Monday, 31 August 2015

Mayoral Occupants


MY FASCINATION with the history of the city of Belfast's Rolls-Royce Phantom VI continues.

The following Lord Mayors enjoyed the privilege of being conveyed in that stately limousine:-


1966-69     William Duncan Geddis,
Studied at Skerries College in Belfast before becoming a clothing manufacturer; elected to the Belfast Corporation for the Ulster Unionist Party; Lord Mayor, 1966-69.
1969-72     Joseph Foster Cairns,
Managing director of a furniture retailer, and chairman of a development company; elected to the Belfast Corporation for the Ulster Unionist Party; Lord Mayor, 1969-71.
1972-75     Sir William Christie MBE JP,
Proprietor of a wallpaper company in Belfast; Lord Mayor, 1972-75. During this time his home and business were attacked several times, and his wife survived a gunshot to the head in 1972. 
His time in office coincided with the suspension of the Parliament of Northern Ireland, and he was therefore the first Lord Mayor since John White in 1920 not to serve as an ex-officio member of the NI Senate. He retired in 1977.
1975-77     Sir Myles Humphreys JP DL,
Ulster Unionist Party politician, engineer and businessman; Lord Mayor, 1975-77; chaired the NI Police Authority for a decade. Sir Myles appears to have been the last Belfast Lord Mayor to be knighted.
1977-78     James Stewart.

1978-79     David Somerville Cook,
solicitor, eventually becoming a senior partner at Sheldon and Stewart Solicitors; founder member, Alliance Party of Northern Ireland; Belfast City Councillor, 1973-85. 
In 1978, he became the first non-unionist Lord Mayor since partition (the pro-home rule Liberal, William James Pirrie, having held the post in the 1890s); Deputy Leader of the Alliance Party, 1980-84. 
The Vice Lord-Lieutenant of County Down is presently Mrs Fionnuala Cook OBE DL.
First published in August, 2012. 

The Plain Loaf


Here is a loaf of bread which is a perennial favourite of mine: Irwin's Nutty Krust high-fibre plain bread.

It toasts very well indeed. I turn the toaster up several notches.

It does have a tendency occasionally to be misshapen upon purchase, which necessitates trimming the edges a little for insertion into the toaster.

No matter. The lucky birds get my crumbs.


The plain loaf  is a traditional Ulster-Scots style of loaf. It has a dark, well-fired crust on the top and bottom of the bread.

There is no crust on the sides due to the unbaked loaves being stuck together in batches, baked together then torn into individual loaves afterwards.

This style of bread does not fit well in most modern toasters due to the greater height of the loaf. This was once the more widely available style of loaf in comparison to the now more common pan loaf.

Irwin's bakery is based at Portadown in County Armagh.

First published in November, 2012.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Tynan Abbey


TYNAN ABBEY, County Armagh, was built in 1750 and enlarged in the Tudor-Gothic style around 1820-30.


It had an imposing two-storey entrance front, battlemented and pinnacled; a battlemented central tower and doorway too, with pointed Gothic windows.

Photo credit: Stuart Blakely

The Rt Hon Sir Norman Stronge, 8th Baronet, MC JP, and his only son, James, were murdered by the IRA in the Abbey, which was burnt to the ground, in 1981.

I have written about the Stronge Baronets elsewhere on this blog.

Photo credit: Stuart Blakely

Originally the estate extended to some 8,000 acres. 

The late Douglas Deane OBE recalled the 8th Baronet's passion for wildlife at Tynan Abbey:
He went to live and farm at Tynan Abbey in 1928 and always his interest was in wild things; often he told me about the wildfowl which visited the lake in winter; the groups of Bewick swans; the flocks of white-fronted geese...

...he showed me an incubating woodcock, hidden in a pool of brown leaves by the edge of the main drive at Tynan and told me that his gamekeeper had seen a woodcock carry one of its young, held between its legs, from an open patch in the woods in to cover; and many times had watched a woodcock feed its young in the same fashion as pigeons.

Every year Sir Norman would invite me to Tynan to see the azaleas in colour and the seas of bluebells in the woods and always there was talk of butterflies, painted ladies, peacock and the rest. Sir Norman was the envy of his friends, being an excellent shot.

He would often finish a day's shooting with close to 200 pigeons...his cousin, Sir Basil Brooke [1st Viscount Brookeborough], had the edge on him and always seemed to finish the day with more.
First published in September, 2013. 

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Strand Hotel, Portstewart

I am seeking photographs of the Strand Hotel, Portstewart, if any readers can share them with me.

Wodehouse Gems: II

Stiff Upper Lip Jeeves by Sir P G Wodehouse, KBE, published  in 1963


Bertie Wooster's arch-adversary, Roderick Spode, Earl of Sidcup, features heavily in this book.

Spode, as Bertie calls him, is a character we all love to hate.

Here is one of my favourite passages that always makes me laugh:-

'...Spode pivoted round and gave me a penetrating look. He had grown a bit, I noticed, since I had last seen him, being now about nine foot seven. ...I had compared him to a gorilla, and what I had had in mind had been the ordinary run-of-the-mill gorilla, not the large economy size'. 

...'To ease the strain, I asked him if he would have a cucumber sandwich, but with an impassioned gesture he indicated that he was not in the market for cucumber sandwiches..."a muffin?" 


No, not a muffin, either. He seemed to be on a diet.

