Saturday, 4 April 2020

Cairnburn: 1903

Norwood Tower

A FANCIFUL DAY-TRIP FROM BELFAST IN 1903

I have just come from the magnificent new City Hall being built in Donegall Square, Belfast.

The old Linen Hall has been razed to the ground and the magnificent new civic building is taking shape very nicely indeed.

The coronation of our new King, Edward the Seventh, has taken place.

Old Queen Victoria rests in peace.

I've taken a Hansom cab to an up-and-coming district near Belfast called Strandtown.

I'm visiting the Ewarts at their fine new residence, Glenmachan.

Glenmachan House

The cab driver is taking me via a semi-circular road to a junction with Cairnburn Road, and I alight there in order that I may stroll the rest of the way.

These country roads are narrow: another cab passed us as it turned up the drive of Norwood Tower, the Hendersons' rambling Tudor-Revival mansion, and my cab-driver had to slow right down to avoid it!

Norwood Tower has two gate-lodges, each about a quarter of a mile apart.

The first lodge we passed on this circular road was a little beyond the entrance to Clonaver House, the Hendersons' former dower house, which now belongs to James Girdwood; while the second lodge was almost opposite Ardvarna House.

The Henderson grounds are extensive and extend to the top of Circular Road.

It is said that they own fifty acres.

The gate lodges are both battlemented, while the house, set in a landscaped park, is dominated by a lofty, castellated tower.

Passing Norwood, I notice a gardener working in the grounds with a scythe; and a paddock with a number of horses grazing.

On the left-hand side of the road, the first gate-lodge belongs to Ardnagreena House, home to the solicitor, Charles Black; and further along, we pass Ballymisert House's gate lodge.

Ballymisert, I am told, belongs to the tea merchant, Masterson.

My cab reaches the top of the hill, and we veer left as we pass yet another gate lodge for Garranard House which belongs to William Patterson, who is the proprietor of a flourishing ironmongery business.

At last I have arrived at the junction with Cairnburn Road.

I pay the cabbie a few shillings ~ daylight robbery! ~ and begin my stroll.

There are fields to the right; Glenfurlough House to the left, where James Taylor, the linen merchant, lives.

A few minutes' walk further along, I pass the red-brick labourers' cottages which belong to Glenfurlough.

These workers' cottages are beside a steep decline, where there is a pretty glen.

I cross the old bridge, surrounded by woodland and the song of birds.

From here the lane ascends and cuts through more woodland.

At the top of the road, there is a cross-roads, where the old Holywood Road traverses Cairnburn Road.

I pause and observe: the woodland and the roads are so narrow with no traffic at all, except one solitary horse and cart.

I catch a glimpse of some workers' cottages on the other side of the Holywood Road.

Immediately ahead is my destination: Glenmachan, seat of my friends, the Ewarts, standing in thirty-three acres of grounds.

First published in December, 2009.

Friday, 3 April 2020

Chambré of Hawthorn Hill

THE CHAMBRÉS OWNED 1,281 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY ARMAGH

This family descends from JOHN DE LA CHAMBRÉ, who settled in Denbighshire, under Henry de Lacy, 3rd Earl of Lincoln, in 1275.

He is stated (in a very ancient pedigree in Norman French) to have been descended from
Johan de la Chaumbré, a nobelle Normanne, who entered England in ye traine of King William ye Conqueraure.
This John de la Chambré married Mawith, daughter of Blethyn Vaughan, and had a son,

HENRY CHAMBRÉ, of Lleweni, living in 1236, who wedded Katherine, daughter of Edmond Charlton, and was father of

JOSHUA CHAMBRÉ, of Lleweni.

The lineal descendent of this gentleman,

RICHARD CHAMBRÉ, Lord of the Manor of Petton, Shropshire, espoused Mary, daughter of John Hill, of Ludlow, Shropshire, and died in 1563, leaving a second son,

GEORGE CHAMBRÉ, of Petton, who married Judith, daughter and co-heir of Walter Calcott, of Williamscote, Oxfordshire, and had issue, with a daughter, three sons, all named Calcott,
Calcott, dsp;
Calcott, MP, of Carnew and Shillelagh;
CALCOTT, of whom hereafter;
Hester.
The youngest son,

CALCOTT CHAMBRÉ, of Coolatrindle, County Wexford, born in 1602, left issue, two sons, viz.
Calcott;
CALCOTT, of whom hereafter.
The younger son,

CAPTAIN CALCOTT CHAMBRÉ (-1753), of Wexford, married Mary, daughter of Oliver Walsh, of Dollardstown, County Kildare, and Ballykilcavan, Queen's County, by Edith his wife, sister of Raphael Hunt and had issue,
HUNT CALCOTT, his heir;
Chaworth Calcott, in holy orders;
Olivia.
The elder son,

