George Hamilton, Bt. of Donalong

Sir George Hamilton, fourth son of James, first Earl of Abercorn, who was seated at Donalong, in the county of Tyrone, and at Nenagh in Tipperary; had a company in the army 16 October 1627. On 7 February 1631 he had a licence to hold a weekly market and a yearly fair at Clogher, and a fair at Ballymagary, both in the county of Tyrone. He was created a Baronet, though for this title no patent is on record, and whether of England, Ireland or Nova Scotia is unknown, before 5 June 1634, at which date he is so designated in a King's Letter ordering a regrant of his estate, and in all subsequent patents. On 23 May 1639 the manor of Strabane and the rest of the Abercorn estate was granted to Sir George Hamilton of Donalong, knight and baronet, Sir George Hamilton of Greenlaw, knight, Sir William Stewart of New Stuarton, knight, and Sir William Semple of Letterkenny, knight, to hold to the uses, trusts and interests, expressed, limited and appointed in an order of composition made by the Commissioners for Remedy of defective Titles. On 25 June 1639 9 he was regranted the great proportion of Donalong ; was in Scotland with Charles 1. 1641; performed good service in Ireland for that monarch during the rebellion, as he also did in 1649 for Charles II., being then captain of horse, colonel of foot, and governor of the castle of Nenagh; but, in 1651, he retired with his family to France, and there continued till the restoration of the king. In recompence of his many services performed to the king whilst in foreign countries, his majesty, 20 December 1662, granted to him, for life, all the penalties and forfeitures which might accrue to the crown by reason of ploughing, drawing, harrowing, and working with horses by the tail, contrary to Acts of Parliament. The king in 1671 appointed him joint patentee with James Roche, Esq., for granting licences to pedlars. He had in 1668 a grant of lands in Co. Cork, which he soon after sold, and in 1670, he had a grant of lands in no fewer than eight counties in Ireland. He died in 1679. He married (contract dated 2 June 1629), Mary, third daughter of Thomas, Viscount Thurles, eldest son of Walter, eleventh Earl of Ormond, and sister of James, first Duke of Ormond, and by her (who was granted the precedence of an Earl's daughter by royal warrant, dated at Whitehall 29 May 1669, and who died in August 1680), had six sons and three daughters:-
  • 1. James, of whom hereafter.
  • 2. Sir George Hamilton, who was page to King Charles II. during his exile, and after the Restoration was an officer of the Horse Guards till 1667, when the King, according to his promise to parliament, thought fit to have them dismissed. Sir George Hamilton carried the soldiers of that regiment with him into Prance, and was made a captain-lieutenant in the French service. Lord Arlington wrote to Sir William Godolphin, 7 September 1671: 'The Conde de Molina complains of certain levies Sir George Hamilton hath made in Ireland. I have told the Conde he must not find it strange that a gentleman, who had been the king's page abroad, and losing his employment at home for being a Roman Catholic, should have some more than ordinary connivance towards the making his fortune abroad, by the countenance of his friends and relations in Ireland,' and having to recruit his regiment of foot in the service of the French King, his majesty sent his directions to the Lord-Lieutenant, 12 January 1673, to give licence to him and his officers to raise 600 foot soldiers by beat of drum. This regiment, called from him the Regiment d'Hamilton, did active duty under Turenne on the Rhine in that year and the year following. He distinguished himself at the battle of Turkenheim 5 January 1675, and was made a brigadier of infantry by brevet of 12 March. He had the rank of Count, and was made Maréchal de Camp, or Major-General, 25 February 1676, but was killed soon after during the retreat of the French on Saverne. Administration was granted to his widow 23 July 1703. He and his elder brother James make a conspicuous figure in the Mémoires de Gramont. He married in 1665, Frances (frequently noticed in the same memoirs), elder daughter and co-heir of Richard Jennings of Sandridge, in Hertfordshire, sister of Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, by whom he had three daughters:-
    • (1) Elizabeth, married, in December 1685 (as his third wife), to Richard, first Viscount Rosse, and died at St. Omers in June 1724.
    • (2) Frances, married, 1687, to Henry, eighth Viscount Dillon, who died 13 January 1713/4; and secondly, to Patrick Bellew, eldest son of Sir John Bellew of Barmeath, co. Louth, Baronet, who died vita patris, 12 June 1720.
    • (3) Mary, married, 15 May 1688, to Nicholas, third Viscount Kingsland, and died 15 February 1735.
    • Their mother was married, secondly, in 1679, to Richard Talbot, created Duke of Tyrconnell by James VII., who died 5 August 1691; and, dying at Paris, 17 March 1731, was buried in the Scots College there.
  • 3. Count Anthony Hamilton, born about 1646, was a lieutenant-colonel in Sir Thomas Newcomen's regiment, 1686; was made a privy councillor of Ireland, and commanded a regiment of dragoons at the battle of Newton Butler, where he was badly wounded. He also held the post of governor of Limerick. At the Revolution he followed James II. into France; became a lieutenant-general in the French service, and died at St. Germains, 20 April 1720, aged seventy-four years, deservedly regretted by all who knew him. He was author of the Mémoires de Gramont, in which, with an easy and exquisite pencil, he has painted the chief characters of the court of Charles II., as they were, with great truth and spirit, described to him by his brother-in-law the Count de Gramont. He was the author of the well- known Tales, and is said to have translated Pope's Art of Criticism into French.
  • 4. Thomas Hamilton, bred to the sea service, was captain of a ship of war, and died in New England.
  • 5. Richard Hamilton, made colonel of a regiment of horse in King James's army, 15 February 1686, and brigadier-general. He retired with the king into France upon King William's victories, became a lieutenant-general in the French service, and died very poor with his niece the Abbess of Poussey, in 1717.
  • 6. John Hamilton, a colonel in King James's service, lost his life at the battle of Aughrim, 1691.
  • 7. Elizabeth, whose personal graces and mental accomplishments are the theme of unbounded panegyric in the Mémoires de Gramont, where she is styled the chief ornament of the court, worthy of the most ardent and sincere affection; nobody could boast a nobler birth, nothing could be more charming than her person. After refusing the Duke of Richmond, Jermyn, nephew of the Earl of St. Albans, and Henry Howard, afterwards Duke of Norfolk, she married in 1664 the dissipated Philibert, Count de Gramont, the hero of the Mémoires de Gramont. They left England in October 1669 (letter of Charles II. to his sister, the Duchess of Orleans, recommending them, 24 October 1669). She was appointed Dame du Palais to Maria Theresa of Austria, Queen of Louis XIV. Her husband died at Paris, 30 January 1707, aged eighty-six; she died, 3 June 1708, aged sixty-seven. They had two daughters, Claude Char- lotte de Gramont, married 6 April 1694 to Henry Howard, Earl of Stafford; and Marie Elizabeth de Gramont, born 27 December 1667, abbesse de St. Marine de Poussey, in Lorraine.
  • 8. Lucia, married (by contract dated 24 July) 1674, to Donogh O'Brien of Lemineagh, co. Clare, who was created a Baronet of Ireland, 9 November 1686, and had issue, and died in 1676.
  • 9. Margaret, married, in January 1688, to Matthew Ford of Coolgreeny, co. Wexford, and had issue.


Comments