Friday, 22 June 2018

House of Stewart


This branch of the noble house of STEWART claims a common ancestor with the Earls of Galloway; namely, Sir William Stewart, of Garlies, from whose second son, Sir Thomas Stewart, of Minto.

WILLIAM STEWART, of Ballylawn Castle, County Donegal (great-grandson of John Stewart, who had a grant from CHARLES I of Stewart's Court Manor, where he erected Ballylawn Castle), took an active part in Ulster affairs in order to prevent the subversion of the constitution, which JAMES II and his chief governor, the Earl of Tyrconnell, were attempting to effect.

He raised a troop of horse at his own expense when the city of Londonderry was occupied, and actively promoted the Protestant interest there by protecting those who were favourably disposed to WILLIAM III.

Mr Stewart was appointed lieutenant-colonel in the regiment commanded by Sir William Stewart, Viscount Mountjoy.

He married the daughter of William Stewart, of Fort Stewart, County Donegal (grandson of the Rt Hon Sir William Stewart Bt, whose descendant was created Baron Stewart of Ramelton and Viscount Mountjoy), and died leaving issue, a daughter,

MARTHA, who wedded John Kennedy, of Cultra, County Down; and two sons, of whom

THOMAS KENNEDY, the eldest, succeeded at Ballylawn Castle, and served as a captain in Lord Mountjoy's regiment.

He espoused Mary, second daughter of Bernard Ward (ancestor of the Viscounts Bangor), by Mary, sister of the Rt Rev Michael Ward, Lord Bishop of Derry; and dying without issue, 1740, was succeeded by his only brother,

ALEXANDER STEWART (1699-1781), who represented the city of Londonderry in parliament, and purchased the estate of MOUNT STEWART, County Down, from the Colville family.

He married, in 1737, his cousin Mary, only daughter of Alderman John Cowan, of Londonderry (by Anne Stewart, second daughter of Alexander Stewart, of Ballylawn Castle, and sister and sole heir of Sir Robert Cowan, Governor of Bombay), and had issue,
ROBERT, his heir;
William, died in infancy;
John, 1744-62;
Alexander;
Anne; Frances; Mary.
The eldest son,

ROBERT STEWART (1739-1821), of Ballylawn Castle, County Donegal, and of Mount Stewart, County Down, who, having represented the latter county in parliament, and having been sworn a member of the Privy Council, was elected to the Irish peerage, in 1789, as Baron Londonderry.

His lordship was advanced to a viscountcy, in 1795, as Viscount Castlereagh and, in 1796, Earl of Londonderry.

His lordship was further advanced, in 1816, to the dignity of a marquessate, as MARQUESS OF LONDONDERRY.

His lordship wedded firstly, in 1766, the Lady Sarah Frances Seymour-Conway, second daughter of Francis, 1st Marquess of Hertford, and had issue,
Alexander Francis, 1767-9;
ROBERT, his successor.
He wedded secondly, in 1775, the Lady Frances Pratt, eldest daughter of Charles, 1st Earl Camden, and had issue,
CHARLES WILLIAM, 3rd Marquess;
Alexander John, 1783-1800;
Thomas Henry, 1790-1810;
Frances Anne; Elizabeth Mary; Caroline; Georgiana;
Selina Sarah Juliana; Matilda Charlotte; Emily Jane; Catharine Octavia.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

ROBERT, 2nd Marquess (1769-1822), KG, GCH, PC.
The heir presumptive is his brother Lord Reginald Alexander Vane-Tempest-Stewart (b. 1977).
The heir presumptive's heir is his son Robin Gabriel Vane-Tempest-Stewart (b 2004).
Former seats ~ Mount Stewart, County Down; Wynyard Park, County Durham; Seaham Hall, near Stockton-on-Tees.

Former London residence ~ Londonderry House, Park Lane.

First published in March, 2012.

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Donamon Castle

THE CAULFEILDS WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY ROSCOMMON, WITH 6,632 ACRES

THE REV AND HON CHARLES CAULFEILD (1686-1768), Rector of Donaghenry, County Tyrone, second son of William, 2nd Viscount Charlemont, married Alice, daughter of John Houston, and had issue,
Charles;
JOHN, of whom we treat;
James.
The younger son,

COLONEL JOHN CAULFEILD, of Donamon Castle, County Roscommon, wedded Mary, daughter of Henry Irvine, and had issue,
ST GEORGE, his heir;
Harriet.
Colonel Caulfeild succeeded, in 1778, to the estates of his kinsman, ST GEORGE CAULFEILD, Lord Chief Justice of Ireland, grandson of the Hon Thomas Caulfeild, of Donamon, youngest son of William, 2nd Baron Charlemont.

His only son and heir,

ST GEORGE CAULFEILD (1780-1810), of Donamon Castle, espoused, in 1802, Frances, daughter of Sir Edward Crofton, 2nd Baronet, and had issue,
FRANCIS ST GEORGE, his heir;
Harriet; Frances Henrietta.
The only son and heir,

FRANCIS ST GEORGE CAULFEILD JP (1806-96), married, in 1830, Susannah Anne, daughter of Sir Edward Crofton, 3rd Baronet, and had issue,
ST GEORGE FRANCIS ROBERT, his heir;
Alfred Henry;
Emily Susan; Fanny Florence.
Mr Caulfeild was succeeded by his eldest son,

ST GEORGE FRANCIS ROBERT CAULFEILD, who wedded Louisa Ann, daughter of Thomas Russell Crampton, and had issue, an only child,

ALGERNON THOMAS ST GEORGE CAULFEILD JP (1869-1933), of Donamon Castle, County Roscommon, High Sheriff of County Roscommon, 1899.


DONAMON CASTLE, Roscommon, County Roscommon, is a 15th century castle with a lofty arch between its towers, similar to that at Bunratty Castle.

It was enhanced towards the end of the 18th century with sash windows and Gothic-Georgian battlements.

The Castle was enlarged and altered again the in middle of the 19th century.

