Friday, 6 May 2022

Castle Caldwell


The founder of the Caldwells in Ulster,

JOHN CALDWELL (c1590-1639), a prosperous merchant at Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, was born at Preston, Ayrshire.

The second son by his second wife, Mary (née Swettenham),

JAMES CALDWELL (c1630-c1717), who settled at Rossbeg, afterwards named Castle Caldwell, County Fermanagh, High Sheriff of County Fermanagh, 1664 and 1677, married firstly, ca 1657, Catherine, daughter of Charles Campbell, of Ayrshire, and had issue,
HENRY, his heir;
He wedded secondly, ca 1690, Mrs Susanna Becke, of London.

Mr Caldwell was created a baronet in 1683, designated of Wellsborough, County Fermanagh.

In 1671, Sir James purchased the estate of Wellsborough, close to the present village of Belleek, County Fermanagh.

He was Captain of Horse and High Sheriff of County Fermanagh, 1677.

In 1689, Sir James, Colonel of Foot, was attainted by the Irish Parliament of JAMES II.

He was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

SIR HENRY CALDWELL, 2nd Baronet (d 1726), High Sheriff of County Fermanagh, 1693, who espoused Catherine, daughter of Sir John Hume, 2nd Baronet, and had issue, an only child,

SIR JOHN CALDWELL, 3rd Baronet, High Sheriff of County Fermanagh, 1730, who married, in 1719, Anne, daughter of the Very Rev John Trench, Dean of Raphoe, and had issue,
JOHN, his successor;
Henry, father of the 6th Baronet;
Colonel Hume Caldwell was a very distinguished officer in the Austrian service. He was killed in a sally from the fortress of Schweidnitz in 1762.

Sir John died in 1744, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

THE RT HON SIR JAMES CALDWELL, 4th Baronet (c1720-84), High Sheriff of County Fermanagh, 1756, who being in the service of the Empress Maria Theresa, was created by that princess COUNT OF MILAN, in the Holy Roman Empire.
In 1766, Sir James, in passing through Vienna, having had an audience of leave of the Empress Queen, Her Imperial Majesty, in a very gracious manner, charged him with a magnificent gold box, to present to the Dowager Lady Caldwell, mother of Colonel Caldwell, as a testimony of Her Majesty's gratitude for the signal services performed by that gallant officer. Sir James raised, in 1759, at his own expense, a body of light horse comprising 250 men, which he commanded for some years.
Sir James married, in 1753, Elizabeth, daughter of the Most Rev Josiah Hort, Lord Archbishop of Tuam, by whom he had, with four daughters, three sons,
JOHN, his successor;
Josiah John.
He was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR JOHN CALDWELL, 5th Baronet (1756-1830), of Castle Caldwell, Count of Milan, who wedded, in 1789, Harriet, daughter of Hugh Meynell, and had two daughters, of whom the elder, Louisa Georgiana, espoused firstly, in 1823, Sir Josiah William Hort Bt, of Hortland; and secondly, Major John Colpoys Bloomfield, of Redwood, County Tipperary.

Sir John was Governor of County Fermanagh, 1793; lieutenant-colonel in the Fermanagh Militia; Sheriff of County Fermanagh, 1798; Captain in the Belleek Infantry, 1802.

On his death, his countship of the Holy Roman Empire expired, and the baronetcy reverted to his cousin,

SIR JOHN CALDWELL, 6th Baronet (1775–1842), born at Quebec, who married, in 1800, Jane, daughter of James Davidson, an army surgeon, and had issue,
HENRY JOHN, his successor;
Sir John was buried at St Matthews, Quebec; called to the Canadian Bar, 1798; member of the Legislative Assembly of Lower Canada, 1810-23 Receiver-General, 1823.

He was succeeded by his only son,

SIR HENRY JOHN CALDWELL, 7th Baronet (1801-58), was a Seigneur and political figure in Quebec.

