Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Castle Saunderson


ALEXANDER SANDERSON, of Scotland, was made a Denizen of Ireland, 1613, and was High Sheriff of County Tyrone, 1622, and twice subsequently.

He was granted Tullylagan, County Tyrone, and other lands to the extent of 1,000 acres, the whole being erected into the manor of Sanderson in 1630.

Mr Sanderson died in 1633, leaving three sons,
Archibald, of Tullylagan;
ROBERT, of whom we treat;
George, dsp.
The second son,

ROBERT SANDERSON, settled at Portagh, and there built Castle Saunderson, County Cavan.

Colonel Sanderson, High Sheriff of County Cavan, 1657, Colonel in the army of Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden, married Katherine, eldest daughter of John Cunningham, both of Ballyachen, County Donegal, and had issue,
ROBERT, his heir;
Alexander, father of ALEXANDER;
William, of Moycashel.
He died in 1675, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

ROBERT SANDERSON, of Castle Sanderson, MP, Colonel of a regiment in WILLIAM III's army, wedded Jane, daughter of the Right Rev John Leslie, Lord Bishop of Clogher.

He dsp 1723, and was succeeded by his nephew,

ALEXANDER SANDERSON, of Castle Sanderson, High Sheriff of County Cavan, 1714, who wedded Mabella, daughter of William Saunderson, of Moycashel, County Westmeath, and was buried at St Mary's, Dublin, in 1726.

His son,

FRANCIS SANDERSON, of Castle Sanderson, High Sheriff of County Cavan, 1740, espoused Anne, eldest daughter of Anthony Atkinson, of Cangort, King's County, and died in 1746, leaving two sons and two daughters.

His son and heir,

ALEXANDER SAUNDERSON, of Castle Saunderson, High Sheriff of County Cavan, 1758, changed the spelling of his name to SAUNDERSON.

He married Rose, daughter of Trevor Lloyd, of Gloster, King's County, and had issue,
FRANCIS, his heir;
Robert, in holy orders;
Mr Saunderson died in 1768, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

FRANCIS SAUNDERSON (1754-1827), of Castle Saunderson, MP for County Cavan, 1801-6, who married, in 1779, Anne Bassett, daughter of Stephen White, of Miskin, Glamorgan, and heir of the Bassett estates in that county, and had issue,

ALEXANDER, his successor;
Francis, in holy orders;
Hardress Robert;
James, Lieutenant RN;
William Bassett;
Lydia Waller; Cecilia.
Mr Saunderson's eldest son,

ALEXANDER SAUNDERSON JP DL (1783-1857), of Castle Saunderson, Colonel of the Militia, High Sheriff of County Cavan, 1818, MP for County Cavan, wedded, in 1828, Sarah Juliana Maxwell, eldest daughter of Henry, 6th Baron Farnham, and had issue,
Alexander de Bedick (1832-60);
Somerset Bassett (1834-92);
EDWARD JAMES, of whom we treat;
Llewellyn Traherne;
Juliana Harriet; Rose Ann.
Colonel Saunderson was succeeded by his third son, 

THE RT HON EDWARD JAMES SAUNDERSON JP DL (1837-1906), of Castle Saunderson, Lieutenant-Colonel, Royal Irish Fusiliers, who married, in 1865, Helena Emily de Moleyns, youngest daughter of Thomas, 3rd Baron Ventry, and had issue,
SOMERSET FRANCIS, his successor;
John Vernon;
Colonel Saunderson was succeeded by his eldest son,

CAPTAIN SOMERSET FRANCIS SAUNDERSON JP DL (1867-1927), of Castle Saunderson, High Sheriff of County Cavan, 1907, who married, in 1914, Mary Satterfield, former wife of Count Larisch von Moennich.

CASTLE SAUNDERSON, near Belturbet, County Cavan, is a large castellated mansion combining both baronial and Tudor-Revival elements. It was built ca 1840.

The mansion bears remarkable similarities to Crom Castle in County Fermanagh, a mere five miles away.

The entrance front is symmetrical, with a battlemented parapet, square and turrets.

There is a tall central gatehouse tower with its entrance door to the side, which is unusual.

The adjoining garden front is more irregular.

The house boasts several Gothic features, including the conservatory. 

The original Castle was built in 1573.

The Saunderson family were seated here until 1977, when it was sold to a London-based businessman.

The Castle was in a state of disrepair and plans to have it completely renovated as a private dwelling at this time never materialized.

The estate was sold again in 1990 to be developed as a hotel.

These plans were also abandoned after a fire gutted and destroyed most of the Castle interior.

This was the third fire to take place in the history of the castle.

In 1997, the castle and estate were offered to Scouting Ireland for €420,000 (estimated to be half its market value at that time).

Now consisting of 103 acres, Castle Saunderson has once again the potential to be restored to its former glory, and to be put to new use as a scout and youth training canter.

Of the 103 acres on the estate, some 70 acres are grass, 25 acres are wooded and the 8 remaining acres are lake and waterway.

Captain Alexander Saunderson, the last remaining member of the Saunderson family to have lived in the Castle, now resides in Santa Barbara, California, USA.

From the outset, Captain Saunderson has wholly endorsed the plans by Scouting Ireland to restore the Castle, family church and grounds to its former glory.

