Sunday, 9 December 2018

Mount Stewart Memories: I


The swimming-pool at Mount Stewart was such a fun place for children.

My sister Charlotte and I loved every minute of going there.

I have virtually an album full of photographs of enjoyable times on hot days at the swimming pool.

As I remember, the last summer we used the pool daily, as opposed to intermittently thereafter, was 1977. 

I was born at Newtownards in 1963 and, my parents having married whilst my father was an undergraduate at Oxford, had no proper home at first so, my mother having returned to Northern Ireland for me to be born, they then left me with my grandmother [Lady Mairi] for the first six months of my life.

Thereafter, during all my childhood and school-days, we spent huge amounts of the holidays at Mount Stewart - pretty well every Christmas and New Year, a month every summer (much spent at the pool), and occasional Easters.

My wonderful grandmother gave me my driving lessons in her lime green Rover (with bright orange interior) on the estate roads. 

Curiously enough I was always back at boarding school by the time the rhododendrons were in full flower so it was only in the 1990s when we now stayed with my grandmother in May most years that I saw them for the first time in all their glory.

First published in November, 2010.

Saturday, 8 December 2018

1st Baron O'Neill


THE REV WILLIAM CHICHESTER (1813-83), eldest son of the Rev Edward Chichester, great-great-great-grandson of the Hon John Chichester, younger brother of Arthur, 2nd Earl of Donegall, succeeded, in 1855, to the estates of his kinsman John, 3rd Viscount O'Neill.

In the same year he assumed (by royal licence) the surname of O'NEILL.

He married firstly, in 1839, Henrietta, daughter of Robert Torrens, a Judge of the Common Pleas in Ireland, and had issue,
EDWARD, of whom hereafter;

The Rev William O'Neill wedded secondly, in 1858, Elizabeth Grace, daughter of the Ven Dr Robert John Torrens, Archdeacon of Dublin.

He was elevated to the peerage, in 1868, in the dignity of BARON O'NEILL, of Shane's Castle, County Antrim.

His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

EDWARD, 2nd Baron, JP DL (1839-1928), who espoused, in 1873, the Lady Louisa Katherine Emma Cochrane, daughter of the 11th Earl of Dundonald, and had issue,
William Thomas Cochrane (1874-82);
Arthur Edward Bruce (1876-1914), killed in action;
Robert William Hugh, 1st BARON RATHCAVAN;
Louisa Henrietta Valdivia; Rose Anne Mary; Alice Asmaralda.
His lordship was succeeded by his grandson (son of the Hon Arthur Edward Bruce O'Neill),

SHANE EDWARD ROBERT, 3rd Baron (1907-44), who married, in 1932, Anne Geraldine Mary, daughter of the Hon Guy Lawrence Charteris (second son of 9th Earl of Wemyss), and had issue,
Fionn Frances Bride.
The 3rd Baron was killed in action, 1944, during the 2nd World War, and was succeeded by his only son,

RAYMOND ARTHUR CLANABOY, 4th and present Baron, KCVO TD (1933-), of Shane's Castle, who wedded, in 1963, Georgina Mary, daughter of Lord George Francis John Montagu Scott, and has issue,
Tyrone Alexander, b 1966;
Rory St John, b 1968.
THE HON SHANE SEBASTIAN CLANABOY O'NEILL (1965-), married, in 1997, Celia Frances, daughter of Peter Hickman, and has issue,
CON, b 2000;
Hugo Peter Raymond, b 2002.

I have written about the house of O'Neill here.

4th & present Lord O'Neill. Photo credit: Randalstown Heritage Society

The present Lord O'Neill's main interests include conservation, transport history and tourism.

He was chairman of the National Trust in NI for many years and a former chairman of the NI Tourist Board.

Lord O'Neill's passion is railways, particularly trains.

I recall the Shane's Castle railway, which ran through the demesne, and visited it as a child.

He was the stepson of Ian Fleming, the James Bond creator.

His uncle Terence, Lord O'Neill of the Maine, was a former Prime Minister of Northern Ireland.

The Shane's Castle estate is one of the largest private demesnes in Northern Ireland, extending to some 3,000 acres.