HUNT CALCOTT CHAMBRÉ (-1782), of Carnew Castle, County Wicklow, wedded, in 1735, Anna Maria, eldest daughter and co-heir of William Meredith, and had, with other children (who died unmarried),
MEREDITH CALCOTT, his heir;
Ellinor; Anne; Henrietta.
The eldest surviving son,

MEREDITH CALCOTT CHAMBRÉ (1742-1812), of Hawthorn Hill, County Armagh, married, in 1785, Margaret, daughter and co-heir of George Faulkner, of County Dublin, and had issue,
HUNT WALSH, his heir;
William, Major-General;
Maria, m Rev R Henry, Rector of Jonesborough.
Mr Chambré was succeeded by his eldest son,

HUNT WALSH CHAMBRÉ JP (1787-1848), of Hawthorn Hill, Captain, Mullaglass Yeomanry, High Sheriff of County Armagh, 1829, who wedded, in 1813, Rebecca, only daughter of William Upton, of Ballinabarney, County Limerick, and had issue,
Meredith, 1814-79;
William;
HUNT WALSH, of whom hereafter;
John, of Hawthorn Hill;
Catherine; Anna Maria; Rebecca; Margaret Elizabeth;
Olivia Henrietta Elizabeth; Mary Frances; Jane Hunt.
The third son,

HUNT WALSH CHAMBRÉ JP (1831-1914), of Dungannon House, County Tyrone, espoused, in 1860, Mary Anne Brunette, daughter of John Brett Johnston, of Ballykilbeg, County Down, and had issue,
Hunt Walsh Alan, b 1861, his heir;
John Brett Johnstone Meredith;
William Thomas Meredith;
CHARLES BARCLAY MACPHERSON, of whom we treat;
John;
William Henry;
Thomasina; Rebecca Mary Brunette; Olivia Isabella Kathleen;
Jane Henry Wray Young Mabel; Kathleen Georgaina Evelyn.
The fourth son,

CHARLES BARCLAY MACPHERSON CHAMBRÉ JP (1870-1950), of Hawthorn Hill, married, in 1906, Nina Lisa Francis Ochiltree, daughter of the Rev Alexander Stuart, and had issue, a son,

ALAN STUART HUNT CHAMBRÉ JP DL (1908-), of Ringdarriff, Annahilt, County Down, who wedded, in 1933, Violet Aileen, daughter of Wickham Hercules Bradshaw Moorhead, and had issue,
JOHN ALAN, his heir;
Jean Mary, b 1938;
Rosaleen Aileen, b 1946.
His only son,

JOHN ALAN CHAMBRÉ (1939-), married, in 1968, Elizabeth Mildred, daughter of John Horace Willcox, and had issue,
WILLIAM WICKHAM MEREDITH, b 1969;
Thomas John Charles, b 1976;
Sophia Gabrielle, b 1971;
Kate Mabel Elizabeth, b 1978.

HAWTHORN HILL was located at the foot of Slieve Gullion Mountain between Forkhill, County Armagh, and Newry, County Down.

It was built ca 1820 by Hunt Walsh Chambré.

The family is buried in Killeavy churchyard.

During civil unrest in the 1920s the house was burnt.

It was subsequently reconstructed in its present form.

In 1968, the Chambré family sold the estate to the Northern Ireland Forestry Commission and the house was used until recently as its headquarters.

The demesne lies on the east-facing slopes of Slieve Gullion.

There are mature trees from the early 19th century, later exotics, and forest planting from the 1950s.

Modern landscaping and ornamental planting now form part of the walled garden and outbuildings, which now house the visitor centre for Slieve Gullion Forest Park.

The gate lodge of ca 1834 is opposite the entrance and replaced a lodge that was contemporary with the house.


SLIEVE GULLION COURTYARD, Killeavy, County Down, remains and is used commercially for weddings and other functions.

It is located at the foot of Slieve Gullion with a walled garden to its north-west and Hawthorn House to its South.

There are two gate lodges: a modified back lodge to the north; and a restored gate lodge to the east, opposite the entrance gates to the park.

The early 19th century rectangular courtyard is enclosed to all sides by former stables and related farm buildings, now all refurbished as offices, apartments, conference centre and restaurant or service block by the Forest Service.

All buildings are constructed in coursed granite rubble with natural slate roofs.

The eastern side of the courtyard assumed its present form between 1861 and 1907.

It was sold to the Forestry Commission in 1968.

The present buildings were developed to provide resources for the local community and tourists and opened to the public in 1995.

The complex was taken over in 1999 by Clanrye Employment and Training Services, Newry.

First published in March, 2016.

4th Earl of Bristol

THE ANCESTRY OF FREDERICK AUGUSTUS HERVEY, 4TH EARL OF BRISTOL, LORD BISHOP OF DERRY


The surname of HERVEY, or HARVEY, written with Fitz (i.e. son of Hervey) is derived from Robert FitzHervey (a younger son of Hervé, Duke of Orléans), one of the commanders in the invading army of WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR.

