Monday, 31 October 2016

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Phoenix Lodge


The family of CHARLEY, or CHORLEY, passing over from the north of England, settled in Ulster during the 17th century, at first in Belfast, where they were owners of house property for two hundred years; and afterwards at Finaghy, County Antrim, where

JOHN CHARLEY (c1659-1743), of Belfast, left a son,

RALPH CHARLEY (1674-1756), of Finaghy House, County Antrim, who wedded Elizabeth Hill, and had an only child,

JOHN CHARLEY (1711-93), of Finaghy House, who married Mary, daughter of John Ussher, and had issue,

Matthew, died unmarried;
JOHN, of whom hereafter;
Hill, died unmarried;
Jane, died unmarried.
The eldest surviving son,

JOHN CHARLEY (1744-1812), of Finaghy House, married, in 1783, Anne Jane, daughter of Richard Wolfenden, of Harmony Hill, County Down, and had issue,
John, of Finaghy House (1784-1844), dsp;
Matthew, of Finaghy House and Woodbourne;
WILLIAM, of whom we treat.

The third son,

WILLIAM CHARLEY (1790-1838), of Seymour Hill, Dunmurry, married, in 1817, Isabella, eldest daughter of William Hunter JP, of Dunmurry, and had issue,
JOHN, of Seymour Hill;
WILLIAM, succeeded his brother;
Edward, of Conway House;
Mary, of Huntley;
ANNE JANE, of whom hereafter;
Eliza; Isabella; Emily.
The second daughter,

ANNE JANE CHARLEY (1822-1904), of Phoenix Lodge, married William Stevenson, Junior, in 1842, by whom she had no issue.

IN 1837, the Ulster Railway Company opened its first line from Belfast to Lisburn. 

To encourage more use of the railway, free passes were offered to people if they built new homes near the stations and halts.

 It is thought that this may have influenced William Charley (1790-1838) to build Phoenix Lodge for his daughter, Anne Jane, in 1837, shortly before he died.

In 1842, Anne married William Stevenson, of Belfast, and they lived at Phoenix Lodge until his death in 1855.

His widow then moved to live with her mother at Huntley.

In 1882, the name of the house was changed simply to The Lodge, following the notorious Phoenix Park murders in Dublin.

Captain Arthur Charley (1870-1944) lived there with his wife, Clare, after the Great War until his brother, Edward Charley (1859-1932) died and he moved into Seymour Hill House.

In the 1930s, The Lodge was rented by Lord and Lady Ampthill.

In 1940, Major-General Sir James and Lady Cooke-Collis lived there (he was the first Ulster Agent in London, but died in 1941 as the result of a German air raid on his club in London).

Thereafter it was occupied by Major-General Vivian Majendie, GOC Northern Ireland.

In 1947, The Lodge was bought by Mrs Harland, sister of Sir Milne Barbour Bt, of Conway House.

Despite being listed, the house was vested in the early 1960s, following Mrs Harland's death.

The grounds taken over for the expansion of a nearby factory. 

A large, weeping ash tree dominated the front lawn of the Lodge.

The information has been sourced from Lisburn Historical Society.    First published in March, 2011.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Belle Isle Memories: IV

Corrard ca 1970. Photo credit © Julian Brown


The summers of our childhood were always sunny; or, looking back, that is how it seems.

I recall my father Esmond saying just that.

His youthful recollections of life on the family farm, Corrard, in County Fermanagh, were of days filled with sunshine.

He was born in the 1920s, and his early memories included being ‘glued’ to an old Bush valve radio during World War Two, listening to Lord Haw-Haw broadcasting propaganda from Germany.

His long summer days were spent on the land or on Lough Erne.

Once the chores and daily tasks of the farm were in hand, he would go fishing or rabbiting or shooting. 

My father told a story of how, as a young man, he put his hand down a rabbit hole and a rat bit him. 

The rat clamped its teeth and would not let go of his finger.

My grandfather, John James Brown (Esmond’s father) removed the rat by cutting the end of my father’s finger away with a pen knife!

My grandmother Margaret Brown’s larder was well supplemented during the war; the family was insulated from the full effects of rationing due to my father’s activities.

In addition, my grandmother was practically self-sufficient: Vegetables were grown and stored; fruit was abundant in the Corrard orchard and was bottled, preserved and made into wine; hens, ducks, geese and turkeys were kept, as were dairy animals, beef cattle, pigs and sheep.

My grandmother had a pony and trap, and every few weeks she would ride into Enniskillen to buy those provisions that she could not grow, like sugar and tea.

I recall her as a very industrious and intelligent woman who did not suffer fools gladly!

Corrard is just across the lake from Belle Isle.

The road into Corrard is less than a mile from the road to the island of Belle Isle.

Corrard had once been the seat of the King baronets, and Sir Charles had owned it until his death in 1920.

The two estates, Belle Isle and Corrard, are separated by a thin ribbon of the water at one point, a mere hundred yards or so.

In winters gone by, Lough Erne could surround Corrard and it became an island, when the waters rose in winter.

I recall flooding during winters in the 1950s and 1960s, when the Lough came up and Corrard did become an island for a short time.

The approach into Corrard is by means of a steep, downward hill, through a pair of imposing stone gate-posts.

I remember beautiful white gates hung here, when I was a child, but they were removed many years ago.

At this point there is a crossroads, and it was here that the road could flood.

Beyond the crossroads is a steep hill leading to what was the mansion at Corrard.

