Tuesday, 26 May 2015

The Windsor Garden

The Windsor Garden, Castle Ward

THE VISCOUNTS BANGOR WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY DOWN, WITH 9,861 ACRES

The sunken garden at Castle Ward, County Down, lies adjacent to the stable-yard.

During the Victorian era, it was particularly elaborate.

It was a parterre.

Nuttall's dictionary neatly describes a parterre as a lay-out of flower-beds with intervening spaces to walk on.

Castle Ward's sunken garden had little or no grass at all, in fact.

Prior to acquisition by the National Trust, it was known as The Windsor Garden.

An extract from Irish Farming World, ca 1902 states:
The Windsor Garden, so called from being arranged according to a design at Windsor, is very interesting. The design is most admirably worked out of 61 beds of flowers in the flat all stocked at present with tuberous begonias, dwarf varieties of geraniums, with blue lobelia and yellow pyrethrum for bordering.

On the next terrace there are several beds of roses of the choicest and latest varieties; ascending a few steps more we came across a collection of beautiful and nicely coloured begonias...ascending to the archway is a good line of Florence Court yews here so tall and stately and the admiration of visitors...to the Pinetum where there is a beautiful collection of trees and shrubs with which his lordship manifests a great interest...
The small circular pond with its statue of Neptune brandishing his trident must be a more recent addition.

The Sunken Garden in 2013

I've seen a water-colour (top) of the original Windsor Garden by Mary Ward as it was in Victorian times.

Prior to Castleward Opera's unfortunate demise, I occasionally picnicked there during the intervals.

Wouldn't it be marvellous if the parterre were to be restored at some future time?

There used to be a parterre at the elevated garden immediately to the rear of Florence Court House, another project for future restoration!

 First published in May, 2009.

Isle O'Valla House

Garden Front in 2013

ISLE O'VALLA HOUSE is located to the south of the village of Strangford, County Down.

It lies within the townland of Cloghy, on the coastal Ardglass Road.

This is a tall, austere Georgian house with three bays, three storeys, quoins and a large fanlight above the front door.

Southern elevation in 2013

This property was originally built as a Charter School ca 1817.
Irish Charter Schools were operated by The Incorporated Society in Dublin for Promoting Protestant Schools in Ireland. The Charter Schools admitted only Roman Catholics, under the condition that they be educated as Protestants. 
The first Charter School in Strangford was established some time after 1746, with a grant of £500 (about £86,000 in value today) from the Earl of Kildare (either the 1st Duke of Leinster or his father).
The Dowager Countess of Kildare later donated 22 acres of land for the School.

The Charter School was rebuilt in 1817 at a reputed cost of £4,000, the equivalent of £267,000 in 2010.

Eastern elevation in 2013

When the Charter was rescinded in 1832, the property was most likely given back to the Kildare estate.

It was leased to the Rev Samuel Livingstone, who began his own school for local children.

When the School closed, Isle O'Valla House became the residence of Captain the Hon Somerset Ward JP, fifth son of the 3rd Viscount Bangor.

In 1910, Isle O'Valla was acquired by the family of McCausland, of Downpatrick, hoteliers.

Frank McCausland lived and farmed at Isle O'Valla House.

Following Mr McCausland's death, the property was bought by a family called Lowe.

Isle O'Valla House has been derelict and virtually ruinous for many years and, to my knowledge, has remained uninhabited for several decades.

Its future remains uncertain.

First published in July, 2011.

Monday, 25 May 2015

Killua Castle

THE CHAPMAN BARONETS, OF KILLUA CASTLE, WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY WESTMEATH, WITH 9,516 ACRES

The parent stock of this family flourished through several generations, in and near the town of Hinckley, Leicestershire.

