Saturday, 31 December 2016

The Denny Baronets

THE DENNY BARONETS WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY KERRY, WITH 21,479 ACRES

SIR EDMUND DENNY, Knight, one of the barons of the court of exchequer in England at the beginning of the 16th century, was great-grandson of John Denny, who fell in the French wars of HENRY V, and was interred at St Denys.

Sir Edmund died in 1520, and there is a monument to his memory in the church of St Benet Paul's Wharf, London.

By his last will, he directed his body to be laid in that church, and that twenty trentals of masses should be said for his soul, and for the souls of his wives deceased, and those of William and Agnes, his father and mother.

The fourth son of this learned person,

THE RT HON SIR ANTHONY DENNY (1501-49), Knight, was Groom of the Stool, 1518, and sworn of the Privy Council to HENRY VIII.

This gentleman was the only individual, amongst the courtiers, who dared to apprise his royal master of his approaching dissolution.

His Majesty had, however, such a high esteem for Sir Anthony, that he could perform that sad office with impunity; and the Monarch presented him with a magnificent pair of gloves, worked in pearls, which still remain in the possession of the family.

Sir Anthony's son,

SIR EDWARD DENNY (1547-1600), Knight Banneret, of Bishop's Stortford, was a soldier, privateer and adventurer in the reign of ELIZABETH I.

Denny was born in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire in 1547, the second surviving son of Sir Anthony Denny who was a Privy Councillor to Henry VIII and one of the Guardians of Edward VI. Orphaned in childhood, he inherited lands in Hertfordshire.

After some minor appointments at court, in 1573 Edward Denny went to Ulster on a military expedition led by Walter Devereux, 1st Earl of Essex. Denny then took up privateering, capturing a Spanish ship in 1577 and a Flemish one in 1578.

The same year saw him join a colonizing expedition led by Sir Humphrey Gilbert and Walter Raleigh; however, their ships were forced to turn for home by bad weather. Denny first became Member of Parliament for Liskeard in Cornwall for the 1584 to 1585 parliament.

He was granted lands at Tralee, confiscated from the Earl of Desmond; he both became High Sheriff of Kerry and was knighted in 1588. His estates in Ireland were a financial failure and in 1591 he returned to England to command a naval expedition to the Azores.

In 1593 he became MP for Westmorland and then in 1597 for the "rotten borough" of Tregony in Cornwall. He died on 12 February 1599 at the age of 52; his tomb and monument are in Waltham Abbey in Essex.

Sir Anthony's grandson,

SIR EDWARD DENNYKnight (1569-1637) was summoned to parliament, in 1604, as Baron Denny; and created, in 1626, EARL OF NORWICH.

The latter dignity became extinct, at his decease, without male issue; while the barony devolved upon his only daughter and heir, Honoria, wife of James, 1st Earl of Carlisle, in 1630, at the decease of whose son, James, 2nd Earl of Carlisle, in 1660, without issue, it expired.

Lord Norwich (Sir Edward Denny) was buried at Waltham, and the following epitaph placed upon his tomb:
Learn, curious reader, ere you pass,
What Sir Edward Denny was:
A courtier in the chamber, a soldier in the field;
Whose tongue could never flatter,
Whose heart could never yield.
SIR EDWARD DENNY, Knight (uncle to the deceased Earl of Norwich, and youngest son of the Rt Hon Sir Anthony Denny, HENRY VIII's privy counsellor), married Margaret, daughter of Peter Edgecombe, MP for Cornwall, and had issue,
EDWARD, his heir;
Anthony.
The elder son,

SIR EDWARD DENNY (1584-1619), Knight, of Tralee Castle, a military person, went to Ireland in the reign of ELIZABETH I, as an undertaker in the plantation of Munster, and settled at Tralee, County Kerry.

He wedded Elizabeth, sister of Sir Anthony Forest, Knight, and was succeed by his only son,

SIR EDWARD DENNY (1605-46), Knight, of Tralee Castle, High Sheriff of County Kerry, 1634, MP for County Kerry, 1639, who married Ruth, eldest daughter of Sir Thomas Roper, Viscount Ballinglas, by whom he had six sons and four daughters, of whom,
ARTHUR, his heir;
Edward, of Castle Lyons.
Sir Arthur was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR ARTHUR DENNY, Knight (1629-73), of Tralee Castle, MP for Kerry, 1661, High Sheriff of County Kerry, 1656, Vice-Admiral of Munster, 1669, who espoused firstly, the Lady Ellen Barry, daughter of David, 1st Earl of Barrymore; and secondly, Frances, daughter of Sir Richard Kyrle, Knight.

By the former he left at his decease, a son and successor,

EDWARD DENNY (1652-1709), of Tralee Castle, MP for County Kerry, 1695-98, who married, in 1673, Mary, daughter of Sir Richard Boyle Maynard, and had issue,
EDWARD, his heir;
Jane; Catherine.
Mr Denny was succeeded by his son,

EDWARD DENNY, MP for County Kerry, 1703 and 1713, who wedded, in 1699, the Lady Letitia Coningsby, and had, with other issue,
ARTHUR, his heir;
THOMAS, succeeded his brother;
Barry, in holy orders;
Maynard;
Ursula; Arabella.
Mr Denny died in 1728, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

ARTHUR DENNY, MP for County Kerry, 1727; at whose decease, issueless (he had married the Lady Arabella FitzMaurice, second daughter of Thomas, Earl of Kerry), in 1742, the estates devolved upon his brother,

SIR THOMAS DENNY, Knight, who wedded Agnes, daughter of John Blennerhassett, of Ballyseedy, and had (with two daughters) four sons, the eldest surviving of whom,

WILLIAM DENNY, dsp and was succeeded by his brother,

THOMAS DENNY, at whose decease the estates devolved upon his uncle, the Rev Barry Denny's eldest son,

ARTHUR DENNY, who, dying unmarried, was succeeded by his brother,

BARRY DENNY (c1744-94); who was created a baronet in 1782, denominated of Castle Moyle, County Kerry.

