Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Altidore Castle


JOHN DOPPING, of Frampton, Gloucestershire, and of Dopping Court, Dublin, married Joan, daughter of John Elliott, of Shropshire, and had an only son,

ANTHONY DOPPING, of Dopping Court, Dublin, Clerk of the Privy Council in Ireland, Feodary of the Province of Leinster, and Examiner of the Court of Wards, who wedded Margaret, daughter of Gilbert Domvile, MP for County Kildare, by Margaret his wife, daughter of the Most Rev Dr Thomas Jones, Lord Archbishop of Dublin and Lord Chancellor of Ireland, sister of the 1st Viscount Ranelagh.

Mr Dopping died in 1649, having had issue (with a daughter), a son,

THE MOST REV DR ANTHONY DOPPING (1643-97), Lord Bishop of Meath, of Dopping Court, Dublin, who espoused, in 1670, Jane, daughter of Samuel Molyneux, of Castle Dillon, County Armagh, and had issue,
Samuel, MP for Armagh;
ANTHONY, of whom hereafter;
Margaret; Lucy; Mary; Jane.
His lordship died in 1697, and was buried in St Andrew's Church, Dublin.

His second, and eventually eldest surviving son,

THE RT REV ANTHONY DOPPING (1675-1743), Lord Bishop of Ossory, of Dopping Court, Dublin, who espoused Dorothea, daughter of Ralph Howard MP, of Shelton Abbey, County Wicklow, ancestor of the Earls of Wicklow, and had issue,
ANTHONY, his heir;
Jane Lucy; Alice; Margaret; Frances; Katherine.
His lordship died in 1743, and was buried in St Andrew's Church, Dublin.

He was succeeded by his only son,

ANTHONY DOPPING, of Lowtown, County Westmeath, who married, in 1756, Alice, daughter of James D'Arcy, of Hyde Park, County Westmeath, and of Derrycassan, County Longford, and had issue (with two daughters),
Samuel (1760-1822), dspm;
RALPH, who carried on the line.
Mr Dopping was succeeded by his elder son, who died as above, while the family was carried on by the younger son,

RALPH DOPPING (1766-1818), of Erne Head and Derrycassan, who wedded, in 1798, Catherine, daughter of Philip Smyth, of Grouse Hall, County Cavan, and had issue,
JOHN, his heir;
Henry, of Erne Head;
Mary; Frances.
Mr Dopping was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN DOPPING JP (1800-55), of Derrycassan, High Sheriff of County Longford, 1823, who wedded, in 1822, Frances, daughter of James Henry Cottingham, of Somerville, County Cavan, and had issue,
RALPH ANTHONY, his heir;
John Francis;
James Henry;
Charlotte Henrietta; Sarah Rose.
Mr Dopping, who was drowned in 1855, was succeeded by his eldest son,

RALPH ANTHONY DOPPING-HEPENSTAL JP DL (1823-87), of Derrycassan, High Sheriff of County Longford, 1859, Honorary Colonel, Longford Rifles, who espoused firstly, in 1858, DIANA DALRYMPLE, daughter of the Rev Lambert Watson Hepenstal, of Altadore, County Wicklow, and had issue,
LAMBERT JOHN, his heir;
Susannah Elizabeth Louisa Mary Caroline; Haidee Emily Rose; Diana Charlotte.
He married secondly, in 1867, Anne, third daughter of Richard Maxwell Fox DL MP, of Foxhall, County Longford, and had further issue,
Ralph Francis Byron;
Maxwell Edward;
Juanita Rose.
Colonel Dopping assumed, in 1859, the additional surname and arms of HEPENSTAL, in compliance with the testamentary injunction of his father-in-law, the Rev Lambert Watson Hepenstal, of Altidore, County Wicklow.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

LAMBERT JOHN DOPPING-HEPENSTAL OBE JP DL (1859-1928), of Derrycassan, County Longford, and Altidore Castle, County Wicklow, High Sheriff of County Wicklow, 1909, and County Longford, 1910, Major, Royal Engineers, who wedded, in 1920, Amy Maude, daughter of Major Charles Robert Worsley Tottenham, though the marriage was without issue.


The Rev John Hepenstal, of Newcastle, County Wicklow, born in 1699, married, in 1726, Miss Adair, of Hollybrook, County Wicklow, and had issue,
William, who had two daughters;
EDWARD, of whom we treat.
The younger son,

EDWARD HEPENSTAL, of Newcastle, wedded, in 1759, Jane, daughter of John Lambert, of Kilcrony, and sister of Colonel Oliver Richard Lambert, and had issue,
John, dsp;
GEORGE, of whom presently;
The second son,

GEORGE HEPENSTAL, of Sandymount, espoused, in 1787, Hester Watson, and had (with other issue), a son,

THE REV LAMBERT WATSON HEPENSTAL (1788-1859), of Altadore, County Wicklow, who married firstly, in 1809, Elizabeth, daughter of William Ball, and had issue,
Jane Anne; Esther Charlotte; Louisa Diana; Elizabeth Martha; Susanna Rebecca;
Selina Dalrymple; Emily Mary; DIANA DALRYMPLE (as above); Hester Maria.
Mr Hepenstal wedded secondly, in 1858, Cecilia, daughter of John Berkeley Deane, of Berkeley, County Wexford, without further issue.

ALTIDORE CASTLE, County Wicklow, described as a “Georgian toy fort“, was built near the ruins of a medieval castle of the O’Toole family in the eastern slopes of the Wicklow Mountains, west of Newtownmountkennedy.

From its elevated position it looks out over woods to the coastal plain and the Irish Sea beyond.

Altidore was built as a residence for General Thomas Pearce, uncle of the eminent architect, Sir Edward Lovett Pearce, ca 1730.

Sir Edward designed some of Ireland’s finest early Palladian buildings and architectural historians speculate that he may well have been responsible for the plans of Altidore.

It is clearly in the same vein as the early 18th century ‘sham’ forts and castles designed by Pearce and his cousin, the playright-turned-architect Sir John Vanbrugh.

