Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Gowran Castle

THE VISCOUNTS CLIFDEN WERE THE GREATEST LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY KILKENNY, WITH 35,288 ACRES

CHARLES AGAR, of Yorkshire, married Ellis, daughter of Peter Blancheville, of County Kilkenny, and settling at Gowran, in that county, died there in 1696, and was succeeded by his son,

JAMES AGAR, of Gowran Castle, who wedded firstly, in 1692, Susannah, daughter of John Alexander, but by that lady had no issue to survive youth.

He espoused secondly, Mary, eldest daughter of Sir Henry Wemyss, of Danesfort, County Kilkenny, and had by her,
HENRY, his heir;
James;
ELLIS, cr COUNTESS OF BRANDON;
Mary.
The elder son, 

HENRY AGAR, sat in the parliament which assembled at the accession of GEORGE II, in 1727, for the borough of Gowran.

He married, in 1733, Anne, only daughter of the Rt Rev Welbore Ellis, Lord Bishop of Meath, and sister of Welbore Ellis, 1st Lord Mendip, and had issue,
JAMES, his successor;
Welbore Ellis;
CHARLES, Lord Archbishop of Dublin; cr Earl of Normanton;
Henry, in holy orders;
Diana.
Mr Agar died in 1746, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

THE RT HON JAMES AGAR MP (1734-89), of Gowran Castle, who having many years represented County Kilkenny in parliament, and filled some high official situations in Ireland, was created Baron Clifden, in 1776.

He was advanced to the dignity of a viscountcy, as VISCOUNT CLIFDEN, in 1781.

His lordship wedded Lucia, eldest daughter of John Martin, and widow of the Hon Henry Boyle Walsingham, 2nd son of Henry, Earl of Shannon, and had issue,
HENRY WELBORE, his successor;
John Ellis, in holy orders;
Charles Bagenal;
His lordship died in 1789, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

HENRY WELBORE, 2nd Viscount, who inherited, in 1802, the Barony of Mendip, upon the demise of his great-uncle, Welbore, Lord Mendip, and assumed the additional name of ELLIS.

His lordship married, in 1792, Lady Caroline Spencer, eldest daughter of George, 3rd Duke of Marlborough KG, and had by her ladyship an only son,

GEORGE JAMES WELBORE (1797-1833), created BARON DOVER in 1831.

HENRY,  3rd Viscount Clifden and 3rd Baron Mendip.



GOWRAN CASTLE, County Kilkenny, is an elegantly-appointed, substantial house built for Henry, 2nd Viscount Clifden, to designs attributable to William Robertson (1770-1850), forming an attractive landmark in the centre of Gowran.

Probably incorporating the fabric of an early 18th century house built by James Agar (d 1789), the present edifice represents the continuation of a long-standing presence on site having origins dating back to at least the late 14th century.

Attributes identifying the architectural design significance of the composition include the balanced configuration of pleasantly-proportioned openings centred on each front on a Classical frontispiece exhibiting expert masonry in locally-sourced Kilkenny limestone.

Although a later range has been lost the essential attributes of the original portion prevail, together with substantial quantities of the historic fabric both to the exterior and to the interior.

Forming a prominent focal point enhancing the townscape of Gowran, the house remains of additional importance in the locality for the connections with the Agar-Ellis and the Moran families.

It was inherited by the daughter of the 3rd Viscount, who married the 3rd Baron Annaly.

Gowran was sold by the 4th Lord Annaly ca 1955.

First published in May, 2011.  Clifden arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

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