Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Armagh Lieutenancy



CALEDON, Rt Hon the Earl of, KCVO




REID, Colonel Arthur, OBE TD JP DL

RYAN, Mr Patrick Anthony, JP DL

BEATTIE, Mr William James, DL

SHAW, Mr James Derek, DL

DUNCAN, Mr Thomas, DL



MURPHY, Mr Thomas, DL

JACKSON, Mr Antony, DL

DONNELLY, Mr Raymond, DL

McALLISTER, Colonel Hubert, OBE TD DL 

DOUGAN, Mr Simon Thomas Alexander, DL


McALINDEN, Dr Eileen, DL

REANEY, Mr David, DL

CONWAY, Dr Gareth, DL

WALSH, Mrs Georgina, DL


WALKINGSHAW, Mr Terence David, DL

Please advise me of any retirements or deaths.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Antrim Lieutenancy



McCORKELL, Mr David William


GORDON, Mrs Miranda Gay, DL



BAILIE, Dr Stephen, TD DL

BROOKE, Hon Christopher A, DL

COLE, Mrs Millie, DL

FRAZER, Mr Andrew David, DL


HILLAN, Mrs Sheelagh Elizabeth, MBE DL

KINAHAN, Mr Danny de Burgh, DL

KELLY, Mr Liam Gerard, JP DL

MONTGOMERY, Mr Hugh Edward J, DL



READE, Mr Richard, DL

RAINEY, Mr William Eric, CVO MBE DL


WALLACE, Mrs Patricia, DL

SHIRLEY, Mrs Julia, DL


DUNLUCE, Viscount, DL



DOUGLAS, Colonel Stewart, OBE DL

O'NEILL, the Hon Shane Sebastian Clanaboy, DL

PERRY, Mr James Ernest, MBE DL


Please advise me of any retirements or deaths.

Saturday, 27 January 2018

New Tyrone DL


Mr Robert Scott OBE, Lord-Lieutenant of County Tyrone, has been pleased to appoint:-

Mr Malachy Stephen McALEER
County Tyrone

To be a Deputy Lieutenant of the County, his Commission bearing date, the 30th day of December, 2017.

Signed: Lord Lieutenant of the County

Thursday, 25 January 2018

The Burns Supper

The old school pal, Dangerfield, invited me to a Burns Supper at the family home five years ago.

The weather conditions were poor, though I finally managed to reach his house, a mile or two outside Broughshane, County Antrim.

I'm apprised that they have a hundred and forty acres.

We had a terrific time.

As can be seen by the photograph - Dangerfield had lent me a Royal Irish Rangers caubeen with its green hackle - I was slightly the worse for wear; so I was glad to have a room for the night.

The grub was delicious: wholesome chicken or pheasant soup; venison stew with haggis; chocolate and Cranachan pudding; whisky; abundant wine.

Shortly after the proceedings the drone of the bagpipes could be heard and Gavin marched in.

He must have learnt to play them in the CCF band at Campbell.

One of the house guests, Michael, is an accomplished musician and played the piano for us all.

He's another Old Brackenbrian, so I hope see him at the next annual dinner in the Ulster Reform Club.

I retired to bed at some unearthly hour, perhaps three-thirty the next morning.

We breakfasted in the conservatory: venison sausages, rustic bread, mustard, marmalade, mushrooms, tea.

First published in January, 2013.

Blunden Villa


This family springs from

OVERINGTON BLUNDEN, of Southwark, London, who, in 1667, was granted Glenmore, "to be for ever called Blunden's Castle", and other lands in County Kilkenny, Queen's County and County Waterford.

This gentleman's grandson,

JOHN BLUNDEN (c1718-83), only surviving son of John Blunden, of Castle Blunden, MP for the City of Kilkenny, by Martha, daughter of Agmondesham Cuffe, and sister of John, 1st Baron Desart, was created a baronet in 1766, denominated of Blunden Castle, County Kilkenny.

Sir John was a distinguished member of the Irish bar, and represented the City of Kilkenny in Parliament.

He married, in 1755, his cousin Susanna, daughter of John, 1st Baron Desart, and had issue (with seven daughters) three sons, of whom,
JOHN, his successor;
William Pitt, father of JOHN, 3rd Baronet;
Overington, Lieutenant-General; MP.
Sir John was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR JOHN BLUNDEN, 2nd Baronet (1767-1818), High Sheriff of County Kilkenny, 1805 and 1813, who wedded firstly, Miss Hewitson (d 1808); and secondly, in 1812, Hester, daughter of John Helsham, of Leggetsrath, County Kilkenny, though the marriages were without issue, and the baronetcy reverted to his nephew,

SIR JOHN BLUNDEN, 3rd Baronet (1814-90), DL, High Sheriff of County Kilkenny, 1843, 44 and 47, Barrister, who wedded, in 1839, Elizabeth, daughter of Major John Knox, and had issue,
WILLIAM, his successor;
John Overington;
Edward Herbert;
Maurice Robert;
Arthur Henry;
Kate; Harriette; Nicola Sophia.
Sir John was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR WILLIAM BLUNDEN, 4th Baronet (1840-1923), High Sheriff of County Kilkenny, 1904, who espoused, in 1879, Florence Caroline, daughter of Henry Shuttleworth, and had issue,
JOHN, his successor;
Eric Overington;
Sir William was succeeded by his elder son,

SIR JOHN BLUNDEN, 5th Baronet (1880-1923), who married, in 1918, Phyllis Dorothy, daughter of Philip Crampton Creaghe, and had issue,
WILLIAM, 6th Baronet;
Sir John was succeeded by his elder son,

SIR WILLIAM BLUNDEN, 6th Baronet (1919-85), Lieutenant-Commander RN, who wedded, in 1945, Pamela Mary, daughter of John Purser, and had issue,
Sarah Vanessa; Griselda Jane; Caroline Susan;
Rowena Mary; Elizabeth Anne Gabrielle; Fiona Christine.
Sir William died without male issue, when the title devolved upon his brother,

SIR PHILIP OVERINGTON BLUNDEN, 7th Baronet (1922-2007), who wedded, in 1945, Jeanette Francesca Alexandra, daughter of Captain D Macdonald, and had issue,
HUBERT CHISHOLM, his successor;
John Maurice Patrick;
Marguerite Eugenie.
Sir Philip was succeeded by his elder son,

SIR HUBERT CHISHOLM BLUNDEN, 8th Baronet (1948-), who married, in 1975, Ellish O'Brien, and had issue,
Edmund, b 1982;
Amelia, b 1977.

