Thursday, 9 April 2015

Leap Castle

THE FAMILY OF DARBY WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY OFFALY, WITH 4,637 ACRES

JOHN DARBY, son of Edmund Darby, of Gaddesby, Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, was a captain of horse in the Earl of Sussex's army, at the siege of the O'Carroll stronghold of Leim O'Bannon (the Leap of O'Bannon). 

Dying in 1608, he was succeeded by his grandson, 

JONATHAN DARBY, of Leap, County Offaly, High Sheriff, 1674, who left issue, by Deborah his wife,
JONATHAN, his heir;
George;
John;
William;
Mary.
The eldest son,

JONATHAN DARBY, of Leap, living in 1708, left issue, one son and two daughters, viz.
JONATHAN;
Sarah; Mary.
The only son, 

JONATHAN DARBY JP, of Leap, espoused Anna Marie, daughter of Benjamin Frend, of Boskell, County Limerick, and had issue,
JONATHAN, succeeded his father;
George, Vice-Admiral;
Damer, of Dublin;
Japhet;
Anne; Anne; Lucy.
The eldest son,

JONATHAN DARBY (1713-76), of Leap, wedded Susanna, daughter of Jonathan Lovett, of Dromoyle, King's County, and had issue,
JONATHAN;
Robert, 1747-64;
Henry D'Esterre (Sir), KCB, admiral, of Leap Castle;
JOHN, of whom presently;
William Lovett;
Verney;
Christopher, a general in the army;
Edward Hawke;
Sarah.
The fourth son, 

JOHN DARBY (1751-1834), of Marklye, Sussex, and afterwards of Leap Castle, married, in 1784, Anne, daughter of Samuel Vaughan, and had issue,
Jonathan, b 1784, died unmarried;
WILLIAM HENRY, his heir;
Christopher Lovett (Rev);
George, MP for E Sussex;
Horatio D'Esterre;
John Nelson;
Susannah; Sarah; Letitia Lovett.
The eldest surviving son,

WILLIAM HENRY DARBY (1790-1880), of Leap Castle, married firstly, Laura Charlotte, daughter of Edward Jeremiah Curteis, of Windmill Hill, Sussex, leaving issue,
JONATHAN, father of JONATHAN CHARLES;
Mary Charlotte.
He wedded secondly, in 1848, Elizabeth, daughter of W Drought, and left issue,
William Henry;
John Nelson;
Elizabeth Henrietta; Wilhelmina Katharine Anne;
Laura Susan Eleanor; Theodora Lovett; Laura Caroline;
Monica Gertrude; Maude Mary; Anne Vaughan.
Mr W H Darby died in 1880, and was succeeded by his grandson, 

JONATHAN CHARLES DARBY JP DL (1855-1943), of Leap Castle, who wedded, in 1889, Mildred Henrietta Gordon, younger daughter of Dr Richard Dill, of Burgess Hill, and Brighton, both in Sussex; High Sheriff, 1883, and had issue,
Jonathan, died in infancy, 1892;
HORATION GORDON, his successor;
Augusta; Cicily Mildred O'Carroll, b 1895;
Florence Patricia O'Carroll, b 1904.
His only surviving son,

HORATIO GORDON O'CARROLL DARBY (1898-1971), of Shannon Vale, Dromineer, Nenagh, County Tipperary, wedded, in 1926; Irish Guards, 1917-23. His eldest son, 

HORATIO ANTHONY FIONN O'CARROLL DARBY MBE (1927-), Controller of Electricity, Monserrat; lived, in 1973, in Australia.



LEAP CASTLE, near Rosscrea, County Offaly, passed to the Darby family through marriage. It is a 16th century, three-storey tower house, with remains of a Jacobean house constructed to the north.

Leap Castle was altered and enlarged by the Darby Family ca 1760, to include flanking Neo-Gothic two-storey castellated blocks and door surround.

There are roughcast, rendered walls to the tower house with a castellated parapet with bartizans and machicolations.

The castle has a variety of window openings, including limestone pointed-arched twin lights to the tower house and pointed-arched window openings with sandstone sills to the 18th century flanking bays.

A pointed-arched door opening with flanking pointed-arched sidelights to front elevation has a "Batty Langley" style door surround comprising sandstone clustered colonnades and hood mouldings.

The tower-house and flanking bay to the south are in use as a private dwelling; whereas the two and three-storey castellated bays to the north of the tower-house are derelict.

The Darby Family remained at Leap Castle until 1922, when the castle was destroyed and the family moved from the estate.

The Castle lay in ruins until it was bought in the 1980s and it being restored at present.

To study the developments and phases on construction at Leap Castle and associated structures, including the gate lodge and stables, is to study the architectural history of Ireland.

It has been the site of practically continued occupancy since the 16th century with alterations and additions to the Castle during each century.

Leap Castle is a landmark building in the area and, in the past, played an important social and historic role in the region.

The tower-house contributes an archaeological significance to the site; while the striking door surround is of artistic interest.

Leap Castle and associated structures are important features in the architectural heritage of County Offaly.

First published in April, 2013.

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