This ancient family assumed its name from the town of ANNESLEY, Nottinghamshire, the possessor of which, at the time of the Norman conquest, was
RICHARD DE ANNESLEY, from whom lineally descended,
SIR JOHN DE ANNESLEY, Knight, of Headington, Oxfordshire, MP for Nottinghamshire during the reigns of EDWARD III and RICHARD II.
He was succeeded by his son,
THOMAS ANNESLEY MP, of Annesley; from whom descended
ROBERT ANNESLEY (1507-53), of Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire, who died in the first year of MARY I.
This gentleman wedded Joan, daughter of William Cloville, of Coldhall, in Essex, by whom he had (with three daughters) an only son and heir,
GEORGE ANNESLEY, of Newport Pagnell, who married Elizabeth, daughter of Robert Dove, and had, with three daughters, eight sons, of whom the eldest,
a naval officer in the reign of ELIZABETH I, and also a captain in Her Majesty's army, raised to suppress the Earl of Desmond's rebellion, after which he became an undertaker in the plantation of Munster.This gentleman espoused Beatrice, daughter of John Cornwall, of Moor Park, Herefordshire, and was succeeded by his elder son,
SIR FRANCIS ANNESLEY, Knight,
who settled in Ireland ca 1606 and, for forty years, filled several of the highest official situations in that kingdom. Upon the institution of the Order of Baronets, by JAMES I, Sir Francis was the second person advanced to that dignity, in 1620; and in the following year, Sir Francis obtained a reversionary grant, dated 1621, of the viscountcy of Valentia at the decease of the then viscount, Sir Henry Power.He was put, however, into the more immediate position of a peerage, by the title of Baron Mount Norris, County Armagh, having been created in the previous year VISCOUNT VALENTIA, in County Kerry.
His lordship wedded firstly, Dorothy, daughter of Sir John Phillips, of Picton Castle, and from this marriage the Earls of Anglesey, the Lords Altham, and the Earls of Mountnorris are descended.
This nobleman wedded secondly, Jane, daughter of Sir John Stanhope, and sister of Philip, 1st Earl of Chesterfield, and had several children, the eldest of whom,
THE HON FRANCIS ANNESLEY (1628-), fixed his abode at Castlewellan, County Down.
He wedded Deborah, daughter of the Most Rev Henry Jones, Lord Bishop of Meath, and was succeeded by his only surviving son,
FRANCIS ANNESLEY (1663-1750), who was appointed, in the reign of WILLIAM III, under an act of parliament, one of the trustees for the sale of estates in Ireland, and was a distinguished member of both the English and Irish parliaments.
He wedded firstly, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Joseph Martin, Knight, of London, by whom he had (with several other sons and two daughters),
FRANCIS, ancestor of the Annesleys of Bletchingdon;Mr Annesley espoused secondly, in 1732, Elizabeth, daughter of John Cropley, of Rochester; and thirdly, Sarah, only daughter of William Sloane, of Portsmouth, and widow of Sir Richard Fowler Bt, but had no other issue.
Henry, d 1728;
Martin, Rector of Frilsham, Berkshire;
WILLIAM, of whom we treat.
His sixth son,
WILLIAM ANNESLEY (1710-70), barrister, MP in 1741 for Middleton, Yorkshire, was elevated to the peerage, in 1758, by the title of Baron Annesley, of Castlewellan, in 1758.
His lordship was advanced to a viscountcy, in 1766, as Viscount Glerawley.
He married, in 1738, Lady Anne Beresford, eldest daughter of Marcus, 1st Earl of Tyrone, and had, with other issue,
FRANCIS CHARLES, his successor;His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,
RICHARD, succeeded his brother;
William (Very Rev), Dean of Down.
FRANCIS CHARLES, 2nd Viscount (1740-1802), who was created, in 1789, EARL ANNESLEY, with remainder to his brother Richard.
His lordship wedded, in 1776, Mary, daughter and heiress of Richard Grove, of County Cork; but dying without issue, in 1802, the honours devolved upon his brother,
RICHARD (1745-1824), 2nd Earl, who wedded, in 1771, Anne, only daughter and heiress of Robert Lambert, of Dunleddy, County Down, by whom he had issue,
WILLIAM RICHARD, his heir;
Francis Charles, Commander RN;
Catherine; Anna Maria.
WILLIAM RICHARD, 3rd Earl (1772-1838), who espoused firstly, in 1803, Lady Isabella St Lawrence, daughter of William, 2nd Earl of Howth, by whom he had an only daughter, MARY.
