Friday, 26 June 2015

Groomsport House

THE FAMILY OF PERCEVAL-MAXWELL OWNED 8,469 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY DOWN

GEORGE PERCEVAL (1635-75) was the youngest son of Sir Philip Perceval, Knight, the distinguished statesman (great-grandfather of John, 1st Earl of Egmont), by Catherine Usher his wife, daughter of Arthur Usher and granddaughter of Sir William Usher, Clerk of the Council and Registrar of the Prerogative Court, Dublin.

He married Mary, daughter and heir of William Crofton, of Temple House, County Sligo, and by her had issue,
Philip, of Temple House, his heir;
WILLIAM, of whom we treat;
Charles;
Catherine.
George Perceval was drowned near Holyhead, on his voyage to England, with the Earl of Meath and other persons of distinction.

His second son,

THE VERY REV WILLIAM PERCEVAL (1671-1734), Archdeacon of Cashel and Dean of Emly, wedded, in 1708, Catherine, daughter of Henry Prittie, of Silvermines, County Tipperary.

By his wife he left issue,
Kene (Rev), DD, vicar of Powerscourt & Castle Knock;
WILLIAM, of whom presently;
Charles (Rev), rector of Mitchelstown;
Catherine.
The second son,

WILLIAM PERCEVAL (1711-84), barrister-at-law, wedded firstly, in 1838, Elizabeth, daughter of John Croker, of Dublin. She dsp 1739.

He married secondly, in 1748, Elizabeth, daughter of Robert Ward, and by her had issue,
Charles (Rev);
William;
ROBERT, of whom we treat.
The youngest son,

ROBERT PERCEVAL (1756-1839), Physician-General to HM Forces in Ireland during Lord Talbot's viceroyalty, and professor of chemistry at Trinity College, Dublin, espoused, in 1785, Anne, eldest daughter of John Brereton, of Rathgilbert.

He had issue by his wife an only child,

THE REV WILLIAM PERCEVAL (1787-1880), of Kilmore Hill, County Waterford, and Annefield, County Dublin.

Mr Perceval wedded, in 1809, Anne, eldest daughter of John Waring Maxwell, of Finnebrogue, County Down,
descended from a younger son of the Very Rev Robert Maxwell, Dean of Armagh, from whose eldest son, Robert, springs the noble house of FARNHAM.
He died in 1880, having by her had issue,
ROBERT, of Finnebrogue & Groomsport;
John Maxwell, CB (1814-1900), of Dillon House, Downpatrick; a general in the army;
Richard, of Kilmore Hill, Waterford;
Spencer;
William;
Charles Frederick;
Anne Sarah; Maria Dorothea; Caroline; Madelina.
Mr Perceval's eldest son,

ROBERT PERCEVAL-MAXWELL JP DL (1813-1905), of Finnebrogue and Groomsport House, and Moore Hill, County Waterford, wedded, in 1839, Helena Anne, daughter of William Moore, of Moore Hall, County Waterford, son of the Hon William Moore, second brother of the 1st Earl Mount Cashell, and by her had issue,
JOHN WILLIAM, his heir;
William John, of Moore Hill, Tallow;
Robert;
Stephen Richard Nassau;
Henry Spencer;
Mary Elizabeth; Madelina Dorothea;
Helena Anne; Harriette Louisa;
ISABELLA MARIA, of Groomsport House;
ANNA CAROLINE, of Groomsport House;
Alicia Catherine.
He was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN WILLIAM PERCEVAL-MAXWELL (1840-75), of Tyrella House, County Down, High Sheriff of County Down, 1873, who married, in 1868, Selina Frances Imogene, eldest daughter of David Stewart Ker, of Montalto, County Down.

He dvp 1875, leaving issue,
ROBERT DAVID, his successor;
Anna Violet Madelina (1875-1902).
Mr Robert Perceval-Maxwell was succeeded at his decease by his grandson,

LIEUTENANT-COLONEL THE RT HON ROBERT DAVID PERCEVAL-MAXWELL DSO JP DL (1870-1932), of Finnebrogue and Groomsport House, who espoused, in 1895, Edith Grace, daughter of Dr Henry Haswell Head, and by her had issue,
JOHN ROBERT, his heir;
Richard Henry;
Patrick Edward;
Brian Stephen David.
Colonel Perceval-Maxwell was succeeded by his eldest son,

MAJOR JOHN ROBERT PERCEVAL-MAXWELL DL (1896-1963), of Finnebrogue,
a farmer, breeder of Shorthorns and Herefords, and an active figure in the political and cultural life of Northern Ireland. He was a member of both the NI House of Commons and Senate; and from 1945-49 was Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Commerce. He was also a founder member of the NI Regional Committee of the National Trust in 1936 and for a time the NI Government nominee on the Council of the NT in London; DL of County Down in 1935; High Sheriff, 1937.
The Perceval-Maxwell Papers are held at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland.


GROOMSPORT HOUSE, Groomsport, County Down, is a two-storey Victorian mansion of 1849, in the Tudor-Revival style.

It has a high basement, and has been considerably altered and extended since it became a hotel and, thereafter, apartments.

Groomsport House is situated to the east of the village overlooking the sea and the Copeland Islands.

The former porch entrance now forms part of the upper floor; while a section of the basement has been excavated to form an apartment.


The mansion house was designed by James Sands for Robert Perceval-Maxwell.

In Griffith's Valuation (1856-64) it is listed as the residence of Robert Perceval-Maxwell and leased from his uncle, John William Perceval-Maxwell, of Finnebrogue.

The Perceval-Maxwells owned much of the land in and around Groomsport.

James Sands visited the site in 1844.

Freestone was shipped from Glasgow six months later, with the accounts concluding in 1848 at a total sum exceeding £6,000 (about £623,000 in today's money).

In 1870, Robert Perceval-Maxwell became the owner in fee of the property, following his uncle's death in 1869 without issue.

A Tour of North Down carries a photograph of the house with a partial view of the grounds dating from ca 1910.

Robert Perceval-Maxwell's main residence was Finnebrogue, near Downpatrick, during this period.

Two of his grown-up unmarried daughters (see lineage above) continued to live in the house until they died ca 1930.

The house remained unoccupied during the 2nd World War and was used for "secret military work".

In 1951, the Perceval-Maxwell family occupied their home again.

Gavin Perceval-Maxwell restored the house prior to its sale in 1968.

The house was opened as a hotel thereafter, but closed in 1999 and has now been converted into apartments.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

Interesting. Thanks for this!