Saturday, 31 December 2016

The Denny Baronets

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

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

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

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

The fourth son of this learned person,

THE RT HON SIR ANTHONY DENNY (1501-49), Knight, was groom of the stool in 1518, and sworn of the privy council to HENRY VIII.

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

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

Sir Anthony's son,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sir Anthony's grandson,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WILLIAM DENNY, dsp and was succeeded by his brother,

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

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

BARRY DENNY (c1744-94). This gentleman was created a baronet in 1782.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He demolished the old castle.

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



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

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

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

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

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

First published in December, 2012.

Friday, 30 December 2016

Baronscourt Shoot

DARREN CRUSH OF THE SHOOTING GAZETTE MAGAZINE WROTE AN ARTICLE IN 2011 ABOUT GAME-SHOOTING AT BARONSCOURT, COUNTY TYRONE, SEAT OF THE DUKE OF ABERCORN

"NORTHERN IRELAND may not have as many opportunities for game shooting as elsewhere in the British Isles, but in Baronscourt it certainly has one of the most beautiful. 

Situated in a valley at the base of the Sperrin Mountains, Baronscourt estate, all 15,000 acres of it, is something of a sporting paradise. 

Not only does it cater for those in pursuit of sporting pheasants, it can also satisfy the appetite of both the deerstalker and river angler.

Combine this with a main house as majestic on the outside as it is within and you’ve pretty much met the needs of any avid sportsman. 

On the morning of the shoot I was greeted with snow and bright sun.

Saddled up and ready to go after breakfast, I made my way along the remaining eight miles from my hotel to the estate.

The scenery just got better and better as I weaved through the country lanes. 

After passing through the main gates I was met by a beater who pointed me towards the main house, and soon after I grabbed a glimpse of the impressive Clock Tower and Governor’s Lodge - a building that is part of the estate’s stable yard and which dates back to 1890. 


I soon arrived at Barons Court - the main house and seat of the Duke of Abercorn’s family since 1610 - to be met by my host, Jamie, Marquess of Hamilton.

I was introduced to the rest of the guns before grabbing an opportunity to speak with Jamie about the shoot as everyone finished their breakfast. 

“There has been game shooting at Baronscourt since the mid-1800s,” said Jamie. “It is something we have always nurtured under our own management.

This includes retaining, as best as possible, our own bloodline of pheasant. 

We’re very lucky in terms of the topography, which really lends itself to sporting birds.

Sammy Pollock, our head-keeper, is assisted by his son, Stephen, and daughter, Jeanette, as well as a wealth of other locals who help on shoot days. 

“Sport at Baronscourt is all about balance and this includes the number of game shooting days that are put on.

In order to protect our stocks we don’t overshoot the land, and each season we will establish how many shoot days we should have so as not to upset this balance. 

There are three types of game shooting on the estate; client days, family days, local syndicate days and walked-up days.

The shoot is mainly run for the family but we feel in order to make full use of the land, and also generate extra income to pump back into the shoot, it is wise to let out days.

We have one group of guns that come here six times a year for walked-up game shooting.

Conservation is also very much to the fore.

Every decision is carefully thought out in terms of the impact it will have and the benefits that can be drawn from it. 

And this is not only in terms of game shooting - a Laurent Perrier Award for wild game conservation in relation to the management of our wild herd of Japanese sika, and the Royal Forestry Society’s Duke of Cornwall Award highlights this. 

All of Baroncourt’s days are managed by Jamie - a personal and knowledgeable touch which ensures everything runs smoothly. 

The estate is fortunate to offer a variety of game for its discerning clients. 

“We are very lucky to have a number of woodcock on the estate and have devised drives whereby the guns and beaters can actually walk together along custom-made tracks cut through coniferous woods in pursuit of this sporting bird,” said Jamie. 

“Moderation, again, is the key here and we organise days according to the potential number of woodcock in the area.” 

A call to the By-turn, the first drive, marked the end of our conversation, and it was then to the gun-bus - a fine specimen adorned on the inside with framed photographs of previous shoots and family members from years gone by. 

Driven along by helper Robert Freeborn we soon found ourselves in a snow-strewn landscape.

I found myself behind Lord Iveagh from the Elveden estate.

Resplendent in his family’s Guinness tie, it wasn’t long before he was sampling some of Baronscourt’s best. 

As snow clouds loomed in the distance, pheasants took flight over the line of guns, their rich colours, reflected by a glowing winter sun were stark against a darkened sky. 