The roads that fork to the left and the right led, in former times, to cottages that belonged to the estate.

There were, at one time, five cottages.

For anyone who knows Corrard the cottages were, on the point hill, at Innishbeg gravel pit, at what became the Glenn farm, in the Church Meadow and near the Lough shore behind Corrard House.

Corrard House was badly damaged by fire in 1921.

My grandfather knocked half of the house down and restored the remainder when he and my grandmother acquired Corrard in 1921.

My father was brought up on the land and the Lough.

He worked the land with love and knew every mood of the Lough.

He would go out in a boat in all weathers and was fearless.

As a young man, having finished his schooling at Portora, in Enniskillen, he worked with his father on Corrard.

His brother Cyril was, during the Second World War, a ‘Pathfinder’ in the Royal Air Force.

My father’s war contribution was made by increasing the yield from the farm.

Esmond was enterprising and modern in outlook: He wanted a tractor and machinery.

To this end, he began logging timber and floating it down the Lough for milling and sale.

Esmond is famous, too, for driving a tractor across the Lough from Corrard to Belle Isle in the hard winter of 1963 when Lough Erne was frozen!

This, and other hair raising escapades, are another story for another time! 

First published in May, 2012.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Gurteen Le Poer


SIR ROGER LE POER, knight, came over to Ireland with Gilbert de Clare, 1st Earl of Pembroke, nicknamed Strongbow, and accompanied him in his expedition to regain the kingdom of Leinster for Dermot MacMurrough, and also assisted John de Courcy in the reduction of Ulster.

For his services, Sir Roger obtained considerable territorial grants in Ireland.

Sir Roger wedded the niece of Sir Armoricus Tristram, otherwise St Lawrence, the ancestor of the Earls of Howth; and being murdered in 1189, he left issue by her,
His youngest son,

SIR EUSTACE LE POER, who sat in a parliament held in 1295, died in 1311, leaving issue,

In 1309, this Lord Arnold slew Sir John de Bonneville in single combat, and was acquitted of that act in a parliament held at Kildare in 1310, it being proved to be done in his own defence. He was one of EDWARD I's commanders in the army which opposed Edward Bruce in 1315.
In 1325, EDWARD II appointed this Lord Arnold seneschal of the county and city of Kilkenny. In 1327, Lord Arnold was the cause of a great war between the noblemen of Ireland, by calling the Earl of Desmond.
In 1328, Lord Arnold was arrested and accused of heresy by the Rt Rev Richard Ledred, Bishop of Ossory, and confined in Dublin Castle, where he died before he could be tried.
He left issue,

MATTHEW LE POER, living during the reign of EDWARD III, in 1349; and by Avicia his wife had issue,

JOHN LE POER, who left issue, by Joan his wife,

RICHARD LE POER, who died in 1371, leaving issue,

NICHOLAS LE POER, his son and heir, who was summoned to parliament, in 1375, as BARON LE POER in the reign of EDWARD III.

He lived to a very advanced age, and died leaving issue,  his son,

SIR RICHARD POWER, knight, of Curraghmore, County Waterford,
sheriff of the county in 1535, whose ancestors had been summoned to attend Parlimant as Feudal Barons, was created by patent, in 1535, in the reign of HENRY VIII, BARON POER or POWER, of Curraghmore.
Lord Power married Lady Katherine Butler, daughter of Piers, 8th Earl of Ormonde, by whom he had issue,
PIERS, his successor;
JOHN, 3rd Baron.
Lord Power died in 1551, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR PIERS, 2nd Baron, born in 1522,
a minor at his father's death, and granted in ward to James, 9th Earl of Ormonde, in 1540. He took part in the siege of Boulogne, and died of his wounds at Calais, unmarried, in 1545.
This nobleman was succeeded by his brother,

SIR JOHN, 3rd Baron, who was then a minor.

He married Lady Elinor FitzGerald, daughter of James, 15th Earl of Desmond, and had, with three younger sons,
RICHARD, his successor, 4th Baron;
Lord Power died in 1592, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

RICHARD, 4th Lord Power, born in 1550, who espoused the Hon Katherine Barry, daughter of James, Viscount Buttevant, and had issue,
JOHN, killed by "The White Knight";
Lord Power died in 1607, and was succeeded by his grandson,

JOHN, 5th Baron (c1599-1661), who had livery of his grandfather's lands in 1639.

He wedded Ruth, daughter of Robert Phypoe, of St Mary's Abbey, Dublin, and had issue,
RICHARD, his successor, 6th Baron;
Lord Power was excused from transplantation at the hands of OLIVER CROMWELL, as he was bereft of reason, and had been so for twenty years, in 1654.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

RICHARD, 6th Baron (1630-90), who was created, in 1673, Viscount Decies and EARL OF TYRONE.

He married, in 1654, Lady Dorothy Annesley, daughter of Arthur, 1st Earl of Anglesey, by whom (who was buried in Waterford Cathedral) he had issue,
JOHN, his successor, 7th Baron & 2nd Earl;
JAMES, 8th Baron & 3rd Earl.
Lord Power, 1st Earl of Tyrone, was imprisoned in the Tower of London, as a Jacobite, where he died in 1690, and was buried at Farnborough, Hampshire, when he was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN (c1665-93), 7th Baron and 2nd Earl, who died unmarried in Dublin, in 1693, and who was buried at Carrick-on-Suir, when he was succeeded by his brother,

JAMES, 8th Baron and 3rd Earl (1667-1704), who wedded Anne, daughter of Andrew Rickards, of Dangan Spidoge, County Kilkenny, by whom he had an only daughter,

LADY KATHERINE POWER, who espoused, in 1717, Sir Marcus Beresford Bt, of Coleraine, and brought her husband the Curraghmore estates.

