Mr. Lovett Out of Iorland
by Rt. Rev. E. Neville Lovett, C.B.E., D.D.
This account of a Dublin family, which in the seventeenth century came from England, and returned thither just two hundred years later, shows something of the intermixture of English and Irish blood of which many English families delight to be aware, and of which Ireland need not be ashamed. In a small degree, also, this paper may show that those who migrated from Britain to Dublin, in the reigns of the Stuart Kings, did not prove mere drones intruding themselves into an alien hive, seeking much and giving little to the common life and business in which they found themselves.
The title is culled from a letter of 1702, intimating that Mary, elder daughter of Sir John Varney of Middle Claydon in Buckinghamshire, was about to marry "Mr. Lovett out of Iorland."
The family of whom this accepted lover came was, in fact, in Buckinghamshire at the time. The Lovetts had been first, in Northamptonshire and then in Bucks ever since the Doomsday Survey was compiled; but Alderman Christopher Lovett, father of "Mr. Lovett out of Iorland" (or, to give him his correct designation, Colonel John Lovett) had been the third son of Sir Robert Lovett of Liscombe Park in Buckinghamshire, where the family resided from 1303 to 1907. Sir Robert Lovett had ten children who lived to maturity. He rebuilt the old fortified house at Liscombe in the more domestic Elizabethan style, no doubt to accommodate this large family. The cost of this, and the loss of £20,000 (a very large sum then) in the Earl of Bedford's syndicate for draining the Cambridgeshire Fens, by the collapse of the dykes in a storm, must have made the putting out into life of the younger sons no easy task. The elder son inherited the ancestral acres; the second, Edward, married the heiress of a small property near Barnstaple in Devon; the third, Christopher, had a more interesting career, and it is of him that we are concerned to tell. (1) Of Christopher's sisters, one had married Edward Bourchier, Earl of Bath; they lived at Tawstock Abbey, which is close to Barnstaple. This may have led to another sister, Arabella, marrying Richard Down, son of Mayor of Barnstaple, a merchant-venturer of that ancient seaport, and to the apprenticing Christopher to a merchant-venturer trading with Turkey. Sir Robert Lovett had, no doubt, to pay a considerable
premium; Sir Ralph Verney was informed that "For Turkey trade, without it be some particular men that have the knacke of itt nott, one in three of them thrives, soe that those who doe, itt makes them soe high that they ask and have £5000, and sometimes more with an apprentice." How long Christopher was in Turkey and how he fared there we do not know. We find him when only 25 years of age on the Roll of Freemen of the City of Dublin. Clearly then, he must have been well established as a merchant in Dublin by 1655. It is interesting to consider what may have been brought him from Turkey to Dublin where he must have been a complete stranger. The Lovetts were connected with two other families, certain members of which had close association with the Ireland of those troubled times -- the Wentworths and the Churchills. Sir Thomas Wentworth, afterwards Earl of Strafford, Lord-deputy in Ireland from 1632 to 1639, had introduced into this country the cultivation of flax and the weaving of linen, and it may be that experience of fabrics gained in Turkey, whether of linen or silk, led to Christopher's return to these islands, to enter upon the linen business in Dublin, at the suggestion of some of the Wentworths; Strafford himself had been executed in 1641, which must have been before Christopher left England for Turkey. (2) In Dublin this son of an English Squire seems to have quickly prospered in his business, and in municipal life; he was elected Sheriff of Dublin in 1665, at the age of 35, and eleven years after he became Lord Mayor.
When King Charles II sent Sir Winston Churchill, father of John Duke of Marlborough, to award grants of land to those who had been loyal to the Crown against the Parliament and Cromwell, Christopher Lovett was granted 1,374 acres in places called Gragenskilly, Knockduffe, Kilmachvoge, etc. What particular form his loyalty took I know not; but his recollection of how the squire of Huntingdon, Oliver Cromwell, had led the Cambridge fen-people against the drainage syndicate of which his father was a member may have added personal feeling to political principle. (3) In 1665 Christopher Lovett was elected Sheriff, the year when Sir Daniel Bellingham took up and used the title of Lord Mayor; he appears also about that time as holding the positions of "City Auditor" and "Master of the City Works." We have no evidence as to his qualifications for these offices, but there appears to have been a curious ability for contructive building in the family. His father had rebuilt the old Manor House in Buckinghamshire, and his son John, as will be told later, was responsible for the building of a Lighthouse, while his grandson Sir Lovett Pearce when only a Captain of Dragoons was, in the early part of the eighteenth, the designer of the Dublin
Houses of Parliament, which are still standing. The first stone was laid on 2nd February, 1728.