It lies in a particularly scenic, not to say strategic, position on the northeast shore of Lough Neagh, between Antrim and Randalstown.

Part of the Estate is a nature reserve.

The O'Neill family has had a hapless history with regard to the fate of their houses: the first Shane's Castle dated from the early 1600s and was utterly destroyed by an accidental fire in 1816.

The family moved to a small house adjoining the stables.

This house was replaced in 1865 by a larger, Gothic-Victorian castle which was burnt by the IRA in 1922 (as was the near by Antrim Castle).

Its ruin was subsequently cleared away, and for the next 40 or so years the family lived once again in the stables.

The present Neo-Georgian mansion house (above) at Shane's Castle, County Antrim, was built in 1958 for the present Lord O'Neill to the designs of Arthur Jury, of Blackwood & Jury, architects.

The formal gardens to the south were laid out from the 1960s.

This house was built to replace a Victorian predecessor designed by architects Lanyon, Lynn & Lanyon, which was built in 1865 on a site immediately to the north, facing this house across the stable yard, but which was maliciously burnt in 1922.

The Victorian castle was itself a replacement for the original Shane's Castle, which was accidentally burnt in 1816.

A proposal to replace the Victorian castle with a neo-Georgian house designed by the English architect Oliver Hill in 1938 was not carried out.

The present neo-Georgian house is classical and well-proportioned, with a handsome fanlighted doorway.

First published in July, 2008. O'Neill arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Friday, 7 December 2018

Ballyscullion Park


This is a branch of the Bruces of Stenhouse, a suburb of Edinburgh, springing from,

SIR ROBERT BRUCE, of Airth, who wedded Janet, daughter of Alexander, 5th Lord Livingston, and had issue,
John (Sir), whose male line is extinct;
WILLIAM, ancestor of the baronets of Stenhouse; and
THE REV ROBERT BRUCE (1554-1631), a distinguished personage in the reign of JAMES VI, King of Scotland, who had the honour of crowning that monarch's Queen.

A younger son of that eminent clergyman,

THE REV MICHAEL BRUCE, settled at Killinchy, in County Down, but was driven, with other ministers, thence into Scotland, in 1651, by Colonel Venables, and the parliamentarians, for his fidelity to the King.

In 1668 he was sent prisoner to Westminster, for officiating in private as a minister of the Gospel.

He returned to Killinchy, however, in 1669, after undergoing great hardships, and a long imprisonment in England and Scotland.

Mr Bruce died about 1692, leaving a son,

THE REV JAMES BRUCE, Minister of Killyleagh, who married Margaret, daughter of  Lieutenant-Colonel James Traill, and was father of

THE REV PATRICK BRUCE, Minister of Drumbo, County Down, who removed for a time to Scotland, and afterwards succeeded his father as minister of Killyleagh.

He wedded, in 1718, Margaret, daughter of James Hamilton, of Ladyland, in Galloway, and had several children, of whom the eldest son,

JAMES BRUCE, of Killyleagh, born in 1720, married Henrietta, youngest daughter of the Hon and Rev Dr Henry Hervey Aston Bruce (fourth son of 1st Earl of Bristol, by Catherine, sister and heiress of Sir Thomas Aston Bt), and had issue, 
Stewart, created a baronet in 1812;
Frideswide, m, 1781, to D Mussenden, of Larchfield, Co Down.
Mr Bruce was succeeded by his elder son,

THE REV HENRY HERVEY ASTON BRUCE, of Downhill, County Londonderry, who was created a baronet in 1804, denominated of Downhill, County Londonderry.

Sir Henry espoused, in 1786, Letitia, daughter of the Rev Dr Henry Barnard, and had issue,
Frederick Hervey, b 1787, died unmarried;
James Robertson, 2nd Baronet;
HENRY WILLIAM, of whom hereafter.
Sir Henry's youngest son,

ADMIRAL SIR HENRY WILLIAM BRUCE KCB (1792-1863), of Ballyscullion Park, married firstly, in 1822, Jane, daughter of Admiral the Hon Sir Alexander Forrester Cochrane, and had issue,
Alexander Hervey, an army officer;
He wedded secondly, in 1832, Louisa Mary Minchin, daughter of Colonel George Dalrymple, and had further issue,
James Minchin, Rear-Admiral, RN. 
Admiral Bruce's second son, 

LIEUTENANT-COLONEL HENRY STEWART BERESFORD BRUCE JP DL (1824-1908), of Ballyscullion Park, espoused firstly, in 1846, Marriette, daughter of John Hill, and by her had seven sons and four daughters; of whom the third son,

STEWART ARMIT MacDONALD BRUCE JP (1858-1937), was of Ballyscullion Park.

