Irish Plaistowes by D W Plaistow

Extract from a Plaistowe Family History (pp 89-97)

There seem to have been a number of Plaistowes who lived in Ireland from about 1700 onwards, and it seems likely that they were an offshoot of one of the English branches. However, as the writer has not spent a lot of time looking into the Irish records, he is unable to give much information about the Plaistowes Irish activities, except so far as can be obtained from information found in connection with English records.

Thomas Playstow married a Catherine Dunbar at St. Andrew's, Dublin, in 1710. She was the daughter of Major Philip Dunbar. Thomas Playstow is buried in the same grave as his father-in-law and on his tombstone is described as a Captain. Catherine, his widow, later went to London and lived in St. Mary-le-bone. She died about1754 leaving all her estate in England and Ireland to her daughter, Christian Playstowe. The Dunbar family was well known in Ireland.

The books, "Celebrated Irish Beauties" by Frances Gerard and "Notable Irishwomen" by C. J. Hamilton give some very interesting details of a famous Miss Plaistow, in connection with the story of the two beautiful Miss Gunnings.

These two Miss Gunnings were the daughters of John Gunning, a barrister, of the Middle Temple, London, who lived at Castle Coote, County Roscommon, Ireland. Their mother was of a poor but noble Irish family.

Maria Gunning was born in 1733 and her sister Elizabeth in 1734. When they were about 16 or 17 years old their beauty was well known and much spoken about in Castle Coote, so much so that they and their mother wished them to get into society but as they were not at all well off this desire presented many difficulties.

However in 1750 they did get to Dublin with their mother, and after a time managed to get an invitation to a function at which they were presented to the Lord Lieutenant, but they had to be lent dresses for the occasion, which was a Ball at Dublin Castle. The Lord Lieutenant advised their mother to try and take them to London and get them presented at Court.

Mrs Gunning then borrowed money and was given money by interested persons who had been very struck with these girls' beauty, and who felt that they had a big future in front of them if only they could get presented. Further to supplement her resources she agreed to take with her and to chaperone a rich and beautiful young lady, who also wished to be presented at Court, by the name of Miss Plaistow.

The Lord lieutenant to save Mrs. Gunning's slender means lent them his yacht on which they crossed to England, in April 1751, in which year the Miss Gunnings were18 and 17 years old, and Miss Plaistow 21.

They were all, presented at Court on a Sunday afternoon in the same year, George II being the King at this time, and the presentation taking place at St. James' Palace.

In London these three girls caused an even greater sensation than they had done in Dublin, so much so that they were followed in the street by crowds, which caused King George II to give them a guard of soldiers to protect them in the streets.

The young society men paid them great attention and in 1752 Maria Gunning married the Duke of Coventry and her sister, Elizabeth the Duke of Hamilton. The Duke of Hamilton, however, did not live very long and shortly afterwards Elizabeth married as her second husband, the Duke of Argyll.

Miss Plaistow married even sooner than the Miss Gunnings as her wedding took place on 21st December, 1751 at St. Wyburgh's, Dublin, to a Lieutenant Colonel Cyrus Trapaud, whom she probably knew well, before she had made her trip to London.

Cyrus Trapaud was a descendant of a Hugenot refugee family, and was connected with the Adlercrons, a family who were great friends of the Plaistow's and who later became connected to .the Plaistow family by marriage. Cyrus was born in Dublin on 18th August 1715 and was baptised at St. Mary's Church there (a French Church) on the 49th of the same month.- In 1760 he was a Lieutenant in the 5th Regiment of Foot, and in 1760 Colonel of the 70th Regiment of the Foot. He was created a General in 1778 or 1783 according to two different accounts.

He was, it is said, a relative of Marshal Turenne. Cyrus Trapaud at the battle of Dettingen in 1743 saved the life of George II whose horse had run away with him, his rank at that time being Ensign. He had seized the bridle of the King's horse, who when he alighted said, "Now if my horse will run away my legs will not." Ensign Trapaud got rapid promotion as reward for his service. Later Cyrus Trapaud with his wife Catherine, went to live in London and in 1758 and again in 1760, he gave sittings to Sir Joshua Reynolds for the painting of his portrait. His wife Catherine, also gave sittings to Sir Joshua Reynolds in 1761 and 1764. It would be interesting to know where these portraits now are, it being possible that there are two pictures of each of them, seeing the length of time between the two sets of sittings that each of them gave the famous painter. C. R. Leslie, in "Life and Times of Sir Joshua Reynolds" called Mrs. Trapaud's picture "One of his sweetest pictures".

