Patrick Sarsfield came from an Anglo-Norman family. His father Patrick Sarsfield married Anne, daughter of Rory (Roger) O'Moore, who organized the 1641 Rebellion. The family possessed an estate of £2000 a year. Patrick, who was a younger son, entered Dongan's Regiment of Foot in 1678. During the final years of the reign of King Charles II he served in the English regiments but he returned to Ireland after the accession of King James II.
When King James disbanded his army and fled to France, Sarsfield accompanied him. In 1689 he returned to Ireland with the king. During the earlier part of the Williamite war in Ireland he captured Sligo and secured all of Connaught for the Jacobites. The king, who is said to have described him as a brave fellow who had no head, reluctantly promoted him to the rank of brigadier, and then major-general. It was not until after the Battle of the Boyne (July 1690) and during the Seige of Limerick, that Sarsfield came to prominence. His capture of a convoy of military stores at Ballyneety delayed the siege of the town until the winter rains forced the English to retire. This achievement made him a popular hero of the war with the Irish. His generosity, his courage and his commanding height, had already commended him to the affection of the Irish. When the cause of King James was lost in Ireland, Sarsfield was forced to arrange the disadvantageous Treaty of Limerick and sailed to France on December 22nd 1691 with many of his countrymen who entered the French service in what is known as the Flight of the Wild Geese. He received a commission as lieutenant-general (maréchal-de-camp) from King Louis XIV and fought with distinction in Flanders until he was mortally wounded at the battle of Neerwinden, on August 19th 1693. He died two or three days after the battle, at Huy in Belgium, where he is buried in the grounds of St Martin's Church. A plaque on the wall of this Church marks the approximate location of his grave.
In 1691 he was created Earl of Lucan by King James. He married Lady Honora Burke, by whom he had one son James, who died childless in 1718. They also had one daughter.
To take this biography up to relatively modern times and clear up the connection between the eponymous “disappeared” Earl and the name of the Parish, we can follow the family tree forward thus:
1691 Patrick Sarsfield is created First Earl of Lucan.
1719 James Sarsfield, Second Earl of Lucan and son of Patrick, dies without an heir rendering the title extinct.
1795 A Great Nephew of Patrick Sarsfield, Charles Bingham has the title recreated and he becomes the Third Earl of Lucan. He is (at least partially) responsible for the failure of the disastrous “Charge of the Light Brigade” in the Crimean War.
1839 Charles George Bingham, is the Fourth Earl of Lucan
1888 Colonel George Charles Bingham, becomes the Fifth Earl of Lucan GCVO, KBE, CB, PC, TD, DL is the last Earl of Lucan to actually own property in the Lucan area.
1914 George Charles Patrick Bingham, is the Sixth Earl of Lucan MC
1964 Richard John Bingham, is dubbed the Seventh Earl of Lucan.
The last-mentioned earl is missing, presumed dead, since 1974 when a nanny (Sandra Eleanor Rivett) employed by himself and his wife, was found murdered in the basement of their house. There followed another assault on his wife.
His bloodstained car was found days later. Five days after the murder, a warrant was issued for his arrest in connection with the killing. He disappeared and was never seen again. The disappearance prompted many subsequent “sightings” and fuelled several conspiracy theories.
The 7th Earl of Lucan was presumed deceased in December 1992, enabling Lucan's son, George Bingham, Lord Bingham, to become the beneficiary of the Lucan Settled Estates and become the 8th Lord Lucan.