Thursday, 23 May 2019

Kilkenny Castle


The antiquity of this family is indisputable; but whence it immediately derives its origin is not so clearly established.

The surname, however, admits of no doubt as springing from the office of CHIEF BUTLER OF IRELAND, conferred by HENRY II upon

THEOBALD FITZWALTER, in 1177, who had accompanied him into that kingdom in 1171.

This Theobald was eldest son of Hervey Walter (one of the companions of WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR), by Matilda de Valoignes, and brother of Hubert, Archbishop of Canterbury in 1193 (translated from the see of Salisbury while a prisoner in the Holy Land), and subsequently Chancellor, Chief Justice, and Treasurer of England.

Theobald Walter having returned into England, afterwards accompanied PRINCE JOHN into Ireland, in 1185.

He was possessed of the baronies of Upper Ormond, Lower Ormond, and numerous other territories; and dying in 1206, was succeeded by his only son, by his wife, Maud, daughter and heir of Robert de Vavasour,

THEOBALD, 2nd Butler, who first assumed the surname of Le Botiler or Butler in 1221.

He married Joan, eldest sister and co-heir of John de Marisco, a considerable baron in Ireland, to whose estates in Ireland and England his posterity succeeded; and dying about 1230 was succeeded by his eldest son,

THEOBALD, 3rd Butler, who wedded Margery, eldest daughter of Richard de Burgh (ancestor of the Earls of Clanricarde), by whom he acquired a considerable accession of landed property.

He died in 1248, and was succeeded by his son,

THEOBALD, 4th Butler (1242-85), who sat as a Baron in the Parliament of Ireland, and assisted EDWARD I in his wars in Scotland.

He espoused Joan, youngest daughter of John FitzGeoffrey, Lord of Kirtling and Sheriff of Yorkshire, Lord Justice of Ireland, and youngest son of the famous Geoffrey FitzPeter, Earl of Essex, by whom he had a numerous family.

This Theobald, who obtained a grant from EDWARD I of the prisage of wines in Ireland, died in 1285, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

THEOBALD, 5th Butler (1269-99), who sat in parliament as a Baron, his name appearing fifth upon the roll.

He died unmarried, and was succeeded in his barony and estates by his brother,

SIR EDMOND, 6th Butler (c1270-1321); who received the honour of knighthood in London, 1309.

In 1312 he was appointed Lord Deputy of Ireland; in 1314, Chief Governor, under the title of Lord Justice; and, in 1315, created EARL OF CARRICK.

His lordship wedded, in 1302, Joan, daughter of John, 1st Earl of Kildare, by whom, with two daughters, he had three sons,
JAMES, his successor;
John, from whom the Earls of Carrick derive;
Lord Carrick, going on a pilgrimage to Spain, to the shrine of Santiago de Compostela, died in 1321 after his return to London, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES, 2nd Earl and 7th Butler (c1305-38), who was a minor at the decease of his father, but obtained licence four years later, for the sum of 2,000 marks, to marry whomsoever he pleased.

He accordingly wedded Eleanor, second daughter of Humphrey, 4th Earl of Hereford, High Constable of England, by the Lady Elizabeth, daughter of EDWARD I; and was created, in consequence of this alliance, by EDWARD III, in 1328, EARL OF ORMOND.

His lordship had a renewed grant of the prisage of wines (which had been resumed by the Crown), and a grant of the regalities, liberties, etc, of County Tipperary, with the rights of a palatine in that county for life.

He was succeeded by his elder son,

JAMES, 2nd Earl (1331-82), called The Noble Earl on account of being great-grandson of EDWARD I.

In 1359 and 1360, his lordship was appointed Lord Justice of Ireland; and was succeeded by his son (by Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Darcy (Lord Justice of Ireland),

JAMES, 3rd Earl (c1359-1405); who by building and making Gowran Castle his usual residence, was commonly called Earl of Gowran.

His lordship purchased, in 1391, Kilkenny Castle from the heirs of Sir Hugh le Despencer, which he made his chief place of abode.

In 1392, 1401, and 1404, his lordship was Lord Justice of Ireland.

He wedded firstly, Anne, daugher of John, 4th Baron Welles, and had issue,
JAMES, his successor;
Richard (Sir), of Polestown;
Philip (Sir);
Ralph (Sir);
His lordship espoused secondly, in 1399, Katherine FitzGerald, of Desmond, by whom he four children.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES, 4th Earl (1392-1452), who was called The White Earl, and was esteemed for his learning.

His lordship prevailed upon HENRY V to create a king-of-arms in Ireland by the title Ireland King-of-Arms (a designation altered by HENRY VIII to Ulster King-of-Arms, and he gave lands forever to the heralds' college.

He was Lord Justice of Ireland in 1407, and again in 1440, in which latter year he had a grant of the temporalities of the see of Cashel for ten years after the decease of the Archbishop, Richard O'Hedian.