THE MULHOLLANDS are a branch of the ancient sept of MacLallan, Argyllshire.

They were first established in County Antrim, whence they spread into the counties of Kilkenny, Carlow, Londonderry, and Monaghan.

In the last-named county, Captain John Mulholland held the estate of Conaghty by grant from the Crown; and his lineal descendant, John Mulholland, served as High Sheriff in 1766.

ANDREW MULHOLLAND JP DL (1792-1866), of Springvale (Ballywalter Park), County Down, was the son of Thomas Mulholland (1756-1820), of Belfast.

THE RT HON HENRY GEORGE HILL MULHOLLAND (1888-1971), was the third son of Henry, 2nd Baron Dunleath, and Norah Louisa Fanny Ward.

He served as MP for Ards and Speaker of the NI House of Commons, Stormont.

In 1945, Mr Mulholland was created a baronet, denominated of Ballyscullion Park, County Londonderry.

Sir Harry married, in 1914, Sheelagh, daughter of Sir Arthur Douglas Brooke Bt, and by her had issue,
Michael Henry, 2nd Baronet and 5th Baron Dunleath;
SYLVIA PATRICIA NORAH, of whom we treat.
Sir Harry's only daughter,

SYLVIA PATRICIA NORAH MULHOLLAND (b 1918), wedded, in 1939, Major Timothy Palmer, and had issue,
Amanda Clare, b 1950;
RICHARD TIMOTHY MULHOLLAND PALMER (b 1954), is now of Ballyscullion Park.

BALLYSCULLION PARK, near Bellaghy, County Londonderry, is a two-storey, five-bay Victorian country house.

It was built in 1840 by the distinguished architect (Sir) Charles Lanyon for Admiral Sir Henry William Bruce KCB, a younger son of Sir Henry Hervey Bruce Bt (1820-1907).

Stones were taken from the Earl-Bishop’s palaces at Downhill and Ballyscullion to build Ballyscullion Park.

The front portico has four columns (two square, two round) with pilaster Tuscan capitals, supporting a frieze with triglyph & mutule, deep cornice and blocked parapet.

There are ashlar steps and side blocks; deep overhanging eaves and pitched roofs.

The northern elevation was formerly glassed in.

Ballyscullion Park remained in the Bruce family until it was bought by Sir Henry and Lady Mulholland in 1938.

Sir Henry, 1st Baronet, was Speaker of the Northern Ireland House of Commons from 1929 to 1945.

During the 2nd World War the estate, renamed Camp Ballyscullion, was prepared by the 202nd Engineering Combat Battalion for US soldiers of the 82nd Airborne Division before D-Day.

Ballyscullion Park remains a private home owned by the Mulholland family.

It may be hired as a wedding venue or film location: part of Game of Thrones was filmed in the park.

This partly walled demesne was established in 1787 for Frederick, 4th Earl of Bristol and Lord Bishop of Derry, commonly known as The Earl-Bishop.

That palatial country house was sadly was never completed, though the central rotunda (a prototype for the considerably larger Ickworth House) was finished.

Remnants of what was once known as "The Bishop's Folly" lie in the woodland, having been partly demolished in 1813.

Nearby stands the present Ballyscullion Park, which overlooks Lough Beg and distant mountains beyond, affording fine views and incorporating the spire of a church on an island in the lough.

This was added as a folly tower in order to provide an eye-catcher from the original palace.

The Earl-Bishop chose this location for his late 18th century building as he considered it, ‘... not to be inferior to any Italian scenery’.

The foreground to the lough is in the manner of parkland with stands of trees.

There are effective shelter belts in what is flat exposed land.

