Garret Wesley, 1st Earl of Mornington

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Garret Colley Wesley, 1st Earl of Mornington (19 July 1735 – 22 May 1781) was an Anglo-Irish politician and composer, best known today for fathering several distinguished British military commanders and politicians.


Wesley was born at the family estate of Dangan, near Summerhill, a village near Trim in County Meath, Ireland, to Richard Wesley, 1st Baron Mornington, and Elizabeth Sale. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin and was elected its first Professor of Music in 1764. From early childhood he showed extraordinary talent on the violin, and soon began composing his own works.[1] As a composer he is remembered chiefly for glees such as "Here in cool grot" (lyrics by William Shenstone) and for a double Anglican chant. It was the future Duke of Wellington who, alone of his children, inherited something of his musical talent.

Wesley represented Trim in the Irish House of Commons from 1757 until 1758, when he succeeded his father as 2nd Baron Mornington. In 1760, in recognition of his musical and philanthropic achievements, he was created Viscount Wellesley, of Dangan Castle in the County of Meath, and Earl of Mornington. He was elected Grandmaster of the Grand Lodge of Ireland in 1776, a post he held until the following year.[2] He was careless with money, and his early death left the family exposed to financial embarrassment, leading ultimately to the decision to sell all their Irish estates.[3]


Wesley married The Hon. Anne Hill-Trevor, eldest daughter of the banker Arthur Hill-Trevor, 1st Viscount Dungannon, and wife, Anne Stafford, in 1759. His godmother, the famous diarist Mary Delaney, said the marriage was happy, despite his lack of financial sense and her "want of judgment".[4] They had six children:

Four of Lord Mornington's five sons were created peers in the Peerages of Great Britain and the United Kingdom. The Barony of Wellesley (held by the Marquess Wellesley) and the Barony of Maryborough are now extinct, whilst the Dukedom of Wellington and Barony of Cowley are extant. The Earldom of Mornington is held by the Dukes of Wellington, and the Barons Cowley have since been elevated to be Earls Cowley. Garret Wesley, Lord Mornington, died in 1781. He is also a direct ancestor of Queen Elizabeth II through her late mother, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.


  1. Longford, Elizabeth Wellington- the Years of the Sword Panther Edition 1971 p. 32
  2. Waite, Arthur Edward (2007). A New Encyclopedia of Freemasonry. vol. I. Cosimo, Inc.. pp. 400. ISBN 1-60206-641-8. 
  3. Longford p.53
  4. Longford p.33

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