Saturday, 20 December 2014

Moyne House

Hamilton-Stubber of Moyne


HUGH HAMILTON settled at Lisbane, County Down, during the reign of JAMES I, and was made denizen of Ireland in 1616.

He died in 1655 and was buried at Bangor, County Down, leaving issue, his second son,

ALEXANDER HAMILTON, of Killyleagh, who married Jean, daughter of John Hamilton, of Belfast; and died in 1676, left issue by her,

HUGH HAMILTON, of Ballybranagh, who wedded Mary, sister of Robert Ross, of Rostrevor, and daughter of George Ross, of Portavo, by Ursula his wife, daughter of Captain Hans Hamilton, of Carnesure.

Dying in 1678, Mr Hamilton was buried at Killyleagh, leaving issue, his elder son,

ALEXANDER HAMILTON, of Knock, County Dublin, and of Newtownhamilton, County Armagh; MP for Killyleagh, 1730-61.

He married Isabella, daughter of Robert Maxwell, of Finnebrogue, County Down.

Mr Hamilton's mother Jane was daughter of the Rev Simon Chichester, Vicar of Belfast (eldest son of Henry Chichester, of Marwood, by Jane, daughter of the Rt Rev Robert Maxwell, Lord Bishop of Kilmore).

Mr Hamilton died in 1768, leaving four sons and three daughters. His second son,

ROBERT HAMILTON, of Gloucester Street, Dublin, married and was succeeded by his elder son,

THE REV ALEXANDER CHETWOOD HAMILTON, Rector of Thomastown, County Kilkenny, who married, in 1801, Eleanor, daughter and co-heir of THE REV SEWELL STUBBER.

The said rector assumed, by royal licence, in 1824, the surname of STUBBER in lieu of Hamilton, and the arms of Stubber only.

His son and heir,

ROBERT HAMILTON STUBBER JP DL (1803-63), of Moyne, high sheriff, 1831, married, in 1840, Olivia, daughter of the Rev Edward Lucas, of the Castleshane family, and widow of Henry Smyth, of Mount Henry, Queen’s County.

His eldest son,

ROBERT HAMILTON HAMILTON-STUBBER JP DL (1846-1916), of Moyne and Castle Fleming, Queen’s County; high sheriff, 1873; late lieutenant, Royal Dragoons, was succeeded by his son,

MAJOR ROBERT HAMILTON-STUBBER DSO (1879-1963), 1st Life Guards; served in S African war, 1900-01.

MOYNE HOUSE, near Durrow, County Laois, is a five-bay two-storey house with dormer attic, built ca 1730.

It has a pedimented central bay with a projecting porch.

Moyne was renovated and extended about 1880, with two-bay, two-storey wings and a dormer attic.

The house has a double-pitched and hipped slate roof, with rolled lead ridge tiles and limestone ashlar chimney-stacks.

The roof is gabled; rubble limestone walls; a Venetian-style window opening to entrance bay and oculus to pediment.

The house is set back from the main road in its own landscaped grounds.

It has a stable complex, including two-storey rubble stone ranges, one of which was renovated about 1970 to accommodate residential use.

Of its interior, the drawing-room is notable for its Adam-Revival ceiling; while the dining-room has a frieze of plasterwork in late 18th century style; and a carved wood chimney-piece in Elizabethan style. 

Moyne Polo Club, established in 1996, is affiliated to the Hurlingham Polo Association.

A Midsummer Ball and one-day tournament is held in June; a two-day tournament on the penultimate weekend in July; and a tournament in August with the emphasis on junior polo.

Moyne House became the Hamilton family home in the early part of the 19th century, when Robert Hamilton-Stubber (1803-63) moved there from Kilkenny.

The house then descended via Robert Hamilton-Stubber (1846-1916) to Major Robert Hamilton-Stubber DSO (d 1963), who sold Moyne to his cousin, Hubert Charles Hamilton, in the 1920s; from whom the present branch of the family is descended.

The Hamilton family continue to live at Moyne.

First published in December, 2012.

The Ballymacormick Acquisition


PROPERTY: Ballymacormick Point, near Bangor, County Down

DATE: 1952
EXTENT: 33.18 acres

DONOR: Thomas Kingan Esq


PROPERTY: Cockle Island, Groomsport, County Down

DATE: 1975

EXTENT: 0.6 acres

DONOR: Gavin Maxwell Esq

Friday, 19 December 2014

Conlig House

Little Clandeboye or Conlig House, near Bangor, County Down, was built ca 1855 in the Neo-Tudor style.

The architect is unknown, though Lord Dufferin commissioned Benjamin Ferrey in the mid-1850s for various projects on his Clandeboye estate.

Conlig House, however, can be dated originally to ca 1830 and was very similar in style to Glencraig House (now altered) which dates from the same period.

The architect may have been William Burn, who was later consulted by Lord Dufferin with regard to the remodelling of Clandeboye House in the 1840s.

J A K Dean, in his excellent gazetteer, The Gate Lodges of Ulster, states that Conlig House was once a dower house for the Blackwood family.

It had north and south wings, a projection and seven cellars.

By 1850, Conlig House was the residence of Captain William Pirrie, the Belfast ship-owner and harbour commissioner.

His son, James Alexander Pirrie, emigrated in 1844 to Canada, where he entered the timber shipping trade.

When James Pirrie died, his widow took her son William back to Ulster to live at Conlig with his grandfather.
William Pirrie (1st Viscount Pirrie) was educated at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution (Inst) from 1858-62, and then became an apprentice at Harland and Wolff. He was married to Eliza Morrison, who came from Conlig and was part of the wider family of the Marquess of Dufferin and Ava.
James Pirrie subsequently sold Conlig House to Lord Dufferin.

