Saturday, 20 September 2014

The O'Neill Baronetcy (1643)


This family, like the Barons O'Neill, claimed descent from the princes of Ireland; and also lineally descended from the last king of Ulster.

from whom the territories called the Claneboys, in the counties of Down and Antrim, received their name, grandson of HUGH MEYTH, king of Ulster in 1122, recovered those lands from the English (which had been wrested from his family at the invasion during the reign of HENRY II), and his descendants enjoyed them until the reign of JAMES I
When a portion was conquered by force of arms from the O'Neills, more purchased from King James by them, and some part left in their possession, which has descended to the O'Neills of Shane's Castle.

JAMES I, when he instituted the order of Baronets, had chiefly in view the subduing of the clan O'Neill in Ulster, and the Ulster hand ~ the Red Hand of O'Neill ~ was given as a badge to the order.

BRYAN O'NEILL, in consideration of his gallant services at the battle of Edgehill, was created a baronet by CHARLES I, in 1643.

Sir Bryan married Jane Finch, of the family of the Earl of Nottingham, and dying in 1670, was succeeded by his son, 

SIR BRYAN O'NEILL, 2nd Baronet, one of the judges of the court of king's bench, in Ireland, in the reign of JAMES II.

He married Mary Plunket, sister of Christopher, 10th Lord Dunsany; and dying in 1694, was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR HENRY O'NEILL (c1674-1759), 3rd Baronet, who married firstly, Mary, daughter of Mark Bagot, of Mount Arran, County Carlow, by whom he had an only son,

RANDALL, his heir;
He wedded secondly, Rose, daughter of Captain James Brabazon, and by that lady had two other sons,
He was succeeded at his decease by his eldest son,

SIR RANDALL O'NEILL, 4th Baronet, of Upper Claneboys, County Down, who married Mrs Margaret Tompkins, by whom he had a son, William, and a daughter, Rachel; and thus terminates any recorded account of the family.

The baronetcy was presumed to be extinct; but a person emerged calling himself 

who lived a very poor man on the estate of Lord Netterville at Dowth, near Drogheda, from whom he rented a small farm at a quarter of its value; but, even unable to pay that, he was dispossessed. This unfortunate descendant of royalty had the patent of baronetcy in his possession, but whether he was in the line of descent does not appear. 

Baronetcies have been frequently assumed in Ireland by parties who had no claim whatsoever, but being collateral relations of a deceased and extinct baronet, may have discovered the patent among his papers.

One of the sons of Sir Francis was employed at a small inn near Duleck, in the capacity of "boots and ostler" -  sic transit gloria mundi. 

AS TO aristocratic kinsmen abandoning such claimants, again we may cite Burke's account of the support, moral and financial, given to the above mentioned Sir Francis O'Neill by his distant Protestant kinsman John, 1st Viscount O'Neill:
In that humble cottage the aged and poverty stricken baronet was visited in May, 1798 by John, the first Viscount O'Neill, and his two sons, Charles and John, the late Earl and the last Viscount ... for John, the first Lord O'Neill, princely in mind and he was exalted in station, never turned his face from a poor relation.

BACKWESTON HOUSE was once the residence of Sir Bryan O'Neill, 1st Baronet.

He was a descendant of the Chiefs of Claneboy, and proved himself a gallant soldier, first in Holland and afterwards on the royalist side in the Civil War in England.

In relating the vicissitudes of the O'Neill family, Sir Bernard Burke has told how Sir Bryan, with a few others, tried to rally the royal troops at the rout of Newburn, and how on the hard fought field of Edgehill he rallied the dragoons with undaunted courage, and finally saved CHARLES I from being taken prisoner.

Honours came to Sir Bryan, but without corresponding wealth, and after the Restoration, he appears to have tried to add to his slender income by sending wool to France, a trade for which, on account of his constant loyalty and good service he was given a licence by the King.

Sir Bryan, who was twice married, first to Jane Finch and secondly to Sarah Savage, whose mother was a daughter of Hugh, first Viscount Montgomery, of Great Ards died about 1670, and was succeeded by his son, who bore the same name.

Sir Bryan O'Neill, the 2nd baronet, has been already mentioned in the history of Stillorgan in connection with his marriage to the widow of James Wolverston, who was a sister of Christopher Plunkett, 10th Lord Dunsany.