BLUNDEN VILLA, Castle Blunden, County Kilkenny,

At the end of the 18th century Sir John Blunden built Blunden Villa near the gates of his family home, just outside the mediaeval city of Kilkenny.

By family tradition this elegant Georgian villa was built as a dower house for Sir John’s mother, the daughter of a neighbour, Lord Desart, to provide her with her own establishment when he married and brought home his heiress bride.

Blunden Villa is a delightful small Regency house with a high ground floor above a semi-basement.

The façade is of three bays, with the front door at the upper level approached by a wide flight of stone steps with contemporary iron railings.

The door is surmounted by a fanlight and has delicate Wyatt windows to either side.

The plan is very slightly over square, as the façade is marginally shorter than the width from front to back, while the interior has high ceilings and well-proportioned rooms.

For many years Blunden Villa was used as a gate lodge to the principal house, but in 2006 Jane and Caroline Blunden, twin daughters of the 6th baronet, decided to restore the building, which is now their Irish home.

Select bibliography ~ Irish Historic Houses Association

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Countess of Wessex in Belfast

THE COUNTESS OF WESSEX visited Belfast and County Down today.

Her Royal Highness, Patron, Royal Mencap Society, this morning visited Mencap Centre, 5 School Road, Newtownbreda, Belfast, and was received by Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant of County Down, (Mr David Lindsay).

HRH, Patron, National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, this afternoon visited Laganside Courts, 45 Oxford Street, Belfast, and was received by Dr Philip McGarry DL (Deputy Lieutenant of the County Borough of Belfast).

The Countess of Wessex afterwards opened the Northern Ireland Hospice, 74 Somerton Road, Belfast, and was received by Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant of the County Borough of Belfast (Mrs Fionnuala Jay-O'Boyle CBE).

Her Royal Highness subsequently visited Risk Avoidance and Danger Awareness Resource, 26 Heron Road, Belfast, and was received by Mr Colin Russell DL (Deputy Lieutenant of the County Borough of Belfast).

HRH, Patron, National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, this evening attended a Dinner at Harbour Office, Corporation Square, Belfast, and was received by Professor Martin Bradley DL (Deputy Lieutenant of the County Borough of Belfast).

Lissen Hall


THE RT HON JOHN HELY-HUTCHINSON (1724-94), an eminent lawyer and statesman of Ireland (son of Francis Hely, of Gortroe, County Cork, by the daughter of Christopher Earbury), married, in 1751, Christiana, daughter of Lorenzo Nickson, of Munny, County Wicklow, and niece and heir of Richard Hutchinson, of Knocklofty, County Tipperary (in consequence of which marriage he assumed the additional surname of HUTCHINSON), and had issue,
Richard Hely, cr EARL OF DONOUGHMORE ;
John, successor to his brother as 2nd Earl;
FRANCIS, of whom we treat;
Augustus Abraham;
Christiana; Mary; Prudence; Margaret.
The third son,

FRANCIS HELY-HUTCHINSON (1769-1827), MP for Dublin University, 1790-98, Naas, 1798-1801, wedded Frances Wilhelmina, daughter and heir of Henry Nixon, of Belmont, County Wexford, and had issue,
John, 3rd Earl;
Henry, Lieutenant-Colonel;
COOTE, of whom hereafter;
Anne Louisa; Catherine Henrietta; Charlotte Sophia; Louisa Frances.
The third son,

CAPTAIN THE HON COOTE HELY-HUTCHINSON, Royal Navy, espoused, in 1834, Sophia, youngest daughter of the Rev Sir Samuel Synge-Hutchinson Bt, and had issue,
Samuel, died in infancy;
JOHN, of whom we treat;
Francis Henry;
Sophia Dorothy.
Captain Hely-Hutchinson died in 1842.

His third son,

JOHN HELY-HUTCHINSON JP DL (1826-1919), of Seafield and Lissen Hall, County Dublin, High Sheriff of County Dublin, 1872, married, in 1865, Mary Louisa, eldest daughter of Robert Tottenham, of Annamult, second son of Charles Tottenham, of Ballycurry, County Wicklow, and had issue,
COOTE ROBERT, his heir;
Richard George, a military officer;
Ethel Mary; Cecil Frances Katharine; Eleanor Blanche.
The elder son,

COOTE ROBERT HELY-HUTCHINSON OBE (1870-1930), Lieutenant-Colonel, Reserve Battalion, Royal Fusiliers, wedded, in 1914, Julia Harriet Vere, daughter of William Clayton Browne-Clayton, and had issue,
David Coote;
Mary Caroline; Julia Louisa.
The eldest son,

JOHN HELY-HUTCHINSON (1914-85), died unmarried.

LISSEN HALL, Donabate, County Dublin, was constructed in at least two different periods.

The original house was a long, plain, gable-ended dwelling of the late-17th or early 18th century.

Slightly later, though still in the first half of the 18th century, Lissen Hall was extensively remodelled and a new front built at right angles to the earlier house to form a large T-shaped building.

