Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Kearney Visit

I've spent a glorious day at the National Trust's 19th century fishing village of Kearney, County Down.

It is not far from the tip of the Ards Peninsula.

Portaferry, due west, is the closest town.

The sun shone all day and temperatures must surely have been close to 20c.

There were about ten of us today.

We were painting traditional County Down gates.

At lunch-time we settled at a pleasant spot on the shore and basked in the sunshine.

Lissadell House

THE GORE-BOOTH BARONETS WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY SLIGO, WITH 31,774 ACRES


This family is a branch of the house of GORE, of Manor Gore, baronets, springing from

SIR FRANCIS GORE, Knight, of Artarman, County Sligo (fourth son of Sir Paul Gore Bt, of Manor Gore, and brother of Sir Arthur Gore, ancestor of the Earls of Arran).

Sir Francis wedded Anne, daughter and heiress of Robert Parke, of Newtown, County Leitrim, and by her had issue,
ROBERT, his heir;
Paul;
Francis;
Ralph, Lord Mayor of Dublin, 1715;
Charles;
William;
Arthur;
Henry;
Richard;
Isabella; Mary; Anne; Elizabeth.
The eldest son,

SIR ROBERT GORE, knight, of Newtown, who married, in 1678, Frances, daughter of Sir Thomas Newcomen, knight, of Sutton, County Dublin, had, with seven sons, four daughters:
Catherine;
Frances;
Anne;
Mary.
Sir Robert was succeeded at his decease, in 1705, by his eldest surviving son,

NATHANIEL GORE, of Artarman and of Newtown Gore, who wedded, in 1711, Lettice, only daughter and heiress of Humphrey Booth, of Dublin, by whom he had two sons and three daughters, viz.
BOOTH, his heir;
John;
Letitia, Mrs French;
Angel Catherine, Mrs Dawson;
Frances.
Mr Gore was succeeded by his eldest son,

BOOTH GORE (1712-73), of Lissadell, County Sligo, who was created a baronet in 1760.

Sir Booth married Emily, daughter of Brabazon Newcomen, of County Carlow, by whom he had two sons and a daughter.

He died in 1773, and was succeeded by his elder son,

SIR BOOTH GORE, 2nd Baronet, of Lissadell, and of Huntercombe House, Buckinghamshire; at whose decease, unmarried, in 1804, the title devolved upon his only brother,

SIR ROBERT GORE, 3rd Baronet, who assumed, by sign manual, in 1804, the additional surname and arms of BOOTH.

This gentleman married a daughter of Henry Irwin, of Streamstown, County Sligo, and had issue,
ROBERT, his heir;
Henry;
Anne.
He was succeeded by his elder son,

SIR ROBERT GORE-BOOTH, 4th Baronet (1805-76), of Lissadell, who espoused, in 1827, Caroline, second daughter of Robert, 1st Viscount Lorton, by whom he had no issue.

He married secondly, in 1830, Caroline Susan, second daughter of Thomas Goold, of Dublin, a master in Chancery.
The Lissadell Papers are deposited at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland.


LISSADELL HOUSE, near Ballinful, County Sligo, was built in 1836,in the Neo-Classical Greek Revival style.

It stands grey and austere on an eminence overlooking Sligo Bay, and at the foot of the magnificent Ben Bulben.

There are no outbuildings to mar the simple, classical lines, and likewise no attics.

The outbuildings are connected to the house by a service tunnel which runs from a sunken courtyard to the avenue and stable yard, and staff quarters are in the basement.

The limestone was quarried locally at Ballisodare (location of Yeats’ Salley Gardens).

Francis Goodwin was so proud of his design that it featured in his book Domestic Architecture (on display in the Gallery), the only private residence to do so.


The entrance to the house is by the Porte Cochère, through which Ben Bulben is framed.

The house faces Knocknarea, “That cairn heaped grassy hill where passionate Maeve is stony still”, and has magnificent views over Sligo Bay.

Inside, the house is full of light and brightness – in the gallery, the bow-room, on the Great Staircase, and in the drawing-room.

The drawing-room has stunning views of Ben Bulben, Knocknarea and Sligo Bay, and is now home to a remarkable series of AE paintings, and paintings by Paul Henry, Jack B. Yeats, Sir John Lavery, Walter Osborne, John Butler Yeats, Percy French and Humbert Craig.

The bow-room has a wonderful collection of Regency books, reflecting the tastes of Caroline Susan Goold, who married Sir Robert in 1830.

The bow-room, and a small suite of rooms behind, later served as the main living and sleeping rooms of the family of Gore-Booth siblings living in near poverty in the 1960s and 70s, when the remainder of the house was uninhabited.

The gallery, formerly the music-room, has remarkable acoustics.

It is oval in shape, lit by a clerestory and skylights and is 65 feet in length.

It still has its original Gothic Chamber Organ made by Hull of Dublin in 1812, and also a walnut full size 1820 Grand Piano.

The Gallery is famous for two superb suites of Grecian gasoliers by William Collins, a chandelier maker of the Regency period.

The gasoliers were lit by a gasometer on the estate and as late as 1846 Lissadell was the only country mansion in Ireland lighted with gas generated locally at its own purpose built gasometer.

The images on the dining-room pilasters were painted in 1908 by Casimir Markievicz, husband to Constance Gore-Booth.

The ante-room was a favourite room of Constance Gore-Booth, and was known as her ‘den’. Indeed she has engraved her name on one of the windowpanes.

This room is now home to many of her artistic works, including her sketch of the painter Sarah Purser, and her drawings of Molly Malone.

The billiards-room contains the memorabilia collected by Sir Henry, 5th Baronet.

The basement includes the servants’ hall, butler's pantry, kitchen and pantries, the bakery, wine-cellars, china room, butler's bedroom, housekeeper's room, and the maids' sleeping quarters.

In 2003, Lissadell House was put up for sale by the then owner, Sir Josslyn Gore-Booth (a grand-nephew of the original Josslyn Gore-Booth), for €3 million.

Despite celebrities showing an interest in the property, it was hoped that it would be purchased by the Irish state.

The Lissadell estate is now the home of Edward Walsh, his wife Constance Cassidy and their seven children.
Writing about Lissadell for the Sunday Times forty years ago the BBC's Anne Robinson ('The Weakest Link') observed that "the garden is overgrown, the greenhouses are shattered and empty, the stables beyond repair, the roof of the main block leaks badly and the paintings show patches of mildew".
After 60 years of neglect an intensive programme of restoration - without any public funding - has taken place in the House, Gardens, Stable Block and grounds since 2004 and Lissadell is once again a place of beauty. Click here for the text of Anne Robinson's article.

