Friday, 29 January 2016

The Hot Toddy


All things considered, the winter must be dealt with. Pitilessly.

Beat the chill. Arm yourself with an abundant supply of whiskey, lashings of lemons and cloves, and fight back.

STEP ONE.  The trick is to heat your glass first, so rinse it out with boiling water just as you would heat a teapot prior to making tea.

STEP TWO.  Watch the cold begin its retreat as you intrepidly place four or five cloves in a slice of lemon.

Place the lot in the heated glass.

STEP THREE.   Add about two spoonfuls of sugar (preferably brown) and pour in boiling water till the glass is about half full.

Stir until the sugar has entirely dissolved.

Bushmills Inn, County Antrim

Finally, a liberal helping of whiskey, preferably distilled in the fair village of Bushmills, County Antrim.

Stir well and savour.

You have just beaten the cold.

Start celebrating.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

1st Earl of Home

THE EARLS OF HOME WERE THE GREATEST LANDOWNERS IN LANARKSHIRE, WITH 61,943 ACRES

This noble family yields to few of its native country in antiquity of descent, being a branch of the great house of Dunbar and March, springing from

THE HON PATRICK DUNBAR, second son of Cospatric III, Earl of Lothian; whose son,

WILLIAM DUNBAR, married, for his second wife, Ada, daughter of Patrick I, Earl of Dunbar, and widow of William de Courtenay, who had obtained from her father the lands of Home in free marriage.

De Courtenay died childless and the lady brought those lands to her second husband, whence his posterity assumed the name of "HOME".

This Ada made a grant to the monastery of Kelso, for the salvation of her soul and the souls of her father and mother, prior to 1240.

The son of her marriage with William Dunbar,

WILLIAM DE HOME, confirmed, under that designation, the grant of his mother to the Abbot of Kelso, in 1268.

From this William lineally descended

SIR ALEXANDER HOME, of Home, who founded the collegiate church of Dunglass, for a provost and several prebendaries.

He wedded Mariotta, daughter and heir of Sir Robert Lauder, of The Bass, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR ALEXANDER HOME, of Home, who was ambassador-extraordinary to England in 1459, and was created a Lord of Parliament, as Lord Home, in 1473.

He married firstly, Mariotta, daughter and co-heiress of John Lauder, in Berwickshire, by whom he had, with other issue,

ALEXANDER, MASTER OF HOME, who married Elizabeth Hepburn; and dying before his father, left issue,

ALEXANDER, 2nd Lord, who wedded twice. His 2nd wife, Nichola, daughter of George Ker of Samuelston; and dying in 1506, was succeeded by his eldest son,

ALEXANDER, 3rd Lord.
This nobleman commanded the vanguard, with the Earl of Huntly, at the battle of Flodden Field, dispersed the English opposed to him, and was one of the few who escaped the carnage of that disastrous day.

His lordship joined the Queen Dowager and her husband, Angus, in 1515, and embraced the English interest in opposition to the Regent, John Stewart, Duke of Albany, who took Home Castle and Fast Castle, the fortlets of Lord Home, and ravaged his lands.

Albany having caused the French Ambassador to offer an amnesty, and to send a pardon to Lord Home, with a request of a conference, he agreed to meet the Regent at Dunglass, where he was instantly arrested, and committed to Edinburgh Castle, then under the governorship of the Earl of Arran; but Lord Home prevailed on Arran to permit him to escape, and to accompant him to the Borders.

Lord Home made his peace with the Regent in 1516, and was restored to his honours and estates; but visiting the Court in September of that year, with his brother William, they were arrested, tried for treason, and convicted.

Lord Home was executed in 1516, his head placed on Edinburgh Tolbooth, and his honours and estates forfeited to the Crown. His brother suffered the next day.
His lordship left by his wife, Agnes Stewart, two daughters,
JANET, married to Sir John Hamilton, natural brother of James, Duke of Châtellerault;
ALISON.
His honours and estates were restored, in 1522, to his brother,

GEORGE, 4th Lord, who wedded Mariotta, daughter and co-heir of Patrick, 6th Lord Haliburton, of Dirleton; and was succeeded, in 1549, by his only surviving son,

ALEXANDER, 5th Lord; to whom succeeded his only son,

ALEXANDER, 6th Lord, who was created, in 1605, Lord Dunglass and EARL OF HOME, with remainder to his heirs male whatsoever.
His lordship married firstly, Christian, daughter of William, 6th Earl of Morton, and widow of Laurence, master of Oliphant; and secondly, the Hon Mary Sutton, eldest daughter of Edward, 5th Baron Dudley, the son of the English keeper of Home Castle in 1547 during the Rough Wooing.
His only son,

JAMES, 2nd Earl; upon whose demise, without issue, in 1633, the honours reverted to his kinsman,

SIR JAMES HOME, knight, of Cowdenknowes, 3rd Earl.
This nobleman wedded Lady Jane, daughter of William, 2nd Earl of Morton, by whom he left three sons; all of whom succeeded, in turn to the family honours.
The youngest son,

CHARLES, 6th Earl, married Anne, daughter of Sir William Purves Bt, of Purves Hall, Berwickshire. The eldest son,

ALEXANDER, 7th Earl, suffered imprisonment in Edinburgh Castle, from the breaking out of the rebellion in 1715, until the revival of the Habeas Corpus Act, in 1716.

His lordship wedded Lady Anne, 2nd daughter of William, 2nd Marquess of Lothian, by whom he had eight children, the eldest and youngest surviving of whom inherited successively the family honours. The former,

WILLIAM, as 8th Earl, upon the demise of his father, in 1720; and the latter,

THE REV ALEXANDER, as 9th Earl, upon the decease of his brother, childless, in 1761.
The heir apparent is the present holder's son, Michael David Alexander Douglas-Home, styled Lord Dunglass (b 1987).


HIRSEL HOUSE, near Coldstream, Berwickshire, forms  an integral part of Douglas and Angus estates, comprising the Douglas estate in Lanarkshire (33,000 acres) and the Hirsel estate (3,000 acres).

