Nugent

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Nugent Surname Genealogy

The
origin of the Nugent name
is a place-name in northern
France, Nogent-le-Rotrou, located near Chartres. The Rotrou
family was a powerful one in northern France in the 11th century.
A branch of this family, known as the de Nogents, came to England with
William the Conqueror in 1066.
The Anglo-Norman Sir Gilbert de Nogent from this family came to Ireland
in
1172. His descendants were the Nugents in Ireland.

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Nugent Ancestry

Ireland.
In
1172
Sir Gilbert
de Nogent
came to Ireland with Sir Hugh de
Lacy.
Through a clever marriage to de Lacy’s
daughter, he was granted the barony of Delvin in Westmeath and he
distributed
this large tract of land among his brothers.

In 1181 Sir Gilbert began the building of Ballinlough Castle on a hill
overlooking two lakes at Clanmellon in Westmeath (a castle, albeit of
17th century construction, still stands at this site). All the
principal branches of the Nugent family, including the main Devlin
line, are descended from the marriage of Sir William Nugent and
Catherine FitzJohn,
recorded variously as being in 1385 or 1407.
Sir William is believed to have been the first to have
anglicized his
name to Nugent.

Over time the Nugents became more like a
Gaelic sept, acting for instance as patrons of the McCoffeys. the
bardic clan
of Westmeath. They were and remained Catholic as England was
turning Protestant.

In the early 1500’s, the Nugents expanded their landholdings northwards
into Cavan. The Black Baron Devlin, the 12th of the line, built
Ross Castle and oversaw Fore Abbey.
But here their hold was more fragile. King Henry VIII dissolved
Fore Abbey and Cromwell, a century later, stormed Ross Castle and
confiscated Nugent land. The tipping point for many
Catholic
Nugents came with the Battle of the Boyne in 1689 when the Jacobites
were defeated and many Nugents fled into exile as Wild Geese.
More Nugent land was lost at this time.

One
branch
of the family continued to live and own land in Cavan, at
Farrenconnell, not far from Ross Castle. Its most famous descendant was
Major General Sir Oliver Nugent of World War One fame. The last
Nugent to live at Farrenconnell died in the
1980’s.

Meanwhile other Nugents had moved elsewhere. One
branch was to be found at Aghavarten near Carrigaline in county
Cork. Nugents that had been loyal to the English crown were
granted lands in Galway which they held until 1912. Today Nugents
are thinly spread over most of Ireland, with the exception of Connacht.

England.
One
line of Westmeath Nugents established themselves in England.
Robert Nugent based himself in Cornwall where his wife had property
and, for political services in England, was made Baron Nugent in 1767.
His grandson George distinguished himself in military service and
became a Field Marshal in 1846. The family’s
military and political connections continued with succeeding
generations.

At the other end of the social scale were the Nugent economic migrants
in the 19th century, mainly into Lancashire. Their champion may
be considered Father
James Nugent
, the son of an Irish greengrocer, who was a
great social reformer of his time.

America. The first Nugent in
America was undoubtedly Christopher
Nugent who was transported to Virginia on the John and Dorothy in 1635. He later settled in Maryland. However,
he left no male descendants.

Matthew Nugent was born about 1724 in Brunswick, North
Carolina and was one of the earliest settlers, around 1780, at Natchez
when it
was still Spanish territory. Later
he
and his family moved to Rapides parish in present-day Louisiana.


Caribbean. Walter
Nugent
after the defeat at the Battle of the Boyne departed
for the Caribbean island of
Antigua. arriving there around 1718. His grandson Oliver built
the family home there, Clare Hall, and the Nugents were to remain in
Antigua until the mid 20th century.

Canada. Some
early Nugents in Canada had come from America, crossing the border
after the
Revolutionary War was over. John and
Margaret Nugent arrived from Brooklyn around 1800 and settled in
Picton,
Ontario. His son Thomas lived in their
family farm for thirty five years before purchasing a farm in Belmont
and later
moving to Ontario, California.

From
Cavan in Ireland to Hope township, Ontario came Francis Nugent and his
wife
Mary and their family in 1827. Francis
was only to live there eight years. The
local paper reported in 1835:

“Francis
Nugent of the
township of Hope, while assisting at the raising of a barn for John
Heaton, was
struck in his side by a falling logand died the next morning.”


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Nugent Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:


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Nugent Names

Sir Gilbert de Nogent came to Ireland with Strongbow in 1172 and
was the forebear of the Nugents of Westmeath.
Laval Nugent is remembered as
the soldier who evicted the French out of Croatia in the early 19th
century and was the founder of the first Croatian museum.
Father
James Nugent
,
based in Liverpool, was a
19th century social reformer and temperance
advocate.

Select Nugents Today

  • 7,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Lancashire)
  • 6,000 in America (most numerous in New York)
  • 12,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Ireland)

 

 

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