Wednesday, 12 December 2018

1st Viscount Pirrie

THE VISCOUNTCY OF PIRRIE WAS CREATED IN 1921 FOR THE RT HON WILLIAM JAMES BARON PIRRIE,  KP, PC

RMS TITANIC WAS LAUNCHED AT THE PORT OF BELFAST ON THE 31ST MAY, 1911. LORD PIRRIE WAS CHAIRMAN OF THE BELFAST SHIPYARD, HARLAND & WOLFF, AT THE TIME

WILLIAM PIRRIE, of Conlig House, County Down, married Elizabeth, daughter of William Morrison, and Letitia, his wife, daughter of Robert Miller, of Conlig, and Elizabeth, his wife, daughter of Thomas Leach, of Rathgael, who died in 1756.

He left issue, three sons and four daughters, of whom the second son,

JAMES ALEXANDER PIRRIE, of Little Clandeboye, County Down, wedded Eliza, daughter of Alexander Montgomery, of Dundesert, County Antrim.

Mr Pirrie died in 1849, leaving (with a daughter, Eliza, who married, in 1870, the Rt Hon Thomas Andrews), an only son,

 WILLIAM JAMES PIRRIE (1847-1924), born at Quebec, Canada.
W J Pirrie's grandfather, Captain William Pirrie, of Conlig, County Down, was the son of a tenant farmer from Auchenmalg, Wigtownshire. Captain Pirrie was a trader in the Mediterranean Sea during the Napoleonic Wars; and was instrumental in the drainage of Belfast Lough. 



    • Right Honourable Lord Mayor of Belfast, 1896
    • Privy Counsellor (I), 1897
    • High Sheriff of County Antrim, 1898
    • Created Baron Pirrie, 1906
    • Comptroller of the Household to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, 1907-13
    • Order of St Patrick (KP), 1908
    • HM Lord-Lieutenant of the City of Belfast, 1911-24
    • Privy Counsellor (UK), 1918
    • Northern Ireland Senator, 1921
    • Advanced to a viscountcy, as Viscount Pirrie, 1924
    Pirrie Memorial at City Hall, Belfast

    Lord and Lady Pirrie's principal residence in Northern Ireland was Ormiston House.

    Their London home was Downshire House (below), 24 Belgrave Square.

    It was at Downshire House that plans for the Titanic and her sister ships were conceived at dinner between Lord Pirrie of Harland and Wolff and Joseph Bruce Ismay of the White Star Line.




    Here is the entry in the London Gazette of 12th July, 1921:

    To be a Viscount: The Rt. Hon. Sir William James, Baron Pirrie, K.P., LL.D., D.L. For valuable services to the Government in connection with ship-construction during the war. Charitable work in connection with the Royal Victoria and other hospitals.

    Lord Pirrie died on 6th June 1924, aged 77, from pneumonia while voyaging off Cuba, without issue, when the titles became extinct.
     
    First published in May, 2010.

    Tuesday, 11 December 2018

    Andrews of Ardara

    THE ANDREWS' OWNED 965 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY DOWN

    JAMES ANDREWS (1762-1841), of The Old House, Comber, County Down, married Frances Glenny, and was father of

    JOHN ANDREWS JP (1792-1864), of Uraghmore, near Comber, High Sheriff of County Down, 1857, who wedded, in 1826, Sarah, daughter of Dr William Drennan, of Cabin Hill, County Down, by Sarah Swanwick, his wife, and had issue,
    James, JP;
    William Drennan;
    John, JP;
    THOMAS, of whom hereafter;
    Sarah; Sarah; Frances.
    The fourth son,

    THE RT HON THOMAS ANDREWS DL (1843-1916), of Ardara House, Comber, County Down, sworn of the Privy Council in Ireland on the occasion of the Royal Visit, 1903, married, in 1870, Eliza, daughter of James Alexander Pirrie, of Little Clandeboye, County Down, and sister of James, 1st Viscount Pirrie, and had issue,
    JOHN MILLER, his heir;
    Thomas;
    James;
    William;
    Eliza Montgomery (Nina).
    The eldest son,

    THE RT HON JOHN MILLER ANDREWS CH DL (1871-1956), of Maxwell Court, Comber, MP for County Down, 1921-9, Mid-Down, 1929-53, PRIME MINISTER OF NORTHERN IRELAND, 1940-3, wedded, in 1902, Jessie, eldest daughter of Joseph Ormrod, and had issue,
    JOHN LAWSON ORMROD;
    Nina Morie; Josephine Miller; Lizzie Jean.
    The only son,

