PENNEFATHER, Matthew (1784-1858), of New Park, co. Tipperary
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Family and Educationb. 1784, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Richard Pennefather†, MP [I], of New Park and Anna, da. and h. of Mathew Jacob, MP [I], of St. Johnstown, co. Tipperary. m. 1814, his cos. Anna, da. of Daniel O’Connor of Ballybricken, co. Cork, 2s. 2da. suc. fa. 1831. d. 1858.
Sheriff, co. Tipperary 1826-7.
Pennefather’s father, Member for Cashel, 1818-19, owned ‘extensive estates’ in county Tipperary and was patron of the close borough of Cashel, which he invariably sold to government in return for offices for his family, who were later denounced by Daniel O’Connell* as the ‘plundering Pennefathers and their bigotted gang’.1 At the 1830 general election Pennefather was returned by his father. A few weeks later he proposed John Hely Hutchinson I* in the county election.2 He was listed by the Wellington ministry as one of their ‘friends’, but this was subsequently queried and he was absent from the crucial division on the civil list, 15 Nov. 1830. He was granted a month’s leave on account of the illness of a ‘near relation’, 25 Nov. 1830. Following the accession of the Grey ministry, Lord Anglesey, the Irish viceroy, informed the premier, 7 Feb. 1831, that a government nominee could be seated for the ‘market price’ at Cashel, which Pennefather was ‘ready to vacate’, but that the ‘severe illness of the proprietor’ would ‘cause a few day’s delay’. That day, however, Smith Stanley, the Irish secretary, heard ‘that Pennefather will not part with Cashel’.3 He remained in place and voted against the second reading of the ministerial reform bill, 22 Mar., and for Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr. 1831. He returned himself again at the ensuing general election and shortly thereafter succeeded his father as proprietor.4 He divided against the second reading of the reintroduced reform bill, 6 July 1831. Two days later he resigned his seat in order to accommodate the anti-reformer Philip Pusey as a paying guest. The Irish Reform Act destroyed the family’s electoral control of Cashel, for which he stood unsuccessfully as a Conservative in 1835. He died in 1858.