Saturday, 14 December 2019

The Firewood Poem

The Firewood Poem, written by Lady Congreve, is thought to have been published in The Times newspaper on the 2nd March, 1930:

Beechwood fires are bright and clear
If the logs are kept a year,

Chestnut's only good they say,
If for logs 'tis laid away.

Make a fire of Elder tree,
Death within your house will be;

But ash new or ash old,
Is fit for a queen with crown of gold.

Birch and fir logs burn too fast
Blaze up bright and do not last,

It is by the Irish said
Hawthorn bakes the sweetest bread.

Elm wood burns like churchyard mould,
E'en the very flames are cold

But ash green or ash brown
Is fit for a queen with golden crown.

Poplar gives a bitter smoke,
Fills your eyes and makes you choke,

Apple wood will scent your room
Pear wood smells like flowers in bloom.

Oaken logs, if dry and old
keep away the winter's cold

But ash wet or ash dry
a king shall warm his slippers by.

Friday, 13 December 2019

James Ussher DD

A voluminous pedigree of this family, and all the various branches, compiled by Sir William Betham, Ulster King-of-Arms, commences with

ARLAND USSHER, Bailiff of Dublin, 1460-2, Mayor of Dublin, 1469-71, who married firstly, Alsone Taylor, by whom he had a daughter, Margaret, and an only son, Thomas.

He wedded secondly, Anne Berford, and had further issue,
JOHN, of whom we treat;
Robert, dsp;
Philip, dsp;
Christopher, ancestor of USSHER OF EASTWELL.
The eldest son,

JOHN USSHER, Sheriff of Dublin, 1524, espoused, in 1485, Johanna, daughter of William Foster, of Killeigh, and had issue,
Arland;
THOMAS, of whom hereafter.
The younger son,

THOMAS USSHER, married Margery, daughter of Henry Geydon, and had issue,
John;
Henry (Most Rev), Lord Archbishop of Armagh;
ARLAND, of whom hereafter;
Christopher;
Rose; Ales; Katherine.
The third son,

ARLAND USSHER (c1552-98), wedded Margaret, daughter of James Stanihurst, and had issue,
JAMES, his heir;
Ambrose;
Sarah; Ellinor; Margaret; Mabel; Anne.
The eldest son,

THE MOST REV AND RT HON DR JAMES USSHER (1581-1656), Lord Archbishop of Armagh, Primate of All Ireland, espoused, in 1614, Phœbe, daughter of the Rev Luke Challoner, and had issue, an only child, ELIZABETH (1620-93).

At the age of 13 James Ussher entered the newly founded Trinity College in Dublin and had a distinguished academic career.

He was ordained by his uncle, Dr Henry Ussher (Archbishop of Armagh), in 1602.

Dr James Ussher,  Photo Credit: The National Trust

During the Irish rebellion of 1641 most of Archbishop Ussher's property was destroyed.

His Grace later lived in London and Oxford, and with his only daughter Elizabeth (wife of Sir Timothy Tyrrell) in Wales.

For a short time, while the Dean of Westminster was imprisoned in the Tower of London, Dr Ussher used the Deanery at Westminster.

He attended the funeral of CHARLES I at Oxford, but later also found favour with Cromwell.

Oliver Cromwell, in fact, ordered his burial in the Chapel of St Paul in Westminster Abbey, and paid the funeral expenses.

It is thought that this was the only occasion at which the Anglican funeral service was read in the Abbey during the Commonwealth period.

The present Irish marble gravestone in the Abbey, with brass lettering, was erected until 1904, and the Latin inscription was written by Dr Gwynn (Regius Professor at Trinity College) and others.

It can be translated thus:
In pious memory of JAMES USSHER who was born in Dublin in 1581, entered among the first students of Trinity College, promoted to the archiepiscopal see of Armagh, 
Primate of all Ireland, the hundredth heir of St Patrick the apostle of Ireland, historian, critic, theologian, most learned among the holy, most holy among the learned, 
Exiled from his own in this city of Westminster, he fell asleep in Christ in 1656. 
He was expelled from his sacred see and country by those same seditions which went on to grant him burial in this church among the most honoured. 
This stone was placed by George Salmon, Provost of the same college, 1904.
Ussher's coat-of-arms appears at the base of the stone, surmounted by a mitre.

