Thursday, 28 September 2017

Mobile-Friendly Blog

Following a prompt from Google, I have amended the blog settings to enable a more mobile-friendly appearance on mobile phones.

I hope those readers who tend to follow me on their smartphones will notice a difference.

I’m grateful to Google for bringing this feature to my attention.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Drumboe Castle


This family had been settled in Ireland from the period of the civil wars, during the reign of CHARLES I, when Edmund Hayes went over with Cromwell's party, and attained the rank of Colonel in his army; but whether he was English or Scots ancestry is uncertain.

CHALLIS HAYES, son of Challis Hayes, of Bridgwater, Somerset, Vice-Consul at Lisbon, married Miss Deborah Holditch, of Totnes, Devon.

Mr Hayes was murdered by his servant at Lisbon in 1737, and left an only surviving son,

SAMUEL HAYES, who married Mary, daughter and heiress of William Basil, of Drumboe Castle, County Donegal, and of Wilton Park, Buckinghamshire, and had issue,
SAMUEL, his heir;
Mary; Frances.
The only son,

SAMUEL HAYES (1737-1807), MP for Augher, 1783-90, married Mary, daughter of William Basil (previously Ball), of Wilton Park, Buckinghamshire, and Drumboe Castle.

Mr Hayes was created a baronet in 1789, designated of Drumboe Castle, County Donegal.

Sir Samuel was succeeded by his son,

SIR SAMUEL HAYES, 2nd Baronet (1773-1827), of Drumboe Castle, who married, in 1803, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Thomas Lighton Bt, and had issue,
EDMUND SAMUEL, his heir;
Anne; Harriet; Mary.
Sir Samuel was succeeded by his only son,

SIR EDMUND SAMUEL HAYES, 3rd Baronet (1806-60), of Drumboe Castle, MP for County Donegal, 1831-60, founding member of the Carlton Club, who wedded, in 1837, Emily, daughter of the Hon Hercules Robert Pakenham, son of Edward, 2nd Baron Longford.

His eldest son and heir,

SIR SAMUEL HERCULES HAYES, 4th Baronet (1840-1901), of Drumboe Castle, High Sheriff of County Donegal, 1884-7, wedded, in 1878, Alice Anne, daughter of James, 4th Viscount Lifford and had issue, a daughter, Alice Emily Hayes.

Sir Samuel died without male issue, when the title devolved upon his brother,

SIR EDMUND FRANCIS HAYES, 5th and last baronet (1850-1912), of Drumboe Castle, who inherited the family estate in 1901 on the death of his brother, Sir Samuel, 4th Baronet.

He married Alice Isabella, daughter of Judge Wilkinson, of Sydney, Australia, in 1900.

Sir Edmund died at Drumboe Castle.

On his death the baronetcy became extinct.

Lady Hayes died in 1943 from injuries sustained after stepping in front of a tramcar, in 1943, in Sydney.

DRUMBOE CASTLE, near Stranorlar, County Donegal, was a Georgian house comprising a three-storey centre with a three-sided centre bow and pillared porch; and bow-ended wings.

There was a Wyatt window on either side of the centre bow.

In 1622, Robert Redington sold the estate at Ballybofey to Sir Ralph Bingley.

Bingley erected the original Drumboe Castle, which had four large towers.

Its location protected a ford across the river.

After the death of Sir Ralph, his widow, Jane, and Robert Harrington took charge until 1641, when it was granted to Sir William Bazil, Attorney-General for Ireland.

A descendent of Sir William Bazil was William Basil (formerly William Ball), who married Frances Dowdeswell ca 1736.

Their daughter, Mary Basil, married Sir Samuel Hayes Bt and through this marriage it became the home of the Hayes Baronets, of Drumboe Castle, from 1789 until 1912.

It became the General Headquarters for the forces of the Irish Free State in County Donegal during the Irish Civil War.

It is infamous for being the location of the Drumboe massacre during the Irish Civil War.

The house has been ruinous since 1945.

First published in July, 2013.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Kilrush House


GILES VANDELEUR settled at Rathlahine, County Clare, in 1660, and was one of the commissioners for allotting quit-rents in Ireland.