The development plans for the Castle and Church include a cultural and heritage canter highlighting the history of the Saunderson Family, together with local history to include the plantation of Ulster (1603) and other notable historic events.

It is intended to restore the church as a multi-denominational place of worship..

The graveyard around the church and the crypt beneath the church building contains the remains of the Saunderson family, and it is planned to maintain the church and graveyard as part of the cultural and heritage aspect of the overall project.

First published in November, 2011.

The Magill Baronetcy


JOHN MAGILL, of Gill Hall, County Down, left by his will, proved in 1677, all his estates in County Down to (the son of Lieutenant William Johnston) his grandson,

JOHN JOHNSTON, of Gill Hall, who assumed, in consequence, the surname and arms of MAGILL, and was created a baronet in 1680, denominated of Gill Hall, County Down.

Sir John, MP for Hillsborough, 1692-93, and Downpatrick, 1695-99, married firstly, in 1677, Elizabeth Mary, daughter of William Hawkins; and secondly, in 1683, Arabella Susannah, daughter of Hugh Hamilton, 1st Viscount Glenawly.

Sir John died without surviving issue in 1701, when the title expired.

The estates, however, devolved, in accordance with the will of the original testator, John Magill, upon Sir John's nephew and heir,

ROBERT HAWKINS (1704-45), of Gill Hall, MP for County Down, 1724-7, grandson of his sister Mary, who assumed the additional surname of MAGILL.

He espoused firstly, in 1728, Rachael, eldest daughter of Clotworthy, 3rd Viscount Massereene and widow of Randal, 4th Earl of Antrim, and had an only son, JOHN (1729-36).

Mr Hawkins-Magill wedded secondly, in 1742, the Lady Ann Bligh, daughter of John, 1st Earl of Darnley, and had issue an only daughter and heiress,

THEODOSIA  HAWKINS-MAGILL (1743-1817), who married, in 1765, John, 1st Earl of Clanwilliam. 

In the 1650s, during Cromwellian land confiscation and the subsequent plantation era following the Irish rebellion of 1641, Captain John Magill acquired land in the Tullylish area and founded Gilford, the name of the village being derived from Magill’s Ford.

Gill Hall

Gilford dates from the mid-17th century when the Magill family, after whom it was called, acquired the land.

The Magills were of Scottish origin. 

Before the Rebellion of 1641 Captain Magill, whose name appears in the list of officers of the Cromwellian Army, obtained half the townland of Ballynagarrick from Art Og Maginnis for £150.

At the end of the war Captain Magill acquired an extensive estate at Gilford, comprising the townlands of Loughans, Drumarin, Drummillar, Mullabrack, Ballymacanallen and half of Ballynagarrick. 

Furthermore, he owned land in Donacloney and Dromore; and it was here, in his Gill Hall estate, that the family seal was placed. 

Robin Knowles once unearthed a manuscript in a library in Northern Ireland concerning Sir John Magill,
In 1674, Magill held a grand pheasant shoot on his estate which had been stocked with nine hundred birds obtained by natural hatch and from eggs hatched under broody hens. He invited sixty-four guns - a nobleman and a commoner from each of the Kingdom of Ireland's thirty-two counties - to shoot and they bagged three hundred pheasants in a day. 
First published in February, 2011

The Duchess of Cornwall

Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall GCVO PC is 71 today.

HRH's full style and titles are as follows:
Her Royal Highness The Princess Charles Philip Arthur George, Princess of Wales and Countess of Chester, Duchess of Cornwall, Duchess of Rothesay, Countess of Carrick, Baroness of Renfrew, Lady of the Isles, Princess of Scotland.

In 2007, HRH was appointed to The Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II.

In 2012, Her Royal Highness was appointed Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO), as illustrated on HRH's armorial bearings.

In 2016, HRH was appointed a Privy Counsellor.

Monday, 16 July 2018

Killymoon Castle


Early in the reign of JAMES VI and I,

JAMES STEWART (1595-1679) moved from Scotland, and purchasing Cookstown, County Tyrone, and the adjacent lands from Dr Allen Cooke, settled himself at Ballymenagh; while his brother, Andrew Stewart (ancestor of Sir John Stewart, of Athenree, created a baronet, 1803), settled at Gortigal, in same county.

He married Barbara Lindsey, of Leith, and dying at Derryloran, County Tyrone, left a son,

WILLIAM STEWART (1625-1706), who moved to Killymoon, County Tyrone, which his father had purchased in 1634, and wedded Margaret, eldest daughter of John Shaw, of Ballygally, County Antrim, by whom he had issue,
Henry, High Sheriff of County Tyrone, 1711;
John, drowned in the river Killymoon whilst yet a boy;
Margaret; Mary.
The eldest son,

JAMES STEWART (1665-1726), of Killymoon, married, in 1709, Helen, daughter of Patrick Agnew, of County Antrim, and had issue,
WILLIAM, his heir;
The eldest son,

WILLIAM STEWART (1710-97), of Killymoon and Ballymenagh, High Sheriff of County Tyrone, 1738, MP for County Tyrone, 1747-68, espoused, in 1740, Eleanor, eldest daughter of Sir Henry King Bt, of Rockingham, and had issue,
JAMES, of Killymoon, MP;
HENRY, of whom presently;
Edward, of London;
Isabella; Frances.
The eldest son,

JAMES STEWART (1742-1821), of Killymoon, MP for County Tyrone, 1768, married, in 1774, Elizabeth, daughter and eventually co-heir (with Lady Ponsonby, wife of 1st Lord Ponsonby, and Mrs Staples, wife of the Rt Hon John Staples, of Lissan) of Richard, 3rd Viscount Molesworth, had, with other issue,
WILLIAM (1780-1850), at whose death Killymoon was sold;
Louisa, m H J Clements MP, of Ashfield Lodge.