In 1939 the Divine Word Missionaries came to Ireland and purchased the castle from the Irish Land Commission.

The Missionary Society constructed several new buildings to create a campus for training people before they went into the field.

The Castle itself is still their home in Ireland.

The training campus is now managed by the Irish Wheelchair Association as a holiday centre.

The Hamilton Baronetcy (1781)

THE HAMILTON BARONETCY, OF DUNAMANAGH, COUNTY TYRONE, WAS CREATED IN 1781 FOR JOHN STUART HAMILTON, POLITICIAN

JOHN HAMILTON, of Dullerton, County Tyrone, and jure uxoris of Manor Elieston, married Sarah, daughter of Sir William Hamilton, of Manor Elieston, son of Sir Claud Hamilton, brother of James, 1st Earl of Abercorn, and son of Claud, 1st Lord Paisley.

Mr Hamilton's son,

JOHN HAMILTON, of Dunamanagh (Donemana), County Tyrone, had, with another daughter, wife of John Hamilton, of Hamilton's Grove, County Antrim, at least other three daughters and a son, viz.

WILLIAM HAMILTON (1708-62), of Dunamanagh, County Tyrone, MP for Strabane, 1733-62, married, in 1735, Catherine, daughter of the Rev Dr George Leslie, of Ballyconnell House, County Cavan, and had issue,

JOHN STUART HAMILTON (c1740-1802), MP for Strabane, 1763-97, who married Sarah, daughter of Frederick, 3rd Viscount Boyne.

Mr Hamilton was created a baronet in 1781, denominated of Dunamanagh, County Tyrone.
Sir John was a member of the Dublin Society, 1769-76. His membership lapsed in 1777 but was renewed more than twenty years later in 1798. He was listed by the Society as a member in 1802-03, and deleted ca 1804.
It is thought that the following statement alludes to the 1st Baronet, Sir John Stuart Hamilton:
"When he was but nineteen he was unanimously elected one of the representatives in Parliament for Strabane, in which high and honourable station he behaved for upwards of thirty years with a conduct suitable to the great confidence reposed in him:

To his immortal honour he was one of those heroic patriots of Fabrician fortitude, who signalized themselves in so conspicuous a manner in the successful defence of the pass, which in 1753 was strenuously attempted to be forced, in order to overthrow the parliamentary constitution of this country; for which they were distinguished from their opponents by their wearing gold medals in memory of that glorious epoch:

And so sensible were his constituents of his singular merit and invariable principles in favour of his country, that at the late general election they unanimously re-elected him
"to represent them in parliament; the goodness and benevolence of his heart endeared him to all, and render his death universally lamented. He is succeeded in his estate by John Hamilton, Esq., his eldest son and heir."
SIR JOHN CHARLES HAMILTON, 2nd Baronet, died in 1818, when the baronetcy expired. 

First published in January, 2011

The Duke of Cambridge

HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS Prince William Philip Arthur Louis, Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Strathearn, Baron Carrickfergus, KG, KT, PC, is 36 today.
  • Royal Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter 
  • Extra Knight of the Most Ancient & Most Noble Order of the Thistle
  • Colonel, Irish Guards
  • Lieutenant-Commander, Royal Navy
  • Major in the Army
  • Squadron-Leader, Royal Air Force
  • Personal Aide-de-Camp to HM The Queen

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Geashill Castle

THE BARONS DIGBY WERE THE LARGEST LANDOWNERS IN KING'S COUNTY,WITH 29,722 ACRES


The original surname of this ancient family is said to have been TILTON, assumed from their residence at Tilton, Leicestershire; and the alteration is supposed to have taken place in 1256, when that abode was abandoned for Digby, Lincolnshire.

Almost two centuries later we find

SIR EVERARD DIGBY, filling the office of High Sheriff of Rutland, 1460, and representing that county in parliament.

Sir Everard fell at the battle of Towton, 1461, fighting under the banner of the unfortunate HENRY VI.

He married Jaquetta, daughter and co-heir of Sir John Ellis, of Devon, and left (with one daughter), seven sons, of whom the eldest were,
Everard;
SIMON, of whom hereafter;
John.
The second son,

SIR SIMON DIGBY, Knight, of Coleshill, Warwickshire, having contributed mainly, with his six valiant brothers, to the Earl of Richmond's success at Bosworth, was rewarded, after the accession of HENRY VII, with large grants of lands and lucrative public employments.

Sir Simon wedded Alice, daughter and heir of John Walleys, of East Radston, Devon; and dying in 1519, was succeeded by his elder son,

REGINALD DIGBY, of Coleshill, who espoused Anne, daughter and co-heir of John Danvers, of Calthorpe, Oxfordshire, and was succeeded by his son,

JOHN DIGBY, who married Anne, eldest daughter of Sir George Throckmorton, and was succeeded by his son,

GEORGE DIGBY (1550-87), of Coleshill, MP for Warwickshire, 1572-84, who wedded Abigail, daughter of Sir Anthony Heveningham, of Ketteringham, Norfolk, and had, with other issue,
ROBERT, his successor;
John, created EARL OF BRISTOL;
Elizabeth.
The son and heir,

SIR ROBERT DIGBY (1574-1618), MP for Warwickshire, 1601, who received that honour from Robert, Earl of Essex, at Dublin, 1596, represented the borough of Athy in parliament, 1613, and was called to the privy council.

He espoused Lettice, daughter and heir of Gerald, Lord Offaly, and granddaughter of Gerald, 11th Earl of Kildare, and had issue,
ROBERT, his heir;
Essex (Rt Rev), Lord Bishop of Dromore;
George;
Gerald;
John;
Symon;
Philip.
This Lettice was created Baroness Offaly for life, and brought into the Digby family the barony of Geashill, in the King's County.

Sir Robert was succeeded by his eldest son,

ROBERT DIGBY (c1599-1642), who was elevated to the peerage, in 1620, as BARON DIGBY, of Geashill, King's County.