The new five-bay façade shows a typical mid-Georgian design, with a tripartite door-case and a Venetian window above.

The tripartite arrangement is repeated on the upper storey, where the central window is flanked by two blind sidelights.

There are projecting bows, with semi-conical roofs at either end, while the walls of the façade continue upwards without a cornice to form a parapet, adorned with urns and eagles.

These embellishments were clearly aimed at replicating Mantua, a neighbouring house now long demolished, which faced Lissen Hall across the tidal estuary of the Meadow Water.

Architectural drawings from 1765 can be seen in the house, which at that time was owned by John Hatch, MP for Swords in the old Irish Parliament before it voted itself out of existence in 1801.

Lissen Hall later passed to the politically influential Hely-Hutchinson family, of nearby Seafield House.

In the 1870s the grounds comprised 78 acres.

In 1950 Terence Chadwick purchased Lissen Hall from the Hely-Hutchinsons, and it was subsequently inherited by his daughter, Lady Davis-Goff, of Ballinacor.

As a result Lissen Hall has been sold only once in over two hundred and fifty years.

The Irish Times has published an interesting article about the Hely-Hutchinsons.

Donoughmore arms courtesy of European Heraldry.  Select bibliography: Irish Historic Houses Association.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Gloster House


EVAN LLOYD JP DL, of Yale, Denbighshire, a captain-general in the service of CHARLES I, in Ireland, son and heir of Sir John Lloyd, Knight, and grandson of Sir Evan Lloyd, 1st Baronet (c1622-63), the twelfth of his race lineally descended from YNYR of YALE, married Mary, daughter and co-heir of Sir Richard Trevor, Knight, and had issue,
John, his heir;
TREVOR, of whom we treat;
Catherine; Mary; Magdelen.
His youngest son,

TREVOR LLOYD, a captain in the army of CHARLES I, wedded, in 1639, Margaret Rose, daughter and heiress of Francis Medhop, of Gloster and Tonagh, King's County, by whom he acquired estates in the King's County and County Tipperary, and had a son and successor,

MEDHOP LLOYD, of the King's County, who, by his wife Hannah, daughter of Christopher Lovett, Lord Mayor of Dublin, 1676-7, had fourteen children, all of whom dsp with the exception of

TREVOR LLOYD who, inheriting the family estates, became of Gloster, in the King's County.

This gentleman married Miss Waller, of Castletown, County Limerick (a descendant of Sir Hardress Waller, Governor of Limerick, during the Commonwealth), and had, with other issue,
JOHN, his heir;
Hardress, dsp;
Harriet, m F Saunderson, of Castle Saunderson.
Mr Lloyd was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN LLOYD, of Gloster, MP for the King's County, 1768-90, wedded, about 1777, Jane, daughter of Thomas Le Hunt, of Artrammon, County Wexford, and had issue, 
HARDRESS, his heir;
Trevor, died at Cambridge, 1796;
Thomas, lieutenant-colonel;
Alice; Harriet.
Mr Lloyd was succeeded by his eldest son,

HARDRESS LLOYD JP DL MP (c1782-1860), of Gloster, This gentleman, who was for some years Lieutenant-Colonel, South Down Militia, MP for King's County, 1807-16.

Colonel Lloyd died unmarried, and was succeeded by his natural son,

JOHN LLOYD JP DL, of Gloster, High Sheriff of King's County, 1866, who espoused, in 1872, Susanna Frances Julia, second daughter of John Thomas Rosborough Colclough, of Tintern Abbey, County Wexford, and had issue,
JOHN HARDRESS, his heir;
Evan Colclough;
Llewellyn Wilfred Medhop;
Mary Louisa Arthurina Gwendoline Colclough; Susanna Frederica Lillian Mary; Myrtle Susan.
Mr Lloyd died in 1883, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

BRIGADIER JOHN HARDRESS LLOYD DSO JP DL (1874-1952), of Gloster, High Sheriff of King's County, 1906, who wedded, in 1903, Adeline, daughter of Sir Samuel Wilson, MP for Portsmouth, 1886-92, though the marriage was without issue.

GLOSTER HOUSE, Shinrone, Birr, is County Offaly’s most important early 18th century house.

The Lloyd family came to Ireland from Denbighshire to serve in the army of CHARLES I, and acquired the estate by marriage in 1639.

Presumably they lived in the 17th century house until the building was enlarged in the 1720s.

Maurice Craig has remarked that “Gloster has features which can hardly derive from anyone other than Sir Edward Lovett-Pearce”.

Craig feels that Lovett-Pearce may have provided the design for his cousin Trevor Lloyd but left the execution to others, since “for all its charm, it is provincial in almost every respect”.

Gloster is unusually long and low, with thirteen bays and two stories.

The bays to either side of the breakfront have a series of elaborate pilasters, while the pairs of upper storey end-bays have blind niches in place of windows.

The elaborate, double-height entrance-hall has a series of bust-filled niches while there is very grand upper hall on the piano nobile.

This overlooks the entrance-hall though a series of round-headed openings.

Samuel Chearnley may possibly have had a hand in designing the gardens, which contain a canal, a lime avenue and a pedimented arch, flanked by obelisks in the manner of Vanburgh while a series of

later terraces in front of the house descend to a small lake.

Brigadier Hardress Lloyd and his wife had no children, so Gloster House was inherited by their nephew, Major Evan Trevor Lloyd.

Major Lloyd held the estate for several years when, in 1958, he sold it to an order of nuns.

In 1990, the religious order ended their activities at Gloster; and in 1992 the estate was sold to the Macra ne Feirme organization, which intended to operate the estate as a rural training centre.