He represented Dorchester in the Legislative Assembly of Lower Canada from 1830-34.

Sir Henry was born in Quebec City, the son of John Caldwell, who was the son of Henry Caldwell, and Jane Davidson.

He inherited the seigneury of Lauzon after the death of his grandfather.

Sir Henry was a Justice of the Peace in 1816.

He married Sophia Louisa Paynter, though the marriage was without issue.

In 1826, the seigneury of Lauzon was sold to clear his father's debts, even though it had not been part of his father's property; Caldwell's appeal was unsuccessful.

He later operated a sawmill in the seigneury of Île-Verte.

The title became extinct on the 7th Baronet's death in 1858.

Photo credit: David Gore

CASTLE CALDWELL, near Belleek, County Fermanagh, is now an 18th century ruin comprising two storeys over a basement.

The original castle was built by Francis Blennerhassett, son of Sir Edward Blennerhassett, who obtained it in 1610.

The property was purchased about 1662 by by James Caldwell.

It overlooks the shore of Lough Erne.

The facade is in the pasteboard Gothic style, with quatrefoil pointed windows, two small projecting turrets, and a battlemented pediment-gable at either end, surmounted by a pointed arch rather akin to a belfry.

The main block is linked by battlemented curved sweeps to a pair a tower-pavilions.

There is an octagon temple in the grounds near the lough.

Castle Caldwell passed to the Bloomfield family through the marriage of Frances, daughter and co-heiress of Sir John Calwell, 6th Baronet, to John Bloomfield, in 1817.

The house became ruinous by the end of the 19th century.


THOUGH Castle Caldwell today is largely covered with forest planting, having been developed for this purpose since 1913, it remains an outstanding site, both for its peninsular position on the shores of lower Lough Erne and for the remnants of the dwelling and garden.

The demesne was established in the early 17th century by the Blennerhassetts, and the original gardens were in a formal layout, with straight avenues and canals aligned upon the house, known as Castle Hassett.

Extensive changes were undertaken in the grounds in the 18th century, which was by then heavily wooded, though there were views of the lough from the house.

Portions of these features still can be found in the undergrowth.

The decline of the ornamental and productive gardens preceded the acquisition of the grounds early in the 20th century for forestry.

The forest planting itself has become historic: There is a noted large Sitka spruce in the car park planted in 1921.

The gate lodge, known as Railway Gate, was built ca 1866 into the newly-constructed railway embankment.

Trains rumbled overhead and carriages entered the demesne underneath and arch beside the castellated porter's house.

Within the demesne there is a 17th century ruined church and graveyard.

Bloomfield ordered a geological survey of his land and was informed that the clay contained all of the necessary raw materials to make pottery (feldspar, kaolin, flint, clay and shale).

He took on two partners (Robert Williams Armstrong and David McBirney), talked the government into building a rail spur to near-by Belleek (4 miles to the west) and built a pottery factory, Mrs Bloomfield laying the first foundation stone in 1853.

Thus were the beginnings of a very successful business and a line of pottery now known the world over as Belleek Pottery.

Unusual in its lustre and beauty, it has been a prized possession of royalty and many others for many years.

Blanche Caldwell Grierson (nee Bloomfield) was the only daughter of John Caldwell Bloomfield DL, of Castle Caldwell, a former High Sheriff of County Fermanagh.

She was also related to the Brookes of Colebrooke.

During the First World War, Mrs Grierson was an active enthusiastic worker on behalf of the UVF Hospital, where many beds were endowed through her efforts.

She died in 1920.

The Griersons had a daughter, Ula, who married Henry Kinahan and died on 24 February, 1949.

First published in September, 2010.


Anonymous said...

Why is it that romantic visionaries never own these places? One could have a charming house within the keep...


Adrian said...

Hi,Anybody know any history of the Church andd grave yard in the grounds of Castle Caldwell???
Cheers Adrian

Wendy C said...

