Sunday, 31 July 2016

Blue Trail Walk

Today is a Jazz in the Garden day at Mount Stewart, the National Trust's beautiful property on the Ards Peninsula, County Down.

However, my purpose was to walk the brand new Blue Trail.

This new trail doesn't officially open until next Wednesday, I gather, though visitors are being treated to a preview.

The trail passes a field of barley and a derelict cottage with a rusty corugated iron roof.

I searched for the ruins of an ancient church in a field close to the Glen, though all I could find were several large stones.

The trail meanders through lovely woodland till it joins the Red Trail at a junction which leads to The Folly, where I lunched this afternoon.

I sat on a wooden chair in the folly, had a beaker of tea, and ate my fresh fruit.

Thence I walked along the track, past a wild-flower meadow with cornflowers, past the old piggery, and back to my car.

Close of Drumbanagher

RICHARD CLOSE, the first of the family who settled in Ireland, was the younger son of a respectable house in Yorkshire, and held a commission in the Army.

He was sent from England, in the reign of CHARLES I, into that kingdom, where he remained after the termination of the civil wars, and became one of the lords of the soil, as we find him having four townlands in County Monaghan during the time of CHARLES II.

After the Restoration he fixed himself at Lisnagarvey, near Lisburn, County Antrim, where a Protestant colony had been located under the protection of Lord Conway.

There he lived and died, leaving a son and heir,

RICHARD CLOSE, who inherited the County Monaghan estates.

Mr Close married Mary, sister of Samuel Waring, of Waringstown, MP for Hillsborough, and received from that gentleman a grant of lands contiguous to Waringstown, on which he built a good house and resided.

He considerably enlarged the family estate by purchasing a tract of land on the River Bann, between Rathfriland and Castlewellan, County Down, and after the disturbances in 1688, which obliged him to leave his home and join the Protestants, then united at Lisburn, under Lord Conway and Sir Arthur Rawdon.

He returned (subsequently to the battle of the Boyne) having suffered great losses during the harassing conflicts of the times.

Mr Close left at his decease (with three daughters, the eldest married to the Very Rev John Welsh, Dean of Connor) five sons,
RICHARD, his heir;
SAMUEL, of whom presently;
Henry, of Waringstown;
John, an army captain, killed in Gibraltar;
The eldest son,

RICHARD CLOSE, wedded, in 1708, Rose, daughter of Roger Hall, of Narrow Water, County Down, and had issue, now extinct.

The second son,

THE REV SAMUEL CLOSE (1683-1742), Rector of Donaghenry, Stewartstown, County Tyrone, espoused Catherine, daughter of Captain James Butler, of Bramblestown, County Kilkenny, by Margaret, Lady Maxwell, of Elm Park, County Armagh (widow of Sir Robert Maxwell, 1st Baronet, of Orchardtoun, and of Ballycastle, and daughter and heiress of Henry Maxwell, of Elm Park, who was the son of James Maxwell, third son of the Very Rev Robert Maxwell, Dean of Armagh, and had issue,
MAXWELL, his heir;
Margaret; Mary; Catherine; Elizabeth.
Mr Close was succeeded by his son and heir,

MAXWELL CLOSE (c1722-93), High Sheriff of County Armagh, 1780, who succeeded his grandmother, Lady Maxwell (d 1758), in the possession of Elm Park, and the lands settled upon him.

He married, in 1748, Mary, eldest daughter of  Captain Robert Maxwell, of Fellows Hall, County Armagh (brother of John, 1st Baron Farnham), and had issue,
SAMUEL, his heir;
Robert, died unmarried;
Barry (Sir), 1st Baronet, major-general;
Farnham, died in Guadaloupe;
Grace; Catherine; Margaret; Mary; Elizabeth.
Mr Close was succeeded by his eldest son,

THE REV SAMUEL CLOSE (1749-1817), of Elm Park, Rector of Keady, County Armagh, and of Drakestown, County Meath, who wedded, in 1782, Deborah, daughter of the Very Rev Arthur Champagné, Dean of Clonmacnoise (son of Major Josias Champagné, by the Lady Jane Forbes his wife, daughter of Arthur, 2nd Earl of Granard), and had four sons and three daughters,
MAXWELL, his heir;
Robert, Major, East India Company;
Henry Samuel, m Jane, daughter of the Rev Holt Waring;
John Forbes (Rev), Rector of Kilkeel;
Mary; Jane; Harriet.
Mr Close was succeeded by his eldest son,

MAXWELL CLOSE JP DL (1783-1867), of Drumbanagher, County Armagh, High Sheriff, 1818, Colonel in the army, who married, in 1820, Anna Elizabeth, sister of Charles, 1st Baron Lurgan, and had issue, 
Barry, b 1833.
Mr Close was succeeded by his elder son,

MAXWELL CHARLES CLOSE JP DL (1827-1903), of Drumbanagher, High Sheriff, 1854, MP for County Armagh, 1857-64 and 1874-85, who married, in 1852, Catherine Deborah Agnes, daughter of Henry Samuel Close, of Newtown Park, County Dublin, and had issue,
Henry Samuel (1864-1944);
Edith; Emily Beatrice; Mary Geraldine;
Flora Lucy; Kate Violet; Grace Wilmina;
Alice Evelyn.
Mr Close was succeeded by his eldest son,

MAJOR MAXWELL ARCHIBALD CLOSE JP DL (1853-1935), of Drumbanagher, and Drum Manor, County Tyrone, High Sheriff of County Armagh, 1908, who wedded, in 1891, the Lady Muriel Albany Stuart-Richardson, daughter of 5th Earl Castle Stewart, and had issue,
Archibald Maxwell, b 1903;
Lilias Augusta Muriel; Agatha Katharine Rose.
The eldest son,

MAXWELL STUART CLOSE (1892-1946), of Drumbanagher, wedded, in 1915, Alexandra, daughter of M W C Cramer-Roberts DL, of Sallymount, County Kildare, and had issue,
Rosemary Muriel Victoria; Viola Anne; Hazel.

I have written about Drumbanagher House here.

First published in April, 2012. 

Saturday, 30 July 2016

The Ward Baronetcy


WE FIND in the roll of Battle Abbey that the family of WARD attended WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR into England, where, after some centuries, it appeared in three respectable branches; of which the Wards of Capesthorne, Cheshire.

