Thursday, 19 May 2022

Favour Royal


ROBERT MOUTRAY, of Roscobie, Fife, 9th Laird of Seafield (descended from Robert Multrare, who had a Royal Charter, 1443, confirming to him the lands of Seafield and Markinch), married Anne, only daughter of Sir James Erskine, of Favour Royal, County Tyrone (to whom that estate was granted by JAMES I), grandson of John Erskine, Earl of Mar, and had a son,

JOHN MOUTRAY, of Aghamoyles, alias Favour Royal, County Tyrone, who wedded his cousin Anne, daughter of the Rev Archibald Erskine (son of Sir James Erskine), through whom the Moutray family acquired Favour Royal, and had a son,

JAMES MOUTRAY (c1661-1719), of Favour Royal, High Sheriff of County Tyrone, 1682, MP for Augher, 1692-3, 1703-13, who espoused Deborah, daughter of Henry Mervyn MP, of Trillick, son of Sir Audley Mervyn MP, Speaker of the Irish House of Commons, and had issue,
JAMES, his heir;
Anne, m George Gledstanes, of Daisy Hill;
Sarah, m Charles Stewart, of Baillieborough.
Mr Moutray was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES MOUTRAY, of Favour Royal, High Sheriff of County Tyrone, 1695, who married, in 1698, Rebecca, eldest daughter of Colonel James Corry, of Castlecoole, County Fermanagh (ancestor of the Earls of Belmore), and was father of

JOHN MOUTRAY (1701-79), of Favour Royal, High Sheriff of County Tyrone, 1721, who married, in 1720, Elizabeth, daughter of Alexander Montgomery, of Ballyleck, County Monaghan, and had issue,
JAMES, his heir;
ANKETELL, succeeded his brother;
Leslie, of Killibrick;
Mary; Rebecca; Catherine; Sarah; Elizabeth.
The eldest son,

JAMES MOUTRAY (1722-77), of Favour Royal and Killibrick, MP for Augher, 1761-76, High Sheriff of County Tyrone, 1762, married Hester, daughter of Thomas Knox, MP for Dungannon, and sister to Thomas, 1st Viscount Northland, but had no issue.

His younger brother,

THE REV ANKETELL MOUTRAY (1730-1801), of Favour Royal, married, in 1768, Catherine, eldest daughter of Thomas Singleton, of Fort Singleton, County Monaghan, by his first wife, daughter of Oliver Anketell, of Anketell's Grove.

He died ca 1801, having had one son, JOHN CORRY, and six daughters, all of whom died unmarried, except the third, Isabella, who espoused Whitney Upton Gledstanes, of Fardross.

The only son and heir,

JOHN CORRY MOUTRAY JP DL (1771-1859), of Favour Royal, High Sheriff of County Tyrone, 1794, married, in 1793, Mary Anne Catherine, second daughter of Major Ambrose Upton, of Hermitage, County Dublin, by his wife Margaret, sister and co-heir of Thomas Gledstanes, of Fardross, and had issue,
ANKETELL, his heir;
JOHN JAMES, of Favour Royal;
WHITNEY, of Fort Singleton;
Thomas (Rev), 1806-43;
William (Rev), 1811-82;
Henry, of Killymoon Castle;
Catherine; Margaret; Sophia; Cecilia; Marion; Mary.
Mr Moutray was succeeded by his eldest son,

ANKETELL MOUTRAY (1797-1869), of Favour Royal, High Sheriff of County Tyrone, 1855, who dsp and was succeeded by his brother,

THE REV JOHN JAMES MOUTRAY (1802-86), of Favour Royal, Rector of Errigal-Keerogue, who married, in 1836, Maria Dorothea, second daughter of the Rev William Perceval, of Kilmore Hill, County Waterford, and had issue,
JOHN MAXWELL, his heir;
Robert Perceval, Captain RN (1840-96);
William Henry, b 1842;
ANKETELL, of Favour Royal;
Charles Frederick, b 1846;
Anna Maria Sophia; Mary Elizabeth; Caroline Helena.
This clergyman's eldest son,

THE REV JOHN MAXWELL MOUTRAY, Rector of Ballinasaggart, did not, however, succeed to the family estates, which, under the will of his uncle, Anketell Moutray, of Favour Royal, passed to his younger brother,

