Thursday 7 March 2013

(10) Acheson of Gosford Castle, baronets and Earls of Gosford

Acheson, Earls of Gosford
coat of arms
Sir Archibald Acheson, descended from an East Lothian family, settled in Ireland in 1610 as part of the Plantation of Ulster.  In 1611, he received a grant of all or part of the manors of Baleek, Coolmalish and Drumorgan (Armagh), amounting to about 8,000 acres; and in 1612 the manor of Corrowdownan (in and round the town of Arvagh (Cavan)), which was some 6,500 acres. He was a Master in Chancery in Ireland 1621-27, and was one of the baronets of Nova Scotia created by the Earl of Stirling in 1628 along with a grant of 16,000 acres in the intended plantation in Nova Scotia.   At about this time, however, he returned to Scotland where he served as Second Secretary of State before his death in 1634.  As a centre for his Irish estate, he built a fortified house, known as Clonkearney (or Clancarney) Manor, which was burned in 1641 during the revolt of that year.  It was not rebuilt immediately, but was replaced by a new manor house on a different site in the later 17th or early 18th century, which was called Gosford House after the village in Scotland from which the family came.  Here Dean Swift stayed with Sir Arthur Acheson, 5th baronet, for some months in 1728-29.

Sir Archibald Acheson, 6th baronet (1718-90), who was an MP in the Irish Parliament for thirty-five years, was created 1st Baron Gosford in 1776 and 1st Viscount Gosford in 1785.  In the 1780s he remodelled and modernised Gosford House, but it was burned down in about 1805, shortly before the death of the 2nd Viscount, who had been created 1st Earl of Gosford in 1806.  The 2nd Earl (1776-1849), who married the only daughter and heiress of Robert Sparrow of Worlingham Hall (Suffolk), began the rebuilding of Gosford to the designs of Thomas Hopper as a vast neo-Norman castle in 1819-21: a project which was only completed by his son in 1862.  The 2nd Earl also expanded his Co. Armagh estate to about 12,000 acres by purchasing most of the property of the Richardson family of Richhill (his mother’s family) and all the surviving property of the Graham family, formerly of Ballyheriden (the latter rounding off the existing Gosford estate in the manor of Drumorgan, round Hamiltons Bawn). In 1835, the 2nd Earl was created Baron Worlingham of Beccles in the UK peerage, giving him a seat in the House of Lords, and sent to North America as Governor of Lower Canada, 1835-38.  He became separated from his wife, who returned to live at Worlingham Hall until her death in 1841, after which it was sold.

The building of Gosford Castle and the land purchases by the 2nd Earl crippled the family finances.  The 3rd Earl (1806-64), who was Liberal MP for County Armagh before inheriting the title, and who was created Baron Acheson in 1847, built up a remarkable library at Gosford, which was sold by the 4th Earl (1841-1922) in 1878, reputedly to settle a gambling debt.  The 4th Earl was part of the Prince of Wales’ set, and spent far more than he could afford; in 1921, shortly before his death, the contents of Gosford Castle were sold, and although the family retained ownership of the estate until 1958 (when it was sold to the Northern Ireland Forestry Commission), the house was not privately occupied thereafter.  

Clonkearney Manor (Co. Armagh)

The ivy-clad ruins of Clonkearney Manor in Gosford Forest Park

A fortified house built in the 1620s as a centre for the newly settled estates of Sir Archibald Acheson; it was burned in 1641 and replaced later in the 17th century by Gosford House (q.v.).  The ivy-covered ruins survive within Gosford Park.

Descent: Sir Archibald Acheson, 1st bt. (d. 1634); to son, Sir Patrick Acheson, 2nd bt. (1611-38); to half-brother, Sir George Acheson, 3rd bt. (1629-85).

Gosford House, later Gosford Castle (Co. Armagh)

The first house on the present site was built in the later 17th or early 18th century as a replacement for Clonkearney Manor, destroyed in 1641.  If the depiction on an 18th century estate map can be taken as accurate, it was a seven-bay, three-storey house of early Georgian character.  It was remodelled in the 1780s for the 1st Viscount Gosford but burned down c.1805. 

The 2nd Earl of Gosford, who inherited in 1806, employed Thomas Hopper to rebuild the house as a vast neo-Norman castle set on a ramparted platform in dense woods.  The house is comprised of irregular ranges that partly enclose a courtyard space.  

Gosford Castle: view from the open courtyard

The rather grim though undeniably impressive exterior, all executed in crisp ashlar, is essentially Picturesque in its composition of square and circular masses, but lacks the harmonious qualities evident in Hopper's other and later great neo-Norman castle at Penrhyn in north Wales.

Gosford Castle: perspective drawing of the house as designed by Thomas Hopper in 1819-21

Gosford was the most substantial commission of Hopper’s early career, and was begun when he had not yet proved himself with a house on this scale.  He probably secured the commission after working as arbitrator in a dispute between Nash and Lord O’Neill at Shane’s Castle (Antrim) in 1816, when he would have come to the notice of Lord Gosford’s agent, William Blacker, who also acted for O’Neill.  Hopper was one of the major proponents of the neo-Norman style, and his feeling for the style perhaps came from his familiarity with the great keep of the castle at his childhood home, Rochester in Kent.  But Hopper also studied other Norman buildings, such as Hedingham Castle (Essex) and Castle Rising (Norfolk), and details in his neo-Norman works can be traced back to a variety of such sources.

Gosford Castle prior to restoration

Work progressed slowly on the construction of the castle, partly because of financial constraints, and a good deal was left to the discretion of William Walker as clerk of works.  In 1821 the outbuildings were progressing; in 1828 the Portland stone staircase was constructed; and by 1833 James Donnelly was preparing to organise the plasterers’ and joiners’ work ‘necessary to complete the different apartments’.  In 1834 there was a prospect of Lord Gosford actually moving in, but by then he seems to have become discontented with his house and more especially with his architect; Hopper also wrote ‘I have always felt a sorrow that I ever went to Ireland.  I now consider it a misfortune’.
Further progress on the house was delayed by Lord Gosford’s Governorship in Canada, 1835-39, but when he returned work continued under the superintendence of the Newry architect, Thomas Duff (d. 1848), who completed additions, alterations and improvements to a total value of £5,400.  Despite his differences with his patron, Hopper remained involved and in October 1852 the Armagh Guardian reported that ‘a number of tradesmen are now engaged finishing the remaining wing of this building’. 

Even then the house was unfinished.  The 3rd Earl seems to have been unsatisfied with the rather modest entrance created by Hopper, and commissioned a new bastioned entrance block on the east corner of the north front from George Adam Burn (who had been Hopper’s principal assistant), which was built in 1859-63.   Burn also completed the family apartments in the north-west range.  His additions are a little more eccentric and more freely-detailed than Hopper’s original building.  The total cost of the building over more than forty years was in excess of £75,000.

