Sunday, 4 December 2016

Rosslea Manor

THE MADDENS WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY FERMANAGH, WITH 10,498 ACRES

The name MADDEN or O'MADDEN is among those which claim descent from the Milesian colonizers of Ireland.

THOMAS MADDEN, of Bagottsrath, near Dublin, comptroller to Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford, Lord Deputy of Ireland, was eldest son of John Madden, of Bloxham Beauchamp, Oxfordshire, and brother of Robert Madden, of Donore, County Dublin, ancestor of the Maddens of Meadesbrook, and, in the female line, of Oliver Goldsmith, the poet.

He married Elizabeth, heiress of William Pettiver, of Middleton Cheney, Northamptonshire.

This gentleman died in 1640, leaving his eldest son,

JOHN MADDEN (1598-1661), of Maddentown, County Kildare, and Enfield, Middlesex, one of the attorneys of His Majesty's Court of Castle Chamber, and general solicitor for parliamentary sequestrations, 1644-49.

Mr Madden espoused, in 1635, Elizabeth, daughter and co-heiress of Charles Waterhouse, of Manor Waterhouse, County Fermanagh.

He was succeeded by his second son,

DR JOHN MADDEN (1648-1703), of Manor Waterhouse, County Fermanagh,  who wedded firstly, in 1680, Mary, daughter of Samuel Molyneux, of Castle Dillon, County Armagh; and secondly, Frances, daughter of Nicholas Bolton, of Brazeel, County Dublin.

Dr Madden was succeeded by his son (by his first wife),

THE REV SAMUEL MADDEN DD (1686-1765), of Manor Waterhouse, Rector of Newtownbutler, County Fermanagh, who was one of the founders of the Dublin Society, and a great benefactor to his country, known in the family as "Premium Madden".

Dr Madden, who married Jane Magill, of Kirkstown, County Armagh, was succeeded by his third son,

JOHN MADDEN, of Maddenstown, County Monaghan, who wedded, in 1752, Anne, daughter of Robert Cope MP, of Loughgall, County Armagh.

He died in 1791, having had, with four daughters, a son,

SAMUEL MADDEN (1756-1814), of Maddenstown, now Hilton, County Monaghan, Lieutenant-Colonel, Monaghan Militia, who married Katherine, daughter and heiress of the Rev Charles Dudley Ryder, and granddaughter of the Most Rev John Ryder, Lord Archbishop of Tuam.

Colonel Madden left issue,
John, of Hilton Park;
CHARLES DUDLEY, of whom we treat;
Catherine; Anne; Charlotte; Maria Alicia.
Colonel Madden's younger son,

CHARLES DUDLEY MADDEN (1784-1827), Lieutenant, 4th Dragoons, wedded Harriet, daughter of the Rev Michael Baxter; and had issue,
Edward, lieutenant, 1st Dragoons; died at Berne, 1842;
JOHN, of Rosslea Manor;
Harriet, m to the Rev J Gabbett;
Catherine, m to C Ensor.
The eldest surviving son,

JOHN MADDEN JP DL (1819-), of Rosslea Manor, County Fermanagh, High Sheriff, 1848, Lieutenant, 41st Regiment, married, in 1847, Clara Elizabeth, second daughter of the Rev J Spencer Knox (eldest son of the Rt Rev and Hon William Knox, Lord Bishop of Derry), and had issue,
CHARLES DUDLEY, b 1851;
Walter Wilmot, b 1853;
John Beresford, b 1855;
Clara Kathleen; Isobel Christina; Alice Wilmot.

ROSSLEA MANOR or Spring Grove, County Fermanagh, was a Georgian mansion of two storeys over a basement.

It was enlarged and altered in the mid-19th century by John Madden, when a third storey was added as well as a substantial single-storey wing.

This wing contained a dining-hall, which doubled up as a ballroom 90 feet long.

The house was destroyed by accidental fire in 1885.

*****

TODAY the stable-yard is privately owned and well maintained.

The central section is of five bays and two storeys, the central bay breaking forward and surmounted by a bell cote, beneath which is a half-lunette window.

On either side, single-storey extensions, each with a central, tall, square lantern.

On one side of the yard is a two-storey, three-bay house with a large one-storey projection at the front containing the entrance door.

This building is adjacent to the site of the Manor House (now a field within the woods).

The walled garden - interior a jungle - remains: It measures, by estimation, 70 by 150 feet.

Very few trees of interest remain: Three old larch, one now dead; several Irish yew; a monkey puzzle; and a small number of beech and oak.

If there are exotics, they're well hidden.


The Maddens left Rosslea Manor and went to live in Aghafin House, between Clones and Roslea; and they then emigrated to New Zealand where the last of the male line, Ian Beresford Madden, died in Auckland about 2009.  