ANKETELL MOUTRAY JP DL (1844-1927), of Favour Royal, High Sheriff of County Tyrone, 1877, County Monaghan, 1903, who married, in 1877, Gertrude Madelina, third surviving daughter of Matthew John Anketell, of Anketell Grove, County Monaghan (by his wife Catherine Anne Frances, daughter of D Ker, of Montalto, County Down), and had issue,
John Corry (1878-79);
ANKETELL GERALD, JP, of Favour Royal, High Sheriff of Co Tyrone, 1934 (1882-1952?);
Anne Gwendoline Stella Eliza (1875-1902).
FAVOUR ROYAL, near Augher, County Tyrone, was built in 1825. 

This is quite an austere, Tudor-Gothic mansion consisting of two storeys with an attic of low-pitched gables in front and three storeys at the rear.

The front of the house has big rectangular windows with elaborate Gothic tracery and hood mouldings over them.


JAMES I granted Sir Thomas Ridgeway 740 acres of land in 1613.

Sir James Erskine later purchased the Augher estates from Sir Thomas.

CHARLES II confirmed the Manor of Portclare (under the name of Favor Royal) to the Erskine family in 1665.

Eventually his estate was divided between his two granddaughters: one half became Spur Royal (Augher Castle); and the other, Favor Royal.

One of Erskine's granddaughters married John Moutray, and they built the first house, creating the demesne in 1670.

This house continued as the family home until it was destroyed by accidental fire in 1823.

Captain John Corry Moutray, the occupant at the time, commissioned the architect John Hargrave to design the new house, built in 1824-5, with an 1825 date-stone on its left elevation.

The earlier 1670 date-stone, also built into the left elevation, is presumably from the first house that was burnt down.

The fireproof vaulted brick floor construction to upper floor landings and the stone staircases are possibly precautionary, to ensure that the new house was not also destroyed by fire.

The painted transom in the book-room of a cavalry officer with white charger may be a depiction of Captain John Corry Moutray.

Captain Moutray also built the parish church of St Mary’s Portclare in 1830 as a private chapel.

It cost £1,000 and its designer may be John Hargrave who had died in a yachting accident only the previous year.

An 1834 map shows the demesne and most of its features as they are today; however, the drive to the north of the main house, its bridge over the river Blackwater, and the later (1856) elements of the outer farmyard are not shown.

The map shows the north drive and the Blackwater Bridge.

A 1903 map shows a boathouse (now gone) on the north side of the lake.

Favour Royal was occupied in 1858 by Whitney Moutray; in 1870 by the Rev John James Moutray; and during the first half of the 20th century by Major Anketell Gerald Moutray.

Anketell Moutray (1844-1927) had the misfortune of being attacked and kidnapped at Favour Royal during the troubles of 1922.

His son, Anketell Gerald Moutray, died ca 1952, but his widow continued to reside in the house until her death at the beginning of 1975.

The house, outbuildings, walled garden and park all survived remarkably intact; the park renowned for its deciduous woodland and parkland trees.

In 1976 the house and grounds were sold, with the Department of Agriculture (Forestry Service) acquiring most of the land, and Mr Herbert Craig acquiring the house and a smaller area of ground.

The house was put up for sale again in 1994, but has remained vacant and was damaged in a malicious fire in April, 2011.

Much of the demesne was heavily planted by DAERA (Forest Service) with forest trees.

It has been said that the Moutrays were the largest landowners in the valley and held the rental of 36 townlands, with a staff of no fewer than 80 at one time.

Sundials (marked on a 1977 map), one to the front and one to the right of the house, and a large collection of medieval carved stones in the rockery (opposite the front porch) were for sale with the house contents in September, 1976, and were presumably sold and removed at that time.

Following the sale of the contents, the house remained occupied until the early 1990s.

Although not consulted in detail, the Moutray family papers in PRONI are a wide and interesting range of documents from land leases to personal diaries.


Stephen Paskin has taken 182 photographs of Favour Royal, including notable pictures of its interior features.

The demesne dates from the 17th century. 

It lies in a valley, with the River Blackwater flowing on the north-eastern side. 