He was educated as a lawyer at Gray's Inn, which he entered in 1664, and, as stated in the history of Stillorgan, was appointed by James II in 1687 as one of the justices of the King's Bench in Ireland. He died in 1694.

By his first marriage Sir Henry O'Neill, 3rd Baronet, had Sir Bryan, 4th Baronet, who died without issue; and Sir Randal, 5th Baronet, who was surveyor of customs at Rush, in the county of Dublin, and died having had a son and a daughter, who both died unmarried. 

Sir Henry O'Neill, by his second marriage, left Sir Francis O'Neill, of Kellystown, in the county of Meath, 6th (or 7th) Baronet, who married Miss Fleming, of County Louth.
  • Sir Bryan O'Neill, 1st Baronet (d. 1670)
  • Sir Bryan O'Neill, 2nd Baronet (d. 1694)
  • Sir Henry O'Neill, 3rd Baronet (c. 1674-1759)
  • Sir Randall O'Neill, 4th Baronet (d. 1779)
  • Sir William O'Neill, 5th Baronet (c. 1754-1784)
  • Sir Francis O'Neill, 6th Baronet (c. 1730-1799)
First published in April, 2011.

Friday, 19 September 2014

New DL


Mr Denis Desmond CBE, Lord-Lieutenant of County Londonderry,  has been pleased to appoint:

Mr Peter SHERIDAN OBE, Eglinton, County Londonderry

To be a Deputy Lieutenant of the County, his Commission bearing date the 11th day of September 2014.

Lord Lieutenant of the County

Kilkenny Castle


The antiquity of this family is indisputable; but whence it immediately derives its origin is not so clearly established.
Sir James Ware and William Roberts (Ulster king-of-arms in the reign of CHARLES I) affirm one Herveius, a companion of WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR, to have been its original ancestor; others derive it from a younger son of the house of CLARE, Earls of Gloucester and Hertford; and others, again, assert that a Walter FitzGilbert, son of Gilbert Becket, a wealthy citizen of London, and brother of Thomas à Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, was its founder.
Its surname, however, admits of no doubt as springing from the office of CHIEF BUTLER OF IRELAND, conferred by HENRY II upon

THEOBALD WALTER, in 1177, who had accompanied him into that kingdom in 1171.
This gentleman and his successors were bound to attend the Kings of England at their coronation, and that day present them with the first cup of wine, for which they were to have certain pieces of the King's plate.
Some time after, that king granted him the prisage and butlerage of wines, to enable him and his heirs the better to support the dignity of their office.
The Dukes of Norfolk are hereditary Chief Butlers of England.
This Theobald, having returned into England, afterwards accompanied PRINCE JOHN into Ireland, in 1185.

From him the office descended, through four generations, all of the same Christian name, to

THEOBALD, 5th Chief Butler, who died unmarried in 1290, and was succeeded by his brother,

EDMOND BUTLER (c1270-1321), who sat in parliament as a baron in 1302; and in 1315 was created EARL OF CARRICK.

He died in 1321, leaving, besides other issue, two sons, viz.
JAMES, his successor;
John, ancestor the the Earls of Carrick.
JAMES, 2nd Earl (c1305-38) was created, in 1328, EARL OF ORMOND.

He wedded Lady Eleanor de Bohun, daughter of the 4th Earl of Hereford and Constable of England.

This nobleman was succeeded by his son,

JAMES, 2nd Earl of Ormond (1331-82), who left a son,

JAMES, 3rd Earl (1361-1405), who left two sons,
JAMES, 4th Earl;
JAMES, 4th Earl (1392-1452) left three sons,
JAMES, 5th Earl;
JOHN, 6th Earl;
THOMAS, 7th Earl.
THOMAS, 7th Earl, died in 1515, leaving two daughters and his co-heirs, of whom MARGARET espoused Sir William Boleyn, and was grandmother of Queen Anne Boleyn.

The de facto, if not indeed the de jure 8th Earl, Piers Butler, was induced to resign his rights to the title in 1528.

This facilitated the next creation by awarding the titles of Ormond and Wiltshire to Thomas Boleyn, who was the father of Anne Boleyn.

