Saturday, 2 May 2015

The Hermitage

THE BARONS MASSY WERE THE GREATEST LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY LEITRIM, WITH 24,571 ACRES

The first of this noble family that settled in Ireland was

GENERAL HUGH MASSY, who had a military command to repress the rebellion of 1641.
General Massy was descended from Hamon de Massey, one of the companions in arms of WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR, who obtained large grants in the counties of Durham and Cheshire, and was created Baron of Dunham Massy.
The General wedded Margaret Percy, and had a son,

HUGH MASSY, of Duntrileague, who espoused Amy, daughter of John Benson, and had issue,
HUGH, his heir;
John, of Knockaneevan, County Limerick;
William, of Stoneville, County Limerick;
CHARLES (Very Rev), Dean of Limerick, ancestor of the Massy Baronets;
Margaret, wedded to William Baker.
The eldest son,

COLONEL HUGH MASSY, of Duntrileague, born in 1685, married Elizabeth, daughter of the Rt Hon George Evans, and had issue,
HUGH, his successor;
George (Ven), Archdeacon of Ardfert;
John, killed in a duel;
Godfrey, in holy orders;
William; 
EYRE, 1st LORD CLARINA;
Charles;
Amy;  Elizabeth; Catharine.
The eldest son,

HUGH MASSY (1700-88), of Duntrileague, having represented County Limerick in several parliaments, was raised to the peerage, in 1776, as BARON MASSY.

His lordship espoused firstly, Mary, daughter and heir of James Dawson, of Ballinacourty, County Tipperary, and had issue,
HUGH, his successor;
James;
John;
Elizabeth.
Lord Massy married secondly, Rebecca, daughter of Francis Dunlap, of Antigua, and by that lady had three sons and four other daughters, viz.
Francis Hugh;
Eyre;
George;
Margaret; Rebecca Frances; Caroline; Amy.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

HUGH, 2nd Baron (1733-90), who wedded, in 1760, Catherine, eldest daughter and co-heir (with her sister Sarah, Countess of Carrick) of Edward Taylor, of Ballymore, County Limerick, ans had issue,
HUGH, his successor;
Edward;
George Eyre;
John;
Catherine; Mary Anne; Jane; Sarah.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

HUGH, 3rd Baron (1761-1812), who married, in 1792, Margaret, youngest daughter of William Barton, of Grove, County Tipperary, and had issue,
HUGH HAMON, his successor;
George William;
John;
Dawson, in holy orders;
Grace Elizabeth; Catherine; Susan Maria; Margaret Everina; Elizabeth Jane Sarah Anne.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

HUGH HAMON, 4th Baron (1793-1836), who wedded, in 1826, Matilda, daughter of LUKE WHITE, of Luttrellstown Castle, County Dublin, and had issue,
HUGH HAMON INGOLDSBY, his successor;
John George Hugh.
The 5th Baron died young; and the 6th Baron, a young man of 19, inherited up to 38,000 acres.

He was very fond of the affluent life with little regard for money matters.

Huge parties took place at Killakee and numerous hunting expeditions both there and in Limerick. 

His great-grandson, the 6th Baron, sat in the House of Lords from 1876 to 1915.

As of 2010, the title is held by the latter's great-great-grandson, the 10th Baron, who succeeded his father in 1995.
 

THE HERMITAGE, Castleconnell, County Limerick, was an imposing Georgian house built about 1800 for George Evans Bruce, a disgraced banker.

It was situated in a spectacular location overlooking the Falls of Doonass on the River Shannon.

The Hermitage had a five bay entrance front with a pediment supported by paired huge Corinthian pilasters which framed the centre bay.

There was a balustraded roof parapet.

The garden front consisted of five bays, the end bays having quoins. 

There was a modest, though richly decorated hall with statue niches.

The Hermitage is now demolished.

Seemingly only the foundations now remain of the once beautiful house; broken steps, old kitchen garden walls and the dilapidated fountain all indicating that this was once a very wealthy estate.

During the 18th century, Duntrileague was the seat of the Massys, but in the 19th century their main residence was The Hermitage, close to Limerick city.
In the 1870s Lord Massy owned 8,568 acres in County Limerick and 1,120 acres in County Tipperary; however, his largest estate was in County Leitrim, amounting to over 24,000 acres in 1878.
The Massy family had property in north County Leitrim following the bequest of the White estate at Lareen to John, 6th Lord Massy.

In the 1830s, the Massy estate also comprised property in the parish of Killora, County Galway, where the agent was George Falkner.

This property seems to have been leased by Richard Rathbourne, of Ballymore.

It was offered for sale in the Encumbered Estates court in 1852.

Most of the Massy lands were sold in the last two decades of the 19th century; followed by the family residences in the early years of the 20th century.

There is a good article about the Massy family here.

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

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