Hugh Tristam de la Poer Beresford 1908

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Lord Hugh Tristam de la Poer Beresford, a naval officer, inherited Woodhouse from his aunt in 1934. His surviving letters allow us to piece together an interesting personality...

Lord Hugh Tristam de la Poer Beresford was the youngest of six children born to Henry, the 6th Marquess of Waterford and his wife Beatrix on 1st October 1908. He grew up at Curraghmore House, Portlaw, the ancestral seat of Lord Waterford, and had a typical childhood for someone of his social class; a succession of nannies and governesses were followed by education at an English boarding school.

Many of Hugh's letters, written throughout his life, still survive, giving us a greater insight into who he was. He joined the Royal Navy and was posted all over, from Malta to Shanghai. Despite this, he managed to keep up a steady stream of correspondence, particularly with his mother, with whom he enjoyed a close relationship.

During his leisure time he continued to keep up the pursuits typical of a lord such as polo, golf, tennis, hockey and cricket. However, a letter written home in 1935 when he was stationed in South Africa shows he was concerned by serious political issues. In it, he voiced concerns about staying in the British Navy. Though it was a job he loved, he felt that his duty lay at home in Ireland, helping to build up the new Irish State.

To this end, he met with President de Valera in August 1939 to offer his service, once the war concluded. De Valera was impressed by the peer, but Hugh's plans never came to pass. On the 23rd May 1943, Lord Hugh's ship, the HMS Kelly, was sunk in a sea battle off the coast of Crete. His body was retrieved and buried at the El Alamein war cemetry in Egypt. A plaque to his memory can be found at Clonagam Church, Portlaw.

To walk the invisible.jpg (285×398)     Lord Hugh Beresford_003.jpg (2956×4151)

Additional Information
Date of Birth 1st Oct 1908  
Date of Death 23rd May 1941  
Associated Building (s) Woodhouse STRADBALLY, The Boathouse, Curraghmore Estate  


Image of memorial plaque in Portlaw Ireland VIEW SOURCE


  • Part of the sketchy oral history of my family (Power, Glynn and Davis ) is that the name Power was a derivation of De La Poer.

    It is suggested that De La Poer was originally a French surname and the origin of the De La Poers' in Ireland came about after a French Fleet ship went down off the southern Irish coast, some survivors named De La Poer made it to shore where they settled and after some years they changed their surname to Power. I am not certain of these "facts" but hope further research will add verifiable information to my family history. My paternal grandmothers birth name was Bridget Mary Power from Portlaw, county Waterford and her residence there was at 35 Queen Street, about 19116-1918.

    She later moved to London where she married an Australian soldier named Charles Joseph Hughes. She married again to a Doctor John Joseph Glynn. Any information that can be provided would be greatly appreciated.

    Friday 12th July 2019, 01:55AM
  • Hello, thanks for your comment!

    Power is a surname strongly associated with County Waterford, because it is one of the most popular surnames in the area. You're certainly right about the name's French origin, the name Power is derived from De La Poer, as you rightly suggest. The De La Poer family were Normans who left France and came to England with William the Conqueror in 1066. They then came over to Ireland with Strongbow in 1171, when Ireland was invaded by the Normans. To reward the service of Robert De La Poer, King Henry II of England gave him lots of land in County Waterford.

    The De La Poer family continued to be rich and powerful throughout history. In 1704 the male line ran out and the only De La Poer left to inherit the family name was Catherine, who married another aristocrat, Sir Marcus Beresford. Their descendants were known as the De La Poer Beresfords, to honour both sides of their powerful family tree. Catherine and Marcus's son became the first Marquess of Waterford, and their descendants still hold that title and live in their ancestral home, Curraghmore House.

    Although many people in Waterford are called Power, they are not necessarily related to the De La Poer Beresford family. De La Poer is believed to be derived from the French word 'poor', so many of the Norman invaders who arrived in Waterford probably had that name because they would have been descended from French peasants. I haven't come across any story about a shipwreck, but it could well be possible!

    I'm afraid that there isn't yet an Ireland XO page for the parish of Portlaw, but my recommendation would be to look at the 1901 and 1911 census if you haven't already, which might give you a few more details. You can also check out our local guide for Stradbally parish, in case any of the historical sources listed there are of use!

    Best of luck with your search!

    Peigí D

    Friday 12th July 2019, 06:07PM

Buildings Associated with this Ancestor