Friday, 29 July 2016

Hatley Manor

THE WHYTES WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY LEITRIM, WITH 10,989 ACRES

JAMES WHYTE (son of Mark Whyte, by Elizabeth his wife, daughter of John Edwards, of Old Court, County Wicklow), married firstly, in 1783, Gertrude, daughter of James Gee, grandson of William Gee, of Bishop Burton, and had issue,
JAMES, his heir;
Robert, who took the name of Moyser.
He wedded secondly, the daughter of Sir Thomas Hildyard, and had a daughter, ANN CATHERINE, who succeeded to the Hildyard estates.

Mr Whyte died in 1807, and was succeeded by his son,

JAMES WHYTE, of Pilton House, Barnstaple, Devon, who married, in 1805, Frances Honoria, daughter of the Rt Hon John Beresford, brother of 1st Marquess of Waterford.

He died in 1852, leaving issue,
JOHN JAMES, his heir;
James Richard (Rev);
Robert Charles;
Mark Beresford;
Charles;
William Thomas;
Selina Catherine Harriet; Frances Honoria;
Mary; Barbara Henrietta.
The eldest son,

JOHN JAMES WHYTE JP DL (1806-89), of Newtown Manor, County Leitrim, Lieutenant-Colonel, 7th Hussars, espoused, in 1842, Mary Ann Jesse, daughter of Charles Dieudonn√© de Montenach, and had issue,
CHARLES CECIL BERESFORD, his heir;
Theodore William;
Marie Elizabeth Frances Medora; Marie Gertrude;
Emma Frances Honoria; Florence Alma Julia.
Mr Whyte was succeeded by his eldest son,

CHARLES CECIL BERESFORD WHYTE JP DL (1845-1923), of Newtown Manor and Hatley Manor, High Sheriff, 1877, who married, in 1874, Petronella Hallberg, daughter of Herr Magnus Hallberg Riksdagsman, of Sweden, an by her (who succeeded to the estates of Charles Manners St George JP DL and Madame Ingri Christina St George, in counties Leitrim and Roscommon), had issue,
CECIL HARMAN BALDWIN, his heir;
John Theodore Marcus;
Maryanne Christina de Montenach St George;
Ingri Melesina Beatrice Gertrude;
Mona Selina Petronella;
Chisogona Constantia Barbara Beresford;
Florence Holda Medora; Lucile Theodora Gwendoline;
Ebba Harline d'Iberville Le Moyne;
Edith Estelle Ermyntrude le Poer.
The eldest son,

CECIL HARMAN BALDWIN ST GEORGE WHYTE (1881-), Lieutenant, 5th Battalion, the Connaught Rangers.


HATLEY MANOR, near Carrick-on-Shannon, County Leitrim, built about 1830, became the seat of the Whytes through marriage.

In the manner of Castle Ward House, it has a split personality: The entrance front is Italianate; the garden front, Gothic.

The house faces across a forecourt to the main street of Carrick-on-Shannon, County Leitrim.


The Gothic front overlooks the demesne, which leads to the river.

Hatley was originally a seat of the St George family, of Hatley St George, Cambridgeshire.

The last St George to live there is interred in an elaborate Victorian-Classical mausoleum in the grounds.


The estate passed the widow of Cecil Whyte by inheritance.

It was purchased by a bank, though is now privately owned.

First published in June, 2012.

Beech Hill House

THE KENNEDY-SKIPTONS OWNED 1,169 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY LONDONDERRY


CORNET JOHN KENNEDY (1615-80), of Ballymagowan, near Clogher, County Tyrone, descended from James Kennedy, seventh son of Gilbert, 2nd Earl of Cassilis, went to Ulster in 1641 with the Scottish Army and acquired considerable church lands near Clogher.

He married Janet, daughter of Thomas Stewart, of Galston, and had issue,
HORACE, his heir;
James, of Ballymagowan.
The elder son,

CAPTAIN HORACE KENNEDY (1648-1714), settled at Londonderry, 1667.