Gosford Castle, showing the entrance block (with round towers) added by Burn in 1859-62

Inside, Hopper’s plan was essentially picturesque and devoid of symmetry, and his main rooms are on a surprisingly domestic scale considering the vast exterior.  The end of the south wing was set at an angle to the main lines of the composition and contained the principal rooms; the picturesque exterior and the angle allowed the rooms to have distinctive shapes and interesting conjunctions, leading to a climax in the circular Tower Room or drawing room.  This sequence of rooms in particular seems to owe much to the planning of John Nash's castles.  By moving the entrance to the north-east corner of the house, Burn interposed a sequence of impressive spaces between the entrance and the reception rooms, enhancing its grandeur at the expense of comfort.

One of the best and most exotic interiors is the rectangular Library, with a flat compartmented ceiling and bookcases recessed within niches decorated with plaster chevron decoration and elaborately carved architectraves and with the spandrels filled with Byzantine-inspired timber fretwork.  The Tower Room has walls relieved by recessed arches, above which is a deep plaster frieze in the form of a blind arcade, while above that is a coving and a flat ribbed plaster ceiling.

Gosford Castle: the library, showing both the richness of the interiors and the 3rd Earl's valuable collection of books

The house was requisitioned during the war (when Anthony Powell was briefly stationed there) and became a Prisoner of War camp.  The family sold it in 1958 to the Northern Ireland Forestry Commission, which turned the demesne into a Forest Park.  The house was later used later to store public records, and further military occupation followed during the Troubles.  It was sold in the 1980s and briefly became an hotel, which was not successful.  The process of converting it into 23 dwellings was begun by the Boyd Partnership in 2008, but has been only partially completed so far, and some of the principal interiors are now derelict.

The demesne is now densely wooded and picturesque, but this overlies an older landscape, notable for its associations with Swift.  When he stayed at Gosford in 1728-29 he is said to have amused himself by directing the gardeners to make improvements to the grounds but any evidence for what he did has been lost.  The principal older feature now recognisable is a pair of fish ponds, which flank twin gate lodges with shaped rear gables set on either side of the main carriage drive and linked by a semicircular archway with a bolection moulding that points to a 17th century date.  At the south end of the drive, off the Tandragee Road, is a cottage orné lodge, decoratively clad in branches, with a pyramid roof carried on poles to form a surrounding verandah.  There was formerly a similar lodge on the east side of the demesne at Drumalack, now vanished.

Descent: Sir George Acheson, 3rd bt. (1629-85); to son, Sir Nicholas Acheson, 4th bt. (c1656-1701); to son, Sir Arthur Acheson, 5th bt. (1688-1749); to son, Sir Archibald Acheson, 1st Viscount Gosford (1718-90); to son, Sir Arthur Acheson, 1st Earl of Gosford (c1742-1807); to son, Sir Archibald Acheson, 2nd Earl of Gosford (1776-1849); to son, Sir Archibald Acheson, 3rd Earl of Gosford (1806-64); to son, Sir Archibald Acheson, 4th Earl of Gosford (1841-1922); to son, Sir Archibald Acheson, 5th Earl of Gosford (1877-1954); to son, Sir Archibald Acheson, 6th Earl of Gosford (1911-66), who sold 1958.

Worlingham Hall (Suffolk)

Worlingham Hall as engraved in 1818.

The house stands on the site of a late 17th century house built for John Felton, described in 1735 as ‘a neat mansion, now the seat of Sir Thomas Robinson'.  In 1785 Robert Sparrow commissioned designs for rebuilding the house from Soane but nothing was done and Soane had to threaten to sue to get his bill paid.  In about 1800, Sparrow finally commissioned local architect Francis Sandys, the builder of Ickworth Hall, to submit fresh plans, which seem to have involved a comprehensive remodelling rather than a complete rebuilding.  The result is a low two-storey seven bay house with a tripartite window and simple porch in the centre.  However the simple external design contrasts with the considerable richness of the interior, as at his Great Finborough Hall in Suffolk. Marcus Binney suggests that Sandys was persuaded to incorporate a number of Soane's original ideas - notably in the the extraordinary octagonal staircase hall, the library with its bowed sides and shallow segmented ceilings, and the picture gallery.  The house was restored in the 1960s by Viscount Colville and again in the late 1990s by Martin and Debbie Robertson-Bond.  The house is now available for holidays.
Descent: John Felton (d. 1703); to daughter, Elizabeth, wife of Sir John Playters of Sotterley Hall, 4th bt. (1636-1721); who sold to Sir Thomas Robinson of Kentwell Hall, 3rd bt. (1681-1743); to widow, Dame Elizabeth Robinson (d. 1758), who sold c.1750 to her brother, Sir George Hare, 5th bt. (c.1691-1764), who sold 1755 to Robert Sparrow (1705-64); to son, Robert Sparrow (1741-1822); to daughter Mary, wife of Archibald Acheson, 2nd Earl of Gosford (1776-1849); to son, Archibald Acheson, 3rd Earl of Gosford (1806-64) who sold 1849 to Sir Charles Mansfield Clarke, 1st bt. (1782-1857); to grandson, Gen. Sir Charles Mansfield Clarke, 3rd bt. (1839-1932) though the house was occupied by his father, Rev. Sir Charles Clarke, 2nd bt. (1812-99), and sold after his death...Alfred Mulholland (fl. 1920)...sold 1962 to John Mark Alexander Colville, 4th Viscount Colville of Culross (1933-2010); sold 1995 to Mr & Mrs Martin Robertson-Bond; sold 1998 to Mr & Mrs Richard Nourse; sold 2010.


The Acheson family of Gosford

Acheson, Sir Archibald (c.1580-1634), 1st bt., Lord Glencairney.  Son of Capt. Patrick Acheson (?1558-1617) of Edinburgh and his wife Martha (née Drummond), descended from a cadet branch of the Achesons of Gosford, East Lothian; born in Edinburgh about 1580.  He settled in Ireland in 1610 as part of the Plantation of Ulster and was made a denizen of Ireland, 12 February 1618, but he later divided his time between Ireland and Scotland.  He was a zealous supporter of the Protestant settlement of Ulster, and in 1611 he received a grant of all or part of the manors of Baleek, Coolmalish and Drumorgan (Armagh), amounting to about 8,000 acres, from Sir James Douglas of Spott; and in 1612 the manor of Corrowdownan (in and round the town of Arvagh (Cavan)), which was some 6,500 acres; and he later bought more land from his brother, Sir Henry Acheson (fl. 1628) (q.v.) of Dromleck (Armagh).  He was MP in the Scottish Parliament for Haddington, 1625 and was appointed a Master in Chancery in Ireland 1621-27, but resigned this office on being appointed a Lord of Session in Scotland (as Lord Glencairney), 1627; second Secretary of State c.1628-34.  He was knighted by King James I at Theobalds, 31 March or 1 April 1620 and was created a baronet of Nova Scotia, 1 January 1628, with a grant of 16,000 acres in Nova Scotia from the Earl of Stirling, but he never had seizin of these lands.  He married 1st, by 1610, Agnes Vernor of Edinburgh and 2nd, about 20 July 1619, Margaret (alive 1629), only child of Sir John Hamilton (c.1576-1604) (2nd son of Claud Hamilton (c.1546-1621), 1st Lord Paisley), and his wife Johanna, daughter of Levinius Everard (later Baroness Sempill) and had issue:
(1.1) Sir Patrick Acheson, 2nd bt. (1611-38) (q.v.);
(1.2) Jane Acheson, married, 1628, Sir Lewis Lauder (1599-1641) of Over Gogar and Alderstoun (Midlothian), and had issue three sons and one daughter; living in 1663;
(1.3) Margaret Acheson (d. after 1659?), married, 13 January 1629/30, Sir William Cockburn (1601-50), 2nd bt. of Langton (Berwicks), MP for Berwickshire, 1640-41, and had issue one (or two) sons and four daughters; apparently living in 1659;
(2.1) Sir George Acheson, 3rd bt. (1629-85) (q.v.).
As a centre for the new estate, he built a fortified house, known as Clonkearney (or Clancarney) Manor.  In 1633 he built a town house, Acheson House, Canongate in the Edinburgh Old Town, which survives.
He died 9 September 1634 at the house of Sir William Sempill in Letterkenny (Donegal), and was buried 8 October 1634 at Mullaghbracke (Armagh). His first wife died before 1619. His second wife was living in 1629.