His lordship married firstly, in 1413, Joan, daughter of William de Beauchamp, 1st Baron Bergavenny, by whom he had three sons, successive earls, and two daughters; and secondly, in 1432, Elizabeth, daughter of Gerald, 5th Earl of Kildare, by whom he had no issue.

His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES, 5th Earl, KG (1420-61); who was created, by HENRY VI, in 1449, for his fidelity to the Lancastrian interest, EARL OF WILTSHIRE.

In 1451, was was made Lord Deputy of Ireland; and the next year, succeeding his father in the title of ORMOND, was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland for ten years.

In 1455, he was constituted LORD HIGH TREASURER OF ENGLAND, and afterwards installed a Knight of the Garter.

Falling into the hands of the Yorkists, after the battle of Towton, his lordship was beheaded, in 1461, when the earldom of Wiltshire expired, as would that of Ormond, the Earl's brother and heir being also at the battle of Towton, and in consequence attainted, had not EDWARD IV restored him in blood, and so enabled him to succeed as

JOHN, 6th Earl, who was considered one of the first gentlemen of the age in which he lived; and EDWARD IV is reported to have said that "if good breeding and liberal qualities were lost in the world, they might all be found in the Earl of Ormond."

He was complete master of the languages of Europe, and was sent ambassador to its principal courts.

His lordship died in 1476, in the Holy Land, having, in a fit of devotion, made a visit to Jerusalem, and was succeeded by his brother,

THOMAS, 7th Earl (1426-1515); who was also attainted, but restored by HENRY VII's first parliament in 1485, and the statutes made at Westminster, in the reign of EDWARD IV, which declared him and his brothers traitors, were utterly abrogated.

He was afterwards sworn of the Privy Council, and was summoned to parliament as Lord Rochford.

Lord Ormond left two daughters, who inherited the English estates, namely,
At the demise of his lordship, in 1515, the peerage passed to his kinsman,

SIR PIERS BUTLER (1467-1539), as 8th Earl (great-grandson of 3rd Earl); but this nobleman was obliged to relinquish it to Sir Thomas Boleyn, Viscount Rochford.

In consideration of which abandonment, however, Sir Piers was created by HENRY VIII, in 1528, EARL OF OSSORY.

Soon after this, he returned to Ireland, where he was chosen Lord Deputy by the Council, and proceeding through the city of Dublin on horseback to St Mary's Abbey, was there sworn into office.

Thomas Boleyn, Earl of Ormond, dying without issue, 1539, the King restored the Earl of Ossory to his original title of Ormond.

He wedded Margaret, second daughter of Gerald, 8th Earl of Kildare (which lady was called the Good Countess of Ormond), and had, with other issue,
JAMES, his successor;
Richard, 1st Viscount Mountgarret;
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES, 2nd Earl of Ossory (1496-1546), who had been created, in 1535, Viscount Thurles; and was subsequently restored, 1541, to the earldom of Ormond, as 9th Earl.

He wedded Joan, daughter and heir of James, 10th Earl of Desmond, and had seven sons, namely,
THOMAS, his successor;
Edmund (Sir);
His lordship died by poison administered at a supper at Ely Palace, Holborn, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

THOMAS, 10th Earl, KG (c1531-1614), called, from the darkness of his complexion, The Black Earl.

This nobleman was the first of his family who conformed to the Church of England.

His lordship died without surviving male issue, and was succeeded by his kinsman,

WALTER, 11th Earl, son of John, third son of the 9th Earl; who died in 1632, and was succeeded by his grandson,

JAMES, 12th Earl, KG (1610-88), six times Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.

His lordship was created, in 1642, MARQUESS OF ORMONDE, and Baron Butler, of Llanthony, and Earl of Brecknock, 1660.

This nobleman, for his fidelity to the house of STUART, and his eminent services in the royal cause, was elevated at the restoration of the monarchy, 1661, to the DUKEDOM OF ORMONDE.

His Grace was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in 1662, and continued in that high office until 1668.

He married his cousin, Elizabeth Preston, in her own right Baroness Dingwall, and had surviving issue,
THOMAS (1634-80), father of JAMES, 2nd Duke;
Richard, 1st EARL OF ARRAN;
Elizabeth; Mary.
His Grace was succeeded by his grandson,

JAMES, 2nd Duke, KG (1665-1745), who inherited the Scottish barony of DINGWALL from his grandmother.

This nobleman was appointed a Lord of the Bedchamber in 1685; and serving in the army, participated in the victory over the unfortunate Duke of Monmouth, at Sedgemore.

His Grace was afterwards, however, one of the first to join the standard of the Prince of Orange; and when that prince ascended the throne, His Grace obtained the Garter, and was constituted HIGH CONSTABLE OF ENGLAND for the coronation.

He attended WILLIAM III into Ireland, was at the Boyne, and subsequently entertained His Majesty most sumptuously at Kilkenny Castle.

In 1693, he was at the battle of Landen, where he received several wounds, and had a horse shot under him.