    THE RT HON SIR JOHN (Jack) ORMROD MILLER ANDREWS KBE DL (1903-86), of Maxwell Court, MP for Mid-Down, 1954-64, married, in 1928, Marjorie Elaine Maynard, daughter of Alfred Morgan James, and had issue,
    JOHN MAYNARD JAMES, of whom hereafter;
    Thomas Miller, of Ardara, b 1938;
    Charles James Morgan, of Ballymaleddy, b 1945;
    Heather Lilian Elaine, b 1932.

    Jack Andrews was the Northern Ireland Minister of Commerce, 1961-63, and Minister of Finance, 1963-64.
    On his elevation to the NI Senate he became Leader of the Upper House, and in 1969 took on the role of Deputy Prime Minister. 
    He was appointed a Privy Councillor in 1957, a Deputy Lieutenant in 1961, and was invested as a Knight Commander of the British Empire (KBE) in the 1974 New Year's Honours List. 
    Jack was a member of the Unionist delegation which went to Downing Street in 1972 immediately before the imposition of direct rule from Westminster. In 1974 he resigned from his position as President of the Unionist Council following that body's decision to reject the Sunningdale Agreement - a move which led to the resignation of Brian Faulkner as Unionist leader. 
    With Brian Faulkner he helped found the pro-power-sharing Unionist Party of Northern Ireland (UPNI) which was wound up in 1981. Jack retired from politics in the late 1970s. 
    He died on 12 January 1986. His two sons Tom and John and grandson Johnny continued to manage the flax spinning mill until its closure in 1997.
    His eldest son,

    JOHN MAYNARD JAMES ANDREWS (1929-2014), Director, John Andrews and Company, espoused, in 1957, Edith Morna, daughter of Reginald Redvers Hunter, and had issue,
    JOHN (Johnny) WILLIAM HUNTER;
    Charles Robert;
    Elaine Mary.

    ARDARA HOUSE, Comber, County Down, was built ca 1871-2 for Thomas Andrews.

    It was probably designed by Thomas Jackson, an architect who is believed to have already carried out work for the Andrews family.

    The original house comprised the eastern portion of the present building, a relatively simple, hipped-roof house without the curved side bays.

    Letters written by Thomas Andrews between 1871 and 1872 apprise us that his new house was built by a Ferdinand Fitzsimons, and that work appears to have been completed by September, 1872.

    Between 1895 and 1900 Ardara was considerably enlarged to the west side, giving the building a slightly unorthodox, rectangular plan with a short front façade.


    The curved bays were probably also added to the north and south facades of the original section at this time.

    The changes, which reflected much of the original styling, may have been carried out by Thomas Jackson’s son, Anthony.

    Included within the new section of the house was a large billiards-room, whose dark wood panelling is believed to have been the work of craftsmen later employed in the building of the Titanic, no doubt hired by Andrew’s son, Thomas, junior, the man who later designed, and perished on, the ill-fated liner.

    About 1988, Ardara House was divided into six apartments by the architect Edward Bell.



    MAXWELL COURT, near Comber, County Down, may date from the middle to later 18th century.

    It was probably built by the Wilsons (David Wilson was a merchant and ship owner in Belfast, and gave his name to Wilson’s Court in that city).

    There is an entry in a street directory of 1824 under the name ‘Maxwell Court’, the property of William Wilson-Maxwell, who may have given it the name.

    By 1835 the house passed to a certain James Kearns (sometimes written as Cairns), who lived there until at least 1846.

    By 1856 it was the residence of James Anderson, but by 1863 was apparently vacant, with ownership in the hands of "the representatives of George Crea".

    Maxwell Court does not seem to have had a permanent resident until at least 1870; but by 1883 the house and its farm had been bought by John Andrews & Company, the owners of the nearby spinning-mill.

    Eliza, wife of Thomas Andrews, inherited Maxwell Court on the death of her uncle, John Miller, who died without issue, his wife, Agnes (née Pirrie) having predeceased him.

    Eliza Taylor later gifted the house to John Miller Andrews shortly after his marriage.


    The present, two and a half storey, central section is the original house might well date from the 18th century.

