Introduction to the Foster/Masserene Papers
The Foster/Massereene papers comprise over 26,000 documents and volumes, 1590 to 1935, deriving from the Foster family of Collon, Co. Louth, Viscounts Ferrard, and the Clotworthy and Skeffington families, Viscounts Massereene, of Antrim Castle, Co. Antrim, and relating to their estates, mainly in Cos Antrim and Louth, and to the lives and political careers of individual family members, most notably John Foster (1740 to 1828), last Speaker of the Irish House of Commons.
The two families came together through a marriage of 1810 between the Foster heir and the Masserene heiress. Their estates and titles merged in the person of the 10th Viscount Massereene and 3rd Viscount Ferrard in 1843. 'Massereene' is the barony (or, rather, Upper and Lower Massereene are the two half baronies) in Co. Antrim where Antrim Castle and the bulk of the Massereene estate lay; and 'Ferrard' is the barony in Co. Louth where Collon and the bulk of the Foster estate were situated.