Blennerhassett Family Tree
Genealogy one-name study - by Bill Jehan
   Introduction      Connections      de Courcy, Lord Kingsale

Blennerhassett family connection with

a.k.a. LORD KINSALE (from Kinsale, their ancestral seat in Co.Cork)
Baron Kingsale, Baron Courcy of Courcy and Baron Ringrone.
Premier Baron in the Peerage of Ireland

motto:  VINCIT OMNIA VERITAS  -  "truth conquers all things"

Lord Kingsale enjoys the hereditory privilege of
wearing his hat in the royal presence [BP 1938 p.1145]



Susan and Anne Blennerhassett, daughters of Conway Blennerhassett Jr
(of Castle Conway, Killorglin, Co.Kerry, Ireland and of Kinsale, Co.Cork, Ireland)
married brothers Michael & John de Courcy
the sons of John de Courcy, of Kinsale, Co.Cork, 25th (*18th, 20th) Baron Kingsale,
Baron Courcy of Courcy and Baron Ringrone (b.c1717 d.3-Mar-1776).
Susan Blennerhassett (d.13-Dec-1819 Kinsale, Co.Cork)
married the elder son John de Courcy, 26th (*19th, 21st) Baron Kingsale (d.24-May-1822 Cork).
26th Baron according to Burke's Peerage [BP] up to the 105th edition (1960)
*19th Baron according to Burke's Peerage [BP] 106th (1999) and 107th (2003) editions
*21st Baron according to "The Complete Peerage" [TCP vol.7 p.290, note (d)]
Anne Blennerhassett (d.21-Mar-1828 Stoketon House, Saltash, Cornwall)
married the 3rd son Michael de Courcy R.N. (d.22-May-1824 Stoketon House)
Admiral of the Blue (1821-1824) and KTS (Knight of the Portuguese Order of the Tower and the Sword).
Anne and Susan were sisters of Harman Blennerhassett
of Castle Conway and Blennerhassett Island in the Ohio River, West Virginia.


Lord Kingsale 1905
Michael Constantine de Courcy, Lord Kingsale
33rd (*26th, 28th) Baron Kingsale 1895
b.1855 Duncree, Kingstown, Ireland
d.1931 Coffinswell, Devon.
great-grandson of Anne Blennerhassett
and the Hon.Michael de Courcy RN, Admiral of the Blue
"Stoketon House" Saltash, Cornwall
In 1895 Michael de Courcy, tea planter at Assam, India, inherited the family seat, Stoketon House, near Saltash. Built c1770, had come to the family in 1809, purchased by his g.g.father Admiral Michael de Courcy R.N. who rebuilt or completely remodelled the house in Gothic style. Lord Kingsale sold (grade II listed) Stoketon House out of the family in 1901.
Did this house burn down?
"The Grange", Cheltenham.        photo: BJ
 Lord Kingsale 1926
"The Grange" Cheltenham, Gloucestershire
From 1910 to 1924 Lord Kingsale resided at "The Grange", Evesham Road, Marle Hill, Prestbury, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire (located a few yards around the corner from "Dunboyne", home of his 2nd cousin Thomas de Courcy Hamilton VC whose funeral he attended at All Saints, Cheltenham, in 1908). "The Grange" was later (before 1961) sub-divided into four homes.
"Stoketon" Cheltenham
In 1924 Lord Kingsale purchased "Stanley Lodge" (a fine villa built in1863 on Stanley Road, Battledown Hill, as part of the exclusive Battledown Estate development at Charlton Kings, Cheltenham). The previous owner took the name "Stanley Lodge" with him to his new house on Greenhills Road, Charlton Kings, so Lord Kingsale renamed the house "Stoketon" (from his family seat, Stoketon House in Cornwall) residing there with his family until 1928. The subsequent owner in 1929 renamed the house"Avalon".
"Stoketon" (now "Avalon") Cheltenham, from:
"Battledown: The Story of a Victorian Estate"
by David A. O'Connor 1992, p.89 fig.30
(image used with permission)


