Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Creagh House


ALEXANDER KNOX (son of William Knox, who died intestate, son of Alexander Knox), said to have sold Silvyland, Renfrewshire, settled in County Donegal, and is said to have had issue, two sons,
William, of Ashmoyne;
ALEXANDER, of Ballybofey.
The younger son,

ALEXANDER KNOX, of Ballybofey, County Donegal, whose will was proved in 1742, left issue by Mary his wife,
WILLIAM, of Cloghan;
Alexander, of Ballybofey;
a daughter; Margaret; Mary.
The eldest son,

WILLIAM KNOX, of Cloghan, County Donegal, died ca 1760, and left issue, by Margaret his wife, a son,

JAMES KNOX, of Kilcaddan, County Donegal, who left, by Martha his wife,
WILLIAM, of Kilcaddan;
Carncross, of Ballybofey;
Margaret; Elizabeth; Martha.
The eldest son,

WILLIAM KNOX, of Kilcaddan, County Donegal, High Sheriff, 1776, married, in 1778, Elizabeth, only child of Charles Nesbitt, of Scurmore, County Sligo, and had issue, a son,

COLONEL CHARLES NESBITT KNOX (-1860), of Scurmore, County Sligo, and Castle Lacken, County Mayo, High Sheriff of Sligo, 1810, and Mayo, 1831, who married, in 1810, Jane Cuff, testamentary heiress of James, Lord Tyrawley, and had issue,
CHARLES, his heir;
The only son,

CHARLES KNOX (1817-67), of Cranmore, Ballinrobe, County Mayo, High Sheriff, 1860, Colonel, North Mayo Militia, wedded, in 1839, the Lady Louisa Catherine Browne, daughter of Howe Peter, 2nd Marquess of Sligo, and had issue,
Howe James, Lieutenant-Colonel;
Colonel Knox was succeeded by his eldest son,

CHARLES HOWE CUFF KNOX JP DL (1840-1921), of Creagh, High Sheriff, 1873, Honorary Colonel, Connaught Rangers, who married, in 1869, Henrietta Elizabeth, daughter of the Rt Hon Sir William Gibson Craig Bt.

There is a stained-glass window "In memory of Charles Howe Cuff Knox who died 27th Dec. 1921 aged 81 years" in the Church of Ireland (now the Library) in County Mayo.

Colonel Knox had issue,
Charles William Cuffe, dvp 1910;
HENRY HOWE, his heir;
Gerald Vivian Cuffe, Commander RN;
Louisa Gertrude.
The eldest surviving son,

HENRY HOWE KNOX (1871-1954), of Creagh House, wedded, in 1906, Ada, only child of Sidney Bryan, of Kenilworth, Port Elizabeth, and had issue, a daughter.

CREAGH HOUSE, near Ballinrobe, County Mayo, was built in 1875 for Captain Charles Howe Cuff Knox, to the design of S U Roberts.

Sadly diminished drastically in size in the 1930s by fire (it appears to have been halved), there still remains today a sizeable period house of around 6,000 square feet.

It is located in beautiful and secluded surroundings, habitable, and indeed inhabited, but needing further restoration.

The property today occupies grounds of just under two acres, looking toward Lough Mask.

The grounds are partially wooded with lawned areas around the house.

The front of the house has magnificent views over the Tourmakeady mountains and from some aspects, to the lake.

First published in January, 2013.

Forthill Park

Forthill Park is a drumlin-top public park in Enniskillen, the county town of County Fermanagh.

Topped with a tall monument and surrounded by trees, it stands out as a feature from the distance.

Fort Hill has historic interest, both as a 17th century artillery star-fort and as an early public garden, laid out as a promenade by 1846.

The Forthill Promenade and Pleasure Park has always been a space for public use.

In the years after the Plantation of Ulster, it was known as Commons Hill or Cow Hill, where the Enniskilleners, as they were called, could graze their livestock.

It was also known as Camomile Hill where, in 1689, the Governor of Enniskillen, Gustav Hamilton, ordered a fort of sods to be raised in Enniskillen; hence Forthill.