She died in 1769.

Sir Marcus (1694-1763) was created, in 1746, EARL OF TYRONE, and was ancestor of the Marquess of Waterford.

Lord Power, 3rd Earl of Tyrone, died without male issue in 1704, when his earldom and viscountcy became extinct; but his barony of POWER, of Curraghmore, reverted to his heir male,

JOHN, 9th Baron Power,
de jure, who, being a colonel in the army of King JAMES II, and attainted and outlawed on account of the rebellion in 1688, could not take his seat, but he was allowed a pension of £300 per annum by the Crown.
He died in Paris, in 1725, and left, with two daughters, Charlotte and Clare, an only son,

HENRY, 10th Baron, but for the attainters of his father and grandfather.
He took out administration to his father in 1725, and petitioned the Duke of Bolton, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, for the Curraghmore estate, as heir male, upon which petition the Lords Stanhope and Harrington made a favourable report to His Grace, but the petition never came to a hearing.
Lord Power died intestate and unmarried in 1742, and was buried at St Matthew's Church, Irishtown, Dublin.

Administration was granted to his sisters in 1743.

Upon his death the whole male descendants of Richard, 4th Baron, became extinct, and the representation of the 1st Baron Power devolved on the heir male of Piers Power, of Rathgormuck, the brother of the 4th Baron,

JOHN POWER, of Gurteen, County Waterford, and of Grange, County Galway.
He served in France under his maternal uncle, Colonel John Power, 9th Baron Power, and on his return to Ireland he wedded, in 1703, Mary, daughter and co-heir of Richard Power, of Ballydrimney, County Galway, at the request of his kinsman, he being the next relation in blood of the male line.
By this lady he had five daughters,
Mr Power died at Grange in 1743, and was succeeded by his brother,

WILLIAM POWER (FitzEdmond), of Gurteen, who died without an heir at Gurteen in 1755, and was buried at Kilsheelan.

He was succeeded by his nephew,

EDMOND POWER, of Gurteen, who espoused, in 1739, his cousin Elizabeth, daughter and co-heir of John Power (FitzEdmond), of Gurteen, and had issue,
WILLIAM, his heir;
Mr Power was succeeded by his son and heir,

WILLIAM POWER (1745-1813), of Gurteen, who married Mary, daughter of Captain Walter Delamar, in 1765.


JAMES, succeeded as 13th Baron La Poer in 1755, de jure. His great-grandson,

EDMOND, 16th Baron (1775-1830), of Gurteen; 8th Light Dragoons (later 8th Hussars); fought in the Flanders Campaign, under the Duke of York. His 2nd son,

JOHN WILLIAM, 17th Baron, JP, DL (1816-51); MP for County Waterford, 1837-40; MP for Dungarvan, 1837; High Sheriff of County Waterford, 1841. His eldest son,

EDMOND JAMES, 18th Baron, JP (1841-1915); MP for Waterford, 1866-73.

The 18th Baron was created 1st Count de la Poer [Papal States] in 1864.

The Count was High Sheriff of County Waterford in 1879; Private Chamberlain to HH Pope Pius IX; HM Lord-Lieutenant for the County and city of Waterford, 1909.

His second son,

JOHN WILLIAM RIVALLON, JP, 19th Baron and 2nd Count (1882-1939); 4th Battalion, Leinster Regiment; High Sheriff of County Waterford, 1913.

In 1922, he claimed the barony of Le Poer and Coroghmore, and Committee of Privileges of House of Lords decided that but for the attainder of John Power in 1691, the claim had been established.

Mr de la Poer was the last Lord-Lieutenant of County Waterford, from 1915 until 1922.

His eldest son,

EDMOND ROBERT ARNOLD, TD, 20th Baron and 3rd Count; was commissioned, in 1936, in the London Irish Rifles; fought in the Second World War.

He succeeded to the title of 20th Baron le Power and Coroghmore in 1939; Captain, the Royal Ulster Rifles; awarded the Territorial Decoration; was an engineer. He lived in 1976 at Gurteen.

In 1998, the world-renowned artist, painter and photographer Gottfried Helnwein purchased Gurteen House, where he lives with his family.

GURTEEN LE POER, near Kilsheelan, County Waterford, is a large Tudor-Baronial house of great importance, which retains its original form and massing together with important salient features and materials, both to the exterior and to the interior.

Built in 1866 to designs prepared by Samuel Roberts for Edmond, 1st Count de la Poer, the architectural quality of the house is enhanced by the complex arrangement of gables, towers and turrets, all of which enliven the skyline.

The construction in limestone ashlar attests to high quality stone work, which is particularly evident in the fine detailing throughout.

A group of gateways to the grounds enhances the artistic design quality of the site, while a garden turret contributes to ornamental quality of the battlemented enclosure, itself augmenting the medieval tone of the grounds.

The house is of additional importance in the locality on account of its associations with the de la Poer family.

The main block is massive, with a lower service wing to one side.

The garden front has the same grouping of gables and three-sided bows, with a great tower in the entrance front.

