Page images

1835. James II. was outlawed for high treason, and forfeited his honours and estates, but was afterwards restored in blood, but not to his estates, by an Act of the English Parliament in 1708. He married the daughter of Sir Patrick Trant, and dying, left an only daughter and heir, Ellen, who died unmarried, and was buried in the parish of St. Sulpice, at Paris, August 8. 174.8, on whose death the peerage of Lord Baron of Slane went into abeyance between the heirs of Mary and Alice, the two daughters of Randall, Lord Baron of Slane. The descent of Mary the elder has been herein-before recited.

Alice Fleming, only daughter of said Randall, Lord Baron of Slane, by his second wife, became the wife of Sir Gregory Byrne of Tymogue, in the Queen's County, Bart., by whom she had several sons. Charles, the eldest, married, and had several children, who all died without issue; and Henry Byrne, the second son, left an only daughter and heir, Catherine Xaveria, who became the wife of George Bryan, of Portland Place, London, Esq., by whom she had George Bryan, now of Jenkinstown, in the County of Kilkenny, Esq. her only surviving son and heir (the petitioner), who is now sole heir of Alice, youngest daughter of Randall, Lord Baron of Slane, and as such one of the two co-heirs general of said Randall, Lord Baron of Slane, of his father William, Lord Baron of Slane, and of his grandfather Christopher, Lord Baron of Slane, summoned to parliament in 1613 and 1615, in whose favour was terminated the abeyance of the peerage created in his maternal grandfather William, Lord Baron of Slane, in 1584-5.

That the petitioner presented a petition to his Majesty in May, 1828, praying, that as one of the 1835. co-heirs of the aforesaid Randall, Lord Baron of Slane, he might be allowed to produce evidence, and use such arguments as he should be advised for the protection of his rights before his Majesty's Attorney-General for England, to whom was referred the petition of Mr. James Fleming, who claimed to be, and has assumed the title, and calls himself Lord Baron of Slane, on the allegation that he is heir male of the Hon. John Fleming, uncle of the aforesaid Randall, Lord Baron of Slane, and as such, heir male of said Randall. That the petition was referred to his Majesty's Attorney-General, before whom the petitioner attended by his agents and counsel. That Mr. James Fleming closed his case before the then Attorney-General, and the petitioner proved his descent and co-heirship, but the then AttorneyGeneral had not made a report thereon.

That Mr. James Fleming founds his claim on a ground altogether new and unprecedented, that there are peerages in Ireland originating previously to the introduction of either writs of summons or patents, which have always descended to the heirs male, and that this peerage of Slane is one of them; thus alleging a new point of law involving the rights and privileges of the ancient peers of the realm, and the laws affecting the same; a point which requires the most solemn investigation and decision.

That a claim involving the same question has been made to the title of Athenry, another ancient Irish title, which has been twice investigated, first before Sir John Copley (Lord Lyndhurst), and secondly before Sir James Scarlet, when they re

1835. spectively held the office of Attorney-General of England, neither of whom had made any report thereon *: that the Attorney-General, Sir Charles Wetherell, having had the whole evidence in these claims for the title of Slane before him since August last, had not made any report thereon; and as the petitioner was advancing in years, he was most anxious to have a question of such urgent importance to himself and his family decided by the highest and most competent tribunal; and as the claim of Mr. James Fleming had already been before the House of Peers, and proceedings had been had before the committee of privileges of their lordships thereon; and as all cases of claims to Irish peerages must eventually be decided by their lordships' vote, by a provision of the Act of Union:

The petition prayed that his Majesty would refer the petitioner's claim to the House of Peers, for their lordships' consideration and report, whether the said title be or be not a barony in fee by writ of summons descendible to heirs general; and whether the same is or is not now in abeyance between the said Edward Lord Dunsany t, and the petitioner; or to make such other order in the premises as to his Majesty's royal wisdom should seem meet.

This petition was referred to the Attorney-General, to consider and report his opinion thereon.

Upon this reference the Attorney-General made his report as follows : —

* Sir James Scarlet, when Attorney-General, afterwards reported on the Athenry claim.

f This was afterwards retracted, as an admission made upoi» mistake.

In humble obedience to your Majesty's com- 1835. mantls, signified to me by the Right Honourable Robert Peel, one of your Majesty's principal secretaries of state, the 8th of June, 1829,— that I should take into consideration, and report upon the petition of George Bryan, of Jenkinstown, in the county of Kilkenny, Esq. — claiming to be one of the co-heirs of Randall, Lord Baron of Slane, of the kingdom of Ireland, and of his father, William Lord Baron of Slane, summoned to the parliament of Ireland, in 1613 and 1615, or in whose favour the abeyance of the peerage created in his maternal grandfather Thomas, Lord Baron of Slane, in 1585, was terminated.

I have considered the said petition, and have been attended by the agent of the petitioner, who in the first instance stated to me: —

That the family of Fleming was descended from Richard le Fleming, who accompanied Sir Hugh de Lacy to Ireland, in the reign of King Henry the Second, and obtained a grant from him of the lands of Slane, in his palatine honour of Meath, in which the said Hugh possessed the regalities; and the said Richard, and his successors, for five generations, were Barons of that palatinate, and were styled in the ancient records Barons of Slane.

That Baldwyn le Fleming (son of Richard, son of Baldwyn, son of Stephen, son of Richard, son of the first-mentioned Richard le Fleming) having married a daughter of Simon de Geneville (second son of GeofFery de Geneville, Lord of the honour of Meath in right of his wife Matilda, daughter and heir of Gilbert de Lacy, grandson and heir of Sir Hugh de Lacy, first Lord of the aforesaid honour of Meath), thereby became allied to the

1835. powerful family of Mortimer, Earls of March and Ulster; the chief of which family, Roger de Mortimer, Earl of March, had married the heir of the Genevilles" and Lacys, Lords of Meath, and was the King's Lieutenant in Ireland.

That in consequence of this connection, it is presumed, the said Baldwyn, Palatine Baron of Slane, acquired influence and importance, and was summoned to the parliament, held at Kilkenny on the octaves of the Purification of the Virgin Mary, the third year of King Edward the Second, not by the title of Baron of Slane, but by writ directed to him by the name of Baldwyno le Fleming.

That he was succeeded by his son, Sir Simon Fleming, Lord le Fleming, who sat in parliament in the reign of King Edward the Third, and he by his son Sir Thomas Fleming, third Lord le Fleming, who sat in parliament in the reign of King Henry the Fourth, and was succeeded by his son Sir Christopher Fleming, fourth Lord le Fleming, who sat in parliament in the reign of King Henry the Sixth, and was succeeded by his grandson Christopher, fifth Lord le Fleming, son of John, who died in his father's lifetime, who sat in parliament in the reign of King Henry the Sixth, and who dying unmarried, his two sisters, Anne and Amy, became his co-heiresses, between whom the peerage of Le Fleming went into, and is still in abeyance among their heirs, there being many descendants of both now in existence.

That the manor or barony of Slane being settled on the heirs male, and held of the Lords of Meath in fee tail, went to David Fleming, uncle of the half blood to the fifth and last Christopher Lord le Fleming; which David was summoned to, and

« PreviousContinue »