Saturday, 19 November 2016

Clandeboye House

THE MARQUESSES OF DUFFERIN AND AVA WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY DOWN, WITH 18,238 ACRES

This family is of Scottish origin.

JOHN BLACKWOOD (1591-1663)a gentleman of respectable lineage in Fife, removed to Ulster some time towards the middle of the 17th century, and, having acquired considerable property, settled in County Down.

Of the Scottish family of BLACKWOOD, the celebrated Adam Blackwood (1539-1613), privy counsellor to MARY, Queen of Scots; and the said JOHN BLACKWOOD, of the same house, had his estate in County Down sequestered, in 1687, by JAMES II's parliament, but was restored on the accession of WILLIAM III.

Faithfully and zealously attached to his unhappy mistress, this eminent person published, in 1587, his Martyrdom of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland.

Mr Blackwood married Janet Clerke, and had, with three daughters, a son, JOHN.

He was interred at Bangor Abbey and his grave-stone reads:
HERE LIES [JOHN] BLACKWOOD, MERCHANT, LATE PROVOST OF BANGOR, WHO DEPARTED THIS LYFE THE 22 OF MAY 1663 AND OF AGE 72. HERE LYES A MAN WHO LIV'D OF LATE INTO A FLOORISHING ESTATE YET WAS IT HIS GLORY THAT THERBY HIMSELF HE DID NOT MAGNIFY A SOBER IVST [Just] AND ..... MAN AND THOVGH HIS LIFE WAS BVT A SPAN YET IT SO BLAMELESS WAS THAT HE DESERVES A LASTING MEMORIE.
Mr Blackwood was succeeded by his only son,

JOHN BLACKWOOD, of Ballyleidy, who wedded Anna Wauchope, and had issue,
JOHN;
Isabella; Margaret; Anne.
He died in 1698, and was succeeded by his only son,

JOHN BLACKWOOD, of Ballyleidy, who espoused Ursula, daughter of Robert Hamilton, and had issue,
James, ancestor of Blackwood, later Price, of Saintfield;
ROBERT, of whom hereafter;
Ursula.
Mr Blackwood's younger son,

ROBERT BLACKWOOD (1694-1774), was created a baronet in 1763.

Sir Robert married firstly, in 1721,  Joyce, sister of Joseph, 1st Earl of Milltown, and had issue,
JOHN, his successor;
Leeson;
Margaret.
He wedded secondly, Grace, only daughter of Isaac Macartney, and had issue,
William;
Grace; Dorcas; Sarah; Elizabeth.
Sir Robert was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR JOHN BLACKWOOD,
2nd Baronet (1721-99), MP, who married, in 1751, Dorcas, eldest daughter and heiress of James Stevenson, of Killyleagh, son of Hans Stevenson, of Ballyrott, by Anne his wife, daughter and eventually sole heiress of James Hamilton, of Neillsbrook, County Antrim, nephew of James Hamilton, Viscount Claneboye, father of James, Earl of Clanbrassil, by whom he had issue,
Robert, died unmarried in 1786;
JAMES, his successor;
John, in holy orders;
HANS, succeeded his brother;
Price;
Leeson;
Henry, created a baronet;
Anne; Sophia; Dorcas; Catherine.
Sir John was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

SIR JAMES STEVENSON BLACKWOOD, 3rd Baronet (1755–1836), who inherited the peerage at the decease of his mother, DORCAS, created Baroness Dufferin and Claneboye in 1800, with remainder to her ladyship's male issue by her deceased husband, Sir John Blackwood.

