Tuesday, 7 September 2021

Castle Dobbs


This family was established in Ulster by  

JOHN DOBBS, only son of Sir Richard Dobbs (a founder of Christ's Hospital and Lord Mayor of London, 1551), who accompanied Sir Henry Docwra to the Province in 1596, and was subsequently his deputy as treasurer for Ulster.

Richard Dobbs, Photo Credit: Christ's Hospital Foundation

Mr Dobbs married, in 1603, Margaret, only child of John Dalway, of Ballyhill, and had two sons, Foulk, who was lost at sea with his father in returning from England, 1622; and

HERCULES DOBBS (1613-34), who, succeeding to his father's property, wedded Magdalen West, of Ballydugan, County Down, and left an only son,

RICHARD DOBBS (1634-1701), of Castle Dobbs, High Sheriff of County Antrim, 1664, who espoused, in 1655, Dorothy, daughter and co-heir of Bryan Willans, of Clints Hall, Richmond, Yorkshire, and had issue (with three daughters), two sons.

Mr Dobbs left his estate to his younger son,

RICHARD DOBBS (1660-1711), of Castletown, who married firstly, Mary, daughter of Archibald Stewart, of Ballintoy, and had, with two daughters (Jane and Elizabeth), three sons,
ARTHUR, his heir;
Clareville Grove.
He married secondly, Margaret Clugston, of Belfast, and by her had three daughters.
This gentleman served in WILLIAM III's army in Ireland until the 2nd siege of Limerick and the Treaty of Surrender.He was Mayor of Carrickfergus. 
On the 14th June, 1690, he welcomed William of Orange on his landing in Ulster as Mayor of Carrickfergus; High Sheriff of County Antrim, 1694.
 His eldest son and heir,

ARTHUR DOBBS (1689-1765), of Castle Dobbs, High Sheriff of County Antrim, 1720, MP for Carrickfergus, 1727-60.

Arthur Dobbs, 6th Governor of North Carolina

Mr Dobbs, who was appointed Engineer and Surveyor-General of Ireland, by Sir Robert Walpole, was, 1753, sent out as Governor of North Carolina, where he acquired large possessions, including 400,000 acres in the colony.
It is, perhaps, a matter of some curiosity that Arthur Dobbs was not elevated to the peerage or, indeed, the baronetage, for his services.
He wedded Anne, daughter and heir of Captain Osborne, of Timahoe, County Kildare, and widow of Captain Norbury, and had issue.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

CONWAY RICHARD DOBBS (1727-1811), of Castle Dobbs, MP for Carrickfergus, 1768-90, who espoused firstly, Anne, daughter of Alexander Stewart, in 1749, and had issue,
RICHARD, his heir.
He married secondly, Charity, widow of Stephen Rice, of Mount Rice, County Kildare, and daughter of Robert Burrowes, of Kildare, by Mary, his wife, daughter of John O'Neill, of Shane's Castle, County Antrim, and had further issue,

Edward Brice, twice Mayor of Carrickfergus;
Robert Conway (Rev);
Mr Dobbs, High Sheriff of County Antrim, 1752, was succeeded by his son,

RICHARD DOBBS (1753-1840), of Castle Dobbs, who married, in 1792, Nichola, daughter of Michael Obins, of Portadown, by Nichola his wife, second daughter of Archibald, 1st Viscount Gosford, and had issue,
Archibald Edward, father of ARCHIBALD EDWARD DOBBS;
Nichola; Frances; Olivia.
Mr Dobbs was succeeded by his eldest son,

CONWAY RICHARD DOBBS JP DL (1796-1886), of Castle Dobbs, High Sheriff of County Antrim, 1841, MP for Carrickfergus, 1832, who wedded, in 1826, Charlotte Maria, daughter and co-heiress of Richard Sinclair, of Fort William, County Antrim, and had issue,
Richard Archibald Conway (1842-53);
MONTAGU WILLIAM EDWARD, of whom presently;
Olivia Nichola; Frances Millicent; Charlotte Louisa Mary; Alicia Hester Caroline;
Harriet Sydney; Nichola Susan; Millicent Georgina Montagu.
He married secondly, in 1875, Winifred Susannah, youngest daughter of Benjamin Morris, of Lewes, Sussex.

