Robert Molesworth, 1st Viscount Molesworth

Robert Molesworth, 1st Viscount Molesworth, PC (Ire) (7 September 1656 – 22 May 1725) was an Anglo-Irish politician, peer and writer.

Viscount Molesworth
Member of Parliament
for County Dublin
with Edward Deane
In office
Preceded byJohn Allen
Chambre Brabazon
Succeeded byJohn Allen
Joseph Deane
Member of Parliament
for Swords
with James Peppard (1703–1713)
Plunket Plunket (1713–1715)
In office
Preceded byThomas Ashe
John Reading
Succeeded byRichard Molesworth
Plunket Plunket
Member of Parliament
for Camelford
with Ambrose Manaton (1695–1696)
Sidney Wortley Montagu (1696–1698)
In office
Preceded byAmbrose Manaton
Henry Manaton
Succeeded byHenry Manaton
Dennys Glynn
Member of Parliament
for Lostwithiel
with Russell Robartes
In office
Preceded bySir John Molesworth
Russell Robartes
Succeeded byRussell Robartes
James Kendall
Member of Parliament
for East Retford
with Sir Hardolph Wastneys
In office
Preceded bySir Willoughby Hickman
William Levinz
Succeeded byParliament of Great Britain
Member of Parliament
for East Retford
with Sir Hardolph Wastneys
In office
Preceded byParliament of England
Succeeded byWilliam Levinz
Thomas White
Member of Parliament
for Mitchell
with Nathaniel Blakiston
In office
Preceded bySir Henry Belasyse
John Statham
Succeeded byCharles Selwyn
John Hedges
Personal details
Born(1656-09-07)7 September 1656
Brackenstown, Swords, Ireland
Died22 May 1725(1725-05-22) (aged 68)
Dublin, Ireland
SpouseHon. Letitia Coote
ChildrenJohn Molesworth, 2nd Viscount Molesworth
Richard Molesworth, 3rd Viscount Molesworth
Hon. Robert Molesworth (I)
Hon. William Molesworth
Hon. Edward Molesworth
Hon. Coote Molesworth (I)
Hon. Robert Molesworth (II)
Hon. Hamilton Walter Molesworth
Hon. Coote Molesworth (II)
Hon. Bysse Molesworth
Hon. Robert Molesworth (III)
Hon. Margaret Molesworth
Hon. Mary Molesworth
Hon. Letitia Molesworth (I)
Hon. Charlotte Molesworth
Hon. Letitia Molesworth (II)
Parent(s)Robert Molesworth
Judith Bysse
Alma materTrinity College Dublin (1675, B.A.)

Molesworth came from an old Northamptonshire family. He married Hon. Letitia Coote, daughter of Richard Coote, 1st Baron Coote, and Mary St. George. His father Robert (d. 1656) was a Cromwellian who made a fortune in Dublin, largely by provisioning Cromwell's army; Robert Molesworth the younger supported William of Orange and was made William's ambassador to Denmark. In 1695 he became a prominent member of the Privy Council of Ireland. The same year he stood for County Dublin in the Irish House of Commons, a seat he held until 1703. Subsequently, he represented Swords until 1715. In the following year, he was created Viscount Molesworth, of Swords, in the Peerage of Ireland.

Molesworth's An Account of Denmark, as it was in the Year 1692 (1694) was somewhat influential in the burgeoning field of political science in the period. He made a case for comparative political analysis, comparing the political situation of a country to the health of an individual; a disease, he reasoned, can only be diagnosed by comparing it to its instantiation in other people (Thompson, 495).

Life and career edit

Robert Molesworth was born on 7 September 1656, four days after the death of his father;[1] his mother Judith Bysse later remarried Sir William Tichborne of Beaulieu. He was probably raised by his mother's family, the Bysses, at Brackenstown, near Swords, County Dublin.