In 1836, the area was enclosed and planted with trees; it became a promenade and pleasure ground.

Following the Crimean War, a captured Russian gun was brought to the south bastion of the Forthill.

It fired a salute to the first train arriving in the town in 1857 and broke the windows in Belmore Street.

By the 1880s, the park had become overgrown.

Thomas Plunkett, Chairman of the town commissioners, supervised the landscaping of the park.

He felt that the Forthill had become little used and overgrown.

The Forthill Pleasure grounds officially opened on the 7th August, 1891.

It had been transformed: special areas included the Dell, the Fernery, the Fountain, and the Waterfall; all designed by Plunkett.

A new entrance was added and the Forthill steps were built, which saw “The Bower Lane” disappear.

Forthill Bandstand was erected during Plunkett's own lifetime, in 1895, as a mark of appreciation.

The bastions of the fort remain prominent and are grassed.

The park element still has the feeling of a Victorian civic park, with winding paths, clipped evergreen shrubs and island flower beds.

Mature trees provide a canopy above.

The park was officially opened as Fort Hill Pleasure Grounds in 1891.

There are two memorials of high quality: the Cole Monument, built between 1845-57; and the Bandstand, with clock tower, built in 1895.

The Cole Monument takes the form of a Doric column, topped by a statue of General the Hon Sir Galbraith Lowry Cole GCB, by Farrell.

General Cole, a younger son of the 1st Earl of Enniskillen, died in 1842 at his country seat, Highfield Park, Hampshire, now a hotel.

108 steps lead to the viewing platform atop the Cole Monument, which affords magnificent views of Enniskillen and the surrounding area.

First published in December, 2012.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Fisherwick Lodge

FISHERWICK LODGE, near Doagh, County Antrim, was a hunting-lodge of the Marquesses of Donegall.

The lodge was re-built about 1805 as a hollow square, with two single-storey fronts of nine bays each.

It has lofty windows which reach almost to the ground, and a pedimented wooden door-case, with fluted columns.

Although the present house is likely to date from the early years of the 19th century, its origins are in an 18th-century hunting lodge for the Donegall estate.

The current lodge was built by the 2nd Marquess (1769-1844).

Its name derives from the barony of Fisherwick, one of the family's subsidiary titles.
The Lodge was built in the midst of an extensive deer park, which covered "nearly all of six townlands", including Kilbride, Ballywee, Holestone Douglasland, Ballyhamage and part of the parish of Donegore and the Grange of Doagh.
The 2nd Marquess, who had a reputation for extravagance, also laid out an artificial lake in front of the Lodge.

Deer were hunted by hounds in the Doagh district, and the improvements by the 2nd Marquess included the establishment of large kennels and extensive stabling.

In 1899, the kennels were associated with the establishment of a racecourse at Lisnalinchy, which continued to exist in part up until the late 1950s, retaining the name East Antrim Hounds, but have since been relocated to the Parkgate district.

The estate is described in an 1812 statistical survey by the Rev John Dubourdieu:
Close to [Doagh] is Fisherwick Lodge ... the building itself, which is very handsome, and the plantations, have much improved and enlivened the look of this well placed hamlet, which has, in addition, a good inn [Doagh or Farrell's Inn]".
The Ordnance Survey Memoir of 1838 describes the lodge thus:
an elegant and uniform structure in the Cottage style, forming with the offices a spacious quadrangular enclosure. It contains a regular suite of handsome apartments, and is constructed and finished in the most modern style.
Lord Belfast and his father, the 2nd Marquess, subsequently disentailed their estates, with the exception of Islandmagee.

It is recorded that the Donegall family took refuge at Fisherwick Lodge following the seizure in 1806 of the contents of their town residence in Belfast, Donegall House, by creditors.

Fisherwick Lodge was finally sold, in 1847, to John Molyneaux JP.

In 1894, Mr Molyneaux drained the artificial lake in front of the house.

The lodge has since been divided into two properties.

The south gate lodge was demolished ca 2000 and replaced with a modern dwelling.

First published in February, 2015.  Donegall arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Holyhill House


THE REV JOHN SINCLAIR, son of James Sinclair of the Caithness family, was the first of the family who settled at Holyhill, County Tyrone.