For several centuries, having possessed many extensive lordships, descended the family of WARD, of Bangor, in the person of

BERNARD WARD, who married a daughter of the ancient family of Leigh, of High Leigh, in Cheshire, and settled in Ulster about 1570.

This Bernard acquired the lands known as Carrickshannagh from the Earl of Kildare, and renamed it CASTLE WARD.

His son and heir,

NICHOLAS WARD, wedded, before 1584, Joan, daughter of Ralph Leycester MP, of Toft Hall, Cheshire, and had issue,
Bernard, ancestor of the Viscounts Bangor;
ROBERT, of whom we treat;
Thomas, colonel in the army; died at the battle of Worcester;
Mr Ward's second son,

ROBERT WARD (1610-91), High Sheriff of County Down, 1661 and 1667, espoused, before 1661, Mary, daughter of the Most Rev Dr Henry Leslie, Lord Bishop of Meath.

Mr Ward received the honour of knighthood, 1670, and was created a baronet, 1682, denominated of Killough, County Down, for his loyal service to CHARLES II.

Sir Robert survived his only son, CHARLES, who left no issue by his wife Catherine, a daughter of Sir John Temple.

The baronetcy expired in 1691.

Old Castle Ward

THE VILLAGE of Killough, County Down, was established by Michael Ward, of Castleward, father of the 1st Viscount Bangor and a Justice of the King's Bench.

From Norman times the Russell family, who were Roman Catholics, had held the Manor of Killough, but they had been deprived of it after the rising of 1641. 

Sir Robert Ward was granted the manor of Killough in 1672.

At Ballysallagh, a townland 2½ miles south-east of Downpatrick, 401 acres of land owned by the Earl of Ardglass, in 1669, were leased to Sir Robert.

St John's Point, a townland on southern most tip in Lecale district, northern-most point of Dundrum Bay, 290 acres, site of an ancient holy well & ancient church & graveyard (St John's) which was attached to Inch Abbey, was acquired by Sir Robert in 1670, then sold to James Cummins. 

First published in February, 2011.

Friday, 29 July 2016

Hatley Manor


JAMES WHYTE (son of Mark Whyte, by Elizabeth his wife, daughter of John Edwards, of Old Court, County Wicklow), married firstly, in 1783, Gertrude, daughter of James Gee, grandson of William Gee, of Bishop Burton, and had issue,
JAMES, his heir;
Robert, who took the name of Moyser.
He wedded secondly, the daughter of Sir Thomas Hildyard, and had a daughter, ANN CATHERINE, who succeeded to the Hildyard estates.

Mr Whyte died in 1807, and was succeeded by his son,

JAMES WHYTE, of Pilton House, Barnstaple, Devon, who married, in 1805, Frances Honoria, daughter of the Rt Hon John Beresford, brother of 1st Marquess of Waterford.

He died in 1852, leaving issue,
JOHN JAMES, his heir;
James Richard (Rev);
Robert Charles;
Mark Beresford;
William Thomas;
Selina Catherine Harriet; Frances Honoria;
Mary; Barbara Henrietta.
The eldest son,

JOHN JAMES WHYTE JP DL (1806-89), of Newtown Manor, County Leitrim, Lieutenant-Colonel, 7th Hussars, espoused, in 1842, Mary Ann Jesse, daughter of Charles Dieudonné de Montenach, and had issue,
Theodore William;
Marie Elizabeth Frances Medora; Marie Gertrude;
Emma Frances Honoria; Florence Alma Julia.
Mr Whyte was succeeded by his eldest son,

CHARLES CECIL BERESFORD WHYTE JP DL (1845-1923), of Newtown Manor and Hatley Manor, High Sheriff, 1877, who married, in 1874, Petronella Hallberg, daughter of Herr Magnus Hallberg Riksdagsman, of Sweden, an by her (who succeeded to the estates of Charles Manners St George JP DL and Madame Ingri Christina St George, in counties Leitrim and Roscommon), had issue,
John Theodore Marcus;
Maryanne Christina de Montenach St George;
Ingri Melesina Beatrice Gertrude;
Mona Selina Petronella;
Chisogona Constantia Barbara Beresford;
Florence Holda Medora; Lucile Theodora Gwendoline;
Ebba Harline d'Iberville Le Moyne;
Edith Estelle Ermyntrude le Poer.
The eldest son,

CECIL HARMAN BALDWIN ST GEORGE WHYTE (1881-), Lieutenant, 5th Battalion, the Connaught Rangers.

HATLEY MANOR, near Carrick-on-Shannon, County Leitrim, built about 1830, became the seat of the Whytes through marriage.

In the manner of Castle Ward House, it has a split personality: The entrance front is Italianate; the garden front, Gothic.

The house faces across a forecourt to the main street of Carrick-on-Shannon, County Leitrim.

The Gothic front overlooks the demesne, which leads to the river.

Hatley was originally a seat of the St George family, of Hatley St George, Cambridgeshire.

The last St George to live there is interred in an elaborate Victorian-Classical mausoleum in the grounds.

The estate passed the widow of Cecil Whyte by inheritance.

It was purchased by a bank, though is now privately owned.

First published in June, 2012.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Gloucesters in Ulster

Wednesday, 27th July, 2016.

The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester attended the Clogher Valley Show, Augher, County Tyrone, and were received by Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant of County Tyrone, Mr Robert Scott OBE.

Their Royal Highnesses visited Enniskillen Airport, County Fermanagh, and were received by Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant of County Fermanagh, the Viscount Brookeborough.

Cleland of Stormont Castle


This is a County Down family, claiming descent from James Cleland of that ilk, Lanarkshire.

