Tuesday, 21 July 2020

1st Earl of Belmore

The paternal name of this family was LOWRY.

JAMES WILLIAM LOWRY, of Ballymagorry, County Tyrone, removing to Ulster from Scotland during the reign of CHARLES II, was father of

JOHN LOWRY, of Aghenis, County Tyrone, who married firstly, a daughter of ______ Hamilton, of Ballyfallow, and by her, who died at Londonderry during its celebrated siege in 1689, had issue,
William, went to the East Indies;
Elizabeth; Margaret; Mary.
Mr Lowry wedded secondly, Miss Mary Buchanan, a Scottish lady, and had further issue,
John, died unmarried;
ROBERT, of whom we treat;
Catharine; Rebecca; Anne; Jane.
The only surviving son,

ROBERT LOWRY, of Aghenis, married Anne, daughter of the Rev James Sinclair, and had three sons, namely,
Robert, dsp;
James (Rev), founded the branch seated at Pomeroy House.
The second son and eventual heir,

GALBRAITH LOWRY (1706-69), of Aghenis, MP for County Tyrone, 1748-68, wedded Sarah, second daughter and co-heir of Colonel John Corry MP, and had issue,
ARMAR, his successor;
Anne, m William, 1st Earl of Enniskillen.
Mr Lowry was succeeded by his son,

ARMAR LOWRY (1740-1802), MP for County Tyrone, 1768-81, who assumed the additional surname and arms of CORRY.

Mr Lowry was elevated to the peerage, in 1781, in the dignity of Baron Belmore, of Castle Coole, County Fermanagh.

1st Earl of Belmore (Image: the National Trust)

His lordship was advanced to a viscountcy, in 1789, as Viscount Belmore; and further advanced, in 1797, to the dignity of an earldom, as EARL OF BELMORE.

He espoused, in 1772, the Lady Margaret Butler, eldest daughter of Somerset, 1st Earl of Carrick, by whom he had an only surviving child,
SOMERSET, Viscount Corry.
His lordship married secondly, in 1780, Harriet, eldest daughter and co-heir of John, 2nd Earl of Buckinghamshire, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, by whom he had an only daughter, Louisa Mary Anne, who wedded, in 1804, George, 6th Earl of Sandwich.

He married thirdly, in 1794, Mary Anne, daughter of Sir John Caldwell Bt, but by her had no issue.

His lordship was succeeded by his son and heir,

SOMERSET, 2nd Earl (1774-1841), Captain-General and Governor-in-Chief of Jamaica, 1828-32, who wedded, in 1800, the Lady Juliana Butler, daughter of Henry, 2nd Earl of Carrick, and had issue,
ARMAR, his successor;
Henry Thomas;
2nd Earl of Belmore (Image: the National Trust)

His lordship was succeeded by his elder son,

ARMAR, 3rd Earl (1801-45), High Sheriff of County Fermanagh, 1832, who espoused, in 1834, Emily Louise, daughter of William Shepherd, and had issue,
SOMERSET RICHARD, his successor;
Armar, grandfather of 7th Earl;
Frederick Cecil George;
Henry William.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

SOMERSET RICHARD, 4th Earl (1835-1913), GCMG PC JP, Governor of New South Wales, 1868-72, who married, in 1861, Anne Elizabeth Honoria, daughter of Captain John Neilson Gladstone, and had issue,
ARMAR, his successor;
CECIL, 6th Earl;
Theresa; Florence; Madeline; Mary; Winifred; Edith; Violet; Margaret; Dorothy; Kathleen.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

ARMAR, 5th Earl (1870-1948), JP DL, High Sheriff of County Fermanagh, 1901, Captain, Inniskilling Fusiliers, who died unmarried, and was succeeded by his brother,

CECIL, 6th Earl (1873-1949), JP DL, High Sheriff of County Tyrone, 1916, High Sheriff of County Fermanagh, 1922, who died unmarried, and was succeeded by his cousin,

GALBRAITH ARMAR, 7th Earl (1913-60), JP DL, Major, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, who married, in 1939, Gloria Anthea, daughter of Herbert Bryant Harker, and had issue,
JOHN ARMAR, his successor;
Anthea Geraldine (the Lady Anthea Forde);
Sarah Lilian.
His lordship was succeeded by his only son,

JOHN, 8th and present Earl (1951-), of the Garden House, Castle Coole, who married, in 1984, the Lady Mary Jane Meade, daughter of John, 6th Earl of Clanwilliam, and has issue,
Montagu Gilford George;
Martha Catherine.


JOHN CORRY, former provost of Dumfries in Scotland, settled, in 1639, at Tullynagardy, in the Ards, County Down.

The Corrys were presumably well-known in Newtownards during the 17th and 18th centuries: Another John Corry (1771-1851), a farmer, married Susan White. They farmed at Concord Farm, Tullynagardy, built about 1800, but beside ruins ca 300 years old.

