Richard Wesley, 1st Baron Mornington

Richard Colley Wesley
Died 31 January 1758(1758-01-31)
Title 1st Baron Mornington
Tenure 1746-1758
Nationality Irish
Residence Dangan Castle
Spouse(s) Elizabeth Sale
Parents Henry Colley
Mary Usher

Richard Colley Wesley, 1st Baron Mornington (c.1690 – 31 January 1758) was an Irish peer, best remembered as the grandfather of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington.


Richard Colley (as he was christened), was born around 1690, the son of Henry Colley (died 1700) and Mary, daughter of Sir William Ussher.[1][lower-alpha 1] He graduated from the Trinity College, Dublin with an BA in 1711 and an MA in 1714 and an N.F.P. on July 6, 1740 as Richard Colley (Not Wesley). In the intervening year he held the office of Chamberlain of the Court of Exchequer (Ireland).[1]

On 23 September 1728 Colley inherited the estates of Dangan and Mornington, in County Meath, on the death of his cousin, Garret Wesley.[1][lower-alpha 2] Less than two months later on 15 November 1728 he legally changed his surname to Wesley.[1]

Between 1729 and 1746 Wesley represented Trim in the Irish House of Commons.[1] He was High Sheriff of Meath in 1734 and he was created Baron Mornington in the Peerage of Ireland on 9 July 1746.[1]


Wellington's biographer described him as "a civilised and eccentric country gentleman".[3] The diarist Mary Delany, (who was Garret's godmother) visiting Dangan in 1748 after a 17-year gap, found him "the same good-humoured, agreeable man he was on my last visit", and praised him as the man with most merits and fewest faults of anyone she knew, valuing wealth only as a means to make others happy. He was proud of, and fostered, his son's musical talent: he was also extravagant, and died in debt, beginning the cycle of indebtedness which led to his eldest grandson Richard selling Dangan 40 years later.[4]


The Colley or Cowley family had come to Ireland from Rutland about 1500; Sir Henry Colley (died 1584) married Catherine Cusack, whose grandmother was a Wellesley.

Wesley married Elizabeth (died 17 June 1738), daughter of John Sale, Registrar of the Diocese of Dublin, on 23 December 1719.[1] They had one son and two daughters:



  1. Wesley had a notable younger brother: Henry Colley (died 1723).[2]
  2. In his Tour in Ireland (1752) Richard Pococke described Dangan Castle, Mornington's home, as follows: "We soon after came to Dangan the seat of Lord Mornington situated on a most beautiful flat, with an Amphitheater of hills rising round it, one over another, in a most beautiful manner; at the lower end is a very large piece of water, at one corner of which is an Island, it is a regular fortification, there is a ship a sloop and boats on the water, and a yard for building; the hill beyond it, is improved into a beautiful wilderness: on a round hill near the house is a Temple, and the hills round are adorned with obelisks: Pillars and some buildings, altogether the most beautiful thing I ever saw".(Pococke 2010, p. 235)
  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Lundy 2011, p. 10645 § 106449 cites Cokayne 2000, p. 235.
  2. Lundy 2011b, p. 10660 § 106593 cites Mosley 1999, p. 2971
  3. Longford 1971, p. 30.
  4. Longford 1971, pp. 30–31.
  5. 1 2 Lundy 2011, p. 10645 § 106449 cites Mosley 1999, p. 2971


Further reading

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