The Alderman's linen adventures seem to have developed satisfactorily, for in July, 1677, the year after he was elected Lord Mayor, Letters Patent were issued granting him certain yards at Chapelizod as well as stocks, looms, yarns, and a loan of £1,200 to be returned at the end of a twenty-one years' lease for the weaving of silken tapestry. He was also granted the right to "Graze and Depasture in his Majestie's Park called the Phoenix Park the number of five cows and five horses and twenty sheep every year without any Denial, disturbance or interruption." The Alderman, for his part, was "to keep up twenty Looms at least, to be employed in Linnen Manufacture in the Bleaching yard aforesaid, besides what he shall keep and imploy in working and making Tappestry." (4)
A portrait of Christopher Lovett at this time in his Mayoral robes, painted by Sir Peter Lely and now in my possession, shows a man of middle stature with long straight features and dark brown eyes, wearing his own hair of the same colour. [blank spaces] here is a companion portrait by the same painter of his wife Frances O'Moore, a very pretty young woman with fair hair and a vivacious expression, in a black velvet dress with beautiful lace. [not included in copies received] "Madam" Lovett, as she is described in the registers of St. Michan's church in Dublin, was a daughter of Pierce O'Moore, the second son of John Moore of Killinever by Mary Edgeworth, and therefore grandson of Murtagh Oge O'Moore of Queen's County, and great grandson of the Elizabethan rebel Roger Oge O'Moore. He was evidently one of the few who survived the attempted extermination of the O'Moore sept. If Mr. B. Bowen's article in the DUBLIN HISTORICAL RECORD of Sept. last is correct, it would appear that Frances Lovett was of kin to Thomas Moore the poet and to Theophilus Moore the "Irish Merlin," the first producer of "Old Moore's Almanack." At Christopher's funeral the arms of O'Moore of Leix were displayed, together with the three black wolves of Lovett. How this pretty girl, "beyond the Pale," as she presumably was, came to marry the young Buckingham squire, become linen merchant, suggests a romance as to which there is no further knowledge. She stated herself to be of the Protestant Faith, and was married on the 7th May 1657, in the church of St. John The Evangelist, Dublin. Their large family of children were all baptized either in that church or St. Michan's. She no doubt derived her Protestantism from her mother's family, the Edgeworth's, her brother being Archdeacon of Cloyne. (5 A sister was Sir John Knox's wife; he was Lord Mayor 1685-6. The young Lovetts (he was 27
and she could have been no older) resided at first on the Wood Quay where no doubt the linen business was carried on, and where were born three elder children, Christopher, Elizabeth and Mary. Christopher in due course inherited, under entail, from his cousin, the family home and estates in Buckinghamshire. Elizabeth and Mary died in infancy. Seven years after their marriage Christopher Lovett and his wife moved to a house on Blind Quay. I have been told that one or other of these two houses still survives. On the Blind Quay were born John, of whose not uninteresting life we shall have more to say, Edward who became a member of the Irish Bar, and Ann who married firstly William Tighe of Woodstock, whose descendants still live at Rosanagh in Co. Wicklow; she married secondly Thomas Coote, Judge of the King's Bench, whose portrait by Lely, long in the Coote family, has been given to the owner of the portrait of Christopher Lovett by Mary Lady Coote; Judge Coote is thus restored to his association with the Lovett family after nearly 300 years. It was obviously painted at the same time as that of the Lord Mayor. Another daughter Frances married General Pearce; their son Edward Lovett Pearce was the architect of the Irish Houses of Parliament. (7)
Lord Mayor Christopher's portrait has a special interest; he is represented in his Lord Mayor's robes and wearing the collar presented in 1661 by Charles II to the Mayor of that year, Hubert Adryan Verneen. As shown in the picture, it was of gold, in the form of roses and knots alternating with the mysterious SS. The pendant medal shows a bust of Charles II.
After the battle of the Boyne (1690) Sir Terence McDermott and the Alderman and Militia who went with him took the chain to France, whence it never returned. In the Calendar of the Stuart Papers, Vol. I, is the following: --
JAMES II to Sir Terence Dermott Late Lord Mayor of Dublin.
