Thursday, 28 May 2020

The Montagu Case



The correspondent of The Central News at Coleraine reports that considerable sensation has been caused in that town and neighbourhood by the committal for trial, on a Coroner's warrant, of Mrs Annie Margaret Montagu, the charge against her being the causing of the death of her daughter, Mary Helen Montagu, aged three years.

The accused is the wife of Mr Montagu, of Cromore House, Coleraine, eldest son of Lord Robert Montagu, who is an uncle* [sic] of the 7th Duke of Manchester.

The offence, as is alleged, was committed on February 13th, and on that day, according to the evidence taken at the inquest, the child was locked in a dark room by her governess as a punishment for some offence.

A short time afterwards, Mrs Montagu went into the room, and, it is said, tied the little girl's hands behind her back with a stocking, and, having fastened to this a piece of string, fixed it to a ring in the wall of the room.

About three hours later the mother went to the door of the room, and called her child by name several times, but there was no answer.

She opened the door, and, going to the place where she left the little girl, found her dead.

She carried the body to her own room, stripped off the clothes, and tried to restore life, but without success.

She then called the governess, and told her what had happened.

At the conclusion of the evidence, the Coroner (Mr. Caldwell) committed Mrs Montagu for trial at the Londonderry Assizes.
*Lord Robert was the 7th Duke's brother.

The Press Association's correspondent has had an interview with Mr A C Montagu JP, the father of Helen Montagu, aged three years, who was found dead in a small dark room, where she had been tied to a ring in the wall by her mother, under circumstances detailed above.

Mr Montagu, who lives at Cromore House, Portstewart, is a son of Lord Robert Montagu, and a grandson of the Duke of Manchester.

He was formerly a lieutenant in the navy, but was compelled to leave the service, owing to an exceptional tendency to seasickness.

Mrs Montagu, who stands committed for trial on a charge of killing her child, is of Scotch extraction, and the daughter of a late wealthy London tea merchant.

She is a lady who is noted in the North of Ireland for her daring horsemanship and her splendid management of high-spirited animals.

They move in the best society, and Cromore is one of the finest mansions in the district, being surrounded by an extensive and valuable estate.

The circumstances of the child’s death, so far as they have leaked out through the meagre reports of the coroner’s inquest, which lasted five hours, have caused the greatest excitement in Ulster.

When, the correspondent proceeds, he called on Mr Montagu, he found that gentleman engaged with his spiritual adviser, the local parish priest.

He willingly granted an interview and escorted the correspondent upstairs to the dark room.

This is an apartment about 6ft. square, with no fireplace or window, and opens into what is known as the children's room, which is bright and airy.

Two rings were fastened by screws into a board, and it was to one of these rings that the child was tied.

There is no ventilation in the apartment except what comes from beneath the door, a mere chink and from* between a couple of badly placed boards.

Mr Montagu mentioned, in the course of the interview, that the little child was his only daughter. He has seven sons.

In reply to a question he stated that it was erroneous to say, as had been implied, that the child got no food on Saturday from breakfast time, which was eight o'clock.

She had come down late that morning, the conjecture being that she was not feeling very well and it was in consequence of this that she got the meal at eleven.

Asked how such a punishment came to be awarded to a child of three years for soiling her clothes, Mr. Montagu said:
"Mrs Montagu entertains very strong opinions on the subject of the upbringing, training, and correction of children. Her theory, which I think to a great extent is right, is that the spirit of disobedience, or any tendency to disobedience, must be conquered from the very earliest years.
She insists upon obedience and cleanliness in her children, and unless they are punished early they soon learn bad habits. She also believed in restraint and confinement as the best punishment."
Asked if it was not too long to leave the child without visiting her, Mr Montagu replied,
"Yes, perhaps it was too long, but then Mrs Montagu has so much to do. I believe she was out for some time while the child was confined, and most of the rest of the time she was in the kitchen attending to various domestic duties."
Mr Montagu added that he thought the governess was kind to the children.

