Thursday, 15 November 2018

Marley Grange

THE ROWLEYS WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY DUBLIN, WITH 3,659 ACRES

The noble family of ROWLEY is of Saxon origin, and was seated at Kermincham, Cheshire, in the reign of EDWARD II, in the person of RANDOLFE DE ROWLEY.

This branch of the family settled in Ireland in the reign of JAMES I.

COLONEL THE HON HERCULES LANGFORD BOYLE ROWLEY JP DL (1828-1904), of Marley Grange, County Dublin, younger son of Hercules, 2nd Baron Langford, High Sheriff of County Meath, 1859, Honorary Colonel, 5th Battalion, Prince of Wales's Own Leinster Regiment, married, in 1857, Louisa Jane, sister of 1st Baron Blythswood, and had issue,
HERCULES DOUGLAS EDWARD, his heir;
Arthur Sholto, 8th BARON LANGFORD;
Armine Charlotte; Gladys Helen Louisa; Evelyn Augusta.
Colonel Rowley was succeeded by his eldest son,

HERCULES DOUGLAS EDWARD ROWLEY JP DL (1859-1945), of Marley Grange, Lieutenant, 5th Battalion, Leinster Regiment, who wedded, in 1884, Agnes Mary, only daughter of A Allen, of Devizes, Wiltshire, and had issue,
Ivy Mabel Armine Douglas, b 1889;
Monica Evelyn Douglas, b 1893.

MARLEY GRANGE, near Rathfarnham, County Dublin, is an important cut-stone two storey high-roofed Victorian house built in the Gothic style ca 1850 in a woodland setting.

The house has gables, dormer gables, plus a tower with a truncated pyramidal roof.

There is a two-storey gate lodge located at the entrance.


Marley Grange is approached through an impressive entrance, via a long tree lined avenue, that leads to a large gravelled forecourt to the front of the house.

The extensive are interspersed with specimen trees, two ornamental ponds, trellis covered sunken pathway enclosing a semi-circular formal garden on the south gable of the house.

There is also a paddock and extensive woodland.

The property is bounded to the east by Three Rock Rovers hockey grounds; to the west by Grange Golf Club; and is beside Marley Park.

The house and estate were sold by the former owners, the McGrane family, in 2000, to the British Embassy in Dublin for £6.4 million.

It was intended to replace the ambassador's residence at Glencairn House.

The house suffered a disastrous fire in 2010.

The estate agents Colliers apparently then agreed sale terms on the ten-bedroom house, which is acknowledged to be one of the few examples of late Victorian Gothic revival architecture in Ireland.

Colliers are understood to have settled for a price close to €2.5 million for the listed building and its 12.4 acres of woodland next to Marley Park, which are owned by the property developer and charity founder Niall Mellon.

The house was unoccupied and uninsured when it was set ablaze in July, 2010.

All that remain of the imposing cut-stone, two-storey, high-roofed structure dating from the 1870s are the walls.

However, because of its architectural and historical significance, the planners are anxious to have it restored to its former glory – a challenging project, which one expert says could cost anything from €1.5 million to €2 million.

Mellon bought Marley Grange from the British Embassy in 2008 after it dropped plans to use it as its ambassadorial residence.

The embassy had previously sold its long term residence Glencairn and its 34-acre grounds in Sandyford in 1999 for security reasons.

The entire property was acquired by Michael Cotter of Park Developments for €35.6 million.

The Foreign Office in London then wished to buy back Glencairn, without its substantial grounds.

Former town residence ~ 8 Cambridge Place, Kensington, London.

First published in May, 2012.

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

The Prince of Wales

THE PRINCE OF WALES is 70 today:

His Royal Highness The Prince Charles Philip Arthur George, Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester, Duke of Cornwall and Rothesay, Earl of Carrick and Baron of Renfrew, Lord of the Isles and Great Steward of Scotland, KG, KT, GCB, OM.

His Royal Highness is heir apparent and first in line to the Throne.

Born at Buckingham Palace on the 14th November, 1948, HRH was educated at Cheam School; Gordonstoun; and Trinity College, Cambridge.

His Royal Highness is Admiral of the Fleet in the Royal Navy, Field Marshal in the Army, and Marshal of the Royal Air Force in the RAF.

These ranks are known as "Five Star" in the United States.

  • Royal Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter 
  • Royal Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle 
  • Grand Master of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath 
  • Member of the Order of Merit.
His Royal Highness shall ascend the throne as CHARLES III.

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

1st Earl of Wemyss

THE EARLS OF WEMYSS AND MARCH WERE THE GREATEST LANDOWNERS IN PEEBLESSHIRE, WITH 41,247 ACRES

This ancient family traces its origin to John, baronial lord of Weems, whence the surname was probably derived, who was younger son of the celebrated Macduff, Thane of Fife, the vanquisher of the tyrant MACBETH.

SIR MICHAEL WEMYSS was sent, according to John of Fordun, in 1290, with Sir Michael Scott, to Norway, by the lords of the Regency in Scotland, to conduct the young Queen MARGARET to her dominions; but Her Majesty unfortunately died upon the journey, at the Orkneys.

Sir Michael swore fealty to EDWARD I in 1296, and he witnessed the act of settlement of the Crown of Scotland by ROBERT I of Scotland, at Ayr, in 1315.

From Sir Michael lineally descended

SIR JOHN WEMYSS, of Wemyss, who married firstly, in 1574, Margaret, eldest daughter of William, Earl of Morton, but by that lady had no issue; and secondly, in 1581, Anne, sister of James, Earl of Moray, by who he had, with other issue,

SIR JOHN WEMYSS, of Wemyss, who was created a baronet in 1625; and elevated to the peerage, as Baron Wemyss, in 1628.

His lordship was advanced, in 1633, to the dignities of EARL OF WEMYSS, Lord Elcho and Methel.

This nobleman, though indebted for his honours to CHARLES I, took part against his royal master, and sided with the parliamentarians.

He wedded, in 1610, Jane, daughter of Patrick, 7th Lord Gray, by whom he had six children, and was succeeded in 1649 by his only son,

DAVID, 2nd Earl (1610-79), who married thrice.

His lordship's third wife, Margaret, daughter of John, 6th Earl of Rothes, by whom he had an only surviving daughter, MARGARET, in whose favour his lordship, having resigned his peerage to the Crown, obtained, in 1672, a new patent, conferring the honours of the family, with the original precedency, upon her ladyship.

He died in 1680, when the baronetcy expired, but the other dignities descended, accordingly, to his daughter,

LADY MARGARET WEMYSS, as 3rd Countess of Wemyss.