KILLYMOON CASTLE, Cookstown, County Tyrone, was built in 1802-3 for Colonel James Stewart MP, to the designs of John Nash.

Colonel Stewart's family had held the property since 1634.

He had obtained plans for a new house incorporating parts of the old one, which had been destroyed by fire ca 1800, from the Dublin architect, Robert Woodgate; however, in 1802 he was replaced by Nash.

Nash exhibited two drawings for his scheme at the Royal Academy in 1802.

Killymoon was Nash's first castle in Ireland, and reputedly cost £80,000 to build (about £7.4 million today).

It was described in the Irish Penny Journal of 1841 as "one of the most aristocratic residences in the province of Ulster", with state apartments consisting of "a breakfast-parlour, dining room, ante-room and drawing-room, all of which are of noble proportions and their woodwork of polished oak".
When sold in the 1880s the details of the sale referred to the demesne being almost entirely surrounded by a wall of 10 to 12 feet in height, the demesne being entered by four lodges and avenues, containing two stone quarries, a huge quarry and kiln, a gravel pit, labourers' cottages, and two ornamental cottages; a walled garden and kitchen gardens, with lawns and ornamental shrubberies; vineries, peach and fig houses; a conservatory, stove, mushroom and forcing houses, potting sheds, tool houses, two excellent gardeners' dwelling houses, and an ice house.
This park was clearly approved of by Sir Joseph Paxton, who wrote:
I have visited most of the celebrated country seats in the Kingdom and a very large number on the continent, and I have never seen one - for the extent of it - more compact, more perfect in itself, or where the highest natural beauties have been more aided by refined taste and judgment, than Killymoon.
This demesne was, in 1922, nevertheless, decimated and sold off in lots, mostly for its timber.

Part of it is now used as a golf course.

The gate lodges and the two gardeners' houses no longer stand; the conservatory is ruinous; though substantial 18th century outbuildings, for farm use, and an 18th century saw mill remain intact, close to the castle.

Colonel James Stewart was an absentee client for Nash and much of the supervision of the new castle fell to his wife.

She is known, through surviving correspondence, to have been discussing the design of two cottages with Nash as late as 1805.

For his part, Colonel Stewart is notorious for having 'lost' his new castle in a night's gambling, but the next day the winner, the Prince Regent (later GEORGE IV), told him he could keep his "little cabin" in Ireland.

In 1850 the property was sold, following the decease of William Stewart, who was a bachelor, and was bought by the Moutray family.

The present owner's family bought it at the break-up of the estate in 1922.


TODAY'S CASTLE has a romantic silhouette in a splendid location above the Ballinderry River with a back-drop of sweeping woodland and parkland.

The principal front is dominated by an almost central battlemented, machicolated round tower and turret; at one end, an octagonal tower with similar features; and at the other end the profile of the square tower in the adjoining front, the base of which is arched to form a porte-cochére.

The latter tower has slender, octagonal corner turrets with cupolas.

The windows are pointed, grouped together under segmental hood mouldings, which Nash and his ilk regarded as being Saxon.

There is good interior planning with square, circular and octagonal rooms fitted together.

The hall has a double staircase and is lit by a Gothic lantern on a plaster, fan-vaulted ceiling.

The Library is in the form of a Gothic chapel, with stained-glass windows.

Extensive stables, out-houses and labourers cottages were built on the demesne, and on completion of the residential quarters Colonel Stewart had the 585 acres of the Killymoon demesne enclosed by a wall 10 to 12 feet high.

Entrance to the demesne was by way of four stone lodges and avenues at various points along the boundary wall.

The Killymoon estate remained the property of the Stewart family for six generations; however, their extravagant lifestyle caused the Stewart family to fall on hard times, especially during the years of the Irish famine.

The Killymoon estate was sold in 1852 for £100,000.

In 1857, the castle had again been sold to the Cooper family; and, in 1865, Colonel Bolton, an English gentleman, purchased the castle.

A mere ten years later, Mervyn Stuart Thomas Moutray JP,  became the owner of Killymoon Castle until 1916, when Gerald Macura bought the castle and town of Cookstown for almost £100,000.

By 1918, Macura was also in financial difficulties and was compelled to sell off his assets.

Hence, in 1922, John Coulter bought the castle and grounds for the princely sum of £100.

Today the castle remains the home of the Coulter family.