She had never been anything to the contrary.

She had been with them a year last October.

It was on the governess’s report of misbehaviour that Mrs Montagu acted.

The child was a little wilful at times, and Mrs Montagu believed that the natural inclination to that must be suppressed, or the child would grow quite beyond control.

The correspondent adds that the body of the child was buried with great privacy: Mr Montagu and one of his boys took the coffin in the family carriage, which, with blinds drawn, was driven in the direction of Bushmills, where there is a Roman Catholic burying-ground.

[A cablegram in another column states that Mrs Montagu has been sentenced to twelve months’ imprisonment, for the murder of her daughter].

First published in May, 2014.

Evans of Portrane


The family of EVANS is originally from Wales, and claims descent from the renowned Elystan Glodrydd.

In the 16th century, two of the family settled in Ireland: JOHN EVANS, ancestor of the Barons Carbery; and ROBERT EVANS, from whom derived the family of Evans of Baymount, County Dublin, and Robinstown, County Westmeath.

The former, JOHN EVANS, settled in the city of Limerick, where he was living in 1628.

Mr Evans left at his decease two sons and three daughters, viz.
GEORGE, his heir;
Deborah; Catherine; Eleanor.
The elder son,

COLONEL GEORGE EVANS MP, of Ballygrennan Castle, served in the army raised to supress the rebellion of 1641, and at the restoration of tranquillity, settled at Ballygrennan Castle, County Limerick, where, and in the adjacent county of Cork, he acquired large estates by grants from the Crown, and by purchase.

He wedded Anne, daughter of Thomas Bowerman, of County Cork, and had issue,
GEORGE, his heir;
John, of Milltown Castle;
Colonel Evans, MP for Limerick County, 1692, died in 1707, at a very advanced age, having passed a most eventful life, and was succeeded by his elder son,

THE RT HON GEORGE EVANS MP (1658-1720), of Caherass and Bulgaden Hall, County Limerick, MP for Limerick County, 1692-3, Askeaton, 1695-9, Charleville, 1703-20.

This gentleman was bred to the Bar, but following the example of his father and brother, became an active partisan of the revolution, and after the establishment of the new government in Ireland, was sworn of the Privy Council and returned to Parliament by the borough of Charleville

He wedded, in 1679,  Mary, daughter of John Eyre MP, of Eyre Court Castle, County Galway, and sister of the 1st Lord Eyre, and had issue,
GEORGE, 1st Baron Carbery;
EYRE, of Portrane, of whom we treat;
Thomas, of Milltown Castle, County Cork;
Jane, m Chidley Coote, ancestor of the Barons Castle Coote;
Elizabeth, m Hugh Massy, father of 1st Baron Massy and Clarina;
Dorothy; Emilia; Catherine.
The Right Hon George Evans, who was a distinguished public character, refused a peerage on the accession of GEORGE I, when the honour was conferred upon his eldest son.

His  embalmed body lay in state in the parliament house until the next month, when it was removed for interment at Ballygrennan.

His second son,

EYRE EVANS, of Portrane, County Dublin, MP for Limerick County, 1721-59, espoused Sarah, second daughter and co-heir (with her sister, Mrs Waller, of Castletown)  of Thomas Dixon, of Ballylackin, County Cork, and had six sons, all who dsp except the fourth; and three daughters, of whom the youngest, Elizabeth, the wife of William Evans, of Ardreigh, County Kildare, left issue.

The fourth son,

HAMPDEN EVANS, of Portrane, an officer in the army, succeeded his eldest brother, George Evans, MP for Queen's County, who married, in 1769, Margaret, daughter of Joshua Davis, and had issue,
GEORGE, his heir;
Eyre Dixon, of Liverpool;
Mary; Anne Dorothea; Sydney Elizabeth.
Mr Evans was succeeded by his eldest son,

THE RT HON GEORGE HAMPDEN EVANS, of Portrane, MP for County Dublin, 1832-7, who wedded, in 1805, Sophia, only daughter of the Rt Hon Sir John Parnell Bt, of Rathleague, Queen's County, but had no issue.

