Almost two centuries later, in 1434, we find
EVERARD DIGBY, filling the office of High Sheriff of the county of Rutland, and representing that county in parliament.
He fell at the battle of Towton, in 1440, fighting under the banner of the unfortunate HENRY VI.
This gentleman married Jaquetta, daughter and co-heir of Sir John Ellis, of Devon, and left (with one daughter), seven sons, of whom the eldest were,
Everard;The second son,
SIR SIMON DIGBY, Knight, of Coleshill, Warwickshire, having contributed mainly, with his six valiant brothers, to the Earl of Richmond's success at Bosworth, was rewarded, after the accession of HENRY VII, with large grants of lands and lucrative public employments.
Sir Simon wedded Alice, daughter and heir of John Walleys, of East Radston, Devon; and dying in 1519, was succeeded by his elder son,
REGINALD DIGBY, of Coleshill, who espoused Anne, daughter and co-heir of John Danvers, of Calthorpe, Oxfordshire, and was succeeded by his son,
JOHN DIGBY, who married Anne, eldest daughter of Sir George Throgmorton, and was succeeded by his son,
SIR GEORGE DIGBY, who wedded Abigail, daughter of Sir Arthur Henningham, of Kettering, in Norfolk, and had, with other issue,
ROBERT, his successor;The son and heir,
George, created 1st Baron Digby.
SIR ROBERT DIGBY, Knight, who received that honour from Robert, Earl of Essex, at Dublin, in 1596, represented the borough of Athy in parliament, in 1613, and was called to the privy council.
He espoused Lettice, daughter and heir of Gerald, Lord Offaly, and granddaughter of Gerald, 11th Earl of Kildare, by whom he had, with several other sons, whose male descendants are extinct,
ROBERT, his heir;This Lettice was created Baroness Offaly for life, and brought into the Digby family the barony of Geashill, in the King's County.
Essex(Rt Rev), Lord Bishop of Dromore.
Sir Robert died in 1618, and was succeeded by his eldest son,
ROBERT DIGBY (c1599-1642), who was elevated to the peerage, in 1620, as BARON DIGBY, of Geashill, King's County.
His lordship espoused Lady Sarah Boyle, daughter of Richard, 1st Earl of Cork, and was succeeded, in 1642, by his son,
KILDARE, 2nd Baron, whose two elder sons,
ROBERT, 3rd Baron, andsucceeded in turn to the barony, and both dying without issue, a younger brother,
SIMON, 4th Baron,
WILLIAM, 5th Baron (1661-1752), inherited in 1657.
This nobleman married Lady Jane Noel, daughter of Edward, 1st Earl of Gainsborough, by whom he had (with eight daughters), four sons, viz.
Edward (c1693-1746), father of EDWARD, 6th Baron;
EDWARD, 6th Baron (1730-57), who died unmarried, when the honours devolved upon his brother,
HENRY, 7th Baron (1731-93), who was created a peer of Great Britain, in 1765, as Baron Digby; and advanced, in 1790, to the dignities of Viscount Coleshill and EARL DIGBY.
His lordship married firstly, in 1763, Elizabeth, daughter of the Hon Charles Fielding, but by that lady had no surviving issue; and secondly, Mary, daughter and heir of John Knowler, of Canterbury, by whom he had,
EDWARD, his successor;
Robert, in holy orders;
Charlotte Maria; Elizabeth Theresa.
EDWARD, 2nd Earl.
- Edward Digby, 2nd Earl, 8th Baron (1773–1856);
Barons Digby (1620; Reverted)
The heir apparent is the present holder's son, the Hon Henry Noel Kenelm Digby (b 1954).
- Edward St Vincent Digby, 9th Baron (1809–89);
- Edward Henry Trafalgar Digby, 10th Baron (1846–1920);
- Edward Kenelm Digby, 11th Baron (1894–1964);
- Edward Henry Kenelm Digby, 12th Baron (b 1924).
GEASHILL, County Offaly, was developed by the Digbys as a planned estate village.
In 1887 Samuel Lewis described the village as containing 87 mostly thatched houses arranged around a triangular green.
Fairs were held on May 1, October 6 and December, the latter being one of the largest pig markets in Ireland.
The 9th Baron carried out extensive improvements in the 1860s and 1870s, and many of the current buildings around the triangular green date from this time.
The Kings County Directory recorded that Lord Digby had "converted the village of Geashill into what it now is, one of the neatest, cleanest and best kept in Ireland."
At the Paris Exhibition of 1867, Lord Digby was awarded the bronze medal for models of the village he was building.
He was awarded the gold medal for three years by the Royal Agricultural Society, for improving the greatest number of cottages in the best manner in the province of Leinster.
The Digbys built Geashill Castle near the medieval tower house of the O'Dempseys, and afterwards of the Kildare FitzGeralds, who were also Barons of Offaly.
This dwelling passed to the Digbys through marriage of Sir Robert Digby to the heiress of the 11th Earl of Kildare.
The house was of seven bays with a recessed, three-bay centre, a high plain roof parapet and a lower wing at one side.
It was burnt in 1922.
Seats ~ Coleshill, Warwickshire; Sherborne Castle, Dorset; Geashill, County Offaly.
If any readers possess better photographs of Geashill Castle, I'd greatly appreciate it.
First published in January, 2012. Digby arms courtesy of European Heraldry.