Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Fullerton of Ballintoy


NICHOLAS DOWNING, of Drummond, County Londonderry, made his will in 1698, and in it made bequests to his nephews ADAM, John, George, and Daniel.

He dsp and was succeeded by his nephew,

COLONEL ADAM DOWNING (1666-1719), who was present at the siege of Londonderry, and there gave signal proofs of his courage.

Colonel Downing subsequently raised a body of men at his own expense, and served during the war in Ireland, participating in the battle of the Boyne, and contributing eminently by his gallantry and skill to the success of the party with which he was engaged.

For these services he received the appointment of Deputy Governor of County Londonderry, Colonel of the Militia, and one of the Commissioners of Array.

Colonel Downing, a nephew of Sir George Downing, 1st Baronet, also acquired a large tract of land in County Londonderry.

He married Margaret, daughter of Thomas Jackson, of Coleraine (ancestor of Sir George Jackson Bt), and had issue,
Henry, died in infancy;
JOHN, of whom hereafter.
Colonel Downing was buried at Bellaghy, County Londonderry.

The inscription on his memorial mentions his descent from a Devonshire family.

His son and successor,

JOHN DOWNING (1700-85), of Bellaghy and Rowesgift, wedded, in 1727, Anne, daughter and heir of the Rev Dr J Rowe, descended from an old Devonshire family, and had three sons,
DAWSON, of whom presently;
John, army officer.
He raised, at considerable expense, a body of men during the uprising of 1745.

The second son,

DAWSON DOWNING (1739-1807), of Rowesgift, County Londonderry, inherited the ancient mansion and resided in it until his death.

He espoused firstly, Catherine, niece and heiress of Alexander Fullerton, of Ballintoy Castle, County Antrim (descended from a branch of the ancient Scottish family of that name), and had two sons,
GEORGE ALEXANDER, of whom presently;
David Fullerton.
Mr Dawson Downing married secondly, Sarah Catherine, daughter of Hugh Boyd, of Ballycastle, County Antrim, and had (with six daughters) four sons,
John, of Rowesgift;
The son by his first wife,

GEORGE ALEXANDER DOWNING (1775-1847), having inherited a considerable property from his great-uncle, assumed, 1794, in compliance with that gentleman's testamentary injunction, the surname and arms of FULLERTON, and became of Tockington Manor and Ballintoy.

He wedded Mary Anne, daughter of James Peacock, and had issue,
David, of Pennington House, father of
Catherine; Susan; Frances; Mary Anne.
The eldest son,

ALEXANDER GEORGE FULLERTON (1808-1907), of Ballintoy Castle, Brevet-Major, Royal Horse Guards, Attaché to the embassy at Paris, espoused, at Paris, 1833, the Lady Georgiana Leveson-Gower, second daughter of the 1st Earl Granville GCB, and had a son and heir,

WILLIAM GRANVILLE FULLERTON, born at the British Embassy, Paris, 1834; dvp 1855.

Mr Fullerton was succeeded by his nephew,

GEORGE FREDERICK DOWNING FULLERTON (1857-1916), of Ballintoy, County Antrim, Alveston, Gloucestershire, and Purley Park, Berkshire, Captain, 4th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, who married, in 1889, Leila Minna Gertrude, only child of Major A M Storer, of Purley Park, Berkshire, and had issue,
Richard Alexis, b 1893;
Ivy Leila; Myra Aida Violet.
Seats - Westwood, Hampshire; Ballintoy Castle, County Antrim; Tockington Manor, Gloucestershire.


Ballintoy Castle must have been a very important local focal point from 1630 to the mid-18th century.

It was home to the Stewarts of Ballintoy, a family descended from Sir John Stewart, of Bute, and with blood connections to the Dalriadic Kings of Scotland.

Archibald Stewart, the first resident of the Castle, acted as agent to the Earl of Antrim in 1630.

The Rev Archibald Stewart acted as Church of Ireland incumbent to the parishes of Ballintoy and Billy, 1718-37.

Upon his father's death, this clergyman became heir to the family estates at Ballintoy and Acton.

About 1760 Ballintoy Castle and estate were purchased by Alexander Fullerton, who left the property to his niece Catherine. 