Her ladyship espoused SIR JAMES WEMYSS, of Caskyerry, who was created, in 1672, for life, Lord Burntisland, having had previously a charter of Burntisland Castle. The issue of this marriage were,
DAVID, successor to the Countess's honours;
Anne, who wedded David, Earl of Leven and Melville;
Margaret, wedded to David, Earl of Northesk.
The Countess of Wemyss espoused secondly, George, 1st Earl of Cromarty, but had no issue by his lordship.

Lady Wemyss died in 1705, and was succeeded by her only son,

DAVID, 4th Earl.
This nobleman was appointed, by Queen ANNE, Lord High Admiral of Scotland, sworn of the Privy Council, and constituted one of the commissioners for concluding the Treaty of Union.
His lordship married firstly, in 1697, Lady Anne Douglas, daughter of William, 1st Duke of Queensberry, and sister of James, Duke of Queensberry and Dover, and of William, 1st Earl of March, by whom he had one surviving son,

JAMES, 5th Earl (1699-1756), who married, in 1720, Janet, only daughter and heiress of Colonel Francis Charteris, of Amisfield, in Haddingtonshire, by whom he had issue, his eldest son,

DAVID, Lord Elcho, having been involved in the rising of 1745, fled into France after the battle of Culloden, and was attainted.

The family honours remained, therefore, from the decease of the 5th Earl, during his lordship's life, under the influence of that penal statute; but at the soi disant 6th Earl's demise without issue, in 1787, they were revived, and inherited by his brother,

THE HON FRANCIS WEMYSS-CHARTERIS (1723-1808), 7th Earl, who wedded, in 1745, Lady Catherine Gordon, daughter of Alexander, 2nd Duke of Gordon, by whom he had issue,

FRANCIS, Lord Elcho (1749-1808).
The heir apparent is (Francis) Richard (Dick) Charteris, styled Lord Elcho (b 1984).

GOSFORD HOUSE, Longniddry, East Lothian, is the ancestral seat of the Earls of Wemyss and March.

It was built by the 7th Earl between 1790 and 1800.


Gosford House was designed by the architect Robert Adam, who died before the mansion was completed.

The 8th Earl knocked down the wings, and his grandson, the 10th Earl, rebuilt them in 1891 to designs by the architect William Young.

The south wing contains the marble hall.

Gosford is built in the neo-classical style.

During the 2nd World War, the Army occupied the house, and burnt out the main rooms of the central block.

It was re-roofed in 1987, and restoration of the central block is an ongoing process, which has been progressed in the last ten years by Shelagh, Countess of Wemyss and March.


The Marble Hall, in the south wing, is arguably the most arresting of Gosford's many fine interior features.

It was completed in 1891 by William Young for the 10th Earl, and rises to a height of three storeys, with a magnificent double staircase leading to a surrounding picture gallery.

The elaborate fireplace, alabaster colonnades and ornate plasterwork reflect the strong Italianate taste of the 10th Earl, while the Palladian screen of Venetian windows are reminiscent of Adam's original designs.

The ponds in the policies were recently restored by James, the 13th Earl.

Gosford can be seen from Edinburgh on a clear day. It is open to the public in the summer.

The grounds boast an unusual and rare example of a Scottish curling-house.

Neidpath Castle, near Peebles, is also owned by Lord Wemyss; as was Amisfield Park, Haddington, which was sold by the family to the local council in 1928.

First published in January, 2014.

Monday, 12 November 2018

Ards House

THE STEWARTS WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY DONEGAL, WITH 39,306 ACRES

ALEXANDER STEWART (1746-1831), second son of Alexander Stewart MP, of Mount Stewart, County Down, and younger brother of Robert, 1st Marquess of Londonderry, purchased the estate of Ards from the Wray family, and settled there in 1782.

Mr Stewart, High Sheriff of County Donegal, 1791, espoused, in 1791, the Lady Mary Moore, younger daughter of Charles, 1st Marquess of Drogheda, by the Lady Anne Seymour his wife, daughter of Francis, 1st Marquess of Hertford, and had issue (with other children, who died young),
ALEXANDER ROBERT, his heir;
Charles Moore (Rev);
John Vandeleur, of Rock Hill;
Maria Frances; Gertrude Elizabeth.
Mr Stewart was succeeded by his eldest son, 

ALEXANDER ROBERT STEWART JP DL (1795-1850), of Ards and Lawrencetown House, High Sheriff of County Donegal, 1830, who wedded, in 1825, the Lady Caroline Anne Pratt, third daughter of John, 1st Marquess Camden, and had issue,

ALEXANDER JOHN ROBERT STEWART JP DL (1827-1904), of Ards and Lawrencetown House, High Sheriff of County Donegal, 1853, County Down, 1861, who married, in 1851, the Lady Isabella Rebecca Graham-Toler, seventh daughter of Hector, 2nd Earl of Norbury, and had issue,
ALEXANDER GEORGE JOHN, his heir;
Charles Hector;
George Lawrence;
Henry Moore;
Cecil George Graham;
Caroline Helen Mary; Beatrice Charlotte Elizabeth; Ida Augusta Isabella.
Mr Stewart's eldest son,

ALEXANDER GEORGE JOHN STEWART (1852-97), a Barrister, wedded, in 1883, Julia Blanche, daughter of Charles Dingwall, of Knollys Croft, Surrey, and had issue, two daughters,
ENA DINGWALL TASCA;
Muriel Neara.
The elder daughter,

ENA DINGWALL TASCA, LADY STEWART-BAM, of Ards, wedded, in 1910, Sir Pieter Canzius van Blommestein Stewart-Bam JP, of Sea Point, Capetown (son the Johannes Andrew Bam), who assumed with his wife the prefix surname and arms of STEWART on his marriage.


ARDS HOUSE, Creeslough, County donegal, was formerly the seat of the Wray family.

In the 18th century, the last William Wray of Ards was "a celebrated figure, eccentric and autocratic, though kind and generous".

This gentleman resided at Ards in feudal state, constructing roads through mountains at his own expense; lavish in his hospitality to guests.

As a consequence of this extravagance, the Ards estate itself was purchased by Alexander Stewart Junior in 1782 (for £13,250 - probably money left to him by his father).

However, the Stewart family had a long association with the Londonderry/east Donegal area, and originally hailed from Ballylawn, County Donegal.

In the 19th century, following the falling-in of the Mercers' lease, probably in 1830, the Stewarts of Ards concentrated on Donegal, acquiring property at Doe Castle and Letterkenny, both in that county.


The Stewart, later Stewart-Bam, family, owned land mainly at Ards, Doe Castle, Dunfanaghy and Letterkenny, in County Donegal.

Ards House was rebuilt about 1830 by Mr Stewart, towards the end of his life.

The main front is of two storeys; good plasterwork in the hall; friezes in the drawing-room and dining-room.

The estate was sold in 1925.

It was acquired by the Franciscans in 1937, who demolished it about 1965. 

