Marcus Annesley

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Repository :        Public Record Office for Northern Ireland

PRONI Reference :          D1503/3/5/24

Dates :  25 December 1802

Description :       Copy of Mr Furlong's narrative about the events immediately following Lord Annesley's death.

'Monday night, the 20th December 1802, after 10 O'Clock at night, I received a note from the Rt Hon. Richard Annesley, one of the Chief Commissioners of the Revenue, informing me that Earl Annesley was dead, and desiring to see me immediately. I accordingly waited on him at the Custom House, and there saw him, his son Francis Annesely Esq., Neill [sic - Neale] O'Donnell [sic - O'Donel] Esq., his son-in-law, and John Pollock, Esq.

On consultation, it was resolved to be necessary that Mr Annesley should set off immediately for Mount Panther in the county of Down, and that Mr O'donnell and I should accompany him. Accordingly, we set off in the Commissioner's carriage at 12 O’clock at night. At the Man of War Inn, we were informed that Lady Annesley had been there a few hours before on her return from Dublin, and had met Lord Annesley's black servant there, who brought her an account of Lord Annesley's death; [and] that she stopped the black servant and sent back to Dublin another servant. It afterwards appeared that the servant who came back, brought the account of Lord Annesley's death from Lady Annesley to the Commissioner, and also to Mr McClelland, the Solicitor-General, who by letter immediately communicated that event to Lord Annesley.

At Drogheda, Castle Bellingham and Dundalk, we heard that Lady Annesley had passed through a few hours before us. From Dundalk, Commissioner [now Earl] Annesley wrote to Mr Pollock to seal up the bureau and all other places of security in the late Lord Annesley's house in Marlborough Street in presence of the Solicitor-General, and I wrote to Mr Chambers to attend with Mr Pollock. The letters were sent to Mr Chambers by express from Dundalk. Between Castle Bellingham and Dundalk, we met Mr Oxford, the late lord's steward, in a chaise going to Dublin. He stopped and gave the Commissioner and open paper of directions written and signed by Dean [William] Annesley, but not directed to anyone, containing instructions to wait on the Commissioner and Mr McClelland, and enclosing a key in a sealed paper of the late Lord's bureau in Dublin, to search for a will. The Commissioner took the open paper and also the sealed paper with the key, and desired Mr Oxford to return to Mount Panther. At Castlebellingham, Lord Annesley's chaise broke down, and we got a carriage and proceeded through Dundalk, Newry, Hilltown and Castlewellan to Mount Panther, where we arrived at 5 O'Clock in the evening on Tuesday, the 21st December. We there met Mr Annesley, a Lieutenant in the 38th Regiment, and Charles  Annesley, who had been an officer in the army in Egypt, two natural sons of the late Lord Annesley by Mrs Muckelroy [sic]. They received us civilly, but with reserve, and the elder said to me, 'We shall be of our father's opinion till the contrary shall be proved'. On our arrival, messengers were dispatched  for the Rev. William Annesley, Dean of Down, younger brother of the late Lord and of the Commissioner, and for Mr Beers, receiver of the late Lords rents. Before their arrival, the elder son of the late Lord's above-mentioned told us that Dean Annesley had been there since the late Lord's death and that he had broke open his desk or bureau to look for a will, and that several cancelled wills were found, but that the last will was not found, and that it was supposed to be in Dublin or in the hands of Mr Keown, the late Lord's attorney. [What follows is cancelled in pencil]. It was also mentioned, as well as I recollect, by the elder Mr Annesley, that when the desk or bureau was broke open by the Dean, the late Lord's letters were examined and read. Lord Annesley expressed great indignation at his brother's having presumed to break open his brother, the late Lord's desk, and to search for a will or any writing before the Lordship's arrival. About 8 o'clock in the evening, Dean Annesley and his two sons arrived, and Lord Annesley, addressing himself to the Dean, expressed in very sharp terms of resentment the impropriety of breaking open any lock of the late Lord's or searching for a will or reading any letter until the present Lord arrived. He also expressed his opinion in very jealous terms that the first information he received of his brother's death should be from Sophia (meaning the person called Lady Annesley) and not from the Dean. The Dean said he had at 7 O'Clock on Monday morning sent off a post office express to the Commissioner, and that he, the Dean, had no means of giving earlier information, his brother's having died at 12 o'clock on Sunday night. Lord Annesley then, by my desire, put this question to the Dean: Who do you now acknowledge to be the heir and successor to the title and settled estates of the late Earl. To which the Dean answered, 'To be sure, if my brother's marriage was illegal, you are his undoubted heir and successor'. Lord Annesley said it was notorious that his marriage could not be legal, for that Sophia was the wife of Martin Connor, who was still living. Lord Annesley said he had never called her Lady Annesley or treated her, either before or since, her supposed marriage with the late Lord Annesley as his wife, but had always considered her as his kept mistress, and had called her Sophia formerly, and afterwards Madam; that he thought it extraordinary that the Dean and his sons should have called her by the name of Lady Annesley, and that he commended the spirit and proper conduct of the Dean's wife who had always refused to visit her or to acknowledge her as Lady Annesley.

The Dean answered that he did not pretend to determine or consider whether the title of Lady Annesley was a name of right or of courtesy, but that understanding it was pleasing to his brother that she should be called by that name, and wishing to be on good terms with his brother, he complied in that respect with his wish. After the Dean was gone,  Mr Beers was very sharply reprehended by Lord Annesley for not sending off an express to him with an account of his Lordship's death, but he excused himself by saying he understood the Dean had done so, and therefore thought it unnecessary for him to do so. Lord Annesley then asked Mr Beers who he acknowledged as the present Lord Annesley, to which Mr Beers instantly replied, 'You, most undoubtedly'. [The cancelled passage ends at this point].

Next morning, Wednesday the 22nd December, as I was coming out of my bed chamber, I was stopped by Sophia, who said 'Sir, I shall be obliged to you to tell the late Lord Annesley's brother that I wish to speak to him'. I told her I would deliver her message, and let her know his answer. I accordingly communicated the message, and at the same time advised his Lordship to decline any private interview, and he having concurred, I told her, that he would not see her, but in the presence of some friend of hers, and if she would name anyone he should be sent for. She said she always thought the Commissioner was a good and honourable man, that she was grateful for his attention to her children, whom he had received kindly and kissed, that she would be glad to have an interview with him, and hoped he would not call her by a name she did not like, but would, as he used to do, call her Sophia. (I understood the name she did not like to be Mrs Connor). She said she believed Mr Keown had the will; that the Solicitor-General was her friend, and that she had visited at his house and been kindly received by his wife; that she had been advised to act differently from the manner in which she probably would act, but that she would judge for herself; and that she would be glad to see the commissioner in presence of the Dean and any other person. The Dean and his sons, and other two young  Mr Annesleys, Mr O'Donel, Mr Beers and I having assembled in the parlor, Sophia came in, and a conversation took place.

She said the late Lord had been advised to file a bill to raise a sum of £5,000 due to the Dean on the family estate; that the bill was to be filed in the Dean's name at the request of the late Lord, not that the Dean wanted the money, but as a means of establishing the right of his Lordship's son by her, who was to be made a party by the name of Lord Glerawly. Lord Annesley said he had heard of such [an] intention, and had received a message from her by Mr Swan that such a bill was to be filed, and that it was against her will, for that she knew it would injure her children, and that it would be supported by perjury (she expressed a wish previous to this conversation, by a message, that the two younger Mr Annesleys, sons of the late Lord, should leave the room, and they left accordingly, before the conversation commenced).

She said she disapproved of the bill, and she would rather rely on the Commissioner's honour than any bill.

Lord Annesley told her that, as she had not any professional man to advise her, he did not wish to hear her make any admission or declaration that might possibly affect her or her children. He said that her conduct to him ought not to be influenced by her of fear, and that he would hold out neither threat or [sic] inducement; that she could not have better advice than that of the Solicitor-General; and that he hoped she would consult him and act as he should recommend.

She said she was told, when he came, he would probably take possession and turn her and her children out; that, if he pleased, she was ready to quit, or would stay if he desired it; that she wished to put herself and her children under his protection.

Lord Annesley then said he did not know whether there was a will or not; that as to the settled estates and the family plate, it made no difference to him whether there was a sill or not, for that, as his brother died without lawful issue, he was entitled under his father's will to the settled estates and plate for his life, with remainder to his eldest son; and that as to the acquired estates of the late Lord Annesley, which were very considerable, and to all his personal fortune, it would probably be better for her children that there should be no will than that a will should be found, for that he desired it to be understood that, thought as heir at law he should come in for all the late Lord's acquired estates and for half his personal fortune, that [sic] he never would accept of any part thereof for his own use, but would, as to the whole, consider himself as a trustee for all his brother's natural children, making a suitable provision for Sophia.

This evening at 8 O'Clock, the late Lord Annesley was buried at his family burial place two miles from Mount Panther by torchlight. His remains were attended by the present Lord and the Dean, by the Dean's two sons, and by the late Lord's two sons, Mr Beers, Mr Moffett, the curate, and a few others.

Thursday, December 23rd. This morning I was again stopped by Sophia as I was coming out of my bed chamber. She told me she wanted to have a conversation with me, and I went into her room and sat with her near half an hour. She told me she heard that Mr Keown had arrived from Dublin with the will, and was to be shortly at Mount Panther; that she had reflected on her situation, and had made up her mind to act according to her own judgement; that her case was a hard one; that she was bred up as the child of poor people of the name of Kelly, who gave her little or no education, nor any means of earning bread; that they wanted her to marry a man she did not like, and to avoid the match she ran away from then and went to a Mrs McBean [sic] who was a playfellow of hers and who lived at Sir William Gleadowe  Newcomen's gate; that she there had a slight acquaintance with Martin Connor, and that she was decoyed into a marriage with him by a priest and that she did not consider it binding in the eyes of God, for she did not repeat part of the ceremony after the priest; that after the marriage, she found that Lord Annesley wanted to get her for a mistress, and that she thought it better, in order to protect herself from his Lordship, to put herself under the protection of Martin Connor as his wife; that she proposed to Martin Connor to do so, provided that he would promise that there should be no connection as man and wife between them; that he agreed to these terms, and she went to live with him as his wife, and was called by his name, but that the marriage never was consummated; that she disliked Martin Connor very much and being much pressed by Lord Annesley, and being then only 16 [sic] years old, and not being able to procure from her supposed parents 20 guineas to put herself apprentice to a milliner, for which she applied, she at length went off with Lord Annesley; that she lived some time with him as his mistress, and never knew any man before him, and had by him a son named William; that his Lordship pressed her to marry him, but that she resisted his importunities for a fortnight, and until he declared that if she did not comply he would make away with himself; that she was lawfully married to him by a Protestant clergyman, and that, however she might be affected in point of law by the former marriage with Martin Connor, she considered her marriage with Lord Annesley as a good one in the eyes of God.

Sophia said that she had been told that even if her marriage with Connor was a legal marriage, it might be set aside by proving that at the time of such marriage, Martin Connor had another wife, and that before her connection with Lord Annesley, another woman had claimed him as her husband; that since her connection with Lord Annesley, she had discovered that the Kellys, her supposed parents, were only her fosters, and that her real parents' name was Talbot; that her mother died when she was only six weeks old in America, and left her £5,000; that since her connection with Lord Annesley, her supposed parents had acknowledged her real parents, and had given her her mother's clothes and rings, and that she had got £3,000, part of the property of her mother, which she lent to Lord Annesley in the presence of Dean Annesley, on his Lordship's bonds. She said she had some jewels, which Lord Annesley had given her, and a house and a few acres of land at Rostrevor. She said she wished to see the Commissioner, and to introduce herself and her children to him by her proper names; that she would not be governed by lawyers or attorneys, but would think and act upon the occasion for herself; that she would rather have the Commissioner's word than the oath of others who, she said, were under greater obligations to her; and that what she had to say, she would say freely and publicly.

I told her that as Mr McKeown [sic] was shortly to arrive, I would advise Lord Annesley to defer an interview with her till he arrived and was present, and having communicated this conversation to Lord Annesley he agreed with me, of which I informed Sophia.

After breakfast, Mr Keown having arrived, [he] declared he had the will, and that it was open, having been opened by the late Lord with intent that he should copy it, in order to draw a new will; but that such new will had not been drawn, and that he was ready to hand the will to Dean Annesley, who was one of the executors.

I mentioned that Dean Annesley had received a note from him the preceding night, in which he mentioned that he was going home, and that the will was a his office there, and that he would bring it to the present Lord Annesley. I therefore asked him where the will was at the time he wrote the note. He said, at his office in Downpatrick. I then asked who he meant for the present Lord, and he answered, Commissioner Annesley.

Lord Annesley, the Dean and his two sons, the two Mr Annesleys, Mr O'Donel, Mr Beers and I then went into the great parlour and Mr Keown having joined us, we sent to inform Sophia by the butler that we were ready to receive her. In a few minutes she came into the parlour. Lord Annesley then asked her whether he had ever since her connection with the late Lord called her any name but Sophia or Madam, or had acknowledge her in the capacity of Lady Annesley. She said he had not. He then asked whether he had ever endeavoured to influence her conduct by hope or fear. She said he had not.

Some few other questions were asked which, with the foregoing, I reduced into writing [not found] in presence of all the persons before-mentioned, to which the answers were annexed; and they all the persons present except Lord Annesley, Mr Keown and Sophia signed the paper.

The late Lord's will [D1503/1/3/5/23] made in 1800 [sic - c.1801] was then produced by Mr Keown and handed to Dean Annesley, who gave it to me to read. Sophia asked whether there was not a codicil to the will. Mr Keown answered that he did not know of any. She said she believed there was, and that it would be found in Dublin. I read the will aloud. It is witnessed by Mr Moffett, Mr Beers and Mr Keown.

Sophia is by the name Sophia, Countess Annesley, left £10,000, payable by £1,000 a year till paid. His four natural children that he had by Mrs Mucklerey [sic], viz. the two young men before mentioned, a young man now at sea, and young man now at Edinburgh, and the son, William, which Sophia had before marriage, are left the estates therein mentioned, to be equally divided, with benefit of survivorship, in case of death before the age of 21 years; Dean Annesley and John Claudius Beresford, executors.

Sophia then said she wished to introduce her children to the Commissioner in their proper characters. Lord Annesley answered that, before she took any step of that kind, she must confer with her confidential professional man, and he hoped she would act with good advice. Whereupon all the company retired, leaving Sophia and Mr Keown together, and it was agreed that, when they had conferred, they should send for me, and that I should join them.

In about ten minutes, Mr Keown called me and said in Sophia's presence that they both agreed in opinion; that he loved the late Lord Annesley, who was his friend and patron, and that if it was in his power, he would serve his children; but that, being satisfied of the Commissioner's right and title, he thought it would be folly to resist it; and that therefore he thought it better at once to acknowledge it. Sophia expressed the same sentiments, and thereupon the Dean and his sons, the two Mr Annesleys, Mr Beers, Mr O'Donel and Lord Annesley were called in. Sophia then called the butler to bring in the children, and he brought in her three children, who seemed to be about the ages of 6, 4 and 2. The eldest boy was born before marriage, and the second was called Lord Glerawly by his father. Sophia in a very solemn manner addressed Lord Annesley to this effect: 'Lord Annesley, this is William Annesley, this is George De La Poer Beresford Annesley, and this is Francis Charles Annesley'. She then placed the three children in a row, and making them kneel down and addressing herself to the two eldest, asked them who they had loved best. They answered, Lord Annesley. But, said she, Lord Annesley is dead, and you will never see him again. Would not you like to have another Lord Annesley, who will be your parent and your protector. Kneel down and ask his blessing. She then made them all kneel down and put up their hands to Lord Annesley, bending herself in a very supplicating and impressive manner at the same time. The second boy burst into tears, and not only Lord Annesley but every person present was affected by the awful solemnity of the scene. Lord Annesley, as soon as he could wipe away his tears and express himself, said he would be their protector and act by them as a parent, and that he would give them the best education.

A note of this solemnity [D1503/3/8/23] was written by me in presence of Sophia and Mr Keown immediately afterwards, which it was agreed Sophia should sign. She said that of late she had been accustomed to subscribe herself Sophia Annesley, but that she supposed that would be improper on this occasion. I answered that she should subscribe her real name. She said that was Talbot. Mr Keown then said she had better subscribe the name by which she was called when she first knew Lord Annesley. She said that was Sophia Kelly. I said, Connor.

No, said she, I call myself Kelly; and as she seemed to have reluctance to be called Connor, I did not persist, conceiving that she apprehended that her using the name of Connor might give Martin Connor a pretext for being troublesome to her. She therefore signed the paper by the name of Sophia Kelly, and it was witnessed by Mr Keown and by me, and both papers were delivered by me to Lord Annesley. I now state the substance of them from recollection.

When Lord Annesley had been acknowledge as such, I drew an attornment, which Mr Beers got executed by a great many of the principal tenants.

Dean Annesley said that the late Lord and Sophia had been lately in Dublin, where he understood that they had quarreled, and the late Lord Annesley had left her in anger, and that she was on her return from Dublin, not knowing of his illness, met at the man of War by a messenger with an account of his death.

[The paragraph which follows is cancelled in pencil]. Dean Annesley also said that a few hours before Lord Annesley's death, he desired Mr McGuire [sic - McGuire] to bring him a sum of money that he would find in a particular place, to divide it between the two young men, his Lordship's natural sons, which was accordingly done by the Dean. Of this circumstance, I have not a very accurate recollection. [The cancelled passage ends at this point].

Lord Annesley enquired from Sophia about the family plate. She told him that a great part of it was in the house in Marlborough Street, but that part of it was sold or pawned. However, that he might depend upon it that it had not been broken up, and it could be got back, and that he should have it all. She expressed a wish that the servants should be discharged, and the horses and cattle should be sold.

Lord Annesley desired inventories to be taken of all the stock, furniture, carriages and effects at Mount Panther, and the Dean promised to discharge the servants and sell the stock as soon as possible.

At 3 O'Clock, Lord Annesley, Mr O'Donel and I sat [sic] out on our return in one of the late Lord's carriages, and came that night to Newry, from whence at 7 next morning Friday the 24th, we sat [sic] off for Dublin, and arrived at 7 in the evening.

Having been otherwise engaged at Mount Panther and on the road, I take the first opportunity of making this note of the circumstances, whilst they are fresh on [sic] my collection'.

 

 

Repository :        Public Record Office for Northern Ireland

PRONI Reference :          D1503/3/5/16

Level :   Item

Access :                Open

Title :     Copy case drawn by Mr Pollock for Sophia

Dates :  12 February 1798

Description :       Copy case drawn by Mr Pollock for Sophia Kelly, referred to by Earl Annesley's case. [This is Richard, 2nd Earl Annesley, and relates to the subsequent litigation]. 'Sophia Kelly or O'Kelly was the supposed child of Edward Kelly of Donaghinagh in the county of Tyrone, farmer, and Jane Kelly, otherwise McGirr, his wife. Sophia was sucked and nursed by her supposed mother, and was brought up and lived with the said Edward Kelly and his wife as one of their children, till about the year 1794, when she attained the age of 18 years or therebouts. At the age of 9 years old she had reason to suppose that Kelly and his wife were not her father and mother. However, she was kept and maintained and clothed by them, and she was educated in the Roman Catholic religion.

In the said year, 1794, the said Kelly and his wife advised the said Sophia to marry a person of the name of Patrick Campbell of Mullins, in the county of Tyrone, farmer, who had for a considerable time paid his addresses to her, but she disliked the said match, and refused to marry to said Campbell. Kelly and his wife, however, continued to press her to marry the said Campbell, and she being apprehensive of being forced to compelled by them to marry him, she [sic] took the resolution of leaving the house of her said supposed father and mother, and accordingly she privately left the house of the said Kelly and his wife, and procured one Arthur McKenny who lived near Donaghinagh, to carry her on a horse as far as Drogheda, from whence she travelled in a return carriage to the Man of War, and from thence to Dublin, when [sic - where?] she went to the house of William McBay (who then and still lives as porter at Sir William Newcomen's gate at Killister [sic - Killester, near Dublin], and whom said Sophia had known in the county of Tyrone, he being the son of a neighbouring farmer. The said Sophia lived in the house with McBay and his wife for about seven weeks, during which time she endeavoured to be received as an apprentice to a milliner in Dublin, but the sum required as an apprentice fee being beyond her means, she was obliged to relinquish that intention.

During her residence in the house of McBay, said Sophia experienced much hard usage at several times from him and his wife, which made her desirous to leave his house, and having, whilst she lived there, become acquainted with one Martin O'Connor (who was gardener to the Hon. Richard Annesley), she was prevailed upon by said McBay and his wife to agree to marry the said Connor, but this match was against her own inclination, for she always disliked him. However, on Shrove Tuesday in February 1705 the said Sophia (being then in the 19th year of her age), accompanied by McBay's wife, and the said Martin Connor accompanied by McBay, went to the house of Father Larkin, priest of the parish of Coolock, in which parish the said Connor and Sophia lived, in order to be married.

