Tuesday, 12 November 2019

1st Marquess of Downshire


This family, of Norman extraction, was originally called de la Montagne.

In the reign of EDWARD III its members were styled "Hill, alias de la Montagne"; but in succeeding ages they were known by the name of HILL only.

SIR MOYSES HILL, Knight, descended from the family of HILL, of Devon (two members of which were judges of England in the beginning of the 15th century, and one Lord Mayor of London, 1484), went over to Ulster, as a military officer, with the Earl of Essex, in 1573, to suppress O'Neill's rebellion.

This Moyses was subsequently appointed governor of Olderfleet Castle, an important fortress at the period, as it protected Larne harbour from the Scots.

His first land purchase in County Down came in 1607, when he bought the Castlereagh estates of the hapless Conn O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone.

Thereafter Sir Moyses acquired the Kilwarlin estate - now Hillsborough - from the Magennises.

He represented County Antrim in parliament, 1613, and having distinguished himself during a long life, both as a soldier and a magistrate, Sir Moyses died in 1629-30, and was succeeded by his elder son,

PETER HILL; but we pass to his younger son, ARTHUR, who eventually inherited the estates, upon the demise of Peter's only son, Francis Hill, of Hill Hall, without male issue.

The said

ARTHUR HILL, of Hillsborough, was Colonel of a regiment in the service of CHARLES I, and he sat in parliament under the usurpation of CROMWELL, as well as after the Restoration, when he was sworn of the privy council.

Colonel Hill married firstly, Anne, daughter of Sir Richard Bolton, LORD CHANCELLOR OF IRELAND, by whom he had, with other issue, Moyses, who wedded his cousin Anne, eldest daughter of Francis Hill, of Hill Hall, and left three daughters.

He espoused secondly, Mary, daughter of Sir William Parsons, one of the Lords Justices of Ireland, and had three other sons and a daughter, the eldest of whom,

WILLIAM HILL, succeeded to the estates at the decease of his half-brother, Moyses, without male issue.

This gentleman was of the privy council to CHARLES II, and JAMES II, and was MP for County Down.

He married firstly, Eleanor, daughter of the Most Rev Dr Michael Boyle, Lord Archbishop of Armagh, LORD CHANCELLOR OF IRELAND, by whom he had an only son, MICHAEL.

Mr Hill wedded secondly, Mary, eldest daughter of Sir Marcus Trevor, who was created Viscount Dungannon (1st creation) in 1662 for his signal gallantry in wounding OLIVER CROMWELL at Marston Moor, and had two other sons.

He died in 1693, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

MICHAEL HILL (1672-99), of Hillsborough, a member of the privy council, and of the parliaments of England and Ireland.

This gentleman espoused Anne, daughter and heir of Sir John Trevor, of Brynkinalt, Denbighshire, Master of the Rolls, Speaker of the House of Commons, and first Lord Commissioner of the Great Seal, and had two sons,
TREVOR, his heir;
Arthur, 1st Viscount Dungannon (2nd creation).
Mr Hill was succeeded by his elder son,

TREVOR HILL (1693-1742), of Hillsborough, who was elevated to the peerage, in 1717, as  Baron Hill, of Kilwarlin, and Viscount Hillsborough, of County Down.

His lordship wedded Mary, eldest daughter and co-heir of Anthony Rowe, of Muswell Hill, Middlesex; and left (with a daughter, Anne, wedded to John, 1st Earl of Moira) an only son, his successor,

WILLS, 2nd Viscount (1718-93), who was created Viscount Kilwarlin and Earl of Hillsborough, in 1751, with remainder, in default of male issue, to his uncle Arthur Hill; and enrolled amongst the peers of Great Britain, in 1756, as Baron Harwich, in Essex.

His lordship was advanced to an English viscountcy and earldom, in 1772, by the titles of Viscount Fairford and Earl of Hillsborough.

The 1st Earl was further advanced, in 1789, to the dignity of a marquessate, as MARQUESS OF DOWNSHIRE.

