Humphrys genealogy

Genealogy research by Mark Humphrys.

My ancestors - Blennerhassett - Contents

Rowland Ponsonby Blennerhassett, MP

Rowland Ponsonby Blennerhassett, MP,
born 1850, Kells, Co.Kerry.
Protestant landed gentry. One of the first Irish Home Rule MPs.
See wikipedia.
He was educ Trinity College, Dublin.
He was educ Christ Church, Oxford.
See 1870 letter from the poet Robert Browning. (Blennerhassett was friends with his son.)

He joined the Home Rule party led by Isaac Butt.
There were no Home Rule MPs in the 1868 general election. John Martin was the first Home Rule MP, elected in 1871.
Rowland was the 5th of 8 Home Rule MPs elected in by-elections in 1871-74.

Home Rule MP for Co.Kerry 1872-1885:
Rowland served as Home Rule party MP for Co.Kerry 1872 to 1885.
His election in the Co.Kerry by-election of Feb 1872 was a breakthrough for the Home Rule party. He defeated James Arthur Dease (Liberal).
The 1872 by-election was in the last few months of election by open vote in Ireland. (Secret ballot introduced in Aug 1872.) Unbelievably, up to this point, tenants had to vote in full view of and risking the wrath of their landlords. Indeed landlords often treated their tenants as simple extensions of their own vote, and used their agents to round up the tenants for voting at election time.
It was a dramatic, hard-fought campaign. There were some riots. See letter of 20 Jan 1872 which says a priest was injured and died after a riot at Castleisland.
Letter of 6 Feb 1872 says nomination is 6 Feb and polling is 9 Feb.

Kerry had two seats. The other MP for Kerry in 1872-80 was Henry Arthur Herbert.
The big breakthrough for Home Rule was the 1874 election when there were 60 Home Rule MPs elected.
Rowland mar 1876 to Mary Beatrice Armstrong.
The other MP for Kerry in 1880-85 was his 2nd cousin, the Liberal MP Sir Rowland Blennerhassett, 4th Baronet.

They are listed in 1881 census at 54 Hans Place, Chelsea, London. From here.
He is listed in 1881 Electoral Register at 52 Hans Place. From here.
He was a barrister in London. QC 1894.
They are listed in 1901 census at 52 Hans Place.
He writes in 1910 from 52 Hans Place to Lady Charlotte, widow of his cousin the 4th Baronet. See Add.7486/52/1.
At death he is described as of 52 Hans Place, London.
He died 7 April 1913, Hotel Prince de Galles (Hotel Prince of Wales), Monte Carlo.
See Dublin probate of will granted 1913 to widow Mary [NAI]. See London admin.
Mary is listed in [Post Office London Directory 1915] as of 52 Hans Place, and of Kells, Co.Kerry.
She died 13 May 1928.
Will pr 1 Aug 1928, London. See admin.
Rowland and Mary had issue:

  1. Richard Francis Ponsonby Blennerhassett,
    born 1879, London.
    He mar 1914 to Sylvia Myers.
    She was dau of the classicist and psychical researcher Frederic William Henry Myers by his wife, the photographer Eveleen Tennant.

    Richard inherited Ponsonby portraits.
    He died 1938.
    Sylvia died 1957.
    They had issue:

    1. Diana Blennerhassett,
      author, born 1916, London,
      known as Deenagh.
      She mar 1939 to Richard Goold-Adams [born 1916].
      (todo) See mar of Dianna M P Blennerhassett and Richard J M Goold-Adams, 1st qr 1939, Chelsea [GRO.UK]. Volume Number: 1a Page Number: 619.
      He died 1995. Death registered in Bath district, Mar 1995.
      Diana lived 33 Great Pulteney St, Bath, Avon BA2 4BX.
      She apparently died 2000.
      Her death was registered in Bath district, Nov 2000.

Rowland Ponsonby Blennerhassett (Home Rule MP, elected Feb 1872) and John Martin (the first Home Rule MP, elected Jan 1871).
Being celebrated on a set of "Home Rule" shopping bags in Waterford city.
From Bill Jehan.
See these bags in EPH C792 and EPH B806 in Ephemera collection in [NLI].

Signatures of Irish MPs on petition of 1883-84.
Includes Parnell and Rowland Ponsonby Blennerhassett and 4th Baronet.
See larger and full size.


Robert Barrett Browning

Rowland Ponsonby Blennerhassett (born 1850) was friends with Robert Barrett Browning ("Pen", born 1849).
They would have become friends when both went to Christ Church, Oxford.
Browning was son of the poets Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning (died 1861).

Letter dated 28 July 1870 from the poet Robert Browning (father of "Pen") to Rowland Ponsonby Blennerhassett (not yet an MP).
Found in Baronets papers.
See this envelope larger and full size.

The 1872 election


Extract from pp.234-236 of Romantic Hidden Kerry, by Thomas F. O'Sullivan, Tralee, 1931. [KCL] RR.
Tells the story of the 1872 election, where landlords rounded up their tenants to vote the way they wanted. Here the agent leads a procession of tenants towards Tralee, but the voters keep escaping.






Baronets papers

Among the Blennerhassett Baronets papers are items relating to the 4th Baronet, and also items relating to his cousin, Rowland Ponsonby Blennerhassett MP.
For example the 1870 letter from Robert Browning.
And also the following:


Sources yet to be consulted




Wife and descendants


Donation Drive

Please donate to support this site. I have spent a great deal of time and money on this research. Research involves travel and many expenses. Some research "things to do" are not done for years, because I do not have the money to do them.
Please Donate Here to support the ongoing research and to keep this website free.

Help       Conventions       Abbreviations       How to read the trees

Privacy policy       Adoption policy       Image re-use policy       New 250 G VPS server.