The interior of Gurteen is commodious and agreeable, the centre boasting a galleried top-lit great hall, divided by a screen of Gothic arches.

Perhaps one of the most notable rooms in the house is the dining-room, said to contain one of the most perfect Victorian-Baronial interiors in Ireland.

The chimney-piece, of carved oak, is most exquisite with its heraldic angels holdings shields of the family arms, and its head of St Hubert's Stag - the family crest - complete with antlers and crucifix, mounted atop the mantel-shelf like a trophy.

First published in November, 2012.   Colour photos by kind permission of Gottfried Helnwein.

Friday, 28 October 2016

Belle Isle Memories: III



Miss McDougal arrived at Belle Isle from her home in Lockerbie, Scotland, when she was a very young woman in the 1920s.

She came to Belle Isle to work under the direction of her aunt, an earlier Miss McDougal, who was the Housekeeper at Belle Isle in the halcyon days between the great wars.

At that time a full complement of servants were on hand to ensure the smooth running of the castle.

Miss Ellen McDougal joined the brigade as a humble scullery maid.

By the time of my arrival on the scene in 1948, the indoor servants had reduced to three and been transformed with changing times from servants into domestic help!

These were Minnie Cathcart, my mother Pearl Brown and Miss Ellen McDougal. 

By the early 1950s Miss McDougal, known to all as ‘Dougie’, was a very accomplished cook, keeper of the kitchens and chief bottle washer!

I don’t know when she gained full charge of culinary activity but she was firmly in control from my earliest memories and remained so up until almost the end of the 1960s

The Dougie’ of my childhood was approaching fifty years of age.

Slight of stature, her grey hair firmly held within the confines of a hairnet and usually dressed in a lengthy ‘wrap around’ floral pinafore. 

A pair of steel rimmed glasses were perched on her sharp nose but could not hide the bright gleam in her all seeing eyes.

Dougie worked tirelessly from early morning till late at night all day, every day (she did have the odd half day off but grumbled about it).

It was not that she was put upon but just that it was her kitchen and she loved beingin it.

She did all this for the princely sum of £5.00 per month, but did live in, all found!

Dougie was of the old school; she knew her place and wanted everyone else to know theirs.

She had immense respect for Mr Henry Archdale Porter, ‘The Master’, and he often popped his head round the kitchen door for a cheery word with Ellen. 

I remember him being slightly ill at ease in her presence, her clear devotion somewhat unsettling him but he was very fond of her and valued her highly.

It was prudent to be ill at ease with Dougie.

For while she had a solid heart of gold there was also a fierce temper, easily lost.

It did not matter who you were, if you were in the firing line heaven help you! 

A tirade of abuse was common and she was not averse to throwing the odd implement or chasing the offender with her rolling pin!

It did not matter if you were Mr. Porter or Mrs Leigh attired in her finest new London creation or a naughty little boy like me! 

When the temper was up - flee, "scarper" quickly! Stand on your dignity at your peril!

On one memorable occasion I boldly rode my tricycle into the kitchen and pedalled as fast as I could round and round the central table.

Dougie was making pastry at one end of the table and gave chase with a threatening fist raised and shrieking at the top of her voice “E’s a little bugger that’s what E’ is, wait till I get my hands on you.” 

I was always playing pranks on Dougie but her bark was worse than her bite as far as my sister Audrey and I were concerned.

She loved us with a passion.

She had no family of her own and made us hers.

She was a great help to our mother by looking after us while she was at work elsewhere in the castle during the day.

Wary we were, but everyone adored her.

She had been there forever, as far as most people were concerned and could have given any of today’s television chefs and celebrity cooks a run for their money. 

An earlier cook at Belle Isle had trained her in basic skills but she had a natural talent.

It was astonishing to watch her ‘throw’ ingredients together without weighing scales or any apparent measures.   

The most wonderful, cakes, breads and puddings would result, even souffl├ęs!

 She could turn out any entree or concoction to a very high standard.

The most amazing smells wafted from the Aga, oxtail, Jugged Hare, Partridge and the best rice pudding ever made!
 All manner of braises and ragouts would bubble away in huge cooking pots on the Aga hobs.

An old metal Nabisco Frears biscuit tin was permanently lodged at the back of the Aga hotplate filled with meringues the like of which I have never seen anywhere.

Golden and tasting of honey. 

Dougie could always rise to the occasion and dinner in the evening was eagerly anticipated.

Whenever a special occasion or party event took place the food was of exceptional standard, beautifully cooked, presented with style and garnished to perfection. 

All this in the days before cooking became a national obsession and even pre- Elizabeth David.

Of course as a boy this all this seemed absolutely normal, it was not till later when out in the world I appreciated just how good Miss McDougal was.

Dougie’s kitchen was the central room in a complex of rooms. 

A cavernous room with two large windows. One to the west and one facing the southern front of the castle.

The south facing kitchen block is recessed and not in line with the main block, which houses what were then, the Dining, Drawing and Morning Rooms. 

The south facing kitchen window was placed high up in the wall.

Presumably so that in the former days of elegance to which the castle belonged, ladies and gentlemen strolling in the formal gardens at the front of the castle did not have their view sullied by ‘scullery maids a scrubbing’ behind the kitchen window.

The kitchen had two huge tables. One in the centre under an old blackened gas fitting where the preparation of food was carried out.

The home-made gas supply had been a product of a bygone period and no longer functional. The fitting was used now to hang sticky papers to catch flies! 