In 1870, Miss Catherine Downing Nesbitt owned 5,638 acres in County Londonderry.

Interestingly, a close ancestor of her husband, Sir George Downing, who held property in London, gave his name to that famous street which is now synonymous with Prime Ministers.

Ballintoy Castle was demolished in 1795, and from it an oak staircase, beams and panelling were transferred for use in Downing College, Cambridge.

First published in May, 2012.

Hatley Manor


JAMES WHYTE (son of Mark Whyte, by Elizabeth his wife, daughter of John Edwards, of Old Court, County Wicklow), married firstly, in 1783, Gertrude, daughter of James Gee, grandson of William Gee, of Bishop Burton, and had issue,
JAMES, his heir;
Robert, who took the name of Moyser.
He wedded secondly, the daughter of Sir Thomas Hildyard, and had a daughter, ANN CATHERINE, who succeeded to the Hildyard estates.

Mr Whyte died in 1807, and was succeeded by his elder son,

JAMES WHYTE, of Pilton House, Barnstaple, Devon, who married, in 1805, Frances Honoria, daughter of the Rt Hon John Beresford, brother of 1st Marquess of Waterford, and had issue,
JOHN JAMES, his heir;
James Richard (Rev);
Robert Charles;
Mark Beresford;
William Thomas;
Selina Catherine Harriet; Frances Honoria; Mary; Barbara Henrietta.
Mr Whyte died in 1852, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN JAMES WHYTE JP DL (1806-89), of Newtown Manor, County Leitrim, Lieutenant-Colonel, 7th Hussars, who espoused, in 1842, Mary Ann Jesse, daughter of Charles Dieudonné de Montenach, and had issue,
Theodore William;
Marie Elizabeth Frances Medora; Marie Gertrude; Emma Frances Honoria; Florence Alma Julia.
Mr Whyte was succeeded by his eldest son,

CHARLES CECIL BERESFORD WHYTE JP DL (1845-1923), of Newtown Manor and Hatley Manor, High Sheriff of County Leitrim, 1877, who married, in 1874, Petronella Hallberg, daughter of Herr Magnus Hallberg Riksdagsman, of Sweden (who succeeded to the estates of Charles Manners St George JP DL and Madame Ingrid Christina St George, in counties Leitrim and Roscommon), and had issue,
John Theodore Marcus;
Maryanne Christina de Montenach St George;
Ingri Melesina Beatrice Gertrude;
Mona Selina Petronella; Chisogona Constantia Barbara Beresford;
Florence Holda Medora; Lucile Theodora Gwendoline;
Ebba Harline d'Iberville Le Moyne; Edith Estelle Ermyntrude le Poer.
The eldest son,

CECIL HARMAN BALDWIN ST GEORGE WHYTE (1881-), Lieutenant, 5th Battalion, the Connaught Rangers.

HATLEY MANOR, near Carrick-on-Shannon, County Leitrim, built about 1830, became the seat of the Whytes through marriage.

In the manner of Castle Ward House, it has a split personality: The entrance front is Italianate; the garden front, Gothic.

The house faces across a forecourt to the main street of Carrick-on-Shannon, County Leitrim.

The Gothic front overlooks the demesne, which leads to the river.

Hatley was originally a seat of the St George family, of Hatley St George, Cambridgeshire.

The last St George to live there is interred in an elaborate Victorian-Classical mausoleum in the grounds.

Charles Cecil Beresford Whyte and his wife left Hatley Manor in 1908 and went to live in Newton Manor near Dromahaire, a residence owned by Charles Whyte.

Hatley Manor was subsequently leased to Richard Allen, Clerk of the Crown and Peace, who remained in residence there until 1916.

It was thereafter let to his successor, Robert Lonsdale, who had been Crown Solicitor in Manorhamilton.

Mr Lonsdale remained there until 1926, when he retired and went to live in Dublin and England.

Hatley Manor was subsequently purchased by the Flynn Family.

First published in June, 2012.

Monday, 20 August 2018

The Langford Baronetcy


The family of LANGFORD was once prominent in the borough of Carrickfergus, County Antrim, and had formerly considerable property in the town's corporation.

Both Sir Roger Langford and Sir Hercules Langford were Mayors of Carrickfergus, 1614, 1615, 1623, 1631, and 1639.

