Sir Nicholas Shireburne 


Nicholas was the younger son of Richard (the 4th) who inherited in 1690 on the death of his brother (Richard, the 5th)

Nicholas  was favoured by James II, who created him a baronet in 1686.  He was given official appointments, including the Deputy Lieutenancy of Northumberland.  Following the 'Glorious Revolution' and the reign of Mary and William of Orange,  Nicholas was actively in contact with the exiled court of James II at St Germaine; his daughter Mary, was sent there to be 'touched' by James II.  

Too old and infirmed to participate actively himself in the 'Fifteen' - the Jacobite Rising of 1715 - he was certainly involved as there was a supper-party of thirty Jacobites at Stonyhurst on the eve of the battle of Preston. They spent the night casting bullets and rode off the next morning with seven or eight guns, a blunderbuss, a sackful of pistols and four coach-horses.

Nicholas married Catherine Charlton of Hesleyside, Northumberland; her mother, Mary, was a Widdrington of the Cartington branch of that family (and another tangible link to the Jacobite cause). 

Nicholas and Catherine  had three children, one daughter, Isabel, dying young; and the only son, Richard, also died only eight-and-a-half years old, supposedly after eating poisonous berries.  His wall mounted memorial is in the Shireburne Chapel and his body interned in the vault below the Chapel.   

Thus, Nicholas' other daughter, Mary, ultimately inherited the estates; it was as a potential heiress that she married Thomas Howard, 8th Duke of Norfolk, in 1709.  This was a major dynastic coup for Sir Nicholas who made the occasion of his daughter's wedding one of great expense and display. 


Nicholas'  mother  - Isabel - was left the use of Stonyhurst Hall for her lifetime; it was not until after her death in 1693, therefore, that Sir Nicholas and his family resided there.  They had previously dwelt at London and Cartington, Northumberland.   

It was Sir Nicholas and his wife who created the formal gardens at Stonyhurst.  They too maintained the tradition of philanthropy for which their predecessors were notable, Sir Nicholas  stimulating local employment and his wife actively engaged in a local dispensary.