ANNESLEY, William Richard, Visct. Glerawly (1772-1838), of Castlewellan, co. Down.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



9 Mar. 1815 - 1820

Family and Education

b. 16 July 1772, 1st s. of Richard, 2nd Earl of Annesley [I], by Ann, da. and h. of Robert Lambert of Dunlady. educ. Dr Thompson’s sch. Kensington; Trinity, Dublin 1789. m. (1) 19 May 1803 (dissolved 8 June 1821), Lady Isabella St. Lawrence (d. Apr. 1827), da. of William, 2nd Earl of Howth [I], 1da.; (2) 15 July 1828, Priscilla Cecilia, da. of Hugh Moore of Eglantine House, co. Down, 6s. suc. fa. as 3rd Earl of Annesley [I] 9 Nov. 1824.

Offices Held

Sheriff, co. Down 1822-3.

Capt. Castlewellan inf. 1817.


When Viscount Glerawly declared himself a candidate for Downpatrick on a vacancy in 1815, one of his potential rivals John Wilson Croker thought little of his prospects: ‘he has no interest of character or property in the town’, so he informed the chief secretary, and dismissed him as an ‘odd sort of man’, unlikely to support ministers.1 As the son of a substantial Down landowner by an heiress worth £15,000 per annum, he was prepared to spend £4,000 on his election and to sleep only four or five hours a night for five weeks to secure it.2 He complained that government supported his rival without evidence to justify this view, and made much of his ‘liberal sentiments’ which did not permit of his taking sides as between Protestant and Catholic in his constituency: ‘What a melancholy thing it is to see a fine race of people in a fertile country suffering from such infatuation’ was his comment. His arrival at Westminster was delayed by assize and private business and he relied on William Fitzgerald to procrastinate the petition against his return, April 1815.3 On 30 May 1815, however, he voted for the Catholic claims, as also on 9 May 1817 and 3 May 1819. He informed Peel, despite a vote for it on 18 Mar. 1816, that he thought the property tax ‘a question which an Irishman ought not to vote upon’.4 He appeared in the government majorities on Admiralty salaries, 17 and 25 Feb. 1817, as also in favour of the suspension of habeas corpus, 23 June, and questions arising out of it, 10, 11 Feb. 1818.

In 1818 he survived another contest, despite the disadvantage of his being, as he informed Peel, ‘so circumstanced that Versailles is my residence’. Castlereagh thought he might second the address, but he was not chosen.5 On 25 Jan. 1819 he spoke in criticism of transporting criminals to Botany Bay and next day championed government efforts to reduce the national debt, which would have gone much further with the aid of the income tax. He was in the minority against the Irish window tax, 5 May, and in the majority against Tierney’s censure motion, 18 May 1819. In June his wife eloped from him at Versailles and, in the midst of divorce proceedings, he did not persevere in seeking re-election at Downpatrick in 1820. He died 25 Aug. 1838.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: P. J. Jupp


  • 1. Add. 40183, ff. 251, 261. Lady Erroll alleged that Glerawly ‘was once in Willis’s care’, Festing, J. H. Frere and his Friends, 177.
  • 2. Add. 40183, ff. 106, 108; NLI mss 7838, p. 211, Glerawly to Fitzgerald, 21 Mar. 1815.
  • 3. Add. 40200, f. 105; NLI mss 7837, p. 167; 7838, p. 211.
  • 4. Add. 40290, f. 116.
  • 5. Add. 40181, f. 307; 40275, f. 250.