On the death of the 7th Earl, the title was assumed by

SIR PIERS BUTLER, 8th Earl (1467-1539), great-grandson of Sir Richard Boleyn, 2nd son of the 3rd Earl.

As a reward for his patriotism and generosity, the 8th Earl was created Earl of Ossory five days after resigning his rights to the other titles.

The 5th Earl of this creation was created Marquess of Ormonde (1642) and DUKE OF ORMONDE (1660) in the peerage of Ireland, and Duke of Ormonde (1682) in the peerage of England.

In 1715, the 2nd Duke was attainted and his English peerages declared forfeit.

In 1758 the de jure 3rd Duke died and the dukedom and marquessate became extinct.

The 11th Earl was created MARQUESS OF ORMONDE in 1816.

On his death that title became extinct and the earldoms passed to his brother, for whom the title Marquess of Ormonde was created in the Peerage of the United Kingdom in 1825.

That marquessate became extinct in 1997, while the earldom became dormant.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 The Library

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

 The Long Gallery

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

EDWARD VII leaving the Castle

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

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

First published in September, 2012.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Ballylough House

 Traill of Ballylough


The earliest record of the family of TRAILL refers to

THE RT REV WALTER TRAIL, son of the laird of Blebo, Fife, who was appointed Bishop of St Andrews ca 1385, in the reign of ROBERT III of Scotland.

He attended POPE CLEMENT VII at Avignon in 1386, and was preferred to his bishopric by papal authority without election: with Queen Annabella, he managed the affairs of Scotland, rebuilt St Andrews Castle, and died in 1401.

His nephew,

JAMES TRAIL, grandson of the first laird of Blebo, was constable of Fife, 1443.

His grandson,

JOHN TRAILL (1502-80), of Blebo, Fife, married Agnes Bruce, daughter of Sir Alexander Bruce, of Earlshall.
This John was, in 1517, one of a jury, composed of 24 of the gentry of Fife, who made an inquisition of all the lands of Fife before the sheriff.
His son and heir,

COLONEL ANDREW TRAILL, younger brother of Alexander Traill, laird of Blebo,
served the confederate state of Flanders as well as HENRY IV of France with reputation. On his return, he was made Gentleman of the Privy Chamber to Prince Henry, eldest son of JAMES I.
He married Helen, daughter of Thomas Myrton, of Cambo, and was father of James Traill, of Denino, who died in 1635, leaving by his wife, Matilda, three sons, viz.
James (1600-63), Colonel in the parliamentary army, settled at Tallachin, Co Down; m 1647, Mary, daughter of James, Viscount Claneboye, and had issue, four sons and eight daughters, of whom the 6th, Eleanor, married her cousin, William Trail.
ROBERT, of whom presently;
Andrew, died unmarried;
The second son,

Minister of Elie, Fife, and afterwards of Grey Friars church, Edinburgh, was taken prisoner by Cromwell; he assisted afterwards at the coronation of CHARLES II, and was banished to Holland for nonconformity; he returned, however, in 1674, and died at Edinburgh in 1676.
He wedded, in 1639, Jane, daughter of Alexander Annan, Laird of Auchterallen, and by her had issue, his eldest son,

THE REV WILLIAM TRAILL (1640-1723), Minister of Borthwick, who married firstly, in 1671, Eaphan, 2nd daughter of Provost Sword, of St Andrews, and by her left an only daughter; and secondly, in 1679, his cousin Eleanor, 6th daughter of James Trail, and by her had issue,
James (Rev), d 1723;
William (Rev), b 1683;
ROBERT, of whom presently.
The third son,

THE REV ROBERT TRAILL (1687-1762), Minister of Panbride, Forfarshire, married, in 1718, Jane, 8th daughter of John Haldane, of Myrton, and by her had issue, his eldest son,

THE REV ROBERT TRAILL (1719-98), Minister of Panbride, who wedded Jane, daughter of the Rev Anthony Dow, of Fettercain, and by her had issue, his second son, 

THE VEN ANTHONY TRAILL (1755-1831), of Ballylough House,
Prebendary of St Andrews; Archdeacon of Connor; sometime rector of Skull, County Cork; married, in 1788, Agnes, daughter of William Watts Gayer LL.D; purchased Ballylough in 1789; Chief Clerk of the House of Lords in Ireland.
This clergyman had issue by his wife, his second son,

WILLIAM TRAILL (b 1791), of Ballylough House, who married firstly, in 1824, Louisa Ann, daughter of the Ven Thomas Lloyd, of Castle Lloyd, by Elizabeth Fitzgerald his wife, daughter of the Knight of Glin; and by this lady had issue, two daughters.

