Wednesday 20 March 2024

Tollymore Park


EGIDIUS JOSSELIN, a nobleman of Brittany, in France, took up his abode in England during the reign of EDWARD THE CONFESSOR, and left a son,

SIR GILBERT JOCELYNwho returned to Normandy, and came back into England with the CONQUEROR, from whom he obtained extensive territorial grants in Lincolnshire, among which were the lordships of Sempringham and Tyrington.

Sir Gilbert had two sons, namely,

Gilbert of Sempringham (c1083-1190), the elder, devoting himself to a religious life, retired to Sempringham Priory, where he had founded the order of St Gilbert, known as the GILBERTINES, possessed, at the dissolution of religious houses, twenty-one monasteries in England, containing nearly 1,200 persons.

This Gilbert died at the exceptionally advanced age of 106, and was canonized by POPE INNOCENT III in 1202.

GEOFFREY DE JOCELYN, the younger son, married the daughter of John Blisset, and from that marriage descended lineally,

THOMAS JOCELYNwho wedded, in 1249, Maude, daughter and co-heir of Sir John Hyde, of Hyde Hall, Hertfordshire, and granddaughter, maternally, of John, Baron Sudeley, of Gloucestershire; by which marriage the Jocelyns obtained that estate, which continued for a very lengthy period in the family.

From this Thomas, we pass to his descendant,

SIR RALPH JOCELYN KBcitizen and draper of London, of which city he was sheriff, 1458, and Lord Mayor, 1464.

In 1467, Sir Ralph represented the city of London in parliament, and was again Lord Mayor in 1476.

The elder brother of this opulent citizen,

THOMAS JOCELYN, of Hyde Hall, was great-grandfather of

SIR THOMAS JOCELYN KB, of Hyde Hall, who married Dorothy, daughter of Sir Geoffrey Gates, Knight, and was succeeded, in 1562, by his eldest son,

RICHARD JOCELYN, of Hyde Hall, whose grandson,

SIR ROBERT JOCELYN (1623-1712), Knight, of Hyde Hall, and of Newhall, High Sheriff of Hertfordshire, 1677, was created a baronet in 1665, designated of Hyde Hall, Hertfordshire.

Sir Robert wedded Jane, daughter and co-heir of Robert Strange, of Wiltshire, and had nine sons and five daughters; of whom
STRANGE, 2nd but eldest surviving son, inherited the title and fortune;
Edward, in holy orders;
He was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR STRANGE JOCELYN, 2nd Baronet (c1651-1734), who wedded Mary, daughter of Tristram Conyers, of Walthamstow, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR JOHN JOCELYN (1689-1741); at whose decease, unmarried, the baronetcy devolved upon his only brother,

SIR CONYERS JOCELYN MD, 4th Baronet (1703-78), High Sheriff of Hertfordshire, 1745, who died unmarried, when the baronetcy devolved upon the son and successor of

THE RT HON ROBERT JOCELYN (1688-1756); (refer to Thomas, son of the first Baronet), MP for Granard, 1725-7, Newtownards, 1727-39, a lawyer of great eminence, who filled the offices of Solicitor-General and Attorney-General in the reigns of GEORGE I and GEORGE II, and was constituted LORD CHANCELLOR OF IRELAND, 1739.

His lordship was subsequently twelve times one of the Lords Justices of that kingdom, and died in the government, in 1756.

He was elevated to the peerage, in 1743, in the dignity of Baron Newport; and advanced to a viscountcy, in 1755, as Viscount Jocelyn

His lordship espoused firstly, Charlotte, daughter and co-heir of Charles Anderson, of Worcester, by whom he had a son, ROBERT, his successor.

He wedded secondly, in 1754, Frances, daughter of Thomas Claxton, of Dublin, and widow of Richard, 1st Earl of Ross.

His lordship was succeeded by his only son,

ROBERT, 2nd Viscount (1731-97), MP for Old Leighlin, 1745-56, who succeeded to the baronetcy of the family upon the decease of his kinsman, Sir Conyers Jocelyn, 4th Baronet, in 1770.

His lordship, Auditor-General of Ireland, was created, in 1771, EARL OF RODEN.

He married, in 1752, the Lady Anne Hamilton, only surviving daughter of JAMES, 1ST EARL OF CLANBRASSIL, and eventually heir of her brother, James, the last earl, and had issue,
ROBERT, his successor;
Harriet; Caroline; Charlotte; Sophia; Louisa; Emelia.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

ROBERT, 2nd Earl (1756-1820), KP, PC, MP for Dundalk, 1783-97, Knight of St Patrick, 1806, who espoused firstly, in 1788, Frances Theodosia, eldest daughter of the Very Rev Robert Bligh, Dean of Elphin, and niece of John, 1st Earl of Darnley, and issue,
ROBERT, his successor;
James Bligh (d 1812), Lieutenant RN;
Frances Theodosia; Anne.