THE REV JOHN CLELAND (1755-1834), sometime prebendary of Armagh, Rector of Newtownards 1789-1809, became tutor to the young Lord Castlereagh and subsequently acted as agent for the Londonderry estates.
John Cleland was a student at the Rev William Neilson's Classical Academy in Rademon, County Down. A murder attempt occurred against him in 1796; he passed on information against the United Irishmen in 1797; agent for Marquess of Londonderry, 1824; bought land in Killeen & Ballymiscaw, 1830.
He married, in 1805, Esther, daughter and co-heiress of Samuel Jackson, of Stormont, by his wife Margaret Vateau, only child and heiress of Paul Peter Isaac Vateau, the descendant of a French Huguenot family, and had issue,
Robert Stewart;
Sarah Frances.
Mr Cleland was succeeded by his elder son,

SAMUEL JACKSON CLELAND (1808-42), who wedded, in 1834, Eliza, daughter of James Joyce, of Thornhill, and had issue,
JOHN, his heir;
James Vance;
Robert Stewart;
Samuel Frederick Stewart;
Mr Cleland was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN CLELAND JP DL (1836-93), of Stormont Castle, Dundonald, County Down, High Sheriff of County Down, 1866, who wedded, in 1859, Therese Maria, only daughter of Captain Thomas Leyland, of Haggerston Castle, Northumberland, and Hyde Park House, London, and had issue,
Andrew Leyland Hillyar, b 1868;
Florence Rachel Therese Laura, b 1894.
Mr Cleland was succeeded by his eldest son, 

ARTHUR CHARLES STEWART CLELAND (1865-1924), of Stormont Castle; sometime Lieutenant, 3rd Battalion, Prince of Wales Leinster Regiment, who married, in 1890, Mabel Sophia, only daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel H T D'Aguilar, Grenadier Guards.

Mr Cleland died at Field Green, Hawkhurst, Kent.

STORMONT CASTLE, Dundonald, County Down, is a Scottish-Baronial mansion of 1858, built by the Belfast architect Thomas Turner. 

This mansion replaced the original castle.

The entrance front is three storeys high and eight bays wide, with a two-storey canted bay window.

Remaining windows have square-topped sashes, with bartizan turrets at either end.

There is a tall tower at the eastern end, with a large door surround and balustrade on top, turrets on tower corners, crow-stepped castellation, and three rounded arch windows at top.

Gryphons brandish shields at either side of the main staircase

Cleland arms

The Castle's lofty tower is reminiscent of The Prince Consort's Tower at Balmoral Castle.

John Cleland's grandson began extending the Georgian house after 1842, though work did not begin on the new Castle (above) till 1858.

It was at "Storm Mount" that, ca 1830, Cleland created what was described as "a plain house": A mid or late Georgian house of a traditional type, it was in the form of a plain rectangle with a central projection to the south, presumably for the entrance. 

Associated plantings were very modest; there was a small fringed meadow at the front and an orchard on the hillside to the north west.  

A directory entry of 1837 referred (probably inaccurately) to the house as 'Storemont'; and, by 1864, the "Parliament Gazetteer" still did not rank it amongst the principal residences of the area. 

In those days the most substantial such residence was Rose Park, a name still in use in the residential area (and indeed in Rosepark House, a Government building occupied by the Exchequer and Audit Department and by part of the Department of Finance and Personnel).

It was in the course of removing Rose Park, in the process of consolidating Cleland's holdings, that his son Samuel Jackson Cleland was killed by the collapse of a wall in 1842.

In 1858, the Cleland family commissioned the local architect Thomas Turner to convert the existing plain dwelling into a flamboyant baronial castle.

To what extent the original house survives is not clear. Conventional wisdom, supported by some map evidence, is that the symmetrical five-bay block facing south is the "baronialised" shell of the Georgian dwelling.

To this, Turner added the entrance tower to the east.

The whole image and particularly the outline of the building was given a baronial character with turrets, battlements, bartizans with conical caps, iron cresting and weather vanes. 

The Cleland monogram was used on the shields held by the snarling stone gryphons which still guard the main entrance to the Castle.

The 1850s also saw extensive development of the demesne which was extended to the main Upper Newtownards Road, with the old lodge for Rose Park becoming the lodge for the remodelled baronial Stormont.

The Clelands finally left in 1893, preferring to live elsewhere, and the demesne was let out. 

At some stage Stormont Castle was rented by Charles E Allen JP, a director of the shipbuilding firm of Workman and Clark Limited. 

On his departure from Belfast, the Castle became vacant and, in April, 1921, both it and the surrounding land were offered at auction, but withdrawn when no bid higher than £15,000 was obtained.

Later in 1921, however, it was acquired, with 235 acres of land, as a site for the Parliament Buildings of the new Northern Ireland state. 

On September 20th, that Parliament resolved that 
Stormont Castle demesne shall be the place where the new Parliament House and Ministerial Buildings shall be erected, and as the place to be determined as the seat of the Government of Northern Ireland as and when suitable provision has been made therefore. 
While there was initial uncertainty about the use to be made of Stormont Castle itself, it was later decided that it should become the official residence of the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland. 

Sir James Craig (later 1st Viscount Craigavon) lived there until 1940, when he moved out to make more room for officials engaged in War work.

Lord Craigavon was succeeded in office by Mr J Andrews and thereafter by Sir Basil Brooke Bt (later 1st Viscount Brookeborough).

While both had offices in the Castle, no Prime Minister resided there with any regularity between 1940 to 1969.

On the arrival in office of Captain Terence O'Neill in 1963, substantial reinstatement and improvement works were carried out.

These included the removal of an ugly glass entrance canopy and the restoration of the old ballroom as an improved Cabinet Room.

In those days the Prime Minister occupied what became the Secretary of State's office, with the Secretary of the Cabinet using the other major front room on the ground floor.

Captain O'Neill (afterwards Baron O'Neill of the Maine), Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, resided, when in Belfast, at nearby Stormont House, originally built as a residence for the Speakers of the NI House of Commons.

His successor, Major James Chichester-Clark (later Baron Moyola), had premises on the first floor converted into a self-contained flat and regularly stayed there.

Since 1974, when Northern Ireland reverted to direct rule from Westminster, the Castle became the administrative headquarters for successive Secretaries of State.

Today, Stormont Castle serves as the Office of the First and Deputy First Ministers.

Although Stormont Castle is a house of the 1850s, the grounds date from the time of a former house of 1830. There are a few mature trees from that era.

There is a fine restored glasshouse with 'bothies' on the back (ca 1857).

Formal bedding in the vicinity of the glasshouse and immediately to the west of the Castle was recorded, in its original form, in R Welch’s photographs of 1894 but have now gone. 

The demesne was purchased over the period 1921-78 for the Parliament Buildings and now amounts to about 400 acres.