The other table under the high window was where the household dined in the evening and where the workforce dined at other times.

This included some of the men who worked on the home farm who came in for luncheon and tea, except during hay-making when tea was taken out to the field in large enamel jugs and generous wicker baskets.

The huge Aga commanded one wall almost in its entirety.

The west facing window wall had floor to ceiling wooden dressers atop of wider cupboards. The dressers filled the entire wall and framed the window.

These fixtures were painted a dirty brown colour and some of the shelves were of scrubbed pine.

The dressers were filled with large gleaming copper domed covers for meat serving dishes and an assortment of porcelain. 

I never saw any of the copper covers used, they belonged to another era but they sparkled and gleamed in the oil lamps glow reflecting in what I now know were rare and valuable plates.

To the rear of this kitchen was a scullery with an assortment of sinks and I remember a mechanical ‘separator’ that Miss McDougal filled with milk to make butter?

Beyond this were some pantries and at least one of these had wire mesh in the windows and not glass.

This was before refrigerators arrived in Belle Isle. 

In a covered outhouse adjoining this (now demolished) game was hung to season. Pheasants, Hares and other birds . This was a source of consternation to my father Esmond.

He used to say that they hung there till they were rotten and stinking and that they were crawling with maggots! 

He could not understand how they could then be eaten! 

The Belle Isle folk used to laugh at him and try to educate his palate:
“Come now Esmond, you shot it and should be rewarded, now do try some, it is delicious! “ – “No thank you madam, I will take your word for it!” Gales of laughter. “We really will have to see what we can do with you!” “No fear of that madam!”
One last memory of the old kitchen at this time is of my sister Audrey and I climbing up onto the cupboards from a chair and standing in the large west window recess as small children.

The window sill was wide and deep and there were curtains that could be drawn by a cord. 

We would sing and recite and I suppose we thought we were most entertaining. 

Everyone was amused and indulgent (on most occasions!) but with reflection they were being kind we must have been an awful nuisance!

Finally at the end of the day Miss McDougal would trundle up the steep scrubbed wooden back stairs to her room. 

This was fitted with a large brass bed and an assortment of unmatched Victorian furniture. 

There was a real fire with logs burning in the winter and some shabby black curtains a remnant of the blackout in the war at the windows.

My father, mother and we children shared a set of rooms with Dougie for many years and on occasion as small children we would sleep with her in her big bed if our parents were away. 

This happened rarely but was an adventure!

We would open a sleepy eye as Dougie came into the room and watch her divest herself of her glasses, hairnet, footwear and finally her outer garments.

In the flickering firelight she was revealed in her bed attire.  

An all in one garment with leggings attached of quite course material that covered her from top to almost the ground known as ‘combinations’.

A fierce garment of immense fascination to us. ... And so to bed....Clean combinations and another day tomorrow....

Dougie lived out her life at Belle Isle. 

When she became old and infirm they created a beautiful bedroom for her on the ground floor and put in a ramp for a wheelchair.

Her final days were spent in the county hospital. 

She is buried along with the Belle Isle household of her era and rests beside Mr Henry Archdale Porter , Mrs and Miss Brunt and Mrs Leigh.

They are all together on the grassy bank at the top of the gentle slope behind Derrybrusk Church. 

There was no distinction in death. She had become part of the Belle Isle family. 

She was a lovely lady. The salt of the earth. A rare character, I cannot do her justice.

I knew her all my life and yet I did not really know her. I wish I had spent more time with her."

The photograph above is of Miss Ellen McDougal; Julian Brown's mother Pearl Brown; his sister Audrey; and Julian himself, as small children. A rare day out for Miss McDougal.

First Published in 2010.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Dundrum House


The family of MAUDE deduces its descent from

EUSTACE DE MONTE ALTO (c1045-1112), styled The Norman Hunter, who came to the assistance of Hugh Lupus, 1st Earl of Chester, at the period of the Conquest; and having participated in the glory of that great event, shared in the spoil, and obtained, amongst other considerable grants, the castle, lordship, and manor of Hawarden, Flintshire.

Eustace was succeeded by his eldest son,

HUGH DE MONTE ALTO, the second baron under Hugh Lupus, who gave a large portion of his possessions to the monks.

He was succeeded by his brother,

ROGER DE MONTE ALTO, 3rd Baron, to whom succeeded his son,

RALPH DE MONTALT, 4th Baron, sewer to Ranulf, 6th Earl of Chester, who had two sons and a daughter, viz.
ROBERT, his heir;
The elder son,

ROBERT DE MONTALT, first baron by tenure, erected, during the reign of HENRY II, Mold Castle, in Flintshire.

This Robert, who was steward of the Palatine of Chester, espoused Emma, daughter of Sir Robert Delaval, and had issue,
ROBERT, 2nd Baron by tenure;
William, in holy orders;
The lineal descendant of this gentleman,

CHRISTOPHER MAUDE, of Holling Hall and Woodhouse, patron of Ilkley, 1554, had issue,
THOMAS, his heir;
John, of Stainland;
The elder son,

THOMAS MAUDE, of West Riddlesden, died in 1633. His grandson,

ROBERT MAUDE, of West Riddlesden and Ripon, Yorkshire, patron of Ilkley in 1640, disposed of his English estates, and purchased others in counties Kilkenny and Tipperary, whither he removed.

