TNugents, whose name has become prominent on the Continent of Europe as well i as in England and Ireland, put forward a pedigree which, if proved, places them in point of descent perhaps at the head of the noble families of the United :Kingdom.
In-the reign of Henry H., when part of Ireland became subject to the English Crown, there was certainly one Gu-surr DE NUGENT, who received from Hugh de Lacy, out of . the grant made to that great nobleman by the Crown of the county of Meath, the barony of Dnr.visi, to him and his heirs, . with the appurtenances and towns (except the village of Torrochelache, belonging to the Abbot of Foure), to hold by the service of five knights' fees. So testifies the original grant, which still remains. But though Gilbert de Nugent stands out solidly enough, the pedigree both before and sifter him is less certain. The family pedigree says that Gilbert was the son of Richard, the eldest son of Gilbert de-Nogent, Lord of Nogent-le-Rotrou, in Normandy, ason of Fulke de Bellesme, Lord of the same place, who is said to have accompanied William the Conqueror to England, and to have obtained from.hice a grant of land in that country. This Fulke, again, is said to have been the fourth son (by Adeline de Montfort) of Rotrou de Nogent, 'Count of Perche, Viscount Chateaudun, anciLord of Nogent-le-Rotrou, son.of Geoffrey de Bel- lame, Viscount Chateaudan and Lord of Nogent, son of Warin de Bellesme, Lord of Domfront and Nogent, by Millicent, daughter of Hugh, Viscount Chateaudun. This Warin is said to have been the third son (by Matilda de Domfront) of William de Bellesme, Count d'Alenson and Perche, son of Ivo de Bellesme, Lord of Bellesme, said to have been a powerful noble in Normandy in the time of Richard, the third Duke, and to have died about the year 993. Ivo, again, is said to have been the son of Fulke, Lord of Bellesme, by Robasia, only child of Albert, first Count of Perche, said to have/ died in 930. Such is the pedigree between Count Albert. in the .first half of the tenth century and Gilbert de Nugent in the reign of Henry. II. of England. How much of it is to be relied on we cannot pretend to say. We should not, however, place much reliance on the portion before William de Bellesme, Count d'Alencon and Perche. His sons are men of history. The second son, William, who succeeded his elder brother as Count d'Alencon, and was the elder brother of Warm, Lord of Domfront and Nogent, left a daugh- ter and heiress, Matilda, Countess d'Alencon, who married Roger, Lord of Montgomery, whom the Conqueror. made Earl of Arundel and Shrewsbury, and whose son, Robert de Bellesme (who assumed that name), was the great noble, of atrocious memory, against whom Henry I. of England so long contended in England and Normandy, and who died a broken-spirited cap- tive in Wareham Castle. Supposing the pedigree between Warin de Belleame and Gilbert de Nogent, Lord of Nogent, to be correct, which it not improbably is, there arises the question whether the latter can be safely identified with the grandfather of Gilbert de Nugent. On this (as we possess no evidence) we cannot pretend to pees a judgment. There is one circumstance which tells in favour of this identification. Gilbert de Nugent is -said to have married Rosa, sister of Hugh de Lacy, Lord of .Meath, and we have seen that from this Hugh de Lacy the Nugents first obtained their footing in Ireland. Now Hugh de Lacy was the grandson of Emma de Lacy, daughter and eventually heiress of Walter de Lacy, Lord of Ewyas Lacy, in Herefordshire; and the husband of this Emma is said to have been Hugh, next brother of Gilbert de Nugent, Lord of Nogent, a pedigree which (if correct) would make Gilbert de Nugent and Hugh de Lacy, the Lord of Meath, second cousins, and a connection between them in the Irish expedition and its fruits would be natural and probable.