My husband is a descendant of Sir James Caldwell (from what I have found while doing his family tree). He has been told years about Castle Caldwell and has really enjoyed reading the information about his family history from this blog and other websites. :)

Elizabeth Burns said...

I, too, am a descendant of Sir James, and would love to live on the site of the old house (as an impoverished romantic visionary!) Elizabeth Burns

Amanda said...

hi i am a descenent of of Sir james caldwell and have been looking up more and more about my family history, if any body has any info i would love to see what they have to say.


Amy Reeves said...

Hi I am a kiwi and also a descendant of the Caldwells although I never listened intently enough to know which branch. My mother extensiviely traced our ties in more than one direction and I am fond of my shamrock beleek that I believe was a great grandmothers. Am currently googling to show my ten year old son where his anscestors came from.

Sondra Caldwell said...

Sondra Caldwell
This is so amazing i would love to find out more. After visiting with my grandfather James Caldwell {of Ohio} i recently found out of our Irish descent and about the castle Caldwell.I have always wanted to visit Ireland...and hope to someday

Unknown said...

My aunts and uncles were told by my grandfather that his father, John W (Buck) Caldwell came from Ireland and settled in SW Virginia in Giles Co. It is said he still spoke with a heavy brogue. Beyond that I have not been able to trace the tree. Still, while in Ireland a couple years ago we made the trek up the western coast up to Belleek (toured the wonderful factory) and drove out to the Castle Caldwell grounds.
Tho the mansion is seriously in ruins I get thru the barbed wire and came away with a piece of slate from the fallen room and part of a broken brick. The feeling of being where my ancestors may have once walked was indeed romantic. In 1970 Belleek began making Christmas parian china plates. The plate of that year depicts Castle Caldwell in honor of the founder. They are still available on eBay. My plate is among my cherished holiday decorations and I will pass it on to my only daughter when I'm gone.

Anonymous said...

Sir Robin Kinahan of Castle Upton in Templepatrick was the son of Henry Kinahan and Blanche Grierson. Hence one of his middle names was Caldwell

Anonymous said...

I'm a decendent, this was interesting to read

Craig Miller said...

I have never visited the Caldwell castle, but my grandmother, Jessie Caldwell, told many stories she heard from her father Mr. John Caldwell. It is sad that many articles of our history are being destroyed by time.
Mr. John Caldwell and his wife are buried in Lakeview Cemetery in Howell, Michigan. I will see to it that their grave is well kept, in his honor.

Craig A. Miller

Susan Caldwell Stiltner said...

I am a descendant of Sir James Caldwell. I hope to visit Castle Caldwell in the near future. I was wondering if any of that family is buried on the estate grounds.
Susan Caldwell Stiltner
Oct. 4, 2013

Unknown said...


james and two Johns are buried in the protestant graveyard in the castle.

Sir James was sort of a kook. There is a book by Mervyn Busteed on him. Luckily, a relative bought the castle records in the auction and they are preserved.

For what it is worth.

Edwin Caldwell said...

Intend to visit first weekend in April whilst fulfilling a work-related engagement in Londonderry.
Really looking forward to it.

Eddie Caldwell, Bury, Lancashire.

Unknown said...

Greetings Caldwell cousins,
Yes James & two Johns are in the little church cemetery on the Castle Caldwell grounds, their markers are gone now to time & weather but many of the Caldwell's are in the cemetery in Ballyshannon in the Church of Ireland, more are over in Ennis... Most of the grave headstones beyond 1850 are weathered & near impossible to read, you can download who is buried where in the Ballyshannon church cemetery... In case you want to know, the Caldwell's came out of the Liverpool (1500-1600)area, they were wealthy merchants, branched out to Scotland (there is a in-ruins castle tower there name after us) then to the Donagal area (Ballyshannon/Belleek), my family left Belleek in 1811 for Donagal township in Pa. In the civil war, they were called roundheads..One has to love our family history... Drop us a line any time at, we have a lot of old family history.

