JAMES NAPER (fourth son of Sir Samuel Naper MP, of Moor Crichel, Dorset, and grandson of Sir Robert Napier, Chief Baron of the Irish Exchequer, 1593), High Sheriff of County Meath in 1671, married Dorothy, daughter of Sir Anthony Petty, of Romsey, Hampshire, and sister of the celebrated Sir William Petty, ancestor of the Marquess of Lansdowne.
By this lady he left at his decease, in 1676, three sons and two daughters,
William, of Loughcrew, died unmarried;The second son,
JAMES, succeeded his brother;
JAMES NAPER (-1718), of Loughcrew, High Sheriff of County Meath, 1702, married firstly, in 1684, Elizabeth, daughter of James Tandy, of Drewstown, County Meath, and by her had two daughters,
Dorothy;He wedded secondly, in 1695, Elizabeth Barry; and thirdly, Anne, daughter of Sir Ralph Dutton Bt, of Sherborne, Gloucestershire, and had by her two sons and a daughter,
JAMES LENOX, his heir;The elder son,
JAMES LENOX NAPER (1712-66), of Loughcrew, High Sheriff of County Meath, 1740, assumed the surname and arms of DUTTON.
He espoused firstly, in 1734, Catherine, daughter of Henry Ingoldsby, by whom he had an only child,
John, who died unmarried in 1771.He married secondly, Jane, daughter of Christopher Bond, of Newland, Gloucestershire, by whom he had issue,
JAMES, created 1st BARON SHERBORNE;Mr Dutton was succeeded in his Irish estates by his second son, William, who resuming the name and arms of NAPER, became
WILLIAM, who inherited the Naper estates;
Anne; Mary; Frances; Jane.
WILLIAM NAPER (1749-91) of Loughcrew; who married, in 1787, Jane, daughter of the Rev Ferdinando Tracy Travell, of Gloucestershire, and left one daughter, Jane, and one son,
JAMES LENOX WILLIAM NAPER JP DL (1791-1868), of Loughcrew, High Sheriff in 1822, who wedded, in 1824, Selina, second daughter of Sir Grey Skipworth Bt, of Newbold Hall, Warwickshire, and by her had issue,
JAMES LENOX, his heir;Mr Naper's elder son,
Lelia Jane; Anna Selina.
JAMES LENOX NAPER JP DL (1825-1901), of Loughcrew, High Sheriff, 1853, espoused, in 1877, the Hon Catherine Frances Rowley, only daughter of Clotworthy, 3rd Baron Langford, by whom he had issue, a son,
WILLIAM LENOX NAPER MC JP DL (1879-1942), of Loughcrew, who wedded, in 1902, Adela Mary Charlotte, eldest daughter of Colonel the Hon W R Trefusis CB, Scots Guards, and Lady Mary Trefusis.
THE NAPER ESTATES eventually grew to 180,000 acres in counties Meath, Westmeath and Cavan, helped by the Colonel`s marriage to the sister of Sir William Petty, a senior Dublin Castle official.
James Lennox William Naper (1791-1868) commissioned the building of Loughcrew House in 1823, a year after he was appointed High Sheriff of Meath.
A busy landlord and writer, he served as chairman of the Poor Law Guardians during the Famine years and subsidised the emigration of tenants to Canada in the 1830s.
His son, William Lenox Naper, was awarded the Military Cross for services in the Royal Horse Guard during World War One but he died without issue and his widow Adela married the colourful adventurer, Rodney Matthews in 1946. His spending seriously impacted on the estate before he disappeared in his plane in the Irish Sea in 1953.A cousin of William Lenox, Merrick Naper, died in Africa that same year before he could inherit and Merrick`s brother, Nigel, inherited the 1,500-acre estate before suffering two major fires in the house in 1959 and 1964.
Emily and Charles Naper have converted the old conservatory, pavilions, servant quarters and stables into the current living area, school of gilding and studio area.
Emily Jane Dashwood was born in 1958, eldest child of Sir Francis John Vernon Hereward Dashwood Bt (Premier Baronet of Great Britain). She married Charles William Lennox Naper in 1981.They have revived the 17th century gardens and established Loughcrew Garden Opera.
Weddings, exhibitions and craft workshops have also been held in the large rooms within the courtyard buildings.
Remaining within the Naper family from the 17th Century to the present day, Loughcrew has had a turbulent and fascinating history.
Originally the seat of the Plunkett family, its most famous member being St Oliver Plunkett, whose church still remains today on the estate, the first Loughcrew House was built in the 1600s by the Naper family, where the current formal gardens exist, amidst an awesome 180,000 acre estate.
Subsequently destroyed by fire, the next Loughcrew House was designed by Charles Cockerel in 1821 for the Naper family.
Mark Bence Jones, in his guide to Irish Country Houses, describes the vast stones and fallen capitals of the 1820's neo-classical house, designed by Cockerell, once strewn about the ground like the remains of some lost city of antiquity.
The current house grew out of The Garden House, a large and interesting stone building attached to the original courtyards, unusual in its design, and which used to house an array of flora and exotic plant-life.
It currently comprises two principal reception rooms, including a particularly fine drawing-room, two sun-rooms, kitchen, five bedrooms, a basement, and a guest wing with three further bedrooms.
The result is a stunning combination of vistas, with water and archaeological features and many unusual trees, shrubs and flowers.
The surviving 17th century features include a magnificent yew walk, foundations of a longhouse and a walled garden from which a canal and a parterre have been relocated in replica.
A large, log-cabin-style visitor centre with car park is located at the entrance to the gardens.
This contains a spacious coffee shop on the ground floor with small kitchen and lavatories.
First published in June, 2011.