He died in 1842 and was succeeded by his brother,

JOSHUA EVANS, one of the commissioners of the Court of Bankruptcy, who wedded Eleanor, only child of Robert Harrison.

His next brother,

EYRE DIXON EVANS, a merchant in Liverpool, inherited his brother's estate.

He died in 1862, and was succeeded by his only son,

GEORGE EVANS (1831-73), of Portrane, who married, though died without issue, and was succeeded by his only sister,

MARGARET EVANS, who inherited the Portrane property on the death of her brother, George, without issue in 1873.

She married, in 1852, John Donald MacNeale.

Dying in 1874, she left three daughters, joint heiresses of her property, of whom the eldest,

MARGARET MacNEALE, married, in 1889, Captain S G Rathborne or Rathbourne, Royal Engineers, and had issue,

St George Ronald MacNeale Rathborne, born in 1893.

DESPITE owning a substantial amount of land in County Offaly, it would seem that the family of Evans never any notable residence in the county.

The family seat was Portrane House, or Mount Evans, Donabate, County Dublin.

When George Hampden Evans died in 1842, his widow erected an Irish round tower in his memory, at Portrane.

The Rev Patrick Comerford has written an article about Portrane Castle.

First published in June, 2013.

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Something Fishy

The trusty pushbike has been well utilized during this pandemic. You've likely seen it in a few articles I've written.

I purchased it about twenty-two years ago, at Halford's, and it's a fairly sturdy urban kind of bike.

This morning I recalled that Edward Murray of Something Fishy, a fishmonger from Portavogie, has a mobile seafood stall at Comber Road, Dundonald, on Wednesday mornings.

I think they also usually have a stall at St George's Market in Belfast.

This morning, however, I mounted the two-wheeler and cycled from Belmont GHQ to Dundonald, a journey of three miles perhaps.

Enid Bennett, whose husband and sons ran a hardware shop in Comber, used to inquire if a merchant was easy to pay - "are they easy to pay?"

Something Fishy is easy to pay. Just remember to bring cash with you. I was prepared, and I'd brought my wallet with a few banknotes in it.

I fancy breaded cod tonight, so I bought a good piece of that, and a portion of their battered scampi.

The piece of cod was a fiver; the scampi, £2.80.

Ballybay House


GEORGE, 4TH EARL OF ROTHES, married thirdly, Agnes, daughter of Sir John Somerville, of Cambusnethan, and had issue,
Andrew, 5th Earl;
JAMES, of whom we treat;
Janet; Helen.
His lordship's third son by his marriage to Agnes Somerville,

THE HON JAMES LESLIE, born in 1530, married Jane, daughter of Sir James Hamilton, of Evandale, and had issue,
HENRY, of whom we treat.
The younger son,

THE MOST REV DR HENRY LESLIE (1580-1661), Lord Bishop of Meath, settled in Ireland, 1614, where he was ordained in 1617.

His lordship was chaplain to CHARLES I, with whom he shared his great adversities.

He espoused Jane Swinton, and had issue,
Robert (Rt Rev Dr);
JAMES, of whose line we treat;
William, of Prospect, Co Antrim;
Mary; Margaret.
The second son,

JAMES LESLIE (1624-1704), of Leslie House, County Antrim, wedded, in 1650, Jane, daughter of John Echlin, of Ardquin, County Down, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

THE VEN DR HENRY LESLIE (1651-1733), Archdeacon of Down, Chaplain to the Duke of Ormonde, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.

In 1680 he obtained a Prebend in Down Cathedral, which he resigned, 1695, for the Archdeaconry.