Harry in Alaska

Alasdair said...

The entrance to the estate contains the famous fiddlestone and i rmember hearing the story of how the fiddler entertained those passengers going across the lough from where castle caldwell was built. there s a tragic drowning hence the little fiddlestone monument i think Belleek still holds a fiddlestone fair each year there was a great local historian- John Cunningham who taught at the local school and had all the detail .

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dawn Caldwell De Wulf said...

I am (maiden name) Dawn Caldwell, daughter of James Caldwell. I visited Ireland for my honeymoon in March 2014...after wanting to visit...actually aching to visit since I was about 8 years old with NO inkling of Irish ancestry. I knew we had some Scottish in the family background, but did not know of the direct link to Ireland until August 2014. Would love to know more Caldwell relations...and see if someday a restoration of the castle as a B and B, historic site, or something could be possible to make our family's history (and contribution as founders of Belleek) come alive....

Unknown said...

my great grandfather saved the estate records, some dating from the early 1600s, from the bankruptcy sale at the castle in 1877 and they are in the Rylands University in Manchester.

There are some funny episodes. Empress maria Theresa of Austria was about to award a major eclesiastical award to Hume Caldwell, assuming that, because he was Irish, he was Catholic. This was discovered not to be the case and he had to be given another, civil, title instead.

Then, about 1760, Sir James decided to dress up his peasants as maoris in honor of James Cook and send them across Lough Erne to impress Lord North.

If you have time, read Busteed's book

Unknown said...

I visited ruins of Castle Caldwell today. It is really very sad that nobody is looking for this beautiful historical place. It belonged to Ireland centuries ago, even there is Celtic cross on one grave......

Unknown said...

Check out the video on Caldwell Castle August 2017 by Drone" on We were there last week, August 23, 2017, video shows a 360 degree pan-view of the Caldwell Forrest & castle from 400' feet above our families castle. Its sad to see it in such a state but then again its beautiful. Life moves on & so did our Caldwell family.

Harry Caldwell Sr.

Anonymous said...

I am completing my family tree ! My Grandmother is a Caldwell. Her parents were Christopher Caldwell and Florence Amelia McJanet. I am looking forward to visiting the Caldwell Castle one of these days!!

Kathleen Crawford said...

Its amazing how many descendants there are from this line of Caldwells. I am also a descendant of the Caldwells through my 5th great grandmother Mary Caldwell of Botetourt county Virginia. She married my 5th great grandfather English Crawford (also of Botetourt county Virginia)I believe in 1793 and I have been able to trace her family back to John Caldwell. I haven't definitively proven any more lineage beyond him from the 1500s. I'm planning on someday visiting Ireland to see some of the beautiful area our ancestors lived in. I can't wait!

Unknown said...

Greetings Kathleen & Caldwell cousins,

You need to get a copy of "Castle Caldwell & its Families" by John B. Cunningham, 1980, Watergate Press, Enniskillen, 210 pages on us! It is very full of the detailed history of county Fermanagh, the brutal murders of the locals (Irish vs Scot/English) in the wars from 1300s up to Cromwell & how the wars started up our lineage in this area, it also connects with John Caldwell of Scotland (Preswick) son of Wm Caldwell of Ayrshire at Caldwell Tower/Castle. It help confirm my genealogical records, hopefully your too, if not, you are missing out on a lot of family & social history.


Tower Caldwell Scotland was in the recent TV show, Restorationman in the UK.....

WDS said...

I am curious as to why the surname Caldwell appears in my family tree.
My grandfather was Alfred Caldwell Scott (1852-1931) and his brother was Alexander Caldwell Scott (born about 1850).
They were sons of George Scott, ship's pilot, of Portrush County Antrim, and hs wife Margaret Doherty.
George Scott was a son of John Scott, also of Portrush (approx dates 1760-1848).
Maybe John Scott had married a Caldwell?
Any relevant info gratefully received!
Thank you
Dermot Scott

Anonymous said...