Captain Roger Langford, sometime joint governor of Carrickfergus, commanded 100 foot-soldiers at Carrickfergus in 1603.

He was granted the abbey and lands of Muckamore in 1621; and we find 

HERCULES LANGFORD (c1625-83), another of the family, who began to build a castle in the town, which was called by the family name, and was completed in the early 17th century.

This gentleman was created a baronet in 1667, denominated of Kilmackedrett, County Londonderry, and of Summer Hill, County Meath.

Sir Hercules, High Sheriff of County Antrim, 1661, married Mary, daughter of Henry Upton, of Castle Upton, County Antrim, MP for Carrickfergus, and had issue, Arthur, Henry, Theophilus, Mary and Martha. 
MARY LANGFORD was the wife of Sir John Rowley MP, ancestor of Lord Langford. Their grandson, Hercules Langford Rowley, married Elizabeth Upton, who was created Viscountess Langford in 1766. Their daughter, the Hon Jane Rowley, married Thomas Taylour, 1st Earl of Bective. Lord and Lady Bective's fourth son was created Baron Langford in 1800. 
Sir Hercules died in 1683 and was buried at St Michan's Church, Dublin; when the Summer Hill estate devolved upon Lady Rowley.  

Bishop Henry Jones (Lord Bishop of Meath, 1661-82) sold Summerhill in County Meath and many other townlands to Sir Hercules Langford.

Sir Hercules' eldest son, 

, 2nd Baronet (c1652-1716), MP for Duleek, 1692-3, Coleraine, 1695-1713, County Antrim, 1715-16, was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and admitted to Lincoln's Inn, London, in 1671.
He was said to be a fervent Presbyterian and gave funds to the Church in Dublin. He leased Rahinstown in 1691 to Thomas Bomford.
Sir Henry Langford, 3rd Baronet

Sir Arthur was succeeded by his younger brother,

SIR HENRY LANGFORD, 3rd Baronet (c1655-1725), MP for St Johnstown (Donegal), 1695-9, who possessed estates in Devon at Bradninch, and Combsatchfield, near Silverton.

Sir Henry acquired Barton Hall estate, near Torquay, in 1710. 

He was the third High Sheriff of Devon and a judge at Greys Inn, London.

In 1710, Sir Henry bought the manor of Kingskerswell, and bequeathed all his estates to his godson, Thomas Brown, who later built the family vault and buried Sir Henry therein.

On Sir Henry's death the title expired.

First published in March, 2011.

Terenure House


CAPTAIN WILLIAM SHAW (c1651-1734), of Hampshire, son of Captain William Shaw, fought at the battle of the Boyne, 1690, an officer in Colonel Michelburn's foot regiment, was father of

RICHARD SHAW (1673-1729), of Ballinderry, County Tipperary, who married, in 1696, Judith, daughter of Edward Briscoe, and was father of

ROBERT SHAW (1698-1758), of Sandpits, County Kilkenny, who wedded, in 1736, Mary, daughter of Bernard Markham, and had issue,
ROBERT, of whom presently;
The youngest son,

ROBERT SHAW (1749-96), of Terenure, County Dublin, a merchant in Dublin, Accountant-General of the Post Office, espoused firstly, Mary, daughter of ______ Higgins, of Higginsbrook, County Meath, and had issue,
ROBERT, his heir;
Mary; Charlotte.
Mr Shaw married secondly, Priscilla Cecilia, daughter of Colonel Robert Armitage, and had further issue,
Caroline; Sylvia.
The eldest son,

ROBERT SHAW (1774-1849), of Bushy Park, County Dublin, High Sheriff of County Dublin, 1806, MP for Dublin City, 1804-26, Colonel, Royal Dublin Militia, wedded firstly, in 1796, Maria, daughter of Abraham Wilkinson, of Dublin, and had issue,
ROBERT, his successor;
FREDERICK, 3rd Baronet;
Beresford William;
George Augustus (Rev);
Charlotte; another daughter.
He espoused secondly, in 1834, Amelia, daughter of Dr Benjamin Spencer, of Bristol.

