Friday, 4 September 2015

Farnham Estate

THE BARONS FARNHAM WERE THE GREATEST LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY CAVAN, WITH 25,920 ACRES 
This family settled in Ireland during the reign of ELIZABETH I, and is a branch of the Scottish house of MAXWELL, Earls of Nithsdale. 
SIR HERBERT MAXWELL was ancestor of Herbert, created, in 1424, Lord Maxwell, of Caerlaverock, whose descendant, Robert, 10th Lord Maxwell, was created 1620, Earl of Nithsdale. 
Sir John Maxwell, only brother of Herbert, was ancestor of a branch which settled in Ireland during the reign of ELIZABETH I.
THE VERY REV ROBERT MAXWELL, second son of John Maxwell, of Calderwood, in Scotland, went over into Ireland in the latter end of the reign of ELIZABETH I, by command of JAMES VI, in order to secure an interest for His Majesty in that kingdom.

Mr Maxwell was appointed Dean of Armagh, which deanery, together with other considerable church livings, he held till his decease.

He married secondly, Isabella Seton, of the very ancient house of SETON, in Scotland, by whom he had issue,
ROBERT, his heir;
Henry;
James;
Elizabeth; Phoebe.
The Dean's eldest son,

ROBERT MAXWELL, took holy orders, and obtained the degree of Doctor of Divinity from the university of Dublin.

Previously to the rebellion of 1641, Dr Maxwell was rector of Tynan, in the diocese of Armagh, and Archdeacon of Down.

In 1643, he was consecrated Lord Bishop of Kilmore; and in 1661, the episcopal see of Ardagh was granted to him, to hold in commendam with that of Kilmore.

His lordship wedded Margaret, daughter of the Rt Rev Henry Echlin, Lord Bishop of Down and Connor, by whom he had, with five daughters, four sons, namely,
JOHN, who built Farnham House and resided there; d 1713 without issue;
James, of Fellow's Hall, Co Armagh, father of
ROBERT;
Henry, of College Hall, Co Armagh; father of
JOHN, who succeeded his cousin ROBERT in the estates;
William;
The Bishop died in 1672, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN MAXWELL, of Farnham, who died without issue, in 1713, and was succeeded by his nephew,

THE REV ROBERT MAXWELL DD. This gentleman dsp 1737, and was succeeded by his cousin,

JOHN MAXWELL (1687-1759), who represented County Cavan in parliament from 1727 until elevated to the peerage, in 1756, by the title of Baron Farnham.

His lordship wedded, in 1719, Judith, heiress of James Barry, of Newtownbarry, County Wexford, by whom he had issue,
ROBERT and
BARRY, successive peers;
Henry (Most Rev), father of JOHN and HENRY.
The 1st Baron was succeeded by his eldest son,

ROBERT, 2nd Baron (c1720-79), who was created Viscount, in 1761, and EARL OF FARNHAM, in 1763.

His lordship wedded firstly, in 1759, Henrietta, Dowager Countess of Stafford, and sole daughter and heir of Philip Cantillon, by whom he had one daughter,
Henrietta, m, in 1780, Rt Hon Dennis Daly, of Dunsandle, Co Galway.
His lordship espoused secondly, in 1771, Sarah, only daughter of Pole Cosby, of Stradbally Hall, Queen's County, and sister of Lord Sydney; but leaving no male issue at his decease, in 1779, the honours conferred upon himself expired, while the barony devolved upon his brother,

BARRY, 3rd Baron (1723-1800), who obtained a viscountcy and earldom, as Viscount Farnham, in 1780, and EARL OF FARNHAM (2nd creation), in 1785.

His lordship married firstly, in 1751, Margaret, second daughter and co-heir of Robert King, of Drewstown, County Meath, by whom he had a son and two daughters; and secondly, in 1771, Grace, daughter of Arthur Burdet, by whom he had two daughters.

He was succeeded by his only son,

JOHN JAMES, 2nd Earl (1760-1823), who wedded Grace, only daughter of Thomas Cuffe, of Grange, County Kilkenny; but dying without issue, in 1823, the viscountcy and earldom expired, while the barony reverted to his kinsman,

JOHN MAXWELL-BARRY, 5th Baron (1767-1838) [refer to Henry, third son of 1st Baron].

His lordship, who was a privy counsellor, and colonel of the Cavan Militia, married, in 1789, Juliana Lucy, eldest daughter of Arthur, 1st Earl of Mountnorris, but her ladyship died in 1833 without issue.

He was succeeded by his brother,

THE REV HENRY MAXWELL, as 6th Baron (1774-1838), who wedded, in 1798, Lady Anne Butler, eldest daughter of Henry, 2nd Earl of Carrick, by whom he had issue,
HENRY, his heir;
John Barry;
Charles Robert;
Edward William;
James Pierce;
Robert Thomas;
William George;
Sarah Juliana; Harriet Margaret; Anne.
The 6th Baron died within less than a month of his accession to the title, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

HENRY, 7th Baron,
Henry Maxwell, 7th Baron (1799–1868);
Somerset Richard Maxwell, 8th Baron (1803–84);
James Pierce Maxwell, 9th Baron (1813–96);
Somerset Henry Maxwell, 10th Baron (1849–1900);
Arthur Kenlis Maxwell, 11th Baron (1879–1957);
Barry Owen Somerset Maxwell, 12th Baron (1931–2001);
Simon Kenlis Maxwell, 13th Baron (b 1933).

FARNHAM, near Cavan, is one of the largest houses in County Cavan.

The lands were originally granted to the family of Waldron, though some years later the estate was acquired by Bishop Maxwell, whose cathedral was nearby.

The Bishop's son, John Maxwell, built a new house here about 1700, which was improved ca 1780 by Barry, 3rd Baron and 1st Earl of Farnham.

The 1st Earl added a library designed by James Wyatt.

About 1802, the 2nd Earl rebuilt the house, comprising two three-storey ranges at right angles to each other; one of which incorporated Wyatt's library.

It consisted of an eight-bay front, a breakfront, and a single-storey portico.


The other front was of nine bays, with a three-bay pedimented breakfront, prolonged by one bay at the end of the adjoining range.

In 1839, the 7th Baron enlarged Farnham by building new offices.     

It was built ca 1810 and was designed by Francis Johnston, a leading Dublin architect. 

About 1960, Lord Farnham found the house to be infested with dry-rot and demolished the range where the former entrance had been located.

The pedimented front remains the garden front; while the back range is the entrance front, with the portico re-erected at one end of it.

The house was redesigned in the 1970s.


The demesne has long been celebrated for its great beauty, a landscape of woods, panoramic mountain views, lakes; all part of the network of loughs and islands stretching southwards from Upper Lough Erne.

It was sold by the widowed Lady Farnham to Mr Roy McCabe, who purchased the agricultural estate shortly after the demise of the 12th Lord Farnham, in 2001.

The house and estate are now part of a luxury hotel and leisure complex under the Radisson SAS international hotel group. 

Farnham arms courtesy of European Heraldry.  First published in April, 2011.

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