From that Robert descended

JOHN HERVEY, who, marrying Joan, daughter and heiress of John Harman, of Thurleigh, Bedfordshire, whereby he became possessed of that lordship, which he made his principal residence.

Mr Hervey died in 1292, leaving issue,

JOHN HERVEY, who wedded Margaret, daughter and heir of Sir John de Nernuytt, of Burnham, in Buckinghamshire, and therby became possessed of a large property, which descended to his son and heir.

From him we pass to his lineal descendant,

JOHN HERVEY, of Thurleigh, who wedded Alice, daughter of Nicholas Morley, of Glynde, Sussex; and had, with one daughter, two sons, viz.
GEORGE (Sir);
Thomas, of whom we treat.
The younger son,

THOMAS HERVEY, espoused Jane, daughter and heir of Henry Drury, of Ickworth, Hawstead, etc; and with her acquired those estates.

He was succeeded at his decease by his son,

WILLIAM HERVEY, of Ickworth, Suffolk, who married Joan, daughter of John Cocket, of Ampton, Suffolk; and, dying in 1538, left, with other issue,
JOHN, his successor, of whom presently;
NICHOLAS.
Mr Hervey of Ickworth was succeeded at his decease by his eldest son,

JOHN HERVEY, of Ickworth, whi died in 1556, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN HERVEY, of Ickworth, who wedded Frances, daughter and co-heir of Edmund Bocking, of Bocking, in Essex; and dying in 1630, was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR WILLIAM HERVEY, who married, in 1608, Susan, daughter of Sir Robert Jermyn, of Rushbrook, Suffolk; and dying in 1660, was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN HERVEY, of Ickworth; who enjoyed the friendship of Robert Sidney, 2nd Earl of Leicester, and sojourned with that accomplished nobleman during his embassy at the French court.

Concurring heartily with the restoration of CHARLES II, he was appointed Treasurer of the Household to the Queen Consort, CATHERINE.

In parliament he was one of the leading members.

Mr Hervey wedded the Hon Elizabeth Hervey, only surviving child and sole heiress of William, Lord Hervey, of Kidbrook; but dying without issue, in 1679, his estates devolved upon his only surviving brother,

SIR THOMAS HERVEY MP, who espoused Isabella, daughter of Sir Humphrey May, vice-chamberlain of the household to CHARLES I; and dying in 1694, was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

JOHN HERVEY (1665-1751), a distinguished member of the House of Commons, who was elevated to the peerage, in 1703, in the dignity of Baron Hervey, of Ickworth, Suffolk.

His lordship was advanced to an earldom, in 1714, as EARL OF BRISTOL.

1st Earl of Bristol, Photo Credit: The National Trust, Ickworth

This nobleman wedded firstly, in 1686, Isabella, daughter and sole heiress of the Rt Hon Sir Robert Carr Bt, and granddaughter, maternally, of James, 3rd Earl of Suffolk, by whom he had a son, CARR, Lord Hervey, who predeceased him, and two daughters.

He married secondly, in 1695, Elizabeth, onlt daughter and heiress of Sir Thomas Felton Bt, of Playford, Suffolk, by whom he had eleven sons and six daughters.

His lordship's two sons both predeceased him and, following his decease in 1751, he was succeeded by his grandson,

GEORGE WILLIAM (1721-75), 2nd Earl, who, in right of his grandmother, upon the demise of Henry, 10th Earl of Suffolk, became joint heir (with Elizabeth, 2nd wife of John, 1st Earl of Portsmouth) to that nobleman's estates, and to the barony of HOWARD DE WALDEN; but dying unmarried in 1775, all devolved upon his brother,

AUGUSTUS JOHN (1724-79), 3rd Earl; who, having adopted the naval profession, attained the rank of Vice-Admiral of the Blue.

His lordship married privately, in 1744, the celebrated Miss Chudleigh, who, 25 years later, in 1769, publicly espoused Evelyn Pierrepoint, 2nd Duke of Kingston-upon-Hull; for which offence her ladyship was impeached before the House of Lords, and the marriage declared unlawful.

She retired subsequently to the Continent, where she died in 1788.

His lordship, erstwhile Chief Secretary for Ireland and First Sea Lord, died without issue, 1779, and was succeeded by his brother,

The Earl Bishop,  Photo Credit: The National Trust, Ickworth

FREDERICK AUGUSTUS (1730-1803), Lord Bishop of Derry, as 4th Earl, who espoused, in 1752, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Jermyn Davers Bt, and sister and heir of Sir Charles Davers Bt, and had issue,
John Augustus (1757-96), Captain RN;
FREDERICK WILLIAM, his successor;
George (1755-65);
another son, died in infancy;
Mary Caroline, m John, 1st Earl of Erne;
Elizabeth Christiana, 5th Duchess of Devonshire;
Louisa Theodosia, m Robert, 2nd Earl of Liverpool.
Former seats ~ Ickworth, Suffolk; Downhill, County Londonderry. 
Former London residence ~ 6 St James's Square.