Acheson, Sir Patrick (1611-38), 2nd bt.  Son of Sir Archibald Acheson (c.1580-1634), 1st bt., and his first wife, Agnes Vernor.  He married, 1634, Martha (d. 1674/5), only child of William Moore of London, Clerk of the Signet, but had no issue.
He inherited Cloncarney Manor (Co. Armagh) and Acheson House, Edinburgh from his father in 1634, but sold the latter in 1636.
He died 6 October 1638 at Market Hill (Armagh), when his estates and title passed his half-brother, Sir George Acheson (1629-85), 3rd bt.  He was buried 24 October 1638 at St Martin-in-the-Fields, Westminster (Middx).  He died intestate and administration of his estate was granted to a creditor, 26 June 1639. His widow married 2nd, March 1640 (sep. by 1667), Richard Atkyns (1615-77) of Tuffley (Glos), son of Richard Atkyns (1615-77) of Tuffley (Glos), but again had no issue; she was dead by 1696.

Acheson, Sir George (1629-85), 3rd bt.  Only son of Sir Archibald Acheson (c.1580-1634), 1st bt., and his second wife, Margaret, daughter of Sir John Hamilton, second son of 1st Lord Paisley; baptised at Edinburgh, 4 August 1629.  Succeeded his half-brother as 2nd baronet, 6 October 1638 and came of age in 1650.  High Sheriff of Co. Armagh and Co. Tyrone, 1657.  He married 1st, 23 January 1654 at Derry Cathedral, Nichola, elder daughter and co-heir of Sir Robert Hannay, 1st bt. of Mochdrum, and 2nd, 3 November 1659 at Market Hill (Armagh), Margaret (c.1633-85), third daughter of Sir William Caulfeild (1587-1640), 2nd Baron of Charlemont, and had issue:
(1.1) Sir Nicholas Acheson, 4th bt. (c.1656-1701) (q.v.)
(2.1) Sarah Acheson; died unmarried; 
(2.2) Catherine Acheson; died unmarried;
(2.3) Mary Acheson; married, by 1690, James Moore of Aughnacloy (Co. Tyrone) and had issue one son (Acheson Moore (1691-1770), for whom see below).
He inherited the family estates centered on Cloncarney Manor in Armagh and Cavan from his half-brother in 1638, but the house there was destroyed in 1641.  He was probably responsible for building Gosford House as a new family house in the later 17th century.
He died at Market Hill between 10 March and 17 November 1685.  His will was proved on 17 November 1685, and directed that he be buried at Mullaghbracke (Co. Armagh).

Acheson, Sir Nicholas (c.1656-1701), 4th bt.  Only son of Sir George Acheson (1629-85), 3rd bt. and his first wife, Nichola, daughter of Sir Robert Hannay, bt., born about 1656.  High Sheriff of Co. Armagh, 1695; MP for Co. Armagh 1695-99. He married, 1686, Anne (d. c.1743), only daughter of Thomas Taylor of Kells (Meath), and had issue:
(1) Sir Arthur Acheson (1688-1749), 5th bt. (q.v.); 
(2) Nichola Acheson (b. c.1690), born about 1690; married Sir William Johnston (d. 1722), kt., of Gilford (Co. Down), High Sheriff of Co. Down, 1717 and Co. Armagh, 1721, and had issue four sons and one daughter;
(3) George Acheson; died without issue;
(4) Henrietta Acheson; married 1st, William Johnston of Ballynametagh (Co. Armagh), and had issue two sons and one daughter; married 2nd, her half first-cousin, Acheson Moore (1691-1770) of Garvey House, Ravella and Aughnacloy (Co. Tyrone), an eccentric Jacobite who planned his estate in the shape of a thistle to demonstrate his loyalty to the Stuarts.
He inherited the family estates centered on Gosford House in Armagh and Cavan from his father in 1685.
He died late in 1701, and his will was proved the following year. His widow died in about 1743.

Acheson, Sir Arthur (1688-1749), 5th bt. Son of Sir Nicholas Acheson (c.1656-1701), 4th bt. and his wife Anne, daughter of Thomas Taylor, born 26 January 1688. He succeeded his father as 5th baronet, November or December 1701, and came of age in 1709.  Educated at Trinity College, Dublin (admitted 1705; BA 1707). MP in the Irish Parliament for Mullingar 1727-49; High Sheriff of Co. Armagh 1728.  He, or more accurately his wife, was a friend of Jonathan Swift, who stayed at Gosford House for some months in 1728-29, although he came to feel that the house and grounds were wasted on such 'an anti-social recluse'.  He married, 1715, Anne (d. 1737), only daughter and heir of Rt. Hon. Philip Savage, Chancellor of the Exchequer for Ireland, and had issue:
(1) Nicholas Acheson (c. 1716-17), baptised at St Martin-in-the Fields, Westminster (Middx), 17 May 1716; died in infancy and was buried at St. Audoen, Dublin, 12 January 1716/17;
(2) Philip Acheson (c. 1717-27); died young and was buried at St. Audoen, Dublin, 22 May 1727;
(3) Sir Archibald Acheson (1718-90), 6th bt. and 1st Viscount Gosford (q.v.);
(4) Thomas Philip Acheson; died young;
(5) Capt. Arthur Acheson (c.1721-58), born about 1721; educated at Trinity College, Dublin (admitted 1739; BA 1744); an officer in the Royal Irish Carabineers (Capt.); married, 1753 (licence 30 June), Jane (d. 1800), daughter of John King of Charlestown (Co. Roscommon) (who married 2nd, 1763, Abraham Creighton (d. 1772), 1st Baron Erne of Crom Castle (Co. Fermanagh)), and had issue one son and two daughters (who all died young); he died 23 June 1758;
(6) Anne Acheson (c.1722-85), born about 1722; married, 1742, Rt. Rev. Walter Cope DD (1712-87) of Drumilly (Co. Armagh), Dean of Dromore, 1759-72, Bishop of Clonfert and Kilmacduagh, 1772-82 and Bishop of Ferns & Leighlin 1782-87, but had no issue; died 11 March 1785;
(7) Nichola Acheson (1725-62), married, 4 April 1746 at St Mary, Dublin, Robert French* (1716-79) of Monivea Castle (Co. Galway), barrister-at-law, eldest son of Patrick French of Monivea, and had issue four sons and one daughter; died 1762.
He inherited the family estates in Armagh and Cavan, centered on Gosford House, in 1701.
He died 8 February 1748/9 and was buried in the family vault at Mullaghbracke (Armagh), where he was commemorated by a memorial inscription; his will was proved in Dublin in 1749. His wife died in 1737.
* After his wife's death, French had six acknowledged illegitimate children by his housemaid, Winifred Higgins, for whom he provided in his will.

