Sunday, 23 September 2018

Mausoleum Revived

THE NATIONAL TRUST'S Downhill property apprised me of a short, two minute, animated video about the monument to George, 2nd Earl of Bristol, in the grounds.

It provides us with an idea of what it would have looked like two centuries ago.

I am very grateful to the staff at Downhill and Hezlett House; and, of course, to Peter McMullan, of Ballymoney Northern Regional College, who made the video possible.

First published in July, 2014.

Saturday, 22 September 2018

New DL

Mrs Alison Millar, Lord-Lieutenant of County Londonderry, has been pleased to appoint:-
Mrs Lorraine Martha YOUNG JP
County Antrim,
To be a Deputy Lieutenant of the County, her Commission bearing date the 7th day of September, 2018.

Friday, 21 September 2018

Prince Andrew in Northern Ireland

Thursday, 20th September, 2018

THE DUKE OF YORK, Baron Killyleagh, this afternoon visited Belleek Pottery, Belleek, County Fermanagh, and was received by Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of County Fermanagh (the Viscount Brookeborough KG).

His Royal Highness later visited Lough Erne Yacht Club, Gublusk Bay, County Fermanagh.

Friday, 21st September, 2018.

THE DUKE OF YORK, Baron Killyleagh, this morning visited a Search and Rescue Exercise at Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark, County Fermanagh, and was received by Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of County Fermanagh (the Viscount Brookeborough KG).

His Royal Highness, Founder, Pitch@Palace, later held Pitch@Palace on Tour Belfast at Ormeau Baths, Ormeau Avenue, Belfast, and was received by Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of the County Borough of Belfast (Mrs. Fionnuala-Jay O’Boyle CBE).

HRH this afternoon opened the Fintech Hub at Danske Bank, Donegall Square West, Belfast.

His Royal Highness this evening held a Business Dinner at Hillsborough Castle, County Down.

The O'Neill Baronetcy (1643)


This was a branch from the Milesian stock from which the present noble family of O'NEILL claims descent.

HUGH BOY O'NEILL, from whom the territories called the Claneboys, in counties Down and Antrim, received their name, grandson of HUGH MEYTH, King of Ulster, 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 by JAMES I by them, and some part left in their possession, which has descended to the O'Neills of Shane's Castle.

His Majesty, 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, denominated of Upper Claneboys.

Sir Bryan married Jane Finch, of the family of the 1st 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 during the reign of JAMES II, 
who married Mary, sister of Christopher, 10th Baron 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,

RANDAL, his successor.
He wedded secondly, Rose, daughter of Captain James Brabazon, son of Sir Anthony Brabazon, and nephew of William, 1st Earl of Meath, and had further issue,
Sir Henry was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR RANDAL 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 the Viscount 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 Duleek, 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.

By his first marriage, Sir Henry O'Neill, 3rd Baronet, had Sir Randal, 4th Baronet, surveyor of customs at Rush, County 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 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 (c1674-1759);
  • Sir Randall O'Neill, 4th Baronet (d 1779);
  • Sir William O'Neill, 5th Baronet (c1754-84);
  • Sir Francis O'Neill, 6th Baronet (c1730-99).
First published in April, 2011.

Rowallane House


Early in 1600 three brothers, claiming to be a branch of MURE, or MUIR, of Rowallan, Ayrshire, removed from Scotland to Ulster.

Two brothers settled in County Down, and one brother in County Tyrone.

COLONEL MUIR, of WILLIAM III's army, obtained a grant of lands in the Province, and was father of

HUGH MOORE (1696-1777), Captain, 9th Regiment of Dragoons, who married, in 1720, Elizabeth Clarke, of Clough House, County Down, and was father of

JOHN MOORE (1724-1800), of Clough House, land agent to the Annesley estate, who wedded Deborah, daughter of Robert Isaac, of Holywood, County Down, and Anne his wife, daughter of James Bailie, of Inishargie, in the same county, a descendant of John Knox.

Mr Moore was succeeded by his son,

HUGH MOORE (1762-1848), of Eglantine House and Mount Panther, both in County Down, Captain, 5th Dragoon Guards, Colonel, Eglantine Yeomanry (which he raised) in the Irish Rebellion.

Colonel Moore was Aide de Camp to General Needham during the Irish rebellion, and raised and commanded the Eglantine Yeomanry.

