Monday, 6 July 2020

Quintin Castle

QUINTIN CASTLE is located on the Ards Peninsula, about 2½ miles east of Portaferry,  County Down.

It is one of the very few inhabited Anglo-Norman castles in Ulster.

The original castle was built by John de Courcy in 1184.

In the later middle ages the castle was held by the Smiths, a dependent family of the Savages.

In the mid-1600s, Sir James Montgomery, a relation of the Savages, purchased the castle and the surrounding lands from Dualtagh Smith.

Sir James and his son William renovated the castle, adding a large house to it as well as a walled courtyard.

At some period after an interlude in the 1650s, when a Cromwellian officer held Quintin, the Montgomerys sold the castle to George Ross, a member of an influential local family who held lands at Kearney.

Ross never lived at the castle, which remained in its mid-17th century form until the 1850s, when one of his descendants, Elizabeth Calvert, set about remodelling it.

Entrance Front of Quintin Castle. Image: Robert John Welch (1859-1936)

Quintin Castle was, by that time, a ruinous structure, much of whose stone, according to the OS Memoirs, had been taken by local people.
This remodelling included the raising in height of the central keep, the construction of drawing and dining rooms and the general decoration to the entire building, as well as rebuilding the courtyard walls, gates and outer towers.
In 1897, the estate was sold by the Land Commission.

The house, however, remained with the descendants of the Calverts, one of whom, Magdalen King-Hall, became a writer whose many works included The Wicked Lady, a story of highwaymen and women, which later became a successful film.

The King-Halls sold the castle in the 1920s and Quintin passed though a series of owners, one of whom, James O'Hara, ran the building as a nursing home during the 1980s.

It may have been at this stage that that the secondary entrance in the front facade was added, perhaps to provide easier access for some of the elderly residents.

The central keep was raised; a walkway constructed within the battlements; a drawing-room which opened into the inner gardens; and a dining-room constructed on the lowest floor of the great tower. 

Most of the grounds were also enclosed by a massive stone wall.

In the 1870s the estate comprised 1,007 acres.

Quintin Castle was extensively refurbished by the builders McGimpsey and Kane, changing hands most recently in 2006.

It underwent a further restoration ca 2006, when it was bought by the property developer, Paul Neill.

In 2011, one bank moved against him taking control of two of his retail parks in Bangor over a £37m debt. Mr Neill was subsequently declared bankrupt.

Consequently, the Irish government's National Asset Management Agency (Nama) repossessed the castle in 2012.

In June, 2013, Quintin Castle was sold (asking £1.65m with 22 acres) to the Tayto Group (owned by the Hutchinson family's Manderley Food Group).

In July, 2016, the new owners applied for planning permission to convert the castle into an eight-bedroom "boutique hotel", with permission to utilize the courtyard for functions such as weddings.


The original demesne is now split up, but the house retains stone-walled terrace gardens, which were depicted as being fully planted up.

The walled garden is in separate ownership.

There is medieval-style gateway leading into the grounds of ca 1855, and a tall octagonal rubble-constructed folly tower within the grounds.

First published in January, 2011.

Sunday, 5 July 2020

Hillsborough Forest

Hillsborough Fort. Image: Timothy Ferres, 2020

Hillsborough, County Down, is undoubtedly one of the pleasantest and most interesting villages in Northern Ireland.

It has been ages since I last paid Hillsborough Forest a visit, so I wasn't disappointed today.

Hillsborough Forest Lake. Image: Timothy Ferres, 2020

The Fort, former home of the Hills, Earls of Hillsborough and Marquesses of Downshire, stands overlooking the lake in the forest.

It seems to be in good order, and the old stone steps leading down through the undergrowth towards the parish church can still be seen.

The church and fort are adjacent to each other.

It was a joy to see so many young families with their toddlers and children enjoying the forest walks and the swans, geese, and ducks feeding at the edge of the lake.

Today I walked around its circumference, then out through the gates, via Park Lane, to the Square; and down the main street to the junction where the parish church can be seen from its long avenue.

Image: Timothy Ferres, 2020

The statue of Arthur, 4th Marquess of Downshire, KP, faces the church directly from across the road.

The town-houses on the hilly main street, with their courtyards and mews, are simply charming; as are the little artisan shops and gastro-bars.

