This very ancient family, of Norman descent, is supposed to have been founded in England by a marshal in the army of WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR.
It was amongst the first Anglo-Norman settlers in Ireland, and it always enjoyed distinction and opulence.
ROGER DE BELLEW came to Ireland with HENRY II in the 12th century.
From this gentleman, the common ancestor, descended
SIR JOHN BELLEW, knight, of Bellewstown, and the Roche, successor to his father in 1542, who married Margaret, daughter of Sir Oliver Plunkett, of Beaulieu, and left, with other issue, a son and successor,
SIR JOHN BELLEW, knight, of Bellewstown, who married the Hon Margaret Plunkett, daughter of Oliver, 1st Lord Louth.
His second son,
JOHN BELLEW, of Lisfranon and Grallanstown, married and had issue, the eldest son,
PATRICK BELLEW, of Lisfranon and Grallanstown, who married Mary, daughter of James Waring, of Waringstown, County Down, and had a son,
SIR JOHN BELLEW, of Lisfranon and Grallanstown, MP for Louth, 1639. His son,
PATRICK BELLEW, of Barmeath, or Bellew Mount, was created a baronet in 1688.
Sir Patrick wedded Miss Barnewall, sister of Sir Patrick Barnewall Bt, of Crickstown Castle, and had five sons and six daughters.
He died in 1716, and was succeeded by his eldest son,
SIR JOHN BELLEW (c1660-1734), 2nd Baronet, of Barmeath, County Louth, and of Castle Bellew, County Galway.
This gentleman espoused firstly, in 1685, Mary, daughter of Edward Taylor, and eventually heiress of her brother, Nicholas Taylor, by whom he had three sons and an only daughter.
He married secondly, Elizabeth, daughter of Edward Curling, storekeeper of Londonderry during the memorable siege of that city, by whom he seven sons and three daughters.
Sir John was succeeded by his second and eldest surviving son,
SIR EDWARD BELLEW (c1695-1741), 3rd Baronet, who wedded Eleanor, eldest daughter and co-heir of Michael Moore, of Drogheda, by whom he left four sons and an only daughter.
He was succeeded by his eldest son,
SIR JOHN BELLEW (1728-50), 4th Baronet, at whose decease (of smallpox) unmarried, the title devolved upon his brother,
SIR PATRICK BELLEW (c1735-95), 5th Baronet, who espoused Mary, daughter and co-heiress of Matthew Hore, of Shandon, County Waterford, and had, with nine sons, two daughters.
His eldest son,
SIR EDWARD BELLEW (c1760-1827), 6th Baronet, married, in 1786, Mary Anne, daughter and sole heir of Richard Strange, of Rockwell Castle, County Kilkenny, by whom he had,
PATRICK;His eldest son,
THE RT HON SIR PATRICK BELLEW (1798-1866), 7th Baronet,
High Sheriff of Louth, 1831; MP for Louth, 1831-37; Lord-Lieutenant of Louth,1831-66; Privy Counsellor,1838; Commissioner of National Education [Ireland,1839-66.Sir Patrick was elevated to the peerage in 1848, as BARON BELLEW, of Barmeath, County Louth.
EDWARD JOSEPH, 2nd Baron, Sheriff of Louth, 1854; Major, the Louth Militia.
CHARLES BERTRAM, 3rd Baron, Captain, 6th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles; Sheriff of Louth, 1875; a Representative Peer for Ireland (Liberal Unionist), 1904-11.
GEORGE LEOPOLD BRYAN, 4th Baron,
served in the Afghan War, 1878-79; the Nile Expedition 1884-85; and the South African War 1900-01; took the additional name of Bryan by Royal Warrant 1880 under the will of his uncle, George Leopold Bryan, of Jenkinstown Park, co Kilkenny; Lord-Lieutenant of Louth, 1898-1911; High Sheriff of Louth 1902; a Representative Peer for Ireland, 1914-35.EDWARD HENRY, 5th Baron, MBE,
Served in World War I, 1914-18, as Capt, RAF; MBE, 1919; he and his wife adopted, in 1918, the Hon Barbara Mary Corisande (b 1917), who married, in 1936, (div. 1948) Major Cholmeley Dering Harrison, only son of Col Cholmeley Harrison CMG CBE, and has issue.BRYAN BERTRAM, 6th Baron, MC (1890-1981). Served in World War I, 1914-18, as Lieutenant, South Irish Horse; MC, 1916.
JAMES BRYAN, 7th Baron (1920-2010), Captain, Irish Guards.
BRYAN EDWARD, 8th and present Baron (b 1943). Sometime major, Irish Guards.
BARMEATH CASTLE, near Dunleer, is one of County Louth's most outstanding country houses.
The Bellew family have lived here since the 12th century.
The Castle has manifested the changing fortunes of the family: The exuberantly crenellated façade of the 1830s and the designs of Thomas Smith contribute to its appeal and the survival of some of the earlier fabric contributes to its archaeological and historical merit.
Originally the site of a medieval castle of the Pale, it was enlarged in the mid-18th century into a Georgian residence. At this stage it was a plain three storey, seven bay, double gable-ended house.
In 1839 it was enlarged and castellated to the designs of either John B Keane or Thomas Smith.
What was formerly the entrance front, gained two corner round towers and became the garden front.
To one end of the side elevation, a new entrance was created with a romanesque arch and a square entrance tower, which acted as a porte-cochère.
On the other side, a long wing with turrets and castellation was added to create a courtyard.
The original Georgian façade is still very obvious, especially on the garden front (above).
The interior is intact Georgian with fine plasterwork and a staircase. One of the upstairs rooms features Masonic emblems and was built for the purpose of lodge meetings.
The ornamental river, designed by Thomas Wright, along with the outbuildings and paired gate lodges, add to the overall original site context.
First published in October, 2012.