Altidore was enlarged and modified for a subsequent owner, Major Henry Brownrigg, and by 1773 was owned by Rev William Blachford, Librarian of Marsh’s Library and father of the early Romantic poetess Mary Tighe, authoress of “Psyche, or the Legend of Love”, who lived at Altadore as a child.

Subsequently her brother, the noted agriculturalist John Blanchford, lived here with his wife Mary Anne, the daughter of Henry Grattan, the famous parliamentarian from nearby Tinnehinch.

Altidore comprises two stories over a basement, with crenellated towers at each corner and two formal fronts of five bays.

The façade, which faces the mountains, has a three-bay breakfront with a central Venetian window above a heavily blocked door case and a later pillared porch.

The basement appears as the ground floor at the rear, on account of the steeply sloping ground.

The interior has good early 18th century joinery and a panelled dining-room with plaster plaques.

From 1834 till 1918 the Dopping-Hepenstal family, of Derrycassan House (demolished in the 1930s) extensive landowners in County Wicklow, owned the estate.

They rarely lived in the castle and leased it out for long periods, on one occasion for use as a tuberculosis sanatorium. 

In the early 20th century Altidore changed hands more frequently and was owned by two different banks on separate occasions.

Finally, in 1945, James Albert Garland Emmet purchased the house and 300 acres of land from Percy Burton, an eccentric bachelor who had allowed it to become very dilapidated.

The Emmets carried out an extensive restoration and created a large new garden, centred on a pair of canals from the early 18th century garden layout.

The present owners, their grandson Philip and his wife, have farmed the estate organically for nearly 20 years.

The Emmets are descended from Thomas Addis Emmet, a leader of the United Irishmen and brother of the Irish nationalist and republican leader, Robert Emmet.

Altadore contains a small Robert Emmet museum, with a number of interesting original items.

Select bibliography ~ Irish Historic Houses Association.

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Balrath Bury House


This family came originally from Yorkshire.

GILBERT NICHOLSON, of Bare and Poulton, Lyndall, in Lonsdale, and of Baton and Easterton, Westmorland, married Grace, daughter and co-heir of Gyles Curwen, of Poulton Hall, and had issue,
FRANCIS, dvp leaving a son, HUMPHRY;
Mr Nicholson died in 1605, and was succeeded by his grandson,

HUMPHRY NICHOLSON, who was father of

GILBERT NICHOLSON (1620-1709), formerly of Poulton, Lancashire, and of the city of Dublin, Lieutenant in the royal army before 1649, and one of the Forty-nine Officers, whose arrears of pay were paid up after the Restoration, "for service done by them to His Majesty, or to his royal father, as commissioners in the wars of Ireland, before the 5th day of June, 1649." 

By the Act of Settlement Mr Nicholson received grants of land in County Monaghan, which he sold, and bought Balrath Bury in 1669.

He afterwards resided in Dublin.

Mr Nicholson and his wife Mary, daughter of Sir Thomas Worsopp, Knight, are buried in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, and on their tombstone appear the arms and crest still used by the family.

The issue of the marriage were,
THOMAS, of whom presently;
The second, but eldest surviving son,

THOMAS NICHOLSON, of Balrath Bury, born in 1662, inherited Balrath Bury in 1709.

In 1692, he was a commissioner for County Meath, during the reign of WILLIAM & MARY, and High Sheriff, 1704.

Mr Nicholson married firstly, in 1691, Mary, daughter of John Beauchamp, and had, with other issue, a daughter, Anne, whose daughter, Margaret, was second wife of Sir Richard Steele Bt, of Hampstead.

He wedded secondly, in 1700, Elizabeth, daughter and co-heir of John Wood, of Garclony, and had issue,
CHRISTOPHER, his heir;
Mr Nicholson espoused thirdly, Rose, widow of Simeon Pepper, of Ballygarth, by whom he had no issue.

The eldest son,

CHRISTOPHER NICHOLSON, of Balrath Bury, High Sheriff of County Meath, 1735, espoused firstly, in 1723, Elinor, only daughter of Simeon Pepper, of Ballygarth, by Rose his wife, daughter of the Hon Oliver Lambart, of Plainstown, and granddaughter of Charles, 1st Earl of Cavan, and had issue,
JOHN, his heir;
Rose; Christian; Emilia.
He wedded secondly, in 1751, Mary, daughter of Oliver Lambart, of Plainstown, by whom he had no issue.

His eldest son,

JOHN NICHOLSON (1724-82), of Balrath Bury, Captain, Coldstream Guards, wedded, in 1766, Anna Maria, daughter of Sir Samuel Armytage Bt, of Kirklees, Yorkshire, widow of Thomas Carter, of Shaen, and had issue,
He was succeeded by his elder son,

CHRISTOPHER ARMYTAGE NICHOLSON JP DL (1768-1849), of Balrath Bury, High Sheriff of County Meath, 1791, who married firstly, in 1796, Catharine, daughter of the Most Rev William Newcombe, Lord Archbishop of Armagh, by Anna Maria his wife, daughter and co-heir of Edward Smyth, of Callow Hill, County Fermanagh, second son of the Ven. James Smyth, Archdeacon of Meath, and had issue,
JOHN ARMYTAGE, his heir;
Christopher Hampden;
William (Rev);
Gilbert Thomas, JP;
Anna Maria.
He wedded secondly, in 1826, Anna, daughter of George Lenox-Conyngham, of Springhill, County Londonderry, by Olivia his wife, daughter of William Irvine, of Castle Irvine, County Fermanagh, and had issue,
Armytage Lenox;
Olivia; Sophia Elizabeth.
Mr Nicholson was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN ARMYTAGE NICHOLSON JP DL (1798-1872), of Balrath Bury, High Sheriff of County Meath, 1827, who married, in 1824, Elizabeth Rebecca, daughter of the Rt Rev and Rt Hon Nathaniel Alexander, Lord Bishop of Meath (nephew of James, 1st Earl of Caledon), by Anne his wife, daughter and heir of the Rt Hon Sir Richard Jackson, of Forkhill, by Anne his wife, sister of John, 1st Viscount O'Neill, and had issue,
Nathaniel Alexander;
John Hampden (Rev);
William Newcome;
Gilbert de Poulton;
Katharine; Anne.
Mr Nicholson was succeeded by his eldest son,