Captain Kennedy was sheriff during the Siege; was attainted by JAMES II's parliament; and twice, by act of Parliament, appointed a commissioner for Poll Tax for the county.

He wedded Katherine, daughter of Captain Gervais Squire, of Donoughmore, Commissioner for the Peace in County Londonderry, 1677, and had issue, an eldest son,

GERVAIS KENNEDY (1675-1721), who espoused Jane, daughter of William Maxwell, of County Tyrone, and left to the guardianship of his wife's aunt, Mrs Tomkins, of Prehen, two daughters and one son,

WILLIAM KENNEDY (1713-83), who married Easter, daughter and heir of George Crookshank, and had issue,
Maxwell Kennedy (Rev), dsp 1782;
GEORGE CROOKSHANK, his heir;
William;
John Pitt (Rev), Rector of Donagh;
Easter.
The second son,

GEORGE CROOKSHANK KENNEDY (1752-1819), assumed by sign manual the name of SKIPTON in 1801, and succeeded his cousin and brother-in-law in the Beechhill estate.

Mr Kennedy, a deputy governor of County Londonderry, married Sarah, third daughter of Conolly McCausland, of Fruit Hill, and had issue (with five daughters),
CONOLLY McCAUSLAND (1778-1854), dsp;
William;
GEORGE, his successor;
Thomas;
Alexander;
Pitt;
Marcus.
The third son,

DR GEORGE KENNEDY-SKIPTON (1782-1847), married firstly, in 1814, Mary, daughter of the Rev Henry Stacy DD, and had issue (with two daughters),
George Henry (1815-47);
HENRY STACY, his heir;
Thomas Kennedy (1820-24);
Conolly (1822-23);
Daniel Pitt.
The eldest surviving son,

HENRY STACY KENNEDY-SKIPTON, of Beechhill, married Elizabeth, daughter of C Stewart, and had issue,

DR ALEXANDER KENNEDY-SKIPTON, of the Casino, the fifth son, who married Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of James McCrea, of Londonderry, by Frances, his wife, daughter of William Law, of Dunmore.


Dr Skipton died in 1858, leaving two sons, the younger of whom,

GEORGE ALEXANDER KENNEDY-SKIPTON JP, of the Casino, County Londonderry, was High Sheriff in 1863.

He sold Beech Hill in 1875 and died a bachelor in 1906.


LINEAGE OF SKIPTON

The family of SKIPTON appears to have been of knightly rank, and numerous and flourishing during the reigns of JOHN, HENRY III and THE EDWARDS.

It was possessed of manors in the counties of Yorkshire, Gloucestershire, Nottinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, and Huntingdonshire.

THOMAS SKIPTON, the head of the Skiptons of the last-named county, was living in the reign of HENRY VIII, and had three sons; the eldest inherited the estate, and left a son, Richard, of Cambridge, 1626.

The second son,

ALEXANDER SKIPTON,
 purchased, about 1617, the lands of Ballyshasky, of the Ballymullins, now Learmount and others, in County Londonderry.

He built a mansion house on the first named, and was murdered by the O'Cahans in 1624; and left, with two daughters, a son and heir,

CAPTAIN THOMAS SKIPTON, who styled himself, in his will, "of Skipton Hall".

This gentleman married Charity, daughter of Sir Thomas Staples Bt, of Lissan, and died in 1685, leaving two sons and a daughter.

The second son,

GEORGE SKIPTON, married Mary, co-heiress of Sir Alexander Staples, knight, and left a son, Staples Skipton, who bequeathed his estate of Faughanvale to the Skipton Hall family.

The eldest son,

CAPTAIN ALEXANDER SKIPTON
 (1642-1704), attainted by JAMES II's parliament, married Jane, daughter of Edward Cary, of Dungiven, by Sarah, his wife, daughter of Sir Tristram Beresford Bt.