He married Jane, youngest daughter of his uncle, Sir Thomas Denny, Knight, by whom he had eight sons and as many daughters,
BARRY, his successor;
EDWARD, succeeded his brother;
Thomas;
William;
Henry;
Anthony;
Arthur;
Maynard;
Agnes; Arabella; Letitia; Charlotte; Diana; Sophia; Jane; Penelope.
Sir Barry was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR BARRY DENNY, 2nd Baronet, who wedded Anne, daughter of Crosbie Morgell, of County Limerick; but died without issue, in 1794, when the title devolved upon his brother,

SIR EDWARD DENNY, 3rd Baronet (c1773-1831), High Sheriff of County Kerry, 1794, MP for Tralee, 1828, who espoused, in 1795, Elizabeth, only child of the His Honour Judge Robert Day, and had issue,
EDWARD, his successor;
Robert Day;
Henry (Rev);
Anthony;
William;
Mary Lætitia; Elizabeth; Diana.
Sir Edward was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR EDWARD DENNY, 4th Baronet (1796-1889), of Tralee Castle, High Sheriff of County Kerry, 1827, MP for Tralee, 1818-19, who died unmarried.
Sir Robert Arthur Denny, 5th Baronet (1838–1921);
Sir Cecil Edward Denny, 6th Baronet (1850–1928);
Sir Henry Lyttelton Lyster Denny, 7th Baronet (1878–1953);
Sir Anthony Coningham de Waltham Denny, 8th Baronet (1925–2013);
Sir Piers Anthony de Waltham Denny, 9th Baronet (b 1954).
The heir presumptive is the present holder's younger brother, Thomas Francis Coningham Denny (b 1956).

Tralee Castle 1824 by Sarah J Harnett from "The History of Tralee" (2009). photo credit: G O'Carroll

TRALEE CASTLE, the ancient residence of the house of DESMOND. came into the possession of the Denny family as a reward to Edward Denny, the first settler in Ireland, for making prisoner the Earl of Desmond, who was accused of causing a dreadful massacre of the English at a feast to which he had invited them.

Mr Denny, a military officer in the Earl of Essex's army, not only obtained the castle and possessions of Desmond for this exploit, but was created a Knight Banneret, and presented with a rich scarf, embroidered with gold and pearls, and a pair of gloves, taken off her own hands, by ELIZABETH I.

This scarf, and those gloves (with others presented by HENRY VIII and JAMES I), which were for many years out of the possession of the Denny family, were restored to it in the following manner:-

IN the year 1760, or 1761, the magnificent mansion of the Earl of Arran, being sold at auction in London, the management of the sale devolved upon Mr Herbert (father of the Rector of Ledbury), his lordship's executor, and the particular friend of Sir Thomas Denny, who discovered, in making preliminary arrangements for the sale, the gloves and scarf, with an old parchment manuscript in a purple satin bag, by which, upon perusal, he was directed to the family to which they really belonged; and knowing how highly he should gratify his friend by the restoration of such inestimable relics, he purchased them for him - the gloves given to Sir Anthony Denny by HENRY VIII, for £38 17s; the gloves, given by JAMES I to Sir Anthony's son, Sir Edward Denny, for £22 1s; the mittens, presented by ELIZABETH I to Sir Edward Denny, for £25 4s.

The Dennys lived at Tralee Castle from the end of the 16th century until the early 19th century.

The 3rd Baronet subsequently became an absentee, living at Kingsend House, Worcestershire.

He demolished the old castle.

On his death in 1831, his son Sir Edward, 4th Baronet, returned to Tralee.



Sir Edward rented Ballyseedy or Ballyseede Castle (above) from his cousins, the Blennerhassetts.

He made plans for a new castle and spent a large sum on improving the demesne, but then joined the Plymouth Brethren and went to live modestly in London until his death in 1889.

Nevertheless, the Denny estate, despite the lack of a principal house, continued to function: Tralee and its environs were densely inhabited by the baronet's siblings and cousins, including his brother, the Rev Henry Denny, at Churchill; and his brother, the Venerable Anthony Denny, Archdeacon of Ardfert, at Tralee Rectory.

William Denny, the Baronet's youngest brother, ran the estate.

The 4th Baronet's successor, Sir Arthur, 5th Baronet, accumulated huge gambling debts so that the whole estate was swallowed up, and by the time the Rev Sir Henry Denny, 7th Baronet, inherited the title, there was nothing left to go with it.

First published in December, 2012.

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Garbally Court

THE EARLS OF CLANCARTY WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY GALWAY, WITH 23,896 ACRES


This family, which has been ennobled in two branches, assumed the name from the Seigneurie of LA TRANCHE, in Poitou, of which they were formerly possessed.

The first of the family in England was

FRÉDÉRIC DE LA TRANCHE, or TRENCH, who fled from France after the massacre of St Bartholomew, and took up his abode in Northumberland about 1575.

He married, in 1576, Margaret, daughter of Thomas Sutton, and had issue,
THOMAS, his heir;
James (Rev), Rector of Clongill, m Margaret, daughter of Hugh, Viscount Montgomery;
Adam Thomas.
Mr Trench thereafter crossed into Scotland, where he died in 1580.