Ards Forest Park used to form part of the Stewart estates.

The last member of the Stewart family to own the estate was Ena, Lady Stewart-Bam, who inherited from her grandfather about 1904.
*****

LAWRENCETOWN HOUSE, near Gilford, County Down, was for sale in June, 2016.

Other former seat ~ Lawrencetown House, Gilford, County Down. Town residence ~ 5 Old Court Mansions, Kensington, London.

First published in May, 2012.

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Remembrance Sunday

FOR THE FALLEN: THE GLORIOUS DEAD


They went with songs to the battle,

They were young, straight of limb,
 
True of eyes, steady and aglow,
 
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
 
They fell with their faces to the foe,

 

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old,
 
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn,
 
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
 
We will remember them.

LAURENCE BINYON, 1869-1943

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Clandeboye House

THE MARQUESSES OF DUFFERIN AND AVA WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY DOWN, WITH 18,238 ACRES

This family is of Scottish origin.

JOHN BLACKWOOD (1591-1663)a gentleman of respectable lineage in Fife, removed to Ulster some time towards the middle of the 17th century, and, having acquired considerable property, settled in County Down.

Of the Scottish family of BLACKWOOD, the celebrated Adam Blackwood (1539-1613), privy counsellor to MARY, Queen of Scots; and the said JOHN BLACKWOOD, of the same house, had his estate in County Down sequestered, in 1687, by JAMES II's parliament, but was restored on the accession of WILLIAM III.

Faithfully and zealously attached to his unhappy mistress, this eminent person published, in 1587, his Martyrdom of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland.

Mr Blackwood married Janet Clerke, and had, with three daughters, a son, JOHN.

He was interred at Bangor Abbey and his grave-stone reads:
HERE LIES [JOHN] BLACKWOOD, MERCHANT, LATE PROVOST OF BANGOR, WHO DEPARTED THIS LYFE THE 22 OF MAY 1663 AND OF AGE 72. HERE LYES A MAN WHO LIV'D OF LATE INTO A FLOORISHING ESTATE YET WAS IT HIS GLORY THAT THERBY HIMSELF HE DID NOT MAGNIFY A SOBER IVST [Just] AND ..... MAN AND THOVGH HIS LIFE WAS BVT A SPAN YET IT SO BLAMELESS WAS THAT HE DESERVES A LASTING MEMORIE.
Mr Blackwood was succeeded by his only son,

JOHN BLACKWOOD, of Ballyleidy, who wedded Anna Wauchope, and had issue,
JOHN;
Isabella; Margaret; Anne.
He died in 1698, and was succeeded by his only son,

JOHN BLACKWOOD, of Ballyleidy, who espoused Ursula, daughter of Robert Hamilton, and had issue,
James, ancestor of Blackwood, later Price, of Saintfield;
ROBERT, of whom hereafter;
Ursula.
Mr Blackwood's younger son,

ROBERT BLACKWOOD (1694-1774), was created a baronet in 1763.

Sir Robert married firstly, in 1721,  Joyce, sister of Joseph, 1st Earl of Milltown, and had issue,
JOHN, his successor;
Leeson;
Margaret.
He wedded secondly, Grace, only daughter of Isaac Macartney, and had issue,
William;
Grace; Dorcas; Sarah; Elizabeth.
Sir Robert was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR JOHN BLACKWOOD,
2nd Baronet (1721-99), MP, who married, in 1751, Dorcas, eldest daughter and heiress of James Stevenson, of Killyleagh, son of Hans Stevenson, of Ballyrott, by Anne his wife, daughter and eventually sole heiress of James Hamilton, of Neillsbrook, County Antrim, nephew of James Hamilton, Viscount Claneboye, father of James, Earl of Clanbrassil, by whom he had issue,
Robert, died unmarried in 1786;
JAMES, his successor;
John, in holy orders;
HANS, succeeded his brother;
Price;
Leeson;
Henry, created a baronet;
Anne; Sophia; Dorcas; Catherine.
Sir John was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

SIR JAMES STEVENSON BLACKWOOD, 3rd Baronet (1755–1836), who inherited the peerage at the decease of his mother, DORCAS, created Baroness Dufferin and Claneboye in 1800, with remainder to her ladyship's male issue by her deceased husband, Sir John Blackwood.

Arms of 5th Baron Dufferin and Clandeboye at Down Cathedral

He espoused, in 1801, Anne Dorothea, only daughter of John, 1st Baron Oriel, but dsp in 1836, and was succeeded by his brother,

HANS, 3rd Baron (1758-1839), who married firstly, in 1784, Mehetabel Hester, second daughter and co-heir of Robert Temple, and had issue,
Robert Temple, killed at Waterloo;
Hans, died unmarried;
PRICE, his successor;
Henrietta.
His lordship wedded secondly, in 1801, Elizabeth, eldest daughter and co-heir of William Henry Finlay, of Gennetts, County Meath, and had issue,
William Stear (Rev), Vicar of Ballinderry;
Henry Stevenson;
Marrianna; Elizabeth Dorcas; Sophia Louisa; Henrietta Catherine; Anne Dorothea.
His lordship died in 1839, and was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

PRICE, 4th Baron (1794-1841), who espoused, in 1825, Helen Selina, daughter of Thomas Sheridan, by whom he had an only son, FREDERICK TEMPLE.

The 4th Baron died suddenly on board the Reindeer steamer, from taking an overdose of morphine, and was succeeded by his son,

FREDERICK TEMPLE (1826-1902), 5th Baron, who was created, in 1871, Earl of Dufferin, and advanced to the dignity of a marquessate, in 1888, as MARQUESS OF DUFFERIN AND AVA.

Barons Dufferin and Claneboye (1800; Reverted):

The heir apparent is the present holder's son, the Hon Francis Blackwood (b 1979).

CLANDEBOYE HOUSE, near Bangor, County Down, stands within one of the finest private estates in Northern Ireland.

Much has already been written about Clandeboye and there is a very good article here by Peter Rankin of the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society.

One of the most extensive examples of Victorian parkland planting in Ulster, the 800-acre parkland was created out of the core of an earlier 18th century designed landscape.

The estate itself comprises about 2,000 acres today.

The demesne was founded in the early 17th century, depicted on Raven’s map of 1625-26.

Formerly known as Ballyleidy, there were several earlier houses near the site of the present mansion, including a modest late 17th century house and a three-storey gable-ended house of ca 1760.


The present mansion house was designed by Robert Woodgate in 1801-04, for James Blackwood, 2nd Baron Dufferin and Claneboye.

It is a conventional two-storey Georgian block in ‘Soanic’ style, with two main façades at right angles to one another; the east façade, being the original entrance front, has seven bays with a pedimented Doric portico.