In 1702, His Grace was constituted, by QUEEN ANNE, COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF of the land forces sent against France and Spain, when he destroyed the French fleet, sunk the Spanish galleons in Vigo harbour, and took Redondela Fort, for which important services he received the thanks of both houses of parliament.

In 1711, he was declared CAPTAIN-GENERAL and COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF of the land forces in Great Britain, or which were, or should be, employed abroad in conjunction with the troops of the allies; which post he held till the treaty of Utrecht, in 1713; in which year he was made Warden of the Cinque Ports and Constable of Dover Castle.

But two years later (GEORGE I in the interim having succeeded to the throne), His Grace was impeached for high treason, and having retired into France, was attainted, when his estates became forfeited, his English honours extinguished, and Parliament passed an act which annulled the regalities and liberties of the County Palatine of Tipperary, vested his lands in the Crown, and proclaimed a reward of £10,000 for his apprehension, should he attempt to land in Ireland.

But the same parliament also passed an act, in 1721, to enable the Duke's brother, the Earl of Arran, to purchase the estate, which his lordship did accordingly.

This great but unfortunate nobleman married firstly, Anne, daughter of Viscount Hyde of Kenilworth, and had one daughter; and secondly, in 1685, Mary, eldest surviving daughter of Henry, 1st Duke of Beaufort, and left one surviving child, MARY.

His Grace resided in his exile chiefly at Avignon.

He had a pension from the Spanish court of 2,000 pistoles, and died in 1745, when his remains were brought into England, 1746, and deposited in the family vault, in HENRY VIII's chapel, Westminster Abbey.

At this period, it was supposed that the Duke's honours were all forfeited under the act of attainder passed by Parliament; but it was subsequently decided that no proceeding of the English legislature could affect Irish dignities.

According to that decision, His Grace's brother,

CHARLES (1671-1758), who, in 1683, had been created Baron Butler, and in 1693, Baron Cloughgrenan, Viscount Tullogh, and Earl of Arran, assumed the style of 14th Earl of Ormond and 3rd Duke and Marquess; but his lordship never enjoyed, assumed, or was aware of possessing the English and Irish Dukedom or Marquessate.

He wedded Elizabeth, fourth and youngest daughter of Thomas, 2nd Baron Crew, but had no issue.

He died in 1758, when his own honours expired, with the marquessate and dukedom of ORMONDE.

The Scottish barony of Dingwall passed from the Butler family to the heir of the Prestons, and the Irish earldom of Ormonde and Viscountcy of Thurles, supposed to have fallen under the English attainder, became dormant, in which state those honours remained, until restored, in 1791, by the decision of the Irish House of Lords, to

JOHN BUTLER (c1744-66), of Garryricken, great-grandson of Richard Butler, of Kilcash, younger brother of the 12th Earl, who espoused, in 1763, Bridget Stacy, but had no issue, when the family honours reverted to his cousin,

WALTER (1703-83), who did not assume the titles.

He married, in 1732, Ellen (Eleanor), eldest daughter of Nicholas Morris, of The Court, County Dublin, and had issue,
JOHN, his successor;
Frances; Susanna; Eleanor.
He was succeeded by his only son,

JOHN, 17th Earl (1740-95), by decision of the House of Lords, 1791, who wedded, in 1769, the Lady Anne Wandesford, daughter and sole heir of John, last Earl of Wandesford, and had issue,
WALTER, his successor;
Charles Harward;
Elizabeth; Eleanor.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

WALTER, 18th Earl, KP (1770-1820); created MARQUESS OF ORMONDE, who wedded, in 1805, Anna Maria Catherine, daughter and sole heir of Joseph Hart Pryce Clarke, but had no issue.

His lordship died in 1820, when the marquessate and English barony expired, and the other honours reverted to his brother,

JAMES,19th Earl, KP (1777-1838); who was created, at the coronation of GEORGE IV, 1821, a peer of the United Kingdom, as Baron Ormonde; and, in 1825, advanced to the dignity of MARQUESS OF ORMONDE.

His lordship was appointed a Knight of St Patrick, 1821.

He wedded, in 1807, Grace Louisa, daughter of the Rt Hon John Staples, and had issue,
JOHN, his successor;
Walter Wandesford;
James Wandesford;
Richard Molesworth;
Charles Wandesford;
Anne; Louisa Grace; Elizabeth; Mary Charlotte.
His lordship, Hereditary Chief Butler of Ireland, Knight of St Patrick, Lord-Lieutenant of County Kilkenny, Colonel of the Kilkenny Militia, was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN, 2nd Marquess, KP (1808-54), who espoused, in 1843, Frances Jane, daughter of General the Hon Sir Edward Paget GCB, and was succeeded by his son,

JAMES EDWARD WILLIAM THEOBALD, 3rd Marquess, KP (1844-1919), Commodore, Royal Yacht Squadron, who wedded, in 1876, the Lady Elizabeth Harriett Grosvenor, daughter of the 1st Duke of Westminster, though had no issue, and the honours reverted to his brother,