Presuming, then, that Gilbert de Nugent has a plausible pedigree from William, Count d'Alencon and Perohe, if not from the somewhat apocryphal Count Albert of the tenth century, we find ourselves again at a loss after his death. It is certain that the barony of Delvin, granted him by De Lacy, did descend in his family, but in what manner it is difficult to determine. Accord- ing to one account, Gilbert de Nugent (or Sir Gilbert, as he is styled in the pedigree) leaving no sons, the barony went to his brother, Richard, who leaving a daughter only, this heiress carried the barony into the family of Johnes or; Jones, with whom it con- tinued till the failure of their male line, when a second heiress, Catherine, by her marriage in 1407 with Sir William Nugent, of Balrath, a descendant of Christopher Nugent, another brother of Gilbert de Nugent, the founderrbasught back the estates to the Nugent family. A second pedigree makes the helms of Richard Nugent marry a Richard le Tnit, and have a son, John le Tuit, whose son was called Richard Fitz-John le Tait, whose descendant, John Fitz-John, was the father of the heiress, Catherine, who conveyed the barony of Delvin again by marriage to Sir William Nugent, whom this pedigree makes to be the second son of Nicholas Nugent, of Bracklyn, descended from a Hugh de Nugent, of Bracklyn, son of Fulke de Nugent, an uncle of Gilbert de Nugent, the first Baron of Delvin. And to add to our perplexi- ties, it appears from a patent roll of the twelfth of Richard H., (1389), that William, Baron of Delvin, was then in ward to the King by the name of William Fitz-Richard Nugent, Baron of Delvin; which circumstance, together with his appointments in 1401 and 1402 of Sheriff of the county of Meath, &c., by that title overthrows the account of the manor of Delvin ac- cruing to him by a marriage in 1407, and proves that he not only bore this title nineteen years before, whilst he was under age, but that he very probably succeeded his father, Richard, therein ; while of course it overthrows the Bracklyn pedigree. We are compelled to leave the pedigree in this doubtful and confused state, merely deducing that we have no reliable account of the descent of the barony of Delvin between Gilbert de Nugent, the first Baron, and Sir WILLIAM Frrz- RICHARD Nuaracr, who held it in the reigns of Richard II. and Henry IV. The latter was appointed with others on the 9th of February, 1403, to hold a Parliament in Fours with the peers and free tenants of the baronies of Delvin, Foure, Molyngar, and other neighbouring baronies, for the defence and good government of the Marches. His second son, William Oge Nugent, was ancestor of the family of Moyrath, Baronets. His eldest son, Richard, succeeded as Baron of Delvin, and was active against the native Irish in the reigns of Henry V. and Henry VI., his suc- cesses being repeatedly acknowledged and rewarded with grants of money by the latter King under the style of "our beloved Esquire." He was Sheriff of Meath in 1424, Lord Deputy of Ireland under James, Earl of Ormonde, in 1444, and Seneschal of Meath in 1451. His eldest son, James, who died before him, left a son, Christopher, who succeeded his grandfather, and whose son, Sir Richard Nugent, had summonses to Parliament in the years 1486, 1490, and 1493, and in 1496 was constituted by the Lords Justices and the Council Commander-in-Chief of all the forces destined for the defence of the counties of Dublin, Meath, Kildare, and Louth. Not appearing in answer to his summons to Parliament in 1498, he was fined 40s. In 1504 he accompanied the Earl of Kildare to the battle of Knocktagh or Knocktow, in Connaught, against the Irish, where he much distinguished him- self, being the first to throw a spear into the ranks of the enemy, In 1527 he was appointed Lord Deputy of Ireland, and conducted the Government till in 1528 he was treacherously made prisoner by O'Connor at a conference, and a deputation to remon- strate, headed by Walter Wellesley, of Dangan, having proved useless, another Lord Deputy had to be appointed, and Nugent was kept a prisoner till O'Connor had obtained his object in his reinstatement in an office which had been taken from him by the Government. Sir Richard died on the 28th of February, 1538, at an advanced age, having survived his eldest son, Sir Christopher (a fatality very common in this family), and being succeeded by his grandson, Richard. His second son, Sir Thomas Nugent, was the ancestor of Robert, Earl Nugent, whose daughter and heiress married the second Earl Temple, ancestor of the present Duke of Buckingham. Richard Nugent succeeded his grandfather in the barony of Delvin, &c., when fourteen years of age. He was a ward of Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex, and during his life was actively engaged in contests with the Irish natives. He died December 10, 1559. His eldest son and successor, Sir Christopher, succeeded his father at the age of fifteen. He had a grant in 1563 of the castle and lands of Ballycorbet, in King's County, to him and his heirs male, and was knighted in 1565. 