Earl of Belvedere

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Earl of Belvedere (alternative spelling: Belvidere) was a title in the Peerage of Ireland created in 1756 for Robert Rochfort, 1st Viscount Belfied. The title and its subsidiaries became extinct in 1814.

The Peerage of Ireland consists of those titles of nobility created by the English monarchs in their capacity as lord or king of Ireland, or later by monarchs of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The creation of such titles came to an end in the 19th century. The ranks of the Irish peerage are duke, marquess, earl, viscount and baron. As of 2016, there were 135 titles in the Peerage of Ireland extant: two dukedoms, ten marquessates, 43 earldoms, 28 viscountcies, and 52 baronies. The Crown of the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland continues to exercise jurisdiction over the Peerage of Ireland, including those peers whose titles derive from places located in what is now the Republic of Ireland. Article 40.2 of the Irish Constitution forbids the state conferring titles of nobility and a citizen may not accept titles of nobility or honour except with the prior approval of the Government. As stated above, this issue does not arise in respect of the Peerage of Ireland, as no creations of titles in it have been made since the Constitution came into force.

Robert Rochfort, 1st Earl of Belvedere PC was an Anglo-Irish politician and peer. He became notorious for his abusive treatment of his second wife, Mary Molesworth.

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History

George Rochfort, 2nd Earl of Belvedere with the Countess of Belvedere and their child, c.1804 George Rochfort, 2nd Earl of Belvedere, and his second wife Jane.jpg
George Rochfort, 2nd Earl of Belvedere with the Countess of Belvedere and their child, c.1804

The title was created for Robert Rochfort, an Anglo-Irish politician who had represented Westmeath in the Irish House of Commons. He was the son of Rt. Hon. George Rochfort, a politician and a descendant of the English settler Rochfort family. Robert Rochfort had already been created Baron Belfield in 1738 and Viscount Belfield in 1751, both also titles in the Peerage of Ireland. The first earl was succeeded his by eldest son from his second marriage, George Rochfort, who was also a politician. The titles became extinct upon his death in 1814.

Irish House of Commons lower house of the irish parliament (until 1800)

The Irish House of Commons was the lower house of the Parliament of Ireland that existed from 1297 until 1800. The upper house was the House of Lords. The membership of the House of Commons was directly elected, but on a highly restrictive franchise, similar to the Unreformed House of Commons in contemporary England and Great Britain. In counties, forty-shilling freeholders were enfranchised whilst in most boroughs it was either only the members of self-electing corporations or a highly-restricted body of freemen that were able to vote for the borough's representatives. Most notably, Catholics were disqualified from sitting in the Irish parliament from 1691, even though they comprised the vast majority of the Irish population. From 1728 until 1793 they were also disfranchised. Most of the population of all religions had no vote. The vast majority of parliamentary boroughs were pocket boroughs, the private property of an aristocratic patron. When these boroughs were disfranchised under the Act of Union, the patron was awarded £15,000 compensation for each.

The Rochfort family came to Ireland in the thirteenth century and acquired substantial lands in counties Kildare, Meath and Westmeath. Several members of the family were prominent as lawyers and politicians. They gained the title Earl of Belvedere, and gave their name to the village of Rochfortbridge. The main Rochfort line ended with the death of the 2nd Earl of Belvedere in 1814.

George Rochfort, 2nd Earl of Belvedere Irish earl

George Augustus Rochfort, 2nd Earl of Belvedere was an Anglo-Irish peer and politician.

During his life the first Earl commissioned Belvedere House, thought to be designed by Richard Castles but James Gibbs is most likely to have been the architect. It is still an admired piece of Georgian architecture and is now run by the Westmeath County Council. Robert's achievement with Belvedere House could be considered marred by his spitefulness however, as he had a 180 ft tall 'folly' built, purely to obscure the view to the house for his brother George.

Belvedere House and Gardens

Belvedere House and Gardens is a country house located approximately 8 kilometres (5 mi) from Mullingar, County Westmeath in Ireland on the north-east shore of Lough Ennell. It was built in 1740 as a hunting lodge for Robert Rochfort, 1st Earl of Belvedere by architect Richard Cassels, one of Ireland's foremost Palladian architects. Belvedere House, although not very large, is architecturally significant because of its Diocletian windows and dramatic nineteenth-century terracing. When Robert Rochfort decided to use Belvedere as his principal residence, he employed Barthelemij Cramillion who was a French Stuccadore, to execute the Rococo plasterwork ceilings which are among the most exquisite in the country. The landscaped demesne boasts the largest and most spectacular folly in the country, The Jealous Wall, built to block off the view of his estranged brother's house nearby. There is also Victorian walled garden and many hectares of forest. The house has been fully restored and the grounds are well maintained, attracting some 160,000 visitors annually.

Georgian architecture set of architectural styles current between 1720 and 1840

Georgian architecture is the name given in most English-speaking countries to the set of architectural styles current between 1714 and 1830. It is eponymous for the first four British monarchs of the House of Hanover—George I, George II, George III, and George IV—who reigned in continuous succession from August 1714 to June 1830. The style was revived in the late 19th century in the United States as Colonial Revival architecture and in the early 20th century in Great Britain as Neo-Georgian architecture; in both it is also called Georgian Revival architecture. In the United States the term "Georgian" is generally used to describe all buildings from the period, regardless of style; in Britain it is generally restricted to buildings that are "architectural in intention", and have stylistic characteristics that are typical of the period, though that covers a wide range.

The Rochfort family without Earldom

After the Earl's death his wife remarried and bore a son whom she christened George Augustus Rochfort Boyd. He chose to live on the estate in Westmeath. A descendant of the family, George Arthur Boyd-Rochfort, was awarded the Victoria Cross for service in France during the First World War. The village of Rochfortbridge in Westmeath was named after the grandfather of the 1st Earl of Belvedere – also Robert Rochfort – (1651–1727).

Victoria Cross Highest military decoration awarded for valour in armed forces of various Commonwealth countries

The Victoria Cross (VC) is the highest and most prestigious award of the British honours system. It is awarded for gallantry "in the presence of the enemy" to members of the British Armed Forces. It may be awarded posthumously. It was previously awarded to Commonwealth countries, most of which have established their own honours systems and no longer recommend British honours. It may be awarded to a person of any military rank in any service and to civilians under military command although no civilian has received the award since 1879. Since the first awards were presented by Queen Victoria in 1857, two-thirds of all awards have been personally presented by the British monarch. These investitures are usually held at Buckingham Palace.

Rochfortbridge Town in Leinster, Ireland

Rochfortbridge is a village in County Westmeath, Ireland.

Earls of Belvedere (1756–1814)

Arms of the Earls of Belvedere - Azure, a Lion rampant Argent Azure a lion rampant Argent.svg
Arms of the Earls of Belvedere - Azure, a Lion rampant Argent

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