The branch settled in Ireland was established there by 

JOHN CHAPMAN and his brother WILLIAM,
under the auspices of their first cousin, Sir Walter Raleigh; through whose influence John obtained grants of land in County Kerry, which, on the fall of his great patron, he was obliged, from pecuniary difficulties, to dispose of to the 1st Earl of Cork, receiving the large sum, in those days, of £26,400 from his lordship.
He lived eight years after this transaction, leaving at his decease, his brother,

WILLIAM CHAPMAN, surviving, who lived for several years afterwards, and left at his decease, an only son, 

BENJAMIN CHAPMAN,
who entered as a cornet into a cavalry regiment, raised by the Earl of Inchiquin; and obtained, from Cromwell, when Captain Chapman, a grant of a considerable estate in County Westmeath, at Killua, otherwise St Lucy's, formerly a preceptory, or cell, of the knights hospitallers, where he resided during the remainder of his life.
He wedded Anne, daughter of Robert Parkinson, of Ardee, and had two sons, of whom the younger, Thomas, settled in America; and the elder,

WILLIAM CHAPMAN, succeeded his father at Killua.

He married Ismay, daughter of Thomas Nugent; and dying in 1734, was succeeded by his eldest son,

BENJAMIN CHAPMAN. This gentleman wedded Anne, daughter of Robert Tighe, by whom he had three sons and two daughters.

He died in 1779, and was succeeded by his eldest son, 

BENJAMIN CHAPMAN,  of Killua Castle, who was created a baronet in 1782, with remainder in default of male issue, to the male descendants of his father.

Sir Benjamin married Miss Anne Lowther; but dying without an heir, in 1810, the title devolved upon his brother, 

SIR THOMAS CHAPMAN, 2nd Baronet (1756-1837), who had previously received the honour of Knighthood.

This gentleman married, in 1808, Margaret, daughter of James Fetherston, of Bracklin Castle, County Westmeath, and had issue,
MONTAGU LOWTHER, his heir;
Benjamin James;
William.
Sir Thomas was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR MONTAGU LOWTHER CHAPMAN, 3rd Baronet (1808-1853), of Killua Castle, County Westmeath.

The title became extinct on the death of the 7th Baronet in 1919.

The 7th Baronet left his wife to live with his daughters' governess, Sarah Junner. The couple did not marry.

Thomas Edward Lawrence CB DSO

Sir Thomas and Sarah had five sons born out of wedlock, of whom Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Edward Lawrence CB DSO, better known as Lawrence of Arabia, was the second-eldest.
Caroline Margaret, wife of Sir Montagu, the 5th Baronet, was sister of the 7th Baronet, Lawrence's father. She was the last Chapman to live in Killua until her death in 1920. She wrote a fascinating little booklet with the history of the house.

Lawrence did visit Killua once, but it was a few weeks before his death when Killua was already a golf club owned by Mr Hackett. The is a letter by Lawrence at the Imperial War Museum where he mentions his intention to buy the property back into the family. Alas, it was never meant to be. 



KILLUA CASTLE is situated near Clonmellon, County Westmeath.

The present mansion was built ca 1780 by Sir Benjamin Chapman, 1st Baronet, consisting of a hall, dining room, oval drawing room, breakfast parlour and front and back stairs.

There was also a stable yard, barn and haggard.

From here, the Chapmans administered the surrounding farm lands in the 18th century.

The Castle and its surrounding lands were granted around 1667 to Benjamin Chapman.

On his death the estate passed to his elder son, William; and on William's death in 1734 to his son Benjamin.

Sir Benjamin demolished the original castle.

It passed from him in 1810, by special remainder, to his brother Thomas who, in the early 1820s, commissioned the addition of a large round tower and several other towers, including a library tower, staircase tower and back door tower.

He also completed the castellation and erected the Raleigh obelisk nearby.

When Sir Montagu, 5th Baronet, died childless in 1907, his widow, a cousin, divided the estate between the four legitimate daughters of her brother Sir Thomas, 7th Baronet.

The house and the remaining 1,200 acres of land were sold in 1949.


Until recently, the Castle had become an ivy-clad roofless ruin.

Since 2010, however, Killua Castle has been purchased by a private owner and is undergoing major restoration.



THE OBELISK, erected in 1810 by Sir Thomas Chapman, 2nd Baronet, marks the position where Sir Walter Raleigh planted some of the first potatoes that he imported to Ireland.

The inscription on the obelisk currently reads 'Sir Walter G Raleigh', but there is no other evidence that Raleigh had a middle name, and the 'G' appears to be vandalism added after the original inscription.