The eldest son,

THOMAS TRENCH, married, in 1610, Catherine, daughter of Richard Brooke, of Pontefract, Yorkshire, and had issue,
FREDERICK, of whom we treat;
John (Very Rev), Dean of Raphoe; ancestor of BARON ASHTOWN.
The elder son,

FREDERICK RICHARD TRENCH (1681-1752), succeeded at Garbally; from whom descended the 1st Earl's grandfather, Richard Trench, who espoused Elizabeth, second daughter of John Eyre, of Eyre Court, County Galway; and was grandfather of

RICHARD TRENCH (1710-68), who was returned to parliament for County Galway, which county his father had represented for thirty-seven years.

He wedded, in 1732, Frances, only daughter and heir of David Power, descended from the Barons de la Poer, and, in the female line, from the Lords Muskerry, afterwards Earls of Clancarty, by the marriage of John Power with Elena, daughter of Cormac, Lord Muskerry.

Through this marriage, Mr Trench obtained the united fortunes of the families of POWER and KEATING.

He died in 1768, having had issue,
FREDERICK and DAVID, both died in infancy;
WILLIAM POWER KEATING, of whom hereafter;
John, a major in the army;
Eyre, a Lt-Gen in the army;
Nicholas;
Elizabeth;
Hester;
Rose;
Jane;
Anne, m C Cobbe, of Newbridge.
Mr Trench's eldest surviving son,

WILLIAM POWER KEATING TRENCH (1741-1805), MP for County Galway, 1768-97, was elevated to the peerage, in 1797, by the title of Baron Kilconnel, of Garbally, County Galway, and Viscount Dunlo, of Dunlo and Ballinasloe, in the counties of Galway and Roscommon.

His lordship was further advanced to the dignity of an earldom, in 1803, as EARL OF CLANCARTY (2nd creation), in consequence of of his descent from Elena MacCarty, wife of John Power, daughter of Cormac Oge MacCarty, Viscount Muskerry, and sister of Donough MacCarty, Earl of Clancarty in the reign of CHARLES II.

He wedded, in 1762, Anne, eldest daughter of the Rt Hon Charles Gardiner, and sister of Luke, 1st Lord Mountjoy, and had issue,
RICHARD, his successor;
Power (Most Rev), Lord Archbishop of Tuam;
William, Rear-Admiral;
Charles (Ven), Archdeacon of Ardagh;
Thomas;
Luke Henry;
Robert le Poer (Sir), KCB;
Florinda; Anne; Elizabeth; Harriet; Frances; Louisa; Emily.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

RICHARD LE POER, 2nd Earl (1767-1837), GCB, PC, who was created a peer of the United Kingdom, as BARON TRENCH, 1815, and raised to an English viscountcy, as VISCOUNT CLANCARTY, in 1824.

In 1813, his lordship was appointed ambassador to The Hague, and was created by the King of the Netherlands, in 1818, Marquess of Heusden, having obtained permission of his own Sovereign to accept the said honour.

Lord Clancarty wedded, in 1796, Henrietta Margaret, second daughter of the Rt Hon John Staples, and had issue,
WILLIAM THOMAS, his successor;
Richard John;
Robert;
Louisa Augusta Anne; Harriette Margaret; Emily Florinda; Lucy.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

WILLIAM THOMAS, 3rd Earl.
There is no heir to the peerages.

GARBALLY COURT, Ballinasloe, County Galway, is a large, austere, two-storey mansion, built in 1819 to replace an earlier house burnt in 1798.

It is square, built round what was originally a central courtyard.

The eleven-bay entrance front has a single-storey Doric porte-cochere.

There is an adjoining front, also of eleven bays, with pediments over the ground-floor windows.


The rear elevation has a single-storey curved bow.

The hall boasts Ionic pilasters and niches, with an arch leading to a grand picture gallery, built in the central courtyard about 1855.

The 5th Earl of Clancarty sold Garbally Court in 1907, following the decimation of his estate caused by the Land Acts.


Garbally College, a Roman Catholic boys' school, purchased Garbally Court in 1922.

First published in December, 2012.  Clancarty arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

The Belmont Thumbstick

One of Sir Max Hastings' favourite pieces of kit happens to be his treasured thumbstick, and I can now proudly say that I am the owner of one myself.

A pal and follower of the blog, Stephen, most generously offered to make me a thumbstick several months ago, following my tweet about Sir Max's walking-stick.


Accordingly, I decided to mark the occasion with dinner at Deane's Love Fish restaurant in Howard Street, Belfast, last night.

Coincidentally it also happened to be the ninth anniversary of my blog.


I arrived slightly early, so I was shown to the champagne bar (which happens to be adjacent to Deane's Eipic, recently awarded one Michelin Star.

I had time for a few refreshers, viz. a Tanqueray Ten, Shortcross, and a Swedish number called Hernö (I think).


When Stephen arrived he gave me my handsome new thumbstick, made mainly of chestnut wood and antler.


It also has a distinctive, engraved, sterling silver collar.

I can only imagine the amount of time that Stephen spent on such a beautiful item; such craftsmanship.

At length we were shown to our table at Love Fish, where I had the Crevettes, Garlic butter and Sourdough starter.

I enjoyed it: Juicy, large prawns; rich butter; and a thin slice of bread.

Michael Deane was there in person last night, too.


I had Seafood Pie for my main course; while Stephen had the Galloper's Beer-battered Haddock, Mushy Peas, Tartare Sauce, and Chips.

The ambiance at Deane's is cheerful and jolly, and the staff are all very attentive and eager to please.

In fact Michael Deane was there himself last night.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Mount Stewart Visit

Charles Villiers has been a great friend and supporter of this blog for a number of years.