They came in a steady trickle and the drive lasted long enough for each gun to get a good share of the sport. 

Elevenses in a log cabin followed McKelvey’s Kale - a very scenic drive that backed onto one of the estate’s three lakes and the main house.

The team tucked in to sausage rolls, soup and a nip of sloe gin around the warmth of a log fire.

Once suitably fortified it was on to the Spinney. 

With the guns lined out in front of tall, coniferous woodland it didn’t take an expert to realise more testing birds were on their way. 

Sure enough, high bird after high bird powered up over the guns and with the bright sun burning in the sky, only a few were deterred from lifting to a sporting height. 

With lunch looming, there was a treat in store for the guns - a duck drive.

Not only was it a great way to end the morning’s game shooting, it provided uninterrupted sport as the birds lifted in a frenzy of flight.

The guns enjoyed a good half an hour of sport and bagged 110 head. 

Over lunch I bent the ear of head-keeper Sammy Pollock: “I’ve worked on this estate for 35 years,” he told me.

“I started off in the estate’s forestry department before a position came up to join the shoot. 

I had always had an interest in game shooting so to become an under-keeper was a chance that I really wanted to take. 

Bob Godfrey was the head-keeper at the time, so I worked under him for a number of years before working under his successor, Trevor Miskelly.

Then I was made head-keeper 19 years ago and have been so ever since.” Son and daughter Stephen and Jeanette joined Sammy when they left school. 

And, apart from enjoying everything ‘outdoors’, Jeanette also has an interest in water colour painting, something she does on commission.

And Sammy even has his other son, David, and David’s son, Adam, helping out on shoot days too. 

For Sammy and his team, conservation, as with Jamie, Lord Hamilton, is key, and he realises that for game shooting to work it has to be carried out in conjunction with managing the land correctly. 

Echoing Jamie’s comments Sammy said: “It’s all about conservation, it has to be.

Take the woodcock for example, we have created special game shooting conditions for them that hasn’t been detrimental to the woodland. 

Combine that with the fact we don’t overshoot them, and you see how we’re trying to create a decent environment for them.

I think we’ve got it just about right here. 

We’ve been working on it for the past 20-odd years and everything seems to be going well.” 

A working estate that is conducive to the surrounding land and community certainly seems in evidence here, and a lot of the game goes back in to the rural community too. 

“Making good use of game is paramount on the estate,” said Jamie.

As well as supplying the local trade we also supply restaurants in Belfast and Dublin.

The estate also has a EU approved game processing facility, one of only two in Northern Ireland, where we can prepare oven-ready birds. 

Full game preparation is now very much of the business and this also includes venison - approximately 250 head of venison were prepared at the last count. 

Some of this produce makes its way to our cookery school at Belle Isle.” 

We closed the day with Ramps.

With the stunning house in the background, the guns saw good birds before retiring for a cup of tea, and for those staying the night, something a little bit stronger. 

For me, it was a trip back to the airport and a head full of memories from a great day". 

For more information on game shooting at Baronscourt click here.


First published in June, 2011. 

Thursday, 29 December 2016

1st Earl Macartney

The ancient family of MACARTNEY is stated by William Playfair to be descended from a younger son of the MacCarthy Mór, of County Cork, who went over to Scotland to assist ROBERT THE BRUCE, whom he served in his wars, and was awarded with a grant of land in Argyllshire, whereon are still to be seen the ruins of a castle, the ancient possession of MACARTNEY, in that county.

Subsequently, driven from their original resting-place, the Macartneys fixed themselves in Galloway.

The family divided into three branches: MacCartney of Mickle Leathes [sic], MacCartney of Auchinleck, and MacCartney of Blacket.

 Of the Auchinleck branch of MACARTNEY was 

GEORGE MACARTNEY, who married, in 1522, Margaret, daughter of Godfrey MacCullogh, of Gatehouse of Fleet, Kirkcudbright, and had issue, several children, of whom

PATRICK MACARTNEY espoused the daughter of John McLellan, and whose eldest son,

BARTHOLOMEW MACARTNEY, of Auchinleck, who wedded, in 1587, Mary, only daughter of John Stewart of Auchinleck, and had a son,

BARTHOLOMEW MACARTNEY, who wedded Catherine, daughter of George Maxwell; though he died in the lifetime of his father, leaving a son,

GEORGE MACARTNEY (1626-91), who removed into Ulster in 1649 and settled near Belfast, where he acquired a large estate.