When they came to the priest's house, McBay went into the parlour to the priest, and told him that said Connor and Sophia came there to be married, and thereupon McBay called said Sophia and Connor and his (McBay's) wife into the parlour where the priest was sitting. The priest then took his prayer book and told the said Martin Connor to take the said Sophia by the hand, and bring her forward. Sophia said in a whisper to Mrs McBay that she would not go forward, and for God's sake to tell McBay to let her go out, and she would come again any other time, but Mrs McBay also in a whisper said to Sophia 'Oh fie, will you make a fool of yourself before the priest', and said Sophia being much confused and distressed went forward with Mrs McBay to the part of the room where the said Connor was standing, near the priest, and there Mrs McBay placed Sophia next Connor and the priest proceeded to celebrate (as said Sophia supposes) the marriage service out of said prayer book, according to the forms of the Roman Catholic church.

During the marriage ceremony, the said Sophia turned about in order to leave the room, but said McBay took her by the shoulder and asked her if she was made, and made her stand up beside Connor whilst the remainder of the service was performed.

The said Sophia most positively asserts that she did not repeat or pronounce any of the responses, nor was any ring put on her finger during or after the ceremony.

After the marriage ceremony was ended, and when they retired from the priest's room, said Sophia declared to Mrs McBay that she hated Connor, and did not look upon herself as married to him, and that she never would live with him as his wife, and on their return towards said McBay's house, said Sophia requested said Connor to go home to his master's house at Annesley Lodge, which he did, and she and McBay and his wife returned to the house of McBay, where said Sophia remained about eight days, and during all which time said Connor came only twice to see said Sophia in the day time, but she never permitted him to go to bed to her, or to know her as a wife. The said Connor often complained to McBay of such the conduct of his wife, and expressed his concern that he had married a woman who seemed to dislike and hate him, but McBay encouraged him and advised him to continue to be kind to said Sophia, and that she would soon come to love him.

About the end of eight days after said marriage ceremony Sophia determined to go and see her friends in the county of Tyrone, and mentioned her intentions to McBay and his wife, who acquainted said Connor thereof. The said Connor expressed great concern the distress thereat, and expressed his fears and apprehensions with tears in his eyes that said Sophia would never come back to him, but McBay advised said Connor to humour said Sophia and to consent to everything she desired and said Sophia assured said Connor and the said McBay and his wife that she would very soon return.

Accordingly, said Sophia went from McBay's house at Killister to the house of said Kelly and his wife, the supposed parents of said Sophia, at Donaghinagh aforesaid, and when the said Sophia arrived there, she told the said Kelly and his wife and all the neighbours that she had been happily and well married to the said Martin Connor, but this was a mere finesse, only because she well know, if she should not declare that she was married to the said Connor, her said supposed father and mother would be again pressing her to marry the said Patrick Campbell.

The said Sophia remained at Donaghinagh for five months, during which time said Connor never went down to see her, and never wrote a letter to her, but one, and the neighbourhood then beginning to suspect that said Sophia was not married, she therefore determined and accordingly did return to the house of said at Killester in the county of Dublin. On her return, said Connor came to said Sophia, and asked her to return wit him to Annesley Lodge and live with him, and said Sophia agreed to do so, provided said Connor would first take his oath that he would not go to bed to her, or use her as a wife, for one year (it being said Sophia's intention within that time to run away privately from said Connor and to go out to America to friends whom she had there). Said Connor took the said oath, and though the said Sophia went home to the said Connor's wife, and was called and known in the neighbourhood as the wife of said Martin Connor, yet said Sophia asserts most positively that, though she lived in the same house with him, she always slept in a separate room and in a separate bed apart from him. This circumstances of Sophia's keeping herself separate from said Connor, although living in the same house with him, transpired in the neighbourhood within three or four weeks after she came to live at Annesley Lodge, and excited so much curiosity in many people in the neighbourhood that said Sophia felt herself so uneasy and unhappy, that in a few weeks after she accepted a proposal from Earl Annesley to live with him, and his Lordship brought her away from Connor's house at Annesley Lodge one evening in the beginning of November 1795, and she has lived with Lord Annesley ever since.

Shortly after it was publicly known that said Sophia lived with Lord Annesley, it was apprehended that said Martin Connor intended to bring an action of criminal conviction against his Lordship, wherefore some management was made use of at the desire of Lord Annesley by some of his friends, in order to prevent the unpleasantness of a public trial, and said Connor on being applied to by some of Lord Annesley's friends to know what pecuniary compensation he would accept of, and on being advised by them not to stir at law in the matter, he alleged his said wife had run him into debt, and that if such debt should be paid, he would not institute an action, and at that time, it being thought more advisable to procure a letter from said Martin Connor to said Sophia which might prevent his recovering any damages against Lord Annesley, than to ask him to execute a regular deed or release, therefore the following letter was drafted for said Connor and Sophia respectively to sign. The one from Connor to said Sophia was signed by him, but the letter importing to be a letter from said Sophia to said Connor, she says was neither written or [sic] signed by her, as she solemnly declared that she did not look on said Connor as her husband, and said Connor signed the receipt, a copy of which is subjoined to the copies of said letters ...'.

 

[No copies are provided - see D1503/3/8/7-D1503/3/8/8].

'On the 12th March 1797, the said Sophia was delivered of a son by the said Lord Annesley, and the child is living.

In July 1797 the said Patrick Larkin, the priest of Coolock, died.

The mutual affections of Lord Annesley and the said Sophia increased with their co-habitation, and they both conceiving that the ceremony of her marriage with the said Connor hereinbefore stated was under all the circumstances before mentioned null and void, therefore the 5th of September 1797 his Lordship and said Sophia were married at Lord Annesley's mansion house of Mount Panther in the county of Down by the curate of the parish of Kilmegan, in which his Lordship resides ... .

Lord Annesley is under the will of his father, strict tenant for life, with remainder to his first and other sons, with the like remainder over to ... [his younger brothers], Richard and William Annesley, and to their respective heirs male; and the said Richard and William Annesley have respectively several sons.

Whether the said marriage ceremony that was celebrated between the said Martin O'Connor [sic] and Sophia is under all the foregoing circumstances void, or whether it was in legal construction and intendment a due marriage, or whether it is voidable, are questions of the most material concern to Lord Annesley's peace of mind and happiness. Therefore, on that account, as well as to prevent as far as possible a disputed succession between the issue which he may have by the said Sophia since his said marriage with her in September 1797, and his said brothers or such of the remainder men of the late Lord Glerawly as may be living at the time of Lord Annesley's death, he, the said Lord Annesley requests the advice of Counsel'.

 

Repository :        Public Record Office for Northern Ireland

PRONI Reference :          D1503/3/5/17

Level :   Item

Access :                Open

Title :     'Mr Pollock's narrative referred to by Lord

Dates :  21 February 1798

Description :       'Mr Pollock's narrative referred to by Lord Annesley's case ... 13th February 1798. The draft of the case was laid in front of Lord Waterford for his perusal.

14th February. Lord Annesley and I waited upon Lord Waterford, and his Lordship asked Lord Annesley whether the case contained precise facts affecting his marriage. Lord Annesley said it did. Lord Waterford then said, nothing remained but to send it to counsel, and a copy of it to Mr Annesley, and that the sooner the business should be finished the better.

15th February. Lord Annesley sent for me. I went to him and met Lady Annesley and him. He said that he and Lady Annesley had been thinking about the case; that Lady Annesley had changed her mind, and would not suffer the case to be sent to counsel. She said that, by taking the case from her instructions, she was made to be a witness against herself; that the marriage with Lord Annesley should not be questioned at all, but things were to remain as they were, and a settlement must be made upon her out of my Lord's unsettled estate. My Lord said it was also his opinion not to send the case to counsel, but as he had consulted Lord Waterford, he would ask him whether he would feel offended if he [Lord Waterford] had recommended and that he had agreed to.

16th February. I went with Lord Annesley to Lord Waterford. He (Lord Annesley) stated the reasons mentioned before by Lady Annesley, and expressed his wish not to have the case sent to counsel. Lord Waterford said that he had already given his opinion upon the business, that it was Lord Annesley's own affair, and he had a right to be offended, and would not be offended, at Lord Annesley's acting in his own business as he saw best for himself.

18th February. I met Lord Annesley, and he proposed to have a settlement made by him, Mr Annesley and Mr William Annesley. The outline of it was to have a recovery suffered of the settled estate; that Lord Annesley should charge his unsettled estate with £1,000 per annum for Lady Annesley; that the settled estate should be charged with £400 per annum to William Annesley and £400 or £500 per annum to Richard Annesley, during Lord Annesley's use; and that then the settled and unsettled estate, subject as aforesaid, should be resettled to the present existing uses of the late Lord Glerawly's will.

19th February. I laid this proposition before Mr Annesley, and he entirely agreed to it, provided the settlements should be approved of by Lord Waterford and the Attorney-General  [Arthur Wolfe, whom Richard Annesley had named as his counsel in the affair].

21st February. Lord Annesley declined to have any settlement executed by his brother, Richard, and said Lady Annesley would have her own counsel to draw a deed for her, and the treaty broke off'.

[For another copy of this paper, see the Downshire Papers, PRONI, D607/F/51; see also D1503/3/8/12].

 

Repository :        Public Record Office for Northern Ireland

PRONI Reference :          D1503/3/5/18

Level :   Item

Access :                Open

Title :     Letter from Arthur Wolfe to the Hon.

Dates :  18 February 1798 - 21 February 1798

Description :       Letter from Arthur Wolfe to the Hon. Richard Annesley about the terms of the resettlement of the Annesley family estates.

'I did [not] come home till late, or I would have answered your letter. Lord Waterford settled everything with me. Your annuity is £500. I am striving to settle the draft, or rather directions, how it is to be altered, for I have not leisure to put it in the form it ought to be. I wish Bob French had drawn it or would amend it, for it is not quite formal'.

 

Repository :        Public Record Office for Northern Ireland

PRONI Reference :          D1503/3/5/19

Level :   Item

Access :                Open

Title :     Copy of a letter from Mrs Catherine Boyd

Dates :  1 March 1798

Description :       Copy of a letter from Mrs Catherine Boyd, Loughrea, to Lord Annesley about his relationship with Sophia.

'I had last night the honour of your Lordship's letter, which I do assure you has given me the deepest concern and surprise, as I was in hopes, after the full explanation that took place here, and the promise Lady Annesley gave me to behave in a different manner, everything would have gone on happily and comfortably. Believe me, my Lord, my respect and esteem for your Lordship is such that I would obey your summons to town, and that immediately (though far from well), with pleasure, if I thought I could at all contribute towards your happiness; but, alas, what could I do? I before reasoned with Lady Annesley in the freest manner, and told her the impropriety of her giving way to that little capriciousness of temper I observed in her, and the censure and blame she would incur by having any material disagreement with you. I could only repeat the same thing again, was I to see her, and that at the hazard of her dislike and displeasure, if not of making any little breach between you wider, and even was she to take it well and attend to me for the time, you know she would in all probability pay no longer attention to my advice, or her own work, than she has now done.

You must allow, my Lord, it is both a dangerous and delicate subject for me to touch upon, but as your Lordship has honoured me with your confidence, I will take the liberty of hinting a plan of conduct for you to pursue, in my opinion much more likely to give your permanent happiness than the interference of any third person. Believe me, my Lord, however odd the assertion may come from my pen, it is a truth no less incontrovertible that few women have sense enough to bear much indulgence, and that nine out of ten are spoiled by it. You let your lady see the power she has over you too plainly, and in my opinion do not treat her with sufficiently [sic] openness and freedom. Why, instead of indulging her in every whim and wish (and that at a time when her conduct does not please you), do you not tell her plainly, or I am mistaken. Try this plan, my Lord, a little while. Give your orders openly and good naturedly, but at the same time peremptorily. I know this will cost you some heartaches, but if succeeds in bringing the object of your generous affections to a sense of her duty, obligations and, I will add, danger, you will be amply repaid. But perhaps, my Lord, you have some particular cause of discontent more than I know of. If so, and you think I can be of any real service to you, or that my presence will have solid or lasting effect, notwithstanding what I have said, and however inconvenient it may be, I will set out immediately upon receipt of your answer. I had once an idea of writing to Lady Annesley upon the subject of your Lordship's letter, but upon reflection determined not, not knowing if she knew of your writing to me, and fearing to tell her of it without your knowledge for fear of increasing any little quarrel.

I have taken up more of your Lordship's time than I intended, but hope the subject will be my apology. I beg to hear from you again upon receipt of this, as I am really unhappy about you. Adieu, my Lord. Call your fortitude to your aid, and keep up your spirits, and I have no doubt of all being well again soon'.

 

Repository :        Public Record Office for Northern Ireland

PRONI Reference :          D1503/3/5/20

Level :   Item

Access :                Open

Title :     'Copy deed of trust [which contains blanks

Dates :  2 July 1798

Description :       'Copy deed of trust [which contains blanks, and looks more like a draft]', between Lord Annesley and Lady Annesley of the one part, and Lord Waterford and John Claudius Beresford of the other, whereby Lord Annesley makes over to Lord Waterford and J.C. Beresford his unsettled estate, in trust to sell it at his decease to raise £30,000 to pay his debts and £10,000 as a lump sum provision for Lady Annesley. It is stipulated that she is to receive £1,000 a year until the sale can be affected and the £10,000 paid to her. The unsettled estate consists of Welchestown, Ballydonnell and Clanvaraghan, the mansion house and demesne of Mount Panther and the town house in Marlborough Street, Dublin.

 

Repository :        Public Record Office for Northern Ireland

PRONI Reference :          D1503/3/5/22

Level :   Item

Access :                Open

Title :     Letter from John Pollock to Richard Annesley

Dates :  [July 1797]

Description :       Letter from John Pollock to Richard Annesley, Annesley Lodge.

 

'Lord Annesley came to town this night, and in consequence of an interview which I have had with him, I wish you would bring Priest Larkin [who according to D1503/3/5/16, died in July 1797] into town with you tomorrow, and get him to call on me at 10 o'clock. Do this discreetly and cautiously'.

 

Repository :        Public Record Office for Northern Ireland

PRONI Reference :          D1503/3/5/23

Level :   Item

Access :                Open

Title :     Copy of Lord Annesley's  will, whereby he

Dates :  29 July 1780

Description :       Copy of Lord Annesley's will, whereby he leaves all the real and personal estate within his disposing power to J.C. Beresford, to be divided, after payment of his debts, in equal shares' ... among the following persons ... that is to say, to James, Henry, Charles and Francis Annesley, sons of Dorothea McIlroy, deceased, and William Arthur Annesley, son of Sophia Kelly, and Lord Glerawly and Francis Charles Annesley, my sons by Sophia, Countess of [sic] Annesley, my present wife, I appoint the said John Claudius Beresford guardian to the said James, Henry, Charles and Thomas [sic - Francis] Annesley and executor to this my last will and testament. I appoint Sophia, Countess Annesley, guardian to William Arthur Annesley, Lord Glerawly and Francis Charles Annesley, her sons ...'.

 

Repository :        Public Record Office for Northern Ireland

PRONI Reference :          D1503/3/5/24

Level :   Item

Access :                Open

Title :     Copy of Mr Furlong's narrative

Dates :  25 December 1802

Description :       Copy of Mr Furlong's narrative about the events immediately following Lord Annesley's death.

 

'Monday night, the 20th December 1802, after 10 O'Clock at night, I received a note from the Rt Hon. Richard Annesley, one of the Chief Commissioners of the Revenue, informing me that Earl Annesley was dead, and desiring to see me immediately. I accordingly waited on him at the Custom House, and there saw him, his son Francis Annesely Esq., Neill [sic - Neale] O'Donnell [sic - O'Donel] Esq., his son-in-law, and John Pollock, Esq.

On consultation, it was resolved to be necessary that Mr Annesley should set off immediately for Mount Panther in the county of Down, and that Mr O'donnell and I should accompany him. Accordingly, we set off in the Commissioner's carriage at 12 O’clock at night. At the Man of War Inn, we were informed that Lady Annesley had been there a few hours before on her return from Dublin, and had met Lord Annesley's black servant there, who brought her an account of Lord Annesley's death; [and] that she stopped the black servant and sent back to Dublin another servant. It afterwards appeared that the servant who came back, brought the account of Lord Annesley's death from Lady Annesley to the Commissioner, and also to Mr McClelland, the Solicitor-General, who by letter immediately communicated that event to Lord Annesley.

At Drogheda, Castle Bellingham and Dundalk, we heard that Lady Annesley had passed through a few hours before us. From Dundalk, Commissioner [now Earl] Annesley wrote to Mr Pollock to seal up the bureau and all other places of security in the late Lord Annesley's house in Marlborough Street in presence of the Solicitor-General, and I wrote to Mr Chambers to attend with Mr Pollock. The letters were sent to Mr Chambers by express from Dundalk. Between Castle Bellingham and Dundalk, we met Mr Oxford, the late lord's steward, in a chaise going to Dublin. He stopped and gave the Commissioner and open paper of directions written and signed by Dean [William] Annesley, but not directed to anyone, containing instructions to wait on the Commissioner and Mr McClelland, and enclosing a key in a sealed paper of the late Lord's bureau in Dublin, to search for a will. The Commissioner took the open paper and also the sealed paper with the key, and desired Mr Oxford to return to Mount Panther. At Castlebellingham, Lord Annesley's chaise broke down, and we got a carriage and proceeded through Dundalk, Newry, Hilltown and Castlewellan to Mount Panther, where we arrived at 5 O'Clock in the evening on Tuesday, the 21st December. We there met Mr Annesley, a Lieutenant in the 38th Regiment, and Charles  Annesley, who had been an officer in the army in Egypt, two natural sons of the late Lord Annesley by Mrs Muckelroy [sic]. They received us civilly, but with reserve, and the elder said to me, 'We shall be of our father's opinion till the contrary shall be proved'. On our arrival, messengers were dispatched  for the Rev. William Annesley, Dean of Down, younger brother of the late Lord and of the Commissioner, and for Mr Beers, receiver of the late Lords rents. Before their arrival, the elder son of the late Lord's above-mentioned told us that Dean Annesley had been there since the late Lord's death and that he had broke open his desk or bureau to look for a will, and that several cancelled wills were found, but that the last will was not found, and that it was supposed to be in Dublin or in the hands of Mr Keown, the late Lord's attorney. [What follows is cancelled in pencil]. It was also mentioned, as well as I recollect, by the elder Mr Annesley, that when the desk or bureau was broke open by the Dean, the late Lord's letters were examined and read. Lord Annesley expressed great indignation at his brother's having presumed to break open his brother, the late Lord's desk, and to search for a will or any writing before the Lordship's arrival. About 8 o'clock in the evening, Dean Annesley and his two sons arrived, and Lord Annesley, addressing himself to the Dean, expressed in very sharp terms of resentment the impropriety of breaking open any lock of the late Lord's or searching for a will or reading any letter until the present Lord arrived. He also expressed his opinion in very jealous terms that the first information he received of his brother's death should be from Sophia (meaning the person called Lady Annesley) and not from the Dean. The Dean said he had at 7 O'Clock on Monday morning sent off a post office express to the Commissioner, and that he, the Dean, had no means of giving earlier information, his brother's having died at 12 o'clock on Sunday night. Lord Annesley then, by my desire, put this question to the Dean: Who do you now acknowledge to be the heir and successor to the title and settled estates of the late Earl. To which the Dean answered, 'To be sure, if my brother's marriage was illegal, you are his undoubted heir and successor'. Lord Annesley said it was notorious that his marriage could not be legal, for that Sophia was the wife of Martin Connor, who was still living. Lord Annesley said he had never called her Lady Annesley or treated her, either before or since, her supposed marriage with the late Lord Annesley as his wife, but had always considered her as his kept mistress, and had called her Sophia formerly, and afterwards Madam; that he thought it extraordinary that the Dean and his sons should have called her by the name of Lady Annesley, and that he commended the spirit and proper conduct of the Dean's wife who had always refused to visit her or to acknowledge her as Lady Annesley.

The Dean answered that he did not pretend to determine or consider whether the title of Lady Annesley was a name of right or of courtesy, but that understanding it was pleasing to his borther that she should be called by that name, and wishing to be on good terms with his brother, he complied in that respect with his wish. After the Dean was gone,  Mr Beers was very sharply reprehended by Lord Annesley for not sending off an express to him with an account of his Lordship's death, but he excused himself by saying he understood the Dean had done so, and therefore thought it unnecessary for him to do so. Lord Annesley then asked Mr Beers who he acknowledged as the present Lord Annesley, to which Mr Beers instantly replied, 'You, most undoubtedly'. [The cancelled passage ends at this point].

Next morning, Wednesday the 22nd December, as I was coming out of my bed chamber, I was stopped by Sophia, who said 'Sir, I shall be obliged to you to tell the late Lord Annesley's brother that I wish to speak to him'. I told her I would deliver her message, and let her know his answer. I accordingly communicated the message, and at the same time advised his Lordship to decline any private interview, and he having concurred, I told her, that he would not see her, but in the presence of some friend of hers, and if she would name anyone he should be sent for. She said she always thought the Commissioner was a good and honourable man, that she was grateful for his attention to her children, whom he had received kindly and kissed, that she would be glad to have an interview with him, and hoped he would not call her by a name she did not like, but would, as he used to do, call her Sophia. (I understood the name she did not like to be Mrs Connor). She said she believed Mr Keown had the will; that the Solicitor-General was her friend, and that she had visited at his house and been kindly received by his wife; that she had been advised to act differently from the manner in which she probably would act, but that she would judge for herself; and that she would be glad to see the commissioner in presence of the Dean and any other person. The Dean and his sons, and other two young  Mr Annesleys, Mr O'Donel, Mr Beers and I having assembled in the parlor, Sophia came in, and a conversation took place.