In addition, situated on what was previously some of the castle’s estate lands, is an 18-hole golf course.
Shortly before embarking on his long parliamentary career, the young James Stewart did the Grand Tour in Europe. A splendid portrait of him (now in the Ulster Museum) was painted in Italy some time in 1767 by Pompeo Batoni.
Stewart succeeded his father as one of the MPs for County Tyrone in 1768, retaining the seat continuously and without a contest for the next thirty-two years in Dublin and a further twelve after 1800 at Westminster. 
The Stewart of Killymoon Papers are held at the Public Record Office of NI.

From Killymoon Castle there are views across the parkland, where few trees remain.

The grounds were possibly designed by W S Gilpin for the present house.

Grass terraces to the south of the house descend to the river and are enlivened by yew trees.

Rowan quotes Paxton,
I have visited most of the celebrated country seats in the kingdom and a very large number on the continent, and I have never seen one – for the extent of it - more compact, more perfect in itself, or where the highest natural beauties have been more aided by refined taste and judgement, than Killymoon.
Unfortunately the demesne is not as it once was: Ornamental garden buildings are lost; the vistas are over bare farmland to distant woods.

Extensive walled gardens, with some glass, are partially kept up.

The gardener’s house is ruinous; 18th century offices that pre-date the present house are extensive; one of three gate lodges survives; the northern part of the estate is now a golf course.

First published in November, 2010. 

Sunday, 15 July 2018

House of Wellesley

The surname of this eminent family was originally COWLEY, or COLLEY, and it deduces, paternally, its descent from 

WALTER COWLEY, solicitor-general of Ireland in 1537; who, on surrendering that office, in 1546, to John Bathe, was appointed, in 1548, surveyor-general of that kingdom.

The elder son and heir of this learned person,

THE RT HON SIR HENRY COLLEY, of Castle Carbery, who was a captain in ELIZABETH I's army, a privy counsellor, and a personage of considerable influenence, wedded Catherine, daughter of Sir Thomas Cusack, of Cussington, County Meath, Lord Chancellor of Ireland, and had two sons,
George (Sir), of Edenderry; and
SIR HENRY COLLEY, of whom hereafter.
Sir Henry  of Castle Carbery, in the reign of ELIZABETH I, was Constable of Philipstown Fort, seneschal of the King's County, and providore of the army.

He married, in 1561, Anne, second daughter of the Most Rev Adam Loftus, Lord Archbishop of Dublin, by whom he had two sons and three daughters, and was succeeded by his elder son,

SIR HENRY COLLEY, of Castle Carbery, who married Anne, daughter and heiress of Christopher Peyton, auditor-general of Ireland; and dying in 1637, was succeeded by his eldest son,

DUDLEY COLLEY (c1621-74), of Castle Carbery, MP for Philipstown in the first parliament after the Restoration.

This gentleman espoused firstly, Anne, daughter of Henry Warren, of Grangebegg, County Kildare, and had eight sons and seven daughters; of whom

ELIZABETH, the third but eldest surviving daughter, married Garrett Wellesley, of Dangan, County Meath.

Mr Wellesley was succeeded by his elder son,

WILLIAM WELLESLEY, of Dangan, at whose decease, without an heir, the estates devolved upon his brother,

GARRETT WELLESLEY, who died without issue, in 1728, when all his estates devolved upon his cousin,

RICHARD COLLEY, on that gentleman's assumption of the surname and arms of WELLESLEY.

Mr Colley's younger son,

RICHARD COLLEY, having succeeded, in 1728, to the estates of the Wellesley family, assumed the surname and arms of WELLESLEY.

This gentleman's descendant, Elizabeth Colley, married Garrett Wellesley, of Dangan, by whom she was mother of Garrett Wellesley, member in several parliaments for County Meath, who died in 1728, leaving all his estates to his cousin, Richard Colley, second son of Henry, above named, on condition of his taking the name and arms of WELLESLEY.

In 1713,  Mr Colley had been appointed Second Chamberlain of the Court of Exchequer in Ireland, and sat in parliament for Trim, until elevated to the peerage, in 1746, by the title of Baron Mornington.

His lordship wedded, in 1719, Elizabeth, eldest daughter of John Sale LL.D, registrar of the diocese of Dublin, and MP for Carysfort, by whom he had one surviving son and four daughters.

On his decease, in 1758, he was succeeded by his only son,

GARRETT, 2nd Baron, born in 1735; who was further advanced, in 1760, to the dignities of Viscount Mornington and EARL OF MORNINGTON.

He espoused, in 1759, Anne, daughter of Arthur [Hill], Viscount Dungannon, of Belvoir Park, Newtownbreda, County Down.

Lady Mornington subsequently enjoyed the multiplied glories and well-earned honours of her children.

They had issue,
RICHARD, 2nd Earl of Mornington and 1st Marquess Wellesley;
Arthur Gerald, died in childhood;
WILLIAM, Baron Maryborough;
and five other offspring.



The very eminent family of Wesley, or Wellesley, or, as it was formerly written, de Welesley, alias Welseley, was founded in Ireland by a gentleman of that name, of an ancient Anglo-Saxon family, who held the honourable station of standard-bearer to HENRY II; and having accompanied that monarch into Ireland in 1172, obtained for his military services large grants of land in the counties of Meath and Kildare, a considerable portion of which his descendants enjoyed.