Captain Skipton was succeeded by his eldest son,

CAPTAIN THOMAS SKIPTON,
 who served with Lord Peterborough in Spain, wedded Eleanor, daughter of Colonel John Forward, of Castle Forward, and aunt to Alice Forward (created, in 1793, Countess of Wicklow).

He built, in 1728, the present residence (the name of which he changed to Beech Hill), within a few yards of the site of the house erected in 1622.

Captain Skipton died in 1739, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

THE REV ALEXANDER SKIPTON, rector successively of Magilligan and Bovagh, espoused Isabella, daughter of Gervais Kennedy, of Londonderry, and died in 1793, having had but one son,

THOMAS SKIPTON, who married Elizabeth, second daughter of Conolly McCausland, of Fruit Hill, by the heiress of the Gages of Alagilligan.

He died without male issue in 1802, bequeathing his estate to his cousin and brother-in-law,

GEORGE CROOKSHANK KENNEDY, who assumed by sign manual the name of SKIPTON.


The first house to stand on the richly-wooded Ardmore site was built in 1622 and was known as Ballyshaskey.

It was commissioned by Alexander Skipton, who was killed in a land ownership dispute with a local family.

His son, Captain Thomas Skipton, took up residence in 1638.

However, in a period of rebellion three years later, Thomas and his wife Charity were forced to flee under cover of darkness, narrowly escaping with their lives. Their home was burned to the ground.

Seemingly undeterred by these disasters, in 1661 Captain Skipton built a new house which he called Skipton Hall.

It stood on the opposite side of the brook to the original building.

The family remained there until the siege of Derry, when a retreating army reduced Skipton Hall to ashes. 

Thomas’s son and heir, Captain Alexander Skipton, continued to live on the estate, in an out-house, until his death in 1704.

Captain Thomas Skipton built the present mansion house in 1739 and, because of the large number of surrounding trees, named it Beechhill.

Two generations later, Thomas Skipton added a wing stretching out towards the brook and made some significant changes to the gardens.

When he died the estate passed on to his cousin, George Crookshank Kennedy, who immediately changed his name to Kennedy-Skipton and continued a programme of improvements.

He planted a substantial number of new trees and much  improved the layout and appearance of the grounds which he believed  would give people much pleasure.

An impressive porch was added to the  front of the house and also the big room that is situated over it and which is known as The Library.

A change in ownership came in 1872, when Beech Hill was bought by the  wealthy Nicholsons of Newbuildings.

At this time, the estate comprised 1,169 acres.

The Nicholsons made a number of internal changes to the house during their tenancy but, in general, it remained  their simple family home.

In 1942, the United States Marines occupied Beech Hill.

They had been sent to protect Londonderry’s war-time military installations.

In 1989, Beech Hill was bought by present owners, Patricia (Patsy) O’Kane, MBE, and her brother, Seamus Donnelly.

They undertook two years of refurbishment.

Beech Hill Country House opened for the first time in 1991. 

In 1998, the former US President, Bill Clinton, arrived.

By 2000, Beech Hill had become so popular that twenty-two bedrooms were inadequate, hence a new wing created ten more rooms and suites.

In 2011, restoration work costing almost £500,000 was completed.

It included new sash windows, extensive re-roofing and external and interior redecoration.

Atkinson wrote of Beech Hill in 1833:
‘… full grown timber, richly planted glen, an excellent garden, walled in and in full bearing, and sanded walks for the accommodation of the passenger through its richly
wooded lawns …’
The house is still surrounded by mature trees, with a lime and beech avenue and woodland walks. The raised portion to the north-west of the house.

The shape of the demesne has changed little: There are terraced lawns near the house and a series of ponds on descending ground, controlled by sluices.

Overflow car parks are amongst trees.

First published in July, 2012.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Gloucesters in Ulster

Wednesday, 27th July, 2016.

The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester attended the Clogher Valley Show, Augher, County Tyrone, and were received by Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant of County Tyrone, Mr Robert Scott OBE.