The formal landscape that accompanied the old 18th century house was swept aside in the early 19th century for a good quality, professionally designed landscape park, possibly the work of John Sutherland (1745-1826).

In the late 1840s Frederick Temple Blackwood, having succeeded his father as 5th Baron Dufferin and Claneboye in 1841, started to undertake alterations to the house, notably by moving the entrance from the south to the west.

The park was re-modelled and expanded very considerably in size, this being in part the work of James Fraser (1793-1863), the best-known exponent of Picturesque landscaping in Victorian Ireland.

Much of the work provided employment in the years after the famine, and involved the closing of the public road, sweeping away surrounding fields and farm buildings and, in their stead, planting new belts, screens and sweeping deciduous woodlands.

Between 1852-62 a number of lakes were created, most notably a great lake with islands to the south and east of the house.

On the west side of the demesne a two-and-a-half-mile avenue was created to provide access to the private family railway station at Helen’s Bay to the north, itself built in baronial style and approached via a splendid turreted arch, both built to designs of Benjamin Ferrey.


On a hill in the southern sector of the park William Burn was commissioned in 1848 to design a castellated tower.

This tower was not completed until 1862 and was named Helen’s Tower by Lord Dufferin, in commemoration of his mother, Helena Selina, a granddaughter of Richard Brinsley Sheridan.

During his extensive postings abroad, exotic trees were brought back and planted in a Pinetum, mentioned by Lord Headfort in 1932 in Conifers in the Parks and Gardens of Ireland.

Today the demesne is a successful and maintained amalgam of woodland, farm and golf course.

The ornamental planting is mainly to the north-east and south-east of the house in the form of different compartments begun at different times.

An 1890s formal terraced garden at the house, incorporating steps, balustraded and terracotta vases, is now grassed over; but the 20th century additions are still maintained.

These include the Conservatory Garden, which is an enclosed garden near the house of 1938; Brenda’s Garden – an informal planting in a woodland glen begun in the 1930s and now extending east; and an arboretum that was begun in the 1960s to the north-east of the house.

The former Bear Garden, close to the house, provides the setting for a formal Bee Garden created in the 1980s as the setting for a Bee House which was donated by Colonel Greeves of Altona House.

More recently, in 1990, the Sheridan Garden was created, in memory of the 5th and last Marquess, in a previously laurel-infested woodland setting.

The walled garden is used by Conservation Volunteers and modern glasshouses outside are in use for the house.

Other demesne buildings include the Gothic-Revival private chapel of ca.1890 by Henry Lynn; the gas-works, built ca 1870; classical limestone pedestal memorial at Campo Santo in Tomb Wood to the south-east of the house, ca 1820.
The seven gate lodges, of which six still survive, are: Early Lodge, ca 1830; Inner Lodge, ca 1845; Cloister Lodge, ca 1845; Belfast or Ava Lodge, 1855; Bridge Lodge, ca 1875; and South or Newtownards Lodge, ca 1890.
Following the death of the 5th and last Marquess in 1988, a number of environmental projects and charities at Clandeboye were begun, including the Prince’s Trust and the NI branch of the Woodland Trust, established in 1998 in partnership with the Dufferin Foundation and a link with Kew Gardens.

In the courtyard is Dendron Lodge (Clandeboye Environmental Centre), used by Conservation Volunteers Northern Ireland for meetings, workshops and accommodation.

*****

FOR A fuller history of the family, the Dufferin Papers are held at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland.

The 4th Marquess, who married Maureen Guinness, granddaughter of 1st Earl of Iveagh, was said to have been a gifted young man of extraordinary charm.

Like his grandfather, the 1st Marquess, he combined intellectual, literary and artistic gifts with ambitions in public life.

His death in 1945 while on active service in Burma was a bitter blow to family and friends, including the future Poet Laureate, John Betjeman.

The 5th Marquess thus succeeded to the title aged six. He married his cousin Belinda (Lindy) Guinness at Westminster Abbey in 1964.

The 5th Marquess was survived by one of his sisters, Lady Perdita Blackwood, who lived at Cavallo Farm, near Clandeboye.

The 5th and last Marquess died in 1988 without issue, when Clandeboye passed to his widow Lindy, Marchioness of Dufferin and Ava.

The marquessate is now extinct.

Lady Dufferin inherited a considerable fortune at the time, not least due to the Guinness connection. She also inherited Clandeboye and a London home in Holland Park.

Clandeboye Estate comprises about 2,000 acres of prime Ulster woodland and gardens.

Lady Dufferin has a continuing interest in the Arts and is a keen painter. She is also interested in conservation matters.

Clandeboye Golf Club is now an integral part of the Estate.


There is a memorial to the 1st Marquess in the grounds of Belfast City Hall.

It cost £5,000 in 1906 ~ equivalent to £450,000 today.

I have written an article entitled The Four Great Ulster Marquessates.

First published in June, 2010; revised 2014. Photo credit: Katybird. Dufferin arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Friday, 9 November 2018

Lohort Castle

THE EARLS OF EGMONT WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY CORK, WITH 16,776 ACRES 
The ancient and illustrious house of PERCEVAL is supposed, by many suggestive circumstances, to take its origin from a younger branch of the sovereign Dukes of Brittany in France; out of which province they were transplanted to Normandy before its conquest, and were invested with the hereditary office of Chief Butlers of that duchy.
GEOFFREY I, Duke of Brittany, had a younger son,

ODO or EUDES, Viscount of Porhoet, at length Duke of Brittany, who a little before the Conquest left issue, by his wife Agnes, among other sons, one named

ROBERT, presumed the same with Robert, Lord of Yvery, the first of his family that settled in England upon the Norman conquest.

*****

DAVID PERCEVAL, Lord of Twickenham, Rolleston, Somerset (lineally descended from Ascelin Gouel de Perceval, who accompanied THE CONQUEROR to England), married Alice, daughter of Thomas Bythemore of Overwere.

He died in 1534, and left issue,
James, dsp 1548;
GEORGE, of whom presently;
Thomas.
The second son,

GEORGE PERCEVAL (1561-1601), Lord of Twickenham, wedded Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Edward Bamfylde, of Poltimore, in Devon; and dying about 1601, left, with a daughter Elizabeth, a son,

RICHARD PERCEVAL (1550-1620). The life of this ultimately successful person was chequered and eventful in no ordinary degree.

He was educated at St Paul's School, then the most celebrated seminary in England, whence he was sent to Lincoln's Inn, to acquire some general idea of the laws, esteemed, in those days, an accomplishment of the highest description.

In both his progress was brilliant, but his conduct dissipated and disorderly, so much so indeed, that he incurred the displeasure of his father, who, upon his marriage with Joan Young, entirely abandoned him, observing, that as he had ruined himself by his riots, he might recover himself by his wits.

