Monday, 22 June 2015

Ballyfin House

THE COOTE BARONETS WERE THE GREATEST LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY LAOIS, WITH 47,451 ACRES

This is the parent stock whence the noble houses of COOTEEarls of Mountrath, and COOTE, Lords Castlecoote, both now extinct, emanated. 

This noble family derives its origin from

SIR JOHN COOTE, a native of France, who married Isabella, the daughter and heir of the Seigneur Du Bois, of that kingdom, and had issue,

SIR JOHN COOTE, Knight, who coming into England, settled in Devon, and married a daughter of Sir John Fortescue, of that county.

His lineal descendant,

JOHN COOTE, heir to his uncle, 28th Abbot of Bury St Edmund's, wedded Margaret, daughter of Mr Drury, by whom he had four sons,
Richard;
FRANCIS, of whom we treat;
Christopher;
Nicholas.
Mr Coote's second son,

FRANCIS COOTE, of Eaton, in Norfolk, served ELIZABETH I; and by Anne, his wife, had issue,

SIR NICHOLAS COOTE, living in 1636, who had two sons,
CHARLES, his heir;
William (Very Rev), Dean of Down, 1635.
Sir Nicholas's elder son,

SIR CHARLES COOTE (1581-1642), Knight, of Castle Cuffe, in the Queen's County,
Who served in the wars against O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone, at the head, as captain of the 100th Foot Regiment, with which corps he was at the siege of Kinsale, and was appointed, by JAMES I (in consequence of the good and faithful services he had rendered to ELIZABETH I), provost-marshal of the province of Connaught for life. 
In 1620, he was constituted vice-president of the same province; and created, in 1621, a baronet. Sir Charles distinguished himself, subsequently, by many gallant exploits; but the most celebrated was the relief of Birr, in 1642. 
Being dispatched, with Sir Thomas Lucas and six troops of horse, to relieve that garrison, and some other fortresses, it was necessary, in order to effect the objective, to pass the causeway broken by the rebels, who had thrown up a ditch at the end of it. 
Sir Charles, leading thirty dismounted dragoons, beat the enemy, with the loss of their captain and twenty men; relieved the castles of Birr, Borris, and Knocknamase; and having continued almost forty hours on horseback, returned to the camp with the loss of only one man. 
This is the surprising passage through Mountrath woods which justly caused the title of MOUNTRATH to be entailed upon his son.
Sir Charles married Dorothea, youngest daughter and co-heir of Hugh Cuffe, of Cuffe's Wood, County Cork, and had issue,
CHARLES, his heir;
Chidley, of Killester, Co Dublin;
Richard, ancestor of the EARL OF BELLAMONT;
Thomas, of Coote Hill;
Letitia.
Sir Charles being slain in a sally to protect the town of Trim, in 1642, was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR CHARLES COOTE (c1610-61), 2nd Baronet, who was elevated to the peerage, in 1661, as Baron Coote, Viscount Coote, and EARL OF MOUNTRATH; and the baronetcy merged in the superior dignity, until the demise of

CHARLES HENRY (1725-1802), 7th Earl, without male issue, when the earldom expired.

A new barony, that of Castle Coote, which his lordship obtained, passed accordingly and ceased likewise, in 1827; while the ancient baronetcy reverted to 

SIR CHARLES HENRY COOTE, 9th Baronet (1792-1864), of Ballyfin, great-grandson of the Rev Chidley Coote DD, lineal descendant of Chidley Coote, by his second wife, Eliza Anne.


*****

Sir Algernon Charles Plumptre Coote, 12th Baronet (1847–1920), was Lord-Lieutenant of Queen's County, 1900-20.

Sir Ralph Algernon Coote (1874-1941), 13th Baronet, was the last representative of his line to occupy Ballyfin House.

Thereafter the estate was purchased by the Irish Land Commission, while the noble mansion and portion of the demesne were acquired in 1930 by the Patrician Order, a distinguished Irish teaching brotherhood long associated with successful educational work in the district.

The 14th Baronet, Rear-Admiral Sir John, CB CBE DSC, was Director of Naval Ordnance, 1955-58. 

Sir Christopher John Coote, 15th Baronet (b 1928) is married and lives in Wiltshire.



BALLYFIN HOUSE, situated at the foot of the Slieve Bloom mountains near Mountrath in County Laois, is stated to be "the grandest and most lavishly appointed early 19th century Classical house in Ireland", according to Mark Bence-Jones. 

The mansion was built between 1821-26 for Sir Charles Coote, 9th Baronet, replacing a house of 1778 which belonged to William Wellesley-Pole, 3rd Earl of Mornington and brother of the 1st Duke of Wellington.



Sir Charles purchased the estate from Wellesley-Pole about 1812 and apparently employed an architect called Madden to design the initial phase of Ballyfin; then switched to the Morrisons.

Ballyfin is a two-storey maansion house with a long library running at one side from front to back, extending into a curved bow in the centre of the side elevation, containing a top-lit rotunda.

The library wing is of one bay on either side of the central curved bow, fronted by a colonnade of large Ionic columns. 

The side elevation is prolonged by an elegantly-curving glass and iron conservatory of about 1850.




The principal front consists of thirteen bays with a massive Ionic, pedimented portico; the two end bays on either side being stepped back.

The interior is quite magnificent and exquisitely furnished, with a riot of notable effects and a wealth of heavy, opulent plasterwork; Scagliola columns in Siena, porphyry, green and black; inlaid parquetry floors.




The saloon is flanked by the rotunda (above), which is surrounded by Ionic columns and has a coffered dome.

The entrance hall is said to be more constrained, with a coffered ceiling and a mosaic Roman floor. 

This leads into the splendid top-lit saloon in the centre of the mansion, which boasts a coved ceiling adorned with superlative plasterwork and a screen of Corinthian columns at either end.

The drawing-room has a typical Morrison ceiling and gilded Louis Quinze on the walls of ca 1840s.

Today the demesne comprises 600 acres of parkland, a lake and ancient woods, delightful garden buildings, follies and grottoes.

The landscape, laid out in the 18th century, is among the finest examples in Ireland of the natural style of gardening inspired by ‘Capability’ Brown.

Ballyfin House was formerly the Patrician College. Patrician College Ballyfin operated from 1930 to 2009.

Sir Ralph Algernon Coote (1874-1941), 13th Baronet, was the last representative of his line to occupy Ballyfin House.

Thereafter the estate was purchased by the Irish Land Commission, while the noble mansion and portion of the demesne were acquired in 1930 by the Patrician Order, a distinguished Irish teaching brotherhood long associated with successful educational work in the district. 

Its architectural beauty has, however, been carefully preserved, and nothing has been lost in the change of ownership to deteriorate from the graceful lines of the building that Sir Charles Coote, 9th Baronet, expended a fortune in perfecting.

The Patrician Order sold the estate in 2009.

Among other features are a medieval-style tower, built as a folly in the 1860s and said to command a view of seven counties; and walled gardens.

First published in May, 2011. Images of Ballyfin House courtesy of Ballyfin Demesne.

4 comments :

Wee Gee said...

Ballyfin has been refurbished and is now luxury accomodation . . . haven't stayed there!


http://www.ballyfin.com/Home.aspx

Ian Nally said...

Lutyens in the mid 18th century?! - I don't think so!

Timothy Belmont said...

As Captain Mainwaring would say, I was waiting for somebody to point that out (!).

Thanks & I've edited it.

Tim.

Bruce Atchkinson said...

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