Not a picture by John Hinde but a photograph taken earlier this summer of the gate lodge at Fosterstown House, County Meath. Located immediately south of Trim, the main house dates from the 1840s but evidently there was an earlier property on the site since it was recorded that the future Duke of Wellington lived there at least some of the time after he had been elected to the Irish House of Commons as MP for Trim. This information was reported by Samuel Lewis in his Topographical Dictionary of Ireland published in 1837 when Wellington was still alive (he died fifteen years later). In any case the little white-washed and thatched lodge is older than the house at the end of the drive; it dates from c.1800 and provides a charming introduction to Fosterstown.
It is this cottage that Wellington is said to have been born in.
Thank you for getting in touch. I believe it is sometimes suggested Wellington was born in the house at the end of the drive but not in this cottage. However, since his family owned Dangan just a few miles away, this seems unlikely. It is also proposed that he was born in the family house on Upper Merrion Street in Dublin (now part of the Merrion Hotel). We shall probably never know…
The story that I have often heard is that the Wellesley family were making their way from Dangan to Morningron (near Drogheda) where they were to board a ship and sail into English waters. There (they hoped) their baby would be born in an Englishman. However, the plan went wrong. Between Dangan and Trim the Countess of Mornington went into labour. The family who lived in the cottage were midvives and were so until the last of the family died about 1960. It is said that the Countess gave birth in this cottage and all the servants (in livery) stood about the road. The Mornington family were ashamed of the birth taking place in this house and as soon as possible mother and baby were brought to the new Mornington house on Merrion Square. There the future Duke was (at one month old) taken down the grand staircase and presented as newly born. The family who lived in the cottage were sworn to secrecy. The last of the family (before she died) told the story as passed down to her. Now, this is what I have always heard.