"Wooster", he said, his jaw muscles moving freely, "I can't make up my mind whether to break your neck or not."

And so on. Wodehouse's command of the English language was supreme. Brilliant.

Wodehouse's character, Spode, is believed to be modelled on the war-time fascist leader, Sir Oswald Mosley Bt.

The Mosleys had a connection with Staffordshire, the county where Spode pottery is made; hence the Spode name.

First published in March, 2009.

Friday, 28 August 2015

The Bateson Baronetcy

THE BATESON  BARONETCY, OF BELVOIR PARK, WAS CREATED IN 1818 FOR THE POLITICIAN ROBERT BATESON

This family is descended from

THOMAS BATESON, who resided upon his family estates in Garstang, Lancashire.

He died in 1603, leaving two sons, Robert and Gilbert, and a daughter, Margaret.

The eldest son,

ROBERT BATESON, died in 1663, and was succeeded by his only son,

ROBERT BATESON, who had two sons,
THOMASof whom presently;
Richard, ancestor of the BATESON-HARVEY BARONETS.
THOMAS BATESON succeeded his father in the Lancashire estates, but disposing soon afterwards of those, he removed to Ulster, and settled at Orangefield House, Knockbreda, County Down.

He also purchased the Salters' Estate, Magherafelt, County Londonderry, and Moira Demesne.
 

Thomas Bateson was a partner in the firm Mussenden, Bateson and Company, wine merchants, in Winecellar Court, Belfast, with trading links to the West Indies.

His firm imported wine and rum. Benn (1880) also notes that, in 1752, Bateson was one of three founding partners of Belfast’s first bank, Mussenden, Adair and Bateson. Like many successful merchants, he invested in land, acquiring property at Magherafelt and Moira.

Bateson acquired a leasehold interest in Orangefield, in the parish of Knockbreda, for the term of twenty-one years, where he lived.
He wedded, in 1747, Margaret, daughter and co-heiress of of Mr White, of White Hall, County Antrim, and widow of William Hartley, of Dublin.

By his wife he had issue,
THOMASof whom we treat;
Richard, died unmarried;
William, died unmarried;
Janein 1782, J Dunne, KC;
Francesin 1805, Hans Mark Hamill, of Co Down.
Mr Bateson died in 1791, and was succeeded by his eldest son, 

THOMAS BATESON (1752-1811), who married Elizabeth, youngest daughter of  George Lloyd FRS, of Hulme Hall, Lancashire, by Susanna, sister of Sir William Horton Bt, of Chadderton, Lancashire, and had an only son,

ROBERT BATESON (1782-1863), of Belvoir Park and Moira Park, both in County Down, who succeeded to the family estates, at the demise of his father, in 1811.

This gentleman was created a baronet in 1818.

He married, in 1811, Catherine, youngest daughter of Samuel Dickinson, of Ballynaguile, County Limerick, and had issue,
ROBERT, MP, (1816-43);
THOMAS, his successor;
Samuel;
George;
Stephen;
Richard;
John;
Maria Catherine; Elizabeth Honoria.
Sir Robert was succeeded by his second son,

SIR THOMAS (1819-90), 2nd Baronet, DL, MP, who was elevated to the peerage, in 1885, by the title of BARON DERAMORE, of Belvoir, County Down;
Captain in the 13th Light Dragoons; a DL; MP for Londonderry, 1844-57; MP for Devizes, 1864-85; junior Lord of the Treasury, 1852.
His lordship married, in 1849, Caroline Elizabeth Anne, second daughter and co-heiress of George, 4th Baron Dynevor, by whom he had issue,
Eva Frances Caroline, to D A Kerr, of Montalto;
Kathleen Mary, to W A Farquhar.
The 1st Baron died without male issue, when the titles devolved upon his surviving brother,

GEORGE WILLIAM, 2nd Baron (1823-93), who married Mary Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of George John de Yarburgh, of Heslington Hall, Yorkshire, and assumed in 1876, by Royal licence, the additional surname of DE YARBURGH.

In 1892, Lord Deramore assumed the surname of BATESON after, instead of before, that of DE YARBURGH.

By his wife he had issue,
ROBERT WILFRED, his successor;
GEORGE NICHOLAS, succeeded his brother as 4th Baron;
Eustace;
Mary; Katherine Hylda.
He was succeeded by his eldest son,

ROBERT WILFRID, 3rd Baron (1865-1936), Lord-Lieutenant of the East Riding of Yorkshire, 1924-36, who espoused firstly, in 1897, Caroline Lucy, eldest daughter of Henry William Fife, of Lee Hall, Northumberland, by whom he had an only child,
Moira Faith Lilian.
He married secondly, in 1907, Blanche Violet, eldest daughter of Colonel Philip Saltmarshe, of Daresbury House, Yorkshire.

His lordship died without male issue, when the family honours devolved upon his brother,

GEORGE NICHOLAS, 4th Baron (1870-1943), who wedded, in 1900, Muriel Katherine, third daughter and co-heiress of Arthur Duncombe, MP, and by her had issue,
STEPHEN NICHOLAS, his successor;
Richard Arthur;
Judith Katherine.
His lordship was succeeded by his elder son,

STEPHEN NICHOLAS (1903-64), 5th Baron, who wedded, in 1929, Nina Marion, eldest daughter of Alistair Macpherson-Grant, and by her had an only child,
Jane Faith.
The 5th Baron died without male issue and was succeeded by his brother,

RICHARD ARTHUR (1911-2006), 6th Baron, who espoused, in 1948, Janet Mary, daughter of Dr John Ware, and by her had an only child,

THE HON ANNE KATHERINE DE YARBURGH-BATESON, who married, in 1982, Jonathan Henry Maconchy Peel, of Buckinghamshire, and has issue.

