during the Zulu war, a small party of British cavalry was attacked by a large Zulu force. The British rode away for their lives. Lord William noticed a British soldier whose horse had been killed, about to be surrounded. He killed six of them and took the solder on his horse. The place was Ulundi. After that he was known as "Ulundi Bill."

The family could also boast of an illegitimate Field –Marshall who won the battle of Albuero. His name was William Carr and he obtained permission to adopt the Beresford name.

The Beresfords have long been a sporting family borne out by a long list of winners of horse races.

The present Marquis (8th) married Lady Caroline Wyndham Quin, younger daughter of the Earl of Dunraven in 1957. They have three sons and one daughter: 1. The Earl of Tyrone, born the 23rd of March, 1958. 2. Lord Charles de la Poer Beresford, born 18th January, 1960. 3. Lord James de la Poer Beresford , born 10th December, 1965 and 4th Lady Alice de la Poer Beresford born 31st August, 1970.

Portlaw N. S.

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