He was appointed Rector of Leckpatrick, 1665-6.

Mr Sinclair was succeeded by JOHN, his son, father of JOHN, whose son,

WILLIAM SINCLAIR, who died before his father, married Isabella, daughter of Thomas Young, of Lough Eske, County Donegal, and had issue,
JAMES, his heir;
The eldest son,

JAMES SINCLAIR DL (1772-1865), of Holyhill, wedded, in 1805, Dorothea, daughter and heir of the Rev Samuel Law, and had issue,
WILLIAM, his heir;
Alexander Montgomery;
Mary; Dorothea; Marion; Rebecca; Ann; Isabella; Caroline Elizabeth.
Mr Sinclair was succeeded by his eldest son,

WILLIAM SINCLAIR JP DL (1810-96), of Holyhill, County Tyrone, and Drumbeg, County Donegal, High Sheriff of County Tyrone, 1854, Barrister, who espoused, in 1830, Sarah, daughter of James Cranborne Strode, and had issue,
William Frederic;
William Frederic;
Donald Brooke;
Alfred Law, Lt-Col, DSO;
Jemima Sarah; Dorothea Mary.
Mr Sinclair was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES MONTGOMERY SINCLAIR JP (1841-99), of Holyhill and Bonnyglen, Inver, County Donegal, High Sheriff of County Donegal, 1899, who married, in 1868, Mary Everina, youngest daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel Hugh Barton, of The Waterfoot, County Fermanagh, and had issue,
Everina Mary Caroline; Rosabel.
Mr Sinclair was succeeded by his only son,

WILLIAM HUGH MONTGOMERY SINCLAIR (1868-1930), of Holyhill and Bonnyglen, Called to the Irish Bar, 1897; Vice-Consul at Manilla, 1900-02; at Boston, 1902-4; Buenos Aires, 1904-7; Emden, 1907-9; Consul for the States of Bahia and Sergipe, 1909.

Mr Sinclair married, in 1924, Elizabeth Elliot (Bessie) Hayes, of Philadelphia, USA, though had no issue.

HOLYHILL HOUSE, near Strabane, County Tyrone, is a plain, three-storey, five-bay Georgian house.

The demesne and house, located in the townland of Hollyhill and the parish of Leckpatrick, date from the late 17th century.

Holyhill House, whitewashed, three-storey with five bays, seems be ca 1736, when William Starratt surveyed of the estate.

It was originally attached in front of an earlier house, which was removed in the early 19th century and replaced with the present building.


William Hugh Montgomery Sinclar served from 1900 in the consular service in Manilla, Boston and Buenos Aires, during which time his mother sold off most of the estate to its tenants between 1904-05 under the terms of the 1903 Land Act.

William Sinclair married the American heiress Elizabeth Elliott Hayes.

Upon her death in 1957, the estate was left to a distant Sinclair relation, Major-General Sir Allan Adair Bt, who sold many of the heirlooms and burned a lot of the estate records.

Sir Allan sold the property in 1983 to Hamilton Thompson, a Strabane pharmacist.

During the Plantation of Ulster, the lands were held by the 1st Earl of Abercorn, who granted them sometime before 1611 to his younger brother, Sir George Hamilton, of Greenlaw, who built a timber house that year.

A document of ca 1680 records that
“Ballyburny alias Holihill” belonged to “James Hamilton Esq. a Minor Sonne to Sir George Hamilton ye Elder” before 1641 and was distributed to Sir George Hamilton afterwards. 
This first house was burned in 1641, and at some time thereafter the property was granted to the family’s agent in the Strabane barony, David Maghee, whose son, Captain George Magee, sold the house to the Rev John Sinclair, who came to Ulster from Caithness and was instituted in the parish of Leckpatrick (in which Holyhill is located), in 1665-66, and to Camus, 1668”.
The residence purchased was rebuilt after 1641, either by James Hamilton or one of his immediate descendants.

The Rev John Sinclair purchased Holyhill with incomes from two parishes: his 1703 memorial re-erected in Leckpatrick Parish Church lauds his staunch defence of the established church and persecution of dissenters.