 

She said the late Lord had been advised to file a bill to raise a sum of £5,000 due to the Dean on the family estate; that the bill was to be filed in the Dean's name at the request of the late Lord, not that the Dean wanted the money, but as a means of establishing the right of his Lordship's son by her, who was to be made a party by the name of Lord Glerawly. Lord Annesley said he had heard of such [an] intention, and had received a message from her by Mr Swan that such a bill was to be filed, and that it was against her will, for that she knew it would injure her children, and that it would be supported by perjury (she expressed a wish previous to this conversation, by a message, that the two younger Mr Annesleys, sons of the late Lord, should leave the room, and they left accordingly, before the conversation commenced).

She said she disapproved of the bill, and she would rather rely on the Commissioner's honour than any bill.

Lord Annesley told her that, as she had not any professional man to advise her, he did not wish to hear her make any admission or declaration that might possibly affect her or her children. He said that her conduct to him ought not to be influenced by her of fear, and that he would hold out neither threat or [sic] inducement; that she could not have better advice than that of the Solicitor-General; and that he hoped she would consult him and act as he should recommend.

She said she was told, when he came, he would probably take possession and turn her and her children out; that, if he pleased, she was ready to quit, or would stay if he desired it; that she wished to put herself and her children under his protection.

Lord Annesley then said he did not know whether there was a will or not; that as to the settled estates and the family plate, it made no difference to him whether there was a sill or not, for that, as his brother died without lawful issue, he was entitled under his father's will to the settled estates and plate for his life, with remainder to his eldest son; and that as to the acquired estates of the late Lord Annesley, which were very considerable, and to all his personal fortune, it would probably be better for her children that there should be no will than that a will should be found, for that he desired it to be understood that, thought as heir at law he should come in for all the late Lord's acquired estates and for half his personal fortune, that [sic] he never would accept of any part thereof for his own use, but would, as to the whole, consider himself as a trustee for all his brother's natural children, making a suitable provision for Sophia.

This evening at 8 O'Clock, the late Lord Annesley was buried at his family burial place two miles from Mount Panther by torchlight. His remains were attended by the present Lord and the Dean, by the Dean's two sons, and by the late Lord's two sons, Mr Beers, Mr Moffett, the curate, and a few others.

Thursday, December 23rd. This morning I was again stopped by Sophia as I was coming out of my bed chamber. She told me she wanted to have a conversation with me, and I went into her room and sat with her near half an hour. She told me she heard that Mr Keown had arrived from Dublin with the will, and was to be shortly at Mount Panther; that she had reflected on her situation, and had made up her mind to act according to her own judgement; that her case was a hard one; that she was bred up as the child of poor people of the name of Kelly, who gave her little or no education, nor any means of earning bread; that they wanted her to marry a man she did not like, and to avoid the match she ran away from then and went to a Mrs McBean [sic] who was a playfellow of hers and who lived at Sir William Gleadowe Newcomen's gate; that she there had a slight acquaintance with Martin Connor, and that she was decoyed into a marriage with him by a priest and that she did not consider it binding in the eyes of God, for she did not repeat part of the ceremony after the priest; that after the marriage, she found that Lord Annesley wanted to get her for a mistress, and that she thought it better, in order to protect herself from his Lordship, to put herself under the protection of Martin Connor as his wife; that she proposed to Martin Connor to do so, provided that he would promise that there should be no connection as man and wife between them; that he agreed to these terms, and she went to live with him as his wife, and was called by his name, but that the marriage never was consummated; that she disliked Martin Connor very much and being much pressed by Lord Annesley, and being then only 16 [sic] years old, and not being able to procure from her supposed parents 20 guineas to put herself apprentice to a milliner, for which she applied, she at length went off with Lord Annesley; that she lived some time with him as his mistress, and never knew any man before him, and had by him a son named William; that his Lordship pressed her to marry him, but that she resisted his importunities for a fortnight, and until he declared that if she did not comply he would make away with himself; that she was lawfully married to him by a Protestant clergyman, and that, however she might be affected in point of law by the former marriage with Martin Connor, she considered her marriage with Lord Annesley as a good one in the eyes of God.

Sophia said that she had been told that even if her marriage with Connor was a legal marriage, it might be set aside by proving that at the time of such marriage, Martin Connor had another wife, and that before her connection with Lord Annesley, another woman had claimed him as her husband; that since her connection with Lord Annesley, she had discovered that the Kellys, her supposed parents, were only her fosters, and that her real parents' name was Talbot; that her mother died when she was only six weeks old in America, and left her £5,000; that since her connection with Lord Annesley, her supposed parents had acknowledged her real parents, and had given her her mother's clothes and rings, and that she had got £3,000, part of the property of her mother, which she lent to Lord Annesley in the presence of Dean Annesley, on his Lordship's bonds. She said she had some jewels, which Lord Annesley had given her, and a house and a few acres of land at Rostrevor. She said she wished to see the Commissioner, and to introduce herself and her children to him by her proper names; that she would not be governed by lawyers or attorneys, but would think and act upon the occasion for herself; that she would rather have the Commissioner's word than the oath of others who, she said, were under greater obligations to her; and that what she had to say, she would say freely and publicly.

I told her that as Mr McKeown [sic] was shortly to arrive, I would advise Lord Annesley to defer an interview with her till he arrived and was present, and having communicated this conversation to Lord Annesley he agreed with me, of which I informed Sophia.

After breakfast, Mr Keown having arrived, [he] declared he had the will, and that it was open, having been opened by the late Lord with intent that he should copy it, in order to draw a new will; but that such new will had not been drawn, and that he was ready to hand the will to Dean Annesley, who was one of the executors.

I mentioned that Dean Annesley had received a note from him the preceding night, in which he mentioned that he was going home, and that the will was a his office there, and that he would bring it to the present Lord Annesley. I therefore asked him where the will was at the time he wrote the note. He said, at his office in Downpatrick. I then asked who he meant for the present Lord, and he answered, Commissioner Annesley.

Lord Annesley, the Dean and his two sons, the two Mr Annesleys, Mr O'Donel, Mr Beers and I then went into the great parlour and Mr Keown having joined us, we sent to inform Sophia by the butler that we were ready to receive her. In a few minutes she came into the parlour. Lord Annesley then asked her whether he had ever since her connection with the late Lord called her any name but Sophia or Madam, or had acknowledge her in the capacity of Lady Annesley. She said he had not. He then asked whether he had ever endeavoured to influence her conduct by hope or fear. She said he had not.

Some few other questions were asked which, with the foregoing, I reduced into writing [not found] in presence of all the persons before-mentioned, to which the answers were annexed; and they all the persons present except Lord Annesley, Mr Keown and Sophia signed the paper.

The late Lord's will [D1503/1/3/5/23] made in 1800 [sic - c.1801] was then produced by Mr Keown and handed to Dean Annesley, who gave it to me to read. Sophia asked whether there was not a codicil to the will. Mr Keown answered that he did not know of any. She said she believed there was, and that it would be found in Dublin. I read the will aloud. It is witnessed by Mr Moffett, Mr Beers and Mr Keown.

Sophia is by the name Sophia, Countess Annesley, left £10,000, payable by £1,000 a year till paid. His four natural children that he had by Mrs Mucklerey [sic], viz. the two young men before mentioned, a young man now at sea, and young man now at Edinburgh, and the son, William, which Sophia had before marriage, are left the estates therein mentioned, to be equally divided, with benefit of survivorship, in case of death before the age of 21 years; Dean Annesley and John Claudius Beresford, executors.

Sophia then said she wished to introduce her children to the Commissioner in their proper characters. Lord Annesley answered that, before she took any step of that kind, she must confer with her confidential professional man, and he hoped she would act with good advice. Whereupon all the company retired, leaving Sophia and Mr Keown together, and it was agreed that, when they had conferred, they should send for me, and that I should join them.

In about ten minutes, Mr Keown called me and said in Sophia's presence that they both agreed in opinion; that he loved the late Lord Annesley, who was his friend and patron, and that if it was in his power, he would serve his children; but that, being satisfied of the Commissioner's right and title, he thought it would be folly to resist it; and that therefore he thought it better at once to acknowledge it. Sophia expressed the same sentiments, and thereupon the Dean and his sons, the two Mr Annesleys, Mr Beers, Mr O'Donel and Lord Annesley were called in. Sophia then called the butler to bring in the children, and he brought in her three children, who seemed to be about the ages of 6, 4 and 2. The eldest boy was born before marriage, and the second was called Lord Glerawly by his father. Sophia in a very solemn manner addressed Lord Annesley to this effect: 'Lord Annesley, this is William Annesley, this is George De La Poer Beresford Annesley, and this is Francis Charles Annesley'. She then placed the three children in a row, and making them kneel down and addressing herself to the two eldest, asked them who they had loved best. They answered, Lord Annesley. But, said she, Lord Annesley is dead, and you will never see him again. Would not you like to have another Lord Annesley, who will be your parent and your protector. Kneel down and ask his blessing. She then made them all kneel down and put up their hands to Lord Annesley, bending herself in a very supplicating and impressive manner at the same time. The second boy burst into tears, and not only Lord Annesley but every person present was affected by the awful solemnity of the scene. Lord Annesley, as soon as he could wipe away his tears and express himself, said he would be their protector and act by them as a parent, and that he would give them the best education.

A note of this solemnity [D1503/3/8/23] was written by me in presence of Sophia and Mr Keown immediately afterwards, which it was agreed Sophia should sign. She said that of late she had been accustomed to subscribe herself Sophia Annesley, but that she supposed that would be improper on this occasion. I answered that she should subscribe her real name. She said that was Talbot. Mr Keown then said she had better subscribe the name by which she was called when she first knew Lord Annesley. She said that was Sophia Kelly. I said, Connor.

No, said she, I call myself Kelly; and as she seemed to have reluctance to be called Connor, I did not persist, conceiving that she apprehended that her using the name of Connor might give Martin Connor a pretext for being troublesome to her. She therefore signed the paper by the name of Sophia Kelly, and it was witnessed by Mr Keown and by me, and both papers were delivered by me to Lord Annesley. I now state the substance of them from recollection.

When Lord Annesley had been acknowledge as such, I drew an attornment, which Mr Beers got executed by a great many of the principal tenants.

Dean Annesley said that the late Lord and Sophia had been lately in Dublin, where he understood that they had quarreled, and the late Lord Annesley had left her in anger, and that she was on her return from Dublin, not knowing of his illness, met at the man of War by a messenger with an account of his death.

[The paragraph which follows is cancelled in pencil]. Dean Annesley also said that a few hours before Lord Annesley's death, he desired Mr McGuire [sic - McGuire] to bring him a sum of money that he would find in a particular place, to divide it between the two young men, his Lordship's natural sons, which was accordingly done by the Dean. Of this circumstance, I have not a very accurate recollection. [The cancelled passage ends at this point].

Lord Annesley enquired from Sophia about the family plate. She told him that a great part of it was in the house in Marlborough Street, but that part of it was sold or pawned. However, that he might depend upon it that it had not been broken up, and it could be got back, and that he should have it all. She expressed a wish that the servants should be discharged, and the horses and cattle should be sold.

 

Lord Annesley desired inventories to be taken of all the stock, furniture, carriages and effects at Mount Panther, and the Dean promised to discharge the servants and sell the stock as soon as possible.

At 3 O'Clock, Lord Annesley, Mr O'Donel and I sat [sic] out on our return in one of the late Lord's carriages, and came that night to Newry, from whence at 7 next morning Friday the 24th, we sat [sic] off for Dublin, and arrived at 7 in the evening.

Having been otherwise engaged at Mount Panther and on the road, I take the first opportunity of making this note of the circumstances, whilst they are fresh on [sic] my collection'.

 

Repository :        Public Record Office for Northern Ireland

PRONI Reference :          D1503/3/5/26

Level :   Item

Access :                Open

Title :     Copy rental of the [settled] estates in

Dates :  [1802?]

Description :       Copy rental of the [settled] estates in Co. Down of which Lord Annesley was possessed at the time of his death, including Clarehill [see D1503/3/5/1-D1503/3/5/2], the total rental comes to £5,459 8s.2½d. The unsettled lands itemised in D1503/3/5/20 are excluded.

Repository :        Public Record Office for Northern Ireland

 

PRONI Reference :          D1503/3/5/27

Level :   Item

Access :                Open

Title :     Original letter from 'Sophia', 17 New Sackville

Dates :  5 February 1803

Description :       Original letter from 'Sophia', 17 New Sackville Street, to 'Lord Annesley' [Richard, 2nd Earl, obviously written with a view to being bought off].

'From what passed between us at Mount Panther previous to my coming to town, I did expect to find you a friend to me and my children. By Mr Beresford's directions, I stopped at [the] Malbrough [sic] Street house, where I received a visit from Mr Woodmason [to whom Beresford had granted a power of attorney] desiring I would quit the house immediately, as he had received a letter from your attorney to that purpose, in consequence of which I was obliged to walk through the streets without a friend of [sic] a very bad day, to look for lodgings, and have, from being turned out of the late Lord's house, been obliged to take the lodgings I am now in, which have been so damp and cold that my poor little child, Francis Charles, has taken so bad a cold that I despair of his recovery.

On my coming here, I wanted money to purchase necessaries, coals, etc. I applied to Mr Woodmason, but was refused unless I signed my name Sophia Connor, which I cannot think of doing, it would be treating the memory of the late Lord with greatest disrespect. In consequence of Mr Woodmason's refusal I was obliged to borrow money for common necessaries for myself and child, till the return of Mr Beresford'.

An endorsement shows that this letter was exhibited in court on 24 Oct. 1804, in the course of subsequent litigation.

 

Repository :        Public Record Office for Northern Ireland

PRONI Reference :          D1503/3/5/29

Level :   Item

Access :                Open

Title :     'Sophia Annesley', 17 New Sackville Street

Dates :  5 February 1803

Description :       'Sophia Annesley', 17 New Sackville Street, to Capt. [William] Beers, Newcastle Castlewellan, about her determination to support her claims.

'I have sent my dear little children to school, William Arthur and Lord Annesley [sic] and have kept the Hon. Francis A. at home with myself. You see I am changed [presumably in nomenclature]. I am indeed, and with just reason. I mean to support my own right and that of my children as long as in my power. Let this be as sacred as the grave. I do assure you that it will be known to everyone very shortly. In some time I will let you know more of this matter. Give my most sincere regards to Mrs Beers and Miss Grove'.

This letter was exhibited in court on 24 Oct. 1804.

 

Repository :        Public Record Office for Northern Ireland

PRONI Reference :          D1503/3/5/30

Level :   Item

Access :                Open

Title :     Copy of 'Mr Woodmason's narrative, referred

Dates :  23 February 1803

Description :       Copy of 'Mr Woodmason's narrative, referred to by Earl Annesley's case.

'February 23rd, 1803, Dublin.

James Woodmason, having this day accidentally called on Mrs Sophia Connor to enquire of her why she had not sent him, as acting for the executor, some of the late Earl of [sic] Annesley's plate, had a long conversation with her.

She said she took the name of Lady Annesley, and her servant was surprised at my asking for his mistress. She desired that in future, unless I called her Lady Annesley, I would come up to her at once without any enquiry. She told me that since she had last seen me, her affairs were changed; that she had come to a determination to avow her first marriage and have her rights. I asked her how this could be, when she had declared that she could prove her rights by bringing forward persons to prove that, when Martin Connor married her, he had a wife living. Oh, says she, as to what I might say in conversation [that] goes for nothing; I can now prove my marriage and the death of that husband by a certificate one month before I married the late Lord Annesley. I asked her, if she knew all this, why she had not at the death of the late Lord kept possession and avowed her rights. She said, if she was advised, it was badly, but she had not been advised. I asked her if her attorney had not retained counsel. Not with her knowledge, she declared, for she was determined to write to Mr J.C Beresford her case, and by his advice only would she act in every respect. I told her I partly knew, if he gave advice, that it would be at act uniformly to what she had proposed at Mount Panther before so many witnesses. But, says she, how can I be expected to do this, when Lord Annesley refuses to answer my letters, and you refuse me money, unless I sign as Sophia Connor, and when I was turned our of Annesley House, and when Lord Annesley declares he will arrest me, and when he means to take advantages that he says the law puts in his power? I told her I found she had been listening to flatterers and tale-bearers; that she might rest assured that Lord Annesley would not break his word in any one way. As he had told her he would be guided by his counsel only, so he now would say; and that if she took on her to alter her conduct, she must suppose Lord Annesley would do the same.

She then expressed herself that she had been told by Mr Keown that Lord Annesley would take some advantage of the late Lord's will by his having suffered a fine, or levied (she was not sure, but it was to this effect). I then assured her Lord Annesley would support right against her; that she had best be advised; that is appeared to me very extraordinary; [that] having three husbands in the way she had, it would be difficult for her to prove the marriage she had been telling me of. She again said she would be advised by Mr J.C. Beresford, as he was a gentleman of honour, and desired me to ask Mr Keown if he had not told her about Lord Annesley's threat against her.

She also told me that her marriage with Martin Connor was not a good one.

At a former conversation, she had told me this, adding that the reason was known to the late Lord. In fact, says she, I never had any connection with him as his wife, and I have a lady of great consequence [Mrs Grove?] who would have supported me in opposition to Lord Annesley, but I am determined to do nothing of the kind, being convinced it's better for me to have Lord Annesley's protection for my children than throw away money at law'.

 

Repository :        Public Record Office for Northern Ireland

PRONI Reference :          D1503/3/5/31A

Level :   Item

Access :                Open

Title :     One copy of D1503/3/5/30 and one copy of

Dates :  March 1803

Description :       One copy of D1503/3/5/30 and one copy of 'A memorandum of a conversation at Mount Panther between Mrs Sophia Connor and Mr [Neale] O'Donel, December 23, 1803.

Mrs Connor requested I should interfere between her and Lord Annesley. She feared his Lordship would be displeased about some of the family plate she had disposed of; that [I was?] to assure his Lordship she would have Mr Keown write to Dublin to have the plate returned; that very little money would redeem the plate; that nothing would have made her dispose of the plate, but wanting money; that she had not disposed of some sideboards ornaments. Mrs Connor wished to leave Mount Panther; that she perceived many people were displeased; that she did not dispute the business with the present Lord, and that things would have been long since settled to the wish of the present Lord, only that he hired Connor; that the late Earl never forgave his brother keeping Connor. She allowed her marriage with Connor when she was quite a foolish girl; that he was always drunk; and [she] solemnly protested he never had any connection with her; that she hated him and left him. She feared Connor would give her trouble, but depended on Lord Annesley's protection. She did recollect during the life of the late Lord mentioning to Mr Swan she believed the Commissioner was a man of honour, and that she had threatened Lord Annesley by saying she would throw herself and her children on his mercy, when things were going she disapproved of; that her mind was made up how she should act; that she thought it better to secure some future provision than nothing; particularly mentioned her fidelity to the later Lord; that in the eyes of God she esteemed herself wife to the late Lord, but that in the eyes of man she feared she was Connor's wife; declared she never repeated the ceremony, neither had Connor any connection with her, though she lived with him some time, and that she was but 16; that she loved the late Lord as her father, and surely that was a more lasting affection than what the world called love. On that point, her mind was at ease. To tell Lord Annesley she had more dependence on his word than any of the Annesleys' oaths; that the will Mr Keown had produced wanted a particular paper appointing her and J.C. Beresford sole guardians to her children and their property. She was sure that Mr Forde had that will, as she had been showed [sic] it by the late Lord, and requested me to mention that circumstance to Lord Annesley, and that the Dean of Down was not mentioned in it; that she placed no confidence in him; that he had treated her ill, though often in his brother's lifetime courted her favour; that she understood he wished to be guardian to her children and property, but that she took care of that.

Mr Furlong and Mr Keown came to call on me, as Lord Annesley was waiting in the carriage for me on his way to Dublin.

Mrs Connor mentioned before those gentlemen that the plate should be returned, and to assure Lord Annesley none of the family plate had been melted, and not to be uneasy about it; that there was some ornament belonging to the sideboard in the house in town.

So ended my conversation with Mrs Connor, the particulars of which I repeated to Mr Furlong and Lord Annesley in the carriage on our way to Newry. This is a true copy, given by me to Lord Annesley, of the one I have kept'.

 

Repository :        Public Record Office for Northern Ireland

PRONI Reference :          D1503/3/5/31B

Level :   Item

Access :                Open

Title :     One copy of 'A memorandum of a conversation

Dates :  March 1803

Description :       One copy of 'A memorandum of a conversation at Mount Panther between Mrs Sophia Connor and Mr [Neale] O'Donel, December 23, 1803.