Arms of 5th Baron Dufferin and Clandeboye at Down Cathedral

He espoused, in 1801, Anne Dorothea, only daughter of John, 1st Baron Oriel, but dsp in 1836, and was succeeded by his brother,

HANS, 3rd Baron (1758-1839), who married firstly, in 1784, Mehetabel Hester, second daughter and co-heir of Robert Temple, and had issue,
Robert Temple, killed at Waterloo;
Hans, died unmarried;
PRICE, his successor;
Henrietta.
His lordship wedded secondly, in 1801, Elizabeth, eldest daughter and co-heir of William Henry Finlay, of Gennetts, County Meath, and had issue,
William Stear (Rev), Vicar of Ballinderry;
Henry Stevenson;
Marrianna; Elizabeth Dorcas; Sophia Louisa; Henrietta Catherine; Anne Dorothea.
His lordship died in 1839, and was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

PRICE, 4th Baron (1794-1841), who espoused, in 1825, Helen Selina, daughter of Thomas Sheridan, by whom he had an only son, FREDERICK TEMPLE.

The 4th Baron died suddenly on board the Reindeer steamer, from taking an overdose of morphine, and was succeeded by his son,

FREDERICK TEMPLE (1826-1902), 5th Baron, who was created, in 1871, Earl of Dufferin, and advanced to the dignity of a marquessate, in 1888, as MARQUESS OF DUFFERIN AND AVA.

Barons Dufferin and Claneboye (1800; Reverted):

The heir apparent is the present holder's son, the Hon Francis Blackwood (b 1979).

CLANDEBOYE HOUSE, near Bangor, County Down, stands within one of the finest private estates in Northern Ireland.

Much has already been written about Clandeboye and there is a very good article here by Peter Rankin of the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society.

One of the most extensive examples of Victorian parkland planting in Ulster, the 800-acre parkland was created out of the core of an earlier 18th century designed landscape.

The estate itself comprises about 2,000 acres today.

The demesne was founded in the early 17th century, depicted on Raven’s map of 1625-26.

Formerly known as Ballyleidy, there were several earlier houses near the site of the present mansion, including a modest late 17th century house and a three-storey gable-ended house of ca 1760.


The present mansion house was designed by Robert Woodgate in 1801-04, for James Blackwood, 2nd Baron Dufferin and Claneboye.

It is a conventional two-storey Georgian block in ‘Soanic’ style, with two main façades at right angles to one another; the east façade, being the original entrance front, has seven bays with a pedimented Doric portico.

The formal landscape that accompanied the old 18th century house was swept aside in the early 19th century for a good quality, professionally designed landscape park, possibly the work of John Sutherland (1745-1826).

In the late 1840s Frederick Temple Blackwood, having succeeded his father as 5th Baron Dufferin and Claneboye in 1841, started to undertake alterations to the house, notably by moving the entrance from the south to the west.

The park was re-modelled and expanded very considerably in size, this being in part the work of James Fraser (1793-1863), the best-known exponent of Picturesque landscaping in Victorian Ireland.

Much of the work provided employment in the years after the famine, and involved the closing of the public road, sweeping away surrounding fields and farm buildings and, in their stead, planting new belts, screens and sweeping deciduous woodlands.

Between 1852-62 a number of lakes were created, most notably a great lake with islands to the south and east of the house.

On the west side of the demesne a two-and-a-half-mile avenue was created to provide access to the private family railway station at Helen’s Bay to the north, itself built in baronial style and approached via a splendid turreted arch, both built to designs of Benjamin Ferrey.


On a hill in the southern sector of the park William Burn was commissioned in 1848 to design a castellated tower.

This tower was not completed until 1862 and was named Helen’s Tower by Lord Dufferin, in commemoration of his mother, Helena Selina, a granddaughter of Richard Brinsley Sheridan.

During his extensive postings abroad, exotic trees were brought back and planted in a Pinetum, mentioned by Lord Headfort in 1932 in Conifers in the Parks and Gardens of Ireland.

Today the demesne is a successful and maintained amalgam of woodland, farm and golf course.

The ornamental planting is mainly to the north-east and south-east of the house in the form of different compartments begun at different times.