In 1611, the 1st Earl of Home contracted to buy the Hirsel estate from Sir John Kerr, although it was not until 1621 that JAMES VI of Scotland finally granted the lands of Hirsel to James, 2nd Earl.

Much of the early tree planting and the existence of the earliest part of Hirsel House appear to have been built by about 1620.

The Hirsel was also justifiably famous for its sport, particularly it’s salmon fishing on the river Tweed, where in 1743 the 8th Earl caught a 69lb salmon on a 22’ rod and a horse hair line.

By the mid-1700s, the house and gardens had been significantly developed and the 9th Earl embarked on a major programme of forestry and agricultural improvement.

Further improvements were made to the property between 1895-1900, including the erection of a new wing to Hirsel House, a chapel, and the building of the stables. 

First published in December, 2013.   Home arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

James Bell Crichton VC


James Bell Crichton (1879-1961) was born at Carrickfergus, County Antrim, though grew up in the hamlet of Northrigg, near Blackridge, West Lothian.

He served with the Cameron Highlanders during the South African (Boer) War before moving to New Zealand.

Enlisting at the outbreak of the 1st World War, he served as a baker on the Western Front until May, 1918, when he transferred to the 2nd Battalion, Auckland Infantry Regiment, New Zealand Expeditionary Force, during the 1st World War.

Private Crichton was awarded the Victoria Cross for his deeds on 30 September 1918 at Crèvecœur, France:
CITATION 
Private Crichton, although wounded in the foot, stayed with the advancing troops despite difficult canal and river obstacles. When his platoon was forced back by a counterattack he succeeded in carrying a message which involved swimming a river and crossing an area swept by machine-gun fire.

Subsequently he rejoined his platoon and later undertook on his own initiative to save a bridge which had been mined. Under close fire he managed to remove the charges, returning with the fuses and detonators.
He was later promoted to sergeant.

Sergeant Crichton died at Takapuna, New Zealand, on 25 September, 1961.


There is a Blue Plaque in his memory at the premises of Weston Engineering, 75 Woodburn Road, Carrickfergus, County Antrim, the location of his family home.

First published in May, 2013.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Lighthouse Island: V

IN SEPTEMBER, 2012, I SPENT A WEEKEND ON LIGHTHOUSE ISLAND, ONE OF THE COPELAND ISLANDS


Most of us got out of bed early on Sunday morning, certainly before eight o'clock.

The kitchen in the cottage is the hub, in a sense.

I had brought twenty sausages, potato and soda farls.

Rosie & Nick supplied more bangers, with fresh farm eggs and bacon.

We used the three gas cookers and cooked the lot.

the offerings were placed in the centre of the table and we all tucked in.

Timothy Belmont was, as ever, amongst the leaders in the race to the food-trough.

Thus the troops were nourished and prepared to troop down to the Heligoland trap for a final push.

We managed to complete about 80% of the trap.

The bird observers might need to finish it off themselves; there's now a good basis for completion.

Thereafter we assembled out tools, placed them in the wheelbarrows, and left for the observatory at the top of the island.

I went for a stroll afterwards with Ron.

The remains of the "new" lighthouse (top), in the courtyard at the back of the observatory, are used as storage for fire-wood.

The original lighthouse was more of a square-shaped tower affair and some of it still exists beside the new lighthouse.

The top half of the lighthouse has been shorn off, so the open roof affords a panoramic view of the island and beyond.

Mew lighthouse

Mew Island, adjacent to Lighthouse Island, also has the lighthouse.

It is named after the common gull or sea mew, Larus canus, which nested there in great abundance during bygone years.

Mew Island

It was not until 1969 that electricity powered the lamp on Mew Island.

The light was converted to automatic operation and the last keeper left the island in 1996.

*****

AT ABOUT FOUR O'CLOCK, we all packed and tidied up, locked up and took our belongings down to the jetty, where MV Mermaid was waiting to convey us back to Donaghadee harbour.

It was a wonderful experience, though I think forty-eight hours was sufficient for myself!

Incidentally, a few of us were bitten by what are thought to have been bracken mites: We have several hives to prove it!

First published in September, 2012.

Monday, 25 January 2016

Tyrone DL

APPOINTMENT OF DEPUTY LIEUTENANT

Mr Robert Scott OBE, Lord-Lieutenant of County Tyrone, has been pleased to appoint

Mr David Iain FRAZER,
Dungannon,
County Tyrone,

to be a Deputy Lieutenant of the County, his commission bearing date the 14th January, 2016.

Robert Scott,
Lord-Lieutenant of the County.

New DLs

APPOINTMENT OF DEPUTY LIEUTENANTS

Mr David Lindsay, Lord-Lieutenant of County Down, has been pleased to appoint


  • Mrs Catherine June CHAMPION, Newtownards;

  • Dr Robert Alexander LOGAN, Gilford;

  • Mr Michael Desmond WATT, Seaforde;

  • Mrs Amanda Claire BROWNLOW, Portaferry;


To be Deputy Lieutenants of the County

David Lindsay
Lord Lieutenant of the County

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Lighthouse Island: IV

IN SEPTEMBER, 2012, I SPENT A WEEKEND ON LIGHTHOUSE ISLAND, ONE OF THE COPELAND ISLANDS


The throne-room, otherwise known as loo-with-a-view, is situated half-way down the cliff, overlooking Mew Island.

For those who haven't been following the narrative, Lighthouse Island is one of the Copeland Islands, off the coast of County Down.

From the observatory at the top of this little island it takes about four minutes to get to the said convenience.

As the steps wind their way down the path, there is a wooden notice which is raised or lowered in order to alert users to the fact that this lavatory is otherwise engaged or not.

At the loo itself, there is a second notice (Belt & Braces approach).

view from loo-with-a-view

This little cubicle has a half-door, open to the elements, where occupants can enjoy the most splendid prospect (above) of Mew Island.

I concur with Nick: Lawnmower Man needs to prune a bush which is obscuring the view somewhat [in 2012].

Next episode ... The Last Day.