No grants of any kind were made in respect of any part of the restoration, either for the house, the gardens or any part of the grounds.

The new owners' vision was to transform the estate into a flagship for tourism in County Sligo and the north-west of Ireland, whilst providing a secure environment for their children and for visitors.

They have stated that did not wish to exploit Lissadell commercially but to restore the house and gardens to their former glory, make Lissadell self-sustaining and protect this crucible of Ireland's historic and literary heritage.

Other former seats ~ Huntercombe, Buckinghamshire; and Salford, Lancashire.

First published in October, 2013. Select bibliography: LISSADELL HOUSE AND GARDENS WEBSITE.   Gore-Booth arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Cloverhill House

THE FAMILY OF SANDERSON OWNED 2,560 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY CAVAN

JAMES SANDERSON, of Cloverhill, alias Drumcassidy, County Cavan, son of Alexander Sanderson, and nephew of Colonel Robert Sanderson, of Castle Saunderson, was MP for Enniskillen for thirty years, during the reign of GEORGE II.

Mr Sanderson was High Sheriff of County Cavan in 1732.

He married Maria, daughter of Colonel Brockhill Newburgh, of Ballyhaise, County Cavan, and had issue,
ALEXANDER, his heir;
Francis (Rev);
Robert;
Mary, m Charles Atkinson.
Mr Sanderson, whose will was proved in 1768, was succeeded by his eldest son,

ALEXANDER SANDERSON, of Cloverhill, who wedded Lucy, daughter of the Rev Samuel Madden DD, of Manor Water House, Galloon, County Fermanagh, "Premium Madden," and had issue,
JAMES, his successor;
Lucy;
Mary; Charlotte.
Mr Sanderson's will was proved in 1787, and he was succeeded by his only son,

JAMES SANDERSON JP DL, of Cloverhill, who married Elizabeth, daughter of Isaac Walker, of Newry, and had four daughters,
Mary Anne, d unm. 1873;
Lucy, m 1826, Samuel Winter, of Agher, Co Meath; mother of SAMUEL SANDERSON;
Elizabeth;
Frances Alexandrina, m 1830, Richard Winter Reynell, of Killyon, Co Westmeath.
Mr Sanderson died suddenly in 1831 as the result of a tragic carriage accident and was succeeded by his sister,

MARY ANNE SANDERSON, during which period the Cloverhill estate was managed by her agent. 
Miss Sanderson built a chapel of ease (St John's) at the entrance to Cloverhill demesne in memory of her late father, which was consecrated in 1860. During her time, the post office was also built.
The Sanderson connection with what is now known as The Olde Post Inn is not mentioned in its history by the present proprietors. 

Dying in 1873, Miss Sanderson was succeeded by her nephew,  

SAMUEL WINTER SANDERSON JP DL (1834-1912), of Cloverhill, High Sheriff, 1876, who married, in 1860, Anne, daughter of John Armytage Nicholson, of Balrath, County Meath.

Mr Sanderson, second surviving son of the late Samuel Winter, of Agher, assumed the name and arms of SANDERSON quarterly with those of Winter, in 1873.

He was succeeded by his nephew,

MAJOR JOHN JAMES PURDON JP, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, born in 1855; who was succeeded by his nephew,

MAJOR JOHN NUGENT PURDON OBE, who sold Cloverhill demesne ca 1958 to Mr Thomas Mee. 

CLOVERHILL HOUSE, near Belturbet, County Cavan, is a three-storey edifice built for James Sanderson, to the designs of Francis Johnston.


The original block was built in 1758; followed in 1799-1802 by a greatly-enlarged addition to the east.

The top storey is concealed in the front, of three bays, the centre bay breaking forward.

There was a single-storey Ionic portico, though this was removed ca 1993 and re-erected at a house in County Wexford.


There is a wide, curved bow at one side, with Wyatt windows; and a bow-ended drawing-room.


The main entrance of the demesne boasts a plain, though noble, triumphal arch of ca 1800.


Further along the main avenue is the two-storey Red Lodge (the steward's lodge) which, as the name suggests, is a red brick house with timbered oriel dormers and an open porch.


The North Lodge of ca 1837 has been attributed to Edward Blore.

I visited Cloverhill in August, 2013.   I am grateful to Henry Skeath for his invaluable assistance in compiling this article.

Monday, 28 September 2015

The Ewart Baronets

THE EWART BARONETCY, OF GLENMACHAN, STRANDTOWN, AND OF GLENBANK, BELFAST, WAS CREATED IN 1887 FOR WILLIAM EWART, LINEN MANUFACTURER AND POLITICIAN

WILLIAM EWART JP (1817-89), son of Alderman William Ewart, of Glenbank House, Belfast, married Isabella Kelso, daughter of Lavens Mathewson, in 1840.
The Ewart family originally lived at Annahilt, near Hillsborough in County Down. The 1st Baronet's father, William Ewart (1789-1873), moved to Glenbank at Ligoniel and became an alderman of Belfast.

In 1716, Thomas Ewart was granted twenty acres for a lease of a farm in the townland of Carnreagh, Annahilt, near Hillsborough. Part of his agricultural activity involved the production of damask, which the then Linen Board encouraged.

The lease was renewed to his son Thomas in 1746; the latter's son William was more ambitious and sometime around 1790 set up his own concern at Ballymacarrett, then a village, now a suburb of Belfast, though he co-operated with the Hillsborough concern.

His business flourished, and he had agents outside Ulster. He took his son, also William, into business with him and as William Ewart & Son set up an office and warehouse in Rosemary Street, Belfast, in 1814.
They were incorporated as William Ewart & Son in 1883.

Mr Ewart was created a baronet in 1887.
He was President of the Irish Linen Trade and Flax Supply Associations; Mayor of Belfast, 1859-60; representative for the NI linen trade negotiating French Treaty in 1864; Conservative MP for Belfast, 1878-89.
His eldest son,

SIR WILLIAM QUARTUS EWART JP DL (1844-1919), 2nd Baronet,
Knight of Grace, Order of St John of Jerusalem; graduated from Trinity College Dublin with a MA; head of William Ewart & Son; Deputy Lieutenant of Belfast; Justice of the Peace, County Down; High Sheriff of County Antrim, 1897.
His eldest son,

SIR ROBERT HEARD EWART (1879-1939), 3rd Baronet, also a Director of the family business, died unmarried and without issue, when the baronetcy devolved upon his cousin,

SIR LAVENS MATHEWSON ALGERNON EWART (1885-1939), 4th Baronet, who also died at a relatively young age, unmarried and without issue. His cousin,

SIR TALBOT EWART (1878-1959), 5th Baronet, married and
graduated from Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.A., with a Bachelor of Arts; though he, too, died without issue, when the title devolved upon another cousin,

SIR WILLIAM IVAN CECIL EWART (1919-95), 6th Baronet, DSC,
Educated at Radley College; fought in 2nd World War, where he became a PoW; Lieutenant, Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve Coastal Forces; awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, 1945; chairman, William Ewart & Sons, 1968-73; chairman, Ewart Northern Ltd, 1973-77; High Sheriff of County Antrim, 1976.
William Ewart Properties Ltd still exists as a business, though it is thought that the Ewarts no longer hold directorships.