First published in April, 2012.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Barr Hall Bay

I spent the morning with a number of other National Trust Strangford Lough volunteers at a field beside Barr Hall Bay today.

Bar Hall Bay is located near the southern tip of the Ards Peninsula in County Down.

We were cutting Dock and Ragwort.

I spotted a bee nest (top) and if you look closely you'll see two bees emerging or hovering at the entrance.

Rathdaire House


The family of ADAIR were originally from Scotland and settled in Ireland about 1690, at the time of the battle of the Boyne.  

THOMAS ADAIRE, son of Archibald Adaire, married Mary Hamilton, and settled in the Queen's County (Laois). His son,

ARCHIBALD ADAIRE, married and was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN ADAIR, of Rath, Queen's County, High Sheriff, 1782.

Mr Adair died in 1809, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

GEORGE ADAIR JP DL (1784-1873), of Rath, High Sheriff, 1822, who married Elizabeth, second daughter of the Very Rev Thomas Trench, Dean of Kildare (brother of the 1st Lord Ashtown), and had an only son,

JOHN GEORGE ADAIR JP DL (1823-85), of Rathdaire, Queen's County, and of Glenveagh Castle, County Donegal, High Sheriff, 1867, High Sheriff of Donegal, 1874.
George and his son John George, better known as Jack, built a "state of the art" farmyard at Belgrove in 1851. To justify their investment they ejected their tenants from the best land in Ballyaddan, Rathroinsin, Belgrove, etc., expecting to run the land more efficiently in a larger unit, rather than depending on what they could extract from their tenants.
Jack himself acquired more land in Tipperary, Kildare, and Donegal, and also a large ranch in Texas called the JA Ranch. He died in 1885 on his way home from the States, aged 62 years. Thanks to Dr. Bob Spiegelman of New York we have learned a great deal more about the JA Ranch and Jack's connections with it, as well as Glenveagh in Donegal. When the Irish Land Commission acquired the Estate in 1935 they divided it among some of the Estate employees and enlarged many of the small farms in the area.
The farmyard was divided between four families, and four of the farm buildings were converted into dwellings. Later on three of the families moved elsewhere or changed from farming. As the other families left the Murphy family bought out the rest of the yard. Michael Murphy Sr. was yard-man on the estate when he was a youth and he got a quarter of the farmyard in the 1935 division; he survived to see his family own the whole farmyard eventually.
Mr Adair married Cornelia, daughter of General J S Wadsworth, US Army, in 1867, and died without issue.

Former seats - Rathdaire, Monasterevin, County Laois; Glenveagh Castle, County Donegal.

RATHDAIRE HOUSE, or Bellegrove, was a two-storey over basement Italianate house of ca 1835, with the entrance bay to the centre having full-height flanking bows.

It was burnt in 1887 and is now in ruins with the basement filled-in.

The fittings are now gone; the interior ruinous.

The house is set back from road in its own grounds, now in use as a tillage field.

Stable complex, pair of detached gate lodges, gateway and site of former winter garden to site.

First published in June, 2012.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Gloucesters in Fermanagh

Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester have arrived in Northern Ireland for a two-day visit to counties Fermanagh and Tyrone.

This afternoon TRH visited Portora Royal School, Enniskillen, to mark Four Centuries of Service to Education, and were received by Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant of County Fermanagh (the Viscount Brookeborough).

TRH were greeted by the Rt Hon Arlene Foster MLA, First Minister of Northern Ireland, Peter Weir MLA, Minister for Education, the Right Rev John McDowell, Lord Bishop of Clogher, and Neil Morton OBE MA, Headmaster of Portora.

Their Royal Highnesses later visited Waterways Ireland, 2 Sligo Road, Enniskillen.

The Duke of Gloucester afterwards presented The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service to Ballinamallard United Football Club, 70 Enniskillen Road, Ballinamallard, Enniskillen.

The Duchess of Gloucester officially opened the Sensory Garden at Killadeas Day Care Centre, Lackaghboy Road, Lackaghboy, Enniskillen, and was received by Mr Roland Eadie (Deputy Lieutenant of County Fermanagh).

where they were greeted by the Rt Hon Arlene Foster MLA, First Minister of Northern Ireland, Peter Weir MLA, Minister for Education, the Right Rev John McDowell, Lord Bishop of Clogher, and Neil Morton OBE MA, Headmaster of Portora.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Belfast Castle: III


THE VIEW from the gardens and the castle was, perhaps, unsurpassed for the beauty of its quiet landscape.

The fertile valley through which the Lagan wended its seaward course, had as a background the hills of Castlereagh [Grey Castle] with the old residence of Con O'Neill occupying a prominent position on the summit; while the slopes of the Holywood hills were visible across the twenty-one arches of the Long Bridge.

The Cromac wood, at that time the undergrowth of the primeval forest, lay to the south, skirting the west bank of the Lagan and extending westward as far as the present Shaftesbury Square.

The River Blackstaff meandered in its zig-zag course from the Great Bridge of Belfast, alias Brickhill Bridge, alias Saltwater Bridge, to its outlet at the south of the Long Bridge and, in its course, supplying fresh water to the Castle fish pond, situated at the present Arthur Square.

To the west rose the Black Mountain, a basaltic range of hills, one of which is still known as the Squire's Hill, converted into a deer park by the Lord Deputy, a district now known as Oldpark, with the grazing ground covered with sites for residential dwellings.

To the north arose the clear outline of Ben Madigan, with its streaks of limestone glistening in the sunshine, and the contour of its summit bearing a striking resemblance to the profile of Napoleon Bonaparte

The trees of the new deer park, so-called to distinguish it from the old park, sloped in an easterly direction from the Cave Hill to the shores of the Belfast Lough, terminating at Parkmount.

Early on Sunday morning, 25th April, 1708, the Castle was reduced to a mass of smouldering ruins and there perished in the flames the three youngest daughters, Lady Jane, Lady Frances and Lady Henrietta Chichester.

The daughter of the Vicar, the Rev Mr Barklie, and a servant maid, Catherine Douglas; and a maid, Mary Teggart, escaped from the devouring flames.

The cause of the fire is said to have been due to the carelessness of a servant who lit a wood fire in a room recently washed, and took no precautions to watch for sparks.

