Thomas Ridgeway, 1st Earl of Londonderry

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Arms of Ridgeway (modern): Sable, a pair of wings conjoined and elevated argent RidgewayArms.png
Arms of Ridgeway (modern): Sable, a pair of wings conjoined and elevated argent

Thomas Ridgeway, 1st Earl of Londonderry (1565? – 1631) was an English administrator active in Ireland, in particular in the Ulster Plantation.

Contents

Origins

He was born in about 1565 either at Torwood House in his father's manor of Tor Mohun, Devon, or at adjoining Tor Abbey (purchased by his father), the son of Thomas Ridgeway (1543–1598) of Tor Mohun, Devon (son of John Ridgeway (c. 1517 – 1560) of Abbots Carswell and Tor Mohun, MP), a Member of Parliament for Dartmouth in 1584. His mother was Mary Southcott, daughter of Thomas Southcott of Indio [2] in the parish of Bovey Tracey, Devon. With her sister Elizabeth Southcott she was a co-heiress to her mother Grace Barnehouse, daughter and sole heiress of John Barnehouse of Marsh in the parish of Newton St Cyres [3] and of Prestcot in the parish of Culmstock, both in Devon, a younger branch of Barnehouse of Kingston in the parish of Staverton, Devon. [4] The Ridgeway family adopted new arms at about this time, being a difference of the arms of Barnehouse, whose arms were: Gules, two wings joined in lure argent. [5] The former canting arms of Ridgeway (alias Peacock) [6] were: Argent, on a chevron engrailed gules three trefoils or between three peacock's heads erased azure crowns about their necks or. [1]

Manor Estate in land to which is incident the right to hold a manorial court

In English law, a manor is an estate in land which includes the right to hold a manorial court. The Lord of the manor, through the manorial court, has jurisdiction over those who live within the lands of the manor. The proper unit of tenure under the feudal system is the fee, on which the manor became established through the process of time, akin to the modern establishment of a "business" upon a freehold site. The manor is nevertheless often described as the basic feudal unit of tenure and is historically connected with the territorial divisions of the march, county, hundred, parish and township.

Devon County of England

Devon, also known as Devonshire, is a county of England, reaching from the Bristol Channel in the north to the English Channel in the south. It is part of South West England, bounded by Cornwall to the west, Somerset to the north east, and Dorset to the east. The city of Exeter is the county town. The county includes the districts of East Devon, Mid Devon, North Devon, South Hams, Teignbridge, Torridge, and West Devon. Plymouth and Torbay are each geographically part of Devon, but are administered as unitary authorities. Combined as a ceremonial county, Devon's area is 6,707 km2 and its population is about 1.1 million.

John Ridgeway (died 1560) Kingdom of England politician

John Ridgeway of Abbots Carswell and Tor Mohun in Devon, was a lawyer who served as a Member of Parliament, twice for Dartmouth in 1539 and 1545 and twice for Exeter in 1553 and 1554.

Career

He matriculated at Exeter College, Oxford, on 17 November 1581, and was admitted a student of the Inner Temple in 1583. Subsequently, he was collector of customs at Exmouth. He succeeded his father on 27 June 1597, and in July of that year fitted out a ship at his own cost to take part in the Islands Voyage under Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex. He was High Sheriff of Devon in 1600, and was knighted in the same year.

Exeter College, Oxford constituent college of the University of Oxford

Exeter College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England and the fourth oldest college of the University.

Inner Temple one of the four Inns of Court in London, England

The Honorable Society of the Inner Temple, commonly known as the Inner Temple, is one of the four Inns of Court in London. To be called to the Bar and practise as a barrister in England and Wales, a person must belong to one of these Inns. It is located in the wider Temple area of the capital, near the Royal Courts of Justice, and within the City of London.

Exmouth town in East Devon, England

Exmouth is a port town, civil parish and seaside resort, sited on the east bank of the mouth of the River Exe and 11 miles (18 km) southeast of Exeter.