He married secondly, in 1836, Louisa Henrietta, daughter of Robert ffrench, of Monivea Castle, County Galway, by Nicola his wife, sister of Sir Edward O'Brien Bt, of Dromoland, and by her had issue, 

ANTHONY TRAILL JP DL (1838-1914), of Ballylough House, who married Catherine Elizabeth, daughter of James Stewart Moore, in 1867;
Fellow, Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland; High Sheriff of County Antrim, 1882; Commissioner of Education Endowments [Ireland], 1885-92; member of the Royal (Fry) Commission on Irish Land Acts,1897-99; Provost of Trinity College, Dublin, 1904.
His eldest son, 

LIEUTENANT-COLONEL WILLIAM STEWART TRAILL DSO JP DL (1868-1959), of Ballylough House, married Selina Margaret, daughter of Charles Frizell, in 1896.
Colonel Traill was educated at Gosport School and graduated from Trinity College Dublin in 1890 with a Master of Arts; fought in the Waziristan Campaign, 1894-95; Terah Campaign, 1897-98; High Sheriff of County Antrim; fought in 1st World War, where he was thrice mentioned in despatches; awarded the DSO, 1915; decorated with the Croix de Guerre, 1917; lieutenant-colonel, 1919, Royal Engineers.
His eldest son, 

LIEUTENANT-COLONEL ANTHONY O'BRIEN TRAILL OBE JP DL, born in 1897, married Marjorie, daughter of Percy Anderson, in 1925,
educated at Rossall School, Fleetwood, Lancashire; served in the Duke of Wellington's Regiment; fought in 1st World War; OBE, 1921; High Sheriff of County Antrim, 1938; formed the 3rd Indian AA Regiment; fought in 2nd World War; retired from the army in 1946. In 1976, Colonel Traill lived at Troutbeck, Umtali, Zimbabwe.
His second son, 

RICHARD SEVERN TRAILL, of Ballylough House, born in 1931, married Pamela, daughter of J Peacock, in 1957; educated at Fettes School, Edinburgh.

Ballylough House in 2012

BALLYLOUGH HOUSE, near Bushmills, County Antrim, originally belonged to Archibald Stewart, of Ballintoy. It was purchased by the Traills in 1789.

The house consists of two storeys over a basement, with a five-bay front. The front was later given Wyatt windows.

There are battlemented, segmental, flanking walls with niches were added in 1815; and a wing was attached in the 19th century.

The 17th century demesne, which contains the ruins of MacQuillan castle (a stronghold of the MacQuillans and MacDonnells), has been in the ownership of the Traills since 1789.

The present house is from that date, with additions of 1815 and alterations of 1930.

The fine beech avenue, noted in 1846, was felled in 1942; but mature shelter belt trees and much of the ‘plantations’, quoted at the same time, remain.

There is a maintained ornamental garden to the south-east of the house, sheltered by the curving walls that screen either side of the north facing house front.

The walled garden in 2012
A continuation of the east of walls, backing a building, forms the north wall of the walled gardens, a substantial portion of which is fully maintained, with box edged beds and espalier fruit trees.

An uncultivated portion, the former orchard, is mown. The garden house is not in use.

Generations of good gardening make this an attractive garden with all year round interest and it is kept to a high standard.

There are two gate lodges: the unusual circular West Lodge of ca 1800, now known as The Drum; and the East Lodge of ca 1840, which is still occupied and has its own charming cottage garden.

The West Lodge, now known as The Drum, was built at the end of a long avenue of beech trees at the western edge of the Ballylough Estate in 1800 by Archdeacon Traill, two years after he bought the estate.

No records are yet available for the occupants of The Drum before 1898, when one Lizzie Taggart and her husband came to live there.

Both of the Taggarts were employed on the estate, he as a farm labourer, and she as the 'hen girl' looking after the geese, ducks and hens. The Taggart family lived there until 1962, after which it remained vacant.