First published in December, 2014.  Bristol arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Thursday, 2 April 2020

The Stronge Baronets

MATTHEW STRONGE , descended from a junior branch of the ancient family of Strange of Balkaskie, in Scotland, which first settled in Ulster in the reign of JAMES I), married Anne ______, and had issue, a son, JAMES.

This Matthew Stronge leased land in County Londonderry from the Goldsmiths' Corporation of London, and acquired further lands in the counties of Donegal and Tyrone.

Mr Stronge, Warden of Lifford, died in 1715-16.

His son,

JAMES STRONGE, High Sheriff of County Londonderry, 1682-3, wedded, in 1675, Margaret, daughter of John Douglas, and had issue,
JOHN;
Isabella.
The only son,

THE REV JOHN STRONGE (1678-1744), Rector of Tynan, County Armagh, married, in 1714, Ellinor, daughter and heiress of James Manson, and had issue,
James (Rev), DD, died unmarried;
MATTHEW, his successor;
John, died unmarried;
William, army captain;
Mary, m to the Rev A Benson DD, Rector of Monaghan;
The second son, 

MATTHEW STRONGE, of Liverpool, mayor of that city, 1768-9, espoused Elizabeth, daughter of S Powell, of Stanage Park, and had issue,
JAMES, his heir;
Elinor, widow of J Blackburne, of Wavertree Hall, Lancs.
Mr Stronge was succeeded by his son,

THE REV JAMES STRONGE (1750-1804), of Tynan, who wedded, in 1785, Helen, daughter of John Tew, of Dublin, by his wife Margaret, grand-niece to John, 1st Baron Farnham.

Mr Stronge was created a baronet in 1803, designated of Tynan, County Armagh.

He was succeeded by his son,

SIR JAMES MATTHEW STRONGE, 2nd Baronet (1786-1864), DL, of Tynan Abbey, who wedded, in 1810, Isabella, daughter of Nicolson Calvert, and had issue,
JAMES MATTHEW, his successor;
JOHN CALVERT, 4th Baronet;
Charles Walter;
Edmond Robert Francis, father of the 6th Baronet;
Maxwell Du Pré, father of JAMES ANSELAN MAXWELL STRONGE;
Frances Helen; Catherine Caroline Brownlow.
Sir James was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR JAMES MATTHEW STRONGE, 3rd Baronet (1811-85), JP DL, High Sheriff of County Armagh, 1843, MP for County Armagh, 1864, who espoused, in 1836, Selina Elizabeth, daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel Andrew Nugent, though the marriage was without issue, when the baronetcy devolved upon his brother,

SIR JOHN CALVERT STRONGE, 4th Baronet (1813-99), JP DL, barrister, who married, Margaret Zoë, daughter of the Hon Henry Caulfeild, and had issue,
JAMES HENRY, his successor;
Francis William (Sir), KCMG;
Alice Isabella.
Sir John was succeeded by his elder son,

THE RT HON SIR JAMES HENRY STRONGE, 5th Baronet (1849-1928), who wedded, in 1885, Edith Margaret, daughter of Colonel Ynyr Henry Burges, of Parkanaur, County Tyrone, and had issue,
James Matthew (1891-1917), killed in action;
Zoë Edith; Daphne Helen; Rose Ethel; Jessy; Joy Winifred.
Sir James had already embarked on a distinguished legal career when he inherited Tynan Abbey.

Having graduated from Lincoln's Inn in 1874, he had gone on to serve as High Sheriff of Tyrone in 1880, and Armagh in 1885.

Perhaps more significantly, he was the Imperial Grand Master of the Loyal Orange Order.

In the lead up to the Great War, Sir James was among the most influential Orangemen.

He was one of thirty delegates who sat on the Ulster Unionist Council alongside the Duke of Abercorn, Lords Londonderry, Erne and Ranfurly.

Sir James was a staunch Unionist and Protestant.

Indeed his abhorrence of Gladstone and Home Rule was such that Sir Jack Leslie claims there used to be an etching of the Grand Old Man at the bottom of Sir James's "piss-pot" at Tynan!

Sir James's only son, James Matthew Stronge, was killed at the age of 26 in the Great War while serving as a lieutenant with the Royal Irish Fusiliers in France (August, 1917).

His name heads the war memorial at the church in Tynan.

He had been married just weeks before his death to Winifred Alexander, of Carrickmoyle.

