North Street, Newry, County Down

North Street, Newry, County Down
North Street, Newry, County Down

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Francis Marsh Wellesley Biddulph [1802-1868]

The eldest son of Francis Biddulph of Vicarstown and Mary Marsh was born in 1802 and christened Francis Marsh Wellesley Biddulph. The origins of the name Wellesley are unclear.  The Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley, of Dangan Castle, had not yet achieved his later fame. The Peninsular Wars began in 1807 and the Battle of Waterloo did not take place until 1815. The Biddulphs were not at this time a military family, that came later, and his mother’s father, Francis Marsh, was a barrister.
There appears to be, however, a tenuous connection between the Biddulphs and the Wellesleys. Nicholas Biddulph of Rathrobin and Fortal had married Patience Colley, daughter of Thomas Colley, in 1736.  Nicholas Biddulph and Francis Harrison Biddulph of Vicarstown were 1st cousins once removed.
Richard Colley of Castle Carbury, changed his name to Wesley when he inherited Dangan Castle, Trim, County Meath, from his cousin Garret Wesley in 1728. The name later became Wellesley, and Richard became the grandfather of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington. What is not known is whether Thomas Colley, the father of Patience, and Richard Colley, were related.
This connection must remain speculative until it is further researched.

Francis attended Trinity College Dublin in 1821.
He married Lucy Bickerstaffe in 1845.
On the 2d inst., at St. Bride’s church, Liverpool, by the Rev. H. Stewart, M.A., Francis M. Biddulph, Esq., of Rathrobbin Castle, King’s County, Ireland, to Lucy, second daughter of the late Robert Bickerstaff, Esq., formerly of Preston, in the County Of Lancaster.
They had seven children.
Annie Adela Waller Biddulph was born on the 25th March 1847. Annie was married twice. Her first husband was John Willcocks of Chapelizod, County Dublin. They had three children. John died in 1918, and Annie remarried John Ouseley Bonsall Murphy. She died in 1926 and is buried in the Willcocks family plot in Chapelizod.
Francis Biddulph was born and died an infant in 1848.
Middleton Westenra Biddulph was born on the 17th August 1849.  He married Vera Josephine Flower in St. Luke, Chelsea, in 1891. They had no children. Middleton rebuilt Rathrobin. He too died in 1826.
Assheton Biddulph was born on the 12th of October 1850. He married Florence Caroline Boothby, and they lived in Moneyguyneen near Birr. They had five children.
Franc Digby Biddulph was born on the 22nd April 1853. He married Louisa Maria Susannah Rossborough-Colclough, of Tintern Abbey, New Ross, County Wexford, and took the Colclough name. They had two children.
Gertrude Louisa Biddulph was born on the 22nd September 1856. She too was married twice. She married George Carpenter Anderson in 1879, and they had five children. George died in 1887. She subsequently married Dr. Nevill Potow Cadell and they had one son, Assheton Biddulph Cadell, who died at Ypres in 1916. Gertrude died in Sussex in 1945.
Florence Biddulph. Of whom nothing is known.

In 1841 there was an attempt on the life of Francis Marsh Biddulph. Mr. Biddulph had ejected two of his tenants, related to the prisoners, Michael Doherty and Michael Colgan, who were on trial for their lives charged with attempted murder. Both were young men. Two previous trials had failed to reach a result. At the third trial Michael Colgan was described as ‘respectably dressed in a blue coat, light waistcoat, and a blue scarf.’ Michael Doherty ‘wore the ordinary attire of a decent countryman.
The two men were acquitted, and Francis Biddulph was himself suspended from his position as a local magistrate, as he had advised the prisoners to flee the country and so escape justice. The trial, known as The Biddulph Case, was covered extensively in the newspapers and would repay further investigation.

Francis died in 1868 and was buried in Ballyboy, County Offaly. His tombstone was recorded as standing in 1998, with the coffin visible.  His wife, Lucy died in England in 1896.
Biddulph - March 27, to the inexpressible grief of his sorrowing wife and family, F.M. Biddulph, Esq., Rathrobbin, King's County, aged 65.

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