He is said to have taken part in the wars in Ireland, and may have done so under Lord Mountjoy. He was returned M.P. for Devon on 28 February 1604 to the Parliament of 1604–11, but resigned when appointed Treasurer of Ireland in 1606, a post which would require his long-term absence overseas. In 1603, he had been appointed vice-treasurer and treasurer-at-wars in Ireland under Lord Deputy Sir George Cary, whom he eventually succeeded as treasurer in April 1606. He held that office till 1616, being admitted a privy councillor on 20 October 1606. On 30 November 1606, he submitted a project to Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury for increasing the crown revenues. On 18 December, warrant was given to the Lord Chancellor of Ireland to issue a commission to him and certain others to inquire into abbey lands in County Dublin. He had apparently about this time been appointed master of the hawks and game in Ireland, an office formerly in the possession of Sir Geoffrey Fenton.

Charles Blount, 8th Baron Mountjoy English statesman

Charles Blount, 1st Earl of Devonshire, KG was an English nobleman and soldier who served as Lord Deputy of Ireland under Queen Elizabeth I, then as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland under King James I.

Devon was a parliamentary constituency covering the county of Devon in England. It was represented by two Knights of the Shire, in the House of Commons of England until 1707, then of the House of Commons of Great Britain from 1707 to 1800 and finally the House of Commons of the United Kingdom from 1801 to 1832. Elections were held using the bloc vote system of elections.

Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury 16th/17th-century English statesman

Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, was an English statesman noted for his direction of the government during the Union of the Crowns, as Tudor England gave way to Stuart rule (1603). Salisbury served as the Secretary of State of England (1596–1612) and Lord High Treasurer (1608–1612), succeeding his father as Queen Elizabeth I's Lord Privy Seal and remaining in power during the first nine years of King James I's reign until his death.

When the news of the rebellion of Sir Cahir O'Doherty reached Dublin (April 1608), the Lord Deputy of Ireland, Sir Arthur Chichester, immediately despatched a strong force into the north, under the marshal, Sir Richard Wingfield and Sir Oliver Lambart. Ridgeway went with them and distinguished himself; and Chichester knighted his eldest son, Robert, at that time sixteen years of age, who had accompanied him. He assisted in the preliminary work of surveying the escheated counties of Ulster preparatory to the plantation, and on 30 November urged on Salisbury the necessity of putting the scheme into execution as speedily as possible. He was thanked by the king for his diligence, but the survey proved defective. On 19 July 1609 a new commission was issued to him and others. On 31 July the commissioners set out from Dublin towards the north, returning about the beginning of October, but it was not until the end of February 1610 that the inquisitions taken by them were drawn up in legal form and the maps properly prepared. Arriving in London about 12 March, Ridgeway had an interview with Salisbury, and handed over to him all the documents connected with the survey.

Cahir ODoherty Irish chieftain

Sir Cahir O'Doherty (Irish: Cathaoir Ó Dochartaigh; was the last Gaelic Lord of Inishowen in north-west Ireland. O'Doherty was a noted loyalist during Tyrone's Rebellion and became known as the Queen's O'Doherty for his service on the Crown's side during the fighting. After the war O'Doherty had ambitions to become a courtier and applied for a position in the household of Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales, but he increasingly came into dispute with Irish-based officials such as the Viceroy Sir Arthur Chichester and the Governor of Derry Sir George Paulet. In 1608 he launched O'Doherty's Rebellion, seizing Derry from Paulet and burning it to the ground. O'Doherty was subsequently killed in a battle at Kilmacrennan, and the rebellion swiftly collapsed.

The Lord Deputy was the representative of the monarch and head of the Irish executive under English rule, during the Lordship of Ireland and then the Kingdom of Ireland. He deputised prior to 1523 for the Viceroy of Ireland. The plural form is Lords Deputy.

During the next few weeks, he was engaged with Sir John Davies and the commissioners for Irish affairs, before the lords of the council, in assisting to make a selection from the long lists of servitors willing to plant, transmitted by Chichester, and in deciding as to the most suitable districts for locating the principal Irish. In the discharge of these and other duties connected with the grand movement in Ulster, he was in London till the beginning of July. Meanwhile, new commissioners, of whom he was one, had been appointed to carry the scheme into execution; and Ridgeway, as soon as he was relieved from attendance on the council, sailed over in a small boat of seven or eight tons.

Sir John Davies was an English poet, lawyer, and politician who sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1597 and 1621. He became Attorney General for Ireland and formulated many of the legal principles that underpinned the British Empire.