Dr Leslie espoused, in 1676, Margaret, daughter and heiress of Peter Beaghan, of Ballibay, and had issue,
PETER, his heir;
Edmund, MP for Antrim;
The Archdeacon was succeeded by his elder son,

THE REV PETER LESLIE, born in 1686, Rector of Ahoghill, who married Jane, daughter of the Most Rev Dr Anthony Dopping, Lord Bishop of Meath, and had issue,
HENRY, his heir;
James, of Leslie Hill, Co Antrim;
EDMOND (Ven), Archdeacon of Down;
Margaret; Jane.
The eldest son,

THE REV HENRY LESLIE (1719-1803), of Ballybay, County Monaghan, Prebendary of Tullycorbet, Clogher, and afterwards prebendary of Tandragee, in Armagh Cathedral.

Dr Leslie married, in 1753, Catherine, daughter of the Very Rev Charles Meredyth, Dean of Ardfert, and had issue,
Peter Henry, b 1755; k/a in America;
CHARLES ALBERT, of whom hereafter;
Catherine Letitia.
The surviving son,

CHARLES ALBERT LESLIE (1765-1838), of Ballybay, High Sheriff of County Monaghan, 1805, married, in 1799, Ellen, youngest daughter of Richard Magenis MP, of Waringstown, County Down, and left at his decease an only surviving child,

EMILY ELEANOR WILHELMINA LESLIE, of Ballybay, who married firstly, in 1828, her cousin, Arthur French, of Clonsilla, County Dublin, and had issue,
ROBERT CHARLES (now LESLIE), of Ballybay;
Charles Albert Leslie Attila FRENCH;
Helena Charlotte; Albertine Caroline; Henrietta Victoria Alexandria.
She wedded secondly, in 1844, her cousin, the Rev John Charles William Leslie, son of James Leslie, of Leslie Hill, by whom she had issue,
Ferdinand Seymour;
Marion Adelaide.
Mrs Leslie died in 1844, and was succeeded by her eldest son,

ROBERT CHARLES LESLIE JP DL (1828-1904), of Ballybay, and Kilclief, County Down, High Sheriff of County Monaghan, 1854, who married, at Paris, 1867, Charlotte Philippa Mary, daughter of Captain Edward Kelso, of Kelsoland, and Horkesley Park, Essex, and had issue,
Theordore Barrington Norman;
EDWARD HENRY JOHN, succeeded his brother;
Mabel Edith.
He assumed, in 1885, the surname and arms of LESLIE, in compliance of his maternal grandfather's will.

Mr Leslie was succeeded by his second son,

EDWARD HENRY JOHN LESLIE CMG MVO JP DL (1890-1966), of Ballybay, High Sheriff of County Monaghan, 1908, who entered the Foreign Office, 1902.

BALLYBAY HOUSE, Ballybay, County Monaghan,  was a fine Classical house of 1830 by JB Keane, for Charles Albert Leslie.

It comprised two storeys over a high basement, with a three-bay entrance front, the centre of which was recessed, with a Wyatt window above a single-storey Doric portico.

The adjoining front had five bays.

Practically all of the windows in the lower storey were set in arched recesses.

A three-storey, gable-ended range was added behind the house later in the 19th century.

Ballybay House was burnt and the contents were sold in 1920.

Nothing remains.

Former London residence ~ 10 Douro Place, Kensington.

First published in July, 2013.

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Franklin Maxims: VIII


Sir Charles Lanyon


SIR CHARLES LANYON JP DL (1813–1889), son of John Jenkinson Lanyon, of Eastbourne, East Sussex, married, in 1835, Elizabeth Helen, daughter of Jacob Owen, of Portsmouth, and had issue, ten children, including, 
JOHN (1839-1900);
WILLIAM OWEN, of whom hereafter;
Louis Mortimer (1846-1919), m Laura, daughter of CV Phillips;
Herbert Owen (1850-1919), m Amelia, daughter of J Hind.
Sir Charles's second surviving son,

COLONEL SIR WILLIAM OWEN LANYON KCMG CB (1842-1887), Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George, Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath.


Photo Credit: The Queen's University of Belfast

SIR CHARLES LANYON designed the famous Antrim coast road between Larne and Portrush.