The original lodge was tiny, with two rooms linked by a stone staircase. It was a dwelling with no running water. It was always inhabited by estate workers, but there are no records of the occupants prior to 1898.

The MacQuillan castle is in ruins; a crannog is in the Decoy Plantation. The house is private but the gardens are often open for charity.

Several distinctive tablet memorial stones are found within the walls of the charming parish church at Billy. One of the largest is that dedicated to Archdeacon Traill.

There is also a mural tablet in memory of Dr Anthony Traill, Provost of Trinity College Dublin; his wife Elizabth; and his son James Anthony.

A number of other memorials are to individual members of the Traill family who served in the army.

William Acheson Traill (d 1933) was a pioneer of hydro-electric power and  designed the Causeway Tram system which ran between Portrush and the Giant's Causeway in 1883.

First published in September, 2012.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Cullintraw Day

I've spent a wonderful day in the lovely County Down countryside, at a field near Castle Espie known locally as Cullintraw.

This field is beside an estuary, in the Ulster townland of Cattogs.

There were about fourteen National Trust volunteers and staff today.

Our task was to clear the field of rushes which we had cut a month ago.

These rushes had been made into stacks, so our tractor and trailer took most of them away.

I lunched on banana sandwiches and coffee; and some of us brought some treats, viz. buns and crunchy biscuits.

Barretstown Castle


This family is a scion of the ancient house of DE BURGH, for centuries so eminent under the names of Burgh, Bourke, Burke, and Borough. 

HENRY BORROWES, who settled in Ireland in the reign of ELIZABETH I, married firstly, Jane, daughter of the Rt Hon Sir Arthur Savage MP, of Rheban, County Kildare.

He wedded secondly, in 1585, Catherine Eustace, of Gilltown.

Mr Borrowes was succeeded by his son, 

This gentleman, who was high sheriff of County Kildare, at the breaking out of the rebellion in 1641, deposed, upon oath, that he was unable to resist the Irish by the Posse Comitatus; and that he had lost in goods, corn, and cattle, at his several houses of Grangemellan, Gilltown, and Carbally, £9,396; in debts, £11,932; besides a yearly income of £1,200, or thereabouts; in consideration whereof, and of his goods and rightful services, CHARLES I, in 1646, created him a baronet.
Sir Erasmus married Sarah, daughter of Walter Weldon MP, of Woodstock Castle, and granddaughter maternally of the Rt Rev John Ryder, Lord Bishop of Killaloe.

Sir Erasmus had, with a daughter, two sons, by the survivor of whom he was succeeded, viz.

SIR WALTER BORROWES, 2nd Baronet (c1620-85),
who married firstly, in 1656 (the ceremony being performed with great pomp, before the Rt Hon Ridgeway Hatfield, Lord Mayor of Dublin) Lady Eleanor FitzGerald, 3rd daughter of George, 16th Earl of Kildare.
He married secondly, Margaret, fifth daughter of the Rt Hon Sir Adam Loftus MP, of Rathfarnham.

By the former he had, with a daughter, an only son, his successor,

SIR KILDARE BORROWES, 3rd Baronet, MP (c1660-1709), who married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Richard Dixon, and sister of Robert Dixon, by whom he had two sons and three daughters.

Sir Kildare, who represented County Kildare in parliament for nine years, was succeeded by his elder son,

SIR WALTER DIXON BORROWES, 4th Baronet (1691-1741), MP for the borough of Athy, who inherited the estates of his maternal uncle, Robert Dixon, already mentioned, in 1725.

He married, in 1720,  Mary, daughter and co-heir of Captain Edward Pottinger, by whom he had three sons; the second and third died unmarried; and the eldest succeeded to the baronetcy, and became, 

SIR KILDARE DIXON BORROWES, 5th Baronet (1722-90).

This gentleman was high sheriff of Kildare in 1751, for which county he had been some years before (1745) returned to parliament.

He married firstly, in 1759, Elizabeth, only daughter and heiress of John Short, of Grange, Queen's County, by whom he had three sons and one daughter.

He wedded secondly, in 1769,  Jane, daughter of Joseph Higginson, of Mount Ophaley, County Kildare, by whom he had four sons and two daughters.