CHRISTOPHER ARMYTAGE NICHOLSON JP DL (1825-87), of Balrath Bury, High Sheriff of County Meath, 1856, who espoused, in 1858, Frances Augusta, eldest daughter of the Hon Augustus Henry MacDonald Moreton, and had issue,
GILBERT MORETON, died unmarried;
JOHN HAMPDEN, succeeded his brother;
Mary Jane; Elizabeth Katharine; Emilia Olivia.
The only surviving son,

JOHN HAMPDEN NICHOLSON JP (1871-1935), of Balrath Bury, High Sheriff of County Meath, 1895, married, in 1894, Florence Isabel, third daughter of Thomas Rothwell, of Rockfield, Kells, and had issue,
John Armytage;
Joyce Frances.
His elder son,

CAPTAIN CHRISTOPHER HAMPDEN NICHOLSON (1903-), of Balrath Bury, married, in 1928, Stephanie Adelaide Edwards, and had issue,
JOHN WARREN, his heir;
Virginia Rose.
His only son,

JOHN WARREN NICHOLSON, born in 1931, inherited Balrath House in the 1960s.

Photo credit: New York Social Diary

BALRATH BURY HOUSE, near Kells, County Meath, is a two-storey, pedimented, 18th century house.

It has seven bays with a curved bow at either end of the front.

Three more bays were added to the right; and seven more bays with another pediment plus two further bays to the left side.

Photo credit: New York Social Diary

Today, the front extends to nineteen bays and two bows.

The mansion suffered damage during the 2nd World War, having been used by the army.

It was subsequently reduced in size, in 1942, to the original block.

Balrath Bury is now in the American-Colonial style.

The principal rooms are on either side of a large hall, with a bifurcating staircase.

There is a long, Georgian, pedimented stable block.

It is thought that the most recent owners have been Frank and Carol Mallon.

First published in June, 2013.

Sunday, 25 February 2018

1st Earl of Lucan


The family of BINGHAM is of Saxon origin, and of very great antiquity.

It was originally seated at Sutton Bingham, Somerset; from whence it removed, during the reign of WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR, to Melcombe Bingham, Dorset.

SIR JOHN DE BINGHAM received the honour of knighthood in the reign of HENRY I, and from him descended, lineally,

ROBERT BINGHAM, said to have been lord of the manor of West Stafford, in 1246, and in an inquisition of the abbey of Abbotsbury, is stated to have given five shillings annual rent in Upwey to that monastery.

His son,

ROBERT DE BINGHAM, who held at his death, during the reign of EDWARD I, a tenement in West Stafford, of the king in chief, by service of half a knight's fee, as of the manor of Way Bayouse, and also the manor of Melcombe Bingham.

This gentleman's direct lineal descendant,

ROBERT BINGHAM, wedded Alice, daughter of Thomas Coker, of Mappowder, in Dorset, and had (with two daughters), eight sons, viz.
ROBERT, ancestor of Bingham of Melcombe Bingham;
RICHARD, of whom hereafter;
GEORGE (Sir), Knight;
Roger, dsp;
John (Sir), Knight, an officer in Ireland;
The third son,

SIR RICHARD BINGHAM (1528-99), Knight, of Melcombe, Dorset, became the most eminent person of his family, and one of the most celebrated captains of the age in which he lived.

At the time of the armada, Sir Richard was one of ELIZABETH I's military council.

He was instrumental in reducing insurrections in Ireland, in 1586, 1590, and 1593, and was eventually constituted marshal of that kingdom, and general of Leinster.

Sir Richard died at Dublin soon after attaining these honours, leaving an only daughter, when the representation of the family in Ireland devolved upon  his nephew,

HENRY BINGHAM (1573-c1658), of Castlebar, County Mayo (son of George Bingham, Governor of Sligo, who was killed by Ensign Ulick Burgh, ca 1596, which Ulick delivered up to the castle of O'Donnell and his adherents).

This Henry Bingham was created a baronet in 1634, denominated of Castlebar, County Mayo.

He wedded Miss Byrne, of Cabinteely, near Dublin, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR GEORGE BINGHAM, 2nd Baronet (1625-82), who was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR HENRY BINGHAM, 3rd Baronet (1654-1714), at whose decease, without issue, the titles devolved upon his half-brother,

SIR GEORGE, 4th Baronet, who was succeeded at his decease by his eldest son,

SIR JOHN BINGHAM, 5th Baronet (1696-1749), Governor and MP for County Mayo, who espoused Anne, daughter of Agmondisham Vesey, grandniece of the celebrated general (in the army of JAMES II) Patrick Sarsfield, Earl of Lucan, who fell at the battle of Landen, in Flanders; and great-granddaughter of CHARLES II, through His Majesty's illegitimate daughter, sister of the unfortunate Duke of Monmouth.

Sir John was an officer of rank on the side of JAMES II at the decisive conflict of Aughrim, and contributed to the success of WILLIAM III by deserting his colours in the very brunt of the battle.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR JOHN BINGHAM, 6th Baronet (1730-50), MP for County Mayo; but dying unmarried, the title devolved upon his brother,

SIR CHARLES BINGHAM, 7th Baronet (1735-99), MP for County Mayo, who was elevated to the peerage, in 1776, in the dignity of Baron Lucan, of Castlebar.

His lordship was advanced to the dignity of an earldom, in 1795, as EARL OF LUCAN.

He wedded, in 1760, Margaret, daughter and sole heir of John Smith, of Cannons Leigh, Devon, and Audries, Somerset, and had issue,
RICHARD, his successor;
Lavinia; Margaret; Anne.
His lordship was succeeded by his son,

RICHARD, 2nd Earl (1764-1839), who espoused, in 1794, the Lady Elizabeth Belasyse, third daughter and co-heir of Henry, 2nd Earl Fauconberg.
The present Earl has no sons or brothers.

The heir presumptive is the present holder's uncle, the Hon Hugh Bingham (b 1939).

The 7th Earl (above) has been missing since 1974.