This shows the arms of the See of Armagh impaling Ussher (azure, a chevron ermine between three batons, or).

1st Earl of Gosford

THE EARLS OF GOSFORD WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY ARMAGH, WITH 12,177 ACRES

The founder of this noble family in Ulster,

ARCHIBALD ACHESON (1583-1634), descended from a good family in Scotland, was seated at Gosford, Haddingtonshire, previous to his settlement in the Province, where we find him in 1610.

Sir Archibald Acheson

In the following year he had passed patent for a large proportion of land in County Armagh, and at the same time his younger brother, Henry, passed patent for a smaller proportion in the said county, which lands he afterwards assigned to Sir Archibald.

This Henry Acheson returned to Scotland and there died unmarried.

Sir Archibald was "so steady and zealous a friend" of the protestant interest in Ulster that seven years after he obtained this grant (according to the survey made by Nicholas Pynnar) he had 203 men upon his estate capable of bearing arms.

In 1612, he obtained another grant from JAMES I of a small proportion of land in County Cavan containing 1,000 acres.

Mr Acheson was created a baronet in 1628, designated of Market Hill, County Armagh.

In 1630 Sir Archibald obtained, in conjunction with Pierce and Walter Crosbie, a territory in Nova Scotia, Canada, called Bonovia [sic].

He was also Solicitor-General, a Senator of Justice, and many years Secretary of State for Scotland, which latter office he continued to fill until his decease in 1634.

He died at Letterkenny, County Donegal, at his nephew's house, Sir William Semple, Knight.

Sir Archibald was succeeded in the title and estates by his eldest son,

SIR PATRICK ACHESON, 2nd Baronet, at whose decease without issue, in 1638, the title devolved upon his half-brother,

SIR GEORGE ACHESON (1629-85), 3rd Baronet, who was succeeded by his only son,

SIR NICHOLAS ACHESON, 4th Baronet (c1655-1701), MP for County Armagh, 1695-9, who wedded, in 1676, Anne Taylor, and had issue,
ARTHUR, his successor;
Alexander;
Nichola Anne.
Sir Nicholas was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR ARTHUR ACHESON, 5th Baronet (1688-1749),  High Sheriff of County Armagh, MP for Mullingar, 1727-48, who wedded, in 1715, Anne, daughter of the Rt Hon Philip Savage, Chancellor of the Exchequer in Ireland, and had issue,
Nicholas;
Philip;
ARCHIBALD, his successor;
Nichola; Anne.
Sir Arthur was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

SIR ARCHIBALD ACHESON, 6th Baronet (1718-90), who was elevated to the peerage, in 1776, in the dignity of Baron Gosford, of Market Hill, County Armagh; and advanced to a viscountcy, 1785, as Viscount Gosford.

His lordship married, in 1740, Mary, youngest daughter of John Richardson, of Rich Hill, County Armagh, and had issue,
ARTHUR, his successor;
Anna Maria; Nicolas; Julia Henrietta;
Lucinda; Mary.
Sir Archibald was succeeded by his eldest son,

ARTHUR, 2nd Viscount (c1745-1807), who was advanced to the dignity of an earldom, in 1806, as EARL OF GOSFORD.

Arthur, 1st Earl of Gosford

His lordship espoused, in 1774, Millicent, daughter of Lieutenant-General Edward Pole, and had issue,
ARCHIBALD, his successor;
Edward, CB, lieutenant-colonel in the army;
Olivia, m Brigadier R B Sparrow, of Brampton Park;
Mary, m Lieutenant-General Lord William Bentinck GCB;
Millicent, m Rev J H Barber MA.
 His lordship was succeeded by his only son,

ARCHIBALD, 2nd Earl (1776-1849), GCB, PC.
The heir presumptive is the present holder's first cousin Nicholas Hope Carter Acheson (b 1947).