In 1720, Molesworth and his grandson lost a significant investment in the South Sea Bubble. In Parliament, since his colleagues suggested there was no law under which to punish the perpetrators, he called for the Commons to "upon this occasion follow the example of the ancient Romans, who, having no law against parricide, because their legislators supposed no son could be so unnaturally wicked as to embrue his hands in his father's blood, made one to punish so heinous a crime as soon as it was committed; and adjudged the guilty wretch to be thrown alive, sewn up in a sack, into the Tiber". He concluded that he would see the same punishment applied to the directors of the South Sea Company, calling them the parricides of their country.[2]

Family edit

With his wife Letitia, Molesworth had eleven sons and six daughters:[3][4]

Robert Molesworth's direct descendant Sir Guilford Lindsey Molesworth (d.1925)
  • John Molesworth, 2nd Viscount Molesworth of Swords (4 December 1679 – 17 or 18 February 1725/26). Ambassador at the Court of Tuscany and Sardinia in 1710 and 1720. He married Mary, daughter and co-heir of Thomas Middleton Esq. of Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex, by whom he had a posthumous daughter Mary, who married Frederick Gore Esq., M.P.
  • Field Marshal Richard Molesworth, 3rd Viscount Molesworth of Swords (1680/1 – 12 October 1758). Aide-de-Camp to the Duke of Marlborough at the Battle of Ramilles, where he saved the Duke's life. He later became a General and rose to Fieldmarshal.
He married 1stly Jane Lucas and had three daughters:
Richard married 2ndly Mary, daughter of Rev. William Usher, Archdeacon of Clonfert and had a son and six daughters:
  • Hon. Robert Molesworth I (living in 1688)
  • Captain The Hon. William Molesworth (1688 - ), MP for Philipstown. His son Robert became 6th Viscount Molesworth. Married Anne, eldest daughter of Robert Adair Esq. of Holybrook, County Wicklow.
  • Major The Hon. Edward Molesworth (born c.1689, died 29 November 1768). Married firstly, in Sept 1718 Catherine Middleton, daughter of Thomas Middleton, with whom he had a son Robert. Edward married as his second wife Mary Renouard and had a son John (d.1791). John's son was the Rev. John Molesworth (d.1877), whose sons included Sir Guildford Lindsey Molesworth (d. 1925) and solicitor John Molesworth (d.1886), the grandfather of Margaret Patricia Molesworth (1904–1985) who is the grandmother of Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh. Another son was the Rev. Rennell Molesworth (died 1906), grandfather of Lady Mogg née Margaret Molesworth (1914-2018).[5][6][7][8][9][10][11]
  • Hon. Coote Molesworth I (born c.1689)
  • Hon. Robert Molesworth II (born c.1692)
  • Hon. Walter Molesworth (born after 1692, between Robert II and Letitia II, died 1773). He left children.
  • Hon. Coote Molesworth II M.D. (born 1698, died 9 November 1782)
  • Hon. Bysse Molesworth (born 1700, died 1779). Married 7 Dec 1731, Elizabeth Cole, sister of John Cole, 1st Baron Mountflorence and widow of Edward Archdall Esq. of Castle Archdall, County Fermanagh.
  • Hon. Robert Molesworth III (born c.1702, died aged c.10 of smallpox)
  • Hon. Juliana Molesworth (died unm 1759)
  • Hon. Margaret Molesworth (1677–1684)
  • Hon. Mary Molesworth (1682–1716), a celebrated beauty and poet. Married George Monk Esq. of Dublin.
  • Hon Letitia Molesworth I (living in 1688)
  • Hon. Charlotte Amelia Molesworth (born c.1691). Married Capt. William Tichborne, younger son of Henry Tichborne, 1st Baron Ferrard who was her cousin on the Bysse side
  • Hon Letitia Molesworth II (born 7 or 8 March 1697). Married Edward Bolton Esq. of Brazeel, County Dublin

Robert also appears to have had a natural son:

  • John Phillips of Swords, County Dublin. His son was Molesworth Phillips who sailed with Captain Cook.
Robert Molesworth, 1st Viscount Molesworth's direct descendant is Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, granddaughter of Margaret Patricia Molesworth (1904–1985)

Death and succession edit

The 1st Viscount died in Dublin on 22 May 1725 at the age of sixty-nine and was buried in Swords[citation needed]. His widow, Letitia, died "of a great cold" on St Patrick's Day 1729 and was buried privately in St. Audoen's Church Dublin. Their eldest son, John, succeeded as 2nd Viscount Molesworth in 1725. John, in turn, was succeeded by his younger brother Richard a year later in 1726.

