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Historical Romance Writers Dishing the Dirt on Research

13 November 2006

Major General Lord Blayney


Andrew Thomas Blayney, the 11th Baron Blayney was a Major General and commander of the 89th Regiment of Foot, ‘Blayney’s Bloodhounds’ a troop that fought with distinction against Napoleon.

Research turns up such interesting tidbits. My husband’s family is Irish. Anyone with that middle ‘y’ in Blayney is related to him (and me by marriage). Imagine our pleased surprise when my online research uncovered the Major General.

According to the Blayney family genealogy, a book written and published privately by Chester Blayney, Andrew Thomas, Lord Blayney was born in 1770 and entered the army in 1789. The portrait shown here is dated 1802. His military service continued through 1814. That may account for the fact that in his later years he enjoyed "an evening with friends and a bottle (or five) of wine rather than the company of women." He did marry, in 1796 , a neighbor, Mabella Caledon, the daughter of the first Earl of Caledon. She is described as “a most excellent woman and much beloved.” They had at least one child, a son, who inherited the title in 1832 and was the last Baron Blayney

While in the Army, Blayney served in Malta, Majorca, Egypt, the Cape of Good Hope and Buenos Aires, all before his regiment was sent to Malaga where he was taken prisoner in 1810. He remained a prisoner until 1814 when the war ended. He worked with equal zeal on his responsibilities as a baron, both before and after the war, doing his best to improve the town of CastleBlayney as well as taking an active interest in politics.

He was a colorful character, considered “an original thinker.” Writing about his visit to Lord Blayney at Blayney Castle, John Burges says of a visit in 1825. “I could fill pages with …pleasant days and night I spend with this dear man.”

In another section he writes. “He was very much put out of sorts by bores and whenever one arrived, he immediately desired the servant to say he had gone to Belfast.This Belfast was a most picturesque cottage on the bank of a lake where he repaired to.

"On this occasion as we sat charmed with the scene around us, the dash of oars assailed our ears. Says I , ‘O! Lord Blayney. They have found us out.’ ‘No Jack’ says he, ‘All’s right’. When in a moment appeared the boat and the maiter d’hotel bringing with him everything useful to dress a good dinner..”

Lord Blayney was fond of "dressing a good dinner" as you will see when I post again and tell you about the book he wrote describing his four years as prisoner of war. The title is "Narrative of a Forced Journey through Spain and France as a Prisoner of War in the Years 1810 to 1814" and I'll have some details from a review of the book that is as entertaining as anything Blayney wrote.

All except the last paragraph of this post is a repeat. It was first posted November, 2006. My next post is the long ago promised follow-up

In the meantime does anyone want to share some interesting branches in their family tree?

5 Comments:

Anonymous Judy T said...

How interesting! He sounds and looks as if he might very easily step into a novel!

9:32 AM  
Blogger Kalen Hughes said...

What a cool thing to find! And he's handsome to boot. LOL!

11:33 AM  
Blogger Diane Perkins said...

Oh wow. I go away one day and that's the day Mary posts this fascinating stuff!
I love the "repairing to Belfast". You simply must use that someday, Mary. It made me think of him as a real person.

Do you have the book of his being a prisoner of war? (picture mouth open in awe)

Judy T, Mary is a friend of mine and she writes the loveliest books. I'll be sure to let you know when her next one comes out.

Cheers,
Diane

2:04 PM  
Blogger Kathrynn Dennis said...

I agree with Kalen, he looks like a hero, dashingly handsome!

...and cooly bored with "bores"!

Kathrynn

2:11 PM  
Blogger Pam Rosenthal said...

Gosh, gives me historical chills.

11:34 AM  

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