The obelisk has been recently restored through a grant from the Irish Georgian Society.

First published in May, 2013.

Skipper Street, Belfast

Merchant Hotel

Skipper Street, Belfast, runs from Waring Street to High Street.

This is one of the the oldest streets in Belfast, where the River Farset used to flow openly along High Street itself (it still does, though it's culverted).

High Street ca 1830

The street was thus named because skippers of sailing vessels lodged here.

This street is mentioned as far back as 1685; it was, however, significantly affected by the 1941 blitz.

In 1974, The Albert Inn stood at 3 Skipper Street; then it changed its name to the Blackthorn Bar.

The buildings are now all relatively recent since many, if not most, were destroyed by bombing during the 2nd World War.

The most notable premises today are The Merchant Hotel - formerly the Ulster Bank head office - which now runs along the entire left-hand side of the street (the even numbers).

The Spaniard Bar  is at number three and Jackson Sports is located at the corner of Skipper Street and High Street.

First published in July, 2009.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Tourin House

THE MUSGRAVE BARONETS, OF TOURIN, WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY WATERFORD, WITH 8,282 ACRES

This is a junior branch of the ancient family of MUSGRAVE, of Great Musgrave, Westmorland, springing from

RICHARD MUSGRAVE, of Wortley, Yorkshire, who removed to Ireland, wedded Jane Proctor, and had an only surviving son,

CHRISTOPHER MUSGRAVE, who settled at Tourin, County Waterford, and marrying Susannah, daughter of James Usher, of Ballintaylor, was succeeded at his decease by his eldest son,

RICHARD MUSGRAVE (1746-1818), who was created a baronet in 1782, with remainder to the issue male of his father.

Sir Richard wedded, in 1782, Deborah, daughter of Sir Henry Cavendish Bt, and his wife Sarah, Baroness Waterpark, of Doveridge, Derbyshire, by whom he had no issue.

Sir Richard, who was a member of the Irish parliament, was known as a political writer, particularly by his History of the Irish Rebellion of 1798.

He died in 1818, when the title, according to the limitation, devolved upon his brother,

SIR CHRISTOPHER FREDERICK MUSGRAVE, 2nd Baronet (1738-1826), who espoused, in 1781, Jane, daughter of John Beere, of Ballyboy, County Tipperary, by whom he had issue,
RICHARD, his heir;
John;
Anne.
Sir Christopher wedded secondly, in 1797, Elizabeth, daughter of William Nicholson, of Wilmer, County Tipperary, who died issueless in 1798; and thirdly, in 1801, Catherine, daughter of Pierce Power, of Affane, County Waterford, by whom he had a son,
Christopher Frederick, born in 1802.
Sir Christopher died in 1826, and was succeeded by his eldest son, 

SIR RICHARD MUSGRAVE MP, 3rd Baronet (1790-1859), who married, in 1815, Frances, daughter of the Most Rev William Newcome DD, Lord Archbishop of Armagh, and had issue,
RICHARD, his heir;
Christopher;
John;
Robert;
Edward.
His eldest son, 

SIR RICHARD MUSGRAVE, 4th Baronet (1820-74), was sometime Lord-Lieutenant of County Waterford.

SIR RICHARD JOHN MUSGRAVE, 5th Baronet, JP DL (1850-1930); married Jessie Sophia, daughter of Robert Dunsmuir, in 1891.
He died without male issue. His elder daughter, Joan Moira Maud Jameson (nee Musgrave) inherited the Tourin estate and her descendants live at Tourin today.
His cousin,

SIR CHRISTOPHER NORMAN MUSGRAVE, 6th Baronet, OBE (1892-1956), married Kathleen, daughter of Robert Spencer Chapman, in 1918;
Captain, Royal Engineers; Lieutenant-Colonel, Staff, and OC Signal Company, 2nd World War; Chief Commissioner of Scouts, NI; Officer, Order of the British Empire, 1952. Sir Christopher inherited Norwood Tower, Strandtown, Belfast.
His son and heir,

SIR RICHARD JAMES MUSGRAVE, 7th Baronet (1922-2000), married Maria, daughter of Colonel Mario Cambanis, in 1958; educated at Stowe; Captain, Indian Army, with Poona Horse (17th QVO Cavalry), 2nd World War.

