Colclough, Sir Vesey (1745–94), politician, was born 1 July 1745 at Tintern Abbey, Co. Wexford, posthumous son of Vesey Colclough (1724–45) of Mocurry and Mary Colclough, daughter of Sir John Bingham of Castlebar, Co. Mayo. His title came from a supposed right; the baronetcy had actually become extinct with the death (1687) of the 3rd baronet, Sir Caesar Colclough. On 29 May 1766 Sir Vesey purchased the borough of Enniscorthy from his cousin Adam Colclough of Duffrey Hall for £3,000 sterling. He also purchased the office of portreeve of Enniscorthy, which he owned for ten years. He was made high sheriff of Co. Wexford in 1767.
Entering politics, he became MP for Co. Wexford (1766), was returned at every subsequent election until 1790, and then sat as member for Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford, till his death. In parliament he was connected to Lord Ely (qv) and was regularly in opposition to the government. A disreputable figure, he was censured for irregular conduct as returning officer during a parliamentary election (1783), which was consequently declared null and void. He was friends with Sir Richard Musgrave (qv), and Sir John Hamilton, and regularly engaged them in discussions of literature, about which he would discourse at length. On 26 March 1775 he raised (apparently to counter Whiteboy disturbances) one of the first volunteer corps in Ireland, with Arthur Phayre as the captain. This was the inspiration for Isaac Cornock (1739–1804), who raised the Enniscorthy volunteers in 1776. Colclough was later a delegate at the Volunteer grand national convention of 1783.
He married (2 August 1765) Katherine Grogan, daughter of John Grogan, an Irish MP. They had three sons: Caesar (1766–1842) and John (1767–1807), both of whom were MP for Co. Wexford in the UK parliament, the former in 1806 and 1818–20, and the latter in 1806–7; and lastly Vesey jr, who died in infancy. John's death in an election duel in 1807 was somewhat ironic, as his father had been a ‘prefect’ in the Friendly Brothers of St Patrick, a society opposed to duelling.
Colclough had a deserved reputation as a rogue and a scoundrel. Always profligate with money, he impoverished his family, losing all their estates and properties, before abandoning his wife. Leaving her and his sons to the generosity of her five brothers, he then set up house with his mistress and her children. Caesar was obliged to run away from TCD to escape his debts. Colclough then exerted continuous pressure on his sons to help him provide for his second family, servants, and entourage, creating much resentment and bitterness. He died 8 July 1794, having lived most of his life at Tintern Abbey.