Mr Shaw was created a baronet in 1821, denominated of Bushy Park, County Dublin.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR ROBERT SHAW, 2nd Baronet (1796-1869), DL, who died unmarried, and was succeeded by his next brother,

THE RT HON SIR FREDERICK SHAW, 3rd Baronet (1799-1876), Privy Counsellor, MP for Dublin, 1830-32, Dublin University, 1832-48, Recorder of Dublin, who espoused, in 1819, Thomasine Emily, daughter of the Hon George Jocelyn, and had issue,
ROBERT, his successor;
George, Major-General;
Edward Wingfield;
Wilkinson Jocelyn;
Thomasine Harriot; two other daughters.
Sir Frederick was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR ROBERT SHAW, 4th Baronet (1821-95), DL, High Sheriff of County Dublin, 1848, Lieutenant-Colonel, Dublin Militia, who married, in 1852, Catherine Grace, daughter of William Barton, and had issue, a son and successor,

SIR FREDERICK WILLIAM SHAW, 5th Baronet (1858-1927), DSO JP DL, of Bushy Park, Terenure, County Dublin, Lieutenant-Colonel, Royal Irish Regiment, who wedded, in 1885, Eleanor Hester, daughter of Major Francis Horatio de Vere, and had issue,
ROBERT DE VERE, his successor;
Frederick Charleton;
Annie Kate; Mary Margaret; Grace Eleanor; Eily de Vere.
Sir Frederick was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR ROBERT DE VERE SHAW, 6th Baronet (1890-1969), MC, who espoused, in 1923, Dorothy Joan, daughter of Thomas Cross, and had issue.

TERENURE HOUSE, County Dublin, is a noble 18th century house, comprising a five-bay front between two curved bows.

There are urns on the pediment.

There is a three-bay pedimented breakfront and a pillared porch.

In 1671, Major Joseph Deane, an officer in Cromwell’s army, purchased Terenure from Talbot for £4,000.

Major Deane, grandfather of the Rt Hon Joseph Deane MP, converted the castle into a mansion and his family held the property until 1789, when most of the land was sold to Abraham Wilkinson, of Bushy Park, County Dublin.

In 1785, Terenure House was leased to Robert Shaw, Accountant-General of the Post Office and a great-great uncle of George Bernard Shaw.

His son, Sir Robert Shaw, 1st Baronet, MP and Lord Mayor of Dublin, acquired the property, which was purchased for him by his father-in-law, Abraham Wilkinson, of Bushy Park, County Dublin.

Mr Wilkinson had already acquired much of the Terenure Estate in 1791.

He added almost 100 acres to the demesne and presented it, along with £10,000, to his only child Maria on her marriage to Robert Shaw, Junior.

Following the death of his father, Shaw came into possession of Terenure House and he sold it, about 1806, to Frederick Bourne, the proprietor of a stage coach business.

The Bournes occupied Terenure House until 1857, and during this period the estate was renowned for its magnificent landscaping, the planting in the grounds, and the extent and content of the glasshouses.

In 1860, the property was purchased by the Carmelite Order, which opened as a secondary school for boys.

From time to time extensions have been added and a fine Church was built in 1958.

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Dawson of Castledawson

The family of DAWSON was established in Ulster in 1611 by

CHRISTOPHER DAWSON, of Acorn Bank, Westmorland, who was father of the Rt Rev Robert Dawson (1589-1643), Lord Bishop of Clonfert, and

THOMAS DAWSON, of Temple Sowerby, Westmorland, who purchased the lands at Castle Dawson, County Londonderry, during the reign of of CHARLES I, 1633, from George and Dudley Philips, and was father of

THOMAS DAWSON (c1630-83), Commissary of the Musters of the Army in Ireland, who had issue,
THOMAS, his heir;
JOSHUA, succeeded his brother;
The second son,

THOMAS DAWSON (c1654-1732), of Castle Dawson, MP for Antrim, 1695-9, married Arabella Upton, of Castle Upton, and had issue, a son, THOMAS, who died in 1704 at the siege of Gibraltar.