Mrs Connor requested I should interfere between her and Lord Annesley. She feared his Lordship would be displeased about some of the family plate she had disposed of; that [I was?] to assure his Lordship she would have Mr Keown write to Dublin to have the plate returned; that very little money would redeem the plate; that nothing would have made her dispose of the plate, but wanting money; that she had not disposed of some sideboards ornaments. Mrs Connor wished to leave Mount Panther; that she perceived many people were displeased; that she did not dispute the business with the present Lord, and that things would have been long since settled to the wish of the present Lord, only that he hired Connor; that the late Earl never forgave his brother keeping Connor. She allowed her marriage with Connor when she was quite a foolish girl; that he was always drunk; and [she] solemnly protested he never had any connection with her; that she hated him and left him. She feared Connor would give her trouble, but depended on Lord Annesley's protection. She did recollect during the life of the late Lord mentioning to Mr Swan she believed the Commissioner was a man of honour, and that she had threatened Lord Annesley by saying she would throw herself and her children on his mercy, when things were going she disapproved of; that her mind was made up how she should act; that she thought it better to secure some future provision than nothing; particularly mentioned her fidelity to the later Lord; that in the eyes of God she esteemed herself wife to the late Lord, but that in the eyes of man she feared she was Connor's wife; declared she never repeated the ceremony, neither had Connor any connection with her, though she lived with him some time, and that she was but 16; that she loved the late Lord as her father, and surely that was a more lasting affection than what the world called love. On that point, her mind was at ease. To tell Lord Annesley she had more dependence on his word than any of the Annesleys' oaths; that the will Mr Keown had produced wanted a particular paper appointing her and J.C. Beresford sole guardians to her children and their property. She was sure that Mr Forde had that will, as she had been showed [sic] it by the late Lord, and requested me to mention that circumstance to Lord Annesley, and that the Dean of Down was not mentioned in it; that she placed no confidence in him; that he had treated her ill, though often in his brother's lifetime courted her favour; that she understood he wished to be guardian to her children and property, but that she took care of that.

Mr Furlong and Mr Keown came to call on me, as Lord Annesley was waiting in the carriage for me on his way to Dublin.

Mrs Connor mentioned before those gentlemen that the plate should be returned, and to assure Lord Annesley none of the family plate had been melted, and not to be uneasy about it; that there was some ornament belonging to the sideboard in the house in town.

So ended my conversation with Mrs Connor, the particulars of which I repeated to Mr Furlong and Lord Annesley in the carriage on our way to Newry. This is a true copy, given by me to Lord Annesley, of the one I have kept'.

 

Repository :        Public Record Office for Northern Ireland

PRONI Reference :          D1503/3/5/32A

Level :   Item

Access :                Open

Title :     One of two copies of 'Notes of proceedings

Dates :  21 May 1803

Description :       One of two copies of 'Notes of proceedings on the petition [of Richard Annesley to be recognised as Earl Annesley] before the Law Officers of the crown'. The proceedings consist of evidence taken about the surviving children of the 1st Viscount Glerawly, and as to the marriage of Sophia and Martin Connor.

[For drafts of the numerous Chancery bills filed in 1803, see D1503/6 - original bundle 'No. 14'].

 

Repository :        Public Record Office for Northern Ireland

PRONI Reference :          D1503/3/5/33

Level :   Item

Access :                Open

Title :     One of three versions of Mr Henchy's account

Dates :  October 1803

Description :       One of three versions of Mr Henchy's account of the attempts to suborn him to murder Martin Connor and [William McBay], the two surviving people who were present at Sophia's marriage to Connor. 'Saturday 10th September, received a letter from Mrs Grove directing me to come up to Dublin; that she had procured me a commissariat staff appointment.

Tuesday, 13th May, I was by Mr Armit and Mr David Hinchy [sic] introduced to the Commissary General, who told me all his appointments were filled up out of the office, and that every one of his officers must take a trial in office, on which reason I submitted to a trial.

Sunday 18th, breakfasted with Mrs Grove, where I met the lady I shall for distinction's sake call Lady Annesley, who seemed very happy to see me, being from the time I commanded the gun vessels at Wexford old acquaintance. Over conversation turned on Lord A. and the lawsuit, and Mrs Grove turned to me and said, Hency, I think it is very fortunate for you that you came up, for we (meaning herself and Lady -) will promote you. Having thanked them, I intended retiring, when Mrs Grove called me into the next room, and spoke, to the best of my recollection a follows: 'Hency, I wish you could stay here all day. This woman at times is very ill. She, you know, is the illegitimate daughter of a man of fortune, and she will have a great deal of money. If any accident happened her and the children, Dick Annesley would claim every matter, and I can tell you, she intends me as residuary legatee. It is very much in your power to serve your family and yourself, if you will only be attentive to her interest; for she is very fond of you, and I wish you would one time or other see your own interest and come to Dublin'. Having excused myself for not copying the will, which she said she got rough drafted, she made be a [sic] call on the Sunday following.

 

I did call, and breakfasted in company with her and Lady -. After breakfast, we had the old subject, when Lady - addressed me and said I could be of material service to her, and expressed her happiness to see me in Dublin; upon which, Mrs G. asked me, for god's sake why didn't I choose Dublin for my residence, and if I got an establishment there what would I think of it? Upon answering, as I had farms in the county of Cork, unless it was a very advantageous one, I could not leave that country, then [she said], Hency, as Lady Annesley informs me you can be of either service or injury to her, I must say, if you will of service I will thank you, as we are determined at all risks to get the better of Dick Annesley; then beckoned to Lady - who went with her into her bedroom, where they stayed at least ten minutes, when they returned and resumed the conversation. Mrs Grove handed me the annexed letter [no copy] with these words: 'Read that. If you will only assist us, and you will if you see your own interest, Lady A. will give you £1500, upon which Lady - said: 'Indeed, my dear Henchy, you shall have it. You can take a genteel house. It will pay the fine, and I will assist to furnish it, and live with you, if you permit me, and pay you for my diet, etc'.

Having thanked her very much and required [sic] what manner I was to serve her, Mrs G. retired to dress, saying, Call here tomorrow; upon which I took my leave, putting the letter in my pocket.

Monday evening called on Lady -. Walked with her to my brother's where Mrs Grove dined, who she said wished to talk to-. After some short conversation, she, her companion and I returned to her lodging. After sitting for some time, she nodded to her companion to retire, first calling for part of a bottle of wine, which she and I took a glass of. Having talked of many subjects, she gave me her entire history, in part of which she said that she was intended for a nun until a priest at Lough Derg, where she went to make penance to qualify her for a nun, violated her virtue, after confessing to him; that it was true she was married to that devil Martin Connor, and that as Kelly, her first married husband enlisted, she hoped it could not be made out that he was dead at the time she married Connor. She then stood up. Now, my dear Henchy, would it not be a pity such a leg could be called Connor's property - taking up her petticoats and shamefully showing how well drawers fitted her, then opening her bosom with these words: sure, the people say I wear stuffed breasts; feel them; are they not good, hard flesh and blood? Having entreated of her to be very careful and more correct, she sat down, and said, Now, Hency, the devil take me if ever Dick Annesley will succeed, because McBann [sic] is the only living evidence of the marriage with Connor. Mrs G. and I have formed as you see by Reid's letter, a plan for both making their disappearance, and I will put off the trial till there is an opportunity of carrying out plan into execution. We have agreed that Raymond will get acquainted with McBean, and bring him to town, where we want a steady person to provide quickly for him. Mrs G. said you would not be such a fool as to reject a provision for your family by taking up such a thing, particularly as it would be impossible to (suspect] anything of the kind: and in case she recovered, declared I [Henchy] should be receiver to the estates. I then asked how they had formed their plan. She told me I should be introduced to Reid at Mrs G.['s], that he and I were to [blank in the text] out the house to meet in, that he was to bring Connor as by accident into the house, and Raymond was to bring McBean into the same house, and that [at] a certain hour I was to be there also to do what my blood now runs cold at the very thoughts [sic] of - to administer a lingering dose to the unfortunate men. Having told her I should take time to consider, she said, if I knew any person that would give me £500 on her draft on Mr Beresford, she would give it to me at once; upon which I wished her a good night.

Breakfasted next morning with her to know if she was serious in her ideas of me, and told her the consequence; on which morning, I introduced Mr Henchy to her, who told her he would give her £1,000 on a bill on Mr Beresford, if he accepted it for her. Upon her declaring in the next room she was serious, I called my friend away, to whom I told every matter, and who advised me to put Lord A. on his guard, and on [my] return to my lodging, wrote to her a letter, the copy of which I gave Lord A., and next morning conceived it my duty to read a passage of Reid's letter for [sic] him, to put him on his guard according to Mr Henchy'.

 

Repository :        Public Record Office for Northern Ireland

PRONI Reference :          D1503/3/5/35

Level :   Item

Access :                Open

Title :     One of three versions of Mr Henchy's account

Dates :  October 1803

Description :       One of three versions of Mr Henchy's account of the attempts to suborn him to murder Martin Connor and [William McBay], the two surviving people who were present at Sophia's marriage to Connor. 'Saturday 10th September, received a letter from Mrs Grove directing me to come up to Dublin; that she had procured me a commissariat staff appointment.

Tuesday, 13th May, I was by Mr Armit and Mr David Hinchy [sic] introduced to the Commissary General, who told me all his appointments were filled up out of the office, and that every one of his officers must take a trial in office, on which reason I submitted to a trial.

Sunday 18th, breakfasted with Mrs Grove, where I met the lady I shall for distinction's sake call Lady Annesley, who seemed very happy to see me, being from the time I commanded the gun vessels at Wexford old acquaintance. Over conversation turned on Lord A. and the lawsuit, and Mrs Grove turned to me and said, Hency, I think it is very fortunate for you that you came up, for we (meaning herself and Lady -) will promote you. Having thanked them, I intended retiring, when Mrs Grove called me into the next room, and spoke, to the best of my recollection a follows: 'Hency, I wish you could stay here all day. This woman at times is very ill. She, you know, is the illegitimate daughter of a man of fortune, and she will have a great deal of money. If any accident happened her and the children, Dick Annesley would claim every matter, and I can tell you, she intends me as residuary legatee. It is very much in your power to serve your family and yourself, if you will only be attentive to her interest; for she is very fond of you, and I wish you would one time or other see your own interest and come to Dublin'. Having excused myself for not copying the will, which she said she got rough drafted, she made be a [sic] call on the Sunday following.

I did call, and breakfasted in company with her and Lady -. After breakfast, we had the old subject, when Lady - addressed me and said I could be of material service to her, and expressed her happiness to see me in Dublin; upon which, Mrs G. asked me, for god's sake why didn't I choose Dublin for my residence, and if I got an establishment there what would I think of it? Upon answering, as I had farms in the county of Cork, unless it was a very advantageous one, I could not leave that country, then [she said], Hency, as Lady Annesley informs me you can be of either service or injury to her, I must say, if you will of service I will thank you, as we are determined at all risks to get the better of Dick Annesley; then beckoned to Lady - who went with her into her bedroom, where they stayed at least ten minutes, when they returned and resumed the conversation. Mrs Grove handed me the annexed letter [no copy] with these words: 'Read that. If you will only assist us, and you will if you see your own interest, Lady A. will give you £1500, upon which Lady - said: 'Indeed, my dear Henchy, you shall have it. You can take a genteel house. It will pay the fine, and I will assist to furnish it, and live with you, if you permit me, and pay you for my diet, etc'.

Having thanked her very much and required [sic] what manner I was to serve her, Mrs G. retired to dress, saying, Call here tomorrow; upon which I took my leave, putting the letter in my pocket.

Monday evening called on Lady -. Walked with her to my brother's where Mrs Grove dined, who she said wished to talk to-. After some short conversation, she, her companion and I returned to her lodging. After sitting for some time, she nodded to her companion to retire, first calling for part of a bottle of wine, which she and I took a glass of. Having talked of many subjects, she gave me her entire history, in part of which she said that she was intended for a nun until a priest at Lough Derg, where she went to make penance to qualify her for a nun, violated her virtue, after confessing to him; that it was true she was married to that devil Martin Connor, and that as Kelly, her first married husband enlisted, she hoped it could not be made out that he was dead at the time she married Connor. She then stood up. Now, my dear Henchy, would it not be a pity such a leg could be called Connor's property - taking up her petticoats and shamefully showing how well drawers fitted her, then opening her bosom with these words: sure, the people say I wear stuffed breasts; feel them; are they not good, hard flesh and blood? Having entreated of her to be very careful and more correct, she sat down, and said, Now, Hency, the devil take me if ever Dick Annesley will succeed, because McBann [sic] is the only living evidence of the marriage with Connor. Mrs G. and I have formed as you see by Reid's letter, a plan for both making their disappearance, and I will put off the trial till there is an opportunity of carrying out plan into execution. We have agreed that Raymond will get acquainted with McBean, and bring him to town, where we want a steady person to provide quickly for him. Mrs G. said you would not be such a fool as to reject a provision for your family by taking up such a thing, particularly as it would be impossible to (suspect] anything of the kind: and in case she recovered, declared I [Henchy] should be receiver to the estates. I then asked how they had formed their plan. She told me I should be introduced to Reid at Mrs G.['s], that he and I were to [blank in the text] out the house to meet in, that he was to bring Connor as by accident into the house, and Raymond was to bring McBean into the same house, and that [at] a certain hour I was to be there also to do what my blood now runs cold at the very thoughts [sic] of - to administer a lingering dose to the unfortunate men. Having told her I should take time to consider, she said, if I knew any person that would give me £500 on her draft on Mr Beresford, she would give it to me at once; upon which I wished her a good night.

Breakfasted next morning with her to know if she was serious in her ideas of me, and told her the consequence; on which morning, I introduced Mr Henchy to her, who told her he would give her £1,000 on a bill on Mr Beresford, if he accepted it for her. Upon her declaring in the next room she was serious, I called my friend away, to whom I told every matter, and who advised me to put Lord A. on his guard, and on [my] return to my lodging, wrote to her a letter, the copy of which I gave Lord A., and next morning conceived it my duty to read a passage of Reid's letter for [sic] him, to put him on his guard according to Mr Henchy'.

 

Repository :        Public Record Office for Northern Ireland

PRONI Reference :          D1503/3/5/35

Level :   Item

Access :                Open

Title :     One of three versions of Mr Henchy's account

Dates :  October 1803

Description :       One of three versions of Mr Henchy's account of the attempts to suborn him to murder Martin Connor and [William McBay], the two surviving people who were present at Sophia's marriage to Connor. 'Saturday 10th September, received a letter srom Mrs Grove directing me to come up to Dublin; that she had procured me a commissariat staff appointment.

Tuesday, 13th May, I was by Mr Armit and Mr David Hinchy [sic] introduced to the Commissary General, who told me all his appointments were filled up out of the office, and that every one of his officers must take a trial in office, on which reason I submitted to a trial.

Sunday 18th, breakfasted with Mrs Grove, where I met the lady I shall for distinction's sake call Lady Annesley, who seemed very happy to see me, being from the time I commanded the gun vessels at Wexford old acquaintance. Over conversation turned on Lord A. and the lawsuit, and Mrs Grove turned to me and said, Hency, I think it is very fortunate for you that you came up, for we (meaning herself and Lady -) will promote you. Having thanked them, I intended retiring, when Mrs Grove called me into the next room, and spoke, to the best of my recollection a follows: 'Hency, I wish you could stay here all day. This woman at times is very ill. She, you know, is the illegitimate daughter of a man of fortune, and she will have a great deal of money. If any accident happened her and the children, Dick Annesley would claim every matter, and I can tell you, she intends me as residuary legatee. It is very much in your power to serve your family and yourself, if you will only be attentive to her interest; for she is very fond of you, and I wish you would one time or other see your own interest and come to Dublin'. Having excused myself for not copying the will, which she said she got rough drafted, she made be a [sic] call on the Sunday following.

I did call, and breakfasted in company with her and Lady -. After breakfast, we had the old subject, when Lady - addressed me and said I could be of material service to her, and expressed her happiness to see me in Dublin; upon which, Mrs G. asked me, for god's sake why didn't I choose Dublin for my residence, and if I got an establishment there what would I think of it? Upon answering, as I had farms in the county of Cork, unless it was a very advantageous one, I could not leave that country, then [she said], Hency, as Lady Annesley informs me you can be of either service or injury to her, I must say, if you will of service I will thank you, as we are determined at all risks to get the better of Dick Annesley; then beckoned to Lady - who went with her into her bedroom, where they stayed at least ten minutes, when they returned and resumed the conversation. Mrs Grove handed me the annexed letter [no copy] with these words: 'Read that. If you will only assist us, and you will if you see your own interest, Lady A. will give you £1500, upon which Lady - said: 'Indeed, my dear Henchy, you shall have it. You can take a genteel house. It will pay the fine, and I will assist to furnish it, and live with you, if you permit me, and pay you for my diet, etc'.

Having thanked her very much and required [sic] what manner I was to serve her, Mrs G. retired to dress, saying, Call here tomorrow; upon which I took my leave, putting the letter in my pocket.

Monday evening called on Lady -. Walked with her to my brother's where Mrs Grove dined, who she said wished to talk to-. After some short conversation, she, her companion and I returned to her lodging. After sitting for some time, she nodded to her companion to retire, first calling for part of a bottle of wine, which she and I took a glass of. Having talked of many subjects, she gave me her entire history, in part of which she said that she was intended for a nun until a priest at Lough Derg, where she went to make penance to qualify her for a nun, violated her virtue, after confessing to him; that it was true she was married to that devil Martin Connor, and that as Kelly, her first married husband enlisted, she hoped it could not be made out that he was dead at the time she married Connor. She then stood up. Now, my dear Henchy, would it not be a pity such a leg could be called Connor's property - taking up her petticoats and shamefully showing how well drawers fitted her, then opening her bosom with these words: sure, the people say I wear stuffed breasts; feel them; are they not good, hard flesh and blood? Having entreated of her to be very careful and more correct, she sat down, and said, Now, Hency, the devil take me if ever Dick Annesley will succeed, because McBann [sic] is the only living evidence of the marriage with Connor. Mrs G. and I have formed as you see by Reid's letter, a plan for both making their disappearance, and I will put off the trial till there is an opportunity of carrying out plan into execution. We have agreed that Raymond will get acquainted with McBean, and bring him to town, where we want a steady person to provide quickly for him. Mrs G. said you would not be such a fool as to reject a provision for your family by taking up such a thing, particularly as it would be impossible to (suspect] anything of the kind: and in case she recovered, declared I [Henchy] should be receiver to the estates. I then asked how they had formed their plan. She told me I should be introduced to Reid at Mrs G.['s], that he and I were to [blank in the text] out the house to meet in, that he was to bring Connor as by accident into the house, and Raymond was to bring McBean into the same house, and that [at] a certain hour I was to be there also to do what my blood now runs cold at the very thoughts [sic] of - to administer a lingering dose to the unfortunate men. Having told her I should take time to consider, she said, if I knew any person that would give me £500 on her draft on Mr Beresford, she would give it to me at once; upon which I wished her a good night.

Breakfasted next morning with her to know if she was serious in her ideas of me, and told her the consequence; on which morning, I introduced Mr Henchy to her, who told her he would give her £1,000 on a bill on Mr Beresford, if he accepted it for her. Upon her declaring in the next room she was serious, I called my friend away, to whom I told every matter, and who advised me to put Lord A. on his guard, and on [my] return to my lodging, wrote to her a letter, the copy of which I gave Lord A., and next morning conceived it my duty to read a passage of Reid's letter for [sic] him, to put him on his guard according to Mr Henchy'.

 

Repository :        Public Record Office for Northern Ireland

PRONI Reference :          D1503/3/5/36

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Title :     Notes [in the handwriting of the 2nd Earl

Dates :  21 November 1803

Description :       Notes [in the handwriting of the 2nd Earl Annesley] of the evidence of Alexander McBay [William McBay's father?].

'... McBay recollects old Kelly, the father of Sophia, reading a letter from one Father Larkin, stating that he had married Sophia Kelly to Martin Connor. Part of the letter was in Latin, and they went to the priest of their parish to get it explained. The old man [Kelly] was rejoiced, and thanked God she was now out of danger and temptation. Alexander McBay never heard her say at any time that she was married to any other person except Martin O'Connor [sic]. Eliza Rea, daughter of McBay, says she often told her of her marriage with O'Connor, and never heard her say she was married to any other person'.

Repository :        Public Record Office for Northern Ireland

PRONI Reference :          D1503/3/5/37

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Title :     Letter from George Espy, Sixmilecross, to

Dates :  17 December 1803

Description :       Letter from George Espy, Sixmilecross, to 'Sir' giving information about Sophia's early life in Co. Tyrone.

 

'I have the happiness to acquaint you that Sophia Kelly lived in the townland of Donaghinagh in the parish of Clougherny with her father, Edward Kelly, by trade a dancing master. She lived with her father until she took a ramble to Dublin. I believe she was about 23 years of age, as far as I can conjecture. She went to Dublin and paid 11 shillings and 4 pence per week for her lodging.

Then I can inform you that I had a connection with her before she left Tyrone at Lough Patrick [St Patrick's Purgatory, Lough Derg?], near her father's house, where the Roman Catholics go through a course of prayer, fasting and penance. I can inform you that there were two along with me that night that we were at Lough Patrick. Widow Keer's field of barley was the field we lay in that night.

In respect of what happened Miss Kelly before she left Tyrone, [it] was that a William Heagny near this place was courting her. She went to see him. Some time after he had the fever. As soon as he recovered, he went to her father's landlord, William Buchannon [sic], where he protected her.

We never knew her to be married to any person before she married the gardener. During her stay in Tyrone I remember not the time she lived with the officer, but I believe she lived one month in Enniskillen along with him, then in the barrack. I do not remember the name of the regiment, but she went after him to Dublin. I do no [know] how soon she married the gardener after she went to Dublin, but I believe it was shortly after her going there.

I went to see her in the year 1801, expecting she would place me in the Revenue, but she told me it was out of her power to place me there, as Lord Annesley's brother was one of the Commissioners of the Board.