Despite being owners of one of the largest estates in County Mayo, the Lucans were mainly absentee landlords, pursuing political and military careers elsewhere while their Mayo estates were administered by agents.
By the 19th century their estate was concentrated in the parishes of Aglish, Turlough and Ballyhean in the barony of Carra; Ballinrobe in the barony of Kilmaine; Killedan in the barony of Gallen; Kilmaclasser in the barony of Burrishoole; Oughaval and Kilgeever in the barony of Murrisk.
From, 1898, parts of the Lucan estate began to be sold to the Irish Congested Districts' Board.

In 1905, over 40,000 acres were purchased by the Board for a cost of over £100,000. In 1911, another 10,000 acres were bought.

The Lucan Estates company was set up in 1925.

The Earls of Lucan also owned an estate of over 1,000 acres at Laleham in Middlesex, now a golf club.

Its history is here.

Castlebar House, the County Mayo seat of the Lucans, was first burnt in 1798.

It was said to be
"romantically situated on the brow of a steep eminence overhanging the river, and attached to it is an extensive and well-wooded demesne, affording a pleasant promenade to the inhabitants of the town."
When resident in Castlebar during the 19th century, the Lucans lived in the lodge known as The Lawn (below), described in the Ordnance Survey Field Name Books as the residence of St Clair O'Malley, who was agent to the Earls of Lucan in the 1830s.

Castlebar House is referred to as the seat of the Earls of Lucan in 1894.

It was sold by the family ca 1920.

It became a convent but was subsequently burnt again.

The Earls of Lucan were seated at Laleham Abbey (or House), Surrey, from 1805-1928.

Lucan arms courtesy of European Heraldry. First published in January, 2012.

Tyrone Lieutenancy


SCOTT, Mr Robert W L, OBE JP



SCOTT, Mr Richard T M, DL




SHIELS, Mr Leslie A, JP DL

PINTO, Mr Dominic, OBE DL

BUTLER, Mr W Richard C, DL

ORR, Mr Thomas Neville, DL

McCAUL, Mrs Shiela A, MBE DL

NOLAN, Mrs Frances B, MBE DL

GAMBLE, Mr Sydney, DL

EASTWOOD, Mrs Geraldine, DL

COLHOUN, Miss Angela F, DL

O’HARE, Dr Brendan J, DL

CASTLE STEWART, Rt Hon the Countess, DL


BAXTER, Mr William James, QPM DL

BOYD, Mrs Gail Ann, DL

BELL, Mrs Meta, MBE DL


FRAZER, Mr David Iain, DL

McALEER, Mr Malachy Stephen, DL


PARKE, Charles Gregory, DL

WATERSON, Peter David, DL

DUFFY, Mrs Catherine, OBE DL

STRATTON, Mrs Maureen, DL

CUDDY, Mrs Elizabeth Ruth, OBE DL

Please advise me of any retirements or deaths.

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Wodehouse Gems: IV

Lady Glossop: Do you work, Mr Wooster?

Bertie Wooster: What, work? As in honest toil, you mean? Hewing the wood and drawing the old wet stuff and so forth?

Lady Glossop: Quite.

Bertie Wooster: Well... I've known a few people who worked. Absolutely swear by it, some of them. Boko Fittleworth almost had a job once.

Friday, 23 February 2018

Kenmare House


This family deduces its descent from

SIR VALENTINE BROWNE, Knight, of Croft, Lincolnshire, treasurer of the town of Berwick, auditor of the exchequer in England; and constituted Auditor-General of Ireland in the reigns of EDWARD VI and QUEEN MARY.

Sir Valentine died in 1567, leaving a son,

THE RT HON SIR VALENTINE BROWNE (-1589), his heir, who, in 1583, received instruction, jointly with Sir Henry Wallop, for the survey of several escheated lands in Ireland.

He was subsequently sworn of the Privy Council, and represented County Sligo in parliament in 1583.

In the same year, Sir Valentine purchased from Donald, Earl of Clancare, all the lands, manors, etc in counties Kerry and Cork, which had been in the possession of Teige Dermot MacCormac and Rorie Donoghoemore.

Sir Valentine married Thomasine, sister of the Lord Keeper of the Great Seal, Sir Nicholas Bacon, and had two sons; the second of whom,

SIR NICHOLAS BROWNE, Knight, of Ross, County Kerry, who wedded Sicheley Sheela, daughter of O'Sullivan Beake, and had issue,
VALENTINE, his heir;
Sir Nicholas died in 1616, and was succeeded by his son,

VALENTINE BROWNE, High Sheriff of County Kerry, 1623, who was created a baronet in 1622, denominated of Molahiffe, County Kerry.

Sir Valentine, after his father's decease, presented a petition to JAMES I, praying an abatement of the yearly rent reserved on the estate which he held from the Crown, as an undertaker, at the annual sum of £113 6s 8d, in regard of the small profit he made of it, being set out in the most barren and remote part of County Kerry; which request was complied with, and he received a confirmation, by patent, of all his lands at a reduced rent.

He married Elizabeth, fifth daughter of Gerald, Earl of Kildare, and was succeeded by his grandson,

SIR VALENTINE BROWNE, 3rd Baronet (1638-94); who was sworn of the Privy Council of JAMES II, and created by that monarch, subsequently to his abdication, in 1689, Baron Castlerosse and Viscount Kenmare.

His lordship, who was colonel of infantry in the army of JAMES II, forfeited his estates by his inviolable fidelity to that unfortunate monarch.

He wedded Jane, only daughter and heir of Sir Nicholas Plunket, and niece of Lucas, Earl of Fingall, and had five sons and four daughters.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR NICHOLAS, 4th Baronet (called 2nd Viscount); an officer of rank in the service of JAMES II, and attainted in consequence, who espoused, in 1664, Helen, eldest daughter and co-heir of Thomas Brown, by whom he obtained a very considerable fortune, but which, with his own estates, became forfeited for his life.

The crown, however, allowed his lady a rent-charge of £400 per year for the maintenance of herself and her children.