He has sent me invaluable information pertaining to the Stewarts, Marquesses of Londonderry, and, in particular, his close relationship with his beloved grandmother, the late Lady Mairi Bury.

Charles is a great-grandson of the 7th Marquess and Marchioness of Londonderry.

He recently visited Mount Stewart estate, near Newtownards, County Down (where, incidentally, he and I were both born), with his cousin Theresa (the Rt Hon Theresa Villiers MP) and his friend, Jonathan Caine (the Lord Caine).

Charles explains,

"WE all were visiting Mount Stewart together, which was a plan we jointly made a couple of weeks previously.

We walked around the Lake, up to Tir Nan Og which had been left unlocked in order for me to see the recently installed Headstone on my mother's grave for the first time (following her burial at Mount Stewart in 2015).

Then we went up to the Farm because Jonathan wished to see all of the eighteenth century farm buildings which are unchanged since the time of the famous statesman Lord Castlereagh growing up at Mount Stewart.

The farm buildings are currently being re-roofed by the National Trust, after the NT bought the Farm last year from my late grandmother's Trustees.

The oak trees in the demesne which are known to have been planted by Castlereagh himself.

After seeing the Farm, we then walked up to the Temple of the Winds, which neither Jonathan nor Theresa had visited before, and enjoyed the views from the Temple across Strangford Lough towards Scrabo Tower and the site of the swimming pool marked by its lone palm tree.

The two photographs were taken by Theresa's bodyguard from the Close Protection Unit, and afterwards we all lunched at the National Trust's Bay Restaurant.

Theresa and I are cousins because we are each descended from two brothers of the 4th Earl of Clarendon, namely the Hon Thomas Villiers MP (me) and the Hon Edward Villiers (Theresa).

Some people may think the Villiers family is wholly English, though in fact it has long standing Irish connections dating back to Theresa's and my direct ancestor, Sir Edward Villiers MP (1585-1626), who was appointed Lord President of Munster; and who lived, died, and was buried in Youghal, County Cork."

Thursday, 10 November 2016

The Ancient DJ


Think I'm alluding to Jimmy Savile? Or the oldest swinger in town?

Try again.

Timothy Belmont alludes to the venerable old dinner jacket, a mere 83 years old.

It's priceless, to me at least. Everything has a price, I suppose.

I wouldn't accept a thousand pounds for my old dinner jacket; nor two thousand pounds.

The eager bidder would be required to pitch considerably higher. It's not for sale anyway.

It was made in August, 1933, consisting of heavy flannel or Barathea wool, with one button fastening at the front; ventless at the back.


It boasts a very wide, ribbed silk lapel and has four, functional buttons on each sleeve; one inside pocket and two outside pockets.

First published in June, 2008.

Friday, 4 November 2016

New DL

APPOINTMENT OF DEPUTY LIEUTENANT

Mrs Joan Christie OBE, Lord-Lieutenant of County Antrim, has been pleased to appoint:

Dr Stephen Peter FITZGERALD CBE
Crumlin
County Antrim

To be a Deputy Lieutenant of the County, her Commission bearing date the 19th October, 2016.
Joan Christie
Lord Lieutenant of the County

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

La Scarpetta da Mariò

I've been yearning for some good, fresh pasta lately and there just happens to be a fair selection of Italian restaurants in Corralejo.

Several years ago I dined at a charming little restaurant called La Scarpetta da Mariò, tucked away discreetly in a quiet shopping centre close to the town centre.

Mariò himself was master of ceremonies, to the extent that he personally attended to patrons, spending a few minutes reciting the special meals available.

Quite a rigmarole in fact.

La Scarpetta moved to new premises more than a year ago, at the Plaza, 62, Avenida Nostra Senora del Carmen.

The new restaurant is considerably larger and, as a consequence, less intimate.

I like it, though it has lost a little of the former premises' charm; and Mariò has ceased the rigmarole (which I don't mind, frankly).

The new restaurant was very quiet when I arrived, though I tend to dine early so this was perhaps to be expected.

I was shown to a table at the far end initially.

I have experienced this treatment before, so before I settled there I scanned the room for a preferable table and noticed one I fancied at the window.


Seated at the window table, I perused the Italian menu and ordered the Torta Sfoglia agli Asparagi , fresh asparagus cooked in butter, with Parmesan and ricotta cheese, aromatic truffle, encased in a rich puff pastry.


For my main course I had the Tagiatelle ai Pomodorini Calabresi e Porcini, pasta with sun-dried cherry tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, a bit of chilli pepper, porcini mushrooms and basil.

The asparagus tart was very good: moist, light, full of flavour; with a fine little garnish and sweet balsamic vinegar.

The pasta was good, too: fresh, appropriately cooked, complemented by the sun-dried tomatoes and basil.

The bill, including a soft drink, came to €20.10.

Monday, 31 October 2016

Search Box

A reminder to new readers that any key word, name or place can be entered in the Search box - a white box - at the top left-hand corner of the Blog.

This is a useful feature.

There are lots of categories on the blog, too, if you scroll down the left-hand side of the page.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Brackenber In The 1950s

A fellow Old Brackenbrian, Tom Graham, has kindly sent me three photographs of staff and pupils at Brackenber House prep school, Belfast, during the mid-fifties.

Many thanks, Tom, for such a wonderful contribution. If you click on the image below, it ought to enlarge.

Tom describes these pictures in his own words:-


"Above is a school photo from about 1956/57. So few pupils, so many teachers!. A student/teacher ratio which would bring a tear to the eye of any modern educator.

On Mr Craig's left is the famous Miss Rankin. I can't name any of the young women to her left.