1695. September 27. St. Germains.---Whereas the chain or collar and medal of gold belonging to the City of Dublin was delivered to you by Sir William Ellis, chamberlain and treasurer of the said city, when you entered into the mayoralty, and is now remaining in your hands, and whereas we have not yet determined in whose custody the said chain and medal ought to remain during our absence from our kingdoms, whether in yours as the last Mayor of the said City or in Sir W. Ellis's custody as chamberlain and treasurer thereof, our will and pleasure is that you forthwith deliver them to the said Sir W. Ellis to be deposited in our hands and preserved by us for our said City.
When one remembers the desperate straits for money in which King James continued to the end of his life, it is not difficult to imagine what happened to this chain of gold "preserved by us for our said City."
Christopher Lovett's will perished with the Public Record Office in Dublin in 1922. As read by me in 1907 it was of the briefest character, on one quarto sheet of paper, and dated 1676. As far as it was copied it was as follows:---
"I Christopher Lovett Alderman of the City of Dublin being of sound health of mind and body but being about to take a voyage into England and mindful of the uncertainity of human life, do hereby make this my last Will and Testament. First I commit my soul to Almighty God in fullest trust that it iwll be acceptable to him through the merits of my Saviour Jesus Christ. All my goods of which I die possessed I desire to be divided equally between my children including that with which my wife goes at present. I desire that my body shall be buried in the Parish Church of St. Michan's, Dublin."
It is curious to notice in the will the sole allusion to his wife, but there is evidence that she continued interested in the linen business, though the business is not alluded to in the will. The unborn child alluded to there was ultimately born and subsequently marrried Medhop Lloyd. (7) The voyage to England did not endorse the Alderman's opinion of the uncertainty of human life, for it is not until March 2nd, 1680, that we find the entry of his burial in St. Michan's Church: ---
Alderman Christopher Louet, husband of Frances, the head at ye end of Sr. John Coles stone, & thee feet within the railes of the Chancell.
To return to the linen industry: it is evident that however well it prospered during the Alderman's lifetime, it suffered grievously afterwards, for tariff walls of a destructive strength were placed by the British Parliament against the importation of Irish linen. In 1680 Christopher Lovett's widow is found petitioning the Corporation to return certain money due to the Lord Mayor for expenses incurred during his Mayoralty, and in 1692, asking that she should be relieved of responsibility for fulfilling the terms of the silk tapestry weaving lease. She claims special consideration because James II had deprived her of certain property, and states that she is of the Protestant Faith. It is good to know that the Corporation recognised their indebtedness to the widow and ordered the repayment to be made. It is not clear what partnership in the linen business there was between Madam Lovett and her second son, John, but in 1689 John Lovett, described as "late of Dublyn, Merchant," petitions the Crown of England, declaring: ---
"That your petitioner being forced by the Troubles out of Ireland and for the safety of some of his fortune, brought into this kingdom 38 pieces of Tapistry Hangings of their Majestie's Manufacture of Ireland, which are now in their Majestie's Custome House in London and were never designed for a Foreign Markett. And that soe great a Duty is laid on them which
is impossible for them to beare. Rather than pay the same your Petitioner must be forced to lett them lye till they can be returned for Dublyn. The time they have already laine in the Custome-House being above 5 months, with the time till they can be returned will be a very great prejudice and losse to your Petitioner. Wherefore your Petitioner humbly prays your Lordshippes would consider your Petitioner, being a suffering Protestant of Ireland, to grant your order to the Commissioners of their Majestie's Custome to deliver the said Hangings, Custome Free. And your Petitioner shall ever Pray, etc."
In the papers which accompany this document is one in which the Treasury Commissioners declare: "We doe humbly Report to you Lordshippes that Wee believe the allegations of the Petition. That the Tapistry therein mencioned is of the Fabricke of Ireland." Another accompanying paper describes "two cases (containing) seven hundred sixty seven ells and three quarters of tapistry with silk -- in thiry eight pieces." The petition was apparently granted, and it is a matter of regret that such investigation as has been possible has not led to the discovery of the survival of any one of these tapestries, though, considering the value put upon silk tapestry in England in the eighteenth century, it is not impossible that some of these pieces survive anonymously in one or other of the old Manor houses of England with the old pictures and china belonging to the same period of which there is fortunately still an immense quantity.