From this successful soldier descended

WILLIAM DE WELLESLEY, High Sheriff of County Kildare, 1368, who appears to have been summoned to parliament as a baron of the realm, by the title of Baron Noragh, in 1330, and had a grant by patent from EDWARD II of the custody of Kildare castle for life; but that monarch conferring subsequently the office upon John FitzThomas, Earl of Kildare, together with the county of Kildare, to hold to his male heirs forever, William de Wellesley was removed, and lost the fee of £20 a year annexed thereunto; in recompence whereof, however, EDWARD III granted him a commission, dated 1342.

His lordship was father of

SIR RICHARD DE WELLESLEY, who served the office of High Sheriff of County Kildare, 1415-16 and 1422.

This gentleman does not appear to have inherited the barony from his father, and for what reason that dignity ceased with the first possessor has not been ascertained.

Sir Richard wedded Johan, eldest daughter and eventually heiress of Sir Nicholas de Castlemartin, by which alliance he obtained the lordships of Dangan, Mornington, Clonabreany, and several other manors, and was succeeded by his son,

GERALD DE WELLESLEY, of Dangan, from whom lineally descended

WILLIAM WELLESLEY, of Dangan Castle, who wedded Elizabeth, daughter of James Cusack, of Portrane, County Dublin; and was succeeded by his eldest son,


This gentleman espoused Anne, relict of Christopher Nugent (brother of 1st Earl of Westmeath); by whom he was father of Garrett Wellesley, who wedded, as stated above, Miss Colley. 

First published in March, 2012.

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Scarvagh House


This branch of the ancient Milesian house of REILLY, PRINCES OF EAST BREFFNY, discontinued the prefix 'O'.

TURLOGH O'REILLY, youngest son of Edmund O'Reilly, of Kilnacroft, Prince of East Breffny, had two children,
The elder son,

BRIAN O'REILLY, had two sons, viz.
JOHN, of Belfast;
Miles, an army captain.
The former was father of

MILES O'REILLY (1661-1735), of Lurgan, County Armagh, who wedded Jane Ackens, and had issue,
John, dsp;
James, dsp;
JOHN, of whom hereafter.
Mr Reilly was succeeded by his youngest son,

JOHN REILLY, of Scarvagh, County Down, who espoused, in 1738, Lucy, daughter of Francis Savage, of Ardkeen, County Down, and was father of

JOHN REILLY (1745-1804), of Scarvagh, Chief Commissioner of Public Accounts, MP for Blessington, 1779-1800, High Sheriff of County Down, 1776, and County Armagh, 1786, who married, in 1773, Jane, daughter and co-heir of Colonel William Lushington, of Sittingbourne, Kent, and had issue,
William Edmond;
James miles;
Jane Hester; Amelia; Elizabeth.
Mr Reilly was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN LUSHINGTON REILLY (1775-1840), of Scarvagh, High Sheriff of County Down, 1810, who wedded, in 1807, Louisa, second daughter of Gustavus Handcock Temple, of Watertown, County Westmeath, and had issue,
JOHN TEMPLE, his heir;
Gustavus Handcock, an army officer, 1813-41;
Robert lushington, captain, East India Company;
William Charles, 1819-45;
Charles Myles Townsend;
Isabella Elizabeth; Jane Lushington; Louisa Mary; Gertrude Harriet;
Mary Amelia; Frances Lucy; Charlotte Moore.
Mr Reilly was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN TEMPLE REILLY JP DL (1812-1903), of Scarvagh, High Sheriff of County Down, 1845, who wedded, in 1865, Elizabeth, daughter of James O'Hara, of Lenaboy, County Galway, by his wife Anne, daughter of the Most Rev and Hon Power le Poer Trench, Lord Archbishop of Tuam, and had issue,
John Temple Miles, 1867-68;
John Temple James, died in infancy;
Anne Elizabeth.
GUSTAVUS MILES O'HARA REILLY, of Scarvagh House, 1869-1909.

SCARVAGH HOUSE, Scarva, County Down, was built in the early to mid-18th century and has undergone several phases of addition and renovation since that time.

The House is associated with the Reilly family, founders of Scarva village and original hosts of the annual Scarva "Sham Fight", commemorating the battle of the Boyne.

It comprises two storeys with two-storey wings extending forwards, thus forming a three-sided entrance court.

The present house is thought to have been built ca 1717 by Myles Reilly, originally intended as offices (a house was to be erected in front).

The house was altered in the mid-19th century by John Temple Reilly.

The elevations are plain, excepting a two-storey Jacobean-style porch with a curvilinear gable in the centre range, flanked by two oriels and dormer gables.

The wings terminate with square, battlemented towers.

The porch is of golden stone; the remainder of the house rendered.

The entrance gates and gate lodge at the Scarva end of the property were added between 1834-60, together with a long entrance driveway leading to the house.


A local legend states that, in recognition of his services to the Williamite army in the 1690s, Reilly was given as much land as he could walk and plant with acorns in a day.