The project proved to be unsuccessful and, after a few years, they sold it to a pharmaceutical organisation that held it until 2001, when it was purchased by the present owners, Tom and Mary Alexander, who have carried out a thorough and sympathetic restoration.

Famous visitors to Gloster include John Wesley, who preached here in 1749; while the famous Australian “Diva”, Dame Nellie Melba GBE, sang from the gallery in the upper hall in the early 20th century.

Select bibliography: Irish Historic Houses Association.

Thomas Tunnock Ltd


By Appointment to the Rt Hon the Earl of Belmont, 
Purveyors of Tea Cakes,
Thomas Tunnock Limited, Uddingston, Glasgow.

The Tunnock's Teacake, popular in the British Isles, comprises a small round shortbread biscuit covered with a dome of Italian meringue and a whipped egg white concoction similar to marshmallow.

This is then encased in a thin layer of milk or dark chocolate and wrapped in a red and silver foil paper for the more popular milk chocolate variety; or blue, black, and gold wrapping for the dark.

First issued March, 2010.

N.B. Editors: the alter ego, viz. Belmont, simply cannot have enough of these ethereal biccies (!)

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Brackenber Day


Here is the final correspondence I received from Brackenber's last headmaster, Mr John Craig, following his retirement.

It is clearly valedictory in nature.

Click on the image to read it.

It reflects Mr Craig's feelings about Brackenber; his profound devotion and deep affection for what became his home and his life; his dedication, care and passion for our school:-

click to enlarge
First published in February, 2011.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Bertie and Spode

Roderick Spode, Earl of Sidcup


"Oh, hullo, Spode, hullo. There you are, what? Splendid."

"Can I have a word with you, Wooster?"

"Of course, of course. Have several."

He did not speak for a minute or so, filling in the time by subjecting me to close scrutiny.

"I can't understand it", he said. "How Madeline can contemplate marrying a man like you ... as far as I can see, Wooster, you are without attraction of any kind. Intelligence? No. Looks? No. Efficiency? No".

"She is marrying you in the hope of reforming you, and let me tell you, Wooster, that if you disappoint that hope, you will be sorry ...

... you will probably think you are safe from me when you are doing your stretch in Wormwood Scrubs for larceny, but I shall be waiting for you when you come out, and I shall tear you limb from limb. And," he added ... "dance on the fragments in hobnailed boots".

"All that can be said of you is that you don't wear a moustache. They tell me you did grow one once, but mercifully shaved it off. That is to your credit, but it is a small thing to weigh in the balance against all your other defects".

First published in August, 2013.

Friday, 12 January 2018

Grand Opera House

I happened to be in Belfast yesterday, in the vicinity of the Grand Opera House in Great Victoria Street.

Anybody who knows Belfast will be aware that the opera house remains one of its favourite, cherished and even iconic buildings (despite its bombing during the Troubles).

After City Hall, the Grand Opera House boasts the most exquisite and opulent interior in the city.

The history of this esteemed theatre is so well known that to dwell upon it here becomes unnecessary.

Its exterior has had a major restoration recently.

The minarets, towers, Mercury and many other features have been restored to their former glory.

It was particularly gratifying to see the newly-gilded statue of Mercury, standing aloft, brandishing the Caduceus in his left hand.

At the theatre's entrance front we have the masks of Comedy and Tragedy to each side as we enter or vacate the former front doors below the elevated Crush Bar above the street.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Ballykilcavan House


ALLEN JOHNSON, of Kilternan, County Dublin, son of Christopher Johnson, of the same place, married firstly, Anne _____, and had a son,
ALLEN, his heir.
He wedded secondly, Abigail, daughter of Benjamin Burton, and had issue,
The eldest son,

ALLEN JOHNSON, of Kilternan, wedded, in 1740, Olivia, daughter of John Walsh, of Ballykilcavan, Queen's County, and had issue,
JOHN ALLEN, his heir;
Henry (Major-General Sir), 1st Baronet, GCB;
Mr Johnson died in 1747, and was succeeded by his elder son,

JOHN ALLEN JOHNSON (c1745-1831), High Sheriff of Queen's County, 1792, MP for Baltinglass, 1740-90, who espoused, in 1783, Sackvilla, eldest daughter of Edward Brereton, and had issue,
John Allen, dsp;
EDWARD JOHN, of whom hereafter;
HUNT HENRY, heir to his brother;
Mr Johnson was created a baronet, in 1775, denominated of Ballykilcavan.

Sir John assumed, in 1809, upon the demise of his maternal uncle, the Very Rev Raphael Walsh, Dean of Dromore, the surname and arms of WALSH.

He was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

SIR EDWARD JOHN JOHNSON-WALSH, 2nd Baronet (c1785-1848), of Ballykilcavan, High Sheriff of Queen's County, 1825, who died unmarried, and was succeeded by his brother,

THE REV SIR HUNT HENRY JOHNSON-WALSH, 3rd Baronet (1787-1865), Rector of Stradbally, who was succeeded by his son,

SIR JOHN ALLEN JOHNSON-WALSH, 4th Baronet (1829-93), who married, in 1859, Harriet Anne, daughter of the Rev Brownlow William Forde, and had issue, a son,

SIR HUNT HENRY ALLEN JOHNSON-WALSH, 5th Baronet (1864-1953), of Ballykilcavan, who espoused, in 1910, Grace, daughter of the Rt Hon Henry Bruen, of Oak Park, County Carlow, and had issue, an only child,

OONAGH JOHNSON-WALSH, who married (William) Frederick Kemmis, of Shaen House.

Thereafter the family name was changed to WALSH-KEMMIS.

The baronetcy expired on the decease of the 5th and last Baronet.

BALLYKILCAVAN HOUSE, near Stradbally, County Laois, is a two-storey, seven-bay house with a dormer attic, with a centre gable and projecting end bays.

