The Darbys

Jonathon Darby the 2nd, a Cromwellian soldier obtained Leap Castle in 1649.  This was lieu of payment for his services.  Jonathon and his wife Deborah had a son also named Jonathon.

Jonathon the 3rd was married in 1693 to Anna Maria d’Esterre.

In 1698, Jonathon the 3rd was tried for treason and sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered.  During a power shift within the British monarchy, Jonathon Darby was pardoned by William of Orange, who was subsequently crowned as King of England.   Jonathon the 3rd is thought to be the famous ‘Wild Captain’.

The son of Jonathon the 3rd and Anna Maria named Jonathon the 4th was born in 1708.

Jonathon the 4th married Susannah Lovett in 1745 and died in 1776.    

Jonathon the 4th was succeeded by his sons Jonathon Darby the 5th, born at Leap in 1746 and Henry d’Esterre born in 1748, Robert and Christopher born 1758.

Jonathon Darby the 5th maintained the Leap Estate until his death in 1802.   As Jonathon fathered no male children, Leap Castle was passed on to his younger brother Henry. 

Henry d’Esterre Darby, born in 1750 climbed through the Naval ranks to become Admiral Sir Henry d’Esterre Darby in 1799.  Henry died in 1823 baring no children of his own.  Upon Henry’s death, the Leap Castle estate was inherited by his brother John Darby. 

John Darby married Anne Vaughan and died in 1834. He was succeeded by their sons William Henry, Christopher, George, Susan, Jonathon, Horatio d’Esterre, John Nelson and Sarah Darby.

William Henry Darby inherited Leap Castle died in 1880.  His eldest son had died in 1872 aged 45 so the Leap Estate was passed on to his grandson Jonathon Charles Darby.

Jonathon married Mildred Dill aka Mildred Darby in 1889.

24 Responses to “The Darbys”

  • Just checking out your site on my brand new Nokia Phone , and I wanted to check if it would let me reply or if it made me go to a desktop to do that. Ill check back later to see if it worked.

  • AnnD:

    Can you tell me anything about Mildred and Jonathan? Are her papers deposited anywhere or are they still in possession of the family? What happened to them after Leap Castle was burned? Where did they live?

  • leapcast:

    Mildred Darby did have several of her manuscripts published. She went under the acronym “Andrew Merry”.
    Unfortunately a great deal of her unpublished works were destroyed in the 1922 burning.
    The Darbys lived back in England after the castle had been burned.

  • Heinz Hessmert:


    Do you have biographical data from William Henry Darby, the oldest son of John Darby?

    Kind regards


  • leapcast:

    No data on William Henry Darby….I would love anything substantial to add!

  • Danni:

    Regarding William Henry Darby, and also his brother John Nelson Darby. There may be some information in Australia. I could be mistaken as to the correct person as names in this line are often repeated. Try Tingha in New South Wales as Sydney Hudson Darby was the ancestor of one of these two I have been told.

  • Holly:

    Hello. My name is Holly and Mildred Darby was my great aunt. She was refered to as Millie. I have some photos of her that I can scan and email to whomever runs this site. I can find out if anyone knows where any of her other items may be. The only thing I ask is that you caption the photos ” from George M. Stevens” That is my grandfather. He has a ton of knowledge about Millie and her life at Leap Castle. My email is should you care to respond…

  • Karen:

    is there any record of a Samuel Darby in the family??

  • Jonny:

    Re Henry d’Esterre Darby:

    I am researching William Evans Darby, secretary of the Peace Society, an important pre-Great War organisation trying to find ways to promote peace amongst the increasing bellicose European powers. His obituary in the society’s newspaper states that he was the great-grandson of Henry.

    In light of your comment that Henry left no children, this looks a tad speculative. Illegitimate? This is what I found out so far: William’s father was Evan Darby, a harbour pilot at Saundersfoot in Wales, occasional pauper. Evan may have been born abt 1807 in Pembrokeshire to a William Darby. If this is correct, William would have been Henry’s son.

    Any thoughts welcome.

  • Robin Wedderburn:

    Anyone interested in the history of Leap Castle and the Darbys will find Marigold Freeman-Attwood’s book ‘Leap Castle; a place and its people’ very compelling and informative. I’m surprised that it isn’t mentioned in any of the correspondence here.

  • leapcast:

    Johnny I agree with you 100%. It is a great book and have two copies!
    I have given one to Sean & Anne after their copy was stolen by a visitor.

  • Douglas Grant:

    My mother’s family has many legends about our ancestors – as an amateur genealogist, I am trying to sort the facts from the fiction, so here’s what I do have…

    The Known Story thus far –

    My great-great grandfather (Charles Morton/Moulton b. ABT 1848 St Peter’s Point?) and his wife (Mary Elizabeth Lyons b. ABT 1840 County Meath/Westmeath?) came to the US ABT 1870. His parents appear to be Pierce and Mary and hers appear to be Patrick and Elizabeth. This information comes from US Census data. From here on down is pretty straight forward so I shan’t dwell on it.

