Thursday, 29 June 2017

Meenglass House

THE VISCOUNTS LIFFORD OWNED 11,000 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY DONEGAL

THE RT HON JAMES HEWITT (1709-89), having attained great eminence at the English bar, and filled successively the offices of King's First Sergeant and judge of the Court of King's Bench, was appointed, in 1767, LORD HIGH CHANCELLOR OF IRELAND, and elevated to the peerage, in 1768, as Baron Lifford, of Lifford, County Donegal.

His lordship was advanced to a viscountcy, in 1781, as VISCOUNT LIFFORD.

He married firstly, in 1749,  Mary, only daughter and co-heiress of the Venerable Dr Rice Williams, Archdeacon of Carmarthen, and had issue,
JAMES, his successor;
William Williams;
Joseph, a judge;
John, in holy orders.
His lordship wedded secondly, Ambrosia, daughter of the Rev Charles Bayley, of Knavestock, in Essex, and by that lady had George, Ambrosia, and Elizabeth, all who died unmarried.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

THE VERY REV JAMES, 2nd Viscount (1751-1830), Dean of Armagh, who wedded firstly, in 1776, Henrietta Judith, eldest daughter of Arthur, 1st Viscount Harberton, but by that lady had no issue.

He espoused secondly, in 1781, Alicia, eldest daughter of the Ven John Oliver, Archdeacon of Ardagh, and had issue,
JAMES, his successor;
John Pratt, in holy orders.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES, 3rd Viscount (1783-1855), who married, in 1809, Mary Anne Maria, 8th daughter of Cornwallis, 1st Viscount Hawarden, and had issue,
JAMES, his successor;
John James;
Alicia Anne; Susan; Anne Georgiana.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES, 4th Viscount (1811-87), DL, who espoused, in 1835, the Lady Mary Acheson, eldest daughter of Archibald, 2nd Earl of Gosford, and had numerous issue, including
JAMES WILFRED, his successor;
Evelyn John;
Archibald Robert, succeeded his brother;
Mary Anne.
ARCHIBALD ROBERT,  6th Viscount (1844-1925), was a captain in the Royal Navy.

His son,

EVELYN JAMES (1880-1954), 7th Viscount, DSO, fought in both the Second Boer War and the First World War.

He was succeeded by his cousin,

ALAN WILLIAM WINGFIELD, 8th Viscount, who was the son of the Hon George Wyldbore Hewitt, 7th son of the 4th Viscount.

As of 2010 the titles are held by his son, Edward James Wingfield, 9th Viscount (b 1949).


MEENGLASS HOUSE, sometimes spelt Meenglas, near Stranorlar, County Donegal, was a Victorian house in a simple Tudor-Revival style with steep roofs and gables; mullioned windows, relatively small for the size of the house.

It had a three-sided bow; and a dormer window with tracery; a slender, square turret at the junction of the main block and service wing, with a sprocketed pyramidal roof.

The 1st Viscount resided at Santry House, Dublin, for a period.

First published in May, 2013.   Lifford arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Lough Cutra Castle

WILLIAM SMYTH, of Rossdale, Yorkshire, passed over into Ulster in the reign of CHARLES I, and settling at Dundrum, County Down, became ancestor of the family which we are treating, and of the Smyths of Drumcree, Gaybrook, etc.

His son,

WILLIAM SMYTH, of Dundrum, married Mary, daughter of Thomas Dewdall, and by her had two sons, viz.
THOMAS, his heir;
James.
The elder son,

THE RT REV THOMAS SMYTH (1650-1725), was, for his great piety and learning, at the recommendation of Dr Tennison, Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, promoted to the see of Limerick in 1696.

His lordship married Dorothea, daughter of the Rt Rev Ulysses Burgh, Lord Bishop of Ardagh, and had issue,
William (Very Rev), Dean of Ardfert, dsp;
CHARLES, of whom presently;
John;
Michael;
Henry;
Thomas;
George;
Arthur;
Edward;
James;
Mary; Dorothea; Elizabeth.
The second and eldest surviving son,

CHARLES SMYTH (1694-1784), who succeeded to the estates of his father, represented the city of Limerick in parliament for 45 years.