Sir Nicholas died in 1720, leaving four daughters and his son and successor,

SIR VALENTINE BROWNE, 5th Baronet (called 3rd Viscount) (1695-1736), who continued outlawed by the attainder of his father and grandfather.

He married, in 1720, Honora, second daughter of Colonel Thomas Butler, and great-grandniece of James, Duke of Ormonde, by whom he had issue, Thomas, his successor, and two daughters.

Sir Valentine espoused secondly, in 1735, Mary, Dowager Countess of Fingall, by whom he left a posthumous daughter, Mary Frances.

He was succeeded by his only son,

SIR THOMAS BROWNE, 6th Baronet (called 4th Viscount) (1726-95), who wedded, in 1750, Anne, only daughter of Thomas Cooke, of Painstown, County Carlow, by whom he had a son and a daughter, Catherine, married to Count de Durfort-Civrac.

He was succeeded by his son,

SIR VALENTINE BROWNE, 7th Baronet (called 5th Viscount) (1754-1812), who was created (the viscountcy of JAMES II never having been acknowledged in law), in 1798, Baron Castlerosse and Viscount Kenmare.

His lordship was further advanced to the dignity of an earldom, in 1800, as EARL OF KENMARE.

He married firstly, in 1777, Charlotte, daughter of Henry, 11th Viscount Dillon, and had an only daughter, Charlotte.

His lordship wedded secondly, in 1785, Mary, eldest daughter of Michael Aylmer, of Lyons, County Kildare, and had issue,
VALENTINE, his successor;
Marianne; Frances.
The 5th Earl was the last Lord-Lieutenant of County Kerry, from 1905 until 1922.

The original Kenmare House (above) was built in 1726, after the estates were recovered by Sir Valentine Browne, 5th Baronet and 3rd Viscount Kenmare in the Jacobite peerage.

It was a grandiose structure with the characteristics of a French château, perhaps influenced by the Brownes' time spent exiled in France with JAMES II.

Lord Kenmare designed the house himself: It was two stories high and had dormered attics and steep, slated roofs.

There were thirteen bays in front of the house, with three bays on each side of the centre breaking forward. A servant’s wing was added around 1775.

In 1861 Valentine, Lord Castlerosse, played host to Queen Victoria at Killarney.

During the visit of the Queen to Kenmare House, Her Majesty chose the site of Killarney House, a vast Victorian-Tudor mansion, which was the successor to Kenmare House.

The 4th Earl of Kenmare decided to build a new mansion (above), on a hillside with spectacular views of Lough Leane in 1872.

The old house was demolished and an Elizabethan-Revival manor house erected on a more elevated site. The cost was well over £100,000.

This house was supposed to have been instigated by Lady Kenmare (Gertrude Thynne, granddaughter of Thomas, 2nd Marquess of Bath, and inspired by Lord Bath's genuinely Elizabethan seat, Longleat in Wiltshire (which is not red-brick).

It was not unusual for the descendants of Elizabethan or Jacobean settlers in Ireland to assert their comparative antiquity in this period by building "Jacobethan" houses.

The house, which in addition to its other defects apparently did not sit happily in the landscape as it had many gables and oriels.

The interior was panelled and hung with Spanish leather.

It was considered to be one of the finest mansions in Ireland.

Kenmare House was burnt twice: once, in 1879, just after its completion; and again, and finally, in November, 1913.

It was never rebuilt.

The stable block of the older Kenmare House, however, was converted for family use.

Killarney House and the Browne estate in Kerry were donated by Mrs Grosvenor (niece of 7th Earl) to form Killarney National Park.

The Victorian mansion was demolished in 1872 by the 4th Earl, when it was accidentally destroyed by fire in 1913 and never rebuilt; instead, the stable block was converted into the present Kenmare House.

In 1866, King Leopold II of Belgium visited the Kenmares at Killarney.

Sir Edwin Lutyens (the architect for Lady Kenmare's brother, the 3rd Baron Revelstoke, at Lambay Castle on Lambay Island, County Dublin, advised Lord Kenmare to build the new Kenmare House.

This Kenmare House was later abandoned and sold when a new Kenmare House was built.

This new manor was confusingly constructed on the site of the former Killarney House by Mrs Beatrice Grosvenor in 1956.

Less than twenty years later, in 1974, the house was replaced.

This last Kenmare House was built on the Killorglin Road, beside the Killarney golf course and the Castlerosse Hotel.

The sale of Kenmare House in 1985 to Denis P Kelleher effectively marked the end of the Kenmare family's proprietary connection with Killarney, after 450 years.

First published in August, 2011.  Kenmare arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Londonderry Lieutenancy



MILLAR, Mrs Alison




BOYLE, Mr E A Harry, JP DL

McGINNIS, Mr William, OBE DL

MOORE, Mr W Robert L, DL

HILL, Mr J Desmond, DL

McKENNA, Professor Gerry, DL

O’DONNELL, Mrs Rosemary, DL

DAVIDSON, Mr Alastair, DL

McKEOWN, Mr William, MBE DL

DALY, Dr John G, DL

McVEIGH, the Rev Canon Samuel, MBE TD DL


MARK, Mrs Helen, DL


YOUNG, Mrs Lorraine Martha, JP DL


ARCHIBALD, Mr Richard Neal, DL

Please advise me of any retirements or deaths.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

The Nesbitt Estate


ALEXANDER NESBITT (of the Nesbitts of Dirleton)  was the first of this branch who went from Scotland to Ulster.

He married his cousin Alice, daughter of the Very Rev Alexander Conyngham, of Tower, County Donegal, Dean of Raphoe, and had three sons,
JAMES, of Woodhill;
The eldest son,

JAMES NESBITT, of Woodhill, County Donegal, married Margary, only daughter of the Rt Rev Andrew Knox, Lord Bishop of Raphoe, and had issue,
George, his heir;
JAMES, of whom we treat;
The second son,

JAMES NESBITT, of Tubberdaly, County Offaly, who married and had issue.

This branch became extinct in the male line; the representative in the female line, however,

THOMASINA NESBITT, heiress of Tubberdaly, wedded the Rev Clotworthy Downing, and their son, John Downing, assumed the surname of NESBITT.