All the goods were also destroyed before the men of the town cold get in within the walls to help; and these walls were 12 feet high.

Such is the account, written by a prominent Belfast resident at the time of the occurrence.

A considerable quantity of silver plate and objets d'art were apparently rescued from the Castle.

First published in July, 2012.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Belfast Castle: II



"In the foreground is the Farset River, flowing down High Street, with Chads' Bridge opposite the Market House.

The small houses to the extreme right, or west, are on the site of the present Bank Buildings, where Castle Street terminated as a continuation of High Street.

The Castle had a north-easterly aspect, and opposite the entrance gates, on the east side of the Corn Market, was the Market-House with its square tower, on the first floor of which, above the market stalls, was the room in which the burgesses met at their assembly meetings.

The house adjoining on the east side of the corn market was the Castle brew-house, wherein the cider was brewed from the apples gathered in the orchards.

On the west side of the Corn market, and opposite the brew-house, was the house containing the pleasure boats in the barge-yard, from which in a south-east direction was the castle wharf, joining "The New Cutt River" at the sluice, and entering the Lagan on the south side of the Long Bridge.

High Street, Belfast, in the 16th Century

The garden path in front of the barge-yard, running in a south-west direction, was the Long Walk, extending the entire length of the Pleasure Garden.

The Pigeon House was the small house with the pointed roof.

Proceeding from the Pigeon House, past the back of the Castle are the stables, with their five dormer windows, having a carriage entrance from Castle Street.

The Ash Walk, as it appears in Phillips' Map of 1685, did not extend the whole length of the gardens.

It seems, however, to have been extended, at a later date, as in a lease, bearing the date 14th June, 1717, its measurement is given as 530 feet from Castle Street in a southerly direction.

According to that measurement, it formed the western boundary of the Castle gardens, and was probably planted with ash trees as a shelter to the fruit gardens from the prevailing westerly winds.

Its frontage to Castle Street was 250 feet, so that we can fix its area as three acres.

To the east of the Ash Walk was Robin's Orchard, having a frontage to Castle Street; and the garden situated between Robin's Orchard and the Castle was the Melon Garden.

The small building, with an entrance through the Melon Garden, was originally the Coach House.

First published in July, 2012.

Friday, 22 July 2016

Batt of Purdysburn

This family, originally from Cornwall, was founded in Ireland by SAMUEL BATT, of New Ross, a merchant, who acquired considerable property in County Wexford.

He died intestate, leaving by Alice, his wife, who took out administration to him in 1702, a son,

SAMUEL BATT, of New Ross, merchant, whose will was proved in 1716.

He left by Deborah, his wife, five sons,
THOMAS, of whom hereafter;
Narcissus (Rev), dsp;
Samuel, of Rathneddin;
Joseph, of Grange;
Benjamin, of New Ross.
The eldest son,

THOMAS BATT (-1741), of Ozier Hill, County Wexford, married, in 1713, Jane, daughter of Thomas Devereux, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

SAMUEL BATT (1734-65), father of Major Thomas Batt, who was killed in the American war, when the property devolved upon his youngest brother,

ROBERT BATT (1728-83), of Ozier Hill, Captain, 18th Regiment, who married, in 1765,  Hannah, daughter of Samuel Hyde, and had issue,
NARCISSUS, his heir;
Thomas, of Rathmullan.
The eldest son,

NARCISSUS BATT (1761-1840), of Purdysburn, County Down, and Ozier Hill, espoused, in 1793, Margaret, daughter of Thomas Greg, and had issue,
ROBERT, his heir;
Elizabeth; Mary.
Mr Batt was a founder of the Belfast Bank and lived at Donegall Square North, in Donegall House, later the Royal Hotel.

Purdysburn House

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

ROBERT BATT JP DL (1795-1864), of Purdysburn and Ozier Hill, who married, in 1841, Charlotte, daughter of Samuel Wood, and had issue,
four daughters.
Mr Batt was succeeded by his son,

ROBERT NARCISSUS BATT JP DL (1844-91), of Purdysburn, who wedded,, in 1866, Marion Emily, eldest daughter of Sir Edward Samuel Walker, of Berry Hill, Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, and had issue, a daughter,

EVELYN MAY BATT, born in 1867.


THOMAS BATT, of Rathmullan, County Donegal, married firstly, Elizabeth, daughter of Robert Waddell, of Island Deny, County Down, and had issue,
THOMAS, of whom presently;
Elizabeth, m Caesar George Otway.
He married secondly, Sarah, daughter of Samuel Lyle, of The Oaks.

Mr Batt died in 1857, and was succeeded by his only son,

THOMAS BATT JP DL (1816-97), of Rathmullan, High Sheriff of County Donegal, 1844, who married, in 1852, Charlotte, daughter of the Ven. Edmond Hesketh Dalrymple Knox, Archdeacon of Killaloe, and had issue,
THOMAS EDMOND, of whom we treat;
Alfred Acheson, b 1856;
Edmond Hesketh (1857-82);
Arthur Robert (1859-91);
CHARLES LYONS, jointly of Rathmullan;
Gerard Otway, b 1862;
Robert Devereux, b 1863;
Octavius, b 1865;
Frederick Shelley (1869-76);
Agnes Charlotte, m 1877, Archibald H Duthie (dsp 1883);
ALICE ELIZABETH, jointly of Rathmullan;
MABEL MACKENZIE, jointly of Rathmullan.
COLONEL THOMAS EDMOND BATT JP (1854-1908), of Rathmullan House, Lieutenant-Colonel and Honorary Colonel commanding Donegal Artillery, was succeeded jointly by his brother and sisters, Charles, Alice, and Mabel, as above mentioned.

I have written about the Batt Estate here.

First published in April, 2012.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Green Island

Braddock Island

Today was another fine summer's day in County Down.

I motored down to Killinchy, turned left at Balloo House, and travelled over the drumlins to Strangford Lough Yacht Club at Whiterock.

There were about ten of us today - National Trust volunteers - and we were going to Green Island and Inisharoan Island.

Half of us, including myself, spent some time on Green Island, not far from Ringhaddy.

There is another Green Island closer to Killyleagh.

We embarked at the jetty at Whiterock and motored past Braddock Island, where the Andrews' have a holiday home. St Patrick's Flag flew proudly.