Later in life he established a timber business in Belfast called Corry & Montgomery, in 1814, and it was the foundation of the James P Corry & Company in 1814. John moved to Ballyalton House, beneath Scrabo Hill, after he gave the Tullynagardy farm to his daughter Mary, born in 1794. They called it Concord Farm. John Corry and his wife Susan had eight children.

Yet another branch established the Corry's Star Shipping line. They owned Scrabo Quarries and helped to build early Belfast. One of their ships was named the Jane Porter. Robert Corry is remembered as having introduced Scrabo Stone to Ireland as a building material.

He started the firm originally as building contractors and became a great timber merchant; and he founded a major shipping line.

The original John Corry was appointed a freeman of Belfast in 1654.

Corry spent only a brief period in Belfast and Lisburn before purchasing land in County Fermanagh.

Corry thrived and, in 1646, bought the Coole estate from Roger Atkinson for £860.

Its extent was about 4,576 acres.

He married Blanch Johnston and had a son,

COLONEL JAMES CORRY (1634-1718), MP for Fermanagh, 1692-1718.

This gentleman was appointed by the Duke of Ormonde as captain of the Fermanagh Militia in 1666, was High Sheriff of Fermanagh in 1671, and later became High Sheriff of Monaghan in 1677.

He was promoted to colonel in 1689; elected as a MP for Fermanagh in 1692; Governor of Fermanagh in 1705; and continued to represent the constituency until the time of his demise in 1718.

Colonel Corry was once accused of supporting JAMES II but was acquitted after a year upon confirmation of his loyalty to WILLIAM III.

He was married thrice: First to Sarah Anketill (daughter of Captain Oliver Anketill) to whom he had three daughters and a son named John. 

Unfortunately Sarah died so the Colonel remarried. His second wife was Lucy Mervyn (daughter of Henry Mervyn) to whom he had a daughter who died shortly after birth and Lucy a few years later. 

His third marriage was to Elizabeth Harryman, which was childless and ended in divorce.
Through marriage the Corry family became the Lowry-Corrys.

I have written an article about the Lowrys of Pomeroy here.

As 1st Earl of Belmore, Armar Lowry-Corry's three names represented the three components of his future inheritance: Armar, the valuable church-lands in Fermanagh; Lowry, his paternal estate in Tyrone; and Corry, the remainder of his Fermanagh estate and his country seat.

Belmore Mountain - or Mount Belmore - is a hill in west County Fermanagh.

 I've written about the 8th and present Earl.

In 1852 the Fermanagh estate amounted to 7,140 acres in addition to the 14,900 acres of church-land leased from the Lord Bishop of Clogher; while the Tyrone lands comprised 41,448 acres.

The Belmore estates also encompassed counties Monaghan, Longford, Armagh and Dublin. This amounted, in all, to 72,715 acres.

In 1789 the gross rentals were as follows: Fermanagh church-lands £2,700; Fermanagh estate £1,400; Longford estate plus miscellaneous small properties £1,565; and Tyrone estate £7,130: giving a total rental of £12,795. By 1800 this had increased to £16,645.

The income generated by the estates allowed Castle Coole to be constructed at a cost of £57,000 in 1798, equivalent to approximately £20 million today.

The Belmores were one of the most powerful and influential landed families of their time.

Apart from their County Fermanagh seat, the palatial Castle Coole, the Belmores kept a London house at 56 Eaton Place.

The family live at the Garden House in the grounds of Castle Coole.

Belmore arms courtesy of European Heraldry.   First published in December, 2009.


Anonymous said...

I didn't realise they weren't an 'old' family. I presume the Corry is related to Sir Isaac Corry, MP, Barrister-at-Law, late of Derrymore House?

Anonymous said...

I don't think the missing 'of' in the title is a mistake, although I don't know why it isn't there. There are other examples, e.g. Marquess Camden.

Anonymous said...

Indeed. One mustn't forget either that the Belmore courtesy title is an invention - there never was a Viscount Corry created! That's fairly commonplace too though.

Anonymous said...

I think the £74,000 2010 value of the £860 Coole estates purchase shows how inaccurate some old-new money currency convertors are, don't you think?


Anonymous said...

Two things to note. Firstly, Mr Corry clearly had an eye for a bargain - no doubt he'd have picked it up for a good price. Secondly, the estate in 1646 would have been clearly vastly different to its appearance in the 18th century. There would have been very little in the way of roads or agricultural improvements, so its value would have been pretty low compared to less remote and more cultivated areas. VC

Anonymous said...

There are different convertors, which use different measuring points (some compare the price of bread, other the GDP, etc.) I suspect the one you used doesn't properly reflect the amount paid; I would imagine that it was a bargain at 10x that figure.