The Abercorn Papers contain numerous letters about and between Lord Abercorn and Mr Sinclair going back as early as 1749.

In 1756, Lord Abercorn wrote to his agent, Nathaniel Nisbitt,
“When you chance to see Mr Sinclair of Hollyhill, tell him I have not the counterpart of his deed of Holyhill; and that I therefore desire he will give me a copy of it. If he seems to think his title called in question, you may say you know of no such thing, but that you believe I am desirous of having my privileges ascertained.”
On his retirement in 1757, Nisbitt recommended to Abercorn that Sinclair take his place as he was “a rough honest man.

With income as an Abercorn agent, John expanded his demesne in the late 1760s.

He was succeeded at Holyhill by son George, who had been apprenticed to a linen merchant.

George Sinclair died in Limerick between 1803-04, with his body being buried in the old parish graveyard in 1804.

George was succeeded by his nephew, James, who later served as JP in counties Donegal and Tyrone, and took part in parliamentary inquiries in the 1830s and 1840s, including the Devon Commission and the inquiry into the Orange Order, which he held in very low regard, and spoke in favour of Catholic Emancipation at a public meeting of “the nobility, gentry, clergy and freeholders of the County of Tyrone”.


The house is set in a maintained ornamental garden with herbaceous borders and lawns.

A water garden was added in the 1970s.

There are mature trees beyond, in what was described by Young in 1909 as a, ‘… richly wooded park.’

These form a shelter belt round this fine parkland, together with and stands of woodland.

The walled garden is partly cultivated and retains glasshouses.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Edenfel House


THOMAS BUCHANAN, of Carbeth, son of Thomas Buchanan (by Isabel, daughter of Murdoch Stuart, Duke of Albany), third son of Sir Walter de Buchanan, 13th laird of Buchanan, married his cousin, a daughter of Buchanan of that ilk, and had issue,

JOHN BUCHANAN (1545-1619), of Gartincaber, parish of Buchanan, Stirlingshire, who wedded and had issue,

GEORGE BUCHANAN (1578-1660), of Gartincaber, who married Elizabeth, daughter of Walter Leckie, of Dishcour, and had issue,
JOHN, of whom presently;
George (descendants in America);
Thomas, of Gartincaber.
The eldest son,

JOHN BUCHANAN, born in 1615, for whom his father purchased the lands of Blairlusk, Dunbartonshire, espoused his cousin Jean, and had issue,

GEORGE BUCHANAN, of Blairlusk, who sold Blairlusk, 1674, to his brother William, and settled near Omagh, County Tyrone.

He married Elizabeth Mayne, and had issue,

JOHN BUCHANAN, born in 1676, who wedded, in 1703, Catherine Black, and had issue four sons, of whom,
JOHN, his heir;
Thomas, ancestor of JAMES BUCHANAN, 15th President of the USA.
The son and heir,

JOHN BUCHANAN, born in 1704, espoused firstly, in 1735, Jane Nixon, and had issue,

JOHN BUCHANAN, born in 1736, who married firstly, Maria, daughter of Captain Long, which lady dsp.

He wedded secondly, in 1771, Sarah, daughter of Oliver Sproule, and died in 1820, leaving issue, with several daughters,
James, HM Consul-General in America;
JOHN, of whom presently;
The second son,

JOHN BUCHANAN (1779-1842), of Omagh, who purchased Lisnamallard from Sir Hugh Stewart Bt in 1828, wedded, in 1820, Mary Jane, daughter of James Blacker, a divisional magistrate of Dublin, and had issue,
Alexander Carlisle;
LEWIS MANSERGH, of Edenfel and Lisnamallard;
Jane Elizabeth; Sarah Caroline; Elizabeth Eleanor.
The seventh son,

LEWIS MANSERGH BUCHANAN CB (1836-1908), of Edenfel and Lisnamallard, Honorary Colonel and Lieutenant-Colonel Commanding, 4th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, former officer of 88th Connaught Rangers, in which regiment he served throughout the Indian Mutiny.