Close to the stable-yard lies the partly walled garden, which is cultivated as an ornamental and productive garden for present-day family use.

First published in December, 2014.

1st Marquess of Bute


This noble family claims direct descent from the royal and unfortunate house of STUART.

SIR JOHN STUART, "The Black Stewart", natural son of ROBERT II, King of Scotland, obtained from his father a grant of lands in the Isle of Bute, with the heritable sheriffdom of Bute, Arran, etc, subsequently confirmed by charter of ROBERT III, dated 1400.

He wedded Jean, daughter of Sir John Sympil, of Eliotstoun.

The great-grandson of this marriage,

NINIAN STUART, having succeeded his father in the sheriffdom of Bute, obtained, in 1498, a new grant of the hereditary custody of Rothesay Castle, with a salary of eighty marks yearly out of the Lordship of Bute.

He died in 1509, and was succeeded by his son,

JAMES STUART, who was installed in his estate and heritable constabulary of Rothesay Castle in 1509.

The grandson of this James,

SIR JAMES STUART, Knight, of Bute, married Elizabeth, daughter and co-heir of Robert Hepburn, of Foord, by whom he acquired the estate of Foord, with several other lands in Haddingtonshire, and was succeeded by his son,

SIR JOHN STUART, of Bute, who was created a baronet in 1627; and adhering to the royal cause during the civil wars, suffered considerably both by fines and sequestration.

Sir John wedded Grizel, daughter of Sir Dugald Campbell, of Auchinbreck, and had, with other issue, his eldest son and successor,

SIR DUGALD STUART, 2nd Baronet, who married, in 1658, Elizabeth, daughter John Ruthven, of Dunglass, and granddaughter, maternally, of Alexander, 1st Earl of Leven, by whom he had (besides daughters), two sons, of whom the elder,

THE RT HON SIR JAMES STUART, 3rd Baronet, who, being of the privy council to ANNE, and one of the commissioners appointed to treat of a union with England, in 1702, which did not then take effect, was elevated to the peerage, in the following year, by the titles of Earl of Bute, Viscount Kingarth, and Lord Mount Stuart, Cumra, and Inchmarnock, to himself and his heirs male whatever.

In 1706, his lordship opposed the union with all his might; and when he discovered that a majority of parliament was in favour of the measure, withdrew from the house, and retired to his country seat.

His lordship, dying in 1710, was succeeded by the only son of his first marriage,

JAMES, 2nd Earl; who, after the demise of his maternal uncle, and much litigation, succeeded to the estate of Rosehaugh.

His lordship espoused Anne, daughter of Archibald, 1st Duke of Argyll; and dying in 1723, this nobleman was succeeded by his elder son,

JOHN, 3rd Earl, KG (1713-92), who married Mary, only daughter of Edward Wortley-Montagu, of Wortley, Yorkshire, and great-granddaughter of Edward, 1st Earl of Sandwich.

Her ladyship was created, in 1761, Baroness Mount Stuart, with remainder to her male issue by the Earl of Bute.

His lordship was a minister of the crown from 1737, when he was made a lord of the police, until his resignation of the high office of 1st Lord of the Treasury, in 1763.

He died in 1792, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN, 4th Earl (1744-1814), who had succeeded upon the demise of his mother, in 1794, to the barony of Mount Stuart, having been previously (1776) created Baron Cardiff, of Cardiff Castle.

His lordship was advanced, in 1796, to the dignity of Viscount Mountjoy, in the Isle of Wight; Earl of Windsor, and MARQUESS OF BUTE.

He espoused firstly, in 1766, Charlotte Jane Hickman-Windsor, eldest daughter and co-heir of Herbert, 2nd and last Viscount Windsor, of the Kingdom of Ireland.
The heir apparent is the present holder's son, John Bryson Crichton-Stuart, styled Earl of Dumfries.

SIR ROBERT CRICHTON, of Sanquhar, Dumfriesshire, probably descended from a son of Alexander Crichton, of Crichton, Edinburgh, 1296, signalized himself at Lochmaben, against the Duke of Albany and the Earl of Douglas, when they made an incursion into Scotland, in 1484.

