Ponsonby, Charles William Talbot- (1843–1927), navalofficer, landowner, and JP, was born 29 May 1843 at Langrish House, Petersfield, Hampshire, the son of Admiral Sir Charles Talbot, KCB (1801–76), and his wife, Charlotte Georgina (d. 1883), widow of Lieutenant-Colonel Stapleton and daughter of Major-General Sir William Ponsonby, KCB. Born Charles William Talbot, he took a new name and estate in 1866: his uncle, William Brabazon, fourth Lord Ponsonby, died without issue, and he succeeded to the Ponsonby Cork estates and manor at Inchiquin, assuming by royal licence the name and arms of Ponsonby and Talbot. The Ponsonby estate of 10,600 acres stretched for 14 miles along the southwestern coast of Cork, between Killeagh and Youghal. Within the first six years of inheriting the estate Talbot-Ponsonby spent over £9,000 on improvements, erecting buildings for tenants, improving roads, and undertaking drainage projects. In the 1880s there were 250 tenants on the estate, with average farms of between 30 and 40 acres – substantial tenants for the southwest of Ireland.
The Ponsonby estate was infamous for being the first estate on which the Plan of Campaign was implemented. Talbot-Ponsonby had generally been on good terms with his tenants until 1885, when they undertook a three-week rent strike to force rent reductions to the levels which neighbouring landlords were offering. The plan was formally adopted on the estate on 14 November 1886 after Talbot-Ponsonby refused his tenants’ demands for reductions above the amounts given in 1885. The tenants paid their rents into the plan fund collected in Youghal by William Lane MP and four priests. By the summer of 1887 the tenants owed over £20,000 in arrears, and Talbot-Ponsonby was in dire straits, with estate charges to pay but no rental income to fill his coffers. Indeed, one of the reasons the estate was chosen for implementation of the plan was because it was heavily encumbered.
However, just as the estate was chosen by agitators to illustrate the power of collective agitation, so too did the landed interest wish to illustrate landlord unity in taking up Talbot-Ponsonby's cause. The Cork Defence Union was established by Cork landowners in December 1886, and, more importantly, in 1888 a landlord syndicate was organised by chief secretary Arthur Balfour (qv) consisting of a dozen of the wealthiest landowners in England and Ireland, who each contributed £10,000 to purchase the Ponsonby estate. The tenants entered into negotiation to buy the estate from Talbot-Ponsonby, but their offer was too low and by February 1889 the estate was sold to the landlord syndicate, on the conditions that Talbot-Ponsonby remained nominal owner and that all legal proceedings would be taken out in his name. The landlord syndicate was seen by some as an unwarranted intervention between landlord and tenant, especially when the tenants were attempting to purchase the estate. The main issue for Balfour and the syndicate was to defeat the plan on the estate, as a victory might have diminished the value of all Irish property. Throughout the summer and autumn of 1889 Talbot-Ponsonby evicted most of the tenants on the estate; only two who refused to join the plan retained their holdings, and the syndicate stocked the estate with cattle. The plan finally collapsed in 1892, and half of the evicted tenants agreed to purchase their holdings at Talbot-Ponsonby's price. By 1900 most tenants had purchased their holdings.
On 15 January 1868 Talbot-Ponsonby married Constance Louisa, youngest daughter of F. P. Delmé-Radcliffe, of Hitchin Priory, Hertfordshire, with whom he had six sons and two daughters. The family spent time between their two residences, the Ponsonby manor at Inchiquin and the Talbot manor, Langrish House at Petersfield, where Talbot-Ponsonby died 23 July 1927.