He was succeeded by his brother,

JOSHUA DAWSON (1660-1725), of Castle Dawson, MP for Wicklow, 1705-14, who wedded, ca 1695, Anne, daughter of Thomas Carr, and had issue,
ARTHUR, his heir;
Joseph (Rev);
Mary; Anne Elizabeth; Eleanor; Arabella.
Mr Dawson was succeeded by his eldest son,

WILLIAM DAWSON (-1779), of Castle Dawson, Surveyor-General of Munster, Collector of Dublin, who wedded, ca 1739, Sarah Mary, daughter of Thomas Newcomen, and had issue,
ARTHUR, his heir;
Sarah Elizabeth.
The son and heir,

ARTHUR DAWSON (1745-1822), of Castle Dawson, MP for Newtownards, 1775-6, Carlow, 1776-83, Middleton, 1783-97, Banagher, 1798-1800, espoused, in 1775, Catherine, daughter of George Paul Monck by his wife, the Lady Aramintha Beresford, and had issue,
GEORGE ROBERT, his heir;
Henry Richard (Very Rev), Dean of St Patrick's;
Aramintha; Maria; Louisa; Isabella.
Mr Dawson was succeeded by his son,

THE RT HON GEORGE ROBERT DAWSON (1790-1856), of Castle Dawson, who married, in 1816, Mary, daughter of Sir Robert Peel Bt, of Drayton Manor, Staffordshire, and had issue,
ROBERT PEEL, his heir;
George Beresford;
Francis Alexander;
Mr Dawson was succeeded by his eldest son,

ROBERT PEEL DAWSON JP MP (1818-77), of Moyola Park, High Sheriff of County Londonderry, 1850, MP for County Londonderry, 1859-74, who wedded Mary Elizabeth, daughter of Charles, 1st Baron Lurgan, and had issue, a daughter,

MARY DAWSON, who married, in 1872, Lord Adolphus John Spencer Churchill Chichester, younger son of Edward, 4th Marquess of Donegall, and had issue,
Edward Brownlow Dawson;
Augustus John Bruce MacDonald Dawson.
The eldest son,

ROBERT PEEL DAWSON SPENCER CHICHESTER JP DL (1873-1921), of Moyola Park, married, in 1901, Dehra, daughter of James Ker-Fisher, and had issue,
Robert James Spencer (1902-20);
MARION CAROLINE DEHRA, of whom presently.
Mr Chichester's only daughter,

MARION CAROLINE DEHRA CHICHESTER (1904-76), of Moyola Park, espoused firstly, in 1922, Captain James Lenox-Conyngham Chichester-Clark, and had issue,
JAMES DAWSON, Baron Moyola;
Robert (Robin) (Sir);
She married secondly, in 1938, Charles Edward Brackenbury.

MOYOLA PARK, Castledawson, County Londonderry, is a noble, two-storey, 18th century house of coursed rubble with ashlar dressings.

It has a five-bay entrance front and a three-bay pedimented breakfront.

There is a three-sided bow in the side elevation; a solid roof parapet; flush quoins.

This is a well designed and attractively situated demesne parkland, through which the River Moyola flows.

There are good stands of mature trees in shelter belts and woodland.

Although extensively remodelled in the mid-19th century, the demesne has early 17th century origins.

The property was acquired by Thomas Dawson from Sir Thomas Phillips in 1622, and at some time afterwards a house was built close to the present chapel of Ease.

By 1835, little remained of this building 'but foundations of the walls and terraces'.

A second house, built by Joshua Dawson in 1694 and possibly remodelled in 1713, was located some distance to the north-east.
This had an associated formal landscape, including a straight lime avenue approach (still present) and avenues of Scotch firs; a Pinus sylvestris Scotia mentioned in Elwes & Henry, Trees of Great Britain and Ireland Vol. III (1908), as being 80ft high and 11ft in girth in 1906 may be part of the early 18th century landscape.
There are four of these original trees remaining.

South-east of the 1694 house there was also 'an ancient avenue three miles in length opening to a magnificence view of Lough Neagh to which it extends'.

The adjacent town seems to have been created in its present form from 1710-14; it was in 1710 that Joshua Dawson built the Mansion House in Dublin's Dawson Street.

The present house at Moyola, known originally as The Lodge, was built in 1768 for Arthur Dawson (1698-1774) on a new site north-west of the 1694 house.

The informal parkland was subsequently created as a setting for this house.

Planting by Arthur Dawson's nephew, Arthur Dawson (1745-1822), is referred to in the Register of Trees in County Londonderry 1768-1911, supplementing the exisiting ancient oak woodlands.