Before leaving Christopher Lovett and his work for "their Majesties" it may be interesting to add such further word about his widow as can be gathered from family letters still existing at Claydon House in Buckinghamshire. She was the mother of four sons and four daughters, and as she survived her husband by 35 years, dying somewhere about her 70th year, it was perhaps not surprising that this daughter of the rebel house of O'Moore was not always found a very complacent lady. Her own letters, not very communicative, are written in what we should now call a very uneducated hand, and her words are spelt as they were no doubt pronounced in Ireland at the time, and to some extent at the present day. the wife of her second son Colonel John Lovett, the John Lovett already alluded to, writes home on her first arrival in Dublin and acquaintance of her mother-in-law: "I think she is very much ronged in her character for I think her a mighty good woman." A few years later she writes: "My mother Lovett is mighty kind and fond of me, and I think the fondest Mother of Mr. Lovett that ever was." Subsequently when the old lady had grandchildren she is described as "Mighty fond of little boys." The last allusion in the letters follows on her death: "I have lost a tender friend and a trusty affectionate Mother." She died in 1715, but neither St. Michan's nor any other church in Dublin contains a record of her burial.
The last allusion to her in them, after the baptisms of many children is the burial,on October 18th, 1691, of "a cook-maid of Madam Lovett's". Of her children, as has been said, the most outstanding was the second son John. Letters and other documents available, while they give much information about John after his second marriage in 1703, to a great extent leave his earlier life to conjecture and inference. He was born in Dublin, presumably in the house on the Blind Quay; but while registers are found of the baptism of all his brothers and sisters, his own cannot be traced. As a young man he appears to have visited his relations in Buckinghamshire more than any of the family in Ireland at that time, and even to have held a commission in the militia there, as he is mentioned as assisting to disband the Bucks Militia in 1679, if, as seems probable, he was the Captain Lovett referred to in the Verney Memoirs. No other Captain Lovett of that time is traceable. Nothing else is found of his military career except that upon his second marriage he appears as a Colonel. His portrait by Sir Godfrey Kneller has painted on a stone plinth his name "Col. John Lovett." Six years after the disbandment of the Militia he marrried on January 23rd, 1685, at Quainton church in Bucks, his widowed cousin Susana, daughter of his uncle Lawrence, who lived at Ethrop in that county. The baptisms of several children of this marriage were registered at St. John the Evangelist's church, Dublin. Of these children only two survived, Robert and Christopher.; they were educated at Eton and Trinity College, Dublin. His young wife died in Dublin and was buried at St. Michan's church on the 29th December, 1698. At this church, presumably after the marriage of his sister to Mr. Tighe, the Tighes and the Lovetts shared a burial vault. The strange preservative properties of the vaults there are well known; and among subsequent generations of the two families there was the saying that the Tighe bodies could be recognised by their long noses nad the Lovetts by their long jaws.
John Lovett, whose struggles with the British Excise authorities over the duties on silk tapestries have already been told, was evidently a man of considerable business capacity. On his death he is shown possessed of large property in Dublin, and was associated with commercial undertakings. After his first wife's death he continued to visit their relations in Buckinghamshire. Her sister had married the Reverend William Butterfield, Vicar of Claydon, and in 1703 Colonel John approached Sir John Verney of Claydon House, who was on the point of being created Lord Fermanagh in the Barony of Ireland, with the request that he might marry his eldest daughter, Mary. (8) There was considerable
difficulty in obtaining consent, and there is a certain hunour in finding that Sir John, while entirely willing to become a baron of Ireland, was very unwilling that his daughter should marry "a Mr. Lovett out of Iorland," as he writes. Although Colonel John Lovett was at that time Member for Philipstown in the Irish Parliament, and was residing at Killruddery (of which he had a lease for the life of the then Earl of Meath), Sir John was very doubtful whether his financial position was such that he ought to allow the daughter of Lord Fermanagh to become the Hon. Mrs. John Lovett. In the many letters exchanges considerable asperity was shown on both sides, but it gradually softened, no doubt, because of letters from Verney relations in Dublin and London who greatly favoured the match. One, Ralph Palmer, writes from London: "I did inquire of one, a person of very good estate here, and Ireland alsoe, that gives him a very good character, a man in good esteem and a very good man and has a good estate alsoe." A cousin Mary Lloyd, writes: "I'me no stranger to Coll. Lovett, and do really think him a man of great vallew, if we may depend upon anything. I can say his Principles of honesty and honour are without exception, his temper treuly good and Generous, see that my Cousin may be very secure. Whenever she gives herself to him, she puts herself into the hands of a Gentln, that in all respects will certainly use her extremely well...I'me very particularly acquainted with several of his family...so that when a woman puts herself into such a family she has very little to fear." ...The Colonel's own letters justify these accounts by their good temper, courtesy and frankness. One charming sentence may be quoted: writing in July, 1702, he says "When it shall please Sir John Verney Bart., to bestow on me his daughter Mrs. Mary Verney, I will receive her with all the Respect, Vallue and gratitude Imaginable."