He is the eldest son of the Hon Patrick Bernard Victor Montagu Acheson (1915–2005), second son of the 5th Earl.


GOSFORD FOREST PARK, near Markethill, County Armagh, is one of the most beautiful demesnes in Northern Ireland.

There are woodland and forest walks; the walled garden; and a caravan and camping site within the park.



Gosford Castle is one of the largest houses in Northern Ireland.

The estate was sold to the NI Government shortly after the 2nd world war. 

The mansion was restored between 2006-8 and has been divided into a number of apartments.

The Gosford Papers are deposited at PRONI.

First published November, 2009. Gosford arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Thursday, 12 December 2019

Ballynatray House

THE SMYTHS OWNED 7,124 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY WATERFORD

The ancient and influential family of SMYTH was settled in Ireland for more than three and a half centuries, intermarrying with the houses of England, and always maintaining a distinguished position amongst its great landed proprietors.

Sir Richard Smyth appears to have been established there before the beginning of the 17th century: for an indenture, dated 1602, made between Sir Walter Raleigh and Richard Boyle, Clerk of the Council in Munster, and recorded in the Rolls' Office, Dublin, for the sale by Sir Walter, to the said Richard, of certain lands in counties Cork and Waterford.

Sir Richard Smyth, of Ballynatray, was appointed by the deed a trustee, in conjunction with Edmund Colthurst and Edmund Coppinger.

SIR RICHARD SMYTH, Knight, of Ballynatray, County Waterford, High Sheriff of County Waterford, 1613, and Rathcogan, County Cork, who flourished in the reign of ELIZABETH I, married Mary, daughter of Roger Boyle, of Preston, Kent, and sister of RICHARD BOYLE, the first and Great Earl of Cork, and had issue,
PERCY (Sir), his heir;
Catherine; Dorothy; Alice.
Sir Richard commanded as captain in the defeat and expulsion of the Spaniards at Castle Ny Parke, Kinsale, County Cork.

He was succeeded by his son,

SIR PERCY SMYTH, Knight, of Ballynatray, distinguished for his loyalty and courage in the rebellion of 1641.

He raised 100 men to assist Sir William St Leger, Lord President of Munster, and obtained at the same time, with Lord Broghill and Captain Brodrick, his commission as Captain of Foot.

Captain Smyth was knighted in 1629, and was military governor of Youghal, 1645.

Sir Percy married firstly, Mary, daughter of Robert Meade, of Broghill, and had issue, two daughters, Mabella and Joan; and secondly, in 1635, Isabella, daughter of Arthur Ussher, by Isabella his wife, daughter of the Most Rev Dr Adam Loftus, Lord Archbishop of Dublin and Lord High Chancellor of Ireland, and had issue,
Boyle, MP for Tallow;
Percy;
William, his heir;
RICHARD, of whom we treat;
John;
Margaret; Elizabeth; Isabella; Maria; Catherine.
The fourth son,

RICHARD SMYTH, of Ballynatray, wedded firstly, Susanna, daughter of John Gore, of Clonrone, County Clare, who dsp.

He espoused secondly, Alice, daughter of Richard Grice, of Ballycullane, County Limerick, and had (with a daughter, Isabella) a son,

GRICE SMYTH, of Ballynatray, High Sheriff of County Waterford, 1710, who married Gertrude, daughter of William Taylor, of Burton, County Cork, and had issue, RICHARD, his heir, and Deborah.

Mr Smyth died intestate in 1724, and was succeeded by his son and heir,

RICHARD SMYTH (1706-68), of Ballynatray, High Sheriff of County Waterford, 1739, who wedded firstly, in 1764, Jane, daughter and co-heir of George Rogers, of Cork, and by her had one daughter, Gertrude.