SIR WILLIAM MICHAEL EWART (b 1953), 7th and present Baronet, was educated at Radley and, in 2003, resided at Hill House, Hillsborough, County Down.

The Ewart head office was at what has become known as the Ewart Building, formerly Bedford Street Weaving Factory, at 17 Bedford Street, opposite the Ulster Hall.

The tall, red-brick warehouses and weaving sheds at the rear have since been demolished. Ewart's bought the building in 1876.

They also ran mills at Crumlin Road; Ligoniel; Ballysillan; and Matier Street, all in Belfast.

During Victorian times, Ewart's was the largest manufacturer of linen in the world.

The principal seat of the Ewart family was Glenmachan House (below), which was set in its own grounds off the Old Holywood Road in east Belfast.

Glenmachan House in the 1970s.

It is thought that the land at Glenmachan was sold by Sir Thomas McClure to the prominent Belfast architect of the time, Thomas Jackson, who proceeded to build Glenmachan House as his own residence; though sold it to Sir William Ewart some time thereafter.

Glenmachan was a relatively large house with stabling and a conservatory.

About 1894 a fire broke out in the stables. The hay loft was seriously damaged, according to a local newspaper.

The grounds extended to 33 acres in 1876.

Glenmachan remained in ownership of the Ewart family till about 1976.

Thereafter, it became neglected and derelict, the sweeping lawns reverting to fields.

Despite some strong local opposition, the old house and grounds were finally sold to a developer ca 1990, demolished and turned into a new housing development.

Glenmachan House is not to be confused with Glenmachan Tower, further along the road and formerly the Shillingtons' residence.

Glenbank House (ca 1875) used to be the Ewarts' family home.

It was situated at Ligoniel Road in Belfast. Glenbank was purchased from Robert Thompson by Lavens M Ewart.

Ca 1920 the house and grounds were presented to Belfast Corporation for use as a public park.

The Henderson (Belfast Newsletter/UTV) and Ewart families are related through marriage, Primrose Henderson's mother being Gundreda Ewart.

The Hendersons, whose residence was Norwood Tower (52 acres), would certainly have known the Ewarts, because the families all worshipped at St Mark's parish church.

The famous author, C S Lewis, was a second cousin of the Ewarts and often visited Glenmachan.

The 1st baronet contributed towards the building of St Mark's parish church, Dundela.

First published December, 2009.

Strokestown Park

THE FAMILY OF PAKENHAM-MAHON WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY ROSCOMMON, WITH 26,980 ACRES.

CAPTAIN NICHOLAS MAHON, an officer in CHARLES I's army, who was distinguished for his loyalty in the civil wars, married Magdalene, daughter of Arthur French, of Movilla Castle, County Galway,
Captain Mahon was granted Strokestown as a royal deer park, as one of the '49 officers. He was a captain in the Royalist Army, distinguished for his loyalty to the two CHARLESES, having fought in the English Civil War. He was High Sheriff of County Roscommon, 1664-76.
By his wife Captain Mahon had issue,
JOHN, his heir;
Peter (Very Rev), Dean of Elphin;
Nicholas.
Captain Mahon died in 1680, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN MAHON, who wedded, in 1697, Eleanor, daughter of Sir Thomas Butler Bt, and was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

THOMAS MAHON MP (1701-82), MP for the borough of Roscommon, 1739-63, and for the county, 1763-82. He was 42 years in the Irish parliament, and was Father of the House.

Mr Mahon wedded, in 1735, Jane, eldest daughter of Maurice, 1st Baron Brandon, and sister of William, 1st Earl of Glandore (by Lady Anne Fitzmaurice, his wife, eldest daughter of Thomas, Earl of Kerry, and sister to John, Earl of Shelburne, father of William, 1st Marquess of Lansdowne KG), and had issue,
MAURICE, his heir;
Thomas (Rev);
Anne; Jane; Theodosia.
He was succeeded by his elder son,

MAURICE MAHON MP (1738-1819), was elevated to the peerage, in 1800, as BARON HARTLAND, of Strokestown, County Roscommon.

He wedded, in 1765, Catherine, daughter of Stephen, 1st Viscount Mount Cashell, by whom he had issue,
THOMAS, his heir;
Stephen, Lieutenant-General, d 1828;
MAURICE, heir to his brother.
Lord Hartland was succeeded by his eldest son,

THOMAS, 2nd Baron (1766-1835), a lieutenant-general in the army, who espoused, in 1811, Catherine, daughter of James Topping, of Whatcroft Hall, Cheshire; but dsp in 1835, and was succeeded by his only surviving brother,

MAURICE, 3rd Baron (1772-1845), in holy orders, who married, in 1813, Isabella Jane, daughter of William Hume MP, of Humewood; but dsp in 1845.

His cousin and heir,

MAJOR DENIS MAHON (1787-1847), of Strokestown, wedded, in 1822, Henrietta, daughter of the Rt Rev Henry Bathurst, Lord Bishop of Norwich.

Major Mahon was barbarously murdered in 1847, leaving issue, THOMAS, born in 1831, who died unmarried; and

GRACE CATHERINE MAHON, of Strokestown House, who espoused, in 1847, HENRY SANDFORD PAKENHAM JP DL, eldest son of the Hon and Very Rev Henry Pakenham, Dean of St Patrick's, by Elizabeth his wife, niece and co-heir of Henry, 2nd Baron Mount Sandford

He assumed, by royal licence, the additional surname and arms of MAHON, and died in 1893 leaving issue,
HENRY, his heir;
Henrietta Grace; Florence; Maud.
Their only son,

HENRY PAKENHAM-MAHON JP DL (1851-1922), of Strokestown Park, married, in 1890, May, only daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel Sidney Burrard, Grenadier Guards, and had issue,

OLIVE HALES-PAKENHAM-MAHON, born in 1894, who married firstly, Captain Edward Charles Stafford-King-Harman, son of the Rt Hon Sir Thomas Joseph Stafford Bt, in 1914; and secondly, in 1921, Wilfred Stuart Atherstone, son of Colonel Herbert Marwick Atherstone Hales.