    The side wings may have been original, or added early in the building’s life, but discrepancies in the dimensions compiled in 1835, and their present appearance, suggests that they were completely altered (or rebuilt) in the late 19th or early 20th century.

    The major changes to the house, however, appear to have been effected by the Andrews family, when they acquired the property ca 1883.

    At the rear, the gabled, two-storey section may have been added (or extended) in the late 1800s or early 20th century along with the dormers.

    A photograph of the house dating from the post-1883 period shows the dormers and indicates the presence of the rear section; however, the central, gabled bay and the bays to the side wings are not present, indicating that the principal Andrews’ modifications to the property were carried out at different stages.

    The long rear return likely dates from ca 1915-20, a period when much of the interior appears to have been renovated also.

    The front bays may have been added at this point.

    The farm buildings to the south and west of the main house are in part pre-1834, but most appear to date from the late 1800s and are probably all of Andrews’ construction.

    The corn mill to the south of the house was once part of the greater Maxwell Court estate, but was sold off and converted to a dwelling in the 1980s.

    Dromore Castle

    THE WALLERS WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY LIMERICK, WITH 6,996 ACRES

    The ancient family of WALLER derives from

    ALURED DE WALLER, of Newark, Nottinghamshire, who died in 1183, and from whom lineally descended

    DAVID DE WALLER, Master of the Rolls to EDWARD III for thirty years.

    This gentleman died childless; but from his only brother,

    HENRY WALLER, sprang

    JOHN WALLER, of Groombridge, Kent, father of

    RICHARD WALLER, a gallant participator in the glories of Agincourt, who, in honour of having prisoner the Duke of Orleans in that memorable conflict, obtained, from HENRY V, the addition to his crest, of a shield of the arms of the Duke, pendent from the sinister side of a walnut tree, which his descendants have ever since borne.

    The French prince, having been brought to England, was confined at Mr Waller's seat at Groombridge.

    The grandson and direct successor of this gentleman,

    JOHN WALLER, of Groombridge, married and was father of

    WILLIAM WALLER, of Groombridge, High Sheriff of Kent, 1530, who married, in 1537, Anne Fallemar, of Eastney, near Southampton, and left two sons,
    WILLIAM (Sir), his heir;
    JOHN, ancestor of WALLER of Allenstown.
    Mr Waller died in 1555, and was succeeded by his elder son,

    WILLIAM WALLER, of Groomsbridge, who wedded Alice, daughter and co-heir of Sir Walter Hendley, and was father of

    SIR WALTER WALLER, Knight, of Groombridge, who espoused Anne, daughter of Philip Choute, and had two sons,
    GEORGE, his heir;
    Thomas (Sir).
    The elder son,

    GEORGE WALLER, of Groomsbridge, wedded firstly, Eliza, daughter of Michael Sondes; and secondly, Mary, widow of Sir William Ashenden, and daughter of Richard Hardress, and had a son,

    SIR HARDRESS WALLER (1604-66), one of the judges who sat at the trial of CHARLES I, for which he was afterwards tried and banished.

    Sir Hardress retired to Ireland, settled at Castletown, County Limerick, and became a member of the Irish Parliament.

    He married Elizabeth, daughter and co-heir of Sir John Dowdall, Knight, of Kilfinny, County Limerick, and by her (with whom he acquired the Manor of Castletown), and issue,
    John, Governor of Fort Limerick;
    JAMES, his successor;
    Elizabeth; Bridget; Mary; Anne.
    Sir Hardress's second son,

    JAMES WALLER, of Castletown, Lieutenant-Governor of Kinsale, MP for Kinsale, 1695, married Dorothy, daughter of Colonel Rondall Clayton, of Moyaloe, County Cork, and had (with four daughters) a son and successor,

    JOHN WALLER, of Castletown, MP for Doneraile, 1727-8, Lieutenant-Colonel, described by Swift as "Jack, the grandson of Sir Hardress".

    He wedded Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Dickson, of Ballybracken, County Cork, by Elizabeth his wife, heiress of Edward Bolton, of Clonrush, Queen's County, grandson of Sir Edward Bolton, Chief Baron of the Irish Exchequer, and had, with other issue, a son and successor,

    JOHN THOMAS WALLER, of Castletown, grandson of the Rev Thomas Waller, who sold Castletown in 1936.

    As he had no children, the male representation of the family passed to the descendants of John Waller, a younger son of Bolton Waller.