Little Clandeboye, as it became known, was unoccupied for a period until it was let to Hugh Creighton, who was about to be married, from 1863 until at least 1871.

Creighton took the house for a rent of £100 a year.

The valuer noted in 1880 that the house was still vacant, but by 1882 Richard T Hamilton was in residence.

James Fagan occupied the house from 1894; and JT Barrett from 1901.

A number of occupiers followed: SJ McLean (1904); Thomas O Dickson (1909); Walter Barbour (1915); Lord Dufferin (1926); George McCracken (1927); and Walter John Dyer (1929).
James Bernard Fagan (1873-1933) was an actor, theatre manager and playwright, who had recently made his acting debut when he lived at Little Clandeboye. A letter survives written by him at Little Clandeboye to Lord Dufferin in which he thanks him for an introduction and promises to send him two one-act plays he had written.
After several years working as an actor, Fagan embarked on a career as a dramatist, a number of his plays being filmed in the early days of the cinema. In 1917 he began a third career as a producer, ultimately taking over management of the Royal Court theatre in London.
In 1923 he opened the Oxford Playhouse and continued to stage notable productions in London and New York, spending increasing amounts of time in Hollywood where several of his plays were filmed and where he died in 1933.
Little Clandeboye became a mental hospital in the 1930s before eventually falling into disuse, and was a "romantic ruin" for many years before being demolished.


A symmetrical single-storey two-bay gate lodge with extension, built ca 1855, is located at the former entrance to Little Clandeboye.

The lodge is robustly detailed, echoing the style of the main house.  

It was renovated in the late 20th century; however, the scale, proportion and detailing structure have survived.

Although the original gates have been replaced, the alcoved gate screen remains.

The lodge is now of significance as the only remaining structure of the Little Clandeboye demesne, connected to the Sinclair and Pirrie families, who were central to the development of Conlig village.

The Argory Acquisition


PROPERTY: The Argory, Moy, County Armagh

DATE: 1979

EXTENT: 280.92 acres

DONOR: Hoare Trustees and W A N MacGeogh-Bond Esq


PROPERTY: Derrygally Farm

DATE: 1979

EXTENT: 77.1 acres

DONOR: Hoare Trustees and W A N MacGeough-Bond Esq

Thursday, 18 December 2014


I was in central Belfast briefly this morning.

I visited the Central Library in Royal Avenue, one of Belfast's finer buildings. I invariably admire the domed ceiling with its intricate plasterwork on the first floor.

Today I was obtaining an image of Lord Pirrie's armorial bearings as a viscount, and his lineage.

A lovely lady approached me as I was leaving and introduced herself. Lord Belmont has achieved notoriety at last!

I passed the Great West Front of Belfast Cathedral, where the Dean's annual "sit-out" takes place at this time of year.

I spoke briefly to a lady canon (possibly the Rev Canon Denise Acheson, Canon Treasurer) beside the celebrated barrel.

The Bishop of Down & Dromore, the Right Rev Harold Miller, appeared on the steps, dressed informally in his v-neck jumper. 

1st Viscount Pirrie



WILLIAM PIRRIE, of Conlig House, married Elizabeth, daughter of William Morrison, and Letitia, his wife, daughter of Robert Miller, of Conlig, and Elizabeth, his wife, daughter of Thomas Leach, of Rathgael, who died in 1756.

He left issue, three sons and four daughters, of whom his second son,

JAMES ALEXANDER PIRRIE, of Little Clandeboye, County Down, wedded Eliza, daughter of Alexander Montgomery, of Dundesert, County Antrim.

He died in 1849, leaving, with a daughter, Eliza (who espoused, in 1870, the Rt Hon Thomas Andrews), an only son,

 WILLIAM JAMES PIRRIE, born at Quebec, Canada.
W J Pirrie's grandfather, Captain William Pirrie, of Conlig, County Down, was the son of a tenant farmer from Auchenmalg, Wigtownshire. Captain Pirrie was a trader in the Mediterranean Sea during the Napoleonic Wars; and was instrumental in the drainage of Belfast Lough. 

    • Right Honourable Lord Mayor of Belfast, 1896
    • Privy Counsellor (I), 1897
    • High Sheriff of County Antrim, 1898
    • Created Baron Pirrie, 1906
    • Comptroller of the Household to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, 1907-13
    • Knight of the Most Illustrious Order of St Patrick, 1908
    • HM Lord-Lieutenant of the City of Belfast, 1911-24
    • Privy Counsellor (UK), 1918
    • Northern Ireland Senator, 1921
    • Advanced to a viscountcy, as Viscount Pirrie, 1924

    Lord and Lady Pirrie's principal residence in Northern Ireland was Ormiston House.

    Their London home was Downshire House (below) at 24 Belgrave Square.

    It was at Downshire House that plans for the Titanic and her sister ships were born over dinner between Lord Pirrie of Harland and Wolff and Joseph Bruce Ismay of the White Star Line.

    Here is the entry in the London Gazette of 12th July, 1921:

    To be a Viscount: The Rt. Hon. Sir William James, Baron Pirrie, K.P., LL.D., D.L. For valuable services to the Government in connection with ship-construction during the war. Charitable work in connection with the Royal Victoria and other hospitals.

    Lord Pirrie died on 6th June 1924, aged 77, from pneumonia while voyaging off Cuba, without issue, when the titles became extinct.
    First published in May, 2010.

    Wednesday, 17 December 2014

    Passport Application

    Commendation to Her Majesty's Passport Office.

    I delivered an application for a new passport to their Belfast branch in Victoria Street exactly one week ago.

    When I arrived home this afternoon, it had been delivered.