THE DONEGAL CONNECTION
The Nesbitt family, who were former residents and proprietors of the townlands of Brenter and Molmossog in County Donegal, originally occupied Molmossog House. Andrew Nesbitt died in 1692 and left five sons, one of whom was called Albert who married Elizabeth Gould. Albert and Elizabeth had only one daughter named Rachel. This Rachel then married Richard Bard Harcourt and eventually the estates of Brenter and Molmossog were carried into the Harcourt family.
The Harcourts’ main place of residence was the Manor of Wigginton in England, which passed on to Simon Harcourt. At length, this property was inherited by Charles Amedee Harcourt (the signature on the letter) including the Donegal estates. His inheritance was quite extensive.
Helen Meehan mentions in her book, “Inver Parish in History,” a certain Harcourt of Molmossog who carried out some atrocities in order to introduce cattle onto the farms and holdings in Brenter. These events could have occurred more likely during the occupancy of Richard Bard Harcourt, Amedee’s near relative. It was Amedee Harcourt who spent most of his time in various locations in Ireland assessing potential threats of rebellion to the English. Farming was furthest from his mind but local reconnaissance was his main function.
The short letter signed by C.A. Harcourt, who was also related to Simon Harcourt, former Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, is requesting a map item from Mr. Montgomery.
Charles Amedee Harcourt (Marquis d’ Harcourt) was born 17 July 1771 in Paris and was first of the many émigrés to escape the terror of revolutionary France. He was a direct descendant from a Norman family of the early centuries, Bernard the Dane. (Refer genealogy page).
Amedee married Sophie/Sophia Harcourt in June 1800. She was born in 1771 also and was the daughter of Richard Harcourt of Pendley. Charles Amedee did not die in battle but died instead from a riding accident in St. Leonard’s Hill England in 1831. His wife survived him for fifteen years until 1846. Charles Amedee became a general in the British army and was involved in many missions from Russia to Cape Town. He and his family had an intimate friend in King George who visited his home in St. Leonard’s as did Queen Victoria and other European monarchs. William Harcourt, the third Earl Harcourt purchased St. Leonard’s Hill from the Duke of Gloucester, the brother of King George.
The Military Attributes of Charles Amedee Harcourt
He purchased an ensigncy in the 127th regiment then being raised by Colonel Craddock in December 1794 and acquired a lieutenancy in the 99th foot regiment on 20th December. In April 1795 he gained a lieutenancy in the 16th light dragoons. He remained at Bremen under Lieutenant General Dundas to assist Colonel Don. In 1798 he was promoted to Aide-de-camp and in 1799 he was sent to assist with negotiations with the inhabitants of Holland and was present in all the actions there. He took possession of Alkmaar, captured prisoners and became a most successful leader. In 1799 he accompanied Sir Home Popham to Russia and later returned to England under the command once again of Colonel Don. He left for Malta as Aide-de-camp to General Fox and when he returned he was appointed assistant quarter-master general in Ireland. In 1804 he was appointed Lieutenant-Colonel and continued in Ireland until 1809. At the siege of Badajos in Spain he was awarded a medal of honour.
Amedee received the rank of Colonel in the army on June 4, 1813 and on August 12,1819 became Major-general Companion of the Order of the Bath for his military expertise. He fought at Flanders in 1793, Paperon, Wormhoot, Hondshotte, Catean , Tournay and a list of other battles which required his military tactics.
For many of his outstanding heroics and bravery for country and fellow soldiers he was awarded a special commemorative sword by the Duke of York. This Duke (the second son of King George 3rd) was the inspiration of the nursery rhyme, ‘’ The grand old Duke of York, he had ten thousand men.”
Colonel Craddock (1762-1839) was the army commander and governor of the Cape of Good Hope from 1806-1814. ( Refer Dictionary of National Biography)
Sir Home Popham (1762-1820) was a famous English admiral.
General Fox (1755-1811) another British Army General who fought in the American War of Independence and who became commander-in –chief in Ireland in 1803.
General Dundas ( 1735-!820) was Quartermaster-General in Ireland in 1777.
Companion of the Order of the Bath is a British Order of Chivalry.
Alkmaar is a city in Holland fought over in 1799 between the French and British forces led by the Duke of York and Charles Amedee Harcourt for which he received a promotion.