He espoused Elizabeth, sister and heir of Sir Thomas Prendergast, last baronet of that name, and widow of John Dixon Haman, and had issue,
Thomas, MP, dsp;
JOHN PRENDERGAST, of whom we treat;
Charles Lennox;
Juliana, mother of CHARLES, 2nd Viscount.
The second son,

JOHN PRENDERGAST-SMYTH, was elevated to the peerage, in 1810, as Baron Kiltarton, with remainder to his nephew, Charles Vereker, the son of his sister Juliana.

His lordship was advanced to a viscountcy, in 1816, as VISCOUNT GORT, of Gort, County Galway.

The 1st Viscount died a bachelor, 1817, when the family honours devolved upon his nephew,

CHARLES, 2nd Viscount, PC (1768-1842), Constable of the City of Limerick, Colonel of its Militia, and Privy Counsellor.

His lordship married firstly, in 1789, Jane, widow of William Stamer, and had issue,
JOHN PRENDERGAST, his successor;
Juliana; Georgiana.
He wedded secondly, in 1810, Elizabeth, eldest daughter of John Palliser, by whom he had a son,
Charles, born in 1818.
His eldest son,

JOHN PRENDERGAST, 3rd Viscount (1790-1865), sold the family seat, Lough Cutra Castle.



LOUGH CUTRA CASTLE, once known as Loughcooter Castle, is near Gort in County Galway.

It was designed by John Nash and is located in a romantic setting above a lough.

The Castle was built from 1811 for the 2nd Viscount Gort, who had an admiration for East Cowes Castle on the Isle of Wight and stipulated that his new home should be similar in design.

Lough Cutra Castle is battlemented with machiolations.


The 3rd Viscount suffered ruinous financial losses as a result of the Irish famine, since he refused to collect any rents and donated large sums to charity.

Consequently, Lough Cutra was sold by the Encumbered Estates Court in 1851.

The Gort family subsequently moved to the Isle of Wight, where they, somewhat ironically, acquired East Cowes Castle.

Lough Cutra was purchased in 1854 by Field-Marshal the Viscount Gough, who added a wing and clock-tower two years later.

During the Victorian era, the estate comprised 6,628 acres.

Interestingly, Lord Gough commissioned wallpaper by Cole & Son for a design featuring Union Flags and coronets.

The Castle was sold by the Gough family later in the 19th century and remained empty for many years; until it was bought back post-1945 by the 7th Viscount Gort for his great-niece, Elizabeth Sidney.

Thereafter the Castle was sold again and is now privately owned.

In May, 2015, TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall visited Lough Cutra Castle.

First published in May, 2015.  Gort arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Coollattin Park

THE EARLS FITZWILLIAM WERE THE GREATEST LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY WICKLOW, WITH 89,981 ACRES

In 1565, HUGH FITZWILLIAM (c1534-c1576), of Emley, Sprotbrough, and Haddlesey, Yorkshire, collected the records of his family, and from these records the following particulars are partly deduced:

SIR WILLIAM FITZ GODRIC, cousin to EDWARD THE CONFESSOR, left a son and heir,

SIR WILLIAM FITZWILLIAMwho, being ambassador at the court of WILLIAM, Duke of Normandy, attended that prince in his victorious expedition against England, as marshal of the army, in 1066; and for his valour at the battle of Hastings, THE CONQUEROR presented him with a scarf from his own arm.

This Sir William was father of

SIR WILLIAM FITZWILLIAM, Knight, who wedded Eleanor, daughter and heiress of Sir John Emley, of Emley and Sprotbrough, by which marriage the Fitzwilliams obtained the lordships of Emley and Sprotbrough, which continued with them until the reign of HENRY VIII, when those lordships were carried, by co-heirs, into the families of Suthill and Copley.

Sir William was succeeded by his son,

SIR WILLIAM FITZWILLIAM, Lord of Emley and Sprotbrough, living in 1117, as appears from a grant made by him of a piece of the wood in Emley to the monks of Byland.

To this grant, in a round seal, is represented a man on horseback, completely armed and circumscribed S. Willmi Filij Willmi Dni de Emmalaia; and on the reverse, the arms of FITZWILLIAM, viz. Lozenge.

This Sir William, or one of his descendants, caused a cross to be set up in the high street of Sprotbrough; which cross was pulled down in 1520.

