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 Dockwra to that province in 1596, and was subsequently his deputy as treasurer for Ulster.
This John Dobbs married, in 1603, Margaret, only child of John Dalway, of Ballyhill, and by her had two sons, Foulk, who was lost at sea, with his father, in returning from England in 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 by her (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;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, and for many years MP for Carrickfergus.
|Arthur Dobbs, 6th Governor of North Carolina|
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, by whom he had issue.
He was succeeded by his eldest son,
CONWAY RICHARD DOBBS (1727-1811), of Castle Dobbs, who espoused firstly, Anne, daughter of Alexander Stewart, in 1749, and by her 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 by her had issue,
Edward Brice, twice Mayor of Carrickfergus;Mr Dobbs, MP for Carrickfergus and High Sheriff of County Antrim, 1752, was succeeded by his son,
Robert Conway (Rev);
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 Richard, 1st Viscount Gosford, and by her had issue,
CONWAY RICHARD, his heir;Mr Dobbs was succeeded by his eldest son,
Archibald Edward, father of ARCHIBALD EDWARD DOBBS;
Nichola; Frances; Olivia.
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);He married secondly, in 1875, Winifred Susannah, youngest daughter of Benjamin Morris, of Lewes, Sussex.
MONTAGU WILLIAM EDWARD, of whom presently;
Olivia Nichola; Frances Millicent; Charlotte Louisa Mary;
Alicia Hester Caroline; Harriet Sydney; Nichola Susan;
Millicent Georgina Montagu.
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, and for County Antrim, 1888, a barrister, who was succeeded by his cousin,
ARCHIBALD EDWARD DOBBS JP (1838-), of Castle Dobbs, High Sheriff of County Antrim, 1909; barrister, who wedded, in 1875, Edith Mary, second daughter of Sir James Timmins Chance Bt, and had issue,
ARTHUR FREDERICK, his heir;Mr Dobbs' eldest son,
ARTHUR FREDERICK DOBBS DL (1876-), of Castle Dobbs, lieutenant, Harwich Division, Royal Engineers Militia; captain, Antrim Royal Garrison Artillery; major, Howitzer Battery.
He fought in the 1st World War, where he was mentioned in despatches. High Sheriff of County Antrim, 1921; Member of the NI Senate, 1929-33 and 1937.
Mr Dobbs was succeeded by his only son,
SIR RICHARD ARTHUR FREDERICK DOBBS KCVO JP,
Educated at Eton; fought in the 2nd World War; temporary captain, the Irish Guards (Supp Reserve); was admitted to Lincoln's Inn in 1947 entitled to practice as a barrister; judge of the Circuit Court, 1951-55, Midland Circuit; Lord-Lieutenant of County Antrim, 1959-94; Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order.
- Richard Francis Andrew Dobbs, b 1955; married Lady Jane Alexander, sister of 7th Earl of Caledon, 1990; divorced in 1999 and had issue, three daughters;
- Nigel Christopher Dobbs b 1957; High Sheriff of County Antrim, 2009;
- Matthew Frederick Dobbs b 1959; Fund Manager, Shroders, 2012;
- Sophia Carola Dobbs b 1965;
- Nicholas Arthur Montagu Dobbs b 1973; Director, Wealth Management, Cazenove Capital, 2012.
CASTLE DOBBS, near Carrickfergus, County Antrim, remains the seat of the Dobbs family and is one of the most important 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,
An authority on country houses, Professor Rowan, has said that,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.
"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.
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.