I am a decedent of the Caldwell Family. My 3rd great grandma was Mary Margaret Caldwell(1854-1922).However, she married Daniel Franklin Shane. They had a son Elmer. E Shane. Elmer's daughter is Margaret Shane and my great grandma, she married Robert Nelson, resulting in my last name "Nelson". Mary Margaret Caldwell's father was Ezekial Caldwell. Ezekial's father was Alexander Caldwell. Alexander's father was John J Caldwell. John's father was James Caldwell V then James Caldwell IV and so on.

-Mara Nelson, Dowagiac, Mi

Unknown said...

James Caldwell March 14, 1763. (source: Book; Reverend James Caldwell Patriot, 1734-1781. Author; Norman F. Brydon: Published by; Caldwell Bicentennial Committee, Caldwell New Jersey, 1976, pg. 17). Married Hannah Ogden Caldwell.
They are apparently my Great grandparents x5 or 6, I'm not exactly sure. I know my great grandmother was Lola Smith. I know that my Great Uncle remembers meeting my Great, great grandparents and he says they Still had a very heavy Irish accent. I'm trying to find more and piece more of it together :)

Anonymous said...

I've had an opportunity to visit the grounds on a couple of occasions. Do any floorplans survive of the house? I'd love to see conceptually the layout.

Kathleen Crawford said...


I posted here a couple of years back about finding out my lineage to Castle Caldwell through my 5th great grandmother Mary Caldwell of Botetourt, Virginia, USA. I had no idea just how far reaching the Caldwells were until I did more research. I have heard a rumor that the Caldwell line originated in France. If anyone has heard this or knows anything about it I would be very interested in talking with them.

Kathleen Crawford

Rita G. said...

Kathleen, I am from a Caldwell branch that settled in what is now West Virginia. My father always told us the Caldwells came from France before they settled in Scotland. He had also heard rumors that Caldwells were associated in some way with the Barbarossa pirates. Neither have been confirmed with our research, but he did learn this information from family. Side note, there is a town of Caldwell, West Virginia, which is where my direct ancestors settled.

There is a website,, that has more information about these stories.

Lisa Kromer said...

We may be distantly related. I am related to some Caldwell's and am also located in Ohio

Kathlren Crawford said...

My Caldwells for a time settled in Virginia when they first came from Ireland but my 5 times great grandmother moved to Tennessee then Indiana with my grandfather where they both died. There may be some Caldwells who came to Ohio but I dont know know for certain.

Bicyclebill said...

8 years ago? If you are still interested in the Caldwell lineage I would like to know if you are related to a James Caldwell wife Elizabeth Casady

Unknown said...

I am also of the lineage that ended up in cataloochee, nc please email me, I am interested in the lineage and a possible family reunion. we should renovate or save what we can fonda eagle

Anonymous said...

Greetings Caldwell cousins!
I am so glad I clicked on this link! This is so very interesting. I recognize so many of these names from my unconfirmed ancestors as assembled from the leaf hints on Neither side of my family ever spoke of ancestors, so I never had any idea of the who/where of them. My paternal grandmother was a Caldwell whose parents came from southeastern Kentucky. Most of them still live in that area. My grandmother & her husband moved north for work, residing in Indianapolis, Indiana during the 1950s-60s. I was born here & now live here again. All of my elders are now deceased. I was the only child of my parents & my father was an only child.

I want to do a DNA geneology test to help confirm some of my info which also may be Scottish. I have red hair & blue eyes, like my father. His natural father also had red hair, but he left while my teen grandma was pregnant so hardly anything is known of him. Have any of you had your ancestry checked by DNA?

I look forward to future findings.

Brenda Caldwell, Indy��☘

Kathleen Crawford said...


