William Handcock, 1st Viscount Castlemaine

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

William Handcock, 1st Viscount Castlemaine, PC (Ire) (28 August 1761 – 7 January 1839) was an Irish MP and supporter of Union with Great Britain.


He was born in Dublin, Ireland to Reverend Richard Handcock and Sarah Toler. In 1783, Handcock stood for Athlone in the Irish House of Commons and represented the constituency until the Act of Union in 1801. He was Constable and Governor of Athlone 1813–1839 and Governor of County Westmeath 1814–1831.

Handcock was killed on the Night of the Big Wind in 1839 when the wind blew his bedroom shutters open at Moydrum Castle and hurled him “so violently upon his back that he instantly expired”.[1]

The Australian city of Castlemaine in the state of Victoria was named in his honour by his nephew Captain W. Wright.

Family and title[edit]

On 20 March 1782 he married Lady Florinda Trench (3 August 1766 – 9 February 1851), born in Twyford, Westmeath to William Power Keating Trench, 1st Earl of Clancarty and Anne Gardiner, Countess of Clancarty. William and Florinda had no children,[2] and when Handcock was created Baron Castlemaine, of Moydrum (in the Peerage of Ireland) on 21 December 1812 the title had a special remainder "failing heirs of his body to his brother".[citation needed] He was further created Viscount Castlemaine on 12 January 1822[3] but without a special remainder.

On his death the viscountcy became extinct. His barony passed to his brother, whose descendants still hold the title.


Coat of arms of William Handcock, 1st Viscount Castlemaine
Coronet of a British Viscount.svg
Castlemaine Escutcheon.png
A demi-lion rampant Azure holding between the paws a fusil Argent charged with a cock Gules.
Ermine on a chief Sable a dexter hand between two cocks Argent armed crested and jelloped Gules.
Dexter a lion guardant Azure sinister a cock Proper.
Vigilate Et Orat[4]


  1. ^ Turtle Bunbury, Night of the Big Wind, The Irish Times, 16 October 2017 https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/the-calm-before-the-big-wind-of-1839-was-particularly-eerie-1.3257684
  2. ^ Lodge, Edmund. The Peerage of the British Empire As at Present Existing: Arranged and Printed from the Personal Communications of the Nobility. (p. 106) London: Saunders and Otley, 1839. googlebooks Retrieved 5 September 2009
  3. ^ "No. 17781". The London Gazette. 12 January 1822. p. 60.
  4. ^ Burke's Peerage. 1886.

Further reading[edit]

  • thepeerage.com Accessed 12 March 2008
  • Lodge, Edmund. The Peerage of the British Empire As at Present Existing: Arranged and Printed from the Personal Communications Of the Nobility, by Edmund Lodge, to Which Is Added a View of the Baronetage of the Three Kingdoms. (p. 85) London: Saunders and Otley, 1834. googlebooks Accessed 12 March 2008
Parliament of Ireland
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Athlone
With: Sir Richard St George, 1st Bt 1783–1789
Sir Richard St George, 2nd Bt 1789–1800
Richard Handcock 1800–1801
Succeeded by
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Parliament of the United Kingdom
New constituency Member of Parliament for Athlone
Succeeded by
Peerage of Ireland
New creation Viscount Castlemaine
Baron Castlemaine
Succeeded by