Sir James was succeeded by his cousin,

SIR WALTER LOCKHART STRONGE, 6th Baronet (1860-1933), JP DL, who died unmarried, when the title devolved upon his brother,

SIR CHARLES EDMOND SINCLAIR STRONGE, 7th Baronet (1862-1939), who wedded, in 1892, Marian Iliff, daughter of Samuel Bostock, and had issue,
CHARLES NORMAN LOCKHART, his successor;
Pauline Marian (1898-1922).
Sir Charles was succeeded by his only son,

THE RT HON SIR (CHARLES) NORMAN LOCKHART STRONGE, 8th Baronet (1894-1981), MC JP, who wedded, in 1921, Gladys Olive, daughter of Henry Thomas Hall, and had issue,
JAMES MATTHEW, died with his father;
Daphne Marian; Evelyn Elizabeth; Rosemary Diana.
James Anselan Maxwell Stronge (b 1946) would be the 9th and present Baronet.

He is the son of Maxwell du Pré James Stronge and grandson of Edward Owen Fortescue Stronge, a brother of the 7th Baronet.

Should he so desire, James Stronge could provide evidence of his claim to the Keeper of the Roll of Baronetage and have the baronetcy conferred upon him. 

First published in December,  2010.

Kilmore House

JOHN MacDONALD, second son of John of Islay, Lord of the Isles, by his wife, the Princess Margaret, daughter of ROBERT II, King of Scotland, was founder, about 1380, of the clan "Ian Vore", or Clan MacDonald of Dunnyveg, whose chiefs were also styled Lords of Dunnyveg, Islay, Kintyre, and the Glens of Antrim.

ALEXANDER MacDONALD (c1480-1538) 5th of Dunnyveg, who invaded Ulster with 8,000 men in 1532, had by his wife, a daughter of the Lord of Ardnamurchan, five sons, of whom

JAMES, 6th Chief, married the Lady Agnes Campbell, daughter of Colin, 3rd Earl of Argyll, and was slain in 1565, leaving issue, a son, Angus, Lord of Kintyre.

James MacDonnell transferred, however, his Irish possessions to his brother, Sorley Boy MacDonnell, father to the 1st Earl of Antrim.

COLLA MacDONNELL, brother of James, 6th Chief, wedded Evelyn MacQuillan, Lord of Dunluce, and was father to GILLASPICK, Chief of Iona and Colonsay, whose son, by his wife, a daughter of O'Cahan (O'Kane) of Loughlynch,

COLL MacDONALD (1570-1647), was besieged in the castle of Dunnyveg and put to death by Archibald, Marquess of Argyll, in 1647.

He married Mary MacDonald, of Sanda, and was father of

SIR ALEXANDER MacDONALD (c1610-47), Montrose's celebrated Lieutenant-General, who having survived the royal cause in Scotland, was killed in Ireland whilst second in command of the royal forces at Knocknanuss, County Cork, 1647.

He wedded Elizabeth, daughter of Hector MacAlister, and had issue,
COLL, his heir;
Archibald.
The elder son,

COLL McDONNELL, married Anne Magee, of Murlough Bay, County Antrim, and was succeeded by his son,

ALEXANDER McDONNELL, of Kilmore, living in 1738, who married firstly, a daughter of McDonnell, of Knappin, and had issue (with another son, Alexander, who died unmarried),
Randal, died unmarried;
Michael;
JOHN, of whom we treat.
The youngest son,

JOHN McDONNELL, of Kilmore, who succeeded by family arrangement to the possession of Kilmore, married Rose, daughter of George Savage, of County Down, and dying in 1803, was succeeded by his son,

RANDAL McDONNELL, of Kilmore and Brackney, who wedded Mary, daughter of Archibald MacElheran, of Glassmullan, County Antrim, granddaughter of Alexander McDonnell, of Glassmullan, and had, with four daughters,
ALEXANDER, his heir;
JOHN, succeeded his brother.
Mr McDonnell was succeeded by his son,

ALEXANDER McDONNELL, of Kilmore and Dublin, who espoused, in 1851, Margaret, daughter of Alexander McMullin, of Cabra House, County Down.

He died in 1862, leaving a daughter,

RACHEL MARY JOSEPHINE McDONNELL (c1855-1908), heir of her mother's estate in County Down, who married, in 1882, Henry Thomas Silvertop, of Minster Acres, Northumberland, and had issue,
FRANCIS SOMERLED JOSEPH (1883-1917), killed in action;
WILLIAM ALEXANDER SILVERTOP;
Charles Ransall;
Margaret.
Mr Alexander McDonnell was succeeded in his own estate by his brother,

COLONEL JOHN McDONNELL JP DL (1823-1905), of Kilmore, Glenariff, County Antrim, Knight of St Gregory, who wedded, in 1870, Madeleine, daughter of Thomas, 1st Baron O'Hagan, KP.

She dsp 1875.

Colonel McDonnell was succeeded by his nephew,

WILLIAM ALEXANDER SILVERTOP MC (1884-1917), of Kilmore, second son of Henry Thomas Silvertop, of Minster Acres, Northumberland, by Rachel Mary Josephine, only child of Alexander McDonnell, of Kilmore.

