Rochfort, Robert

Robert Rochfort makes brief appearances in the diary of his brother-in-law Thomas Bellingham: an entry for 2 August 1688 records his visit to Preston when Bellingham was staying there and others record meetings in June and July 1690 while they were both serving with William III in Ireland. [1]

Rochfort was born in 1652 the second son of Lieutenant-Colonel Prime-Iron Rochfort and was married to Hannah Handcock, the sister of Bellingham’s wife Abigail. He was a lawyer by profession and held high legal and political positions in Ireland, including speaker of the Irish House of Commons, attorney general and chief baron of the exchequer.

Rochfort left Ireland in 1688, and was among the Protestants attainted by James II’s Irish parliament of 1689, and had his Westmeath estate sequestered. By early 1690 he was back in Ireland and serving in public office. In 1692 he was elected MP for County Westmeath, at which time he showed Whiggish leanings but soon after appears to have embraced Toryism. Swift described him as having ‘a great many good qualities’

He died in 1727. [2]

[1] Thomas Bellingham and Anthony Hewitson, Diary of Thomas Bellingham, an Officer under William III (Preston: Toulmin & Sons, 1908), 1, 128, 129,
[2] C. I. McGrath, ‘Rochfort, Robert (1652–1727)’, in The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, ed. Lawrence Goldman, online, 2004,

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