The Dixons of Meath
The Dixon Clan (Irish branch) was registered with Clans of Ireland in January 2013.
This branch of the Dixon family trace their roots in Ireland back to Nicholas Dixon, (born about 1481 and son of John Dixon and Margaret Campbell) who came to Ireland as part of the military forces which accompanied Francis Agard in the early 1500s.
However, the family’s lineage can be traced as far back as Rollo, Duke of Normandy, Great Grandfather of William the Conquerer. Through this pedigree, the Dixons of Meath boast descent from the medieval Kings and Queens of France, Spain, Germany and Portugal not to mention English Monarchs such as Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine.
The Direct Dixon line is traceable to a Richard de Keith, 2nd son of KEITH, EARL MARSHAL OF SCOTLAND, who was commonly called “Dick” and whose sons, with the carelessness of that age, were styled ” DICKSON”.
Our ancestor the Rev. SIR NICHOLAS DIXON, Rector of Cheshunt, Herts and Canon of lincoln, provides the family with its unique coat of arms having been enobled in 1448 shortly before his death.
Sir Nicholas had an illustrious career haveing been successively Clerk of the Pipe, Treasurer and Baron of the Exechequer. He was one of the exectutors of the will of Ralph Nevill, the great Earl of Westmoreland.
Having arrived in Ireland with Francis Agard, Nicholas Dixon b. 1481 was given lands in Longwood, County Meath and the family remained in this area until the late 1800s. The family thrived and through marriages to such illustrious and ancient families as the Plunketts (Barons Louth), the Husseys (Barons Galtrim) and the Agards of Foston Hall in Derbyshire and Grange Gorman in Dublin, the current Dixons boast Irish ancestors such as Egidia de Lacey.
Through the Hussey family, the current day branch of the family can trace a lineage back to Charlemagne, Holy Roman Emperor, (748-814), a genealogical miracle in itself for as the saying goes, “Back to Charlemagne, back to God”.
The Dixon family of Meath are part of a network of landed and gentrified families which have been part of the fabric of Irish society since the time of Henry II. Today, the family have recovered from the loss of title, land and property suffered in the late 19th Century which saw their fortunes wain until the latter half of the 20th Century. Donal Dixon of Castleknock is a successful business man in Dublin while his nephew Derek (Dixon)-Byrne is a successful journalist and academic with royal connections of his own.
The restoration of the Dixon lineage and history is a project which has been undertaken by Michael Dixon of Dublin, Donal Dixon and his nephews Derek and Edward (Dixon)-Byrne. It is a project which involves the restoration of ancient family pedigrees and accounts of the family’s historical activities as well as the physical restoration of the monument of the Rt.Hon. Francis Agard in Christchurch Cathedral.
The journey began tentatively with Donal’s father John or Johnny, as he was known to the family, in the mid-1980s. Derek can remember clearly visits to the National Library of Ireland to search through documents related to the family’s rich history.
For the moment, this account of the history of the Dixons of Meath will outline the pedigree of the family from the current generation and their connections to the Killeen family through Mary, mentioned above, great, great granddaughter of Arthur 7th Earl of Fingall to Francis Makewy born in 1580 whose grandfather the Rt. Hon. Francis Agard (1527-1577), sent to Ireland by King Henry VIII of England became one of the richest and most influential men in Ireland, Governor of Wexford and member of the Privy Council of Ireland. He is immortalised by a monument over his grave in the south trancept of Christchurch Cathedral in Dublin.
(Please go to gallery for image of monument)
This image above shows Francis and his daughter Lady Cecily Harrington, wife of Sir Henry Harrington who erected the monument in their memory.
Indeed, it is Francis Makewy who serves as the bridge between the Dixon family and their illustrious ancestors. For example, his great-grandfather on his mother Anne Hussey’s side is Thomas Plunkett, second Baron Louth (1527-1571), who according to the genealogical records is also the great x 10 grandfather of Sir Winston Churchill.
Anne Hussey, mentioned above, is herself not only descended from the ancient Plunkett’s but from the Hussey family who first came to Ireland in the person of Sir Hugh Hussey in the reign of Henry II and married a sister of Theobald Fitzwalter, 1st Butler of Ireland. The family of Hussey, who later became the Barons of Galtrim, are said to derive from Rollo, Duke of Normandy.
List of sources:
The Peerage of Ireland by Mervyn Archdall (p. 45/46).
A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain and Ireland by Bernard Burke Esq.
The Louth Papers, National Library of Ireland.