Her younger son,

LIEUTENANT-COLONEL NICHOLAS HALES-PAKENHAM-MAHON (1926-2012), was raised on the family's Roscommon estate and educated by a governess until he went to Winchester College.
Because of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, where he had served in Londonderry during the rioting of the early 1970s as in the Grenadier Guards, he knew that he could not return to claim his inheritance of Strokestown House because his ancestry was known to IRA intelligence.

As heir to the property he convinced his ailing parents to sell the Palladian mansion, which was then in a bad sate of repair, in 1979 to Jim Callery of the Westward Garage group based in Strokestown.
Strokestown Park now houses the National Irish Famine Museum.

The Ordnance Survey Field Name Books record Thomas Conry as agent to Lord Hartland.
In the 1850s Henry Sandford Pakenham-Mahon held land in the County Roscommon parishes of Dysart, barony of Athlone, Kilglass and Kilmore, barony of Ballintober North, Kilbride, Kilgefin, barony of Ballintober South, Cloonfinlough, Bumlin, Aughrim, Elphin, Kilbride, Kiltrustan, Lissonuffy, barony of Roscommon.
Over 8,600 acres of the Mahon estate was vested in the Congested Districts' Board in 1911-12.


STROKESTOWN PARK, Strokestown, County Roscommon,  was built by Thomas Mahon MP (1701-82) on lands which had been granted to his grandfather, Nicholas, in the latter half of the 17th century.

The family continued its association with Strokestown until 1979, when, eight generations later, Mrs Olive Hales-Pakenham-Mahon moved to a nursing home in England, at the age of eighty-seven.

Bence-Jones states that the mansion consists of a centre block and wings, in the Palladian manner, the centre block being mainly 17th century and finished in 1696; though altered and re-faced during the late-Georgian era.

It consists of three storeys over a basement and seven bays. There is a fanlighted doorway under a single-storey, balustraded Ionic portico.

The wings are of two storeys and four bays, joined to the central block by curved sweeps as high as they are themselves; possibly added ca 1730.  One wing contains a splendid stable and vaulting carried on a row of Tuscan columns.

One addition at the rear of the mansion is a magnificent library with a coved ceiling and original 19th century wallpaper of great beauty.

The entrance to the demesne is a tall Georgian-Gothic arch at the end of the tree-lined street of the town, one the Ireland's widest main streets. Apparently the 2nd Lord Hartland intended to create a street wider even than the Ringstrasse in Vienna.

Strokestown's main street is the second-widest street in Ireland, after Sackville Street - now called O'Connell Street - in Dublin.

The initial intention of Westward Garage was to keep the few acres they needed to expand their business and to sell on the remainder of the estate to recoup their finances. At that stage Westward was a young emerging company, with limited cash resources.


However, when they spent some time in the house and saw what was there, they decided that Strokestown Park was far too important from a heritage point of view to risk losing it.

They negotiated a deal with the Mahon family to ensure that virtually all of the original furnishings would remain at Strokestown Park.

They also pleaded with the family to leave behind the documents that remained in the estate office. By doing so they had ensured the salvation of a huge part of the heritage of County Roscommon, particularly relating to the Irish famine.

The first public role for the house was when it was used for the making of the film ‘Anne Devlin’, based on the 1798 Irish Rising, in 1984.

What then followed was a restoration project of such enthusiasm and energy that it was to be acknowledged as the single best private restoration in the history of the Irish state.

The house was opened to the public in 1987 and is "unique" in that it affords visitors the opportunity to browse through the public rooms on professionally guided tours, surrounded by the original furnishings of the house.

The House is unchanged from the time when the Mahons lived there, as evidenced by photographs which can be seen in the house.

Strokestown Park is now open to the public as a visitor attraction.

Former town residence ~ 35 St George's Road, Eccleston Square, London.

First published in October, 2011.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Mount Panther

MOUNT PANTHER WAS PURCHASED IN 1772 BY FRANCIS CHARLES, 1ST EARL ANNESLEY

It is unclear who originally built Mount Panther or who lived in it prior to 1740, when it was known to be the residence of the Rev Dr Matthews.

One theory is that the original owner was the Rev Bernard Walsh, rector of Loughinisland in 1743.
 

There is no such ambiguity about how the historic house got its name: local legend associates the name Mount Panther with the Great Cat of Clough – a beast that is said to have prowled the area in ancient days.
 
The first famous inhabitant of the house was the celebrated writer Mrs Mary Delany and her husband, the Very Rev Patrick Delany, Dean of Down.

They stayed at the house for long periods every year from 1744 until 1760, as the Dean’s duties made his presence necessary in the diocese.
A niece of George, 1st Baron Lansdowne, confidante of GEORGE III and Queen Charlotte, a friend of the composer Handel and wooed by John Wesley, Mrs Delany was described in some quarters as “the highest-bred woman in the world.
In 1765, Mount Panther was sold by Bernard Ward to John Smyth of County Louth; and five years later it was put up for sale again, when Mr Smyth was appointed British Resident at Christianstadt, Norway.
 

The demesne was bought in 1772 by Francis Charles, 2nd Viscount Glerawly (afterwards 1st Earl Annesley), who had the front and return elevations remodelled in stucco. 

After his death in 1802, Mount Panther passed into the possession of the Rev Charles William Moore, rector of Moira.
The Moore family lived at the house until 1822, its most notable resident during this time being Hugh Moore, a captain in the 5th Dragoon Guards.
John Reed Allen JP, of Dunover, bought the property from the representatives of Major William Henry Rainey in 1832 for £12,000.

Major Rainey had acquired Mount Panther from the Moore family in 1822. 

When J R Allen died in 1875 his son George, high sheriff of the county, inherited the estate, which comprised 2,585 acres of land at that time.

Mrs Phyllis Charley, of Holywood, remembered visiting the house from time to time to have tea with her cousin George:
"He had very nice silver and china, and his high teas were good. Apart from the housekeeper, he lived alone, and only used two rooms in the house. His land steward was Hugh Killen."
When George Allen died in 1929, the house – but not the estate – went to a cousin, Lt-Col Thomas Gracey. The estate was split between three other cousins.
 
In 1931, Mount Panther was bought by the Fitzpatrick family, who still own it today.

Mr Fitzpatrick brought William McKibben (of Mourne) to work at the house, and the gatehouse was occupied by Jim Doyle, Dan Haughian, Owen Rice, and their respective families.
 
Joe Shilliday lived in the second gatehouse at the Clough end of the property. He was a survivor from the days when George Allen owned Mountpanther.
 
