Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Castle Durrow

THE VISCOUNTS ASHBROOK WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTIES KILKENNY AND OFFALY, WITH 16,768 ACRES


The family of FLORE, or FLOWER, formerly seated at Oakham, Rutland, represented that county in parliament during the reign of RICHARD II, in the person of ROGER FLORE MP, speaker of the House of Commons during the time of HENRY VI, who died in 1427.

The Irish branch was founded by

SIR GEORGE FLOWER, Knight, who, in ELIZABETH I's reign, embracing a military life, was a very active and brave officer against the rebels in Ireland, having command of 100 foot-soldiers in the old army.

In 1601, he was sergeant-major of Her Majesty's army; and thereafter was knighted and appointed governor and constable of Waterford Fort, in 1627; and soon after died.

Sir George was succeeded by his eldest son, 

SIR WILLIAM FLOWER, Knight,  also a military man in service under Lieutenant-General Michael Jones, governor of Dublin, during the Irish rebellion in 1641, and subsequently one of the Privy Council of CHARLES II.

Sir William was born at Whitwell, Rutland, in 1600. During the Irish rebellion, he was seized, in 1648, with other officers, on suspicion of affection to the Marquess of Ormonde (Lord Ormonde was their former general at that time, upon his return to the Kingdom), where they were sent prisoners to England. 

Sir William lived to see the restoration of CHARLES II, to whose first Parliament, In 1661, he was returned as member for Irishtown.

He was made captain of a company of foot and afterwards lieutenant-colonel to GEORGE II's Regiment of Guards, in Ireland.

He was appointed, in 1662, one of the trustees for "Satisfying the Arrears of the Commissioned Officers" who served His Majesty in Ireland before the 5th June, 1649.

He wedded Frances, daughter of Walter Weldon, of St John's Bower, County Kildare, and widow of William Savage, and as succeeded by his eldest son,

THOMAS FLOWER, of Durrow, County Kilkenny, who married, firstly, in 1683, Mary, fourth daughter of Sir John Temple, attorney-general for Ireland, by whom he had one son, WILLIAM; and secondly, Miss Jeffries, by whom he had two other children, Jeffreys and Catherine.

He was succeeded by his elder son,

WILLIAM FLOWER (1685-1746), of Durrow, who represented County Kilkenny in parliament until elevated to the peerage, as Baron Castle Durrow.

His lordship espoused Edith, daughter of the Hon Toby Caulfeild, and had two sons and two daughters.

He was succeeded by his only surviving son,

HENRY, 2nd Baron, who was created VISCOUNT ASHBROOK in 1751.

His lordship married Elizabeth, daughter of Lieutenant-General William Tatton, and dying in 1752, left, with two daughters, a son and successor,

WILLIAM, 2nd Viscount (1744-80), who wedded, in 1766, Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Ridge, by whom he had two sons and four daughters,
WILLIAM, his successor;
HENRY JEFFREY, 4th Viscount;
Harriet; Caroline; Sophia; Elizabeth.
His lordship was succeeded by his elder son,

WILLIAM, 3rd Viscount (1767-1802), at whose decease, unmarried, the honours devolved upon his brother,

HENRY JEFFREY, 4th Viscount (1776-1847), who espoused firstly, in 1802, Susannah, only daughter and heiress of the Rev William Maximilian Freind, and granddaughter and heiress of THOMAS WALKER, of Woodstock, by whom he had issue,
HENRY, his successor;
Caroline; Susannah Sophia.
He married secondly, in 1812, Emily Theophila, daughter of Sir Thomas Metcalfe Bt, and had, by that lady, one surviving daughter, Charlotte Augusta.

Henry Jeffrey Flower, 4th Viscount (1776–1847);
Henry Jeffrey Flower, 5th Viscount (1806–71);
Henry Jeffrey Flower, 6th Viscount (1829–82);
William Spencer Flower, 7th Viscount (1830–1906);
Robert Thomas Flower, 8th Viscount (1836–1919);
Llowarch Robert Flower, 9th Viscount (1870–1936);
Desmond Llowarch Edward Flower, 10th Viscount (1905–95);
Michael Llowarch Warburton Flower, 11th Viscount (b 1935).
The heir apparent is the present holder's son, the Hon Rowland Francis Warburton Flower (b 1975).
The heir apparent's heir apparent is his son Benjamin Warburton Flower (b 2006).


CASTLE DURROW, near Durrow, County Laois, is an early 18th century mansion, with a high-pitched roof and tall chimney-stacks.

It was constructed by Colonel William Flower MP, later 1st Lord Castle Durrow. Colonel Flower commenced with the construction of the manor in 1712.

The Flower family assumed residency of Castle Durrow in 1716.

The house consists of two storeys with a dormered attic in the roof; nine bays, of which the front is divided into three groups of three bays by huge Doric pilasters, formerly crowned with urns (now erected on the porch).


Later generations of the Ashbrooks adorned the house with 18th century plasterwork and 19th century stained-glass.

There is a notable castellated entrance gate in the square of the town of Durrow.

Castle Durrow was sold by the 9th Viscount in 1922.

Subsequently, the property was sold to a Mr Maher of Freshford, County Kilkenny, who was primarily interested in the rich timber reserves of the estate.

By 1928 the old hard wood forests of Durrow were scarce.

Eventually the Irish Land Commission divided up the arable portions of the property, and the forestry department took over many of the woods for further plantation.

During this time Castle Durrow was vacant for a few years.

In 1929, with the Bishop’s approval, the parish of Durrow acquired the estate for the purchase price of £1,800 and Castle Durrow was transformed into a school, St Fintan’s College and Convent.

Peter and Shelley Stokes bought the castle in 1998 and transformed it into a hotel.

Other former seat ~ Beaumont Lodge, Old Windsor, Berkshire.
Present seat ~ Arley Hall, Cheshire.

First published in October, 2012.   Ashbrook arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

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