This Sir Robert was created a peer of parliament, in 1488, by the title of Lord Crichton of Sanquhar.

From his lordship descended lineally

WILLIAM, 7th Lord, who was advanced to a viscountcy, in 1622, as Viscount of Ayr, and Lord Sanquhar; and further advanced, 1633, to the dignity of an earldom, as EARL OF DUMFRIES.

DUMFRIES HOUSE, near Cumnock, Ayrshire, was built in 1760 for William Crichton-Dalrymple, 5th Earl of Dumfries.

The 5th Earl's antecedent, William Crichton, 7th Lord Crichton of Sanquhar and 1st Earl of Dumfries, purchased the estate in 1635 from the Crawford family.

The 5th Earl died died eight years after the House had been completed, when the estates passed to his nephew, Patrick McDouall (1726-1803), 6th Earl.

The 6th Earl's only daughter and heir, Lady Elizabeth McDouall-Crichton, wedded John, Lord Mount Stuart, eldest son of John 1st Marquess of Bute.

John, 2nd Marquess of Bute, was the eldest son of this marriage, which combined the estates and titles of the Crichtons and Stuarts.

Dumfries House, Palladian in style, is noted as being one of the few such houses with much of its original 18th-century furniture still present, including specially commissioned Thomas Chippendale pieces.

The house and estate is now owned in charitable trust by the The Great Steward of Scotland's Dumfries House Trust, who maintain it as a visitor attraction and hospitality and wedding venue.

Both the House and the gardens are listed as significant aspects of Scottish heritage.

The estate and an earlier house was originally called Leifnorris, owned by the Crawfords of Loudoun.

The present house was built in the 1750s for William Dalrymple, 5th Earl of Dumfries, by John and Robert Adam.

Having been inherited by the 2nd Marquess of Bute in 1814, it remained in his family until 7th Marquess decided to sell it due to the cost of upkeep.
Due to its significance and the risk of the furniture collection being distributed and auctioned, after three years of uncertainty, in 2007 the estate and its entire contents was purchased for £45m for the country by a consortium headed by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, Duke of Rothesay, including a £20m loan from the Prince's charitable trust.
The intention was to renovate the estate to become self-sufficient, both to preserve it and regenerate the local economy.

As well as donors and sponsorship, funding is also intended to come from constructing the nearby housing development of Knockroon, a planned community along the lines of the Prince's similar venture, Poundbury in Dorset.

The house duly re-opened in 2008, equipped for public tours.

Since then various other parts of the estate have been re-opened for various uses, to provide both education and employment, as well as funding the trust's running costs.

The Marquesses of Bute owned a further 29,279 acres of land in Bute, 21,402 acres in Glamorganshire, and 20,157 acres in Wigtownshire.

Seat ~ Mount Stuart, Isle of Bute.

Former seats ~ Luton Hoo, Bedfordshire; Cardiff Castle, Glamorganshire; Dumfries House, Ayrshire.

First published in April, 2014.  Bute arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Brackenber Prospectus: II


Very little home-work is required of the younger boys but about 1½ hours' preparation every evening is expected of the Upper Forms. The work set should be done without any outside help, and may be prepared under supervision at the school, from 4pm to 5pm. on work afternoons and from 4.30-5.30 on Games days.


Games are played on two afternoons a week in the Winter terms and on three afternoons in the Summer, and all boys are expected to take part in them. They are carefully coached under the supervision of the Headmaster, and keenness is encouraged. The Ground is at Ormeau (by arrangement with the North of Ireland Cricket and Football club). The games played are Cricket, Association and Rugby Football and Table Tennis.

Athletic Sports take place during the Summer Term.

Boxing, Judo and Swimming, though voluntary, are encouraged. Boxing and Judo lessons are given at the School and boys learning Swimming attend the Baths once a week during the Summer Term.

A systematic course of Physical Training is given twice a week.


Discipline is in the hands of the Headmaster. Boys are required to attend School punctually and regularly. Sickness is the only recognised reason for absence, unless permission from the Headmaster has been previously obtained. The conduct of boys outside the School will be dealt with by the Headmaster if it is of such a kind as to reflect discredit on the School.