This gentleman was one of the most significant figures in the economic development of early 17th century Belfast.

He was a Captain of Horse, surveyor-general of the province of Ulster, and Sovereign (Mayor) of Belfast, 1662-3.

In 1678, Mr Macartney served the office of High Sheriff, and in 1688 he proclaimed WILLIAM & MARY at Belfast, for which he was soon after obliged to flee to England, and was attainted by JAMES II's parliament held at Dublin in 1689.

He was buried in the corporation church of Belfast, having bequeathed 40 shillings to the poor of that parish, and other benefactions.

Mr Macartney married firstly, Jane, daughter of St Quintin Calderwood, of Belfast, and had (with three daughters),
James;
Arthur, m Jane Chalmers;
John, died young;
Bartholomew, died young;
George, died young;
St Quintin, died young. 
He wedded secondly, Elizabeth, daughter of Henry Butler, of Hale, Lancashire, and sister to the Rt Hon Sir Nicholas Butler, Knight, of Edmonton, Middlesex,
Chichester, dsp;
GEORGE, of whom hereafter.
The youngest son,

GEORGE MACARTNEY (1671-1757), MP for Belfast for 54 years, High Sheriff of County Antrim, Deputy Governor and Colonel of a regiment of Militia Dragoons, married firstly, in 1700, Letitia, daughter and co-heir of Sir Charles Porter, LORD CHANCELLOR OF IRELAND, and had issue,
Charles, dsp 1759;
GEORGE, of whom we treat;
Hugh, dsp 1731.
He wedded secondly, Elizabeth, daughter and co-heir of William Dobbin, of Carrickfergus, County Antrim, by whom he had no issue.

George Macartney.  Photo credit: NMNI

Colonel Macartney's surviving son,

GEORGE MACARTNEY, of Lissanoure, County Antrim, married, in 1732, Elizabeth, youngest daughter of the Rev John Winder, Vicar of Carnmoney, County Antrim, and had (with other issue),
GEORGE, his heir;
Letitia; Elizabeth.
Mr Macartney died in 1778, and was succeeded by his only son,

THE RT HON SIR GEORGE MACARTNEY KB (1737-1806), of Lissanoure, who married, in 1768, the Lady Jane Stewart, second daughter of John, 3rd Earl of Bute.

George Macartney was born at Lissanoure Castle, County Antrim, in 1737.

In 1764, he was appointed envoy-extraordinary to St Petersburg.
In this role he successfully concluded a commercial treaty with Russia and was awarded the Polish order of the White Eagle.
He returned to England in 1767 where he declined the offer of the embassy at St Petersburg and instead entered parliament as member for Cockermouth.

He resigned from this post when he was appointed Chief Secretary to the 1st Marquess Townshend, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in 1769 (he had already been voted member for Armagh in absentia in 1768).


Macartney was sworn of the Irish Privy Council in 1769; was appointed Knight of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (KB) in 1772; and in 1774 was appointed Governor of Toome Castle.

In 1775, he was appointed Captain-General and Governor of the Caribbee islands (Grenada, the Grenadines and Tobago); and the following year was raised to the peerage as Baron Macartney, of Lissanoure.

Lord Macartney was in Grenada in 1779 when the island was attacked and captured by the French and for a short period he was held as a prisoner of war in France.

During 1780, Macartney was sent by Lord North on a confidential mission to Ireland.

He also sat for a while in the House of Commons as member for Beeralston, Devonshire.

In 1781, the East India Company appointed him Governor of Madras, India; he resigned from this post in ca 1785.

After declining the offer of being Warren Hastings' successor as Governor-General of India, Macartney arrived back in England in 1786.

He took his seat in the Irish house of lords in 1788 and served as custos rotulorum of Antrim, as a trustee of linen manufacture, and as a colonel in the yeomanry in Ulster.

In 1792, he was created Viscount Macartney of Dervock and EARL MACARTNEY.

Later in the the same year, he was part of an embassy sent to China to discuss a potential trade treaty. The embassy arrived home in 1794.

In 1795 the Foreign Secretary, Lord Grenville, sent Lord Macartney to Italy on a confidential mission to LOUIS XVIII of France, who was then an exile at Verona.

When Macartney returned to England he was created Baron Macartney, of Parkhurst, Sussex, and of Auchinleck, Kirkcudbrightshire.

In 1796 he was appointed to his last official post as Governor of the Cape of Good Hope colony.