I would wish that you would never mention my name to any person respecting this business, as it would be dangerous. I can inform you in the next letter the time she left this country, the year she married O'Connor, the time she eloped from Heagny, and the time she had the connection in Lough Patrick with those men. She had a carnal conversation with several men that I know before she left this place ... .

PS: When you write, direct George Espy, Sixmilecross, Omagh.

I can let you know the priest that married her and O'Connor.

You may write to Mrs Mackey or I as soon as you receive this'.

 

Repository :        Public Record Office for Northern Ireland

PRONI Reference :          D1503/3/5/38

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Access :                Open

Title :     'Mr J.C. Beresford's narrative [of what

Dates :  17 December 1803

Description :       'Mr J.C. Beresford's narrative [of what Sophia told him about her past life].

She said her parents quit her at six weeks old, and she was brought up by poor people; that she quit them when she found she was not their child, and came to McBain's [sic] near Dublin; that she knew him because he lived next neighbour to her in the country, and she found him out because she used to observe where his letters used to be directed to, when he wrote home; that a maid at the house where she was brought up lent her a guinea and handed her clothes through a window when she left home; that McBain went with her without 20 guineas fee; that she wrote to the people (or got Mrs McBain to write, I forget which) who brought her up, to request that they would dispose of some clothes and trinkets that had been left her, and send her the value; but they wrote back she should not have a farthing unless she would return to them.

Some time after this, McBain got her to go in company with his wife and Martin Connor to Mr Larkin's, the priest; that they told her she must marry Connor, and the ceremony was read over; that he told her, on her saying she would not live with him, that he never would ask to sleep with her. She believed the intention of his marriage was to enable Sir William Newcomen to put in execution designs he had against her. And she went to Annesley Lodge to avoid him and Connor, who kept his word and never asked to sleep with her; that while there, Mr Annesley often made overtures to her, saying that Connor did not use her as a wife, as he never slept with her; she, in order to get rid of him, said he did sleep with her; that Mr Woodmason likewise made her offers; that one day Mr Annesley pressed her very much to meet him at the summer house; that he wanted to speak to her; that she refused, on which he put his hand on his heart and swore it was not about his own business, but he had something particular to say to her; that she went there, and he proposed his brother to her, and after that my Lord never let her alone till he had her away; that she never [word missing] Connor, and his Lordship well knew how she was when she came to him; that she was then very little more than 16 years of age; however she might be otherwise in law, she always considered herself before the face of God as his wife.

She said she was a Catholic, and bred up to the six orders - as well as I remember, six was the number; that they intended to make a nun of her. She said her father's name was Talbot and her mother's name was Leslie, and her mother's family were from the county of Donegal. I think she said her mother's father was a clergyman. Her father was in the army, as high up, she believed, as a captain; that her mother's family quarrelled with her for having acted improperly or imprudently, and that they went to America, leaving her with the before-mentioned people, who received some stipend for her education, but they never gave her much, for they were very poor; that when she came to Lord A., he said to her she must not be called Connor nor Kelly, the maiden name she went by; that she chose her father's name, Talbot, but Lord A. objected an account of Lord Downshire having a relation of that name; that she then took the name of Lowry, after the parson of the parish where she was brought up. She said her father died in America, and her mother married a wealthy man in Baltimore in Maryland. She said that the people who brought her up lived first in the Co. Donegal, and afterwards moved to the Co. Tyrone, and she told me that Connor himself after the marriage at Larkin's warned her that Sir William Newcomen had a plot against her, and wished her to leave the place.

The next day she said that after her marriage she went to the country, and told the people with whom she had been reared that she was married and happy, and that she did this for the purpose of getting money out of them; and they said, if they saw the man and like him, they might be tempted to give her 20 or 30 guineas. She fell ill of -.

This is the amount of what I wrote in my pocket [book]. I was proceeding to write the rest of the conversation, but I forgot to do so, having been interrupted at the time'.

 

Repository :        Public Record Office for Northern Ireland

PRONI Reference :          D1503/3/5/39

Level :   Item

Access :                Open

Title :     'Mr J.C. Beresford's narrative [of what

Dates :  17 December 1803

Description :       'Mr J.C. Beresford's narrative [of what Sophia told him about her past life].

She said her parents quit her at six weeks old, and she was brought up by poor people; that she quit them when she found she was not their child, and came to McBain's [sic] near Dublin; that she knew him because he lived next neighbour to her in the country, and she found him out because she used to observe where his letters used to be directed to, when he wrote home; that a maid at the house where she was brought up lent her a guinea and handed her clothes through a window when she left home; that McBain went with her without 20 guineas fee; that she wrote to the people (or got Mrs McBain to write, I forget which) who brought her up, to request that they would dispose of some clothes and trinkets that had been left her, and send her the value; but they wrote back she should not have a farthing unless she would return to them.

Some time after this, McBain got her to go in company with his wife and Martin Connor to Mr Larkin's, the priest; that they told her she must marry Connor, and the ceremony was read over; that he told her, on her saying she would not live with him, that he never would ask to sleep with her. She believed the intention of his marriage was to enable Sir William Newcomen to put in execution designs he had against her. And she went to Annesley Lodge to avoid him and Connor, who kept his word and never asked to sleep with her; that while there, Mr Annesley often made overtures to her, saying that Connor did not use her as a wife, as he never slept with her; she, in order to get rid of him, said he did sleep with her; that Mr Woodmason likewise made her offers; that one day Mr Annesley pressed her very much to meet him at the summer house; that he wanted to speak to her; that she refused, on which he put his hand on his heart and swore it was not about his own business, but he had something particular to say to her; that she went there, and he proposed his brother to her, and after that my Lord never let her alone till he had her away; that she never [word missing] Connor, and his Lordship well knew how she was when she came to him; that she was then very little more than 16 years of age; however she might be otherwise in law, she always considered herself before the face of God as his wife.

She said she was a Catholic, and bred up to the six orders - as well as I remember, six was the number; that they intended to make a nun of her. She said her father's name was Talbot and her mother's name was Leslie, and her mother's family were from the county of Donegal. I think she said her mother's father was a clergyman. Her father was in the army, as high up, she believed, as a captain; that her mother's family quarrelled with her for having acted improperly or imprudently, and that they went to America, leaving her with the before-mentioned people, who received some stipend for her education, but they never gave her much, for they were very poor; that when she came to Lord A., he said to her she must not be called Connor nor Kelly, the maiden name she went by; that she chose her father's name, Talbot, but Lord A. objected an account of Lord Downshire having a relation of that name; that she then took the name of Lowry, after the parson of the parish where she was brought up. She said her father died in America, and her mother married a wealthy man in Baltimore in Maryland. She said that the people who brought her up lived first in the Co. Donegal, and afterwards moved to the Co. Tyrone, and she told me that Connor himself after the marriage at Larkin's warned her that Sir William Newcomen had a plot against her, and wished her to leave the place.

The next day she said that after her marriage she went to the country, and told the people with whom she had been reared that she was married and happy, and that she did this for the purpose of getting money out of them; and they said, if they saw the man and like him, they might be tempted to give her 20 or 30 guineas. She fell ill of -.

This is the amount of what I wrote in my pocket [book]. I was proceeding to write the rest of the conversation, but I forgot to do so, having been interrupted at the time'.

 

                                [42 - 81]                               

Repository :        Public Record Office for Northern Ireland

PRONI Reference :          D1503/3/5/40

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Title :     Original and 'Copy Mrs Jessereyes's hints

Dates :  17 December 1803

Description :       Original and 'Copy Mrs Jessereyes's hints as instructions to Mr C. Ball on drawing the answer of Sophia.

 

'About two months in Dublin from August 1793.

 

Then he enlisted within that period of time, and went to sea. After he went away, she immediately (say All Saints Eve) went to the country which was on or about the 1st of November 1793.

 

Shrove Tuesday, February 17th, 1795, second marriage took place.

 

Shortly after, she went back to the North, and stayed there till about 1st August 1795; then returned and stayed about 15 days at McBay's. Then went to lodge with Martin Connor. Stayed there about 6 weeks. Then on 1st December 1795 went to Lord Annesley'.

 

Repository :        Public Record Office for Northern Ireland

PRONI Reference :          D1503/3/5/42

Level :   Item

Access :                Open

Title :     Rough copy of an 'Anonymous letter to

Dates :  17 December 1803

Description :       Rough copy of an 'Anonymous letter to Earl Annesley, the author of which Lord A. has discovered.

An old acquaintance and sincere well-wisher of Lord A. sends him some information that he hopes will of service and useful to Lord A. If it be deemed such, a copy may be taken and the original will be requested back immediately. The writer will expect Lord A. will give the bearer his word of honour that [the] writer's name shall not be mentioned in any manner.

Your indefatigable opponent, Mrs - [Grove?] is now and has been this long time making the most powerful underhand exertions to injure you. I will truly mention some of them, to prepare and assist you on your guard [sic].

Every art is used to prove McBay and Martin Connor's handwriting, and to tamper with them. Emissaries have been employed and gone to them - McBay's wife particularly. Enquiries also by your opponents about Martin Connor's brother, a smith; of Bell, the schoolmaster; of Father Larkin's papers, his relations and friends who can prove his handwriting, etc, and his parish books; of the man and his wife who kept the public house at Donnycarney in '99 [sic] when the marriage took place between Connor and Sophia McBay said Mr Dovel the apothecary, Taaf[f]e the grocer, and many people at Annesley Lodge, often heard Connor declare he never knew Kelly man from woman, and several people will prove Connor's incapacity. Any person proving Connor made the declaration after Sophia went to live with Lord A., is said by opponents will be a most useful witness for opponents. Opponents mean to prove incapacity in Connor, and that often he lay between two females, and they turned him into ridicule from incapacity. A girl of bad character now or lately lived with Connor, who will be allured, if possible, to prove the same. McBay told Sophia that Richard Annesley offered him £100 a year ([a] place in the Custom House), if he would become a witness against Sophia, and he applied to her for a paper which he had given her, in which in certified her innocence and Connor's declaration of the same. Bribery often offered to McBay and Connor if they would become witnesses against Sophia.

Opponents are and have been industrious to get witnesses to prove the marriage and death of Kelly and Sophia as also to turn into ridicule the marriage of Connor and Sophia, and to make it a nullity and illegal, as Sophia was at the time married to Kelly. Opponents want to stive to prove that R.A. wanted Sophia to live with him, and she would not; that then R.A. recommended her to become housekeeper to the late Lord A. should take her down to Mount Panther and travel with precipiation and hurry, so as to fatigue her, and deprive her of her senses by intoxication, to have her put to bed in a particular room where no person would have access, and to take advantage of her intoxication'.

 

Repository :        Public Record Office for Northern Ireland

PRONI Reference :          D1503/3/5/44

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Title :     Letter from Lord Annesley to William Furlong

Dates :  26 December 1803

Description :       Letter from Lord Annesley to William Furlong, [his attorney in the law suit], 60 Dame Street, [Dublin], enclosing and commenting upon D1503/3/5/42-D1503/3/5/43.

'I thought you were in possession of what I now send, and am inclined [to think?] you will find the facts to be so. Stewart mentions having scribbled the few lines I have copied from the story of [?old] McBay and his daughter [Eliza Real. The old man is strong and in good health, though very old. The daughter is sensible. She was married to a soldier, who is dead. He had been quartered in Dublin or near it after the marriage to Sophia. She is fully up to the stories of Sophia'.

 

Repository :        Public Record Office for Northern Ireland

PRONI Reference :          D1503/3/5/45

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Title :     One of two copies of a Chancery bill filed

Dates :  [3 July 1805]

Description :       One of two copies of a Chancery bill filed by Martin Connor against Sophia.

'... In the year 1795 your suppliant lived and resided at Annesley Lodge near Dublin ... the seat of the Hon. Richard Annesley, not the Rt Hon. Richard Earl Annesley, in the capacity of gardener to the said Richard, and that on or about the first day of October in the year 1795, the Rt Hon. Francis Charles, late Earl Annesley, brother of the said Richard, came to dine with the said Richard at Annesley Lodge aforesaid, and the said Francis, Earl, being much struck with the appearance of the said Sophia, remained for some time there in conversation with her.

Your suppliant sheweth that in the short time that such conversation lasted, the said Sophia was so dazzled by the rank and splendour of the said Earl Francis, that in violation of her marriage now, she consented to elope from your suppliant with the said Earl on his return to Dublin that evening, which promise she accordingly fulfilled, and was on the evening of the said day taken off by the said Earl in his phaeton to Dublin.

You suppliant sheweth that having arrived in town the said Sophia immediately became the kept mistress of the said late Earl got appointments suitable to the station, and obtained very soon the entire direction and government of his Lordship's house; that in the course of her co-habitation with the said Earl Francis, the said Sophia having borne a son and having contrived by various allegations to persuade the said Earl Francis that her marriage with your suppliant was either imperfect in itself or incapable of proof, and that if the said Earl would go through the ceremony of a marriage with her, he might introduce her as his wife to his acquaintances and probably transmit his honours and his estate to his own issue, she at length prevailed on the said Earl to agree to her said scheme, insomuch that a ceremony of marriage was actually performed in the year of [sic] 1797 between the said Earl and Sophia.

[The bill goes on to state that the first son born to Lord Annesley and Sophia after this marriage was styled by them Viscount Glerawly, and to recite the provisions of the settlement made on Sophia in 1798].

Your suppliant sheweth that, in preparing the said settlement, care was taken to draw up the same as [sic - so] that if your supplicant's marriage with the said Sophia should therefore be proved and her marriage with the said Earl be thereby made appear to be void, yet the said charge of £10,000 should nevertheless be good, valid and effectual, and the same is in fact, as your suppliant is advised, well charged on the said inheritance ...'.

[The bill goes on to discuss the provisions of Lord Annesley's will].

'John Claudius Beresford] has duly proved the same in the Court of Prerogative in Ireland, and possessed himself of the personal property of the said testator. Your suppliant sheweth that the said Francis Charles Annesley [the second son born to Lord Annesley and Sophia after their marriage] died under age and unmarried. Your suppliant sheweth that besides executing the said deed, the said Francis Charles, Earl Annesley, executed to one John Brett two civil bonds in the penalties of £4,200 and £900 respectively ..., which said bonds were conditioned for the payment of sums amounting to the securities of the said penalties respectively, with interest on said sums to days long since past, which said bonds were in trust for the said Sophia, and that judgements were duly entered thereon respectively ... in Michaelmas term 1802, which judgements have been since the death of the said Earl Francis assigned to the Earl of Landaff, in trust for the said Sophia, and the said Earl of Landaff hath taken proceedings to recover the sums due thereon by elegit.

Your suppliant sheweth that, having never done any act to surrender his marital rights, he is now, as he is advised and humbly submits to this honourable Court, entitled to the benefit of the said charge of £10,000 and of the said yearly sum of £1,000 provided to be paid until the said sum of £10,000 shall be paid off, and also to the sums due for principal and interest on the foot of the said bonds respectively '.

The bill goes on to state that Sophia and the other beneficiaries of the late Lord Annesley's will, John Claudius Beresford, the present Lord Annesley and Lord Landaff, have conspired to bring forward false evidence designed to prove that Connor had in fact renounced his rights as a husband and thus to deprive him of the money which rightfully belongs to him.

 

Repository :        Public Record Office for Northern Ireland

PRONI Reference :          D1503/3/5/46

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Access :                Open

Title :     One of two copies of a Chancery bill filed

Dates :  [3 July 1805]

Description :       One of two copies of a Chancery bill filed by Martin Connor against Sophia.

'... In the year 1795 your suppliant lived and resided at Annesley Lodge near Dublin ... the seat of the Hon. Richard Annesley, not the Rt Hon. Richard Earl Annesley, in the capacity of gardener to the said Richard, and that on or about the first day of October in the year 1795, the Rt Hon. Francis Charles, late Earl Annesley, brother of the said Richard, came to dine with the said Richard at Annesley Lodge aforesaid, and the said Francis, Earl, being much struck with the appearance of the said Sophia, remained for some time there in conversation with her.

Your suppliant sheweth that in the short time that such conversation lasted, the said Sophia was so dazzled by the rank and splendour of the said Earl Francis, that in violation of her marriage now, she consented to elope from your suppliant with the said Earl on his return to Dublin that evening, which promise she accordingly fulfilled, and was on the evening of the said day taken off by the said Earl in his phaeton to Dublin.

You suppliant sheweth that having arrived in town the said Sophia immediately became the kept mistress of the said late Earl got appointments suitable to the station, and obtained very soon the entire direction and government of his Lordship's house; that in the course of her co-habitation with the said Earl Francis, the said Sophia having borne a son and having contrived by various allegations to persuade the said Earl Francis that her marriage with your suppliant was either imperfect in itself or incapable of proof, and that if the said Earl would go through the ceremony of a marriage with her, he might introduce her as his wife to his acquaintances and probably transmit his honours and his estate to his own issue, she at length prevailed on the said Earl to agree to her said scheme, insomuch that a ceremony of marriage was actually performed in the year of [sic] 1797 between the said Earl and Sophia.

[The bill goes on to state that the first son born to Lord Annesley and Sophia after this marriage was styled by them Viscount Glerawly, and to recite the provisions of the settlement made on Sophia in 1798].

Your suppliant sheweth that, in preparing the said settlement, care was taken to draw up the same as [sic - so] that if your supplicant's marriage with the said Sopia should therefore be proved and her marriage with the said Earl be thereby made appear to be void, yet the said charge of £10,000 should nevertheless be good, valid and effectual, and the same is in fact, as your suppliant is advised, well charged on the said inheritance ...'.

[The bill goes on to discuss the provisions of Lord Annesley's will].

'John Claudius Beresford] has duly proved the same in the Court of Prerogative in Ireland, and possessed himself of the personal property of the said testator. Your suppliant sheweth that the said Francis Charles Annesley [the second son born to Lord Annesley and Sophia after their marriage] died under age and unmarried. Your suppliant sheweth that besides executing the said deed, the said Francis Charles, Earl Annesley, executed to one John Brett two civil bonds in the penalties of £4,200 and £900 respectively ..., which said bonds were conditioned for the payment of sums amounting to the securities of the said penalties respectively, with interest on said sums to days long since past, which said bonds were in trust for the said Sophia, and that judgements were duly entered thereon respectively ... in Michaelmas term 1802, which judgements have been since the death of the said Earl Francis assigned to the Earl of Landaff, in trust for the said Sophia, and the said Earl of Landaff hath taken proceedings to recover the sums due thereon by elegit.

Your suppliant sheweth that, having never done any act to surrender his marital rights, he is now, as he is advised and humbly submits to this honourable Court, entitled to the benefit of the said charge of £10,000 and of the said yearly sum of £1,000 provided to be paid until the said sum of £10,000 shall be paid off, and also to the sums due for principal and interest on the foot of the said bonds respectively ...'.

The bill goes on to state that Sophia and the other beneficiaries of the late Lord Annesley's will, John Claudius Beresford, the present Lord Annesley and Lord Landaff, have conspired to bring forward false evidence designed to prove that Connor had in fact renounced his rights as a husband and thus to deprive him of the money which rightfully belongs to him.

 

Repository :        Public Record Office for Northern Ireland

PRONI Reference :          D1503/3/5/47

Level :   Item

Access :                Open

Title :     'The several answer of the Rt Hon. Sophia

Dates :  13 July 1805

Description :       'The several answer of the Rt Hon. Sophia, Countess Annesley, by the bill styled Sophia Connor, otherwise Kelly, to the bill of complaint of Martin Connor of Annelsey Lodge in the county of Dublin, gardener ... .

This defendant saith that the said Richard Annesley having some time before the 1st October 1795 made repeated attempts by bribes and otherwise to seduce this defendant to become his kept mistress, and having actually at one time inveigled this defendant into a house in Dublin which he represented to be his own, and having attempted to force this difficulty resisted, and several other persons, visitors of the said Richard Annesley, having made overtures of a similar nature to this defendant, they being encouraged thereto by a general knowledge they had that this defendant, although living in the house of the said Martin Connor as soon as she could procure for herself a situation in which she could live free from insult and injury, ... which this defendant had openly declared and [which] was generally known to be her intention: and whilst this defendant was in such mind, the said Richard Annesley came to this defendant and desired to have a private interview with her in a private and retired part of his demesne, which this defendant at first refused, conceiving that he only intended to renew his former proposals, whereupon the said Richard Annesley solemnly assured this defendant that he had business to communicate to her of a very different nature from anything he had ever spoken to her about before. This defendant therefore consented to such interview, and accompanied the said Richard Annesley to a summer house in a sequesterated [sic] part of his demesne, when the said Richard Annesley informed this defendant that the said Earl, his brother, had taken a great notice of this defendant, and that he, the said Richard Annesley, having observed this defendant's modest demeanour and rejection of the many overtures that had been made to her, and knowing the terms on which she lived in the said house with the said Martin Connor, and that in fact she was not his wife and did not co-habit with him, had therefore very strongly recommended this defendant that the said Earl stood very much in need of a young woman as a companion, and that he was very sure this defendant would be agreeable to the said Earl, and this defendant would be very happy with him. But the said Richard, although this defendant is now perfectly convinced that he had then formed the plan of and was endeavouring to procure this defendant for the said Earl, yet spole in so guarded a manner that this defendant, having the but little knowledge of the world, and being extremely young, had no suspicion that it was the intention of the said Richard that this defendant should become the concubine of the said Earl; and she was the most [sic] easily misled in that particular, because she had often seen the said Earl resorting to the house of said Richard, and had formed an opinion that he was so far advanced in years as to be an unlikely person to wish to form an illicit connection with a woman of this defendant's then age; and the more so as his conduct, manners and demeanour were much more decorous and decent than those of the other persons who generally used to visit the said Richard Annesley, or of the said Richard Annesley himelf; and this defendent saith that the next time the said Earl come [sic] to the said Richard's house after the said conversation, which this defendant believes might have been about the said 1st of May October [sic] in the year 1795, the said Richard introduced this defendant to the said Earl, his brother, and this defendant saith it is untrue that this defendant became immediately the kept mistress of the said late Earl, or got appointments suitable to that state, or obtained very soon or at all the entire direction and government of his Lordship's house; for this defendant saith that, having very soon discovered the real intentions of the said Earl under the base purpose for which the said Richard Annesley had betrayed defendant into the power of the said Earl, this defendant resisted the attempts of the said Earl until she was at length subdued by stratagem and contrivance ... .