Sir Kildare was succeeded by his eldest son, 

SIR ERASMUS DIXON BORROWES, 6th Baronet (1759-1814), who married, in 1783, Harriet, youngest daughter of the Very Rev Arthur Champagné, Dean of Clonmacnoise, and great-granddaughter (maternally) of Arthur, 2nd Earl of Granard; by whom he had issue,
Marianne; Harriet; Elizabeth.
Sir Erasmus was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR WALTER DIXON BORROWES, 7th Baronet (1789-1834), who, dying a bachelor, was succeeded by his only surviving brother, 

THE REV SIR ERASMUS DIXON BORROWES, 8th Baronet (1799-1866), rector of Ballyroan, Queen's County, who married, in 1825, Harriet, daughter of Henry Hamilton, and niece of Hans Hamilton MP, and had issue,
Kildare (1828-37);
Walter Joseph;
Henrietta Mary;
Adelaide Charlotte Marianne;
Eleanor Caroline.
He was succeeded by his elder surviving son, 

SIR ERASMUS DIXON BORROWES, 9th Baronet (1831-98), born at Dublin, who married firstly, in 1851, Frederica Eaten, daughter of Brig-Gen. George Hutcheson; and secondly, in 1887, Florence Elizabeth, daughter of William Ruxton and Caroline Diana Vernon.
Sir Erasmus was educated at Cheltenham College, Gloucestershire; was Ensign in 1852 in the 80th Foot; fought in the Second Burma War in 1853; fought in the Indian Mutiny, where he was wounded; promoted Captain in 1859; Major in 1867 in the 13th Foot; Sheriff of County Kildare, 1873; Sheriff of Queen's County, 1880.
He lived at Barretstown Castle, County Kildare.

SIR KILDARE BORROWES, 10th Baronet (1852-1924), married, in 1886, Julia, daughter of William Holden.
Sir Kildare was educated at Cheltenham College, Gloucestershire; a captain in the 11th Hussars; aide-de-camp to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. He retired from the army with the rank of lieutenant-colonel.
The baronetcy became extinct on the death of Sir Eustace Dixon Borrowes, 11th baronet, in 1939.

BARRETSTOWN CASTLE, Ballymore Eustace, Naas, County Kildare, is an old tower-house with a two-storey, Gothic-Victorian addition.

The latter has rectangular, pointed and segmental-pointed plate glass windows.

One side of the front has a four-storey tower with a stepped gable.

The first historical mention of the place is in a 1547 inquisition held after the dissolution of the monasteries, when Barretstown Castle was listed as the property of the Lord Archbishop of Dublin, from whom it was promptly confiscated by the Crown.

Thereafter the Castle was held by the Eustace family on a series of "permanent leases."

In the 17th century, Sir Walter Borrowes married a daughter of the Earl of Kildare and acquired the estate, and the family retained possession for over two centuries.

Members of the family, such as Sir Kildare Borrowes, 5th Baronet, represented Kildare County and Harristown in the former Irish Parliament.

Unlike the Eustace Baronets of the 16th and 17th centuries, the five Borrowes Baronets, who spanned the 19th century, played no part in public life.

Sir Kildare, 10th Baronet (1852–1924), whose father, the Rev Sir Erasmus, 8th Baronet, had significantly modified the residence in a medieval, romantic, asymmetrical style, was the last of the family to live at Barretstown.

In 1918, the Borrowes family left Ireland and Barretstown was purchased by Sir George Sheppard Murray, a Scotsman who converted the estate into a fine stud farm, and planted many of the exotic trees that dominate the landscape.

In 1962, Elizabeth Arden acquired the castle from the Murray family. Over five years, Arden extensively reconstructed, redecorated, and refurnished the castle. Her influence dominates the look of the house to this day.

The door of the castle is reputed to have been painted red after her famous brand of perfume Red Door, and remains so to this day.

After Arden's death in 1967, the billionnaire Garfield Weston took up residence.

Under his ownership the grounds were significantly improved, particularly through the addition of a magnificent lake in front of the castle.
The Weston family, which owns Dublin's famous Brown Thomas department store, presented the estate to the Irish government in 1977, during which time it was used for national and international conferences and seminars, as well as being used as a part of the Irish National Stud.
The Irish government has leased the castle and its grounds to the Barretstown Gang Camp Fund for the next 90 years.

