The Jacobite Duchess
Title Details

276 Pages

23.4 x 15.6 cm

8 b/w, 1 map illus.

Series: Irish Historical Monographs

Series Vol. Number: 23

Imprint: Boydell Press

The Jacobite Duchess

Frances Jennings, Duchess of Tyrconnell, c.1649-1731

by Frances Nolan

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Author
  • Reviews
The fascinating life of Frances Jennings, elder sister of Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, charting her marriages and changes of fortune, her exile and return, her ambition, political manoeuvring and sincere piety.

Frances Jennings, elder sister of Sarah, duchess of Marlborough, had an interesting and eventful life, most notably as the influential wife of Richard Talbot, earl of Tyrconnell, Catholic viceroy of Ireland under James II. Born circa 1649 into a Hertfordshire gentry family, she was a noted beauty at the Restoration court. There, she met and married George Hamilton, a Catholic officer who, after 1667, served in Louis XIV's army. In Paris, Frances raised three daughters, converted to Catholicism, and became an active member of the English Catholic émigré community. Following Hamilton's death, she remarried to Richard Talbot. As vicereine of Ireland, Frances helped re-establish Catholic hegemony, assisting in the foundation of convents and re-consecration of Christ Church cathedral. During the Williamite-Jacobite War in Ireland (1689-91), Frances fled to James II's exiled court in France. In 1691, she received word that her husband, now Jacobite duke of Tyrconnell, had died. Attainted for high treason, she used the Marlboroughs' influence to recover her Irish estates. In 1708, she returned to Dublin, where she died in 1731. Highlighting Frances's political manoeuvrings, religious identity and deep family attachments, this book portrays a complex and contested figure, a woman who acted on multiple stages, in diverse roles, challenging expectations of rank, gender, and 'nationality' in unexpected ways.
List of illustrations
Acknowledgements
List of abbreviations
Notes on the text
Introduction
1. 'The malicious little gipsy': early life, c.1649-1665
2. 'Hambleton is now going into France': marriage, motherhood and migration, 1666-1676
3. 'Ruined beyond redemption'?: widowhood, remarriage and returning, 1676-1686
4. 'That caballing humour': a political woman, 1687-1690
5. 'Every one's eye is watching': treason, forfeiture and exile, 1691-1699
6. 'Always a plane dealor': changing fortunes and life in the Low Countries, 1700-8
7. 'A duchess-nun'?: family, faith and finance in old age, 1708-1730
8. 'Albion's fairest plant': death and legacy
Appendix A: Duchess of Tyrconnell's family tree
Appendix B: Books in the possession of the duchess of Tyrconnell in Dublin, transported from her apartment in the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye
Appendix C: David Nairne's 'Cyffer w[i]th the D[uche]sse of Tyrconnel, 5th August 1702'
Bibliography
Index

FRANCES NOLAN is an IRC Post-Doctoral Researcher in the Department of History at Maynooth University.

"This fascinating biography makes a significant contribution to the burgeoning field of early modern women's history in Ireland and beyond. It demonstrates the value and potential of fresh assessments of key women in Irish history." EARLY MODERN WOMEN
"The Jacobite Duchess has a tremendous depth of research [...], and this adds rich detail to the narrative." FACHRS
"[A] significant contribution to the history of an individual life, and through it, the history of early modern England and Ireland. This thoroughly researched work takes a scholarly approach to the history and simultaneously remains a pleasure to read." BRITISH CATHOLIC HISTORY
"Frances was a complicated and complex woman and Nolan does an excellent job of writing a non-hagiographic life. We need more histories of complex and difficult women and Nolan's book provides many ideas for how to do them." Amy M. Froide, Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies and Renaissance Quarterly

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Title Details

276 Pages

2.34 x 1.56 cm

8 b/w, 1 map illus.

Series: Irish Historical Monographs

Series Vol. Number: 23

Imprint: Boydell Press