John Molloy : His parents

There has been some confusing historical information that has been published in a number of books and papers.

Contrary to a report in the Sunday Times of 22 May 1921, John Molloy did know his father and mother. They were William and Mary Molloy, nee Connor*. This information was passed to Mary DuCane nee Molloy by her sister Amelia.

* Letter Edmund DuCane to Georgiana Bisdee, nee Hale.


Alexandra Hasluck in Georgiana Molloy; Portrait with Background, quoted an “not entirely reliable authority” that John Molloy never knew his parents and was the beneficiary of 200 pounds per year while at Oxford and that a cheque for 20,000 pounds was given to him along with the purchase of a commission in the Royal Navy.

There is no record of John Molloy ever being at Oxford (University)* and a cheque for 20,000 pounds seems a most unlikely amount in the year 1810.

* Letter Oxford University to Patrick Bunbury. 3 August 1979.


Gossip had it that John Molloy was of royal parentage. Prince Frederick Augustus, Duke of York* the second son of King George III has been speculated on as having been his father. The Royal Archives at Windsor Castle** have an index of the names of illegitimate children of royalty and have no record of John Molloy. John Molloy’s features did remind those about him of some face very well-known but this remained elusive.**

* ”Portrait with Background” by Alexandra Hasluck. Appendix C.
** Letter Royal Archives to T. Woodcock, Esq., The College of Arms, 18 October 1983. Copy in possession of Patrick Bunbury.
**** “Portrait with Background” by Alexandra Hasluck. Chapter 1


A letter from The College of Arms* raises an interesting point about the possibility that John Molloy might have been a grandson from the* *alleged marriage of the Prince of Wales, later King George III, to Hannah Lightfoot in1759. There were said to have been three children from this marriage. Hannah’s father** was a shoemaker in Wapping as was ***William Molloy.

(King George III later married Sophia Charlotte, daughter of The Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz in 1761).

*Letter College of Arms to Patrick Bunbury. 26 October 1983.
**Britain’s Royal Families. Alison Weir. Page 286, Pimlico edition 1996.
*** Letter College of Arms to Patrick Bunbury. 26 October 1983.


The College of Arms also stated that Harrow School at the time catered for the sons of successful tradesmen as William Molloy was stated to be.


[Author: Patrick Richardson-Bunbury]

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