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Heads of the family

OWEN WYNNE II (1664-1737)

Lieutenant General Owen Wynne of Hazelwood, the third son of Owen Wynne I (1630-1671) of Lurganboy, was born in 1664. They were from Welsh origins, claiming descent from a distinguished chieftain of the 12th century in Merionetshire. His father, Owen I, was granted land in Ireland under the Cromwellian administration and established himself at Lurganboy, Co. Leitrim.

Owen Wynne II was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and studied for the Bar. He was serving in the army of James II, but being a Protestant, he transferred his allegiance to the Prince of Orange, fighting with the Williamite forces at the Boyne. He was with Major-General Kirke's force, sent from England to the relief of Londonderry, and he also took part in the defence of Enniskillen, and served through the War in Ireland. He fought the whole of Queen Anne's wars in Flanders. His regiment of foot (Wynne's Foot) raised in the year 1701, was broke as a Whig regiment in 1713, but on the accession of George I he raised the 9th Regiment of Dragoons. Through various campaigns, Wynne received several promotions to eventually becoming lieutenant-general in 1726.

With his military pay and appointments, and perhaps for other reasons unknown, he succeeded in becoming a rich man. He was able in 1720 to buy land in Co. Cavan for £15,000 from the Duke of Wharton. Two years later, in 1722, Owen Wynne bought the family's estates in Co. Sligo comprising in total 14,500 acres for £20,000. The conveyance included parts of the town of Sligo, together with the town's fairs, markets, tolls and customs. These, although profitable, were to cause much trouble and controversy in later years. At Hazelwood he built his house, to the designs of the German Architect, Richard Castle, born David Riccardo, in 1690 in Kassel, Germany. Cassels soon became the leading country house architect of his day in Ireland. He was responsible for some of the largest houses designed during this period including Russborough in County Wicklow which has the longest frontage of any house in Ireland and Carton House whish was the ancestral home of the Earls of Kildare. In Dublin his major works were Tyrone House, Leinster House, the Rotunda Hospital and Powerscourt House.

Owen Wynne II died in 1737.He left his estate to his nephew, Owen Wynne III. Writing at the beginning of the following century, the Rev. Richard Wynne, brother of Owen Wynne V, stated that General Wynne was offered a peerage but refused it. The General said he would rather be the first of the commoners than the last of the peers. Even if he had accepted a peerage, the title would have become extinct on his death

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