Michael Constantine de Courcy, 26th Baron Kingsale
Lord Kingsale was from 1874 a tea planter at Assam, India, also director of several tea companies and Managing Director of Moran Tea Co. Ltd, London. In this photograph of 1914 he is on board P&O (Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company) SS "Caledonia", the London to Bombay Mail Service). This fine ship, built by Caird & Company of Greenock, Yard No 273, with engines by "Shipbuilders", was launched in 1894 and worked the London-Bombay Mail Service 1914-1917.
Seated at the table are Mr Blakelock (perhaps Cyprian Blakelock Blakelock) and two ladies, one of whom may be Lord Kingsale's daughter who was travelling with him. These three photographs were taken by Kathleen Davidson (later Mrs Kathleen Hadow), daughter of Samuel Cleland Davidson (1846-1921), also a tea planter in Assam and inventor of tea drying machinery manufactured at the Sirocco Engineering Works in Belfast, Ireland.
NOTE: In 1916 off Marseilles the Caledonia struck two mines but was quickly repaired and put back into service. In 1917 she was commissioned as a troop transport (No. C.6021) in which capacity she carried over 104,000 troops without loss. Broken-up in 1925 after the propeller shaft was found to be cracked. 
photo: courtesy of Wendy Pratt, grand-daughter of Kathleen Davidson Hadow
click on image to enlarge
Lord Kingsale on board SS Caledonia in 1914
extracts from Kathleen Davidson's
diary on board SS Caledonia, 1914
"There is a very nice man sits opposite me at meals, and I had an idea he had something to do with tea, so this morning at breakfast I managed to find out that he was going to Assam to inspect tea gardens and when I asked him if he had any of my father’s Sirocco machines on the gardens he said, 'Are you a daughter of Sam Davidson, who is an old friend of mine?'  He is Lord Kinsale and was de Courcy when he knew you first.  We had a great chat about you and your inventions and also about cousin Jim and cousin Maud.  He was a great admirer of the latter and said she was the most charming and most popular woman in Assam and the kindest. His daughter is with him. Lord Kinsale is very nice and I’m glad he is at our table and that he knows you.  He was telling me that he still has machines running that were put in 22 years ago, and that he sent in a fairly large order just a short time ago.""There was a meeting today to appoint a sports committee, and I was appointed to look after the music and concerts and help in anything that was necessary. There are 3 girls, 4 men and Lord Kingsale as President."

"If there is good news about home rule, Lord Kingsale says we’ll have to have an Irish evening to celebrate the occasion."

"After lunch we had a very amusing game of quoits.  Lord Kingsale and I against Mrs Stevenson and Mr Davidson - the latter is an Assam tea planter and such a comical man, rather Mr Fold’s style.  He has been asked by numerous people if I am his sister, so he generally calls me Sis now! "

"Lord Kingsale sends his salaams to you and hopes he may meet you sometime.  He is one of the most thoughtful men I have ever met, and it has been very nice for me having him next to me at table."
photo: courtesy of Wendy Pratt
click on image to enlarge
photo: courtesy of Wendy Pratt
click on image to enlarge
SS Caledonia at Port Said 1914
SS Caledonia coaling at Port Said 1914


 Lord Kingsale attended St Paul's Church, Cheltenham, serving as Churchwarden 1915-1916.
A wood panel in the church porch, listing all Churchwardens, carries the inscription:


photo: BJ
St Paul's Church, Cheltenham

photo: BJ
click on image to enlarge
click on image to enlarge


Lord Kingsale died 24th January 1931 at Coffinswell, Devon,
his funeral held at St.Paul's Church Cheltenham "with quiet simplicity" ["Gloucestershire Echo" 1931].
interred at Cheltenham Municipal Cemetery in section L, vault 966A, not far from the vault of his 2nd cousin Thomas de Courcy Hamilton, VC

photo: BJ

1932 - 2005
1889 - 1984
1927 - 2000



Succession of title - de Courcy, Lord Kingsale
Baron Kingsale, Baron Courcy of Courcy and Baron Ringrone
Almericus de Courcy (d.1719/20) - 23rd (*16th, 18th) Lord Kingsale
outlawed in 1691 for giving his support to King James II.
succeeded by his cousin (a grandson of Patrick de Courcy, 20th Baron):
Gerald de Courcy (d.1759) - 24th (*17th, 19th) Lord Kingsale 1719/20
succeeded by his cousin (descended from David de Courcy, 4th son of John de Courcy, 18th Baron):
John de Courcy (b.c1717 d.1776) of Kinsale, Co.Cork, Ireland - 25th (*18th, 20th) Lord Kingsale 1759
succeeded by his eldest son:
John de Courcy (d.1822) - 26th (*19th, 21st) Lord Kingsale 1776
who married Susan Blennerhassett (d.1819 Kinsale, Co.Cork)
the elder brother of Michael de Courcy R.N. "Admiral of the Blue",
who married Anne Blennerhassett (d.1828 Stoketon House, Saltash, Cornwall), sister of Susan.
succeeded by his 2nd son:
Rev Thomas de Courcy (b.1774 d.1832) - 27th (*20th, 22nd) Lord Kingsale 1822