Thus unnaturally cast off, Mr Perceval found means, by the credit of his reversionary estates, and the assistance of his friends, to maintain himself several years, during which time he three sons and two daughters: but at length, through a failure of resources, and the increasing expenses of his family, he was obliged to quit the kingdom, and travelled into Spain, where he remained about four years.

Being then informed of his wife's decease, he returned to England, hoping, now that principal cause of his father had been removed, he might again recover his good opinion; but that hope proving delusive.

Having subsequently filled the office of Secretary of the Court of Wards in England, for several years, he was nominated in 1616, Registrar of the Court of Wards in Ireland, where, after obtaining considerable landed property, he died and was succeeded by his son (by his second wife),

SIR PHILIP PERCEVAL (1605-47), Knight, a very distinguished statesman, who, having been actively employed in the government of Ireland for a series of years, obtained grants of forfeited lands there to the extent of 101, 000 acres.

He wedded Catherine, granddaughter of Sir William Usher, Clerk of the Council, and daughter of Arthur Usher by his wife, Judith, daughter of Sir Robert Newcomen, of Moystown, County Longford, and had issue,
JOHN, his heir;
George, father of PHILIP.
Sir Philip was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR JOHN PERCEVAL, Knight, was created a baronet in 1661, by patent, containing this remarkable clause that, "the eldest son, or grandson, shall exist a baronet, after the age of 21 years, at the same time with the father or grandfather."

His great-grandson,

THE RT HON SIR JOHN PERCEVAL, who, after becoming a privy counsellor, and sitting for several years in the Irish House of Commons, was elevated to the peerage of that kingdom, by patent, in 1715, as Baron Perceval.

His lordship was advanced to a viscountcy, in 1722, as Viscount Perceval, of County Cork, with the annual fee of twenty marks, payable out of the Exchequer, attached, to support the honour.

In 1732, this nobleman obtained a charter to colonise the province of Georgia, in America, and being nominated president thereof; and was further advanced to the dignity of an earldom, in 1733, as EARL OF EGMONT.

LOHORT CASTLE is near Cecilstown, County Cork.

This historic castle is an impressive five-storey fortified tower with rounded corners, standing over eighty feet tall.

The massive walls are ten feet thick at the base, narrowing to six feet.

Around the top storey there is a machicolated parapet that runs unbroken apart for a short section on the eastern side.

There used to be a deep moat around the castle with a drawbridge.

The castle grounds cover more than one hundred acres.

Lohort Castle was built ca 1496 by Donogh Og McDonagh McCarthy.

The castle was taken by the Irish forces during the civil war.

One of the bloodiest battles of the English civil war took place in the grounds of Lohort Castle in 1647, when over 4,500 men were killed in battle.

Lohort was bombarded by Oliver Cromwell's troops in 1650 and captured, but the castle withstood the cannon fire due to the immense strength of its thick walls.

Lohort Castle Gatehouse

The castle as it now stands was rebuilt ca 1750 by Sir John Perceval, 1st Earl of Egmont, and the Percevals lived there until the 20th century, when it was burnt by the IRA in 1922.

Some of the fireplaces from nearby Kanturk Castle appear to have been relocated to Lohort Castle; this was probably done when Lohort Castle was restored in the 18th century.

Lohort subsequently became the home of Sir Timothy O'Brien Bt, a well-known cricketer.

First published in August, 2012.   Egmont arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Thursday, 8 November 2018

El Molino del Rey

FIELD MARSHAL THE RIGHT HONOURABLE SIR ARTHUR WELLESLEY KG GCB GCH, FIRST DUKE OF WELLINGTON

GARRETT COLLEY-WELLESLEY, 2nd Baron Mornington, was born in 1735.

His lordship was further advanced, in 1760 to the dignities of Viscount Mornington and EARL OF MORNINGTON.

In 1759 he married Anne, daughter of Arthur, 1st Viscount Dungannon, of Belvoir Park, Newtownbreda, County Down.

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

They had issue,

1.  RICHARD, 2nd Earl of Mornington and 1st Marquess Wellesley.

2.  Arthur Gerald, died in childhood.

3.  WILLIAM, Baron Maryborough.

4.  ARTHUR, Duke of Wellington, KG etc.

and five other offspring.

Hailed as the conquering hero by the nation, Wellesley was created Marquess Douro and Duke of Wellington, titles still held by his successors.

As Sir Arthur did not return to England until the Peninsular War was over, he was awarded all his patents of nobility in a unique ceremony lasting a full day.:
  •  Baron Douro, 1809
  • Viscount Wellington, 1809
  • Earl and Marquess of Wellington, 1812
  • Marquess Douro and Duke of Wellington, 1814
  • Count of Vimeiro in Portugal, 1811
  • Duke of Ciudad Rodrigo, Grandee of Spain 1st Class (Grandeza de España,) 1812
  • Duke of Vittoria and Marquess of Torres Vedras in Portugal, 1812
  • Prince of Waterloo in the Netherlands, 1815
Although the Great Duke spent nearly six years driving the French Army from Spain and removing Joseph Bonaparte from the Spanish throne, he had received little recognition in Spain.

History, as taught in Spanish schools, minimizes His Grace's contribution and those of the British and Portuguese soldiers that fought with him.

Sir Arthur received some recognition during his lifetime (the title of Duque de Ciudad Rodrigo) and the King of Spain, Ferdinand VII, allowed him to keep part of the works of art from the Royal Collection which he had recovered from the French.

Arthur Charles Valerian Wellesley, OBE, is the 10th Duke of Ciudad Rodrigo and 9th Duke of Wellington.

In addition, as a mark of gratefulness for Sir Arthur's service during the War of Independence against the Napoleonic occupation, the Government of Spain donated in perpetuity a country estate which was built at the beginning of the 19th century called “Prince of La Paz”, Manuel Godoy.


The property, also called “the Tower”, occupies all the old Low Meadow of Íllora, a large estate called El Molino del Rey [the King's Mill] which extends to about 12,000 acres.



Although the 1st Duke never visited the Molino del Rey estate, outside Íllora, near the south-western city of Granada, it was passed down to his heirs and is now the property of the 9th and present Duke.

The principal seat of the Dukes of Wellington is Stratfield Saye House in Hampshire, given to the 1st Duke by a grateful Nation; while their London home remains Apsley House in Piccadilly.

Wellington arms courtesy of European Heraldry.First published in March, 2011.

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Portaferry House

THE NUGENTS OWNED 4,638 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY DOWN

The very ancient Anglo-Norman house of SAVAGE was settled at Portaferry, County Down, since the time of the first conquest of Ireland by John de Courcy, Earl of Ulster, in 1117.

Under that famous warrior, the original ancestor in Ireland established himself in County Down; and by a written document, dated 1205, in the Tower of London, we find Robin, son of William Savage, named as one of de Courcy's hostages for his appearance before KING JOHN.

