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Edward Robert King-Harman (3 April 1838 – 10 June 1888) was an Irish landlord and Irish Nationalist and later Unionist politician who sat in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom from 1877 to 1888.


Early life

King-Harman was the son of Lawrence Harman King-Harman and his wife Cecilia Johnstone of Stirling. His father was the younger son of Robert King, 1st Viscount Lorton and inherited from him the estates of Rockingham, County Roscommon and Newcastle, County Waterford. King-Harman was educated at Eton and became a lieutenant in the 60th Rifles and captain in the Longford Militia. He inherited Rockingham which was a fine house built by John Nash, but altered in a less than sympathetic way in the late 19th century in order to provide more accommodation. He was J.P. for the counties of Sligo, Longford and Westmeath and Honorary Colonel with the 5th Battalion, Connaught Rangers.[1] He published in the Freeman's Journal and was a member of the Arts Club from 1863 until his death.

Political career

King-Harman stood unsuccessfully as Isaac Butt's Nationalist Home Rule candidate in the May 1870 rerun of the December 1869 Longford by-election after the result of the first vote was overturned. In January 1877, he was elected Member of Parliament for Sligo County but lost the seat at the 1880 general election. He then became Lord Lieutenant and Gustos Rotulorum of Roscommon in 1878. In 1883 he was elected MP for Dublin County, until the seat was divided under the Redistribution of Seats Act 1885. He was initially a Nationalist Home Ruler but subsequently became a Unionist. When Orangemen were threatening violence as a result of Gladstone's Representation of the People Act 1884 which would extend the Irish franchise, King-Harman gave cooling advice to "Keep the cartridge in the rifle."[2]

In 1885 King-Harman was elected as a Unionist (Conservative) MP for the English seat of Isle of Thanet. He held the seat until his death from heart disease at Rockingham in Boyle, Ireland at the age of 49 in 1888.


King-Harman married, in 1864, Anne Worsley, daughter of Sir William Worsley, 1st Baronet. They had one daughter, Frances Agnes, who married Sir Thomas Stafford, 1st Baronet, a physician and member of the Irish Privy Council. They had two sons, the younger of whom, Sir Cecil Stafford King-Harman, inherited the baronetcy and the Rockingham estates.[3]

Rockingham House

Sir Cecil died in 1987, having lived in the House until 1957, when the building was destroyed by fire. The estate was nationalised by the Irish government to become Lough Key Forest Park. What was left of the great house was demolished in 1971. Recently, however, the original seat of the Kings, King House in Boyle, has been restored to its former glory. It had ceased to be a private residence in the late 18th century and functioned as a barracks for the Connaught Rangers Regiment from 1788 until 1922 when it became a barracks for the Irish Army. Joan, Lady Dunn (only daughter of Sir Cecil) and her family maintain a close interest in the project.


External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir Robert Gore Booth, Bt
Denis Maurice O'Conor
Member of Parliament for Sligo County
With: Denis Maurice O'Conor
Succeeded by
Denis Maurice O'Conor
Thomas Sexton
Preceded by
Thomas Edward Taylor
Ion Trant Hamilton
Member of Parliament for Dublin County
With: Ion Trant Hamilton
Constituency divided
New constituency Member of Parliament for Isle of Thanet
Succeeded by
James Lowther
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Edward King Tenison
Lord Lieutenant of Roscommon
Succeeded by
The Earl of Kingston


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