Mr Dobbs was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

MONTAGU WILLIAM EDWARD DOBBS JP DL (1844-1906), of Castle Dobbs, High Sheriff for County Kildare, 1871, County Antrim, 1888, a barrister, who was succeeded by his cousin,

ARCHIBALD EDWARD DOBBS JP (1838-1916), of Castle Dobbs, High Sheriff of County Antrim, 1909, a barrister, who wedded, in 1875, Edith Mary, second daughter of Sir James Timmins Chance Bt, and had issue,
Francis Wellesley;
Archibald Edward.
Mr Dobbs' eldest son,

ARTHUR FREDERICK DOBBS DL (1876-1955), of Castle Dobbs, High Sheriff of County Antrim, 1921, Member of the NI Senate, 1929-33 and 1937, married, in 1915, Hylda Louise, daughter of Captain Conway Richard Dobbs Higginson, and had issue,
Joan Kathleen, b 1917.
Major  Dobbs was succeeded by his only son,

SIR RICHARD ARTHUR FREDERICK DOBBS KCVO JP (1919-2004), Judge of the Circuit Court, 1951-55, Lord-Lieutenant of County Antrim, 1959-94, who married, in 1953, Carola Day, daughter of Christopher Clarkson, and had issue,
Richard Francis Andrew Dobbs, b 1955; m the Lady Jane Alexander, sister of 7th Earl of Caledon, 1990; div. 1999; has issue, three daughters;
Nigel Christopher Dobbs, b 1957, High Sheriff of Co Antrim, 2009;
Matthew Frederick Dobbs b 1959;
Sophia Carola Dobbs b 1965;
Nicholas Arthur Montagu Dobbs b 1973.

CASTLE DOBBS, near Carrickfergus, County Antrim, remains the seat of the Dobbs family and is one of the most significant houses of its kind in Northern Ireland.
An 18th century mansion in the manner of Sir Edward Lovett Pearce, Castle Dobbs was built in 1730 by Arthur Dobbs, 
Surveyor-General of Ireland; Governor of North Carolina; agriculturalist; and organizer of expeditions to discover the North-West Passage from Hudson's Bay to the Pacific. As Surveyor-General, Arthur Dobbs supervised  the construction of the Irish Parliament House in Dublin. While a member of the Irish Parliament (for Carrickfergus), Dobbs purchased 400,000 acres of North Carolina in 1745.
An authority on country houses, Professor Rowan, has said that,
"For its date, 1750-54, it is quite without an equal in Ulster; while its perfect Palladian plan with flanking wings ... is hard to match in a house of this scale anywhere in Ireland."
Castle Dobbs House consists of two storeys over a high basement with a seven-bay front with a three-bay pedimented break-front centre.

There is an entablature over the lower storey and a high solid parapet to the roof.

Later, there were single-storey wings added over the basement with bracket cornices, extending the front by three bays on either side.

The garden front can be seen above; while the entrance front is below.

The demesne was established in the 16th century. The house stands in a commanding position overlooking Belfast Lough and the County Down shore across the lough.

There is remaining evidence of the formal gardens for the 17th century house, now in ruins adjacent to the later house.

The present layout is in relation to the 18th century house and takes the form of a landscape park, with a lake, bridge and cascade.

The whole demesne contains fine mature trees in shelter belts, parkland, woodland and avenues.

There are informal glen-side walks, with recent planting by the lake and ornamental areas near the house.

One walled garden is no longer cultivated but another, to the west of the house, is fully maintained and the potting sheds are still in use.

A remaining glasshouse backs onto these.

The design of this garden was created to commemorate the tercentenary of Arthur Dobbs' birth in 1689.

Arthur Dobbs was a plantsman and noted for recognition of Dionaea muscipula (Venus fly-trap) whilst governor of North Carolina.

The site has been in the continuous ownership of the Dobbs family and there is good documentary evidence as to its development.

There have been successful adaptations through the years to suit the style of the times.

Two late 19th century gate lodges remain, but two from earlier in the century have gone.