He married, in 1747, Margaretta, daughter of Robert, 19th Earl of Kildare, and sister of James, 1st Duke of Leinster, by whom he had surviving issue,
ARTHUR, his successor;
Mary Amelia, m to 1st Marquess of Salisbury;
Charlotte, m to 1st Earl Talbot.
His lordship wedded secondly, Mary, 1st Baroness Stawell, and widow of the Rt Hon Henry Bilson-Legge, son of the 1st Earl of Dartmouth, by whom he had no issue.

His lordship was succeeded by his son,

ARTHUR, 2nd Marquess (1753-1801), who espoused, in 1786, Mary, Baroness Sandys, daughter of the Hon Martyn Sandys, and his wife Mary, daughter of William Trumbull, of Easthampstead Park, Berkshire, and had issue,
ARTHUR BLUNDELL SANDYS TRUMBULL, his successor;
Arthur Moyses William;
Arthur Marcus Cecil, 3rd Baron Sandys;
Arthur Augustus Edwin;
George Augusta;
Charlotte; Mary.
The 2nd Marquess died in 1801, and the Marchioness having subsequently succeeded to the estates of her uncle, Edwin, 2nd Baron Sandys, was created, in 1802, BARONESS SANDYS, with remainder to her second and younger sons successively.

His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

ARTHUR BLUNDELL SANDYS TRUMBULL, 3rd Marquess (1788-1845), KP, who married, in 1811, the Lady Mary Windsor, eldest daughter of Other, 5th Earl of Portsmouth, and had issue,
ARTHUR WILLS BLUNDELL SANDYS TRUMBULL WINDSOR, his successor;
William Frederick Arthur Montagu;
Arthur Edwin;
Charlotte Augusta; Mary Penelope.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,
The heir apparent is the present holder's son Edmund Robin Arthur Hill, styled Earl of Hillsborough.

The Downshire Papers are deposited at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland.

In 1870, Lord Downshire owned 115,000 acres, mainly in County Down; and a further 5,000 acres at Easthampstead Park in Berkshire.

These estates generated an income of £80,000 per annum, or £3.6 million in today's money.


The Downshires also maintained a grand residence in London, Downshire House (above) at 24 Belgrave Square, now part of the Spanish embassy, it is thought.

Their principal seat was Hillsborough Castle; and they also had a marine residence, Murlough House, near Dundrum, also in County Down.

The Hillsborough Castle Guards

Lord Downshire sold Hillsborough Castle to the Government in about 1921, I think; and Murlough remained with the family till the 1940s or 50s.

Easthampstead Park was sold after the 2nd World War.

Other seats included North Aston Hall, Oxfordshire; Timweston, Buckinghamshire; and Hill Park, Kent.

Today the Downshires live at Clifton Castle, near Ripon in North Yorkshire.

Downshire arms courtesy of European Heraldry. First published in July, 2009.

Monday, 11 November 2019

1st Duke of Albemarle

DUKEDOM OF ALBEMARLE
1660-88

The family of LE MOYNE, MONK or MONCK, was of great antiquity in Devon, and in that county they had, from a remote period, possessed the Manor of Potheridge, which lineally descended to

GEORGE MONCK (1608-70), the celebrated general under the usurper, Cromwell, who, for his exertions in restoring the Monarchy, was created, by CHARLES II, 1670, Baron Monck, of Potheridge, Baron Beauchamp, of Beauchamp, Baron of Teyes, Devon, Earl of Torrington, and DUKE OF ALBEMARLE.

This eminent person was lineally descended from ARTHUR PLANTAGENET, 1st Viscount Lisle, natural son of EDWARD IV.

His Grace was soon after installed a Knight of the Garter.
To explain His Grace's titles it is necessary to state that Elizabeth Grey, the wife of his ancestor, Arthur Plantagenet, was sister and heir of John Grey, Viscount Lisle, and daughter of Edward Grey, by Elizabeth, daughter and heir of John Talbot, eldest son of John, Earl of Shrewsbury, by his second wife, Margaret, eldest daughter and co-heir of Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, and Albemarle, by Elizabeth his wife, daughter and heiress of Gerard Warine, Lord Lisle, by Alice, daughter and heiress of Lord Teyes.
The military and naval achievements of MONCK have shone so conspicuously in history that any attempt to depict them in a work of this description could have no other effect than that of dimming their lustre.