From this Sir William we pass to his descendant,

SIR JOHN FITZWILLIAM, who founded, in 1372, the Chantry of St Edward in the church of Sprotbrough; and having married Elizabeth, daughter of William de Clinton, 1st Earl of Huntingdon, had three sons, the eldest of whom,

SIR WILLIAM FITZWILLIAM, married Maud, daughter of Ralph, 3rd Lord Cromwell, of Tattershall, and co-heir of the Lord Treasurer Cromwell, by whom he had one son and two daughters.

He was succeeded by his son,

SIR JOHN FITZWILLIAM, who wedded Eleanor, daughter of Sir Henry Green, of Drayton, and had six sons.

The youngest son,

JOHN FITZWILLIAM, of Milton Hall and Greens Norton, in Northamptonshire, espoused Eleanor, daughter of William Villiers, of Brooksby, Leicestershire, by whom he had three sons and two daughters, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

THE RT HON SIR WILLIAM FITZWILLIAM (c1460-1534), Knight, of Milton and Gaynes Park, Essex, and also of the city of London, of which he was sheriff in 1506.

Sir William married firstly, Anne, daughter of Sir John Hawes, Knight, of the city of London, and had,
WILLIAM, his heir;
Richard;
Elizabeth; Anne.
He wedded secondly, Mildred, daughter of Richard Sackville, of Withyham, Sussex, and had three sons and two daughters,
Christopher;
Francis;
Thomas;
Eleanor; Mary.
Sir William was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR WILLIAM FITZWILLIAM, Knight, who espoused Anne, daughter of Sir Richard Sapcote, of Elton, Huntingdonshire; and was succeeded by his son and heir,

SIR WILLIAM FITZWILLIAM (1526-99), Lord Deputy of Ireland and Lord Justice, who wedded Anne, daughter of Sir William Sydney, and aunt of the 1st Earl of Leicester, and had issue,
WILLIAM, his heir;
John;
Mary; Philippa; Margaret.
Sir William was succeeded by his son,

SIR WILLIAM FITZWILLIAM, Knight, of Milton and Gaynes Park Hall, who was elevated to the peerage, in 1620, by the title Baron Fitzwilliam, of Lifford, County Donegal.

His lordship wedded Catherine, daughter of William Hyde, of Denchworth, Berkshire; and dying in 1644, was succeeded by his elder son,

WILLIAM, 2nd Baron (c1609-58), who espoused, in 1638, Jane, daughter and co-heir of Alderman Hugh Perry, of London, and had issue,
WILLIAM, his heir;
Charles;
Jane, m Sir Christopher Wren, the celebrated architect.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

WILLIAM, 3rd Baron (1643-1719), who was advanced to a viscountcy and earldom, in 1716, as Viscount Milton, County Westmeath, and EARL FITZWILLIAM, of County Tyrone.

His lordship married Anne, daughter and sole heir of Edmund Cremor, of West Winch, Norfolk, by whom he had four sons and six daughters.

He was succeeded by his third, but eldest surviving son,

JOHN, 2nd Earl (1681-1728), who wedded Anne, daughter and sole heir of John Stringer, of Sutton-cum-Lound, Nottinghamshire, and left, with three daughters, a son and successor,

WILLIAM, 3rd Earl (1719-56), then a minor, who was, in 1742, enrolled amongst the peers of Great Britain, by GEORGE II, by the style and title of Lord Fitzwilliam, Baron Milton, in Northamptonshire.

In 1746, this nobleman was advanced to an English viscountcy and earldom, as EARL FITZWILLIAM, in the same county.

His lordship espoused, in 1744, the Lady Anne Watson-Wentworth, eldest daughter of Thomas, Marquess of Rockingham, and sister and co-heir of Charles, 2nd Marquess, by whom he had issue,
WILLIAM, his successor;
Charlotte; Frances Henrietta.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

WILLIAM, 4th Earl (1748-1833), Lord Lieutenant of Ireland for a very short period, in 1795, who married firstly, in 1770, the Lady Charlotte Ponsonby, second daughter of William, 2nd Earl of Bessborough, by whom he had an only child, CHARLES WILLIAM WENTWORTH, his heir.
Charles William, 5th Earl (1786-1857);
William Charles, Viscount Milton (1812-35);
William Thomas Spencer, 6th Earl (1815-1902);
William, Viscount Milton (1839-77);
William Charles de Meuron, 7th Earl (1872-1943);
(William Henry Lawrence) Peter, 8th Earl (1910-48);
Eric Spencer, 9th Earl (1883-1952);
William Thomas George, 10th Earl (1904-79). 
The titles expired following the decease of the 10th and last Earl.