First published in September, 2012.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Lighthouse Island: III

IN SEPTEMBER, 2012, I SPENT A WEEKEND ON LIGHTHOUSE ISLAND, ONE OF THE COPELAND ISLANDS

Heligoland trap

After breakfast on Saturday morning, we gathered our tools, including pitchforks, spades, wire-clippers and heavy gloves.

We placed everything in wheelbarrows and made the short journey - perhaps five minutes - to the location of our day's task.

A Heligoland trap had been erected at one side of the island, though it was uncompleted.

A group of young people had built its framework, as part of the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme.

Our task was to begin where they had left off. We had plenty of wire mesh, nasty and unforgiving stuff.

It came in rolls of perhaps thirty yards by two yards.

Emma & Phil at the trap door

We had to construct the roof of the trap with this mesh, which necessitated manhandling, pulling and stretching it from one side of the trap to the other.

It is a particularly large trap and this task lasted the whole weekend.

Emma, Phil and self spent a fair amount of time time affixing the trap door.

We managed to do it, despite the Heath Robinson craftsmanship!

We used an ancient step-ladder, which began the day with three steps and ended with a mere one.

Of course we stopped for tea-breaks and lunch.

The weather was warm and sunny for most of the time, with a gentle breeze.

*****

DURING the day, one of the bird observers informed us that they had caught a Common Rosefinch, which was being ringed in the hut.

Its plumage was quite plain: Females, juveniles and first year males have streaked brown heads and somewhat resemble small corn buntings.

This species is a very rare visitor to Northern Ireland, I am apprised.

*****

IN THE EVENING, we all had a hearty steak dinner. Phil had brought enough rump steaks for everybody.

I assisted prepared and cooked the vegetables.

We all sat down to a great meal of rump-steak, chips, peas, tomato and onion.

Phil also brought two bottles of red wine, including a Chianti. Many thanks, Phil!

Pudding was delicious, too: sublime home-made blackberry & apple crumble with custard, made by Rosie & Nick. Many thanks, too!

The trusty nose-bag was firmly attached and the gnashers operated in overdrive.

Fret not, readers: I brought several miniature bottles of gin with me, and cans of tonic-water, with a lime.

After dinner we retired to the common-room, where a cheery log-fire was lit.

Thereafter restoratives were liberally consumed.

Some members of the group left at ten-thirty, in search of Manx Shearwaters on the island; whilst I remained at the fire with the others.

 Next episode ... The Throne-Room!

First published in September, 2012.

Friday, 22 January 2016

Lighthouse Island: II

IN SEPTEMBER, 2012, I SPENT A WEEKEND ON LIGHTHOUSE ISLAND, ONE OF THE COPELAND ISLANDS

The kitchen

On Saturday morning, most of us arose from the bunk-beds swiftly after seven o'clock.

There are sponge mattresses.

Bring your own sleeping-bag and pillow-case; abundant heavy blankets are provided.

It's wise to be self-sufficient here: Bring all food and drink, though there is a limited supply of fresh water from the well.

"Washing" water comes from a butt, and it is emphasised that this must not be used for consumption, even for boiling in a kettle.

So I got dressed and, armed with my wash-gear, found the male wash-room, which is outside in an old shed.

The stainless-steel sink is very large and, unfortunately, lacks a plug.

It has no running water, either; so you boil water and bring it from the kitchen to the wash-room outside.

There is no bath or shower in the wash-room.

Given that the island had not been occupied all week, the sink contained a few swallow droppings!

I decided not to avail of the facilities in the wash-room.

Instead, I boiled some water, poured it into a Pyrex bowl from the kitchen, took it outside to the front of the cottage, and washed myself in the open.

This was easier and less fuss.

I don't know what the others did. Some, I suspect, didn't bother to wash at all!

Others let their beards grow. The duty officer, I noticed, used an electric razor.

I made the mistake of believing that we, as a NT group, would all be sharing all our food.

I brought plenty of ingredients for an Ulster Fry, including twenty sausages, potato-bread and soda-bread; while others provided fresh eggs, bacon, tomatoes and mushrooms.

Phil generously supplied rump steaks, oven chips, vegetables, and red wine.

The kitchen is well equipped, with three cookers and an abundance of kitchen knives, forks, spoons, dishes, baking-trays and so on.

Next episode ... off to Heligoland!

First published in September, 2012.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Lighthouse Island: I

IN SEPTEMBER, 2012, I SPENT A WEEKEND ON LIGHTHOUSE ISLAND, ONE OF THE COPELAND ISLANDS

Lighthouse Island jetty

Timothy Belmont has been incommunicado for forty-eight hours, mainly due to the fact that I have spent that time at Lighthouse Island, one of the Copeland Islands, opposite Donaghadee, County Down.

I arrived at Donaghadee on Friday afternoon at about four-thirty, parked the car, and swiftly made a bee-line for Pier 36, a well-frequented establishment on the sea-front near the harbour.

At Pier 36, I seated myself up at the bar and ordered a little restorative, viz. a Tanqueray and tonic-water.

Rosie and Nick, two fellow National Trust volunteers, arrived soon afterwards.

We had another drink, then ordered a meal.

 I had the halibut with buttery mash and asparagus tips, which was simply delicious.

Craig and his party then arrived, and we proceeded to make for our ferry, MV Mermaid, which took about fifteen of us, including eight NT personnel, to Lighthouse Island.

This compact little island lies behind the main Copeland Island itself.

The journey took about forty-five minutes. When we arrived at the small jetty, we disembarked and unloaded various provisions and tools for the weekend's task.

Wheelbarrows are used to take bulky items up the hill to the cottage, also known as Copeland Bird Observatory.

Having set up camp and having been told the basic house rules and regulations, I chose my bunk in the men's dormitory, which sleeps nine.


Later that evening, we were all invited to join Davy, the duty officer, for the evening catching and ringing juvenile Manx Shearwaters, quite remarkable sea-birds which live in burrows and are not great on the feet. Indeed, they are relatively easy to catch at night.