1st Viscount Gosford
Acheson, Sir Archibald (1718-90), 6th bt., 1st Viscount Gosford.   Third but oldest surviving son of Sir Arthur Acheson (1688-1749), 5th bt. and his wife Anne, daughter of Philip Savage, born 1 September 1718 and baptised 29 September 1718.  Educated at Trinity College, Dublin (admitted 1735/6). MP in Irish parliament for Dublin University 1741-60, County Armagh 1761-76; Enniskillen, 1776.  High Sheriff of Co. Armagh 1751 and Co. Cavan, 1761; Deputy Governor of Co. Armagh, 1756-61; appointed to the Privy Council of Ireland 1770.  He succeeded his father in the baronetcy 8 February 1748/9, and was created 1st Baron Gosford of Market Hill, 20 July 1776 and 1st Viscount Gosford of Market Hill, 20 June 1785.  He married, 1740, Mary (d. 1792), youngest daughter of John Richardson of Rich Hill (Co. Armagh) and had, with other issue who died unmarried:
(1) The Hon. Anna Maria Acheson (b. c.1741), born about 1741; married 1st, 1758, Alexander Boyd (1742-70) of Ballycastle (Co. Antrim), High Sheriff of Co. Antrim, 1761, and had issue two daughters; married 2nd, 1772, Rev. Henry Maxwell (c.1729-1816), rector of Dromore (Co. Down), son of Capt. Robert Maxwell of Fellows Hall (Co. Armagh);
(2) Sir Arthur Acheson (c.1742-1807), 2nd Viscount and 1st Earl of Gosford (q.v.);
(3) John Acheson; died young before 1759;
(4) The Hon. Nichola Acheson (c.1745-1821), born about 1745; married, 1763, Michael Obins (d. 1798) of Castle Obins, Portadown (Armagh) and had issue; died 4 May 1821 and was buried at Hemingford Abbots (Hunts), where she is commemorated by a monument;
(5) Archibald Acheson; died young before 1759;
(6) The Hon. Julia Henrietta Acheson (c.1748-1829), born about 1748; married, 1766, Alexander Macaulay (1734-1817) of Glenville (Co. Antrim), and had issue; she died 28 May 1829;
(7) The Hon. George Acheson (c.1751-78); died unmarried, 16 March 1778;
(8) The Hon. Lucinda Acheson (b. 1752; fl. 1824), born 1752; married 1st, 1776, Thomas St. George (1738-95), a commissioner of the Barrack Board and MP for Clogher in the Irish Parliament, second son of Dean St. George of Dublin; married 2nd, Col. Jeremiah ffrench (d. 1819) of Parsonstown (Co. Offaly), son of Robert ffrench (d. 1778/9) and his wife Nichola, daughter of Sir Arthur Acheson, 5th bt. (q.v.); living in 1824;
(9) The Hon. Mary Acheson (d. 1799), married, 1778, Hugh Montgomery (d. 1797) of Castle Hume (Co. Fermanagh) and had issue; died 10 April 1799;
(10) The Hon. Sophia Acheson (c.1756-1824); died unmarried at Cheltenham, August 1824.
He inherited the family estates in Armagh and Cavan in 1749, and remodelled Gosford House in the 1780s.
He died 5 September 1790, aged 72. His widow died in May 1792.

1st Earl of Gosford
Acheson, Arthur (c.1742-1807), 2nd Viscount and later 1st Earl of Gosford.
Eldest son of Sir Archibald Acheson (1718-90), 6th bt. and 1st Viscount Gosford, and his wife Mary (d. 1792), daughter of John Richardson of Rich Hill (Armagh), born about 1742.  Educated at Trinity College, Dublin (admitted 1762). MP for Old Leighlin, 1783-90; appointed to the Privy Council of Ireland 10 February 1793.  He succeeded his father as 2nd Viscount Gosford, 5 September 1790, and was further created Earl of Gosford, 1 February 1806.  He was described as ''one of the most elegant and well-bred men of the age".  He married, 26 February 1774 at St George, Hanover Sq., Westminster (Middx), Millicent (1759-1825), daughter of Lt-Gen. Edward Pole and had issue:
(1) Lady Olivia Acheson (1775-1863), born 30 January and baptised at St George, Hanover Sq., Westminster, 26 February 1775; married, 14 March 1797, Brig-Gen. Robert Bernard Sparrow (1773-1805) of Brampton Park (Hunts) and Tanderagee Castle (Co. Armagh); died 12 February 1863; will proved 10 April 1863 (effects under £30,000);
(2) Archibald Acheson (1776-1849), 2nd Earl of Gosford (q.v.);
(3) Lady Mary Acheson (1778-1843), baptised at St Marylebone (Middx), 1 March 1778; married, 19 February 1803 at St Marylebone, Lt-Gen. Lord William Henry Cavendish-Bentinck GCB GCH MP (1774-1839), second son of 3rd Duke of Portland and Governor-General of India 1827-35, but had no issue; died 1 May 1843;
(4) Arthur Acheson; died in infancy;
(5) Col. Hon. Edward Acheson CB (c.1783-1828); an officer in the Coldstream Guards, who fought at Waterloo, 1815; after retiring from the army he became collector of customs for the port of Dublin, c.1819-28; died unmarried, 24 July 1828;
(6) Arthur Pole Acheson (b. 1785), baptised at St Thomas, Dublin, 9 October 1785; died in infancy;
(7) Lady Millicent Acheson (c.1790-1878), born between 1788 and 1798; married, 12 September 1826 at St George, Hanover Sq., Westminster, Rev. John Hurt Barber (c.1793-1872), rector of Aston Sandford (Bucks) 1821-27 and Little Stukeley (Hunts), 1827-60, son of John Barber (d. 1809) of Aston Sandford, but had no issue; she died 13 January 1878; administration of goods granted 14 March 1879 (effects under £25,000).
He inherited the family estates in Cos. Armagh and Cavan in 1790. Gosford House was burned down in 1805.
He died in Pulteney St., Bath, 14 January 1807; his will was proved in Dublin, 1807. His widow died in Paris, 1 November 1825. 