Harris wrote in 1744,
North-west of Loughbrickland about two miles is a house and good improvements of Mr John Reilly, standing pleasantly on a rising ground near the new canal and Scarvagh Bridge...Mr Reilly has a view of forming a village near this bridge where coal-yards and store houses are preparing and for this end has obtained a patent for fairs and markets.
There is a salt-works carried on in partnership between Mr Reilly, Mr Cherry and Mr Steers of Liverpool, the latter of whom has the salt rock on his own land and sends the same by water carriage to Scarvagh.
Scarva village had been established by the Reillys by 1746.

John Lushington Reilly is thought to have been responsible for much of the present appearance of Scarvagh House.
The Archaeological Survey of County Down, which carries a plan of additions and alterations to Scarvagh House, suggests that Lushington Reilly built two double-height wings onto the original main block in the early nineteenth century forming a forecourt to the original house.
Interior alterations in a Gothic-Revival style were carried out within the main block and an extension was added to the north west. Between 1834-60, the south facade of the main block was remodelled in a Jacobean style and internal decoration in contemporary style took place.
Dimensions are given for the house, including the new porch, four two-storey outbuildings, one single-storey outbuilding and gate houses.

The 1901 census lists the occupant as
John Temple Reilly JP, DL, who lives with his Galway wife, his daughter, sister, niece and three servants, a cook, a housemaid and a kitchen maid. The house has sixteen rooms, twenty outbuildings and is of the first class.
Subsequent occupiers were Sir John Tuthing [sic], 1905; and Henry Thomson MP, 1906.

In 1911, Mr Thomson was living in the house with his wife, a nurse and three servants.

Henry Thomson died in 1916 while still resident at Scarvagh House, and the house was taken over by a relative, possibly a son, Henry B Thomson, in 1926.

Scarvagh House was acquired by Alfred Buller before the 2nd World War, and Mr Buller was happy to continue opening the grounds each year for the Sham Fight.

William Buller, of Scarva, is a well-known racing driver.

The most recent historic map dating from 1960s/70s shows that numerous outbuildings have been added to the site in the vicinity of the main house.

Other recent work has included the refurbishment of the east and west wings for rental purposes.

A strong tradition exists that WILLIAM III camped under a tree that later became enclosed by Scarva demesne, on his way to the Boyne in 1659; and due, in part, to this association, Scarva demesne has become the scene of the annual Sham Fight, a mock reconstruction of the battle of the Boyne that takes place on the 13th July every year.

The Sham Fight forms the centrepiece of a Royal Black Preceptory parade, when the villagers of Scarva are joined by tens of thousands of visitors from Ulster and elsewhere.

The mock battle, played out over 30 minutes, ends when the green standard of JAMES II is cornered and lowered by the red-shirted Williamite soldiers.


THE HOUSE lies on a south-facing ridge, with excellent views to Lough Shark and distant hills beyond.

The demesne contains mature avenue, parkland and woodland trees.

There are well-maintained ornamental gardens at the house.

The walled garden was latterly an orchard but is no longer cultivated.

There are grand gate pillars at the village entrance, and a lodge built ca 1870 at the North Gate.

First published in July, 2014.

Friday, 13 July 2018

Burton Hall


SIR EDWARD BURTON, Knight, of Longner, representative of the family, was with EDWARD IV, successful in fourteen set battles between the Houses of York and Lancaster; and for his great loyalty and services, he was made knight-bannaret, under the royal standard in the field, in 1460.

He was succeeded by his son,

SIR ROBERT BURTON, Knight, of Longner, who was knighted by EDWARD IV, in 1478.

This gentleman received a grant of arms from John Writhe, Norroy King of Arms, in the same year, and was father of

SIR EDWARD BURTON, Knight, of Longner, Master of the Robes to HENRY VII. who wedded Jocosa, daughter of Thomas Cressett, of Upton Cressett, Shropshire.

He died in 1524, leaving, with a younger son, Thomas, an elder son, his successor,

JOHN BURTON, of Longner, who married Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Poyner, of Boston, Shrophire, and had issue,
EDWARD, his successor;
Jane; Eleanor; Ankekoka; Ann; Ankred; Mary.
Sir Edward died in 1543, and was succeeded by his only son,

EDWARD BURTON, of Longner, who wedded Ann, daughter and heir of Nicholas Madocks, of Wem and Coton, Shrophire, and had issue,
THOMAS, his heir (ancestor of BURTON of Longner);
EDWARD, of whom we treat;
Mary; Dorothy; Katherine.
Mr Burton's second son,

EDWARD BURTON, had issue, two sons, who both settled in Ireland in 1610,
Francis, dsp;
THOMAS, of whom hereafter.
The younger son,

THOMAS BURTON, of Buncraggy, County Clare, whose will was proved in 1666, married Ann, daughter of _____ Shepherd, of Baycote, Herefordshire, and had issue (with two daughters), an only son,

SAMUEL BURTON, of Buncraggy, who married Margery Harris, and died in 1712, leaving issue,
Francis, of Buncraggy, MP;
BENJAMIN, of whom hereafter;
The third son,

BENJAMIN BURTON, becoming an eminent banker in Dublin, was Lord Mayor of that city, 1706, and represented it in parliament, 1703-23.