We also caught and ringed a fair number of swallows. We were all given the opportunity to release them outside the ringing office.

When darkness fell, these wonderful little birds sat on the palm of my hand for a few minutes, before flying away.

Next episode ... ablutions and eating arrangements

Wattling


By Jove, it became foggy yesterday morning as I motored in a southerly direction, along the Portaferry Road, towards Greyabbey, County Down.

I was meeting other National Trust Strangford Lough volunteers for some woodland maintenance.

Thompson's Wood, at Island View Road, is to the west of Greyabbey.

It overlooks Skillin's Point and Mid Island.

There were about eight of us today.


We were thinning young trees (22 years old) and working on a wattle enclosure.

Loppers and hand saws were used.

We finished our task at about twelve-thirty, and drove back to our GHQ, the old schoolhouse on the periphery of Mount Stewart estate.

The coast and countryside manager was conducting our biannual meeting to review progress and update us on developments.

I lunched (or munched) on an apple, mandarin, and banana!

*****

I PASSED a local B&M store the other day and they're selling Frank Cooper's raspberry conserve for, I think, 66p or thereabouts.

This sounds like a bargain; have any readers tried this jam?

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Woodlawn House

THE BARONS ASHTOWN WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY LIMERICK, WITH 11,273 ACRES. 

The family of TRENCH is descended from a French protestant family, said to have emigrated from the town of La Tranche, in the province of Poitou, to avoid the religious persecutions instituted by LOUIS XIV against those who dissented from the established church.

This family and that of TRENCH, Earls of Clancarty, derive from a common ancestor, namely,

FREDERICK TRENCH, who settled at Garbally, County Galway, some time in the beginning of the 17th century, and dying in 1669, left by Anna, his wife, daughter of the Rev James Trench, two sons:
FREDERICK, of Garbally, founded the house of Clancarty;
John (Very Rev), Dean of Raphoe.
Dying in 1725, Mr Trench was succeeded by his eldest son,

FREDERICK TRENCH, of Moate, County Galway, who married, in 1718, Mary, daughter and heiress of Richard Geering, Clerk of the Court of Chancery,  and had to survive him,
FREDERICK, his heir;Anne; Mary; Elizabeth.
He died in 1758, and was succeeded by his only surviving son,

FREDERICK TRENCH, of Moate and Woodlawn, both in County Galway, who wedded, in 1754, Mary, eldest daughter and co-heir of Francis Sadleir, of Sopwell Hall, County Tipperary.

He died in 1797, and left issue,
FREDERICK, his heir;
Francis, of Sopwell Hall, father of
FREDERICK;
Thomas (Very Rev), Dean of Kildare;
William, of Cangort Castle;
Charles;
Richard;
John;
Catharine; Mary; Elizabeth; Frances; Anne.
The eldest son,

FREDERICK TRENCH (1755-1840), of Moate, espoused, in 1785, Elizabeth, only daughter and heiress of Dr Robert Robinson, and niece of the Hon Mr Justice Robinson, one of the judges of the Court of King's Bench, but had no issue.

Mr Trench was elevated to the peerage, in 1800, by the title of BARON ASHTOWN, of Moate, County Galway.

His lordship represented Portarlington in the Irish parliament from 1798-1800; and Maryborough, 1785-90.
The present 8th Baron lives in East Sussex.


*****

THE TRENCHES of Woodlawn were one of a number of Trench families who came to prominence in County Galway in the 17th century.

They were all descended from Frederick Trench who came to Ireland early in the 1600s.

Strategic marriages into the Warburton and Power families led to the acquisition of more lands in East Galway.

Much of the Woodlawn estate was originally Martin and Barnewall lands which were purchased by the Trenches in the early 18th century.

Lord Ashtown was recorded as a non-resident proprietor in 1824.

In County Roscommon he held over a 1,000 acres; and in County Tipperary he held at least 21 townlands in the parishes of Ballingarry and Uskane, barony of Lower Ormond, inherited from the Sadleir family of Sopwell Hall.

In the 1870s, Lord Ashtown's main estate in County Galway amounted to over 8,000 acres and he also held land in seven other counties including County Waterford where he had purchased lands from the Earl of Stradbroke in the 1870s. 

These townlands remained in Trench ownership until purchased by the Irish Land Commission in the 1930s.

In 1852 Lord Ashtown married as his second wife Elizabeth Oliver Gascoigne, an heiress with large estates in County Limerick and Yorkshire.

In the 1870s Lord Ashtown is recorded as the owner of 11,273 acres in County Limerick and 4,526 acres in County Tipperary.


WOODLAWN HOUSE, near Kilconnell, County Galway, is a Palladian-style country house comprising a three-bay, three-storey central block built ca 1760, having slightly advanced end bays and projecting tetra-style Ionic portico to entrance bay.

There is an interesting video clip of the mansion house and ruinous outbuildings here.

The House consists of 30,000 square feet standing on 115 acres of land.

It boasts 26 bedrooms, a walled garden, courtyard, gatehouse, gardener's house and a lake.

Woodlawn was remodelled ca 1860 and flanked by four-bay two-storey wings having projecting pedimented end bay to each wing.

The central block has tripartite openings to end bays, ground floor of each end bay having segmental pediment and engaged Doric columns to slightly advanced middle light, and flanked by Doric pilasters.

The wings have tripartite windows to pedimented bays, ground floor having Venetian-style windows, middle light slightly advanced and having engaged square-plan Doric columns, flanked by Doric pilasters and having with moulded capitals and cornices.

The mansion is set in its own demesne, with outbuildings to west, and entrance gates and lodge to east.


This large house is an elaborate exercise in classical orders, the use of carved and cut limestone extending throughout the front elevation and evidence of both the skill of 19th century stonemasons and the wealth of the Trench family whose seat it was.

An unusual composition, the quoins to the central block give a vertical emphasis that is extended by the pinnacles.

Although the motifs are classical, the extensive use of dark limestone, the variety of textures and treatments, and the use of pinnacles give it a somewhat Gothic appearance typical of the late 19th century.