2nd Earl of Gosford
Acheson, Archibald (1776-1849), 2nd Earl of Gosford.  Eldest son of Arthur Acheson (c.1742-1807), 2nd Viscount and later 1st Earl of Gosford, and his wife Millicent, daughter of Lt-Gen. Edward Pole, born 28 July and baptised at St Marylebone (Middx), 2 August 1776.  Educated at Christ Church, Oxford (matriculated 1796; MA 1797).  Described in 1815 as 'a good natured and venerable little fellow without political or personal pretensions', but pursued as active a public career as any member of the family.  He was MP in the Irish and later UK Parliaments for Co. Armagh 1797-1807; a Whig representative Irish peer 1811-49; appointed to the Privy Council, 1834; Custos Rotulorum 1810-49 and Lord Lieutenant of County Armagh, 1831-49; a lord in waiting to King William IV, 1831-34; Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard, July-Nov. 1834 and April-June 1835; Governor-General of British North America and Lt-Governor of Lower Canada 1835-38; Vice-Admiral of Ulster.  He was created Baron Worlingham of Beccles, 13 June 1835, and appointed GCB in 1838.  He married, 20 July 1805 at St Marylebone (separated), Mary (1777-1841), only daughter of Robert Sparrow of Worlingham Hall (Suffolk) and had, with other issue:
(1) Sir Archibald Acheson (1806-64), 3rd Earl of Gosford (q.v.)
(2) Lady Mary Acheson (1809-50), born 27 June 1809; married, 9 July 1835, Hon. James Hewitt (1811-87), later 4th Viscount Lifford (who married 2nd, 9 December 1851, Lydia Lucy (1828-1919), daughter of of Rev John Digby Wingfield (later Wingfield-Digby), vicar of Coleshill (Warks) and widow of Charles Purdon-Coote of Ballyclough Castle (Co. Cork), and had furthur issue two sons and four daughters), and had issue five sons and two daughters; she died 13 March 1850;
(3) Lady Millicent French Acheson (1810-87), born 26 July 1810; married, 28 May 1842 at St George, Hanover Sq., Westminster, Henry Bence-Jones FRS MD DCL (1813-73) of Brook St., Mayfair, physician, son of Henry Jones of Thorington Hall (Suffk), and had issue three sons and four daughters; she died 29 August 1887;
(4) Lady Olivia Acheson (1811-52), born 2 December 1811 and baptised at St Marylebone, 10 April 1812; died unmarried, 28 March 1852; her will, proved in the PCC, 28 April 1852, left the bulk of her estate to the Roman Catholic church;
(5) Lady Annabella Acheson (c.1817-49), born in Ireland about 1817; died unmarried, 26 July 1849; will proved in the PCC, 7 November 1849.
He inherited the family estates in Armagh and Cavan in 1807, where Gosford House had recently burned down, and expanded them through the acquisition of most of the Richardson family estate at Rich Hill (Armagh) and all the surviving property of the Graham family, formerly of Ballyheriden (the latter rounding off the existing Gosford estate in the manor of Drumorgan, round Hamiltons Bawn). He commenced rebuilding the house in the 1840s to the designs of Thomas Hopper, as a vast neo-Norman castle, but this was unfinished at his death.
He died 27 March 1849, aged 72 and was buried at Mullaghbracke (Armagh); will proved 7 May 1849. His wife died at Worlingham Hall, 30 June 1841.

3rd Earl of Gosford
Acheson, Archibald (1806-64), 3rd Earl of Gosford. 
Son of Sir Archibald Acheson (1776-1849), 2nd Earl of Gosford, and his wife Mary (d. 1841), daughter of Robert Sparrow of Worlingham Hall (Suffolk); born in Portland Place, Marylebone, 20 August 1806.  Educated at Christ Church, Oxford (matriculated 1825; BA 1828) and built up a remarkable library at Gosford which was sold after his death.  Liberal MP for Co. Armagh, 1830-47; Lord Lieutenant of Co. Armagh, February-June 1864; Honorary Col. of the Armagh Militia.  He was created Baron Acheson of Clancairney (Armagh), 18 September 1847, and succeeded his father as 3rd Earl of Gosford, 27 March 1849; appointed KP, 22 February 1855.  He married, 22 June 1832, Lady Theodosia Brabazon (1808-76), only daughter of John Chambré Brabazon (1772-1851), 10th Earl of Meath, and had issue:
(1) Lady Gertrude Emily Acheson (1833-1927), born 30 June 1833; married, 20 February 1856, Francis John Savile Foljambe (1830-1917) of Osberton (Notts) and Aldwarke (Yorks), MP for East Retford, 1857-85, eldest son and heir of George Savile Foljambe, and had issue three sons; died 17 December 1927; administration of goods granted 16 March 1928 (estate £2,945);
(2) Lady Mary Acheson (1835-92), born 21 March and baptised at Worlingham, 24 April 1835; married, 27 February 1862, Hon. Leopold William Henry Fox-Powys (1837-93) of Bewsey Hall (Lancs), 2nd son of Thomas Atherton Powys, 3rd Baron Lilford and had issue six daughters; died 30 January 1892; administration of her goods granted 22 April 1892 (estate £1,129;
(3) Lady Edith Acheson (1837-1906), born 17 September and baptised at Worlingham, 16 November 1837; died unmarried, 14 August 1906 and was buried at Brompton Cemetery (Middx); will proved 30 August 1906 (estate £12,314);
(4) Lady Katharine French Acheson (1839-98), born 21 June and baptised at Worlingham, 1 August 1839*; married, 28 July 1868 at St George, Hanover Sq., Westminster, Capt. Frederick William Duncombe (1840-78) of Sydney House, Ryde (IoW), son of Adm. The Hon. Arthur Duncombe of Kilnwick Percy (Yorks) and had issue one son; died 5 March 1898 and was buried at Brompton Cemetery (Middx); will proved 19 April 1898 (effects £6,366);
(5) Sir Archibald Brabazon Sparrow Acheson (1841-1922), 4th Earl of Gosford (q.v.)
(6) Maj-Gen. The Hon. Edward Archibald Brabazon Acheson (1844-1921), born 22 May and baptised at Worlingham, 26 June 1844; married 1869 Clementina (c.1852-1929), daughter of Gen. Sir John Gaspard Le Marchant GCSI KCB (1803-74), and had issue four daughters; died 3 July 1921; will proved 26 August 1921 (estate £7,901).
He inherited the family estates in Armagh and Cavan; and completed the rebuilding of Gosford Castle in 1862.
He died at 59 Grosvenor Street, Westminster (Middx), 15 June 1864, aged 57, and was buried at Mullaghbracke (Co. Armagh); his will was proved 19 August 1864. His widow died 13 February 1876; administration of her goods was granted 9 August 1876 (effects under £2,000).
* Some accounts mention a daughter 'Ruthanne' born and baptised on these dates, but this appears to be a misreading of 'Katherine'.