His lordship espoused the Lady Sarah Boyle, daughter of Richard, 1st Earl of Cork, and was succeeded, in 1642, by his son,

KILDARE, 2nd Baron, whose two elder sons,
ROBERT, 3rd Baron;
SIMON, 4th Baron.
Both brothers succeeded in turn to the barony, and dying without issue, a younger brother,

WILLIAM, 5th Baron (1661-1752), who married the Lady Jane Noel, daughter of Edward, 1st Earl of Gainsborough, and had issue (with eight daughters), four sons, viz.
John (c1687-1746);
Robert (c1692-1726);
Edward (c1693-1746), father of
EDWARD, 6th Baron;
Wriothesley.
His lordship was succeeded by his grandson,

EDWARD, 6th Baron (1730-57), who died unmarried, when the honours devolved upon his brother,

HENRY, 7th Baron (1731-93), who was created a peer of Great Britain, in 1765, as Baron Digby; and was advanced, in 1790, to the dignities of Viscount Coleshill and EARL DIGBY. 

His lordship married firstly, in 1763, Elizabeth, daughter of the Hon Charles Fielding, but by that lady had no surviving issue; and secondly, Mary, daughter and heir of John Knowler, of Canterbury, by whom he had,
EDWARD, his successor;
Robert, in holy orders;
Stephen;
Charlotte Maria; Elizabeth Theresa.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

EDWARD, 2nd Earl (1773-1856), who died unmarried, when the Earldom expired and the Barony reverted to his cousin,

EDWARD ST VINCENT, 9th Baron (1809-89), who wedded, in 1837, the Lady Theresa Anna Maria Fox-Strangways, daughter of Henry, 2nd Earl of Ilchester, and had issue,
EDWARD HENRY TRAFALGAR, his successor;Almarus Kenelm;Everard Charles;Gerald FitzMaurice;Mary-Theresa; Victoria Alexandrina; Leonora Caroline.
The heir apparent is the present holder's son, the Hon Edward St Vincent Kenelm Digby (b 1985).


GEASHILL, County Offaly, was developed by the Digbys as a planned estate village.

In 1887 Samuel Lewis described the village as containing 87 mostly thatched houses arranged around a triangular green.

Fairs were held on the 1st May, the 6th October and December, the latter being one of the largest pig markets in Ireland.

The 9th Baron carried out extensive improvements in the 1860s and 1870s, and many of the current buildings around the triangular green date from this time.

The Kings County Directory recorded that Lord Digby had "converted the village of Geashill into what it now is, one of the neatest, cleanest and best kept in Ireland."

At the Paris Exhibition of 1867, Lord Digby was awarded the bronze medal for models of the village he was building.

He was awarded the gold medal for three years by the Royal Agricultural Society, for improving the greatest number of cottages in the best manner in the province of Leinster.

The Digbys built Geashill Castle near the medieval tower house of the O'Dempseys, and afterwards of the Kildare FitzGeralds, who were also Barons of Offaly.

This dwelling passed to the Digbys through marriage of Sir Robert Digby to the heiress of the 11th Earl of Kildare.

The house was of seven bays with a recessed, three-bay centre, a high plain roof parapet and a lower wing at one side.

It was burnt in 1922.

Seats ~ Coleshill, Warwickshire; Sherborne Castle, Dorset; Geashill, County Offaly.

If any readers possess better photographs of Geashill Castle, I'd greatly appreciate it.

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

Magherintemple House

THE CASEMENTS OWNED 3,312 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY ANTRIM


This family came over to Ulster from Ramsey, Isle of Man, early in the 18th century.

HUGH CASEMENT (c1720-97), of Ballinderry, County Antrim, married, in 1740, Elizabeth, daughter of the Rev George Higginson, of Magheragall, and had issue,
George, surgeon RN; father of Maj-Gen Sir William Casement KCB;
ROGER, of whom presently;
Thomas;
Higginson;
Mary; Eleanor; Jane.
The second son,

ROGER CASEMENT (c1756-1832), of Harryville, County Antrim, wedded firstly, Catherine, daughter of the Rev Joseph Cosnahan, of Peel, Isle of Man, and had issue,
William;
John;
George;
Hugh, grandfather of (Sir) Roger David Casement CMG;
Julius;
Roger;
THOMAS, of whom presently;
Robert (Rev);
Francis;
Cornelius;
Elizabeth; Catherine; Elinor; Rosetta.
He espoused secondly, in 1819, Margaret, daughter of Andrew McQuilty, and had, with further issue,
Roger;
George, of Fenagh, Co Antrim, barrister;
JOHN, succeeded his half-brother;
Julius;
Margaret; Elizabeth; Ann.
Mr Casement's seventh son,

THOMAS CASEMENT JP (1799-1874), of Ballee House, County Antrim, High Sheriff of County Antrim, 1874, married, in 1848, Dorinda Deborah, daughter of Thomas Abbot JP, of Mount Bellew, County Galway, and left an only daughter and heiress,

CATHERINE COSNAHAN CASEMENT, of Ballee House, who wedded, in 1869, Colonel Eldred Thomas Pottinger, Royal Artillery.

His half brother,

JOHN CASEMENT JP (1825-1902), of Magherintemple, County Antrim, High Sheriff of County Antrim, 1881, married firstly, in 1849, Charlotte, daughter of Brabazon Newcomen, of Camla House, County Rosscommon, and had issue,
ROGER, of whom presently;
Brabazon Newcomen, MD.
John, Rear-Admiral.
Mr Casement wedded secondly, in 1859, Charlotte, daughter of Alexander Miller, of Ballycastle.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

ROGER CASEMENT JP DL (1850-1928), of Magherintemple, who married, in 1877, Susanna, daughter of James Beatty, and had issue,
JOHN, his heir;
Francis, DSO, Major-General in the army;
Roger Hugh;
Robert James;
Edgar Reginald.
The eldest son,

JOHN CASEMENT DSO DL (1880-1944), of Magherintemple, Captain, Royal Navy, married, in 1916, ANNA BEATRICE, daughter of John Frederick William Hodges, of Glenravel, County Antrim, though the marriage was without male issue.