JAMES ARTHUR WELLINGTON FOLEY, 4th Marquess (1849-1943), who married, in 1887, Ellen, daughter of General Anson Stager, USA, and was succeeded by his son,

JAMES GEORGE ANSON, 5th Marquess (1890-1949), Major, the Life Guards, who espoused, in 1915, Sybil Inna Mildred, daughter of the 2nd Baron de Ramsey, though had no issue, and was succeeded by his brother,

(JAMES) ARTHUR NORMAN, 6th Marquess, CVO MC (1893-1971), who married, in 1924, Jessie, daughter of Charles Carlos Clarke, though died without issue, when the titles reverted to his cousin,

JAMES HUBERT THEOBALD CHARLES, 7th Marquess, MBE (1899-1977), also Earl of Ormond, Earl of Ossory, Viscount Thurles, and Baron Ormonde.

His lordship wedded, in 1935, Nan, daughter of Garth Griffith Gilpin, and had two daughters,
He married secondly, in 1976, Elizabeth, daughter of Charles R Rarden, though had no issue.

Without a male heir the marquessate expired in 1997, and the earldom is dormant.

The 18th Viscount Mountgarret, who succeeded his father in 2004, is understood to be the likely heir of the 7th Marquess's related title, Earl of Ormond, but has not successfully proven the claim.

KILKENNY CASTLE, County Kilkenny, is an impressive large-scale castle, representing an artefact of great significance in the architectural heritage of the county, having long-standing historic associations with the noble and illustrious house of Butler, Dukes, Marquesses and Earls of Ormonde.

Having origins in a late 12th century earthwork castle, the site has been continuously occupied ever since, with the present Kilkenny Castle surviving from a comprehensive early to mid-19th century redevelopment programme, completed to plans devised by William Robertson (1770-1850), retaining an important element dating from the early 18th century.

An elegantly composed Classical frontispiece built for James Butler (1665-1745), 2nd Duke, possibly to designs prepared by William Robinson (d 1712) or Francis Place (1647-1728), exhibiting high quality stone masonry, is positioned almost on line with a similar breakfront in the associated stable complex, thereby enhancing the formal quality of the streetscape of The Parade.

Of particular renown is the great hall accommodated in a later range, built to the designs of Sir Thomas Newenham Deane (1827-99) and Benjamin Woodward (1816-61).

This is an exposed timber roof construction identifying the technical or engineering importance of the site, featuring a decorative scheme of artistic significance by John Hungerford Pollen (1820-1902).

A chimney-piece carved by Charles William Harrison (c.1835-1903) (also responsible for carved embellishments in the arcaded stair-hall) exhibits particularly fine craftsmanship.

The Library

Several monarchs have stayed at Kilkenny Castle during the course of its history, including RICHARD II, JAMES II, WILLIAM III, EDWARD VII, and GEORGE V.

The Long Gallery

In 1935 the Ormondes ceased to live in the castle, which stood empty and neglected for the next thirty years.

EDWARD VII leaving the Castle

In 1967, however, the 6th Marquess presented it to the local committee and it has been largely restored as a state possession.

Having been carefully restored over the course of the late 20th century by the Irish state, the castle remains a valuable anchor site contributing significantly to the character of the townscape.

First published in September, 2012.

The Osborne Baronets


This family claims to be an elder branch of the house of OSBORNE, from which the Dukes of Leeds descended.

The Osbornes of Newtown Anner first settled in Ireland in 1558, and were raised to the degree of baronets in the person of 

SIR RICHARD OSBORNE (1593-1667), of Ballintaylor, in 1629, having been appointed by JAMES I, in 1616, with Henry Osborne, Clerk of The King's Courts, and prothonotary within the city and county of Limerick; and in Tipperary, Clerk of the Crown and Peace, and Clerk of the Assizes in the said counties.

During the Civil Wars, taking the side of the usurper Cromwell, he was attacked in his castle of Knockmoan, by the Earl of Castlehaven, in 1645, and compelled to surrender at discretion.

Sir Richard, MP for Waterford, 1638-9, 1661-66, was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR RICHARD, 2nd Baronet (1618-85), High Sheriff of County Waterford, 1671, MP for Dungarvan, 1639-48, who wedded Elizabeth Carew, and had issue,
JOHN, his successor;
Richard (c1662-1713);
Grace; Elizabeth; Anne.
Sir Richard was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR JOHN (c1645-1713), 3rd Baronet, who wedded, in 1699, Elizabeth, fourth daughter of Thomas Walsingham, and granddaughter, maternally, of Theophilus, 2nd Earl of Suffolk; but dying without issue in 1713, the title devolved upon his kinsman,

SIR THOMAS (1639-1715), (grandson of 1st Baronet, through his 2nd son, Nicholas Osborne), 5th Baronet, who married twice.

By his first wife, Katherine Butler, he had issue,
Nicholas, who predeceased him; father of NICHOLAS.
Sir Thomas wedded secondly, in 1704, Anne, youngest daughter of Beverley Usher, but by that lady had no issue.

