Tuesday, 1 January 2019

The Barbour Baronetcy

THE BARBOUR BARONETCY WAS CREATED IN 1943 FOR THE RT HON JOHN MILNE BARBOUR JP DL MP

JOHN BARBOUR (1755-1825), of The Plantation, Lisburn, appointed Honorary Freeman of the borough of Paisley, 1811, married and had issue,

WILLIAM BARBOUR JP (1798-1875), of Hilden, Lisburn, who wedded Elizabeth Kennedy, of Grove Green, Lisburn, and was father of

JOHN DOUGHERTY BARBOUR JP DL (1824-1901), of Conway, Dunmurry, County Antrim, Hilden, Leamington, Warwickshire, and Wrentnall, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, who espoused, in 1864, Elizabeth Law, eldest daughter of John Milne, of Trinity Grove, Edinburgh.

The eldest son,

THE RT HON JOHN MILNE BARBOUR JP DL MP (1868-1951), of Hilden, County Antrim, was created a baronet in 1943, denominated of Hilden, County Antrim.

Sir Milne was appointed a Privy Counsellor (NI) in 1925.
His father was Chairman of the William Barbour Linen Thread Company of Hilden, the largest linen thread manufacturers in the world for over twenty years; Sir Milne succeeded his father as Chairman for a further thirty years.
In 1899 Sir Milne married Elise Barbour, a distant cousin from the USA.

Lady Barbour was born in Paterson, New Jersey, USA in 1873 and died at Conway House, Dunmurry, in 1910.

In her short life she had three daughters and one son, John, who went missing when flying home over the Irish Sea one weekend just before the 2nd World War in 1937.

John worked at the Barbour factory in Glasgow and flew home most weekends.

Sir Milne's sister, Helen, married Thomas Andrews, the designer of RMS Titanic, who was drowned when the ship hit an iceberg and sank in 1912.

She later married Henry Harland of Harland & Wolff.

As an MP at Stormont, Sir Milne held various Ministries including Commerce (1925-41) and Finance (1941-43).

As well as being Chairman of the largest linen thread company in the world, whose head office was at Lisburn, the company had factories in Glasgow, Paisley and other places.

He was also Chairman of various other businesses including Insurance Companies, and was President of the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society.

Sir Milne was a keen freemason, being appointed Grand King of the Supreme Royal Arch Chapter of Ireland in 1933.


HILDEN HOUSE, near Lisburn, County Antrim, a five bay, two storey, late Georgian house, with side elevations, dates from 1824, and underwent minor remodelling ca 1850.

John Barbour arrived in Ireland in the late 18th century, from Scotland, and established a thread factory at the Plantation.

In 1824 his son William bought the former bleach green at Hilden and built a thread factory.

The premises are said to have belonged to the DE LA CHEROIS family, Huguenots who had fled religious persecution in France in the 1680s, and assisted in the development of the linen industry in the Lisburn area.

The home that the De La Cherois' had built was falling into decay, and William Barbour erected a new house next to his thriving business.

He took up residence in 1824 with his wife, Eliza Kennedy, and they brought up their large family (said to be fifteen children) in the house.

The Ordnance Survey Memoirs of the time remarked that,
"The house is a very commodious, square building, two storeys high and slated. 
The yards are well enclosed, the offices extensive, all slated and chiefly two storeys high. 
The garden, containing about two English acres, is enclosed by a stone and lime wall about 12 feet high and well stocked with fruit trees. 
It is tastefully laid off in every particular and contains a handsome glass-roofed greenhouse, where good grape and a variety of cape flowers are annually reared and other glasshouses or hot beds for melons. 
It also contains a sundial, a good garden house, a good metal pump and water engine for watering the garden."
Various outbuildings included a ware-room and workshop, store and workshop, offices, byre, storehouse and workshop, and a porter’s lodge.

A garden house and piggery were also listed.

The nearby thread mill was also on his property.

Hilden was leased from the landlord, Lord Hertford.

Some improvements were undertaken during the 1850s, including the addition of a porch and a new doorway to the front facade, four outbuildings and a lodge.

By 1875 Hilden House has passed to John Dougherty Barbour, who had taken over the firm with his two brothers, Robert and Thomas.

The lessor was now Lord Hertford's son, Sir Richard Wallace, 1st (and last) Baronet.

During the early part of the 20th century Hilden House was occupied by the brothers' sister, Maria Pirrie, and subsequently her sons Malcolm and William Gordon, who were both involved in the Barbour company.

The outbuildings have been converted into the Hilden Brewery.

Conway House
Conway House, Dunmurry, was another residence of the extended Barbour family, very generous benefactors to charities.

It became a hotel after Sir Milne Barbour's death in 1951, and has since been demolished.

The Barbours were connected to many local families, including the Harlands and Pirries of Harland and Wolff; the Duffins of Danesfort; the Andrews' of Comber; the McCances of Woodburn; the Gordons of Lisburn; and the Carsons of Cherryvalley, whose daughter Kerry married Dr Ian Adamson, a former Lord Mayor of Belfast.

The paving, in Irish marble, of the central aisle in the nave of Belfast Cathedral was laid in memory of Elise, Lady Barbour, by her husband, Sir Milne, and their children.

First published in May, 2010.

1 comment :

james hamilton garside said...

My great uncle Flying Officer Ronald Garside married Louise Harland at Conway House- her uncle Sir Milne Barbour's estate- in 1947. Her mother was widow of Thomas Andrews- designer of Titanic- before remarrying Henry Pierson Harland.