He married, in 1798, Priscilla Cecilia, daughter of Robert Armytage, of Kensington, London, and widow of Robert Shaw, of Terenure, County Dublin, and had issue,
JOHN ROBERT, his heir;
William Armytage (1806-83); father of HUGH ARMYTAGE;
Jane Deborah, died unmarried;
Priscilla Cecilia, m 3rd Earl Annesley;
Caroline Anne Elizabeth, m Rev J P Garrett;
Maria Clarissa, m W Humphrys.
Colonel Moore was succeeded by his eldest son, 

THE REV JOHN ROBERT MOORE (1801-88), of Rowallane, County Down, Vicar of Kilmood, 1830, who wedded, in 1850, Jane, daughter of R Morris, of Carmarthen, and widow of Henry Davidson; though dsp, and was succeeded by his nephew,

HUGH ARMYTAGE-MOORE JP (1873-1954), of Rowallane, County Down, who married, in 1910, Jane Christian, eldest daughter of Kenneth Mathieson, of 50 Prince's Gate, London;
2nd lieutenant, 3rd Battalion, the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, 1891; Manager, Annesley Estate, 1909-17; Chairman, County Down section, Ulster Volunteer Force.

Charles James Eglantine Armytage-Moore (1880-1960), son of William Armytage-Moore and Hugh Armytage-Moore's cousin,
Founding partner of the London stockbrokers Buckmaster & Moore and owned an estate called Winterfold, a Queen Anne style residence with 219 acres near Cranleigh in Surrey, with a remarkable collection of furniture and art.

ROWALLANE HOUSE, near Saintfield, County Down, is a long, low, plain house of two storeys, with a higher block at one end.

It was built in 1861 by the Rev John Moore, who had purchased the property as a farm.  

In 1858 he had bought a townland called Creevyloughgare

After this initial acquisition, Mr Moore then acquired the neighbouring townland, Leggyowan, in the early 1870s and named it Rowallane, meaning Beautiful Cleanrig, after the ancestral home of his Scottish forebears.

He gradually enlarged the farmhouse, added the walled garden and stable block and planted The Pleasure Grounds.

The house has irregular fenestration, with a few first-floor windows having little, iron balconies.

The grounds contain various turrets; an obelisk made of spherical stones from the river bed; and other 20th century follies.

The house and grounds, comprising ca 220 acres, were walled-in and converted from farmland to the fifty acre layout as seen today.

The land has pockets of good acid soil and much rock near the surface, so planting is mitigated by these conditions.

The planting is informal, for the above reason, and it also reflects the style of the era.

Initially shelter trees were planted, and the Pleasure Grounds developed to the west of the house.

Ornamental plants were added, but the important plant collection that can be appreciated today occurred between 1903-55 by Hugh Armytage Moore ~ whose sister, incidentally, was the first wife of Percy French.

This has become one of the finest gardens in Northern Ireland and is appreciated for the impressive variety of plant material, which can be enjoyed at all times of the year.

The size is not intimidating ~ fifty acres; and the layout is varied by being in compartments, often using earlier stone-walled field boundaries.

There is the Spring Ground (above), Stream Ground, and the New Ground, to name some of the areas.

The Rock Garden Wood lies at the southern end of the garden and, as a large natural rock outcrop, provides an ideal spot to grow a wide range of alpines and unusual shrubs.

The walled garden, originally a conventional fruit, vegetable and flower garden, became a focus for the plant collection and, at the present time, is fully maintained and contains many interesting species, including the national collection of penstemons.

Rhododendrons are a speciality and they can be seen in many parts of the grounds.

Wild flowers are encouraged in the Pleasure Ground.

A great deal has been written about Rowallane in horticultural journals.

Rowallane demesne was acquired by the National Trust in 1955 and, since then, the gardens have been improved and the plant collection added to.

The ground floor of Rowallane House is now open to visitors with a new café, shop, and exhibition on the ground floor.

The house has recently undergone internal alterations and visitors can now enjoy new enhanced facilities.
Alterations include: the formation of structural openings to the ground floor to provide a new café, shop and interpretation area; a new tea room, designed to bring the outdoors indoors, with the colour scheme depicting the four seasons; while customers can also enjoy a new outdoor patio area.
There is also a pottery.

First published in September, 2012.

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Blayney Castle


SIR EDWARD BLAYNEY (1570-1629), Knight, a native of Wales, said to be descended from Cadwallader, King of Cambria and a younger son of the Prince of Wales, had been employed from his youth in the armies of ELIZABETH I.

He accompanied Robert, Earl of Essex, as Colonel, into Ireland, 1598, where he obtained both wealth and renown in the subsequent wars.

Sir Edward, Governor of Monaghan, was granted the thirty-two townlands of Ballynalurgan and in 1611 he obtained the termon of Muckno as well.