An 1890s formal terraced garden at the house, incorporating steps, balustrated and terra-cotta vases, is now grassed over; but the 20th century additions are still maintained. These include

The Conservatory Garden, which is an enclosed garden near the house of 1938; Brenda’s Garden – an informal planting in a woodland glen begun in the 1930s and now extending east; and an arboretum that was begun in the 1960s to the north-east of the house.

The former Bear Garden, close to the house, provides the setting for a formal Bee Garden created in the 1980s as the setting for a Bee House which was donated by Colonel Greeves of Altona House.

More recently, in 1990, the Sheridan Garden was created, in memory of the 5th and last Marquess, in a previously laurel-infested woodland setting.

The walled garden is used by Conservation Volunteers and modern glasshouses outside are in use for the house.

Other demesne buildings include the Gothic-Revival private chapel of ca.1890 by Henry Lynn; the gas-works, built ca 1870; classical limestone pedestal memorial at Campo Santo in Tomb Wood to the south-east of the house, ca 1820.
The seven gate lodges, of which six still survive, are: Early Lodge, ca 1830; Inner Lodge, ca 1845; Cloister Lodge, ca 1845; Belfast or Ava Lodge, 1855; Bridge Lodge, ca 1875; and South or Newtownards Lodge, ca 1890.
Following the death of the 5th and last Marquess in 1988, a number of environmental projects and charities at Clandeboye were begun, including the Prince’s Trust and the NI branch of the Woodland Trust, established in 1998 in partnership with the Dufferin Foundation and a link with Kew Gardens.

In the courtyard is Dendron Lodge (Clandeboye Environmental Centre), used by Conservation Volunteers Northern Ireland for meetings, workshops and accommodation.

*****

FOR A fuller history of the family, the Dufferin Papers are held at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland.

The 4th Marquess, who married Maureen Guinness, granddaughter of 1st Earl of Iveagh, was said to have been a gifted young man of extraordinary charm.

Like his grandfather, the 1st Marquess, he combined intellectual, literary and artistic gifts with ambitions in public life.

His death in 1945 while on active service in Burma was a bitter blow to family and friends, including the future Poet Laureate, John Betjeman.

The 5th Marquess thus succeeded to the title aged six. He married his cousin Belinda (Lindy) Guinness at Westminster Abbey in 1964.

The 5th Marquess was survived by one of his sisters, Lady Perdita Blackwood, who lived at Cavallo Farm, near Clandeboye.

The 5th and last Marquess died in 1988 without issue, when Clandeboye passed to his widow Lindy, Marchioness of Dufferin and Ava.

The marquessate is now extinct.

Lady Dufferin inherited a considerable fortune at the time, not least due to the Guinness connection. She also inherited Clandeboye and a London home in Holland Park.

Clandeboye Estate comprises about 2,000 acres of prime Ulster woodland and gardens.

Lady Dufferin has a continuing interest in the Arts and is a keen painter. She is also interested in conservation matters.

Clandeboye Golf Club is now an integral part of the Estate.


There is a memorial to the 1st Marquess in the grounds of Belfast City Hall.

It cost £5,000 in 1906 ~ equivalent to £450,000 today.

I have written an article entitled The Four Great Ulster Marquessates.

First published in June, 2010; revised 2014. Photo credit: Katybird. Dufferin arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

3 comments :

Micaela Morris, Alexandria, Virginia USA said...

Just saw the program here in the US last night and it sparked my interest in the family and the beautiful house.

Frederick Hervey said...

As a youth, long ago, I was informed that the Lady Dufferin occasionally opens the house to visitors from the general public, is there any truth in this ?

Anonymous said...

Our family knew lady pertdida blackwood personally. In the late 60s. And my late brother worked for her as a groomsman.she is a great lady. She used to go coursing with my dad. And she was very good to us back then..when a lot of people did not tolerate irish travellers i remember going to her home. And she used to learn disabled children to ride horses. I hope she is well. And god bless her..kathleen power..