Extended and remodelled by the 2nd Baron Ashtown in the 1860s to designs drawn up by James F Kempster, the county surveyor for the East Riding of County Galway, it shows little evidence of the Georgian house behind the façade.

During the 1920s, the 3rd Baron was declared bankrupt and, as a result, the house was closed up and its contents sold at auction; at one point, the IRA occupied one of the wings.

The 4th Baron eventually returned to Woodlawn, but in 1947 he sold the estate to his cousin, Derek Le Poer Trench who, in turn, disposed of it in 1973.

Since then, Woodlawn has had two further owners but neither of these have lived in the house.

Michael Lally, a local publican, bought the property ca 1989.

Before that date, in 1982, a fire burnt out the east wing and caused extensive damage to the central block, partly because of the water used to put out the flames.

Much of the original decoration of the house has also been lost, not least the fireplaces in the principal reception rooms.

While all the walls still stand and the pitched slate roof remains, Woodlawn today is a mere shadow of the house it had been 100 years ago.

Other former seat ~ Chessel House, Southampton, Hampshire.

Ashtown arms courtesy of European Heraldry.  First published in December, 2011.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Ballymacormick Stonechat

Female stonechat

I've been outdoors for most of the day, at Ballymacormick Point, County Down.

This coastline belongs to the National Trust.

It comprises about thirty-three acres and was acquired in 1952 from Thomas Kingan.


Today, as is frequently the case, we were cutting gorse. 

I parked at Groomsport and we met at the entrance to the property.


Thankfully it was dry with sunny intervals, though there was a bitterly cold wind.

We spotted stonechats, a sparrowhawk, and lapwings today.

Adam of Blair Adam

THE FAMILY OF ADAM WERE THE LARGEST LANDOWNERS IN KINROSS-SHIRE, WITH 2,896 ACRES

The surname of Adam is of great antiquity in Scotland, as proved by many documents in the public record.

HENRY ADAM, a military man, lived in the reign of WILLIAM THE LION. His son,

ALEXANDER ADAM, was Laird of Roscobie near Forfar, in the reign of ALEXANDER III of Scotland. His eldest son,

DUNCAN ADAM,  lived in the reign of ROBERT THE BRUCE, and had four sons, the youngest of whom,

DUNCAN ADAM, who accompanied James, Lord Douglas, in his expedition to Spain on his way to the Holy Land, with the heart of King Robert; and from whom is stated to have descended,

JOHN ADAM, who accompanied JAMES IV of Scotland to Flodden Field, and there lost his life, in 1513. His left a son,

CHARLES ADAM, seated at Fanno, in Forfarshire, ca 1549, who married Margaret Ferguson; by whom he had two sons,
CHARLES, his heir;
David, progenitor of Adams of Kingsbarns, Fife;
two daughters.
The elder son,

CHARLES ADAM, of Fanno, wedded Isabel Bisset, by whom he had several sons and daughters.

The second, but eldest surviving son,

ROBERT ADAM, about the end of the reign of Queen MARY, married Isabel, daughter of James Hunter, and was father of

DAVID ADAM, of Fanno, who wedded his cousin, Jean Hunter, by whom he had a son and successor, 

ARCHIBALD ADAM, of Fanno, sold his patrimonial lands in the time of CHARLES I, and acquired those of Queensmanour in time same county.

He married Mary, daughter of John Hay, of Montrose, and died in the reign of CHARLES II, leaving issue,
CHARLES, his heir;
JOHN, successor to his nephew, of whom hereafter;
Alexander; Patrick; Phyllis; Mary.
The eldest son,

CHARLES ADAM, of Queensmanour, married Elizabeth, daughter of John Wishart, of Logie, Forfarshire; and by her had a son and successor,

JAMES ADAM, of Queenmanour, who sold the paternal estate.

He died unmarried and was succeeded in the representation of the family by his uncle,

JOHN ADAM, who married Helen, daughter of William, 3rd Lord Cranstoun, by whom he left one surviving son,

WILLIAM ADAM (1689-1748), an eminent architect, who purchased several estates, particularly that of Blair, in the county of Kinross, where he built a house and village, which he named Maryburgh.

He married Mary, daughter of William Robertson, of Gladney, and, with other issue, had 
JOHN, of whom we treat;
Robert, architect to
GEORGE III; MP for Kinross-shire, 1768;
James;
William;
Janet; Helen;
Mary, m Dr John Drysdale, Dean of the Chapel Royal;
Susanna, m John Clerk;
Margaret.
Mr Adam died in 1748 and was succeeded by his son,

JOHN ADAM OF BLAIR ADAM (1721-92), of Maryburgh, who wedded, in 1750, Jean, daughter of John Ramsay; by whom he had, with other issue, a son and successor, 

THE RT HON WILLIAM ADAM OF BLAIR ADAM (1751-1839),
married the Hon Eleanor Elphinstone, daughter of Charles, 10th Lord Elphinstone, in 1777. He was Lord Chief Commissioner of the Jury Court [Scotland]; Lord-Lieutenant of Kinross-shire; Baron of the Exchequer [Scotland]; Member of Parliament.
His second son,

ADMIRAL SIR CHARLES ADAM OF BLAIR ADAM KCB (1780-1853), a distinguished naval officer, married and his heir,

THE RT HON WILLIAM PATRICK ADAM CIE DL (1823-81), served as a colonial administrator and politician; Companion of the Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire.

His eldest son,

(SIR) CHARLES ELPHINSTONE ADAM (1859-1922), was created a baronet in 1882.

He was a barrister and former army officer.

Sir Charles died childless in 1922, when the baronetcy became extinct. His estate devolved upon his nephew,

CAPTAIN CHARLES KEITH ADAM DSO RN (1891-1971), Lord-Lieutenant of Kinross-shire, 1955-66.

Captain Adam was raised in Australia but returned to Scotland to manage the estate.

His son, Keith Robert Adam (b 1944), is the present owner. The estate comprises 200 acres today.


BLAIR ADAM HOUSE, is located near Kelty, in Fife.