Mr Smyth espoused secondly, in 1756, Penelope, daughter of John Bateman, of Oak Park, County Kerry, and had issue,
RICHARD, his heir;
GRICE, heir to his brother;
John;
Rowland;
Elizabeth; Penelope.
Mr Smyth was succeeded by his eldest son,

RICHARD SMYTH, of Ballynatray, High Sheriff of County Waterford, 1793, who died unmarried, and was succeeded by his brother,

GRICE SMYTH (1762-1816), of Ballynatray, High Sheriff of County Waterford, 1803, who wedded, in 1795, Mary Brodrick, daughter and co-heir of Henry Mitchell, of Mitchell's Fort, County Cork, and had issue,
RICHARD, his heir;
Henry Mitchell, ancestor of SMYTH of Castle Widenham;
Grice Blakeney (Rev);
Rowland;
John Rowland (Sir), KCB, General in the Army;
Ellen; Penelope; Gertrude.
Mr Smyth was succeeded by his eldest son,

RICHARD SMYTH JP DL (1796-1858), of Ballynatray, High Sheriff of County Waterford, 1821, who married, in 1821, Harriet, daughter of Hayes, 2nd Viscount Doneraile, by Charlotte his wife, sister of the 1st Earl of Bandon, and had an only surviving child, CHARLOTTE MARY.

Mr Smyth was succeeded by his daughter,

MISS CHARLOTTE MARY SMYTH, of Ballynatray, who wedded, in 1848, Charles William, 5th EARL MOUNT CASHELL, who assumed, in 1858, the additional name and arms of SMYTH, and was High Sheriff of County Waterford, 1862.

Her ladyship died in 1892, having had issue,
Richard Charles More (1859-88), dvm;
HARRIETTE GERTRUDE ISABELLA, her successor;
Helena Anna Mary; Charlotte Adelaide Louisa Riversdale.
The Countess Mount Cashell, having no surviving male issue, was succeeded by her elder daughter.

The 5th Earl died in 1898, when the Moore Park estates passed to his eldest daughter,

THE LADY HARRIETTE GERTRUDE ISABELLA MOORE (1849-1904), of Ballynatray, and Moore Park, Kilworth, County Cork, who married, in 1872, Colonel John Henry Graham Holroyd-Smyth CMG JP DL, High Sheriff of County Waterford, 1902, and had issue,
ROWLAND HENRY TYSSEN;
Charles Edward Ridley;
William Baker;
Isabelle Charlotte Sophie Wilmot; Helena Anne Mary Moore;
Gwendoline Harriette; Sophia Beryl Sheila; Penelope Victoria Minna.
The eldest son,

ROWLAND HENRY TYSSEN HOLROYD-SMYTH DL (1874-1959), married, in 1902, Alice Isabelle, youngest daughter of Chambré Brabazon Ponsonby, of Kilcooley Abbey, and had issue,
John Rowland Chambré, b 1903;
Henry Horace Digby, b 1905;
Bryan Hubert Holroyd, b 1908;
Mary Lavender, b 1910.

BALLYNATRAY HOUSE, near Youghal, County Cork, stands on the River Blackwater, County Waterford.

It was granted to Sir Richard Smyth, brother-in-law to the Great Earl of Cork, in the early 17th century.

His son’s "castellated residence" was largely destroyed in the rebellion of 1641, and his successor built a larger, Dutch-gabled dwelling in the 1690s.


In 1795 this was incorporated into a very large Palladian house, built by Grice Smyth to the designs of Alexander Dean, of Cork.

The house is eleven bays long and five bays wide, with two storeys over a basement and a ballustraded parapet, originally decorated with elaborate urns.

The river façade has a pedimented breakfront, while the three central bays of the entrance front are deeply recessed and filled by with a long, single-storey porch.


The interior was clearly built for entertaining on the grandest scale.

There is a sumptuous suite of interconnecting rooms, all with stupendous views; wide, double mahogany doors and some fine early 19th century plasterwork.

The hall has a frieze of bull’s heads (the Smyth crest) and the billiards-room an imaginative cornice of billiards balls and cues.

The Hall

Originally, the bedroom floor had a curious curvilinear corridor but this has since been altered.

In 1843, Charlotte Smyth married the 5th Earl Mount Cashell.

