Bellings, Richard (DNB00)

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BELLINGS, RICHARD (d. 1677), Irish historian, eldest son of Sir Henry Bellings, who owned considerable estates in Leinster, was born near Dublin towards the commencement of the seventeenth century. While a student in Lincoln's Inn, London, he composed a sixth book to the 'Arcadia' of Sir Philip Sidney. This production was publishea with the 'Arcadia' in 1629, and has been appended to most of the editions of that work. Bellings married a daughter of Viscount Mountgarrett, and sat as a member of parliament in Ireland. On the formation of the Irish Confederation in 1642 Bellings was elected a member of and secretary to the supreme council of that body, of which his father-in-law, Mountgarrett, was president. In 1644 Bellings went to the continent as official representative of the Irish Confederation. After his return to Ireland in 1645 he continued, as an adherent of the royal cause, actively engaged in public affairs till 1649, when he retired to France. In 1654 he published at Paris, in Latin, a vindication of his political conduct. Bellings was highly esteemed by Charles II and the Duke of Ormonde. After the king's restoration Bellings obtained possession of a portion of his estates which had been appropriated by the parliamentarians. Bellings died in 1677, and was buried near Dublin. During his latter years he wrote a history of Irish affairs in which he had taken part. This work seems to have been lost sight of for nearly a century. A fragment of it was very incorrectly printed at Dublin in 1772. The original manuscript, supposed to have perished, has, however, been brought to light. The first portion of it, edited by John T. Gilbert, F.S.A., was printed in 1882, in two volumes quarto, for private circulation, under the following title: 'History of the Irish Confederation and the War in Ireland, 1641-3: containing a narrative of affairs of Ireland from 1641 to the conclusion of the treaty for cessation of hostilities between the Crown of England and the Irish in 1643. By Richard Bellings, Secretary of the Supreme Council of the Irish Confederation. With original documents, correspondence of the Confederation and of the English government in Ireland, contemporary personal statements, memoirs, &c. Published, for the first time, from original MSS.' This publication is frequently referred to by Mr. S. R. Gardiner in His 'History of England, 1603-42.'

Bellings's son, Sir Richard, was secretary to Catherine, queen of Charles II, and married Frances, heiress of Sir John Arundell. Their only child married Henry, Lord Arundell of Wardour in Wiltshire.

[Additional MSS. 15356, 4763, British Museum. London; State Papers, Ireland, Charles I, Public Record Office, London; Carte and Clarendon MSS. l641-77, Bodleian Library. Oxford; Ormonde Archives, Kilkenny Castle, Ireland; MSS. of the Earl of Leicester, Holkham, Norfolk, and of Lord Arundell, Wardour Castle Wiltshire.]

J. T. G.