Monday, 28 September 2015

Strokestown Park

THE FAMILY OF PAKENHAM-MAHON WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY ROSCOMMON, WITH 26,980 ACRES.

CAPTAIN NICHOLAS MAHON, an officer in CHARLES I's army, who was distinguished for his loyalty in the civil wars, married Magdalene, daughter of Arthur French, of Movilla Castle, County Galway,
Captain Mahon was granted Strokestown as a royal deer park, as one of the '49 officers. He was a captain in the Royalist Army, distinguished for his loyalty to the two CHARLESES, having fought in the English Civil War. He was High Sheriff of County Roscommon, 1664-76.
By his wife Captain Mahon had issue,
JOHN, his heir;
Peter (Very Rev), Dean of Elphin;
Nicholas.
Captain Mahon died in 1680, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN MAHON, who wedded, in 1697, Eleanor, daughter of Sir Thomas Butler Bt, and was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

THOMAS MAHON MP (1701-82), MP for the borough of Roscommon, 1739-63, and for the county, 1763-82. He was 42 years in the Irish parliament, and was Father of the House.

Mr Mahon wedded, in 1735, Jane, eldest daughter of Maurice, 1st Baron Brandon, and sister of William, 1st Earl of Glandore (by Lady Anne Fitzmaurice, his wife, eldest daughter of Thomas, Earl of Kerry, and sister to John, Earl of Shelburne, father of William, 1st Marquess of Lansdowne KG), and had issue,
MAURICE, his heir;
Thomas (Rev);
Anne; Jane; Theodosia.
He was succeeded by his elder son,

MAURICE MAHON MP (1738-1819), was elevated to the peerage, in 1800, as BARON HARTLAND, of Strokestown, County Roscommon.

He wedded, in 1765, Catherine, daughter of Stephen, 1st Viscount Mount Cashell, by whom he had issue,
THOMAS, his heir;
Stephen, Lieutenant-General, d 1828;
MAURICE, heir to his brother.
Lord Hartland was succeeded by his eldest son,

THOMAS, 2nd Baron (1766-1835), a lieutenant-general in the army, who espoused, in 1811, Catherine, daughter of James Topping, of Whatcroft Hall, Cheshire; but dsp in 1835, and was succeeded by his only surviving brother,

MAURICE, 3rd Baron (1772-1845), in holy orders, who married, in 1813, Isabella Jane, daughter of William Hume MP, of Humewood; but dsp in 1845.

His cousin and heir,

MAJOR DENIS MAHON (1787-1847), of Strokestown, wedded, in 1822, Henrietta, daughter of the Rt Rev Henry Bathurst, Lord Bishop of Norwich.

Major Mahon was barbarously murdered in 1847, leaving issue, THOMAS, born in 1831, who died unmarried; and

GRACE CATHERINE MAHON, of Strokestown House, who espoused, in 1847, HENRY SANDFORD PAKENHAM JP DL, eldest son of the Hon and Very Rev Henry Pakenham, Dean of St Patrick's, by Elizabeth his wife, niece and co-heir of Henry, 2nd Baron Mount Sandford

He assumed, by royal licence, the additional surname and arms of MAHON, and died in 1893 leaving issue,
HENRY, his heir;
Henrietta Grace; Florence; Maud.
Their only son,

HENRY PAKENHAM-MAHON JP DL (1851-1922), of Strokestown Park, married, in 1890, May, only daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel Sidney Burrard, Grenadier Guards, and had issue,

OLIVE HALES-PAKENHAM-MAHON, born in 1894, who married firstly, Captain Edward Charles Stafford-King-Harman, son of the Rt Hon Sir Thomas Joseph Stafford Bt, in 1914; and secondly, in 1921, Wilfred Stuart Atherstone, son of Colonel Herbert Marwick Atherstone Hales.

Her younger son,

LIEUTENANT-COLONEL NICHOLAS HALES-PAKENHAM-MAHON (1926-2012), was raised on the family's Roscommon estate and educated by a governess until he went to Winchester College.
Because of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, where he had served in Londonderry during the rioting of the early 1970s as in the Grenadier Guards, he knew that he could not return to claim his inheritance of Strokestown House because his ancestry was known to IRA intelligence.

