John Cole, 2nd Earl of Enniskillen

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John Willoughby Cole, 2nd Earl of Enniskillen

Birthdate: (72)
Birthplace: Enniskillen, Fermanagh, Ireland
Death: March 31, 1840 (72)
Florence Court, Enniskillen, Fermanagh, Ireland
Place of Burial: Fermanagh, Ireland
Immediate Family:

Son of William Willoughby Cole, 1st Earl of Enniskillen and Anne Cole
Husband of Lady Charlotte Cole, Countess of Inniskillen
Father of Henrietta Frances de Grey, Countess de Grey and William Willoughby Cole, 3rd Earl Of Enniskillen
Brother of Lady Sarah Elizabeth Cole; Elizabeth Anne Magenis; General Sir Galbraith Lowry Cole, GCB; Anne Cole; William Montgomery Cole and 4 others

Managed by: Jason Scott Wills
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About John Cole, 2nd Earl of Enniskillen


Notes: John Willoughby Cole, 2nd Earl of Enniskillen succeeded to the title of 3rd Baron Mountflorence of Florence Court, co. Fermanagh [I., 1760] on 22 May 1803. He succeeded to the title of 2nd Viscount Enniskillen, co. Fermanagh [I., 1776] on 22 May 1803. He succeeded to the title of 2nd Earl of Enniskillen [I., 1789] on 22 May 1803. He was created 1st Baron Grinstead, of Grinstead, co. Wilts [U.K.] on 11 August 1815. He held the office of Lord-Lieutenant of County Fermanagh. He held the office of Custos Rotulorum of County Fermanagh. He was invested as a Knight, Order of St. Patrick (K.P.). He held the office of Representative Peer [Ireland].

The Gentleman's Magazine - 1840 Obituary The Earl Of Enniskillen. March 31. At Florence Court, co. Fermanagh, in his 72d year, the Right Hon. John Willoughby Cole, second Earl of Enniskillen (1789), Viscount Enniskillen (1776), and third Baron Mountflorence, of Florence Court, co. Fermanagh (1760), all titles in the peerage of Ireland; and the first Baron Grinstead of Grinstead, co. Wilts, in that of the United Kingdom; also a Representative Peer for Ireland ; K. P.; Lord Lieutenant and Custos Rotulorum of the county of Fermanagh, &c.

His lordship was born on the 23d March, 1768, the eldest son of William Willoughby the first Earl, by Anne, only daughter of Galbraith Lowry Cole, esq. and sister to the first Earl of Belmore.

He represented the county of Fermanagh in the Parliament of Ireland, and afterwards in that of the United Kingdom, until the death of his father, May 22, 1803. In the same year he raised four bodies of volunteers, viz. the Trillick, the Taugher, the Lurdganderah, and the Callow-hill. On his father's death, or shortly after, he was elected a Representative Peer of Ireland; and on the 11th Aug. 1815, he was created a Peer of the United Kingdom, by the title of Baron Grinstead, of Grinstead, co. Wilts. He was nominated a Knight of St. Patrick in 1814.

The Earl of Enniskillen was exceedingly popular in his own country; and nothing could exceed the terms of regret in which his loss is lamented by several of the Irish papers. His body was interred in the family vault underneath Erne church, on Monday the 13th of April, attended by his two sons, the present Earl, and the Hon. John Cole; and his two brothers, Gen. Sir Lowry Cole, and the Hon. Henry Arthur Cole; his brothers in law Mr. Townley Balfour and Mr. Owen Wynne, of Haslewood, and other relatives. The service was read by the Hon. and Rev. J. C. Maude.

His lordship married, Oct. 15, 1805, Lady Charlotte Paget, fourth daughter of Henry first Earl of Uxbridge, and sister to the Marquess of Anglesey, K.G., and by that lady, who died on the 26th Jan. 1817, he had issue three sons who survive him, besides another son and one daughter who are deceased. Their names arc as follow:

1. the Right Hon. William Willoughby now Earl of Enniskillen, late M.P. in the present Parliament for the county of Fermanagh; he was born in 1807, but is at present unmarried;

2. the Hon. Henry Arthur Cole, Capt. 7th Dragoons, Colonel of the Fermanagh Militia, and M.P. for Enniskillen; b. 14 February 1809.