It was built about 1680 in wooded parkland just east of Stradbally.

The estate was acquired by Oliver Walsh in 1639 and the house was probably built by his son, also Oliver, who died in 1697.

The house has full-height wings like flanking towers at the corners of the entrance front; while similar towers on the rear of the house are now hidden by later extensions.

These towers were a feature of fortified houses of the 17th century and lingered on into the early 18th century as decorative features.

The house is comprised of a ground floor (unusually at ground level), an upper floor and an attic storey, where the dormer windows have been replaced by skylights.

It has been altered and extended many times over the centuries but many rooms retrain their late-17th century dimensions, though the decoration is later.

In the 18th century Ballykilcavan was given a more Georgian aspect with a ‘floating’ pediment-gable, a fine cut-stone doorcase and sash windows with thin glazing-bars.

There is decorative 1730s plasterwork on the hall ceiling, and even finer work above the staircase and landing.

The landing is Ballykilcavan's finest room and originally extended from front to back as a gallery before the main staircase was installed.

The first prominent member of the family was Major-General Sir Henry Hunt Walsh GCB, who commanded the 28th of Foot at the siege of Quebec.

He was awarded a valuable estate in Prince Edward Island in a lottery of lands after the Seven Years’ War before succeeding his uncle at Ballykilcavan and becoming MP for Maryborough.

General Walsh is likely to have commissioned the magnificent 18th century U-shaped stable block.

The next owner was the Major-General's brother Raphael, Dean of Dromore, who began an ambitious remodelling of the house.

He planned a new front at the rear with a classical cornice and parapet, and a suite of south-facing rooms.

Unfortunately, work was disrupted by the 1798 Rebellion, and Dean Walsh only completed half the building vertically, leaving the remainder blank.

This provides a single, very large drawing room, entered at the half level from the staircase, and a pair of bedrooms overhead.

The drawing-room is particularly beautiful, with fine late-18th century woodwork, mahogany doors and a finely modelled cornice.

Dean Walsh was succeeded by his sister’s son, Sir John Allen Johnson-Walsh, 1st Baronet, who assumed the name Walsh and the estate passed in turn to his two sons.

The second son, Sir Hunt, Rector of Stradbally, was a keen gardener and built a tunnel to his walled garden at the far side of the Stradbally-Athy road.

He also employed a promising local man, William Robinson, to oversee his garden and plant collection.

The story is that master and servant fell out and Robinson doused the hot-house fires before quitting his position on a particularly cold winter’s night.

Nobody noticed his absence and, by the time the fires were re-lit, many precious plants had perished.

In Dublin and later in London, Robinson’s career took-off and he became the doyen of late 19th century garden designers, influencing a whole school of gardening with his ‘natural’ plantings.

Sir Hunt was succeeded by his son and grandson, whose only child Oonagh married a neighbour, William Kemmis of Shaen.

They subsequently changed their name to Walsh-Kemmis and their grandson, David, and his wife Lisa, are the thirteenth generation of the family to live at Ballykilcavan.

The 1700s layout and avenues were rearranged in the nineteenth century when a new road was built from Stradbally to Athy.

A distant section of this road is now on axis with the front door, and acts almost as an avenue with the spire of a First Fruits Church as an eye-catcher in far distance.

Much of the estate is given over to woodland, with some spectacular specimen oaks and Spanish chestnuts, and the record Irish black walnut.

Select Bibliography: Irish Historic Houses Association.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Enniscoe House


The branch of the family of which we are treating was settled in Leicestershire in 1641, when three brothers, Joseph, Benjamin and John Pratt, migrated thence; Joseph and Benjamin to Ireland, John to Jamaica.

Joseph and Benjamin obtained lands in County Meath from CROMWELL, which they divided between them.

The elder was ancestor of the PRATTS of Cabra; the younger, of the WINTERS of Agher.

JOSEPH PRATT, High Sheriff of County Meath, 1698, married firstly, Frances, sister and heir of Colonel Thomas Cooch, of Cabra Castle, County Cavan, and Covoaddy [sic], County Donegal; and secondly, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Audley Mervyn, and widow of Nathaniel Poole, and had issue,
Joseph, died young;
Benjamin (Dr), Provost, Trinity College, Dublin;
John, a lord of the Treasury;
Thomas, dsp;
The youngest son,

MERVYN PRATT, MP for County Cavan, High Sheriff, 1722, wedded, in 1704, Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Coote, of Cootehill in that county, and sister of the Earl of Bellamont.

Mr Pratt died in 1751, having had (with three daughters) a son and successor,

THE REV JOSEPH PRATT, of Cabra, who espoused Elizabeth, daughter of Knightley Chetwood, of Woodbrook, Queen's County, and had issue,
Mervyn, died 1798;
JOSEPH, of whom presently;
James Butler;
Elizabeth; Ann.
The second son,

THE REV JOSEPH PRATT, (1738-1831), of Cabra Castle, wedded, in 1772, the Hon Sarah Morres, daughter of Harvey, 1st Viscount Mountmorres, by the Lady Letitia Ponsonby, his wife, daughter of Brabazon, Earl of Bessborough, and had issue,
JOSEPH, his heir;
Mervyn, 1823;
Harvey, of Castle Morres, County Kilkenny, 
who upon the decease of his father, succeeded his mother in the Kilkenny estates, which she and her sister, the Marchioness of Antrim, had jointly inherited as co-heiresses of their brother Redmond, Viscount Mountmorres;
Mary; Letitia.
Mr Pratt was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOSEPH PRATT JP (1775-1863), of Cabra Castle, Colonel of Militia, High Sheriff of County Cavan, 1799, who espoused firstly, in 1806, Jemima Roberta, daughter of Sir James Stratford Tynte Bt, of Tynte Park, and by her had issue,
MERVYN, his heir;
Joseph Tynte;
Walter Caulfeild;
Fitzmaurice Caldwell Tynte;
Hannah, Sarah Emily Tynte; Elizabeth Martha.
Colonel Pratt wedded secondly, in 1826, Nicola Sophia, widow of Claudius William Cole-Hamilton, of Kingscourt, County Meath, but by her had no issue.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