Their Royal Highnesses visited Enniskillen Airport, County Fermanagh, and were received by Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant of County Fermanagh, the Viscount Brookeborough.

Cleland of Stormont Castle

THE CLELAND FAMILY OWNED 4,385 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY DOWN

This is a County Down family, claiming descent from James Cleland of that ilk, Lanarkshire.

THE REV JOHN CLELAND (1755-1834), sometime prebendary of Armagh, Rector of Newtownards 1789-1809, became tutor to the young Lord Castlereagh and subsequently acted as agent for the Londonderry estates.
John Cleland was a student at the Rev William Neilson's Classical Academy in Rademon, County Down. A murder attempt occurred against him in 1796; he passed on information against the United Irishmen in 1797; agent for Marquess of Londonderry, 1824; bought land in Killeen & Ballymiscaw, 1830.
He married, in 1805, Esther, daughter and co-heiress of Samuel Jackson, of Stormont, by his wife Margaret Vateau, only child and heiress of Paul Peter Isaac Vateau, the descendant of a French Huguenot family, and had issue,
SAMUEL JACKSON, 1808-42;
Robert Stewart;
Sarah Frances.
Mr Cleland was succeeded by his elder son,

SAMUEL JACKSON CLELAND (1808-42), who wedded, in 1834, Eliza, daughter of James Joyce, of Thornhill, and had issue,
JOHN, his heir;
James Vance;
Robert Stewart;
Samuel Frederick Stewart;
Margaret.
Mr Cleland was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN CLELAND JP DL (1836-93), of Stormont Castle, Dundonald, County Down, High Sheriff of County Down, 1866, who wedded, in 1859, Therese Maria, only daughter of Captain Thomas Leyland, of Haggerston Castle, Northumberland, and Hyde Park House, London, and had issue,
ARTHUR CHARLES STEWART, his heir;
Andrew Leyland Hillyar, b 1868;
Florence Rachel Therese Laura, b 1894.
Mr Cleland was succeeded by his eldest son, 

ARTHUR CHARLES STEWART CLELAND (1865-1924), of Stormont Castle; sometime Lieutenant, 3rd Battalion, Prince of Wales Leinster Regiment, who married, in 1890, Mabel Sophia, only daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel H T D'Aguilar, Grenadier Guards.

Mr Cleland died at Field Green, Hawkhurst, Kent.


STORMONT CASTLE, Dundonald, County Down, is a Scottish-Baronial mansion of 1858, built by the Belfast architect Thomas Turner. 

This mansion replaced the original castle.

The entrance front is three storeys high and eight bays wide, with a two-storey canted bay window.


Remaining windows have square-topped sashes, with bartizan turrets at either end.

There is a tall tower at the eastern end, with a large door surround and balustrade on top, turrets on tower corners, crow-stepped castellation, and three rounded arch windows at top.

Gryphons brandish shields at either side of the main staircase

Cleland arms

The Castle's lofty tower is reminiscent of The Prince Consort's Tower at Balmoral Castle.

John Cleland's grandson began extending the Georgian house after 1842, though work did not begin on the new Castle (above) till 1858.


It was at "Storm Mount" that, ca 1830, Cleland created what was described as "a plain house": A mid or late Georgian house of a traditional type, it was in the form of a plain rectangle with a central projection to the south, presumably for the entrance. 

Associated plantings were very modest; there was a small fringed meadow at the front and an orchard on the hillside to the north west.  

A directory entry of 1837 referred (probably inaccurately) to the house as 'Storemont'; and, by 1864, the "Parliament Gazetteer" still did not rank it amongst the principal residences of the area. 


In those days the most substantial such residence was Rose Park, a name still in use in the residential area (and indeed in Rosepark House, a Government building occupied by the Exchequer and Audit Department and by part of the Department of Finance and Personnel).

It was in the course of removing Rose Park, in the process of consolidating Cleland's holdings, that his son Samuel Jackson Cleland was killed by the collapse of a wall in 1842.