William Adam purchased the Blair Crambeth (subsequently Blair Adam) estate in 1731 and shortly afterwards built the modest five-bay two-storey house which forms the centre of the present building.

By 1736, Adam had enlarged the house by the addition of harled single-storey wings, originally of three bays, which continued the line of the original block.

Both were extended by John Adam in 1775, the south wing being heightened and given a bowed end.


The north wing was made an L-shape by the construction of a block across its end which stretches back to the west and joins it to the office range.

This range, originally very plain, was remodelled in 1815-16 and a low rubble-walled tower was built behind it.

First published in December, 2013.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

OM Appointments


CENTRAL CHANCERY OF THE ORDERS OF KNIGHTHOOD

THE QUEEN has been graciously pleased to make the following appointments to the Order of Merit:
(To be dated 31 December 2015):

The Rt Hon Ara Warkes, Baron DARZI OF DENHAM, KBE PC;

Professor Dame Ann Patricia DOWLING, DBE;

Sir James DYSON, CBE.

The Order of Merit, founded by 1902 by EDWARD VII, is a special mark of honour conferred by the Sovereign on individuals of exceptional distinction in the arts, learning, sciences and other areas such as public service.

Appointments to the Order are in the Sovereign's personal gift and ministerial advice is not required.

At any point in time, there can only be a total of 24 members of the OM.

This has been the case since EDWARD VII established the Order in 1902 to reward those whose accomplishments in the arts, sciences and learning may go unsung.

Also, the honour does not come with a title, so there's no immediately obvious way of knowing someone has been bestowed with it.

Members are given a red and blue enamel badge, which reads "For Merit".

When a member dies the badge is returned to The Sovereign, who receives the next-of-kin personally.

The Sovereign also has a portrait painted of each member, which becomes part of the royal collection, and hosts a gathering for the entire Order every five years.

In Northern Ireland, the Right Reverend and Right Honourable the Lord Eames, OM, former Archbishop of Armagh, is a member of the Order.

People who have been awarded the honour include Florence Nightingale - who was the first woman - TS Eliot and Sir Winston Churchill. There have been 11 honorary members from foreign countries, like Mother Teresa and Nelson Mandela.

Although nearly all prime ministers of the 20th Century have been knighted, only six received the Order of Merit.

The late Baroness Thatcher was a member of Order.

Friday, 8 January 2016

Sheriff Appointments

APPOINTMENTS BY THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR NORTHERN IRELAND

APPOINTMENT OF SHERIFFS FOR NORTHERN IRELAND FOR 2016

COUNTY ANTRIM

Mr James Ernest Perry
Ballymena
County Antrim


COUNTY ARMAGH

Mr James Arthur Crummie
Portadown
County Armagh


COUNTY DOWN

Mr Philip Baxter
Lisburn
County Down


COUNTY FERMANAGH

Mrs Roisin Smyth
Enniskillen
County Fermanagh


COUNTY LONDONDERRY

Mr Damian John Heron
Magherafelt
County Londonderry


COUNTY TYRONE

Mr Patrick John McGowan MBE JP
Omagh
County Tyrone


COUNTY BOROUGH OF BELFAST

Alderman Jim Rodgers OBE
Holywood
County Down


COUNTY BOROUGH OF LONDONDERRY

Mrs Patricia O'Kane
Londonderry
County Londonderry

The Gladstone Baronets

THE GLADSTONE BARONETS WERE THE GREATEST LANDOWNERS IN KINCARDINESHIRE, WITH 45,062 ACRES

JOHN GLADSTONES, born ca 1696, denizen and merchant at Biggar, south Lanarkshire, married Janet Aitken in 1730.
This John was miller, farmer, trader, and storekeeper to the Earl of Wigtown. He held many of the chief offices in the town, and was an elder in the Biggar Kirk.
His son,

THOMAS GLADSTONES (1732-1809), married Helen, daughter of Walter Neilson, in 1762.
When he was fourteen years old, this Thomas was sent to Leith, there to be apprenticed to Alexander Somerville, a wine merchant. He prospered and later became a successful corn merchant.
His eldest son,

(SIR) JOHN GLADSTONE (1764-1851), of Leith, married firstly, Jane, daughter of Joseph Hall, in 1791; secondly, Anne MacKenzie, daughter of Andrew Robertson.

This gentleman was created a baronet in 1846.
He followed his father into the mercantile business, working first for his father's business, before basing himself in Liverpool in 1787, where he entered the house of grain merchants Corrie & Company as a clerk.

Gladstones was eventually taken into the firm as a partner, the name of the house becoming Corrie, Gladstone & Bradshaw. The business of the firm, and the wealth of its members, soon grew very large. Once he had settled in Liverpool, Gladstones dropped the final "s" from his surname, although this was not legally regularized until 1835.
Sir John's youngest son was THE RT HON WILLIAM EWART GLADSTONE, Prime Minister, 1886.

Sir John's eldest son and heir,

SIR THOMAS GLADSTONE (1804-89), 2nd Baronet, married Louisa, daughter of Robert Fellowes, in 1835; Lord-Lieutenant of Kincardineshire; MP for Queensborough, Portarlington, Leicester and Ipswich.

His only son,

SIR JOHN ROBERT GLADSTONE (1852-1926), 3rd Baronet, JP,
Captain, 1st Battalion, Coldstream Guards; Lord-Lieutenant of Kincardineshire; Brigadier, Royal Company of Archers.
Sir John died unmarried, when the baronetcy devolved upon his cousin,

SIR JOHN EVELYN GLADSTONE (1855-1945), 4th Baronet, JP, DL, who married Gertrude Theresa, daughter of Sir Charles Hayes Miller, in 1888. Dying without male issue, the title reverted to his cousin,

SIR ALBERT CHARLES GLADSTONE (1886-1967), 5th Baronet, MBE, who died unmarried, when the baronetcy devolved upon his brother,

SIR CHARLES ANDREW GLADSTONE (1888-1968), 6th Baronet, JP, DL, who married Isla Margaret, daughter of Sir Walter Erskine Crum, in 1925,
Master 1912-46, Eton College; fought in the 1st World War, where he attached to the Royal Flying Corps, and became a PoW; Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire, 1948-68; High Sheriff of Hampshire in 1951.
His son,

SIR ERSKINE WILLIAM GLADSTONE, 7th Baronet, KG, JP, DL, married Rosamund Anne, daughter of Major Robert Alexander Hambro, in 1962.
Headmaster, 1961-69, at Lancing College, Lancing, Sussex; County Alderman for Flintshire, 1970-74; Chief Scout for the UK and overseas branches, 1972-82; Lord-Lieutenant of Clwyd, 1985-2000; Knight, Order of the Garter, 1999. He lived in 2003 at Hawarden Castle, Flintshire.

