THE Irish Hills are certainly descended from MOYSES HILL, an 1. adventurer in Ireland in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, but it is less clear what was the ancestry of this Moyses Hill. Lodge and Archdale in their Peerage assert (without giving any authorities) that he was a younger son of Robert Hill, Esq., of SRILSTON, in the parish of Moodbury, in Devonshire ; but the Devonshire antiquaries make no mention of such a younger son, and the arms of the Irish Hills are entirely different from those of the Hills of Shilston, as well as from those of the Hills of Hills- Court, in the same county, and the Hills of Somersetahire. The founder of the Shilston family was SIR ROBERT HILL, or HULL (these words being used formerly interchangeably), a Justice of the Common Pleas (appointed May 14, 1408) in the reigns of Henry IV., Henry V., and Henry VI. He was one of the judges by whom Richard, Earl of Cambridge (father of Richard, Duke of York), Henry, Lord Scroope, and Sir Thomaa Grey were tried for treason at Southampton and condemned to death, at the com- mencement of the reign of Henry V. "He appears," says Mr. Foss, "to have been a rather free-spoken judge on the Bench. An action was brought against a dyer, who had bound himself not to use his craft for half a year ; upon which Hill said that the bond was void, because the condition was against the common law, add- ing, 'And, by God, if the plaintiff was here, he should go to prison till he paid a fine to the King!' This," observes Mr. Foss, "is perhaps the only instance of an oath on the Bench being reported." The descendants of this plain-spoken judge (in the eighth gene- ration), Robert Hill and his eldest son, Edward, are said to have 'wasted the family estates, and sold Shilston to the Savery family. Robert is said by Sir W. Pole to have had other sons besides Edward, but their names are not given, so that we are left to deal as we best can with the assertion of the Irish pedigree-makers that Moyses Hill was one of them, and with the conflicting fact of the difference of arms.
However this may be, Moyses Hill served under Walter Devereux, Earl of Essex, against O'Neile's rebellion in 1573, and afterwards under his son, Robert Devereux, second Earl of Essex; and after the recall of the latter nobleman to England, in September, 1599, under his successor, Charles Blount, Lord Mountjoy. By him he was appointed Governor of Olderfleet 'Castle, at the time an important post with reference to any inva- sion from Scotland. After James I.'s accession Moyses Hill con- tinued to serve under the Lord-Deputy Chichester, and on the 15th of December, 1603, he was constituted the first Provost- Marshal of the Forces at Carrickfergus, with the fee of seven ahillings a day ; and on th.e 14th of April, 1617, the King, "having had good experience," as the patent seta forth, "of the circum- spection, industry, knowledge, and indiffe.rency [impartiality] of Sir Moyses Hill, Knight," appointed him for life Provost-Marshal of the whole province of Ulster. He served as Knight for the county of Antrim in the Parliament of 1613, and having acquired a very large estate in that and the neighbouring counties, he died in February, 1630, in the seventy-sixth year of his age. He left two sons, of whom Peter, the elder, first succeeded him in the estate. One of Moyses Hill's daughters married Edward Russell, youngest son of Francis, Earl of Bedford, and by him was mother of Edward Russell, Earl of Orford, the Admiral of William
reign. Peter Hill in 1641 was Sheriff and Provost-Marshal of the county of Down. Being at Dublin on the news of the breaking out of the rebellion, lie was despatched to that county to hold quarter-sessions for the arraignment and proclamation of the rebels, which he accordingly did, at great peril to his own life. Afterwards, when the rising became general in those parts, he furnished himself with arms for ninety-four men, and landing at Strangford, raised a company at his own expense, and maintained himself with them for about a year and a half. But in the month of May, 1614, he and his family were driven from their dwelling-house by parties of the Scotch army, who plundered his house and stock, and compelled him to take refuge in Dublin. He married a sister of MacDonuell, first Earl of Antrim. The date of his death is not ascertained, but he was aucceeded by his son, Francis, who was seated at Hill Hall, in the county of Down, but leaving only two daughters, his uncle, Arthur Hill, succeeded to the chief family estate. He had sat in the Irish Parliament, and been active as a member of it against the Earl of Strafford. He had raised a regiment in 1641, and was one of the officers deputed by the army in Ireland to apply to the King and Parliament of England in their name for aid against the Irish rebels. He was one of those who refused to take the League and Covenant when tendered by Monroe to the Northern army, but after the Parliament assumed the management of Irish affairs in 1647, he continued to serve under them against the Irish, adhered to the Commonwealth, and on June 17, 1652, had an order to receive the sum of 100/. towards defraying his expenses on special services. He was the same year made one of the Commissioners of the Revenue for the precinct of Belfast, and on the 21st of November, 1653, he was appointed a Com- missioner in the same precinct for examining the delinquency of the Irish. On the 27th of January following he received 59/. to de- fray the charges he had been at in repairing the castle of Newry, and on the 10th of August, 1654, an order for 9/. more for expendi- ture on the garrison of the said town. His name appears in the council-books in connection with many other orders, and he seems to have been an active Cromwellian official. On the 6th of August, 1656, he had an order, "in consideration of his many public and emiuent services, together with bin aufferinge both in and after the rebellion, to the great furtherance and advancement of the public interest," for 1,000/. in full satisfaction thereof. On the 29th of April in the same year the Protector and his Council signified that he had set forth that there was an arrest of 638/. 8s. 4d. due to his younger son, Arthur, for services done in Ireland, and had desired that certain lands might be assigned for satisfaction thereof ; and on the 1st of July, 1657, he had a grant of 1,994 acres of profitable land, and 912 of wood and, bog, in the territory of Kilwarline, in the comity of Down ; and he being seized of several other lands in that district, they were all erected into the manors of Hua.ssonouatt and Grosvile, with liberty to impark 1,000 acres in each, to hold two weekly markets and three fairs in the year, with other privileges and jurisdictions. In the Parliament called by Cromwell in 1656 he was chosen for the three counties of Down, Antrim, and Armagh.
