Discussion:
Thomas Courtenay, a scion of the Earls of Devon?
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kelsey.jack...@googlemail.com
2021-10-15 20:16:51 UTC
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Field-Marshal Count Peter Lacy (1678-1751) [1] wrote an autobiographical narrative subsequently published as "A Journal of his Excellency the Marshal Count Peter de Lacy", in _The British Military Library_, 2 vols. (London, 1804), i. 339-345, 390-396, which begins with the statement that:

"The place of my nativity is Killidy, in Ireland, in the county of Limerick, where I was born the 29th of September, 1678. My father was Peter de Lacy, son of John de Lacy, of the family of Balmgary [sic] Lacy in the said county of Limerick. My mother was Mary de Courtney, daughter of Thomas de Courtney, and of Catharine Nagle".

The 24 August 1740 Austrian confirmation of nobility for the field-marshal agrees that "[m]aternam vero Courteneorum stirpem inclytae nobilitatis fama in Anglia eminere" and the slightly later pedigree registered by his son gives his mother as “Maria de Courtenay aus Frankreich”. The implication, I assume, is that his maternal grandfather, Thomas Courtney or Courtenay, was a cadet member of the family of the Earls of Devon.

But how? The only man who seems to fit the bill in Ireland is Thomas Courtney of Castleblagh, co. Cork (plausibly proximate to Killeedy and Ballingary), who fl. 1675-1685 [2] and the names of his descendants certainly echo those of the Devon family, but I can find nothing relative to his ancestry. I'd be grateful for any thoughts on this or, indeed, for any suggestions concerning the possible origin of his wife, Catherine Nagle.

All best wishes,
Kelsey

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Lacy
[2] http://courtenaysociety.org/crossle.pdf
taf
2021-10-15 22:02:21 UTC
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Post by ***@googlemail.com
"The place of my nativity is Killidy, in Ireland, in the county of Limerick, where I was born
the 29th of September, 1678. My father was Peter de Lacy, son of John de Lacy, of the
family of Balmgary [sic] Lacy in the said county of Limerick. My mother was Mary de
Courtney, daughter of Thomas de Courtney, and of Catharine Nagle".
The 24 August 1740 Austrian confirmation of nobility for the field-marshal agrees that
"[m]aternam vero Courteneorum stirpem inclytae nobilitatis fama in Anglia eminere" and
the slightly later pedigree registered by his son gives his mother as “Maria de Courtenay
aus Frankreich”. The implication, I assume, is that his maternal grandfather, Thomas
Courtney or Courtenay, was a cadet member of the family of the Earls of Devon.
But how? The only man who seems to fit the bill in Ireland is Thomas Courtney of Castleblagh,
co. Cork (plausibly proximate to Killeedy and Ballingary), who fl. 1675-1685 [2] and the names
of his descendants certainly echo those of the Devon family, but I can find nothing relative to
his ancestry. I'd be grateful for any thoughts on this or, indeed, for any suggestions concerning
the possible origin of his wife, Catherine Nagle.
Is there any particular reason you are looking in Ireland for a man whose daughter is described as 'of France' and whose wife has a typically-German surname?

taf
kelsey.jack...@googlemail.com
2021-10-16 12:29:20 UTC
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Post by taf
Post by ***@googlemail.com
"The place of my nativity is Killidy, in Ireland, in the county of Limerick, where I was born
the 29th of September, 1678. My father was Peter de Lacy, son of John de Lacy, of the
family of Balmgary [sic] Lacy in the said county of Limerick. My mother was Mary de
Courtney, daughter of Thomas de Courtney, and of Catharine Nagle".
The 24 August 1740 Austrian confirmation of nobility for the field-marshal agrees that
"[m]aternam vero Courteneorum stirpem inclytae nobilitatis fama in Anglia eminere" and
the slightly later pedigree registered by his son gives his mother as “Maria de Courtenay
aus Frankreich”. The implication, I assume, is that his maternal grandfather, Thomas
Courtney or Courtenay, was a cadet member of the family of the Earls of Devon.
But how? The only man who seems to fit the bill in Ireland is Thomas Courtney of Castleblagh,
co. Cork (plausibly proximate to Killeedy and Ballingary), who fl. 1675-1685 [2] and the names
of his descendants certainly echo those of the Devon family, but I can find nothing relative to
his ancestry. I'd be grateful for any thoughts on this or, indeed, for any suggestions concerning
the possible origin of his wife, Catherine Nagle.
Is there any particular reason you are looking in Ireland for a man whose daughter is described as 'of France' and whose wife has a typically-German surname?
taf
That's a very reasonable question. Let me explain:

1) The field-marshal's paternal family, the Lacys of Coulross, were resident for several generations in the parish of Killeedy, co. Limerick with no indication - to my knowledge - of time spent abroad prior to 1691. It seems more reasonable to look for the elder Peter Lacy's wife closer to home.

2) Since the acquisition of large tracts of land in Limerick and Cork by the Courtenays of Powderham in Elizabeth's reign, there were a number of Courtenay/Courtney families active near Killeedy, suggesting the likelihood that Peter Lacy's Courtenay wife was a relation of some sort.

3) I take the claims of English (in the 1740 confirmation) and French (in the Vienna pedigree) origin to be variations on the well-known origins of the Courtenays of Powderham, sometime earls of Devon. This is, I think, the weakest argument here, though it's worth noting that an 1847 pedigree, inaccurate but not completely risible, of this family describes Mary Courtenay as being "of Lord Devon's family".

4) Nagle may well be a German surname, but it's also Anglo-Irish. There was a number of Nagle/Nangle families active in the southwest of Ireland including one at Ballinamona, co. Cork, who married into the Lacys of Bruff, cousins of the Coulross family. My assumption is that we should looking for an Irish Nagle rather than a German one.

I should stress that I'm happy to see this set of circumstantial evidence picked apart and I certainly don't mean to suggest that the field-marshal's grandfather is certainly Thomas Courtenay of Castleblagh, just that he seems to be a plausible candidate. As it stands, though, it seems to me that a regional Irish origin for Mary Courtenay is rather more likely than anything exotic.

All the best,
Kelsey
taf
2021-10-16 14:57:43 UTC
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3) I take the claims of English (in the 1740 confirmation) and French (in the Vienna pedigree) origin to be variations on the well-known origins of the Courtenays of Powderham, sometime earls of Devon. This is, I think, the weakest argument here,
It seems unlikely to me that Mary would be called "from France" were this a reference to where the family came from 600 years earlier. Indeed, I would place this as the third best explanation, behind outright error/falsehood. Top on the list is that we are dealing with a younger son/branch who went to the continent in a military or commercial capacity. Of course this does not exclude him from _also_ being an Anglo-Irish descendant of the Devon family.

taf

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