Colonel Buchanan wedded firstly, in 1862, Eleanor Margaret, daughter of William Whitla, of Lisburn; and secondly, in 1878, Wilhelmina, daughter of George Molony, and had issue,
JOHN BLACKER, his heir;
Lewis Ernest;
Mansergh George Reginald;
Calvert James Stronge;
Ethel Elizabeth; Mary Jane Eleanor; Alice Lilian; Eleanora Agnes.
He espoused secondly, in 1878, Wilhelmina, daughter of George Molony.

Colonel Buchanan's eldest son,

JOHN BLACKER BUCHANAN (1863-1933), of Edenfel, Lieutenant-Colonel, Royal Army Medical Corps, married in 1894, Mary, eldest daughter of the Rev A Harland, of Harefield, Middlesex, and had issue,
Helena Margaret and
Evaleen Mary, twins born 1898;
Mary Elizabeth, born 1905.

EDENFEL HOUSE, near Omagh, County Tyrone, is a large,Victorian, multi-gabled, two-storey, four-by-two bay villa on an ‘L’ plan.

The west elevation has a three-bay range with two gabled breakfronts.

There is a central two-storey porch with pointed-arch doorway.

The main gable has a slim, projecting, two-storey window bay.

A rectangular gabled wing is to the south.

The north elevation has a chamfered bay window below a tripartite rectangular window, and a small lancet with  two-bay wing towards the east.

The slate roof is pitched; and there are decorative barge-boards.

Edenfel was built in 1862 for Colonel L M Buchanan to designs by Boyd & Batt.


EDENFEL HOUSE is on the outskirts of Omagh, not far from Crevenagh to the north-west.

The original gardens had fallen into disrepair, though the grounds are thickly planted with surviving trees.

Shelter renewal planting has taken place since 1972 and augmented with the assistance of a government grant in the early 1990s.

A terraced ornamental garden, adjacent to the house, is partly walled and retains the box-edged beds.

First published in February, 2015.

The Duke of York

His Royal Highness THE PRINCE ANDREW ALBERT CHRISTIAN EDWARD, Duke of York, Earl of Inverness, and Baron Killyleagh, KG, GCVO, is 57 today.

Prince Andrew is a vice-admiral in the Royal Navy and Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Irish Regiment.

  • Royal Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter
  • Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order

Saturday, 18 February 2017

1st Marquess of Hastings


The illustrious family of RAWDON deduced its pedigree from Paulinus de Rawdon, to whom WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR granted considerable estates by the following deed:-
I, King William, in the third year of my reign, give to Paulinus Rawdon, Hope and Hopetown, with all the boundaries both up and down, from heaven to earth, from earth to hell, for you and your heir to dwell, as truly as this kingdom in mine; for a crossbow and an arrow, when I shall come to hunt on Yarrow; and in token that this thing is true, I bite the white wax with my tooth, before Meg, Maud, and Margery, and my third son, Henry.
This Paulinus, or Paulyn, commanded a band of archers in the Norman invading army, and derived his surname of RAWDON from the lands of that denomination, near Leeds, which constituted a portion of the royal grant.

From this successful soldier lineally sprang (19th in descent), through a line of eminent ancestors,

GEORGE RAWDON (1604-84), who settled in Ulster, and took an active part, as a military commander, during the Irish rebellion of 1641; and subsequently, until his decease, in 1684, in the general affairs of that Province.

Mr Rawdon was created a baronet in 1665, being denominated of Moira, County Down.

Sir George married firstly, in 1639, Ursula, daughter of Sir Francis Stafford, of Bradney, Shropshire, and widow of Francis Hill, of Hillhall, by whom he had no surviving issue.

He wedded secondly, in 1654, Dorothy, eldest daughter of Edward, 2nd Viscount Conway, by whom he had,
John, a military man; killed in France, 1656;
ARTHUR, his successor;
Dorothy; Brilliana; Mary.
Sir George was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

SIR ARTHUR RAWDON (1662-95), 2nd Baronet, who espoused Helena, daughter and heir of Sir James Graham, and granddaughter of William, Earl of Menteith, and had, with a daughter, Isabella, married to Sir Richard Levinge Bt, an only son,

SIR JOHN RAWDON (1690-1724), 3rd Baronet, who wedded, in 1717, Dorothy, second daughter of Sir Richard Levinge Bt, Speaker of the Irish House of Commons, by whom he had, with other children, his successor,

SIR JOHN RAWDON (1720-93), 4th Baronet, was elevated to the peerage, in 1750, as Baron Rawdon, of Moira, County Down.