To his right is Mr Henry, Deputy Principal .

He left to become an actor with the Royal Shakespeare Company at Stratford-upon-Avon; then Mr Hunter, next, I believe is the Sport/PE master, whose name escapes me".

"Mr Ferguson and two unknown trainee teachers complete the line-up.

They were all good teachers. Their skills greatly eased the transition to Secondary education".


The photo above suggests that not all reds are equal.

Substantial differences in the blazers are clearly visible. The BHS monogram is missing from many pockets.

My guess is that many families must have struggled financially, and economised by not buying blazers from the approved supplier".

"My parents managed to outfit my brother as well as myself from the approved supplier, but only just, I suspect.

The parents at my daughter's private school ran a thriving a second hand uniform shop. I can't remember any such thing at Brackenber.

I do not recall an overcoat being part of the uniform. It's cost might have been the final straw which would have deterred some parents".

PS That's me, Tom, in the top left corner!


"Above is the football team from 1956/57. We tried hard, but rarely succeeded. The school was small,  so the talent pool was shallow.

We played against Rockport and Cabin Hill, but not against nearby Inchmarlo. The school supplied the shirts, but not the socks, shorts,or boots.

As you can see, the sports budget did not stretch to providing more than one size of shirt! For away matches, Mr Craig took all 12 of us in his car!"

First published in 2009.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Brackenber Memorabilia



A fellow Old Brackenbrian has kindly conveyed several nostalgic illustrations which, I hope, are of considerable interest to others.

I have sought old photographs of the School for some time, so it gives me great pleasure to share these illustrations with readers.

Brackenber House Preparatory School (above) was located at Cleaver Avenue in Belfast.

The scarlet cap and striped tie are on the right. 

First published in June, 2009.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Post Tardiness


Fret not, dear readers. The posting this morning was later than usual because I'm not using my normal BT connection.

The wifi where I happen to be can be, shall we say, hit or miss.

I shall try to post articles during the evening, when I tend to have a more reliable connection.

I dined at an old favourite earlier: Avenida Restaurant, Corralejo, Fuerteventura.

The food is relatively simple and unpretentious, as is the restaurant.

The standards, however, are first-rate.

My chicken escalope, served with crisp and dry chips, lettuce and tomato slice, was as enjoyable as ever.

Always order a half portion, lest you have the appetite of a hippopotamus.

One is brought a complimentary basket of fresh bread and strong alioli (my preference).

The bill came to a mere €5.90: a bargain.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Barretstown Castle

THE BORROWES BARONETS WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY KILDARE, WITH 6,089 ACRES


This family derives (as proved by the patent from Sir William Roberts, Ulster King-of-Arms, granting an augmentation to the arms of Sir Erasmus, 1st Baronet) from a scion of the ancient house of DE BURGH, for centuries so eminent, both in England and Ireland, under the names of Burgh, Bourke, Burke, and Borough. 

HENRY BORROWES, who settled in Ireland during the reign of ELIZABETH I, married firstly, Jane, daughter of the Rt Hon Sir Arthur Savage MP, of Rheban, County Kildare; and secondly, in 1585, Catherine Eustace, of Gilltown.

He was succeeded by his son, 

ERASMUS BORROWES, of Gilltown, MP

This gentleman, High Sheriff of County Kildare at the breaking out of the rebellion in 1641, testified, upon oath, that he was unable to resist the Irish by the Posse Comitatus; and that he had lost in goods, corn, and cattle, at his several houses of Grangemellon, Gilltown, and Carbally, £9,396; in debts, £11,932; besides a yearly income of £1,200, or thereabouts; in consideration whereof, and of his goods and rightful services, CHARLES I, in 1646, created him a baronet, denominated of Grange Mellon, County Kildare.

Sir Erasmus married Sarah, daughter of Walter Weldon MP, of Woodstock Castle, and granddaughter maternally of the Rt Rev John Ryder, Lord Bishop of Killaloe, by whom he had, with a daughter, two sons, by the survivor of whom he was succeeded, viz.

SIR WALTER BORROWES, 2nd Baronet (c1620-85), who wedded firstly, in 1656 (the ceremony being performed with great pomp, before the Rt Hon Ridgeway Hatfield, Lord Mayor of Dublin), the Lady Eleanor FitzGerald, third daughter of George, 16th Earl of Kildare.

He married secondly, Margaret, fifth daughter of the Rt Hon Sir Adam Loftus MP, of Rathfarnham.

By the former he had, with a daughter, an only son, his successor,

SIR KILDARE BORROWES, 3rd Baronet (c1660-1709), MP for Kildare County, 1703-9, who espoused Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Richard Dixon, and sister of Robert Dixon, by whom he had two sons and three daughters.

Sir Kildare was succeeded by his elder son,

SIR WALTER DIXON BORROWES, 4th Baronet (1691-1741), MP for Harristown, 1721-7, Athy, 1741, who inherited the estates of his maternal uncle, Robert Dixon, already mentioned, in 1725.

He married, in 1720, Mary, daughter and co-heir of Captain Edward Pottinger, by whom he had three sons; the second and third died unmarried, and the eldest succeeded to the baronetcy, and became, 

SIR KILDARE DIXON BORROWES, 5th Baronet (1722-90), High Sheriff of County Kildare, 1751, for which county he had been some years before (1745) returned to parliament.

He married firstly, in 1759, Elizabeth, only daughter and heiress of John Short, of Grange, Queen's County, by whom he had three sons and one daughter; and secondly, in 1769,  Jane, daughter of Joseph Higginson, of Mount Ophaley, County Kildare, by whom he had four sons and two daughters.

