Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Dawson of Castledawson

The family of DAWSON was established in Ulster in 1611 by

CHRISTOPHER DAWSON, of Acorn Bank, Westmorland, who was father of the Rt Rev Robert Dawson (1589-1643) and

THOMAS DAWSON, of Temple Sowerby, Westmorland, who purchased the lands at Castle Dawson, County Londonderry, in the eighth year of CHARLES I's reign, 1633, from George and Dudley Philips.

His son and successor,

THOMAS DAWSON (c1630-83), Commissary of the Musters of the army in Ireland, left issue,
John;
THOMAS, his heir;
Richard;
JOSHUA, succeeded his brother;
Anne.
The second son,

THOMAS DAWSON (1653-95), of Castle Dawson, MP for Antrim, married Arabella Upton, of Castle Upton, and had issue, a son, THOMAS, who died in 1704 at the siege of Gibraltar.

He was succeeded by his brother,

JOSHUA DAWSON (1660-1725), of Castle Dawson, MP for Wicklow, 1705-14, who wedded, ca 1695, Anne, daughter of Thomas Carr, and had issue,
William;
Charles;
ARTHUR, his heir;
Joseph (Rev);
Mary; Anne Elizabeth; Eleanor; Arabella.
Mr Dawson was succeeded by his eldest son,

WILLIAM DAWSON (-1779), of Castle Dawson, Surveyor-General of Munster, Collector of Dublin, who wedded, about 1739, Sarah Mary, daughter of Thomas Newcomen, and had issue,
ARTHUR, his heir;
Sarah Elizabeth.
The son and heir,

ARTHUR DAWSON (1745-1822), of Castle Dawson, MP for Newtownards, 1775-6, for Carlow, 1776-83, for Middleton, 1783-97, and Banagher, 1798-1800, espoused, in 1775, Catherine, daughter of George Paul Monck by his wife, the Lady Aramintha Beresford, and had issue,
GEORGE ROBERT, his heir;
Henry Richard (Very Rev), Dean of St Patrick's;
Aramintha; Maria; Louisa; Isabella.
Mr Dawson was succeeded by his son,

THE RT HON GEORGE ROBERT DAWSON (1790-1856), of Castle Dawson, who married, in 1816, Mary, daughter of Sir Robert Peel Bt, of Drayton Manor, Staffordshire, and had issue,
ROBERT PEEL, his heir;
George Beresford;
Henry;
Francis Alexander;
Frederick.
Mr Dawson was succeeded by his eldest son,

ROBERT PEEL DAWSON JP MP (1818-77), of Moyola Park, High Sheriff of County Londonderry, 1850, MP for County Londonderry, 1859-74, who wedded Mary Elizabeth, daughter of Charles, 1st Baron Lurgan, and had issue, a daughter,

MARY DAWSON, who married, in 1872, Lord Adolphus John Spencer Churchill Chichester, younger son of Edward, 4th Marquess of Donegall, and had issue,
ROBERT PEEL DAWSON SPENCER, his heir;
Edward Brownlow Dawson;
Augustus John Bruce MacDonald Dawson.
The eldest son,

ROBERT PEEL DAWSON SPENCER CHICHESTER JP DL (1873-1921), of Moyola Park, married, in 1901, Dehra, daughter of James Ker-Fisher, and had issue,
ROBERT JAMES SPENCER (1902-20);
MARION CAROLINE DEHRA.
Mr Chichester's only daughter,

MARION CAROLINE DEHRA CHICHESTER (1904-76), of Moyola Park, espoused firstly, in 1922, Captain James Lenox-Conyngham Chichester-Clark, and had issue,
JAMES DAWSON, Baron Moyola;
Robert (Robin) (Sir);
Penelope.
She married secondly, in 1938, Charles Edward Brackenbury.


MOYOLA PARK, Castledawson, County Londonderry, is a noble, two-storey, 18th century house of coursed rubble with ashlar dressings.

It has a five-bay entrance front and a three-bay pedimented breakfront.

There is a three-sided bow in the side elevation; a solid roof parapet; flush quoins.

This is a well designed and attractively situated demesne parkland, through which the River Moyola flows.

There are good stands of mature trees in shelter belts and woodland.

Although extensively remodelled in the mid-19th century, the demesne has early 17th century origins.

The property was acquired by Thomas Dawson from Sir Thomas Phillips in 1622, and at some time afterwards a house was built close to the present chapel of Ease.

By 1835, little remained of this building 'but foundations of the walls and terraces'.

A second house, built by Joshua Dawson in 1694 and possibly remodelled in 1713, was located some distance to the north-east.
This had an associated formal landscape, including a straight lime avenue approach (still present) and avenues of Scotch firs; a Pinus sylvestris Scotia mentioned in Elwes & Henry, Trees of Great Britain and Ireland Vol. III (1908), as being 80ft high and 11ft in girth in 1906 may be part of the early 18th century landscape.
There are four of these original trees remaining.

South-east of the 1694 house there was also 'an ancient avenue three miles in length opening to a magnificence view of Lough Neagh to which it extends'.

The adjacent town seems to have been created in its present form from 1710-14; it was in 1710 that Joshua Dawson built the Mansion House in Dublin's Dawson Street.


The present house at Moyola, known originally as The Lodge, was built in 1768 for Arthur Dawson (1698-1774) on a new site north-west of the 1694 house.

The informal parkland was subsequently created as a setting for this house.

Planting by Arthur Dawson's nephew, Arthur Dawson (1745-1822), is referred to in the Register of Trees in County Londonderry 1768-1911, supplementing the exisiting ancient oak woodlands.

Paired yews on the riverside walk may belong to this period.

However, it was Arthur's son, the Rt Hon George Robert Dawson (1790-1856), brother-in-law to Sir Robert Peel, who remodelled both the house and the parkland and renamed it Moyola Park.

This work was largely undertaken during the 1840s and early 1850s.

Most of the parkland planting to the south and south east of the house belongs to this era, as does the suspension bridge and village gate lodge.

Exotic planting from this time includes a cryptomeria known to have been planted in 1851.

Additional gate lodges at the Hillhead entrance and at the Drumlamph entrance were added in the 1870s by Colonel Robert Dawson, from whom the property passed to the Chichester family through marriage.

In the 20th century, woodland areas and a disused quarry were cleared for ornamental gardens created from the 1960s to the north of the house.

These are fully maintained and often open to the public for charity.

A football playing field and an associated building occupies an area west of the lime avenue; while part of the southern portion of the park is now a golf course linked to the Gravend golf course west of the river.

First published in April, 2012. 

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