    Castletown Manor, near Pallaskenry, County Limerick, was a large Georgian block, built for John Waller.

    It was demolished in the 1940s.



    DROMORE CASTLE, near Templenoe, County Kerry, looks out over the Kenmare River.

    It was built in the 1830s for the Mahony family to a neo-gothic design by Sir Thomas Deane.

    It was designed and built for Denis Mahony.

    Work began in 1831, although the account books show that only a negligible amount had been carried out before 1834.

    Building work was completed in 1839.



    The house is in the castellated Gothic-Revival style, with an external finish of Roman cement with limestone dressings.

    With the notable exception of the grand south-facing window with its pointed arch, the windows consist of pointed tracery contained within rectangular frames, a style characteristic of Deane's domestic work.


    The entrance hall, which is in the form of a long gallery, takes up half of the area of the ground floor.

    The west wing of the Castle takes the form of a round tower, with a spiral staircase contained within an attached turret.

    Dromore Castle was the ancestral seat of the Mahonys.

    When Harold Mahony was killed in a bicycle accident in 1905, he left no heirs, so the castle passed to his sister, Norah Hood.

    She in turn left the castle to her cousin, Hardress Waller, and the castle remained in the hands of the Waller family until 1993 when it was offered for sale.

    Dromore Castle is now owned by an investment company which is endeavouring to restore the building.

    First published in September, 2012.

    Monday, 10 December 2018

    Brackenber Prospectus: III


    ADMISSION

    Boys are received from the age of seven into the Main School and may remain until fourteen.

    The normal and uninterrupted preparatory course being five to six years, boys are expected to remain at the school for at least half this period.

    To enter a boy it is necessary to complete the entry form enclosed, and to pay an entry fee of one guinea.


    REPORTS

    A short report on each boy in the Main School is sent out at half-term, and a detailed Report is sent at the end of the Term.


    SCHOOL TERMS

    There are three Terms in the School Year, beginning about January 15th, April 20th and September 6th.


    PRE-PREPARATORY DEPARTMENT

    Boys under the age of seven enter the Junior School, which is divided into a Transition and two Kindergarten forms, and pass to the Main School before their eighth birthday; to ensure individual attention the number of boys in this department is limited. Class hours - Mornings only.


    REMOVAL

    One full Term's notice, given in writing, or the payment of a term's Fees, is required before Removal. Fees are not returnable in any circumstances.


    DRESS

    All boys wear the School cap, tie and stockings (which may be obtained only from School outfitters*). The School blazer is compulsory for Cricket, and School shirts for Football.
    *Messrs. Warnock - Royal Avenue
    *Messrs. Wood Stuart - Howard Street

    INTERVIEWS

    By appointment only.


    OPTIONAL EXTRAS

    Boxing - £1 0s 0d. a Term
    Swimming - £1 0s 0d. a Term
    Judo - £1 10s 0d. a Term
    Lunch - 3s 6d. a Day

    A reduction of Fees will gladly be made, if required, to the sons of clergymen, and in the case of two or more brothers being in the School at the same time.


    This concludes my series of the Brackenber Prospectus.

    First published in February, 2011.

    Rosslea Manor

    THE MADDENS WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY FERMANAGH, WITH 10,498 ACRES

    The name MADDEN or O'MADDEN is among those which claim descent from the Milesian colonizers of Ireland.

    THOMAS MADDEN, of Bagottsrath, near Dublin, comptroller to Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford, Lord Deputy of Ireland, was eldest son of John Madden, of Bloxham Beauchamp, Oxfordshire, and brother of Robert Madden, of Donore, County Dublin, ancestor of the Maddens of Meadesbrook, and, in the female line, of Oliver Goldsmith, the poet.

    He married Elizabeth, heiress of William Pettiver, of Middleton Cheney, Northamptonshire.

    This gentleman died in 1640, leaving his eldest son,

    JOHN MADDEN (1598-1661), of Maddentown, County Kildare, and Enfield, Middlesex, one of the attorneys of His Majesty's Court of Castle Chamber, General Solicitor for Parliamentary Sequestrations, 1644-49, espoused, in 1635, Elizabeth, daughter and co-heiress of Charles Waterhouse, of Manor Waterhouse, County Fermanagh.

