Saturday, 16 January 2016

Woodlawn House

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

The family of TRENCH 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, founded the house of Clancarty;
John (Very Rev), Dean of Raphoe.
Dying in 1725, Mr Trench was succeeded by his eldest son,

FREDERICK TRENCH, of Moate, County Galway, who married, in 1718, Mary, daughter and heiress of Richard Geering, Clerk of the Court of Chancery,  and had to survive him,
FREDERICK, his heir;Anne; Mary; Elizabeth.
He died in 1758, and was succeeded by his only surviving son,

FREDERICK TRENCH, of Moate and Woodlawn, both in County Galway, who wedded, in 1754, Mary, eldest daughter and co-heir of Francis Sadleir, of Sopwell Hall, County Tipperary.

He died in 1797, and left issue,
FREDERICK, his heir;
Francis, of Sopwell Hall, father of
FREDERICK;
Thomas (Very Rev), Dean of Kildare;
William, of Cangort Castle;
Charles;
Richard;
John;
Catharine; Mary; Elizabeth; Frances; Anne.
The eldest son,

FREDERICK TRENCH (1755-1840), of Moate, espoused, in 1785, Elizabeth, only daughter and heiress of Dr Robert Robinson, and niece of the Hon Mr Justice Robinson, one of the judges of the Court of King's Bench, but had no issue.

Mr Trench was elevated to the peerage, in 1800, by the title of 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 TRENCHES of 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 Frederick 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.

There is an interesting video clip of the mansion house and ruinous outbuildings here.

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.

During the 1920s, the 3rd Baron was declared bankrupt and, as a result, the house was closed up and its contents sold at auction; at one point, the IRA occupied one of the wings.

The 4th Baron eventually returned to Woodlawn, but in 1947 he sold the estate to his cousin, Derek Le Poer Trench who, in turn, disposed of it in 1973.

Since then, Woodlawn has had two further owners but neither of these have lived in the house.

Michael Lally, a local publican, bought the property ca 1989.

Before that date, in 1982, a fire burnt out the east wing and caused extensive damage to the central block, partly because of the water used to put out the flames.

Much of the original decoration of the house has also been lost, not least the fireplaces in the principal reception rooms.

While all the walls still stand and the pitched slate roof remains, Woodlawn today is a mere shadow of the house it had been 100 years ago.

Other former seat ~ Chessel House, Southampton, Hampshire.

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