Ireland’s great-grandfather on his mother’s side was the Reverend Mark Nicholson (1770–1838). Born to yet another John Nicholson in Cumberland, he graduated from Oxford in 1795 with a BA , awarded his MA in 1797. He was for much of his working life president of Codrington College (below), the Theological College of the Church of the Province of the West Indies in Barbados. While living here he married Lucy Reynold Elcock in 1807, she a descendant of the wealthy Alleyne family who ran the Black Rock Sugar Plantation (more on the Alleynes and the slave trade to follow). In 1797 the College had just been repaired, and reopened under his guidance as the new president and ‘superior master’. He remained in this role until 1821, though returned to England in around 1817, settling in the Clifton area of Bristol, where his youngest son Mark was born.