Sir Kildare was succeeded by his eldest son, 

SIR ERASMUS DIXON BORROWES, 6th Baronet (1759-1814), who wedded, in 1783, Harriet, youngest daughter of the Very Rev Arthur Champagné, Dean of Clonmacnoise, and great-granddaughter (maternally) of Arthur, 2nd Earl of Granard, and had issue,
WALTER DIXON, his successor;
Arthur;
Kildare;
ERASMUS, 8th Baronet;
Marianne; Harriet; Elizabeth.
Sir Erasmus was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR WALTER DIXON BORROWES, 7th Baronet (1789-1834), who died unmarried, and was succeeded by his only surviving brother, 

THE REV SIR ERASMUS DIXON BORROWES, 8th Baronet (1799-1866), Rector of Ballyroan, Queen's County, who married, in 1825, Harriet, daughter of Henry Hamilton, and niece of Hans Hamilton, MP for County Dublin, and had issue,
Kildare (1828-37);
ERASMUS;
Walter Joseph;
Henrietta Mary; Adelaide Charlotte Marianne; Eleanor Caroline.
Sir Erasmus was succeeded by his eldest surviving son, 

SIR ERASMUS DIXON BORROWES, 9th Baronet (1831-98), of Barretstown Castle, High Sheriff of County Kildare, 1873, Queen's County, 1880, who espoused firstly, in 1851, Frederica Eaten, daughter of Brigadier-General George Hutcheson, and had issue, a son,
KILDARE, his successor.
He married secondly, in 1887, Florence Elizabeth, daughter of William Ruxton, and had further issue,
Walter (1892-1915);
Mary Adelaide Vernon.
Sir Erasmus was succeeded by his son,

SIR KILDARE BORROWES, 10th Baronet (1852-1924), who married, in 1886, Julia, daughter of William Holden, by whom he had no issue.
Sir Kildare was Captain in the 11th Hussars and aide-de-camp to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. He retired from the army with the rank of lieutenant-colonel.
The baronetcy expired on the death of Sir Eustace Dixon Borrowes, 11th baronet, in 1939.


BARRETSTOWN CASTLE, Ballymore Eustace, Naas, County Kildare, is an old tower-house with a two-storey, Gothic-Victorian addition.

The latter has rectangular, pointed and segmental-pointed plate glass windows.

One side of the front has a four-storey tower with a stepped gable.


The first historical mention of the place is in a 1547 inquisition held after the dissolution of the monasteries, when Barretstown Castle was listed as the property of the Lord Archbishop of Dublin, from whom it was promptly confiscated by the Crown.

Thereafter the Castle was held by the Eustace family on a series of "permanent leases."

In the 17th century, Sir Walter Borrowes married a daughter of the Earl of Kildare and acquired the estate, and the family retained possession for over two centuries.

Members of the family, such as Sir Kildare Borrowes, 5th Baronet, represented Kildare County and Harristown in the former Irish Parliament.

Unlike the Eustace Baronets of the 16th and 17th centuries, the five Borrowes Baronets, who spanned the 19th century, played no part in public life.

Sir Kildare, 10th Baronet (1852–1924), whose father, the Rev Sir Erasmus, 8th Baronet, had significantly modified the residence in a medieval, romantic, asymmetrical style, was the last of the family to live at Barretstown.

In 1918, the Borrowes family left Ireland and Barretstown was purchased by Sir George Sheppard Murray, a Scotsman who converted the estate into a fine stud farm, and planted many of the exotic trees that dominate the landscape.

In 1962, Elizabeth Arden acquired the castle from the Murray family. Over five years, Arden extensively reconstructed, redecorated, and refurnished the castle.

Her influence dominates the look of the house to this day.

The door of the castle is reputed to have been painted red after her famous brand of perfume Red Door, and remains so to this day.

After Arden's death in 1967, the billionnaire Garfield Weston took up residence.

Under his ownership the grounds were significantly improved, particularly through the addition of a magnificent lake in front of the castle.
The Weston family, which owns Dublin's famous Brown Thomas department store, presented the estate to the Irish government in 1977, during which time it was used for national and international conferences and seminars, as well as being used as a part of the Irish National Stud.
The Irish government has leased the castle and its grounds to the Barretstown Gang Camp Fund for the next 90 years.

First published in September, 2012.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Prince Edward In NI

The Earl of Wessex, Trustee, yesterday carried out engagements in Northern Ireland to celebrate the Diamond Anniversary of The Duke of Edinburgh's Award and was received by Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant of County Antrim (Mrs. Joan Christie OBE).

His Royal Highness met young people participating in the Grass Roots Challenge, at Hillsborough Castle, County Down.

The Earl of Wessex visited a Probation Board Project at the Book Reserve, 407 Lisburn Road, Belfast.

His Royal Highness afterwards visited Belfast Activity Centre, Barnett's Stable Yard, Barnett's Demesne, Malone Road, Belfast, and was received by Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant of the County Borough of Belfast (Mrs Fionnuala Jay-O'Boyle CBE).

HRH later visited Strangford Integrated College, Abbey Road, Carrowdore, Newtownards, County Down,and was received by Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant of County Down (Mr. David Lindsay).

His Royal Highness yesterday evening attended a Dinner in County Down.

TODAY His Royal Highness visited Ballyclare High School, Ballyclare, County Antrim.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Marble Hill House

THE BURKE BARONETS, OF MARBLE HILL, WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY GALWAY, WITH 25,258 ACRES


This branch of the Burkes claims to be a scion from the house of CLANRICARDE; but more immediately connected with the Barons Bourke of Brittas.