His lordship married secondly, in 1828, Priscilla Cecilia, second daughter of Hugh Moore, of Eglantine, County Down, and had by her ladyship several sons, of whom,
WILLIAM RICHARD, 4th Earl (1830-74),
- William Richard, 4th Earl (1830–74);
- Hugh, 5th Earl (1831–1908);
- Francis, 6th Earl (1884–1914);
- Walter Beresford, 7th Earl (1861–1934);
- Beresford Cecil Bingham, 8th Earl (1894–1957);
- Robert, 9th Earl (1900–79);
- Patrick, 10th Earl (1924–2001);
- Philip Harrison, 11th Earl (1927–2011);
- Michael Robert, 12th Earl (born 1933).
The heir apparent is the present holder's son, Michael Stephen Annesley, styled Viscount Glerawly.
CASTLEWELLAN CASTLE, County Down, is a Scottish-baronial mansion by William Burn, built for the 4th Earl Annesley in 1856, on high ground to the north-east of the lake.
The granite for the walls was quarried locally in square blocks, the hardest of any stone in the British Isles. It took the team of stonemasons considerably longer than expected to dress it.
The Castle's windows and door-dressings are of ashlar; while graded slates form the roof.
Castlewellan Castle cost £18,128 to build in 1856, about £1.5 million in today's money.
The castle has many bartizans and window dressings.
The entrance front is on the east side, asymmetrical with the former servants' wing to the right.
The Annesley crest adorns the principal doorway, the wooden doors of which are an estimable 2.36 inches thick.
There are also numerous loopholes, narrow slits about three feet in height with little circular ends, for ventilation and day-light.
The south front of the Castle has a a square tower at one end; and a circular tower at the other.
The demesne has been home to a succession of houses, each associated with various landscape phases.
The first house, built in the 1750s by William, 1st Viscount Glerawly, was located somewhere near the Grange, where the contemporary stable and farm building complex still survives in good repair.
A straight lime avenue close to the Grange survives from the 1750s formal park, while the west portion of the walled garden also belongs to this period.
In the Regency period the old house was succeeded by a new residence on the north shore of the lake, known as ‘Castlewellan Cottage’.
Built by 1st Earl Annesley in the 1790s and demolished ca 1861, the site of this house can be seen today to the south-west of the present castle.
Landscaping and extensive tree planting were carried out in conjunction with this house, while a monumental Gothic temple was built ca 1820 on a site above that which is now occupied by the present Victorian castle.
The temple was demolished in 1856 and the austere Scottish-baronial castle, now the focal point of the park, was built between 1856-59 by the 3rd Earl to designs of William Burn.
In front of the castle are terraces on several levels with steps in the corners to the parkland below and retaining walls in granite.
A conservatory once stood at the north end of the west terrace.
The first stage towards creating Castlewellan’s famous arboretum began in the 1850s, when the area east of the 1750s walled garden was transformed into a walled pleasure-ground, complete with fashionable Victorian-style terracing, flights of steps and pools with dolphins supporting basins.
The layout was regular with a long axis path linking both the old and new enclosed gardens.
A good deal of exotic planting was associated with this pleasure ground, but it was during the 1860s that the major planting was begun by the 5th Earl, who succeeded to the property and title in 1874.
Until his death in 1908, he devoted himself to building up the present tree collection both inside and outside the walled garden.
He also added the conservatories in the garden corner and, in 1884, build the Moorish tower on an elevated spot to the west end of the lake, from which to enjoy views of the mountains.
By the early 20th century there were over 3,000 different species of rare plants from all over the world thriving in the hospitable climate at Castlewellan.
Lord Annesley wrote about the collection in Beautiful Trees and Plants in 1903.
Though scaled down, the collection was maintained and added-to in the early years of the 20th century.
In 1967 the demesne was acquired by the Northern Ireland Government.
The demesne today contains 1,144 acres within its walls.
It lies on the south-facing slopes of the Mourne Mountains, close to the sea, and benefits from a clement climate.
The large lake in the parkland covers 100 acres in extent and is a dramatic and attractive feature, around which the planting has been formulated.
The Forest Service added plantations of forest trees and the site has been open to the public as a forest park since 1969.
The arboretum has been extended to cover 100 acres and the collection enlarged. It is designated a National Arboretum.
The gate lodge at the Town Gate was built in 1861, to the designs of Burn, as has the gate screen. At the Drumbuck entrance there are workers cottages by Roberts ca 1860.
The Annesley estates, including land in counties Down and Cavan, were the third largest in County Down, comprising 24,221 acres in 1872.
I have written about their maritime residence at Newcastle, Donard Lodge, here.
The Annesley estate comprised 24,000 acres in County Cavan.
The County Down estate originally stretched from Slieve Croob to Slieve Donard, including Castlewellan and Newcastle.
The Annesley Papers are held at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland.
Annesley arms courtesy of European Heraldry. First published in June, 2010.