Tuesday, 1 December 2020

Portaferry House


The very ancient Anglo-Norman house of SAVAGE was settled at Portaferry, County Down, since the time of the first conquest of Ireland by John de Courcy, Earl of Ulster, in 1117.

Under that famous warrior, the original ancestor in Ireland established himself in County Down; and by a written document, dated 1205, in the Tower of London, we find Robin, son of William Savage, named as one of de Courcy's hostages for his appearance before KING JOHN.

The present barony of Lecale was anciently termed the Territory of the Savages, wherein, at Ardglass, they and their dependents erected seven castles, the ruins of which are still extant.

It appears, also, that a stately monastery of Dominicans was founded at Newtownards, in 1244, by the Savages, "gentlemen of English extraction".

From the extreme scarcity of records in Ireland, it is impossible, at this remote period, to determine, without liability to error, which is the senior branch of the family, that of PORTAFERRY or ARDKEEN CASTLE.

In 1400, HENRY IV granted to Robert FitzJordan Savage the office of sheriff of the Ards; and it appears, by an indenture dated 1538, that Raymond [Savage] should have the chieftainship and superiority of his sept in the Territory of the Savages, otherwise called Lecale.

However, in 1559 the Lord Deputy, Sir William FitzWilliam, made a division between Roland and Raymond Savage of several towns and territories in the Ards.

By pedigree annexed, Roland, in 1572, was in possession of Portaferry Castle, and styled himself "Lord of the Little Ards"; and Lord Deputy Chichester, some years afterwards, addressed him as such by letter.

The Ardkeen family had some territories in the barony of Lecale, and also in County Antrim, that family always being sore enemies of the O'Neills. 

ROWLAND SAVAGE, Lord of the Little Ards, County Down, representative of the family in the middle of the 16th century, died at Portaferry in 1572, leaving issue,
PATRICK, his heir;
The eldest son,

PATRICK SAVAGE (1535-c1604), Lord of the Little Ards, wedded Anne Plunket, and left two sons, of whom the elder,

ROWLAND SAVAGE, Lord of the Little Ards, succeeded his father, and married Rose, daughter of Russel of Rathmullan, County Down.

Mr Savage was, however, succeeded by his brother, 

PATRICK SAVAGE, of Portaferry, who wedded, in 1623, Jean, only daughter of Hugh, 1st Viscount Montgomery, and had issue, 
HUGH, his heir;
ELIZABETH, co-heir to her brother;
SARAH, co-heir to her brother.
Patrick Savage died in 1644, and was succeeded by his son, 

HUGH SAVAGE, of Portaferry, who died unmarried in 1683, and was succeeded in the representation of the family by his cousin, 

PATRICK SAVAGE, of Londonderry, and afterwards of Portaferry, who, by his wife Anne Hall, of Narrow Water, left issue,

EDWARD SAVAGE, of Portaferry, who died unmarried in 1725, and was buried at Portaferry.

His uncle and successor, 

JAMES SAVAGE, of Portaferry, wedded Mabel, daughter of Edmund Magee, of Lisburn, and had issue, 
JOHN, his heir;
ANDREW, of whom hereafter;
Margaret; Elizabeth.
The eldest son,

JOHN SAVAGE, wedded Catherine, daughter of ___ Savage, and had issue a son, James, who died young.
At his decease he was succeeded by his brother,

ANDREW SAVAGE, of Portaferry, who espoused Margaret, sister and co-heir of Governor Nugent (of Tortola), and daughter of Andrew Nugent, of Dysart, County Westmeath, by his wife, the Lady Catherine Nugent, daughter and co-heir of Thomas, Earl of Westmeath, and had a son and heir,

PATRICK SAVAGE, of Portaferry, who married, in 1765, Anne, daughter of Roger Hall, of Narrow Water, and by her had, with daughters who died unmarried,
ANDREW, his heir;
Patrick Nugent, m Hariett, daughter of Rev Henry Sandford;
Roger Hall, Captain RN, died unmarried;
John Levallin, died unmarried;
William, in holy orders;
Barbara; Dorcas Sophia.
Mr Savage died in 1797, and was succeeded by his eldest son (who assumed the surname of NUGENT and became co-heir of the barony of Delvin),