Her son predeceased her, as did her young grandson, Lord Kilworth, so the estate passed to her daughter, the wife of Colonel Holroyd, who assumed the name and arms of SMYTH.

In 1969 their grandson, Horace Holroyd-Smyth, bequeathed Ballynatray to his cousins, the Ponsonby family of Kilcooley Abbey, who sold the house to Serge and Henriette Boissevain in the late 1990s.

They subsequently carried out a major restoration programme and today Ballynatray is the home of Henry Gwyn-Jones.

The situation, on a double bend of the river which gives the impression of a very large lake, is unrivalled.

Steep, oak-covered hills slope downwards on all sides while the ruins of Molana Abbey nestle amongst the trees on the riverbank.

These contain the classical Coade stone ‘tomb’ of Raymond Le Gros, one of Strongbow’s knights, and a statue of the abbey’s founder, St Molanside.

Select bibliography: Irish Historic Houses Association. First published in November, 2017.

1st Earl Cairns

THE EARLDOM OF CAIRNS WAS CREATED IN 1878 FOR HUGH McCALMONT, 1ST BARON CAIRNS, STATESMAN AND LORD CHANCELLOR

THE RT HON SIR HUGH McCALMONT CAIRNS (1819-85), second son of William Cairns, of Cultra, County Down,
MP for Belfast, 1852-66; Solicitor-General, 1858-9; Attorney-General, 1866; a Lord Justice of Appeal, 1866-68; Lord High Chancellor, 1868 and 1874-80.
Sir Hugh was elevated to peerage, in 1867, in the dignity of Baron Cairns, of Garmoyle, County Antrim.

His lordship was further advanced, in 1878, to the dignities of Viscount Garmoyle and EARL CAIRNS.

He married, in 1856, Mary Harriet, eldest daughter of John McNeill, of Parkmount, Belfast, and his wife, Charlotte Lavinia (daughter of Lieutenant-General Sir Thomas Dallas GCB), and by her had issue,
Hugh, died in infancy;
ARTHUR WILLIAM, 2nd Earl;
HERBERT JOHN, 3rd Earl;
WILFRED DALLAS, 4th Earl;
Douglas Halyburton;
Lilias Charlotte; Kathleen Mary.
His lordship was succeeded by his second son,

ARTHUR WILLIAM, 2nd Earl (1861-90), who wedded, in 1887, Olivia Elizabeth, OBE, daughter of Alexander Augustus Berens, by whom he had issue, a daughter, LADY LOUISE ROSEMARY KATHLEEN VIRGINIA CAIRNS.

His lordship died without male issue and was succeeded by his next brother,

HERBERT JOHN, 3rd Earl (1863-1905), who died unmarried and was succeeded by his brother,

WILFRED DALLAS, 4th Earl, CMG, DL (1865-1946), who espoused, in 1894, Olive, daughter of John Patteson Cobbold MP, and by her had issue,
HUGH WILFRED JOHN, DSO; killed in action;
DAVID CHARLES, 5th Earl;
Hester Margaret; Ursula Helen; Sheila Mary; Catherine Olive.
His lordship was succeeded by his younger son,

DAVID CHARLES, 5th Earl, GCVO, DL (1909-89), who married, in 1936, Barbara Jeanne Harrisson, daughter of Sydney Harrisson Burgess, of Cheshire, and by her had issue,
SIMON DALLAS, his heir;
Andrew David;
Elizabeth Olive.
The 5th Earl was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIMON DALLAS, 6th Earl, CVO, CBE, born in 1939, who wedded, in 1964, Amanda Mary, daughter of Major Edgar FitzGerald Heathcoat-Amory, of Yorkshire, and by her had issue,
SEBASTIAN FREDERICK, styled Viscount Garmoyle;
(David) Patrick;
Alistair Benedict.
*****

MY STORY of the noble family of Cairns commences at the ancestral seat of the Marquesses of Downshire, Hillsborough Castle, in County Down.

During the first years of the 18th century, Ulster became a harbour of refuge for a number of Scottish refugees who arrived in the years immediately following "The Fifteen".

