HARE, Hon. William (1801-1856).

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1820-1832, ed. D.R. Fisher, 2009
Available from Cambridge University Press



1826 - 1830
9 Feb. 1841 - Aug. 1846

Family and Education

b. 22 Sept. 1801, 1st s. of Richard Hare, Visct. Ennismore* (d. 1827). educ. Eton 1817; St. John’s, Camb. 1820. m. 23 July 1831, Maria Augusta, da. of V.-Adm. William Windham (formerly Lukin) of Felbrigg Hall, Norf., wid. of George Thomas Wyndham of Cromer Hall, 5s. (1 d.v.p.) 6da. styled Visct. Ennismore 1827-37; suc. grandfa. as 2nd earl of Listowel [I] 13 July 1837; KP 29 Apr. 1839. d. 4 Feb. 1856.

Offices Held

Ld.-in-waiting to Victoria Feb. 1840-Sept. 1841, Aug. 1846-Mar. 1852, Oct. 1853-d.

Sheriff, co. Cork 1834-5; v.-adm. Munster 1838-d.


Although this Member’s family fortune had been made in county Cork, for which his father was the anti-Catholic Tory Member from 1812, it owned large estates in county Kerry, especially around Listowel, from which his grandfather, whose seat was at Convamore, county Cork, took his title on being elevated to an earldom in 1822.1 Hare made his political debut there by attending the county Catholics’ meeting in Tralee, 28 Mar. 1824, when he admitted he was a stranger, but argued that his presence proved his sympathy with their cause, and he canvassed Kerry that August.2 Although his father’s hostility made him suspect with the largely Catholic voters, Hare offered for the county, with the backing of the key aristocratic interests, at the general election of 1826, when he insisted on his long-standing pro-Catholic views. Relying heavily on his family’s territorial interest, he benefited from the extreme and highly partisan disturbances, during which James Crosbie, one of the sitting Members, physically attacked his father, and was eventually returned behind the other, the knight of Kerry, after a contest.3 He survived a petition.

Hare declared his approval of Catholic relief as a means of tranquillizing Ireland on presenting the favourable Listowel petition, 9 Feb., and he brought up the Kerry petition to the same effect, 27 Feb. 1827.4 He privately informed Daniel O’Connell* that month that it was his ‘intention to pursue the course I have adopted with steadiness and zeal, unabated by any trivial circumstances and unaccompanied by injudicious or compromising conduct’; he was one of the ministerialists who O’Connell insisted should show their commitment by backing their fellow pro-Catholic Canning, the foreign secretary, in his ambition to form an administration following Lord Liverpool’s seizure.5 He duly voted for Catholic relief, 6 Mar., when his father was listed in both majority and minority lists. He seems to have been very inactive in Parliament and at the Kerry by-election in July he was criticized as an inadequate interloper by O’Connell’s brother John.6 His father died suddenly, 24 Sept. 1827, after which he assumed the courtesy title of Lord Ennismore. He joined Brooks’s, 1 Mar., and divided with opposition for censuring chancery administration, 24 Apr., and against the suppression of small Scottish and Irish bank notes, 5 June 1828. He introduced the Hibernian Joint Stock Company bill, 17 Mar., attempted to move its second reading, 22, 24 Apr., and finally secured this on the casting vote of the Speaker, acting as a teller in its favour, 1 May, but the measure was not proceeded with.7 Declaring that he had been sent to Parliament by his Catholic electorate to advance their claims, he spoke fulsomely for conceding them, particularly as a means of ending violence and oppression and to safeguard economic prosperity and constitutional government, 12 May 1828, when he voted in the majority for relief. He was considered a possible mover or seconder of the address by Planta, the patronage secretary, in January 1829, and was expected to be ‘with government’ for emancipation the following month, when he was part of the Kerry deputation which carried the county address to the departing lord lieutenant, Lord Anglesey.8 He duly divided silently in its favour, 6, 30 Mar. 1829. He made no other known votes or speeches during that or the following year, although he was among the Irish Members who met to oppose the increased Irish stamp and spirit duties in May 1830. He resigned at the dissolution that summer, explaining that circumstances prevented his offering again.9

In July 1831 Ennismore married Maria Augusta, the daughter of a distinguished naval officer, who was defeated at the Sudbury contest that year; his late brother-in-law and namesake William Windham† of Felbrigg Hall had been a leading Portland Whig and Pittite minister. She, whose first husband of nearly four years’ standing had died in February 1830, was the sister of the Liberals William Howe Windham, Member for Norfolk East, 1832-4, and Charles Ashe Windham, who occupied the same seat, 1857-9.10 Ennismore, who inherited his grandfather’s peerage in 1837 and was an official in the royal household for many years, was Conservative Member for St. Albans, 1841-6. He died in February 1856 and was succeeded in his title and estates by his eldest son William (1833-1924), an army officer, who was awarded the United Kingdom barony of Hare in 1869.11

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: Stephen Farrell


  • 1. J.A. Gaughan, Listowel and its Vicinity, 298.
  • 2. Dublin Evening Post, 13 Apr., 19 Aug. 1824.
  • 3. Ibid. 10, 15, 27, 29 June, 1, 8, 13 July; Freeman’s Jnl. 20 June, 5, 7 July 1826; Gaughan, 301-3, 307-8.
  • 4. The Times, 28 Feb. 1827.
  • 5. O’Connell Corresp. iii. 1363-4.
  • 6. Dublin Evening Post, 24 July 1827.
  • 7. O’Connell Corresp. iii. 1455.
  • 8. Add. 40398, f. 86; Dublin Evening Post, 21 Feb. 1829.
  • 9. Western Herald, 17 May, 15 July 1830.
  • 10. Gent. Mag. (1826), ii. 171; (1830), i. 380; (1831), ii. 171; (1833), i. 269-70.
  • 11. The Times, 5, 6 Feb.; Southern Reporter, 6, 8 Feb. 1856.