Paired yews on the riverside walk may belong to this period.

However, it was Arthur's son, the Rt Hon George Robert Dawson (1790-1856), brother-in-law to Sir Robert Peel, who remodelled both the house and the parkland and renamed it Moyola Park.

This work was largely undertaken during the 1840s and early 1850s.

Most of the parkland planting to the south and south east of the house belongs to this era, as does the suspension bridge and village gate lodge.

Exotic planting from this time includes a cryptomeria known to have been planted in 1851.

Additional gate lodges at the Hillhead entrance and at the Drumlamph entrance were added in the 1870s by Colonel Robert Dawson, from whom the property passed to the Chichester family through marriage.

In the 20th century, woodland areas and a disused quarry were cleared for ornamental gardens created from the 1960s to the north of the house.

These are fully maintained and often open to the public for charity.

A football playing field and an associated building occupies an area west of the lime avenue; while part of the southern portion of the park is now a golf course linked to the Gravend golf course west of the river.

First published in April, 2012. 

Saturday, 18 August 2018

Portglenone House


The elder branch of this family was ennobled, in 1663, by the title of EARL OF STIRLING, in the person of WILLIAM ALEXANDER, of Menstrie, Clackmannanshire. 

The name of ALEXANDER was assumed from the Christian name of its founder, Alexander Macdonald, of Menstrie.

This branch, on removing into Ireland, adopted into the family shield the Canton charged with the Harp of Ireland, and settled at Limavady, County Londonderry.

JOHN ALEXANDER, of Eridy, County Donegal, 1610, had issue,
ANDREW, his heir;
The eldest son, 

THE REV DR ANDREW ALEXANDER, of Eridy, married Dorothea, daughter of the Rev James Caulfeild, and had issue, 

CAPTAIN ANDREW ALEXANDER, of Londonderry, who wedded firstly, Miss Philips, daughter of Sir Thomas Philips, and had issue, JACOB.

He espoused secondly, Miss Hillhouse, daughter of the Laird of Hilles, and had another son,

JOHN ALEXANDER (c1670-1747), of Ballyclose, County Londonderry, and of Gunsland, County Donegal, who married Anne, daughter of John White, and had issue,
NATHANIEL, of whom hereafter;
The second son,

NATHANIEL ALEXANDER (1689-1761), of Gunsland, Alderman of Londonderry, 1755, who married Elizabeth, daughter of William McClintock, of Dunore, County Donegal, and had issue,
William, of London; barrister; d 1774;
ROBERT, of whom we treat;
Mary Jane; Rebecca; Elizabeth; Ann; Jane.
The fourth surviving son, 

ROBERT ALEXANDER (1722-90), of Boom Hall, County Londonderry, wedded, in 1759, Anne, daughter of Henry McCullogh, and had issue,
NATHANIEL, his heir;
Henry, of Boom Hall;
William, Lieutenant-General;
Joseph Josias Du Pré;
Elizabeth; Jane; Anne; Rebecca; Dorothea.
Mr Alexander was succeeded by his eldest son,

THE RT REV AND RT HON NATHANIEL ALEXANDER (1760-1840), of Portglenone House, Lord Bishop of Meath, Privy Counsellor, who wedded, in 1785, Anne, daughter of the Rt Hon Richard Jackson MP, of Coleraine, and had issue,
Richard Jackson;
ROBERT, of whom we treat;
William Stuart;
Anne; Elizabeth Rebecca; Henrietta Frances; Jane Mary.
His second son,

THE VEN DR ROBERT ALEXANDER (1788-1840), Archdeacon of Down, married firstly, in 1813, Catherine, daughter of Rt Hon John Staples and Hon Henrietta Molesworth, and had issue,
NATHANIEL, his heir;
John Staples;
George William;
Harriet Catherine; Alicia Anne; Louisa Maria; Mary Jane;
Grace Frances; Melosine Elizabeth Charlotte; Catherine Staples.
Dr Alexander married secondly, in 1837, Hester Helena, daughter of Colonel Alexander McManus, but had no further issue.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