First published in March, 2010.


Doug Dobbs said...

Thank you for this run down on the Dobbs Castle. My grandfather "found" our coat of arms through this place about a hundred years ago. I doubt we're descended through this line, but it's nice to see the place kept up so well. Cheerz from an American Cousin!

Douglas D. Dobbs
Greencastle, PA

Ann Caliri, North Carolina said...

To Anonymous, I have a Richard Dobbs that married Mary Elizabeth Speight who were from Antrim in my family tree. Are you open to contact? anncaliri@earthlink.net

Unknown said...

My great grandmother was a Dobbs, Im told were related to Lord Dobbs and some of the family have visited the castle in the past.

MJM6161 said...

My 4th great grandfather, James M. Sloan, mentions in his will land he received from Arthur and Justina Dobbs: 2 Mar 1764: Book 2, Pg. 405, Mecklenburg Co. NC. Grantee Index - James Sloan received 320 acres on Rocky River from Arthur & Justina Dobbs. I wonder if they must have been friends as my second great grandfather was named after Arthur's son..his name was Edward Brice Dobbs Sloan.

Michael Johnston Mayes

Natalee Dobbs said...

My husband is a direct descendant! Thanks for the history.

Unknown said...

I am also a Dobbs - Suzanne Elizabeth, born in Baltimore, MD in 1964. We have traced our history back and I believe that we are direct descendants also on my father's side - Harry Edward - his father Edward Clarence - his father Scott - we come out of the Dobbs Ferry area in NY state.

kilee w said...

Wow there are a lot of Dobbs in America. My family is descendants of Arthur Dobbs as well. We all live in Arkansas.

Anonymous said...

I come from the Dobbs of Pennsylvania and NW Ohio. I don't know if this is my guy yet, but I'm digging and happy to find this site. ;) (Thomas DOBBS and Margaret SHAVER)

~ Nomy (25nomad @ gmail.)

Charles E. Dobbs said...

My name is Charles Edwin Dobbs, I am a decentent of Captain William Henry Dobbs my 7th generation Grandfather, a prominent figure during the American Revolution and specifically the work he did for George Washington. His grandfather arrived in New York in 1640 his name is Walter Dobbs. I always heard from my family elders that we had family in both England and Ireland, and there was a Dobbs Castle, and there are two coat of arms one from England and one from Ireland! I would love to hear from you folks to see if there is a family connection. Thank you.
Charles Dobbs

Unknown said...

My grandma was Norma Dobbs...

Unknown said...

My mama's maiden name was Norma Dobbs, from West Virginia... Her parents were from Virginia, as were their's, and so on back to Royal North Carolina, and Arthur Dobbs himself.

Unknown said...

Charles E. Dobbs said...
My name is Charles Edwin Dobbs, I am a decentent of Captain William Henry Dobbs my 7th generation Grandfather, a prominent figure during the American Revolution and specifically the work he did for George Washington. His grandfather arrived in New York in 1640 his name is Walter Dobbs. I always heard from my family elders that we had family in both England and Ireland, and there was a Dobbs Castle, and there are two coat of arms one from England and one from Ireland! I would love to hear from you folks to see if there is a family connection. Thank you.
Charles Dobbs

Unknown said...

I have written before to see if someone knew what the connection is between the NY Dobbs and the Castle Dobbs. Hope you get back to me. Thanks!

Unknown said...

my mother is mattie dobbs her great grand father is burrell dobbs born in s,c died in ga,with the help of ancestry .com ive traced our family back yo richard and john dobbs in priud to learn i have such a great heritage ty

Anonymous said...

My 4x great grandmother was Mary Dobbs. I have no idea the maiden name. She came over to Canada with a Joseph Dobbs and Ann Blackwell Dobbs as well as a William Dobbs. Please do get a hold of me. My name is Bryan. My email is big_b_525@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

My 6x great grandfather was Arthur Dobbs - cool to see so many Dobbs'

Anonymous said...

Arthur Dobbs had no children in America. he came here at 73 had a 14 year old wife. no children. his nephews had children.finias&fortunis. just to clear that up.

Anonymous said...

