Saturday, 4 January 2014

Woodlawn House

THE BARONS ASHTOWN WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY LIMERICK, WITH 11,273 ACRES. 


This family is descended from a French protestant family, said to have emigrated from the town of La Tranche, in the province of Poitou, to avoid the religious persecutions instituted by LOUIS XIV against those who dissented from the established church.

This family and that of TRENCH, Earls of Clancarty, derive from a common ancestor, namely,

FREDERICK TRENCH, who settled at Garbally, County Galway, some time in the beginning of the 17th century, and dying in 1669, left by Anna, his wife, daughter of the Rev James Trench, two sons:
FREDERICK, of Garbally, who founded the house of Clancarty;
The Very Rev John, Dean of Raphoe.
Dying in 1725, Mr Trench was succeeded by his eldest son,

FREDERICK TRENCH, of Moate, County Galway. This gentleman  married and was succeeded by his only surviving son,

FREDERICK TRENCH, of Moate and Woodlawn, both in County Galway, whose son and heir,

FREDERICK TRENCH (1755-1840), was elevated to the peerage, as BARON ASHTOWN, of Moate, County Galway.

His lordship represented Portarlington in the Irish parliament from 1798-1800; and Maryborough, 1785-90.
The present 8th Baron lives in East Sussex.

The Trench family at Woodlawn were one of a number of Trench families who came to prominence in County Galway in the 17th century.

They were all descended from Frederic Trench who came to Ireland early in the 1600s.

Strategic marriages into the Warburton and Power families led to the acquisition of more lands in East Galway. Much of the Woodlawn estate was originally Martin and Barnewall lands which were purchased by the Trenches in the early 18th century.

Lord Ashtown was recorded as a non-resident proprietor in 1824.

In County Roscommon he held over a 1,000 acres; and in County Tipperary he held at least 21 townlands in the parishes of Ballingarry and Uskane, barony of Lower Ormond, inherited from the Sadleir family of Sopwell Hall.

In the 1870s Lord Ashtown's main estate in County Galway amounted to over 8,000 acres and he also held land in seven other counties including County Waterford where he had purchased lands from the Earl of Stradbroke in the 1870s. 

These townlands remained in Trench ownership until purchased by the Irish Land Commission in the 1930s.

In 1852 Lord Ashtown married as his second wife Elizabeth Oliver Gascoigne, an heiress with large estates in County Limerick and Yorkshire.

In the 1870s Lord Ashtown is recorded as the owner of 11,273 acres in County Limerick and 4,526 acres in County Tipperary.


WOODLAWN HOUSE, near Kilconnell, County Galway, is a Palladian-style country house comprising a three-bay, three-storey central block built ca 1760, having slightly advanced end bays and projecting tetra-style Ionic portico to entrance bay.

The House consists of 30,000 square feet standing on 115 acres of land.

It boasts 26 bedrooms, a walled garden, courtyard, gatehouse, gardener's house and a lake.

Woodlawn was remodelled ca 1860 and flanked by four-bay two-storey wings having projecting pedimented end bay to each wing.


The central block has tripartite openings to end bays, ground floor of each end bay having segmental pediment and engaged Doric columns to slightly advanced middle light, and flanked by Doric pilasters.

The wings have tripartite windows to pedimented bays, ground floor having Venetian-style windows, middle light slightly advanced and having engaged square-plan Doric columns, flanked by Doric pilasters and having with moulded capitals and cornices.

The mansion is set in its own demesne, with outbuildings to west, and entrance gates and lodge to east.

This large house is an elaborate exercise in classical orders, the use of carved and cut limestone extending throughout the front elevation and evidence of both the skill of 19th century stonemasons and the wealth of the Trench family whose seat it was.

An unusual composition, the quoins to the central block give a vertical emphasis that is extended by the pinnacles.

Although the motifs are classical, the extensive use of dark limestone, the variety of textures and treatments, and the use of pinnacles give it a somewhat Gothic appearance typical of the late 19th century.

Extended and remodelled by the 2nd Baron Ashtown in the 1860s to designs drawn up by James F Kempster, the county surveyor for the East Riding of County Galway, it shows little evidence of the Georgian house behind the fa├žade.

Woodlawn House was sold by the impecunious 4th Baron in 1947 to  Derek Le Poer Trench who, sadly, shot himself, when the house was again sold to a local farmer in 1978.

Ashtown arms courtesy of European Heraldry.  First published in December, 2011.

1 comment:

Gavin Bamford said...

Great video about this house here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BAtXMH_C5cQ