Rt. Rev. Hon. Richard Ponsonby

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About Rt. Rev. Hon. Richard Ponsonby


The Rt. Rev. and Hon. Richard Ponsonby (1772–1853) was an Irish clergyman who held high office in the Church of Ireland.


He was born at Dublin in 1772, the third son of William Ponsonby, 1st Baron Ponsonby of Imokilly and Louisa Molesworth. He was educated at Kilkenny College, and at the University of Dublin, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1794, and Master of Arts in 1816.

During 1795, he was ordained deacon on 1 March and priest on 27 November, and was installed prebendary of Tipper in St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin on 2 December. He succeeded by patent to the precentorship of St. Patrick's on 25 July 1806, and dean on 3 June 1817. Ponsonby was elevated the episcopate when he was consecrated bishop of Killaloe and Kilfenora on 16 March 1828, and was translated to Derry on 21 September 1831. Under the Church Temporalities (Ireland) Act 1833, he became bishop of Derry and Raphoe on 5 September 1834 when the two dioceses were united. He was president of the Church Education Society, and died at the Episcopal palace in Derry on 27 October 1853.

He married, in 1804, his cousin Frances, second daughter of The Rt Hon. John Staples. She died on 15 December 1858, having had a son, William Brabazon, fourth and last Baron Ponsonby of Imokilly, who died on board his yacht, the Lufra, off Plymouth, on 10 September 1866. The couple also has four daughters, Harriet, Elizabeth, Frances and Emily. Frances and Emily kept an interesting joint diary, of which the surviving fragments were published in the 1970s, recording their impressions of Donegal in 1837, when they accompanied their father on his visitation.

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