His lordship married secondly, in 1804, Juliana Anne, daughter of John Orde, and had further issue,
JOHN, father of the 6th and 7th Earls;
Augustus George Frederick.
He was succeeded by his eldest son,

ROBERT, 3rd Earl (1788-1870), KP PC, who wedded firstly, in 1813, Maria Frances Catherine, second daughter of Thomas, 16th Baron le Despencer, and had issue,
ROBERT (1816-54), father of ROBERT, 4th Earl;
William Nassau;
Elizabeth Frances Charlotte; Frances; Maria.
His lordship, installed a Knight of St Patrick, 1821, married secondly, in 1862, Clementina Janet, daughter of Thomas Andrews, of Greenknowes.

He was succeeded by his grandson,

ROBERT, 4th Earl (1846-80), Lieutenant, 1st Life Guards, Lord-in-Waiting, 1874-80, who died unmarried, when the family honours reverted to his nephew,

JOHN STRANGE, 5th Earl (1823-97), DL, who wedded, in 1851, Sophia, daughter of John, 1st Baron Broughton, and had issue, a daughter,
Violet Charlotte Julia Maria.
His lordship died without male issue, and was succeeded by his cousin,

WILLIAM HENRY, 6th Earl (1842-1910), (son of the Hon John Jocelyn), who died unmarried, when the titles devolved upon his brother,

ROBERT JULIAN ORDE, 7th Earl (1845-1915), JP DL, who espoused, in 1882, Ada Maria, daughter of Colonel Soame Gambier Jenyns, and had issue,
ROBERT SOAME, his successor;
Julian Mary; Marcia Valda.
His lordship was succeeded by his son,

ROBERT SOAME, 8th Earl (1883-1956), JP, who espoused, in 1905, Elinor Jessie, daughter of Joseph Charlton Parr, and had issue,
ROBERT WILLIAM, his successor;
John Charlton;
Elizabeth; Mabel Kathleen.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

ROBERT WILLIAM, 9th Earl (1909-93), DL, of Tollymore Park, County Down, Captain, Royal Navy, who wedded, in 1937, Clodagh rose, daughter of Edward Robert Kennedy, and had issue,
ROBERT JOHN, his successor;
Thomas Alan;
James Michael.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

ROBERT JOHN, 10th and present Earl.

The heir apparent is the present holder's only son, Shane Robert Henning Jocelyn, styled Viscount Jocelyn.

TOLLYMORE PARK, near Newcastle, County Down, is the former demesne of the Earls of Roden.

It is situated on the river Shimna, at the north-west base of Slieve Donard, adjacent to the south side of the village of Bryansford.

This superb demesne, in consequence partly of its landscaping, though mainly of its natural character, is one of the most magnificently picturesque in the British Isles.

Within the grounds there is a beautiful monument, in the form of an obelisk, erected to the memory of Lieutenant the Hon James Bligh Jocelyn, Royal Navy, second son of the 2nd Earl.

Tollymore Park House (above) was a Georgian mansion extending round four sides of a courtyard.

The earliest part was constructed ca 1730 by James Hamilton, 1st Earl of Clanbrassill (of the second creation), whose grandmother was heiress of the Magennis family, original owners of the Estate.

As first built, the mansion consisted of a two-storey block with one bay on either side of a three-sided bow, and single-storey, three-bay wings.

The architect was likely to have been Thomas Wright.

By 1787, the three other sides of the courtyard had been built, all single storey.

The mansion already had long corridors with windows containing roundels of Flemish stained glass.

When Lord Clanbrassill died in 1798 without issue, the estate passed to his sister, the 1st Countess of Roden (nee Lady Anne Hamilton), and remained in the family for generations.

An extra storey was added the the single-storey parts; while the entrance front became a typical late-Georgian composition of nine bays with a pedimented breakfront centre and a single storey Doric portico.

Before 1859, the house was further enlarged and the original block was given high roofs in the French ch√Ęteau manner.

Tollymore has been noted for its fine views and plantations since the 18th century, in the latter years of which Thomas Milton wrote in Seats and Demesnes of the Nobility in Ireland,
It is a wild and rocky Tract, exhibiting some scenes of singular beauty, in the romantic style. Two Mountain Torrents join in the Park, and form sundry cascades, in their passage to the Sea… 
Every advantage was taken of the natural attributes to create a fashionable 18th century naturalistic park and to further grace it with suitable buildings.

Tollymore House, at the centre of the site, was demolished in 1952.

However, the demesne buildings and their folly embellishments remain and are now appreciated as fine examples of the work of Thomas Wright and others, the finest being the Clanbrassill Barn.

Fantastical gate piers made of ‘bap’ stones can be seen along the demesne walls.

Collectively these are called Lord Limerick’s Follies.