COOLLATTIN PARK, is near Shillelagh in County Wicklow.

The history of the Wentworth/Fitzwilliam families has been well documented, but what is less well known is the influence they had on the history of the kingdom of Ireland.

As well as the family seat of Wentworth Woodhouse in Yorkshire (where they owned 22,000 acres in 1870), the Earls Fitzwilliam also resided at Malton House (later Coollattin House) in County Wicklow, from where they managed their vast estate.

Coollattin is now a golf club.

The 4th Earl  built Coollattin House (it was originally called Malton, one of his grandfather’s titles as Earl of Malton). 

The house was designed by the leading architect John Carr, who was also responsible for the grandiose “stable block” at Wentworth Woodhouse as well as the Keppel’s Column and Mausoleum monuments near Wentworth.

The building was started around 1794 but before completion it was burned down in a rebellion in 1798 (along with 160 other houses in the nearby village of Carnew and several Catholic churches).

Work resumed again in 1800 and the house was completed in 1807.

As well as rebuilding their house and the village, the Fitzwilliams contributed to the repairs of the Catholic churches and gave land for other churches (whilst other landlords would not even allow a Catholic church on their estate).

Throughout the family’s time in Ireland they did not take sides in the various Irish struggles through the centuries, and perhaps as a consequence their house was left untouched in the last dash for independence.



As well as undertaking building and agricultural projects, the 4th Earl was also the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland for a short time in 1795.

In 2003, The Times newspaper wrote: 

When the 10th and last Earl died in 1979 the remnants of the huge Coollattin estate, for centuries the Irish seat of the Earls of Fitzwilliam, was sold by the last Earl’s widow, Lady Juliet De Chairoff, and in the following years, it was broken up and sold on bit by bit.

In 1983, the sprawling Coollattin House, with its vast lands attached, was resold for €128,000. When the farm land value was removed, this amounted to just £8,000 for the house itself — which, with its 120-plus rooms, is still among the largest private houses in the country. In the same year the average price of a standard new home in Dublin was more than four times that, at £35,000.

In living memory, the once-grand Coollattin estate had spanned 88,000 acres, had 20,000 tenants and comprised one quarter of Co Wicklow. There has long been a rumour that the estate harboured a vast tunnel used by inhabitants of the house to escape to the lodge.

The estate began falling apart in 1948 when the last earl, Peter Fitzwilliam, was killed in a plane crash with JFK’s sister, Kathleen (Kick) Kennedy, with whom, it was speculated, he had been having an affair.

His estate tenants genuinely grieved. The Fitzwilliams had a history of being among the most liberal landlords in Ireland. They had paid tenants more, invested in their education and had worked hard to ensure that the built environment in their towns was above average.

When the Great Famine came, the Fitzwilliam family were at least decent enough to ship their excess tenants to America rather than simply turn them off the land as many landlords did. Thousands were sent abroad to start new lives in this manner.

Perhaps this was the reason Coollattin House survived the great burning sprees that erupted through and after the war of independence, when working classes took their revenge on the less benevolent owners of big house.

TODAY, the house is owned by Anne Agnew, who restored it from a decrepit state.

Now that she is selling, Agnew has thrown light on the mystery of the tunnel, that has puzzled generations of people:
There has always been a belief that the Fitzwilliams had a massive escape tunnel which locals believed connected Coollattin House to Coollattin Lodge.

They say that the hidden tunnel is wide and high enough to drive a carriage and four through it. In fact, I can confirm that we did find a hidden tunnel. It was in the yard at the back of the lodge and hidden under scrub.

My son found a rotted wooden cover and under it was a hole which fell down 10ft before running away underground. It’s 5ft high, 5ft wide and stone-lined with a rounded, vaulted ceiling.

He climbed into it one day with the help of a ladder and followed it for about a quarter of a mile before an old iron grid stopped him going any further.

So yes, there is a tunnel here, and we don’t know where it goes, but it doesn’t run towards Coollattin House — it runs the other way".

Former seats ~ Coollattin Park, County Wicklow; Wentworth Woodhouse, Yorkshire; Milton Hall, Cambridgeshire.

Former town residence ~ 4 Grosvenor Square, London.

