The Sheridan Family


Alicia (Sheridan) Lefanu

Birth: 1753

Father: Thomas Sheridan

Mother: Frances (Chamberlaine) Sheridan

Married: Mr. Joseph Lefanu

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Amy Sheridan

Father: Thomas Sheridan

Mother: Elizabeth MacFadden


Anne Sheridan

Father: Thomas Sheridan

Mother: Elizabeth MacFadden

Charles Francis Sheridan

Birth: June 1750

Father: Thomas Sheridan

Mother: Frances (Chamberlaine) Sheridan

Notes:
In 1757, Charles entered Samuel Whyte's grammar school in Dublin. W.F.M. Groome claims that Charles became the Secretary of State, in England, but I have been unable to confirm this.

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Elizabeth Sheridan

Father: Thomas Sheridan

Mother: Elizabeth MacFadden

Notes:
Elizabeth is a candidate for the "Miss Sheridan" of County Cavan who married Thomas Smyth in 1750. Rhodes writes that "Elizabeth was a firm believer in the 'Banshi, or female daemon attached to certain ancient Irish families.' She seriously maintained that the Banshi of the Sheridan family was heard wailing beneath the windows of Quilca before the news arrived from France of the death of Frances Sheridan at Blois. Her niece made her very angry by observing that as Mrs. Sheridan was by birth a Chamberlaine, a family of English extraction, she had no right to the guardianship of an Irish fairy, and therefore the Banshi had made a mistake."!

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Elizabeth (Sheridan) Lefanu

Birth: 1758

Father: Thomas Sheridan

Mother: Frances (Chamberlaine) Sheridan

Married: Mr. Henry Lefanu

Notes: A collection of "Betsy's" letters was later published as Betsy Sheridan's Journal : Letters from Sheridan's Sister, 1784-1786 and 1788-1790.

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Emily Sheridan

Father: Thomas Sheridan

Mother: Elizabeth MacFadden


Hester (Sheridan) Knowles

Birth: In Capel Street, Dublin (in King James's Mint House, wher her father kept his school)

Father: Thomas Sheridan

Mother: Elizabeth MacFadden

Married: Mr. Knowles

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James Sheridan

Father: Thomas Sheridan

Mother: Elizabeth MacFadden


Mehora Sheridan

Father: Thomas Sheridan

Mother: Elizabeth MacFadden


Patrick Sheridan

Children: Occupation: Farmer

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Richard Sheridan

Father: Thomas Sheridan

Mother: Elizabeth MacFadden

Children: Sources:

Richard Brinsley Sheridan

Birth: 30 October 1751, at12 Dorset Street, Dublin, Ireland

Baptised: 4 November 1751, in St. Mary's Church, Mary St, Dublin, Ireland

Father: Thomas Sheridan

Mother: Frances (Chamberlaine) Sheridan

Married (1st): Elizabeth Ann Linley, daughter of Thomas Linley, in 1773. Elizabeth was a renowned singer and beauty, a painting of whom, entitled "Mrs. Richard Brinsley Sheridan" by Thomas Gainsborough, now hangs in the National Gallery of Art, in Washington D.C. Elizabeth died of tuberculosis in 1792.

Children: Married (2nd): Esther Jane "Hecca" Ogle, the daughter of the Dean of Winchester.

Children: Death: 7 July 1816, in London, England

Buried: 13 July 1816, in Poet's Corner, in Westminster Abbey, London, England

Notes:
Richard was first educated at Sam Whyte's grammar school in Dublin, and afterwards at Harrow. He became a noted playwright at a young age - The Rivals and The Duenna were first performed in 1775, when he was just 24, and his masterpiece, The School for Scandal, opened at Drury Lane on 8 May 1777 to great acclaim. He never wrote another comedy. In 1806, William Meyler suggested the Sheridan would never write another play, for fear of not living up to expectations:- In his Poetical Amusements we find:
'Of one man, Sir, you've too much fear.'
'Fear? Whom? I dread no man's control?'
'Yes, yes, you dread him to the soul'
'Name him at once, detractive Vandal!'
'The author of The School for Scandal'

In 1776, Sheridan succeded David Garrick as manager of Drury Lane, then one of only two licensed winter playhouses in London. After producing The School for Scandal there in 1777, his interest dwindled, and his mis-management of the theatre, especially after he entered politics, became legendary. In 1778, his father, Thomas Sheridan, a theatre manager in Dublin, was brought in to manage Drury Lane (but his son still banned him from performing - Richard still rankled at childhood insults of being a "player's son"). Sheridan entered Parliament in September 1780, being elected in the independent seat at Stafford. In later life, he recalled that that evening "he stole away by himself to speculate upon these prospects of distinguishing himself which had been opened to him," and that this was "the happiest moment of his life". Richard rose to become one of the most notable parliamentary figures of the age, but he failed to hold high political office, serving most of his time in oppostion. He served briefly as Secretary of the Treasury in the North-Fox coalition in 1783 (to the delight of satirists who recalled his financial mismanagement of Drury Lane), and as Treasurer of the Navy in 1806. His fame, however, came as a great speaker, most notable during the Hastings impeachment hearing in 1787, and for this close relationship with the Prince of Wales, especially important during the Prince's Regency. A barb from his parliamentary life that I like is "The Right Honorable gentleman is indebted to his memory for his jests, and to his imagination for his facts".