His widow,

ANNA BEATRICE, MRS CASEMENT OBE (1887-1975), inherited Magherintemple for her lifetime, with reversion to her nephew,  Francis Charles Casement.

*****

Patrick Casement, OBE, was Chairman of the National Trust's  Northern Ireland Committee, 2000-2010. 
He is a zoology graduate from Oxford and holds a masters degree in Ecology; farms a large beef and sheep farm; has previously served on the Northern Ireland Council for Nature Conservation and the Countryside. 
MAGHERINTEMPLE HOUSE, near Ballycastle, County Antrim, was built ca 1875 in the Scottish-Baronial style, the seat of the Casement family.

Mr Roger Casement (Sir Roger Casement CMG) was a member of this family.

An earlier, quite modest, house called Churchfield was described in 1835 as being a plain two storey dwelling, the property of the Casement family from 1790.

It was considerably enlarged in 1874-75 for John Casement, adding an austere Scottish-baronial block in Ballyvoy stone with gate lodge in matching style.


The grimness of the architecture is, to some degree, offset by the good high position of the house and its splendid views.

The gardens are maintained.

There is a walled garden on a slope, with a bog garden at the bottom.

The walled garden is fully planted up with vegetables, fruit and ornamental plants.

The present layout dates from 1973.

There are both woodland and shelter trees.

The gate lodge replaced an earlier lodge located on the opposite side of the gates.

Two small stone figures that are placed in the rockery in the garden are said to have come from Culfeightrin Church.


Magherintemple gate lodge is available for rent.

First published in December, 2010.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Rossmore Park

THE BARONS ROSSMORE WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY MONAGHAN, WITH 14,839 ACRES

THE WESTENRAS, descended from the family of VAN WASSENAER, of Wassenburg, were of great antiquity in Holland, and they bore the augmentation of the SEAHORSE, in reference to the valour of an ancestor who, during the Duke of Alba's campaigns, was actively employed against the enemy, and undertook to swim across an arm of the sea with important intelligence to his besieged countrymen.

WARNER WESTENRA settled in Ireland during the reign of CHARLES II, and with his brothers, Derrick and Peter Westenra, became a free denizen of that kingdom, by act of parliament, in 1662.

In 1667, Colonel Grace sold the town and lands of "Clonlee, Brickanagh, and Lyagh" [sic], in the King's County, to this Warner Westenra, merchant, of the city of Dublin.

He married Elizabeth Wyhrantz, and had issue,
HENRY, his successor;
Elizabeth, m Rt Rev Simon Digby.
Mr Westenra died in 1676, and was succeeded by his son,

HENRY WESTENRA, who inherited likewise the estates of his cousin, Peter Westenra, MP for Athboy, 1692.

Mr Westenra wedded, in 1700, Eleanor, second daughter of Sir Joshua Allen, Knight, and sister of John, 1st Viscount Allen, by whom he had surviving issue,
WARNER, his successor;
Henry;
Peter;
Elizabeth; Jane; Penelope.
He died in 1719, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

WARNER WESTENRA, MP for Maryborough, 1728-55, who espoused, in 1738, the Lady Hester Lambert, second daughter of Richard, 4th Earl of Cavan, and had issue,
HENRY, his successor;
Richard;
Joseph;
Castilinna; Eleanor.
Mr Westenra was was succeeded by his eldest son,

HENRY WESTENRA, MP for Monaghan, 1818-26, Seneschal of the King's Manors in Ireland, who married, in 1764, Harriet, daughter of Colonel John Murray MP, and had issue,
WARNER WILLIAM, his heir;
Henry;
Mary Frances; Harriet Hesther.
He was succeeded by his eldest son,

WARNER WILLIAM WESTENRA (1765-1842), of Rossmore Park, County Monaghan, who wedded firstly, in 1791, Mary Anne, second daughter of Charles Walsh, of Walsh Park, County Tipperary, and had issue,
HENRY ROBERT, his successor;
Richard;
John Craven;
Charles;
Marianne.
He espoused secondly, in 1819, Augusta, fourth daughter of of Francis, Lord Elcho, and sister of Francis, 7th Earl of Wemyss.

Mr Westenra succeeded to the barony of ROSSMORE on the decease of ROBERT CUNINGHAME, 1st Baron Rossmore, in 1801.

***********************

ROBERT CUNINGHAME (1726-1801), son of the late Colonel David Cuninghame, of Seabegs, Stirling, a General in the army, and Colonel, 5th Dragoons; MP for Tulske, 1751-60, for Armagh, 1761-8, for Monaghan, 1769-96, and for East Grinstead, 1788-9; was elevated to the peerage, in 1796, by the title of BARON ROSSMORE, of Rossmore Park; and having no issue by his wife, Elizabeth, daughter of John Murray, and co-heir of her mother Mary, Dowager Lady Blayney, sole heir of Sir Alexander Cairnes Bt, the patent of creation contained a reversionary clause conferring the Barony, at his lordship's decease, upon the heirs male, at the time being, of two of her ladyship's sisters successively; namely, Anne, the wife of the Rt Hon Theophilus Jones; and Harriet, the wife of Henry Westenra.

His lordship died in 1801, and the only son of Mrs Jones, Alexander Jones, having predeceased him, unmarried, the barony devolved upon Mrs Westenra's eldest son, WARNER WILLIAM WESTENRA, 2nd Baron Rossmore.

The heir apparent is the present holder's only son, the Hon Benedict William Westenra (b 1983).

ROSSMORE CASTLE, County Monaghan, was a very large and complex mansion, constructed on the outskirts of Monaghan town in Tudor-Gothic style in 1827 by the the 3rd Lord Rossmore, to the designs of William Vitruvius Morrison.

An extension was added in 1858 in Scottish-Baronial style, designed by William Henry Lynn.

A main feature of the original building was a large square tower and turret with crow-step battlements.