This John inherited the farm at Tubberdaly from his uncle, Gifford Nesbitt (son of Albert Nesbitt), in 1773.

When William George Downing Nesbitt died in 1847 (at Leixlip House), he left Tubberdaly to his sister, Catherine Nesbitt.
Miss Nesbitt, as she was known, was very good to her staff and to the local people. She gave large amounts of money to such projects as building a bird house at Dublin Zoo and the building of a branch railway line from Edenderry to Enfield to join up with the main line from the west.
As well as her estate at Tubberdaly, Miss Nesbitt had large tracts of land in counties Roscommon, Londonderry, Antrim and Kildare.

In 1886, Miss Nesbitt left Tubberdaly to her nephew, Edward John Beaumont-Nesbitt, who was High Sheriff of King's County, 1892-93.

THE NESBITT FAMILY originally occupied the tower house in Tubberdaly onto which they built a gazebo from where there was a commanding view of the estate and the surrounding area.

They later built a large house and employed a large staff of people to work on the estate.

They also had a walled garden, which provided a large quantity of fruit and vegetables.

In 1923 the family home of the Nesbitts was burned to the ground.

It was one of eight country mansions burned on that night in County Offaly.

It is thought that the motive was to persuade the new government to divide the land among the local people when the landlords had been driven out.

Also burned on that night was the home of Judge Wakely at Ballyburley and the lovely Greenhill House, the home of The Dames family.

Edward John Beaumont Nesbitt had left Ireland in 1920 following a number of disputes with his staff, including a strike which lasted for three months.

In 1925, the Irish Land Commission took over the estate and paid compensation to Mr Nesbitt for his loss.

The land was eventually divided among local people.

Ernest Frederick Charles Spiridion, Count de Lusi (1817-87), was married to Jane Downing Nesbitt.

First published in January, 2012.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Portumna Castle


The family of DE BURGH, DE BURGO, BOURKE OR BURKE (as at different times written), Earls and Marquesses of Clanricarde, ranked among the most distinguished peers in the British Isles, and deduced an uninterrupted line of powerful nobles from the Conquest.

HUBERT DE BURGH (c1160-1243), 1st Earl of Kent, was one of the greatest subjects in Europe, in the reigns of JOHN and HENRY III.

His uncle,

ADELM DE BURGH, settled in Ireland, and was ancestor of

RICHARD DE BURGH (c1194-1242), surnamed the Great Lord of Connaught, who was Lord Deputy of Ireland in 1227.

This Richard rebuilt Galway Castle in 1232, and that of Loughrea in 1236.

He was a man of high authority and power, and died on his passage to France, in proceeding to meet the King of England at Bordeaux, attended "by his barons and knights".

Mr de Burgh espoused, before 1225, Egidia, daughter of Walter de Lacy, and had issue,
Richard,  Lord of Connaught;
Walter, 1st Earl of Ulster;
Margery; Alice;
two unnamed daughters.
His third son,

WILLIAM DE BURGH, known by the surname of Athankip, from being put to death at that place by the king of Connaught, was succeeded by his son,

SIR WILLIAM DE BURGH, who, having married a daughter of the family of MacJordan, left, with other issue, at his decease in 1324,
John (1350-98);
Thomas, Lord Treasurer of Ireland, 1331;
John, father of John, Archbishop of Tuam;
The eldest son,

SIR ULICK DE BURGH, feudal Lord of Clanricarde, was a person of great power, and distinguished, like his progenitors, in arms.

He wedded Agnes, daughter of the Earl of Warwick; and dying in 1429, was succeeded by his son,

ULICK DE BURGH, of Clanricarde, who espoused Egeline, daughter of Hugh de Courtenay; and dying in 1451, was succeeded by his eldest son,

ULICK DE BURGH, who was succeeded by his son,

ULICK DE BURGHwho was created, by HENRY VIII, at Greenwich, 1543, Baron of Dunkellin and EARL OF CLANRICARDE; and obtained, at the same time from the His Majesty a grant of the monastery of Abbeygormican, alias de Via Nova, in the diocese of Clonfert, with the patronages and donations of all the rectories etc in Clanricarde and Dunkellin belonging to the Crown.

His lordship did not, however, long enjoy his honours; and dying in the following year, 1544, was succeeded by his only son,

RICHARD, 2nd Earl, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland; who overthrew, in conjunction with Sir Richard Bingham, the Scots army, at the river Moye, in 1553.

His lordship married Margaret, daughter of Murrough, Earl of Thomond, and had issue, ULICK, Lord Dunkellin.

His lordship died in 1582, and was succeeded by his son,

ULICK, 3rd Earl, who wedded Honora, daughter of John Burke, and had issue,
John, 1st Viscount Burke, of Clanmories;
His lordship died in 1601, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

RICHARD (1572-1635), 4th Earl, surnamed of Kinsale, from the valour he had displayed against the rebels there.

His lordship was created an English peer, in 1624, Baron Somerhill and Viscount Tunbridge, Kent.

He was advanced to an earldom, in 1628, as Earl of St Albans.

His lordship married Frances, daughter of Sir Francis Walsingham and widow of Sir Philip Sydney, and of ELIZABETH I's unfortunate favourite, the Earl of Essex, by whom he had one son, ULICK, his successor, and two daughters, Mary, wife of Edmund, son of James, Earl of Ormonde; and Honora, married to John Paulet, Marquess of Winchester.

He was succeeded by his only son,

ULICK (1604-57), 5th Earl of Clanricarde and 2nd Earl of St Albans.

His lordship was elevated to a marquessate, in 1644, as MARQUESS OF CLANRICARDE.

He espoused the Lady Anne Compton, only daughter of William, Earl of Northampton, and had an only daughter,
MARGARET, m Charles, Viscount Muskerry.
His lordship dying thus without male issue, the marquessate and his English honours expired; while the Irish earldom of Clanricarde and the barony of Dunkellin reverted to his first cousin,

RICHARD, 6th Earl; at whose decease, without issue, the honours devolved upon his brother,

WILLIAM, 7th Earl, who married firstly, Lettice, only daughter of Sir Henry Shirley, and had issue,
RICHARD, his successor;
JOHN, succeeded his brother;
His lordship wedded secondly, Helen, daughter of Donough, 1st Earl of Clancarty, and had issue,
Ulick, 1st Viscount Galway;
Margaret; Honora.
His lordship was succeeded at his decease, in 1687, by his eldest son,

RICHARD, 8th Earl, who wedded Elizabeth Bagnell, and had an only daughter, Lady Dorothy Bourke.