He died was succeeded by his grandson,

SIR NICHOLAS (1685-1719), 6th Baronet, who married Mary, daughter of the Rt Rev Dr Thomas Smith, Lord Bishop of Limerick.

Dying in 1718 without male issue, the title devolved upon his brother,

SIR JOHN, 7th Baronet (1697-1743), Barrister, MP for Lismore, 1719-27, County Waterford, 1727-43, who wedded Editha, only daughter of William Proby MP, sometime governor of Fort St George, in the East Indies, by whom he had six sons and four daughters.

Sir John was succeeded by his eldest son, 

THE RT HON SIR WILLIAM, 8th Baronet, MP for Carysfort, 1761-83, Dungarvan, 1768-83, who married Elizabeth, eldest daughter of of Thomas Christmas, of Whitfield, County Waterford, and had issue,
THOMAS, his successor;
Charles, a judge;
HENRY, succeeded his brother;
Sir William died in 1783, and was succeeded by his eldest son, 

SIR THOMAS (1757-1821), 9th Baronet, MP for Carysfort, 1776-97, who espoused Catherine Rebecca, daughter of Major Robert Smith.
The heir apparent is the present holder's eldest son George Gideon Oliver Osborne (b 1971). The heir apparent's heir apparent is his only son Luke Benedict Osborne. 
Ralph B Osborne owned 942 acres in County Tipperary; and her cousin, Sir Charles Stanley Osborne, 13th Baronet, of Beechwood Park, Nenagh, owned 940 acres in County Tipperary.

Sir Peter George Osborne, 17th and present Baronet (b 1943) co-founded the wallpaper company, Osborne & Little.

The Rt Hon George Gideon Oliver Osborne CH, Chancellor of the Exchequer, 2010-16, First Secretary of State, 2015-16, is heir apparent to the baronetcy.

NEWTOWN ANNER HOUSE (above), near Clonmel, County Tipperary, is a two-storey late-Georgian house with a nine-bay front, the three outer bays breaking forwards and elevated an extra storey above the centre block.

Newtown Anner was formerly a seat of the Osborne Baronets; as was Beechwood Park in County Tipperary.

The doorway has engaged columns and a large semi-circular fanlight over the door and side-lights; with a curved two-storey bow at the side.

The Osbornes purchased the Newtown Anner estate from Clonmel Corporation in 1774, though the present house dates from 1829.

Newtown Anner passed eventually to the 12th Duke of St Albans, grandson of Ralph and Catherine Bernal (nee Osborne).

It was occupied by the Duchess of St Albans in 1906 and was still in that family's possession in the early 1940s.

It is now thought to be the home of Nigel Cathcart.

First published in October, 2011.

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Historic Ballydugan

In May, 2017, I paid a visit to Inch Abbey, Downpatrick and Ballydugan.

It is such a long time since I have visited Inch Abbey, that extensive, ruined monastic site on the banks of the river Quoile, just outside Downpatrick, county town of County Down.

These visits always fill me with a sense of nostalgia, a taste of former times, picnicking, glorious meadows in the summer.

Inch Abbey, by the way, is an idyllic picnic spot, if the weather is clement enough.

It was a monastery from about 1180 till 1541, when it was dissolved by HENRY VIII.

The graveyard adjacent to the little car-park at Inch Abbey is dominated by the tomb or vault of the Perceval-Maxwells of Finnebrogue.

They were the landowners and presented Inch Abbey to the state in 1910.

Thence I jumped into the two-seater and made my jolly way in a south-easterly direction, over the river, to the historic town of Downpatrick.

Down Cathedral stands proudly to the extreme west of the town, overlooking Inch Abbey across the river Quoile.

I made a bee-line for Down County Museum, which is located in the historic buildings of the former County Gaol of Down.

The Gaol was opened in 1796 until its closure in 1830, when it became a military barracks.

I ambled up the hill to the cathedral.

The cathedral's graveyard lies directly opposite the west front.

The most commanding vault, almost like a little chapel itself, boasts stone pinnacles (larger versions of which adorn the cathedral) and stands at a corner of the graveyard directly overlooking the cathedral's west front.

It has an inscription in capital letters, viz. HASTINGS.

A black cat was sleeping on a grave further along.

Any reader who knows me shall be aware that I never pass a cat without greeting it cordially, and this occasion happened to be no exception.

In fact I persevered and at length my feline devotee was roused and befriended me; to the extent that it followed me into a field and up to the threshold of the cathedral.

Incidentally, the Perceval-Maxwells, like many other landed families of County Down, were patrons of Down Cathedral.

Their armorial bearings are resplendent on large, carved, colourful plaques along the walls of the nave.

Thereafter I motored in a south-westerly direction towards the townland of Ballydugan, a truly heavenly spot in the county.

Ballydugan is a hop, skip and jump away from Downpatrick; yet you are struck by its tranquillity and "olde worlde" charm.

A cursory glance at the map shall indicate that we are within riding-distance of Downpatrick Racecourse.

I have already written about Ballydugan House.