Captain Silvertop, 20th Hussars, was killed in action at France.


KILMORE HOUSE, Glenariff, County Antrim, comprises a large two-and-a-half-storey Edwardian block with earlier Georgian wings to its southern elevation.

The house was constructed in stages, and parts of the building may date from as early as the 18th century.

The current façade of the house, however, was built in 1907-8.

The first recorded occupant of the site was Coll McDonnell, a gentleman who leased 10 acres of land in Kilmore from his kinsman, Lord Antrim, and established a dwelling there in 1706.

The site passed to Coll’s son Alexander in 1742; and then to his grandson, John, in 1803 before being occupied by his great-grandson Randal in 1815.

The McDonnells initially resided in an early-Georgian house which had been constructed in the townland ca 1706.

The two-storey, four-bay farmhouse (at the south side of the two-and-a-half-storey Edwardian block) had been constructed by 1832.

A thatched building (which predated the rest of the farmhouse) was presumably the McDonnell family’s previous dwelling on the site, however it cannot be confirmed with certainty whether any trace of this structure survives at the site.

The farmhouse at Kilmore was originally known as Ballinlig.

By the mid-19th century Ballinlig had passed to Randal McDonnell’s eldest son Alexander; following whose decease, in 1862, Ballinlig was occupied by his younger brother, Colonel John McDonnell, who remained at the site until his own death in 1905.

McDonnell’s residence became known as "Kilmore House" by at least the turn of the 20th century.

Following the death of Colonel McDonnell in 1905, Kilmore House passed to his nephew, Captain William Alexander Silvertop.

The Silvertop family extended the house in 1907-8.


The Edwardian extension was designed by Nicholas Fitzsimmons (1869-c1940), a Belfast-based architect who entered into partnership with Robert Graeme Watt and Frederick Tulloch in 1909.

Fitzsimons’s original plans show that the extension consisted of the two-and-a-half-storey Edwardian block to the north side of the Georgian farmhouse.

The plans of Kilmore House record that the interior floor-plan of the original farmhouse was altered to incorporate the kitchen, dining-room, a study and private chapel; whilst the new block consisted of a drawing-room and billiards-room (at ground floor), bedrooms and bathrooms (at first floor) and servants quarters (in the attic storey).

Captain Silvertop served in France during the 1st World War, but following his death, in 1917, the house was sold and passed out of the McDonnell family.

Kilmore House had lain vacant from 1910 until 1919, when it was purchased by Joseph Maguire, a senator in the Northern Ireland Parliament at Stormont.

The De La Salle Order purchased Kilmore in 1958, when it was occupied by the Most Rev Dr  D Mageean, RC Bishop of Down and Connor (1882-1962).

The Bishop resided at Kilmore House until ca 1960, when the building was converted into a holiday home for visitors to the North Coast, administered by the Trustees of Kilmore Holiday House.


Kilmore House was listed in 1980 and is now a country house hotel.

Today the house is set in thirteen acres.

It has fourteen bedrooms.


A stained-glass window at the landing still has the McDonnell and Silvertop armorial bearings.

First published in April, 2016. Select bibliography: Northern Ireland Department for Communities Historic Buildings survey.

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Huntington Castle

THE DURDIN-ROBERTSONS OWNED 296 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY CARLOW

ALEXANDER REID, younger son of John Reid, feudally styled 4th Baron Ruadh of Straloch, assumed the name of ROBERTSON at the same time as his elder brother, John Reid, styled 5th Baron Ruadh of Straloch, who, in 1567, married his cousin Marjory, daughter of John Robertson, of Lude, and thereupon assumed the name of ROBERTSON, and was ancestor of the succeeding Barons Ruadh (a title which continued to be borne until this, the elder line, expired in 1807); and also of the Robertsons of Cray, and of West and East Bleaton.

This Alexander Reid, of Dounie, in Strathardle, Perthshire, married Mary, daughter of Thomas Scott, of Dounie, and had issue (besides a younger son, Walter, of Middle Dounie), an elder son,

JOHN REID or ROBERTSON, of East Dounie, who was father of

ALEXANDER ROBERTSON, of Dounie, born in 1585, who had, with other issue,
Alexander;
JAMES, of whom we treat.
The younger son,

JAMES ROBERTSON, born in 1608, removed to Kirkwall, Orkney Islands, in 1630, and settled at Orphir.