His son and heir,

SIR CHRISTOPHER JOHN SHANE MUSGRAVE, 8th and present Baronet, born in 1959; educated at Cheltenham.

The heir presumptive of the baronetcy is Michael Shane Musgrave (b 1968), younger brother of the 8th Baronet.


THE SIX GOLDEN ANNULETS

From Mucegros, near Écouen, France: This name, so largely represented in England, is repeated further on in its modernized form of Musgrave; and the heralds, ignoring its origin, labour to affiliate it to the German graf.

They declare that, like Land-grave, Burg-grave, Mar-grave, &c, it is "a name of office:" and as Mews in old days meant the cage or place where hawks were kept while mewing (moulting), and in after times came to signify a stable, boldly announce that "Musgrave or Mewsgrave is clearly either the keeper of the King's hawks or the King's equerry."

In support of this etymological vagary, they tell us that once upon a time an Emperor of Germany or Archduke of Austria (we will accept either) had a beautiful daughter who was courted by two valiant nobles.

Each of them had done him such "singular good service that he did not care to prefer one to the other."

At last it was agreed that they should ride at the ring for the princess; and whichever succeeded in carrying it off should marry her.

Musgrave triumphantly drove his spear through the ring, became the Emperor's son-in-law, and in memory of his exploit, had the six golden annulets now borne by the Musgraves of Westmorland granted him for his coat-of-arms.


TOURIN HOUSE, near Cappoquin, County Waterford, was owned by the Roche family in the 17th century, passed to a family called Nettles and was purchased by Sir Richard Musgrave, 1st Baronet, MP for Lismore and sheriff of County Waterford, in 1778.

The family lived in a 17th century E-shaped dwelling with gables and tall chimneys, attached to the mediaeval tower of Tourin Castle, until the 3rd Baronet decided to build a new house on a more elevated site above the River Blackwater.

Built in 1840, the new Tourin House is a handsome Italianate villa in what would then have been the very latest style, possibly to the designs of the Waterford architect Abraham Denny.

There are four formal fronts, all rendered and with beautifully crisply cut stone details.

These include an elaborate cornice, which supports the overhanging eaves, and a profusion of quoins and stringcourses.

The five-bay façade has a pair of projecting porches at both ends, both single storey and framed with limestone pilasters, which in turn flank an arcade of three round-headed windows.

The remaining fronts are mainly of four bays, though the ground floor of the rear facade is of five bays, with a delicate, bowed, iron verandah; while the garden front has a more robust single storey central bow.


Internally, Tourin is largely unaltered, with a splendid bifurcating imperial staircase of oak, which arises behind the hall.

The elder daughter of the 5th baronet inherited Tourin. She married Thomas Jameson and their granddaughters live in the house today.


THE GARDENS were laid out at the beginning of the 20th century by Richard Musgrave, with the help of his friend, the Cork brewer Richard Beamish.

The fine collection of rhododendrons, camellias, and magnolias are the creation of his grandson and his wife (the present owners' parents); while a number of mature oak and cedar trees, and a champion London plane, remain from the earlier garden and parkland layout.

The walled garden produces fruit, vegetables, herbs and cut flowers, and is home to an important collection of over a hundred bearded irises, which flower in May and June.

First published in May, 2013.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Duke's Coronet



A ducal coronet is a golden circlet with eight gold strawberry leaves around it (pointing up from it).

The coronet itself is chased as if in the form of jewels (like a royal crown) but is not actually jewelled.

It has a crimson cap (lined ermine) in real life and a purple one in heraldic representation. It has a gold-threaded tassel on top.

The number of strawberry leaves and lack of pearls is what distinguishes a ducal coronet from those of other degrees of the peerage


*****

THE DUCAL CORONET has undergone several modifications in form since it was first introduced in 1337.

When Prince Edward of Woodstock, better known as the Black Prince, was created Duke of Cornwall by his father, EDWARD III.