The old flour mill of Ballydugan is now a guesthouse and undertakes weddings and other functions.

It was built in 1792 by one John Auchinleck of Strangford, County Down.

Rubble masonry was used in its construction.

It is six bays in width and six storeys in height, plus two attic storeys; an impressive, stone-walled forecourt and a gatehouse.

A lofty, tapered brick chimney stands behind the mill.

A mere thirty or forty yards along the road from the mill stands the Lakeside Inn, a former coaching inn, post-office and spirit grocer's.

Margaret Ferguson, whose family owns the inn, has traced the building back to 1840.

Margaret has run the inn for seven years, since the death of her mother Meta.

Her grandfather, Thomas Hutton, ran it in 1899; and his brother, Bernard, took over till 1890.

It came into the family in 1925 when Margaret's grandfather, Thomas Hutton, bought it after 26 years working there.

He died in 1959, and his daughter Meta ran it thereafter.

Meta Hutton died in 2012 and Margaret with her husband Geoffrey have taken the helm.

The two-seater was parked beside the charming little lake at Ballydugan.

I strolled along the road on its eastern side and several hundred yards further along The Old Town emerged.

It was almost akin to stepping back in time.

This is what the Irish call a clachan, a small cluster of buildings huddled together, usually inhabited formerly by extended families and neighbours.

A Christian community known as The Old Town Community is based here.

Ballydugan Cottages have been turned into holiday accommodation.

The Old Town overlooks Ballydugan Lake.

A wooden sign nailed to a tree declares that Belfast Anglers Club has the fishing rights.

Back at the lakeside car-park, I munched my sandwiches and gave a few crumbs to the sparrows outside.

The Lake House in 2014

At the north side of the lake stands an old cottage known variously as Lake Cottage, Ballydugan Cottage, and Lake House.

Its address is Drumcullan Road.

This building and its location interest me, and I intend to write an article about it and its inhabitants soon.

First published in May, 2017.

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Royalty in Fermanagh

THE PRINCE OF WALES and The Duchess of Cornwall are attending the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland's annual Garden Party at Castle Coole, County Fermanagh.

This is the first time that the event has not been held at Hillsborough Castle in County Down.

Castle Coole, near Enniskillen, is the ancestral seat of the Earls of Belmore.

The 1,000 guests at the Garden Party consisted of representatives from all eight lieutenancies in Northern Ireland.

Their Royal Highnesses later visited Lisnaskea, the county's second town.

The Viscount Brookeborough KG, Lord-Lieutenant of County Fermanagh, accompanied the royal couple.

The Rowallane Acquisition


PROPERTY: Rowallane Demesne, near Saintfield, County Down

DATE: 1956

EXTENT: 199.34 acres

DONOR: Jane Moore and Kenneth Goodbody

First published in January, 2015.

Torrens of Edenmore


JAMES TORRENS JP (1816-1884), of Edenmore, County Antrim, second son of JOHN TORRENS, of Clough (or Clogh), County Antrim, married, in 1848, Sarah Hughes (daughter of Samuel Gelston JP, of Rosstulla, County Antrim, and Eliza his wife, daughter of Thomas Hughes, and had issue,
Thomas Hughes (1851-1928), of Edenmore, DL, High Sheriff, 1903.
The elder son,

JOHN TORRENS JP (1849-1908), of Rosstulla, wedded, in 1876, Florence, daughter of Robert Stewart Lepper JP, of Trainfield House, Belfast, and had issue,
JAMES ROBERT, his heir;
Florence Muriel (1881-93);
EILEEN, of whom hereafter.
Mr John Torrens' only son,

JAMES ROBERT TORRENS (1877-1921), Captain, 4th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, espoused, in 1902, Enid Maude (whom he divorced in 1908), daughter of the Hon William Forster, Agent-General of New South Wales, and had issue,



The younger daughter of James Torrens,

EILEEN TORRENS (1886-1983), married, in 1911, Lieutenant-Colonel Herbert Frederick Spence (1880-1937), Duke of Cambridge's Own (Middlesex Regiment), who changed his name by deed poll to TORRENS-SPENCE, 1928, and had issue,
John Cecil (1913-91);
Kenneth Brian, b 1919.
Click to Enlarge

The second son,

CAPTAIN FREDERICK MICHAEL ALEXANDER TORRENS-SPENCE DSO DFC AFC (1914-2001), Noyal Navy, of Drumcullan House, near Downpatrick, County Down, High Sheriff of County Armagh, 1979, had a distinguished career in the Royal Navy, Royal Air Force, Ulster Defence Regiment and Ulster Special Constabulary.

Captain Torrens-Spence succeeded Sir Norman Stronge as Lord-Lieutenant of County Armagh (1981-89) following Sir Norman's heinous murder with his son, James, at Tynan Abbey (my father and I attended their funeral in Tynan parish church).