His lordship was further advanced to an earldom, as EARL OF MOIRA, in 1762.

His lordship espoused firstly, in 1741, Helena, youngest daughter of John, Earl of Egmont, by whom he had two daughters, Catherine and Helena.

Lord Moira married secondly, in 1746, Anne, daughter of Trevor, 1st Viscount Hillsborough, by whom he had no issue; and thirdly, in 1752, the Lady Elizabeth Hastings, eldest daughter Theophilus, 9th Earl of Huntingdon, who inherited the baronies of Hastings etc upon the demise of her brother Francis, 10th Earl of Huntingdon, without issue, 1789.

By this last union his lordship had issue,
FRANCIS, his successor;
John Theophilus;
Selina Frances; Charlotte Adelaide Constantia; Anne Elizabeth.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

FRANCIS EDWARD (1754-1826), 2nd Earl, KG GCB etc, a gallant soldier, an eloquent senator, and a popular statesman, who wedded, in 1804, the Lady Flora Mure-Campbell, suo jure Countess of Loudoun, only daughter of James, 5th Earl of Loudoun, and had issue,
Flora Elizabeth, Lady of the Bedchamber to HRH The Duchess of Kent;
Sophia Frederica Christina; Selina Constance; Adelaide Augusta Lavinia.
His lordship inherited, upon the demise of his mother, in 1808, the ancient baronies of Hastings, Hungerford, etc; and was created, in 1816, Viscount LoudounEarl of Rawdon, and MARQUESS OF HASTINGS.

He had been previously created a peer of Great Britain, 1783, by the title of Baron Rawdon, of Rawdon, Yorkshire.

All of these subsidiary titles, including the Baronetcy, became extinct following the death of the 4th Marquess and 8th Baronet, in 1868. 

MoiraCastle. Photo credit: Royal Irish Academy © RIA

Shortly after acquiring Moira Castle, Major Rawdon married Lord Conway's daughter.

He was to give fifty years of devoted service to the family, serving three successive Viscounts Conway, the 3rd Viscount of whom was created Earl of Conway.

When George Rawdon acquired Moira demesne and other land, he established a dynasty similar to that of the Hill family at Hillsborough  (Marquesses of Downshire).

Later, his own descendants were to marry into the Hill family, who were among the richest landowners in the Kingdom.

Rawdon was created a baronet in 1665.

Sir George, 1st Baronet, had done much to foster the early growth and development of Lisburn after the Rebellion.

His family was largely responsible for the foundation of Moira as it is today.

He was known as the "Great Highwayman", responsible for constructing many of the highways in the county.

Sir George's wife, Dorothy, died in 1665 and was buried in the chancel of Lisburn Cathedral.

Sir George died in 1683 and was also buried in Lisburn Cathedral.

He was succeeded by his son Arthur, 2nd Baronet (1662-95) who, like his father, was a member of Parliament, and was one of the generals in King William of Orange's armies.

When King William landed in Ireland, Sir Arthur raised troops and rallied to his side.

Before long he was besieged at Derry where he became ill, but, encouraged by his friends, he managed to escape and so ended his part in military affairs.

When Sir Arthur inherited the lands at Moira he rebuilt the mansion, which became one of the most magnificent castles in the country. Records describe this mansion as a 

"commodious habitation, surrounded by a wood, which affords beautiful walks, a large lawn extends in front, where sheep feed, and is terminated by trees, and a small Lough eastwards, the rear of the castle grounds contains a wood, with large opening fronting the castle, which forms a fine perspective".

The 2nd Baronet was a renowned botanist and, on his estate at Moira, he built the first hot-house in Europe.

The gardens were adorned with a pretty labyrinth, ponds, canals and woods.