He crowned his reputation by the course he adopted after the death of CROMWELL, in restoring the monarchy, and thus healing the wounds of his distracted country.

To the gloomy and jealous mind of the Usurper, General Monck was at times a cause of uneasiness and distrust; and to a letter addressed to the General himself, Cromwell once added the following singular postscript:
"There be that tell me there is a certain cunning fellow in Scotland called George Monck, who is said to lie in wait there to introduce Charles Stuart; I pray you use your diligence to apprehend him, and send him up to me."
From the time of the Restoration to that of his death, the Duke of Albemarle preserved the confidence and esteem of the restored monarch and his brother, the Duke of York; the former always calling him his "political father".

With the populace, Monck always enjoyed the highest degree of popularity, and his death was lamented as a national misfortune.

His funeral was public, and his ashes were deposited in HENRY VII's chapel, Westminster Abbey, with the remains of royalty.

The 1st Duke espoused Anne, daughter of John Clarges, and sister to Sir Thomas Clarges Bt, by whom His Grace had an only son,

CHRISTOPHER, 2nd Duke (1653-88), who was installed a Knight of the Garter, 1671, and sworn of the Privy Council.

His Grace wedded the Lady Elizabeth Cavendish, daughter and co-heir of Henry, Duke of Newcastle, by whom he had an only son, who died immediately after his birth.

The 2nd Duke went out Governor-General to Jamaica, in 1687, accompanied by Sir Hans Sloane Bt, and died there in the following year, when all his honours became extinct.

Former town residence ~ Clarendon House, Piccadilly, London.

First published in October, 2017.  Albemarle arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Moyallon House

This is a branch of the family of CHRISTIE, of Dundee.

ALEXANDER CHRISTY, born in Scotland, 1642, passed over into Ulster, and purchasing an estate at Moyallon, County Down, he had issue, by Margaret his wife,
John, his heir;
Sarah.
Mr Christy died in 1722, and was succeeded by his only son,

JOHN CHRISTY, of Moyallon, who married Mary, daughter of _____ Hill, and had issue,
Alexander, who went into Scotland;
John, of Ormiston Lodge, near Edinburgh;
James;
THOMAS, of whom hereafter;
Joseph.
The fourth son,

THOMAS CHRISTY (1711-80), who succeeded to the Moyallon estate, wedded Mary, daughter of _____ Bramery, and had issue,
John, drowned 1758;
HANNAH, of whom we treat;
Mary.
The elder daughter,

HANNAH CHRISTY (1748-80), espoused John Wakefield, to whom she carried the estate at Moyallon, and had issue,

THOMAS CHRISTY WAKEFIELD (1772-1861), who married, in 1795, Jane Sandwith, daughter of Jacob Goff, and had issue,
THOMAS CHRISTY, his heir;
Jacob Goff;
Charles Frederick;
Elisa; Hannah Christy; Mary Phelps; Jane Sandwith; Charlotte;
Isabella Nicholson; Sophia; Elisabeth.
Mr Wakefield was succeeded by his eldest son,

THOMAS CHRISTY WAKEFIELD (1795-1878), who wedded Mary Anne, daughter of Thomas Wilcocks, and had surviving issue,
Edward Thomas (1821-96);
Thomas Haughton (1824-61);
JANE MARION, of whom hereafter;
Jemima Sarah.
The elder daughter,

JANE MARION WAKEFIELD (1831-1909), wedded John Grubb Richardson (1813-91) as his second wife, and had issue,
THOMAS WAKEFIELD;
Marion; Sarah; Maria; Anne Wakefield; Sarah Edith; Jean Goff; Gertrude; Ethel.
The only son of this marriage,

THOMAS WAKEFIELD RICHARDSON (1856-1928), married Hilda ______ and had issue,
John Stephens Wakefield (1898-1985), of Bessbrook; died unmarried;
ALEXANDER REGINALD WAKEFIELD, of whom hereafter.
The younger son,

ALEXANDER REGINALD WAKEFIELD (1902-84), of Moyallon, High Sheriff of County Armagh, 1950, married (Edith Cecilia) Marianne, daughter of the Rev Hugh Edmund Boultbee.


MOYALLON HOUSE, near Gilford, County Down, comprises two storeys and three bays over a high basement and attic rooms.

