Edward Chichester, 1st Viscount Chichester

Edward Chichester, 1st Viscount Chichester (1568 – 8 July 1648) of Eggesford in Devon, was Governor of Carrickfergus and Lord High Admiral of Lough Neagh, in Ireland.


He was the third son of Sir John Chichester (died 1569), knight, lord of the manor of Raleigh, in the parish of Pilton, Devon, about three quarters of a mile north-east of the historic centre of Barnstaple,[1] by his wife Gertrude Courtenay (1521–1566), a daughter by his second marriage of Sir William III Courtenay (1477–1535) "The Great"[2] of Powderham, MP for Devon 1529–1535, and a distant cousin of the Earl of Devon.[3] He was thus the younger brother of Arthur Chichester, 1st Baron Chichester of Belfast (1563–1625), founder of Belfast.


He was knighted in 1616, and after his brother's death in 1625 was in his memory ennobled as Baron Chichester, of Belfast and Viscount Chichester, of Carrickfergus both in the County of Antrim, both in the Peerage of Ireland. He succeeded his brother in his extensive estates as well as in his offices of Governor of Carrickfergus and Lord High Admiral of Lough Neagh. He took his seat in the Irish House of Lords in 1634.

Marriages and children

Edward Chichester married twice:

  • Firstly in 1605 to Anne Copleston (1588–1616), the sole daughter and heiress of John Copleston Esq., (died 1606) of Eggesford by his wife Dorothy Biston (died 29 July 1601).[4] They had the following children:
  • Secondly after 1616 and before 1626, as evidenced by a date stone on Eggesford Barton bearing the inscription: "E.C.M. 1626",[13] to Mary Denham.

Death and burial

He died on 8 July 1648 at his manor of Eggesford in Devon, where he was buried.


He has a particularly fine alabaster effigy and monument against the north wall of the north aisle (Chichester Chapel) in Eggesford Church, Devon, to the immediate west of which stood his manor house, Eggesford House, demolished in 1824. The monument shows recumbent effigies of himself and his first wife with two tablets above inscribed as follows:

"Here rest in hope of Resurrection the body of the Right Hon.bl Sr. Edward Chichester knt., Lord Chichester, Barron of Belfast. Viscount Chichester of Carrickfergus, governor of the same &c., and one of His Majesties most hon.ble Privy Counsell for the Kingdome of Ireland, sonne of Sr. John Chichester of Rawleigh knight; and the body of Dame Anne his wife sole daughter and heire of John Copleston of Eggesford Esq.r. who had issue Arthur his eldest sonne now Lord Viscount Chichester, Earle of Donegall &c, who first married Dorcas, daughter of John Hill of Honnely in Warwickshire, Esq. and had issue by her one daughter; afterwards the Lady Mary eldest daughter of John, Earle of Bristol and had issue by her six sonnes & two daughters. John his second sonne who married Mary, eldest daughter of Roger Viscount Rannelagh and Edward his youngest sonne who married Elisabeth daughter of Sr. Edward Fisher knight; Elisabeth his eldest daughter who married Sr. William Wrey knt. & Barro.ett; Mary his youngest daughter who first married Thomas Wise of Syddenham afterwards John Harris of Radforde Esq. Hee departed this life on the 8 and was buried on ye 13 day of July Anno 1648. Shee departed this life on the 8 and was buried on the 11 day of March Anno 1616. This monument was prepared by himself in his lifetime but now erected and finished by the said Arthur Lord Viscount Chichester, Earle of Donegall, January the 11 Anno Domini 1648".

On a lunette above, probably the text planned by the deceased himself:

"In memory of Edward Lord Viscount Chichester & Dame Anne his wife and in humble acknowledgement of the good providence of God in advancing their house".

"Fam'd Arthur Ireland's dreade in armes in peace,
Her tutelar genius Bellfast's honour wonne,
Edward and Anne, blest payre, begott increase,
Of lands and heires: Viscount was grafted onn,
Next Arthur in God's caus and King's stak't all,

And had to's honour added Donnegall".

On the wall to the right above the monument is a black stone tablet inscribed as a memorial to Anne Copleston's parents:

"Here lyeth buried ye bodies of John Copleston Esq., & Dorothie his wife daughter to Sr. George Biston of Biston Castel in Chelshere, knight. They had issue Anne their sole daught. & heire who is now maryed to Edwarde Chichester Esq., one of ye sonnes of Sr. John Chichester of Rawleigh, knight, in whose memory the said Edwarde Chichester their son in law hath erected this monument in ye yere 1614. She departed ye 29 of July in ye yere 1601 he departed ye 11 of ... in ye yere 1606, living together 30 yeres in much peace w.th God & lovinge societie e.ch w.th other".

Sir George Beeston (c. 1520 – 1601) of Beeston House near Bunbury, Crewe, Cheshire, acquired Beeston Castle from the Crown shortly before his death. He was a naval captain who commanded HMS Dreadnought against the Spanish Armada in 1588, and was knighted at sea on board the Ark Royal by Lord Howard of Effingham the Lord High Admiral. He served as MP for Cheshire in 1589. His wife, and Dorothy's mother, was Alice Davenport (died 1591), daughter of Thomas Davenport Esq., of Henbury. Sir George's effigy and elaborate monument exists against the north wall of the sanctuary in St Boniface's Church, Bunbury.[15]


  • Armstrong, R. M. "Chichester, Arthur". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/5275.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.), on the son.
  • Axe, Matthew, Chapman, Lesley & Miller, Sharon. The Lost Houses of Eggesford, published by Eggesford Gardens Ltd., Eggesford, 1995
  • Lauder, Rosemary, Devon Families, Tiverton, 2002, Chichester of Hall and Arlington, pp. 35–40


  1. Lauder, p. 37
  2. Visitation of Devon, 1895 ed., p. 246
  3. http://www.tudorplace.com.ar/Bios/WilliamCourtenayPowderham1.htm%5B%5D Sharing common descent from Hugh Courtenay, 2nd Earl of Devon (died 1377)
  4. Dates per memorial tablet in Eggeston Church
  5. Axe, Chapman & Miller, p. 16
  6. Per inscription on father's monument in Eggesford Church
  7. Axe, Chapman & Miller, p. 16
  8. Per inscription on father's monument in Eggesford Church
  9. Collins's Peerage of England, Vol.8, London, 1812, pp. 446–7, footnote (i)
  10. Gardiner, Samuel Rawson, History of England from the Accession of James I to the Outbreak of the Civil War, Vol.8, chapter 75, pp. 4–5
  11. Hunneyball, Paul, biography of Wrey, William (c.1601-1645), of Trebigh, St. Ive, Cornwall, published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
  12. Per inscription on father's monument in Eggesford Church
  13. Axe, Chapman & Miller, p. 14
  14. Debrett's Peerage & Baronetage, 1968, p. 172, Chichester of Raleigh
  15. Elsworth, John, (Churchwarden of St Boniface's Church, Beeston) Notes on Sir George Beeston, 2000
Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by
New Creation
Viscount Chichester
Succeeded by
Arthur Chichester

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