The Restoration passed harmlessly over his head. lie was on the 19th of March, 1661, made one of the Commissioners of the Court of Claims under the Royal Settlement Declaration, and was sworn a member of the Irish Privy Council on the 18th of November in the same year, and had a pardon for all crimes, &c., committed by him during the preceding years. He was also returned to the Parliament of 1661 for the county of Down. On October 21st, 1662, he was appointed the King's agent and commissioner for examination into the receipts of the Customs and Excise, in which the Government had been plundered many thousand pounds an- nually. He died in April, 1663, in the sixty-third year of his age, leaving a large estate in the counties of Antrim, Down, &c., in which he was succeeded by his eldest son, Moyses. He had been a Lieutenant-Colonel during the rebellion of 1641, and repre- sented the town of Drogheda in the Parliament of 1661. He married his cousin, Anne, eldest daughter and coheiress of Francis Hill, of Hill Hall, the previous head of the Hill family. By her he had only daughters, and died on April 19th, 1664. He was then succeeded in the family estates by his half-brother, William Hill.
The new head of the family became in 1,676 a farmer of the revenue of Ireland at a large yearly rent. This, however, was an unlucky appointments for getting into serious arrears, his estate was seized by the Government, and the rents paid into the Exchequer until he had a full release and discharge of his liabilities on January 5th, 1687. On November 13th, 1678, he had been made Lord-Lieutenant and Custos Rotulorum of the counties of Down and Antrim, was one of the Irish Privy Council, and represented county Down in Parliament. He was attaiuted as an adherent of the Revolution by the Catholic) Parlia- ment of James in 1689, and his estate sequestered ; but of course, on the success of King William's cause he was restored, and was made one of his Privy Council on December 1st, 1690. He died in the year 1693. He had been twice married. His first wife was Eleanor, daughter of Dr. Michael Boyle, Archbishop of Armagh and Lord Chancellor of Ireland, by whom he bad an only son, Micheal, who succeeded him. Ile married, secondly, Mary, eldest daughter of Sir Marcus Trevor, who had been created Viscount Dungannon in 1662, it is said on the strength of his assertion that he was the cavalier who slightly wounded Oliver Cromwell in the neck with a pistol shot, during the celebrated charge at Marston Moor, in which the Ironaides broke and swept before them,-" like a little dud," as one of them says, Prince Rupert and his horsemen. By this second marriage William Hill had two sons, Arthur, who died in his twenty-first year, a Cornet in the Duke of Ormonde's Regiment, and Marcus, who resided at Holt Forest, in Hampshire, where he died unmarried, April 6th, 1751, leaving the bulk of his fortune to his relative, the then Earl of Hillsborough.
Michael Hill, the son by the first marriage, was of King William's Privy Council, M.P. for Saltaah in the English Parliament, and in the Irish for Hillsborough, and was Lord-Lieutenant and Caste* Rota- lorum of county Down. In 1696 he married Anne, daughter of Sir John Trevor, of Brinkinalt, in the county of Denbigh, Master of the Rolls in England, and the too celebrated Speaker of the House of Commons. By her he had two sons, Trevor, his suc- cessor, and Arthur. Michael Hill died in 1699, at the early age of twenty-seven. His younger son, Arthur, who had been Keeper of the Records in Birmingham Tower, joint, and afterwards sole, registrar of memorials of deeds, &c., in Ireland, M.P. for Hills- borough and county Down in 1715 and 1727, and a member of the Privy Council in 1730, succeeded in 1762 to the estates of his maternal grandfather, Sir John TEE Von, and on April 27th, 1765, was created Viscount Dungannon in the Irish Peerage. This dignity became extinct with the death of the third Viscount, August 11th,,, 1862.
