THE Beresfords spring from the midland counties of England.
Erdeswick, in his Survey of Staffordshire, speaking of the vivers, says, " Dove, then, takes his beginning at the Three Shires Meat, where the very spring stands between Cheshire, Derbyshire, and Staffordshire, and so holds on his course through a moun- tainous wild country, and bath neither gentleman's house nor _good town. For until it be passed the mountain country, the bank is not of the estimation I have before spoken of, being very narrowly pent in with mountains, so that the name of the bank for a good space is called Narrow Dale ; in the end thereof a gentle- man bath his seat, the place and the man having both the name BERESFORD." This is the cradle of the Beresford family. It lies in the parish of .Alstonfield, in Staffordshire, and hence the Beresfords spread into branches in the counties of Derby, Notting- ham, Kent, Lincoln, and the City of London. The Kentish line moved into Ireland, and there attained ultimately the Marquisate of Waterford. This Staffordshire seat is said to have been originally called " BEREFORD," and the 4th of October, 1087, 1st of William Rufus, is the date assigned at which :Tome DE BRRESFORD, or BBREFORD, is said to have been seized of the pro- perty. We are not aware of the authority on which this very -exact date rests, and therefore can only remark that it is a year before the formation of the- Domesday Survey, which is our first great authority in such matters, and which is entirely silent on this matter. Old deeds are spoken of, but until they are produoed in detail it is impossible to judge of such pretensions in -days when surnames derived from, places are such doubtful guides as to the identity of family successions. Alien, however, appears to have been Lord of Beresford in the 8th, 16th, and 17th of Edward IL Between him and John, the alleged founder, the pedigrees place five generations—Hugh, Aden, John, Hugh, and John. John, said to be the son of the Aden of Edward IL's time, was lord of the same place in the 18th and 21st of Edward III., and is said to have been succeeded by a son, John, in the same reign and that of Richard II. Among the Inquisitions occur several persons -bearing the name of BEREFORD, as Henry, the son of Humfrid de Bereford, in the 19th and 20th of Edward I., a William de Berle- ford and Margaret his wife in the 29th of Edward L, and a Richard de Bereford in the 26th of Edward I., but there is nothing to connect them with the Beresfords or Berefords above mentioned, and they may be derived from an entirely different " Bereford," which occurs among the places in Norfolk in Domesday Book. We must, however, give the genealogy of these early Beresfords with some reserve, as not quite satisfaetorily authenticated. John Beresford of Beresford-(said to have been the son of the John of Richard II.'s reign) in 1411 (13th of Henry IV.) gave to his son, Aden, all his estate in Alstonfield, together with the office of one of the foresters of Malbonfrith forest, with housebote, heybote, and common of pasture there for 13 cows and a bull, 13 mares and a horse, and 13 sows and a boar, to hold to him and his heirs at the rent of 2d. By his wife, Cicely, he had two sons, and was succeeded by his son, John, who lived in the reign of Henry VI., and in the 1st of Edward IV. granted all his lands in the counties of Stafford and Derby to John, lord Audley, and -other trustees, probably to avoid forfeiture in those dangerous -times. We should also hence infer that this John Beresford was a Lancastrian in his polities. In 1474 lie settled an estate on his son Joha and Margaret his wife, on their marriage. He died the next year, and had four sons, of whom the eldest, John, succeeded him at Beresford ; the second, Txtomes, is the ancestor of the. Marquis of Waterford. The elder line continued at Beresford down to the reign of James L, when Edward Beresford died in 1620, leaving an only child, Olive, who married Sir John ,Stanhope, of Elvaston (ancestor of the Earl of Harrington), but leaving only a daughter, Olive, this second heiress carried Beresford
by marriage to Charles Cotton, and was the mother of Charles Cotton, the poet, Isaak Walton's friend. Walton celebrates Beresford as being " on the margin of one of the finest rivers for trout and grayling in England ;" and with this panegyric on their old family seat we leave this, the elder branch, of the Beresfords, and return to Thomas Beresford, the younger brother, who was seated at Newton Grange and Bentley, in the county of Derby, in the reigns of Henry VI. and Edward IV.