The extension also featured two towers, one with a polygonal turret and cupola, the other a smaller square tower with a spire.

The building underwent further smaller changes, a number of which were inspired by a competition which had developed over the years between Lord Rossmore and Mr Shirley of Lough Fea, as to which of them could claim to have the largest room in County Monaghan.

The remarkable consequence was that the drawing-room in Rossmore Castle was enlarged five times.


Eventually the combined changes and additions resulted in a building with three towers and over 117 windows in 53 different shapes and sizes.

After the 2nd World War, the house developed a severe case of dry rot, and the 6th Baron and his family were forced to leave the castle and take up residence in Camla Vale, a Georgian house owned by the family and situated within the estate grounds.

The mansion was demolished in 1974.

The former demesne is now a forest park.

First published in January, 2012.

KG Appointment


It was most gratifying to see the Viscount Brookeborough installed by Her Majesty The Queen as a Knight of the Garter at St George's Chapel, Windsor, on Monday, the 18th June, 2018.

Lord Brookeborough's grandfather, the 1st Viscount (the third Prime Minister of Northern Ireland), was himself appointed a Knight of the Garter in 1965.

In 1997, Her Majesty appointed Lord Brookeborough a Lord-in-Waiting.

He has been Lord-Lieutenant of County Fermanagh since 2012.

The family seat is Colebrooke Park, County Fermanagh.

The only other Knight of the Garter living in Northern Ireland is His Grace the Duke of Abercorn.

House of O'Neill

THE BARONS O'NEILL WERE THE GREATEST LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY ANTRIM, WITH 64,163 ACRES
The house of O'Neill boasts of royal descent, and deduces its pedigree from CONN O'NEILL, Prince of Tyrone, who, upon relinquishing his royalty, was created EARL OF TYRONE, by HENRY VIII, in 1542. 
PHELIM O'NEILL, Lord of Clanaboy, son of Niall Mor, dying in 1533, left two sons, of whom the eldest son, 

(SIR) BRYAN O'NEILL, married Amy, daughter of Brian Carrach MacDonnell (he married an unnamed Scotswoman in 1568).
Sir Bryan, Captain or Lord of Clanaboy, was later obliged to repulse an invasion by Walter Devereux, Earl of Essex, who crossed the ford of Belfast and, though welcomed by Sir Bryan as a guest, arranged the massacre of 200 of Sir Bryan's people and took him and his wife in 1573.
He died in 1574, and was succeeded by his son,

SHANE McBRYAN O'NEILL, of Shane's Castle, LAST LORD OF CLANABOY, who joined Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone, in the war against ELIZABETH I, burned Carrickfergus, and submitted in 1586.

He married firstly, Rose, daughter of Sir Arthur Magennis, 1st Viscount Iveagh, and had issue, a son, HENRY, his heir; and secondly, Anne, daughter of Brian Carrach O'Neill, of Loughinsholin, by whom he had numerous issue.

He died ca 1616, he was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR HENRY O'NEILL, Knight (c1600-38), of Shane's Castle, Lord of Clanaboy, and chief of his name, who married Martha, daughter of Sir Francis Stafford, governor of Ulster, and had issue, ROSE.

The present Lord O'Neill with a portrait of Rose, Marchioness of Antrim


Sir Henry was succeeded by his only daughter,

ROSE O'NEILL, of Shane's Castle, who espoused Randal, 1st Marquess of Antrim.

Lady Antrim died without issue in 1695, leaving her cousin, Colonel Con MacBryan O'Neill, of The Feeva, her heir male; but the estates devolved under the will of her father on her cousin, Colonel Cormac O'Neill, at whose death, without issue, 1707, they passed to his nephew,

COLONEL CHARLES O'NEILL, of Shane's Castle, who wedded the Lady Mary Paulet, eldest daughter of Charles, Duke of Bolton; but dying without issue in 1716, they came into the possession of

JOHN O'NEILL, "French John", of Shane's Castle, previously of Dunmore and Gortgole, son of Bryan, and grandson of Phelim Duff, half-brother to Sir Henry O'Neill.

He married Charity, daughter of Sir Richard Dixon, Knight, and had issue,
HENRY;
CHARLES;
Clotworthy;
Catharine, m 7th Viscount Mountgarret;
Rachael; Eleanor; Rose; Anne; Mary.
HENRY O'NEILL, of Shane's Castle, eldest son and heir, wedded Mary, widow of Captain John Bickerstaffe JP, of Rosegift in the Largy, High Sheriff of County Antrim, 1682; but dying, 1721, in his father's lifetime, left MARY, an only child and heir, who espoused the REV ARTHUR CHICHESTER, Vicar of Drumaul, Randalstown, and had issue, of whom hereafter.

French John O'Neill died in 1739, and was succeeded by his second son,

CHARLES O'NEILL, of Shane's Castle, who acquired the estates, under settlement, executed by his father on his marriage, in 1736.

He married Catherine, daughter of the Rt Hon St John Brodrick (eldest son of Alan, 1st Viscount Midleton, Lord Chancellor of Ireland) by Anne, only sister of Trevor, Viscount Hillsborough, father of 1st Marquess of Downshire.

Mr O'Neill died in 1769, having left issue by her,
JOHN, his heir;
St John;
Anne, Rt Hon R Jackson.
The eldest son,

THE RT HON JOHN O'NEILL (1740-98), of Shane's Castle, wedded the Hon Henrietta Boyle, daughter of Charles, Viscount Dungarvan, in 1777.

Mr O'Neill, Privy Counsellor, MP for Randalstown, 1760-83, MP for County Antrim, 1783-93, was elevated to the peerage, in 1793, as Baron O'Neill, of Shane's Castle; and advanced to a viscountcy, 1795, as Viscount O'Neill, of Shane's Castle.

His lordship, Governor of Antrim at the outbreak of an uprising, was mortally wounded by an assailant in 1798, having received wounds from insurgent pikemen previously.

