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Edmund Sexton Pery: A Legacy in Limerick's Political and Architectural History |

Edmund Sexton Pery: A Legacy in Limerick’s Political and Architectural History

Limerick, Ireland – The vibrant city of Limerick, nestled along the banks of the River Shannon, has a rich history that extends beyond its picturesque landscapes and medieval charm. One prominent figure that left an indelible mark on the city’s political and architectural landscape is Edmund Sexton Pery, 1st Viscount Pery.

Born on 8 April 1719 in Limerick, Edmund Sexton Pery hailed from one of the city’s most politically influential families. His father, the Rev. Stackpole Pery, and mother, Jane Twigge, were pillars of the community. Pery’s maternal grandfather, William Twigge, served as the Archdeacon of Limerick, further embedding the family in the city’s fabric.

Trained as a barrister, Pery entered the political arena as a member of the Irish House of Commons, representing the Wicklow constituency in 1751. However, it was his later association with Limerick City that would define his political career. Following the dissolution of the house after the death of George II, Pery was elected for Limerick City in 1761, a position he held until 1785.

In 1771, Pery ascended to the role of Speaker of the Irish House of Commons, a position he held with distinction until 1785. His tenure as Speaker solidified his status as one of the most powerful politicians in Ireland during his time. Pery’s political influence extended beyond his immediate family, encompassing a faction that included his nephew, the future Earl of Limerick, and his relatives by marriage, the Hartstonges.

In a noteworthy move in 1783, Pery stood for election in Dungannon but chose to represent Limerick City. This decision underscored his deep connection to the city and its people.

After resigning from his political duties, Pery was honoured with the title of Viscount Pery, of Newtown Pery, near the City of Limerick, in the Peerage of Ireland. This bestowed upon him a seat in the Irish House of Lords. However, as he had no male heirs, his title became extinct upon his death on 24 February 1806.

Beyond his political contributions, Pery’s influence extended to the architectural evolution of Limerick. In 1765, he commissioned the engineer Davis Ducart to design a town plan for land on the southern edge of the existing city. This visionary move laid the foundation for the construction of the Georgian area known as Newtown Pery, a testament to Pery’s foresight and commitment to the city’s development. Pery Square, named in his honour, stands as a tribute to his role in shaping the city’s landscape.

Edmund Sexton Pery’s personal life was marked by two marriages. His first wife, Patricia (Patty) Martin of Dublin, passed away a year into their marriage. He later married Elizabeth Vesey, daughter of John Vesey, 1st Baron Knapton, and Elizabeth Brownlow. Together, they had two daughters: Hon. Diana Pery, who married her cousin Thomas Knox, 1st Earl of Ranfurly, and Hon. Frances Pery, who married Nicolson Calvert, MP for Hertfordshire.

Pery’s familial connections extended to his younger brother, William, a prominent figure in the Church of Ireland who eventually became the Bishop of Killala and later the Bishop of Limerick. William was also ennobled as Baron Glentworth. Pery’s nephew, Edmund, received the title of Earl of Limerick in 1803 for his support of the Act of Union.

Intriguingly, Pery’s younger sister, Lucy Hartstonge, played a pivotal role as the founder of what is now St John’s Hospital, leaving an enduring legacy in the healthcare sector.

As Limerick continues to evolve and embrace its historical roots, the imprint of Edmund Sexton Pery remains a significant chapter in the city’s narrative. His contributions to politics and urban planning have woven him into the very fabric of Limerick’s identity, ensuring that his legacy endures through the centuries.

LIMERICK GAZETTE

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