Blayney built a castle, around which a Planter village soon began to develop.

This was the origin of the present town of Castleblayney.

Sir Edward married Anne, second daughter of the Most Rev Dr Adam Loftus, Lord Archbishop of Dublin, CHANCELLOR OF IRELAND, by whom he had, with six daughters, two sons,
HENRY (Sir), his successor;
ARTHUR (Sir), of Castle Shane.
Sir Edward was elevated to the peerage by JAMES I, in 1621, in the dignity of BARON BLAYNEY, of Monaghan. 

His lordship was succeeded by his elder son,

HENRY, 2nd Baron, who wedded, in 1623, Jane, daughter of Gerald, Viscount Drogheda, by whom he had two surviving sons and five daughters.

His lordship, who was a military man, was slain at the battle of Benburb, County Tyrone, 1646, and was succeeded by his elder son,

EDWARD, 3rd Baron (c1625-69), who died unmarried, and was succeeded by his brother, 

RICHARD, 4th Baron (c1625-70), who was high in favour with CROMWELL, and had been appointed, in 1656, the usurper's custos-rotulorum of County Monaghan, and escheator of County Tyrone.

His lordship espoused firstly, in 1653, Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Mr Alderman Vincent, of Dublin, MP, by whom he had several children; and secondly, Jane, daughter of John Malloch.

His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

HENRY VINCENT, 5th Baron, who wedded Margaret Moore, eldest sister of John, 1st Lord Tullamore, by whom he had an only surviving child, Elinor.

His lordship fled Castleblayney at the outbreak of the Williamite wars and was chosen as commander-in-chief of the Protestant forces raised to defend Monaghan and Armagh against JAMES II, who transmitted it to his brother, 

WILLIAM, 6th Baron, who married, in 1686, Mary, eldest daughter of William, 1st Viscount Charlemont, and dying in 1705, was succeeded by his only surviving son, 

CADWALLADER, 7th Baron (1693-1732), who married Mary, daughter of the Hon John Tucket, and niece of Charles, Duke of Shrewsbury, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and had issue.

His lordship espoused secondly, Mary, daughter and heiress of Sir Alexander Cairnes Bt, of Monaghan.

His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

THE VERY REV CHARLES TALBOT, 8th Baron (1714-61), Dean of Killaloe, at whose decease, without surviving issue, the title devolved upon his brother, 

CADWALLADER, 9th Baron (1720-75), who married, in 1767, Sophia, daughter of Thomas Tipping, of Beaulieu, and had issue,
CADWALLADER DAVIS, his successor;
ANDREW THOMAS, succeeded his brother;
Sophia; Mary.
His lordship, a lieutenant-general in the army, was succeeded by his elder son,

CADWALLADER DAVIS, 10th Baron (1769-84); at whose decease, unmarried, the title reverted to his brother,

ANDREW THOMAS, 11th Baron (1770-1834), a lieutenant-general in the army, who wedded, in 1796, Mabella, eldest daughter of James, 1st Earl of Caledon, and had issue,
CADWALLADER DAVIS, his successor;
Anne; Charlotte Sophia.
His lordship was succeeded by his son,

CADWALLADER DAVIS, 12th Baron (1802-74), MP for County Monaghan, 1830-34, at whose decease, unmarried, the title expired.

The Caledon estate in County Tyrone is just a few fields away from that of the Leslies in Glaslough, County Monaghan, and the Earls of Caledon themselves owned some land in County Monaghan.

Because of the family connection between the lst and 2nd Earls and the 11th Lord Blayney, who was their son-in-law and brother-in-law respectively, the correspondence between Blayney and the two earls yields a lot of information about his military and political careers; for example, the siege of Alexandria and as a prisoner of war in Napoleonic France.

During Blayney's long incarceration, the 2nd Earl of Caledon looked after his financial, domestic, and political affairs, thus being drawn into the Monaghan sphere.

This brought political figures such as Dawson and Leslie beating a path to Caledon's door, because during this period he was the representative of Blayney and 'the Blayney interest'.

On his return, Blayney was given a seat in parliament for Caledon's infamous 'rotten borough' of Old Sarum, Wiltshire. Later, he attempted to get Caledon to use his influence with the Government to get him elected an Irish Representative Peer.

This yields a very illuminating and often pained correspondence between the two men.
The Blayney/Hope Papers are deposited at PRONI.

HOPE CASTLE, Castleblayney, County Monaghan, formerly known as Blayney Castle after the plantation castle nearby (from which the town gets its name), has had many owners and uses over the years.