When war broke out in 1939, many valuable pieces of furniture from Belfast City Hall were stored at the house, and parts of the grounds were taken over by the US Army. 

Paddy Fitzpatrick died in 1957, and Mount Panther then passed to his eldest son, Seamus.
 
The most historic event ever to happen at Mount Panther took place on a Saturday afternoon in June 1963, when two black limousines swept up the drive.

His Excellency the Lord Wakehurst (Governor of Northern Ireland) stepped out of the leading car and enquired if Princess Margaret and her husband, Lord Snowdon, might come in to see the famous ballroom. Teresa Fitzpatrick recalled,
“I got the shock of my life when I opened the door. I brought the royal party through the kitchen and down the passage to the ballroom. They only stayed about 20 minutes chatting, and admiring the plasterwork, and then drove away. It was all over before I realised what had happened!”

THOUGH THE MANSION is ruinous and the gardens gone, this once beautiful landscape park retains many features of its former glory. 

The house lies looking down on pasture decorated with well disposed clumps of trees that made up the fashionable surrounding for houses of that era. There are fine views of Dundrum Bay beyond. 

Shelter belts and an avenue add to the planting. These trees have never been renewed and are coming to the end of their days, as most are beech.

A road now cuts through the parkland and a bungalow has been built in front of the house. 

There are extensive walled gardens to the rear of the house to the south-west, no part of which is cultivated. The Gardener’s House and offices are ruinous and the glasshouses have gone. 

An ornamental garden on the south side of the house shows vestiges of planting and an earlier Pleasure Ground was formerly laid out on the north side of the house, as shown on the demesne map of ca 1800. 

Stone walls are used within the demesne and reach the high ground of Cloughram Hill to the south-west of the demesne, where there is a collecting pond.

Water supply to the farm is controlled from here by a sluice gate. 

A pond on the north side is associated with a corn mill and later used for flax.

The School House is in the part to the north-east that is severed by the road.

The two remaining gate lodges, Newcastle Lodge and Side Lodge, both of ca 1830, are in poor condition.

First published in April, 2008. Annesley arms courtesy of European Heraldry. 

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Limerick Palace

THE bishopric of Limerick was united in 1663 to those of Ardfert and Aghadoe, which had long been so incorporated as to form but one diocese.

Ardfert was established in the 5th century, and Limerick before the 13th.

Presumably the last bishop to reside at the palace was the Right Rev Wiliam Gore, Lord Bishop of Limerick, Ardfert and Aghadoe from 1772-84.


THE PALACE, Limerick, is a three-storey, five-bay house of ca 1740, of limestone.

The entrance is Venetian in style.

The palace remained the official residence of the Lord Bishops of Limerick until 1784.

The palace underwent a major restoration in 1990.

It is adjacent to the Norman King John's Castle, and abuts a row of terraced alms houses, close to the grounds of Saint Munchin's Church further north along narrow Church Street.

A bishop's palace has been on this site since at least the 17th century.

It is thought that parts of the earlier structure were incorporated, largely at basement level, within the classical 18th-century structure.

The proportions of the window openings, which decrease with each storey, achieve a symmetrical classical façade.

It is also among the earliest examples of a formal classical composition within the city of Limerick.

The former episcopal palace is distinguished by limestone ashlar detailing, such as the door-case and eave cornice on the front and side elevations.

It is presently the headquarters of Limerick Civic Trust, which was responsible for the restoration of the building in 1990.

Judicial Appointment

THE QUEEN has been pleased to approve that the honour of Knighthood be conferred upon Adrian George Patrick Colton, QC, on his appointment as a Justice of the High Court.

The Hon Mr Justice Colton was called to the Bar of Northern Ireland in 1983, and took Silk in 2006.

Friday, 25 September 2015

Mystery House

Do any readers recognize this house?

The image shows a wedding party with members of the Silcock family.

The Silcock residence was once Marybrook House, near Crossgar, County Down.

Lissanoure Castle

THE EARL MACARTNEY WAS A MAJOR LANDOWNER IN COUNTY ANTRIM, WITH 12,532 ACRES

Of the Auchinleck branch of the ancient Scottish family of Macartney, MacCartney, or MacCarthy, was 

GEORGE MACARTNEY, who married, in 1522, Margaret, daughter of Godfrey MacCullogh, of Gatehouse of Fleet, Kirkcudbright.

His son,

PATRICK MacCARTNEY, married the daughter of John McLellan, and had an eldest son,

BARTHOLOMEW MacCARTNEY, of Auchinleck, Kirkcudbright, who wedded, in 1587, Mary, only daughter of John Stewart, of Auchinleck, and had a son,

BARTHOLOMEW MacCARTNEY, who espoused Catherine, daughter of George Maxwell, and dvp leaving a son,

GEORGE MACARTNEY, a Captain of Horse, born at Auchinleck, who removed to Ulster in 1649, and settled in County Antrim, where he acquired a large estate, and represented Belfast in parliament.

Mr Macartney was Sovereign of Belfast (mayor), 1662-3.

In 1678 he served as High Sheriff; and in 1688 he proclaimed WILLIAM & MARY at Belfast, for which he was soon after obliged to flee to England, and was attainted by King JAMES's parliament held at Dublin in 1689.

He was restored on the settlement of the kingdom.

Mr Macartney married firstly Jane, daughter of Sir Quintin Calderwood, and had issue (with three daughters, two of whom died unmarried),
James (1651-1727);
Arthur, father of George, MP for Belfast, 1721;
John;
Bartholomew;
George;
St Quinton.
He married secondly, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Stephen Butler, and had issue (with a son, Chichester, dsp),

GEORGE MACARTNEY (1671-1757), MP for Belfast for 54 years; called to the Bar, 1700; High Sheriff, County Antrim; Deputy Governor and Colonel of a regiment of Militia Dragoons.

Mr Macartney married firstly, in 1700, Letitia, daughter and co-heir of Sir Charles Porter, LORD CHANCELLOR OF IRELAND.

He wedded secondly, Elizabeth Dobbin.

Mr Macartney left issue by his first wife (with a son, Charles, dsp, and a son, Hugh), a son,

GEORGE MACARTNEY, who married, in 1732, Elizabeth, daughter of the Rev John Winder, and had issue,
GEORGE, his heir;
Letitia, m Godfrey Echlin;
Elizabeth, m John Blaquiere.
Mr Macartney's son,

THE RT HON SIR GEORGE MACARTNEY KB (1737-1806), of Lissanoure, County Antrim,
Knight of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, and of the most ancient and royal order of the White Eagle of Poland; one of His Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council; Ambassador Plenipotentiary to the Empress of Russia; born in 1737.
Sir George was elevated to the peerage, in 1770, as Baron Macartney; and advanced to the dignity of an earldom, as EARL MACARTNEY, and Viscount Macartney of Dervock, in 1792.

