Sir Rowland Blennerhassett, 4th Baronet
This must be the
Portrait inherited by the
Portrait by Franz von Lenbach
Date looks like 1871.
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See other shot
Sir Rowland Blennerhassett, 4th Baronet
Catholic, born 5 Sept 1839.
Political writer, historian.
He succ as Baronet as a child in 1849
when his father died.
He was educ Downside School
(Catholic school), Somerset, 1849-56.
He was educ Stonyhurst College
He was educ
Entered 1859. Left without a degree.
He was educ
Entered later in 1859.
He turned 21 in Sept 1860.
Appointed a J.P. for Co.Kerry,
3 Dec 1860
Listed as Sir Rowland of Churchtown.
Churchtown accounts book 1862-64
shows an active and busy farm and estate.
He is listed as of
Churchtown on p.1741
of The Edinburgh Gazette, 18 November 1862.
He formed a friendship with the Catholic historian
He was educ
Catholic University of Leuven
Doctor "in Scientia rerum politicarum"
(Doctor of Political Science).
In 1864 he studied at Munich, where he formed a lifelong friendship with
Ignaz von Döllinger
the unorthodox Catholic priest and theologian.
MP for Galway city 1865-74:
MP for Galway city 1865-74.
See contributions in Parliament.
He is listed as of
in his Member's Certificate
High Sheriff of Co.Kerry 1866-67.
In declaration dated
26 Feb 1867
his residence is Churchtown House.
Early in his career he supported Home Rule for Ireland.
He helped to start the Chronicle, a literary organ of liberal Catholicism, 1867.
Its support for Irish Home Rule made it unpopular.
It published until 1868.
mar 9 June 1870 to Countess Charlotte de Leyden
[born 1843, Munich, German Catholic].
She was dau of Count Karl Joseph August von Leyden and his wife
Franciska von Weling.
She was a Catholic disciple of Döllinger,
which is how she met Blennerhassett in early 1870.
a student of Blennerhassett's friend Lord Acton.
She became a
historian and author.
He sold Churchtown House
Lived in London. Though retained deep involvement with Ireland.
Links to Acton, Throckmorton, Dease:
- His friend Lord Acton's aunt Elizabeth Acton had married
Sir Robert Throckmorton, 8th Baronet (died 1862)
Coughton Court, Warwickshire.
The 8th Baronet was one of the first Catholic MPs after Catholic Emancipation.
These people were all prominent English Catholics involved in politics.
The 4th Baronet knew the Throckmorton family,
and was in fact descended from Throckmorton.
In 1871 UK census he is listed
(dau of 8th Baronet) and her husband Gerald Dease
at Coughton Court.
were an old Irish Catholic family who held their lands through the Penal Laws.
Gerald Dease's brother
James Arthur Dease
ran in the Feb 1872 Co.Kerry by-election as a Liberal, and was defeated
by the 4th Baronet's 2nd cousin
Rowland Ponsonby Blennerhassett (Home Rule party).
1872 Kerry election:
Letters of Jan-Mar 1872
show that the 4th Baronet considered switching to Co.Kerry for the
by-election of Feb 1872.
But the Liberals nominated James Arthur Dease.
The Home Rulers nominated the Baronet's 2nd cousin
Rowland Ponsonby Blennerhassett,
and the Baronet says he will not go against his cousin
and in fact will support him.
He says Dease is unpopular in Kerry and can only win
"by landlord coercion of the grossest kind".
His cousin won a famous victory for Home Rule in the election.
The 4th Baronet says it was an own goal by the Liberals - that if he had been nominated, his cousin would not have run (his cousin himself says so)
and he would have won the seat.
He is happy his cousin won, and in
letter of 23 Mar 1872
says his cousin would not have won without his help.
He changed his views on Home Rule in the 1870s and became an opponent of Home Rule.
A strong opponent of Parnell.
MP for Kerry 1880-85:
Liberal MP for Co.Kerry
Kerry had two seats.
The other MP in 1880-85 was his 2nd cousin, the Home Rule MP
Rowland Ponsonby Blennerhassett.
He is listed
in 1881 census as a lodger
at 3 St. James's Place, Pall Mall, London.
spoke and wrote on Irish education and land question.
He advocated peasant proprietorship 1884.
Charlotte published a multi-volume
Madame de Staël
Frau v. Staël, ihre Freunde u. ihre Bedeutung in Politik u. Lit.
("Madame v. Staël, her Friends and their Importance in Politics and Literature"),
3 vols, 1887-1889 (French 1890, English 1891).
She published other works from 1894 to 1916.
Letter of 15 Dec 1892
shows Blennerhassett still had property at Churchtown.
President of Queens College, Cork, 1897-1904:
4th Baronet was President of Queens College, Cork
In letter of 23 June 1897
the future 5th Baronet writes to his mother:
"I am curious to hear how you will like Cork.
It will be practically your first experience of regular English life.