no issue, succeeded by his nephew:
John Stapleton de Courcy (b.1805 d.1847) - 28th (*21st, 23rd) Lord Kingsale 1832
succeeded by his son:
John Constantine de Courcy (b.1827-1865) - 29th (*22nd, 24th) Lord Kingsale 1847
no male issue, succeeded by his brother:
Michael Conrad de Courcy (b.1828-1874) - 30th (*23rd, 25th) Lord Kingsale 1865
no issue, succeeded by his cousin:
John Fitzroy de Courcy (b.1821 d.1890) - 31st (*24th, 26th) Lord Kingsale 1874
no issue, succeeded by his cousin:
Michael William de Courcy (b.1822 d.1895) - 32nd (*25th, 27th) Lord Kingsale 1890
of Stoketon House, Saltash, Cornwall.
son of Rev Michael de Courcy DD of Stoketon House (b.1787 d.1860).
g.son of the Hon. Michael de Courcy R.N. "Admiral of the Blue" (d.1828 Stoketon House) & Anne Blennerhassett.
succeeded by his son:
Michael Constantine de Courcy (b.1855 d.1931) - 33rd (*26th, 28th) Lord Kingsale 1895
Tea planter at Assam, India from 1874 and director of several tea companies. Managing Director, Moran Tea Company Ltd., London 1901.
Of "Stoketon House", Saltash (1895-1901) and of "The Grange", Cheltenham (1910-24) and "Stoketon", Battledown, Cheltenham (1924-28)
succeeded by his son:
Capt. (Michael) William Robert de Courcy (b.1882 India, d.1969) - 34th (*27th, 29th) Lord Kingsale 1831
of "Stoketon", Cheltenham (1924-1928).
succeeded by his grandson:
Johnde Courcy (b.1941 d.2005) of Nunney, Somerset - 35th (*28th, 30th) Lord Kingsale 1969
succeeded by his cousin:
(Nevinson) Mark de Courcy (b.1958) of Auckland, New Zealand - 36th (*29th, 31st) Lord Kingsale 2005

Notes on the ancient family de Courcy,Lord Kingsale
Baron Kingsale, Baron Courcy of Courcy and Baron Ringrone
Premier Baron in the peerage of Ireland
with thanks to Tim Powys-Lybbe for the "The Complete Peerage" [TCP] references.
1. The recommended reference work for de Courcy family genealogy is the "The Complete Peerage" (edition of 2000), [TCP vol.7 pp.279-293] for older generations and [TCP vol.14 p.415 Addenda et Corrigenda] for 20th century generations. For earlier periods [TCP] is better researched than is Burke's Peerage [BP].
NOTE: "The Complete Peerage", first published in eight volumes between 1887 and 1898 by George Edward Cokayne (G.E.C.), was replaced by an enlarged edition of12 volumes (v.12 in two parts) published between 1910 and 1959. Vol.13 1940 is a supplement covering changes and additions occurring between 1900 and 1938. A reprint in six volumes was published in 2000, with a new v.14 as an appendix updating to 1995.
2. de Courcy, Baron Kingsale (a.k.a. Kinsale) is the longest surviving hereditory title of any Irish Peerage and as a consequence Lord Kingsale is known as Premier Baron in the Peerage of Ireland.