In the Catalogue of Engraved British Portraits, at the British Museum, -mention is made of the engravings of Catherine Trapaud as follows:

1. Nearly length, standing , directed and looking to right.

Without title. Sold by E. Fisher 1762. Mezz: 11 x 9 in.

One proof before any description; two lettered impressions. ---- same plate with address of E. Bakewell & H. Parker. Painted by Joshua Reynolds.. Engraved by Edw. Fisher.

2. Reversed copy from the last. Sold by Ryland & Bryer. Mezz. 5? x 4. Engraver Spicer.

Plate to Pamphlet by W. Roberts 1922. Gen. Trapaud and Mrs. Cath. Trapaud respectively.

It is possible to see an engraving of Catherine as Edward Fisher, a well known engraver of that period, made three different impressions of Sir Joshua's portrait which are now in the British Museum.

In 1800 Cyrus and his wife were living at 10 Mansfield Street London and although the General was then blind, they were having many distinguished visitors including Paoli. Cyrus Trapaud died 3rd of May 1801 and was buried in, Chelsea Hospital Burial Ground. Mrs. Trapaud continued to live in Mansfield Street for two years, but in 1803 she moved to Welbeck Street Cavendish Square where she died in the same year. She was buried with her husband and there are Memorial Inscriptions to them both at Chelsea. On her death, the "Gentleman's Magazine" in an obituary notice calls her "Aunt to the late Duke of Bridgewater" but to date the writer has not been able to find how this relationship came about, and suggests that the statement is not correct.

Catherine Trapaud left a sister according to "Naval History 1810", when an obituary notice is given to Mrs. Savage, who died on 16th March, aged 75 after a lingering illness. She was the wife of vice-Admiral Savage and the only surviving sister of the late Mrs. Trapaud, widow of the late General Trapaud and of Richard Plaistow, Esq. of Potters Bar.

Richard Plaistow, Catherine Trapaud's brother, in 1771, 1775 and 1779 was living in Portland Row, St. Mary-le-bone, according to various Chancery Proceedings.

From 1755 up to 1787 when Richard Plaistow died, legal proceedings in Chancery give interesting details of this Richard Plaistow. One action, started in November 1780, seems to indicate that Richard Plaistow did quite a lot of money lending. In this case the prosecutor was the Most Noble George, Duke of St. Alban's, says that about 1722, he knew Richard Plaistow of Easy Lodge, nr. Barnet, Middlesex. He had actually known him before this date, and also calls him General Plaistow in his statement. The Duke says that Richard had lent him 1634 up to 1778 which he had repaid, but on 25 May 1785 when Richard makes his answers he replies, as follows. He says that he was at school at Eton with St. Albans, although no mention is made in the college registers of Richard having been at Eton. When, St. Albans came of age and up to 1754 he had borrowed money from Richard. Richard Plaistow, however, in about 1756 went abroad while in about 1757 or 1758 the Duke went to Paris and then on to Brussells. Therefore Richard wrote to him but the Duke could not repay him and therefore told him to apply to Mr. Jackson of Lincolns Inn. When Richard, returned to England he went and applied to Mr. Jackson on 10 September 1760 but it was too late as Mr. Jackson had already paid out all the Duke's money. In about March 1761 Richard went to Germany and met St. Albans in Brussells, and was told that the Duke was expecting money from the estate of Sir John Werden, Bart., his grandfather. Richard, therefore agreed to wait for his money and to lend him, some more money.

He then made the Duke a monthly allowance until 1762, to keep him and his family. St. Albans was later sent to Dinant under guard not being allowed to leave the province before his debts in Brussells and the neighbourhood had been paid. The Duke went bankrupt in 1776 or 1777 and returned to England in l777. The Duke agreed that Richard Plaistow had been very generous and in settlement he gave him an estate called Oakley Estate at Brill in Berkshire which was only worth 4000, so some money was still owing to him. We learn that Mr. Christopher Fowler of Dean Street, Soho, was Richard's solicitor in 1772 when he got this Berkshire estate. As is perhaps natural, the Duke answers Richard's statement and gives quite a different account of his debts.

Richard Plaistow left a Will which was proved in London and a copy of which is in Dublin Castle. This Will which is dated 16 July 1788 describes him as Lieutenant in the Army and as, living at Howland Street, St. Pancras. He asks for an inexpensive funeral, and leaves all his estate both real and personal to his son Francis Plaistow, and appoints John Musgrave of Paddington and his brother--in-law, General Cyrus Trapaud, as his executors. His wife, of whom we know nothing, presumably predeceased him.

