A distinguished clan
The Rockfleet Arbuthnot family according to the Landed Estates Database was located in the Parish and Barony of Burrishoole, Co Mayo. [i]
They had many distinguished members including the following brothers:
The son of Anne Stone and John Senior Arbuthnot FRS was born on May 7th 1768 in Rockfleet Castle; his siblings were Charles and Thomas, Robert, Anne, Harriet, Francis, Sarah and Margaret.
Alexander was ordained to the established Church of Ireland on November 2nd 1794 in Limerick. He was promoted to Vicar in 1801 of Annaghdown and Killascobe. During 1808 he was posted as Rector of Crossboyne and Kilcolman. Between 1809 and 1816 he served as Archdeacon in Aghadoe also as Dean of Cloyne for the period of 1816 to 1823 prior to his elevation as Bishop of Killaloe and Kilfenora from 1923 to 1928.
Alexander married Susanna Bingham, daughter of Mr. Bingham of Antigua, West Indies on March 31st 1798. Secondly in a service performed by the Archbishp of Tuam in St. Peter’s Church, Aungier Street, Dublin on May 5th 1819 he married Margaret Phoebe, the daughter of his first wife’s uncle; General George Bimgham. Their children were the Hon. Major – General George, Sir Alexander John, and General Sir Charles George.
His demise occurred on January 9th 1828 in Killaloe, Co. Clare, he is buried in the adjoining Cathedral graveyard.[ii]
General Sir Robert
Arbuthnot was the fourth son of Anne and John Senior he was born on November 19th 1773. (Sibling’s names are listed above.) Robert had a very distinguished Military career.
He entered the army on January 1st 1797 as a cornet in the 23rd Light Dragoons. Possibly his first action was at the Irish Rebellion at Ballinamuck on 8th September 1798. It was reported of him “that few Officers took part in so many general actions, he was an Officer of conspicuous gallantry, and was remarkable for his quickness of eye and readiness of resource”. He served with his regiment at Cape of Good Hope during 1906 also as Aide –de – Camp to General Beresford in South America. He was captured as a P. O. W. for eighteen months prior to release under General Whitelock’s command.
When he left America he was appointed Captain in the 20th Light Dragoons plus resumed his position as Aide – de – Camp to General Beresford at Madeira for the greater part of the Peninsula War. He was later appointed to the post of Military Secretary. Among his many Battles were; Corunna, Busaco, Albuera, Nivelle, Nive, Orthez, plus Toulouse. He participated in the first and third siege of Badajoz, the sieges of Ciudad Rodrigo and Olivenza, also the passage of the Douro and Lines of Torres Vedras. He served as Brigadier General in Portugal, during 1830 then was promoted to rank of Major – General. He commanded troops in Ceylon from 1838 plus a further division at Bengal until 1841, when he was promoted to Lieutenant – General. From 1843 to 1853 he was Colonel of 76th foot regiment.
Robert Arbuthnot married Susan Vesey, born December 5th 1861, only child of Colonel William Vesey of Farmhill Crossboyne, Co. Mayo his first wife in Belfast on February 1st 1802, she died on June 30th 1822. His second marriage was to Harriet Smith, daughter of Thomas Smith of Castletown Hall, Lancaster, England at St, James Church, Picadilly, London. They had one son George.
He was awarded an Army Gold Cross with three clasps for the battles of Busaco, Albuera, Badojoz, Nivelle, Nive, Orthez, also Toulouse. For the battles of Corunna and Cuidad Rodrigo he was awarded the Military General Service Medal with two clasps. Robert Arbuthnot was created Knight of the Tower and Sword of Portugal plus presented with an Order and special Star from the Portuguese Government. During 1850 he was appointed a KCB.
The death occurred of General Sir Robert Arbuthnot aged 79 on May 6th 1853 at Hanover Lodge, Regent’s Park in London.[iii]
Anne Lohrli stated that a brief item, ‘Chip; an Equestrian Miracle. V, 519 August 14th 1852’ was written by General Sir Robert Arbuthnot “at the request of a few friends” to give the correct account of his feat of horsemanship at Land’s End during 1804, it is the only article attributed to him in Biblio Cornub, 1971, University of Toronto Press. [iv]
Right Honorable Sir Charles
Sir Charles was born during 1417 but most of his upbringing was with his mother’s family the Stones. Charles pursued a successful Political and Diplomatic career.