There exists a meticulous account of the cost of the wedding trousseau, in Lord Fermanagh's handwriting. The total expenditure "besides a Wedding Cake & Sweetmeats etc." was £154 10S,. an amount which would have purchased very much more then than it would to-day. The wedding took place at St. Giles' church in London on the 20th July 1703. The happy couple seem to have gone to Claydon House immediately for the honeymoon, and the letters show that they reached Holyhead on the 6th September in the same year. The Colonel's letter from Holyhead on that date is worth quoting in reference to travel conditions of those days. It is addressed to her mother: ----
We gave Ladyship an account of our getting well to Chester on Friday night. At Saturday at 3 o'clock we left for this place. We lay at Holywell
ye night. Yesterday morning we breakfasted with Sir John Conaroy where we were very kindly and handsomely met. And lay last night at Bangor and this day came here very well and to-morrow hope to go to Dublin which place ye shall hear from us...and she is very much tired and is going to bed--but she will here trouble for to tell you how much she is as I am.Honrd. MadamYour dutyful Son and Servt.John Lovett."
Mary Lovett tells, in a long letter dated September 18th, 1703, of her arrival in Dublin that same day:
"About 6 of ye clock in ye morning when Ned Lovett (her new brother-in-law) and his niece Fitchgarel met me in Dick Tighe's Coach and brought me to lady Knox's house...We had a very good passage for we were over in about 8 hours but we lay still in the night which made us the worse for then the ship tosses, mightily about for ye wind was very high. Mrs. Tempest, Cousin Loyd, and severall others came to meet us when ye yacht came in...I have had my Mother Lovett and others with me to-day,...and my Cousin Coote sent her man to me...I hope in my next to give you some account of how I like this place but what I have seen of it is very pretty...I beg I may hear often from my dear friends at Claydon whom I every hour wish with me and then I should be the happiest woman in this world...I assure you the journey is nothing if the mind be good...We fared very well on our journey. We bought salmon 3/4 yard long for 6 pence and souls [sic] half a yard for 3 pence...I beg mine and my deare's duty may be accepted by you---and pray believe me to be what I always was and will be to my last breathYr. obedient Servt. to CommandMary Lovett
Lord Fermanagh settled on his daughter £5,000, which was invested by Colonel Lovett, with the concurrence of his father- in-law, in a curious but interesting manner. Winstanley's Lighthouse on the Eddystone Rock was blown down in November, 1703, and Colonel John Lovett conceived the idea of erecting another. His motives were not purely philanthropic, for the scheme was that Lord Fermanagh, who represented Wendover in Parliament, should get an Act passed providing that he who should erect a lighthouse on the Eddystone Rock should receive a royalty of a penny a ton on all ships passing to ports on the south coast. When the Act had been secured, Colonel Lovett undertook to get the lighthouse erected at his own charges. In its erection he invested his wife's dowry. He employed an architect John Rudyerd, an old friend of his, a silk merchant in Ludgate Hill. The lighthouse took five years to erect, and every winter caused grave anxiety lest storms should destroy so much of it as had been completed. This second lighthouse has always been called Rudyerd's, though the family correspondence about it makes it very evident that it would be more correctly known as "Lovett's Lighthouse." When it was finished there was great
family rejoicing, and a special Te Deum was sung in Claydon church. Colonel John Lovett had three pictures of it painted one of which is still at Claydon House, another is in the possession of a member of the Lovett family, and the third was given to Trinity House, London, where it perished in a fire in 1794.
