William Monsell, 1st Baron Emly (1812 – 1894) aka William Maunsell aka Lord Emly was an Anglo-Irish landowner and Liberal politician. He held a number of ministerial positions between 1852 and 1873, notably as President of the Board of Health in 1857 and as Postmaster General between 1871 and 1873. He was the grandson of William Monsell of Tervoe who married Dymphna Pery, aunt of the 1st Earl of Limerick, in 1751.

Originally from England, this family sold their estates in Somerset and purchased estates in county Limerick. By the mid 17th century, they were living at Tervoe. By the late 18th century they held Tervoe and other lands from the Wilsons of Cahirconlish on a lease renewable forever. The 1761 rental of the estate of Robert Clive lists his grandfather, William Monsell, as the tenant of "Plassey otherwise Ballykilty". See also the Rev. Robert Maunsell; Major Robert-Hedges-Eyre Maunsell

Lord Emly was a member of Parliament for county Limerick 1847-1873, Under Secretary of State for the Colonies 1868-1870 and Postmaster-Gereral, 1870-1873.  In 1874 Lord Emly was given the title of Baron Emly. Correspondence relating to his political career can be found in the National Library of Ireland and in the National Archives.

At the time of Griffith’s Valuation Lord Emly held land in Co. Clare and Co. Limerick

  • in the parishes of Killeely, barony of Bunratty Lower and Quin, barony of Bunratty Upper;

  • in the parishes of Ballycahane, Kilkeedy and Monasteranenagh, barony of Pubblebrien, Corcomohide, barony of Connello Upper and Anhid, barony of Coshma.

  • Lands at Kilbreedy, the property of William Monsell, were sold in the Encumbered Estates Court in June 1856. Mr. Coppinger was the purchaser.

  • In the 1870s his county Clare estate was comprised of 464 acres and his county Limerick estate of 2,246 acres. He was also the proprietor of 700 acres in county Kerry. 

Although Emly was a staunch unionist, he was popular with his tenants and the locals. He was among the few resident landlords who strived to improve living and education in the surrounding area. During the famine, he helped with provisions and campaigned to parliament on their behalf. However, with the rise of the Land League and his personal opposition to Home Rule, Emly’s popularity declined and he lost his seat.

Lord Emly aka "The Painstaking Irishman", died at Tervoe House in April 1894, aged 81. The house was demolished in the 1950s.


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Additional Information
Date of Birth 21st Sep 1812  
Date of Death 20th Apr 1894  
Mother (First Name/s and Maiden) Olivia, daughter of Sir John Johnson-Walsh, 1st Baronet, of Ballykilcavan.  
Father (First Name/s and Surname) William Monsell (1778–1822), of Tervoe, Clarina, County Limerick  
Townland born Tervoe, Clarina, Co Limerick  
Names of Siblings    
Spouse (First Name/s and Maiden/Surname) 1st: Lady Anna Maria Charlotte Wyndham-Quin (1814–1855), only daughter of Windham Quin, 2nd Earl of Dunraven and Mount-Earl, in August 1836, with whom he had two sons, both of whom died in infancy. Anna Maria died on 7 January 1855.  
Spouse (First Name/s and Maiden/Surname) 2nd: Bertha (1835–1890), youngest daughter the Comte de Montigny of the house of Montigny de Perreux, in 1857, by whom he had one son and one daughter  
Names of Children Gaston Monsell (1858–1932), later the second Lord Emly | Mary Olivia Monsell (1860–1942)  
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