This defendant admits that the complainant never did any act to surrender his martial [sic] rights as husband of this defendant, inasmuch as he never had any rights, having never been married to this defendant; but if complainant had been the husband of this defendant, his acts respecting her have been such as this defendant is advised and believes, would have amounted to a surrender of his martial [sic] rights as far as they tended to his claim to any property in right of this defendant - for this defendant saith that, from many circumstances that have occured within her own knowledge and from many others of which she has been credibly informed and which she believes to be true, that [sic] the said Richard had long formed a scheme to prevent his brother, the siad late Earl Annesley, from marrying, and for that purpose introduced this defendant to his Lordship and endeavoured to persuade the said Earl that this defendant was wife of the complainant; and at the same to promote and continue the intercourse between the said Earl and this defendant, and in order to forward such his length [sic], he, the said Richard, procured from the complainant a paper writing ... by which the complainant expressly released this defendant from all claim he might have on this defendant or her property as his wife; and this defendant saith she also believes that, although by the said paper writing in plainly appears that the complainant did not mean to intend or acknowledge to assert [sic] that the defendant was his wife, yet the said Richard Annesley contrived to introduce into the said paper writing certain equivocal and doubtful expressions, from which he flattered himself that at a future period he might be able to give said paper writing such a construction as would amount to a claim or pretension of this complainant to this defendant as his wife; but this defendant saith that, if this defendant had now the said paper writing to produce, it would clearly appear that at the time same was written, which was about the latter end of the year 1795 or the beginning of the year 1797, the complainant did not claim this defendant or consider her as his wife; but this defendant saith that she cannot set forth the full and exact contents of said paper writing, inasmuch as the same fell into the hands of ... J.C. Beresford, the defendant's trustee and executor of the said Earl, who obtained possession thereof as such executor, and hath betrayed the same and preventing this defendant to avail herself thereof on behalf of herself and her infant son, the present Earl Annesley, against the said Richard and the complainant respective; ... and this defendant further saith that, having been indebted in a small sum of money to the complainant, as well for this defendant's maintenance during her residence in his house as for some necessaries which he provided for her during the short space of time aforesaid, the complainant demanded payment for the same, and this defendant caused the same to be paid to him, and the same is carefully introduced into the said paper writing in order, as this defendant believes, by the contrivance of the said Richard Annesley, that it might have the appearance of a consideration for the release of this defendant as wife of the complainant, and by that means to become a circumstance to support the alleged marriage of this defendant with the complainant, if ever it should at a future period become necessary or useful to the said Richard Annesley to insist upon such fact ... .

[This defendant] saith she never was married to any man save the said late Earl Annesley, ... but this defendant saith she doth admit that the complainant and defendant being in a certain company together on or about the 17th day of February 1795, this defendant being then about the age of 15 years, as she believes, and ... John Larkin having come into the said company, and he and the complainant and several other men who were in the said company being very much intoxicated, it was proposed that there should be a wedding, and it was also proposed that this defendant and the complainant should be married, and this defendant did then and still doth understand and believe that such conversation was merely had in jest. However, this defendant admits that the said Mr Larkin did then produce a book and in his intoxication did read some sentences thereof, but whether the said book was a prayer book or whether what he so read was a part of the marriage ceremony, this defendant is utterly ignorant, and cannot set forth, she not having with sufficient distinctness heard the words uttered by the said Mr Larkin, partly because he was himself very much intoxicated, and partly because the people who were present were talking, laughing and jesting during the whole time; but this defendant saith she was no party whatsoever to such ceremony, and never in any degree joined therein nor gave any assent or paid any attention thereto, neither doth she nor did she ever believe that the said Mr Larkin ever consider[ed] or had any idea that he was at the time really marrying this defendant and the complainant- but that, on the contrary, he considered all that passed upon that occasion as a mere drunken frolic; ... and this defendant did not reside in the house of the complainant for a long time after, when she was induced to take up residence for a few weeks in his house, in consequence of some circumstances of a very peculiar nature that occurred to this defendant; and this defendant further saith that, upon the occasion and at the time of said transaction in bill represented to be a marriage ceremony, no bodily violence was used towards this defendant, save that William McBay in bill named, or some other of the persons than in company during the transaction aforesaid, boisterously seized this defendant to attend to [the] ceremony of her marriage, but this defendant only joined in the laugh, and as soon as she was able to disengage herself, returned to her seat again ... .

This defendant believes it may be true that the only paper or instrument which complainant executed concerning the defendant and the said alleged marriage, was that which hath been hereinbefore mentioned, but this defendant believes that the same was not drawn by the attorney of the said Earl Francis, but was on the contrary prepared by the said Richard Annesley, or if the same was prepared by any attorney employed by the said Earl Francis, which this defendant believes was not the case, this defendant believes that such attorney was wholly governed and influenced by the said Richard, and therefore cannot say what might have passed between him and the complainant ... .

This defendant never had any idea that the complainant laid claim to this defendant's property, neither doth she believe he hath now any serious expectation thereof, but is acting merely as the instrument of the said Richard Annesley, in order to distress defendant and prevent her asserting of [sic] the Earl, her son; but this defendant is advised and believes that, even if she was married to the complainant, he could not under the circumstances of her case be entitled to said several sums of money ... .

Defendant admits that the said Earl Francis did execute the deed and bonds herein and in bill mentioned, and of the same import and effect herein mentioned, and that the persons in bill mentioned are and were the trustees therein respectively; and this defendant saith she knows not with certainty what steps the defendant, John Claudius Beresford, hath taken for or towards the raising of the said sum of £10,000 or the said yearly sum of £1,000 or towards the paying of the sums due on the foot of said bonds and judgements respectively, but saith that he hath done everything in his power, as she believes, to avoid execution of the trusts reposed in him by the said late Earl, and to deprive this defendant of the benefit of the said settlement and bonds; but this defendant humbly submits to this honourable court that for the reasons herein set forth the complainant hath no right whatsoever to the account or relief prayed by his bill.

And this defendant denies, etc'.

 

Repository :        Public Record Office for Northern Ireland

PRONI Reference :          D1503/3/5/48

Level :   Item

Access :                Open

Title :     'Lord Annesely's observations on Sophia Connor's

Dates :  13 July 1805

Description :       'Lord Annesely's observations on Sophia Connor's answer to Martin Connor's bill.

'... Lord Annesley [ie the 1st Earl] came to dine with me in October. Mr Woodmason and Mr Clements (Captain of a Danish East Indiaman, as I have heard) dined with me that day. His Lordship walked up my avenue, which surprised [me] and occasioned my asking where his carriage was. For answer [I] was told he had sent it to town. After dinner, the conversation was about the woman at my gate (who was Connor's wife). Mr Woodmason said she asked him to have her as a servant, and he desired her to call and he would, or to that effect, for I can't exactly remember. Cap. Clements and Mr Woodmason were to go to England that night. When going to bed, my servant acquainted me Connor's wife had gone off, and from what fell from Mr Woodmason, I was inclined to think with him, but from Lord A. having walked up my avenue and sent his carriage to town, and his talking of having conversation with the woman who opened the gate, and saying she asked him to have her as a servant, I suspected him also, and on going to Dublin the next morning, called on him as usual. He told me she had come away with him, and I mentioned the unhappy state Connor was in, and that most likely he would be spirited up to bring an action against him. He said he could not then help it, and would consult with Mr Pollock what he should do to prevent considerable damages.

The defendant [Sophia] did co-habit in the house of Mr Connor as his wife. She lived in my garden house, and not choosing she and he should co-habit there, I gave a house to them opposite to my gate, and she requested me to let her remove from that to my porter's lodge at the gate. She wanted my [sic] to have her for a maidservant. I refused to bring her into my house on account of my daughters, she having come to me to make a complaint of one of my labourers' wife charging her with having been in a bawdy house, and at same time referring me to Priest Larkin, who had married her to Connor, and stating having got a certificate of her character from her priest in the County Tyrone, and referring me to him for the fact, who told me he had received such certificate before he would marry her to Connor. She often walked in my shrubberies, and of course I met her in them, and in the cottage which is in one of them, but no such conversation ever took place. When she wanted me to have her for a servant and I had refused having her and she said that she would go to Lord Annesley and see if he would have her, I then said I was convinced it was with a view of his taking her into keeping, as she wanted me to do, and that if he should have her and take her into keeping, probably she would be the cause of disputes between him and me and if she was, I told her as far as lay in my power, she should repent it during her life, and I told all this in her presence to Lord A. some time after. As to my introduction of Lord Annesley to her, it is false, and her narrative to Mr Pollock and his letters to me show the falsehood of it.

... [When] I went to Lord Annesley and he told me of taking her away, she appeared with every effrontery, and in consequence of my telling him that an action would be brought, he consulted with Mr Pollock, and she was present; and her marriage with Connor was never denied, but how damages might be prevented to a large amount was the matter in conversation; until after she had a child, and her father came to Drogheda to trump up a story of her being a gentleman's child, and left a fortune in America, and his having trinkets left with him as tokens of her being a gentleman's child which were brought to Mr Pollock, no idea ever was of Lord A, ['s] marrying; and the money his Lordship passed his bonds to Mr Brett for he, Lord A., owned to Mr Richard Keown was given to her by him, and those securities taken, for the purpose of making his relations believe that she was the child of a gentleman, the clergyman was drunk, all the witnesses had been sworn to secrecy, as Mr Keown told me, who was one of them, and he had remonstrated with Lord A, on what he was about doing, and received an answer, as the witnesses were sworn to secrecy it never would be known during his life, and after his death he did not care what came out ;and some hours after they were in bed, she insisted, as the clergyman was drunk, she would be married over again, and the witnesses were woke out of their beds and the ceremony performed over again, as Mr Keown told me.

I know nothing of the settlement further than being sent for by Mr J.C. Beresford and told he wanted [to see?] me before he executed those [?documents], and was sorry I had not come; that he did not consider them of any consequence, as she was styled Lady Annesley; and my expressing my dissatisfaction at what he had done.

The death and will is right, I believe, and J.C. Beresford's proving the will. The bonds executed to Brett are those I alluded to as passed to make Lord A.'s family believe that she was a gentleman's child.

... The paper writing was drawn up to prevent damages, and with the greatest difficulty, by the persuasions of Mr John Sutherland, who was employed by me and Lord Annesley in laying out grounds, and Mr Bell, a schoolmaster at Coolock, Connor was persuaded to sign those papers, and Lord A. was prevented by Mrs Connor from giving poor Connor more money; and a more distressed wretch I never saw than he was on account of her elopement, and as I have heard, used to go to Marlborough Street, where she lived, and endeavour to get a sight of her going out of the house, being passionately fond of her, and watch her in the street for the purpose of seeing her [sic]; and, as he tells me, she once got him into the house, wanted him to go to America, and offered him a large sum of money, and was to keep him concealed till she should send him abroad, and also wanted him to go down the quays, leave his hat and coat there, that it might be supposed that he was drowned; and had it not been for his bodily strength, a servant of Lord Annesley would have forced him to continue in the house, but he knocked the man down and got away; and that she attempted to have him poisoned I heard proved before the Law Servants when the reference on my peerage was before them, and have since had information of a like scheme, in which Mrs Jeffries  was an accomplice.

The marriage was performed at Priest Larkin's house in the parish of Coolock, who had refused to marry them till she obtained a certificate from her parish priest in the county of Tyrone, which I have mentioned before, and the marriage was proved before the law officers by the witnesses present and parish registry, and that she went to his house; and she admitted it on several - nay every - occasion, but more particularly on a family case which was stated at the desire of Lord Waterford on Lord Annesley's coming to him to know whether the family would acknowledge her, and this case was stated for the purpose of preventing future litigation ... . I believe it was wrote by me after Pollock had made the draft, and if not, I am sure he dictated it, and it was wrote by me at Lord A.['s] and Pollock's desire, as it would have more effect with Connor who then lived with me ... .

Lord Annesley's letters show he knew Connor's rights, for one of his letters expressly declares them, and that he would pay any damages.

Riding to town, I met Mrs Connor on the road [and] entered into conversation. She walked from the town of Killester and went into my back yard, which I always kept a key of the door of when I was in the country, as I never ride with a servant. She came into my house, went into by bed chamber, refused having any connection with me if I did not promise to take her into keeping, which being positively refused, she went away, and I gave her half a guinea to buy a pair of shoes, which she said was the business she was going to Dublin for. She remained some time below stairs in my front parlour, and went up to my bed chamber two storeys higher, and there was no person in the house but a servant maid who always took care of that house when I was in the country, and I never brought a servant to town when I rode'.

 

Repository :        Public Record Office for Northern Ireland

PRONI Reference :          D1503/3/5/49

Level :   Item

Access :                Open

Title :     Draft copy of 'The several answers of the

Dates :  4 August 1805 - 5 August 1805

Description :       Draft copy of 'The several answers of the Rt Hon. Richard Earl Annesley, to the bill of complaint of Martin Connor, complainant'.

This noncommittal answer is the work of Charles Burton of Fitzwilliam Square, who comments:

'I have prepared the within draft of an answer for Lord Annesley, which I think should be an answer merely to the charge of the bill, without being, or appearing to be, a statement of Lord Annesley's own case, and still less an answer to Mrs Connor's answer. That is indeed a very extraordinary production, and one that very fully marks both the nature of her character and her case, and which has reduced the latter to the single question, whether she was married to Martin Connor or not, a circumstance that has done away all difficulties that might have arisen from an attempt to set up a prior marriage with some other man'.

 

Repository :        Public Record Office for Northern Ireland

PRONI Reference :          D1503/3/5/50

Level :   Item

Access :                Open

Title :     Fair copy of 'The several answers of the

Dates :  4 August 1805 - 5 August 1805

Description :       Fair copy of 'The several answers of the Rt Hon. Richard Earl Annesley, to the bill of complaint of Martin Connor, complainant'.

This noncommittal answer is the work of Charles Burton of Fitzwilliam Square, who comments:

'I have prepared the within draft of an answer for Lord Annesley, which I think should be an answer merely to the charge of the bill, without being, or appearing to be, a statement of Lord Annesley's own case, and still less an answer to Mrs Connor's answer. That is indeed a very extraordinary production, and one that very fully marks both the nature of her character and her case, and which has reduced the latter to the single question, whether she was married to Martin Connor or not, a circumstance that has done away all difficulties that might have arisen from an attempt to set up a prior marriage with some other man'.

 

Repository :        Public Record Office for Northern Ireland

PRONI Reference :          D1503/3/5/51

Level :   Item

Access :                Open

Title :     Settlements of accounts between Lord Annesley

Dates :  13 February 1806

Description :       Settlements of accounts between Lord Annesley and J.C. Beresford, executor to the late Lord Annesley, for the years 1800-1803, signed by Lord Annesley and Richard Keown.

 

Repository :        Public Record Office for Northern Ireland

PRONI Reference :          D1503/3/5/55

Level :   Item

Access :                Open

Title :     Instructions to Charles Burton to draw up

Dates :  15 January 1807 - 7 April 1807

Description :       Instructions to Charles Burton to draw up an answer on behalf of Lord Annesley to a bill filed by Sophia, together with Burton's comments on his draft.

[There is no copy either of Sophia's bill or of Burton's draft answer].

Repository :        Public Record Office for Northern Ireland

PRONI Reference :          D1503/3/5/56

Level :   Item

Access :                Open

Title :     'Lord Annesley's observations [on Sophia's

Dates :  [c.15 January 1807]

Description :       'Lord Annesley's observations [on Sophia's bill] as instructions [to Burton] for his answer ...'.

These observations are partly a repetition of the events at Mount Panther after the late Lord's death, and partly a discussion of points of detail concerning the executorship of the late Lord's will, for example:

'Mr Woodmason showed me a valuation of furniture in [the] Marlborough Street house. I did wish to buy the four-post bed my brother lay in. I told him I would give the valuation for it, and it was sent to me; also the window curtains. They were old, and of long standing, and it was on account of its being his bed I wished to buy it, not on account of value or getting any bargain; and if more could be got for it, [I] am ready still to give it up or pay it, if a greater charge could be laid on it. I believe that Mrs Connor took the beds ...'.

 

Repository :        Public Record Office for Northern Ireland

PRONI Reference :          D1503/3/5/57

Level :   Item

Access :                Open

Title :     Further instructions from Lord Annesley

Dates :  [15 January 1807]

Description :       Further instructions from Lord Annesley for his answer.

'... J.C. Beresford proved the will and did possess himself, as stated. But as to his using his endeavours to harrass Mrs Connor and her children, the contrary appears to me, or to deprive G. De La Poer [Annesley] of any title, for the said J.C. Beresford must know he is not entitled to a title, from this voluntary confession of Mrs Connor and from the communication she has had with him ... .

I know not what J.C. Beresford has paid Mrs C., nor that she is entitled to receive anything, as her husband is living, claiming as his right anything she now claims.

I do not believe the said J.C. Beresford for any such reason alleged in the bill, that is the affecting my interest, acts as stated by bill. I deny the legitimacy of George De La Poer, and have taken every step in my power to prove it, and I know not how the said G. De La Peor or Mr Arthur [Annesley] have been injured by J.C. Beresford, or that he has refused to pay the Rev. Oliver Miller for their board and education and other necessary expenses, unless he would consent to describe George as Master G. De La Poer;  but if he has, he appears to me to the well justified in so doing, and the more particularly as the reputed mother has so often and on so many occasions declared their illegitimacy to the said J.C. Beresford ...'.

 

Repository :        Public Record Office for Northern Ireland

PRONI Reference :          D1503/3/5/58

Level :   Item

Access :                Open

Title :     'Defendant, Lord Annesley's, observation

Dates :  16 April 1807

Description :       'Defendant, Lord Annesley's, observation on the draft of his answer.

... The Kildare estate did not come to the possession of Lord Annesley. [The] Tipperary did, which was sold for payment of debts, and is now in Mr McGwire's possession; and the remainder was first to Marcus [Annesley] for life, and then to this defendant.

I did not possess myself of even a single sheet of paper, nor would I be present at the examination of them. What I am in possession of, were delivered to me long subsequent to the time I went to Mount Panther, and after Mr Beresford had gone down there as executor, [and] had conversed with Mrs Connor, who had of her own accord, as I was acquainted by Mr B., entered into conversation with him about herself, and stated her marriage with M. Connor, and that she knew she was not the lawful wife of the late Lord A.: and the papers first delivered to me and subsequent to her conversation were delivered by Mr R. Keown, Mr Beresford['s] law agent, who had been employed by Lord A. in the capacity; and the other papers I am in possession of were subsequent thereto sent to my house at the Custom House by Mr J.C. Beresford. But I was very particular not ever to possess or even look for any paper, deed, etc., but received such as were given to me, and had them all scheduled, lest I should be called to set forth what I had received ...'.

[The rest of the observations concern even smaller points of detail].

Repository :        Public Record Office for Northern Ireland

PRONI Reference :          D1503/3/5/59

Level :   Item

Access :                Open

Title :     Case of Sophia for the opinion of Charles

Dates :  11 April 1817

Description :       Case of Sophia for the opinion of Charles Burton, in Annesley v Beresford.

'... Earl Francis Charles by his will ... devised all his estates, real and personal, whereof he had power to dispose, to ... John Claudius Beresford and his heirs upon trust that he or they should with all convenient speed after his decease make sale thereof and dispose of the moneys raised by such sale towards payment of his debts, the residue to be divided among the several persons therein mentioned, and of his said will said testator appointed said John Claudius Beresford sole executor.

Your opinion is requested on the part of Lady Annesley whether her claims under the ... deed of settlement [of 2 July 1798] are not paramount to the claims of the said legatees under the will'.

Burton's opinion is that 'there is no doubt the claims of the querist under the settlement are paramount and must have priority to any claims of the legatees under the will, but are subsequent to the debts provided for by the settlement'.

 

Repository :        Public Record Office for Northern Ireland

PRONI Reference :          D1503/3/5/63

Level :   Item

Access :                Open

Title :     'Instructions for drawing [the] answer of

Dates :  20 January 1818

Description :       'Instructions for drawing [the] answer of Lord Annesley to [the] bill filed by Mrs Sophia Connor.

No earthly power will make me acknowledge her as the wife of my late brother, Earl Annesley, either by answer, deed or otherwise ... .