Dying in 1685, he was succeeded by his only son,

ANTHONY MAUDE, of Dundrum, high sheriff of Tipperary, 1686; MP for Cashel, 1695; who was succeeded by his only son and successor,

ROBERT MAUDE MP, who was created a baronet in 1705.

Sir Robert wedded Elizabeth, daughter and heir of Francis Cornwallis, of Abermarles, Carmarthenshire, by whom he had several children.

He died in 1750, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

THE RT HON SIR THOMAS MAUDE, 2nd Baronet; MP for Tipperary, 1761-76; privy counsellor, 1768.

Sir Thomas was elevated to the peerage, in 1776, as BARON DE MONTALT; but dying without issue, in 1777, the barony ceased, while the baronetcy devolved upon his brother,

SIR CORNWALLIS MAUDE (1729-1803).This gentleman represented the borough of Roscommon in parliament, and was elevated to the peerage, as VISCOUNT HAWARDEN, in 1793.

His lordship married firstly, in 1756, Letitia, daughter of Thomas Vernon, of Hanbury Hall, Worcestershire, by whom he had one daughter, Elizabeth Letitia.

He espoused secondly, in 1766, Mary, daughter of Philip Allen, and niece of Ralph Allen, of Prior Park, Somerset, by whom he had,
THOMAS RALPH, his successor;
Sophia Maria;
His lordship wedded thirdly, Anne Isabella, daughter of Thomas Monck, barrister, and niece of the Viscount Monck, by whom he had issue,
CORNWALLIS, of whom hereafter;
Robert William Henry, Dean of Clogher, and Archdeacon of Dublin;
James Ashley (Sir), captain RN; KCH, CB;
John Charles, in holy orders;
Francis, commander RN; CB;
Isabella Elizabeth; Georgiana;
Alicia; Charlotte; Mary Anne;
Emily; Catherine.
His lordship died in 1803, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

THOMAS RALPH (1767-1807), 2nd Viscount, who espoused Lady Frances Anne Agar, only daughter of His Grace Charles, Earl of Normanton, Lord Archbishop of Dublin; but dying without issue, the honours devolved upon his half-brother,

CORNWALLIS, 3rd Viscount (1780-1856).


CORNWALLIS [MAUDE] (1817-1905), 4th Viscount,
Captain, 2nd Life Guards, 1849-53; a Representative Peer for Ireland (Conservative), 1862-1905; Lord in Waiting, 1866-68, 1874-80 and 1885-86; Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords, 1882; Lord-Lieutenant of Tipperary, 1885-1905.
In 1886, Lord Hawarden was advanced to the dignity of an earldom, as EARL DE MONTALT.

Lord de Montalt was the last of the family to live at Dundrum House.

On Lord de Montalt's death, the earldom became extinct.

The other titles, however, devolved upon his cousin, Robert Henry [Maude], 5th Viscount.

The 9th and present Viscount lives in Kent.

DUNDRUM HOUSE, near Cashel, County Tipperary, was built about 1730, the nucleus of a fine estate once owned by the the O'Dwyers of Kilnamanagh.

The O'Dwyer estate was subsequently confiscated and Robert Maude was given all of the O'Dwyer land, including the O'Dwyer manor and castle of Dundrum.

This is a Palladian mansion, comprising a centre block of two storeys over a high basement, joined by short links to flanking pavilions.

The entrance front has seven bays, with a three-bay, pedimented breakfront.

There is an impressive, double-pedimented stable block at right-angles to the entrance front.

An additional storey, treated as an attic above the cornice, was added to the main block about 1890 by the 4th Viscount Hawarden (later 1st and last Earl de Montalt).

In 1909, when Dundrum House demesne was for sale, it was acquired by a religious order, who later established a Domestic Science College.

Until recently the mansion house was used as a retreat.

Having been acquired by Austin and Mary Crowe in 1978, with extensive renovation and restoration, Dundrum House was opened as a hotel in 1981.

First published in November, 2012.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Belle Isle Memories: II

Ross arms

I often visited Miss Tiggy Brunt and Captain Hermon at Necarne Castle (the gardener's house) in the 1970s, when they took up residence there after Mr H A Porter's death.

There are pictures of that period too.

Everyone at Belle Isle, Necarne and (in the summer) Mullaghmore was kind and incredibly generous to all of the Brown family!

Even Captain Hermon mellowed as we grew up.

Mr Henry Archdale Porter (Mastie!) is the man in the hat, with my father and me.

This picture was taken at Mullaghmore, near Classiebawn Castle, in the early 1950s.

The Belle Isle household used to decamp to Mullaghmore every summer, and the Brown family were frequent Sunday guests.

Indeed Captain Hermon was a first rate shot and I recall him at the Belle Isle Shoot.

I was a beater on a couple of occasions as a lad, a dangerous occupation.

My father, Esmond, was a keen shooter too, and often Captain Hermon and my father shot together.

First published in February, 2010.   Ross arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Lisheen House


The earliest record of this family is found in a list of names of subscribers to a loan raised in 1589, during the reign of ELIZABETH I, to defray expenses incurred during the arming of the country at the time of the threatened Spanish Armada.

The name there appears as PHILLIPS, as it also does in the official list of High Sheriffs for County Sligo, as late as 1716, where Matthew Phibbs, of Templevaney, is styled Matthew Phillips.

Of this family two brothers came over to Ireland, as soldiers, about 1590.

