Monday, 22 November 2010

The Stewart Acres

Nick Stewart has sent me an interesting account of the fate which befell the vast acreage of the Stewart Baronets, of Athenree, in County Tyrone. The Stewarts were, at one time, the fourth largest landowners in the county, with 28,000 acres.

I mentioned that I was unsure as to what became of the vast acreage that the Stewarts once had. Well I have found the answer, but have to admit to feeling somewhat uneducated in matters so close to home, as it were! I resolve to study Irish history now.

I came across the answer by chance. Back in 1988 a relative died (a cousin of my Father's). Charles Cosmo Stewart was also my Godfather and he left me a box of bits and pieces and a few books which I never really spent much time looking at.

Recently I resolved to have a look in more detail and found amongst other things, a barely legible handwritten journal. I made a start at trying to decipher it and soon realised it was a bit of a gem. It turned out to be the personal reminiscences of Sir John Stewart, Third Bt ( 1830 - 1903 ). It is fascinating and his language is priceless. This little extract however, gave me the answer to the land question:-

" In this year 1856, I married. I met my dear wife first at Tynan Abbey, Co.Armagh, the residence of Sir James Matthew Stronge Bt. She was the daughter of George Powell Houghton Esq D.L. of Kilmanock, Co.Wexford. We were married on 1st December 1856 in St.Stephen's Church, Dublin Bay by Rev. Richard Brooke of the Mariners Church, Kingstown ( now reverted to Dun Laoghaire ). During a long married life, I have never had cause to regret our marriage, she has been a good wife to me, and we have had as fairly happy a life as most people, although we have suffered severely in worldly circumstances, owing principally to the wretched confiscatory Land Acts inaugurated by Mr.Gladstone when Prime Minister. "

A jolly good reason to have had Gladstone's likeness staring from the bottom of a chamberpot!


Nick Stewart said...

As they say Tim,"The Lord giveth and The Lord taketh away"!

Anonymous said...

Tim - could you do an article with the Osborne baronets, of Ballentaylor? It surprises me that the media hasn't picked up on our Chancellor being the potential beneficiary of an Irish baronetcy! I

Timothy Belmont said...

I'll certainly look into that.

Timothy Belmont said...

Indeed, the Osborne Baronetcy seems interesting, given that George Osborne is Heir Apparent!

It is a very old baronetcy, so it shall be awhile before I reach it.