The Vandeleurs in Kilrush County Clare Ireland VIEW SOURCE
Vandeleur Demesne Maps Ireland VIEW SOURCE

CROFTON MOORE VANDELEUR JP DL (1808-81) of Kilrush House, was a magistrate and a Deputy Lieutenant for County Clare (High Sheriff in 1832; Colonel of the Clare Militia in 1838) and MP for Clare from 1859-74. However, he is principally known as the landlord behind the mass evictions that took place in the Kilrush Union during the Famine years.


His father, John Ormsby Vandeleur (d.1828) built Kilrush House in 1808 and played a major role in the development of the town of Kilrush in the early 19th century.

The Vandeleur family are descended from Maxmilian Van Der Leur, a Dutch merchant, who had settled in Ireland by the early 17th century. His son established himself in county Clare at Sixmilebridge. His grandson, the Reverend John Vandeleur, was rector of Kilrush, barony of Moyarta, county Clare in the 1680s. In 1712 the Earl of Thomond leased the Kilrush estate to Boyle Vandeleur in trust for his brother the Reverend John, who married Elizabeth Crofton, an heiress from county Limerick. From their eldest son John, who purchased the estate in 1749, descends the Vandeleurs of Kilrush.


In 1828 Colonel Crofton Moore Vandeleur succeeded to his father's extensive estates, which by the mid 19th century, amounted to almost 20,000 acres in county Clare.

A large portion of their estate was in the barony of Moyarta, where they held at least 17 townlands in the parish of Kilrush at the time of Griffith’s Valuation, with additional lands in the parishes of Kilmacduane and Kilfearagh and in the neighbouring barony of Clonderalaw, parishes of KilfiddaneKillofinKillimerKilmihil and Kilmurry. They also held six townlands in the parish of Clooney, barony of Corcomroe, and some land in the baronies of Bunratty Lower and Ibrickane. Over 400 acres in the parish of Mungret, barony of Pubblebrien, and land in the parish of Monasteranenagh, county Limerick, also belonged to the Vandeleurs of Kilrush.

Colonel Crofton Moore Vandeleur gave land for the building of the Catholic Church, convent, a fever hospital and Kilrush workhouse. However, his lack of compassion during the Great Famine and later as an absentee landlord, left a legacy of hostility to the family, exacerbated by widespread evictions in the 1880s.

He is described by O'Murchadha in his new book as a 'Cabin tumbling warrior'.


In 1832, he married, the Lady Grace Graham-Toler, second daughter of Hector John, 2nd Earl of Norbury, and had four children:

Hector Stewart Vandeleur, his heir;
Crofton Toler;
John Ormsby Moore;
Elizabeth Frances; Frances Letitia; Grace Dorothea.

Hector Steward Vandeleur inherited the estate in 1881 but spent very little time in county Clare and large scale evictions again took place under his ownership in the late 1880s.


Kilrush House (est 1808) was burned down accidentally in 1897 and the estate was taken over by the Land Commission in the 1910s.

The Vandeleur Walled Gardens have been restored and are now open as a visitor attraction, which includes an exhibition of this familiy's 200 year history in this district. 


For a comprehensive history of the most prominent landlord family in West Clare, see Vandeleurs of Kilrush, County Clare.



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Additional Information
Date of Birth 1st Jan 1809
Date of Death 8th Nov 1891
Mother (First Name/s and Maiden) Lady Frances Moore, daughter of Charles, 1st Marquess of Drogheda
Father (First Name/s and Surname) THE RT HON JOHN ORMSBY VANDELEUR (1765-1828)
Names of Siblings Henry Seymour Moore VANDELEUR Anna Frances VANDELEUR Alice VANDELEUR

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