From records now existing in Trinity College, Dublin, they are found on half-pay, in 1616 and 1619, under the name of PHIPPS, a name that some of the younger branches of the family resumed about 1765.

Of these two, William settled in County Cork, in the south-west of which county the name existed as ffibbs.

The elder of the two,

RICHARD PHIPPS, who served under Sir Tobias Caulfeild, and was pensioned as a maimed soldier in 1619, settled at Kilmainham, Dublin, where he died in 1629, and was buried at St James's Church.

He had issue,
RICHARD, of whom presently;
John, living in Co Sligo, 1663;
Hester; Jane; Sarah; Rebecca.
The eldest son,

RICHARD PHIBBS or FFIBS, of Coote's Horse, who was granted land in County Sligo, 1659, and served in Captain Francis King's troop of horse in Lord Collooney's regiment.

He died in 1670, and was interred in St John's Church, Dublin, having had issue,
MATTHEW, of Templevaney;
William, of Grange.
The elder son,

MATTHEW PHIBBS, of Templevaney, afterwards of Rockbrook, County Sligo, was High Sheriff in 1716, and died in 1738.

He had issue, four sons and two daughters,
WILLIAM, of Rathbrook and Rathmullen;
Anne; Margaret.
The eldest son,

WILLIAM PHIPPS or PHIBBS (1696-1775), of Rockbrook and Rathmullen, married, in 1717, Mary, only daughter of John Harloe, of Rathmullen, by whom he had twenty-one children, of whom
WILLIAM, of whom presently;
Mary; Anne; Joanna; Rebecca; Eleanor.
The second surviving son,

WILLIAM PHIBBS (1738-1801), of Hollybrook, High Sheriff, 1781, wedded, in 1768, Jane, daughter of Owen Lloyd, of Rockville, County Roscommon, and by her had ten children, of whom
William, 1771-2;
William, 1773-97;
OWEN, of whom presently;
Susan; Mary.
Mr Phibbs was succeeded by his only surviving son,

OWEN PHIBBS (1776-1829), of Merrion Square, Dublin, High Sheriff, 1804, who espoused, in 1798, Anne, daughter of Thomas Ormsby, of Ballimamore, County Mayo, and had issue,
WILLIAM, of Seafield;
Elizabeth; Jane; Maria.
Mr Phibbs was succeeded by his eldest son,

WILLIAM PHIBBS (1803-81), of Seafield, County Sligo, High Sheriff, 1833, 11th Light Dragoons, who married, in 1840, Catherine, daughter of George Meares Maunsell, of Ballywilliam, county Limerick, and had issue,
OWEN, his heir;
Catherine; Anne; Edythe Frances.
Mr Phibbs was succeeded by his eldest son,

OWEN PHIBBS JP DL (1842-1914), of Lisheen (name changed in 1904), High Sheriff, 1884, Lieutenant, 6th Dragoon Guards, who wedded, in 1866, Susan, daughter of William Talbot-Crosbie, of Ardfert Abbey, County Kerry, and had issue,
BASIL, his heir;
William Talbot;
Mr Phibbs was succeeded by his eldest son,

BASIL PHIBBS, (1867-1938), of Corradoo, Boyle, and Lisheen, High Sheriff of County Sligo, 1905, who married, in 1899, Rebekah Wilbraham, youngest daughter of Herbert Wilbraham Taylor, of Hadley Bourne, Hertfordshire, and had issue,
Denis William;
Richard Owen Neil;
Catherine Meave.
Mr Phibbs was succeeded by his eldest son,

GEOFFREY BASIL PHIBBS (1900-56), of Lisheen,
Born in Norfolk; Irish Guards; worked variously as demonstrator in College of Science; librarian; factory-worker in London and school-teacher in Cairo;worked with Nancy Nicholson at the Poulk (Hogarth) Press.
Mr Phibbs married Norah McGuinness in London.

He subsequently changed his name to TAYLOR, following his father’s refusal to "allow his wife over the threshold".

He lived in a Georgian house in Tallaght, County Dublin.

Denis William Phibbs inherited the house and some of the lands, which he sold to Isaac Beckett of Ballina for £1,400 ~ less than one third of the original construction price.

Beckett later sold the house to a builder, John Sisk.

In 1944, the Becketts sold the lands they owned to George Lindsay.

Other lands on the Phibbs estate were bought by the Lindsay and McDermott families.

LISHEEN HOUSE (formerly Seafield), near Ballysadare, County Sligo, although now in a ruinous state, casts an impressive presence on the landscape.

Many clues as to its original state survive, including some fine stonework to the facades, chimneys, and openings.

This was clearly a house rich in history and skillfully designed.

The Sligo architect John Benson, who designed the house, was knighted for designing the building at the Dublin Exhibition of 1853.

Lisheen is a two-storey rendered house, built ca 1842, now ruinous.

Symmetrical main elevations, extensive vegetation growth internally and externally; roof collapsed; remains of chimney-stacks survive; section of moulded eaves cornice survives.

Painted smooth-rendered walling, horizontal banding between floors, plain pilasters to corners, moulded dado, ashlar limestone plinth.

Square-headed full-height window openings, moulded architraves, entablatures supported on console brackets, all evidence of timber windows missing.

No evidence of entrance doors survive; all internal finishes and features removed; remote location in fields.

First published in November, 2012.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Belle Isle Memories: I

Ross arms

By the 1950s, the Belle Isle Castle household had abandoned the elegant Georgian bay-windowed formal dining-room, except for special occasions.