He resigned in 1798 and returned to England, where he declined Addington's offer of the chairmanship of the Board of Control.

Earl Macartney died in 1806 without issue, when the titles expired.

The Glens of Antrim Historical Society has written a history of the Macartney family. 

His ancestral seat was Lissanoure Castle, near Ballymoney, County Antrim.  

Macartney arms courtesy of European Heraldry. First published in March, 2010.

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Learmount Castle

THE BERESFORDS OF LEARMOUNT WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY LONDONDERRY, WITH 7,946 ACRES

THE RT HON JOHN BERESFORD (1738-1805), second son of MARCUS, 1st EARL OF TYRONE, by his wife, the Lady Catherine Power, Baroness La Poer in her own right, daughter and heiress of James, last Earl of Tyrone, left, by Barbara, his second wife, daughter and co-heir of Sir William Montgomery Bt, of Magbie Hill, three sons and five daughters.

His eldest son,

HENRY BARRÉ BERESFORD (1784-1837), of Learmount Park, County Londonderry, wedded, in 1812, Eliza, youngest daughter of John Bayly, of Bristol, and had issue,
JOHN BARRÉ, his heir;
Henry Barré (1816-71), Commander RN;
William Montgomery, in holy orders;
James David, a military officer;
George de la Poer, a military officer;
Mary Barbara; Eliza Frances.
Mr Beresford's eldest son,

JOHN BARRÉ BERESFORD JP DL (1815-95), of Learmount Park, married firstly, in 1840, Sophia, sister of Hugh Lyons-Montgomery, MP for County Leitrim, and had issue,
Henry Barré Blacker (1848-82), Lieutenant RN;
JOHN CLAUDIUS MONTGOMERY, of whom hereafter.
He wedded secondly, in 1853, Caroline, only child of William Hamilton-Ash, of Ashbrook, by the Lady Elizabeth Emma Douglas his wife, sister of George, 17th Earl of Morton, and had issue,
William Randal Hamilton, of Ashbrook;
MARCUS JOHN BARRÉ;
Emma Clara; Barbara Caroline; Mary Elizabeth; Louisa Gertrude Douglas.
Mr Beresford's second son,

JOHN CLAUDIUS MONTGOMERY BERESFORD (1850-94), of Learmount, Major, Royal Engineers, wedded, in 1884, Rose Sophia Montgomery, daughter of Ralph Smith, and had issue, an only child,

RALPH HENRY BARRÉ BERESFORD (1886-1925), of Learmount, who died unmarried, when the estate devolved upon his cousin,

MARCUS JOHN BARRÉ BERESFORD (1868-1944), of Learmount, who married, in 1914, Alma, daughter of David Methven, 

He was killed in action in 1944, and was survived by an only daughter,

Patricia Douglas Methven Beresford, born in 1924, who sold Learmount Park in 1944 to the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture.



THE BERESFORDS acquired Learmount Park through the marriage of John Beresford to the heiress Barbara Montgomery, but he never lived in it and died at Walworth, Ballykelly, in 1805.

His son, Henry Barré Beresford, did not live in it either: His estate was let out to the McCauslands.

He himself worked as estate agent to his own brother Marcus, on his estate at Ballyquin.

It was only when Henry Barré Beresford retired from this position that he started to modernize the Beresford estate.

He began with great plans for the old Montgomery house.


Instead of demolishing it, his architect, John B Keane, incorporated it as an east wing on to a new mock Tudor-styled castle.

The same architect also designed, in the same style, the western gate lodge house at Stratton's Brae, which is now sadly gone.

He may even have been responsible for the design of the parish church which was built on land donated by the Beresfords, and consecrated in 1831.

A school and schoolhouse had already been established on a site close by.

Henry Barré Beresford died in 1837 and was succeeded by his son John Barré Beresford, who continued with the building plans begun by his father.

Another gate lodge house, in a different design, was built at the western entrance, where Park Recycling Centre is now located.

Another lodge was also built on the main entrance.

At Learmount Castle, coaching houses were provided for the horses, including those which worked on the farm, and grooms and coachmen employed to look after them. 

A walled garden provided vegetables and work for gardeners. Gamekeepers and bailiffs were also employed, all overseen by an estate manager.

Control of the estate passed from John Barré Beresford to his grandson Ralph, when the former died in 1895 and was commemorated by a stained glass window in the parish church. 

Ralph was a minor aged 11 at the time, and did not inherit the property until 1922.