In Lisburn, Lord Hertford had beautiful hanging gardens which were the inspiration of Sir Arthur Rawdon, and they cascaded from the present Castle Gardens to the large basin.

All that remains today are the terraces, which are maintained by the local Council.

Just over twenty years ago they were a wilderness and some shrubs remained, which may have been part of the original planting.

Sir Arthur lived only a short time to enjoy the garden which he created and loved; he died in 1695, at the premature age of thirty-four.

For two generations Rawdon's descendants maintained the garden; however, when, in 1788, Moira passed into other hands, the garden became neglected and was subsequently vandalised.

By the middle of the next century there were scarcely any trees of note.

Nothing now remains of either house nor gardens.

Sir Arthur's successor was Sir John, 3rd Baronet (1690-1723).

Throughout his short life he suffered from tuberculosis.

At the time of his death, St John's Church in Moira had just been consecrated.

He was buried in the family vault underneath the church.

Sir Hans Sloane encouraged Sir John to correspond and, in 1711, in response to a letter from Sloane enquiring about the plants at Moira, Sir John replied that owing to the 'carelessness of servants and the death of Mr Harlow, most of the plants were withered to nothing'.

Outside, however, the trees and shrubs fared better.

His son, also Sir John, 4th Baronet (1720-93), inherited the estates and the baronetcy at the age of three.

Sir John was later elevated to the peerage as Baron Rawdon and further ennobled as Earl of Moira in 1762.

Lord Moira was a well known figure in Irish government circles.

When he died in 1793, his funeral was said to have been the largest ever seen in the Kingdom of Ireland: Over four hundred horse-drawn carriages were in the procession from all parts of the country.

He died at his grand town residence in Dublin, Moira House, and was buried in the family vault at St John's, Moira.

The 1st Earl, by this stage, had removed the family seat to Montalto, near Ballynahinch.

The 2nd Earl, afterwards 1st Marquess of Hastings KG PC, Francis Rawdon-Hastings (right), was undoubtedly the most distinguished member of the Rawdon family.

He took on his mother's maiden name, inherited his mother's titles as well as his father's, and also much of the estates belonging to the Huntingdon dynasty.

He was educated at Harrow and, in 1774, went to America and fought with distinction in the American War of Independence, and was present at the Battle of Bunker's Hill.

Lord Moira became Adjutant-General of the British Armed Forces in America, and during the illness of Lord Cornwallis, commanded the armies that brought victory to the colonists.

He is said to have been one of the most courageous generals in the whole war.

Some of his soldiers founded towns in America called Moira, in memory of his exploits.

One can be found in New York State, and another in Canada where there is also a river of the same name.

On his return home, the 2nd Earl became an MP and was an advocate of the Act of Union.

He later became the first Governor-General of India (1813); and, having purchased Singapore Island in 1819, was largely responsible for the establishment of India as an important part of the British Empire.

The 2nd Earl's reward for this illustrious service was to be further ennobled as Marquess of Hastings in 1817.

The 1st Marquess, by now a knight of the Garter and privy counsellor, was, in 1824, appointed the first Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Malta, where he died off Naples in 1826. Lord Hastings was buried at Valetta.

By 1805 the Rawdon family had moved to their other estates in Ireland, including Montalto at Ballynahinch.

The new tenant of Moira Castle was William Sharman, a member of Grattan's Parliament, who was very prominent in the history of the area.

This family owned Moira Castle only for a relatively short period.

The last direct descendant, Henry Rawdon, a great nephew, became 4th Marquess of Hastings and died without issue.

As a consequence, the titles became extinct in 1868.

At this stage the Moira demesne was purchased by Sir Robert Bateson, Bt, who also owned Belvoir Park in Belfast.

The Bateson family did not live for any lengthy period in Moira and used the Castle as a secondary residence. Bateson's son Thomas became 1st Baron Deramore.

Former seats ~ Donington Hall, Leicestershire; Rawdon Hall, Yorkshire; Loudoun Castle, Ayrshire; Moira, County Down; and Montalto, County Down.

First published in June, 2010.   Hastings arms courtesy of European Heraldry.