First published in July, 2011.  Fitzwilliam arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Friday, 2 June 2017

Glanomera House

THE ARTHURS WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY CLARE, WITH 10,534 ACRES

The Arthurs are stated to have been originally 'Artureighs', and to derive their descent from a common ancestor with the O'Briens, viz. Cormac Cas, King of Munster.

The name, it is further asserted, was anglicised, in common with many others, on the invasion of Ireland by HENRY II, who is stated to have conferred honours and grants of land on one of that name in 1178.

In the records of Limerick, the name of ARTHUR frequently occurs from the earliest period down to the time of CHARLES I, when the family estates in County Limerick were confiscated by the usurper CROMWELL for loyalty to the royal cause.

The Arthurs subsequently removed to County Clare, and became seated at Glenomera.

On the municipal roll of the city of Limerick are given the names of no less than forty-eight ARTHURS as mayors etc of that city.

From John Arthur, Mayor of Limerick in 1340, and Sir Dominick Arthur, also mayor of that city, we pass to Sir Nicholas Arthur, Knight, mayor in 1591.

Thomas Arthur was Bishop of Limerick in 1470; and Richard Arthur was RC Bishop, 1643.

The Rev Geoffrey Arthur, of the Church of Rome, Treasurer of Limerick Cathedral, died in 1519, and was buried there, where his monument, with a curious Latin inscription, may still be seen.

Edward Arthur was MP for the city of Limerick, 1599; and Thomas Arthur, MP in 1585.

THOMAS ARTHUR, of Glanomera, son of Piers Arthur, wedded Elizabeth, daughter of Captain John Butler, heiress of the BUTLERS of Kilmoyler, County Tipperary, descended from the 9th Earl of Ormonde and the 11th Earl of Desmond; and was father of

THOMAS ARTHUR DL, of Glanomera, who wedded Lucy, fourth daughter of Sir Edward O'Brien Bt, of Dromoland, and left by her at his decease, 1803 (with a daughter, Mary), an only son and successor, 

THOMAS ARTHUR DL (1778-1845), of Glanomera, who espoused, in 1803, Harriet, second daughter and co-heir (with her only sister, Charlotte, wife of Sir Edward O'Brien Bt, of Dromoland) of William Smith, of Cahermoyle, County Limerick, and had (with nine daughters) seven sons,
THOMAS, his heir;
William Smith;
LUCIUS (Rev);
Edward;
Augustus;
Henry;
Frederick Brian Boru (Rev).
Mr Arthur was succeeded by his eldest son,

THOMAS ARTHUR, of Glanomera (1806-84), who wedded Elizabeth, daughter of Captain John Butler, of Kilmoyler, descended from Piers, seventh son of James, 9th Earl of Ormonde.

He was succeeded by his brother,

THE REV LUCIUS ARTHUR (1810-87), of Glanomera, who married, in 1840, Caroline Elizabeth, daughter and co-heir of John Haycock Jervis, of Moseley, Warwickshire, and had issue,
THOMAS LUCIUS JERVIS, his heir;
Edward Henry Frederick;
Charles William Augustus;
Harriet Elizabeth Augusta; Ellen Lucy Julia; Maria Anne Florence;
Charlotte Katherine Susan; Grace Caroline Frances.
The eldest son,

THOMAS LUCIUS JERVIS ARTHUR JP (1847-88), of Glanomera, Captain, 6th R V Regiment, married, in 1881, Constance Helen, daughter of William Steele Studdert, of Clonboy, County Clare, by Constance his wife, daughter of Robert George Massy, and had issue,
CHARLES WILLIAM AUGUSTUS, his heir;
Desmond Phelps Pery Lucius Studdert, b 1884.
His elder son, 

CHARLES WILLIAM AUGUSTUS ARTHUR, of Glanomera, County Clare, born in 1882, wedded, in 1904, Rose Violet, daughter of John Joseph Roche-Kelly, of Rockstown Castle and Islandmore, County Limerick, and had issue,
Charles Augustus, died in infancy;
LUCIUS, of whom hereafter.
His second son, 

LUCIUS ARTHUR, born in 1913, was the grandfather of the surviving members of that line.

Photo Credit: Limerick City Museum; Michael Kelly; Paul Kelly

GLANOMERA HOUSE, County Clare, was burnt in 1905.

First published in March, 2013.