In 1858, the Cleland family commissioned the local architect Thomas Turner to convert the existing plain dwelling into a flamboyant baronial castle.

To what extent the original house survives is not clear. Conventional wisdom, supported by some map evidence, is that the symmetrical five-bay block facing south is the "baronialised" shell of the Georgian dwelling.

To this, Turner added the entrance tower to the east.

The whole image and particularly the outline of the building was given a baronial character with turrets, battlements, bartizans with conical caps, iron cresting and weather vanes. 

The Cleland monogram was used on the shields held by the snarling stone gryphons which still guard the main entrance to the Castle.

The 1850s also saw extensive development of the demesne which was extended to the main Upper Newtownards Road, with the old lodge for Rose Park becoming the lodge for the remodelled baronial Stormont.

The Clelands finally left in 1893, preferring to live elsewhere, and the demesne was let out. 

At some stage Stormont Castle was rented by Charles E Allen JP, a director of the shipbuilding firm of Workman and Clark Limited. 

On his departure from Belfast, the Castle became vacant and, in April, 1921, both it and the surrounding land were offered at auction, but withdrawn when no bid higher than £15,000 was obtained.

Later in 1921, however, it was acquired, with 235 acres of land, as a site for the Parliament Buildings of the new Northern Ireland state. 

On September 20th, that Parliament resolved that 
Stormont Castle demesne shall be the place where the new Parliament House and Ministerial Buildings shall be erected, and as the place to be determined as the seat of the Government of Northern Ireland as and when suitable provision has been made therefore. 
While there was initial uncertainty about the use to be made of Stormont Castle itself, it was later decided that it should become the official residence of the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland. 

Sir James Craig (later 1st Viscount Craigavon) lived there until 1940, when he moved out to make more room for officials engaged in War work.

Lord Craigavon was succeeded in office by Mr J Andrews and thereafter by Sir Basil Brooke Bt (later 1st Viscount Brookeborough).

While both had offices in the Castle, no Prime Minister resided there with any regularity between 1940 to 1969.

On the arrival in office of Captain Terence O'Neill in 1963, substantial reinstatement and improvement works were carried out.

These included the removal of an ugly glass entrance canopy and the restoration of the old ballroom as an improved Cabinet Room.

In those days the Prime Minister occupied what became the Secretary of State's office, with the Secretary of the Cabinet using the other major front room on the ground floor.

Captain O'Neill (afterwards Baron O'Neill of the Maine), Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, resided, when in Belfast, at nearby Stormont House, originally built as a residence for the Speakers of the NI House of Commons.

His successor, Major James Chichester-Clark (later Baron Moyola), had premises on the first floor converted into a self-contained flat and regularly stayed there.

Since 1974, when Northern Ireland reverted to direct rule from Westminster, the Castle became the administrative headquarters for successive Secretaries of State.

Today, Stormont Castle serves as the Office of the First and Deputy First Ministers.

Although Stormont Castle is a house of the 1850s, the grounds date from the time of a former house of 1830. There are a few mature trees from that era.

There is a fine restored glasshouse with 'bothies' on the back (ca 1857).

Formal bedding in the vicinity of the glasshouse and immediately to the west of the Castle was recorded, in its original form, in R Welch’s photographs of 1894 but have now gone. 

The demesne was purchased over the period 1921-78 for the Parliament Buildings and now amounts to about 400 acres.

First published in April, 2012.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Barr Hall Bay

I spent the morning with a number of other National Trust Strangford Lough volunteers at a field beside Barr Hall Bay today.

Bar Hall Bay is located near the southern tip of the Ards Peninsula in County Down.

We were cutting Dock and Ragwort.


I spotted a bee nest (top) and if you look closely you'll see two bees emerging or hovering at the entrance.

Rathdaire House

THE ADAIRS WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN THE QUEEN'S COUNTY, WITH 9,655 ACRES

The family of ADAIR were originally from Scotland and settled in Ireland about 1690, at the time of the battle of the Boyne.  