As to the paddock, all I know is that the leases of my estate being given up to me by Mr Richard Keown, attorney to J.C. Beresford the executor of Lord Annesley, and no lease of those lands being among them, I took the possession as part of the demesne which it had been, and the kennel where the hounds were kept, when my father, the late Lord Glerawly, lived at Castlewellan on the property, and I expended a considerable sum in reclaiming it. But on searching my deeds which had been sent me by Mr Beresford, [I] found a lease had been made of the paddock by Lord Annesley and purchased for £300 [for the instrument of purchase see D1503/3/5/1]. That lease I considered [as] being cancelled and the property mine. Had I not so [I] would have cheerfully purchased the lease, though in the situation the lands were in when I came to the inheritance of them, I do not think they were worth the purchase further than being part of the demesne, and I have further reason to think so from the sums I have been obliged to lay out on them since, but this is a point not for me to determine. I leave it to the better judgement of the court.

As to the rents received by me for my brother, I have already accounted for every shilling that came to my hands to my knowledge. I went over the accounts [D1503/3/5/51-D1503/3/5/54], receipts and vouchers with Mr Richard Keown, Mr Beresford, the executor's, law agent, and have since made every search I could, to see if any error was in them. They appeared then to me and do now to be correct.

If any rent has been received and not brought to account, upon producing a voucher it shall be allowed. I have admitted a balance in my account of £991 in my favour, as appears by the account referred to me, but the estate of the late Lord Annesley owed me considerably more, as will appear by my further statement, than that sum or any other demand they could make against me.

I have claimed two sums which is [sic] denied to be due me. First, Nicholas Price. I have a bond of indemnity dated February 29th, 1770 from Lord Annesley, as Hon. F.C. Annesley, to William, Lord Glerawly, my father, for a sum he acknowledges to be his proper debt, and will indemnify the said Lord Glerawly against I have also a certificate of part of the estate devised to me by my father being sold for that debt by Charles Walker, Master in Chancery, in the suit of Meredith against Glerawly; also of his payment to Samuel Achmuty for William Harward Esq., the sum of £1764 7s.3d., which is admitted by Lord Annesley as defendant in the cause to be his proper debt, and that he will indemnify the estate against [it]: so that those two sums will appear due to the inheritor of the estates; and on the marriage of my eldest son with Lady Isabella St Lawrence, when fines and recoveries were levied, I had previous thereto a deed conveying those two sums to me, as well as the plate which was entailed, the value of which was considerably above £4,000, and sold by Mrs Connor, as I understand, for above £1,800.

My estate being sold for those two sums, the plate being sold by Mrs Connor, Lord Annesley being tenant for life, my claim is prior to any [of] Mrs Connor's or any of the legatees under Lord Annesley's will, against his assets, which she is now desiring an account of. ..., and my claim is liable to interest till paid. Mr J.C. Beresford sent, and I did receive, two silver goblets, one large ornamental salver and those other ornamental piece, in such broken state that it cost me £50 to have them repaired, which shows what great value my plate was of, and that even the ornamental part was broke up to be sold as old silver.

Mrs Connor, on my going to take possession of my estate on Lord Annesley's death, voluntarily came forward and acknowledged her marriage with Martin Connor, then and now living. She acknowledged the taking and selling of my plate, she introduced the children to me as the illegitimate children of Lord Annesley, my brother, [and] made them kneel down and ask my protection. I promised it, and would have given [it] had she not prevented me ... .

I have now stated when I think sufficient to answer this bill, but should Sergeant Burton think otherwise, let me know, for be assured I have not mentioned a tenth of what I can swear to and prove.

Proposals have been made to me for a compromise by granting an annuity of £600 a year during her life. I am tenant for life, and if disposed to do it, could not secure such an annuity. £300 I think I could. I would rather decline entering into any engagement that might encumber the property I have to leave my children. My brother's memory is too dear to me not to wish the preventing his name to be branded [sic] about the courts.

Serjeant Burton's advice has ever governed me. It has been given, not only as a lawyer, but a sincere friend, and it shall still govern me. I am under no apprehension as to any part of my life in this transaction or any other being scrutinized. I should rather wish it should be so. The proposal is to have assigned to me all the outstanding sums due to the estate of Lord Annesley, on my granting Mrs Connor an annuity for her life. As to granting it to her as Lady Annesley, I have wrote sufficiently my sentiment and what my determination is.

But what is to become of the other legatees of Lord Annesley - two natural sons and the widow of a third? They have claims on these assets. One of them is a captain in the navy, which appointment I got him. He has lived here these three years [and] has received, as I hear, little of his bequest. The other is a surgeon of dragoons. He has received a much larger sum - the widow's husband more considerable than the surgeon. But they have all claims.

Serjeant Burton will be concerned in seeing what remains of the assets, the proportion coming to Mrs Connor, and what annuity it would purchase, the shares of the other two, and my claim. I have not the least objection to give an annuity to Mrs Connor for the amount of the demand, if I can secure it, and to pay the others their share. But he will also consider how I can be legally invested with these remaining assets. I wish to have all the affairs settled, and Mr J.C. Beresford out of them, on his own account, as well as that of the others. I wish the General [Annesley] with me to get something that may tend to his comfort, and I would even give up my claim to accomplish my wishes. But if that cannot be done, I think I have stated sufficient to show I have nothing to dread, and if I have now, let me know what further is necessary for me to prove'.

 

Repository :        Public Record Office for Northern Ireland

PRONI Reference :          D1503/3/5/64

Level :   Item

Access :                Open

Title :     Routine case paper in 'Sophia Connor, by

Dates :  1 June 1818

Description :       Routine case paper in 'Sophia Connor, by the bill called Countess Dowager Annesley, against Richard, Earl Annesley'.

 

Repository :        Public Record Office for Northern Ireland

PRONI Reference :          D1503/3/5/65

Level :   Item

Access :                Open

Title :     Corrected draft answer of Lord Annesley.

Dates :  13 July 1818

Description :       Corrected draft answer of Lord Annesley.

'... This defendant saith that the [the late Lord's] will named, having died under the age of 21 years, and the four children of said Dorothea McIlroy in said will also named, having survived them, they became entitled under the said will of said Francis Charles, Earl Annesley, to the real and personal fortune of which said Francis Charles, Earl Annesley, died seized and possessed, subject to his debts.

This defendant denies that said John Claudius Beresford declines to call in a charge of £5,000 affecting certain estates devised by the will of Mary, Viscountess Glerawly (and not Countess of Annesley), who was the wife of said Francis Charles, Earl Annesley, before he became the Earl Annessley for this defendant saith that the said charge is not to become payable, nor is the same to bear interest, until the Hon. Major-Gen. Arthur Annesley shall become entitled in possession to the estates devised by said Viscount Glerawly, which cannot be till after the decease of Eleanor Trant, widow, who is seized and possessed of an estate for her life in the lands devised by said Viscountess Glerawly.

This defendant denies that this defendant is or ever was in collusion with the said John Claudius Beresford, or that he refused or refuses to call defendant to an account for the sums received by the defendant on account of said Francis Charles, Earl Annesley, for this defendant saith that recently after the decease of said Francis Charles, Earl Annesley, this defendant fairly accounted with said John Claudius Beresford for all sums received by this defendant on account of said Earl.

This defendant saith he does not make any objection to the said John Claudius Beresford paying the complainant the amount of any legal or just demand which she may have, on him, or on the estate and effects of said late Earl, but defendant saith he does for the reasons aforesaid object to the demands made by her bill on this defendant'.

 

Repository :        Public Record Office for Northern Ireland

PRONI Reference :          D1503/3/5/67

Level :   Item

Access :                Open

Title :     Draft agreement between Sophia and Lord

Dates :  1819

Description :       Draft agreement between Sophia and Lord Annesley whereby they each agree to abide by the arbitration of Charles Burton, but without prejudice to Sophia's proceedings for the purposes of '... enforcing an account of the assets of the said Francis Charles, Earl Annesley, that came to the hands of the said John Claudius Beresford ...'.

 

Repository :        Public Record Office for Northern Ireland

PRONI Reference :          D1503/3/5/68

Level :   Item

Access :                Open

Title :     Original case, with the opinion of Charles

Dates :  15 September 1819 - 21 September 1819

Description :       Original case, with the opinion of Charles Burton, concerning the proposed compromise between Lord Annesley and Sophia.

'Sophia, calling herself Dowager Countess Annesley, has proposed to assign to Richard, Earl Annesley, or to a trustee for him, all her rights of every kind under the deed or will of the late Francis Charles, Earl Annesley, if he will in consideration thereof secure to her and her assigns during her life an annuity of £400 a year.

Sophia now claims to be the wife of Edward Lees Esq., but Earl Annesley insists that she cannot be his lawful wife, Martin Connor, to whom she was first married, being still living.

It is submitted to your consideration whether it is most expedient for Lord Annesley to proceed on the proposed arbitration, or to accept of Sophia's offer.

If you shall advise that the offer shall be accepted of, it will be for your consideration how it may be carried into effect so as legally to transfer to Lord Annesley or his trustee all her rights, whatever they may be; and in considering this question, you will recollect that Lord Annesley has always insisted, and always will insist, that Sophia is the lawful wife of Martin Connor, and that she never was the lawful wife of Edward Lees.

But if you should be able to get over this difficulty and to enable me [Lord Annesley] to make a good legal or equitable assignment, it is to be considered how Lord Annesley can secure to her the proposed annuity, he being only tenant for life of his estates, with remainder for life to his son, William, Lord Glerawly, with remainder to Lord Glerawly's first and other sons successively in tail male, and Lord Glerawly not having any male issue ... .

You have herewith the noted brief which you had on the hearing in June last in the supplemental cause, wherein Sophia was plaintiff and Richard, Earl Annesley, John Claudius Beresford, and Edward Lees were defendants, and you have a copy of the decree in that cause, dated the 14th day of June 1819, in which the original amended and supplemental bills are set out ... .

The claim of Sophia is under the deed of the 2nd of July 1798 for the arrears of £1,000 a year and £10,000 on the foot of which she alleges there is due to her £16,000. She insists that she has a claim paramount of the legatees of the late Earl under his will made the 29th of July 1801.

John Claudius Beresford, who has survived the late Marquess of Waterford, his co-trustee, and who is the sole executor of the late Earl Annesley, alleges that he has sold and disposed of all the assets of the late Earl Annesley which came to his hands, in paying the late Earl's debts and in part discharge of the annuity of £1,000 a year to Sophia under the deed of 2nd July 1798.

The funds which Sophia insists now remain as assets of the late Earl Francis Charles, applicable to the payment of her demand are.

First, the balance admitted by Lord Annesley to be due by him on the foot of the account stated, settled and signed on the 13th February 1806, being £999 6s.11d., with interest thereon from the decease of the late Earl in December 1802 to this time, sixteen years eight months, being £991.6s.11d. making together £1,982 13s.10d.

A charge on the Grove estate of £5,000, payable by Major-General Annesley when he shall become entitled to that estate, which will not be until after the decease of Mrs Eleanor Trant, now aged about sixty years, who is in possession of the estate and has an estate for her life therein; and the value of the lands including Lord Annesley's demesne containing about 32 acres, held at a rent of £26.2s.7½d. a year, which lands were purchased by the late Earl Annesley in the name of a trustee for a sum of £300, and of which lease [D1503/3/5/1] understand there are two lives in being. The interest in this farm I suppose cannot be estimated at more than £300 or £400.

Against these demands, Richard, Earl Annesley, claims as a debt the value of a table service and other valuable articles of plate which were the property of William, Lord Glerawly, the father of Earl Francis Charles, and of Richard, Earl Annesley, and which plate was by a codicil to his will made an heirloom to go along with the family estate, but of which plate the said Francis Charles sold the greater part, and part of the remainder was sold after his decease by Sophia, the present Earl having got only an inconsiderable part of his father's plate; but it certainly would be attended with much difficulty to prove the weight and value of the plate sold by the late Earl or by the plaintiff.

Sophia proposes on being secured the annuity of £400 a year for her life, to assign to Lord Annesley all her title under the deed of 2nd July 1798, to the arrears due to her of the £1,000 a year and to the principal sum of £10,000, and to all her right and claim on the balance of Earl Annesley's account current, stated, settled and signed by him, and to the interest in the paddock, and to the charge of £5,000 on the Grove estate and all other claims whatsoever in right of the late Earl.

Your advice on behalf of Lord Annesley is requested, not merely as a lawyer, but also a sincere friend and confidential adviser.

The proposition made by the plantiff, Sophia, is, as I recollect from this statement, and a conversation I have had with Mr Furlong [Lord Annesley's solicitor] on the subject of it, to assign all her claim as above specified to Lord Annesley, in consideration of an annuity of £400 for life, to commence from the month of June last I have considered the case and all the circumstances very attentively, and I entertain no doubt whatever that the proposed adjustment is an advantageous one for Lord Annesley to accede to, and I have no difficulty at [sic] recommending it to him.

I think the mode of securing the annuity will be for Lord Annesley and Lord Glerawly (who I presume will have no objection to join in the security) to execute a bond to a trustee for the plaintiff, Sophia, for her life, and she must assign all her right and claim and all her interest and title under the decree already obtained, to a trustee for Lord Annesley, in trust in the first place the better to secure to her the annuity of £400 for her life, and subject thereto in trust for Lord Annesley, his executors, administrators and assigns, with a power of attorney for the trustee to proceed under the decree already obtained and on all other suits or proceedings that may be necessary in the name of the plaintiff, Sophia.

The only difficulty in effectuating this arrangement appears to be the circumstances of the marriage of the plaintiff Sophia with Martin Connor, but the property in question is so circumstanced that it can only be recovered in a court of equity, and under all the circumstances of the case, no claim of his on it can succeed there. Indeed, the property has already been treated by the court as that of the plaintiff, and as being her separate property, which she therefore in a court of equity will be considered as entitled to dispose of in the same manner as if the same were a femme sole'.

 

Repository :        Public Record Office for Northern Ireland

PRONI Reference :          D1503/3/5/69

Level :   Item

Access :                Open

Title :     Copy case, with the opinion of Charles Burton

Dates :  15 September 1819 - 21 September 1819

Description :       Copy case, with the opinion of Charles Burton, concerning the proposed compromise between Lord Annesley and Sophia.

'Sophia, calling herself Dowager Countess Annesley, has proposed to assign to Richard, Earl Annesley, or to a trustee for him, all her rights of every kind under the deed or will of the late Francis Charles, Earl Annesley, if he will in consideration thereof secure to her and her assigns during her life an annuity of £400 a year.

Sophia now claims to be the wife of Edward Lees Esq., but Earl Annesley insists that she cannot be his lawful wife, Martin Connor, to whom she was first married, being still living.

It is submitted to your consideration whether it is most expedient for Lord Annesley to proceed on the proposed arbitration, or to accept of Sophia's offer.

If you shall advise that the offer shall be accepted of, it will be for your consideration how it may be carried into effect so as legally to transfer to Lord Annesley or his trustee all her rights, whatever they may be; and in considering this question, you will recollect that Lord Annesley has always insisted, and always will insist, that Sophia is the lawful wife of Martin Connor, and that she never was the lawful wife of Edward Lees.

But if you should be able to get over this difficulty and to enable me [Lord Annesley] to make a good legal or equitable assignment, it is to be considered how Lord Annesley can secure to her the proposed annuity, he being only tenant for life of his estates, with remainder for life to his son, William, Lord Glerawly, with remainder to Lord Glerawly's first and other sons successively in tail male, and Lord Glerawly not having any male issue ... .

You have herewith the noted brief which you had on the hearing in June last in the supplemental cause, wherein Sophia was plaintiff and Richard, Earl Annesley, John Claudius Beresford, and Edward Lees were defendants, and you have a copy of the decree in that cause, dated the 14th day of June 1819, in which the original amended and supplemental bills are set out ... .

The claim of Sophia is under the deed of the 2nd of July 1798 for the arrears of £1,000 a year and £10,000 on the foot of which she alleges there is due to her £16,000. She insists that she has a claim paramount of the legatees of the late Earl under his will made the 29th of July 1801.

John Claudius Beresford, who has survived the late Marquess of Waterford, his co-trustee, and who is the sole executor of the late Earl Annesley, alleges that he has sold and disposed of all the assets of the late Earl Annesley which came to his hands, in paying the late Earl's debts and in part discharge of the annuity of £1,000 a year to Sophia under the deed of 2nd July 1798.

The funds which Sophia insists now remain as assets of the late Earl Francis Charles, applicable to the payment of her demand are.

First, the balance admitted by Lord Annesley to be due by him on the foot of the account stated, settled and signed on the 13th February 1806, being £999 6s.11d., with interest thereon from the decease of the late Earl in December 1802 to this time, sixteen years eight months, being £991.6s.11d. making together £1,982 13s.10d.

A charge on the Grove estate of £5,000, payable by Major-General Annesley when he shall become entitled to that estate, which will not be until after the decease of Mrs Eleanor Trant, now aged about sixty years, who is in possession of the estate and has an estate for her life therein; and the value of the lands including Lord Annesley's demesne containing about 32 acres, held at a rent of £26.2s.7½d. a year, which lands were purchased by the late Earl Annesley in the name of a trustee for a sum of £300, and of which lease [D1503/3/5/1] understand there are two lives in being. The interest in this farm I suppose cannot be estimated at more than £300 or £400.

Against these demands, Richard, Earl Annesley, claims as a debt the value of a table service and other valuable articles of plate which were the property of William, Lord Glerawly, the father of Earl Francis Charles, and of Richard, Earl Annesley, and which plate was by a codicil to his will made an heirloom to go along with the family estate, but of which plate the said Francis Charles sold the greater part, and part of the remainder was sold after his decease by Sophia, the present Earl having got only an inconsiderable part of his father's plate; but it certainly would be attended with much difficulty to prove the weight and value of the plate sold by the late Earl or by the plaintiff.

Sophia proposes on being secured the annuity of £400 a year for her life, to assign to Lord Annesley all her title under the deed of 2nd July 1798, to the arrears due to her of the £1,000 a year and to the principal sum of £10,000, and to all her right and claim on the balance of Earl Annesley's account current, stated, settled and signed by him, and to the interest in the paddock, and to the charge of £5,000 on the Grove estate and all other claims whatsoever in right of the late Earl.

Your advice on behalf of Lord Annesley is requested, not merely as a lawyer, but also a sincere friend and confidential adviser.

The proposition made by the plantiff, Sophia, is, as I recollect from this statement, and a conversation I have had with Mr Furlong [Lord Annesley's solicitor] on the subject of it, to assign all her claim as above specified to Lord Annesley, in consideration of an annuity of £400 for life, to commence from the month of June last I have considered the case and all the circumstances very attentively, and I entertain no doubt whatever that the proposed adjustment is an advantageous one for Lord Annesley to accede to, and I have no difficulty at [sic] recommending it to him.

I think the mode of securing the annuity will be for Lord Annesley and Lord Glerawly (who I presume will have no objection to join in the security) to execute a bond to a trustee for the plaintiff, Sophia, for her life, and she must assign all her right and claim and all her interest and title under the decree already obtained, to a trustee for Lord Annesley, in trust in the first place the better to secure to her the annuity of £400 for her life, and subject thereto in trust for Lord Annesley, his executors, administrators and assigns, with a power of attorney for the trustee to proceed under the decree already obtained and on all other suits or proceedings that may be necessary in the name of the plaintiff, Sophia.

The only difficulty in effectuating this arrangement appears to be the circumstances of the marriage of the plaintiff Sophia with Martin Connor, but the property in question is so circumstanced that it can only be recovered in a court of equity, and under all the circumstances of the case, no claim of his on it can suceed there. Indeed, the property has already been treated by the court as that of the plaintiff, and as being her separate property, which she therefore in a court of equity will be considered as entitled to dispose of in the same manner as if the same were a femme sole'.

 

Repository :        Public Record Office for Northern Ireland

PRONI Reference :          D1503/3/5/70

Level :   Item

Access :                Open

Title :     Copy of the charge of the plaintiff, Sophia

Dates :  8 December 1819

Description :       Copy of the charge of the plaintiff, Sophia, in Annesley v. Annesley and others. [See D1503/3/5/71].

 

Repository :        Public Record Office for Northern Ireland

PRONI Reference :          D1503/3/5/72

Level :   Item

Access :                Open

Title :     'Minute of what passed at the interview

Dates :  30 December 1819

Description :       'Minute of what passed at the interview which William Furlong had this day with Serjeant Burton, Sophia and Major Swan.

... I [Furlong] stated [to Burton] that James, Henry, Charles and Francis [Annesley, illegitimate sons of the late Lord's by Dorothea McIlroy] had received from John Claudius Beresford various sums on account of their residuary bequest, amounting to £2,800 and upwards. I mentioned the sums from time to time received by Sophia from Mr Beresford on account of her demand ... . I then stated that Sophia asserted that her demand would exhaust all the assets, and but that she offered to give them £2,000 out of the assets, and that there would be nothing remaining for the legatees, but that she offered to give them £2,000 out of the assets in full of all demands in addition to what they had before received, as an act of bounty and not as matter of right, and that to prevent further litigation they consented to accept of £2,000 in full for [sic] their demand, not as a matter of bounty, but as a matter of right, but that since the agreement had been entered into between Sophia and Lord Annesley by which Sophia was to transfer all her rights to Lord Annesley in consideration of an annuity of £400 a year for her life, the legatees were not satisfied to accept of £2,000 from his Lordship, either as matter of bounty or as matter of right, but proposed to refer the amount of the sum which they ought to receive as residuary legatees, to the arbitration of Serjeants Burton and Lefroy [counsel for the illegitimate Annesleys].