He espoused, in 1686, Grace, elder daughter of Robert Stratford, of Belan, County Kildare, and had six sons, with as many daughters,
Charles (Sir), MP for Dublin; cr a
Mary; Grace; Elizabeth; Lettice; Abigail; Jane.
The eldest son of Benjamin Burton, of Dublin,

SAMUEL BURTON, of Burton Hall, MP for Sligo, 1713, and for Dublin, 1727, High Sheriff of County Carlow, 1724, espoused firstly, in 1708, Anne, daughter of Charles Campbell, of Dublin, and by her (who was killed by the fall of a scaffold at the coronation of GEORGE I in 1714) had issue,
BENJAMIN, his heir;
Katherine; Mary.
He was succeeded by his eldest son,

THE RT HON BENJAMIN BURTON, of Burton Hall, MP for Carlow County, 1761, a distinguished politician and statesman, who wedded, in 1734, the Lady Anne Ponsonby, daughter of Brabazon, 1st Earl of Bessborough, and had issue,
Benjamin, High Sheriff, 1760; MP for Sligo, 1757; d unm, 1763;
WILLIAM, succeeded to the estates;
Sarah; Anna. 
His second but eldest surviving son, 

WILLIAM HENRY BURTON (1739-1818), of Burton Hall, MP for Carlow County, 1768-1800, married, in 1765, Mary, only child of Henry Aston, County Wicklow, and had issue,
BENJAMIN, his heir;
William Henry;
Mr Burton's eldest son, 

BENJAMIN BURTON, of Walcot House, Stamford, Lincolnshire, born in 1766, married and was father of

WILLIAM FITZWILLIAM BURTON JP (1796-1844), of Burton Hall, High Sheriff of County Carlow, 1822, who wedded twice and had a numerous family.

His eldest son, 

WILLIAM FITZWILLIAM BURTON JP (1826-1909), of Burton Hall, High Sheriff of County Carlow, 1849, 4th Light Dragoons, married twice and was succeeded by his eldest son,

WILLIAM FITZWILLIAM BURTON (1849-1927), of Burton Hall, County Carlow, and Goltho Hall, Wragby, Lincolnshire, who married, in 1877, Georgiana Spencer, fourth daughter of Captain the Hon William Henry George Wellesley RN, and granddaughter of Henry, 1st Lord Cowley.

Mr Burton, High Sheriff of County Carlow, 1910, sold Gotho Hall in 1918.

His children assumed the additional surname of Mainwaring.

He was succeeded by his eldest son, 

MAJOR WILLIAM MAINWARING-BURTON (1881-1964), of Marsham Lodge, Gerrard's Cross, Buckinghamshire, who married and had issue.

BURTON HALL, near Carlow, County Carlow, a house of considerable significance, was begun in 1712.

It contained three storeys on a lofty plinth and nine bays, with a three-bay breakfront centre.

The doorway was rusticated, with many steps; bold quoins; a solid roof parapet.

A bow window was added to the garden front ca 1840, and the top storey was removed.

Burton Hall was sold by William Fitzwilliam Burton in 1927 (who died in the same year) and demolished five years later.

All that remains of Burton Hall's former existence is a three-bay, single-storey (over basement) granite building, originally a wing of the house, with carved stone dressings.

First published in May, 2012.

Herdman of Sion House


The first of the family to arrive in Ulster, 1688, was Captain Herdman, of Herdmanston, Ayrshire, who fought with WILLIAM III at the battle of the Boyne, and settled at Glenavy, County Antrim.
The immediate antecedents of the three Herdman brothers had owned Millfield Tannery, Belfast, which the eldest brother, James, inherited from his father.  His brother John went into  partnership with the Mulhollands in 1833, after turning round their business into profit in the Winetavern Street Flax-spinning mill in Belfast.
The Herdman brothers (James, John and George), in partnership with Andrew and Sinclair Mulholland and Robert Lyons, decided to purchase an unfinished flax-spinning mill in County Tyrone, from the 2nd Marquess of Abercorn. However, they couldn’t get the land they needed on a long enough lease. Their choice fell on Sion (or Seein, meaning a Fairy Mound), near Strabane,  adjacent to the River Mourne.
JAMES HERDMAN (1809-1901), of Bath, Somerset, and of Strabane, County Tyrone, a grand-nephew of Sir James Emerson-Tennent Bt, married, in 1840, Elizabeth, daughter of William Suffern, of Belfast, and left issue,

EMERSON TENNENT HERDMAN JP DL (1842-1918), of Sion House, High Sheriff, 1890, who married, in 1864, Frances Alice, daughter of Dr Francis John West, of Omagh, and had issue,
JOHN CLAUDIUS, of whom we treat;
Adelia Maud; Elizabeth Alice; Frances Evelyn;
Olive Mary, of the Red House, Strabane; her 1st cousin, Sir Emerson Herdman KBE.
Sir Emerson Herdman was the last Lord-Lieutenant of County Donegal, 1920-22.