The present barony of Lecale was anciently termed the Territory of the Savages, wherein, at Ardglass, they and their dependents erected seven castles, the ruins of which are still extant.

It appears, also, that a stately monastery of Dominicans was founded at Newtownards, in 1244, by the Savages, "gentlemen of English extraction".

From the extreme scarcity of records in Ireland, it is impossible, at this remote period, to determine, without liability to error, which is the senior branch of the family, that of PORTAFERRY or ARDKEEN CASTLE.

In 1400, HENRY IV granted to Robert FitzJordan Savage the office of sheriff of the Ards; and it appears, by an indenture dated 1538, that Raymond [Savage] should have the chieftainship and superiority of his sept in the Territory of the Savages, otherwise called Lecale.

However, in 1559 the Lord Deputy, Sir William FitzWilliam, made a division between Roland and Raymond Savage of several towns and territories in the Ards.

By pedigree annexed, Roland, in 1572, was in possession of Portaferry Castle, and styled himself "Lord of the Little Ards"; and Lord Deputy Chichester, some years afterwards, addressed him as such by letter.

The Ardkeen family had some territories in the barony of Lecale, and also in County Antrim, that family always being sore enemies of the O'Neills. 

ROWLAND SAVAGE, Lord of the Little Ards, County Down, representative of the family in the middle of the 16th century, died at Portaferry in 1572, leaving issue, 
PATRICK, his heir;
ROWLAND;
Edmund;
Richard;
James.
The eldest son,

PATRICK SAVAGE (1535-c1604), Lord of the Little Ards, wedded Anne Plunket, and left two sons, of whom the elder,

ROWLAND SAVAGE, Lord of the Little Ards, succeeded his father, and married Rose, daughter of Russel of Rathmullan, County Down.

Mr Savage was, however succeeded by his brother, 

PATRICK SAVAGE,  of Portaferry, who wedded, in 1623, Jean, only daughter of Hugh, 1st Viscount Montgomery, and had issue,
HUGH, his heir;
ELIZABETH, co-heir to her brother;
SARAH, co-heir to her brother.
Patrick Savage died in 1644, and was succeeded by his son, 

HUGH SAVAGE, of Portaferry, who died unmarried in 1683, and was succeeded in the representation of the family by his cousin, 

PATRICK SAVAGE, of Londonderry, and afterwards of Portaferry, who, by his wife Anne Hall, of Narrow Water, left issue,

EDWARD SAVAGE, of Portaferry, who died unmarried in 1725, and was buried at Portaferry.

His uncle and successor, 

JAMES SAVAGE, of Portaferry, wedded Mabel, daughter of Edmund Magee, of Lisburn, and had issue,
JOHN, his heir;
ANDREW, of whom hereafter;
James;
Margaret; Elizabeth.
The eldest son,

JOHN SAVAGE, wedded Catherine, daughter of ___ Savage, and had issue a son, James, who died young.

At his decease he was succeeded by his brother,

ANDREW SAVAGE, of Portaferry, who espoused Margaret, sister and co-heir of Governor Nugent (of Tortola), and daughter of Andrew Nugent, of Dysart, County Westmeath, by his wife, the Lady Catherine Nugent, daughter and co-heir of Thomas, Earl of Westmeath, and had a son and heir,

PATRICK SAVAGE, of Portaferry, who married, in 1765, Anne, daughter of Roger Hall, of Narrow Water, and by her had, with daughters who died unmarried,
ANDREW, his heir;
Patrick Nugent, m Hariett, daughter of Rev Henry Sandford;
Roger Hall, Captain RN, died unmarried;
John Levallin, died unmarried;
William, in holy orders;
Barbara; Dorcas Sophia.
Mr Savage died in 1797, and was succeeded by his eldest son (who assumed the surname of NUGENT and became co-heir of the barony of Delvin),

ANDREW NUGENT JP DL (1770-1846), of Portaferry House, Lieutenant-Colonel, North Down Militia, High Sheriff of County Down, 1808, who wedded, in 1800, the Hon Selina Vesey, youngest daughter of Thomas, 1st Viscount de Vesci, and had issue,
PATRICK JOHN, his heir;
Thomas Vesey, m Frances, eldest daughter of Sir James Stronge Bt;
Andrew Savage, m Harriet, Viscountess Bangor;
Arthur, m Charlotte, only daughter of Major Brooke, of Colebrooke;
Charles Lavallin, major-general in the army;
Selina, m James, eldest son of Sir James Stronge Bt;
Anne.
Colonel Nugent succeeded his father in 1797, and assumed his present surname, on succeeding to a portion of the estate of his maternal great-uncle, Governor Nugent, in 1812.

His eldest son,

PATRICK JOHN NUGENT (1804-57), of Portaferry House, Lieutenant-Colonel, North Down Militia, High Sheriff of County Down, 1843, married, in 1833, his cousin Catherine, daughter of John 2nd Viscount de Vesci, and had issue,
ANDREW;
JOHN VESEY, lieutenant-colonel in the army;
Arthur Vesey;
Frances Isabella.
His eldest son,

LIEUTENANT-GENERAL ANDREW NUGENT JP DL (1834-1905), of Portaferry House, High Sheriff of County Down, 1882, Colonel, Royal Scots Greys, died unmarried and was succeeded by his brother, 

LIEUTENANT-COLONEL JOHN VESEY NUGENT JP DL (1837-1914), of Portaferry House, who married, in 1886, Emily Georgiana, daughter of Herbert Langham.

Colonel Nugent died without issue and was succeeded by his cousin, 

EDMOND HENRY STUART NUGENT, whose son,

ROLAND THOMAS NUGENT (1886-1962), was a Northern Ireland politician. 
He entered the diplomatic service in 1910 and served with the Grenadier Guards in 1918; and again in 1940-43; was a Director of the Federation of British Industries, 1916-17 and 1919-32; and was knighted in 1929.
In 1944, Sir Roland Thomas Nugent entered Northern Ireland politics, serving as Leader of the Senate, 1944-50; Minister without Portfolio in the Northern Ireland Government, 1944-45; Minister of Commerce, 1945-49; Minister in the Senate, 1949; and Speaker of the Senate, 1950-61. 
On his retirement from that post, Sir Roland was created a baronet, though he died in the following year, when the baronetcy became extinct.

Sir Roland, 1st and last Baronet, married, in 1917, Cynthia Maud Ramsden, daughter of Captain Frederick William Ramsden and the Lady Elizabeth Maud Conyngham (daughter of 3rd Marquess Conyngham).

The couple had three children, of whom their two sons were both tragically killed in action during the 2nd World War.

I have written about the Nugent Baronets here.