He married, in 1944, Rachel Nora, eldest daughter of Edward Stanley Clarke, of Ballyauglis Lodge, County Antrim, and had issue,
Edward John, b 1953;
Alexander Thomas, b 1954;
Joanna Jane, b 1945.
The second son,



WILLIAM SPENCE married Sarah ______ and had with other issue,
BENJAMIN, of whom presently;
George; Mary; Ann.
The seventh child,

BENJAMIN SPENCE, of Bramley, Leeds, Yorkshire, born in 1766, married, and had with other issue,
JOHN, of whom presently;
The eldest son,

MAJOR JOHN SPENCE, 86th Foot, served in the Peninsular War, 1810-14, born in 1795, wedded Honoria, daughter of ____________, of Limerick, and had issue, a son,

CAPTAIN SAMUEL SPENCE (1816-57), 28th Foot, served in Crimean War, 1854-56, who married, in 1841, Charlotte, daughter of ___________, of Dublin, and died on active service, 1857, leaving issue,
WILLIAM ALEXANDER, of whom hereafter;
Sarah Julia; Margaret.
The younger son,

LIEUTENANT-COLONEL WILLIAM ALEXANDER SPENCE (1843-1900), espoused, in 1875, Margaret, daughter of the Rev Benjamin Dowding, and was killed in action, 1900, leaving,
HERBERT FREDERICK, of whom presently.
The youngest son,

LIEUTENANT-COLONEL HERBERT FREDERICK SPENCE (1880-1937), of Rosstulla, Whiteabbey, County Antrim (see above).


EDENMORE HOUSE, Whiteabbey, County Antrim, was built in the Italianate style ca 1865 for James Torrens (1796-1884), a prosperous solicitor and land agent for the Donegall and Shaftesbury Irish estates.

The mansion was likely designed for Mr Torrens by the architects Lanyon, Lynn & Lanyon.

There were two gate lodges, long since demolished.

It remained the Torrens residence for 63 years years, until the death of James Torrens's son, Thomas Hughes Torrens (1851-1928).

Following his decease, Edenmore became the quarters of Edenmore Veterinary Hospital under the patronage of the Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

In 1950, the house and demesne were adapted as RAF Edenmore, a base for No. 67 NI Reserve Group and No. 3502 (Ulster) Fighter Control Group.

Edenmore operated as a hotel from 1963 until the mid-1980s.

Its principal function rooms were called Eden, Torrens and Shaftesbury.

Subsequently Edenmore became a care home.

It was demolished in 2016 for a housing development.

DRUMCULLEN HOUSE, Ballydugan, near Downpatrick, County Down, was a part of the ancient Demesne of Down.

Through the Middle Ages the demesne, including the townland of Hollymount, was owned by the Downpatrick Benedictine Abbey.

During the Reformation, the land was seized by HENRY VIII and granted to Gerald, Earl of Kildare.

The ownership of the land passed through several hands to Lady Cromwell, who married the Rt Hon Edward Southwell MP, Secretary of State for Ireland.

In 1695, Lady Cromwell leased Hollymount Townland to General Nicholas Price, of Hollymount.

Mrs Mary Delany stayed at Hollymount House in the summer of 1745, sketched the house and wrote a romantic description of it and the surrounding woodlands.

From the Prices, the property passed by marriage and inheritance, in 1779, to Francis Savage and then, when he died in 1723, to his widow, the Lady Harriet Butler.

Lady Harriet later married Mathew Forde, of Seaforde.

Her ladyship greatly enlarged Hollymount House, building a new Georgian-style wing in front of the old house, now ruinous.

In 1838, Lady Harriet sponsored the construction of Hollymount Church; and in 1841 arranged for the construction of a new house on her estate, Drumcullen, as a residence for the Rector of the new church.

In 1853, she enlarged the house after a design by Charles Lanyon for herself and her nephew, the Rev Pierce Butler, Rector of Hollymount, 1852-56.

Later residents of Drumcullen House included the Rev F H Hall, William Russell, a solicitor in Downpatrick and Portaferry, the Whitesides and the Galways, from whom Captain Torrens-Spence bought the property ca 1948.

The estate comprises 113 acres including the house, garden, farmyard and woodland.

103 acres have been let on a con-acre basis to the same tenants for about 20 years.

There are farm buildings, including stables and three Dutch barns (recently re-roofed).

The property has recently been sold, following the death in 2017 of Mrs Rachel Torrens-Spence.

9, Wellington Place, Belfast

9, WELLINGTON PLACE, BELFAST, a red-brick Georgian townhouse of four storeys, was built ca 1830.

The premises were purchased outright in 1860 by Richard Davison and James Torrens, who were recorded as occupants in that year.

Davison and Torrens were solicitors who established an office at 9, Wellington Place, but also had a branch at 65, Lower Gardiner Street, Dublin.

Davison and Torrens continued to operate from their Wellington Place offices until the 1920s.

They also conducted business as estate agents and principally administered the estate of the Earl of Shaftesbury.

In 1910, Thomas Hughes Torrens was recorded as Lord Shaftesbury's agent.