By his wife he had issue,


CHARLES HENRY ST JOHN, his successor;
John Bruce Richard, MP, Major-General, Constable of Dublin Castle.
His lordship was succeeded by his elder son,

CHARLES HENRY ST JOHN(1779-1841), 2nd Viscount, KP, PC, of Shane's Castle; who was further advanced, in 1800, to the dignities of Viscount Raymond and EARL O'NEILL.
Lord-Lieutenant of County Antrim, 1831–41; Colonel, Antrim Militia; Vice-Admiral of Ulster; Grand Master, Orange Order, 1801; Knight, Order of St. Patrick (KP), 1809; Privy Counsellor, 1809.
When the 1st Earl died in 1855, unmarried, from a complication of gout and influenza at Shane's Castle, the earldom of O'Neill became extinct, though the viscountcy passed to his brother, 

JOHN BRUCE RICHARD (1780-1855), 3rd Viscount; MP for Antrim, 1802-41; Ensign Coldstream Captain, 1800; Captain, 18th Light Dragoons 1804; Major, 19th Light Dragoons 1807; Lt-Col, Chasseurs Britanniques, 1808; 19th Light Dragoons, 1810; and Coldstream Guards, 1816; Colonel, 1814; Major-General, 1825; Lieutenant-General, 1838.

The 3rd Viscount died unmarried, in 1855, when the titles expired.

In 1868, however, the family honours reverted to his second cousin twice removed, the Rev William Chichester, later O'Neill, who was created BARON O'NEILL.



SHANE'S CASTLE demesne lies at Lough Neagh, between the towns of Antrim and Randalstown in County Antrim.

The original Shane's Castle took its name from Shane McBrian O'Neill, last captain or lord of Clanaboy.

There were two principal branches of the House of O'Neill: Tyrone and Clanaboy.

After a long and turbulent history, JAMES I finally settled the O'Neill estates, in excess of 120,000 acres, on Shane McBrian O'Neill, who had made his peace with the Crown.

After passing through several cousins, the O'Neill estates were eventually inherited by Charles O'Neill (d 1769), who built Tullymore Lodge in Broughshane, the dower house of the O'Neills till the 1930s.

Charles also built Cleggan Lodge, originally a shooting lodge until taken over by Sir Hugh O'Neill, 1st Baron Rathcavan, in the early 1900s.

Charles's son John, 1st Viscount O'Neill (1740-98) was a highly respected parliamentarian and was tragically killed at the Battle of Antrim in 1798.

Charles Henry St John, 2nd Viscount, was further elevated to become 1st Earl O'Neill and Viscount Raymond (1779-1841), continued his father's tradition as a distinguished parliamentarian and, for his support of the Act of Union, was granted the earldom.

The 1st Earl's younger brother, John 1780-1855), succeeded to the titles as 2nd and last Earl O'Neill when the earldom became extinct.

However, his estates were inherited by his cousin, the Rev William Chichester, who assumed the surname of O'Neill in lieu of Chichester the same year.

In 1868, the barony was revived, when the Rev William was created 1st Baron O'Neill, of Shane's Castle in the County of Antrim.

This title is still extant today.

The 1st Baron was the great-great-great-grandson of John Chichester, younger brother of Arthur Chichester, 2nd Earl of Donegall. The latter two were both nephews of Arthur Chichester, 1st Earl of Donegall, and grandsons of Edward Chichester, 1st Viscount Chichester..

Lord O'Neill was succeeded by his eldest son, the 2nd Baron, who sat as MP for Antrim.

His eldest son and heir apparent, the Hon Arthur O'Neill, was Mid-Antrim MP from 1910 until 1914, when he was killed in action during the First World War the first MP to die in the conflict.

The 2nd Baron was consequently succeeded by his grandson, the 3rd Baron (the son of the Hon Arthur O'Neill), who was killed in action in Italy during the Second World War.

As of 2010 the title is held by his son, 4th and present Baron, who succeeded in 1944.
As a descendant of the 1st Viscount Chichester, he is in remainder to the barony and viscountcy of Chichester and, according to a special patent in the letters patent, the earldom of Donegall, titles held by his kinsman, the present Marquess of Donegall.
Two other members of the O'Neill family have been elevated to the peerage: Hugh O'Neill, 1st Baron Rathcavan, youngest son of 2nd Baron O'Neill; and Terence O'Neill, Baron O'Neill of the Maine, Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, youngest brother of 3rd Baron.

The barony of the present creation really descends through marriage from the Chichester family, Earls and Marquesses of Donegall.

Shane's Castle remains one of the largest and finest private demesnes in Northern Ireland, extending to 2,700 acres.

It lies in a particularly scenic, not to say strategic, position on the north-east shore of Lough Neagh between Antrim and Randalstown.

Part of the Estate is a nature reserve.

The O'Neill family has had a hapless history with regard to the fate of their houses: the first Shane's Castle dated from the early 1600s and was utterly destroyed by an accidental fire in 1816.

The family moved to a small house adjoining the stables.


That house was replaced in 1865 by a larger, Victorian-Gothic castle which, tragically, was maliciously burnt in 1922 (as was the nearby Antrim Castle).


Its ruin was subsequently cleared away, and for the next 40 or so years the family lived once again in the stables.

The extensive and fine walled Shane's Castle demesne lies on the north shores of Lough Neagh.

It was established in the 17th century and surrounds a succession of houses on different sites.

There are ruins of the original dwelling on the shores of Lough Neagh and the 18th century house, with a lake-side terrace and a vault of 1722.

The attached and surviving camellia house, also by Nash, of 1815 is full of plants.

The present house (above) was built in 1958 in a pleasant spot to the north-west of the earlier house and south-west of the intermediate 1860s house (by Lanyon, Lynn and Lanyon), which was burnt by the IRA in the 1920s.

It is classical, well-proportioned, with a handsome fanlighted doorway.

The parkland is beautiful and contains many well distributed venerable trees.

There are substantial shelter belts, which once accommodated walks and rides. Clumps and plantations also grace the fields.