Sir Dennis Faulkner, CBE, brother of the Lord Faulkner of Downpatrick (Brian Faulkner, last Prime Minister of Northern Ireland) lives near by at Ringhaddy.

Sir William Hastings, CBE, and Lady Hastings also live near by, on Simmy Island.

Green Island is very small, probably about fifteen acres, with a hill at the top.

On the eastern side, opposite Great Minnis's Island, there is - or was - a pond.

It had become totally overgrown, so our task was to commence digging it out in preparation for livestock.

The entire island is overwhelmed with thick grass and undergrowth, so cattle are required to control the growth.

I lunched most contentedly on home-made chicken and stuffing sandwiches, with redcurrant jelly, on buttered wholemeal bread.

Great Northern Hotel, Rostrevor

Carlingford Lough lies between the Mourne Mountains in County Down, Northern Ireland, and the Cooley Peninsula in County Louth, Republic of Ireland.

The famed Victorian novelist William Makepeace Thackeray wrote that
"were such a bay lying upon English shores, it would be a world's wonder; or if on either the Mediterranean or the Baltic, English travellers would flock to it."
The village of Rostrevor on its north-western shore has a particularly favoured position, with panoramic views of the lough and mountains.

The land was acquired from the Magenises of Iveagh by the Trevors (Viscounts Dungannon) in the early 17th century and was sold to the Rosses ca 1690.

In the 19th century, Rostrevor became a popular seaside resort.

Messrs Norton & Shaw, who operated a horse-and-carriage transport business from the nearby rail-head at Warrenpoint, commissioned a Newry architect, William James Watson, to design a new hotel on the site formerly occupied by the Old Quay Hotel.

The style was to be 'Domestic Gothic', with a 150 foot frontage to Carlingford Lough.

The centre block was to be one storey higher than the wings.

The foundation stone of the new hotel was laid on the 3rd April, 1875, and the building was completed by Alexander Wheelan of Newry almost exactly one year later, in April, 1876 .

Skating Rink Entrance

It opened to the public three months later.

Originally named The Mourne Hotel, it was acquired and re-named by the Great Northern Railway Company.

The Warrenpoint & Rostrevor Tramway company operated a three-foot gauge horsedrawn tramway service between Warrenpoint and Rostrevor from 1877-1915.

There was also a skating-rink attached to the hotel which had been built by the 3rd Earl of Kilmorey.

The rink had a capacity of 2,000.

Skating Rink

During Christmas, 1903, a catastrophic fire broke out at the rink and the adjoining public bar, causing both buildings to be burned down.

The hotel was firebombed and destroyed during the Northern Ireland troubles in 1978.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Sketches of Olden Days

I usually visit Coleraine in County Londonderry several times a year.

There's a little book-shop tucked up a little street - Society Street - close to the parish church, which sells vintage books among other items.

On one occasion, I think in 2015, I found a small hardback written in 1927, five years after the formation of Northern Ireland.

It was by the Rev Canon Hugh Forde, with a foreward by Sir James Craig Bt (later 1st Viscount Craigavon), first Prime Minister of Northern Ireland.

I can only heartily concur with Lord Craigavon when he wrote:
In commending these brilliant sketches to the people of Ulster, and to visitors to our shores, I do so with all the more pleasure, although our native country is teeming with historical interest and is well supplied with ancient monuments, suitable books of reference are compartively few. 
Canon Forde has done a public service in compiling so accurate a record of Olden Days, and providing an interesting glimpse of the life led by Ulstermen of bygone times.
Seek it out if you can.

New DL


The Earl of Caledon KCVO, Lord-Lieutenant of County Armagh, has been pleased to appoint:
Mr Simon Thomas Alexander DOUGAN
County Armagh
To be a Deputy Lieutenant of the County, his Commission bearing date the 5th day of July, 2016.


Lord Lieutenant of the County

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Ballydrain House


The family of Montgomery claims to be a branch of the great Scottish house of MONTGOMERY. 

EGBERT MONTGOMERY, of Glenarm, born in 1711, married, in 1742, Isabella Stewart, and by her had issue, 

HUGH MONTGOMERY (1743-1832), of Glenarm, who wedded, in 1785, Margaret, daughter of John Allen, of Kilmandle, and had issue,
John, his heir, of Benvarden, Co Antrim;
HUGH (1794-1867), of whom we treat;
Alexander, of Potter's Wall, Co Antrim;
Thomas, JP, of Birch Hill, Co Antrim;
Barbara, m 1st, Richard Staples, son of the Rt Hon J Staples, of Lissan; 2ndly, 1826, Sir A MacDonnell;
Isabella; Marion; Victoria.
Mr Montgomery's second son,

HUGH MONTGOMERY (1794-1867), of Ballydrain, County Antrim, married Emily, daughter of John Ferguson, of Ballysillan, and had issue,
Hugh (1830-54), killed in action;
John Ferguson (1832-76), accidentally killed;
Alexander Richard, d 1861;
James Charles, d 1870;
THOMAS, of whom hereafter;
George, b 1843, captain, RHA;
Emily Sarah; Mary Isabella; Florence Jane;
Eva Victoria; Blanche Marjorie;
Ellen Georgina.
Mr Montgomery's fifth son,

THOMAS MONTGOMERY JP DL (1837-1909), of Ballydrain, High Sheriff, 1885, wedded, in 1866, Isabella, daughter of the Rev Thomas Walker, and had issue,
HUGH FERGUSON, his heir;
Emily Sarah; Mary Isabella; Florence Jane;
Eva Victoria; Blanche Marjorie; Ellen Georgina.
The sixth son of Hugh Montgomery and Emily Ferguson,

GEORGE MONTGOMERY (1843-c1881), wedded Blanche, third daughter of John Eveleigh Wyndham, of Sock Dennis, Somerset, and had an only son,

HUGH WYNDHAM MONTGOMERY (1875-1965), of Ravensdale, County Kildare, High Sheriff, 1911, who married, in 1898, Annie Selina Emma, daughter of Thomas Benyon Ferguson by his wife, the Hon Emma Amelia Cary, sister of 12th Viscount Falkland, and had issue,
Noel Hugh, b 1910;
Shelagh Blanche; Daphne Lena.
The eldest son,

GEORGE WYNDHAM CLAUD MONTGOMERY (1899-1978), espoused, in 1923, Estella M Crane, of Dorchester, Dorset.