He had nine sons, who left numerous descendants; of whom the eldest son,

THOMAS ROBERTSON, born at Orphir, 1642, married a daughter of Magnus Halcro, and had issue,
James;
NICOL, of whom presently;
John.
The second son,

NICOL ROBERTSON, born in 1670, settled at Groundwater, and left by Catherine his wife, with other issue, a son,

GEORGE ROBERTSON (1706-80), of Upper Groundwater, who wedded Helen, daughter of Magnus Wilson, and had, with four daughters,
JAMES, his heir;
Thomas;
George;
Magnus;
John;
Andrew.
Mr Robertson was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES ROBERTSON (1734-), of Upper Groundwater, who wedded, in 1763, Catherine Heddle, and had issue,
THOMAS, his heir;
Robert;
James;
William;
Helline; Catherine.
The eldest son,

THOMAS ROBERTSON (1765-1847), was the first of the family to leave Scotland.

After having spent his life at sea, he settled in London, and married, in 1807, Maria, daughter of Joseph Howell, of Cheltenham, by whom he had issue, an only son,

THOMAS STORM ROBERTSON MD FRCS (1809-59), who wedded, in 1843, Annabella, daughter of George Bland.

She dsp the following March.

He married secondly, in 1846, Maria Louisa, only daughter of Robert Manning, of Clapham, and had issue,
(THOMAS) HERBERT, his heir;
Maria Louisa; Eveline Constance.
Dr Robertson was succeeded by his only son,

(THOMAS) HERBERT ROBERTSON JP (1849-1916), of Huntington Castle, Hasketon Manor, Woodbridge, and 36, Bedford Square, London, Barrister, MP for South Hackney, 1896-1906, who espoused, in 1880, HELEN ALEXANDRIA MELIAN DURDIN, of Huntington Castle, by Melian Jones his wife, second daughter of Matthew Hayman, of South Abbey, County Cork, and had issue,
MANNING DURDIN, his heir;
Nevill Warham, b 1890;
Magnus Storm, b 1893;
Helen Manning; Brenda Melian Manning.
Mr Robertson was succeeded by his eldest son,

MANNING DURDIN ROBERTSON (1887-1945), who wedded, in 1912, Norah Kathleen, daughter of Lieutenant-General Sir Lawrence Worthington Parsons, and had issue,
LAWRENCE ALEXANDER;
Barbara Helen;
Olivia Melian (1917-2013).
Mr Robertson added the additional name of DURDIN in 1972.

He was succeeded by his son,

THE REV LAWRENCE ALEXANDER DURDIN-ROBERTSON (1920-94), who espoused, in 1949, Pamela Mary, daughter of Major Maurice Edward Barclay, and had issue,
DAVID MAURICE, his heir;
Mary Melian; Anna Margaret.
The son and heir,

DAVID MAURICE DURDIN-ROBERTSON (1952-2009), of Huntington Castle, married, in 1978, Moira, daughter of John McCaffrey, and had issue,
ALEXANDER J L;
Matthew;
Harry;
Sarah.
Mr Durdin-Robertson was succeeded by his eldest son,

ALEXANDER J L DURDIN-ROBERTSON, who married Clare, daughter of John Ormerod, and has issue,
Herbert David, b 2010;
Casper Esmonde John, b 2012;
Alexander Frederick Lawrence, b 2014.

FAMILY OF DURDIN

It is stated that this family is a branch of a very ancient Essex family, and that JOHN DURDIN, a magistrate for that county, died in the early 17th century and was interred in Westminster Abbey, where there was a tablet to his memory.

JOHN DURDIN, his son, settled in County Cork ca 1639, and had a son,

MICHAEL DURDIN, of Ballymagooley, County Cork, 1663, who espoused Anne, daughter of Edmund Cotter, and sister of Sir James Cotter, Knight, and was father of

JOHN DURDIN (1676-1772), of Fortarabia, County Cork, who wedded Anne, daughter of Alexander Cole, and had a son,

ALEXANDER DURDIN (1712-1807), of Shanagarry, County Cork, and Huntington, County Carlow, who was married four times.

His sixth son,

WILLIAM LEADER DURDIN (1778-1849), of Huntington Castle, County Carlow, married, in 1820, Mary Anne, daughter of William Drury, of Ballinderry, County Wicklow, and had issue,
ALEXANDER, his heir;
Fidelia.
Dr Durdin was succeeded by his son,

ALEXANDER DURDIN LL.D JP (1821-82), of Huntington Castle, and Albany, Monkstown, County Dublin, who married, in 1851, Melian Jones, second daughter of Matthew Hayman, of South Abbey, Youghal, and had issue,
HELEN ALEXANDRINA MELIAN, as above;
Florence Amy; Melian Lucy Anne; Harriette Emily Hayman.

HUNTINGTON CASTLE, Clonegal, County Carlow, was built in 1625 by Lawrence, 1st (and last) Baron Esmonde, in a valley on the borders of counties Carlow and Wexford.

The site, which was previously occupied by an abbey and a 14th century castle, guards a pass through the Blackstairs Mountains, on the important route from Dublin to Wexford.

Huntington is a large tower-house of rough-hewn granite.


It was altered ca 1680 and again in 1720, when it was given a regular façade and a long wing on the northern side.