Image: Timothy Ferres, 2020

At the top of the main street, on the Square, stands the old court-house, which itself stands opposite the main entrance to Hillsborough Castle, former home of the Downshires, then the Governors of Northern Ireland, Royalty, and Secretaries of State.

The May Baronetcy

The family of MAY, anciently De May, traces its descent to John de May, who came to England with WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR, and, for his services, obtained considerable grants of land in the counties of Kent and Sussex.

His descendants were seated for many generations at Kennington, in Kent; and subsequently at Wadhurst, and other places, in Sussex.

From William May, second son of Thomas May, of Wadhurst, descended

SIR HUMPHREY MAY (1573-1630), Vice-Chamberlain to JAMES I and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster; and also

SIR THOMAS MAY, of Mayfield, Sussex, whose eldest son, Thomas May, a celebrated poet, died unmarried, and whose second son,

EDWARD MAY, settled at Mayfield, County Waterford, and married Margaret, daughter of Arthur O'Donnelly, of Castle Caulfield, County Tyrone; the grandson of which marriage,

EDWARD MAY (c1672-1729), of Mayfield, MP for County Waterford, 1715-29, wedded Elizabeth, daughter and co-heiress (with her sister, Anne, Countess of Tyrone), of Andrew Richards, of County Kilkenny.

Mr May was succeeded by his son,

JAMES MAY, MP for County Waterford, 1725-34, who espoused Letitia, daughter of William, 1st Viscount Duncannon.

Mr May, dying ca 1734, left with a daughter, Elizabeth Richards, wife of Thomas Carew, of Ballinamona, and granddaughter of Thomas Carew, of that place, a son and successor,

JAMES MAY (c1724-1811), of Mayfield, MP for County Waterford, 1759-97, who was created a baronet in 1763, designated of Mayfield, County Waterford.

Sir James married Ann, daughter of Thomas Moore, of Marlfield, and niece of Stephen, Earl Mount Cashell, and had issue,
JAMES EDWARD, his heir;
HUMPHREY, 3rd Baronet;
Thomas, dsp;
Charles, died unmarried;
Mary Tottenham.
He was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR (JAMES) EDWARD MAY, 2nd Baronet (1751-1814), MP for Belfast, 1801-14, who married firstly, in 1773, Eliza Lind née Bagg, of St George, Holborn, Middlesex; and secondly, ca 1809, Elizabeth, daughter of Francis Lumley, of Passage, County Waterford.

He had two illegitimate daughters and two illegitimate sons,
Stephen Edward;
Edward Sylvester (Rev), Vicar of Belfast, 1809;
Anna, m George, 2nd Marquess of Donegall;
Elizabeth, m Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Verner.
The eldest son, Sir Stephen Edward May (1781-1845), JP DL, of 1, Donegall Place, following his father's death in 1814, believing himself to be the rightful successor to his father's baronetcy, styled himself "Sir Stephen May Bt". Sir Stephen, MP for Belfast, 1814-16, received the honour of Knighthood, in 1816, from Charles, 1st Earl Whitworth, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.
Sir Edward, erstwhile Collector of the Revenue of the port of Waterford, was succeeded in that lucrative and important office by his younger brother,

SIR HUMPHREY MAY, 3rd Baronet, who wedded, in 1784, Jane, daughter of the Rev James Grueber, and had issue, an only child, GEORGE STEPHEN.

Sir Humphrey died ca 1819 in France, and was succeeded by his son and heir,

SIR GEORGE STEPHEN MAY, 4th Baronet (1764-1834).
Sir Humphrey had married Jane Grueber in 1784. She survived him, but apparently would not continue to reside at Maypark; hence, in Ramsey’s Waterford Chronicle of 1819, an advertisement appeared that Maypark was to be let on such terms and for such a period as might be agreed upon or the interest would be sold.
The baronetcy expired in 1834 following the decease of Sir George Stephen May, 4th and last Baronet.


In 1795, George, 2nd Marquess of Donegall, married Anna, daughter of Sir Edward, described as "a moneylender who also ran a gaming house"

He managed to get Lord Donegall - then styled Lord Chichester - released from a debtors' prison in 1795 and offered his daughter Anna in marriage, an obligation which his lordship felt obliged to accept.

The couple came to Belfast in 1802 to escape his debtors and brought the May family with them.

