Nugent, Thomas (1656-1752) (DNB00)

NUGENT, THOMAS, fourth Earl of Westmeath (1656–1752), born in 1656, was the second son of Christopher, lord Delvin, eldest son of Richard Nugent, second earl of Westmeath [q. v.] His mother was Mary, eldest daughter of Richard Butler, esq., of Kilcash, co. Tipperary, and niece of James, first duke of Ormonde. According to Lodge, he had a pension of 150l. in the reign of Charles II. He married in 1684, and after travelling for a few years returned to Ireland, and was given the command of one of Tyrconnel's regiments of horse. In the parliament held by James II at Dublin in 1689 Nugent was called to the House of Peers, although he was under age and his elder brother Richard was still alive. The latter, who succeeded his grandfather as third earl in 1684, had entered a religious house in France, and died there in April 1714.

Nugent served with King James's army at the Boyne and at the sieges of Limerick. His name is chiefly connected with these sieges. Story mentions him as one of those officers who left the horse camp outside Limerick on 25 Sept. 1691 during the cessation of hostilities, and dined with Ginkell while on their way into the city. On the following day he was sent into the English camp as one of the hostages for the observance of the articles of the capitulation.

He was present, though not as a member of the court-martial, at the trial of Colonel Simon Luttrell for his conduct during the siege, and not only urged his acquittal in spite of the efforts of Tyrconnel to procure a condemnation, but exculpated him from the charge of having allowed the British troops to throw a bridge over the Shannon, the real blame of which he threw upon Brigadier Clifford, who was in command at the spot in question, while Luttrell was in Limerick Castle (Macariæ Excidium, ed. O'Callaghan, p. 484; cf. Harris). On 2 Dec. 1697 Viscount Massareene reported from the committee appointed to inspect the journals that ‘Thomas, earl of Westmeath, was indicted and outlawed 11 May 3 William and Mary (1691), but hath since reversed his outlawry’ (Journals of the House of Lords, i. 675).

Westmeath died, aged 96, on 13 June 1752 (Lond. Mag. and Monthly Chron. 1752, p. 331). By his wife Margaret (d. 1700), only daughter of Sir John Bellew, lord Bellew, he had two sons and nine daughters. Two only of the latter survived him. The elder son, Christopher, lord Delvin, having died unmarried at Bath on 17 April 1752, and the younger being previously deceased, the title passed to John Nugent, his father's younger brother, who is noticed separately.

[Peerage of Ireland, 1768, vol. i.; Lodge's Peerage of Ireland, 1789, i. 247; Burke's Peerage, 1893; Lodge's Peerage of Ireland, ed. Archdall, vol. i.; Story's Impartial History of the Wars of Ireland, i. 98, ii. 229–30; Harris's Life of William III, p. 345, and Appendix, p. lxii; D'Alton's Illustration of the Army of King James, pp. 33, 358, 734 (containing, under the heading ‘Col. the Earl of Westmeath,’ particulars of all the chief members of the Nugent family); Webb's Compendium of Irish Biography.]

G. Le G. N.