He was succeeded by his brother,

JOHN (1642-1722), 9th Earl, who espoused Bridget, daughter of James Talbot; and was succeeded by his son,

MICHAEL. 10th Earl, who wedded Anne, daughter and co-heiress of John Smith, of Tudworth, Hampshire, Speaker of the House of Commons, and subsequently Chancellor of the Exchequer, by whom he had two sons and two daughters. 

Dying in 1726, he was succeeded by his only surviving son,

JOHN SMITH (1642-1722), 11th Earl, who died in 1782 and was succeeded by his eldest son,

THE RT HON HENRY, Privy Counsellor, Knight of St Patrick, Governor of County Galway, who was created, in 1785, MARQUESS OF CLANRICARDE (second creation).

His lordship died without issue in 1797, when the marquessate expired, and his lordship's other titles devolved upon his only brother,

JOHN, 13th and 1st Earl of Clanricarde, a General in the army, Colonel of the 66th Foot, who wedded, in 1799, Eliza, daughter of the late Sir Thomas Burke Bt, of Marble Hill.
In 1800, Lord Clanricarde obtained a grant, conferring the dignity of countess upon his daughters in succession, and that of Earl of Clanricarde upon their male issue, according to priority of birth, in case of the failure of his own male descendants.
His lordship's eldest son,

ULICK JOHN, KP, 14th and 2nd Earl, married, in 1825, Harriet, only daughter of the Rt Hon George Canning, HM Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.

This nobleman and statesman was elevated to a marquessate, in 1825, as MARQUESS OF CLANRICARDE (third creation).

Earls of Clanricarde; Second creation (1800; Reverted)

PORTUMNA CASTLE, built near the shore of the northern extremity of Lough Derg on the river Shannon in the reign of JAMES I, was stated to be without equal in Ireland at the time in style, grandeur and distinction.

The elegance of Portumna can be attributed to the taste, experience and wealth of its builder, Richard Burke, 4th Earl of Clanricarde.

It was built between 1610 and 1618 at a cost of £10,000, and Lord Clanricarde also built a mansion at Somerhill, Tonbridge Wells, in Kent.

Portumna was one of the first, if not the first, building in Ireland to admit some of the Renaissance refinements already common in Italy and France for over a century, but which took so long to filter through to Ireland.

The shell of this great mansion conveys an impression of alien splendour, and the overall effect is unique and has a curiously continental air.

The Renaissance features of the exterior of Portumna are - strictly speaking - limited to the fine doorcase of the front entrance and the Tuscan gateway of the innermost courtyard, but the very layout is an expression of Renaissance ideas.

The castle is symmetrical in shape and consists of three stories over a basement with square corner projecting towers.

A central corridor runs longitudinally from top to bottom, supported by stone walls, which contain numerous recesses and fireplaces.

The approach is elaborate from the north with gardens, avenues and three gates.

The formal gardens of Portumna Castle were laid out in the 17th century and were the first Italian or Renaissance gardens to be introduced to Ireland.

It is reputed that the 4th Earl copied the style of Sir John’s garden for his castle at Portumna.

The stately gardens of the 17th century contained formal walks, arbours, parterres, and hedges, as well as jets d’eau, or fountains, artificial cascades, columns, statues, grottoes and similar puerilities.

The inner courtyard, known as the Grianan, was the ladies' pleasure ground.

It contained shrubs, seats, pathways and lawns, where the ladies of the castle congregated, did their embroidery, and discussed womanly affairs.

Fifteen Earls and Marquesses of Clanricarde owned Portumna from 1543-1916.

In the latter years, Hubert de Burgh-Canning, 2nd Marquess, 15th and 3rd Earl of Clanricarde (1832–1916) died. 
He was said to have been a notorious miser and eccentric who dressed like a tramp and spent his life in London; and on his death the estate at Portumna passed to his nephew, Henry Viscount Lascelles, afterwards 6th Earl of Harewood. 
In 1928, Princess Mary and her husband, the same Lord Lascelles, visited Portumna, and by all accounts received a cordial welcome.

They mixed with all the people and visited all the formal schools and institutions in town as well as attending various meetings.

The Portumna estate was acquired by the Irish Government in 1948, with the castle being allocated to the then Office of Public Works, the 1,500 acre demesne to the Forestry Commission and land being given for a Golf Course and sports pitch.

Lord Clanricarde was a friend of Sir John Danvers and shared his great love of gardens.
The castle was accidentally burned in 1826; it was very grand and highly interesting; its staircase, its great hall and its state drawing-room were very handsome; its library was a long apartment in the highest storey.  
Several of its rooms acquired an impressive and venerable air from the presence of old family portraits and a large quantity of ancient furniture; opulent plasterwork friezes; carved armorial bearings; and it commanded a brilliant and very extensive prospect of Lough Derg, the River Shannon and the surrounding countryside.
The Castle remained ruinous until work commenced on its restoration by the Irish State in 1968.

To date, the shell and the internal walls have been faithfully restored, and the roof and chimneys which are in place protect the castle from the elements.

The windows, fireplaces and flooring joists and basement have been restored and elaborate archaeological work has been carried out on the outside.

Once the main staircase and internal floors have been installed, the most difficult of the restoration work will have been achieved. 

First published in August, 2011.  Clanricarde arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Sunday, 18 February 2018

County of Londonderry

A maritime county in the north of Ulster bounded, on the north, by the Atlantic Ocean; on the east, by County Antrim; on the south, by County Tyrone; and on the west, by Lough Neagh, Lough Beg, the Lower (river) Bann, and County Donegal in the Irish Republic.

The river Ballinderry traces the southern boundary over the last five miles of its run to Lough Neagh.