    Mr Madden was succeeded by his second son,

    DR JOHN MADDEN (1648-1703), of Manor Waterhouse, County Fermanagh, who wedded firstly, in 1680, Mary, daughter of Samuel Molyneux, of Castle Dillon, County Armagh; and secondly, Frances, daughter of Nicholas Bolton, of Brazeel, County Dublin.

    Dr Madden was succeeded by his son (by his first wife),

    THE REV DR SAMUEL MADDEN (1686-1765), of Manor Waterhouse, Rector of Newtownbutler, County Fermanagh, who was one of the founders of the Dublin Society, and a great benefactor to his country, known in the family as "Premium Madden".

    Dr Madden, who married Jane Magill, of Kirkstown, County Armagh, was succeeded by his third son,

    JOHN MADDEN, of Maddenstown, County Monaghan, who wedded, in 1752, Anne, daughter of Robert Cope MP, of Loughgall, County Armagh.

    He died in 1791, having had, with four daughters, a son,

    SAMUEL MADDEN (1756-1814), of Maddenstown, now Hilton, County Monaghan, Lieutenant-Colonel, Monaghan Militia, who married Katherine, daughter and heiress of the Rev Charles Dudley Ryder, and granddaughter of the Most Rev John Ryder, Lord Archbishop of Tuam, and had issue,
    John, of Hilton Park;
    CHARLES DUDLEY, of whom we treat;
    Catherine; Anne; Charlotte; Maria Alicia.
    Colonel Madden's younger son,

    CHARLES DUDLEY MADDEN (1784-1827), Lieutenant, 4th Dragoons, wedded Harriet, daughter of the Rev Michael Baxter; and had issue,
    Edward, lieutenant, 1st Dragoons; died at Berne, 1842;
    JOHN, of Rosslea Manor;
    Harriet, m to the Rev J Gabbett;
    Catherine, m to C Ensor.
    The eldest surviving son,

    JOHN MADDEN JP DL (1819-1903), of Rosslea Manor, County Fermanagh, High Sheriff of County Fermanagh, 1848, Lieutenant, 41st Regiment, married, in 1847, Clara Elizabeth, second daughter of the Rev J Spencer Knox (eldest son of the Rt Rev and Hon William Knox, Lord Bishop of Derry), and had issue,
    Charles Dudley, b 1851;
    WALTER WILMOT, b 1853;
    John Beresford, b 1855;
    Clara Kathleen; Isobel Christina; Alice Wilmot.
    The second son,

    WALTER WILMOT MADDEN (1853-1943), wedded, in 1886, Eleanor Bischoff, of New Zealand, and had issue,
    Arthur Wilmot (1892-1972);
    Charles Beresford (1898-1974);
    Dora Christina; Eva Kathleen; Florence Josephine.

    ROSSLEA MANOR or Spring Grove, County Fermanagh, was a Georgian mansion of two storeys over a basement.

    It was enlarged and altered in the mid-19th century by John Madden, when a third storey was added as well as a substantial single-storey wing.

    This wing contained a dining-hall, which doubled up as a ballroom 90 feet long.

    The house was destroyed by an accidental fire in 1885.

    *****

    TODAY the stable-yard is privately owned and well maintained.

    The central section is of five bays and two storeys, the central bay breaking forward and surmounted by a bell cote, beneath which is a half-lunette window.

    On either side, single-storey extensions, each with a central, tall, square lantern.

    On one side of the yard is a two-storey, three-bay house with a large one-storey projection at the front containing the entrance door.

    This building is adjacent to the site of the Manor House (now a field within the woods).

    The walled garden - interior a jungle - remains: It measures approximately 70 by 150 feet.

    Very few trees of interest remain: Three old larch, one now dead; several Irish yew; a monkey puzzle; and a small number of beech and oak.

    If there are exotics they are well hidden.


    The Maddens left Rosslea Manor and went to live in Aghafin House, between Clones and Rosslea; and they then emigrated to New Zealand where the last of the male line, Ian Beresford Madden, died in Auckland about 2009.  

    Two spinster sisters continued living at Aghafin until the last one died in 1942.

    Originally the Rosslea estate was acquired by the Rev Dr Samuel Madden, of Manor Waterhouse, for his fourth son, Edward, who married Charlotte Crichton. 

    They had no children and the property was then left to the oldest surviving branch, the Hilton Park Maddens, who subsequently passed it to Colonel Samuel Madden’s second son, Edward’s great- nephew, Charles Dudley Madden.