Anna (May), 2nd Marchioness of Donegall, had been under-age at the time of her marriage and should have had the permission of the courts in 1795 but this had not been sought; so, as a consequence, the marriage was declared unlawful. 

Edward Street in Belfast was named after Sir Edward May; as was Great Edward Street, May Street and May's Market.

Sir Edward pioneered the reclamation of land from the edges of Belfast Lough; however, more infamously, he was regarded as the man who desecrated the graves of those buried at St George's graveyard at High Street and Ann Street in order to sell the land for the development of Church Street and Ann Street in Belfast. 
May's Dock in Belfast was also named after Sir (James) Edward May, brother of Lady Donegall.

Sir Edward reclaimed the land to form May's Dock from the original bed of the river and the high water line was where Great Edward Street now continues into Cromac Street.
The principal seat of the Mays was once Maypark House in County Waterford, now a nursing home. 

Maypark House was built in 1783-84 and named after Humphrey May, who gave his name to Mayfield (near Portlaw) and was MP for Waterford from 1757-97. 

The house was evidently built around the time that Sir Humphrey married Jane Grueber.

Sir Humphrey died approximately seven years after the death of his father, Sir Edward.

Lady May, after the death of her husband and father-in-law, obviously decided to move out of Maypark.

Wherever Lady May was moving to, she had no use for her furniture.

It is not clear, from research, whether of not Sir Humphrey and Lady May had been living in France at the time of Sir Humphrey’s death.

There is no record of a "Jane May" of Waterford to be found after approximately 1820. 

It would appear that she may have moved away from Waterford after her husband’s death.

It is probable that Lord Waterford bought the place for, in the Waterford Chronicle of 9th June, 1827, there was an advertisement announcing "the sale of Lady May’s furniture of Maypark....”

Maypark is listed as being in the occupancy of George Meara in the Slater’s Directory of 1846.

The property consisted of house, offices and land with a total area over 46 acres.

It was valued at £181.

The house appears on the 1840 Ordnance Survey Map with a farm.

The area down to the river is identified as a rough area, possibly marshland.

Some areas are heavily planted.

In the 1909-10 Thom’s directory a Herbert Gough is listed as resident at Maypark.

The house was converted to a private hospital sometime after 1910 and before 1938.

First published in January, 2011.

Saturday, 4 July 2020

Belfast Castle: II



"In the foreground is the Farset River, flowing down High Street, with Chads' Bridge opposite the Market House.

The small houses to the extreme right, or west, are on the site of the present Bank Buildings, where Castle Street terminated as a continuation of High Street.

The Castle had a north-easterly aspect, and opposite the entrance gates, on the east side of the Corn Market, was the Market-House with its square tower, on the first floor of which, above the market stalls, was the room in which the burgesses met at their assembly meetings.

The house adjoining on the east side of the corn market was the Castle brew-house, wherein the cider was brewed from the apples gathered in the orchards.

On the west side of the Corn market, and opposite the brew-house, was the house containing the pleasure boats in the barge-yard, from which in a south-east direction was the castle wharf, joining "The New Cutt River" at the sluice, and entering the Lagan on the south side of the Long Bridge.

High Street, Belfast, in the 17th Century

The garden path in front of the barge-yard, running in a south-west direction, was the Long Walk, extending the entire length of the Pleasure Garden.

The Pigeon House was the small house with the pointed roof.

Proceeding from the Pigeon House, past the back of the Castle are the stables, with their five dormer windows, having a carriage entrance from Castle Street.

The Ash Walk, as it appears in Phillips' Map of 1685, did not extend the whole length of the gardens.

It seems, however, to have been extended, at a later date, as in a lease, bearing the date 14th June, 1717, its measurement is given as 530 feet from Castle Street in a southerly direction.

According to that measurement, it formed the western boundary of the Castle gardens, and was probably planted with ash trees as a shelter to the fruit gardens from the prevailing westerly winds.

Its frontage to Castle Street was 250 feet, so that we can fix its area as three acres.

To the east of the Ash Walk was Robin's Orchard, having a frontage to Castle Street; and the garden situated between Robin's Orchard and the Castle was the Melon Garden.

The small building, with an entrance through the Melon Garden, was originally the Coach House.

First published in July, 2012.

