Female Succession in Ireland


Curiously enough, although all the creations were made by English and British Sovereigns, and there are Irish baronies by writ, there is almost a complete absence of female succession In Ireland.  The two exceptions are the Barony of La Poer and the Massereene Viscounty.


The circumstances in which the former came to be heritable by females are curious.  When the barony was created in 1535 the remainder was to heirs male.  But 63 years after the eighth baron, who was also third Earl of Tyrone, died in 1704, his daughter, Lady Catharine Power, was declared to be entitled to the Barony of La Poer in fee (a form of remainder which permits of female descent) by resolution of the Irish House of Lords, confirmed by the King a month later.  What seems to have happened was that the 1535 barony was mixed up with a previous barony of 1375 created by writ, which would allow of female descent.  But Lady Catharine, I believe, had no claim to this.  However, the decision stood.  Lady Catharine married Sir Marcus Beresford, who in turn was created Earl of Tyrone, and their son became the first Marquess of Waterford.  The barony has descended with the Beresford titles since.


The Massareene Viscountcy was created with a remainder which left the succession open to females, but on the only occasion on which an heiress succeeded she married Viscount Ferrard, and their successors in the titles have always combined the two and been known as Viscounts Massereene and Ferrard.  But the advent of an only daughter - and no son - to a holder of the titles would separate them again.