Originally a three storey, five bay Georgian block, the house received many embellishments during the Victorian era including scrolled cresting on the roof parapets and at one stage an ornamental cast iron and glass porch canopy.

In 1853, Cadwaller, 12th and last Lord Blayney, sold the Castle and estate to Henry Thomas Hope from Deepdene in Surrey, a former MP at Westminster.

Thereafter the Castle was renamed Hope Castle, as it still called.

Hope gave the Georgian Castle with its splendid prospect a Victorian makeover that the present building retains, externally at least.

After his death in 1862, Hope's wife Anne inherited the estate.

Soon after 1887, the Castle and demesne fell to the next heir, a grandson of Hope: Lord Henry Francis Hope Pelham-Clinton-Hope, famous for having sold the renowned family heirloom, the Hope Diamond.

From 1900 until 1904, the Castle became the residence of Field-Marshal HRH The Duke of Connaught,  Commander-in-Chief, Ireland.

After 1916, Lord Henry no longer resided in the Castle nor in Ireland.

On becoming 8th Duke of Newcastle in 1928, he later sold both the Castle and the estate, which was broken up and used in part for local political patronage.

In 1919-21, the Castle was used as a barracks by the British Army.

Some time afterwards it functioned as a hospital; and from 1943-74, it was occupied by Franciscan nuns who also managed an adjacent guest house.

After some years of neglect, the Castle has been used for catering and hotel purposes set in what is now a Leisure Park with golf course.

In October 2010, the Castle was burnt down in an arson attack.

The building has suffered greatly during its lifetime – after being an convent, it remained empty for many years and was taken over the the local County Council who demolished the 19th century additions to the garden and main fronts and renovated the building.

Its most interesting internal feature – a Soanesque top-lit upper stair landing, was destroyed during the building’s phase of dereliction.

The estate still has a good stable-yard and cast-iron gateway with matching gatehouses.

First published in July, 2012.    Blayney arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

The Napier Baronets


This family claims descent from a branch of the family of Sir Robert Napier Bt, of Luton Hoo (cr 1611) which established itself in Ireland about 1700 and from which the first Baronet, Sir Joseph Napier, of Merrion Square, descended.

WILLIAM NAPIER, of St Andrew's, Ballyhalbert, County Down, a respectable and prosperous brewer in Belfast during the early years of the 19th century, carried out his business at Bank Lane in the town.

Napier & Co, of Bank Lane, were whisky blenders and tea importers in 1801.

Mr Napier married, in 1798, Rosetta MacNaghten, a member of a respectable family of that name who lived at Ballyreagh House, County Antrim, and had issue,
William, dsp 1864;
JOSEPH, his heir;
Rosetta; Mary.
He died in 1830, and was succeeded by his younger son,

JOSEPH NAPIER (1804-82), MP for Dublin University, 1848-58, LORD CHANCELLOR OF IRELAND, who wedded, in 1831, Charity (Cherry), daughter of John Grace, and had issue,
William John, died unmarried;
JOSEPH, of whom we treat;
Grace Anne Marie Louise; Rosetta; Cherry.
Mr Napier was created a baronet in 1867, denominated of Merrion Square, Dublin.

He was succeeded by his younger son,

SIR JOSEPH NAPIER, 2nd Baronet (1841-84), who espoused, in 1864, Maria Octavia, daughter of Joseph Mortimer, and had issue,
WILLIAM LENNOX, his successor;
Joseph Duncan Mortimer.
Sir Joseph was succeeded by his elder son,

SIR WILLIAM LENNOX NAPIER, 3rd Baronet (1867-1915), Lieutenant-Colonel, Royal Welch Fusiliers, who married, in 1890, Mabel Edith Geraldine, daughter of the Rev Charles Thornton Forster, and had issue,
Charles MacNaghten (Major);
Vivian John Lennox (Brigadier);
Marjorie Lennox; Gwendoline Mabel Shelagh.
Sir William was killed in action during the 1st World War, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR JOSEPH WILLIAM LENNOX NAPIER, 4th Baronet (1895-1986), OBE, Lieutenant-Colonel, HQ Staff, who wedded, in 1931, Isabelle Muriel, daughter of Major Henry Surtees, and had issue,
ROBERT SURTEES, his successor;
John Lennox.
Sir Joseph was succeeded by his elder son,

SIR ROBERT SURTEES NAPIER, 5th Baronet (1932-94), who espoused, in 1971, Jennifer Beryl, daughter of H Warwick Daw, and had issue, an only child,

SIR CHARLES JOSEPH NAPIER, 6th Baronet, born in 1973.

First published in September, 2014.