It was built ca 1795 and remodelled in 1863 by John Grubb Richardson, possibly incorporating earlier fabric.
The townland of Moyallon was settled in 1675 by the Christys, who are thought to have introduced the linen trade into the area. 
A group of closely related Quakers settled along the River Bann between Moyallon and Lawrencetown in subsequent years, building mansion houses that reflected the increasing success of the linen manufacture and trade in which they were engaged (Rankin).
A house is known to have existed on the site in 1781, when the nearby Friends Meeting House was built.

A house on the present site was built in 1794 by Thomas Christy Wakefield, who had been living in another house nearby, also known as Moyallon House, which had been gutted by fire.

In 1840 Moyallon House comprised cellars, turf house, potato house, stables and lofts, a coach house, byre and privy.

In 1863, Moyallon was said to be  "rebuilt, enlarged and new wings added to it, also neat offices and gate lodges in progress."

Moyallon gate lodge

Thomas Jackson, an architect and Quaker himself, was well known to the Richardsons, having designed meeting houses in Belfast and Lisburn, and is thought by Dean to be responsible for the gatehouses at Moyallon.

John Grubb Richardson was a descendant of the Richardsons of Lisnagarvey, some of the earliest plantation settlers in the area, recorded there in 1610.

Many generations of the family were involved in the making and marketing of linen, initially in Glenmore, Lambeg and eventually in Liverpool, Philadelphia, New York, and the model village of Bessbrook.

John Grubb Richardson purchased from Lord Charlemont the Mount Caulfield estate in Armagh, where his cousins the Nicholsons had already established a spinning mill.

Richardson built a model village at Bessbrook from 1845, initially around spinning mills and eventually weaving factories with houses, a school, churches and a shop but no access to alcohol in accordance with the temperance practised by Quakers.

In 1853, Richardson married Jane Marion Wakefield of Moyallon House and the property eventually passed to the couple on the death of her father. (Rankin)

In 1863, Richardson inherited an estate in County Tyrone and it is the sale of this estate which appears to have allowed him both to become the sole owner of Bessbrook works and village and to extend his new residence at Moyallon.

A further gate house was added to the estate in 1871.

John Grubb Richardson died in 1890, leaving his widow in residence at Moyallon House until her death in 1909.

Jane Richardson had two stepchildren and seven children of her own, one of whom, Thomas Wakefield Richardson, took over the house on his mother’s death.

In 1901, Mr Richardson lived in the house with his English wife, a cook and a Quaker housemaid.

In 1911, Richardson and his wife were away from home but their staff had been enlarged to include a cook, lady’s maid, housemaid, kitchen maid and parlourmaid.

Moyallon House passed to his widow, and, as the couple were childless, in 1945 the house became the property of their nephew, Alexander Reginald Wakefield Richardson.

In 1934, the ground floor of the house included a dining room, drawing room, library, morning room, flower room, cloakroom, billiards room, bedroom, butler’s pantry, servants’ hall, scullery, two kitchens, servant's bedroom, two cloakrooms, boot-rooms, three pantries and a larder.

On the first floor there were seven bedrooms, a sitting room, a bathroom with hot and cold water and a WC (lavatory).

On the second floor had six servants’ bedrooms, a bathroom and a box-room.

The outbuildings comprised a glass-walled museum (now gone), a laundry, drying-room and loft with three servants’ bedrooms, three steam-heated greenhouses, stabling, four garages (one with two rooms over), stores and agricultural buildings.

The grounds included two grass tennis-courts and a croquet lawn.

Alexander Reginald Wakefield Richardson and his wife Marianne had four children at Moyallon but, in the 1940s, two of their children died of typhoid and a further child died a few years later.

Because of the associations of the house with this terrible event, Alexander, Marianne and their son Hugh moved into a nearby Richardson property, The Grange.

The furniture in the then vacant Moyallon House was auctioned off and the premises was leased to the Department of Health and Social Services as a residential special care school.

A fine marble fireplace was removed at this period and fitted in Derrymore House, Bessbrook, a property which had been donated by the Richardsons to the National Trust.

In the 1970s the house was occupied by a Mrs Mathers who ran it as a guest house, following which it was vacant for some years.

