An Educational Charity | Charity Reg. No. NIC100280
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Charitable Objectives


Philipstown was enfranchised by a 1571 charter of 12 Eliz. I as 'The Burgomaster, bailiffs, Burgesses and Commonalty of Philipstown'. There was also a 1689 charter of James II. The corporation consisted of a burgomaster, two bailiffs, 12 burgesses and an unlimited number of freemen. At the beginning of the century it appears to have belonged to Lord Molesworth,230 and in 1707 he wrote to his wife discussing the advisability of buying up all other interests in Philipstown, such as those of the Lesters, Lyonses and Ecclestons, 'so as to make the town entirely our own forever and put us out of the reach of designing persons'. Both the Rochforts and the Molesworths had property in the town and the Molesworths still controlled the corporation in the 1730s, but at some time thereafter the Rochforts gained control, under the politically minded 1st Earl (1807), who in 1736 married Mary, the eldest daughter of Richard, 3rd Viscount Molesworth. In the middle of the century he purchased the control of Philipstown and his control from then onwards was absolute. Until the borough was disfranchised at the Union, 'No person could be elected to any office without his approbation and consent.'231 Certainly the Rochforts controlled it by the 1770s, and by the 1780s the proprietors were Lords Belvidere (Rochfort) and Lord Molesworth but the patron was the 2nd Earl, Lord Belvidere (1800), who had sat briefly for Philipstown in 1759-60. In 1790 he sold one seat to William Sankey (1877) and the other to Richard Longfield (1263), who brought in the notorious Arthur O'Connor (1565). The 1st Earl appears to have divided the borough in his will between his son, George, Earl of Belvidere, his grandson, Robert, Earl of Lanesborough, his daughter, Jane, Countess Dowager of Lanesborough, and her husband, John King, who each received £3,750 in compensation at the Union.

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Registered with The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland NIC100280