ANDREW NUGENT JP DL (1770-1846), of Portaferry House, Lieutenant-Colonel, North Down Militia, High Sheriff of County Down, 1808, who wedded, in 1800, the Hon Selina Vesey, youngest daughter of Thomas, 1st Viscount de Vesci, and had issue, 
PATRICK JOHN, his heir;
Thomas Vesey, m Frances, eldest daughter of Sir James Stronge Bt;
Andrew Savage, m Harriet, Viscountess Bangor;
Arthur, m Charlotte, only daughter of Major Brooke, of Colebrooke;
Charles Lavallin, major-general in the army;
Selina, m James, eldest son of Sir James Stronge Bt;
Colonel Nugent succeeded his father in 1797, and assumed his present surname, on succeeding to a portion of the estate of his maternal great-uncle, Governor Nugent, in 1812.

His eldest son,

PATRICK JOHN NUGENT (1804-57), of Portaferry House, Lieutenant-Colonel, North Down Militia, High Sheriff of County Down, 1843, married, in 1833, his cousin Catherine, daughter of John 2nd Viscount de Vesci, and had issue,
JOHN VESEY, lieutenant-colonel in the army;
Arthur Vesey;
Frances Isabella.
His eldest son,

LIEUTENANT-GENERAL ANDREW NUGENT JP DL (1834-1905), of Portaferry House, High Sheriff of County Down, 1882, Colonel, Royal Scots Greys, died unmarried and was succeeded by his brother,

LIEUTENANT-COLONEL JOHN VESEY NUGENT JP DL (1837-1914), of Portaferry House, who married, in 1886, Emily Georgiana, daughter of Herbert Langham.

Colonel Nugent died without issue, and was succeeded by his cousin, 


ROLAND THOMAS NUGENT (1886-1962), was a Northern Ireland politician. 
He entered the diplomatic service in 1910 and served with the Grenadier Guards in 1918; and again in 1940-43; was a Director of the Federation of British Industries, 1916-17 and 1919-32; and was knighted in 1929.
In 1944, Sir Roland Thomas Nugent entered Northern Ireland politics, serving as Leader of the Senate, 1944-50; Minister without Portfolio in the Northern Ireland Government, 1944-45; Minister of Commerce, 1945-49; Minister in the Senate, 1949; and Speaker of the Senate, 1950-61. 
On his retirement from that post, Sir Roland was created a baronet, though he died in the following year, when the baronetcy became extinct.

Sir Roland, 1st and last Baronet, married, in 1917, Cynthia Maud Ramsden, daughter of Captain Frederick William Ramsden and the Lady Elizabeth Maud Conyngham (daughter of 3rd Marquess Conyngham).

The couple had three children, of whom their two sons were both tragically killed in action during the 2nd World War. 

I have written about the Nugent Baronets here.

PORTAFERRY HOUSE, Portaferry, County Down, is a dignified mansion of ca 1750, designed by William Farrell for Andrew Savage.

It was extended ca 1790, and assumed its present form in 1818-20.

The central entrance front comprises five bays, with a Wyatt window in each of the two upper storeys.

The porch has paired Ionic columns and end piers.

On either side of the centre there are broad, three-sided bows of two storeys, though the same height as the main block.

The hall had Ionic columns and good plasterwork. 

Kennels were built to the north side of the demesne.

A threshing mill/horse walk was built to the north east of the farmyard.

The work to the house was completed in 1820 at a total cost of £7,140.

Portaferry House remained in the Nugent family until the 1980s, by which time sections of it had fallen into disrepair.

The present owner has done much to restore the building.


THE DEMESNE is laid out as a fine landscape park for the 1760 house, enlarged in the early 1820s after additions and alterations were made to the house by Andrew Nugent.

It is placed in a splendid position overlooking lawns, pleasure grounds, a series of small lakes and parkland to Strangford Lough.

The original 1760 house stands on a site chosen because it was near ‘a beautiful well-spring up to which from the old castle’. 