Mr Emerson Tennent Herdman's eldest son,

JOHN CLAUDIUS HERDMAN OBE DL (1876-1964), of Sion House, High Sheriff of County Tyrone, 1912, Captain, 4th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, wedded, in 1901, Maud Harriet, MBE JP, daughter of Major-General Alexander Clark-Kennedy, of Camus, Strabane, and had issue,
EMERSON TENNENT REX, OBE, High Sheriff of Tyrone, 1943;
CLAUDIUS ALEXANDER, of whom hereafter.
Captain Herdman's second son,

COMMANDER CLAUDIUS ALEXANDER HERDMAN DL RN, of Sion Mills, wedded Maud Harriet, daughter of Major-General Alexander Clark-Kennedy, and had issue,

CELIA MARY HERDMAN, born in 1943, who married Brigadier John Gordon Goddard de Poulton Ferguson, in 1968, and had issue,


SION HOUSE, Sion Mills, County Tyrone, is an Elizabethan-Revival mansion built in 1840, rebuilt in 1883 in half-timbered style, by Emerson T Herdman.

His brother-in-law, William Unsworth, of Petersfield, Hampshire, was the architect.

Sion House was sold in 1966.

The gate-house, also Elizabethan-Revival in character, is virtually a replica of Stokesay Castle's gate-house in Shropshire.

First published in April, 2014.

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Craigdun Castle


TORQUIL MacNEILL, chief of the Clan Neill, of Taynish and Gigha, born ca 1380, was constable of Castle Sween, in Knapdale, Argyllshire.

LACHLAN McNEILL, of Terfergus and Losset, Argyllshire, fourth son of Torquil MacNeill, married firstly, Mary McNeill, of Colonsay, and had a large family.

The third son,

NEILL McNEILL, settled in Cushendun, County Antrim, about 1676, and married Rose Stuart, of Garry, in the same county, and was father of

LACHLAN McNEILL, who wedded Jane Macnaghten, of Benvarden, and had several children, of whom the eldest son, 

NEILL McNEILL, of Cushendun, County Antrim, espoused Christian Hamilton, of Londonderry, and was father of

EDMUND McNEILL, of Cushendun, married Elizabeth, daughter of John Hamilton, of Londonderry, and died in 1790.

The eldest son,

EDMUND ALEXANDER McNEILL JP (1787-1879), of Cushendun, County Antrim, married, in 1817, Rose, eldest daughter of Alexander McNeile, and had an only son,

EDMUND McNEILL JP DL (1821-1915), of Craigdun and Cushendun, County Antrim, High Sheriff, 1879, who married, in 1851, Mary, eldest daughter of Alexander Miller, of Ballycastle, and had issue,  

©National Portrait Gallery, London


CRAIGDUN CASTLE, near Cullybackey, County Antrim, is a Victorian-Baronial style house built of basalt, in 1867, by Edward (Eddie) McNeill.

It comprises two storeys with a gabled attic.

There is a substantial five-storey tower with pepper-pot bartizans.

The drawing-room is notable for its Classical plasterwork ceiling.

The house is said to have thirty rooms in total.

Craigdun Castle is believed to have been designed by Sir Charles Lanyon, who was responsible for many of Northern Ireland’s best known Victorian buildings, including Belfast Castle and Ballywalter House.

The Scottish baronial architecture was a fashionable style of the period, incorporating crow step gables and conical turrets and mock defensive features such as crenellations and arrow slits.

The McNeills owned 609 acres in County Antrim during the 19th century.

Although their original seat was Glenmona House, Cushendun, which was increasingly used for holidays, the family tended to reside at Craigdun.

Today Craigdun comprises a more manageable ten acres.

In 1912, the estate was purchased by a Belfast man, John Percy Stott, and it passed to his daughter Doreen on his death in 1949.

Upon the death of her son, Peter Stott-Martin, from Multiple Sclerosis in 1952, she and her husband, Commander Stott-Martin, bequeathed the castle to the National Health Service as a respite care home for MS sufferers.

Much work was carried out during the 1960-80s, including many internal alterations for the installation of a lift in the early 1980s.

The NHS sold the castle in the early 1990s. William and Romayne Baird owned Craigdun for nine years, till it was bought by Andrew Clark in 2002.

Andrew and Julie Clark were married at Craigdun in 2010 and together they restored the building into a comfortable family home, which featured in the final of the BBC House of the Year programme in 2011.

Craigdun Castle itself remained a private family home, though the walled garden and grounds could be hired as a venue for marquee weddings, receptions and photographs.

The gardens are associated in the past with the early 17th century Craigs Castle.

There are fine mature trees in the shelter belts and parkland, including exotics.

A champion parkland sycamore has a circumference of eleven yards at the base.

The walled garden is adjacent to the house and has a circular pavilion, with a conical slated roof, in one corner.

The two gate-lodges have been demolished.

First published in July, 2012.

NI Peers Index



Belfast, Earl of; courtesy lord; see Donegall

Castlereagh, Viscount; courtesy lord; see Londonderry

Cole, Viscount; courtesy lord; see Enniskillen

Corry, Viscount; courtesy lord; see Belmore


Hillsborough, Earl of; courtesy lord; see Downshire

MOIRA, EARL OF; see Hastings


Newry and Mourne, Viscount; courtesy lord; see Kilmorey

ROKEBY, BARON (89th Lord Archbishop of Armagh)

Stuart, Viscount; courtesy lord; see Castle Stewart

WESTMINSTER, 6TH DUKE OF (b 1951 at Omagh, Co Tyrone)

First published in February, 2013.