Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Ballynatray House

THE SMYTHS OWNED 7,124 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY WATERFORD

The ancient and influential family of SMYTH was settled in Ireland for more than three and a half centuries, intermarrying with the houses of England, and always maintaining a distinguished position amongst its great landed proprietors.

Sir Richard Smyth appears to have been established there before the beginning of the 17th century: for an indenture, dated 1602, made between Sir Walter Raleigh and Richard Boyle, Clerk of the Council in Munster, and recorded in the Rolls' Office, Dublin, for the sale by Sir Walter, to the said Richard, of certain lands in counties Cork and Waterford.

Sir Richard Smyth, of Ballynatray, was appointed by the deed a trustee, in conjunction with Edmund Colthurst and Edmund Coppinger.

SIR RICHARD SMYTH, Knight, of Ballynatray, County Waterford, High Sheriff of County Waterford, 1613, and Rathcogan, County Cork, who flourished in the reign of ELIZABETH I, married Mary, daughter of Roger Boyle, of Preston, Kent, and sister of RICHARD BOYLE, the first and Great Earl of Cork, and had issue,
PERCY (Sir), his heir;
Catherine; Dorothy; Alice.
Sir Richard commanded as captain in the defeat and expulsion of the Spaniards at Castle Ny Parke, Kinsale, County Cork.

He was succeeded by his son,

SIR PERCY SMYTH, Knight, of Ballynatray, distinguished for his loyalty and courage in the rebellion of 1641.

He raised 100 men to assist Sir William St Leger, Lord President of Munster, and obtained at the same time, with Lord Broghill and Captain Brodrick, his commission as Captain of Foot.

Captain Smyth was knighted in 1629, and was military governor of Youghal, 1645.

Sir Percy married firstly, Mary, daughter of Robert Meade, of Broghill, and had issue, two daughters, Mabella and Joan; and secondly, in 1635, Isabella, daughter of Arthur Ussher, by Isabella his wife, daughter of the Most Rev Dr Adam Loftus, Lord Archbishop of Dublin and Lord High Chancellor of Ireland, and had issue,
Boyle, MP for Tallow;
Percy;
William, his heir;
RICHARD, of whom we treat;
John;
Margaret; Elizabeth; Isabella; Maria; Catherine.
The fourth son,

RICHARD SMYTH, of Ballynatray, wedded firstly, Susanna, daughter of John Gore, of Clonrone, County Clare, who dsp.

He espoused secondly, Alice, daughter of Richard Grice, of Ballycullane, County Limerick, and had (with a daughter, Isabella) a son,

GRICE SMYTH, of Ballynatray, High Sheriff of County Waterford, 1710, who married Gertrude, daughter of William Taylor, of Burton, County Cork, and had issue, RICHARD, his heir, and Deborah.

Mr Smyth died intestate in 1724, and was succeeded by his son and heir,

RICHARD SMYTH (1706-68), of Ballynatray, High Sheriff of County Waterford, 1739, who wedded firstly, in 1764, Jane, daughter and co-heir of George Rogers, of Cork, and by her had one daughter, Gertrude.

Mr Smyth espoused secondly, in 1756, Penelope, daughter of John Bateman, of Oak Park, County Kerry, and had issue,
RICHARD, his heir;
GRICE, heir to his brother;
John;
Rowland;
Elizabeth; Penelope.
Mr Smyth was succeeded by his eldest son,

RICHARD SMYTH, of Ballynatray, High Sheriff of County Waterford, 1793, who died unmarried, and was succeeded by his brother,

GRICE SMYTH (1762-1816), of Ballynatray, High Sheriff of County Waterford, 1803, who wedded, in 1795, Mary Brodrick, daughter and co-heir of Henry Mitchell, of Mitchell's Fort, County Cork, and had issue,
RICHARD, his heir;
Henry Mitchell, ancestor of SMYTH of Castle Widenham;
Grice Blakeney (Rev);
Rowland;
John Rowland (Sir), KCB, General in the Army;
Ellen; Penelope; Gertrude.
Mr Smyth was succeeded by his eldest son,

RICHARD SMYTH JP DL (1796-1858), of Ballynatray, High Sheriff of County Waterford, 1821, who married, in 1821, the Hon Harriet St Leger, daughter of Hayes, 2nd Viscount Doneraile, by Charlotte his wife, sister of the 1st Earl of Bandon, and had an only surviving child, CHARLOTTE MARY.