PORTAFERRY HOUSE, Portaferry, County Down, is a dignified mansion of ca 1750, designed by William Farrell for Andrew Savage.

It was extended ca 1790, and assumed its present form in 1818-20.

The central entrance front comprises five bays, with a Wyatt window in each of the two upper storeys.

The porch has paired Ionic columns and end piers.

On either side of the centre there are broad, three-sided bows of two storeys, though the same height as the main block.


The hall had Ionic columns and good plasterwork. 

Kennels were built to the north side of the demesne.

A threshing mill/horse walk was built to the north east of the farmyard.

The work to the house was completed in 1820 at a total cost of £7,140.

Portaferry House remained in the Nugent family until the 1980s, by which time sections of it had fallen into disrepair.

The present owner has done much to restore the building.

*****

THE DEMESNE is laid out as a fine landscape park for the 1760 house, enlarged in the early 1820s after additions and alterations were made to the house by Andrew Nugent.

It is placed in a splendid position overlooking lawns, pleasure grounds, a series of small lakes and parkland to Strangford Lough.

The original 1760 house stands on a site chosen because it was near ‘a beautiful well-spring up to which from the old castle’. 

The present building owes it appearance to Patrick Savage, who engaged Charles Lilley, a Dublin timber merchant in 1789-90, to start work on an enlarged house.

Later, in 1814, William Farrell was engaged to complete the building, and following Lilley’s designs, this work being completed in 1820.

The parkland incorporates extensive woodland blocks, screens and isolated park trees.

Nugent’s Wood, alongside the shore, belongs to the National Trust. 

A folly tower, which resembles a windmill stump, has far reaching views from the top.

The walled garden, near the town, which belongs to the council, has an interesting ziggurat wall to allow maximum heat to wall fruit.

It is open to the public, as it is adjacent to the 16th century tower house, Portaferry Castle.

There are listed farm buildings and three gate lodges built in 1830.

First published in November, 2014.

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Phoenix Lodge

WILLIAM CHARLEY OWNED 155 ACRES OF LAND AT SEYMOUR HILL, COUNTY ANTRIM

The family of CHARLEY, or CHORLEY, passing over from the north of England, settled in Ulster during the 17th century, at first in Belfast, where they were owners of house property for two hundred years; and afterwards at Finaghy, County Antrim, where

JOHN CHARLEY (c1659-1743), of Belfast, left a son,

RALPH CHARLEY (1674-1756), of Finaghy House, County Antrim, who wedded Elizabeth Hill, and had an only child,

JOHN CHARLEY (1711-93), of Finaghy House, who married Mary, daughter of John Ussher, and had issue,

Matthew, died unmarried;
JOHN, of whom hereafter;
Hill, died unmarried;
Jane, died unmarried.
The eldest surviving son,

JOHN CHARLEY (1744-1812), of Finaghy House, married, in 1783, Anne Jane, daughter of Richard Wolfenden, of Harmony Hill, County Down, and had issue,
John, of Finaghy House (1784-1844), dsp;
Matthew, of Finaghy House and Woodbourne;
WILLIAM, of whom we treat.

The third son,

WILLIAM CHARLEY (1790-1838), of Seymour Hill, Dunmurry, married, in 1817, Isabella, eldest daughter of William Hunter JP, of Dunmurry, and had issue,
JOHN, of Seymour Hill;
WILLIAM, succeeded his brother;
Edward, of Conway House;
Mary, of Huntley;
ANNE JANE, of whom hereafter;
Eliza; Isabella; Emily.
The second daughter,

ANNE JANE CHARLEY (1822-1904), of Phoenix Lodge, married William Stevenson, Junior, in 1842, by whom she had no issue.

IN 1837, the Ulster Railway Company opened its first line from Belfast to Lisburn. 

To encourage more use of the railway, free passes were offered to people if they built new homes near the stations and halts.

 It is thought that this may have influenced William Charley (1790-1838) to build Phoenix Lodge for his daughter, Anne Jane, in 1837, shortly before he died.

In 1842, Anne married William Stevenson, of Belfast, and they lived at Phoenix Lodge until his death in 1855.

His widow then moved to live with her mother at Huntley.

In 1882, the name of the house was changed simply to The Lodge, following the notorious Phoenix Park murders in Dublin.

Captain Arthur Charley (1870-1944) lived there with his wife, Clare, after the Great War until his brother, Edward Charley (1859-1932) died and he moved into Seymour Hill House.

In the 1930s, The Lodge was rented by Lord and Lady Ampthill.

In 1940, Major-General Sir James and Lady Cooke-Collis lived there (he was the first Ulster Agent in London, but died in 1941 as the result of a German air raid on his club in London).

Thereafter it was occupied by Major-General Vivian Majendie, GOC Northern Ireland.

In 1947, The Lodge was bought by Mrs Harland, sister of Sir Milne Barbour Bt, of Conway House.

Despite being listed, the house was vested in the early 1960s, following Mrs Harland's death.

The grounds taken over for the expansion of a nearby factory. 

A large, weeping ash tree dominated the front lawn of the Lodge.

The information has been sourced from Lisburn Historical Society.    First published in March, 2011.

Monday, 5 November 2018

Louisa Bailie of Ringdufferin

THE FOLLOWING EXTRACT IS FROM FROM THE DOWN RECORDER OF NOVEMBER 9TH, 1941

TO DIE from a burning accident was the sad fate of a dear old lady, Miss Louisa Bailie, of Ringdufferin, County Down, the last survivor of a family of proud lineage, and held in affectionate respect by the whole countryside.

The father, Major James Bailie, 87th Royal Irish Fusiliers, died in February [1896].

Miss Bailie was the youngest of his three daughters. She was aged 80.

The family had been in possession of Ringdufferin for almost 300 years, having obtained a lease in September, 1668, from Henry, Earl of Clanbrassil.

No later than last Sunday Miss Bailie attended the service in Killyleagh Parish Church, of which she was an ardent member.

The Rev. S Mann [sic] conducted the funeral service.

*****

I HAVE BEEN researching the history of the Ringdufferin estate and the Bailies.

Major James Bailie and his family - including Louisa  -  were the last of the Bailies to live there.

Ringdufferin was purchased by the Mackie family in 1945.

I am grateful to The Down Recorder for the above information.

First published in November, 2016.

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Bantry House

THE EARLS OF BANTRY WERE THE GREATEST LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY CORK, WITH 69,500 ACRES.

The family of WHITE derives its descent from Sir Thomas White, of Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, the founder of St John's College, Oxford, and brother of the  Rt Rev John White, Lord Bishop of Winchester, 1557.