As heir to the property he convinced his ailing parents to sell the Palladian mansion, which was then in a bad sate of repair, in 1979 to Jim Callery of the Westward Garage group based in Strokestown.
Strokestown Park now houses the National Irish Famine Museum.

The Ordnance Survey Field Name Books record Thomas Conry as agent to Lord Hartland.
In the 1850s Henry Sandford Pakenham-Mahon held land in the County Roscommon parishes of Dysart, barony of Athlone, Kilglass and Kilmore, barony of Ballintober North, Kilbride, Kilgefin, barony of Ballintober South, Cloonfinlough, Bumlin, Aughrim, Elphin, Kilbride, Kiltrustan, Lissonuffy, barony of Roscommon.
Over 8,600 acres of the Mahon estate was vested in the Congested Districts' Board in 1911-12.


STROKESTOWN PARK, Strokestown, County Roscommon,  was built by Thomas Mahon MP (1701-82) on lands which had been granted to his grandfather, Nicholas, in the latter half of the 17th century.

The family continued its association with Strokestown until 1979, when, eight generations later, Mrs Olive Hales-Pakenham-Mahon moved to a nursing home in England, at the age of eighty-seven.

Bence-Jones states that the mansion consists of a centre block and wings, in the Palladian manner, the centre block being mainly 17th century and finished in 1696; though altered and re-faced during the late-Georgian era.

It consists of three storeys over a basement and seven bays. There is a fanlighted doorway under a single-storey, balustraded Ionic portico.

The wings are of two storeys and four bays, joined to the central block by curved sweeps as high as they are themselves; possibly added ca 1730.  One wing contains a splendid stable and vaulting carried on a row of Tuscan columns.

One addition at the rear of the mansion is a magnificent library with a coved ceiling and original 19th century wallpaper of great beauty.

The entrance to the demesne is a tall Georgian-Gothic arch at the end of the tree-lined street of the town, one the Ireland's widest main streets. Apparently the 2nd Lord Hartland intended to create a street wider even than the Ringstrasse in Vienna.

Strokestown's main street is the second-widest street in Ireland, after Sackville Street - now called O'Connell Street - in Dublin.

The initial intention of Westward Garage was to keep the few acres they needed to expand their business and to sell on the remainder of the estate to recoup their finances. At that stage Westward was a young emerging company, with limited cash resources.


However, when they spent some time in the house and saw what was there, they decided that Strokestown Park was far too important from a heritage point of view to risk losing it.

They negotiated a deal with the Mahon family to ensure that virtually all of the original furnishings would remain at Strokestown Park.

They also pleaded with the family to leave behind the documents that remained in the estate office. By doing so they had ensured the salvation of a huge part of the heritage of County Roscommon, particularly relating to the Irish famine.

The first public role for the house was when it was used for the making of the film ‘Anne Devlin’, based on the 1798 Irish Rising, in 1984.

What then followed was a restoration project of such enthusiasm and energy that it was to be acknowledged as the single best private restoration in the history of the Irish state.

The house was opened to the public in 1987 and is "unique" in that it affords visitors the opportunity to browse through the public rooms on professionally guided tours, surrounded by the original furnishings of the house.

The House is unchanged from the time when the Mahons lived there, as evidenced by photographs which can be seen in the house.

Strokestown Park is now open to the public as a visitor attraction.

Former town residence ~ 35 St George's Road, Eccleston Square, London.

First published in October, 2011.

3 comments :

Anonymous said...

Why is it "unique" to allow visitors to go on a guided tour of the house?

W.

Timothy Belmont said...

That's a good point. I took that quotation from their site. I'll edit it, perhaps.

Historic House Crawler said...

There is an Ulster connection here: part of the Mahon estate passed to the McCauslands of Drenagh in the 19th century as part of a marriage settlement. I also have a memory of reading that the Mahons originated in Fermanagh and moved to the Strokestown area having been displaced by the Ulster plantation. This may be true given the family's determination to hold on to their estate during the Williamite war: there were Mahons on both sides at the battle of the Boyne so that whatever the outcome the Mahons would be on the winning side! Cynical perhaps, but prudent; one is reminded of King Henri IV of France who exercised similar prudence to ensure his accession to the French throne. Henri of course was grandfather of the considerably less prudent King James and great-grandfather of King William.