The Barony and Baronetcy both expired following the death of the 6th Baron in 2006.

I have written about Belvoir House and Moira Castle elsewhere on this blog.

By kind permission of the Royal Irish Academy © RIA. Click to enlarge

In 1800, the Moira Demesne was purchased by the family of Sir Robert Bateson. Bateson was MP for County Londonderry.

Since the Batsons resided at Belvoir, it is likely that Moira Castle was a ruin by this time.

The Bateson family built Moira's Market House in 1810 and their crest (top) is prominent on the building.

The Salters' Company's Irish estate, also known as the 'Manor of Sal', was originally granted in 1618.

It consisted of 23,250 acres (55 townlands) bordered in the east by Lough Neagh, in the south by County Tyrone, and in the north and west by the lands of the Vintners' and the Drapers' Companies respectively.

It was the most densely forested of all the proportions.

In 1744, the lease was bought by the Belfast merchant, Thomas Bateson, who hoped to foster the spread of the linen industry throughout the Magherafelt area. 

The tide of emigration to America coupled with the fact that he was unable to grant long leases to tenants, however, meant that these plans were never completely fulfilled. 

After 1786, Bateson held the lease in partnership with Robert Stewart (later Lord Londonderry), and together they initiated various improvements to the estate including the drainage of land and the construction of new public buildings.

Belvoir House: West Front

The Batesons' main family seat became Belvoir Park, Newtownbreda, in County Down, having moved from the neighbouring Orangefield demesne. 

Robert Bateson paid £39,000 for the property in 1811, equivalent to almost £2.4 million in today's money. Prior to this they had resided at Orangefield House, also near Belfast. 

The Family of Thomas Bateson Esq. (1705-91); photo credit: National Museums Northern Ireland

There is an oil-painting of the Bateson family posing in their drawing-room at Orangefield House in the Ulster Museum.

The family association with Belvoir remained from ca 1811 until the 1st Baron's death in 1890 by which time the de Yarburgh-Batesons had removed to Heslington Hall.

In 1876 the Belvoir Estate comprised 6,348 acres. 

First published in November, 2010.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Portstewart Revisited

It's a mere hop, skip and jump by car from Portballintrae in County Antrim to Portstewart in County Londonderry.

Portstewart is, perhaps, the slightly more sedate neighbour of Portrush, a mile or two along the Causeway Coast.

I parked on the Promenade and proceeded to walk to the main beach, viz. Portstewart Strand, a property of the National Trust.

En route, I passed the site (top) of the Strand Hotel.


Do any readers possess photographs of the Strand Hotel, by the way?

The site is directly opposite the golf links. The hotel was demolished about 1991, I gather.

My parents stayed there in 1958; and We Three stayed there six years later, in 1964, when I was four.


The original steps down to the beach remain, however.


Across the beach is Harry's Shack, a new beach restaurant which has become very well established.


The ecological roof is notable.

Portballintrae: III

I motored the short distance from Portballintrae to Portrush yesterday evening, in order to have some grub at the legendary Ramore wine-bar, at Portrush harbour, County Antrim.

Be advised that parking is difficult here, though, having driven round the block twice, I was fortunate enough to drive into a space somebody was just vacating.

The wine bar was as busy - buzzing - as ever.

I was shown to a high table and stool within five minutes, though.

Their system is proven and works very well: one is shown to a table; given a menu; order up at the bar counter; provide table number and pay.

Thereafter you wait until your name or number is called.

I had the Seafood Thermidor, comprising a kind of luxurious fish-pie of lobster, cod, prawns, turbot etc, with piped potato and tomato slices on a rich lobster Thermidor sauce.

It was sumptuous and filling; no need for any side orders.

In fact, I was so satisfied afterwards that I had no room for the tempting puddings on offer.

Had I not been dining solo, I could have shared a dessert.

What a remarkable establishment Ramore is.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Portballintrae: II

The roof was firmly attached to the Belmont two-seater this morning for my visit to Portrush, the popular seaside resort on the County Antrim coast.

I parked at the East Strand car-park and thereafter walked towards the town centre.

I enjoyed a pot of tea in The White House department store on the main street.

This compact store has a very good culinary department on the ground floor; and their café is renowned for its high standards.

I also paid a brief visit the Holy Trinity parish church, just across the road, which dates from about 1842.

Portrush was, unsurprisingly, quiet today due to particularly heavy rain.

I was brandishing the holiday umbrella.

This afternoon I'm installed comfortably in the Bushmills Inn, having a quiet alcohol-free lager and about to peruse my Daily Telegraph.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Portballintrae: I


The little seaside resort of Portballintrae is as popular as ever.


It lies on the north coast of County Antrim, about a mile from Bushmills.

After I'd unpacked, I felt like paying my old acquaintance, Con Auld, a visit.

During the summer months he lives at his Portbradden home (top).


His tiny church, St Gobban's, was closed, so unfortunately he wasn't at home.


I'm presently in the Causeway Hotel, where I've had a light meal.