In the early 1980s the house was renovated as a family home.

The south wing of the house is now called ‘The Lodge’ and in the 1990s was developed into three self-contained flats by the architect William C Callaghan, of Portadown, County Armagh.

As part of this development, a verandah of wood and glass that is shown on the first survey photograph was taken down and a single-storey flat-roofed extension built in its stead.

The grounds of Moyallon House today extend to about 400 acres.

There are mature shelter trees, with a line of stately Wellingtonias.

Formal gardens and terracing at the house are presently grassed over.

The walled garden, with a turreted potting-shed, is uncultivated.

The head gardener’s house is inhabited.

Two gate lodges were added in the 1880s to the designs of Thomas Jackson (Front Lodge and Rear Lodge).

Sunday, 10 November 2019

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, 9 November 2019

Killakee House

THE BARONS MASSY WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY DUBLIN, WITH 3,422 ACRES


The first of this noble family that settled in Ireland was

GENERAL HUGH MASSY, who had a military command to repress the rebellion of 1641.

General Massy was descended from HAMON DE MASSEY, one of the companions in arms of WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR, who obtained large grants of the counties of Durham and Cheshire, and was created Baron of Dunham Massey.

The General married Margaret Percy, and had a son,

HUGH MASSY, of Duntrileague, County Limerick, who wedded Amy, daughter of John Benson, and had issue,
HUGH, his heir;
John;
William;
Margaret; Amy.
The eldest son,

COLONEL HUGH MASSY (1685-1757), of Duntrileague, espoused Elizabeth, daughter of the Rt Hon George Hampden Evans MP, and had issue,
HUGH, his heir;
George, Archdeacon of Ardfert;
John, killed in a duel;
Godfrey, in holy orders;
William;
EYRE, 1st BARON CLARINA;
Charles, dsp;
Mary; Amy; Elizabeth; Catherine.
The eldest son,

HUGH MASSY (1700-88), having represented County Limerick in several parliaments, was elevated to the peerage, in 1776, in the dignity of BARON MASSY, of Duntrileague, County Limerick.

His lordship married firstly, Mary, daughter and heir of James Dawson, of Ballynacourte, County Tipperary, and had issue,
HUGH, his successor;
James;
John;
Elizabeth.
The 1st Baron wedded secondly, Rebecca, daughter of Francis Delap, of Antigua, and by that lady had three other sons and five other daughters, viz.
Francis Hugh;
Eyre;
George;
Margaret; Rebecca; Frances; Caroline; Amy.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

HUGH, 2nd Baron (1733-90), who married, in 1760, Catherine, eldest daughter and co-heir of Edward Taylor, of Ballymore, County Limerick, and had issue,
HUGH, his successor;
Edward;
George Eyre;
John;
Catherine; Mary Anne; Jane; Sarah.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

HUGH, 3rd Baron (1761-1812), who wedded, in 1792, Margaret, youngest daughter of William Barton, of Grove, County Tipperary, and had issue,
HUGH HAMON, his successor;
George William;
John;
Grace Elizabeth; Catherine; Susan Maria; Margaret Everina; Elizabeth Jane Sarah Anne.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

HUGH HAMON, 4th Baron (1793-1836), who married, in 1826, Matilda, youngest daughter of LUKE WHITE, of Woodlands, County Dublin, and had issue,
HUGH HAMON INGOLDSBY;
John George Hugh.
THIS marriage brought the Massy family to Killakee, where Luke White had lands and a house.

The 5th Baron died young, and the 6th Baron, a young man of 19, inherited up to 38,000 acres.
He was very fond of the affluent life with little regard for money matters. Huge parties took place at Killakee and numerous hunting expeditions both there and in Limerick.
His great-grandson, the 6th Baron, sat in the House of Lords from 1876 to 1915.

As of 2010, the title is held by the latter's great-great-grandson, the 10th Baron, who succeeded his father in 1995.



KILLAKEE HOUSE, near Rathfarnham, County Dublin, was a two-storey, stucco-faced house of symmetrical aspect with a curved bow in the centre front and similar bows in the gables.