THOMAS BURKE, of Gortenacuppogue (now Marble Hill), died at an advanced age in 1714.

During the civil wars, in the time of CHARLES I, and subsequently in the revolution of 1688, his predecessors and himself lost a considerable portion of their lands; but he still preserved the estate upon which he resided, and it became the seat of the Burke baronets.

He married into the family of TULLY, great landed proprietors in County Galway, and owners of the Garbally estate, in the possession of the Earl of Clancarty.

The son of this Thomas,

JOHN BURKE, wedded the daughter of Carroll of Killoran, who was nearly allied to the Donelans, County Galway, and to the Carrolls of King's County.

By this lady the family acquired the Killoran estate.

Mr Burke died in 1793, aged 80, and was succeeded by his son,

THOMAS BURKE, of Marble Hill, who was created a baronet in 1797, designated of Marble Hill, County Galway.

He espoused Christian, daughter of ____ Browne, of Limerick, of the Browne family of Camus, and had issue,
JOHN, his successor;
James, d 1812;
Maria; Julia; Elizabeth; Anne; Eleanor.
Sir Thomas died in 1813, and was succeeded by his elder son,

COLONEL SIR JOHN BURKE, 2nd Baronet (1782-1847), of Marble Hill, MP for County Galway, 1830-32, who married Elizabeth Mary, eldest daughter of the Rt Hon John Calcraft MP, and had issue,
THOMAS JOHN, his heir;
Charles Granby;
James Henry;
Edward Howe;
Maurice William Otway;
Henry Ulick;
Elizabeth Anne; Caroline Jane.
Sir John was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR THOMAS JOHN BURKE, 3rd Baronet (1813-75), DL, of Marble Hill, MP for County Galway, 1847-59, who wedded the Lady Mary Nugent, daughter of Anthony, 9th Earl of Westmeath, and had issue,
JOHN CHARLES, 4th Baronet;
HENRY GEORGE, 5th Baronet;
THOMAS MALACHY, 6th Baronet;
William Anthony;
Julia Catherine Anne; Mary Clare Theresa.
Sir Thomas was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR JOHN CHARLES BURKE, 4th Baronet (1858-90), who died unmarried, and the title devolved upon his next brother,

SIR HENRY GEORGE BURKE, 5th Baronet (1859-1910), JP, DL, who died unmarried, when the baronetcy devolved upon his brother,

SIR THOMAS MALACHY BURKE, 6th Baronet (1864-1913), JP, who married, in 1893, Catherine Mary Caroline, daughter of Major-General James Henry Burke, and had issue, an only child,

SIR GERALD HOWE BURKE, 7th Baronet (1893-1954), DL, who wedded firstly, in 1914, Elizabeth Mary, daughter of Patrick Mathews, and had issue,
THOMAS STANLEY, his successor.
He espoused secondly, in 1920, Merrial Alison, daughter of Edward Christie, and had issue,
Bridget Alison;
Elizabeth Anne.
Sir Gerald was succeeded by his only son,

SIR THOMAS STANLEY BURKE, 8th Baronet (1916-89), who married, in 1955, Suzanne Margarete, daughter of Otto Theodore Salvisberg, and had issue,
JAMES STANLEY GILBERT, his successor;
Caroline Elizabeth.
Sir Thomas was succeeded by his son,

SIR JAMES STANLEY GILBERT BURKE (1956-), who wedded, in 1980, Laura, daughter of Domingo Branzuela, and has issue.

Marble Hill (Photo credit: Dr Patrick Melvin & Eamonn de Burca)
MARBLE HILL HOUSE, near Loughrea, County Galway, was built ca 1775 for John Burke, and enlarged after 1813 by Sir John Burke, 2nd Baronet.

It was an exceptional country house prior to its malicious destruction by fire in 1921.

Architectural quality and refinement are apparent in the design and detailing.

The masonry was executed by skilled craftsmen, as is apparent in the detailing of the door-case.

It forms part of a group of demesne-related structures that includes the gate lodge, outbuildings, walled garden and ice-house.

The house is now an ivy-covered, roofless ruin.

It comprised three storeys over a raised basement, with a canted entrance bay to the front (east) elevation, and two-storey return to rear.

Four-bay side elevations, with bowed bay to north side elevation, and with rear two bays of south projecting; moulded cornice; rubble limestone walls, with evidence of weather-slating to the west gable wall.

Square-headed window openings with stone sills and red brick surrounds; square-headed entrance doorway within pedimented carved limestone door-case, having channelled pilasters with plinths and moulded capitals.

Wrought-iron railings to entrance avenue.


The well designed range of outbuildings originally served the adjacent Marble Hill House.

The high-quality stonework suggests that it was a significant part of the former demesne and was possibly by the same architect responsible for the house.

Some original sash windows and gates survive.

Marble Hill estate once incorporated a weigh station, forge and smokehouse that are no longer standing.

The ruin of the original house is an ivy-covered shell beside the remains of a courtyard which included a pigeon loft, carriage house, abattoir and worker accommodation.

The mansion house was equipped with running water and flushing toilets, which was the state of the art at the time.

The house also had a central heating system based on technology developed in Roman times, still visible today.

When the estate was in full operation, it had a full complement of blacksmiths, carpenters, painters, gardeners, an engineer, and a catholic priest who said mass in a specially-built private chapel in the house every morning.

Several generations of Burkes were raised at Marble Hill until the family departed in 1922 for their house in London due to the political climate in Ireland.

Several of the Burke gentry throughout the generations served at Westminster and government bodies up to the late 1800s, Ted Burke being the last to serve in political office.

At this point they concentrated solely on the land.

