Thursday, 24 September 2015

Rockingham House

THE FAMILY OF KING-HARMAN WERE THE SECOND LARGEST LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY ROSCOMMON, WITH 29,242  ACRES

NICHOLAS HARMAN, of Carlow, settled in Ireland during the reign of JAMES I.
He was one of the first burgesses of Carlow, named in the charter granted to that borough by JAMES I in 1614, and was High Sheriff of County Carlow in 1619.
By Mary his wife he was father of 

HENRY HARMAN, of Dublin, who had by Marie his wife, five sons and as many daughters, viz.
Edward;
Anthony, dsp before 1684;
THOMASof whom hereafter;
William;
Henry;
Anne; Mary; Jane;
Margaret; Mabel.
Mr Harman died before 1649, and was succeeded by his third son, 

SIR THOMAS HARMAN, Knight, of Athy,
knighted by the Lord Deputy of Ireland, Thomas, Earl of Ossory, in 1664; major in the army, 1661;  MP for counties Carlow and Kildare. He obtained a grant of considerable estates in County Longford, under the Act of Settlement, dated 1607.
He married Anne Jones.

Sir Thomas died in 1667, and they were both buried in Christ Church, Dublin, having had issue, with a daughter, Mary, a son,

WENTWORTH HARMAN, of Castle Roe, County Carlow, a captain of the Battle-Axe Guards in 1683, who wedded firstly, in 1679, Margaret, daughter of Garrett Wellesley, of Dangan, and by her had issue, with one daughter, two sons, namely,
Thomas, 1681, dsp;
WENTWORTHof whom hereafter.
Mr Harman married secondly, in 1691, Frances, sister and heir of Anthony Sheppard, of Newcastle, County Longford, by whom he had further issue,
ROBERTsuccessor to his nephew;
Francis, died 1714;
Anthony;
William;
CUTTS (Very Rev), successor to his brother;
ANNESir Anthony Parsons Bt, of Birr Castle.
Mr Harman died in 1714, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

WENTWORTH HARMAN LL.D, of Moyne, County Carlow, who espoused, in 1714, Lucy, daughter of Audley Mervyn, of Trillick, County Tyrone, and sister and heir of Henry Mervyn, of same place, by whom he had issue,
WESLEYhis heir;
Thomas.
Mr Harman died in 1757, when he was succeeded by his eldest son,

WESLEY HARMAN, of Moyle, who wedded Mary, daughter of the Rev Nicholas Milley DD, prebendary of Ullard, Diocese of Leighlin, by whom he had an only son,
Wentworth, who dsp in his father's lifetime.
Mr Harman died in 1758, and was succeeded by his uncle,

ROBERT HARMAN (1699-1765), of Newcastle, County Longford, and Millicent, County Kildare, MP for Co Kildare, 1755, and County Longford, 1761.

He married Ann, daughter of John Warburton, third son of George Warburton, of Garryhinch, in the King's County, and dsp 1765, when he was succeeded by his only surviving brother,

THE VERY REV CUTTS HARMAN (1706-84), of Newcastle, Dean of Waterford; presented to the Deanery, 1759.

He wedded , in 1751, Bridget, daughter of George Gore,of Tenelick, County Longford, Justice of the Court of Common Pleas in Ireland, and sister of John, Lord Annaly, by whom he had no issue.

The Dean presented to his cathedral the very fine organ which it possesses.

He died in 1784, and bequeathed his estates to his nephew, the son of his sister ANNE, who espoused, as above, Sir Lawrence Parsons.

LAWRENCE PARSONS-HARMAN (1749-1807), of Newcastle, MP for County Longford, assumed the additional surname of HARMAN in 1792, on succeeding to his uncle's estates.

He married, in 1772, Lady Jane King, daughter of Edward, 1st Earl of Kingston, by whom he had an only daughter,
FRANCESof whom hereafter.
Mr Parsons-Harman was created, in 1792, Lord Oxmantown; and in 1806, advanced to the dignity of an earldom, as EARL OF ROSSE, with special remainder, in default of male issue, to his nephew, Sir Lawrence Parsons, 5th Baronet, of Birr Castle.