It contained thirty-six rooms, a balustraded parapet to the roof, a veranda with slender iron uprights and a balcony above along the centre of the front, which gave the house the appearance of a Mediterranean villa.


The Killakee estate contained the infamous Hellfire Club on the summit of Montpelier Hill.

When Luke White acquired the estate, the Hellfire Club was already in a ruinous state.
In 1878, the total landholdings of the extended Massy/Massey families in Ireland amounted to over 98,000 acres. The landholdings of John Thomas, 6th Baron Massy, consisted of 8,568 acres in County Limerick, 24,751 acres in County Leitrim (acquired through the Whites), and 1,120 acres in County Tipperary, a total of 34,439 acres.
The estate at Killakee was, at that time, still in the registered ownership of Mrs Anne Salisbury White, Samuel White’s widow.

Mrs White died in 1880 and in her will she left Killakee House and 3,422 acres, including the magnificent gardens, to her late husband’s nephew, John Thomas, 6th Baron Massy.

Her sister-in-law, the Dowager Baroness Massy (Luke White’s daughter, and mother of the 6th Baron) died at her home, Milford.

The final demise of Killakee House came in 1941 when the bank, which had maintained a caretaker on the premises since 1924, and unable to find a purchaser, sold the house to a builder for salvage.

Having removed the slates, roof timbers, floors and other saleable items, the builder demolished the house.

It was an event that must have had a profound impact on Hamon Massy, occurring as it did in full sight of his little cottage.

Although he had no alternative, living in the shadow of his former mansion was probably not helpful in putting the past behind him.

The Killakee Woods were taken over by the Irish Forestry Department.

The demolition of Killakee House was a most unfortunate turn of events: Thousands of Ascendancy mansions were built in Ireland.

Killakee House, however, both in its style and location overlooking Dublin City and bay, was a house of particular merit.

This aspect of the house was obviously noted by the bank, which paid a caretaker for 17 years to keep the house secure.

In 1941, with the 2nd World War raging in Europe, it was evident to the bank that a buyer was not going to be found.

It decided to cut its loses and sold the house for its salvage value.

In 2001, sixty years after the event , Charles Guinness, of Tibradden House, recalled the demolition of Killakee House,
”In 1941, as a young boy, I walked up to Killakee with my mother when it was being demolished. 
The monkey-puzzle trees remained impressive and the huge glass-houses were still standing but vegetation had broken through the roofs. 
There was a melancholy atmosphere of decay and desolation. We salvaged a piece of stone and walked home sadly.” 
EXTRACTS FROM THIS ARTICLE ARE BY KIND PERMISSION OF FRANK TRACY, AUTHOR OF IF THOSE TREES COULD SPEAK: THE STORY OF AN ASCENDANCY FAMILY IN IRELAND.

Massy arms courtesy of European Heraldry.  First published in May, 2013.

Friday, 8 November 2019

Dumfries House Book

I was at home one day in March, 2014, when, somewhat unexpectedly, a postman arrived with a large parcel.

He handed me the package and I almost immediately recognized the hand-writing of an old school pal who works at the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS).

He knows how keen I am about heritage and country houses.

To my delight, the parcel contained a hard-back copy of Dumfries House.

In this landmark book, the author, Simon Green, draws on previously unpublished documents from the extensive archives of the Bute family, who lived in the house from the early 19th century until the death of Lady Bute in 1993.

There is a wealth of photographs, plans and drawings from the National Trust for Scotland and the RCAHMS.

Exploring the people and the ideas behind a unique building, 'Dumfries House' is the story of the survival of a treasured eighteenth century family residence.

First published in March, 2014.

Waring of Waringstown

THE WARINGS OWNED 2,438 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY DOWN

This branch of the ancient family of WARING of Lancashire, whose patriarch, MILES DE GUARIN, came to England with WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR, was established in Ulster during the reign of Queen MARY, when its ancestor fled to that province to avoid the persecution of the Lollards.

In the reign of JAMES II, the Warings of Waringstown suffered outlawry, and their home was taken possession of by the Irish at the period of the revolution, and most of their family records destroyed.