A lofty line of watershed along the central summits of the great mountainous district of northern Ulster forms most of the boundary westward from the vale of the river Ballinderry to Foyle Valley.

An artificial line of about eight miles in extent winds round a district on the west side of the River Foyle, down to the beginning of that river's expansion into estuary; and Lough Foyle forms the whole of the western boundary thence to the ocean.

The district east of the River Bann extends at Coleraine; and the district west of the River Foyle, that of Londonderry; so that, but for the artificial disposition of territory connected with these two towns, the Bann and the Foyle would have formed boundary-lines over the entire extent of their contact with the county, and rendered it a naturally well-defined region, from river to river, and from the line of watershed to the ocean.

The outline of the county is roughly triangular, with its sides facing the east, the south-west and the north-west.

Its area comprises almost 520,000 acres.

The highest mountaain is Sawel Mountain (The Sperrins), at 2,224 feet.

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Kenure Park



ROGER PALMER (alleged to have been the third son of Edward Palmer, of Nayton and Casterton, Norfolk) went over to Ireland and had a grant of Castle Lackin, and many other lands in County Mayo, in 1684.
His signature appears to the address from the nobility and gentry of County Mayo to CHARLES II in 1682. 
The Palmer family had come to Ireland in 1681 from Norfolk, and had acquired lands in County Mayo, where by the end of the 19th Century, they had amassed 80,000 acres. 
THOMAS PALMER, of Castle Lackin, second son of Roger Palmer, of Palmerstown, in the same county, was succeeded by his eldest son,

ROGER PALMER, who was created a baronet in 1777, denominated of Castle Lackin.

Sir Roger wedded Miss Andrews, and had issue,
JOHN ROGER, his successor;
WILLIAM HENRY, succeeded his brother;
He died about 1790, and was succeeded by his elder son,

SIR JOHN ROGER PALMER, 2nd Baronet, who married Mary, only daughter of the Rev Thomas Althem, and was succeeded at his decease, in 1819, by his brother,

SIR WILLIAM HENRY PALMER, 3rd Baronet, of Castle Lackin, who espoused Alice, daughter of _____ Franklin, and had issue,
Francis Roger;
John Roger;
Charlotte Alice; Augusta Sophia; Ellen Ambrosia.
Sir William died in 1840, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR WILLIAM HENRY ROGER PALMER, 4th Baronet (1802-69), who married and was succeeded by his only son,

LIEUTENANT-GENERAL SIR ROGER WILLIAM HENRY PALMER, 5th and last Baronet (1832-1910), MP for Mayo, 1857-65.

Kenure Park

The Palmers owned a number of seats, including Keenagh Lodge, Crossmolina, and the ruinous Castle Lackin in County Mayo; Cefn Park, near Wrexham, North Wales; Glenisland, Maidenhead, Berkshire.

Their principal Irish seat (through marriage) was Kenure Park, near Rush, County Dublin, where the estate comprised 3,991 acres.

Lieutenant-General Sir Roger Palmer, 5th and last Baronet, MP for Mayo, 1857-65, was Ellen Palmer's only brother.

He resided at Kenure with his wife, Gertrude Millicent, until his death in 1910.

Lady Palmer survived her husband for many years. She continued to spend much of her time in Kenure (above) until her death in 1929.

There are people in Rush who still remember the parties held in the house for the children of the town.

Sir Roger and Lady Palmer left no heirs, and the property devolved to Colonel Roderick Henry Fenwick-Palmer, who had fought in the 1st World War, and still bore the marks of shrapnel wounds to his face.

He had property of his own in Wrexham, North Wales, and only came to Kenure in the summer.

A plain man, he was not given to living the high life, apart from dining occasionally with friends, such as the late Lord Revelstoke.

He spent a lot of money trying to keep the house in repair.

He was finally defeated by rising costs on a property which was not making money.

Part of the estate had already been sold years before.

He eventually sold Kenure to the Irish Land Commission, in 1964, for £70.000.

Most of the land was divided up among local farmers.

The remainder was sold to Dublin County Council for housing and playing fields.

The woodland was cleared and all that now remains of the trees, which once dominated the skyline, is a small area around the main gate.

The front gate lodge is now the local Scouts' Den.

The gate lodge at Skerries Road belongs to Rush Cricket Club, which has beautifully refurbished it.

The Gate-Keeper's Lodge, the walled garden, the Steward's Lodge, the pond and shady avenues, have all gone the way of the big house itself. Only the portico remains, a stark remainder of what once was there.

The contents of the house were auctioned in September 1964, the auction lasted four days and realised £250,000, which would be over £1,000,000 in present day values.

Socially, Kenure had been a place apart from the ordinary life of the town, but it had been there for hundreds of years, an essential part of the Rush scene.

The general feeling was one of regret and disbelief that it was disintegrating.

As landlords, the Palmers had not been the worst.

However, there had been some evictions, and one action, which is still adversely remembered, was the removal of some of their tenants from their ancient holdings in order to lengthen the main avenue and have the main entrance gate near the town.

Nevertheless the Palmers were in many ways beneficent to Rush.

They gave land for the Catholic and Protestant churches, for a presbytery and for a teacher's residence.

In 1896, when the Catholic church was being refurbished, they donated the seating for the nave, and a brass memorial tablet in the church testifies to this.

A portion of the estate was allocated to the local cricket club, and it was certainly the most beautifully situated cricket pitch in north County Dublin.

Dublin County Council was left with an empty mansion, for which they could find no buyer.

The house continued to deteriorate.

During this time it was rented to a film company and a few films were made there, including "Ten Little Indians", "Rocket to the Moon", and "The Fall of Fu Manchu".

In 1978, after a series of incidents in which the house was vandalized and set on fire, with the inevitable water damage that resulted from the fire engines having to put out the blaze, the house was in a very dangerous condition structurally.

The County Council decided it had no choice but to demolish the house.

Within a few days, all that was left of this once great house was a mountain of rubble, from which the massive portico arose, forlorn and lonely against the sky.

First published in September, 2011. Select bibliography: KENURE HOUSE AND DEMESNE