Mr Smyth was succeeded by his daughter,

CHARLOTTE MARY SMYTH, of Ballynatray, who wedded, in 1848, Charles William, 5th EARL MOUNT CASHELL, who assumed, in 1858, the additional name and arms of SMYTH, and was High Sheriff of County Waterford, 1862.

She died in 1892, having had issue,
Richard Charles More (1859-88), dvm;
HARRIETTE GERTRUDE ISABELLA, her successor;
Helena Anna Mary; Charlotte Adelaide Louisa Riversdale.
The Countess Mount Cashell, having no surviving male issue, was succeeded at her decease by her elder daughter.

The 5th Earl died in 1898, when the Moore Park estates passed to his eldest daughter,

THE LADY HARRIETTE GERTRUDE ISABELLA MOORE (1849-), of Ballynatray, and Moore Park, Kilworth, County Cork, who married, in 1872, Colonel John Henry Graham Holroyd-Smyth CMG JP DL, High Sheriff of County Waterford, 1902, who died in 1904, leaving issue,
ROWLAND HENRY TYSSEN;
Charles Edward Ridley;
William Baker;
Isabelle Charlotte Sophie Wilmot; Helena Anne Mary Moore;
Gwendoline Harriette; Sophia Beryl Sheila; Penelope Victoria Minna.
The eldest son,

ROWLAND HENRY TYSSEN HOLROYD-SMYTH DL (1874-1959), married, in 1902, Alice Isabelle, youngest daughter of Chambré Brabazon Ponsonby, of Kilcooley Abbey, and had issue,
John Rowland Chambré, b 1903;
Henry Horace Digby, b 1905;
Bryan Hubert Holroyd, b 1908;
Mary Lavender, b 1910.

BALLYNATRAY HOUSE, near Youghal, County Cork, stands on the River Blackwater, County Waterford.

It was granted to Sir Richard Smyth, brother-in-law to the Great Earl of Cork, in the early 17th century.

His son’s "castellated residence" was largely destroyed in the rebellion of 1641, and his successor built a larger, Dutch-gabled dwelling in the 1690s.

In 1795 this was incorporated into a very large Palladian house, built by Grice Smyth to the designs of Alexander Dean, of Cork.

The house is eleven bays long and five bays wide, with two storeys over a basement and a ballustraded parapet, originally decorated with elaborate urns.

The river façade has a pedimented breakfront, while the three central bays of the entrance front are deeply recessed and filled by with a long, single-storey porch.


The interior was clearly built for entertaining on the grandest scale.

There is a sumptuous suite of interconnecting rooms, all with stupendous views; wide, double mahogany doors and some fine early 19th century plasterwork.

The hall has a frieze of bull’s heads (the Smyth crest) and the billiards-room an imaginative cornice of billiards balls and cues.

The Hall

Originally, the bedroom floor had a curious curvilinear corridor but this has since been altered.

In 1843, Charlotte Smyth married the 5th Earl Mount Cashell.

Her son predeceased her, as did her young grandson, Lord Kilworth, so the estate passed to her daughter, the wife of Colonel Holroyd, who assumed the name and arms of SMYTH.

In 1969 their grandson, Horace Holroyd-Smyth, bequeathed Ballynatray to his cousins, the Ponsonby family of Kilcooley Abbey, who sold the house to Serge and Henriette Boissevain in the late 1990s.

They subsequently carried out a major restoration programme and today Ballynatray is the home of Henry Gwyn-Jones.

The situation, on a double bend of the river which gives the impression of a very large lake, is unrivalled.

Steep, oak-covered hills slope downwards on all sides while the ruins of Molana Abbey nestle amongst the trees on the riverbank.

These contain the classical Coade stone ‘tomb’ of Raymond Le Gros, one of Strongbow’s knights, and a statue of the abbey’s founder, St Molanside.

Select bibliography: Irish Historic Houses Association. 

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