Adare Manor

THE EARLS OF DUNRAVEN AND MOUNT-EARL WERE THE SECOND LARGEST LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY LIMERICK, WITH 14,298 ACRES

The descent of the Earls of Dunraven from the ancient Milesian princes is certified by the recognition of the pedigree of their ancestor, Thady Quin, of Adare, in a record entered in Ulster King-of-Arms' office by Sir Richard Carney, Knight, Ulster King-of-Arms in 1688.

Con Cead Caha, or Con of the Hundred Battles, described by genealogists as monarch in Ireland in the 2nd century, is represented as the founder of the family of QUIN; his grandson, Cormac, who is said to have reigned in AD 254, was the first who adopted the surname of QUIN, which signifies a descendant of Con.

The family certainly possessed large territories in Ireland, and governed as hereditary chieftains, before the invasion of the English in the reign of HENRY II.

The Earls of Dunraven descended from a branch which for many centuries possessed great feudal power in County Clare, whence their ancestors were finally expelled by the more powerful family of O'Brien, and settled in County Limerick.

JAMES QUIN, of Kilmallock, County Limerick (whose brother, John Quin, a Dominican friar, was Bishop of Limerick in 1521), had a son,

DONOUGH QUIN, who was father of

DONOUGH QUIN, who married Judith, heiress of the family of O'Riordan, which had been settled for more than five centuries in County Limerick.

He died in 1621, leaving a son,

THADY QUIN (1645-1726), of Adare, who wedded firstly, Bridget, daughter and heir of Andrew Rice, of Dingle, County Kerry; and secondly, Frances, daughter of Major Hull, son of Sir William Hull, Knight; and thirdly, Catherine, daughter of Piers Morony.

By his last wife he had issue,
VALENTINE, his heir;
John;
James;
Catherine; Eleanor; Judith.
Thady Quin was succeeded by his son,

VALENTINE QUIN, of Adare, who espoused Mary, eldest daughter and co-heir of Henry Widenham, of The Court, County Limerick, and had issue,
WYNDHAM, his heir;
George, of Quinsborough;
Mary; Margaret; Alice; Catharine; Anne.
Mr Quin died in 1744, and was succeeded by his elder son,

WYNDHAM QUIN MP (1717-89), of Adare, who married, in 1748, Frances, daughter of Richard Dawson, of Dawson's Grove, County Monaghan, by whom he had issue,
VALENTINE RICHARD, his successor;
Wyndham, lt-col in the army;
John, in holy orders;
Elizabeth; Mary; Catherine; Frances.
Mr Quin's eldest son,

VALENTINE RICHARD QUIN (1732–1824), was created a baronet in 1781; and raised to the peerage, in 1800, as Baron Adare.

His lordship was advanced to a viscountcy, in 1816, as Viscount Mount Earl; and created Viscount Adare and EARL OF DUNRAVEN AND MOUNT EARL in 1822.

He wedded firstly, in 1777, Frances, daughter of Stephen, 1st Earl of Ilchester, by whom he had issue,
WYNDHAM HENRY, his successor;
Richard George;
Elizabeth; Harriett.
His lordship espoused secondly, Mrs Blennerhasset, widow of Colonel Blennerhasset, by whom he had no issue.

His lordship was succeeded by his elder son,

WYNDHAM HENRY, 2nd Earl,
Windham Henry Quin, 2nd Earl (1782–1850);
Edwin Richard Wyndham-Quin, 3rd Earl (1812–71);
Windham Thomas Wyndham-Quin, 4th Earl (1841–1926);
Windham Henry Wyndham-Quin, 5th Earl (1857–1952);
Richard Southwell Windham Robert Wyndham-Quin, 6th Earl (1887–1965);
Thady Windham Thomas Wyndham-Quin, 7th Earl (1939–2011).
Unable to bear the expense of maintaining Adare Manor, sold it and its contents in 1984. The house was purchased by Irish-American businessman Tom Kane and converted into the Adare Manor Hotel.


Adare Manor was originally a two-storey, seven-bay early 18th century house, most likely built about 1725 by Valentine Quin, grandfather of the 1st Earl of Dunraven.

From 1832, the 2nd Earl, started rebuilding the house in the Tudor-Revival style as a way of occupying himself (his wife was handicapped).


When the house was almost completed in 1846, A W Pugin was commissioned to design some features of the Great Hall.

Between 1850-62, the 3rd Earl finally completed the mansion by building the principal garden front.

The Great Hall is a room of vast size and height, divided down the middle by a screen of giant Gothic arches of stone.

A carved oak Minstrels' Gallery runs along one side; originally there was once an organ loft.

Mark Bence-Jones states that Adare Manor, as completed, is a picturesque and grey stone pile, composed of various elements that are rather loosely tied together; some of which are reproduced from Tudor originals in England. viz. the entrance tower, bearing a verisimilitude to the Cloister Court at Eton College.

The Long Gallery above is 132 feet long and 26 feet in height.

The house is set on a 840-acre estate and now operates as a luxury hotel, featuring the Adare Golf Club, Elemis Treatment Rooms, Townhouses and Villas on the rest of the resort.

President Clinton stayed at Adare Manor in September, 1998.