His lordship died in 1807, when his peerage passed, according to the limitation, and his Harman estates devolved upon his only daughter and heir,

LADY FRANCES PARSONS-HARMAN, of Newcastle, who married, in 1799, Robert Edward, 1st Viscount Lorton, in 1799, by whom she had issue,
ROBERT, 2nd Viscount, who as 6th Earl of Kingston;
LAWRENCE HARMAN, who to the Harman estates;
Jane; Caroline; Frances; Louisa.
The Viscountess Lorton died in 1841, when she was succeeded in her estates by her second son,

THE HON LAWRENCE KING-HARMAN (1816-75), of Newcastle, and of Rockingham, County Roscommon, who assumed the additional surname of HARMAN.

He wedded, in 1837, Mary Cecilia, seventh daughter of James Raymond Johnstone, of Alloa, Clackmannanshire, and by her left, with other issue, a second son.

On his death, the property passed to his eldest son,

THE RT HON EDWARD ROBERT KING-HARMAN JP MP (1838-88), of Rockingham, County Roscommon,
Lord-Lieutenant of that county, MP for Sligo, 1877-80, for Dublin, 1883-5, and for the Isle of Thanet, 1885-8, Colonel, 5th Battalion, Connaught Rangers, eldest son the the Hon Lawrence Harman King-Harman, of Rockingham.
Mr King-Harman married, in 1861, Emma Frances, daughter of Sir William Worsley, 1st Baronet, and had issue,
Lawrence William (1863-86), died unmarried;
Frances Agnes, mother of EDWARD CHARLES STAFFORD;
Violet Philadelphia.
Mr King-Harman was succeeded by his grandson,

EDWARD CHARLES STAFFORD-KING-HARMAN (1891-1914), who assumed, in 1900, the additional surnames and arms of KING-HARMAN.

He married, in 1914, Olive Pakenham, daughter of Henry Pakenham Mahon, and by her had issue,

LETTICE MARY STAFFORD-KING-HARMAN, born in 1915.

Captain Stafford-King-Harman was killed in action.

The family was seated at Rockingham, Boyle, County Roscommon, and Taney House, Dundrum, County Dublin.


ROCKINGHAM HOUSE, near Boyle, County Roscommon, was a large, Classical mansion situated in a wonderful location on the shores of Lough Key.

It was designed and built in 1810 by John Nash for General Robert King, 1st Viscount Lorton, a younger son of 2nd Earl of Kingston to whom this part of the King estates had passed.


Rockingham was remarkable due to its dome front and 365 windows.

It was burnt by fire in 1957, after which it was taken over by the Irish Land Commission.

Declared as unsafe in 1970, it was demolished.


The remnants of the house can be seen in the park to this day, such as its two 'tunnels' (which allowed the staff to unload provisions from boats and bring them to the house unseen).

These tunnels are still accessible to this day.

The demesne was magnificent, with a straight beech avenue three-quarters of a mile in length; and 75 miles of drives within the estate.
Sir Cecil William Francis Stafford-King-Harman, 2nd Baronet (1895-1987), considered rebuilding Rockingham after its catastrophic fire of 1957 with its original two storeys and dome; however, it transpired that the expense was prohibitive, so the estate was sold and the Irish forest service demolished the ruin of the once-great mansion.
The Moylurg Tower which provides a spectacular view of the lake, was built on the original foundations of Rockingham House.

First published in June, 2011.

2 comments :

Historic House Crawler said...

So many houses are supposed to have 365 windows. The photographs show three sides and I have counted approximately 60 windows. This means that the fourth side most have had more than 300 windows!

Seriously, I remember seeing Rockingham as a roofless ruin a few years after it had been burned. It had a splendid demesne with breathtaking views over Lough Key. Some of it still survives as the Lough Key Forest Park. The last time I was there (perhaps 20 years go) the house had been demolished and replaced by a concrete viewing tower of spectacular ugliness.

Anonymous said...

The mansion may be long gone but one can now enjoy the only high level tree canopy walk in Ireland and enjoy extensive views over Lough Key and the folly castle on it's island in the Lough , although the castle brings back frightening memories for me as about 25 years ago my daughter suffered a cut head after falling off the jetty , luckily there was a doctor at a BBQ on the island that evening and after some first aid I had a long night drive to Sligo hospital , thankfully all turned out well but it was an experience never forgotten.