In 1710 Colonel John Lovett came to England and rode round the coast, visiting the collectors from Sheerness to Falmouth. Letters written during this ride are dated from "Brighthelmstone" (Brighton), Portsmouth and Plymouth. He then visited for a few days his cousin Robert Lovett in his little property near Barnstaple; from thence he rode back to London. The tour seems to have been too exhausting, for shortly after he returned to his wife in London he fell ill, and his wife writes to her father, sadly if quaintly: "I find a great change in my dear and never to be forgotten Mr. Lovett." This letter is dated April 22nd, 1710, and, by the registers at Soulbury, the family burial place in Buckinghamshire, we find that ten days later he was buried there, May 2nd, 1710. The letters of condolence from various members of the family are remarkable. One example may be quoted: Lord Fermanagh, who had been so unwilling to allow the marriage, writes to old "Madam Lovett" in Dublin: "By the death of dear Mr. Lovett I bear a due share of sorrow with you, he being a dutiful son, the kindest of husbands, a loving father and a true friend, all which perfections rarely centre in one man as they did in him for which he is now among the blessed though we are deprived of the happiness of his converse."
It is interesting to find that among John Lovett's interests was what we should to-day call "slum clearance," Shortly after his death a private Bill passed the Dublin Parliament to enable the Trustees under his Will, to give building leases "of part of the Estate late of John Lovett of the freehold messuages of the City of Dublin that "were so decayed and ruinous that the said John Lovett in his lifetime pulled the same down and ordered the rebuilding thereof, but died before the same could be effected." The purpose of the Bill was to enable his executors to let the sites on building leases.
There is a well-authenticated story which it is worth while to tell here. When Parliament was sitting, John Lovett resided in Clancarty House on College Green, directly opposite the Parliament House. On his return from Parliament one night something glittered on the ground. Stooping to see what it was, he found that it was his own ring which he must have dropped as he went out from his house and had not missed. This same ring was given as an engagement-ring by the late Mr. Percival
Lovett of Liscombe; it is still in the possession of his widow. the now wife of Admiral Snagge.
Mrs. Mary Lovett sold her interest in the Lighthouse to a syndicate formed by Rudyerd for £24,000, a price which, I am informed at Trinity House, ws not really adequate, and indeed the widow writes to her father on one occasion her opinion that "Mr. Rudyerd made more out of my dear husband than he made by any of his trading."
It may be of interest to give some indication of the family story subsequent to the death of "Mr. Lovett out of Iorland." By his first marriage he left two sons, Robert and Christopher. The elder, Robert, married his cousing Rebecca Ashe and settled in Queen's County, first at Dromoyle, a part of which remains as a farm-house, and then at Kingswell near Tipperary. He inherited from his father's Elder brother Christopher, but never lived at, the family property at Buckinghamshire. His grandson Jonathan married Sarah Darby, of Leap Castle, Queen's County, sister of Nelson's distinguished Admiral Sir Henry Darby, who fought the Bellerophon at the battle of the Nile. Jonathan Lovett was created a baronet, by George III in 1781. His brother, the Reverend Verney Lovett, D.D., was Vicar Choral of Lismore Cathedral, and was Chaplain to the Prince Regent. He lived much in Dublin, and was a member of the Royal Irish Academy; he was also a bibliophile of sufficient distinction to be recognised as such in booksellers' catalogues at the present day. The sons of these two brothers died without male descendants. Dr. Verney Lovett's daughters are represented to-day by such well-known families in England as the Lovett-Camerons, the Tennyson-d'Eyncourts, the Musgraves and others. (9)
Before telling of Christopher, second son of John's first marriage. it will be convenient to speak of the children of his marriage to Mary Verney. There were two boys. The eldest Verney, was educated at Rugby and Trinity College, Dublin. From the latter it is sad to record that he was "sent down" for some misdemeanor which cannot be known. Perhaps, this is just as well. He then obtained a commission in the 39th Regiment of foot, now the Dorset Regiment; as an ensign he sailed with it when it was the first regiment of the King's Army to serve in India, a fact from which it derives its motto: Primus in India. On account of health he returned to England just before the battle of Plassey; he was shipwrecked on his way home and saved not only himself but a valuable string of pearls, still in this family. He settled in England and became for a short tine Member of Parliament for Wendover as his great grandfather Lord Fermanagh, had been. He frequently visited his relations... (18)
in Ireland and was a general favourite with them, possibly because he was an old bachelor and had amassed by some means a not inconsiderable little fortune, which, however, he left to go with the Buckinghamshire estate. The other boy, John, went into the Navy, and in the War with France, rose to be a Captain. The Admiralty records him as sitting on one or two interesting Court-Martials; but the most interesting trace of him is his letter to his uncle, Earl Verney, dated May 2nd, 1743, when his ship, the Neptune, he was helping to blockade the Spanish Fleet in Toulon harbour. In this letter he says: "Wee still remain here as an embargo on them, and everybody knows well a Waiter's Birth (sic) is not over and above agreeable...The other Day, wee was a little alarmed it being reported the Spanyards was comeing out of their Nest Toulon, and Wee all ready to get Under Sail to receive and give Battle; but alass it was nothing but a Spanysh Puff: the Occasion of the report was, the Spanysh Admirall and all his Ships gott their Topmasts and Yards up as a compliment to Monsieur Mirapois the French General of this Province, he Dining on Board, the Spanish Admirlls Ship."