Richard had a choatic private life, marked by infidelity, drinking and money problems. His first marriage, to the beautiful singer Elizabeth Linley, began romantically with an elopement and two duels for her sake. But his infidelities were notorious, driving her into the arms of Lord Edward Fitzgerald, by whom she eventually had a child, although they reconciled before her death. His second wife was treated just as badly. No wonder one his most famous quotations from his plays is "'Tis safest in matrimony to begin with a little aversion."! Sheridan's finances were grossly mismanaged. Despite being reasonable wealthy from the success of his plays, he spent lavishly, often maintaining three separate houses, and was constantly in debt. For all his faults, his charm was irresistible -"there has been nothing like it since the days of Orpheus", wrote Byron.

Richard Brinsley Sheridan's life appears as one of genius potential unfulfilled. He toyed with what he excelled at - his playwright abilities, treating it partly with amusement, and partly with contempt. He spent a lot of his energy and money managing Drury Lane when he was abysmal as a manager. His great oratorical skills and his personal relationship with the Prince of Wales should have set up for brilliance in Parliament, but this, too, was never truly fulfilled - lost in his procrastination, pride and mismanagement, as well as his devotion to the Catholic cause which put him in almost perpetual opposition to the government. His personal life, too, had the makings of a wonder - his marriage to, and admiration from, the talented and beautiful Elizabeth Linley was something he never appreciated until she died. She was his muse - and he womanised, gambled and drank away the woman who made him whole; after her death he was never the same, despite his re-marriage. He spent his self-made fortune profligately, and died with his house in the possession of bailiffs. He was a genius without the discipline to fully utilise that potential.

A number of biographies have been written about this colourful individual. The one I have drawn most on is Harlequin Sheridan, by Raymond Compton Rhodes. Another, more readily available biography is Richard Brinsley Sheridan - A Life,written by Linda Kelly, as well as  The Life and Works of Richard Brinsley Sheridan, by James Morwodd and A Traitor's Kiss : The Life of Richard Brinsley Sheridan, 1751-1816 by Fintan Otoole.

Downloadable Works:
Plays:
The School for Scandal
Poems:
Here's to the Maiden of Bashful Fifteen
If a Daughter you have
Had I a Heart for Falsehood Framed

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Richard Sheridan

Father: Richard Sheridan

Notes: Richard was a barrister, designated K.C. (King's Counsel)

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Thomas Sheridan

Title: Rev. Dr.

Birth: 1687

Father: Patrick Sheridan

Married: Elizabeth MacFadden

Children: Death: 10 October 1738, at Rathfarnham, near Dublin

Notes:
Thomas was admitted to Trinity College, Dublin, in 1707. Celebrated as a friend of Jonathan Swift, who was the godfather to Thomas's children, and wrote Gulliver's Travels while staying at the Sheridan house in Quilca in 1724. Later, Swift wrote a humourous poem about Quilca, mocking Thomas Sheridan's pride in the place:

TO QUILCA, A COUNTRY-HOUSE IN NO VERY GOOD REPAIR
Let me thy Properties explain,
A rotten Cabin, dropping Rain;
Chimnies with Scorn rejecting Smoak;
Stools, Tables, Chairs, and Bed-steds broke:
Here Elements have lost their Vses,
Air ripens not, nor Earth produces:
In vain we make poor Sheelah toil,
Fire will not roast, nor Water boil.
Thro' all the Vallies, Hills, and Plains,
The Goddess Want in Triumph reigns;
And her chief Officers of State,
Sloth, Dirt, and Theft around her wait.

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Thomas Sheridan

Birth: 1719, in Dublin, Ireland

Father: Thomas Sheridan

Mother: Elizabeth MacFadden

Married: Frances Chamberlaine in Dublin, Ireland

Children: Notes:
Thomas was educated at Westminster school and Trinty College, Dublin, and became an actor, a teacher of elocution, and a theatre manager in Dublin. In 1758, beset by financial difficulties, Thomas moved to London where he received a State-pension of £200 a tear to complete a Pronouncing Dictionary of the English Language. In 1764, he took Charles and his daughters to Blois, in France, to be safe from his creditors. After Frances' death in 1766, he returned to England, and the whole family moved to Bath in 1771.

Death: 14 August 1788, in Margate, Kent, England

Buried: St. Mary's Church, Mary St, Dublin, Ireland

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Thomas Sheridan

Birth: 1746/7

Father: Thomas Sheridan

Mother: Frances (Chamberlaine) Sheridan

Death: 1750

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