Dinner was taken in the original old kitchen, which was part of a suite of sculleries, pantries and store rooms on the west side of the castle, whose windows looked out onto the road to the West Island. 

The repast was still conducted in some style: A huge, white damask tablecloth was spread on one of the wooden kitchen tables; and this was laid with the Belle Isle silver, beautiful salts, Georgian cutlery and antique silver napkin rings.

Mr Henry Porter sat at one end of the table; and, on most evenings, Mr Dick Hermon, of Necarne Castle, sat at the other.

Mrs Mary Brunt and her daughters Vida Leigh and Hilda Brunt (Tiggy) sat at the sides of the table, as did any guests (Mr Hermon often stayed at Belle Isle: he had his own room, the blue dressing room, and he had been married to Mr Porter’s sister.

Miss Tiggy would have been be in charge of ‘service’ and was assisted by the Belle Isle cook, Miss Ellen McDougal (of whom more another time); and often my mother, Pearl Brown, helped as well.

On one occasion my sister Audrey, who was about four, and myself, aged nine, were sitting near the Aga watching. Seen, but not heard!

Miss McDougal was the most wonderful cook: she could produce anything.

However, on the occasion in question, the main course was roast swan – don’t know where it came from or the legalities of it!

Notwithstanding Miss McDougal's skills, the ‘old bird’ was very tough: Mr Hermon chewed manfully but dislodged a tooth in the attempt!

Out came the meat and the tooth. 

Audrey and I got fits of the giggles, which was unfortunate because, while the household generally were very fond of us, Mr Hermon was not. 

He did not take to children.

Our mother had to remove us speedily!

This was one of my father Esmond’s favourite stories.

He was an excellent mimic, and Mr Hermon’s predicament was recounted many times.

Miss Lavinia Baird moved the kitchens to what had been the Servants Hall in the 1970s (now Hamilton wing?); and I understand that the kitchen has been moved again, into what was the old Housekeeper's Room in the main body of the castle. 

The photograph shows Mrs Brunt; her daughter, Mrs Vida Leigh; and Julian as an infant on the steps of the French window into the Drawing Room at Belle Isle Castle in 1949.
First published in February, 2012.    Ross arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Brackenber In The 1950s

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

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

Tom describes these pictures in his own words:-

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

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

To his right is Mr Henry, Deputy Principal .

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

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

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

The photo above suggests that not all reds are equal.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

First published in 2009.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Castlecoote House


This is the parent stock, whence the noble houses of COOTE, Earls of Mountrath, and COOTE, Barons Castle Coote, both now extinct, emanated.
The first settler of the Cootes in Ireland, descended from a very ancient English family, was Sir Charles Coote, 1st Baronet, Knight, who served in the wars against O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone, at the head, as captain, of 100 foot-soldiers, with which he was at the siege of Kinsale.
Sir Charles was appointed, by JAMES I, provost-marshal of the province of Connaught for life.

In 1620, he was constituted vice-president of the same province; and created, in 1621, a baronet.

Sir Charles distinguished himself, subsequently, by many gallant exploits; but the most celebrated was the relief of Birr, in 1642.
The surprising passage through Mountrath woods justly caused the title of Mountrath to be conferred upon his son; and the Coote Baronetcy, of Castle Cuffe, Queen's County, one of the oldest creations (1621) in the Baronetage.
Sir Charles Coote, 1st Baronet, Provost-Marshal and Vice-President of the Province of Connaught, greatly distinguished himself at the relief of Birr, 1642.

The 2nd Baronet, also called Sir Charles, was created, in 1661, Earl of Mountrath, when the baronetcy merged in the peerage.

The 7th Earl and 8th Baronet, having no heir, obtained, in 1800, a new creation, that of Baron Castle Coote

This title became extinct in 1827, when the baronetcy reverted to the great-great-grandson of the 2nd son of the 1st Baronet.

The 14th Baronet, Rear-Admiral Sir John Coote CB CBE DSC, was Director of Naval Ordnance, 1955-58.

CASTLECOOTE HOUSE, near Castlecoote, County Roscommon, is situated on the site of a medieval castle, thought to have been built between 1570 and 1616.

It was a strategic site, and may have been the base of the Chieftains of Fuerty, the MacGeraghty clan. 

In 1616, it fell into the hands of Sir Charles Coote, who improved and re-fortified the castle.

The castle was attacked three times by the confederate forces in the 1640s.

Castlecoote House was built in the second half of the 17th century, within the enclosure of the old castle, which had by now fallen into ruins.

In the basement tower rooms, musket chambers still overlook the entrance steps.

In the 18th century the property passed into the ownership of the Gunnings, rumoured to have won it in a poker game.
The two Gunning sisters (one of whom was later to become Duchess of Hamilton and then Duchess of Argyll) were renowned for their beauty. Their portraits, painted by Joshua Reynolds, can be viewed in the main hall.
In the 20th century, the house was owned by Henry Strevens, a noted equestrian.

The present owner bought Castlecoote House in 1997,
The house was a cavernous ruin, with no floors, no ceilings, no stairs, no windows and crumbling interior walls. The entire basement was submerged beneath the earth and the main entrance steps had collapsed.
The restoration work took five years to complete, and included underpinning the foundations, consolidating the castle towers, rebuilding the mill race walls, landscaping the grounds and restoring the ceilings and ballroom to their former splendour.
First published in October, 2012.