FASQUE CASTLE, near Fettercairn, Kincardineshire, is a large sandstone mansion, in a symmetrical castellated style, with octagonal towers at the centre and corners of the main facade.

The structure remains relatively unchanged since its completion. Sir John Gladstone, 1st Baronet, added a third storey to the central tower in 1830, and built the portico of rusticated pillars in the 1840s.

The drawing room was expanded in 1905, and some servants' quarters were added before the beginning of the 1st World War.

Innovative use of electricity meant that Fasque had an electronic buzzer system as early as 1890. It was also noted for having innovative firefighting and health and safety equipment in the 1920s.

Although begun by Sir Alexander Ramsay-Irvine, the current house was not completed until about 1809. Approximately £30,000 was spent on the project. The house took over ten years to construct.

In 1829, Fasque Castle was sold for £80,000 to Sir John Gladstone Bt.

In 1851, Sir John died, passing the house on to his oldest son, Thomas, 2nd Baronet.

Sir Thomas and his wife, Louisa, ran Fasque as an effective house for nearly 40 years, adding servants' quarters to the building itself, along with a school in the grounds.
During that time, William Ewart Gladstone (who had come into possession of Hawarden Castle in north Wales, through his wife's family, the Glynns) visited his elder brother many times, and practiced his hobbies of walking and tree-felling across the moors of the estate.
The estate lands had slowly expanded during Sir Thomas's tenure to encompass 80,000 acres (320 km2), bordering Balmoral to the north.

Sir Thomas died in 1889, passing the baronetcy on to his eldest son John, a bachelor soldier, who came home to run the estate with his sister Mary in the 1890s.

After Thomas' death, William Ewart Gladstone did not visit his nephew's estate again, and himself died in 1898.

Fasque Castle remained a working home until 1932, when Mary, who had survived her brother John by six years, passed on.

At this point, Fasque House became disused, with much of the furniture covered with sheets, and rooms locked up for decades.

The estate itself operated as before, but the main house was empty, although it remained "immaculately well preserved".

Eventually, the baronetcy passed through various family lines to end up with the 7th Baronet, Sir William, great-grandson of the prime minister, and a former Chief Scout.

In 1978, Sir William's younger brother, the naturalist Peter Gladstone, re-decorated Fasque, apparently whitewashing almost every wall surface himself, and opened it to the public for the first time in the September of that year.

Fasque Castle remained open to summer visitors for over two decades, with the mansion's east wing almost entirely open to the public, and the west wing providing a home for Peter's family.

A large auction sale of items from the house gained much publicity when it was held in the grounds in 1997.

Peter Gladstone died in 2000, with the estate now being run by Charles Gladstone, son of Sir William, the 7th Baronet.

In 2003, the house was closed to the public, and since then specially-arranged coach parties and wedding services have also been discontinued.

In 2010, Fasque Castle was bought by Fasque House Properties Ltd and restoration work was begun.

The building's use as a wedding venue was reinstated, alongside conference facilities and cottage rentals.

This sale did not affect the Fasque and Glen Dye Estate, which is still owned by the Gladstone family

First published in December, 2013.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Donadea Castle

THE AYLMER BARONETS WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY KILDARE, WITH 13,396 ACRES

This ancient family deduces its descent from Athelmare, or Ailmer, Earl of Cornwall, who lived in the reign of ÆTHELRED I, King of Wessex; and their settlement in Ireland is fixed at some time in the 12th century.

During the reign of HENRY VI, in 1421, we find Richard Aylmer, of Lyons, County Kildare, one of the keepers of the peace for that county, as well as for the adjoining county of Dublin.

In 1432, he is a subscriber (as sovereign of the town of Tassagard), to an indenture made to one John Staunton, and his heirs, of a waste plot of ground there, for the annual consideration of one penny at Easter.

In the reign of HENRY VIII, a member of the family,

THE RT HON SIR GERALD AYLMER (c1500-59), second son of Bartholomew Aylmer, of Lyons, by his wife, Margaret, daughter of Sir Christopher Cheevers, of Macetown, rose to considerable eminence in the legal profession.

Sir Gerald, for his very important services to the crown, obtained a grant of the manor and lordship of Dullardstown, County Meath, and settled there.

The baronetcy was conferred in 1621, little more than a year after the institution of the Order, by JAMES I, upon

SIR GERALD AYLMER (1548-1634), Knight, of Donadea, son of George Aylmer, of Cloncurry, and grandson of Richard Aylmer, of Lyons.

Sir Gerald married firstly, Mary, daughter and co-heiress of Sir Henry Travers, Master of the Ordnance, and relict of James FitzEustace, Viscount Baltinglas.

He wedded secondly, Julia, daughter of Christopher, Lord Delvin, by whom he had two daughters and his successor, at his decease in 1634,

SIR ANDREW AYLMER (1613-71), 2nd Baronet, who wedded Ellen, daughter of Thomas, Viscount Thurles, and sister of James, 1st Duke of Ormonde, by whom he had, with one daughter, a son and heir,

SIR FITZGERALD AYLMER (1663-85), 3rd Baronet, who espoused, in 1681, Helen, second daughter of Luke, 3rd Earl of Fingall, and at his decease (by smallpox) was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR JUSTIN AYLMER (1682-1711), 4th Baronet, who married, in 1702, Ellice, daughter of Sir Gerald Aylmer, of Balrath, and had two sons.

