Sir William Somerville

The Times (The London Times) 12th September 1836

Representation of Meath (from the Dublin Mail)

Sir William Somerville, who ought to be a gentleman, and who thoroughly despises the ragamuffin crew with which he has the cowardice to identify himself, lately joined the new Roman Catholic Association, in the hope – a vain one- of securing the popish interest in the county of Meath, and thereby insuring his return to Parliament. He has been disappointed in his calculations, for the patriots of Meath, with Dr. Mullen at their head, and father Burke at their tail, have had the sense to perceive the motives by which Sir William is influenced, and the courage to denounce the mean and paltry way by which he would seek to palm himself upon the constituency as a “true man” to the injury of some more worthy professor of the “true faith”.

No, Sir William, you may depend upon it in joining the “Just-Asses” you have overshot the mark, and have by your move only added Protestant contempt to popish hate.

We subjoin an abstract from the published report of the proceedings of the Meath Club, by which it will be seen that Sir William, finding Protestant tenants better than Roman Catholics, has given a preference to the former. This is made a pretext for the abuse heaped upon him: but it is pretty evident he has no chance of support from that party to which he has humbled himself, contrary, as we are convinced, to his better judgement and real feelings.

Meath Club

There was a meeting of the club at Brady’s hotel, Navan, on Wednesday, the 31st ult. Mr. Thomas Boylan of Hilltown House was in the chair.

The Rev. P.O’Donohoe, parish priest, moved that a deputation be appointed to visit Kells, Oldcastle, Duleek, and other towns in the county, for the purpose of making arrangements to forward the registry at the October sessions.

The motion having been seconded by Mr. Thomas Gargan.

Dr. Mullen rose to support the motion. After some observations at the state of the registry, he said that in Meath, as well as in other parts of Ireland, the popular party had to complain that the leading Whig proprietors not only displayed a great degree of apathy in promoting the registry, but that many of them entrust the management of their estates to Tory agents, who were doing everything in their power to forward the interests of the Conservatives. It was stated, on what he, (Dr. Mullen) considered good authority that for several years Sir William Somerville, has not invested a single Roman Catholic tenant with the elective franchise. He, Dr. Mullen, could assert that he had not seen any of them come forward to register.

Dr. Mullen then mentioned the case of a Roman Catholic, tenant of Sir William Somerville, near Navan, named James Mullen, who, on the expiration of his lease, subsequently to the last election, was turned out of possession, and his farm given to a Protestant, named Morgan who had voted for Plunkett and Lambert, although Mullen had always been punctual in the payment of his rent. Dr. Mullen then mentioned several instances of the Darnley estate of Roman Catholic tenants dispossessed and Protestants substituted. When Mr. Duncan Bligh (Lord Darnley’s brother) was a candidate for the representation of Meath, the freeholders on the Darnley estate supported his pretentions with a desperate fidelity; and what had been their reward? Every effort was made to coerce them to vote for the Orange candidates at the last election (“ Shame, shame ”).

Should a vacancy occur in the representation of Meath by the death or resignation of either of the present representatives, care should be taken that individuals whose acts were so diametrically opposed to the Professions should not be suffered to represent the county whilst we had such men as Mr. Preston, Mr. Barnwall, Mr. Corbally, or Mr. Samuel Winter, who could be trusted as honest reformers. (Cheers).

The Rev. Mr. Burke, parish priest, concurred in the sentiments expressed by his friend Dr. Mullen.

Right Hon. Sir William Meredyth Somerville The Times 21st Dec.1863

Letters patent have passed the Great Seal granting to the Right Hon. Sir William Meredyth Somerville, and the heirs male of his body, the style, title, and dignity of Baron Athlumney, of Somerville and Dollardstown, County Meath, in the peerage of Ireland. The title of Athlumney is taken from a castle in the name near Navan, belonging to the Somervilles, and was chosen, 100 years ago, by Sir Quale Somerville, for the designation of a peerage which was then offered to him.

Wills and Bequests The Times 12th June1874

The probate, granted on the 20th of January last at Dublin, of the will and four codicils of the Right Hon. William Meredyth Lord Baron Athlumney in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. Late of Somerville, Balrath, Navan, in the county of Meath, to Herbert Riversdale Mansel James and John Cornwall, the executors, was sealed in London on the 19th ult., the aggregate value of the personal estate in England and Ireland being sworn under £12,000.

The Times 24th June 1886

Lord Athlumney writes to us from Somerville, Navan, June 22- Lord Powerscourt in his letter to “The Times” states that the late Lord Athlumney “as Mr. Somerville was Under Secretary for Ireland”. This is a mistake, my father, as Sir William Somerville was Chief Secretary for Ireland from 1847 to 1852, during the potato famine and rebellion.

The Times 5th February 1890: Legal

Bankruptcy Receiving Order Athlumney, Lord James Herbert Gustavus Meredyth, Baron Meredyth, Curzon St, Mayfair and Navan, County Meath, lieutenant in Her Majesty’s Regiment of Coldstream Guards.

10th April 1890

The insolvency of Lord Athlumney (Baron Meredyth) upon a receiving order on January 31st last, Mayfair, and of Somerville, Navan, County Meath, a summary of the debtor’s statement of affairs has been issued, which returns the liabilities at £11,228, with assets £1,563.In the observations of the Official Receiver it is stated that the debtor is a lieutenant in her Majesty’s Army; that he attained his majority in 1886, and his net income, which is derived as tenant in tail from rentals of settled estates situate in Meath and Dublin, has averaged £500 per annum, after providing for charges formerly created, and irrespective of his pay as a lieutenant.

He attributes his insolvency entirely to liabilities (£10,804) contracted since February 1888, in respect of accommodation bills which he was induced by misrepresentation to accept for the benefit, as he considered, of an absent friend at the solicitation of another person, who it is alleged, obtained the greater part of the process of such bills, and afterwards left the country. Of the proceeds the debtor states that he only received about £1,350, the balance of which (about£460) is included as an asset in £503 cash at his bankers.

6th June 1890

From the report of the Official Receiver it would seem that the debtor is a peer of England and on obtaining his majority in March 1866, became entitled to estates in counties Meath and Dublin, which subject to encumbrances, produce a net annual income of about £600. He is also entitled on attaining the age of 25 to possession as tenant for life of certain other estates in Meath. He attributed his insolvency entirely to liabilities for the benefit of an absent friend, Mr. Plower. The debtor states that he was induced to incur there liabilities by misrepresentation and solicitation of a Mr. Cameron who obtained the greater part of the proceeds of the bills, and afterwards left the country. Cameron led him to believe that he had obtained security for payment of the money, that in August 1889 Mr. Plower would become entitled to £15,000 and that the bills would be met.

The Times 4th May 1897

60 Mark Lane, London E.C. May 3.


We are instructed on behalf of the Right Hon. Lord Athlumney, of Somerville, Navan, County Meath, to state that the issue of the prospectus of the Grand Hotel and Theatre of Varieties, Ipswich Ltd., in which his name appears as a director, was made without his authority or consent, he having, by notice to the company prior to the issue thereof, withdrawn his consent, to be a director of the company, which he had previously given, and his lordship further instructs us that the first information he had that his name was in such prospectus was yesterday on reading Saturday’s daily papers.

Yours etc. Hodges and Pyke.