Cos. Tyrone, Donegal, Londonderry & Fermanagh Ireland Genealogy Research

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Right Reverend & Right Honourable Frederick Augustus Hervey, the Billionaire, Earl Bishop of Derry

Courtesy of Monreagh Heritage Centre
Formatted by
Jim McKane, Ontario, Canada
Frederick Augustus Hervey (1730-1803)

The Billionaire, Earl Bishop of Derry

The Earl Bishop was in fact Frederick Augustus Hervey, fourth Earl of Bristol and Church of Ireland Bishop of Derry. Born into a distinguished Suffolk family in 1730, Frederick Augustus was many things; scientist, agitator, art collector and Royal Chaplain to George III, who referred to him as "that wicked prelate".

In 1766 the eldest Hervey brother was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and he soon made Frederick Augustus the Bishop of Cloyne and then Bishop of Derry. The position brought with it a very generous salary. By his late thirties, Frederick Augustus had also inherited the estates of his two brothers and was sitting on quite a fortune.

Frederick Augustus started to put that fortune to good use. He was a philanthropist, bestowing his charity on the people of Derry. He built roads and became actively engaged in life in Ireland.

One of his most lasting achievements was to put the Giant's Causeway on the map, both scientifically and as a tourist destination.

[His diocese covered most of Donegal and Londonderry and a great number of parishes in Tyrone]


Mussenden Temple, Downhill, Co. Londonderry

Perched on the edge of a cliff, this is the best surviving element of the Earl of Bristol, Bishop of Derry's great demesne at Downhill which he decorated with a series of neo-classical buildings inspired by those of ancient Rome. Based on the design of a circular Roman temple, this one was actually built as a library, and although the books are now long gone, the wonderful view which the romantic bishop had over the sea can still be enjoyed.

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