Acheson, Archibald Brabazon Sparrow (1841-1922), 4th Earl of Gosford.  Son of Sir Archibald Acheson (1806-64), 3rd Earl of Gosford and his wife Lady Theodosia Brabazon, daughter of 10th Earl of Meath, born at Worlingham Hall (Suffolk), 19 August 1841 and baptised at Worlingham, 27 September 1841.  Educated at Harrow.  Succeeded his father, 15 June 1864.  Lord Lieutenant of Co. Armagh, 1882-?; Vice-Admiral of Ulster; Lord of the Bedchamber to HRH The Prince of Wales, 1886-1901; Vice-Chamberlain to HM Queen Alexandra 1901-22; Honorary Col., 3rd bttn, Irish Fusiliers.  He was appointed KP 1869, Knight Grand Cross of Dannebrog, Order of the Redeemer (Greece), Order of White Eagle (Russia).  As a member of the Prince of Wales’ set, he spent far more than he could afford.  In 1878 he sold the library built up by his father at Gosford Castle, and in 1921 the remaining contents of the castle.  He married, 10 August 1876 at St George’s Hanover Square, Westminster (Middx), Lady Louisa Augusta Beatrice Montagu (1854-1944) DBE DGStJ, second daughter of William Drogo Montagu (1823-90), 7th Duke of Manchester, and had issue:
(1) Sir Archibald Charles Montagu Brabazon Acheson (1877-1954), 5th Earl of Gosford (q.v.)
(2) Lady Alexandra Louise Elizabeth Acheson (1878-1958), born 11 August 1878; married, 17 June 1905, Lt-Col. the Hon. Frederick William Stanley DSO (1878-1942), eighth son of Frederick Arthur Stanley, 16th Earl of Derby, and had issue one son and two daughters; died 21 January 1958; administration of goods granted 5 June 1958 (estate £2,542);
(3) Lady Mary Acheson (b. 1881), born 2 June and baptised at St Marylebone (Middx), 2 July 1881; married, 24 July 1906 at St George, Hanover Sq., Westminster, Hon. Robert Arthur Ward OBE MP (1871-1942), MP for Crewe, 1895-1900, third son of William Ward, 11th Baron Ward and 1st Earl of Dudley, and had issue one son and one daughter; death not traced;
(4) Lady Theodosia Louisa Augusta Acheson (1882-1977), born 5 June 1882; married, 3 August 1912, Sir Alexander George Montagu Cadogan OM GCMG KCB PC (1884-1968), seventh son of George Henry Cadogan, 5th Earl Cadogan and had issue; died 16 October 1977 and was buried at Culford (Suffk); will proved 6 January 1978 (estate £15,950);
(5) Capt. The Hon. Patrick George Edward Cavendish Acheson (1883-1957) RN, born 30 June 1883; an officer in the Royal Navy from 1897 (Lt., 1904; Cdr by 1915; Capt., 1928); awarded DSO and appointed MVO; married, 24 December 1915, Norah Wiseman (1894-1970), daughter of Alfred Jones of Halifax, Nova Scotia and had issue two sons (both killed in the Second World War) and one daughter; died at Palazzo salis Bondo-Promontagno, Grisons (Switzerland), 30 August 1957; will proved 28 November 1957 (estate £4,071).
He inherited the family estates in Armagh and Cavan, centered on Gosford Castle, in 1864.
He died in London, 11 April 1922 and was cremated and buried at Golders Green, 14 April 1922; will proved at £41,570. His widow died 3 March 1944; her will was proved 22 May 1944 (estate £8,510).

5th Earl of Gosford
Acheson, Lt-Col. Archibald Charles Montagu Brabazon (1877-1954), 5th Earl of Gosford. 
Son of Sir Archibald Brabazon Sparrow (1841-1922), 4th Earl of Gosford, and his wife Lady Louisa Montagu (d. 1944), daughter of 7th Duke of Manchester, born 26 May 1877.  Educated at Harrow; an officer in the Coldstream Guards (2nd Lt, 1898; Lt, 1899; Lt-Col.) who served in the Boer War (wounded) and First World War (wounded twice and mentioned in despatches); Assistant Adjutant-General, War Office, 1918; DL for Co. Armagh.  He was appointed a Knight of Grace of the Order of St John of Jerusalem, and was awarded the MC and the Croix de Guerre.  He moved to New York in 1928 and set up in business as a wine merchant. He married 1st, 21 June 1910 at St George’s Hanover Square, (div. 1928), Caroline Mildred (1888-1965), only daughter of John Ridgely Carter, US Minister at Bucharest; and 2nd, 1 October 1928, Beatrice (d. 1967), daughter of Arthur Clafin of Southampton, New York (USA) and formerly wife of Robert P. Breese of New York, and had issue:
(1.1) Sir Archibald Alexander John Stanley Acheson (1911-66), 6th Earl of Gosford (q.v.);
(1.2) Lady Patricia Acheson (b. & d. 1913), born 4 August 1913 and died in infancy, 5 August 1913; buried at Windlesham Cemetery (Surrey);
(1.3) The Hon. Patrick Bernard Victor Montagu Acheson (1915-2005), born 4 February 1915; lived at Leesburg, Virginia (USA); married, 21 December 1946, Judith (1925-2021), daughter of Earle P. Gillette (1900-51) of Minneapolis (USA) and adopted daughter of Frederick Blantford Bate (1886-1970) and had issue three sons (the eldest of whom is now heir presumptive to the peerage) and two daughters; died 13 June 2005;
(1.4) Lady Camilla Mildred Nichola Acheson (1917-88), born 17 September 1917, married 1st, 25 November 1937 (div. 1949), Freiherr Johan Christoph Anton Hubert Maria Schenk von Stauffenberg (1911-2005) and had issue three sons; married 2nd, 20 June 1950, Axel Ernst-August Clamor Franz Albrecht Erich Leo Freiherr von dem Bussche-Streithorst* (1919-83), and had further issue two daughters; died in Washington DC (USA), 29 September 1988;
(1.5) Lady Mary Virginia Shirley Acheson (1919-96), born 13 November 1919; married, 12 December 1941, Fernando Corcuera (d. 1978), son of Pedro L. Corcuera y Palomar of Mexico City and had issue; died in Mexico City, 23 April 1996.
He inherited the Gosford Castle estate in Cos. Armagh and Cavan in 1922, shortly after the contents of the house had been sold to meet his father’s debts, and never occupied the house. He lived in New York and at Topping, South Shaftsbury, Vermont (USA).
He died in New York, 20 March 1954 and was buried at Maple Hill Cemetery, Shaftsbury, Vermont (USA). His first wife died at Palazzo salis Bondo-Promontagno, Grisons (Switzerland), 7 September 1965; administration of her goods was granted 7 November 1966 (effects in England, £4,273). His widow died 26 January 1967.
* During the Second World War, he was a German officer who joined the resistance movement after witnessing a massacre of Jewish civilians, and was part of several assassination attempts on Hitler although his involvement was never suspected by the German authorities