Tradition has it that the Lords Kinsale enjoy a unique hereditary privilege, said to have been granted to their ancestor John de Courcy, Earl of Ulster by King John (1199-1216), of being permitted to wear their hat when in the King's presence.
[BP 1938 p.1445] tells us that Almericus de Courcy, 23rd (*16th, 18th) Baron Kingsale, in 1682 "claimed and was allowed the privilege of remaining covered in the Royal presence by King William III"; also that Gerald de Courcy, 24th (*17th, 19th) Baron Kingsale, was allowed his hereditory privilege by King George I in 1720 and again by King George II in 1727; and that John de Courcy, 25th (*18th, 19th) Baron Kingsale, was allowed his hereditory privilege by King George III in 1762.
An 1824 newspaper obituary for Admiral Michael de Courcy R.N. tells us that he was "...the third and eldest surviving son of John, the 25th (*18th) Lord Kingsale, Baron Courcy, of Courcy, and Baron Ringrone, premier Baron of the Kingdom of Ireland..." and "...which nobleman, on being presented to his late Majesty (George III, 1760-1820), Sept.15, 1762, had the honour of asserting the ancient privilege of of his family, by wearing his hat in the royal presence, granted to his ancestor, John de Courcy, Earl of Ulster, &c. by John, King of England..." ["The Gentleman's Magazine 1824, vol. XVIV, part I, supplementary issue, pp.640-641].
[The New York Times" 26-Feb-1894] (see right) elaborates: "...It is stated that the Lord Kinsale of the day remained covered in the presence both of George III and his consort. He was rebuked with dignity by the King, "...No doubt you are entitled to remain with your hat on in the presence of your sovereign, but you should be uncovered in the presence of a lady..."
[TCP] is unconvinced, telling us there is no evidence for the Kingsale hat privilege and that it is probably a concoction that no peer ever exercised, only talked about when outside the area of the Royal Court. However there are suggestions that such a privilege is not completely unknown elsewhere, e.g.
a) The same "New York Times" item of 26-Feb-1894 tells us that Lord Kingsale shared the privilege with one other peer, Lord Forrester, whose ancestor "...John Forrester of Watling Street, County Salop, had a grant from King Henry VIII of the privilege of appearing covered in the presence of the King, and the original of that grant is now (1894) in the possession of his descendant, Lord Forrester...".
b) ["Report to the Brown Association, USA, made by Columbus Smith A.D.1868" p.21, Note 3] and ["Family memorials: Genealogies of the families and descendants of the early settlers of Watertown, Massachusetts, including Waltham and Weston; to which is appended the early history of the town" 1860 - BROWNE family, p.119 Note 3] each tell us in identical words:
"This Christopher Browne was Sheriff of Rutlandshire, 8th and 16th Henry VII (1492 and 1500) and 1st Henry VIII (1509). He came over with Henry VII and assisted him against Richard III, for which good service King Henry VIII, on the 6th day of July in the 18th year of his reign, granted to his eldest son Francis Browne, of counsel to Lady Margaret Beaufort (mother of Henry VII) Countess of Richmond and Derby, a patent exempting him from holding the office of Sheriff or Escheater, and authorizing him to appear with his head covered in the presence of the King, his heirs, and successors, and of all great men, lords spiritual and temporal, and all other persons whomsoever of the kingdom" [Fuller's "History of the Worthies of England"].

click on image to view the full obituary
Obituary for Admiral Michael de Courcy in "The Gentleman's Magazine" [GM] 1824,
vol. XVIV, part I, supp. issue, pp.640-641
"New York Times" 26-Feb-1894

4. There is no evidence to support the often repeated tale that the family descend from a de Courcy who came to England from Normandy in 1066 with William "the Conqueror" [TCP vol.7 p.279].
5. The first member of this family about whom anything is on record is Patrick de Courcy, living in 1221 [TCP vol.7 p.280].