THOMAS ADAIRE, son of Archibald Adaire, married Mary Hamilton, and settled in the Queen's County (Laois). His son,

ARCHIBALD ADAIRE, married and was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN ADAIR, of Rath, Queen's County, High Sheriff, 1782.

Mr Adair died in 1809, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

GEORGE ADAIR JP DL (1784-1873), of Rath, High Sheriff, 1822, who married Elizabeth, second daughter of the Very Rev Thomas Trench, Dean of Kildare (brother of the 1st Lord Ashtown), and had an only son,

JOHN GEORGE ADAIR JP DL (1823-85), of Rathdaire, Queen's County, and of Glenveagh Castle, County Donegal, High Sheriff, 1867, High Sheriff of Donegal, 1874.
George and his son John George, better known as Jack, built a "state of the art" farmyard at Belgrove in 1851. To justify their investment they ejected their tenants from the best land in Ballyaddan, Rathroinsin, Belgrove, etc., expecting to run the land more efficiently in a larger unit, rather than depending on what they could extract from their tenants.
Jack himself acquired more land in Tipperary, Kildare, and Donegal, and also a large ranch in Texas called the JA Ranch. He died in 1885 on his way home from the States, aged 62 years. Thanks to Dr. Bob Spiegelman of New York we have learned a great deal more about the JA Ranch and Jack's connections with it, as well as Glenveagh in Donegal. When the Irish Land Commission acquired the Estate in 1935 they divided it among some of the Estate employees and enlarged many of the small farms in the area.
The farmyard was divided between four families, and four of the farm buildings were converted into dwellings. Later on three of the families moved elsewhere or changed from farming. As the other families left the Murphy family bought out the rest of the yard. Michael Murphy Sr. was yard-man on the estate when he was a youth and he got a quarter of the farmyard in the 1935 division; he survived to see his family own the whole farmyard eventually.
Mr Adair married Cornelia, daughter of General J S Wadsworth, US Army, in 1867, and died without issue.

Former seats - Rathdaire, Monasterevin, County Laois; Glenveagh Castle, County Donegal.


RATHDAIRE HOUSE, or Bellegrove, was a two-storey over basement Italianate house of ca 1835, with the entrance bay to the centre having full-height flanking bows.

It was burnt in 1887 and is now in ruins with the basement filled-in.

The fittings are now gone; the interior ruinous.

The house is set back from road in its own grounds, now in use as a tillage field.

Stable complex, pair of detached gate lodges, gateway and site of former winter garden to site.

First published in June, 2012.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Gloucesters in Fermanagh

Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester have arrived in Northern Ireland for a two-day visit to counties Fermanagh and Tyrone.


This afternoon TRH visited Portora Royal School, Enniskillen, to mark Four Centuries of Service to Education, and were received by Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant of County Fermanagh (the Viscount Brookeborough).

TRH were greeted by the Rt Hon Arlene Foster MLA, First Minister of Northern Ireland, Peter Weir MLA, Minister for Education, the Right Rev John McDowell, Lord Bishop of Clogher, and Neil Morton OBE MA, Headmaster of Portora.

Their Royal Highnesses later visited Waterways Ireland, 2 Sligo Road, Enniskillen.

The Duke of Gloucester afterwards presented The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service to Ballinamallard United Football Club, 70 Enniskillen Road, Ballinamallard, Enniskillen.

The Duchess of Gloucester officially opened the Sensory Garden at Killadeas Day Care Centre, Lackaghboy Road, Lackaghboy, Enniskillen, and was received by Mr Roland Eadie (Deputy Lieutenant of County Fermanagh).

where they were greeted by the Rt Hon Arlene Foster MLA, First Minister of Northern Ireland, Peter Weir MLA, Minister for Education, the Right Rev John McDowell, Lord Bishop of Clogher, and Neil Morton OBE MA, Headmaster of Portora.