His lordship married Lady Jane Stewart, second daughter of John, Earl of Bute.
He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin and, having entered the civil service, was sent as an envoy to Russia. Macartney was Chief Secretary of Ireland from 1769-72 and, in 1775, was appointed Governor of Grenada. Lord Macartney was taken prisoner by the French in 1779 in Grenada; Knight Companion (KB) of the Order of the Bath, 1768; Governor of Madras, 1781-5.

In 1772, Lord Macartney headed the first diplomatic mission to China.

After a mission to King Louis XVIII at Verona in 1795-6, he went out as Governor to the Cape, but returned due to ill-health in 1798.

Lord Macartney died without issue in 1806, when the earldom became extinct.

The Glens of Antrim Historical Society has written a history of the Macartney family.

Lord Macartney died without issue in 1800, when his titles became extinct.

His ancestral seat was Lissanoure Castle, County Antrim.

LISSANOURE CASTLE lies roughly between Ballymoney and Ballymena, in the heart of County Antrim, at Loughguile.

It is of great historical importance, as the former seat of the 1st and last Earl Macartney. 

The entry for Lissanoure is given thus:
Macartney held property both in Scotland and Ireland. His principal Irish property was situated at Lisanoure, parish of Loughguile, Co. Antrim. A considerable number of unbound letters dating from 1774 to 1826, relate to Lisanoure Castle and demesne and the neighbouring district.

Although he was not able to visit the place very often, Macartney had much work done in improving its amenities. In addition, he helped the inhabitants of Dervock by giving them long leases, building dwelling houses and a market-house, and establishing a linen market there.
Old Lissanoure Castle is now a ruin in a private estate which contains Guile Lake.


The Anglo-Norman, Sir Philip Savage, built a castle here in the 14th century; rebuilt by Lord Macartney about 1787 and dismantled in the early 19th century.

The entrance to the courtyard remains, in the form of a Tudor archway.

The Castle extended around four sides of a sizeable, rectangular courtyard.

It was built in various stages from ca 1770 onwards by Lord Macartney.

It was of two storeys, with a front of five bays between two, three-sided bows.

Inside the two bows were an octagonal drawing-room and dining-room; and between them were two other reception rooms on either side of a hall, behind which was a commodious double staircase in a projection jutting out at the rear into the courtyard.

At right-angles to the front, two long ranges ran back on either side of the courtyard, containing offices and stables; with windows only facing the courtyard, the outer walls battlemented and blank.

The fourth side of the courtyard also had a blank wall, with an archway in its centre.

The ranges facing the courtyard had pointed, Georgian-Gothic windows and dormer-gables.

Following Lord Macartney's death in 1806, Lissanoure was inherited by his great-nephew, George Hume, who assumed the surname of Macartney; and who began rebuilding the house from 1829 onwards.

He pulled down the old castle at one corner; erected a Tudor archway leading into the courtyard, surmounted by an octagonal, battlemented belfry and spire.

He began work on the front of the house in about 1847, having already built himself "an elegant cottage in the later English style, richly embellished" by the side of the lake.

A great ball was scheduled as a “house-warmer” for the night of 5th October, 1847.

At noon on that day it occurred to one of the men organising the move that there was gunpowder in an old vault underneath the castle and it would be a good idea to have a look at it.

When one of the casts was opened, the butler was asked to take the son and heir out of the room for safety, and as he closed the door, the draught blew some gunpowder into the fire and this produced eventually a huge explosion which blew up the castle and killed Mrs Macartney.

From then on the family lived at the cottage and the castle remained in ruins, with only the yard intact.

The estate was sold to the Mackies of Belfast, industrialists, but had already been requisitioned by the Army as a training base for British and American troops in the 2nd World War.

There was also a German prisoner-of-war camp at Lissanoure and the Mackies did not get full possession until the war was over in 1945.

It was used by the Mackies for entertainment of overseas visitors and as a winter shooting lodge; and not regularly inhabited till 1976.

Nowadays the estate is owned and run by Peter and Emily Mackie, with farming and forestry at its core.

They have continued the restoration work at the Castle and gardens; and the estate is now also available for weddings, corporate functions, conferences, shows and other private events.

The house sits in lawns, with a view of the lake and crannog.

The Castle was the centre of a contemporary landscape park laid out within the undulating site and surrounding Lough Guile.

This was created under the direction of Lord Macartney, and he is remembered in ‘Macartney’s Walks’.

As a widely travelled ambassador, this park was laid out by Macartney with sophistication.

Lough Guile was joined to Five Islands Lough by two canals; considerable drainage schemes were undertaken; the islands were planted up, bridges built and boats were used on the waterways.

Shrubberies graced the Castle; tree-lined gravel paths provided walks.

The parkland had clumps and plantations, much of which survive. Dramatic shelter-belts run along ridges on the tops of hills.

The walled garden has a restored glasshouse backing on to the garden house. It is not cultivated.

The centre of the demesne was altered in the late 19th century and is maintained from that stand-point today.

Extensive tree-planting continues and former walks have been re-established.

Of three gate lodges, two remain: one of ca 1830 by J B Keane; and one at the south entrance of ca 1860.

Loughguile Parish Church contains interesting memorials to the Macartney family.

The Ulster History Circle has a good article here; as has the glens of Antrim Historical Society, which has published a fascinating account of the Macartneys of Lissanoure, by S Alex Blair.

First published in March, 2010.   Macartney arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Rockingham House

THE FAMILY OF KING-HARMAN WERE THE SECOND LARGEST LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY ROSCOMMON, WITH 29,242  ACRES

NICHOLAS HARMAN, of Carlow, settled in Ireland during the reign of JAMES I.
He was one of the first burgesses of Carlow, named in the charter granted to that borough by JAMES I in 1614, and was High Sheriff of County Carlow in 1619.
By Mary his wife he was father of 

HENRY HARMAN, of Dublin, who had by Marie his wife, five sons and as many daughters, viz.
Edward;
Anthony, dsp before 1684;
THOMASof whom hereafter;
William;
Henry;
Anne; Mary; Jane;
Margaret; Mabel.
Mr Harman died before 1649, and was succeeded by his third son, 

SIR THOMAS HARMAN, Knight, of Athy,
knighted by the Lord Deputy of Ireland, Thomas, Earl of Ossory, in 1664; major in the army, 1661;  MP for counties Carlow and Kildare. He obtained a grant of considerable estates in County Longford, under the Act of Settlement, dated 1607.
He married Anne Jones.