The solicitors continued to operate from the address in 1918; however, by that time the firm had changed its name to Torrens & Bristow, when John Bristow took over as partner from Davison.

Mr Torrens still operated as Lord Shaftesbury’s agent at this time.

Torrens & Bristow had vacated the building ca 1924.

First published in May, 2017.

Monday, 20 May 2019

Lyons Demesne


The family of LAWLESS was of English extraction, but were settled for many years in Ireland, and became first enriched by commerce, and then ennobled on account of their wealth.

SIR HUGH DE LAWLESS, of Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, settled in Ireland during the reign of HENRY II and obtained a grant from the crown of the manor of Shanganagh, County Dublin, where he erected a castle, the ruins of which are still visible.

RICHARD LAWLESS was Provost of Dublin, 1311, and held the office of Chief Magistrate for three successive years.

STEPHEN LAWLESS was consecrated Bishop of Limerick in 1354, and died on Innocents' Day, 1359.

WALTER LAWLESS, of Talbot's Inch, County Kilkenny, had a grant from JAMES I, in 1608, of seven manors, situated in counties Tipperary, Waterford, and Kilkenny, with rights of patronage, to be held for ever, in capite, by knight's service.

He married Margaret, daughter of Robert Wrothe, and died in 1627, leaving an only son,

RICHARD LAWLESS, who succeeding at Talbot's Inch, wedded Margaret, daughter of Patrick Den, of Grennan, County Kilkenny; and dying in 1670, left issue, two sons,
Walter, an adherent of JAMES II;
THOMAS, of whom hereafter.
The younger son,

THOMAS LAWLESS, of Talbot's Inch, espoused Elizabeth, daughter of James Butler, of Kilkenny; and dying in 1704, was father of

JOHN LAWLESS, of Shankill, County Dublin, who married Frances, daughter of John Usher, of Crumlin, and had issue, Peter, ancestor of the family seated at Shankill, and

JOHN LAWLESS, who wedded Elizabeth, daughter of Richard MacDonnell.

He died in 1730, and was succeeded by his only son,

ROBERT LAWLESS, of Abington, County Limerick, by Mary, daughter of Dominick Hadsor, of Dublin. and had issue,
NICHOLAS, his heir;
Mary (1736-67).
Mr Lawless died in 1779, and was succeeded by his only son and heir,

NICHOLAS LAWLESS (1735-99), of Abington, County Limerick, who, having returned to Ireland from Normandy subsequently to his father's decease and conformed to the established church, obtained a seat in parliament as MP for Lifford, 1776-89.

Mr Lawless was created a baronet in 1776, designated of Abington, County Limerick.

Sir Nicholas was elevated to the peerage, in 1789, in the dignity of BARON CLONCURRY, of Cloncurry, County Kildare.

He married, in 1761, Margaret, only daughter of Valentine Browne, of Dublin, and had issue, 
VALENTINE BROWNE, his successor;
Mary Catherine; Valentina Alicia; Charlotte Louisa.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

The 5th Baron, who served on the staff of two Lords Lieutenant of Ireland, was unmarried and the titles expired on his death in 1929.

LYONS, near Hazlehatch, County Kildare, was originally the seat of the Aylmer family, though they sold it to the 1st Lord Cloncurry, who had a new house built in 1797.

The present mansion house is a three storey block with a curved bow on either side of its entrance front, joined to two-storey wings by curved sweeps.

About 1801, shortly after his release from the Tower of London, the 2nd Lord Cloncurry hired Richard Morrison to undertake improvements and alterations to his father's house, work continuing till 1805.

During this period, Lord Cloncurry was in Italy, collecting antiques and objets d'art for the house.

The seven-bay garden front was left fairly plain, though an immense formal garden was laid out, with abundant statuary and urns.

Beyond the lake, reputedly the largest artificial lake in Ireland, lies the Hill of Lyons.

The Grand Canal passes along one side of the demesne, with a very fine range of Georgian buildings, comprising the Cloncurry private canal station.

The Hon Kathleen Lawless bequeathed the Lyons estate to a cousin, Mr G M V Winn, who sold it about 1962 to University College, Dublin.

Sir Michael Smurfit KBE owned Lyons from 1990-96.

Lyons was later purchased by Dr Tony Ryan, who reputedly spent €100 million on its restoration.

The house stands in nearly 600 acres, including some fine formal gardens.

The orangery and hall contain a large swimming-pool.

There are seven suites in the main house, a self-contained guest wing with four bedrooms, and staff quarters in the north wing.

A further five lodges are located around the estate which include a 22-acre spring-fed lake which is stocked with trout and, for equestrian enthusiasts, there are stables, stud farm facilities and outstanding natural gallops.

Dublin is a 45-minute drive, but private jet access is available on request at nearby Baldonnel's Casement Aerodrome which is three miles from the estate.

It has undergone a total refurbishment which was recognized as outstanding when it received the Europa Nostra and Institut International des Châteaux Historiques joint award for refurbishment.

Cloncurry arms courtesy of European Heraldry.   First published in June, 2012.