In the Upper Forms English Classics are read, and the boys' reading of good literature is encouraged. A Recitation competition takes place at the end of each term.

For the purpose of encouraging keenness in work and games the School is divided into four "Sections", between which there is continuous competition.

The School has a Debating Society, a small Library and a Chess Club, which are run by the boys themselves, under supervision of a member of the Staff.

Part III shall include Admission, Reports, School Terms, Removal and Dress.

First published in February, 2011.

Noble of Glasdrumman


JAMES NOBLE, of Glasdrumman, Lisnaskea, County Fermanagh, whose arms were "or, two lions passant in pale sable between two flaunches azure, over all on a fesse gules, three bezants", died in 1720, leaving issue, amongst others,
MUNGO, of whom presently;
James, of Clontivern.
The elder son,

MUNGO NOBLE, married firstly, in 1725, Prudence, daughter of Patrick Bredin, of Drumcagh, County Fermanagh, and had issue,
JAMES, of whom presently;
Jerome, an officer in the army;
Susanna; Jane.
Mungo Noble wedded secondly, in 1741, Mary, daughter of the Rev William Leslie, of Aghavea, County Fermanagh, and had issue,
William (Rev), Vicar of Holy Trinity, Cork;
Mungo, East India Company;
Mr Noble died in 1754, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES NOBLE (1727-80), of Glasdrumman, High Sheriff of County Fermanagh, 1755, who espoused, in 1755, Catherine, eldest daughter of WILLIAM WALLER, of Allenstown, County Meath, and eventually heiress in her issue to Waller of Allenstown.

She died in 1791, having had issue, four sons and five daughters, namely,
MUNGO HENRY, of whom hereafter;
William James;
Robert Thomas;
Anna Maria; Susan; Leonora; Prudence; Mary Martha.
Mr Noble was succeeded by his eldest and only surviving son,

THE REV MUNGO HENRY NOBLE (1759-1831), of Glasdrumman, Rector of Clongill, County Meath, who married, in 1794, Maria, only child of the Rt Hon and Most Rev Dr William Newcome, Lord Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, by his first wife, Susanna, only surviving child and heiress of Sir Thomas D'Oyly Bt, of Chiselhampton, Oxfordshire.

On the death, in 1733, of her grand-uncle, the Rev Sir John D'Oyly, 4th Baronet, the late heir male, Miss Newcome became ex parte materna, sole heir-general to D'Oyly of Chiselhampton.

On the death of Robert Waller in 1809, the property of Allenstown, County Meath, devolved upon the Rev Mungo Henry Noble, in right of his mother, Catherine Waller, whereupon he assumed the arms and surname of WALLER in addition to those of NOBLE.

By his wife, Maria Newcome, Mungo Henry Noble Waller had issue,
William Henry, of Allenstown;
ROBERT, of whom presently;
John (Rev);
Susanna; Maria.
Mungo Henry Noble Waller was succeeded in his County Fermanagh property by his second son,

THE REV ROBERT NOBLE (1796-1870), of Glasdrumman, Rector and Vicar of the united parishes of Athboy, Kildalky, Girley, Rathmore, and Moyagher, County Meath, who wedded, in 1833, Catherine, eldest daughter of the Rev James Annesley Burrowes, Rector of Castleconnor, County Sligo, by his wife, Catherine Stock, daughter of the Rt Rev Joseph Stock, Lord Bishop of Killala, and had issue,
WILLIAM HENRY, of whom presently;
John D'Oyly;
James Burrowes;
Edwin St George;
Robert D'Oyly;
Arthur Annesley Burrowes;
Ernest Newcome;
Shirley Waller;
Helen Catherine; Emily Mary; Maria Louisa.
The Rev Robert Noble was succeeded by his eldest son,

MAJOR-GENERAL WILLIAM HENRY NOBLE (1834-92), of Glasdrumman, who wedded, in 1861, Emily, eldest daughter of Frederick Marriott, of Taunton, Somerset, by his wife, Mary Anne, only daughter and heiress of Francis Gibbons, of Wellingborough, and had issue,
Vere D'Oyly;
Mawde Lettice; Ethel Emily D'Oyly; Violet Alice Agnes; Phyllis D'Oyly; Sybil Cholmley Waller.
General Noble was succeeded by his eldest son,

SHIRLEY NEWCOME NOBLE (1865-1920), of Glasdrumman, Lieutenant, 5th Battalion, Leinster Regiment.