Hitherto in England you have belonged largely to [an international set].
... You will now meet people such as you have hardly ever met before."
(Curious of him to use "regular English life" to cover Ireland.)
4th Baronet is
in 1901 census
at the London and North Western Hotel in Dublin.
In October 1901 he was awarded an honorary doctorate (LL.D.)
by the Royal University of Ireland.
He died 22 Mar 1909, London, age 69 yrs.
bur in churchyard of
St. Benedict's RC church,
This is beside his old school,
See Blennerhassett Baronets papers.
Charlotte died 1917.
4th Baronet and Charlotte had issue:
Sir Arthur Blennerhassett, 5th Baronet,
born Munich, 14 Apr 1871.
- Marie Carola Blennerhassett,
Charity and civic worker and advocate for women's rights.
She mar 1stly, 1894, to Raphael d'Erlanger
[born 1865, son of Frederic Emile, Baron d'Erlanger].
He died 1897.
She mar 2ndly, 1913, to Sir Henry Galway
[born Henry Gallwey, 1859].
He was Governor of South Australia 1914-20.
He died 1949.
She died 1963.
See Australian Dictionary of Biography.
She had issue by 1st mar:
- Baron Henry Roland Kasimir d'Erlanger,
He mar 1921 to Margarita Covarubias. No issue.
He was killed in a plane accident in 1937.
Charlotte d'Erlanger, born 1897.
mar 1922 to Roderick Peter George Denman
He was grandson of George Denman,
son of Thomas Denman, 1st Baron Denman.
in [Burkes Peerage].
He was KIA in WW2 1941.
She was living 1959 at 25 Mulberry Walk, London SW3.
She died 1980.
They had issue.
- William Blennerhassett,
Willie, born 1882.
He mar 1910 to Olivia Grove
[Olivia Frances Grove, dau of Sir Thomas Grove, 1st Baronet].
See his contributions
Encyclopaedia Britannica (12th edn, 1922).
See his libel case in 1932-1933.
She died 1953.
He died 1958.
They had issue:
- Rowland Blennerhassett, born 1911.
Living as at 1938 at 105 Campden Hill Road, London.
Living as at 1952 at 3 Cornwall Gardens, London.
Living as at 1956 at 17 Campden Hill Rd, London.
They moved to Brighton around 1986.
Rowland died 19 Mar 1993 at
St Raphael's Care Home, Haywards Heath, West Sussex.
Elizabeth died 29 Mar 1995, Brighton. NOT 1996.
They had issue.
Lady Charlotte Blennerhassett.
Photo published at her death in 1917.
From Getty Images
See full size
Speculation in 1886 that Sir Rowland would be appointed
Under-Secretary for Ireland.
It did not happen.
From The Montreal Daily Herald,
25 Nov 1886.
attends a lecture on 28 Mar 1899
in Cork by
Sir Rowland Blennerhassett, 4th Baronet.
From Cork Examiner,
March 29, 1899.
Blennerhassett Cashel was GSWR goods head at Cork, apparently 1893 to 1911.
The 4th Baronet was Catholic, succ 1849, President of Queens College Cork 1897-1904.
According to my theory
they are most likely 2nd cousins.
4th Baronet listed in
[Thom's, 1901, p.228].
Gives his residence as Queen's College Cork.
Though this may just be a postal address.
he "did not take up permanent residence at the President's house on campus".
Grave of 4th Baronet, Stratton-on-the-Fosse, Somerset.
See full size.
Photos 2006 from
Blennerhassett arms on grave of 4th Baronet.
See full size.
Photo 2006 from
- Sir Rowland Blennerhassett, 4th Baronet,
- Sir Rowland Blennerhassett, 4th Baronet
[DNB, 1912 edn]
- BLENNERHASSETT, SIR ROWLAND
- Memories of Gardens,
Alexander Innes Shand, London, 1908.
The 4th Baronet writes a "memoir" in this, but it is a memoir of the life of Shand, who died in 1907,
not a memoir of the 4th Baronet's life.
- Blennerhassett Papers.
Add. MS 7486
- Papers mainly of Lady Charlotte Blennerhassett.
Also some papers of Sir Rowland.
Deposited by Lady Galway, 1953.
(Because 4th Baronet went to Cambridge.)
- Notes on the papers in
Sir Herbert Butterfield Papers.
MS Butterfield 468.
- This suggests weeding the papers and throwing out quite a few.
But from what I can see, no weeding took place.
- Add.7486/22. Diary of Lady Blennerhassett, late 19th century.
- Diary in German, 1870-71.
- Add.7486/50/4: Mein Mann [Letters from Rowland Blennerhassett to his wife], 1870-1882.
- There is a remarkable amount of politics in his letters to his wife!
They obviously had a massive shared interest in politics.
- Letters of Jan-Mar 1872.
About the Kerry election of Feb 1872
that his cousin Rowland would famously win for Home Rule.
- Letter of 6 Jan 1872.