He married Elizabeth, daughter of Colonel Sir John Jephson MP, of Mallow, by Elizabeth his wife, daughter of Francis, 1st Viscount Shannon (4th son of Richard, 1st Earl of Cork), and had issue,
James, of Blane, who left issue;
JOHN, of whom presently;
The second son,

THE REV JOHN VANDELEUR, of Cragg, County Clare, Rector of Kilrush, County Clare, seating himself at Kilrush in 1687, wedded Elizabeth, daughter and co-heir of Thomas Crofton, of Inchirourke, County Limerick, by whom he left, besides a younger son, Thomas, an elder son,

JOHN VANDELEUR, of Kilrush, who married Frances, daughter of John Ormsby, of Cloghans, County Mayo; and had issue,
CROFTON, his heir;
John Ormsby, of Maddenstown;
Richard, of Rutland, father of General Sir J O Vandeleur GCB;
Mr Vandeleur died in 1754, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

CROFTON VANDELEUR, of Kilrush, who wedded, in 1765, Alice, daughter of Thomas Burton (uncle of Francis P Burton, 2nd Lord Conyngham), of Buncraggy, by Dorothy his wife, daughter of the Rt Hon John Forster, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas in Ireland, and had issue,
JOHN ORMSBY, his heir;
Thomas Burton, a judge;
Crofton, major-general;
Richard, army major;
Frederick, army captain;
William Richard (Rev);
Dorothy; Alice; Emily; Frances.
The eldest son,

THE RT HON JOHN ORMSBY VANDELEUR (1765-1828), Commissioner of the Customs in Ireland, MP for Ennis, 1802, married the Lady Frances Moore, daughter of Charles, 1st Marquess of Drogheda, and had issue,
CROFTON MOORE, his heir;
Henry Seymour Moore;
Anna Frances; Alice.
Mr Vandeleur was succeeded by his elder son,

CROFTON MOORE VANDELEUR JP DL (1808-81), of Kilrush House, Colonel, Clare Regiment of Militia, High Sheriff, 1832, MP for Clare, 1859-74, who married, in 1832, the Lady Grace Graham-Toler, second daughter of Hector John, 2nd Earl of Norbury, and had issue,
Crofton Toler;
John Ormsby Moore;
Elizabeth Frances; Frances Letitia; Grace Dorothea.
Colonel Vandeleur was succeeded by his eldest son,

HECTOR STEWART VANDELEUR (1836-1909), of Kilrush House, Lord-Lieutenant of County Clare, High Sheriff, 1873, who married, in 1867, Charlotte, eldest daughter of William Orme Foster MP, of Apsley Park, Shropshire, and had issue,
Cecil Foster Seymour, DSO (1869-1901), k/a;
Isabel Grace; Evelyn Norah.
His only surviving son,

ALEXANDER MOORE VANDELEUR JP (1883-1914), of Kilrush, and Cahiracon, Captain, The Life Guards, espoused, in 1910, Violet Ethel, eldest daughter of Henry Meysey, 1st Lord Knaresborough.

Captain Vandeleur was killed in action, aged 30, in the 1st World War.

He left issue,


KILRUSH HOUSE, County Clare, was an early Georgian house of 1808.

From 1881 until Kilrush House was burnt in 1897, Hector Stewart Vandeleur lived mainly in London and only spent short periods each year in Kilrush.

Indeed during the years 1886-90, which coincided with the period of the greatest number of evictions from the Vandeleur estate, he does not appear to have visited Kilrush.

In 1889, Hector bought Cahircon House and then it was only a matter of time before the Vandeleurs moved to Cahircon as, in 1896, they were organising shooting parties at Kilrush House and also at the Cahircon demesne. 

Hector Stewart Vandeleur was the last of the Vandeleurs to be buried at Kilrush in the family mausoleum.

Cahircon House was sold in 1920, ending the Kilrush Vandeleurs' direct association with County Clare.

Hector Vandeleur had, by 1908, agreed to sell the Vandeleur estate to the tenants for approximately twenty years' rent, and the majority of the estate was purchased by these tenants.


THE VANDELEURS, as landlords, lost lands during the Land Acts and the family moved to Cahircon, near Kildysart.

In 1897, Kilrush House was badly damaged by fire.

During the Irish Land Commission of the 1920s, the Department of Forestry took over the estate, planted trees in the demesne and under their direction the remains of the house were removed in 1973, following an accident in the ruins.

Today the top car park is laid over the site of the house.

Vandeleur Walled Garden now forms a small part of the former Kilrush demesne.

The Kilrush demesne was purchased by the Irish Department of Agriculture as trustee under the Irish Land Acts solely for the purpose of forestry.

The Kilrush Committee for Urban Affairs purchased the Fair Green and Market House.
The demesne, now Kilrush Wood, lies to the east of the town.

The remains of Kilrush House were demolished in 1973.

The site is now a car park and picnic area and all the original stones from the house are now underneath this area.
A number of street names in the town of Kilrush are named after the Vandeleurs: Frances Street after Lady Frances, wife of Hon John Ormsby Vandeleur; Grace Street after Lady Grace Vandeleur; Hector Street after Hector Stewart, son of Crofton Moore; Moore Street after a common family name of the Vandeleurs, probably after Lady Frances Moore, wife of John Ormsby Vandeleur; Burton Street after Thomas Burton Vandeleur.
Former town residence ~ 50 Rutland Gate, London.