Sir Thomas died in 1667, and they were both buried in Christ Church, Dublin, having had issue, with a daughter, Mary, a son,

WENTWORTH HARMAN, of Castle Roe, County Carlow, a captain of the Battle-Axe Guards in 1683, who wedded firstly, in 1679, Margaret, daughter of Garrett Wellesley, of Dangan, and by her had issue, with one daughter, two sons, namely,
Thomas, 1681, dsp;
WENTWORTHof whom hereafter.
Mr Harman married secondly, in 1691, Frances, sister and heir of Anthony Sheppard, of Newcastle, County Longford, by whom he had further issue,
ROBERTsuccessor to his nephew;
Francis, died 1714;
Anthony;
William;
CUTTS (Very Rev), successor to his brother;
ANNESir Anthony Parsons Bt, of Birr Castle.
Mr Harman died in 1714, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

WENTWORTH HARMAN LL.D, of Moyne, County Carlow, who espoused, in 1714, Lucy, daughter of Audley Mervyn, of Trillick, County Tyrone, and sister and heir of Henry Mervyn, of same place, by whom he had issue,
WESLEYhis heir;
Thomas.
Mr Harman died in 1757, when he was succeeded by his eldest son,

WESLEY HARMAN, of Moyle, who wedded Mary, daughter of the Rev Nicholas Milley DD, prebendary of Ullard, Diocese of Leighlin, by whom he had an only son,
Wentworth, who dsp in his father's lifetime.
Mr Harman died in 1758, and was succeeded by his uncle,

ROBERT HARMAN (1699-1765), of Newcastle, County Longford, and Millicent, County Kildare, MP for Co Kildare, 1755, and County Longford, 1761.

He married Ann, daughter of John Warburton, third son of George Warburton, of Garryhinch, in the King's County, and dsp 1765, when he was succeeded by his only surviving brother,

THE VERY REV CUTTS HARMAN (1706-84), of Newcastle, Dean of Waterford; presented to the Deanery, 1759.

He wedded , in 1751, Bridget, daughter of George Gore,of Tenelick, County Longford, Justice of the Court of Common Pleas in Ireland, and sister of John, Lord Annaly, by whom he had no issue.

The Dean presented to his cathedral the very fine organ which it possesses.

He died in 1784, and bequeathed his estates to his nephew, the son of his sister ANNE, who espoused, as above, Sir Lawrence Parsons.

LAWRENCE PARSONS-HARMAN (1749-1807), of Newcastle, MP for County Longford, assumed the additional surname of HARMAN in 1792, on succeeding to his uncle's estates.

He married, in 1772, Lady Jane King, daughter of Edward, 1st Earl of Kingston, by whom he had an only daughter,
FRANCESof whom hereafter.
Mr Parsons-Harman was created, in 1792, Lord Oxmantown; and in 1806, advanced to the dignity of an earldom, as EARL OF ROSSE, with special remainder, in default of male issue, to his nephew, Sir Lawrence Parsons, 5th Baronet, of Birr Castle.

His lordship died in 1807, when his peerage passed, according to the limitation, and his Harman estates devolved upon his only daughter and heir,

LADY FRANCES PARSONS-HARMAN, of Newcastle, who married, in 1799, Robert Edward, 1st Viscount Lorton, in 1799, by whom she had issue,
ROBERT, 2nd Viscount, who as 6th Earl of Kingston;
LAWRENCE HARMAN, who to the Harman estates;
Jane; Caroline; Frances; Louisa.
The Viscountess Lorton died in 1841, when she was succeeded in her estates by her second son,

THE HON LAWRENCE KING-HARMAN (1816-75), of Newcastle, and of Rockingham, County Roscommon, who assumed the additional surname of HARMAN.

He wedded, in 1837, Mary Cecilia, seventh daughter of James Raymond Johnstone, of Alloa, Clackmannanshire, and by her left, with other issue, a second son.

On his death, the property passed to his eldest son,

THE RT HON EDWARD ROBERT KING-HARMAN JP MP (1838-88), of Rockingham, County Roscommon,
Lord-Lieutenant of that county, MP for Sligo, 1877-80, for Dublin, 1883-5, and for the Isle of Thanet, 1885-8, Colonel, 5th Battalion, Connaught Rangers, eldest son the the Hon Lawrence Harman King-Harman, of Rockingham.
Mr King-Harman married, in 1861, Emma Frances, daughter of Sir William Worsley, 1st Baronet, and had issue,
Lawrence William (1863-86), died unmarried;
Frances Agnes, mother of EDWARD CHARLES STAFFORD;
Violet Philadelphia.
Mr King-Harman was succeeded by his grandson,

EDWARD CHARLES STAFFORD-KING-HARMAN (1891-1914), who assumed, in 1900, the additional surnames and arms of KING-HARMAN.

He married, in 1914, Olive Pakenham, daughter of Henry Pakenham Mahon, and by her had issue,

LETTICE MARY STAFFORD-KING-HARMAN, born in 1915.

Captain Stafford-King-Harman was killed in action.

The family was seated at Rockingham, Boyle, County Roscommon, and Taney House, Dundrum, County Dublin.


ROCKINGHAM HOUSE, near Boyle, County Roscommon, was a large, Classical mansion situated in a wonderful location on the shores of Lough Key.

It was designed and built in 1810 by John Nash for General Robert King, 1st Viscount Lorton, a younger son of 2nd Earl of Kingston to whom this part of the King estates had passed.


Rockingham was remarkable due to its dome front and 365 windows.

It was burnt by fire in 1957, after which it was taken over by the Irish Land Commission.

Declared as unsafe in 1970, it was demolished.


The remnants of the house can be seen in the park to this day, such as its two 'tunnels' (which allowed the staff to unload provisions from boats and bring them to the house unseen).

These tunnels are still accessible to this day.

The demesne was magnificent, with a straight beech avenue three-quarters of a mile in length; and 75 miles of drives within the estate.
Sir Cecil William Francis Stafford-King-Harman, 2nd Baronet (1895-1987), considered rebuilding Rockingham after its catastrophic fire of 1957 with its original two storeys and dome; however, it transpired that the expense was prohibitive, so the estate was sold and the Irish forest service demolished the ruin of the once-great mansion.
The Moylurg Tower which provides a spectacular view of the lake, was built on the original foundations of Rockingham House.

First published in June, 2011.

Ecclesville House

THE FAMILY OF ECCLES OWNED 9,227 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY TYRONE

JOHN ECCLES, of Kildonan, Ayrshire, living in 1618, married Janet Cathcart, of the Carleton family, and had two sons, John and Gilbert.

