Sunday, 21 April 2019

The Queen's Birthday

HER MOST GRACIOUS MAJESTY Elizabeth The Second, OF THE UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN AND NORTHERN IRELAND, AND OF HER OTHER REALMS AND TERRITORIES QUEEN, HEAD OF THE COMMONWEALTH, DEFENDER OF THE FAITH, Sovereign of the Orders of the Garter, Thistle, St Patrick, the Bath, St Michael & St George, Royal Victorian Order, the British Empire etc.

THE QUEEN is 93 today.

Her Majesty was born at 17 Bruton Street, London, on the 21st April, 1926, and ascended the throne, upon the demise of her father, GEORGE VI, 6th February, 1952.

The Queen usually spends her birthday privately, at Windsor Castle.

The occasion is marked publicly by a 41 gun salute in Hyde Park, London, and 21 gun salutes in the other nations of the United Kingdom.

Three cheers for Her Majesty The Queen.

Saturday, 20 April 2019

Dunbrody Park


THE BARONS TEMPLEMORE WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY WEXFORD, WITH 11,327 ACRES


LORD SPENCER STANLEY CHICHESTER MP (1775-1819), of Dunbrody Park, County Wexford, second surviving son of Arthur, 1st Marquess of Donegall, wedded, in 1795, the Lady Harriet Stewart, a younger daughter of John, 7th Earl of Galloway KT, and had issue,
ARTHUR, of whom hereafter;
George, d 1829;
Anne;
Elizabeth, m William, 1st Baron Bateman.
His lordship was succeeded by his elder son,

LIEUTENANT-COLONEL ARTHUR CHICHESTER MP (1797-1837), of Dunbrody Park, and of 38 Portman Square, London, MP for Milborne Port, 1826-30, County Wexford, 1830-1.

Colonel Chichester was raised to the peerage, in 1831, in the dignity of BARON TEMPLEMORE, of Templemore, County Donegal.

He wedded, in 1820, the Lady Augusta Paget, fourth daughter of Henry, 1st Marquess of Anglesey KG, and had issue,
HENRY SPENCER, his heir;
Augustus George Charles;
Frederick Arthur Henry;
Adolphus William;
Francis Algernon James;
another son, b 1833;
Caroline Georgiana; Augusta.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

HENRY SPENCER, 2nd Baron,
(ARTHUR) PATRICK, is the 8th and present Marquess of Donegall and 6th Baron Templemore.

Lord Donegall lives with his family within the grounds of Dunbrody Park.


DUNBRODY HOUSE, near Arthurstown, County Wexford, is described by Mark Bence-Jones as
a pleasant, comfortable, unassuming house of ca 1860 which from its appearance might be a 20th century house of vaguely Queen Anne flavour.
Dunbrody Park was acquired by the Chichester family through marriage of the 2nd Earl of Donegall to Jane, daughter and heiress of John Itchingham, of Dunbrody Park, ca 1660.

The Victorian mansion house comprises two storeys, with a five-bay centre.

The middle bay breaks forward.


There is a three-sided, single storey central bow, and two-bay projecting ends.

Dunbrody House has been a country house hotel since 2001.

Former town residence  ~ 11 Upper Grosvenor Street, London.

First published in November, 2012; revised in 2014. Templemore arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

The School Report

Several years ago I stumbled upon a large brown envelope, full of miscellaneous documents relating to Brackenber House School; and containing my personal Report Book.

This booklet is red in colour.

The first page states: To be returned to the Headmaster at the beginning of each term.

Eager to see my last Report from the Summer Term in 1973, when I was thirteen years old?

I was in Form V and the average number of pupils in the Form was 15.

LATIN: "Good progress" (Mr Maguire)

FRENCH: "Good" (Mr McQuoid)

ENGLISH: "His English has improved considerably" (Mr McQuoid)

SCRIPTURE: "Good progress" (TP)

HISTORY: "Not very good" (Mr Craig)

GEOGRAPHY: "Steady improvement" (Mr Maguire)

MATHEMATICS: "He has worked very well this term" (Mr Magowan?)

ALGEBRA/GEOMETRY "Has improved but still gaps in his knowledge of elementary ***

DRAWING: "Some good work" (Mr Cross?)