Dunraven arms courtesy of European Heraldry.   First published in August, 2011.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Huntley House

THE FAMILY OF CHARLEY OWNED 348 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY ANTRIM

The family of Charley, or Chorley, passing over from the north of England, settled in Ulster in the 17th century, firstly at Belfast, where they were owners of house property for two hundred years; and afterwards at Finaghy, County Antrim, where  

RALPH CHARLEY (1664-1746), of Finaghy House, had a son,  

JOHN CHARLEY (1712-93), of Finaghy, who left a son and successor,

JOHN CHARLEY (1744-1812), of Finaghy House, who married, in 1783, Anne Jane, daughter of Richard Wolfenden, of Harmony Hill, County Down, and had issue,

JOHN, of Finaghy House 1784-1844, died unm;
MATTHEW, of Finaghy House;
WILLIAM, of Seymour Hill.
The third son,

WILLIAM CHARLEY, of Seymour Hill, Dunmurry, married, in 1817, Isabella, eldest daughter of William Hunter JP, of Dunmurry, and died in 1838, having had issue,
JOHN, of Seymour Hill;
WILLIAM, succeeded his brother;
Edward, of Conway House;
Mary; Anne Jane; Eliza; Isabella; Emily.
The eldest son,

JOHN CHARLEY, of Seymour Hill, died unmarried in 1843, aged 25, and was succeeded by his brother, 

WILLIAM CHARLEY JP DL (1826-1904), of Seymour Hill, who married, in 1856, Ellen Anna Matilda, daughter of Edward Johnson JP, of Ballymacash, near Lisburn, and granddaughter of Rev Philip Johnson JP DL, and had issue,

William, 1857-1904;
EDWARD JOHNSON, of Seymour Hill;
John George Stewart, 1863-86;
Thomas Henry FitzWilliam, 1866-85;
Arthur Frederick, of Mossvale, b 1870;
Harold Richard;
Ellen Frances Isabella; Elizabeth Mary Florence;
Emily Constance Jane; Wilhelmina Maud Isabel.
The second son,

EDWARD JOHNSON CHARLEY (1859-1932), of Seymour Hill, was succeeded by his sixth son, 

COLONEL HAROLD RICHARD CHARLEY CBE DL (1875-1956), of Seymour Hill, 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles; fought in the Boer War and First World War, with the 2nd Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, and was wounded and became a PoW. 

In 1916 he started workshops for interned British servicemen at Murren. He was Officer-in-Charge for Technical Instruction for servicemen interned in Switzerland in 1917; Commissioner of British Red Cross Society, Switzerland, 1918; commander of the 1st Royal Ulster Rifles, 1919-23.

Appointed CBE, 1920; City Commandant, Ulster Special Constabulary, 1924-52; originator of the British Legion Car Park Attendants scheme (adopted throughout Great Britain); Honorary Colonel, 1938, Antrim Coast Regiment (Territorial Army).
His eldest son, 

COLONEL WILLIAM ROBERT (Robin) HUNTER CHARLEY OBE, born in 1924, married Catherine Janet, daughter of William Sinclair Kingan, in 1960. 

HUNTLEY, Dunmurry, originally known as Huntley Lodge, was built ca 1830 by William Hunter (1777-1856), of Dunmurry House, on land leased by the Stewarts of Ballydrain from the Donegall Estate.

His son William (1806-90) lived in Huntley for a time and brought up his family.

In the mid 1850s, he moved with his family to the Isle of Man.

The house was then left by his father William (1777-1856) to his widowed sister, Mrs Isabella Charley (1800-82).

Isabella's husband, William Charley of Seymour Hill, had died in 1838 and she lived at Seymour Hill until her eldest son William was married in 1856.

Isabella then moved to Huntley, where she was joined by her late husband's sisters Mary (1820-86) and Anne Jane Stevenson (1822-1904), whose husband had died in 1855, and Emily (1837-1917).

The ladies at Huntley were talented artists, did embroidery and kept beautiful scrapbooks.

They supported many charities and gave generously to local churches, schools and church halls.

They founded the Charley Memorial School at Drumbeg in 1892 in memory of their brother William Charley (1826-90) of Seymour Hill; and also established the Stevenson Memorial School, Dunmurry.

They built the church hall in Dunmurry on the condition that a service must be held there every Sunday afternoon.

Huntley remained in the possession of the Charley family until 1932, when Edward Charley, of Seymour Hill, died.

Huntley was sold to Mr George Bryson, who had been a tenant there since just after the 1st World War.

First published in March, 2011.

Dixon Park Visit

Yesterday I motored across Belfast to Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park.

This fine civic park, originally the Wilmont Estate, was conveyed as a gift to the City of Belfast in December, 1959, by Edith, Lady Dixon, DBE, in order to perpetuate the long association of her husband (the Rt Hon Sir Thomas Dixon Bt) and herself with the City.

It comprises 134 acres.


The mansion house of 1859 still stands, in reasonably good condition; though its future seems uncertain, since it lies disused and apparently unwanted by the city fathers.

The surrounding parkland is delightful, with mature trees and woodland, and the River Lagan.


A large section of the grounds is now used for the international rose trials, established in 1964.

The stable block now houses a ground-floor café.

The walled garden is a haven of peace and tranquillity, with a number of park benches donated by the families of deceased loved-ones, their details on metal plaques.

The fruit and vegetables which flourished here are long gone, though some original paths remain and the garden now thrives with fine flora.


On an outside wall of the walled garden, at one corner, there are three mural memorials to pet dogs.