First published in September, 2012.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

The Cole Baronetcy


By a deed of WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR, extant, it appears that the COLES were of the rank of barons, and were resident in Hampshire in that monarch's reign.

the first member of the Cole family who settled in Ireland, fixed his abode, early in the reign of JAMES I, in County Fermanagh, and becoming an undertaker in the plantation of Ulster, had an assignment, in 1611, of 1,000 acres of escheated lands in the county wherein he resided; to which, in 1612, were added 320 acres in the same county, whereof 80 acres were assigned for the town of Enniskillen, and that town was then incorporated by charter, consisting of a provost and twelve burgesses, Sir William Cole being the first provost (mayor).
Sir William raised a regiment, which he commanded against the rebels, in 1643, with important success.
He married twice: Firstly, to Susannah, daughter and heir of John Croft, of Lancaster, by whom he had two daughters; and secondly, to Catherine, daughter of Sir Laurence Parsons, of Birr, second Baron of the Irish Exchequer, by whom he left, at his decease, in 1653, two sons, namely,
Michael, his successor, ancestor of the Earls of Enniskillen;
JOHN, of whom we treat.
The younger son, 

SIR JOHN COLE, of Newland, County Dublin,
MP for Fermanagh, having distinguished himself during the rebellion, particularly in the relief of Enniskillen, of which he was governor, and being instrumental in promoting the restoration of CHARLES II, was created a baronet in 1660.
He married Elizabeth, daughter of John Chichester, of Dungannon, and was succeeded, following his decease, in 1691, by his eldest son,

SIR ARTHUR COLE, 2nd Baronet (c1664-1754), MP, who was created, by GEORGE I, in 1715, BARON RANELAGH, with limitation of the title, in default of his male issue, to the heirs male of his father.

Dying without male issue, in 1754, aged 90, the titles became extinct.


HAVING first served in the Low Countries, Cole came to Ireland to try his fortune in 1601, and served under Sir George Carew, 1st Earl of Totnes and Lord President of Munster.

In 1607 he was appointed Captain of the Longboats and Barges at Ballyshannon and Lough Erne.

His future was, however, uncertain until the Flight of the Earls and, particularly, that of Cuchonnacht Maguire of Enniskillen.

In 1609, Cole was made Constable or Governor of Enniskillen.

He was knighted in 1617 and became one of the principal promoters and implementers of the Plantation in County Fermanagh, receiving extensive grants of land in and around Enniskillen in 1610-12 and acquiring more by purchase.

When Enniskillen was incorporated as a parliamentary borough in 1613, Cole became its first Provost.

At this stage, Enniskillen was seen as very much the county town of Fermanagh, and its original corporation included influential settlers (mostly English) like Cole.

But in the period 1611-23, Cole obtained leases or grants, on increasingly advantageous terms, of the two-thirds of the island of Enniskillen which went with the castle and the one-third which was intended as an endowment of the town.

The building of the town was largely a Cole initiative (there were only an estimated 180 inhabitants ca 1630).

Soon, Enniskillen became what a parliamentary reformer of 1790 called
the private property of the Earl of Enniskillen, and the [provost and] twelve burgesses, its sole electors, . .. the confidential trustees of his appointment.
 According to Pynnar's highly critical survey in 1619 of the practical operation of the Plantation, Cole was not wholly rigorous in the observance of the terms of his grants, particularly in the matter of administering the oath of supremacy to his tenants; but he was praised in 1622 for enforcing on his tenants at Portora the prohibition against sub-letting to the Irish.

Re-grants were made to him at subsequent dates re-emphasising some of his obligations, permitting some leasing to the Irish, and doubling the rents payable by him to the crown.

In general, he seems to have been more scrupulous than most Plantation patentees. Later, he was described by a contemporary as 'a brave, forward and prudent gentleman'.

He was elected MP for Fermanagh in 1634 and again in 1639. In 1641 he had a narrow escape from a treacherous death on the outbreak of the rising.

He raised a regiment and fought at its head (in spite of advancing years) in the confused wars of the 1640s, espousing the Parliamentarian cause and successfully defending Enniskillen against the Maguires. He died in 1653.