- Letter of 8 Jan 1872.
- Letter of 14 Jan 1872.
- Letter of 20 Jan 1872.
- Letter of 27 Jan 1872.
- Letter of 6 Feb 1872.
- Letter of 16 Feb 1872.
- Letter of 23 Mar 1872.
- Also in this section is letter from
to Charlotte shortly before her marriage in 1870.
- Add.7486/50/5: Letters from Charlotte Blennerhassett to her husband, 1870-1896.
- Many in German and French.
- Letter of 19 Feb 1872 from Charlotte to Rowland. About Kerry election.
- Add.7486/52/1. Letters from English friends, 1883-1913.
- Add.7486/52/4. Various letters, 1869-1906.
- Many foreign, in German and French.
- Add.7486/52/26. Wartime letters, 1915-1916.
- Add.7486/53: Letters of Cabinet Ministers and others to Sir Rowland Blennerhassett, 1859-1897.
- Mostly political letters.
- Add.7486/56: Personal papers and letters of Charlotte Lady Blennerhassett, 1887-1915.
- Many in German and French. Some from Rowland.
- Diary in German, 1880-83.
Sources yet to be consulted
- Award of honorary doctorate.
"University intelligence". The Times. 26 October 1901. p.7.
- 4th Baronet death/obituary:
- The Times, 24 Mar 1909.
Or possibly 23 Mar 1909, p.13.
- The Kerryman, 27 Mar 1909, p.5.
Illustrated London News, 1909.
- The Annual Register, 1909, p.119.
Lady Charlotte and children
- Lady Charlotte Blennerhassett (German language) in Deutsche Biographie.
- Obituary of Lady Charlotte, The Times, 14 Feb 1917.
- Laura Pachtner
Lady Charlotte Blennerhassett (1843-1917)
- "Mediating European Culture in the Age of Nationalism - the liberal Catholic historian Lady Charlotte Blennerhassett (1843-1917)."
(English language, forthcoming in 2020).
- M. C. Galway, The Past Revisited (1953).
Memoir by Lady Galway (Marie Carola Blennerhassett).
[TCD] Santry Stacks [EPB only] (138.e.29).
"The Galweys of Munster",
by Sir Henry Blackall, in
vol.74 No.219, 1969, pp.71-83.
- Acton and his Circle, by Abbot Gasquet, 1907.
- Selections from the correspondence of the first Lord Acton,
ed. by John Neville Figgis and Reginald Vere Laurence, Vol.1, 1917.
[NLI] 826 a 2.
[TCD] Santry Stacks (EPB only) 68.p.108.
- The Acton Circle and the 'Chronicle', 1867-68,
Victorian Periodicals Newsletter,
Vol. 7, No. 2 (Jun., 1974), pp. 10-24.
- Lord Acton, by Roland Hill, 2000.
President of Queens College, Cork 1897-1904
- UCC University Archives.
Correspondence of the President's Office, College Council, and of College Officers.
- Boole Library, UCC [Special Collections, U.33].
Lecture delivered in Cork by Sir Rowland Blennerhassett on Sir Walter Scott, 1902.
- The report of the President of Queen's College, Cork, for the session 1897-98 (Dublin: HMSO, 1898).
History of Queen's College, Cork
- "The Origins and Growth of University College, Cork"
by Denis Gwynn, University Review,
Vol. 2, No. 3/4, Jubilee Issue (Autumn - Winter, 1960), pp. 33-47.
- The Queen's College, Cork: its origins and early history, 1803-1858
by Sean F. Pettit, 1973.
The College: A History of Queen's University College Cork
by John A. Murphy, 1995.
See for best bibliography.
- University College Cork: A portrait in Words and Images
by John A. Murphy, 2005.
Where Finbarr Taught: A concise History of Queen's/University College Cork 1845 - 2006
by John A. Murphy, 2007.
Papers to be consulted
- St Andrews: Papers of Wilfrid Ward.
St Andrews University Library.
Ms 38347-38348, 38469, 38508.
"Damp-press, copy out-letter-book containing copies of letters written on estate business from the Killarney Estate Office."
Correspondents include the 4th Baronet.
"It is very inconvenient my cousin having exactly the same name as I have."
- Sir Rowland Blennerhassett, 4th Baronet, MP,
in letter of 14 Jan 1872
during the Kerry election in which his cousin
Rowland Ponsonby Blennerhassett
was running (and also became an MP).
Later the two Rowland Blennerhassetts were both MPs for the same constituency at the same time!
- UCC profile of 4th Baronet.
This says he was "Home Rule member for County Kerry from 1880 to 1885".
This is not really true.
He is recorded as a Liberal MP, not a Home Rule MP.
However there is some truth in it in that he was also a supporter of Home Rule since the 1860s,
though by 1880 that was waning and in 1881 he clearly declared against Home Rule
- The profile says his younger son was "William L. Blennerhassett (6th baronet)".
This is wrong.