Garret Wesley, 1st Earl of Mornington

Garret, Lord Mornington

Dangan Castle, in the County of Meath, c.1840
Born (1735-07-19)19 July 1735
Dangan Castle, in County Meath
Died 22 May 1781(1781-05-22) (aged 45)
Title 1st Earl of Mornington
Tenure 1760-1781
Other titles Viscount Wellesley of Dangan Castle, in the County of Meath
Known for Father of the Duke of Wellington
Nationality Irish
Offices Member of Parliament for Trim
Grandmaster of the Grand Lodge of Ireland
Predecessor Richard Wesley, 1st Baron Mornington
Successor Richard Wellesley, 2nd Earl of Mornington
Spouse(s) Anne Hill-Trevor
Parents Richard Wesley, 1st Baron Mornington
Elizabeth Sale

Garret Colley Wesley, 1st Earl of Mornington (19 July 1735 22 May 1781) was an Anglo-Irish politician and composer, best known today for fathering several distinguished British military commanders and politicians.


Wesley was born at the family estate of Dangan, near Summerhill, a village near Trim in County Meath, Ireland, to Richard Wesley, 1st Baron Mornington, and Elizabeth Sale. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and was elected its first Professor of Music in 1764. From early childhood he showed extraordinary talent on the violin, and soon began composing his own works.[1] As a composer he is remembered chiefly for glees such as "Here in cool grot" (lyrics by William Shenstone) and for a double Anglican chant. It was the future Duke of Wellington who, alone of his children, inherited something of his musical talent.

Wesley represented Trim in the Irish House of Commons from 1757 until 1758, when he succeeded his father as 2nd Baron Mornington. In 1759 he was appointed Custos Rotulorum of Meath and in 1760, in recognition of his musical and philanthropic achievements, he was created Viscount Wellesley, of Dangan Castle in the County of Meath, and Earl of Mornington. He was elected Grandmaster of the Grand Lodge of Ireland in 1776, a post he held until the following year.[2] He was careless with money, and his early death left the family exposed to financial embarrassment, leading ultimately to the decision to sell all their Irish estates.[3]


Four streets in Camden Town, which formed part of the estate of his son-in-law Henry FitzRoy, were named Mornington Crescent, Place, Street and Terrace after him. Of these, the first has since become famous as the name of a London Underground station.[4]


Wesley married The Hon. Anne Hill-Trevor, eldest daughter of the banker Arthur Hill-Trevor, 1st Viscount Dungannon, and wife, Anne Stafford, in 1759. His godmother, the famous diarist Mary Delany, said the marriage was happy, despite his lack of financial sense and her "want of judgment".[5] They had six children:

Four of Lord Mornington's five sons were created peers in the Peerages of Great Britain and the United Kingdom. The Barony of Wellesley (held by the Marquess Wellesley) and the Barony of Maryborough are now extinct, whilst the Dukedom of Wellington and Barony of Cowley are extant. The Earldom of Mornington is held by the Dukes of Wellington, and the Barons Cowley have since been elevated to be Earls Cowley. Garret Wesley, Lord Mornington, died in 1781. He is also a direct ancestor of Queen Elizabeth II through her late mother, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.


  1. Longford, Elizabeth Wellington- the Years of the Sword Panther Edition 1971 p. 32
  2. Waite, Arthur Edward (2007). A New Encyclopedia of Freemasonry. vol. I. Cosimo, Inc. p. 400. ISBN 1-60206-641-8.
  3. Longford p.53
  4. Weinreb, Ben and Hibbert, Christopher (1992). The London Encyclopaedia (reprint ed.). Macmillan. p. 543.
  5. Longford p.33

External links

Parliament of Ireland
Preceded by
Chichester Fortescue
Joseph Ashe
Member of Parliament for Trim
With: Joseph Ashe
Succeeded by
William Francis Crosbie
Joseph Ashe
Masonic offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Belvedere
Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Ireland
1776 1777
Succeeded by
The Duke of Leinster
Peerage of Ireland
New creation Earl of Mornington
1760 1781
Succeeded by
Richard Wellesley
Preceded by
Richard Wesley
Baron Mornington
1758 1781
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