The major Jacobite Risings were called the Jacobite Rebellions by the ruling governments. The "First Jacobite Rebellion" and "Second Jacobite Rebellion" were known respectively as "The Fifteen" and "The Forty-Five", after the years in which they occurred (1715 and 1745).

It is likely that the Cairns family arrived in Ulster about this period.

Among the records at Lord Downshire's seat, Hillsborough Castle, County Down - most likely now held at PRONI - were the registers of leases and the rent rolls of the Kilwarlin estate.

One lease of three lives, dated 1716, was granted to William Cairns.

It is probable that William Cairns was a younger son of William Cairns of Kipp, who died in 1711.

The lease to William Cairns of 1716 was of the lands of Magheraconluce, near Annahilt, County Down. He died prior to 1735, when his widow appears as the tenant, and he left several sons, who became tenants of farms in the neighbourhood.

His successor was his son William, probably the eldest, who had issue,

1.  JOHN (1732-94), who died unmarried at Parkmount, Belfast;

2.  HUGH (1735-1808, who died at Parkmount; By his will he left several legacies to his "kinsmen at Annahilt", and £600 to each of his six sisters. He left Parkmount, which he acquired shortly after the death of William Gregg in 1782, to his half-brother Nathan, whose mother had been a daughter of Mr Gregg.

He states in his will that "most of my property consists of money lent out at interest on security", from which it appears that he was one of Belfast's early private bankers, some of whom eventually amalgamated, thus founding what became known as the Northern and Ulster banks.

3.  WILLIAM, born in 1737. The name William Cairns continues to appear as holder of the Magheraconluce property subsequent to his father's removal to Belfast after his second marriage.

4.  Margaret, Sarah, Colville, Ellen, Jean and Mary, who all died without issue.

William Cairns, of Magheraconluce, married, secondly, about 1758, Agnes, daughter and heiress of William Gregg of Parkmount, Belfast.

This estate seems to have passed to Mr Gregg from the representatives of Thomas Lutford, who had a lease for three lives, renewable for ever, from the Marquesses of Donegall in 1769.

Some time after his marriage with Agnes Gregg, William Cairns appears to have moved with his family to Parkmount, or to a house at Carnmoney.

His father died in 1775 and the widow, Agnes Gregg, surviving him and dying in 1785. Both are interred at Carnmoney churchyard.

By his second marriage William Cairns had issue,

NATHAN CAIRNS (1759-1819), who became a merchant at Dublin, and died at Parkmount, leaving issue,

WILLIAM CAIRNS, of Parkmount, born 1789, who entered the army and became a captain in the 47th Regiment. He married, when only 17, Rosanna, daughter of Hugh Johnston, a merchant of Belfast.

During his father's lifetime he lived at Rushpark, near Carrickfergus, and also had a house in Belfast, which stood in the grounds now occupied by the Robinson & Cleaver Building, Donegall Square North. 
After his father's death, he moved to Parkmount, which he shortly afterwards sold to John McNeill, a banker in Belfast. Parkmount, on the Shore Road, was in 1666 a lodge or occasional residence of Lord Donegall, and it afterwards passed into possession of Ludfords, Cairns, and McNeills. John McNeill's son notably sold Parkmount to Sir Robert Anderson Bt. 
When William Cairns sold Parkmount, he eventually lived at Cultra in County Down, possibly to Dalchoolin House. He married secondly, Matilda, and died at Cultra in 1844.

William Cairns (through two marriages) raised three exceptionally talented sons:-
The Rt Hon Hugh McCalmont [Cairns], Earl Cairns, of Garmoyle County Antrim, was born at Cultra, educated at Belfast Academy and Trinity College, Dublin.

Lord Cairns married, in 1856, Mary Harriet, eldest daughter of John McNeill, of Parkmount, Belfast,by whom he had five sons and two daughters.

His father at first intended that he should take holy orders, but his own inclination, backed by the advice of his tutor, the Rev George Wheeler, decided to permit his son to enter the legal profession.