The present building owes it appearance to Patrick Savage, who engaged Charles Lilley, a Dublin timber merchant in 1789-90, to start work on an enlarged house.

Later, in 1814, William Farrell was engaged to complete the building, and following Lilley’s designs, this work being completed in 1820.

The parkland incorporates extensive woodland blocks, screens and isolated park trees.

Nugent’s Wood, alongside the shore, belongs to the National Trust. 

A folly tower, which resembles a windmill stump, has far reaching views from the top.

The walled garden, near the town, which belongs to the council, has an interesting ziggurat wall to allow maximum heat to wall fruit.

It is open to the public, as it is adjacent to the 16th century tower house, Portaferry Castle.

There are listed farm buildings and three gate lodges built in 1830. 

First published in November, 2014.

Monday, 30 November 2020

Vice Lord-Lieutenant


Mr Robert Scott OBE, Lord-Lieutenant of County Tyrone, with the approval of Her Majesty The Queen, has been pleased to appoint
Mrs Frances Beatrice Nolan MBE DL
County Tyrone
Vice Lord-Lieutenant for the said County, her Commission bearing date the 26th day of November 2020

Lord-Lieutenant of the County

1st Earl of Seafield


This family descends from a younger son of the house of AIRLIE.

SIR WALTER OGILVY, Knight, of Auchleven, second son of the Treasurer of Scotland, Ogilvie, by Isabel Durward, heir of Lintrathen, who married Margaret, only daughter and heir of Sir John Sinclair, of Deskford and Findlater, and thereby acquired those estates.

Sir Walter obtained permission from the Crown, in 1455, to fortify his castle at Findlater, and to make it a place of strength.

He died in 1473, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR JAMES OGILVY, Knight, of Deskford and Findlater, who wedded Margaret, eldest daughter of Sir Robert Innes, of Innes, and was succeeded in 1510 by his grandson,

ALEXANDER OGILVY (son of Sir James Ogilvy, who died in 1505-6, by Agnes, natural daughter of George, 2nd Earl of Huntley), who obtained a charter, in 1511, for incorporating the lands of Deskford, Findlater, and Keithmore into one entire barony, to be designated by the name of Ogilvy.

He married Janet, second daughter of James Abernethy, 3rd Lord Saltoun, and had a son, JAMES, whom he disinherited, settling estates upon John Gordon, 2nd son of George, 4th Earl of Huntley; but after a feud and some bloodshed between the Gordons and Ogilvys, the baronies of Deskford and Findlater were restored by an arbitration, of which QUEEN MARY was overs-woman.

The rightful heir,

JAMES OGILVY,  of Cardell, who was succeeded by his grandson,

SIR WALTER OGILVY, Knight, who was elevated to the peerage, in 1616, in the dignity of Lord Ogilvy of Deskford.

His lordship wedded firstly, Agnes, eldest daughter of Robert, 3rd Lord Elphinstone, by whom he had a daughter,
Christian, married to Sir John Forbes of Pitsligo.
He espoused secondly, the Lady Mary Douglas, third daughter of William, Earl of Morton, and had by that lady,

JAMES, 2nd Lord, who was created, in 1638, Earl of Findlater.

His lordship married the Lady Elizabeth Leslie, daughter of Andrew, 5th Earl of Rothes, by whom he had two daughters,
ELIZABETH, m Sir Patrick Ogilvy, of Inchmartin;
Anne, m William, 9th Earl of Glencairn, LORD CHANCELLOR OF SCOTLAND.
He married secondly, the Lady Marion Cunningham, daughter of William, 8th Earl of Glencairn, but by her he had no issue.

Lord Findlater thus having no male issue, procured a renewed patent, dated 1641, conferring the titles of Earl and Countess of Findlater upon his son-in-law, Sir Patrick Ogilvy, and that gentleman's wife, the Lady Elizabeth Ogilvy, his lordship's elder daughter.

At his decease the peerage so devolved upon

SIR PATRICK OGILVY AND HIS LADY, as Earl and Countess of Findlater.