The Montgomerys sold Ballydrain in 1918.  
BALLYDRAIN HOUSE, Dunmurry, now Malone Golf Club, is situated opposite Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park on the outskirts of south Belfast.
The early history of the demesne, from the beginning of the 17th century until 1834, is bound up with that of the Stewart family. The first house to be built on the site was a bawn (or fortified farmhouse) by William Stewart, whose family was of Scottish lesser royal blood, in 1608.
Little remains from those early days, except the family tombstones in Drumbeg Parish Church and a stone inscribed 'A Free Howse 1675' in the church porch. John Stewart died in 1691. The property then passed to his son Thomas (1660-1715); and later to Thomas's son John (1701-84), who married Jane Legge (1698-1778).
John and Jane had seven children. One of the grandchildren, George, inherited Ballydrain. George married Martha Rainey and had two sons, William and Robert, both of whom died abroad in early life.
Shortly before his death in 1805, George sold Ballydrain to his cousin, John Younghusband.

The estate remained in Mr Younghusband's possession until 1834, when he sold it to Hugh Montgomery for £13,500 (£1.3 million in today's money).

Photo credit: Hugh Montgomery, of Benvarden

The present house is said to have been built in 1835, though documents of 1837 record that Montgomery was in the process of erecting 'a fine castle' on the estate, an indication that the house was still incomplete in 1837.

The building was certainly finished by 1843, as evidenced in a survey of the estate carried out by Hugh Hanna.

Hugh Montgomery's 'fine castle' was not erected on the site of the 18th century house, but some distance north-east of this.

The house was built in the Tudor-Revival style, with coursed but undressed stone, tall diamond-set chimney stacks, shouldered gables and mullioned windows.

The new owner of Ballydrain, Hugh Montgomery (1794-1867), was the second son of Hugh Montgomery (1743-1832) of Benvarden, County Antrim, President of Belfast Chamber of Commerce 1802-03 and founder, in 1809, of Montgomery's Bank, forerunner of the Northern Bank.

Like his father, Hugh was involved with the Northern Bank, being a director for forty-three years.

After his death in 1867 the estate became the property of his second son, John Ferguson Montgomery, (the eldest son, Hugh, having been killed in the Charge of the Light Brigade, at the battle of Balaclava, October 1854).

John Ferguson Montgomery (1832-76) was, by all accounts, a dashing figure: Nicknamed 'Rufus', on account of his red hair and beard, he was an outgoing character, cheerfully extrovert and a fearless sportsman.

He was well-known in Turf circles throughout the British Isles, being familiarly called 'The Captain', a title he was permitted to use after his retirement from the Queen's Royal Antrim Rifles.

His tragic early death was the result of an accident at the Maze racecourse in 1876.

After his death, Ballydrain passed to his brother Thomas, Hugh Montgomery's fifth son (the third and fourth sons, Alexander Richard and James Charles having died in 1861 and 1870).

Shortly after coming into possession of Ballydrain, Thomas Montgomery began a series of alterations to the house: the main entrance door was moved from beneath the oriel window and put into a projecting porch with a Tudor arch which was part of a major insertion with a dominant gable.

The garden front was also altered, the first floor oriel window being removed and replaced by a central two-storey canter bay inserted between the one-storey bays of the ground floor.

The alterations were very well handled and gave the building a unity and clarity it had hitherto lacked.

Though family tradition held the architect to be Sir Thomas Drew, the alterations were in fact the work of William Henry Lynn.

Thomas also added a conservatory (designed by James Boyd & Sons, of Paisley, in 1880) and a billiards-room.

After Thomas Montgomery's death in 1909 (his only son, Captain Hugh Ferguson Montgomery having died in 1908), his wife Isabella continued to reside at Ballydrain until her death in 1917.

The estate then passed to Thomas's nephew, Hugh Wyndham Montgomery, who sold it, in 1918, to John Barbour Morrison, director of the Ulster Spinning Company.

The house was inhabited until about 1940 and, like Wilmont, was occupied by the Army during the 2nd World War.

Following Mr Morrison's death in November, 1947, Ballydrain became the property of his son, John Maynard Morrison, of Mullaghbuoy, Donaghadee and his (John Barbour's) brother, James Morrison, of Balloo, Groomsport, County Down.

Though the land continued to be farmed, the house lay empty for several years, until the estate was purchased by Malone Golf Club in 1960.

Play was commenced on the course on the 2nd June, 1962, and the house was officially opened, as Malone Clubhouse, on the 19th September of that year, by the Rt Hon Sir Basil Brooke Bt, Prime Minister of Northern Ireland.

Part of the grounds and the house were changed considerably by the golf club: One of the main alterations was the removal of the flower garden to make way for a car park; while the walled garden was turned into tennis courts and a bowling green.
The gate lodge at the main entrance was demolished. However, while the character of the estate - with its magnificent trees and lake - has been allowed to remain reasonably intact, this unfortunately has not been the case with the house: the Tudor chimneys and balustrades have been removed, as have the mullioned windows; and the main entrance has been altered considerably.
The present Ballydrain site is Malone Golf Club's fourth location since it was founded in 1895, moving from Newforge Lane to Stranmillis to the Upper Malone Road and finally to its current location at the Ballydrain Estate on the Upper Malone Road.

First published in December, 2010.

Monday, 18 July 2016

Woodstock Park


The name of TIGH, TEIGH, or, as now written, TIGHE, was assumed from a village in the county of Rutland, the earliest abode of the family, whence, however, it departed at a remote period and settled at Carlby, in Lincolnshire, where Lister Tigh, the last of the English line, resided during the reign of CHARLES II.

In the previous reign, and before the rebellion of 1641,

RICHARD TIGHE  (son of William Tighe) went over to Ireland and settled there.

Mr Tighe was sheriff of Dublin, 1649, Colonel, Dublin Militia, Mayor of Dublin, 1651-55, and Member of the same city in Cromwell's Union Parliament, 1656.

He acquired considerable estates in counties Carlow, Dublin and Westmeath, during the time of the two CHARLESES.