The canine memorial above must have been erected by the Reade family, who sold Wilmont to the Dixons in 1919.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Strand Hotel Invoice

I found an invoice among several documents in a drawer recently at home.

The Strand Hotel was located at the end of the road where Portstewart's famous strand beach is.

The hotel was established in 1932.

The Director in 1958 was Mrs A L S McGrath.

Golf, tennis and fishing must have been popular then, as these pastimes remain today.

It's perhaps notable that the invoice contains columns for

  • Servants' Board
  • Morning Tea
  • Baths
  • Fires
  • High Tea
  • Supper
  • Phone & Grams [presumably telegrams]

Woodbourne House

THE FAMILY OF CHARLEY OWNED 348 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY ANTRIM

The family of Charley, or Chorley, passing over from the north of England, settled in Ulster in the 17th century, firstly at Belfast, where they were owners of house property for two hundred years; and afterwards at Finaghy, County Antrim, where  

RALPH CHARLEY (1664-1746), of Finaghy House, had a son,  

JOHN CHARLEY (1712-93), of Finaghy, who left a son and successor,

JOHN CHARLEY (1744-1812), of Finaghy House, who married, in 1783, Anne Jane, daughter of Richard Wolfenden, of Harmony Hill, County Down, and had issue,

JOHN, of Finaghy House 1784-1844, died unm;
MATTHEW, of Finaghy House;
WILLIAM, of Seymour Hill.
The third son,

WILLIAM CHARLEY, of Seymour Hill, Dunmurry, married, in 1817, Isabella, eldest daughter of William Hunter JP, of Dunmurry, and died in 1838, having had issue,
JOHN, of Seymour Hill;
WILLIAM, succeeded his brother;
Edward, of Conway House;
Mary; Anne Jane; Eliza; Isabella; Emily.
The eldest son,

JOHN CHARLEY, of Seymour Hill, died unmarried in 1843, aged 25, and was succeeded by his brother, 

WILLIAM CHARLEY JP DL (1826-1904), of Seymour Hill, who married, in 1856, Ellen Anna Matilda, daughter of Edward Johnson JP, of Ballymacash, near Lisburn, and granddaughter of Rev Philip Johnson JP DL, and had issue,

William, 1857-1904;
EDWARD JOHNSON, of Seymour Hill;
John George Stewart, 1863-86;
Thomas Henry FitzWilliam, 1866-85;
Arthur Frederick, of Mossvale, b 1870;
Harold Richard;
Ellen Frances Isabella; Elizabeth Mary Florence;
Emily Constance Jane; Wilhelmina Maud Isabel.
The second son,

EDWARD JOHNSON CHARLEY (1859-1932), of Seymour Hill, was succeeded by his sixth son, 

COLONEL HAROLD RICHARD CHARLEY CBE DL (1875-1956), of Seymour Hill, 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles; fought in the Boer War and First World War, with the 2nd Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, and was wounded and became a PoW. 

In 1916 he started workshops for interned British servicemen at Murren. He was Officer-in-Charge for Technical Instruction for servicemen interned in Switzerland in 1917; Commissioner of British Red Cross Society, Switzerland, 1918; commander of the 1st Royal Ulster Rifles, 1919-23.

Appointed CBE, 1920; City Commandant, Ulster Special Constabulary, 1924-52; originator of the British Legion Car Park Attendants scheme (adopted throughout Great Britain); Honorary Colonel, 1938, Antrim Coast Regiment (Territorial Army).
His eldest son, 

COLONEL WILLIAM ROBERT (Robin) HUNTER CHARLEY OBE, born in 1924, married Catherine Janet, daughter of William Sinclair Kingan, in 1960. 



In 1943 he was enlisted in the Royal Ulster Rifles; fought in 2nd World War, and the Korean War; Commanding Officer, OTC Queen's University, Belfast, 1965-68; Officer, Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem.

He retired from the army in 1971; was on Staff in 1972 at Northern Ireland Polytechnic; lived in 1976 at Seymour Lodge, Larch Hill, Craigavad, County Down.

Colonel Charley was appointed OBE (civil) in 1989, for services to The Forces Help Society and Lord Roberts' Workshops.


WOODBOURNE HOUSE, Dunmurry, came into the possession of the Charleys when it was given to Mrs Mary Anne Charley (1797-1866) by her father on her marriage, in 1819, to Matthew Charley.
 

When Matthew and Mary moved to Finaghy House in 1844, Woodbourne was taken over by their son John Stouppe Charley.

In 1851, he married Mary Stewart (1832-1915), a daughter of Francis Foster JP, of Roshin Lodge, County Donegal.

Woodbourne House was said to have been a happy home.

It was named after a wood on one side and a burn, the Lady's River, on the other.

There was also a walled garden; an apple orchard; large yards and stables; byres for cows; barns for grain; a pigeon loft, a greenhouse, a pheasantry and a carpenter's shop.

The house had a large entrance hall with folding doors across it to screen off the stairs and back passages.

On the folding screen was the Charley coat-of-arms.

Woodbourne House was closely associated with local shoots and it later became a hotel before development swamped the area. 

Having suffered bomb damage in the 1970s, the site became a fortified police station.  