He took part in the French wars, and is reported to have mustered a troop of horse, composed of his sons, with his and their servants. On his monument it is said that he had sixteen sons and five daughters by Agnes, his wife, daughter and heiress of Robert Hassel, Esq., of Arclwyd, in the county of Chester, and that he died on the 23rd of March, 1474. This date raises a doubt as to whether there has not been some confusion between the two John Beresfords, his father and brother. James Beresford, the sixteenth son of Thomas Beresford, was an LL.D., Canon Residentiary of Lichfield, and Vicar of Chesterfield and Warkworth. He founded two fellowships and two scholarships in St. John's College, Cambridge, in the 11th of Henry VIII., leaving 400/. for their maintenance, which the College laid out in lands then bringing in 20/. a year. Humphrey, seventh son of Thomas Beresford, was seated at New- ton Grange. He had two sons, the second of whom, George, was of Newton Grange, and was Steward of Nottingham. Michael, his elder son, was an officer in the Court of Wards, and was. seated at Oxford, and the Squirires, in the parish of Westerleam, in Kent, (which afterwards passel to the Wards family), where he was living in 1574. His third son, TRISTRAM BERESFORD, is the founder of the Irish Beresfords. He came into Ireland as the manager of the Corporation of Londoners, called the Society of the New Plantation in Ulster (in the county of Derry), in the reign of James I. Tristram Beresford settled at Coleraine, in Londonderry county, and was succeeded there by his son, Tristram, who repre- sented the county in the Parliament of 1661. He had three grants of lands under the Acts of Settlement, and on the 5th of May, 1665, was created a baronet. He died January 15th, 1674. His eldest son and survivor, Sir Randal Beresford (second Baronet) was M.P. for Coleraine in the first Parliament after the Restora- tion. He died in October, 1681, and was succeeded by his eldest surviving son, Sir Tristram Beresford (third Baronet), who was born in 1669. He was attaintei by James II.'s Catholic Parlia- meht in 1689, and commanded a regiment of foot in William's forces. By his will, made on March 4th, 1699, he left to his four daughters 1,4001., 900/., 8501., and 850/., respectively. He died June 16th, 1701. Re married, in February, 1688, when he was only nine- teen years of age, Nicholls Sophia, yonngestdaughter and coheiress of Hugh Hamilton, Baron of Glenawly, and left by her, besides the four daughters already alluded to, one son, Marcus (baptized July 27, 1694). In April, 1704, Lady Beresford was married a second time to Lieutenant-General Richard Gorges (baptized March 2, 1663), and she died February 23, 1714. Sir Marcus Beresford (fourth Baronet) was M.P. for Coleraine in the reign of George I., till raised to the Peerage on November 4, 172(), as Baron Beres- ford, of Beresford, in county Cavan, and Viscount of the county of Tyrone. The cause of this election was his marriage, July 16, 1717, to the Lady Catherine POER, daughter and heiress of James, Earl of Tyrone, who died on the 19th of August, 1704, in the thirty-eighth year of his age. We have given these last dates with some particularity, because they form a curious commentary on the famous Beresford ghost story, in which James Poer, Earl of Tyrone, figures as the ghost, and Lady Beresford, who remarried General Gorges, as the ghost-seer. It is to be observed that Crabbe has founded on it his tale of Lady Barbara and the Ghost, but it is stated in a note in his son's edition of his works that the poet derived the story from a Wiltshire friend, and that it was very popular in that county. The gist of the story is that Lady Beresford and Lord Tyrone were educated together in infidel views, from which they were unable to emancipate their minds. However, they agreed finally that the one who died first should appear to the other, if possible, if there were another life beyond the grave. Lord Tyrone is said accordingly to have so appeared the night of his death to Lady Beresford, to have confirmed the existence of a God and a future state, to have prophesied the birth of her son, Marcus Beresford, and the death soon afterwards of Sir Tristram, her husband, her second marriage—to be attended with great misery, and her death in the forty-seventh year of her age in childbed. The ghost gave several tokens by which she was to be convinced of the reality of the apparition, but we need not trouble our readers with these. Of course the story, like a good ghost story (which it is almost a
pity to explode), makes all these events turn out exactly in accordance with the ghost's predictions, the lady falling in love at a mature age with the young son of a clergyman with whom she became intimate, and marrying him, to her own lasting misery. She discloses the story on the day of her death, —her forty-seventh birthday,— a fatal day which she had vainly hoped she had escaped, owing to a mistake as to the year of her birth. Of course a glance at the preceding dates is sufficient to destroy this celebrated story (as respects the Poer-Beresfords) most completely, though we are rather loth to perform the exe- cutioner's work. Marcus Bereaford was born in 1694, ten years before Lord Tyrone's death, and Lady Beresford was married again in April, 1704, four months before Lord Tyrone's death. Her second husband was then a man of forty-one, instead of a mere youth, was six years older than her first husband, and four years older than herself. The lover of ghost stories must rest content with the hope that the story may be true of some Wiltshire family.
