- 1873-1889 (Creation)
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Extent and medium
853 digital images
Name of creator
Name of creator
Edward St. Vincent Digby, 9th Baron Digby of Geashill was born on 21 June 1809.He was the son of Admiral Sir Henry Digby and Lady Jane Elizabeth Coke. He gained the rank of Lieutenant in the service of the 9th Lancers. When his cousin, Edward, the unmarried 8th Baron and 2nd Earl Digby died, he succeeded to the title of 3rd Baron Digby of Sherborne, Dorset and to the title of 9th Baron Digby of Geashill, King's County on 12 May 1856. It seems his cousin was a very laissez faire landlord. Residing in his splendid residence at Sherbourne. He rarely visited Geashill and granted tenants very long and generous leases. However, because these grants extended beyond his own life-time, he was deemed to have exceeded his legal powers. This would prove to be a problem for his successor. When Edward St Vincent took up his new position he felt that his late ancestor had “no right moral or legal, to lease away his Irish lands for two thirds of their real value”. The new landlord was therefore determined to break the leases, which his predecessor had granted. This was to create much anxiety and upheaval at Geashill where the tenants were faced with loss of tenure, which they previously considered secure. Acting upon his legal rights, the 9th Lord Digby embarked upon breaking these leases, leading the tenants to look for redress and compensation to the executors. It was in the midst of this dispute that William Trench’s services were engaged.
When assessing his time in Geashill, the barony underwent a vast transformation with Lord Digby achieving both national and indeed international recognition for improvements carried out on the estate.The Geashill estate was much improved with bigger and better quality farms, improved cottages, a new school and estate office. It was perhaps no coincidence that the estate underwent a major transformation as Lord Edward Digby was the grandson of Thomas Coke, first earl of Leicester, who was not only a British politician but a noted agricultural reformer. Coke became famous for his advanced methods of animal husbandry used in improving his estate at Holkham in Norfolk. As a result he was seen as one of the instigators of the British Agricultural Revolution.
Edward St. Vincent married Lady Theresa Anna Maria Fox-Strangways, daughter of Henry Stephen Fox-Strangways. He died on 16 October 1889 aged 80.