First published in March, 2011.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Mossvale House

THE FAMILY OF CHARLEY OWNED 348 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY ANTRIM

The family of Charley, or Chorley, passing over from the north of England, settled in Ulster in the 17th century, firstly at Belfast, where they were owners of house property for two hundred years; and afterwards at Finaghy, County Antrim, where  

RALPH CHARLEY (1664-1746), of Finaghy House, had a son,  

JOHN CHARLEY (1712-93), of Finaghy, who left a son and successor,

JOHN CHARLEY (1744-1812), of Finaghy House, who married, in 1783, Anne Jane, daughter of Richard Wolfenden, of Harmony Hill, County Down, and had issue,

JOHN, of Finaghy House 1784-1844, died unm;
MATTHEW, of Finaghy House;
WILLIAM, of Seymour Hill.
The third son,

WILLIAM CHARLEY, of Seymour Hill, Dunmurry, married, in 1817, Isabella, eldest daughter of William Hunter JP, of Dunmurry, and died in 1838, having had issue,
JOHN, of Seymour Hill;
WILLIAM, succeeded his brother;
Edward, of Conway House;
Mary; Anne Jane; Eliza; Isabella; Emily.
The eldest son,

JOHN CHARLEY, of Seymour Hill, died unmarried in 1843, aged 25, and was succeeded by his brother, 

WILLIAM CHARLEY JP DL (1826-1904), of Seymour Hill, who married, in 1856, Ellen Anna Matilda, daughter of Edward Johnson JP, of Ballymacash, near Lisburn, and granddaughter of Rev Philip Johnson JP DL, and had issue,

William, 1857-1904;
EDWARD JOHNSON, of Seymour Hill;
John George Stewart, 1863-86;
Thomas Henry FitzWilliam, 1866-85;
Arthur Frederick, of Mossvale, b 1870;
Harold Richard;
Ellen Frances Isabella; Elizabeth Mary Florence;
Emily Constance Jane; Wilhelmina Maud Isabel.
The second son,

EDWARD JOHNSON CHARLEY (1859-1932), of Seymour Hill, was succeeded by his sixth son, 

COLONEL HAROLD RICHARD CHARLEY CBE DL (1875-1956), of Seymour Hill, 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles; fought in the Boer War and First World War, with the 2nd Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, and was wounded and became a PoW. 

In 1916 he started workshops for interned British servicemen at Murren. He was Officer-in-Charge for Technical Instruction for servicemen interned in Switzerland in 1917; Commissioner of British Red Cross Society, Switzerland, 1918; commander of the 1st Royal Ulster Rifles, 1919-23.

Appointed CBE, 1920; City Commandant, Ulster Special Constabulary, 1924-52; originator of the British Legion Car Park Attendants scheme (adopted throughout Great Britain); Honorary Colonel, 1938, Antrim Coast Regiment (Territorial Army).
His eldest son, 

COLONEL WILLIAM ROBERT (Robin) HUNTER CHARLEY OBE, born in 1924, married Catherine Janet, daughter of William Sinclair Kingan, in 1960. 


In 1943 he was enlisted in the Royal Ulster Rifles; fought in 2nd World War, and the Korean War; Commanding Officer, OTC Queen's University, Belfast, 1965-68; Officer, Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem. 

He retired from the army in 1971; was on Staff in 1972 at Northern Ireland Polytechnic; lived in 1976 at Seymour Lodge, Larch Hill, Craigavad, County Down.

Colonel Charley was appointed OBE (civil) in 1989, for services to The Forces Help Society and Lord Roberts' Workshops.


Mossvale House was adjacent to the Lagan Canal and originally belonged to the owners of the local mill.


It was acquired by the Charley family in 1820, when the mill and bleach works were purchased by William Charley (1790-1838) from Robert Johnstone.

Mossvale was encircled by trees and had stabling for ten horses.

Captain Arthur Charley (1870-1944) lived here with his wife for several years after the Great War before moving into The Lodge at Dunmurry.

In 1936, Mossvale was rented out though sadly destroyed by arson.

The land and ruins remained in the family for another fifty years until it was sold in the 1980s.

A new house has been built on the site.

First published in March, 2011.

Friday, 21 August 2015

1st Viscount Dillon

THE VISCOUNTS DILLON WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY MAYO, WITH 83,749 ACRES


This family is said to derive from LOGAN, or the Valiant (third son of O'Neal, monarch of Ireland, of the blood royal of Heremon), who fled his country in consequence of slaying, in single combat, about AD 595, his father's nephew, Coleman, King of Timoria, in Hibernia; and subsequently passing over into France, and marrying the daughter and heir of the Duke of Aquitaine, himself and his descendants became, for several generations, sovereign princes of that dukedom.

From these princes descended

SIR HENRY DE LEON (son of Thomas, Duke of Aquitaine), who was brought into England with his brother Thomas, when an infant, by HENRY II, the deposer of his father; and accompanying the Earl of Moreton (afterwards King JOHN) into Ireland, in 1185, obtained those extensive territorial grants in the counties of Longford and Westmeath then denominated Dillon's Country, but altered by statute, in the reign of HENRY VIII, to the Barony of Kilkenny West.

Sir Henry married a daughter of John de Courcy, Earl of Ulster, and was afterwards styled "Premier Dillon, Lord Drumraney".

From this feudal lord lineally sprang

GERALD DILLON, of Drumraney, County Westmeath, chief of the family of Dillon towards the end of the 14th century, left two sons, the elder of whom, SIR MAURICE, was ancestor of the Viscounts Dillon; and the younger, SIR JAMES, of the Earls of Roscommon.