Sir Marcus Beresford, Viscount Tyrone, on the 18th of July, 1746, was raised to his father-in-law's title of Earl of Tyrone,
thus succeeding to the honours of a family, the POERS, POWERS, or DE LA POERS, whose ancestor, Sir Roger In Poer, accompanied Earl Strongbow to Ireland, and is highly praised by Giraldus Cambrensis, and who, long settled at CIIRRAGIIMORE, in
Waterford county, were created Barons la Poer of that place in 1535 (the district around Curraghmore being then popularly called Power County), and in 1673 were raised to the earldom of Tyrone. They were one of the greatest of the old Anglo-Irish families, and the accession of their estates, and family, and heredi- tary influence opened up a new career to the Beresfords, who from country gentlemen now rose,into the class of great landowners and peers. They have for generations been leaders of the Orange or Protestant ascendancy party in Ireland, and during the palmy days of that regime managed to appropriate a large amount of good things for the members of their family. Not remarkable in general for great ability, they have been pertinacious and astute as political schemers, and if they have not displayed any brilliant talents, they have:kept above the level of insignificant stupidity. In other respects their history is that of most great Irish families, which would gratify the lovers of personal scandal much more than those who are desirous of tracing family peculiarities. Marcus, the first Earl of Tyrone of the family, died April 4, 1763. He had seven sons, of whom the three eldest died young. The fourth, George de In Poer Beresford, succeeded as second Earl of Tyrone. John, the fifth son, became a Commis- sioner of the Revenue, and was M.P. for Waterford in the Irish and Imperial Parliaments and a Privy Councillor. He was a great leader of the Orange.Irish Tory or Protestant party, and came strongly into collision with the Whig Lord-Lieutenants. His second son, George, became Bishop of Kilmore ; William, the seventh son of the first Lord Tyrone, became Archbishop of Tuam in 1795, and in 1812 was created Baron Decies, the last Earl of Tyrone of the Poer family having been also Viscount Decies. The Dowager Countess of Tyrone established her right to the barony of La Poer, and survived under that title till 1769, when it descended to her son George, the second Earl of Tyrone. On August 28, 1786, this nobleman obtained the dignity of a British peer as Baron Tyrone of Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, and on August 19, 1789, he was created Marquis of Waterford in the Irish Peerage. He died December 3rd, 1800. His eldest son died before him, and he was succeeded by his second son, Henry, second Mar- quis of Waterford. The third son, Lord John George, became Archbishop of Armagh. The second Marquis of Waterford married Susannah, only daughter and heiress of George, second Earl of Tyrconnel. He died July 16, 1826, and was succeeded by his eldest son, Henry, third Marquis, notorious at one time for his eccentric and somewhat lawless proceedings, but in later years an excellent resident landlord. He was killed by a fall from his horse, March 29, 1859 ; and there is a wild story, firmly believed in by persons of education, as well as by all the common people in the neighbourhood of his Irish neat, that he has been met with on horseback since his death by one of his old hunting cronies, and prophesied to him (truly) that he and. several others would, before the year was expired, be all hunting again together in the next world. We have neither the means nor the will to spoil this second Beresford ghost story, and our putting it into circulation in print may perhaps be accepted as some atonement for our demolition of the former one. The Marquis was succeeded by his uncle, John, fourth Marquis of Waterford, a clergyman, who is the present peer. Dr. Marcus Beresford, second sou of the Bishop of Kilmore, is the Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of Ireland, who died last Sunday, so that the Beresfords cannot com- plain of not having a tolerable share of dignities, both civil and ecclesiastical. An illegitimate son of the first Marquis, William Carr Bereaford, was the well known Marshal Beresford of Penin- sular renown, created Baron and Viscount Beresford, who died without issue in 1854.