The Castle passed by marriage to the Durdin family, long established in County Cork where they had inherited the estates of William Penn.

In 1880, Helen, the Durdin heiress, married Herbert Robertson.

Victorian additions were made at the rear of the castle, while Manning Durdin-Robertson, a professional architect (and early devotee of concrete) carried out further alterations in the 1920s.

With her brother Lawrence, the writer and mystic Olivia Durdin-Robertson converted the under-croft into a temple to the goddess Isis in the 1970s while her nephew David, the late owner, and his wife Moira, completed a thorough restoration of the castle, garden and outbuildings.

Huntington contains a number of early panelled rooms and an eclectic family collection, all carefully arranged.

Outside are terraced gardens, an ancient yew walk and seventeenth century formal gardens, laid out in the Italian manner and recently restored.

The woods contain some fine specimen trees and the castle is connected to the village of Clonegal by a magnificent avenue of tall lime trees.

Huntington is now home to Alexander Durdin Robertson, his wife Clare and their sons.

The family is unusually talented and numbers artists, architects, writers and intellectuals amongst its ranks.

Alexander’s great-grandmother, Nora, wrote Crowned Harp.

First published in November, 2017.

House of Acheson

The founder of this noble family in Ulster,

ARCHIBALD ACHESON (1583-1634), descended from a good family in Scotland, was seated at Gosford, Haddingtonshire, previous to his settlement in the Province, where we find him in 1610.

In the following year he had passed patent for a large proportion of land in County Armagh, and at the same time his younger brother,

HENRY ACHESON, passed patent for a smaller proportion in the said county, which lands he afterwards assigned to Sir Archibald.

He returned to Scotland and there died unmarried.

Sir Archibald was "so steady and zealous a friend" of the protestant interest in Ulster that seven years after he obtained this grant (according to the survey made by Nicholas Pynnar) he had 203 men upon his estate capable of bearing arms.

In 1612, he obtained another grant from JAMES I of a small proportion of land in County Cavan containing 1,000 acres.

Mr Acheson was created a baronet in 1628, designated of Market Hill, County Armagh.

In 1630, he obtained, in conjunction with Piers and Walter Crosbie, a territory in Nova Scotia, Canada, named Bonovia [sic].

Sir Archibald was Solicitor-General, Senator of Justice, and many years Secretary of State for Scotland; which latter office he continued to fill until his decease in 1634.

He died at Letterkenny, County Donegal, at his nephew's house, Sir William Semple, Knight.

Sir Archibald was succeeded in the title and estates by his eldest son,

SIR PATRICK, 2nd Baronet (1609-38), at whose decease without issue, the title devolved upon his half-brother,

SIR GEORGE, 3rd Baronet (1629-85), who was succeeded by his only son,

SIR NICHOLAS, 4th Baronet (c1655-1701), MP for County Armagh, 1695, who was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR ARTHUR, 5th Baronet (1688-1749), who wedded Anne, daughter of the Rt Hon Philip Savage, Chancellor of the Exchequer in Ireland, by whom he had issue, five sons and two daughters.

Sir Arthur was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

SIR ARCHIBALD, 6th Baronet (1718-90), who was elevated to the peerage, in 1776, in the dignity of Baron Gosford, of Market Hill, County Armagh; and advanced to a viscountcy, 1785, as Viscount Gosford.

His lordship married, in 1740, Mary, youngest daughter of John Richardson, of Rich Hill, County Armagh, and had issue,
ARTHUR, his successor;
Anna Maria; Nicolas; Julia Henrietta; Lucinda; Mary.
Sir Archibald was succeeded by his eldest son,

ARTHUR, 2nd Viscount (c1742-1807); who was created, in 1806, EARL OF GOSFORD.

His lordship espoused, in 1774, Millicent, daughter of Lieutenant-General Edward Pole, and had issue,
ARCHIBALD, his successor;
Edward, CB, Lieutenant-Colonel in the army;
Olivia, m Brigadier R B Sparrow, of Brampton Park;
Mary, m Lieutenant-General Lord William Bentinck, GCB;
Millicent, m Rev J H Barber MA.
He was succeeded by his only son,

ARCHIBALD, 2nd Earl (1776-1849), GCB, PC.
The heir presumptive is the present holder's first cousin Nicholas Hope Carter Acheson (b 1947).

He is the eldest son of the Hon Patrick Bernard Victor Montagu Acheson (1915–2005), second son of the 5th Earl.


GOSFORD FOREST PARK, near Markethill, County Armagh, is one of the most beautiful demesnes in Northern Ireland.

There are woodland and forest walks; the walled garden; and a caravan and camping site within the park.



Gosford Castle is said to be the largest private mansion house in Northern Ireland.

The estate was sold to the NI Government shortly after the 2nd world war. 


The castle was restored between 2006-8 and has been divided into a number of apartments.

The Gosford Papers are deposited at PRONI.

First published in January, 2012.