Here's a bit of information for you. It may or may not help you. I get the distinct feeling you may have come from the same line of Caldwells as myself but maybe from a different sibling of my 5x great grandmother. I've had a difficult time with the hints on ancestry and keeping the Caldwell line straight because there are so many inconsistencies ( there's a book mentioned farther up in this thread that would be useful in figuring out the lineage but it's very hard to find here in the US). I did manage to establish that my grandmother Mary Caldwell who was born in Virginia came from Hugh Caldwell who was born at Castle Caldwell as well as his father Hugh Caldwell Sr. They came to Virginia at some point when Mary's father was a child. That's as far as I can safely establish with my Caldwell line. Mary married my 5x great grandfather English Crawford in 1793 and they had 3 sons. They might have travelled through Kentucky but for a time settled in Tennessee where their kids were born. They moved to a little town in Indiana called Stilesville where they died and are buried.

Caldwell, A said...

Hi Brenda my maiden name is Caldwell. My grandfathers family lived in Boyd, Kentucky before some coming to OH, others were in VA & WV. I have traced my Caldwell’s back to 1495. I also did the 23&me dna I would be happy to help you

Caldwell, A said...

I am a Caldwell and live in OH. My grandfathers family lived in Boyd Kentucky and VA & WV also. I have it traced back to 1495

Unknown said...

Hello Caldwell Cousins!
My name is Hannah Caldwell. I am doing this research for my dad, Doug Caldwell and my grandfather Floyd Caldwell. Our Caldwell line came from Sir John, my 12 times great grandfather. I am not sure how many of my direct great grandparents resided in the area around the estate in Enniskillen, but I believe that the last my last direct great grandfather in Ireland is John (Yes, yet another John) Caldwell born around 1682. The first information I have of them moving to the US is the birth of his son, James Caldwell in 1734 in an area known as Cub Creek (a Scotch-Irish settlement) in Virginia. I am the last of my namesake in this line of Caldwells so the name will die with me unless I have children. My grandpa lived in Crook, Colorado, I think a large portion of his family coming from Ohio and all of his cousins and their families I believe lived in these areas too. I am very interested in hearing from other Caldwells and seeing what you all have to share! I am a history researcher both professionally and personally. This has become a neat side project for me to work on. I am quite curious about that gold box they mentioned from the Queen Empress of the Holy Roman Empire in this article. I am always so interested to see those types of physical remnants! Do you think it still exists somewhere? It would be wonderful to just see what it looks like. I have a feeling it no longer exists, but it never hurts to ask. Let me know, or just feel free to say hello, my email is

Cody caldwell said...

Hi cuz, Ian 65 years old. My name is Cody, from midland Texas. My father is John Ivan caldwell. 1922 died 2015. My 6th great grandfather is John Caldwell, 1682 - 1750 born lifford county donegal, Ireland. Also know as John of cub creek, lunenberg county, VA. He had two wives, Iam from he's second and so are you they had two kids, her name was Mary Margaret Phillips caldwell, and their kids name were robert caldwell, Ian from this line, and James caldwell 1734 - 1781 is your line of Caldwell's. This has been so much fun looking up my name. Just wish I could have done it when my dad was still alive. My mom is, she is enjoying this. Rev James caldwell was a revolutionary war. First Presbyterian pastor in Elizabeth town New Jersey, 1762. Battle of Springfield nj. Reverend caldwell's wife Hannah was shot and killed. Know for the famous line " now boys give ' me watts! Give ' me watts". November 1781 he was shot by a sentry. He now lies next to he's wife of the church he served for 30 years the town of caldwell New Jersey was named in he's honor.

Kathleen Crawford said...

I was finally able to establish my Caldwell lineage as coming from county Donegal, Ireland. I believe they were cousins to the Caldwells of Castle Caldwell. Either way at least I finally know. My 23&me dna test proves that county Donegal is one of the counties my ancestors hailed from.

Anonymous said...

I was practicing with MD.There is like small garden with little slope near ruins and i found silver sawing timble with niceley engraved initials E.C.

I was there about 2007