6th Earl of Gosford. Image: NPG 
Acheson, Group Capt. Archibald Alexander  John Stanley (1911-66), 6th Earl of Gosford.
Son of Sir Archibald Charles Montagu Brabazon Sparrow Acheson (1877-1954), 5th Earl of Gosford and his first wife Mildred (d. 1965), daughter of John Ridgely Carter, born 14 January 1911.  Educated at Harrow and Trinity College, Cambridge (BA, LLB 1932, MA 1946).  Assistant Air Attaché, Paris, 1938-40; served in Royal Air Force in World War II (Group Capt.), commanding 613 Squadron and 32 Wing; Parliamentary Secretary, MoD, 1946-57; Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs 1957-58; Lord in Waiting (Gov. Whip), 1958-59; Member of Council, British Olympic Association, 1954; Vice-President RAF Association; Chairman, British Road Federation; elected FRSA, and appointed Officer of Legion of Honour (USA).  He married 1st, 14 December 1935 (div. 1960), Francesca Augusta Maria, elder daughter of Francesco Cagiati of Rome and 2nd, 21 September 1960, Cynthia Margaret (1911-2015), daughter of Capt. Henry Cave West MC and widow of Maj. James Pringle Delius (d. 1944) and had issue:
(1.1) Lady (Francesca Georgina) Caroline Acheson (1940-91), born 23 April 1940; married, 15 September 1967 at Santa Barbara, California (USA), David Wallace Fleming (c.1931-91), son of Wallace Fleming of Santa Barbara and had issue; died at Santa Barbara, 14 August 1991;
(1.2) Charles David Nicholas Alexander John Sparrow Acheson (b. 1942), 7th and present Earl of Gosford, born 13 July 1942; succeeded father, 17 February 1966; married, 1983, Lynette Redmond of Sydney (Australia);
(1.3) Lady Isabella Augusta Acheson (b. 1950), born 17 January 1950; married, 1979 Tevita T. Maka of Nuku A'Lofa (Tonga) and had issue three sons; resident in Arizona, USA.
He inherited the Gosford Castle estate from his father in 1954 but sold it to the Northern Ireland Forestry Commission in 1958. 
He died 17 February 1966 and was buried at Maple Hill Cemetery, Shaftsbury, Vermont (USA); administration of his goods with will annexed was granted 1 April 1966 (effects in England, £15,574). His first wife's date of death is unknown. His widow died 15 January 2015, aged 103.


Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, successive editions; M. Bence-Jones, A guide to Irish country houses, 2nd edn, 1988, pp. 143-44; Country Life, 12 March 1970, pp. 624-28; C.E.B. Brett, The buildings of County Armagh, 1999, pp. 91-94; K.V. Mulligan, The buildings of Ireland: South Ulster, 2013, pp. 344-50;  introduction to Gosford papers in Public Record Office of Northern Ireland;;

Location of archives

Acheson family, Earls of Gosford: family and estate papers, 18th-20th cents., marriage settlement and subsequent deeds, 1870-1929: Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, D1606, D4210
Acheson, Archibald, 2nd Earl of Gosford: papers relating to administration in Canada, 1824-40: Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, D2259

This page was first published 7 March 2013 and was revised 2 April and 30 August 2015, 4 December 2016, 1-7 September 2021.


  1. Interested to know where you get the information about "(8) Nichola Acheson (1725-61), m. 1746 Robert ffrench (d. 1778/9) of Monivea Castle (Galway) and had issue two sons and four daughters." Burke's Irish family records lists Nichola as having 4 sons and 1 daughter. Another document in NLI ,'The Ffrench of Monivea' which seems to have been a vanity publication for Robert Percy ffrench, hence lists only the people he is directly descended from or deemed illustrious.

    1. Thank you for pointing this out. It does seem to be an error, which I will correct. Unfortunately, although this post is only a few weeks old the research on which it was based was done some years ago and I have mislaid my detailed notes on this family, so I cannot check the source for this information, although my recollection is that it came from a work on the ffrench family rather than on the Achesons.

  2. Very interesting. Thank you for your research. My grandmother Lady Camilla Mildred Nichola Acheson would have loved this site.


  3. I find one problem with the parentage of Isabella Atcheson who married Hector MacLean. Hector was probably born around 1583, and Hector and Isabella had sons Donald (born around 1610) and my ancestor John (born around 1611). Assuming Isabella was 16 when she had her first child, she would have been born around 1594 the latest. You have Isabella as the daughter of George Atchison and Margaret Caulfield who were married 1659 (65 years later than she could have been born). I have seen other references stating that Isabella was the daughter of Archibald Atchison and Agnes Vernor, which is still a stretch, but plausable. If Isabella had her first child at age 16 (very well possible), and if she was Archibald's oldest child, and Archibald had Isabell when he was 16, that gives Archibald a birthdate of 1578 the latest, which is not far off from the estimated 1580 birth year, but allows only 2 years of lee-way. It would allow for Patrick to have fathered Archibald at age 20, assuming Patrick was born 1558.

    1. Thank you for this suggestion, which seems entirely plausible. Unfortunately there is often very little evidence other than recorded genealogies for the earlier generations of Anglo-Irish and Scots-Irish families. Another possibility might be that there were two Aitcheson-Maclean marriages in different generations, which have become confused over time. I find repeated intermarriage between the same families was quite common at this period.

  4. Is there any more information on Gosford estate East Lothian?
    I have a Sinclar ancestor who was born 1742 at Gosford E L.
    any information would be most welcome.
    Jeff Mikkelsen

  5. Gosford in East Lothian belonged (and still belongs) to the Charteris family, Earls of Wemyss & March, who will be the subject of a future post. In the meantime, the Wikipedia article on the family may be of interest:

  6. Just stumbled upon the graves of the 5th & 6th Earls of Gosford while on a drive in Shaftsbury, Vermont. Would you know how & why they were buried in Vermont if they had been living in New York?

    1. I assume they must have had a home nearby but I don't know what it was. I see the 5th Earl's gravestone is on 'findagrave' at, but it gives no clue. I will add the grave locations to my blog and see what else I can find out.

    2. A little research supplies the answer: the 5th Earl's widow was living at Topping, South Shaftsbury, Vermont in 1959.

  7. Very interesting. My family is from Shaftsbury, and the 5th Lord Gosford and his wife were godparents to my grandmother, as well as a number of children who lived on the East Rd. where the Earl had a summer home. The Earl's wife sponsored a "Chapel in the Meadow" to further the spiritual education of the local children, and my grandmother remained an Episcopalian (Anglican) for the rest of her life. I always wanted to know more about the Acheson family and it's nice to see the line persists. Thanks for the research!

  8. I'm curious about whether you have ever traced the Acheson family through to Lila Bell Acheson, one of the founders of The Reader's Digest, and who is said to be descended from the Earl of Gosford. I've been trying to connect the dots between Lila and any earl of Gosford, and I can't seem to find the resources to put it together.

    1. No, I had not heard she was supposed to be a descendant. What do you know of her ancestry?

    2. I am a distant relative of Lila's (2nd cousin 3x removed), and I have been researching my Acheson's for several years. Lila's and my common ancestor would have been Samuel Thomas Acheson, born 1789, died 1877. I am descendant from his son John Acheson, born 1813, died 1896 in Bottineau, North Dakota; Lila's grandfather was John's younger brother Thomas, born 1820, died 1884.
      Lila's descent from Samuel:
      Samuel Thomas Acheson 1789-1877
      . Thomas Acheson 1820-1884
      .. Thomas Davis Acheson 1859-1932
      ... Lila Bell Acheson 1889-1984

      My descent from Samuel:
      Samuel Thomas Acheson 1789-1877
      . John Acheson 1813-1896
      .. Samuel Acheson 1850-1924
      ... William H. Acheson 1877-1962
      .... William A. Acheson 1902-1972
      ..... William H. Acheson 1935-1998
      ...... William R. Acheson (me)
      ....... William C. Acheson (my son)

      In one of the comments in this thread somebody mentioned that there were 3 generations of Williams. They should add 5 more generations. lol

      I do have John 1813-1896 Acheson's obituary. It does mention his father.


      On Wednesday, April 8, 1896, of heart failure, Mr. John Acheson, of Scotia, aged 83 years.