First published in July, 2011.

Saturday, 16 September 2017


Her Majesty ELIZABETH I, Queen of England, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Heritage Weekend

Of course the European Heritage Open Days have been held this weekend.

I paid my first visit this morning - quite spontaneously in the sense that I only decided to go today - to the Old Museum Building, College Square North, Belfast.

Incidentally, an ancestor of mine once lived at 22 College Square North during the Victorian era.

This was my very first visit to the Old Museum.

The Ulster Architectural Heritage Society appears to have its GHQ here now.

One of the staff kindly gave me a tour and afterwards I took advantage of their half-price publications offer by purchasing The Architectural Heritage of Malone & Stranmillis, and Tollymore: The Story of an Irish Demesne.

During the afternoon I drove to Scrabo Tower, a memorial to Charles, 3rd Marquess of Londonderry.

I bumped into an old National Trust volunteer pal, Ron, in the first floor exhibition room, where we had a very good chin-wag about local Trust affairs (!).

Afterwards I motored down the hill to St Mark's parish church, Newtownards, which has been beautifully restored.

The Stewarts, Marquesses of Londonderry were patrons and benefactors of St Mark's.

All in all, a more enjoyable day than I'd expected.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Friday, 8 September 2017

Russborough House


This family was anciently seated at Whitfield, Northamptonshire, from whom descended

HUGH LEESON, of Culworth, Northamptonshire, who was engaged as a military officer in Ireland in 1680.

Mr Leeson settled there and made an advantageous marriage to the daughter of one of Dublin's leading aldermen.

Thereafter he established a successful brewery.

Mr Leeson wedded, in 1673, Rebecca, daughter of Alderman Richard Tighe, Mayor of Dublin, and was succeeded in his commercial pursuits by his only son,

JOSEPH LEESON, who left, at his decease,
JOSEPH, his heir;
Anne, m to Hugh Henry;
Martha, m to Richard Cooke;
Joyce, m to Sir Robert Blackwood, 1st Baronet.
Mr Leeson left a very considerable inheritance to his son, estimated at £50,000 (£100 million in 2014) plus £6,000 per annum (£1.2 million in 2014).

He died in 1741, and was succeeded by his only son,

JOSEPH LEESON (1701-83), who, having had a seat in parliament for several years, was elevated to the peerage, in 1756, by the title of Baron Russborough.

His lordship was advanced to a viscountcy, in 1760, as Viscount Russborough; and further advanced to the dignity of an earldom, in 1763, as EARL OF MILLTOWN.

He married firstly, in 1729, Cecilia, daughter of Francis Leigh, and had issue,
JOSEPH, his successor;
BRICE, succeeded his brother;
Mary, m the 2nd Earl of Mayo.
His lordship wedded secondly, in 1738, Anne, daughter of Nathaniel Preston, by who he had a daughter,
The 1st Earl espoused thirdly, in 1768, Elizabeth, daughter of the Very Rev William French, Dean of Armagh, and had issue,
Cecilia; Florence Arabella.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOSEPH, 2nd Earl (1730-1801), MP for Thomastown, 1757-60, who died unmarried, when the family honours devolved upon his brother,

BRICE, 3rd Earl (1735-1807), who wedded, in 1765, Maria, daughter of John Graydon, of Dublin, and had issue,
Joseph (1766-1800), father of JOSEPH, 4th Earl;
His lordship was succeeded by his grandson,

JOSEPH, 4th Earl, KP (1799-1866), Knight of St Patrick, 1841, who married, in 1828, Barbara, second daughter and co-heir of Sir Joshua Colles Meredyth Bt, of Greenhills, County Kildare, and had issue,
JOSEPH HENRY, his successor;
EDWARD NUGENT, succeeded his brother;
HENRY, succeeded his brother;
Barbara Emily Maria; Cecilia Mary.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOSEPH HENRY, 5th Earl (1829-71), ensign, 68th Regiment of Foot, 1848-51, ADC to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, who was succeeded by his next brother,

EDWARD NUGENT, 6th Earl (1835-90), KP, PC, who wedded, in 1871, the Lady Geraldine Evelyn Stanhope, second daughter of the 5th Earl of Harrington, in a childless marriage.

His lordship was succeeded by his brother,

HENRY, 7th and last Earl (1837-91), Barrister, Kings Inn, Dublin, 1860, Vice-Chamberlain, 1859-62, Chamberlain, 1862-74, to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.
Following the death of the 7th Earl, a grandson of the Hon John Leeson (2nd son of the 3rd Earl), claimed the succession to the earldom. He died without male issue in 1905.