His lordship died in 1658, and was succeeded by his son,

JAMES, 3rd Earl, whose eldest surviving son,

JAMES, 4th Earl, a lawyer of great eminence at the Scottish bar, who filled successively the offices of Solicitor-General and Secretary of State for Scotland; Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer; and High Commisssioner to the General Assembly of the church.

His lordship had been elevated to the peerage before the decease of his father, in 1698, in the dignity of Viscount Seafield; and, in 1701, Viscount Reidhaven and EARL OF SEAFIELD.

Earls of Seafield (1701)

The heir apparent is the present holder's son James Andrew Studley, styled Viscount Reidhaven (b 1963). He became a Muslim in 1990.

CULLEN HOUSE, Buckie, Moray, was the ancestral seat of the Earls of Seafield.

The main part of the house dates from 1543.

An east wing was added in 1711, and there were alterations by David Bryce in 1858.

The House and estate buildings were converted into fourteen dwellings in 1983.

Prior to the use of Cullen House by the Earls of Seafield, the castle of Findlater, now a ruin, on a rocky coastal outcrop about two miles to the east, was the seat.

Several hundred yards from Cullen House, on the site of the old village, stands Old Cullen, a dower house, Georgian in design. Formerly the Factor's house, it is now the residence of Lord and Lady Seafield.

The Earls of Seafield owned a further 160,224 acres of land in Inverness-shire, and 48,936 acres in Banffshire.

First published in February, 2016.  Seafield arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Sunday, 29 November 2020

Order of St Patrick: Ulster List


The Order of St Patrick remains technically extant.

It features in the orders of chivalry section of the Royal Family website.

The Knights listed below had connections in one form or another with Ulster.


  • 2nd Earl of Clanbrassil 1783
  • 1st Earl of Charlemont 1783
  • 1st Earl of Ely 1783
  • 1st Marquess of Ely 1794
  • 2nd Earl of Roden 1806
  • 2nd Marquess of Ely 1807
  • 1st Earl O'Neill 1809
  • 2nd Earl of Enniskillen 1810
  • 2nd Marquess of Donegall 1821
  • 2nd Earl of Caledon 1821
  • 3rd Earl of Roden 1821
  • 2nd Earl of Charlemont 1831
  • 3rd Marquess of Downshire 1831
  • 10th Viscount Massereene 1851
  • 1st Earl of Dartrey, 1855
  • 3rd Earl of Gosford 1855
  • 4th Marquess of Londonderry 1856
  • 3rd Marquess of Donegall 1857
  • 4th Marquess of Downshire 1859
  • 1st Marquess of Dufferin & Ava 1864
  • 2nd Baron Lurgan 1864
  • 3rd Earl of Charlemont 1865
  • 3rd Earl of Erne 1868
  • 4th Earl of Gosford 1869
  • 5th Marquess of Londonderry 1874
  • 7th Duke of Manchester 1877
  • 4th Earl of Erne 1889
  • 3rd Earl of Kilmorey 1890
  • 4th Earl of Caledon 1897
  • 4th Earl of Enniskillen 1902
  • 24th Baron de Ros 1902
  • 1st Viscount Pirrie 1909
  • 9th Earl of Shaftesbury 1911
  • 3rd Duke of Abercorn 1922
The first three appointees were founder members of the Order. 

The Most Noble James, 3rd Duke of Abercorn, KG KP PC, was the final non-royal conferral before the Order went into abeyance.

First published on the 17th March, 2011.

Saturday, 28 November 2020

NI Peers Index



Belfast, Earl of; courtesy lord; see Donegall

Castlereagh, Viscount; courtesy lord; see Londonderry

Cole, Viscount; courtesy lord; see Enniskillen

Corry, Viscount; courtesy lord; see Belmore


Hillsborough, Earl of; courtesy lord; see Downshire

MOIRA, EARL OF; see Hastings


Newry and Mourne, Viscount; courtesy lord; see Kilmorey

ROKEBY, BARON (89th Lord Archbishop of Armagh)

Stuart, Viscount; courtesy lord; see Castle Stewart

WESTMINSTER, 6TH DUKE OF (b 1951 at Omagh, Co Tyrone)

First published in February, 2013.

