Wednesday, 12 September 2018

1st Earl Landaff

The family of MATHEW originated from Wales, where at Radyr, Glamorganshire, they long resided; and possessed the town of Llandaff in that county.

SIR DAVID MATHEW (1400-84), Knight, was Standard-Bearer of EDWARD IV, whose monument is still to be seen in Llandaff Cathedral, Glamorganshire.

EDWARD MATHEW, of Radyr, was possessed, in 1600, of the town of Llandaff, and other estates, which his ancestors enjoyed for time immemorial.

At his decease he left an only son,

GEORGE MATHEW, the first of the family in Ireland, who became seated at Thurles, County Tipperary, and married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Poyntz MP, of Iron Acton, Gloucestershire, and widow of Thomas Butler, Viscount Thurles (who died before his father Walter, 11th Earl of Ormond).

Mr Mathew died in 1636, leaving two sons and a daughter, and was succeeded by the elder son,

THEOBOLD MATHEW, of Thurles, who married Margaret, eldest daughter of Sir Valentine Browne Bt, and was succeeded by his elder son,

GEORGE MATHEW, of Thurles, who wedded Eleanor, second daughter of Edmond, 3rd/13th Baron Dunboyne, and was succeeded by his son,

GEORGE MATHEW, who erected a splendid mansion upon his estate at Thurles, containing forty bedrooms, and ample corresponding accommodation for as many guests.
This gentleman distinguished himself by hospitality upon an unprecedented and almost boundless scale. 
He fitted up his sumptuous residence as a guest house of the first magnitude, and his guests were informed upon their arrival, that as such they were to regard it, and to consider themselves, in every sense of the word, quite at home. 
They might either live in their own suite of rooms, or at the table d'hôte, as they pleased. 
There was a coffee-room, tavern, billiards-room, etc, and Mr Mathew himself appeared only as one of the guests.
This highly accomplished and celebrated person had the degree of LL.D conferred upon him, 1677, by his half-brother James, 1st Duke of Ormond, Chancellor of the University of Oxford.

Mr Mathew wedded firstly, Catherine, third daughter of Sir John Shelley, 3rd Baronet, by Mary, eldest daughter and co-heiress of Sir John Gage Bt, of Firle, East Sussex, and had issue, an only child,
GEORGE, his heir.
He espoused secondly, in 1716, Ann, widow of James, 3rd Earl of Tyrone, by whom he no issue, and at his decease, the estates devolved upon his brother-in-law,

GEORGE MATHEW, married his cousin, Mary Anne Mathew, and had issue,
George (1733-8);
Elizabeth.
On the failure of male issue in this branch, the estates devolved to

GEORGE MATHEW, of Thomastown, who wedded firstly, Margaret, fourth daughter of Thomas Butler (grandson of the Lord Richard Butler, younger son of James, 1st Duke of Ormond, by the Lady Margaret Burke, eldest daughter of William, 7th Earl of Clanricarde, and widow of Bryan Magennis, Viscount Iveagh, and had issue, a daughter.

Mr Mathew espoused secondly, Isabella, fourth daughter of William Brownlow, of Lurgan, County Armagh (by the Lady Elizabeth Hamilton, eldest daughter of James, 6th Earl of Abercorn), and had issue, a son, who died in infancy, when the estate devolved upon a junior branch of the family,

THOMAS MATHEW, of Thurles, and subsequently of Thomastown, who married, in 1736, Miss Mary Mathews, of Dublin, and had issue,
FRANCIS, his heir;
Catherine Ann Maria.
The only son and heir,

FRANCIS MATHEW (1738-1806), wedded firstly, in 1764, Ellis, second daughter of James Smyth (son of the Rt Rev Edward Smyth, Lord Bishop of Down and Connor), and had issue,
FRANCIS JAMES, his heir;
Montague James, Lieutenant-General in the Army;
George Toby Skeffington;
Elizabeth.
He espoused secondly, in 1784, the Lady Catherine Skeffington; and thirdly, in 1799, ______ Coghlan, second daughter of Jeremiah Coghlan.

Mr Mathew, MP for Tipperary, 1768-83, High Sheriff of County Tipperary, 1769, was elevated to the peerage, in 1783, as Baron Landaff, of Thomastown, County Tipperary; and was advanced to a viscountcy, in 1793, as Viscount Landaff, of Thomastown, County Tipperary.

His lordship was further advanced to the dignity of an earldom, in 1797, as EARL LANDAFF.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

FRANCIS JAMES, 2nd Earl (1768-1833), MP for County Tipperary, 1801-6, Knight of St Patrick, 1831, who married, in 1797, Gertrude Cecilia, daughter of John La Touche, of Harristown, County Kildare, though the marriage was without issue.

His lordship died of syncope in Dublin, on 12 March 1833, aged 65, when the titles expired.

Dying intestate, his estates went to his sister, the Lady Elizabeth Mathew, who died in 1842, leaving the estates to a cousin, the Vicomte de Chabot, the son of her mother's sister, Elizabeth Smyth.


THOMASTOWN CASTLE, Golden, County Tipperary, was built by George Matthew and dated from ca 1670.

It comprised a long, two-storey house of pink brick.

The house in its present form was enlarged in the Gothic style by Francis, 2nd Earl Landaff, in 1812.

(Sir) Richard Morrison designed the house incorporating a veneer of Gothic openings, including the ornate polygonal and square towers to the front elevation.


The office wing to the right was also enlarged in the Gothic style.

From ca 1872 the great mansion fell into disrepair to become the impressive and spectacular ruin it is today.

Father Theobald Mathew, the famous temperance reformer whose father was a cousin of the 1st Earl, grew up at the Castle.

The 2nd Earl's sister, Lady Elizabeth Mathew, bequeathed Thomastown to her maternal cousin, the Vicomte de Rohan-Chabot, son of the Comte de Jarnac.

The estate later passed to the Daly family.

The ruinous building was purchased in 1938 by the Rt Rev David Mathew, the historian, who wished it to be kept in the family and saved from destruction.

This expectation proved to have been in vain.


The arched gate lodge to the east reflects the architecture of the main house and retains many fine details, such as the cross loops and hood mouldings.

The walled gardens provide an example of the many demesne-related activities thereby contributing context to the site.

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