6. The first peer was probably Miles de Courcy [TCP vol.7 p.281] although "...there is nothing to indicate whether he became a peer, and, if so, when or how he acquired peerage rank, but possibly circa 1340 he became LORD COURCY of Kinsale..." [TCP vol.7 p.282].
The title Baron Kingsale was not officially confirmed to the family until 1397.
7. The account of the barons previous to the middle of the 16th century, and of their succession, is very unsatisfactory [TCP vol.7 p.280] but the peers appear to be more firmly grounded in historical documents from around 1500 and certainly sat in Irish Parliaments from 1475 [TCP vol.7 pp.283-4]. John de Courcy (who married Susan Blennerhassett) sat in the Irish Parliament of 1777.
8. Older editions of [BP] up to and including the 105th edition (1960) style John de Courcy (who married Susan Blennerhassett) the 26th Baron Kingsale, whereas the 106th (1999) and 107th (2003) editions of [BP] have him 19th Baron, losing seven generations.
The numbering used by [TCP] differs from that used by both old and new editions of [BP], the [TCP] stating that the title Baron Kingsale was not officially confirmed to the family until 1397, hense John de Courcy (who married Susan Blennerhassett) is perhaps more correctly numbered the 21st Baron, although they do state their numbering is based on a few assumptions [TCP vol.7 p.290, note (d)].
For these "Blennerhassett Family Tree" pages the number shown is in the fortmat [BP from 1999] followed in brackets by [BP until 1960] and [TCP], John de Courcy being thus styled as 26th (*19th, 21st) Baron Kingsale.
9. Under the "Union with Ireland" Act of 1800, Ireland ceased to have its own independant Parliament at Dublin. Irish Peers could not sit in the UK House of Lords at Westminster [TCP vol.7 p.287 note (c), p.293 note (b)] but, under the act, 28 members of the Irish peerage were elected to sit in the House of Lords at Westminster as representatives of their class. They were known as "Representative Peers for Ireland" and once elected served for life. When a representative peer died their replacement was chosen by vote of the members of the Irish peerage, Lord Kingsale being recognised as one of those able to vote.
The 32nd (*25th, 27th), 33rd (*26th, 28th), and 34th (*27th, 29th) Barons Kingsale in the Peerage of Ireland each re-established their succession to the Barony of Kingsale and their right to vote at any Elections of Representative Peers for Ireland in 1893, 1896 and 1937 respectively.
No Lord Kingsale was chosen to be a Representative Peer for Ireland, therefore none were invited to sit at Westminster [TCP vol.7 p.291] so the title ceased to have meaning politically, although it remained significant socially and in their community. As with most of the Irish peerages, from 1800 the Lords Kingsale became (much like the hereditory chieftains of gaelic Irish Septs and the Geraldine Knights of Munster*) a memorial to Irish aristocracy, history and tradition, the heads of these ancient families retaining their traditional titles and respect but having no real power or authority.
Peers who were eligible to sit in the UK House of Lords could not be elected Members of Parliament in the House of Commons at Westminster, but Irish Peers not chosen to be Representative Peers were entitled to seek electionto any UK constituency, and many did so.
* the three Geraldine knights are the White Knight (extinct 1611 with the death of Maurice FitzGibbon, 12th Knight), the Knight of Glin or "Black Knight" (extinct 2011 with the sad passing of Desmond FitzGerald, 29th Knight of Glin and a fine man), and the Knight of Kerry or "Green Knight", the title presently held by Adrian FitzGerald, 24th Knight of Kerry.


also interred in Cheltenham Borough cemetery is Lord Kingsale's cousin
Thomas de Courcy Hamilton, VC (born 20-Jul-1825 at Stranraer, Wigtonshire,Scotland, second son of James John Hamilton of Ballymacoll, Co.Meath and Anne Geraldine de Courcy of Kinsale, Co.Cork) was 2nd cousin to Michael Constantinede Courcy (b.1855 d.1931), 33rd Baron Kinsale, on both de Courcy and Blennerhassett sides of his mother's family.
(*33rd Baron according to his gravestone inscription and Burke's Peerage [BP] up to the 105th edition (1960); 26th Baron according to Burke's Peerage [BP] 106th (1999) and 107th (2003) editions; or 28th Baron according to "The Complete Peerage" [TCP vol.7 p.290, note (d)])
This relationship is because:
Lord Kingsale was great-grandson of Michael de Courcy R.N., "Admiral of the Blue", and his wife Anne Blennerhassett.
Thomas de Courcy Hamilton, on his mother's side, was grandson of John de Courcy, 26th (*19th, 21st) Baron Kingsale and his wife Susan Blennerhassett. Michael & John de Courcy were brothers, Anne & Susan Blennerhassett sisters. 

At 331 Lower High Street, Cheltenham (formerly 187 High Street) is an old retail shop, listed as a building of historic interest, where the present owner has preserved in-situ several 19th century painted glass advertising signs relating to a business once trading at these premises. The sign above the shop-front presently reading "KINGSALE AND RETAIL 187" led me to wonder if it was connected to Lord Kingsale residing at Cheltenham, but is not so, the sign originally read "188 BECKINGSALE AND RETAIL 187".
Beckingsales was along-established and well-known Cheltenham Grocer, Provision Merchant and Pork Butcher, trading at 187-188 High Street as "J.Beckingsale (1844 and earlier), Mrs Beckingsale (c1855-1865) or Frederick Beckingsale & Son (c1872-1907). A medieval alley between 187 & 188 was known as "Beckingsale's Passage" until renamed "Normal Terrace" because of the "Normal School" located behind the business. The left-hand portion of the sign reading 188 BEC was above the entrance to that alley - perhaps still there, hidden underneath the modern sign of the adjacent business, or perhaps destroyed. Beckingsales had another shop at 140 High Street (c1877-1891) and others of the family name operated retail businesses in the vicinity.  


Bill Jehan is on LinkedIn 

copyright © 2008-2018 Bill Jehan