Following the restoration of CHARLES II, Sir Thomas White, of Rickmansworth, settled in Ireland, where he purchased land debentures granted by CROMWELL to his army officers during the civil wars, and had a son,

RICHARD WHITE, of Bantry (who was maternally descended from the Hamiltons of Armagh), who married, in 1734, Martha, daughter of the Very Rev Roland Davis, Dean of Cork, and had issue,
SIMON, his heir;
Hamilton;
Margaret.
Mr White was succeeded by his son,

SIMON WHITE, who married, in 1760, Frances Jane, daughter of Richard Hedges, of Mount Hedges, County Cork, and predeceased his father, leaving issue,
RICHARD;
Simon;
Hamilton;
Edward;
Helen; Martha; Frances.
Mr White died in 1816, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

RICHARD WHITE (1767-1851); who was presented with a gold medal by the city of Cork for his spirited exertions on the arrival of the French forces in Bantry Bay, in 1797.

Mr white was consequently raised to the peerage, in 1797, in the dignity of Baron Bantry; and advanced to a viscountcy, in 1800, as Viscount Bantry.

His lordship was further advanced, in 1816,  to the dignity of Viscount Berehaven and EARL OF BANTRY.

He married, in 1799, the Lady Margaret Anne Hare, eldest daughter of William, 1st Earl of Listowel, and had issue,
RICHARD, 2nd Earl;
WILLIAM HENRY HARE, 3rd Earl;
Simon;
Maria.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

RICHARD, 2nd Earl (1800-68), who wedded, in 1836, the Lady Mary O'Brien, third daughter and co-heir of William, 2nd Marquess of Thomond; though dsp 1868, when the family honours devolved upon his brother,

WILLIAM HENRY HARE (1801-84), 3rd Earl, who wedded, in 1845, Jane, eldest daughter of Charles John Herbert, of Muckross Abbey, County Kerry, and had issue,
WILLIAM HENRY HARE, his successor;
Elizabeth Mary Gore; Olivia Charlotte; Emily Anne; Ina Maude; Jane Frances Anna.
His lordship assumed, in 1840, the additional name of HEDGES.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

WILLIAM HENRY HARE, 4th Earl (1854-91), who espoused, in 1886, Rosamund Catherine, daughter of the Hon Edmund George Petre, by whom he had no issue.

His lordship died in 1891, when the titles expired.

*****

THE WHITES had settled on Whiddy Island across the Bay in the late 17th century, after having originally been merchants in Limerick.

The family prospered and considerable purchases of land were made in the area surrounding the house.

After the failure of the 1641 Irish Rising the Cromwellian soldiers were rewarded with grants of land in the Bantry area, the Earl of Anglesey receiving 96,000 acres.

Many of the settlers became disenchanted with the lonely farming life and the lands granted to Lord Anglsey and his officers were bought by a member of the White family.

The Whites engaged in farming, clearance of the forests, iron ore smelting etc and prospered.

The town of Bantry, at the head of the bay, is associated with the Irish rebellion of 1798 as being the place where an earlier attempt to land launch a rebellion was made by a French fleet, including Wolfe Tone in December 1796.

The French fleet consisting of 43 ships carrying 15,000 troops had divided mid-Atlantic into smaller groups to avoid interception by the Royal Navy with orders to reform at Bantry Bay.

The bulk of the fleet arrived successfully, but several ships, including the flagship Fraternité carrying General Hoche were delayed.

While awaiting their arrival, bad weather intervened and the lack of leadership, together with uneasiness at the prospect of being trapped, forced the decision to return to France.

Tone wrote of the expedition in his diary, saying that "We were close enough to toss a biscuit ashore".

Richard White, having heard about the invasion had trained a militia to oppose the landing as he and his tenants were loyal to the Crown.

Munitions were stored in Bantry House for safe keeping.

Look-outs were posted on Both Mizen Head and Sheep's Head to send warning of an invasion.

In the end the French armada never had a chance of landing.

The weather was too severe, and even ship to ship communication was too difficult.

Ten ships were lost.

One of these vessels, the Surveillante, remained on the bottom of Bantry bay for almost 200 years.

For his efforts in preparing the local defences against the French, Richard White, a local landowner, was created Baron Bantry in 1797.

A viscountcy followed in 1800 and, in 1816, he was created Viscount Berehaven and EARL OF BANTRY.

He was the grandson of Richard White, who had made an immense fortune through his work as a lawyer.

Lord Bantry was succeeded by his son, the 2nd Earl, who sat on the Conservative benches in the House of Lords from 1854-68.

His younger brother, the 3rd Earl, assumed in 1840 by Royal license the additional surname of Hedges, which was that of his paternal grandmother.

The titles became extinct on the death of his son, the 4th Earl, in 1891.

Egerton Shellswell-White, great-grandson of the 3rd Earl, took over the running of Bantry from his mother in about 1978.

It now comprises one hundred acres, mainly woodland.


BANTRY HOUSE (originally called 'Blackrock'), County Cork, was constructed ca 1740 on the south side of Bantry Bay.

In 1750, Councillor Richard White bought Blackrock from Samuel Hutchinson and changed its name to Seafield.


The main block of the mansion consists of a square, three-storey, five-bay house built about 1740 for the Hutchinson family.

A wing was added on one side later in the 18th century after the House was acquired by Richard White, being the same height as the original block, though only of two storeys with a curved bow at the front and rear; and a six-bay elevation at the side.


In 1845, Richard White,Viscount Berehaven and later the 2nd Earl, enlarged and remodelled Bantry House. He travelled extensively throughout Europe, building an enviable art collection.


The 2nd Earl added the long, fourteen-bay front at the opposite side of the original block to the late 18th century wing, comprising a six-bay centre of two storeys over a basement; and three-storey, four-bay bow-ended wings lined with huge Corinthian pilasters of red brick.

The House is entered through a glazed Corinthian colonnade, similar to the one on the garden front.

The Library, sixty feet long, has four scagliola columns which support the compartmented ceiling.

The Blue Dining-room (below) has life-sized portraits of GEORGE III and Queen Charlotte in sumptuous frames, presented to the 1st Earl by royal command.


The two drawing-rooms feature exquisite French tapestries from the Gobelin, Aubusson and Beauvais workshops brought to Ireland after the French Revolution by the 2nd Earl.

The Aubusson tapestries were manufactured for Marie Antoinette following her marriage to the Dauphin, later LOUIS XVI.

The gardens to Bantry House were developed by the 2nd Earl and his wife Mary.

Inspiration was taken from their travels across Europe.

The gardens contain seven terraces; the house is located on the third.

One hundred steps are located behind the house and are built to appear to rise out of a fountain and are surrounded by azaleas and rhododendron.

The gardens are constantly tended and maintained.

By 1997 the grounds of Bantry House were suffering from neglect in certain places.

A European grant was obtained to start the restoration process. Funding ceased in 2000.

Restoration work continues.

First published in April, 2011.  Bantry arms courtesy of European Heraldry.