SCIENCE: "Satisfactory" (Mrs Dunlop)

GENERAL REPORT: "He has made satisfactory progress generally... he did well to pass the Common Entrance considering the great handicap [late starter] he had. He has had a good career here & we wish him well at Campbell" (Mr Craig)

CONDUCT: "Excellent" (Mr Craig)

GAMES: "He made good progress in his game of cricket & proved a fine runner"


Doubtless some of them were being charitable to me.

I was awful at Maths, geography and history.

As Mr Craig, said, though, I was a very good sprinter and promising athlete.

Those were the days!

First published in November, 2009.

Friday, 19 April 2019

Ballynegall House

THE SMYTHS WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY WESTMEATH, WITH 9,778 ACRES


This is a branch of SMYTH of Gaybrook, springing more immediately from SMYTH of Drumcree. 

THOMAS HUTCHINSON SMYTH (only son of Thomas Smyth, of Drumcree, by his third wife, Martha, daughter of the Ven Francis Hutchinson, Archdeacon of Down and Connor), served as High Sheriff, 1792, being then described as of "Smythboro" or Coole.

He married, in 1796, Abigail, daughter of John Hamilton, of Belfast, and had issue,
THOMAS, his heir;
Francis, Captain RN;
John Stewart;
Edward, d 1857;
Arthur (Dr);
Hamilton, barrister (1813-59);
Anna; Emily.
Mr Smyth died in 1830, and was succeeded by his eldest son, 

THE REV THOMAS SMYTH (1796-1874), who wedded, in 1832, Mary Anne, daughter of Adam Tate Gibbons, East India Company, and niece of James Gibbons, of Ballynegall, and had issue,
THOMAS JAMES, his heir;
James Gibbons, major in the army;
William Adam, major in the army;
Albert Edward, major in the army;
Elizabeth Abigail Mary Amelia; Mary Anne; Louisa Anna.
The Rev Thomas Smyth was succeeded by his eldest son,

THOMAS JAMES SMYTH JP DL (1833-1912), of Ballynegall, High Sheriff, 1858, Captain, Westmeath Rifles, who married, in 1864, Bessie, fourth daughter of Edward Anketell Jones, of Adelaide Crescent, Brighton, and had issue,
THOMAS GIBBONS HAWKESWORTH, his heir;
Ellinor Marion Hawkesworth; Maud Emily Abigail Hawkesworth.
Mr Smyth was succeeded by his only son,

THOMAS GIBBONS HAWKESWORTH SMYTH (1865-1953) of Ballynegall, who wedded, in 1895, Constance, younger daughter of Harry Corbyn Levinge, of Knockdrin Castle, Mullingar, and had issue,
THOMAS REGINALD HAWKESWORTH, b 1897;
Marjorie.

BALLYNEGALL HOUSE, near Mullingar, County Westmeath, is said to have been one of the greatest architectural losses in the county.

The designs for this elegant and refined Regency house have been traditionally attributed to Francis Johnston, one of the foremost architects of his day and a man with an international reputation.

The quality of the original design is still apparent, despite its derelict and overgrown appearance.

The house was originally constructed for James Gibbons at the enormous cost of £30,000, and was reputedly built using the fabric of an existing castle on site, known as Castle Reynell after the previous owners of the estate.

Ballynagall remained in the Gibbons Family until 1846, when ownership passed on to Mr James W M Berry.

In 1855, ownership later passed on to the Smyth family through marriage.

There is an interesting article here, written by one of the last of the Smyths to live at Ballynegall.


The house was abandoned in the early 1960s and all remaining internal fittings and fixtures were removed at this time.

The original Ionic portico was also removed in the 1960s and now stands at Straffan House, County Kildare.

The remains of a very fine iron conservatory, which has been attributed to Richard Turner (1798-1881), is itself a great loss to the heritage of the county.

Ballynagall House stands in picturesque, mature parkland.

The remains of the house form the centrepiece of one of the best collections of demesne-related structures in County Westmeath, along with the stable block to the north-west and the gate lodge and St Mary's church to the south-east.

First published in February, 2013.

Tyrone DL

APPOINTMENT OF DEPUTY LIEUTENANT

Mr Robert Scott OBE, Lord-Lieutenant of County Tyrone, has been pleased to appoint
Mrs Maureen Stratton
Cookstown
County Tyrone
To be a Deputy Lieutenant of the County her Commission bearing date the 12th day of April 2019

Robert Scott

Lord Lieutenant of the County

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Hot Cross Buns


Do you ever go through phases, where you crave real home-made food? Take the humble chip, for instance.