Our family has an extensive family history that details the information found here as well as to the generation before last which we have brought up to date within our own Dobbs family branch. Yes...according to my history the Pennsylvania and Ohio Dobbs' are related to my family. A move or migration into Missouri and Arkansas occurred about four to five generations ago, so we share a great-great-great-great-great ancestor. My family traces their lineage not to Arthur but to a Chesley and Hannah Dobbs in North Carolina as my first neo-American Dobbs ancestors. Also, all coat of arms are British Royal Coat of Arms, only, not Irish at all. There is also a Dobbs genealogy project that you (males only) may submit DNA samples for analysis and comparison in their study.

Unknown said...

Awesome to learn about my family history! I have a book that was handed down to me by my Mother Sara Dobbs it's called gone to Alabama and it doesn't give much information before the Dobbs came to the America's

Unknown said...

Are the African American Dobbs ancestors of the Dobbs of Ireland?

Vickie Dobbs-Rocco said...

my side of the family ended up in Virginia (later W. Virginia)

Unknown said...

My grandfather was Walter Dobbs as well as my father William W. Dobbs, my understanding as well, is that we all came into America from the port that there were several brother's that spread out one to New York, one to Mississippi and another I can't recall his destination. Brenda Dobbs coalston bdcoalston@gmail.com

Unknown said...

My family is from Mississippi and Texas. Brenda Dobbs coalston

Leslie Porter said...

I was raised in an ex- serviceman's house which was built in 1921 on land given to a military trust by Major Arthur Dobbs for 1st. World War veterans, my father serve in this war aged 15 years he later served in the 2nd.World War. I can recall as a child Major Dobbs at Christmas time inviting my father and other ex-military personnel to Castle Dobbs for seasonal festivities and recalling their military days of yesteryear.
I knew Major Dobbs and his wife also his son Sir. Richard Dobbs he had a sister Joan who was an excellent horsewoman and can recall her
riding horses at breakneck speed, she became quite a celebrity in the late 1960's and 1970's having taken-up racing Jaguar cars in England and Northern Ireland and was very successful in doing so. The two sons of Sir.Richard, Francis and Keith were very young when I last seen them but can recall they were in back seat of a 1953 Ford Popular driven by their father.The last time I spoke to Sir.Richard was in the autumn of 1973 at his home Castle Dobbs.

Anonymous said...

I have a question I am hoping someone can answer. My family tree shows a Chesley Dobbs, born to Governor Arthur Dobbs and Anne Osborne. It shows his brothers as Edward and Richard Conway Dobbs. Is this correct information? I hope to hear back from you. My email is kuiperssm@hotmail.com. Thank you kindly

Trevor Dobbs said...

My family is traced to the twin brothers Fortunatus and Forlin who immigrated to North Carolina in 1750, serving on the estate of Aurthur Dobbs.
My own twin boys are graduating from University this May and we are traveling to Ireland and will be in Belfast on Monday May 15th, and would like to visit Dobbs Castle in Carrickfergus at that time.
Does anyone know how to contact the family at the castle to be able to visit it?
Trevor Dobbs, Pasadena, California

Tim Scott said...

Hi Tim

Archibald was, 1st Viscount Gosford, not Richard.

Michael Stewart Dobbs-Higginson said...

In case any of the widely dispersed Dobbs clan is interested, I have just published my Memoirs: "A Raindrop in the Ocean" in hardback and Kindle, available on Amazon. It has various references to various Dobbs members.
My maternal Grandparents were Francis Stewart Dobbs and Charlotte Litton of Greystones, Co. Wicklow and my mother was Harriet Elizabeth Maude Dobbs.
I was born in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), in 1941 - now reside in Singapore, London and Provence, France.
Michael Stewart Dobbs-Higginson

Anonymous said...

To those of the Dobbs diaspora who may be interested, I have just had published my Memoirs entitled:
"A Raindrop in the Ocean" by Eye-Books, UK
It has several references to past Dobbs members of the diaspora.
My maternal grandparents were: Francis Stewart Dobbs and Charlotte Litton of Greystones, Co Wicklow, Eire. I was born in Rhodesia (now the wretched Zimbabwe) and currently reside in London, UK, Singapore and Provence, France.
My email address is: msdhm@yahoo.com.
Michael Dobbs-Higginson

Unknown said...