He also designed and erected many bridges in the county, including the Ormeau Bridge (1860–63) over the River Lagan in Belfast.

Sir Charles laid out the Belfast and Ballymena railway lines, and its extensions to Cookstown and Portrush; was engineer of the Belfast, Holywood and Bangor Railway; and the Carrickfergus and Larne line.

He was the principal architect of some of Belfast's best-known buildings, including the Queen's College, now University (1846-9); the old Court-House (1848-50); Crumlin Road Gaol (1843-5); and the Custom House (1854-7).

His palm house at the Botanic Gardens, Belfast, built in two phases between 1840-52, is notably one of the earliest examples of curvilinear iron and glass.

Much of Lanyon's work was carried out in private practice, in which he was assisted by two partners: W H Lynn; and latterly his eldest son John, from 1860.

Lanyon resigned the county surveyorship in 1860, and then retired from practice completely following the breakup of his firm in 1872, to devote his energies to public life, in which he was already involved.

Sir Charles served the office of Mayor of Belfast, 1862,  and was MP for Belfast, 1865-68.

He was one of the Belfast Harbour Commissioners, a Deputy Lieutenant, and a magistrate.

In 1862, Sir Charles was elected President of the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland, and held office until 1868, when he received the honour of Knighthood, which was conferred by His Grace the Duke of Abercorn, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.

In 1876, he served as High Sheriff of County Antrim.

Sir Charles died, after a protracted illness, at his residence, The Abbey, in 1889, and was buried at Knockbreda cemetery, near Belfast.

THE ABBEY, Whiteabbey, County Antrim, was designed by Charles Lanyon for Richard Davison MP (1796-1869), on the site of Demyat, a gentleman’s cottage on the site inhabited by Samuel Gibson Getty (1817-77).

Abbey House is an imposing two-storey, multi-bay, Italianate stucco house, built ca 1855 to designs by Sir Charles Lanyon, as a private residence for a client, though shortly afterwards becoming his own home and reflecting his personal taste.

Entrance Front in 2017

Despite the degradation of its setting and years of neglect, the house remains a handsome edifice, with ornate stucco detailing and the Italianate styling typical of Lanyon’s work.

Internally, while the house has undergone some remodelling for use as an administrative block, its plan from and detailing survive, although suffering serious decay.

It is said that Abbey House is an important structure, historically and architecturally, of robust character, especially given its association with Lanyon.

The Abbey takes its name from the ancient monastery which originally stood in a field near by.

The abbey was built by the Cistercian religious order (Trappist Monks) ca 1250, but was damaged by the army of Edward the Bruce in 1315.

The ruins of the White Abbey survived for centuries but today there are no visible remains.

The present Victorian house is ‘L’ shaped in plan, with an additional rectangular building located to the north-west.

Garden Front with Annexe in 2017

In 1832, the the site was occupied by a smaller, though fairly substantial, dwelling occupied by Mrs Matthews.

At that time the description detailed a ballroom, stable, scullery and dairy and a square tower.

The Abbey, inhabited by Richard Davison, was described thus:-
'…a very superior first class house built 12 years ago… Cemented and stone finished with stone quoins and dressings…very [finely] situated and close to Whiteabbey Station’.
The gate lodge was  '…very neat & well finished’.

Also listed in the entry for The Abbey was a cow-house, stables with a bell [tower attraction], and a green house.

Garden Front in 2017

Documents of 1862-64 list the occupier as Charles Lanyon.

Following Lanyon’s death in 1889, The Abbey remained vacant for about six years.

Records show that the leasehold has transferred to Granville Hotels Company, although the freehold was still owned by the Lanyon family.

In 1906, the house was described as ‘auxiliary workhouses, gate lodges and land’.

The ownership was revised from Guardians of Belfast Union to Belfast Corporation in 1916, and the property was described as ‘auxiliary workhouse, gate lodges, office, hospital for consumptives and land’.

In 1913 this entry was crossed out with the exception of the gate lodges, and "electric power house" was inserted, indicating a change of use.