When Harry Ralph Beresford died in 1925, the estate began to decline.

Compulsory sale of tenant lands and death duties would in due course take its toil.

The Osgood family, tea planters from overseas, hired out the property for about 4 years, long enough it has been reported, for them to marry off two daughters.

While they were there they played tennis, looked after horses and dogs, and even installed electricity, supplied by a water wheel in the estate grounds.

During this time the estate was owned by Colonel Marcus Beresford, though he never lived in it and Learmount Castle was left vacant until the 2nd World War.

Local people were employed as cook and janitor, and an Aga cooker and the telephone were installed.

Colonel Beresford was killed in London due to enemy action and his daughter, Patricia, decided to sell the property.

The Forestry Service promptly bought it and the buildings were allowed to fall into disrepair.

The Castle was granted a temporary reprieve, when the Youth Hostel Association set up a hostel in the main building, run by wardens Doreen and Marcus Lowther.

However, still no money was available for repairs.

It was decided that the old (Montgomery) wing should be demolished and replaced by a low wall, compatible with the style of the newer building.

But when the lease for the hostel expired in 1983, the youth hostel association refused to renew it, so the Lowthers left and the cycle of decay continued.

Prior to this, the gate lodges at the western and eastern entrances to the estate were demolished.

Only the old coaching house survived intact, bought by Mr Peter Mullan, who converted it into a home and a self catering apartment.

He has also reclaimed the gardens, reseeding them as a neat lawn and adding a very attractive pond.

He stabilized the back of the castle which has enhanced its appearance.


LEARMOUNT CASTLE, near Claudy, County Londonderry, is a Tudor-Gothic house, built in 1830 by Henry Barré Beresford.

The main block has a gabled front and pointed finials on the gables; and a battlemented porch.

There is a battlemented wing set back, ending in a slender, round battlemented tower and turret.

The house is situated above a steep, terraced drop to the River Faughan below. The terracing is grassed and decorated with ornamental yew trees.

There is an unused walled garden to the immediate south of the house.

Learmount is close to the village of Park in County Londonderry.

Learmount Forest covers just over 3,000 acres of the foothills at the northern face of the Sperrin Mountains.

Bought by the Forest Service at the end of the 2nd World War, it has over fifteen different tree species planted, with some well over 100 years old.

This is due to the planting of selected trees by Henry Barré de la Poer Beresford, who came from Staffordshire as landlord at the time of the Plantation by the Livery Companies.


The imposing castle was built by him in 1830 as an extension of an older building erected by a Captain Montgomery around 1710.

The castle was used by Ashleigh House Girls School (Belfast) during the war, and then by the Youth Hostel Association until later it was bought by the present private owner.


The Beresford coat-of-arms emblazons the doorway of the Castle, with the family motto Nil Nisi Cruce - No dependence but in the cross; and the Arms, a semée of cross crosslets fitchée and three fleurs-de-lis within a border engrained sable.

The demesne contains commercial plantations and mature trees in an area noted by Lewis in 1837 in the Topographical Dictionary, for its ‘large and valuable timber …’.

Paths are maintained and the site is an amenity.

Sal Lim, who has kindly provided me with photographs of the Castle:

"The way I remember it may not actually be the way it was, - the memory does play tricks after forty years. One thing I do know is that the far side in the photo was already derelict at that stage and was blocked off although it was possible to get in through the basement.

It was said to be haunted so had not been used for some time. Apart from that I remember a very impressive staircase opposite the front entrance. There was a large room to the right of the front door. It was used as the common room with dining area at that time but it had obviously been a beautiful room.

The fireplace matched the proportions of the room. It was so big that my brother was able to sit cross-legged on the mantelpiece ... the staircase went straight up opposite the front door towards the back of the house and then divided on the first landing with flights going up in both directions.

When we were there the room behind the large common room was the kitchen but originally when it was a family home, the kitchen was probably in the basement, which you can see from the photos went the full length of the house."

First published in February, 2010.

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Garbally Court

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


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

The first of the family in England was

FREDERICK  DE LA TRANCHE, or TRENCHE, a protestant nobleman who fled from France after the massacre of St Barthomolew, and took up his abode in Northumberland ca 1575.

He married, in 1576, Margaret, daughter of Thomas Sutton, and had issue,
THOMAS, his heir;
James, m Margaret, daughter of Hugh, Viscount Montgomery;
Adam Thomas.
The eldest son,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The rear elevation has a single-storey curved bow.

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

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


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

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