Sir Justin was succeeded by his elder son,

SIR GERALD AYLMER (1703-37), 5th Baronet, who wedded, in 1726, Lucy, daughter of Admiral Sir John Norris, of Hempstead, Kent, by whom he left one son and two daughters, Lucy and Elizabeth.

This gentleman was succeeded by his son,

SIR FITZGERALD AYLMER (1736-94), 6th Baronet, who espoused Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of Fenton Cole, of Silver Hill, County Fermanagh, by whom he had, with other children who died young,
FENTON, his heir;
John;
Arthur, lieutenant-general;
Margaret.
He was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR FENTON AYLMER (1770-1816), 7th Baronet, who married, in 1795, Jane Grace, daughter of Sir John Evans Freke Bt, of Castle Freke, County Cork, and sister of Lord Carbery, by whom he left issue,
GERALD GEORGE, his successor;
Arthur Percy;
William Josiah;
John Freke;
Margaret Susan.
Sir Fenton was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR GERALD GEORGE AYLMER (1798-1878), 8th Baronet, who wedded, in 1826, Maria, elder daughter and co-heir of Colonel Hodgson, of the East India Company, and had an only son,

SIR GERALD GEORGE AYLMER (1830-83), 9th Baronet.
  • Sir Justin Gerald Aylmer, 10th Baronet (1863–85);
  • Sir Arthur Percy Aylmer, 11th Baronet (1801–85);
  • Captain Fenton John Aylmer (1835–62);
  • Sir Arthur Percy Fitzgerald Aylmer, 12th Baronet (1858–1928);
  • John Evans Freke Aylmer (1838–1907);
  • Sir Gerald Arthur Evans-Freke Aylmer, 14th Baronet (1869–1939);
  • Sir Fenton Gerald Aylmer, 15th Baronet (1901–87);
  • Sir Richard John Aylmer, 16th Baronet (b 1937).
The heir apparent is the present holder's son, Fenton Paul Aylmer (b 1965).
The 1st Baron Aylmer was the second son of Sir Christopher Aylmer, 1st Baronet, of Balrath, County Meath.


In 1581, Sir Gerald built a new Tower in Donadea, not fully completed until 1624 and now the oldest part of the Castle.

In 1626, he repaired the medieval Church in Donadea and built a new extension in which he established his family burial plot.

In the extension he also constructed an Altar Tomb monument as a burial memorial for his family. Gerald was titled by the Crown and became the first Baronet of Donadea.

The Aylmers were connected with the various conflicts and rebellions over the next two centuries.

During the wars of the 1640s, Sir Andrew, 2nd Baronet, supported the rebels and was imprisoned at the beginning of the war.

Although he was a brother-in-law of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Lord Ormond, there were no favours granted to him.

In 1642 Ormond sent an army to capture Donadea Castle which was stoutly defended by Sir Andrew's sister, Ellen Aylmer.

The Castle, nevertheless, was captured and burned. Ellen, however, was not imprisoned and subsequently rebuilt the Castle.

In 1689, after the battle of the Boyne, Lady Helen Aylmer (daughter of 3rd Earl of Fingall) was in charge of the Castle.

Lady Helen was the widow of the 3rd Baronet and was outlawed due to her support for JAMES II.

However, she managed to hold on to the Castle and lands under the terms of the Treaty of Limerick.

In 1736, Sir Gerald, 5th Baronet, died leaving an only son FitzGerald who became the 6th Baronet.

He was only one year old when his father died and was subsequently raised by his mother and her relatives who were members of the established church. FitzGerald subsequently conformed to the established religion.


In 1773, he built a new house in front of the Castle and incorporated the Tower in his new residence.

Sir Fenton Aylmer, 7th Baronet, was well-known as the man who founded the Kildare Hunt. He was also famous as a Yeoman leader during the Rebellion of 1798.

In the period leading up to the rebellion there was an attempt to burn Donadea Castle. During the rebellion Fenton’s kinsman, William Aylmer of Painstown, was the leader of the local rebels.

This led to a split among the Aylmer family.

Sir Fenton’s son Gerald, 8th Baronet, held the lands of Donadea between 1816 and 1878 and he is accredited with most of the construction work that is visible in Donadea demesne today.

He began his building program in the 1820s by re-routing the roads away from the Castle and the construction of a high wall enclosing the demesne.

Gate lodges were then built at all the entrances. He also built a new grand entrance known as the Lime Avenue.

In 1827 he completely remodelled the front of the Castle which gave it an attractive bow shaped appearance.

It has been suggested that he employed the renowned architect Richard Morrison to design this new structure.

The older cabin-type dwellings close to the castle were demolished and new estate houses built at the Range.

To the west of the Castle he built an eight acre area of gardens and paddocks, surrounded and sub-divided by walls.

In the Castle yard he built dwellings for staff and elaborative farm buildings. He also constructed the artificial lake and the Ice House.

Large areas of the demesne were planted and, by the time of his death, Donadea demesne was listed as one of the finest parkland settings in the county.

Outside the demesne he was involved in numerous construction projects including the famous ‘Aylmer Folly’, viz. the Tower on the summit of the hill of Allen.

Sir Gerald's grandson Justin, 10th Baronet, died unmarried in 1885.

His sister Caroline inherited the castle and much of the demesne, while the baronetcy passed to a cousin.

Caroline Maria Aylmer, who was the daughter of Sir Gerald George Aylmer, 9th Baronet, was the last Aylmer to live at Donadea.

She died in 1935, leaving the estate to the Church of Ireland who, in turn, passed it on to the Irish state.

The castle remained unoccupied and was de-roofed in the late 1950s.

Lieutenant-General Sir Fenton John Aylmer Bt VC KCB, 13th Baronet, was a recipient of the Victoria Cross.

In 1981 the Irish Minister for Lands designated the area of the demesne held by his department as Donadea Forest Park.

Under their management, a new era of history then began which transformed the old demesne into Donadea Forest Park.

First published in December, 2011.