Abbey House was listed as a "municipal sanatorium, gate lodges, electric power, house, office and land" about 1935, with the occupier stated as being Belfast Corporation (City Council).

The private treatment centre became Whiteabbey Sanatorium during the 1st World War, and became Whiteabbey Hospital in the 1930s.

Admittedly I haven't visited Whiteabbey Hospital - or whatever it's called today - though it seems to have been spoiled by hideous painting.

Its future is uncertain.

First published in May, 2014.

Monday, 25 May 2020

Malone Place, Belfast

Malone Place at Sandy Row, May, 2020

MALONE PLACE, Belfast, is a short, narrow terrace of little houses tucked away from the madding crowd.

You might catch a glimpse of it if you are travelling past the beginning of the Lisburn Road.

This diminutive terrace is one-sided, as it were.

The Toll-house Garden, May, 2020

There's an enclosed 'garden' opposite the houses, with railings, locked up, without any seating.

Incidentally, King William Park (aptly named: loyal Sandy Row is across the road) has no seating, either; so bring a picnic rug!

In the middle of this small enclosure there is a plaque which tells us that the gardens of the toll-gate house were close to this location.

The old toll-gate cottage certainly was across the street, at the corner of the present Tollgate House of 1987-88, quite a large prosaic block on Bradbury Place.

The Toll-gate Cottage, looking towards Shaftesbury Square, ca 1910

In the name of Progress the little cottage, built about 1815, had to be swept away in the autumn of 1961.

Let's be thankful that Malone Place survives.

The Northern Ireland Department for Communities' Historic Buildings Database has written a lot about Malone Place, and has already compiled information from the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland.

I'd therefore wish to acknowledge this in some of my own narrative here.

Malone Place, May, 2020

Malone Place commences at the very end of Sandy Row, where its junction with the Lisburn Road begins.

It terminates at the Malone Place General Practitioners' Maternity Hospital, a block of ca 1925.

Blondin Street runs from here to Gaffikin Street.

In the 1974 Belfast street directory there are fifteen houses, all odd-numbered:-

  • 1 ~ 'Scotts, General Dealers.'
  • 3-5 ~ Vacant.
  • 7 ~ Thompson, WJ & Sons ~ Boot & Shoe Repairers and Retailers.
  • 9 ~ Robertson, Miss A.
  • 11 ~ Walmsley, Richard B.
  • 13 ~ Delaney, William John.
  • 15 ~ Turley, James.
  • 17 ~ Greer, Mrs Margaret.
  • 19 ~ McNamara, John.
  • 21 ~ Madill, Miss M.
  • 23 ~ Evans, Francis.
  • 25 ~ Burgess, W.
  • 27 ~ Irwin, Mrs Ellie.
  • 29 ~ Watson, Mrs Florence.

Number One, known as Malone Place Apartment, is available for rent.

Number Five  (the ground floor) is for sale (May, 2020).

Number Seven seemed to be a private residence from between 1843-49, when it was built, till about 1895, when it became a shop. It remained a shop until about 2004, when it reverted back to being a domestic residence.

Number Nine has always been a residential property. About 1850 a railway clerk lived here, followed by several other clerks, and a reporter in the Belfast Telegraph in 1884.

Number Seventeen, like the rest, was built about 1850. In 1867, one Jane Crosbey was summonsed to appear in court on a charge of having been disorderly in the public street, information having been received by magistrates ‘as to the character of the house she kept’.

The Historic Buildings database, dated 2011, remarks that Number Twenty-three is:
"A two-storey, two-bay Victorian mid-terrace dwelling built ca1860. Forming part of the latter half of the terrace, the exterior of the house has retained its general character, although some historic features of interest have been lost following refurbishment of the terrace in ca2000." 
"The overall intact external appearance of the terrace ensures that it is a good surviving example of housing of this type. Number 23 adds significant value to the group as a whole, makes a positive architectural contribution to the character of the area."
That evaluation applies to many of the others.