Dundarave: Lodges

Dundarave Main Entrance in 2014

During my visit to Portballintrae and Bushmills, County Antrim, my curiosity was aroused by the boundary walls and gate lodges of Dundarave estate, erstwhile seat of the Macnaghten Baronets.

The main gate lodge, and the closest to Bushmills, is almost opposite the Clay Field.

Main Entrance Lodge in 2014

This is easily the grandest of the lodges, of which there used to be four in total.

J A K Dean, in his Gate Lodges of Ulster, describes it thus:
a mini-palazzo ... and its grand porte-cochère ... the extensive gate-screen of tall, square, sandstone piers with restrained friezes below moulded cappings ... Wide, double, cast-iron carriage gates flanked by wicket gates and concave sweeps beyond.

There is a modest, plain lodge - almost like a cottage -  at a side entrance which leads to a courtyard.

At the rear entrance to the estate there is another charming little lodge.

DUNDARAVE ESTATE now comprises 1,300 acres of land; though during the Victorian era its extent was 7,134 acres.

First published in 2014.

Friday, 27 November 2020

Tubberdaly House


JOHN DOWNING, of Bellaghy and Rowesgift, County Londonderry, born in 1700, married Anne, daughter of the Rev Dr J Rowe, and had issue,
Dawson, ancestor of
Sarah, m to Charles Dawson.
The eldest son,

THE REV ALEXANDER CLOTWORTHY DOWNING, of Bellaghy and Rowesgift, Rector of Leckpatrick, County Londonderry, wedded Tamison, daughter of James Nesbitt, of Tubberdaly, King's County, and had, with other issue, a daughter, Medicis, who married her first cousin, ancestress of EDWARD BEAUMONT-NESBITT, of Tubberdaly, and a son,

JOHN DOWNING-NESBITT, of Tubberdaly, who assumed the additional surname of NESBITT on inheriting the Nesbitt estates in the King's County, and counties Roscommon and Galway.

He married, in 1800, Jane, daughter of General Brady, of Leixlip House, County Kildare, and had, with other issue,
Alexander, died unmarried;
CATHERINE TAMISON, succeeded her brother;
Jane, m to Francis, Count de Lusi;
Mary Anne, died unmarried, 1873.
Mr Downing-Nesbitt died in 1847, and was succeeded by his son,

WILLIAM GEORGE DOWNING-NESBITT, of Tubberdaly, who died a bachelor in 1857, and was succeeded by his sister,

CATHERINE TAMISON DOWNING-NESBITT, who died unmarried in 1886, and was succeeded by her cousin,

EDWARD BEAUMONT, who adopted the additional surnames of DOWNING and NESBITT.


GEORGE BEAUMONT wedded, in 1815, Alice, daughter of James Akroyd, of Brook House, near Halifax, and died in 1858, leaving a son,

THE REV THOMAS GEORGE BEAUMONT JP, Rector of Chelmondiston, Suffolk, who espoused Tamazine, daughter of the Rev John Bradshaw, Incumbent of Lambeg, County Antrim.

He died in 1908, having had issue,
EDWARD JOHN, of Tubberdaly;
Alice Mary; Mabel.
The Rev T G Beaumont was succeeded by his eldest son,

EDWARD JOHN DOWNING BEAUMONT-NESBITT OBE JP (1860-), of Tubberdaly, High Sheriff of King's County, 1892, who wedded, in 1890, Helen, daughter of Frederick Freeman Thomas, of Ratton, Sussex, by his wife, Mabel, third daughter of Viscount Hampden, and had issue,
FREDERICK GEORGE, major-general;
Wilfred Henry, b 1894;
Violet Catherine, b 1891;
Eileen Mabel, b 1898.
Edward John Downing Beaumont-Nesbitt was the last Lord-Lieutenant of King's County (Offaly), from 1918 until 1922.


TUBBERDALY HOUSE, near Edenderry, County Offaly, was a Georgian mansion built near the site of the ruinous Tubberdaly Castle.

It was one of the last big houses to be burnt by the IRA, on the night of the 15th April, 1923.

First published in March, 2018.