Though no longer a fully functioning demesne, disused stabling and farm buildings remain.

There was a deer park and woodland with, ‘… a few fine old trees’ (Young, 1909). 

At the present time there is a small area of lawn at the house and one or two mature notable trees.

The walled garden has a date stone on the entrance gate of 1720.

It is not maintained but was once a fine garden. 

Most of the area is heavily planted with forest trees.

The gate lodge of ca 1825, gardener’s cottage and bridges are listed.

There is a man-made ornamental lake with an island.

Planning permission had been obtained to turn Favour Royal into a hotel and golf resort.

Arsonists badly damaged the house in April, 2011.

The estate was for sale in May, 2014.


SIR THOMAS RIDGEWAY, Earl of Londonderry, was one of hundreds of English and Scottish noblemen who were granted land during the plantation of Ulster.

In Ridgeway's case, he was treasurer of wars in Ireland.

In 1610, JAMES I granted him 4,300 acres in the Clogher valley area of County Tyrone. 

In 1613, he built a castle in Augher and then sold his entire estate to Sir James Erskine in 1622. 

In 1630, a defect was discovered in the original grant of lands to Ridgeway and CHARLES I made a re-grant of the lands to Erskine.

This royal favour was acknowledged by naming the estate Favour Royal. 

Sir James Erskine's son, Archibald, was the only member of the family to carry on the family name having two daughters, Mary and Ann, between whom the estate was divided. 

Mary married William Richardson and took up living in Augher castle.

Later, as Sir William Richardson, he gained notoriety as the magistrate who kept a supply of Shillelaghs for the settlements of legal disputes. 

The other daughter, Ann, married John Moutray and moved into the house at Favour Royal in 1670.


The Moutray family continued to live there until the death of Mrs Anketell Moutray on New Year's Day, 1975.

The house and what remained of the demesne was sold in 1976.

A major part of the estate was acquired by the Forest service. The total area is ca 1,200 acres.

First published in October, 2010.


Anonymous said...

It is sad to see the house and its interesting interiors and environs decaying rapidly. Soon it will be past saving. I understand it is owned by Pat Donaghy, the Irish-American multimillionaire builder. N

Anonymous said...

Shame it's going to become another soul-less golf club. How many golf clubs does this country need!?


Anonymous said...

Stephen Paskin's site has some interesting photos of other houses, some you have already covered (couple of really nice shots of Baronscourt) and some I've never heard of like Boom Hall.

moutray said...

Hi Timothy ,

NIce Article .

I hope you keep up your good work .
It's interesting to hear about Ulster's History and Heritage .


Laura Yale said...

Favour Royal was where a lot of my Law family of County Tyrone worked and met many of their spouses! I cannot tell you how excited I was to see all of the photos-- even though the buildings are in major need of repair! My grandparents (Caroline Louisa Law and Thomas "Tommy" Watson) were their nanny and chauffeur at one time!! :) very special place in our family history!!

Anonymous said...

A more up-to-date link for Stephen Paskin's photos of Favour Royal -

Laurie T said...

Does anyone know if this Estate still for sale?

Thank you,
Laurie Moutray Toft

Anonymous said...

It's sad that this once beautiful estate is now in ruins, with no access provided for those of us who would love to see it as a point of local history interest & for artistic photography. The little stone bridge is now an eyesore, barricaded up with barbed wire, logs and old farm equipment. The main house is being left to rot, and should you attempt access, be warned that you will be chased off the land by a pack of aggressive and intimidating guard dogs. Thoroughly underwhelming, saddening and pointless experience of what must have been a stunning estate in its day, and both sad & selfish of its present day owners to clearly have no regard for this piece of history and the public's interest in it. It is NOT a tourist attraction, so do not waste your time.

Tom B said...

I have memories of visiting favour royal late 70's early 80's as Herbie Craig, the then owner was a family friend. I was 6 or 7 years old when first went so didn't really appreciate it for what it was apart from a big old house. I did sneak onto the grounds 3 years ago for a trip down memory lane but it was boarded up and couldn't access the house itself. Sad to see such a magnificent place in such a state.

Unknown said...

I am from Victoria Australia trying to find relatives of Hercules atkin Moutray who married caroline margreted porty fairy