Lord Cairns and his family left Ulster.

The Cairnes family, since the Reformation, were all originally Presbyterian.

The 1st Earl's great-grandfather, or some of his family at least, seem to have conformed to the Established Church shortly after their removal to Parkmount.

Certainly John and his father William subscribed to the Vicar of Carnmoney as early as 1775.

First published in February, 2011.  Cairns arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Tynan Abbey


TYNAN ABBEY, County Armagh, was built in 1750 and enlarged in the Tudor-Gothic style around 1820-30.


It had an imposing two-storey entrance front, battlemented and pinnacled; a battlemented central tower and doorway too, with pointed Gothic windows.

Photo Credit: Stuart Blakely

The Rt Hon Sir Norman Stronge, 8th Baronet, MC JP, and his only son, James, were murdered by the IRA in the Abbey, which was burnt to the ground in 1981.

I have written about the Stronge Baronets elsewhere on this blog.

Photo Credit: Stuart Blakely

Originally the estate extended to some 8,000 acres. 

The late Douglas Deane OBE recalled the 8th Baronet's passion for wildlife at Tynan:
He went to live and farm at Tynan Abbey in 1928 and always his interest was in wild things; often he told me about the wildfowl which visited the lake in winter; the groups of Bewick swans; the flocks of white-fronted geese...

...he showed me an incubating woodcock, hidden in a pool of brown leaves by the edge of the main drive at Tynan and told me that his gamekeeper had seen a woodcock carry one of its young, held between its legs, from an open patch in the woods in to cover; and many times had watched a woodcock feed its young in the same fashion as pigeons.

Every year Sir Norman would invite me to Tynan to see the azaleas in colour and the seas of bluebells in the woods and always there was talk of butterflies, painted ladies, peacock and the rest. Sir Norman was the envy of his friends, being an excellent shot.

He would often finish a day's shooting with close to 200 pigeons...his cousin, Sir Basil Brooke [1st Viscount Brookeborough], had the edge on him and always seemed to finish the day with more.
First published in September, 2013. 

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

The King Baronetcy

THE KING BARONETCY, OF CORRARD, COUNTY FERMANAGH, WAS CREATED IN 1821 FOR ABRAHAM BRADLEY KING, LORD MAYOR OF DUBLIN AND ROYAL STATIONER

JAMES KING, of Corrard, Gola, and other townlands in County Fermanagh, living in 1674 (descended from a family seated at Barra, Aberdeenshire, married Nichola, daughter of ______ Johnston, of County Fermanagh, and had (with other issue),
Robert, MP for Lifford, 1698-9, 1709-11;
John, of Gola, father of JAMES, of whom hereafter;
Charles, of County Donegal;
Thomas;
David.
James King's grandson,

JAMES KING (-1798), of Corrard, and Dublin, Captain, Belleisle Yeomanry Cavalry, wedded, in 1763, Elizabeth, daughter and eventually sole heir of Abraham Bradley, printer and stationer, of Dublin, and had issue,
James;
ABRAHAM BRADLEY, of whom we treat;
Hulton Smyth;
Joseph.
Mr King's second son,

ABRAHAM BRADLEY KING (1774-1838), of Corrard, and Bloomsbury, County Dublin, was elected Alderman of the City of Dublin in 1805, and chosen Lord Mayor in 1813; and a second time, in 1821, when he had the honour of receiving, in his official capacity, GEORGE IV.

In commemoration of the occasion of that monarch's visiting the metropolis of His Majesty's Irish dominions, the chief magistrate was created a BARONET in 1821, designated of Corrard, County Fermanagh.

Sir Abraham inherited, from his maternal grandfather, the patent office of King's Stationer in Ireland, which he surrendered to the Crown in 1830 and was granted by Parliament a pension of £2,500 (£213,000 in today's money) for life.

He was also deputy grand master of the Orange Order, and printed revised rules for that body.

On the issue of publicly celebrating WILLIAM III's birthday he took the side of the government in 1821 and banned public ceremonies.