Sixth in descent from Sir Maurice was

SIR THEOBALD DILLON, Knight, of Costello-Gallen, County Mayo, who was created VISCOUNT DILLON in 1622.

His lordship married Eleanor, daughter of Sir Edward Tuite, of Tuitestown, County Westmeath, and sister of William Tuite, of Tuitestown, County Westmeath.

He died at an advanced period of life, in 1624, leaving so numerous a progeny that he assembled, at one time, in his house at Killenfaghny, more than one hundred of his descendants.

He was succeeded by his grandson,

LUCAS, 2nd Viscount (1610-29), who wedded, in 1625, but when fifteen years of age, Lady Mary MacDonnell, second daughter of Randal, 1st Earl of Antrim; by whom he left at his decease an only son, his successor,

THEOBALD, 3rd Viscount (1629-30); who died in infancy, when the title reverted to his uncle,

THOMAS, 4th Viscount (1615-72), who espoused Frances, daughter of Nicholas White, of Leixlip; and was succeeded at his decease by his by his eldest surviving son,

THOMAS, 5th Viscount, who married Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Sir John Burke, Knight, of County Galway; but left no issue.

His lordship died in 1674, when the title reverted to his kinsman,

LUCAS, 6th Viscount, great-grandson of the 1st Viscount, being the eldest son of Theobald Dillon, third son of his lordship's eldest son, Sir Christopher Dillon, Knight.

This nobleman dying without issue, in 1682, the title devolved upon

THEOBALD DILLON, of Kilmore, as 7th Viscount (refer to Sir Lucas Dillon, 2nd son of 1st Viscount).

This nobleman, an officer in the army, attached himself to the falling fortunes of King JAMES II, and was outlawed in 1690.

His lordship wedded Mary, daughter of Sir Henry Talbot, of Templeoge, County Dublin, and had, with other issue,
HENRY, his successor;
Arthur, father of 10th and 11th Viscounts.
After the decease of his lordship, in 1691, the outlawry was reversed in favour of his son and successor,

HENRY, 8th Viscount, who espoused Frances, second daughter of George, Count Hamilton, and was succeeded at his decease, in 1713, by his son,

RICHARD, 9th Viscount (1688-1737), who married Lady Bridget Burke, second daughter of John, 9th Earl of Clanricarde, by whom he left at his decease an only daughter, Frances, who wedded her first cousin, and his lordship's successor,

CHARLES, 10th Viscount (1701-41), who died without issue and was succeeded by his brother,

HENRY, 11th Viscount (1705-87), a colonel in the French service, who espoused, in 1744, Lady Charlotte Lee, eldest daughter of George Henry, 2nd Earl of Lichfield, of Ditchley Park, Oxfordshire, by whom he had issue,
CHARLES, his successor;
Arthur, a general in the French service;
Henry;
Frances; Catherine; Laura; Charlotte.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

CHARLES, 12th Viscount (1745-1813), who conformed to the established church in 1767, and claimed, and was allowed, the viscountcy, as 12th Viscount, by the Irish House of Lords in 1778.

His lordship married firstly, in 1776, Henrietta Maria Phipps, only daughter of Constantine, 1st Lord Mulgrave, by whom he had issue,
HENRY AUGUSTUS, his successor;
Frances Charlotte.
His lordship wedded secondly, a French lady, and by her, who died in 1833, he had a daughter, Charlotte, married in 1813 to Lord Frederick Beauclerk.

He was succeeded by his son,

HENRY AUGUSTUS, 13th Viscount (1777-1832), who espoused, in 1807, Henrietta, eldest daughter of Dominick Geoffrey Browne MP, and had issue,
CHARLES HENRY, his successor;
Theobald Dominick Geoffrey;
Arthur Edmund Denis;
Constantine Augustus;
Gerald Normanby;
Henrietta Maria; Margaret Frances Florence;
Louisa Anne Rose; Helena Matilda.
This nobleman, assuming the additional surname and arms of LEE, was succeeded by his eldest son,

CHARLES HENRY, 14th Viscount (1810-65).
  • Charles Henry Robert Dillon, 21st Viscount (1945–82);
  • Henry Benedict Charles Dillon, 22nd Viscount (b 1973);
The heir is his cousin, Thomas Arthur Lee Dillon (b 1983), the son of his uncle, the Hon Richard Arthur Louis Dillon (1948–2014).
LOUGHGLYNN HOUSE, County Roscommon, is a five-bay, two-storey mansion house, built ca 1715.

Although Loughglynn is in County Roscommon, the vast majority of the Dillon estate straddled the border with County Mayo.

A third attic storey was built in the 1820s, though suffered a disastrous fire in 1904, when the top storey was not replaced, nor the end bays on the garden front which were reduced to a single storey.

There are ashlar limestone walls with quoins and a with roughly tooled limestone basement.

The entrance front has a pediment and a pedimented Doric doorcase.

In 1903, Loughglynn was sold to the RC Bishop of Elphin, who invited the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary to establish a convent.

The sisters established a dairy, and Loughglynn butter and cheese was famous all over the world until they ceased this activity in the 1960s.

They subsequently opened a nursing home.
In 2003, the property developer Gerry Gannon bought the convent for under €2m, intending to turn it into a hotel.
In 2009, it was transferred to his wife's name.
THE DILLON FAMILY lived mainly at their Oxfordshire seat, Ditchley Park.
Dillon arms courtesy of European Heraldry.