Two spinster sisters continued living at Aghafin until the last one died in 1942.

Originally the Roslea estate was acquired by the Rev Samuel Madden DD, of Manor Waterhouse, for his fourth son, Edward, who married Charlotte Crichton. 

They had no children and the property was then left to the oldest surviving branch, the Hilton Park Maddens, who subsequently passed it to Colonel Samuel Madden’s second son, Edward’s great- nephew, Charles Dudley Madden.

The late Ian Madden, of Auckland, was a considerable family historian and left diaries, albums and other family records to the Harrowby Manuscript Trust, Sandon Hall, Staffordshire.

Eventually John Madden died in 1903, aged 83.

He is buried in Clogh graveyard.

At his funeral four horses drew the hearse and six chosen Royal Irish Constabulary officers acted as pall-bearers. 

The family lingered on until 1940 when the last local member of the Madden family, Miss Isobel Madden, died.  

The gutted remains of Rosslea Manor were demolished in 1914, what was left being converted for use by the Forestry Service.

The estate remained in the ownership of the Madden family till the 1930s, when some of it was sold; further sales taking place from 1942 onwards.

The stable block survives. The estate at one time boasted ornamental gardens.

Exotic trees still feature and the walled garden is intact. There are stands of mature hardwood.

Part of the importance of this site today is its proximity to Rosslea village.

Woodland walks can be enjoyed along the meandering River Finn.

There were formerly fine views from Island Hill, where stands a ruined garden building.

A Georgian-Gothic gate lodge has since been demolished.

Rosslea Manor belonged to a cadet branch of the family, having been built for the youngest son.

A reader has very kindly sent me further information about the estate, which was surveyed and mapped in 1777. below are observations made at the time:


The Manor of Slutmulrooney is situated four miles north of Clones, a Market Town. It is in general an indifferent tract of ground being for the most part a cold light soil and subject to floods. 

A multitude of lakes and rivulets deriving from the mountains form and empty themselves into one principal river which for want of an adequate fall rises at successive rains and overflows all the adjacent parts. 

The meadowing throughout this Manor is poor, scarce and precarious insomuch that in many farms the cattle are obliged to feed upon oat straw during the winter months.

Husbandry throughout this entire Manor is low and dispirited. Lime tho’ convenient as to its situation is not used here for manure. 


The tenants, some because of the uncertainty of their tenure and others by poverty, are disheartened from attempting the expense of cutting drains which should be deep and numerous. Even where the ground is occupied by the plough, oats are almost the only grain produced. 

In some parts there are small quantities of barley but as for wheat or any species of winter corn they are utterly unknown. 

Tillage is exceedingly tedious and laborious, the Husband-men being by reason of the wetness of the soil forced to substitute the spade for the plough and are also frequently necessitated to cover the seed with a hand rake. 

The rents appear to be chiefly made up by flax and yarn, indeed the inhabitants of the mountains are said to experience some little help from a produce of butter in the summer season.

Mr. Madden has been very active towards the encouragement of agriculture and improvement of the Estate. 


Besides a new road of about three miles which opens up communication with the high road to Clones about five miles distant, he has at a very considerable expense built a bridge over the River. 

The number of bogs in the country are superfluous and they are in general adjoining loughs and their surface rising no higher than that of the water, without any inclination or fall to assist their draining, the reclaiming of them appears impracticable.’

About Spring Grove demesne: ‘Mr. Madden has built an exceeding good house on his demesne with suitable offices, etc. 
The land has at great expense been well improved, planted and divided, being naturally wet, poor and scrubby. It is at this moment however a most agreeable country residence.’

Comments on the deer park: ‘Mr. Madden has enclosed this park at a very great expense with a stone wall. It is entirely pasture or very wet, coarse and poor. It produces only some scrub and bad bottom and is wholly occupied by deer.’
The Maddens live today at their ancestral home, Hilton Park, near Clones, County Monaghan.

The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland has the Madden Papers in its custody.

First published in January, 2010.

3 comments :

Peregrine's Bird Blog said...

I would know Jonny and Lucy Madden pretty well I did two of his daughters weddings. My Uncle is one of his oldest friends.

Lucy wrote a wonderful cookbook involving one item!!

Its called "The Potato Year"

Anonymous said...

I have been told that my Great, Great Grandfather, Bryan Flanagan, of the Townland of Corinshigo, near Roslea, was the stonemason for the walls that were built around Spring Hill, including the walled garden. He also did much of the stonework on St. Tierney's Church, Roslea.

Anonymous said...

The old Ordnance Survey map shows that it had wonderful gardens, plantings and a School House on the 'Spring Mount'! See - http://maps.osi.ie/publicviewer/#V1,653965,831296,6,8 VC