Bligh of Co. Meath

Ivo Bligh the 8th Earl of Darnley, who succeeded his brother Edward (the 7th Earl), is best known as the English cricketer who was responsible for ‘The Ashes’. Apparently the story goes that following an unexpected defeat of the English team by the Australians at the Oval, in 1882, a journalist wit wrote an obituary on ‘the Death of English Cricket’ and that all that was left was “The Ashes” The following year Ivo led a team to Australia to win back the laurels lost at the Oval. While there they stayed with the wealthy Clarke family and during their stay played a fun game against the Clarke Eleven. After the match the fun loving ladies of the Clarke household presented Ivo with an urn holding the ashes of either the ball or the bails used in the match. Ivo’s eleven were very successful in Australia and they returned home as heroes of the hour, bringing with them ‘The Ashes’.  The ‘trophy’ was kept in Cobham Hall until 1929 when it was presented to the M.C.C. by Ivo’s widow.

Prior to his death in 1817 William Bligh of Mutiny on the Bounty fame made a will in which he named his relative, John Bligh, the Earl of Darnley, as one of his two executors.

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