MERVYN PRATT JP DL (1807-90), of Cabra Castle, High Sheriff of County Cavan, 1841, County Mayo, 1843, and County Meath, 1875, who espoused, in 1834, Madeline Eglantine, only daughter and heir of Colonel William Jackson, of Enniscoe, County Mayo, and had issue,
JOSEPH, his heir;
Louisa Catherine Hannah; Madeline Caroline Mary; Jemima Roberta Emily Tynte.
Mr Pratt was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOSEPH PRATT JP DL (1843-1929), of Enniscoe, High Sheriff of County Cavan, 1874, and County Mayo, 1876, who married, in 1870, Charlotte Eliza, only daughter of James Hamilton, of Cornacassa, County Monaghan, and had issue,
Audley Charles (1874-1917);
Eglantine Madeline Georgina, died in infancy.
Mr Pratt was succeeded by his eldest son,

MAJOR MERVYN PRATT DSO JP (1873-1950), of Cabra Castle and Enniscoe.

Major Pratt was badly wounded in the Boer War and never married.

He lived permanently at Enniscoe, County Mayo, and left Cabra Castle, County Cavan, unoccupied.

His younger brother, Colonel Audley Pratt, was killed in the 1st World war and was also a bachelor.

Major Pratt died at Enniscoe and bequeathed Cabra to his nearest male relative, Mervyn Sheppard, a Malayan Civil Servant.

ENNISCOE HOUSE, Castlehill, Ballina, County Mayo, seems to be a classical, late-Georgian house, though it incorporates a much earlier building.

Francis Jackson, an officer in Cromwell’s army, was granted land here in the 1650s.

Jackson first lived in Crossmolina Castle but he later built a house beside Lough Conn.

His great-grandson, George, built a tall, three-storey house over a basement in the 1740s, but this was subsequently incorporated into a later building.

The new house was built in the 1790s by George’s son, also called George (the family refer to them as George One and George Two), and it was literally wrapped around the earlier building, which is still easily identifiable today.

Works were largely completed when it was occupied and damaged during the French invasion in 1798.

Today Enniscoe is a two-storey house of five bays.

While externally plain, it contains some elegant late-Georgian plasterwork and a very beautiful elliptical staircase leading to an oval landing.

The large principal rooms have decorated cornices, and the original silk wallpaper survives in the drawing room, though the pale blue has faded to mushroom pink.

George Two’s granddaughter, Madeline Eglantine Jackson, married her cousin, Mervyn Pratt.

They inherited the estate in the 1830s, restored the neglected house and created a notable garden.

Their son, Joseph, and his wife Ina continued the work, however, fortuitously, there was insufficient money for further alterations so the house remains largely unaltered today.

Their unmarried son, Major Mervyn Pratt, lived here until 1950.

After his mother’s death the house was maintained and the garden became his life’s work.

Following Major Pratt's death in 1950 his cousin, Jack Nicholson, inherited Enniscoe.

Today it is the home of his daughter, Susan Kellett, and her son and daughter-in-law, DJ and Colette Kellett.

Select bibliography: Irish historic Houses Association.

Monday, 8 January 2018

Kilbride Manor


The family, which is of Scottish origin, settled in Ulster about 1650.

JOSEPH MOORE, of Bond's Glen, Killaloo, County Londonderry, married, in 1794, Anne, daughter of George Fletcher, of Tottenham, Middlesex, and had issue,
George Fletcher (1798-1886).
Mr Moore died in 1852, and was succeeded by his elder son,

JOSEPH SCOTT MOORE JP (1796-1884), of Manor Kilbride, near Blessington, County Wicklow, High Sheriff of County Wicklow, 1866, who wedded, in 1832, Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Browne, of Ardwick, near Manchester, and had issue, an only child,

JOSEPH FLETCHER MOORE JP DL (1835-1916), of Manor Kilbride, Barrister, High Sheriff of County Wicklow, 1894, who espoused, in 1861, Jane, daughter of James Atkinson, of Longford Terrace, Monkstown, and New South Wales, Australia, and had issue,
Thomas Brown (1865-95);
JOSEPH SCOTT, of whom hereafter;
George Fletcher;
Nithsdale Carleton Atkinson;
James Maxwell;
Emily Elizabeth; Bertha Mary; Ada Catherine.
Mr Moore was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

JOSEPH SCOTT MOORE (1866-1950), of Manor Kilbride, Colonel, Army Service Corps, High Sheriff of County Wicklow, 1921, who married, in 1902, Violet Grace Hastings Wheler, only daughter of Charles Wheler Wheler, of Ledston Hall, Yorkshire.

KILBRIDE MANOR, County Wicklow, is a three-bay, two-storey, Tudor-Revival house of ca 1835.

It has a single-bay, two-storey gabled entrance bay, four-bay two-storey garden front, and three-bay single-storey wing leading to serve and outbuildings ranges.

The manor house is set back from the main road with gravel drives and paths, and landscaped grounds.

It has been the home of Cully family since the 1960s, and its large, sunny rooms afford wonderful views of the Wicklow Mountains as its backdrop.

The mansion is surrounded by 40 acres of private gardens and winding woodland paths, where guests can enjoy the private lake, stroll or fish along the banks of the river Brittas running through the grounds; or explore the beauty of the surrounding countryside.

Margaret Cully, the proprietor, is an accomplished host and enthusiastic gardener.

