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Charles Blount

CHARLES BLOUNT, earl of Devonshire and 8th Baron Mountjoy (1563-1606), lord-lieutenant of Ireland, grandson of the preceding, was the most notable of the later holders of the title. The favour which his youthful good looks procured for him from Queen Elizabeth excited the jealousy of the earl of Essex, and led to a duel between the two courtiers, who, however, soon became close friends. Between 1586 and 1598 he was much on the continent, serving in the Netherlands and' in Brittany. He joined Essex and Sir Walter Raleigh in their expedition to the Azores in 1597, his brother, Sir Christopher Blount (1565- 1 60 1 ), who was afterwards executed for complicity in Essex's treason, being also of the party. In 1600 Mountjoy went to Ireland as lord deputy in succession to Essex, where he succeeded in suppressing the rebellion of Hugh O'Neill, earl of Tyrone, whom Essex had failed to subdue. In July 1601 Mountjoy made himself master of Lough Foyle, and in the following December he defeated O'Neill's Spanish auxiliaries at Kinsale, and drove them out of the country. In 1602 the earl of Tyrone made his submission to Mountjoy in Dublin (see O'NEILL); and on the accession of James I. Mountjoy was continued in his office with the more distinguished title of lord-lieutenant. Returning to England, he was one of Sir Walter Raleigh's judges in 1603; and in the same year he was made master of the ordnance and created earl of Devonshire, extensive estates being also granted to him. He died in London on the 3rd of April 1606. About 1 590 Mountjoy took as his mistress Penelope, wife of Lord Rich and sister of the earl of Essex. After the death of her brother in 1601, Lady Rich was divorced from her husband in the ecclesiastical courts. Mountjoy, by whom she had already had several children, was married to the lady in 1605 by his chaplain, William Laud, afterwards archbishop of Canterbury. As he left no legitimate children the earl's titles became extinct at his death.

His eldest natural son by Lady Rich, MOUNTJOY BLOUNT (c. 1597-1666), inherited a large property by his father's will, and was a favourite with James I. The family title was revived in his favour in 1618, when he was created Baron Mount joy, of Mount joy Fort, Co. Tyrone, in the peerage of Ireland; and Baron Mountjoy of Thurveston, Derbyshire, in the peerage of England. In 1628 he was further created earl of Newport in the Isle of Wight. In the same year he was appointed to command, with the rank of rear-admiral, the expedition for the relief of Rochelle; in 1634 he was made master of the ordnance. He took the popular side at the beginning of the trouble between Charles I. and the parliament, and was an eager opponent of Strafford. When the Civil War broke out, however, Newport served in the royalist army, and took part in the second battle of Newbury in 1644. In January 1646 he was taken prisoner and confined in London on parole. He died at Oxford on the 12th of February 1666, leaving two surviving sons, who in turn succeeded to the earldom of Newport and barony of Mountjoy. Both titles became extinct on the death of Henry, the younger of these sons, in 1681.

In 1683 SIR WILLIAM STEWART (1653-1692), who owned large property in the counties of Donegal and Tyrone, and whose grandfather was created a baronet in 1623, was raised to the peerage of Ireland as Baron Stewart of Ramelton, Co. Donegal, and Viscount Mountjoy. Having served abroad, Mountjoy returned to Ireland in 1687, where he became brigadiergeneral. At the revolution he remained loyal to James II.; but being a Protestant he was distrusted by Tyrconnel, the viceroy, and was removed with his troops from Londonderry to Dublin. When the gates of Londonderry were closed against James's representative, Tyrconnel sent Mountjoy and Robert Lundy with a force to the north. After negotiations which resulted in Lundy being admitted as governor to the city, Mountjoy was sent with Sir Stephen Rice to Paris to report on the state of affairs to James II. On their arrival, Rice acting on secret instructions, denounced Mountjoy as a traitor, and the latter was thrown into the Bastille, where he remained till 1692. He then went over to William III., and was killed at Steinkirk on the 3rd of August 1692.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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