Gentleman at large seems to have been a rank, or position associated with a royal household and one of a staff that included such other personages as gentleman of the bedchamber. In the Irish context, this was because the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland was also the de facto Viceroy, in a similar way to the Viceroy of India. These were in effect Colonial positions and, just as in India, Army officers on half-pay often met the necessary social standing (connections) to take on the role. Precisely what the role of a gentleman at large was I am unsure, but as Col Mike has said, it probably refers to a man with a roving brief and able to move about in the service of his master rather than be tied to the presence and residence concerned.
Here is an interesting quote from the website of Dublin Castle:
The most important period in Dublin's social calendar was the six festive weeks of the Castle's balls and dinners, which culminated on St. Patrick's Day, 17th March. During this 'Castle Season' the Viceroy resided in Dublin Castle with his personal staff, chaplain, secretary, gentlemen-at-large and aides-de-camp in waiting. Dublin hotel and boarding rooms were booked well in advance. Gentry, aspiring gentry and debutantes from the great houses of Ireland eagerly awaited the Viceroy's gilt edged invitation to attend.
- Ed47-LLViceregalLodge.jpg (108.21 KiB) Viewed 116 times
- State Ball 1850 CHAPTER 15 (website resize)-400x286.png (309.93 KiB) Viewed 116 times
Last edited by Frogsmile
on 11 Oct 2016 10:28, edited 1 time in total.