William Willoughby Cole, 1st Earl of Enniskillen (1736 - 1803)

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Birthplace: Florence Court, Enniskillen, Fermanagh, Ireland
Death: Died in Rosses Point, Sligo, Sligo, Ireland
Managed by: Kevin Lawrence Hanit
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About William Willoughby Cole, 1st Earl of Enniskillen


William Willoughby Cole, 1st Earl of Enniskillen was born before 1748. He was the son of John Cole, 1st Baron Mountflorence of Florence Court and Elizabeth Montgomery. He married Anne Lowry-Corry, daughter of Galbraith Lowry-Corry and Sarah Corry, on 3 November 1763. He died on 22 May 1803.

William Willoughby Cole, 1st Earl of Enniskillen succeeded to the title of 2nd Baron Mountflorence of Florence Court, co. Fermanagh [I., 1760] on 30 November 1767. He succeeded to the title of 1st Viscount Enniskillen, co. Fermanagh [Ireland] on 20 July 1776. He was created 1st Earl of Enniskillen [Ireland] on 18 August 1789.

The 1st Earl of Enniskillen

The 2nd Lord Mount Florence had been MP for Enniskillen, 1761-1767. Following his succession to the barony of Mount Florence in the latter year, his promotion in the peerage was rapid. In 1776 he was created Viscount Enniskillen; and in 1789 he was advanced to the Earldom of Enniskillen. These promotions were undoubtedly due to his political support of the government of the time, and to his influence as patron of the two-member constituency of Enniskillen and in the county constituency of Fermanagh. He and was once described - with absurd hyperbole - as 'the only }true friend of the English government [in Ireland]'.

He also had a reputation for 'great spirit and intrepidity', and was quite capable of asserting his independence. At the famous Dungannon Convention of mid-February 1782 he headed the list, as the only peer who was a signatory, of the representatives of the 143 Volunteer Corps from Ulster who subscribed heady resolutions in favour of an autonomous Irish parliament. In the following year, his younger brother, the Hon. Arthur Cole Hamilton of Skea, Co. Fermanagh, who was also prominent in the Volunteer movement, was elected for the county on a decidedly Volunteer ticket. On matters which he deemed a threat to the Protestant Constitution in Church and State, Lord Enniskillen was also prepared to oppose the government, for example when the Lord Lieutenant, Lord Fitzwilliam, was on the point of introducing a Catholic Emancipation Bill early in 1795. In September 1793, he had marched his regiment, the Fermanagh Militia, through Lisburn, Co. Antrim, with their fifes playing 'The Protestant Boys'. In common with most supporters of the Protestant Ascendancy and in line with Co. Fermanagh sentiment in general, he and all his family connections opposed the Union between Great Britain and Ireland in 1799 and 1800.

His last years were clouded by an excess of zeal in the aftermath of the 1798 Rebellion, in which he served as Colonel of the Fermanagh Militia: he presided over a court martial which acquitted one Hugh Whollaghan (or Woolaghan), a private in the Mount Kennedy Yeomanry, Co. Wicklow, of what appears to have been a murder in cold blood, and the sentence of the court martial was overturned by the Lord Lieutenant himself, and Lord Enniskillen heavily censured. However, well before his death in 1803, indeed by February 1800, he was back in favour at Dublin Castle. His last years were also clouded by financial difficulties, to which the last building phase at Florence Court must have materially contributed. In 1802, according to Dublin Castle, he was 'much distressed'. But this distress must have been greatly relieved by the sale of the Ranelagh estate in Co. Waterford, and also by the sale of the remaining post-Union seat for Enniskillen, at £5,000 per return, at the general elections of 1802, 1806 and 1807.

In the 1st Earl of Enniskillen's time - and not unconnected with his financial difficulties - one major subtraction from, and one major addition to, the Cole estate in Co. Fermanagh took place. The subtraction was almost entirely from the barony of Magheraboy estate. In 1780, the 1st Earl's already-mentioned younger brother, the Hon. Arthur Cole of Skea, married Letitia, daughter and heiress of the late Claudius Hamilton of Beltrim, Co. Tyrone. In view of his wife's great inheritance, he double-barrelled his name to Cole Hamilton, and for the same reason he was probably provided for with extra generosity by the 1st Earl; with the result that some urban property in Enniskillen and c.45 townlands north of Enniskillen in the barony of Magheraboy (and a few in Clanawley) were made over to Arthur Cole Hamilton as an appenage. This whole property was sold soon after his death in 1810, by which time it had a rental of £1,252 a year.

The Gentleman's and London Magazine: or Monthly Chronologer, 1741-1794 - 1788

The right honourable William Willoughby Cole, lord viscount Enniskillen of Enniskillen, and baron Mount Florence, of Florence-Court, in the county of Fermanagh, was bom March 12th, 1736, and succeeded his father John as baron Mount Florence, the 6th of January, 1768, and his majesty was pleased to advance him in the peerage by letters patent, dated 20th of July, 1776, to the dignity of viscount Enniskillen of Enniskillen, to him and his heirs, male; his lordship married, November 3d, 1763, Miss Anne Lowry Corry, daughter of the late Galbraith Lowry Corry, Esq; and sister to the present lord Belmore, by whom he has issue, viz.

1st, son, John Willoughby, born 23d March, 1768. 2d, Galbraith Lowry, born 1st of May, 1772, a cornet in the 12th regiment of dragoons 3d, William Montgomery, born 14th of October, 1773. 4th, Arthur, born 28th of June, 1780. 5th, Henry. 1st daughter, Sarah, born 1st of September, 1764. 2d, Elizabeth Anne, born 8th of August, 1765, married, September, 1788, to captain Magennis, son of Richard Magennis, of Dominick-street, esq; 3d, Anne, born 14th of September, 1769. 4th, Florence, born 14th of May, 1778. 5th, Henrietta Frances, born in June, 1784.

-------------------- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Willoughby_Cole,_1st_Earl_of_Enniskillen

William Willoughby Cole, 1st Earl of Enniskillen (1 March 1736 – 22 May 1803), styled The Honourable from 1760 to 1767, then known as Lord Mountflorence to 1776 and as Viscount Enniskillen to 1789, was an Irish peer and politician.

Enniskillen was the son of John Cole, 1st Baron Mountflorence. He represented Enniskillen in the Irish House of Commons from 1761 to 1767, when he succeeded his father as second Baron Mountflorence and took his seat in the Irish House of Lords. In 1776 he was created Viscount Enniskillen and in 1789 he was even further honoured when he was made Earl of Enniskillen. Both these titles were in the Peerage of Ireland. Lord Enniskillen died in May 1803, aged 67, and was succeeded in his titles by his son John.

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William Willoughby Cole, 1st Earl of Enniskillen's Timeline

March 12, 1736
Enniskillen, Fermanagh, Ireland
November 3, 1763
Age 27
September 1, 1764
Age 28
Age 28
March 23, 1768
Age 32
Rhos-y-bol, Isle of Anglesey, United Kingdom
Age 32
May 1, 1772
Age 36
Dublin, Dublin City, Dublin, Ireland
Age 36
Age 43
June 22, 1784
Age 48