Earl of Milltown: Dormant or Extinct?

+6 votes

After the 7th Earl died, two grandsons of the 3rd Earl claimed the title unsuccessfully and they both died without male heirs by 1908. The CP volume has a note (transcribed in Cracroft) "It is possible that there are living male line descendants of Hon Robert Leeson, 4th son of the 1st Earl of Milltown, in which case the Earldom of Milltown should be regarded as being dormant rather than extinct."

Legally it would seem kind of unlikely that you would have a successful claim in 2020 to an Irish peerage in this situation, and the note might have been accurate when that volume of CP was published but it seems like today this title is probably extinct. 

The possible lines from Hon. Robert Leeson (1773-1850). are documented to a couple of people who died in the earlier part of the 20th century, so one would guess there would be some vital records about them? I'm surprised one of the various TV shows about genealogy didn't track them down. I wasn't sure where to look but someone with access might be able to prove this one way or the other.

WikiTree profile: Joseph Leeson
in Genealogy Help by Kirk Hess G2G6 Mach 6 (64.7k points)
retagged by Darlene Athey-Hill

The grandfather of the  first Earl,  apparently originally  came  from, Northamptonshire. My paternal gg granny was a Leeson from Northants and there's another connection with the same family on my mother's side; maybe... but probably notwink

Seriously, a search found this blog. http://www.patrickcomerford.com/2019/05/a-tangled-family-tree-saw-loss-of-great.html?m=1The note about the  possiblility  Anglo Indian claimants is interesting

Thanks for that link - this is more confusing:
"So, when John Leeson died on 25 January 1905, the claims to the Milltown title ought to have passed to his nephew, Henry Leeson’s son. However, Henry’s son was never traced in India and he remains unnamed in the family trees produced by genealogists."

There's certainly a chance you are connected - Leeson is a common enough surname and the 1st Earl was not from an aristocratic family. A good example of social mobility!

If someone has access to any Irish or British records (I noticed William Leeson, Genealogist to the Order of St. Patrick's youngest son lived in Essex) I figured it possibly is provable there is at least one living heir.

However, if they are Irish they would need some kind of parlimentary private act to assume the title based on Irish law, and in any case the current UK law I don't think allows claimants to assume titles which have been dormant this long so functionally it is extinct, even if it wasn't in 1932.

Apparently there was a "Leeson Archive", and they published "The Milltown Leesons : A Provisional History of the Family of Leeson, Earls of Milltown in the Peerage of Ireland" in 1963 written by a Frank Leeson FSG (who is not related).

The book is in the British Library and the National Library of NZ, both probably not accessible at this moment. The article above said there was one branch included in Burke and Debrett which was included in the "book" (63 photocopied pages...) above. 

The Committee of Privileges recognized the Earl of Annandale and Hartfell in 1985, which had been dormant since 1792 so probably it is possible to revive the title.

The peerage and baronetage of the British Empire as at present existing, 43rd ed, 1874, pp. 402-03 has some collateral branches of the Earls of Milltown, including some descendants of Hon. Robert Leeson.

After following a few different leads I found some details about the Henry Leeson and his son.  The Plantagenet Roll of the Blood Royal: Anne of Exeter volume, by Marquis de Ruvigny and Raineval, p. 642 has Henry Corbett Leeson, d. 29 Sept 1887 (fourth son of Joseph Leeson, son of Hon. John Leeson, son of Brice, 3rd Earl of Milltown, and Anne O'Reilly) who married _____ Robinson, and had Henry Saunders Leeson (? dead)

Ancestry.com has more detail, Henry Corbett Leeson, married Frances Augusta Robinson, at Agra, Bengal 11 Sept 1857 and their son Henry Saunders Leeson, was born 17 Dec 1858 and baptised 16 Jan 1859 at Agra.

The Ancestry.com also has in Victoria (Australia) Police Gazette of 27 June 1888, p. 199 under a Missing Friends heading asking for information about "Colonel William Credqure Mitchel of the Bengal retired list who left India for Melbourne about 1865 accompanied by Mrs H.C. Leeson and her son, Henry Saunders Leeson, then 7 years of age. The colonel is required for the purpose of obtaining from him an account of the death of H.S. Leeson, before mentioned, who, it is stated was accidentally shot in 1879 or 1880, when returning to Melbourne from Brisbane.  The information is sought by H. Corbett Leeson, of Delhi, Punjab, India."

So it looks like the son may have died in Australia.  Not sure about the dates though, Henry Corbett Leeson, according to the Anne of Exeter volume died in Sept 1887, but the entry in the Police Gazette is dated 22 June 1888, published 27 June 1888.  Either the date he died is incorrect or it is actually H. Corbett Leeson's estate who is trying to ascertain if his son has died?

I tried searching Trove the Australian newspaper database for anything about Henry Saunders Leeson, but didn't find anything and he may have gone under the name of Mitchel or something else.  I'll have another look later.

Thanks John - so Henry Saunders Leeson was the son of Henry Corbett Leeson - the article linked above about the 'tangled tree' said he was never traced by genealogists so good work! 

Here's the National Library of Ireland copy of the pamphlet. 

Maybe there's something in Trove...I'll keep looking.

Pretty sure this is Col. William Cadogan Mitchel, Bengal Staff Corp. According to FindMyPast, he was b. 1831 in Fife, Scotland, married someone 1886/1890 and died in Jersey, Channel Islands but I don't have access to the images. 

But its free here: m. at Madras some time between 1886-1890 Frances Augusta Leeson 1886-1890 and he d. 16 Dec 1902 in Jersey, Channel Islands which I actually think means he died at sea somewhere. She was born Frances Augusta Robinson 10 Aug 1840 in Dehli, the da. of John William and Gertrude. Ultimately, a dead end.

The 1901 census, does have William Cadogan (transcribed as Cadoyan) Mitchel, Colonel late Indian Army, age 70 and Frances Augusta Mitchel, age 60 as lodging in 2 Rochampton Villas in St Helier, Jersey

So his death in Jersey may not have been at sea, though interestingly his birth place in the census is given as 'at sea' and hers as India.

In the 1911 census, F.A. Mitchel, age 70, widow is a visitor in the household of Charles M. Emmott, at 2 St James Place, St Peter Port, Guernsey, her birthplace is given as East India.

According to England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (found in Ancestry.com) Mitchel, Frances Augusta of 2 St James's-place St Jacques Guernsey she died 19 April 1915 and probate was granted in London 23 July 1915 to James Cadogan Baillie retired general.

Thank you again John! The OCR on that name sure is problematic (where are all these "Cadogan" from)? 

The various guesses think there's more than one heir descended from the 1st Earl's youngest son Robert but if you look at the list in the Cracroft entry there's only a couple of options:

  • Frank William Leeson (b. 18 Jan 1878; d. 27 Feb 1927), mar. 26 Aug 1905 Ada Dray, dau. of Joseph Valentine Dray, of Hatfield Peveril, co. Essex
  • William Leeson (b. 15 Sep 1855; d. 8 Oct 1933), mar., and had issue
I feel like there's probably something in that pamphlet about one of these two connections. Hmm...

1 Answer

+6 votes
I added tags for Ireland and England to bring your post to the attention of more project members.
by Darlene Athey-Hill G2G6 Pilot (467k points)

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