Charles Arbuthnot married his first wife, Marcia Anne Clapcott Lisle (born July 9th 1774 – died 1806) on February 28th 1799 at Chomondeley House, Piccadilly, London. She was Lady – in –Waiting to Caroline of Brunswick since 1795. The four children of their marriage were General Charles George James, Caroline Emma, Henry also Marcia Emma Georgiana, who married William Cholmomdeley, 3rd Marquis of Cholmomdeley, she died on May 24th 1806. He married a second time at Fulbeck, Lincolnshire Harriet Fane (1793 -1834) daughter of Hon. Henry Fane (born 1793) on January 31st 1814. Harriet was fascinated by politics she became an Hostess at society dinners for her husband’s friend the Duke of Wellington, she wrote an intriguing diary cataloguing political events published as the “Journals of Mrs. Arbuthnot’’ during 1950.
This man enjoyed an excellent career in Politics. He was elected Member of Parliament for Great Britian’s East Looe area for 1795 -1796. He served as M. P. for the following years representing Orford 1812 – 1818, St. German’s 1818 -1827, St. Ives 1828 – 1830, plus Ashburton from 1830 to 1831.
He held the position of Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs from 1803 – 1804. He acted as Joint Secretary of the Treasury during 1809 – 1814 with Richard Wharton plus from 1814 -1823 with Stephen Rumbold Lushington. He was appointed First Commissioner of Woods and Forests in 1823 until 1828 when he became Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster until 1830.
His career with the Diplomatic Services included Consul General to Portugal 1800 -1801 also Ambassador of Sweden 1802 -1804. He was appointed to Constantinople as Ambassador on June 6th 1804 until Jan 29th 1887.
He spent his retirement, following his wife’s demise (during 1834) at his friend, the Duke of Wellington’s home at Apsley House where he died, aged 83 in August 1850.
A portrait of Right Hon. Arbuthnot by S. Gambarello is hung in Asley House while John Hoppner painted a Portrait of Harriet that is held at the Foundation Lazzaro Galdiano in Madrid with an engraving of the portrait produced later by Joshua Reynolds plus a portrait by Sir Thomas Lawrence is displayed at Woodford in Northamptonshire.[v]
Lieutenant General Sir Thomas
Arbuthnot was born on Sept 11th 1776 at Rockfleet. His siblings were Alexander, Robert, Charles, Anne (Holmes), Francis (Smith), Harriet (Corkran), Margaret Vesey, Sarah (Langley). He was uncle of Sir Alexander John Arbuthnot, Major General George Bingham Arbuthnot, and Lieutenant General Sir Charles George Arbuthnot. He remained unmarried.
He joined the army as Ensign to the 29th Regiment of Foot on November 1795. He was promoted to Lieutenant in the 40th Regiment of Foot in May 1796, then Captain in the 8th West Indies Regiment during June 1798. He joined the Staff of the Quarter – Masters General Department from May 1803. He was promoted yet again to Major of the 5th West India Regiment on April 1808 prior to his appointment as Assistant Adjutant General in General Picton’s division during the greater part of the Peninsula War.
While at the two previous locations he was twice wounded but continued with his career that enabled him to become Lieutenant – Colonel. In May 1810 he was appointed deputy Quartermaster General at Cape of Good Hope. During February 1812 he was appointed as Aide – de – Camp to Prince Regent. In June 1814 he was promoted yet again to brevet Colonel, was also appointed Knight of the Order of the Bath in 1815. During May 1925 he attained the position of Major – General. He was posted as Commander of a Brigade to Portugal in June 1826. He commanded a division in Ireland prior to his attainment of the rank of Lieutenant – General during June 1838. He served as Colonel of 99th (Lanarkshire) Regiment of Foot from August 1836, of the 52nd Foot from December 1839, of the 9th Regiment of Foot from December 1844 then of the 71st Regiment Highlanders from February 1848.
During 1842 General Sir Arbuthnot was appointed to the command of the Northern and Midlands Districts in England where he remained until his demise aged 72 at his residence in The Crescent, Salford on January 26th 1849. [vi]
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