Alderman Tighe married Mary, daughter of Thomas Rooke, of London, and had issue,
WILLIAM, his heir;
He died in 1673, and was succeeded by his son,

WILLIAM TIGHE (1657-79), who wedded Anne, daughter of Christopher Lovat, and had issue,
RICHARD, his heir;
Mr Tighe was succeeded by his only son,

THE RT HON RICHARD TIGHE, who was sworn of the Privy Council during the reign of GEORGE I, MP for Belturbet, 1703, for Newtown, 1715, and for Augher, 1727.

He espoused Barbara, daughter co-heir of Christian Borr, of Drinagh, County Wexford, by his wife, an heiress of the family of Hore in the same county, and had, besides daughters, a son and heir,

WILLIAM TIGHE (1710-66), of Rossana, County Wicklow, Keeper of the Records in Bermingham Tower, MP for Clonmiles, 1733, and for Wicklow, 1761.

Mr Tighe married firstly, in 1736, the Lady Mary Bligh, eldest daughter of John, 1st Earl of Darnley, and by her had issue,
WILLIAM, his successor;
Richard William;
He wedded secondly, Margaret, eldest daughter and co-heir of Thomas Theaker MP, by whom he had a son, Thomas.

Mr Tighe was succeeded by his son,

WILLIAM TIGHE, of Rossana, MP for Rathboy, 1761, who married, in 1765, Sarah, only child of the Rt Hon Sir William Fownes Bt, of Woodstock, County Kilkenny, and had issue,
WILLIAM, his heir;
John Edward;
Marianne Caroline.
Mr Tighe died in 1782, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

WILLIAM TIGHE (1766-1816),of Woodstock, MP for Wicklow, who wedded, in 1793, Marianne, daughter and co-heiress of Daniel Gahan MP, of Coolquill, County Tipperary, and eventually co-heiress of her uncle, Matthew Bunbury, of Kilfeacle, County Tipperary, and had issue,
Daniel, of Rossana;
Mr Tighe was succeeded by his eldest son,

THE RT HON WILLIAM FREDERICK FOWNES TIGHE JP DL (1794-1878), of Woodstock, who married, in 1825, the Lady Louisa Lennox, fifth daughter of Charles, 4th Duke of Richmond, and had an only daughter, Charlotte Frances, who died an infant in 1827.

Mr Tighe was succeeded by his nephew,

FREDERICK EDWARD BUNBURY-TIGHE JP (1826-91), of Woodstock, Lieutenant-Colonel commanding, Kilkenny Militia, who espoused, in 1858, the Lady Kathleen Louisa Georgina Ponsonby, daughter of John William, 4th Earl of Bessborough, and had issue,
William Frederick (1860-87);
Colonel Tighe was succeeded by his only surviving son,

EDWARD KENDRICK BUNBURY-TIGHE JP DL (1862-1917), of Woodstock, High Sheriff of County Kilkenny, 1895, and of Westmeath, 1903, Lieutenant, Grenadier Guards, who wedded, in 1894, Viola, only daughter of Edward Skeffington Randal Smyth, of Mount Henry, Queen's County, and had issue,
Kathleen Augusta Louisa;
Oonagh Frances Geraldine; Moira Gertrude Florence.
Rear-Admiral Wilfred Geoffrey Stuart Tighe, CB, was a member of this family.

The Tighe Papers are deposited at PRONI.

WOODSTOCK HOUSE, Inistioge, County Kilkenny, was built in 1745-47 for Sir William Fownes by the architect Francis Bindon.

It has a rusticated front façade and is unusual in being built around a small central court. 

The decorative emphasis of the house was focused upon the front façade. In 1804-06 flanking wings were added to designs by William Robertson. 

The service yards either side were added at the same time. Both the main house and the wings were built of stone with brick lining inside.

The basement vaulting was, unusually, also of brick. Only parts of the east and west walls of the centre block and parts of the wings had no internal brick lining. 

Like many early 18th century Irish country houses, the decorative emphasis of the building was focused upon the front façade.

The five bay garden frontage (below) is much plainer though a very decorative iron staircase was added in the 1850s by Richard Turner.

The main house was maliciously burnt in 1922.

The east wing apparently was not burnt and remained occupied for some years subsequently. 

The house is now in an unstable condition, having been in a ruinous state for approximately eighty years.

Due to its constant exposure to weathering there has been considerable decay of the fabric and undermining of the structural stability of parts of the building.

The central bay of the front façade collapsed in March 2001 during a storm which has left the building now even more unstable and extremely dangerous.

Works are now under way to protect the building from further deterioration. 

The Victorian gardens, which contain elements of international importance, were laid out with the house as a central focus.

The restoration of the gardens which is being carried out by Kilkenny County Council, has highlighted, both the significance of the house in relation to the gardens and the precarious condition which the structure is currently in.

With public access to the restored gardens, the area around the house has been fenced off for safety.

It is proposed that the conservation works to Woodstock House, to be carried out on a phased basis, will provide for its stabilisation and preservation as a ruin.

Ultimately it is recommended that there should be public access to the interior of the building to enable a full appreciation of the gardens.

This access may be limited and controlled, depending upon the extent of conservation/restoration works carried out.

In principle, the phases of conservation building works are as follows:

Phase One: Emergency works to make structure safe to work on. This involves:

1. Digital/photographic survey of front and garden façades to provide dimensional photographic record and measured elevations. This will be carried out prior to any dismantling works.

2. Careful dismantling of loose fabric of the front (collapsed ) façade to a level where the remaining wall is stable and safe.

3. The removed fabric will be stored on pallets in the grounds and where safely possible, dressed stones will be numbered prior to removal. Loose material already on the ground will be retrieved, labelled and stored on pallets.

4. Wall tops to be weathered with a hydraulic lime mortar flaunching.

Phase Two: Removal of loose rubble at ground/basement internal level, to provide safe ground for erecting scaffold.

Carrying out consolidation and stabilisation works to masonry walls including rebuilding of certain sections to include removed wall and reinstatement of cross walls etc.

Also removal of vegetation and making good brickwork/stonework around; brickwork repairs including re-pointing, mortar repairs and replacement where necessary.

Woodstock Gardens and Arboretum are open to the public.

Former town residence ~ 25 Norfolk Street, Park Lane, London.

First published in June, 2012.