Glasdrumman is a townland to the east of Lisnaskea, County Fermanagh.

It is believed that the Noble family estate was here.

First published in December, 2016.

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Danesfort House


JOHN BARBOUR (1755-1823), Honorary Freeman of the Borough of Paisley, 1811, married and was father of

WILLIAM BARBOUR JP (1798-1825), of Hilden, Lisburn, County Antrim, who wedded Elizabeth Kennedy, of Grove Green, Lisburn, and was father of

JOHN DOUGHERTY BARBOUR JP DL (1823-1901), of Conway, Dunmurry, County Antrim, Hilden, Leamington, Warwickshire, and Wrentnall, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, who espoused, in 1864, Elizabeth, eldest daughter of John Milne, of Trinity Grove, Edinburgh.

His brother,

 Photo credit: Irish Linen Centre & Lisburn Museum

(1830-78), above, built Danesfort House, Belfast.

The village of Hilden, near Lisburn, owed its fame to the linen thread works of Messrs Barbour. In 1784, Mr John Barbour, of Paisley, who frequently visited Ulster in connection with linen yarns, decided to take up his residence there.

He established himself at The Plantation, where he erected mills. He instructed the young women of the neighbourhood in the art of linen thread making, and carried on a successful business for many years.

He died in 1823, and was succeeded by his two sons, John and William, who eventually separated, John remaining at The Plantation and William removing to Hilden.

The second John Barbour died in 1831, and his brother William then purchased the whole plant, which he brought to his own works at Hilden, where the business was known as William Barbour & Sons, Ltd.

William Barbour died leaving seven sons and several daughters. The sons who took the most active interest in the linen thread business were: John D, Robert, Samuel and Thomas.

Robert extended the operations of the firm to America, where a most prosperous business has been established.

John D Barbour devoted his energies to the business at Hilden, and became a prominent figure in political and civil life, marrying the daughter of John Milne JP, of Edinburgh, and had three sons: Frank Barbour, John Milne Barbour and Harold Adrian Barbour, all of whom became directors. 

I have written about the Barbour baronetcy here.

DANESFORT HOUSE, Malone Road, Belfast, has been described by Mark Bence-Jones as "one of the finest High-Victorian mansions in Ireland".

Danesfort was built in 1864 for Samuel Barbour to the designs of William J Barre.

The late Sir Charles Brett colourfully described the house as "a sort of a French-Italian-English ch√Ęteau".

It is dominated by a lofty and most elaborate tower with a mansard roof, resting on an arcade of what Sir Charles called "square cabbagey columns", constituting a porte-cochere.

Danesfort was inherited by Margaret, daughter of Samuel Barbour and wife of Mr Charles Duffin.

Inside there is a fine, arcaded, balustraded stairway in the entrance hall, with some rooms grouped around it.

The Italianate interior is replete with marble fireplaces, elaborate gilt frames to full-height mirrors, arcaded walls, and plasterwork cornices.

One ceiling rose has a radial arrangement of short, stumpy, foliated columns; a trademark, perhaps, of Barre's taste for the High Victorian Gothic.

DANESFORT HOUSE  was built on what had previously been known as 'Pleasure-House Hill', seemingly on the site of an old rath or fort.

During the process of excavating the ground for the building, several funerary urns and some sixteen or so hatchets were found.

They were subsequently mounted and exhibited in cabinets in the library by the first owner of the house.

When Samuel Barbour died in 1878, Danesfort was left to his widow in trust for their daughter.

She married Charles Duffin in 1883 and the property remained in the Duffin name until the 1940s, when it was bought by Gallaher Limited, who subsequently sold it to the Electricity Board for Northern Ireland for use as an administrative centre.

After some years of neglect and subsequent decay, following the building of a large office block near by, a major and timely restoration of Danesfort was undertaken by Northern Ireland Electricity in 1984-87.

Danesfort is now the office of the United States Consul-General in Belfast.

First published in December, 2012.