I am Simon Dobbs.I am English, although I have Irish ancestors (peasants living in county Mayo in the South, came to england in the potato famine) but I am pretty sure that I have no link to this aristocratic line. However, I feel linked to the coat of arms and have produced my own design of it. See


Anonymous said...

We are a branch from the Castle Dobbs in Canada. The direct father-to-son list being the following...

John Dobbs, 1575-1622
Hercules Dobbs, 1613-1634
Richard Arthur Dobbs, 1634-1701
Richard Dobbs, 1660-1711
Richard Dobbs, 1695-1775 (Arthur was the eldest brother, inherited castle, 1689-1765)

Richard Dobbs, 1740-?
Conway E. Dobbs, 1774-1870 (born at Castle Dobbs Ireland)
Rev. Francis William Dobbs, 1815-1901 (started St Johns Anglican in Kingston, Ontario in 1856)
Rev. Conway E. Dobbs, 1846-1928 (started some Anglican churches western Canada)
Conway E. Dobbs, 1895-1945 (Served WW1 and 2, died in Parry Sound, Ontario, 1945)
Graham Conway Dobbs, 1926 - present
ME! :-)

Lorna Cascio said...

Hello. My 7th great grandfather n grandmother were Chelsey Scot Dobbs and Melanie ( Mary Elizabeth) Skidmore. They is a biography on their life n family. In it a book is mentioned but is missing, when it was handed down from 1 cousin to the next.
You might want to look up the biography.

I would love to talk to you as Chelsey Dobbs had 8 girls, 3 boys. One was named Sara...

Emily Dobbs said...

My name is Emily Dobbs, and I am a direct descendant of Arthur's son Chesley and wife Hanna.
Chesley begat John, who begat Hiram, then William, then Francis, then George L., then Orval, and then Orval Jr., and then Steven, who was my father and resided in northern Illinois. I am visiting northern Ireland in November 2019 and purposely staying close to Carrickfergus in hopes of visiting my family's ancestral land and home. Has anyone had success in contacting the owners for a visit? Is it at all open to the public? If anyone has further information or would like to connect, my email is ekeilback@gmail.com. Thank you!

Unknown said...

My name is Gynna Lea Dobbs and I had been working on the family tree and made it all the way to here! Thank you for the photos and information. It's wonderful to trace yourself back and to find you are apart of something land someone's so important in history. I hope to visit someday!

Anonymous said...

On Nov 11th 2018 I posted the father to son list, noting my father Conway Graham Dobbs. Sadly, he passed away on Father's Day last weekend, Sunday June 16th, at the age of 92.
He had 5 sons - David, Glenn, Danny (2007), Robert, Paul

Jon said...

You would need to contact Richard Dobbs c/o Castle Dobbs

Lorna Cascio said...

My sincerest condolences.
I would love to make a DNA connection between Chelsey Dobbs n Arthur Dobbs in No Carolina. ...Chelsey n Melanie Skidmore were one of the 1st frontiers in Oklahoma and then granted 1600 acres in Palo Texas. Their hertiage lives on to today.

Nigel Henderson said...

Major Arthur Frederick Dobbs sold an half acre parcel of land so that a cottage could be built for an ex-serviceman under the Irish (Porovision for Sailors and Soldiers) Land Act of 1919.

SWELLS said...

Hi Ann! I am a descendant of Rev. Richard Dobbs and Mary Speight. My 2nd Great Grandmother was Mary Estelle Dobbs.

Trish Harvey said...

I am so glad to have found this. Ancestry is always off on the dates. Drives me nuts. My Great Gradmother was a Dobbs and I can trace it back to this family. It’s really neat to see the history. ��

Tales From The Treestump said...

The Dobbs family is very prominent here in America...I am a distant relative myself and researched numerous historical records and the name occurs in the very early history of our country!Good day to you-

Terra Jones said...

sir richards dobbs is my 12th great grandfather!!! thank you so much for this!!!