3. Lady Jane-Anne-Louisa Florence, 27 July 1811 and who died 23 March 1831, in her 20th year;

4. the Hon. John Cole, born 8 June 1813; and:

5. the Hon. Lowry-Balfour, born 6 June 1815 and who died 22 January 1818, in his third year.


The 1st Earl was succeeded by his eldest son, John Willoughby, the 2nd Earl, who had also been active on the government side in and before the 1798 rebellion. He served under his father, whom he succeeded as Colonel, in the Fermanagh Militia, and he raised the Clanawley Yeomanry out of the tenantry of the family estate. Alluding to Lord Cole's high opinion of his own military prowess, the witty 2nd Earl of Shannon remarked: '... Cole talks like the great Bonaparte of Fermanagh'. Earlier, Lord Shannon had described a meeting of officers of yeomanry corps, at which '... Cole made a great figure in the debate, not only by the strength of his lungs, but the frequency of his orations. ...'

Lord Cole was MP for Co. Fermanagh, 1790-1803, in first the Irish Parliament and then the Parliament of the United Kingdom. He opposed the Union in 1799-1800, but in a manner which a leading government supporter described as '... manly, good humoured, ... [in a] professedly loyal style of opposition, and sincere, I am sure, on his side...'. His reconciliation with the post-Union government was as rapid as his father's. Writing to Dublin Castle in October 1802 to solicit some provision for his uncle, Arthur Cole Hamilton, in lieu of the office from which Cole Hamilton had been dismissed 'on the Union question', Lord Cole observed, somewhat arrogantly: '... I thought all Union jobs were now over, and that they [the government ] would fulfil their promises to a family who had always supported them from pure motives and were staunch to the King's government when others now taken notice of were the contrary ...' Although the seats for Enniskillen were sold between 1802 and 1812, Lord Cole/the 2nd Earl made sure that he obtained credit for selling them to government supporters, and he could also claim credit for the support given by his brother, Colonel, later General, the Hon. Galbraith Lowry Cole, as MP for Co. Fermanagh. The 2nd Earl was in consequence created Baron Grinstead in the peerage of the U.K. in 1815. He was Governor (from 1831 Lieutenant) of Co. Fermanagh from his succession in 1803 to his death in 1840.

He possessed to the full the Cole characteristic of 'intrepidity'. In 1829, he confronted an immense gathering of between 500 and 2,000 men, many of them Ribbonmen and armed, who had assembled in the mountains between Florence Court and Swanlinbar . He '... besought them to disperse and return peaceably to their respective homes; he told them he had been a good landlord, that he never turned out a man from his estate on account of his religious belief, and that they knew he was a friend of the poor. The people assembled were quite pleased with his Lordship's address, and said they would do as he desired: ... all they requested of him was to prevent the Orange procession through the county on that day ... . Lord Enniskillen agreed to these terms ...'. Even by such a hostile commentator as Daniel O'Connell, he was described as 'that rare good thing in Ireland, a resident nobleman, spending his income amongst his own tenantry'.

He married a sister of the 1st Marquess of Anglesey (of Battle of Waterloo fame), and her death, comparatively young, in 1817 seems to have affected him deeply. Later in that year it was observed that '... Lord Enniskillen's domestic misfortune, ... by causing a temporary distaste to public affairs, [has] left the county destitute of its usual example and in want of salutary influence. ...' His own brother noted in 1834, at the time of a Co. Fermanagh by-election when Lord Enniskillen had been completely confused as to what engagements he had entered into, '... The truth is, E.'s memory is much injured and ... he is nervous and altered. ...' He died in 1840.

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John Cole, 2nd Earl of Enniskillen's Timeline

March 23, 1768
Enniskillen, Fermanagh, Ireland
June 22, 1784
Age 16
Enniskillen, Fermanagh, Ireland
January 25, 1807
Age 38
London, , , England
March 31, 1840
Age 72
Florence Court, Enniskillen, Fermanagh, Ireland
April 13, 1840
Age 72
Fermanagh, Ireland