1n1567 he was appointed to command 150 " kerne," ten horsemen, and fifty boys of his own choice, for the extirpation of the °Moores, sons of Ferrol! MacRosse. In 1580, however, he himself fell under suspicion (probably justly) of connivance with the rebels of Leinster, and was sent prisoner to the Tower of London. Being acquitted, however, he was allowed to return to Ireland, and on the 20th of April, 1585, was present at Sir John Perrott's Parliament. On the 30th of September, 1588, he had a grant of the priory of Fours, in county Westmeath. In 1593 he brought twenty horsemen to the muster in the county of West- meath. By Privy Seal, May 7, 1597, he had a grant from the Queen in fee farm of as many forfeited manors and lands in counties Cavan and Longford as should amount to the sum net of 100/. a year English, and a certain command of troops was to be assigned to him. But he dying before this warrant was executed, James L ordered, on the 10th of August, 1603, 60/. per annum in lands to be granted to his widow. He died August 17, 1602. He married a daughter of Gerald, eleventh Earl of Kildare, and was succeeded by his eldest son, Richard. Richard Nugent be- came a party to the conspiracy of the Earls of Tyrone and Tyr- connell to seize the castle of Dublin, cut off the Lord Deputy Chichester and the Council, and establish a government of their own ; but the conspiracy being discovered on the 19th of May 1607, on the 10th of November Nugent was arrested and committed to the castle of Dublin. Hence, by corruption of the Constable, he escaped over the wall on the 21st. He eluded apprehension, but the next year made a voluntary surrender, and was received into favour by the King, obtain- • ing a pardon on the 26th of September, 1608. He sat in the Parliaments of 1613 and 1615, and so recommended him- self to the King's favour, that on the 4th of September, 1621, he was created Earl of Westmeath. He continued to be favoured by Charles I. In the rebellion of 1641 he refused to join the Lords of the Pale when they engaged in it, and consequently was attacked in his house of Clounin, his Countess and her female attendants stripped and shamefully treated, his servants massacred, and his houses and lands laid waste to the value, it was said, of 20,000/. He himself died of the fatigue he suffered on this occa- sion. His eldest son, Christopher, having died before him in 1625, he was succeeded as second Earl of Westmeath by his grand- son, Richard. This nobleman followed Ormonde in his line of politics, became a General of the Irish (Royalist) forces in 1650, and was excepted by the Act of 1652. He had permission, however, to raise forces and enter with them into the Spanish service, and on the 13th of April, 1653, obtained an order to enjoy such of his estates as lay waste and undisposed of and should be planted by him, as well as those he was in possession of, from the 12th of May, 1652, he paying contribution for the same until the Act of Settlement was carried into execution ; and on the 16th of November he was allowed to enjoy a full third of his estates.. After returning from Spain, on information received by the Govern- ment, his person was ordered, on the 6th of August, 1659, to be secured. After the Restoration he had several confirmations of his former estates under the Acts of Settlement. He died in the year 1681. His eldest son, Christopher, dying (after the family fatality) before his father, he was succeeded by his grandson? Richard, third Earl of Westmeath, but he taking upon himself the order of the Capuchins in France, died in April, 1714, and was succeeded by his brother, Thomas, fourth Earl. The new Earl had married at sixteen, and was sent on his travels till the Revo- lution, when engaging in King James's army in Ireland, he was attainted in 1691, but being one of the hostages for the capitulation of Limerick, he managed to make his peace with the Government of King William,and was restored to his honours. His sons died before him, and at his death, at the age of ninety-six, on the 30th of June,. 1752, he was succeeded as fifth Earl of Westmeath by his brother,. John, who died on the 3rd of July, 1754, aged eighty-three, and was- succeeded by his eldest son, Thomas, sixth Earl, who conformed to- the Protestant Church and took his seat in Parliament in 1755. He was a member of the Irish Privy Council and one of the original Knights of St. Patrick, and in 1787 the King granted him a pension of 800/. In 1742 he married Mary, daughter of Walter David Stapleton, of the island of Hispaniola, who brought him a large estate. Her only son by him was killed in a duel in August, 1761. He married, secondly, the daughter and co -heiress of Henry White, Esq., of the .county of Kildare, and dying in 1791,- was succeeded by his son by the second marriage, George Frederick, seventh Earl, who died on the 30th of December, 1814, and was succeeded as eighth Earl by his son, George Thomas John. Nugent, who on the 12th of January, 1822, was raised to the title of Marquis of Westmeath, and is the present Peer. He is little known in politics, except for his strong Evangelical sentiments. In domestic life his career has been far from harmonious, but he has recently married for the third time. His politics are strongly Conservative.
The Nugeuts are a clan rather than a family, the branches being very extensive and numerous. An heiress of one of the branches married into the O'Reilly family, and her descend- ants, assuming the name of Nugent, became Irish Baronets and Counts in the Holy Roman Empire, in the service of the Emperor of Austria, in which they have much distinguished themselves..