Page:EB1911 - Volume 28.djvu/567

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548
WESTMEATH, EARL OF—WESTMEATH

his bust of Sir William Chambers. In 1805 he was elected an associate, and in 1811 a full member of the Royal Academy, his diploma work being a “Ganymede” in high relief; in 1827 he was appointed to succeed Flaxman as Royal Academy professor of sculpture, and in 1837 he was knighted. A very large number of important public monuments were executed by him, including many portrait statues; but little can be said in praise of such works as the statue on the duke of York’s column (1833), the portrait of Fox in Bloomsbury Square, or that of the duke of Bedford in Russell Square. Much admiration was expressed at the time for Westmacott’s monuments to Collingwood and Sir Ralph Abercromby in St Paul’s Cathedral, and that of Mrs Warren in Westminster Abbery; but subjects like these were far less congenial to him than sculpture of a more classical type, such as the pedimental figures representing the progress of civilization over the portico of the British Museum, completed in 1847, and his colossal nude statute of Achilles in bronze, copied from the original on Monte Cavallo in Rome, and reared in 1822 by the ladies of England in Hyde Park as a compliment to the duke of Wellington. He died on the 1st of September 1856.


WESTMEATH, EARL OF, a title held in the Irish family of Nugent since 1621. During the reign of Henry II. Sir Gilbert Nugent received the lordship or barony of Dclvin in Meath, which soon passed by marriage from the Nugcnts to the family of Fitzjohn. About two hundred years later the barony returned to the Nugent family. Sir William Nugent (d. c. 1415) marrying Catherine, daughter of John Fitzjohn. The barony, however, is considered to date from the time of Sir William Nugent and not from that of Sir Gilbert, 1389 being generally regarded as the date of its creation. Sir William Nugent, who is generally called the 1st, but sometimes the 9th, baron Delvin, was succeeded by his son Sir Richard (d. c. 1460) as 2nd baron. In 1444 and 1449 Sir Richard was lord deputy of Ireland. His grandson, Richard, the 4th baron (d. c . 1538), was summoned to the Irish parliament in 1486. During his while life he was loyal to the English king, and both before and after the years 1527 and 1328 when he was lord deputy, he took a vigorous part in the warfare against the Irish rebels. Among his descendants was Robert Nugent, Earl Nugent (q. v.) . Richard's grandson, Christopher, the 6th baron (c. 1544-1602), also served England well, but about 1576 he fell under the displeasure of Queen Elizabeth and he was several times imprisoned, being in the intervals employed in Ireland. He was a prisoner in Dublin Castle when he died. Delvin wrote A Primer of the Irish Language, compiled at the request and for the use of Queen Elizabeth.

His son, Richard, the 7th baron (1583-1642), took part in 1606 in a plot against the English government and was imprisoned, but he soon escaped from captivity and secured a pardon from James I. In 1621 he was created earl of Westmealh. Having refused in 1641 to join the Irish rebellion, he was attacked by a party of rebels and was so seriously injured that he died shortly afterwards. His grandson, Richard, the 2nd earl (d. 1684), served Charles II. against Cromwell in Ireland and afterwards raised some troops for service in Spain. His grandson Thomas, the 4th earl (1656-1752), served James II. in Ireland. Thomas's brother, John, the 5th earl (1672-1754), left Ireland after the final defeat of James II. and took service in France. He fought against England at the battles of Ramillies, Oudenarde and Malplaquet and remained on active service until 1748. He died in Brabant on the 3rd of July 1754. His son Thomas, the 6th earl (d. 1792), also served in the French army; later he conformed to the established religion, being the first Protestant of his house, and took his seat in the Irish House of Lords in 1755. His son George Frederick, the 7th earl (1760-1814), a member of the Irish House of Commons before 1792, was succeeded by his son George Thomas John (1 785-1871), v/ho was created marquess of Westmeath in 1S22 and who was an Irish representative peer from 1831 to 1871. He died without legitimate sons on the 5th of May 1871, when the marques sate became extinct. The earldom of Westmeath now passed to a distant cousin, Anthony Francis Nugent (1805-1879), a descendant of Thomas Nugent (d. 171 5) of Pallas, Galway, who was a son of the 2nd earl. Thomas was chief justice of Ireland from 1687 until he was outlawed by the government of William III. In 1689 he was created by James II. baron of Riverston, but the vaHdity of this title has never been admitted. In 1883 his descendant, Anthony Francis (b. 1870), became the nth earl.