When his prohibition was disobeyed by a dissident group of tailors, he resigned from the Orange Order.

As Lord Mayor in 1821, he joined with the catholic Lord Fingall at a public dinner in Morrison’s hotel to demonstrate unity and amity for the royal visit of GEORGE IV.

In the following year he resisted the passage of resolutions, in the merchant’s guild of Dublin Corporation, for repeal of the act of union.

King was popular in municipal circles for the lavishness of his public functions and for his personal defence of the right of Dublin Corporation to present petitions at the bar of the house of commons.

In 1829, his mode of conducting business as king’s stationer came under government scrutiny. It became clear that King was in the habit of offering money gifts in lieu of stationery to members of the vice-regal household.

He was forced to resign his patent in 1830, and refused compensation.

In Ireland, even his political opponents believed that he had been treated shabbily and there was much sympathy for him when he was declared a bankrupt in 1831.

Daniel O’Connell MP vigorously championed Sir Abraham's case in parliament, and in 1832 secured him a measure of compensation.

This was augmented, in 1836, by a life pension of £2,500 per annum, voted by parliament.

Sir Abraham was an active member of the Dublin Society during 1802-15, and in the latter year was paid £170 12s. 2d. by the Society for stationery supplies.

Between 1803-15, he proposed or seconded nine candidates for membership of the Society, including Captain John D’Esterre, killed in a duel with Daniel O’Connell in 1815.

King’s stationery business was conducted from offices at 36 Dame Street, and he was also a committee member of the Atlas Assurance Company.

His Dublin residence was Bloomsbury, and he had a country seat at Corrard, County Fermanagh.

Sir Abraham married, in 1793, Anne, daughter of Plato Oulton, and had issue,
JAMES WALKER, his successor;
Abraham;
Anne, Elizabeth; Mary; Jane; Sarah; Harriett.
His eldest son,

THE REV SIR JAMES WALKER KING, 2nd Baronet (1796-1874), Vicar of Rathmore and Kilteel, County Kildare, Chaplain to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (Lord Anglesey), wedded, in 1834, his first cousin, Anne Sophia Smyth, eldest daughter of Hulton Smyth King, formerly a commissioner of the customs.

His son and heir,

SIR CHARLES SIMEON KING, 3rd Baronet (1840-1921), lived at Corrard (below), Swerford Park, Oxfordshire, and The Highlands House, St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex.

The baronetcy expired on the death of Sir Charles in 1921, who edited "A great Archbishop of Dublin, William King, DD 1650-1729: His autobiography, family, and a selection from his correspondence." (1906, Longman Green).

Corrard

The King family were certainly in possession of Gola Abbey as far back as the late 17th century.

John King of Gola, took part in the defence of Enniskillen in 1689, and his name also appears in the list of signatories to the address to WILLIAM & MARY written in that town in 1690.

He died between 1720 and 1726 and his son James took possession of the estate.

James King was appointed Sheriff of Fermanagh in 1728 and presented the communion plate to Derryvullan Church.

He died in 1756 and Gola passed to his eldest son also called James, who married Elizabeth Coote of Limerick (a cousin of his) but died childless in London in 1823.

In 1815 Gola was purchased by Sir Abraham Bradley King Bt, another cousin.

It passed after his death to his son Sir Charles Simeon King Bt.

Although Sir Charles listed Gola as his address, he moved into the rebuilt house at Corrard nearby.

His new lands included a small island called Inishbeg.

During the 19th century Sir Charles sold Gola Abbey.

The evidence from the King family indicates that they lived in the priory as far back as 1689 and had remained in residence until Sir Charles moved to Corrard.

The Kings were resident in Gola Abbey at the time of the siege of Enniskillen and were still there in the time that Thomas Burke was writing in 1772; the restoration happened in 1660.

It is possible that the house was abandoned for some years, as the Kings had renovated Corrard as early as 1825.

Archdall’s account indicates that there were three friars living there in 1756 but the records indicate clearly that the Kings were firmly in possession of the old priory at that stage. 

First published in November, 2010.