Richard Plaistow had a son, Francis, born 1766 (who proved Richard's Will) and went to Westminster School, being admitted on 28 September 1779 at the -age of 13. He married on 15 October 1800, Maria Theresa Adlercron of Dublin at St. Anne's, Dublin. Miss Adlercron was a niece of Cyrus Trapaud, and was a descendant of another Hugenot refugee family. Her family was also much connected with the Army, as we see by the mention of a Lieutenant Colonel John Adlercron who was in the 7th Regiment of Foot in 1750 and 1752.

Francis Plaistow was called to the Bar by Greys Inn on 11th February 1793 or on 25th November 1801, and at that time was living in Clarendon Square and at South Mimms, Middlesex.

On 18 June 1803 there is in the London Gazette the following:

Whitehall, 18 June 1803.

The King has been pleased to grant unto Francis Plaistow of Devonshire Street, Portman Place, and of Potters Bar, in the Parish of South Mimms, in the County of Middlesex, Esquire, Barrister at Law, His Royal Licence and Authority, that he and his Issue may take and use the Surname, and bear the arms of Trapaud, in addition to the surname and Arms of Plaistowe, not only in Testimony of his grateful and affectionate Respect for the memory of his late Uncle and Aunt, General Cyrus Trapaud and Mrs. Cyrus Trapaud, Deceased, but also in compliance with a Request contained in a Codicil to her late Will and Testament, such Arms being duly exemplified according to the Laws of Arms, and recorded in the Herald's Office.

And also to order, that his Majesty's Concession and Declaration be registered in His College of Arms.

From this date we find that Francis is always called as is his family by the name of Plaistow-Trapaud, usually without a hyphen.

Francis continued to live at Easy Lodge, South Mimms, near Potters Bar, until he died on 26 December 1845. He is probably buried. in the church or churchyard at South Mimms, where there is a Memorial Inscription to him and his wife.

However, Francis left a large family of eight children, the eldest being, Cyrus Plaistow Trapaud, born on 6 June 1803. He was living in Berkeley Square in 1846 and apparently at one time lived in Guernsey. He was appointed a Captain in the 8th Regiment of Foot sometime before 1842.

John Ladaveze Plaistow Trapaud was, it is thought, the second son. He was commonly called the Marquis of St. Maurice because of his mother's ancestry. He first took up law being admitted to Greys Inn on 17 January 1822, but gave this profession up and went into the Army. In 1825, he is called "Cadet" and on 7 July 1827 he was promoted to Lieutenant, later becoming a Captain in the service of the East India Company. After this service he lived in Stanhope Road; Hampstead, London. In 1843 his fathers Will mentions him as being temporarily deaf and dumb due to sun-stroke. He was probably invalided out of the Army at this time, and then returned to Grays Inn as a Barrister.

The third son was Francis Plaistow Trapaud who migrated to Brantford, in the west of Canada.

William Plaistow Trapaud, was born in 1809 and joined the Royal Navy. He, however, died. when serving on H.M.S. Magnificent as a Midshipman on 31 December 1828 at Jamaica where we was buried.

Amelia Meliora Plaistow Trapaud was born 23 June 1804 and died on 23 December 1828, being buried at St. Giles Church, South Mimms, where there is a Memorial Inscription to her.

Maria Theresa Plaistow-Trapaud was born 6 June 1803 and was a twin to Cyrus. She was born in Mansfield Street London probably at her Grandmother's house. She died 10 January 1829, and like her sister was buried at St. Giles Church, South Mimms, where there is a Memorial Inscription to her.

Meliora Plaistow Trapaud was another daughter. She married William Lockyer-Martyr sometime after 1836 and went to live in Dorsetshire, dying there at Evershot.

Catherine Margaret Irene Plaistow Trapaud, another daughter, married firstly Bury Hutchinson of Russell Square and Berkley Square, a Solicitor's Clerk of the Distillers Company, but he having died on 20 November 1835 at Bromley, Kent (he left some children) she married again. Her second husband was Henry Joyce Newark of Eastbourne Terrace, Paddington, whom she married on 18 May 1939 at St. George's, Hanover square. On the previous day to the marriage, a marriage settlement was signed. She acted as executrix for the Will of her father in 1843.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The only other information that we have about this family is obtained from Directories.

A Mrs. Trapaud lived at 1 Craven Hill, Bayswater, in 1805-1807, while at the same period another Mrs. Trapaud lived at 10 Mansfield Street.

In 1922 a F. P. Trapaud lived at 10 Disraeli Road, Ealing, W.5. He is very probably a descendant of the family under review, but the writer, has not been in communication with him.