A Hermitage clings to the rocks above the Shimna river, built in 1770 to commemorate a friend’s death.

There are a great many interesting 18th century bridges along the river, which plays an important part in the landscape as it sparkles over rocks and deep ravines.

In 1786 Wilson, in the Post Chaise Companion, noted the ‘… finest groves of larch trees in this kingdom …’

The woodland planting was acknowledged to have been extensive and successful.

Tollymore was purchased by the Ministry of Agriculture in 1930; the holding was increased in 1941 and subsequently a great deal of the land was covered with forest planting.

The structure of the landscape park is not visible presently.

An arboretum represents the ‘second phase’ of planting lies to the west of the house is now termed a, ‘tree collection’, as it is not being added to.

The original Picea abies var. Clanbrassilliana (discovered by Lord Clanbrassill in the mid-1770s) can be seen in this area. 

There is an exceptionally fine avenue of Deodar cedar at the Barbican gate avenue.

The walled garden has been made into a car park but the Head Gardener’s house remains, surrounded by a sea of tarmac.

However, rhododendron and azalea plants attractively cover an area on either side of the Horn Bridge as a steep descending walk to the river. 

The Forest Service is also responsible for Forest Plots, experimental plantations of various species which are being tested for suitability as forest planting.

The entrances are exceptional and are: Bryansford or Gothick Gate, ca 1786, and lodge, 1802; Barbican gate, ca 1780, and lodge ca 1810; East Lodge, 1865; White Gate Lodge, early 20th century.

The walls on the Hilltown Road and a gate are listed.

Tollymore Forest Park covers an area of almost 500 hectares at the foot of the Mourne Mountains in County Down.

The park has a long history dating back to 1611, in the records of JAMES I.

It was recorded that the park was granted to Brian MacHugh MacAgholy Magennis. 

The neighbouring village of Bryansford is believed to have been named after him (Brian’s Ford).

The property remained in the Magennis family until about 1685, when Bryan Magennis died unmarried and Tollymore became the property of his sister, Ellen, who had married Captain William Hamilton.

From the Hamiltons, Earls of Limerick, the estate passed, again through the distaff side, to the Jocelyns, one of whom was later created Earl of Roden.

The 9th Earl lived at Bryansford, County Down, just outside the walls of Tollymore Park.

It is believed that the 10th and present Earl still maintains a residence at Tollymore.

Tollymore Park remained solely in Roden hands until 1930, when the 8th Earl sold two thirds of the land to the Ministry of Agriculture for afforestation purposes.

In 1940 the remaining third was bought by the Ministry; and during the 2nd World War Tollymore House and part of the grounds were used by the Army.

After the war the house fell into a state of disrepair and was demolished by the 9th Earl in 1952.

It is now one of Northern Ireland's most popular attractions.

In 1955, Tollymore became the first state forest in Northern Ireland.

Former seats ~ Hyde Hall, Hertfordshire; Tollymore Park, County Down; Dundalk House, County Louth.

 First published in February, 2012.


Anonymous said...

Lord Roden sent his son to Headfort and St Columba's though, as did I!


Sean Quinn said...

I was reared in Newcastle, near Tollymore. The house in the estate was used as a US army billet (officers) during WW2, where they hosted numerous dinner-dances, for the local ladies especially. Local lore had it that the house was haunted by a spectre known as the 'Blue Lady', (Lady Hamilton?) who was allegedly seen on the grand staircase by several of the Americans.


glenn carter said...

My greatgrandfather was a blacksmith
on the estate during the 30s and 40s. His name was Hugh Mills, is there any info or archives from the estate left? He worked at the Brynsford forge.

Iain Sinclair said...

I remember taking Scouts to stay in Lord Roden's property in the 1980's. In winter he would always have a fire going in the hearth for our arrival. I met him a few times and appreciated his hospitality in letting youth organisations stay enabling them to explore and enjoy the great outdoors in the Mournes.

Adelaide Orr said...

Hugh Mills was my grandfather and I was raised in Bryansford beside tollymore park, and I have some information.
Adelaide Orr

Unknown said...

Hugh was my great grandfather was there anything information

Unknown said...

Hugh mills was my great grandfather i think he was from ballamoney?

CBRSTAR said...

I'm not sure if it was my great grandmother or my great great grandmother. But supposedly she was disowned when she fell in love the stable boy my great/great grandfather and got married. They moved to England where she died from "Hard work". But my Grandmother was allowed to go back there when she was a child and spent a few summers there growing up before the estate was sold. But was she really a part of the family or of a servant?

But one story is My Great Grandfather was very religious. In England there was a convent down the road that he single handedly built a 10 foot brick wall around it for the nuns. He was given some extremely large religious paintings and a few other objects like crosses from the estate. Which he then donated to the convent. I always wondered why they would have done this? But if the estate was being sold I imagine that they would have been cleaning it out.