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Earl of Donegall

Marquess of Donegall is a title in the Peerage of Ireland held by the head of the Chichester family, originally from Devon, England. Sir John Chichester sat as a Member of Parliament and was High Sheriff of Devon in 1557. One of his sons, Sir Arthur Chichester, was Lord Deputy of Ireland from 1604 to 1615. In 1613 he was raised to the Peerage of Ireland as Baron Chichester, of Belfast in County Antrim. He died childless in 1625 when the barony became extinct. However, in the same year the Chichester title was revived in favour of his younger brother, Edward Chichester, who was made Baron Chichester, of Belfast in the County of Antrim, and Viscount Chichester, of Carrickfergus in County Antrim. Both titles are in the Peerage of Ireland. He was succeeded by his eldest son, the second Viscount. A distinguished soldier, he was created Earl of Donegall in the Peerage of Ireland in 1647 (one year before he succeeded his father), with remainder to the heirs male of his father.[1]

He died without male issue and was succeeded (in the earldom according to the special remainder) by his nephew Arthur Chichester, the second Earl. He was the eldest son of Lieutenant-Colonel John Chichester, second son of the first Viscount. Lord Donegall had previously represented Donegal County in the Irish House of Commons. His eldest son, the third Earl, was a Major-General in the Spanish army and fought in the War of the Spanish Succession. He was killed in action in 1706. His eldest son, the fourth Earl, died childless and was succeeded by his nephew, the fifth Earl. He was the son of the Hon. John Chichester, younger son of the third Earl. Lord Donegall was created Baron Fisherwick, of Fisherwick in the County of Stafford, in the Peerage of Great Britain in 1790, and one year later he was further honoured when he was made Earl of Belfast and Marquess of Donegall in the Peerage of Ireland.[1]

His grandson, the third Marquess, served as Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard under Lord John Russell between 1848 and 1852. In 1841, three years before he succeeded his father in the marquessate, he was created Baron Ennishowen and Carrickfergus, of Ennishowen in the County of Donegal and of Carrickfergus in the County of Antrim, in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. Both his sons predeceased him and on his death in 1883 the barony of 1841 became extinct. He was succeeded in his other titles by his younger brother, the fourth Marquess. On the death of his grandson, the sixth Marquess, in 1975, the line of the second Marquess failed. The late Marquess was succeeded by his kinsman the fifth Baron Templemore (see below), who became the seventh Marquess. As of 2010 the titles are held by the latter's son, the eighth Marquess, who succeeded in 2007.[1]

Several other members of the Chichester family have also gained distinction. John Chichester, grandson of Sir John Chichester, brother of the first Baron Chichester and the first Viscount Chichester, was created a baronet in 1641 (see Chichester baronets). John Chichester, second son of the first Viscount and father of the second Earl, represented Dungannon in the Irish House of Commons. For the branch of the family founded by John Chichester's younger son and namesake, John Chichester, see Baron O'Neill and Baron Rathcavan. Arthur Chichester, eldest son of Lord Spencer Chichester, second son of the first Marquess, was created Baron Templemore in 1831. Lord Arthur Chichester, fourth son of the second Marquess, and Lord John Chichester, sixth son of the second Marquess, both represented Belfast in Parliament. Robert Chichester, eldest son of Lord Adolphus Chichester, youngest son of the fourth Marquess, briefly represented Londonderry South in Parliament. His wife Dehra was also a politician while their daughter Marion Caroline Dehra was the mother of politicians James Chichester-Clark, Baron Moyola, and Sir Robin Chichester-Clark and of gardening writer and television presenter Penelope Hobhouse.[1]

The County in Ireland from which the title is derived is now spelt Donegal. Several locations in Belfast are named after the family, including Donegall Square, Donegall Road, Donegall Arcade, Chichester Street and Chichester Park.

The family seat was Dunbrody House, near Arthurstown, County Wexford in the Republic of Ireland, which now serves as a luxury hotel and restaurant.

Viscounts Chichester (1625)

Earls of Donegal (1647)

Marquesses of Donegall (1791)

The heir apparent is the present holder's son James Chichester, Earl of Belfast, (comedian, b. 1990)

See also


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