    The late Ian Madden, of Auckland, was a considerable family historian and left diaries, albums and other family records to the Harrowby Manuscript Trust, Sandon Hall, Staffordshire.

    Eventually John Madden died in 1903, aged 83.

    He is buried in Clogh graveyard.

    At his funeral four horses drew the hearse and six chosen Royal Irish Constabulary officers acted as pall-bearers. 

    The family lingered on until 1940 when the last local member of the Madden family, Miss Isobel Madden, died.  

    The gutted remains of Rosslea Manor were demolished in 1914, what was left being converted for use by the Forestry Service.

    The estate remained in the ownership of the Madden family till the 1930s, when some of it was sold; further sales taking place from 1942 onwards.

    The stable block survives.

    The estate at one time boasted ornamental gardens.

    Exotic trees still feature and the walled garden is intact.

    There are stands of mature hardwood.

    Part of the importance of this site today is its proximity to Rosslea village.

    Woodland walks can be enjoyed along the meandering River Finn.

    There were formerly fine views from Island Hill, where stands a ruined garden building.

    A Georgian-Gothic gate lodge has since been demolished.

    Rosslea Manor belonged to a cadet branch of the family, having been built for the youngest son.

    A reader has very kindly sent me further information about the estate, which was surveyed and mapped in 1777. below are observations made at the time:


    The Manor of Slutmulrooney is situated four miles north of Clones, a Market Town. It is in general an indifferent tract of ground being for the most part a cold light soil and subject to floods. 

    A multitude of lakes and rivulets deriving from the mountains form and empty themselves into one principal river which for want of an adequate fall rises at successive rains and overflows all the adjacent parts. 

    The meadowland throughout this Manor is poor, scarce and precarious insomuch that in many farms the cattle are obliged to feed upon oat straw during the winter months.

    Husbandry throughout this entire Manor is low and dispirited. Lime tho’ convenient as to its situation is not used here for manure. 


    The tenants, some because of the uncertainty of their tenure and others by poverty, are disheartened from attempting the expense of cutting drains which should be deep and numerous. Even where the ground is occupied by the plough, oats are almost the only grain produced. 

    In some parts there are small quantities of barley but as for wheat or any species of winter corn they are utterly unknown. 

    Tillage is exceedingly tedious and laborious, the Husband-men being by reason of the wetness of the soil forced to substitute the spade for the plough and are also frequently necessitated to cover the seed with a hand rake. 

    The rents appear to be chiefly made up by flax and yarn, indeed the inhabitants of the mountains are said to experience some little help from a produce of butter in the summer season.

    Mr. Madden has been very active towards the encouragement of agriculture and improvement of the Estate. 


    Besides a new road of about three miles which opens up communication with the high road to Clones about five miles distant, he has at a very considerable expense built a bridge over the River. 

    The number of bogs in the country are superfluous and they are in general adjoining loughs and their surface rising no higher than that of the water, without any inclination or fall to assist their draining, the reclaiming of them appears impracticable.’

    About Spring Grove demesne: ‘Mr. Madden has built an exceeding good house on his demesne with suitable offices, etc. 
    The land has at great expense been well improved, planted and divided, being naturally wet, poor and scrubby. It is at this moment however a most agreeable country residence.’

    Comments on the deer park: ‘Mr. Madden has enclosed this park at a very great expense with a stone wall. It is entirely pasture or very wet, coarse and poor. It produces only some scrub and bad bottom and is wholly occupied by deer.’
    Another branch of the family lives today at their ancestral home, Hilton Park, near Clones, County Monaghan.

    The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland has the Madden Papers in its custody.

    First published in January, 2010.

    Sunday, 9 December 2018

    Mount Stewart Memories: I

    CHARLES VILLIERS, A GRANDSON OF THE LATE LADY MAIRI BURY AND GREAT-GRANDSON OF THE 7TH MARQUESS AND MARCHIONESS OF LONDONDERRY, REMINISCES ABOUT MOUNT STEWART, COUNTY DOWN,  DURING THE 1960s AND 1970s


    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 BARONY OF O'NEILL (SECOND CREATION) WAS CREATED IN 1868 FOR THE REV WILLIAM 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;
    Arthur;
    Robert;
    Anne.

    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,
    RAYMOND ARTHUR CLANABOY, 4th Baron O'Neill;
    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,
    SHANE SEBASTIAN CLANABOY;
    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.