Mr Serjeant Burton was of opinion that the legatees having consented to accept of £2,000 from Sophia in full of their claims (whether as bounty or as right), they ought to abide by that consent and accept of £2,000 from Lord Annesley, who stands in the place of Sophia, in full for their claims; but if the legatees resolve to persevere in prosecuting a suit (not being parties to the supplementary cause instituted by Sophia) they must commence a new line of proceeding for an account of assets of the late Earl, which proceedings may last for years, and must be attended with very great expense, and probably to an amount of cost greater than the object in controversy, and that suit must be against J.C Beresford, in bankrupt and an insolvent; that it would be gross folly for the legatees to contend with Lord Annesley, who offers without controversy to fulfil the agreement entered into with Sophia by giving the legatees £2,000, when they must know that if the decline that offer and that Lord Annesley, who is mere tenant for life of his estates, should die, they may lose the benefit of that offer and get nothing ... .

My next statement was with respect to the charge of £5,000 on General Annesley's reversion in fee of the Grove estate.

The facts, as I collected them from Lady Glerawley's will and from such information as I could obtain (though I never saw the deed by which the charge was created), are that Lady Glerawly, the wife of Francis Charles, Lord Glerawly, afterwards Earl Annesley, being seized of considerable estate in lands in the county of Cork, and power under her marriage settlement to dispose of her said estate by will as she should think fit, and that by her will, made in 1784, she in execution of such power devised the same to John Fitzgibbon, afterwards Earl of Clare, to the use of her husband for his life, remainder to her aunt, Mrs FitzGibbon for her life, the remainder to her aunt, Mrs Purcell, for her life, remainder to her cousin, Mrs Jeffereys, for her life, remainder to her cousin, Mrs Beresford for her life, remainder to her cousin Mrs Trant, for her life, remainder to General Annesley in fee; that the late Earl having advanced large sums of money to the General for his promotion in the army, the General in consideration thereof conveyed to the Earl his remainder in fee in the Grove estate; that in some time afterwards, the Earl agreed to re-convey the remainder in fee in that estate to the General subject to a charge in favour of the late Earl thereon, payable when the General's remainder should come into possession, with interest from thence, and that a re-conveyance was executed accordingly subject to such charge; that such charge forms part of the assets of the late Earl undisposed of, against which the General claims a set-off for timber trees on the estate cut down by the late Earl, to which it is answered that the General cannot have any such set-off, for that the trees were cut down when the Earl had the remainder in fee - that is after the General had conveyed to the Earl, and prior to the Earl's re-conveying it to the General.

I stated that Richard, Earl Annesley, conceived that Mr[s] Jeffereyes, whilst she was in possession, and Mrs Trant, since [s]he came into possession and receipt of the rents and profits of the Grove estate, were respectively liable to interest on the £5,000 charge. Sergeant Burton answered that ... he did not think it likely that interest was attempted to be made payable till the principal should become due, which could not be till the decease of Mrs Trant ... .

From Mr Burton's house I went to Sophia's lodgings in Kildare Street, where I met Major Swan.

Sophia said she had accepted of Lord Annesley's offer of £400 a year for her life in consideration of her assigning all her right to the assets of the late Earl Annesley, in order to put an end to litigation and expense, and to be enabled to go to France to live there, where she was somebody, instead of living in Ireland where she was nobody; that for want of money she had been obliged to sell her diamonds to the amount of £900, and that she expected that Lord Annesley would enable her to replace them, for without them she could not resume her splendid appearance in Paris, where she had lived in high fashion, having kept her barouche and servants in green and gold liveries, with her box at the Opera, and moved in the first circles. She said she had not agreed to give up the arrears of interest, to which she was advised she was entitled, on Morley Saunder's bonds, nor the sum which she was advised she was entitled to for the maintenance, clothing and education of her minor children during the time they respectively lived, and for which she never got a penny, but that on getting money to pay for the diamonds, she would give up everything.

I answered that I was employed by Lord Annesley to carry an agreement already entered into, upon her own proposal in writing, as expressed in her letter to Major Swan, into effect, and not to vary that agreement or to enter into a new one ... .

[There then follows further sparring, and 'artful' arguments by Sophia, which culminate in a promise from Burton that Lord Annesley will pay the costs of Sophia's counsel and solicitor].

She next adverted to the delay that had occurred since the first overture of [sic] an amicable settlement, and said she saw Lord Annesley's motive very plainly, which was by delay to avail himself of the interest on all the growing securities, and yet not to suffer the annuity to commence till the agreement should be finally concluded. She expressed herself on this occasion with great warmth and said: Lord Annesley wants to send me away to France like a mendicant, without a penny in my pocket, and to avail himself of the distress which he knows I am involved in by Lord O'Neill's not being enabled to pay me the annuity I am entitled to receive from him. To this, I answered that such remarks were inconsistent with her frequent declarations to me that she knew Lord Annesley to be a man of the strictest honour and justice, and I said that Lord Annesley would never be actuated by the dishonourable motive of availing himself of any person's distress to force a hard bargain or to obtain a pecuniary advantage.

She then said, in a softened tone, I don't want to make you or Lord Annesley angry, or to say anything unkind, but if Lord Annesley was suffering as I am suffering, he would be as peevish as himself, and if I had a reporter to tell me what he has said of me, I am sure it would be worse than anything I have said of him.

I told her that I could not undertake, but that I would recommend, that Lord Annesley should allow her the £400 a year to commence from June last, when first the amicable treaty commenced, so as that she should receive £200 before her departure for France, and thereupon I quitted the room. But she followed me to the stair head, calling out 'But remember the diamond's', to which I answered, I know nothing about diamonds. Oh, said she, I can give Lord Annesley information that may be worth the value of the diamonds ...'.

 

Repository :        Public Record Office for Northern Ireland

PRONI Reference :          D1503/3/5/73

Level :   Item

Access :                Open

Title :     Bill of costs to Sophia from Robert Reeves

Dates :  26 January 1820

Description :       Bill of costs to Sophia from Robert Reeves & Sons for £368.6s.5d. in respect of legal costs costs incurred between Hilary 1817 and January 1820.

 

Repository :        Public Record Office for Northern Ireland

PRONI Reference :          D1503/3/5/74

Level :   Item

Access :                Open

Title :     'Brief on behalf of the defendant, the Earl

Dates :  4 February 1820

Description :       'Brief on behalf of the defendant, the Earl Annesley, to move that the within consent be made an order of this honourable court'; the within consent is to an agreement that proceedings shall stop, on condition that Lord Annesley pay Sophia an annuity of £455 (not £400), together with the costs of Messrs Reeves.

Repository :        Public Record Office for Northern Ireland

PRONI Reference :          D1503/3/5/75

Level :   Item

Access :                Open

Title :     Copy of the agreement between Lord Annesley

Dates :  27 April 1820

Description :       Copy of the agreement between Lord Annesley, Lord Glerawly and 'Sophia, commonly called the Dowager Countess Annesley'.

 

Repository :        Public Record Office for Northern Ireland

PRONI Reference :          D1503/3/5/76

Level :   Item

Access :                Open

Title :     One of three further bills of costs to Sophia

Dates :  1820

Description :       One of three further bills of costs to Sophia from Messrs Reeves.

 

Repository :        Public Record Office for Northern Ireland

PRONI Reference :          D1503/3/6/2

Level :   Item

Access :                Open

Title :     Fuller and fair-copied version of D1503

Dates :  22 April 1803

Description :       Fuller and fair-copied version of D1503/3/6/1, containing the following additional information:

'... The late Earl was ... at the time of his death seized of an unsettled freehold estate of the annual value of about £3,000. His personal property at the time of his death might be about the value of £10,000, and his debts at the time of his death amounted to about £30,000. The family plate of which he became possessed on the death of his father, was of the value of £2,000, and was settled in the same manner as the settled real estate ...'.

At this time [1795] the Downshire Regiment of Militia was commanded by the Marquess of Downshire, as Colonel, and Earl Annesley was Lieutenant Colonel. But afterwards, in consequence of the Marquess's opposition to the Union, the regiment was divided into two regiments, and Earl Annesley got the command of one of them ... .

... Mr [Richard] Annesley, in consequence of ... [Lord Annesley's letter of 6th September 1797] [D1503/3/8/9] announcing his intention of marrying Sophia], called upon Mr John Claudius Beresford, the banker, his and the Earl's cousin german, to request his advice upon the subject, and Mr Annesley advised Lord Annesley to consult the late Mr Marcus Beresford, a barrister, brother of Mr John C. Beresford, upon the subject, but Lord Annesley informed Mr Annesley that Mr Marcus Beresford was not at home, or was out of town. Mr Annesley then went to the Earl's house, where he had a long conversation with him, in which he endeavoured without effect to convince him, both of the illegality and the disgrace of his intended marriage, and to dissuade him from it ...'.

It is stated that the Rev. John Lowry, who was a party to the deed of 29 September 1797 [D1503/3/5/3] was the Co. Tyrone clergyman whose name Sophia had taken.

'... The consciousness of Mrs Connor [that she was in law Martin Connor's wife] caused her to be still more particular and explicit [than Lord Annesley] in her acknowledgements upon the same subject whilst Lord Annesley was living, as will appear from the following conversation she had with Mr Swan [on 25 December 1800], which he took down in writing immediately afterwards:

Some time previous to the month of November 1800, I was at Lord Annesley's in Marlborough Street. Lady Annesley said to me in [the] presence of Lord Annesley that Mr Richard Annesley ought not to blame her for her marriage with Lord Annesley, for it was against her own opinion, and that she rather had obtained something to bind her children to business or trade, and [sic - but] that it might so happen that Mr Richard Annesley might not be able to prove the marriage with Martin Connor'.

Mr Swan had a conversation with Mrs Connor which he on the 12th of January 1801 at Drogheda reduced into writing, as follows:

'On the 29th of September last, I had a conversation at the inn in Drogheda with Lady Annesley respecting her marriage to Martin Connor. She told me she was married by a priest near Coolock, but she did not repeat all the words of the marriage ceremony after the priest, and therefore she thought the marriage not binding. She said she never was bedded with Martin Connor, for she did not like him, and she would not have married him, but the people in the country in and about the vicinity of Annesley Lodge began to speak of her, and said Sir William G[leadowe] Newcomen and Mr Woodmason wanted or had intrigued with her. ... She said in a few days after the marriage to Connor she went to the County Tyrone, and remained some time with her friends. She said she wanted to get about twenty guineas among them for the purpose of going to America. They refused her that sum, and wondered they had not seen her husband. She said she afterwards returned to the vicinity of Coolock, and in some time afterwards agreed to go to Lord Annesley's house with him; that she had no idea of ever marrying his Lordship, but that he obliged her to do so, and threatened he would shoot himself if she did not consent to be married. She told me Commissioner Annesley ought not to be angry with her for satisfying Lord Annesley's mind by marrying him, and that if any accident happened Lord Annesley, that [sic] she would leave herself at [sic] his compassion, as any lawsuit would be attended with great expense and perhaps no use to her, though she said, perhaps Commissioner Annesley might not be able to find out the persons who were present when she was married to Martin Connor ... .

The 13th December 1802, Mr Swan called upon Mrs Connor in Marlborough Street. She told him that at the request of Lord Annesley and some of her friends, she had given up her settlement, and also £500 debentures, to Lord Annesley, and was to have something settled in another way. She said that there were writings prepared by Mr Keown, an attorney, under the directions of her friend, Counsellor McClelland (now Solicitor-General). She said she was certain of a lawsuit between Lord Annesley and his brother, Commissioner Annesley; that it would injure them and her children, and that she would rather throw herself and them on him than trust to lawyers and attorneys who would ruin the estate. She said she was married to Martin Connor. She would wish above all things to speak to Commissioner Annesley in private, and what she had to say to him would serve his family.

This intimation was communicated by Mr Swan to Commissioner Annesley, who declined any interview ...'.

After the late Lord's death, the present Lord received the following letters from his uncles, the Archbishop of Tuam and the Rt Hon. John Beresford, the former dated 27 December 1802.

'... My Lord, I this day received your very obliging letter. I certainly was much shocked at reading in the newspaper the account of Lord Annesley's death, though it was an event I expected from [sic] the last two years. I had a very sincere and affectionate regard for him, and in truth I lament him much. Give me leave to assure [you] that it does give me pleasure to hear that everything is settled as to your succeeding to your title and estates without disputes or difficulties. I have had some conversation with your brother [Dean William Annesley] on that subject, and though I am perfectly sure he had persuaded himself of the legality of the marriage, I confess he never urged anything that made the slightest impression on my mind ...'.

The following is an extract from a letter dated December 28th 1802 from the Rt Hon. John Beresford, Walworth.

'My dear Lord, I last night received your letter of the 25th, which I assure you gave me great satisfaction. I confess, when I heard of the death of Lord Annesley, I did fear that there would be a contest which would involve the family in great distress, and expose Lord Annesley's name. But things have taken a most fortunate turn, and be assured that I sincerely rejoice at it.

Give me leave, however, to remind you that nothing which passes at this day can bar the boy from hereafter giving you trouble, and that therefore you ought not to relax in your endeavours to ascertain the material fact of prior marriage, so as to put it out of the power of anyone to give you trouble. It is a long time before the boy will come of age. All the witnesses you now have may be dead before that - so may you - and the attack may be on your son. The lady's husband may combine against him, and much trouble must ensue. You are therefore to be well advised how to proceed to prevent all possibility of future attacks. Should the gentleman claim his wife for her money, it would be a very lucky thing, and I think it is very probable he may ...'.

The following additional information is then given about Martin Connor and Sophia.

'... First, with respect to Martin Connor. He is now about forty years of age, and is gardener to Richard, Earl Annesley. He gives the following account of himself.

In the year 1780, being then about seventeen years old, he left his father, who had died, and went to live with Mr Maypother. From 1781 to 1783 he lived with Mr Mahon at Strokestown. In 1784 he lived with Dean Harman. In 1785 he lived with Sir William Gleadowe Newcomen, Bt. In 1786 he again went to live with Mr Maypother. In 1787 he lived with Lord Loftus. In 1788 he lived with Mr Wilkinson. In 1789, and from thence till after 1795, he lived with Sir William Gleadowe Newcomen, and from thence with Sir William Newcomen and the present Lord Annesley respectively.

Witnesses, it is presumed, will be found in all those places to prove that he always was considered and reputed as a bachelor until February 1795, when he married Sophia Kelly, and he most solemnly declares that he never was married to any other woman.

With respect to Sophia Kelly, the accounts that have been collected respecting her are as follows:

That she was born and bred up in the County Tyrone, and was one of the daughters of Patrick Kelly. When about the age of sixteen or seventeen, she came to Dublin and lived for some time in service of Mr Galbraith, but preferring a life of licentious liberty to a life of honest labour, it is generally reported that for some time she lived in the habits [sic] of disposing of her person to those who paid her. It is reported that she was for some time in an hospital for a venereal complaint. When she lived with McVey [sic] at the porter's lodge, she was employed in the most servile office, but attracted much notice as a very pretty girl ... .

Since drawing this case, Francis Charles Annesley, the younger son of Sophia died, and an account of his death was inserted in the newspapers, calling him the Hon. Francis Charles Annesley, brother of Earl Annesley, and mentioning that he died at his mother's, the Countess Dowager Annesley's, in Sackville Street.

Mrs Connor has employed a solicitor and several eminent counsel, and she has got some persons of property to interest themselves very warmly in support of her and her son. She caused advertisements and handbills to be published, and sent them to be served on the tenants of Earl Annesley's settled estates, and caused copies to be posted on the Custom House, and in various parts of Dublin, cautioning the tenants against paying their rents to Richard Annesley, and claiming them as the right of George, Earl Annesley.

The story now fabricated by Mrs Connor and her advisers respecting her pretended first marriage, is as follows. That she came to McBay's house three days before last Holy Eve was eight years (that was the 28th of November 1794), and that she was seven weeks in Dublin before she came to him; that she travelled to Dublin in a carriage in which there were a young man of the name of Kelly and his mother; that she can bring proof from the county of Louth that they were all in the carriage together; that they all took lodgings in Barrack Street, and that she was lawfully married to Kelly by one of the most decent parish priests in Dublin, and that she lodged with Kelly till he was crimped (that is unlawfully enlisted) by a crimp sergeant, which she says she can prove by his officers; that she thereupon went to the house of McBay and told him she had just come from the North. She says Kelly died two months before she married Lord Annesley. She says she told all this story to the late Lord Annesley in Kelly's lifetime, and threatened to quit him if ever he disclosed it till after Kelly's death, and that she can prove when Kelly died, and where he was buried.

McBay and his wife say they recollect that Sophia came to their house a few days before Holy Eve in the year 1794, and brought McBay a letter of introduction from his father, which letter was dated at Omagh in the county of Tyrone, eight days before she delivered it, upon which he expressed his surprise that she should be so long travelling from Omagh to Dublin, and that Sophia answered that the weather was bad, and that the carrier with whom she came could not travel faster. This contradicts the story of her being seven weeks in Dublin previous to her applying to McBay.

It is reported that an ejectment on the title will be brought for recovery of the settled estates on the demise [sic] of the minor, or that a bill will be filed on his behalf to be restored to the possession of the estates and for the appointment of a receiver'.

There then follow queries 6-8 additional to those in D1503/3/6/1.

'Sixthly, it has been suggested to Lord Annesley that he might put the question of legitimacy into a course of trial by filing a bill against Mr Beresford, the personal representative of the late Earl, and by making the minor and his mother parties, praying a discovery respecting the plate, and to be decreed to the plate remaining unsold, and to the value of such part as has been sold; but you will please to consider and advise whether such a bill ought to be filed, and whether a bill to perpetuate testimony of witnesses may and ought at the same time to be filed and proceeded on, or whether it would not be better, before any bill shall be filed to perpetuate testimony of witnesses, to endeavour to get Mrs Connor to commit herself by an answer.

Seventhly, the legal estate in the settled lands by the deed of 1798 is vested in Mr J.C. Beresford, in trust for payment of debts, after which to pay Mrs Connor £10,000, and the residue to the late Lord's executors and administrators, which residue by his will is given to his natural children, including the minor, George. May not, therefore, the bill suggested in the last quaere pray an account of the assets of the late Earl, and that they may be marshalled so as to throw the judgement and specialty debts on the real, unsettled estate, and thereby to leave the personal estate for payment of simple contract debts, and amongst them the compensation to Lord Annesley for sale and loss of the plate?

Eighthly, would it be prudent and proper in Lord Annesley to support Connor in endeavouring to come at the property to which he claims to be entitled in right of his wife; and after renouncing all claim to her under his hand, and consenting that she should become the wife of anybody, could Connor at law or in equity establish such claim?'

To these queries, and queries 1-5 in D1503/3/6/1, B. Richards of Lincoln's Inn gives the following answers.

'1. I think it will be advisable to take the proper measures for perpetuating the testimony of the witnesses; but I doubt whether it is necessary to file a bill for that purpose expressly, as the end may be obtained by the bill recommended by Mr Saurin for the plate, etc., which seems to be the best step to be taken at present in a court of equity, as it will put the legitimacy in issue and will introduce all the evidence that can be obtained. That evidence will be admissable if the witnesses shall have died, in any action or suit between the parties touching the point in legitimacy. The great object is to obtain as speedily as possible a trial at law, that Lord Annesley may have an opportunity of cross-examining and confronting Mrs Connor and her witnesses before a jury. The bill should therefore be filed and prosecuted with every practicable expedition, and if it were not for the danger of losing by death some of his Lordship's witnesses, I should think it best to produce only so much evidence as will establish his title, prima facie, and throw sufficient doubt on the evidence of the adversary to induce the court to direct an issue. By that means, his Lordship would I conceive, go to trial with less disadvantage than if all his evidence were disclosed and put into the possession of his adversaries. But the subject is of so much importance, and the mischief would be so great if any of his witnesses were to die before their testimony was given, that I fear that his Lordship should examine in the suit all the witnesses he has, and to all the points to which their testimony applies. ... Mrs Connor will necessarily be a party to the bill, and she should be interrogated as to the case she sets up. If she answers, it will be material, as she will in some measure be fixed to one story. But if she chooses to decline an answer upon those points, I think she may, on the ground that she may be examined as a witness.

2. Lord Annesley ought certainly to assert his right to the peerage without delay, and to prosecute it with all expedition. Notes ought to be taken and preserved of the evidence produced against him, by persons who may hereafter give evidence of their contents.

3. This would, I think, be too dangerous an experiment, and I cannot recommend it.

4. I think that the will is not revoked, but it may be stated in the bill to be filed, which may extend to pray an account of the rents of the unsettled estate, that the will was revoked and that Mrs Connor claims title to dower. That may give a right to Lord Annesley to interrogate Mrs Connor as to all the facts which show that she was not the wife of the late Earl, and therefore not entitled to dower. She may [be] somewhat embarrassed in declining an answer, but I think she may decline.

5. The bill proposed is the best remedy.

6. I see no objection to a bill to perpetuate etc, concurrently with the other bill, but I do not think it necessary.

7. It may; and it will be proper to include this in the bill, in order to make it more difficult for Mrs Connor to avoid answering it - vide answer to quaere 4.

8. I think this would be dangerous experiment, and I cannot recommend it'.