His arrival caused things to move briskly. He himself was assigned, as an undertaker, two thousand acres (8 km²) in the precinct of Clogher, County Tyrone, lying on the south-eastern border of the barony of Clogher, adjoining the parish of Errigal Trough in County Monaghan, and represented on the map as well-wooded and containing little bog or waste land. To this were subsequently added on 22 April 1613 the lands around Augher. Further, as a servitor, there was assigned to him another estate of two thousand acres (8 km²) in the precinct of Dungannon, County Tyrone, lying along the upper course of the Blackwater, and represented as abounding in woods and bog land. He was one of the first to take out his letters patent, and from a report made of the state of the plantation in 1611 he appears to have been fairly active in fulfilling his obligations as an undertaker.

The settlement of Ulster having caused a great drain on the English exchequer, it was suggested to James I in 1611 that there were many gentlemen who would willingly pay for an hereditary title, and that the money thus obtained might be used for the support of the army in Ulster. The king's consent having been obtained, one of the first to take advantage of the new order thus created was Ridgeway, who for the payment of £1,200 was created a baronet on 25 November 1611.

In anticipation of the intended calling of a Parliament of Ireland, and with the object of securing a majority in it for the new settlers, a number of boroughs were created in 1612, and on 13 November Ridgeway was constituted a burgess of Balinakill in Gallen-Ridgeway, Queen's County, of which place he was elected M.P. on 17 April 1613. He was likewise returned as one of the knights of the shire for County Tyrone on 23 April to the parliament which met at Dublin on 18 May, and it was on his motion that Sir John Davies was elected speaker, thus giving rise to the counter-election of Sir John Everard. On 1 April 1615 a commission was issued to the Lord Chancellor and others to take his accounts as Treasurer. Some exception was made as to certain sums of money expended by him but he was discharged of his office in 1616, and on 25 May was created Lord Ridgeway, baron of Gallen-Ridgeway.

On 19 August 1622, he sold his proportion called Portclare and Ballykillygirie, including Agher, to Sir James Erskine, eleventh son of Alexander, second son of John Erskine, 5th Lord Erskine, and younger brother of Thomas Erskine, 1st Earl of Kellie. The transaction was nominally a sale, but strictly an exchange of the Portclare and Ballykillygirie estate for the title and dignity of an earldom, of which Erskine had the disposal. Accordingly, on 23 August 1623 he became Earl of Londonderry. In the Star chamber proceedings against Thomas Howard, 1st Earl of Suffolk in October 1619 one of the strongest pieces of evidence against him was a direct statement of Ridgeway that during the time he had been vice-treasurer he had never been able to obtain the money needed for the public service unless his demand was accompanied by a bribe.

Death & burial

Monument to Sir Thomas Ridgeway (d.1598), Tor Mohun Church, erected by his son ThomasRidgeway Died1598 StSavioursChurch TorMohun Devon 2017Photo.PNG
Monument to Sir Thomas Ridgeway (d.1598), Tor Mohun Church, erected by his son

Ridgeway died in London in 1631, and was buried in the south aisle of the parish church of Tor Mohun, Devonshire, where as a young man he had erected a grand monument with effigy of his father and adorned with three inscribed tablets to the memory of his father and grandfather.

Family

He married Cicely (sometime maid of honour to Queen Elizabeth), sister and coheiress of Henry Macwilliam, by whom he had three sons—Robert, who succeeded him, Edward, and Macwilliam—and two daughters—Mary, who died in her infancy, and Cassandra, who married Sir Francis Willoughby.

The peerage became extinct on the death of Robert, fourth earl, in 1714.

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References

  1. 1 2 Pole, p.499
  2. "Indio House - Devon Gardens Trust". www.devongardenstrust.org.uk.
  3. Vivian, Lt.Col. J.L., (Ed.) The Visitations of the County of Devon: Comprising the Heralds' Visitations of 1531, 1564 & 1620, Exeter, 1895, p.647, pedigree of Ridgeway of Tor Abbey
  4. Pole, Sir William (d.1635), Collections Towards a Description of the County of Devon, Sir John-William de la Pole (ed.), London, 1791, p.204
  5. Pole, p.469
  6. Vivian, p.647