Sunday, 18 December 2016

1st Earl of Strafford

THE EARLS OF STRAFFORD WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY LONDONDERRY, WITH 7,647 ACRES

This is a branch of the family of BYNG, Viscounts Torrington.

THE HON ROBERT BYNG (1703-40), third son of George, 1st Viscount Torrington, MP for Plymouth, one of the commissioners of the Navy and afterwards governor of Barbados, married Elizabeth, daughter of Jonathan Forward, and had issue,
GEORGE, his successor;
Robert, smothered in the Black Hole of Calcutta, 1756;
John, died 1764.
The eldest son and heir,

GEORGE BYNG (1735-89), of Wrotham Park, MP for Middlesex, wedded, in 1761, Anne, daughter of the Rt Hon William Conolly, of Castletown, in Ireland (by the Lady Anne, his wife, eldest daughter of Thomas Wentworth, EARL OF STRAFFORD (2nd creation), and co-heir of her brother William, 2nd Earl), and had issue,
George, of Wrotham Park, MP for Middlesex;
Robert;
JOHN, of whom we treat;
Anne Elizabeth; Caroline; Frances.
Mr Byng's third son,

FIELD MARSHAL THE RT HON SIR JOHN BYNG GCB GCH (1772-1860), of 6 Portman Square, London, and Bellaghy, County Londonderry, inherited the significant Bellaghy estate through his mother Anne.

Sir John was one of the most distinguished commanders in the Peninsular war.

He entered the Army in 1793, and took a leading and brilliant part in the battles of the Peninsula, and at Waterloo.

He twice received the thanks of Parliament for his services in the Peninsula and at the battle of Waterloo; and from the Crown an honourable augmentation of his arms.

In 1828, Sir John was appointed Commander-in-Chief, Ireland, and appointed to the privy council of Ireland the same year.


After leaving Ireland in 1831, he was appointed GCB and turned his attention to politics, being elected MP for Poole, Dorset, a seat he held until he was elevated to the peerage as Baron Strafford in 1835.

In 1841, he was promoted to General.

Lord Strafford was further advanced to the dignity of an earldom, as EARL OF STRAFFORD (3rd creation) and Viscount Enfield, in 1843; and inherited Wrotham Park from his eldest brother in 1847.

In 1855, His lordship was further promoted to the highest military rank of Field Marshal.

Lord Stafford's Bellaghy estate included Dreenan along with most of Lavey, Bellaghy, Greenlough and parts of Maghera, including Fallagloon.

The Vintners' Company was associated with the other City Companies in JAMES I's scheme for the plantation of Ulster.

It owned estates known as Vintners' Manor, or Bellaghy, until 1737, when it sold them, subject to an annual rent charge of £200 and "a brace of good bucks."

The Vintners held in excess of 32,000 acres in County Londonderry.

This area of land stretched from Lough Beg in the south, to outside Maghera in the north, the rivers Bann and Moyola being part of its eastern and western boundaries.

The Manor of Vintners, commonly called the Bellaghy Estate, comprised fifty townlands, the most distant of which was seven miles from the village of Bellaghy, where the manor court was held.

The Conolly Papers state that

The third major component of the Conolly estate, the Vintners proportion, resembled the Limavady estate in that it was freehold and was acquired outright (subject only to a chief rent of £200 a year).

It was centred on the village of Bellaghy, and was bounded on the north by the Mercers proportion; on the south by Lough Beg; on the west by the barony of Keenaght; and on the east by County Antrim. 

The lessees prior to Speaker Conolly were the 2nd and 3rd Viscounts Massereene, to whom the Vintners had granted a 61-year lease in 1673, subsequently extended by about ten years. Conolly seems to have bought the Massereene lease, possibly in 1718.

It was devised to four parties, represented by Lords Strafford, Clancarty, Lothian, and Colonel Connolly [sic], as tenants in common.

In 1929, under the Northern Ireland Land Act, the Bellaghy Estate, which at that time belonged to Lord Deramore, the Hon Millicent Valla Alexander (wife of the H C Alexander DSO) and Alice, Dowager Countess of Strafford (widow of 3rd Earl), was sold to its tenants.

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

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