Fermanagh DL


The Viscount Brookeborough KG, Lord-Lieutenant of County Fermanagh, has been pleased to appoint:-
Mrs Catherine Mary Maguire
County Fermanagh
To be a Deputy Lieutenant of the County, her Commission bearing date, the 29th June, 2020.

Lord Lieutenant of the County

Friday, 3 July 2020

Drumnasole House


FRANCIS TURNLY JP (1732-1801), of Downpatrick, County Down, married, in 1760, Catherine Black, of Bordeaux, France, and had issue,
JOHN (1764-1841), of Rockport House; dsp;
FRANCIS, of whom presently;
The second son,

FRANCIS TURNLY (1766-1845), of Drumnasole, County Antrim, and Richmond Lodge, County Down, High Sheriff of County Down, 1806, wedded, in 1804, Dorothea Emilia, daughter of John Rochfort, of Clogrennane, County Carlow, and granddaughter of Robert Burgh, of Birt, and had issue,
John, died in infancy;
Francis, died unmarried, 1820;
Robert Alexander (1805-85), of Drumnasole, died unmarried;
Joseph, died unmarried;
JOHN, of whom presently;
Charles Horace, d 1885;
Dorothea Anna, d 1885;
Catherine, d 1906.
Mr Turnly, born at Richmond Lodge, made a £70,000 fortune (£5 million today) with the East India Company.

The Turnlys were prominent merchants during the 17th and 18th centuries, involved with multifarious trading enterprises in and around Belfast.

Francis Turnly and Narcissus Batt imported alcoholic products from Holland and the Channel Islands.

They became business partners, running a brewery at one time, probably supplying the publicans of the local area.

The fifth son,

JOHN TURNLY JP DL (1818-1909), of Drumnasole, wedded, in 1850, Charlotte Emily, daughter of the Rt Hon Edward Litton QC, Master in Chancery in Ireland, and had issue,
FRANCIS JOHN SEYMOUR, of whom presently;
John Edward Litton Alexander, b 1869;
Sophia Dorothea; Dorothea Vescina; Charlotte Augusta Anne;
Flora Eugenie; Catherine Beatrice; Nina Rochfort; Gertrude; Hilda.
The eldest son,

FRANCIS JOHN SEYMOUR TURNLY JP (1862-1934), of Drumnasole, married, in 1896, Hessie Metcalfe McNeill, daughter of Charles Higginson, of Springmount, County Antrim, and had issue,
John Francis, 1898-1918, killed in action;
ARCHIBALD GORDON EDWARD, of whom we treat;
Mary Dorothea Rochfort, b 1900.
Mr Turnly's only surviving son,

MAJOR ARCHIBALD GORDON EDWARD TURNLY DL (1902-), High Sheriff of County Antrim, 1949, wedded, in 1933, Mary Elizabeth, daughter of Robert Alexander Young, of Lisvarna, Ballycastle, County Antrim, and had issue,

JOHN FRANCIS CECIL TURNLY, a local politician and activist, who was assassinated in 1980.

DRUMNASOLE HOUSE, near Garron Point, County Antrim, is a country house of ca 1810, described in 1845 as "a most romantic and sheltered site at the base of the perpendicular hills".

Building began before 1819 and was finished ca 1840.

It was built near the site of an earlier house of the same name which had been occupied in the 1760s by the Donaldson family; and in the 1780s by Francis Shaw, who sold the estate to Francis Turnly in 1808.

Turnly had amassed a considerable amount of money while in China in the 1790s, and following his return to Ulster in 1801, he bought two estates, one at Drumnasole and another at Cushendall.

To facilitate his frequent journeys between the two, he cut first the Red Arch near Waterfoot in 1817, and then the Split Rock, known locally as Turnly's Cut, near Garron Point in 1822, thus creating a predecessor of the present coast road.

Turnly also erected the building in Cushendall known as Turnly's Tower.

Elsewhere in the Drumnasole estate Turnly built a schoolhouse ca 1820, and a descendant built a gate lodge about 1860.

Drumnasole House is built of basalt from the hill behind, of two storeys over a basement.

The entrance front has a breakfront centre with windows flanked by two narrower windows above.

A fan-lighted doorway is under a shallow porch of four engaged Doric columns below, one bay on either side. The side elevation comprises five bays.

The long hall with a plasterwork ceiling; the stairwell lit by a dome.

The gate-lodge is at the Antrim coast road entrance.