There has been a long history of ornamental gardens and productive gardens on the site.

It was visited, depicted and remarked upon by various commentators of the 18th and 19th centuries.

A portrait of the landscape gardener John Sutherland by Martin Creggan (1822), hangs in the house.

Early 20th century photographs show well maintained acres in the days when many gardeners were employed to keep up a high standard commensurate with the size of the demesne.

In 1933 the surroundings were described as, 
‘… exceedingly pretty, with old oaks, lovely flowers and enchanting vistas of both river and lake, and with rockeries, water-lily ponds and ferneries in profusion.’  

A large and impressive mid- 19th century rockery built in a quarry near the lough shores is not planted up but is kept clear.

At the present time there are beautifully maintained contemporary gardens at the house and adaptations of the walled garden planting for modern use.

Glasshouses have been removed.

The arboretum is being reinforced and much new planting has been added in the vicinity of the house.

There is a family graveyard, with a statue of a harpist by Victor Segoffin of 1923.

There are many well maintained and listed estate buildings such as Ballealy Cottage of  ca 1835.

The surviving gate lodges by James Sands are very fine: Dunmore Lodge, ca 1850; Antrim Lodge, ca 1848; White or Ballygrooby Lodge, ca 1848; and Randalstown Gate Lodge, ca 1848, all listed.
The latter lodges belong to a period of enhancement on the demesne.

Two pre-1829 bridges are Dunmore Bridge and Deerpark Bridge.

The deer-park, on the western side of the River Maine, was sold to the Department of Agriculture before the last war and is known as Randalstown Forest. 

First published in May, 2010.   O'Neill arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Monday, 18 June 2018

Mount Stewart Memories: II


CHARLES VILLIERS, A GRANDSON OF THE LATE LADY MAIRI BURY AND GREAT-GRANDSON OF THE 7TH MARQUESS AND MARCHIONESS OF LONDONDERRY, REMINISCES ABOUT MOUNT STEWART, COUNTY DOWN,  DURING THE 1960s AND 1970s

An interesting facet was that while the gardens were open via the National Trust, the house itself was my grandmother's totally private residence until I was about 13, complete with butler and quite a lot of staff.

There were still some large house parties: At Christmas and New Year, 1973-74, I remember that every one of the 26 or so bedrooms had at least one guest staying in them.

At that time, the extensive attics were piled to the ceilings with an enormous quantity of surplus furniture for which there was no space in the rest of the house.

Those attics were cleared in a big furniture sale in 1975.

I must have been a very precocious 12 year-old because I wanted to use some modest Post Office savings to buy two dusty paintings of an attractive-looking lady, one with an elbow-sized hole in the canvas, clearly signed "B West" in black paint, and dated in the late eighteenth century, which I knew of from my "boy's den" in one of the attics before they were brought down for the sale.

I was told by my parents that I could not use my Post Office account for the purpose of the paintings of the beautiful lady.

In the event the portraits sold for relative buttons in the auction in the stable yard at Mount Stewart, were cleaned up by the Bond Street dealer who flew over from London and back the same day to buy them; then declared them to be by the famous American painter Benjamin West; cleaned; and identified as two portraits of Foreign Secretary Lord Castlereagh's mother-in-law; and were each quickly re-sold for large sums to two museums in the United States where they currently reside now.

There is no doubt that I would have been outbid by the dealer, but I'd have liked him to have had to cough up a bit more cash than he did.

I could go on with reams of other recollections.

My memories of Mount Stewart are, above all, of the happiest loving kind when it comes to my grandmother [Lady Mairi] who was the most wonderful grandparent anyone could have had, and we were all so lucky to have her for so long.

First published in November, 2010.

Gormanston Castle

THE VISCOUNTS GORMANSTON WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY MEATH, WITH 9,657 ACRES

The first member of this very ancient and distinguished family which is found upon record in Ireland is

PHILIP DE PRESTON, whose grandson,

ROGER DE PRESTON, was justice of the court of Common Pleas in the first year of EDWARD III; and in 1331, one of the justices of the Court of King's Bench.

The son and heir of this learned person, 

SIR ROBERT PRESTON, who was knighted in the field, in 1361, by Lionel, Duke of Clarence, and obtained a grant forever of the manor of Gormanston, in counties Dublin and Meath, was Lord Preston in Lancashire, and filled the office of LORD CHANCELLOR OF IRELAND.

Being possessed of Carbury in County Kildare, he made that the chief place of his residence.

This gentleman was elevated to the peerage some time between 1365-70 as Baron Gormanston.

His lordship married Margaret, daughter and heir of Walter de Bermingham, and dying in 1396, was succeeded by his only son,

CHRISTOPHER (c1354-1422), 2nd Baron, who was imprisoned in the castle of Trim for corresponding with the prior of Kilmainham.

He wedded Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of William de Londres, feudal baron of Naas in right of his mother, Emma, daughter of William FitzMaurice, 1st Baron of Naas (so created by HENRY II), and his wife, Helen, sister of Richard, Earl of Pembroke (by which marriage the Prestons obtained the barony of Naas).

His lordship was succeeded by his only son,

CHRISTOPHER, 3rd Baron, who espoused Jane, daughter of Sir Jenico d'Artois, Knight, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

ROBERT (1435-1503), 4th Baron, who was appointed deputy to Sir John Dynham, Lord Chancellor of Ireland; and Richard, Duke of York, youngest son of EDWARD IV, being constituted Lord Deputy of Ireland, in 1478, Sir Robert was appointed that prince's deputy (he being a minor), with power to elect a deputy to himself.

In 1478, his lordship was advanced to a viscountcy, by the title of VISCOUNT GORMANSTON.

His lordship sat in the parliament of 1490, and in that of 1493.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

WILLIAM, 2nd Viscount, who filled the office of deputy to Sir James Ormonde, Lord Treasurer of Ireland in 1493.