NATHANIEL ALEXANDER (1815-53), of Portglenone House, MP for County Antrim, 1841-52, who espoused, in 1842, Florinda, daughter of Richard Boyle Bagley, and had issue,
JOHN STAPLES, succeeded his brother.
Mr Alexander was succeeded by his elder son,

ROBERT JACKSON ALEXANDER JP DL (1843-84), of Portglenone House, High Sheriff of County Londonderry, 1870, and County Antrim, 1875, who died unmarried, and was succeeded by his brother,

JOHN STAPLES ALEXANDER JP DL (1844-1901), of Portglenone House, Lieutenant RN, who died unmarried, and was succeeded by his cousin,

MAJOR ROBERT CHRISTOPHER ALEXANDER JP DL, of Portglenone House (1900-68), son of Robert Arthur Moloney Alexander, High Sheriff, 1938, who married, in 1933, Laura Ina Madeline, daughter of Edward Fraser Lenox-Conyngham.

Major Alexander died without issue.

Portglenone House comprises a square, late-Georgian block of three storeys over a basement.

It was built in 1823 by the Rt Rev Nathaniel Alexander.

The house has a three-bay front, the central bay being recessed.

There is a fine classical hall, with a screen of columns separating it from the corridor and stairs.

The columns, subtle mushroom pink marble with stone capitals of Adam's "Dioclesian" order, were originally at Ballyscullion, along with some the the house's chimney-pieces.

In 1850, a wing was added by Nathaniel Alexander MP, containing a new staircase lit by a stained-glass dome.

The entrance front was also given a large porch and Ionic porte-cochere.

The main rooms were enhanced with cornices and heavy moulded door-cases in the form of aedicules.

Portglenone House was sold by Major Alexander in 1948 and is now part of Our Lady of Bethlehem Abbey, run as a guest-house.
The guest house provides for those who wish to make private retreats, and can cater for groups who seek to make days of recollection. As such, it does not function as a B&B, nor as a half-board hotel. Guests are encouraged to enter into the silence and solitude which characterize the monastic life in this place, and to take the opportunity for spiritual renewal which is offered.
Portglenone House is set in parkland by the River Bann.

An earlier house in the vicinity is recorded.

The present house now forms part of the Abbey, which also has further buildings added from 1962 in the grounds.

This includes the Our Lady of Bethlehem Abbey ,which was built in 1948 to the designs of Patrick Murray.

Part of the gardens are private for the monks (the walled garden); parts are ornamental grounds for the Abbey; and parts are cultivated for organic vegetables.

There are mature trees in the remnants of former parkland, an ice house, the Bishop’s Well and two 19th century gate lodges.

Within the walls, part of the demesne is administered by the Department of Agriculture as a forest, which was planted from the 1950s.

There is public access and paths are laid out.

In a glade in the forest there is a commemorative plot to Augustine Henry, who was reputedly born nearby.

It was laid out in 1969 with examples of some of the plants that he discovered or introduced from the far east.

First published in August, 2012.

Friday, 17 August 2018

Emo Court


MARMADUKE D'OSSONE, the founder of the Dawson family in England, was amongst the soldiers of fortune in the train of WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR.

From him lineally sprang,

RICHARD DAWSON, of Spaldington, Yorkshire (20th in descent), who married Anne, daughter of Sir Henry Lowther, Knight, of Lowther Hall, Westmorland, and from this marriage descended,

WILLIAM DAWSON, the first member of the family whom we find in Ireland.

This gentleman was collector of the revenue for the counties of Down and Antrim, and the port of Carrickfergus, in the reign of CHARLES II.

He wedded Elizabeth, daughter of Alexander Jardine, of the ancient family of Applegirth, in Scotland, and was father of

EPHRAIM DAWSON (c1683-1746), who having purchased Portarlington and other estates in the Queen's County (now known as Laois), took up his residence there, and represented Portarlington, 1713-14, and Queen's County, 1715-46, in the reigns of GEORGE I and GEORGE II.

He espoused Anne, daughter and heir of Samuel Preston, and granddaughter of John Preston, of Ardsallagh, County Meath, by whom he left an only surviving son,

WILLIAM HENRY DAWSON (1712-79), MP for Portarlington, 1733-70, and, after his father died, MP for Queen's County, 1761-8, who married, in 1737, Mary, eldest daughter of Joseph Damer, of Dorset, and had issue,
JOHN, his heir;
William (Rev);
Mary; Martha; Anne.
Mr Dawson was elevated to the peerage, in 1770, by the title of Baron Dawson, of Dawson's Court, Queen's County; and was advanced to a viscountcy, in 1776, as Viscount Carlow.