Photo Credit © Rev John McConnell Auld

Richmond Lodge, Knocknagoney, County Down, another property of the Turnlys, was eventually acquired by the Dunville family, who moved there in 1845.

Plans showed a long drive-way leading to the house and extensive grounds, substantial enough for Captain R L (Bobby) Dunville to establish a private zoo there during the 1920s.

First published in December, 2010.

Wilson of Maryville

THOMAS WILSON, of Croglin, said to have been son of John Wilson of Croglin, of an old-established family in Dumfriesshire, had a sister, Christian, married to Gilbert Grierson.

Mr Wilson wedded Agnes Grierson, and died in 1571, leaving issue,
MATTHEW, of Croglin;
Janet; Katherine; Malic.
The elder son,

MATTHEW WILSON, of Croglin, Dumfriesshire, died about 1612, leaving two sons,
JOHN, his heir;
Thomas, merchant burgess of Edinburgh.
The elder son,

JOHN WILSON JP, of Croglin, wedded firstly, in 1610, Margaret, daughter of Robert, 1st Lord Dalzell, and died before 1641, having had issue,
JOHN, his heir;
Susanna, m 1626 John Sitlington, of Stanehouse;
Anne, m John Stewart, of Drumbeg.
He espoused secondly, Helen Maxwell, and had issue,
JAMES, of whom presently;
The eldest son,

JOHN WILSON, of Croglin, Commissioner of War for Dumfriesshire, 1643-9, married firstly, _____ Halliday; and secondly, the daughter of _____ Gordon, and had a son,


His direct lineal descendant,

WALTER WILSON, of Croglin (which was sold owing to losses sustained through the failure of the Bank of Ayr), wedded, in 1795, his cousin Jane, daughter of Robert Stewart, of Drumbeg, County Antrim, and through her became possessed of Maryville, Belfast.

He died in 1807, having had issue,
Robert Gordon, died young;
Walter, died young;
Mary Isabella.
The only surviving son,

ALEXANDER GEORGE WILSON (1797-1856), of Maryville, married, in 1837, Emily Lawrence, daughter of the Rev Charles Boyd, Rector of Magheradroll, by Emilia Juliana Theresa, his wife, daughter of Colonel Thomas Dawson Lawrence, of Lawrencetown, County Down, and had issue,
WALTER HENRY, his heir;
Alexander Basil (1846-1913), of Maryville, Malone, Belfast;
Emily Lawrence.
The elder son,

WALTER HENRY WILSON JP (1839-1904), of Maryville, and Cranmore, married, in 1875, Sarah Elizabeth, eldest daughter and co-heir of James Owen Wynne, of Hazelwood, and had issue,
Marion Emily; Lilian Lawrence; Florence Stewart;
Dorothy Gladys; Mary Wynnefred Kathleen.
His son and heir,

ALEXANDER GEORGE WILSON JP (1876-1959), of Maryville and Cranmore, Lieutenant, Army Motor Reserve, educated at Harrow, succeeded in 1904.


THE Wilson family home was Maryville, off the Malone Road.

Maryville originally belonged to the wealthy Stewart family of Ballydrain.

One member of the Stewart family built Maryville and Myrtlefield; another built Macedon.

Maryville was located close to the junction of Malone Road and Stranmillis Road.

It was located at the site of the present Osborne Park Playing Fields, opposite Bladon Park and Bladon Drive.

Maryville might originally have been a farm and it stretched from Malone Road to the present Lisburn Road at Cranmore House.

Cranmore House in 1888

Walter Wilson subsequently purchased Cranmore House and turned it into a fernery.

This part of Belfast was developing rapidly and, in 1900, Mr Wilson took a twenty-year lease of Belvoir Park, Newtownbreda, from Lord Deramore.

Mr Wilson was a partner with Lord Pirrie in the Belfast shipyard, Harland and Wolff.

His first marital home was 1, Botanic Avenue, Belfast.

Thereafter he rented Stranmillis House prior to leasing Belvoir.

The Wilsons' lease on Belvoir Park was terminated in 1918.

WILLIAM III is said to have rested at Cranmore, near Maryville, en route to Belfast, and the tree where his horse was tied is still growing.

Cranmore was formerly called Orange Grove and was the residence of a family named Eccles.

First published in February, 2012.