Cadets of the Nugent family were Nicholas Nugent (d. 1582), chief justice of the common bench in Ireland, who was hanged for treason on the 6lh of April 1582; William Nugent (d. 1625) an Irish rebel during the reign of Ehzabelh; Sir George Nugent, Bart, (1757-1849), who, after seeing service in America and in the Netherlands, was commander-in-chief in India from 1811 to 1813 and became a field-marshal in 1S46; and Sir Charles Edmund Nugent (c. 1759-1844), an admiral of the fleet. More famous perhaps was Lavall, Count Nugent (1777-1S62), who rose to the rank of field-marshal in the Austrian army and was made a prince of the empire. His long and honourable military career began in 1793 and sixty-six years later he was present at the battle of Solferino. His most distinguished services to Austria were during the war with France in 1813 and 1814, and he was also useful during the revolution in Hungary in 1849.

See D'Alton, Pedigree of the Nugent Family: and Historical Sketch of the Nugent Family, printed by J. C. Lyons (1853).


WESTMEATH, a county of Ireland in the province of Leinster, bounded N.W . by Longford, N. by Cavan, N.E. and E. by Meath, S. by King's county, and W. by Roscommon. The area is 454,104 acres, or about 709 sq. m . The Shannon forms the western boundary. The average height of the surface of the county is over 250 ft. above sea-level. The highest summits are Knocklayde (795 ft.), Hill of Ben (710 ft.) and Knockayon (707 ft.) . A large surface is occupied by bog. A special feature of Westmeath is the number of large loughs, which Jiave a combined area of nearly 17,000 acres. In the north, on the borders of Cavan, is Lough Sheelin, with a length of 5 m., and an average breadth of between 2 and 3 m., and adjoining it is the smaller Lough Kinale. In the centre of the county there is a group of large loughs, of which Lough Dereveragh is 6 ni. long by 3 broad at its widest part. To the north of it are Loughs Lene, Glore, Bawn and others, and to the south Loughs Iron and Owel. Farther south is Lough Enncll or Belvidcre, and in the south-west Lough Ree, a great expansion of the river Shannon, forming part of the bou-idary with Roscommon. The river Inny, which rises in Co. Cavan, enters Westmeath from Lough Sheelin, and, forming for parts of its course the boundary with Longford, falls into Lough Ree. The Inny has as one of its tributaries the Glore, flowing from Lough Lene through Lough Glore, a considerable part of its course being underground. From Lough Lene the Dale also flows southwards to the Boyne and so to the Irish Sea, and thus this lake sends its waters to the opposite shores of the island. The Brosna flows from Lough Ennell southwards by King's county into the Shannon. The Westmeath loughs have a peculiar fame among anglers for the excellence of their trout-fishing.

Westmeath is essentially a county of the great Carboniferous Limestone plain, with numerous lakes occupying the hollows. Two or three little inliers of Old Red Sandstone, as at Killucan and Moate, form distinctive hills, about 500 ft. in height. At Sron Hill near Killucan, a core of Silurian strata appears within the sandstone dome. A considerable system of eskers, notably north of Tullamore, diversifies the surface of the limestone plain.

The soil is generally a rich loam of great depth resting on limestone, and is well adapted both for tillage and pasturage. The occupations are almost wholly agricultural, dairy farming predominating. ^Flour and meal are largely produced. The only textile manufactures are those of friezes, flannels, and coarse linens for home use. The only mineral of any value is limestone.

The main line of the Midland Great Western railway enters the county from E. and passes W. by Mullingar and Athlone. From Mullingar a branch runs N.W . to Inny Junction, where lines diverge N. to Cavan (county Cavan), and W.N.W. to Longford (county Longford) and Sligo. A branch of the Great Southern & Western railway runs from Portarlington (Queen's county) to Athlone, and this and the Midland Great Western main line are connected by a short line between Clare and Streamstown, worked