The elder son,

JOHN ECCLES, of Kildonan, a devoted royalist, continued the senior line of the family at Kildonan; while the younger,

(SIR) GILBERT ECCLES (1602-94), of Shannock, County Fermanagh, married Ann Cockburn; High Sheriff of Fermanagh, 1665, and for Tyrone, 1673.

This Gilbert settled in Ulster during the reign of CHARLES II, and acquired large estates in counties Tyrone and Fermanagh.

He was succeeded by his younger son,

CHARLES ECCLES, of Fintona, County Tyrone, to whom his brother Joseph devised the Fermanagh estates ca 1723.

His son,

DANIEL ECCLES (1692-1750), of Fintona, High Sheriff of Tyrone, 1720, wedded, in 1718, Mary, daughter of Thomas Lowry, of Ahenis.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

CHARLES ECCLES, of Ecclesville, County Tyrone; whose eldest son,

DANIEL ECCLES, of Ecclesville, born in 1746; High Sheriff, 1772, was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

JOHN DICKSON ECCLES JP (1783-1830), of Ecclesville, who wedded, in 1810, his cousin Jemima, third daughter of Thomas Dickson, of Woodville, County Leitrim, by his wife Hester Lowry.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

CHARLES ECCLES JP DL (1813-), High Sheriff, 1835, whose eldest son,

JOHN STUART ECCLES DL (1847-86), of Ecclesville, married, in 1871, Frances Caroline, daughter of Thomas R Browne, of Aughentaine Castle, and had issue,
Charles Raymond, died in infancy;
AMY HENRIETTA FRANCES;
ROSE ISABEL DE MONTMORENCY;
ANNA THEODOSIA HESTER.
The eldest daughter,

AMY HENRIETTA ECCLES, wedded, in 1893, Colonel John Knox McClintock, son of Colonel George Perry McClintock. She died in 1942.

ECCLESVILLE HOUSE, near Fintona, County Tyrone, was a plain, late-Georgian house, formerly the home of Raymond Saville Charles de Montmorency "Tibby" Lecky-Browne-Lecky, actor-musician and female impersonator.

Raymond Saville Conolly de Montmorency Lecky-Browne-Lecky, born in 1881, was the son of Conolly William Lecky-Browne-Lecky and Annie Henrietta Eccles.

He died in 1961 aged 80, unmarried, having lived at Ecclesville.

Ecclesville eventually became a nursing home.

The house and its gate lodges were demolished about 1978.

The McClintock of Seskinore website contains much information and illustrations of Ecclesville and the Eccles family.

The Ecclesville demesne was acquired by the Eccles family ca 1668.

The manor-house was built in 1703, enlarged in 1795, and further extended in 1825 by John Dickson Eccles.

Fintona Golf Club forms a part of the former demesne; their logo contains the Eccles arms.

Ecclesville Equestrian Centre was also part of the demesne.

Photograph of Ecclesville House courtesy of McClintock of Seskinore website.  First published in September, 2010.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

The McConnell Baronets

THE McCONNELL BARONETCY, OF THE MOAT, STRANDTOWN, BELFAST, WAS CREATED IN 1900 FOR ROBERT JOHN McCONNELL, LORD MAYOR OF BELFAST

JOSEPH McCONNELL (1829-72), son of Robert McConnell, of Clougher, County Antrim, married Elizabeth, daughter of James McBride, in 1851.

His only son,

SIR ROBERT JOHN McCONNELL, 1ST BARONET, JP DL (1853-1927), married firstly, Mary Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Smiley, in 1874; and secondly, Elsie, daughter of George Hewson, in 1897.

Sir Robert went on to establish a successful estate agency, including property development; and also became involved in local politics, culminating in a term as Lord Mayor of Belfast from 1900-01.
Baronetcies were seemingly granted in those days to retiring Lord Mayors of Belfast. In the Victorian era the outgoing Lord Mayor could expect to become a baronet; this esteemed mayoral recognition was downgraded to a knighthood several decades later; then CBE. Nowadays Lord Mayors of Belfast may expect to be offered or appointed OBE . I think the last Lord Mayor to be given a knighthood was the late Sir Myles Humphreys JP DL.
His subsequent elevation to the gentry came in 1900 when he was created a baronet.

Sir Robert used his crest, a stag's head, atop his coat-of-arms; along with his family motto, Victor In Arduis.

His son,

SIR JOSEPH McCONNELL (1877-1942), 2nd Baronet, DL, married Lisa, daughter of Jackson McGowan, in 1900. He was MP for County Antrim, 1929-42.

His son,

SIR ROBERT MELVILLE TERENCE McCONNELL (1902-87), 3rd Baronet, VRD,
married firstly, Rosamond Mary Elizabeth, daughter of James Stewart Reade, in 1928.1 He and Rosamond Mary Elizabeth Reade were divorced in 1954. He married secondly, Alice Ann Mary, daughter of Robert Graham Glendinning, in 1967. He was educated at Trinity College, Glenalmond, Perthshire; St. John's College, Cambridge; Commander, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve; partner of R. J. McConnell & Company, surveyors, valuers and estate agents at Belfast.
His eldest son,

(SIR) ROBERT SHEAN McCONNELL, 4th Baronet,
born in 1930, educated at Stowe School; Queens' College, Cambridge; University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada; Polytechnic School of Architecture; registered as a Member, Institute of Management; Member, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors; Member of the Lambeth Council (Liberal Democrat) in 1996. He lives in London.
The presumptive heir apparent is the present holder's brother (James) Angus McConnell (born 1933).


THE MOAT, Old Holywood Road, Belfast, was designed in 1862 by the architect W J Barre for Thomas Valentine JP (below), a well-known Belfast linen merchant:
Thomas Valentine married Elizabeth Harriet Purdon, in 1852, in Belfast. His son,

George Frederick Valentine, was born in 1858 in County Antrim. His father was Thomas.

A List of Subscribers to the Historic Memorials, First Presbyterian Church of Belfast, published in 1887, lists Thos. VALENTINE, J.P. at The Moat, Strandtown, and William VALENTINE, J.P. at Glenavna, Whiteabbey.

The Moat was leased by John L Bell in 1863 from Sir Thomas McClure Bt.

St Mark's Church Dundela lists Thomas Valentine as a church warden in 1879 and 1881.

Thomas Valentine died in 1898.


It has a full height bay window and an entrance portico.

The Moat was converted into apartments in 1938 and restored in 2008.

In 1907, The Moat was purchased from Sir Robert McConnell, 1st Baronet, by Frank Workman, of Workman Shipbuilders, who lived at The Moat until his death.

Sir Robert's estate comprised 421 acres of land in 1876.

First published in May, 2009.