As now worn, it has eight golden leaves of a conventional type - the "strawberry leaves," so called - set erect upon a circlet of gold, and having their stalks so connected as to form a wreath.

Of late years this coronet has enclosed a cap of rich crimson velvet surmounted by a golden tassel and lined and "guarded" with ermine.


A smaller version, above, is worn by duchesses at coronations.

Peeresses' coronets sit on top of the head, rather than around it.

Non-royal dukes represent the highest hereditary degree of the peerage.
All non-royal dukes have the right to wear a coronet bordered by eight strawberry leaves, a motif which is shown above as well as used on the lights in the armoury hall at Inverary Castle in Argyllshire. The depicted coronet belongs to His Grace the Duke of Argyll and was last worn at the coronation of GEORGE VI
First published in April, 2010.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Galtee Castle

THE FAMILY OF BUCKLEY WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY TIPPERARY, WITH 13,260 ACRES

NATHANIEL BUCKLEY DL (1821-92) was a landowner, cotton mill owner and Liberal Party politician.

By the 1870s, Buckley was a millionaire and, in 1873, he purchased the Galtee estate, near Mitchelstown in County Cork, from the Earl of Kingston.

Following a revaluation, he issued rent demands to his new tenants of between 50% and 500%.

This led to a great deal of agrarian unrest, evictions and an attempted assassination of Buckley's land agent.

His actions also demonstrated weaknesses in the Irish Land Acts which were consequently amended.

Buckley was appointed as a Deputy Lieutenant of Lancashire in 1867. At the 1874 general election Buckley was defeated and did not return to parliament.

At the time of his death aged 71, in 1892, he had residences at Alderdale Lodge, Lancashire, and Galtee Castle, County Cork.

His nephew,

ABEL BUCKLEY JP (1835-1908) was born at Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire, the younger son of Abel Buckley and Mary Keehan, of Alderdale Lodge.

He was educated at Mill Hill School and Owen's College.

In 1875, he married Hannah Summers and they had one son, also Abel, born in 1876.

The Buckley family owned two cotton mills in Ashton: Ryecroft and Oxford Road, and Abel became involved in the business.

At his death he was described as "one of the old cotton lords of Lancashire".

In 1885, Buckley inherited Ryecroft Hall from his uncle, James Smith Buckley, and was to live there for the rest of his life.

He subsequently inherited Galtee Castle.

The estate had been purchased by his uncle, Nathaniel Buckley DL, MP, in 1873.

In 1885, Abel Buckley was elected Liberal MP for the newly created Prestwich constituency.

In the general election of the following year, however, he was defeated.

Apart from his interests in the cotton industry, Buckley was a director and chairman of the Manchester and Liverpool District Banking Company and a justice of the peace.

He was a collector of fine art, and a racehorse breeder. He died at Ryecroft Hall in 1908, aged 73.


GALTEE CASTLE, County Tipperary, was a mansion situated at the foothills of the Galtee Mountains, not far from Mitchelstown.

The original structure was built as a hunting lodge for the 2nd Earl of Kingston, ca 1780. The 3rd Earl further remodelled it ca 1825.

In the 1850s, the Kingstons were forced to sell off vast amounts of their landed estate due to debts, including the lodge and approximately 20,000 acres surrounding it.

This became a new estate, the majority of which remained leased to tenant farmers.

The building was remodelled and expanded ca 1892, when its new owner, Abel Buckley, inherited the estate from his brother Nathaniel, who had previously purchased sole ownership in 1873.


The Irish Land Commission, a government agency, acquired the demesne and house in the late 1930s, after allocating the land between afforestation and farmers.

The house was offered for sale.

An offer was accepted from Father Tobin of Glanworth, County Cork, who wished to use the stone and the slates to build a new church in his parish.

Galtee Castle was thus torn down and dismantled ca 1941.

Today, very little is left on the site of the former mansion: Some of the lower base foundations are all that remain.

Nearby are some estate cottages and two gate houses.

The woods and trails around the site have been developed as a public amenity area, known as Galtee Castle Woods.

First published in May, 2013.