Thursday, 17 October 2019

Castleboro House


The CAREWS are one of the few families now remaining who can trace their descent without intermission from the Anglo-Saxon period of English history.

For a long series of years, they maintained an elevated position among the landed proprietors of Devon.

A scion of the English stock settling in Ireland was ancestor of the CAREWS of that kingdom, of whom,

ROBERT CAREW, the immediate ancestor of the family before us, married, in 1710, Elizabeth, daughter and co-heir of John Shapland, a wealthy merchant of Wexford; and dying in 1721, had issue,
Robert, MP for Waterford, dsp;
Thomas, of Ballinamona;
The second son,

SHAPLAND CAREW (1716-80), of Castleboro, County Wexford, Barrister, MP for Waterford City, 1748-76, wedded Dorothy, daughter and co-heir of Isaac Dobson, and had issue,
Elizabeth; Eleanor; Dorothea; Mary; Dobson.
The son and heir,

ROBERT SHAPLAND CAREW (1752-1829), of Castleboro, MP for Waterford City, 1776-1800, espoused Anne, daughter and heir of the Rev Dr Richard Pigott, of Dysart, Queen's County, and had issue,
Dorothea; Elizabeth Anne; Ellen.
Mr Carew was succeeded by his son,

ROBERT SHAPLAND CAREW (1787-1856), of Castleboro, who married, in 1816, Jane Catherine, daughter of Major Anthony Cliffe, of Ross, by Frances his wife, eldest daughter of Colonel Deane, MP for County Dublin, and had issue,
Shapland Francis;
Anne Dorothea; Ellen Jane.
Mr Carew was elevated to the peerage, in 1838, in the dignity of BARON CAREW, of County Wexford.

His lordship was installed, in 1851, as a Knight of the Most Illustrious Order of St Patrick (KP).
The heir apparent is the present holder's son, the Hon William Patrick Conolly-Carew.

CASTLEBORO, near Enniscorthy, County Wexford, was a very large, imposing, Classical mansion of about 1840, built for the 1st Baron Carew.

The main block was of three storeys, the top storey used as an attic; a central, three-sided bow with Corinthian columns at the angles supporting the entablature; two bays on either side of the centre and a pair of Corinthian pilasters at each end.

The grand centre of the building presented the appearance of a Venetian palace, about ninety feet in length and, at the front, extended a façade of elegant and elaborate workmanship.

A projection of a semi-hexagon figure occupied about one third of the garden front (above), while the mansion extended a similar distance on each side.
A highly ornamental entablature ran along the entire building above the second story and was supported in the centre by four Corinthian columns with very rich capitals and by two pilasters of the same order on the right and left extremities.
A very rich and highly ornamental cut stone string course ran above the first storey with rosettes and scrolls.

The entrance front (below) displayed a lofty and magnificent portico supported by six columns of the Corinthian order.

The architect, Robertson, suffered from gout and, whilst the building was in progress, it was said he was pushed around sitting in a wheelbarrow with the plans in one hand and a bottle of fine wine in the other!

Castleboro was laid out with four stepped terraces, with a manicured grass bank on each side desending to an artificial lake.

In the centre of the third bank stood a magnificent fountain flanked by two smaller fountains with pools on the immediate upper terrace.

During the Irish Troubles of the 1920s, the Carews sold off the prize cattle herds and furniture and effects and lived full time in England.

The entrance front was of seven bays, with a deep, two-storey Corinthian portico.

The wings and pavilions, two-storey, were mainly neo-Classical; the garden front (below) being more plain.

A lengthy article in The People of 1923 entitled "Castleboro Burned: Lord Carew's Mansion In Flames: Now A Mass Of Debris" states:

'Castleboro, the ancestral home of the Right Hon. Lord Carew was burned to the ground on Monday night, and all that remains now of the palatial mansion are smoke begrimed roofless walls and a heap of debris.

The reason for the destruction of one of the finest residences in Leinster remains a mystery to all but those who were responsible for the destructive work which will only add more thousands to the bill that the Co Wexford will have to foot when the time of reckoning comes.

The work of destruction was perpetrated shortly after ten o'clock on Monday night. Between nine and ten the farm steward, Mr. Robert Richardson…was knocked up at his residence by armed men.

On answering the knock he was compelled to hand over the keys of a store in which some barrels of paraffin oil were stored.

These the armed men took possession of and rolled them from the farm yard to the main building and brought with them hay, which they also got in the farm yard.

Then it would appear that they soaked the hay in the paraffin and scattering it through the main building set it alight with the result that in a short time the whole place was ablaze…

Entrance to the house was gained through the French bay windows which would appear to have been broken by the butt end of rifles.

The noise of the breaking of the glass was plainly audible in the farm yard and tongues of flames leaping up to the sky after a short space of time conveyed the first intimation of what the advent of the armed men breaking in on their peaceable surroundings meant while they were left powerless to attempt to save their master's property…

It was impossible to do anything to extinguish the conflagration which had taken a complete hold of the building and which appeared to have been fired in several places. The fire raged furiously for some hours and completely destroyed the fine building'

'The building of the mansion cost, it is stated, £200,000 [£16 million in 2011], so that a claim which will undoubtedly be lodged is likely to run into a very big sum.

Castleboro was always famous for its gardens and through the liberality of the present Lord Carew visitors were allowed to stroll through the grounds, a privilege that was largely availed of in the summer months.

The scene of Monday night's fire was visited by large numbers of people on Tuesday and the terrible work was condemned on all sides.

The people of the district were always liberally treated by the Carew family and the wanton destruction of their beautiful home was learned with feelings of horror and dismay' (The People 10th February 1923).

Lord Carew did not live to see his claim for compensation satisfied and died on the 29th April 1923, less than three months following the destruction of his home.

Castleboro House survives as an impressive ruin in a somewhat bleak setting, the parkland to the north now used for grazing and the truncated terraces to the south – once second only to those at Powerscourt House, County Wicklow.

Other former seat ~ Woodstown, County Waterford;
Former town residence ~ 28 Belgrave Square, London.

Carew arms courtesy of European Heraldry.   First published in July, 2011. 


Kalanne O'Leary said...

My Grandfather, Patrick Leary, I understand worked for the Carew Estate at the time of the destruction. I am a little unclear as to his exact role but I believe his duties were on the farm with occasional duties driving the carriage when the family arrived from England at the station. I am enquiring as to whether any Estate employment records or rent books have survived and if so where are they located?
Any information would be appreciated. I have some small number of photographs taken of the dances held on the lawns which local people attended.

Kalanne O'Leary

Anonymous said...

Hi Kalanne what was your fathers name. My ancestor Patrick O Leary was from the Castleboro area and married Margaret Goodin. Ann

Unknown said...

Hi I am a Carew from Co. Limerick/Tipperary, I look forward to visiting this house soon and dearly wish i was in some way related!