In 1504, his lordship attended the Earl of Kildare, the Lord Deputy, to the famous battle of Knocktough, in the province of Connaught, where, with Lord Killeen, he led the wings of the bowmen; and in 1525, he was appointed Lord Justice of Ireland.

His lordship died in 1532, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

JENICO, 3rd Viscount (1502-69), who was succeeded by his eldest son,

CHRISTOPHER, 4th Viscount (1546-99), who left, with several daughters, three sons, namely,
JENICO, his heir;
Thomas, created Viscount Tara;
William.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

JENICO, 5th Viscount (1584-1630), who left (with a daughter) a son and successor,

NICHOLAS, 6th Viscount (1608-43), who wedded Mary, daughter of Nicholas, 1st Viscount Kingsland, and had issue,
JENICO, his successor;
Nicholas, father of 8th and 9th Viscounts.
This nobleman sided with the rebel Irish Roman Catholics, 1641-42, and acted as their General-in-Chief; for this he was outlawed after his death and posthumously exempted from Cromwell's pardon, 1652.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

JENICO, 7th Viscount, who having adhered to his legitimate sovereign, JAMES II, was indicted for high treason, and outlawed upon that indictment in 1691.

His lordship dying, however, in 1691, without male issue, was succeeded by his nephew,

JENICO, de jure 8th Viscount (1640-1700); but the title was not acknowledged, although borne by his lordship and his three immediate successors.

He was succeeded by his brother,

ANTHONY, de jure 9th Viscount, who espoused, in 1700, Mary, only child of his uncle, Jenico, 7th Viscount, and was succeeded by his only son,

JENICO, de jure 10th Viscount (1707-57), who wedded, in 1729, Thomasine, eldest daughter of John, 11th Baron Trimlestown, and had, with other issue,
ANTHONY, his successor;
James;
Jenico;
John;
Catherine; Frances; Bridget; Elizabeth Margaret.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

ANTHONY, de jure 11th Viscount, who espoused Henrietta, daughter of John Robinson, of Denston Hall, Suffolk; and dying in 1786, left issue by her,

JENICO, 12th Viscount (1775-1860), who, in 1800, obtained the removal of the outlawry of his predecessors and had a writ of summons to take his seat in the Irish House of Lords, but owing to the final prorogation of that House he did not have the opportunity to do so, took an active part in the cause of Catholic Emancipation.

His lordship wedded, in 1794, Margaret, eldest daughter of Thomas, 2nd Viscount Southwell, by whom he had issue,
EDWARD ANTHONY JOHN, his successor;
Arthur Anthony;
Jenico Charles;
Robert;
Charles;
Edmund;
Matilda.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

EDWARD ANTHONY JOHN, 13th Viscount (1796-1876), High Sheriff of County Meath, 1831, High Sheriff of County Dublin, 1845, who married, in 1836, Lucretia, daughter of William Charles Jerningham, and had issue,
JENICO WILLIAM JOSEPH, his successor;
Edward Francis John;
Margaret Frances Agnes; Lucretia Pauline Mary; Charlotte Agnes Mary.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

JENICO WILLIAM JOSEPH, 14th Viscount (1837-1907), GCMG JP DL, High Sheriff of County Dublin, 1865, who espoused firstly, in 1861, Ismay Louise Ursula, daughter of Patrick, 1st Baron Bellew, though the marriage was without issue.

He married secondly, in 1878, Georgina Jane, daughter of Peter Connelan, and had issue,
JENICO EDWARD JOSEPH, his successor;
Richard Martin Peter;
Hubert Anthony John;
Ismay Lucretia Mary.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

JENICO EDWARD JOSEPH, 15th Viscount (1879-1925), JP DL, who wedded, in 1911, Eileen, daughter of Lieutenant-General the Rt Hon Sir William Butler, of Bansha Castle, County Tipperary, and had issue,
JENICO WILLIAM RICHARD, his successor;
Robert Francis Hubert;
Stephen Edward Thomas;
Eileen Antionette Mary.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

JENICO WILLIAM RICHARD, 16th Viscount (1914-40), 2nd Lieutenant, King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, who espoused, in 1939, Pamela, daughter of Captain Edward Dudley Hanly, and had issue, an only child,
JENICO NICHOLAS DUDLEY, his successor.
His lordship was killed in action, aged 25, in France.

He was succeeded by his only son,

JENICO NICHOLAS DUDLEY, 17th Viscount (1939-), who is married with issue and lives in London.

The Viscounts Gormanston are the premier viscounts of Ireland.


GORMANSTON CASTLE, Balbriggan, County Meath, is situated near Drogheda, about sixteen miles north of Dublin.

Mark Bence-Jones states that the old Manor at Gormanston was low and gabled, adjoined to a chapel where Mass was said all through the Penal times.

At the beginning of the 19th century, the 12th Viscount rebuilt the house in the Gothic-Revival style.


Gormanston Castle is an impressive castellated building with a quadrangular plan with a tower at each corner except the north-west corner. The main building is three storeys.

The central part of the frontage is flanked by two narrow castellated towers on either side of the entrance.

The 12th Viscount intended the Castle to be much larger, though building work ceased when his wife died in 1820.

Gormanston is renowned for the foxes which are said to collect at the Castle when the head of the family is dying or has died; indeed the family crest is a fox.

Foxes are claimed to have gathered followed the deaths of the 12th and 14th Viscounts.


The author Evelyn Waugh was interested in purchasing the estate in 1946 and even bid for it.

He described it as "A fine, solid, grim, square, half-finished block with tower and turrets".

On learning that Butlins were opening a holiday camp in the vicinity, he promptly changed his mind.

The castle grounds were developed in the 1950s with the building of a boys' secondary school adjacent to the Castle.

The Franciscans have been in Gormanston since 1947, when they purchased Gormanston Castle, the ancestral home of the Preston Family since ca 1300.

In 1954 a Preparatory School for the College in Multyfarnham was opened in the Castle.

New plans resulted in the building of a new college and the transfer of the Multyfarnham College to this new location.

Gormanston College today is a thriving secondary school, with 500 students.

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