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Belloc on Wodehouse

Hillaire Belloc
      "In the course of a broadcast I gave, as the best writer of English now alive, Mr P G Wodehouse."

      "His object is comedy in the most modern sense of that word: that is, his object is to present the laughable, and he does this with such mastery and skill that he nearly always approaches, and often reaches, perfection."

      "There is yet another perfection which I note in him. It is one which most moderns [sic], I think, would not regard as a perfection at all. Well! I differ from them. It is the repeated use of one set of characters."

      "The English country house and its setting, the aged absent-minded earl, the young ladies and gentlemen with too much leisure or too little, too much money, or (contrariwise) embarrassment - the club of the young, idle, and very-much-to-be-liked young Englishmen of the wealthier sort and the immortal, vivid glimpses of suburban life - all these form one set of "property" scenes..."

   "... If in, say, fifty years Jeeves and any other of that great company - but in particular Jeeves - shall have faded, then what we shall have so long called England will no longer be."
HILAIRE BELLOC (1870-1953)

First published in July, 2011.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

High Sheriffs 2018



County Antrim

Miss Gillian May BINGHAM
County Antrim

County Armagh

Mrs Catherine Mary ADAMS
County Armagh

County Down

County Down

County Fermanagh

Mr John Patrick MAGUIRE
County Fermanagh

County Londonderry

Miss Anna Mary CLYDE MBE
County Londonderry

County Tyrone

County Tyrone

County Borough of Belfast

Councillor Carole Beverly HOWARD

County Borough of Londonderry

Miss Agnes Geraldine GAVIN
County Londonderry

Friday, 5 January 2018

Powerscourt House


THE surname of Wingfield is derived from the manor of Wingfield, Suffolk, where the progenitors of this family are stated to have been located before the Conquest; and the place of their abode was denominated Wingfield Castle.

It has been said that this manor gave both a name and seat to a large family in those parts, famous for their knighthood and ancient gentility, which brought forth an abundance of renowned knights, and among them two celebrated companions of the Order of the Garter under the reign of HENRY VIII.

SIR RICHARD WINGFIELD (1550-1634), lineally descended from the Wingfields of Letheringham, Suffolk, a person of high military reputation, began his career under his uncle, Sir William Fitzwilliam, Lord Deputy of Ireland, in the civil wars in Ireland.

He was afterwards engaged upon the Continent; and returning to Ireland, was appointed by ELIZABETH I, in 1600, Marshal of Ireland; and by JAMES I, for his subsequent achievements, twice joined in the government of Ireland.

At the same time he was called to His Majesty's privy council.

Sir Richard was elevated to the peerage, in 1618, as VISCOUNT POWERSCOURT; but died without issue, 1634, when the dignity expired; while the estates devolved upon his cousin,

SIR EDWARD WINGFIELD, a distinguished soldier under the Earl of Essex, and a person of great influence and power in Ireland.

He married Anne, daughter of Edward, 3rd Baron Cromwell; and dying in 1638, was succeeded by his only son,

FOLLIOTT WINGFIELD (1642-1717), in whose favour the viscountcy of POWERSCOURT (second creation) was revived in 1665.

His lordship wedded the Lady Elizabeth Boyle, eldest daughter of his guardian, the Earl of Orrery; but dying without issue, the peerage again expired, while the estates passed to his cousin,

EDWARD WINGFIELD, barrister-at-law (son of Lewis Wingfield), who espoused firstly, Eleanor, second daughter of Sir Arthur Gore, of Newton Gore, County Mayo; and secondly, Miss Lloyd, daughter of William, Lord Bishop of Killala; by the former of whom he had one son and two daughters, viz.
RICHARD, his heir;
Isabella; Sidney.
The only son,

RICHARD WINGFIELD (1697-1751), of Powerscourt, MP for Boyle, was elevated to peerage, in 1743, by the titles of Baron Wingfield and VISCOUNT POWERSCOURT (third creation).

His lordship married firstly, in 1721, Anne, daughter of Christopher Usher, of Usher's Quay, Dublin, but by her had no issue.

He wedded secondly, Dorothy, daughter of Hercules Rowley, of Summerhill, County Meath, and had issue,
EDWARD, 2nd Viscount;
RICHARD, 3rd Viscount;
Frances; Isabella.
His lordship was succeeded by his elder son,

EDWARD, 2nd Viscount (1729-64); at whose demise, unmarried, the honours devolved upon his only brother,

RICHARD, 3rd Viscount (1730-88), who espoused Emelia, daughter of John, Earl of Aldborough, and had issue,
RICHARD, his successor;
Martha; Emilia; Harriot.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

RICHARD, 4th Viscount (1762-1809), who married firstly, in 1789, Catherine, second daughter of John, 1st Earl of Clanwilliam, by whom he had three sons,
RICHARD, his successor;
Edward, father of RICHARD.
The 4th Viscount wedded secondly, in 1796, Isabella, second daughter of the Rt Hon William Brownlow, and by that lady had,
Catherine; Emily.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

RICHARD, 5th Viscount (1790-1823), who espoused, in 1813, Frances Theodosia, eldest daughter of Robert, 2nd Earl of Roden, by whom he had issue,
RICHARD, his successor;
Catherine Anne.
His lordship married secondly, in 1822, Theodosia, daughter of the Hon Hugh Howard, and niece of the Earl of Wicklow, but had no other issue.