    The Legend –

    either Pierce or his son Charles was of noble blood (some legends state he was Earl of Darby/Earl Darby?) and traveled extensive through the Caribbean Islands (some legends state the following happened in Bermuda, while others say the Bahamas). There was a card game that had as its stakes the title and lands in Ireland (some legends state that it was solely between two brothers and that it was which would inherit) The loser would go to the US, while the other returned to Ireland plus free claim to the title and lands and minus a brother.

    Recently, my sister was watching a TV show about the Haunted Castles of the World and up came Castle Leap with a reference to the Moulton/Morton name.

    Does anyone have any comments/thoughts/observations/facts on any of this?

  • Sara:

    My grandfather was John Darby of Keizer, OR. Married to Niva (Aboitiz) Darby, and having two daughters, Teresa and Cecelia. Throughout my adult life, I have been told that we are directly related to John N. Darby of Leap Castle. My grandfather was my hero, my role model….I married into an Irish family that knew of the Leap Castle stories, igniting my passion for knowledge. I have since become very interested in learning anything I can about my family line and any ties to such a historical site.

    Any input woud be very helpful.

  • ava:

    you know (leap cast) on your last entry what book are you talking about

  • Annabella C. D'Esterre Helmer:

    re: Admiral Sir Henry D’Esterre Darby
    Just wondering where this beautiful painting of Henry by Sir William Beechey may be viewed please?

  • Noel Guerin:

    Hi I have some Information on the Darby Family that might be of interest

  • Audrey Darby:

    Hello. I heard from students at a university that researched my family’s history and had been to Ireland that my family had a castle in Ireland and were considered English. Does any 1 have info on how my grandfather (Charles M. Darby) and his family are related to Jonathan Charles Darby or any relation to the Darbys of Leap. My great grandfather was Virgil L. Darby. My grandfather immigrated from Ireland to the U. S. so we are always considered ourselves Irish but my family is Protesant (Methodist) so we were deemed English even though our coat of arms is Irish. Thanks for any information.

  • noah darby:

    I believe I may be a descendant of Jonathon the grandfather said that the Darby’s were band from England for trying to kill the king or something like that. I don’t know but i do know we are from Dorchester county Maryland, and Dorchester was deeded to the Wheatly family by the king of England. And we are married into that family somehow. the sirname Thomas keeps coming up a lot in the names too. was told it was from the thomas english muffin people. not sure if i believe that or not.we can bring it family back to an Obdia darby but cant make the leap back home across the big pond. HELP
    lost in america.

  • Audrey Darby:

    In researching my family’s history I discovered that my first relative immigrated from England in 1640, not my great gran Virgil or gran Morrison Charles Darby as previously thought. The immigrants’ names are Samuel and Alice Darby, (many greats from Virgil). Believed the wrong information about us being Irish. We would have an English coat of arms. There maybe a distant relation to the Darby’s of Leap since we are English. Students at a local university mentioned in their words when speaking about me, “why does she say her family is Irish? Her family, the Darby’s are an English family who owned a castle in Ireland.” Any information is helpful. I did not know we were English. They always told me they were Irish. I never knew anything about having a castle in Ireland until I listened to the students and googled “Darby’s castle in Ireland” and got Leap Castle. I think they maybe right. Thank you, Audrey Darby

  • Audrey Darby:

    Also when researching I do have a family member by the name of Mildred Darby. Wondering if this is the same person associated with Leap. Please send info. Or reply. It would be really helpful. Thank you.

  • leapcast:

    Hi there Audrey,

    Thanks for your great information.
    I am unsure of any further insights but I am always on the lookout for more!


  • mary o'neill:

    The Darbys went to live in Doory Hall, Ballymahon, Co. Longford (the home of the Jessop family)when their home was burned.

  • Brian robert d'esterre O'Carroll Darby:

    My father is Christopher Henry d’Esterre O’Carroll Darby, supposedly the first Darby not born in Leap. He emigrated to the USA in the early 1960?s, married my mother Kathleen Roberta Parker (an American) and I was born in 1965. My brother, Kevin Horatio Martin O’Carroll Darby came along in 1966.

    My grandparents were Horatio Gordon O’Carroll Darby and Celia Margaret Philips Darby.

    My parents Christopher and Kathleen emigrated to Cairns, Australia in 1987. I remain here in Hollywood, Florida and my brother in Dania, Florida

    My father, brother and I visited Leap in 1978.

  • Laura Darby:

    Hi! My name is Laura Darby. I currently live in New Zealand, but my family emigrated from Ireland some time ago. Family legend suggests that a Darby in our family lived at Leap Castle, but married a catholic and was then expelled from the castle and dis-owned.
    I will be visiting Ireland next month and would love to visit. I have sent an email, but I’m not sure if I have the right contact details. I would love it if someone could get in touch and let me know how I can arrange a short visit to the castle.
    Thanks so much,

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