The triple-cooked chunky version, cooked to the right method, with the correct type of oil, at the appropriate temperature, can be supreme.

Timing matters, too.

I like Hot Cross buns.

Lest you employ a chef, you'll buy these traditional Easter buns from a bakery.

If you are one of those consumers who aims for perfection, however, I can suggest a recipe from the renowned culinary author, Felicity Cloake:-

Makes Sixteen

200ml milk, plus a little more for glazing
3 cardamom pods, bruised
1 cinnamon stick
2 cloves
¼ tsp grated nutmeg
Pinch of saffron
20g fresh yeast
50g golden caster sugar, plus extra to glaze
450g strong white flour
100g butter
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground ginger
3 eggs
150g currants
50g mixed peel
3 tbsp plain flour

1. Heat 200ml milk gently in a pan along with the cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and saffron until just boiling, and then turn off the heat and leave to infuse for 1 hour. Bring back up to blood temperature and then mix the strained milk with the yeast and 1 tsp sugar.

2. Tip the flour into a large mixing bowl and grate over the butter. Rub in with your fingertips, or in a food mixer, until well mixed, and then add the rest of the sugar and the salt and ginger. Beat together 2 of the eggs.

3. Make a well in the middle, and add the beaten eggs and the yeast mixture. Stir in, adding enough milk to make a soft dough – it shouldn't look at all dry or tough. Knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic, then lightly grease another bowl, and put the dough into it. Cover and leave in a warm place until it has doubled in size – this will probably take a couple of hours.


4. Tip it out on to a lightly greased work surface and knead for a minute or so, then flatten it out and scatter over the fruit and peel. Knead again to spread the fruit around evenly, then divide into 16 equal pieces and roll these into bun shapes. Put on lined baking trays and score a cross into the top of each, then cover and put in a warm place to prove until doubled in size.

5. Pre-heat the oven to 200C and beat together the last egg with a little milk. Mix the plain flour with a pinch of salt and enough cold water to make a stiff paste. Paint the top of each bun with egg wash, and then, using a piping bag or teaspoon, draw a thick cross on the top of each. Put into the oven and bake for about 25 minutes until golden.

6. Meanwhile, mix 1 tbsp caster sugar with 1 tbsp boiling water. When the buns come out of the oven, brush them with this before transferring to a rack to cool. Eat with lots of butter.

Are hot cross buns what they used to be, or has our year-round greed taken the shine off them? Which modern additions do you approve of (please, no cranberries, we're British!), and what do you eat them with? (To start the ball rolling, I'll offer black pepper Boursin – an inspired topping idea from my friend Sharon.)

Dromore Palace

THE foundation of this diocese is ascribed to St Colman in the 6th century.

It is extremely compact, and the smallest in extent of any in the island of Ireland, which is not annexed to another see.

It extends only 35 miles from north to south; and 21 from east to west; yet it includes some part of three counties, namely Down, Armagh, and Antrim.

The lordship of Newry claimed the same exemption from episcopal jurisdiction, to which it was entitled when it appertained to a monastery before the Reformation.

The proprietor of the lordship, the Earl of Kilmorey, exercised the jurisdiction in his peculiar court, granting marriage licences, probates to wills etc under the old monastic seal.


THE PALACE, Dromore, County Down, afterwards called Dromore House or Bishopscourt, was a three-storey, Georgian house built in 1781 by the Rt Rev and Hon William Beresford, Lord Bishop of Dromore, 1780-82.

The palace was enhanced by Bishop Beresford's successor, the Rt Rev Thomas Percy (1729-1811), who laid out plantations, gardens and a glen, adorned with obelisks.

The palace was frequented by a circle of poets and painters during Bishop Percy's time, including Thomas Robinson, a pupil of the portrait painter George Romney.

The last prelate to reside at the palace was the Rt Rev James Saurin, Lord Bishop of Dromore, 1819-42.

It was sold in 1842, when the See of Dromore was merged with Down and Connor.

Dromore House was in use for some years in the late 1800s as a Jesuit school, when it was known as Loyola House.

Thereafter the old episcopal palace remained "untenanted and desolate."


After 1945 the trees and woods were all cut down and the house was left to decay.

First published in January, 2013.