There is a curious provision in the Wills of these brothers (who both died at Sheen in Surrey) directing that they should be buried in the family vault at Soulbury "as near as possible" to their father Colonel John Lovett's coffin, two guineas for bread to be given to the poor in every town and village through which their coffins should pass. Their mother, having outlived her husband 34 years, was buried in the same vault April 28, 1769, two years before her eldest son Verney.
It is through Christopher, second son of Colonel Lovett's first marriage, that the family has survived to the present time. Christopher having served as apprenticeship to a merchant in Cork received an appointment at the Customs House, Dublin, an interesting fact when one remembers his father's battle with the Customs House of London. He died in 1762. His wife was the daughter of Alexander Cosby of Stradbally. His son Robert, who married Andn Howell of Spring Hill, Dublin, in addition to four sons had a daughter Arabella who married the Rev. Isaac Butt, Rector of Stranorlar, and was, as I ahve always understood, the mother of Isaac Butt, the founder of the Home Rule party.
Christopher Lovett, his son Robert, and his grandson Sackville, were all in the Customs House, the latter becoming Comptroller there. The reader will possibly be interested in something further about Sackville Lovett. He lived at Monkstown House where his fourth son Robert, father of the writer of this paper, was born and brought up, being educated at Trinity
College. Sackville Lovett was a Captain of Yeomanry, and for forty years a Justice of the Peace for Dublin. His association with the Yeomanry led to the following incident. At the time of the troubles in '98 the Dublin to Belfast coach was held up and burned in or near Santry, and Captain Sackvile Lovett one night received instructions to take his troop of yeomanry out to Santry next day and burn the village. He rose very early in the morning and rode out alone to Santry to tell the villagers of the orders which it had become his duty to carry out, and to suggest that they should remove their belongings out of their houses before he came later in the day. Having returned to breakfast, he rode with his yeomanry in the forenoon towards Santry. Before reaching the village he gave orders to his troop to proceed at walking-pace, and galloped on himself to see that the village had been cleared. All that remained in any of the houses was a hen sitting on her eggs in the chimney corner of one small cottage. He carefully removed the hen and the eggs into a hedge nearby and went back to meet his troop just entering the village. He carreid out his orders and then sent the troop home, riding further on some other business. Returning in the evening by the Santry road with the orderly who had remained with him, he saw advancing towards him a crowd of villagers armed with pikes and pitchforks. The orderly protested at his not turning aside to avoid them, but he rode straight towards them. As he approached, the oncomers opened a way for him, and cried to him as he passed: "God send you safe home Mr. Lovett"! On his retiring on a pension in 1834, after his son Robert had taken his degree at Trinity College, he and his family migrated to England. He and his second wife Bridget, daughter of Jonathan Seaver, of Heath Hall, Co. Armagh, both died in Bath in the house of their son Robert who had become Doctor of the parish of Holy Trinity in that city. The sons Robert together with the four sons of one of them, the late William Tuxville Lovett, are now the only male descendants of "Mr. Lovett out of Iorland." The Irish property, as far as the Lovetts are concerned has all disappeared, and the connection with Ireland is now only a cherished memory. The present head of the family, and its 33rd representative, is Sir Verney Lovett, K.C.S.I., who has a distinguished record of service in India. The third son is the writer of this paper, now Bishop of Salisbury, whose inherited affection for Ireland, more especially for Dublin, has enabled him to put before the Old Dublin Society the story of his family's connection with that City.