He had two sons, Michael and John, the elder of whom predeceased him.

John, the younger son, who died ca 1691, was made Custos Rotulorum for County Fermanagh and a baronet in 1661, being then, in effect, the head of the Cole family, because Sir Michael Cole, Kt, son of Sir John's elder brother, Michael, did not come of age until probably about 1663.

Sir John Cole, 1st Baronet, was a figure of more than local significance, as he was one of the commissioners appointed to implement the acts of Settlement and Explanation (the Restoration land settlement in Ireland).

He lived at Newland [probably Newlands, Clondalkin], County Dublin.

Sir John had a number of sons and daughters, many of whom died young.

In 1671, one of these daughters, Elizabeth, married as his second wife, her cousin, Sir Michael Cole.

On the occasion of this marriage, Sir John Cole settled on his daughter's issue his estate at Montagh, barony of Clanawley, County Fermanagh (which he had purchased in 1658).

This estate 'marched' or was intermingled with Sir Michael's own patrimonial estate in the barony of Clanawley.

Montagh did not, as the 4th Earl of Belmore erroneously supposed, include the site of the future Florence Court; but its accession shifted the centre of gravity of Sir Michael Cole's estate southward of Enniskillen, and must have had a great bearing on the decision to build in that location.

Montagh never actually belonged to Sir Michael, but came into the possession of the eldest son of the marriage, John Cole, either at his coming of age in 1711 or at his mother's death in 1733.

Nevertheless, it continued to be recorded as a separate entity in the family rentals until well into the 19th century.

In 1754, at the death of Sir Arthur Cole, 2nd Baronet and 1st Baron Ranelagh, only surviving son of Sir John Cole, 1st Baronet, his great-nephew, John Cole, the future Lord Mount Florence, had an income of £2,220 a year, which doubled his rental and provided him with the means to begin building soon afterwards.

The stated extent of the inheritance seems much exaggerated (if John Cole had had an income of £4,400 (equivalent to £733,000 in 2011) in 1754, he would have been among the richest men in Ireland), and it is not clear where the figure comes from.

Probably the source is one of the updated editions of Thomas Prior's List of the Absentees of Ireland, first published in 1729, which gives figures which are usually inflated.

In the present instance, however, the figure is even more misleading because it is based on the assumption that all Lord Ranelagh's estates went to John Cole.

This was not so.

Lord Ranelagh had other great-nephews and nieces, including Sir Arthur Brooke, Bt, of Colebrooke, County Fermanagh, whose ancestor would hardly have called his house Colebrooke if he had not received a significant endowment when he married Lord Ranelagh's sister.

Sir Arthur himself inherited (probably in 1754) Lord Ranelagh's estates in Counties Tipperary and Clare.

The County Dublin and Dublin City property seems to have been divided between Sir Arthur and the aforementioned Henry Moore, another great-nephew (hence the proximity of Cole's Lane, Moore Street, etc, in the vicinity of the General Post Office).

Even the West Dean and East Grimstead estate, Wiltshire (as has already been noted), was not inherited by the Florence Court Coles until 1819, and even then was subject to various co-heir-ships.
Lord Ranelagh was the origin of the Coles' mysterious 12,000 acre estate in County Waterford; but as it does not feature in Cole deeds of settlement until the 1790s, it – like the East Grimstead estate - may have been subject to a life interest to Lady Ranelagh which did not expire until 1781, ten years after Florence Court was completed.
At the very least it would have been subject to its share of her jointure. Old men with younger wives and no other close relations, are likely to make sure that their widows are well provided for.

In other words, Florence Court may have been built on Ranelagh 'tick' (and paid for later out of the proceeds from the sale of the Waterford estate), but there is most unlikely to have been any great influx of cash in 1754.

In fact, the main windfalls of cash at this time came from the sale of the seats for the borough of Enniskillen: one was sold in 1761, and both at the general elections of 1768, 1776 and 1783.

The prices are unrecorded, but must have been between £1,500 and £2,000 per seat.

Lord Ranelagh died in 1754, aged 90, without issue when the baronetcy and barony both became extinct.


First published in April, 2011.  Ranelagh arms courtesy of European Heraldry.