The earldom of Milltown was then claimed by his 2nd cousin, Robert William Frederick Leeson, a grandson of Captain the Hon Robert Leeson (3rd son of the 3rd Earl).

He died unmarried in 1908, and since that date no further claimants have come forward.

It is possible that there are living male line descendants of the Hon Robert Leeson, 4th son of the 1st Earl, in which case the earldom of Milltown should be regarded as being dormant rather than extinct.

RUSSBOROUGH HOUSE, County Wicklow, is situated near the Blessington Lakes, between the towns of Blessington and Ballymore Eustace, and is reputed to be the longest house in Ireland, with a frontage measuring 700 feet.

It is an example of Palladian architecture, designed by Richard Cassels for Joseph Leeson, 1st Earl of Milltown and built between 1741-55.

It comprises seven bays and two storeys over a basement; Palladian style, with quadrant Doric colonnades linking to seven-bay two-storey pavilion wings, themselves linked to outbuildings by walls with rusticated arches topped with cupolas.

The walls are of dressed granite, with a central feature to the main block consisting of a pediment supported by four three-quarter Corinthian columns with swag mouldings between the capitals, whilst the wings have three-bay breakfront centres with Ionic pilasters.

Each of the three blocks and the colonnades has a parapet surmounted with urns, and behind each parapet is a slated hipped roof with broad granite chimneystacks to the main blocks.

Within the colonnades are arched niches with Classical statues.

The entrance consists of a largely glazed timber door with semi-circular fanlight-like eyebrow window above, and is reached by a grand flight of stone steps with the piers of the balustrade topped with urns and heraldic lions.

The windows are generally flat-headed and filled with three over three and six over six timber sash frames. Cast-iron rainwater goods.

The house is surrounded by an extensive, but largely unadorned, demesne and approached at a right angle from the main avenue to the north-east.

The interior of the house contains some ornate plasterwork on the ceilings by the Lafranchini brothers, who also collaborated with Cassels on Carton House.

Russborough has housed two fine art collections, begun with the Milltown estate, whose collection was donated to the National Gallery of Ireland by the widow of the 6th Earl.

Sir Alfred Beit Bt bought the house in 1952 where he housed his own family's collection, comprising works by many great artists, including Goya, Vermeer, Peter Paul Rubens and Thomas Gainsborough.
This collection was since robbed four times, in 1974 by an IRA gang including the heiress Rose Dugdale, in 1986 by Martin Cahill, in 2001; and in 2002 by Martin Cahill's old associate Martin Foley.
Two paintings, Gainsborough's Madame Bacelli and Vermeer's Lady writing a Letter with her Maid, the latter probably the most valuable painting of the collection, were stolen twice across the thefts, although each was subsequently recovered.
The Beit collection has donated many of its works to the Irish state but a substantial proportion of the paintings have been returned and been made available to view by the owners, the Alfred Beit Foundation.

Russborough remained in the possession of the Earls of Milltown until the 6th Earl's decease.

On the death of Lady Milltown in 1914, it passed to a nephew, Sir Edmund Turton, who rarely stayed there.

On Turton's death in 1928, his widow sold the house to Captain Denis Bowes Daly in 1931.

Sir Alfred Beit Bt bought Russborough in 1952 from Captain Daly to house his art collection and in 1976 established the Alfred Beit Foundation to manage the property.

The foundation opened the historic mansion and its collections to the Irish public in 1978.

Sir Alfred died in 1994 but Lady Beit remained in residence until her own death in 2005.

In 2010, a fire severely damaged the west wing and caused part of the roof to collapse.

No art was damaged, being removed along with furniture to allow for restorations to the west wing.

Initial examinations of the damage suggested an electrical fault from wiring in the roof may have sparked the fire.

In recent years, farmers' markets have been held on a regular basis in the grounds of the house.

Leeson Street in Dublin is named after the Earls of Milltown.

Former town residence ~ 17 St Stephen's Green, Dublin (now the Kildare Street Club).

First published in August, 2013.   Milltown arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Prince Harry in NI

PRINCE HENRY OF WALES is today carrying out engagements in Northern Ireland.

HRH was welcomed by the Lord-Lieutenant of County Antrim, Mrs Joan Christie OBE.

His Royal Highness officially opened Northern Ireland Ambulance Service's new £5.6 million station, which combines Ballymena Ambulance Station and North Division Headquarters.

During the afternoon HRH will visit Belfast, where he will undertake a number of engagements, and hear about the Northern Ireland National Citizenship Service and the Amazing the Space programmes, which bring young people together who might otherwise not meet.

Prince Harry will later be among hundreds of guests at a garden party at Hillsborough Castle, County Down.

The event, which was attended by TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge last year, has been hosted annually by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland since 1984.

Saturday, 2 September 2017


His Majesty CHARLES I, King of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith