Ireland: Surnames & Titles



Baron Ashtown, of Moate in the County of Galway, a title in the Peerage of Ireland, was created in 1800 by King George III for Frederick Trench (1755–1840), with remainder to the heirs male of his father. Trench had previously represented Portarlington from 1798 in the Irish House of Commons, and the title was a reward for voting in favour of the Act of Union 1800.

He was succeeded according to the special remainder by his nephew, Frederick Mason Trench (1804–1880), 2nd Baron Ashtown, whose second wife was the rich heiress Elizabeth Oliver Gascoigne of Clonodfoy / Castle Oliver in County Limerick. His eldest son Frederick died in 1879, and his second son Cosby was a military officer and magistrate.

His grandson, Frederick Oliver Trench, (1868–1946), 3rd Baron Ashtown, who inherited vast estates and reputedly over a million pounds, sat in the House of Lords as an Irish Representative Peer from 1908 to 1915. He was a hard-line Unionist and editor of the journal Grievances from Ireland (1906-10) which denounced all political expressions of Irish nationalism as treasonable.

On the death of his younger son, Dudley Oliver Trench (1901–1979), 5th Baron Ashtown, this line of the family failed. His first cousin once removed, Christopher Oliver Trench (1931–1990), 6th Baron Ashtown, served as British Ambassador to South Korea and to Portugal. The title was next inherited by his second cousin once removed, Nigel Clive Cosby Trench (1916–2010), 7th Baron Ashtown, and is currently held by Roderick Nigel Godolphin Trench (b. 1944), 8th Baron Ashtown. The heir apparent to the barony is Hon. Timothy Roderick Hamilton Trench (b. 1968).

The principal baronial residence was Woodlawn in County Galway.


Captain Arthur Forbes (c. 1690-1632), a Scottish adventurer of aristocratic lineage, arrived in Ireland in 1620 with the Master of Forbes’s Regiment, of which he was lieutenant-colonel, and was granted large estates in modern Counties Leitrim and Longford by King James I. In 1628 was created Baronet of Castle Forbes in the peerage of Nova Scotia. He died in a duel at Hamburg, Germany.

His son, also called Arthur Forbes(1623-1696), was appointed marshal and commander-in-chief of the army in Ireland in 1670. A member of the Privy Council, he also served as one of the lords justices on several occasions. In 1675 he was created Baron Clanehugh and Viscount Granard. In 1684 he raised the 18th regiment of foot, and was made colonel thereof, and in the same year was advanced to the dignity of Earl of Granard. During the Williamite War he command of a force of five thousand men for the reduction of Sligo, the surrender of which he secured.

George Forbes (1760-1837), 6th Earl of Granard, was a General in the British army. In 1806 he was created Baron Granard, of Castle Donington in the County of Leicester, in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. This title gave the Earls an automatic seat in the House of Lords until the passing of the House of Lords Act 1999.

Bernard AWP Hastings Forbes (1874-1948), 8th Earl of Granard, who inherited the title at the age of 14, held junior office in the Liberal administrations of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman and H. H. Asquith, and was also a member of the Senate of Southern Ireland and of the Senate of the Irish Free State.

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