      Rev. W. H. Wood: Mr. Acheson was a descendant of a long line of ancestors who were of strictly Presbyterian stock, and all through his long earthly pilgrimage he clung with the greatest tenacity to its doctrines and practice. He was born in the County of Down, Ireland, at Acheson Head Hill, on the 12th day of July, 1813. He came to this country in the year 1840, emigrating to Owen Sound, in the County of Grey, Ontario, from whence he removed with his nephew, Mr. James Acheson, to Iowa, remaining there but a short time, the family removing to Scotia, North Dakota, about four or five years ago, where he has lived until his death. When only 18 years of age his father, Mr. Samuel Acheson, was made an elder in the Presbyterian church, which position he filled with credit for more than sixty-five years. The influence of such an example was not lost upon the son, who carried with him to his dying day the precious legacy and inheritance of an honest and upright life, bequeathed to him by righteous parents. The deceased was a reader of the Bible. One who knew him will remarked to the writer at the grave side, "I never knew a man who was so diligent a student of the Bible." The old book, his Bible, from which we read, bore evidence of the faithful use its owner had made of it. Truly it was the man of the counsel, and the guide of his life. Mr. Acheson has three nephews, all engaged in the active work of the ministry in the Presbyterian church, the Rev. Samuel Acheson, of Wick, Ontario; Rev. Stuart Acheson, of Stuart, Ontario; and Rev. T. D. Acheson, of East Grand Forks, Minnesota. Not only in ecclesiastical matter were his forefathers famous, but also in civil and military affairs were they distinguished. His ancestors fought under William, Prince of Orange, and each received the soldier's pension and land legacy in three different counties of Ireland, and also near Glasgow, Scotland. Other nephews besides those mentioned are in the ministry. Thus has passed away in a ripe old age a man whose life is worthy of the emulation of all. His years, overlapping the three score and ten, were rich in golden fruitage to be gathered in the heavenly garner. "Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord" and "their works do follow them."

      Funeral services were conducted by Rev. W. H. Wood, at the home of Mrs. James Acheson, at 10:30 o'clock, Sabbath, April 12th.

      unknown Bottineau newspaper
      Bottineau, North Dakota

  9. I've traced her family tree back several generations. Multiple newspaper articles about her keep mentioning that she was descended from the Earl of Gosford, but I'm not sure which earl. I suppose it's also possible that it's a family story, without basis in fact. But here's what I have:

    Eliza "Lila" Bell Acheson (1889-1984), dau of Thomas D. Acheson (1857-1932) and Mary Eliza Huston (1857-1941).

    Her father Thomas D. Acheson is the son of Thomas Acheson (1821-1884) and Mary Barclay Mason (1825-1898).

    Thomas Acheson (1821-1884) is the son of Samuel T. Acheson (1789-1877) and Isabella Davis.

    Samuel T. Acheson (1789-1877) is the son of William Acheson (1750-?) and Mary Hunter. He has brothers John, William, Matthew, James, and Henry, and a sister Clara.

    William Acheson is the son of William Acheson and Mary ??. He may have brothers George and John.

    William Acheson is the son of John Acheson. John had a brother William. (So that's three generations of Williams. My apologies for mistakes in how to write the notations; I'm better at the research than I am at the reporting.)

    I might have other bits and pieces, but I'm not sure where else to look, or what to look for, especially since I don't have dates for the oldest generations.

    1. Margie and Nick, thank you both for your research, as well as your time and interest to post your findings so that others may read them as well. I also am an Acheson descendant, non-title-bearing, with similar names, and from the same area in Ireland, but have been frustrated by the lack of records accessible from North America.

      George Gosford Acheson is the son of Mathew Henry Acheson (1886-1966) and Evalena Clancy (1887-1954).

      Mathew is the son of George Acheson (1838-1913) and Charlotte Adele Hardy (dau. of William Hardy and Elizabeth Dynes). Mathew had brothers George (1882-1965) and William Joseph Acheson (m. Lily Little, sons George and Howard). Mathew was born in Portadown, NI.

      George is the son of William Acheson (~1800-1887), and has siblings Margaret (m. Henry Irwin), Mary (m. William Harrison), and James.

      If you recognize any of these names or ties, I would love to get in touch and share more details. If not, then any help you could offer on recommended sources for information would be greatly appreciated. I've been at it for over 30 years, but this line has held me at arms length.

      Thank you, Pete

  10. any Creighton family information would be appreciated specifically where they went after the Ulster plantation and how some ended up in New York

    1. Hi Dottie, hopefully you are still looking for information, my email is I may have some that may help, and hopefully you may help me, please write. Donna

  11. A great article...My paternal ancestors were at home on the Gosford farms at Market Hill.., in 1700... Also ,,,did the Acheson become preachers in America and also had ships to bring the persons from Armagh to America....Ochiltree and associated families ....Thank you...

    1. I am afraid I have no information about any American connections which the Achesons may have had. Other readers may perhaps know more and be able to comment here or to contact you directly.

  12. I am researching my family tree in Australia. My mother was Leonie Acheson, whose great grandfather, George Acheson, emigrated from Ireland to Rockhampton QLD. He was the son of Charles Acheson (Born 1827 in Tipparary Ire) who was the son of a Joseph Acheson, born at Markethill Armagh, Nothern Ireland. I am stuck now as I cant find out who Joseph parents were and given he must have been born early 1800's and in Markethill, I am wondering if he is a son of Hon Edward Acheson, the second son of the first Earl of Gosford and brother to Archibald the second Earl of Gosford. Any assistance/information would be greatly appreciated. Jacqui

  13. My grandfather has deeds to some of the places my great grandparents where the ones who sold one of the properties

    1. If you want to find a good home for those documents, I am sure the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland would be pleased to know about them.

  14. Hi,I notice in your research that you say that clonkearney manor was destroyed during the 1641 rebellion.Wikipedia says that it was destroyed during the Williamite wars in the later part of the 17th century.I am😂Can you please confirm when it was destroyed? Ps,you have done a great job researching all of this,well done👍

    1. It was 1641. I am not aware that the subsequent building, Gosford House, was damaged in any way in the Williamite wars.

    2. Thanks for info that’s what I thought 👍

  15. I was working in a graveyard in Crieff, Perthshire, this week and noticed the grave of Gladys, youngest daughter of Major General The Hon. Edward and The Hon. Mrs Acheson, 5/12/1875-13/7/1975. I understand that Gladys' uncle was Archibald Acheson, 4th Earl of Gosford. This is a random question, but do you have any information on why she ended up in Crieff?

    1. Hopefully someone reading this post will know. She lived at 'Bendarroch', Dollerie Terrace, Crieff, but the only press references I can find to her were when she was much younger and relate to England and Northern Ireland. No clue as to why she wound up in Scotland except that in 1911 she was staying with the Dowager Countess of Kintore (in London) so she obviously had Scottish friends.

    2. Thank you, Nick

  16. There is a famous portrait by John Singer Sargent of the 3 daughters of the 4th Earl at Chatsworth House:


Please leave a comment if you have any additional information or corrections to offer, or if you are able to help with additional images of the people or buildings in this post.