Trevor Hill, the eldest son, who succeeded to the Hillsborough estates, was M.P. for Aylesbury in the English Parliament of 1715. He was chosen M.P. for the county Down in the Irish Parliament till, on the 21st of August, 1717, he was made an Irish Peer as Baron Hill of Kilwarline and Viscount Hillsborough; on September 3rd in the same year he was made a member of the Irish Privy Council, and in 1729 Lord-Lieutenant and Custos Rotulorurn of county Down. Ile married Mary, eldest daughter and coheiress of Anthony Rowe, of 31uswell Hill, in Middlesex, and North Aston, Oxfordshire, and died May 3rd, 1742. His eldest son having died young, he was succeeded as second Vis- count Hillsborough by his second son, Wills. He sup- plied his father's place in 1742 as Lord-Lieutenant of county Down, became a member of the Irish Privy Council in 1746, and on the 3rd of October, 1751, was created Viscount Kilwar- line and Earl of Hillsborough. He was an active politician in England, being made a member of the English Privy Council and Treasurer of the Chamber to George II. till the year 1756. He was M.P. for Warwick in 1741 and 1747, being also returned for Huntingdonshire to the former Parliament. He was on the 20th of November in that year created a Peer of Great Britain as Lord Harwich, in Essex, and on August 12th, 1772, further raised in the same Peerage as Viscount Fairford and Earl of Hillsborough. He was also Registrar of the Irish Court of Chancery, and an F.R.S. and LL.D. In September, 1763, he was appointed (in the Grenville Cabinet) First Commissioner of Trade and Planta- tions; on December 27th, 1766, Joint Postmaster-General ; and on January 20th, 1768, Secretary of State for the Colonies in the Pitt- Grafton Cabinet. He resigned this last post in August, 1772, and was reappointed November 25th, 1779. He thus held that office during the latter part of the disastrous American War of Inde- pendence, having also become embroiled with the colonial Assem- blies during his earlier administration in 1769, in consequence of his demand that they should rescind their circular letter which associated them together. His conduct at that dangerous crisis is certainly open to severe censure as immoderate and precipitate, and the harsh and injurious terms of the letter in which in May, 1769, he communicated the fatal resolution of his colleagues on the tea duties contributed not a little to the final breach with the colonies. He had certainly too much of the spirit of his possible ancestor the judge for so delicate a crisis. He vehemently op- posed the conciliatory Bills of Lord Meath in 1778, and he resumed office as one who decidedly approved of the continuance of hostilities with America. He was roughly handled by the George- Gordon mob on his way to the House of Lords in 1780. He re- signed office in March, 1782. On the 19th of August, 1789, he was raised in the Irish Peerage to the dignity of Marquis of Down- shire, and died on October 18th, 1793. He was succeeded as second Marquis by his only surviving son, Arthur, who had sat in Parliament for Lostwithel in 1774, and for Malmesbury in 1780. He married, June 29th, 1786, Mary, daughter of the Hon. Martin Sandys, and of Mary, daughter of William Trumbull, Esq., of Easthampstead Park, Berks, by his wife, Mary, daughter of William, Lord Blundell. This lady eventually succeeded to the estates of her uncle, Edwin, third Lord Sandys, and was then (June 29th, 1802) created Baroness Sandys, of Omberley, with remainder to her second and subsequent sons. She was accord- ingly succeeded by her son Arthur Moyses William, and he by his brother, Arthur Marcus Cecil, whose son, Augustus Frederick, is the present Lord Sandys.
The second Marquis of Downshire is chiefly known by the part he played in opposing the Union between England and Ire- land. He so exasperated the Irish Government by his opposition, that in 1800 he was removed from the Lord-Lieutenancy of county Down and from the Colonelcy of the Royal Downshire Regiment, and his name was erased from the list of Privy Councillors. In the debates in the Irish House of Lords he declared (on the 10th of February, 1800) that he considered the rebellion to have been principally occasioned by the inconsistent conduct of the Govern- ment. At one time he had been requested, as a friend to that Government, to sign a strong declaration in support of the Pro- testant ascendancy ; but if he could have foreseen the consequen- ces, he would sooner have suffered an amputation of the hand that signed it than have put his name to it, not but that he was a true and zealous Protestant, and a sincere friend to the established Church of Ireland. A few months afterwards he had been called upon by the same Government to vote for the emancipation of the Catholics, to which, though he was not of an intolerant disposition, he could not accede. This contradictory policy must have had a tendency to irritate the public mind, and seemed to have led to these evils, which now, in subserviency
to the Ministerial project, were ascribed to other causes. He also expressed his grief at being branded as a factious man, after having sacrificed his youth, health, and fortune in the support of the King and Government of Ireland. He was the more bound to assert his views on the Union, because the Unionists had boasted of having a great preponderance of the property of Ireland on their side. The Marquis died on Sep- tember 7th, 1801, and was succeeded as third Marquis by his eldest son, Arthur Blundell Sandys Trumbull. He died April 12th, 1845, and was succeeded by his son, Arthur Willa Blundell Sandys Trumbull Windsor Hill, fourth and present Marquis.
The family, though it has shown some ability, can scarcely be said to bold its high position by any other tenure than tbat of its great landed possessions and extensive county and borough in- fluence in the North of Ireland. Support of the contest with the American Colonies and opposition to the Union can scarcely, in these days and in England, constitute a title to public grati- tude. The politics of the family, except in the Sandys branch, are strongly Conservative.