The downfall of the Burke family began at this point as the only source of income for the once wealthy family was now rates paid by tenants.
By the early 1900s the estate was in decline and in severe financial difficulties. Burnt down in 1922 by the local IRA, the house burned for 4 days and 4 nights. The only thing that remained was a complete window which had been bricked up in the blue room.
The blue room was a child’s nursery. After the tragic death of a young infant, the window was sealed as the residents believed the house to be haunted. It was locked and never opened until the house burned down.
Like most landowners, the Burkes were known to sympathise with HM Government, and Thomas Burke helped raise a military regiment, the Connaught Rangers, in 1793 to support Great Britain in its war with France.

Although the Burkes had already left for England, the house was burned during the time known as “The Troubles”.

Over the following years the estate was divided among tenants and families.

The original farmyard and store buildings were given to the estate’s herd (an unofficial vet who cured animal illnesses with natural remedies).

Some of the buildings in the courtyard were knocked and the stone sold by the land commission.

The main house itself was completely destroyed, but the servant’s quarters and gardens were intact, including a glasshouse that was operational until the 1970s.

The Rafferty family resided here until the 1990s. Kate Rafferty, the Burkes' former housekeeper, purchased the remaining estate, operating it as a guest-house for many years.

After her death, the house passed to her son and fell into disrepair.

With no heirs, the ruin was eventually sold to a developer, whose plans have been halted by the current recession in 2012.

First published in August, 2012.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Island Taggart Visit

Island Taggart is one of the largest islands on Strangford Lough, County Down.

Today we all mustered at Balloo, Killinchy, and motored the short distance, via Rathcunningham Road, to the quay.

This is a cul-de-sac which terminates at Rathcunningham Quay.

From here, Simmy Island and Ringdufferin are adjacent.


About ten of us boarded the little motor-boat from the quay and made the five-minute trip over to Taggart in two runs.


This island has been a property of the National Trust since 1985, when it was donated by Patrick and Kathleen Mackie.

There is a derelict farmstead in the middle of the island, which was used for the film production of The December Bride (by the Ulster author, Sam Hanna Bell).

Taggart is about 85 acres in extent.

Old orchard at back of farmhouse

Today we were cutting down gorse bushes.

I had my favourite cheese-and-onion sandwiches for lunch.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Purdysburn Pictures

THE BATTS WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY DOWN, WITH 12,010 ACRES

The Belfast Health & Social Care Trust has very kindly sent me several images of Purdysburn House, Newtownbreda, County Down, and its pleasure grounds prior to demolition ca 1965.


I've already written about the Batt family here.


The pleasure grounds were laid out in the form of a Union Flag, and the design was carried out with all the borders planted red, white and blue.


The wonderful yew-tree hedges were apparently unequalled in Northern Ireland. 

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Glorious North Antrim

I've already said it many times though, for the benefit of new readers, I shall reiterate and reaffirm my great fondness for the village of Bushmills in County Antrim.

I stayed at my aunt's holiday home in Portballintrae for a few days and, driving past the little railway halt, a huge - not to mention grand - marquee came into eyesight in a large field beside the river Bush.

It was directly opposite the Bushmills Inn Hotel.

I should fill you in on a few preliminary details first.

The landlords of Bushmills and the entire area used to be the Macnaghten Baronets, of Dundarave estate (beside the village).

The Macnaghtens owned about 6,700 acres of land during the Victorian era, including the Giant's Causeway.

A few years ago the present Baronet sold his estate, including Dundarave House, to Dr Peter FitzGerald CBE, founder of Randox Healthcare.

Dr FitzGerald's plans for the development of his land (now 1,300 acres) include corporate hospitality, shooting, fishing, and his personal passion, polo.


Still with me? The massive marquee outside the village was erected by Randox for a charity polo tournament in aid of - correct me if I'm wrong - The Prince's Trust.

I had been informed of the cost of the tickets and speculation that a member of the Royal Family might attend.

Belmont, dear reader, was a mere bystander.

I did spot Mrs Joan Christie OBE, the Lord-Lieutenant of County Antrim; and the local constabulary looked exceptionally smart, wearing shirts and ties etc.


Speaking of the Northern Ireland police, they have a very good pipe band.

They marched proudly along the field, entertaining the spectators.

Judging by four flags flying from the marquee, there were four teams, namely, Northern Ireland, Scotland, the Irish Republic, and South Africa (I gather that Dr FitzGerald's sister is a horse-trainer or owner there).

Basement room at Downhill House ca 1930s

EARLIER in the day I motored through Coleraine and over the river Bann to Downhill Demesne, a property of the National Trust.

Downhill House, Castle, or Palace, whichever you prefer, was a seat of none other than the Right Honourable and Right Reverend Frederick Augustus Hervey, Earl of Bristol and Lord Bishop of Derry.

Let's abbreviate that to the Earl-Bishop.

The Bishop's Gate

I parked outside the Bishop's Gate, had a chin-wag with the staff in the lodge, and ventured forth into the glen.


Not, however, before I paid homage to the headless statue of the Earl-Bishop's brother George, 2nd Earl of Bristol.


The Earl-Bishop erected a magnificent mausoleum or monument to his brother (and patron) in the grounds, within eyesight of Downhill House.


The 2nd Earl's statue stood within this monument.

I walked towards the coastline, where the roofless shell of a belvedere or summer-house now stands.


It was built for one of his daughters, the Lady Mary Hervey (who married the 1st Earl of Erne).


Back at the Bishop's Gate, where the stonework is embellished with an earl's coronet, crests, mitres etc, there is a secondary entrance in the form of a tunnel, for the use of servants and tradesmen.