His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN, 2nd Viscount (1744-98), who was created, in 1785, EARL OF PORTARLINGTON.

His lordship wedded, in 1778, the Lady Caroline Stuart, daughter of John, 3rd Earl of Bute, and had issue,
JOHN, his successor;
George Lionel;
Lionel Charles;
Caroline Elizabeth; Louisa Mary; Harriet; Anna Maria.
  • John Dawson, 1st Earl (1744–1798);
  • George Lionel Henry Seymour Dawson-Damer, 5th Earl (1858–1900);
  • Lionel Arthur Henry Seymour Dawson-Damer, 6th Earl (1883–1959);
  • George Lionel Yuill Seymour Dawson-Damer, 7th Earl (b 1938).
The heir apparent is the present holder's son Charles George Yuill Seymour Dawson-Damer, styled Viscount Carlow (b 1965).
The heir apparent of the heir apparent is his son Henry Dawson-Damer (born 2009).


The building of Emo Court (also known as Emo Park) began ca 1790 for John Dawson, 1st Earl of Portarlington, whose name is recalled in Dawson Street in Dublin. 

The 1st Earl was interested in architecture, and invited James Gandon to come to Ireland, where he is best remembered for designing the Custom House and the Four Courts in Dublin. 

Emo Court was built to replace an earlier building on a nearby site known as Dawson’s Court, and is the only country house designed by Gandon.

The house is two storeys over a basement with attics forming end towers at each end of the building. 

The entrance front has a seven-bay centre with a pedimented Ionic portico. 

On each side on the end towers, there is a panel of Coade stone, on one side representing the Arts and on the other a pastoral scene.

In the Arts panel, James Gandon can be seen with the plans of Emo Court in his hand.

Heraldic tigers stand imposingly at the entrance steps.

The house had not been completed when the 1st Earl died in 1798, and the 2nd Earl was continually short of money, but managed, in 1834, to engage Louis Vulliamy, a fashionable London architect, to complete the dining room and garden front portico. 

However, the house was still unfinished when the 2nd Earl died in 1845. 

It was left to the 3rd Earl in 1860 to commission William Caldbeck, a Dublin architect, to finish the drawing-room, rotunda and library.

He added a detached bachelors’ wing which was joined to the house by a curved corridor.

The Portarlingtons used Emo less and less, till the 1st World War.

Thereafter, it stood empty for a decade, until 1930.
In 1930, the house was bought by the Jesuits to use as a seminary, and it underwent inevitable changes to adapt it to its new life: The wall and mahogany doors between the rotunda and drawing room were removed to provide a chapel; the library became the refectory; the dining-room became the conference room.
The marble columns in the library were dismantled and removed; statues and a marble Rococo chimney-piece were carefully put in storage in the basement; and other changes were made to turn the home into an institution.
In 1958, dry rot was discovered and the well-known Dublin architect Michael Scott suggested that the house be demolished to make way for a new building.

This did not happen, and repairs were made and central heating installed.

In 1969 the Jesuits left Emo, and the house was bought by 
Major Cholmeley Dering Cholmeley-Harrison RM (retd)

Major Cholmeley-Harrison had already employed the services of Sir Albert Richardson and Partners, the firm of architects, to restore his previous houses in London and Co Waterford, and at Emo they rose to the occasion.
Over a period of twenty years, Emo Court was restored to its former glory, even more glorious than before: The marble columns and chimney-piece, the magnificent doors, floors and walls were restored to a neo-Classical beauty; the entrance hall was painted in trompe-l’oeil to represent the plaster decoration that Gandon had planned but which was never carried out.
All of this was assisted by the discovery of Gandon’s original drawings for the house, which are now in the Irish Architectural Archive in Dublin. 

Major Cholmeley-Harrison presented Emo to the Irish state in 1994.

He continued to reside in the private apartments till he died, aged 99, in 2008.

Portarlington arms courtesy of European Heraldry.   First published in 2012.