He was succeeded by his only son,

RICHARD, 6th Viscount (1815-44), who married, in 1836, his cousin, the Lady Elizabeth Frances Charlotte Jocelyn, daughter of Robert, 3rd Earl of Roden, and had issue,
MERVYN EDWARD, his successor;
Maurice Richard;
another son.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

MERVYN EDWARD, 7th Viscount (1836-1904), KP, Privy Counsellor, who wedded, in 1864, the Lady Julia Coke, daughter of Thomas, 2nd Earl of Leicester, and had issue.
  • Mervyn Patrick Wingfield, 9th Viscount (1905–73);
  • Mervyn Niall Wingfield, 10th Viscount (1935-2015);
  • Mervyn Anthony Wingfield, 11th Viscount (b 1963)
The 8th Viscount was the last Lord-Lieutenant of County Wicklow, from 1910 until 1922.

POWERSCOURT, near Enniskerry, County Wicklow, is one of the most beautiful country estates in Ireland.

Situated in the mountains of Wicklow, it was originally an important strategic site for the Anglo-Normans, who came to Ireland in the 12th century.

By the year 1300 a castle had been built here and was in the possession of the le Poer (Power) family from which it takes its name.

The succeeding centuries saw the castle held for different periods by powerful families such as the O'Tooles and the FitzGeralds, Earls of Kildare.

In 1603 Powerscourt Castle and lands were granted to a new English arrival in the area: Richard Wingfield.

Following a successful military career in Ireland, Flanders, France and Portugal, Wingfield was knighted and in 1600 was appointed as Marshal of Ireland.

His descendants were to remain at Powerscourt for over 350 years.

Powerscourt was much altered in the 18th century when famous German-born architect, Richard Castle, remodelled the castles and grounds.

The work was commissioned by Richard Wingfield (1697-1751) and involved the creation of a magnificent mansion around the shell of the earlier castle.

Entrance front

The central courtyard was converted into an entrance hall beneath the remarkably beautiful ballroom.

The north front was adapted to present a grand entrance in the Palladian manner, while the south and front faced the gardens and was initially only two storeys in height.
Powerscourt House was extensively altered during the 18th century by the German architect Richard Cassels, starting in 1731 and finishing in 1741: On a commanding hilltop position, Cassells deviated slightly from his usual sombre style, to give the house something of a 'castle air'; a severe Palladian façade bookended by two circular domed towers. 
GEORGE IV was the guest of Richard Wingfield, 5th Viscount, in August 1821.

The 7th Viscount inherited the title and the Powerscourt estate, which comprised 49,000 acres of land, at the age of 8 in 1844.

When he reached the age of 21, he embarked on an extensive renovation of the house and created the new gardens.

Main attractions on the grounds include the Tower Valley (with stone tower), Japanese Gardens, winged horse statues, Lake, Dolphin Pond, Walled Gardens, Bamberg Gate and the Italian Garden.

The Pepper Pot Tower is said to be designed after a favoured three-inch pepper pot.

Of particular note is the pets' cemetery, whose tombstones have been described as "astonishingly personal".

Inspiration for the garden design followed visits by Powerscourt to ornamental gardens at the Palace of Versailles, Schönbrunn Palace near Vienna, and Schwetzingen Castle near Heidelberg.

The garden development took 20 years to complete in 1880.

In 1961, the estate was sold by the 9th Viscount, Mervyn Patrick Wingfield, to the Slazenger family, who still own it to this day (2010).

Tragically in the early hours of 4th November, 1974, a fire broke out on the top floor and by the morning the main part of the house was a roofless shell.

No one was injured, but all of the principal reception rooms and bedrooms were destroyed.

The Saloon

The walls of the main house, revealing stonework dating back to the 16th century, stood as a stark reminder of the fire for over twenty years.

Then in 1996 a process of regeneration began with the re-roofing of the house and the restoration of the windows as they were before the fire.

The entrance hall now features an exhibition describing the fascinating history of Powerscourt, while shops, a terrace café and other visitor facilities are also located in the house.

Wendy Anne Pauline Slazenger (daughter of the late Ralph Slazenger), married the 10th Viscount, Mervyn Niall Wingfield, in 1962. The marriage was dissolved in 1974 and Lord Powerscourt remarried.

Through her children, the Hon Mervyn Anthony Wingfield and the Hon Julia Wingfield, there remains a strong family connection between the two families and the Powerscourt Estate.

Only two rooms are open to the public as they once appeared while Powerscourt had residents, while the rest of ground floor and first floor are now retail units.

THE GARDENS at Powerscourt were laid out in two main periods.

When the house was rebuilt in the decade after 1731, the surrounding grounds were laid out in a series of formal rides and parkland to the North, with carefully planned gardens and terraces to the South. 

The design reflected the desire to create a garden which was part of the wider landscape.

To the north formal tree plantations framed the vista from the house, while a walled garden, fish pond, cascades, grottoes and terraces lay to the south. 

Walks wound through the wooded grounds and a fine tree lined avenue was created.

A century later the 6th Viscount instructed his architect, Daniel Robertson, to draw up new schemes for the gardens. 

Robertson was one of the leading proponents of Italianate garden design which was influenced by the terraces and formal features of Italian Renaissance villas and perfected in gardens in France and Germany.

Robertson designed the terrace nearest the house.

He is said to have suffered from gout and directed operations from a wheelbarrow, fortified by a bottle of sherry.

When the sherry was finished, work ceased for the day!

The death of the 6th Viscount in 1844 meant that alterations to the gardens ceased until his son resumed the work in the late 1850s. 

Using a combination of Robertson's designs and the plans of the other landscape experts, the terraces were completed, enormous numbers of trees were planted and the grounds adorned with an amazing collection of statuary, ironwork and other decorative items.

By the time of his death in 1904, the 7th Viscount had transformed the Estate.

Further generations of the Wingfields maintained the grounds, adding the Japanese Gardens, Pepper Pot Tower and continuing to plant specimen trees. 

First published in November, 2011.   Powerscourt arms courtesy of European Heraldry. Select bibliography: The Powerscourt Website.