Arms edit

Coat of arms of Robert Molesworth, 1st Viscount Molesworth
A Dexter Arm embowed in armour proper holding a Cross Crosslet Or
Gules an Escutcheon Vair within an Orle of eight Cross Crosslets Or
Dexter: a Pegasus Argent wings elevated Or; Sinister: a Pegasus wings elevated Gules semée of Cross Crosslets Or
Vincit Amor Patriae (The love of my country prevails)[12]

References edit

  1. ^ Hayton, D. W. (2008). "Molesworth, Robert, first Viscount Molesworth". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/18901. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. ^ Boyer, Abel (1720). The Political State of Great Britain. Vol. 20. London. p. 552.
  3. ^ William Molesworth, MA (Cantab), MLitt (Dub) (29 March 2013). "Children of the 1st Viscount Molesworth". Archived from the original on 11 August 2020. Retrieved 5 May 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ Sir Bernard Burke. (1869). "A Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Peerage and Baronetage of the British Empire". 59 Pall Mall, London: Harrison.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: location (link)
  5. ^ Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, volume 2, 2003. pages 2721–2731.
  6. ^ "Good Gentlewoman - Henrietta, Louisa and Elizabeth Molesworth". - 2 September 2014. Archived from the original on 3 September 2017. Retrieved 3 September 2017.
  7. ^ Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage - 2011. Debrett's Peerage Limited, 2011. 2011. ISBN 9781870520737. Archived from the original on 27 February 2022. Retrieved 25 August 2017. ....Cecilia Margaret (Lady Mogg) Church Close Cottage, Watlington, Oxon,.... b 1914; m 1939, Gen Sir Herbert John Mogg, .... Grandchildren of the late Rev. Rennell Francis Wynn Molesworth, son of the .....John (Molesworth).... Lawrence Teesdale... Margaret Patricia Newell... Sophie Helen....
  8. ^ Mogg, Lady Margaret (7 February 2017). "Watlington was always home". Archived from the original on 25 August 2018. Retrieved 27 August 2018. I learned to ride a horse age 8 or 9 years old.... went out horseriding together...we had (three) sons....
  9. ^ "Edward and Sophie". Australian Women's Weekly NZ - 1 October 2016. 1 October 2016. Archived from the original on 26 August 2018. Retrieved 27 August 2018. The problem for those around the Queen's youngest child is that his ... They (the Queen and Sophie, Countess of Wessex) have a shared passion for horses and military history and, despite...
  10. ^ "Sophie's Brush With Greatness". Manchester Evening - News 22 January 2013. Archived from the original on 26 August 2018. Retrieved 26 August 2018. Rochdale solicitor's firm Molesworth, Bright and Clegg. The firm was set up in 1840 by John Molesworth, one of the vicar's sons and Sophie's great-great grandfather.
  11. ^ "The Solicitors' Journal and Reporter, Volume 14". Law Newspaper Company, 1870 -. 1870. p. 280. Retrieved 27 August 2018. Mr John Molesworth, solicitor ...has been elected one of the County Coroners for ....
  12. ^ "Molesworth, Viscount (I, 1716)". Cracroft's Peerage. Archived from the original on 20 January 2022. Retrieved 20 January 2022.

Sources edit

  • 29 Molesworth Street on
  • Thompson, Martyn P. "A Note on "Reason" and "History" in Late Seventeenth Century Political Thought." Political Theory, Vol. 4, No. 4. (1976), 491–504.
Parliament of Ireland
Preceded by Member of Parliament for County Dublin
With: Edward Deane
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Swords
With: James Peppard 1703–1713
Plunket Plunket 1713–1715
Succeeded by
Parliament of England
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Camelford
With: Ambrose Manaton 1695–1696
Sidney Wortley Montagu 1696–1698
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Lostwithiel
With: Russell Robartes
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament for East Retford
With: Sir Hardolph Wastneys
Succeeded by
Parliament of Great Britain
Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Parliament of England
Member of Parliament for East Retford
With: Sir Hardolph Wastneys
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Mitchell
With: Nathaniel Blakiston
Succeeded by
Peerage of Ireland
New creation Viscount Molesworth
Succeeded by