JOHN WARING settled within the civil parish of Toome, County Antrim, and married Mary, daughter of the Rev Thomas Pierse [sic], Vicar of Derriaghy, County Antrim, by whom he had three sons and several daughters.
One of Mr Waring's sons, Thomas, carried on the family tradition of tanning, having settled in Belfast about 1640. Since he was English and not Presbyterian, he had no difficulty in dealing with the Cromwellian regime.

Having become one of its most prosperous citizens, Thomas Waring, of Waring Street, was Sovereign (mayor) of Belfast between 1652-56.
The eldest son,

WILLIAM WARING (1619-1703), of Waringstown, County Down, became possessed (by purchase from the soldiers of Lord Deputy Fleetwood's horse regiment), in 1656, of the district of Clanconnel (of which the Waringstown estate is a part), and shortly after built the present mansion and the adjoining church.

Mr Waring, High Sheriff of County Down, 1669, married firstly, in 1656, Elizabeth, daughter of William Gardiner, of Londonderry, and had issue,
SAMUEL, his heir;
Mary, m Richard Close.
He wedded secondly, Jane, daughter of John Close, and had issue (with six daughters), seven sons, of whom the eldest,

SAMUEL WARING (1660-1739), of Waringstown, High Sheriff of County Down, 1734, MP for Hillsborough, 1703-15, married Grace, daughter of the Rev Samuel Holt, of County Meath, and had issue,
SAMUEL, his heir;
Richard, died unmarried;
Holt;
Jane; Sarah; Frances; Alice.
Mr Waring was succeeded by his eldest son,

SAMUEL WARING, of Waringstown, High Sheriff of County Down, 1734, who died unmarried, 1793, and was succeeded by his nephew,

THE VERY REV HOLT WARING (1766-1830), of Waringstown, Dean of Dromore, who wedded, in 1793, Elizabeth Mary, daughter of the Rev Averell Daniel, Rector of Lifford, County Tyrone, and had issue, five daughters,
Eliza Jane;
Anne;
Louisa;
Frances Grace;
Jane.
The Dean's cousin and son-in-law,

HENRY WARING JP (1795-1866), of Waringstown, Major in the army, who married, in 1824, Frances Grace, fourth daughter of the Very Rev Holt Waring, and had issue (with three other sons who died in infancy),
THOMAS, of whom presently;
Holt;
Henry;
Mary Louisa; Elizabeth Mary; Frances Jane; Anne; Susan; Selina Grace.
Mr Waring was succeeded by his eldest son,

THOMAS WARING JP (1828-98), of Waringstown, Barrister, MP for North Down, 1885-98, Honorary Colonel, 5th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, High Sheriff of County Down, 1868-9, who married thrice: firstly, to Esther Smyth, of Ardmore, County Londonderry; secondly, in 1874, to Fanny Tucker, of Trematon Castle, Cornwall; and thirdly, to Geraldine Stewart, of Ballyedmond, Rostrevor, County Down.

By his second wife he had issue,

HOLT WARING JP DL (1877-1918 k/a), Major, Royal Irish Rifles, who married, in 1914, Margaret Alicia (1887–1968), youngest daughter of Joseph Charlton Parr, of Grappenhall Heyes, Warrington, Cheshire, banker, industrialist, and landowner.

The marriage was without issue.

MARGARET ALICIA WARING CBE JP (1887-1968), when her husband was killed in action at Kemmel Hill, France, chose to remain at the Waring family's 17th century home, Waringstown House, and became active within the local community.
Mrs Waring took a keen interest in Orangeism, serving as deputy grand mistress of Ireland, county grand mistress of Down, and district mistress of Down lodge no. 4 in the Association of Loyal Orangewomen of Ireland in 1929.
In 1929, she was elected to the Northern Ireland parliament as the official Unionist candidate for the single-seat constituency of Iveagh in County Down.

She was one of only two women standing for election and, as the only one to be elected, became the third female member of the Northern Ireland parliament (her two predecessors being Dehra Parker and Julia McMordie).

In 1933, she was appointed CBE for political, philanthropic, and public services.

Following her retirement from parliament, Mrs Waring continued to participate in public affairs.

From the mid-1930s, she was a member of the Northern Ireland war pensions committee, and in 1934 became a member of the Northern Ireland unemployment assistance board.

A longstanding enthusiast for cricket, in 1923 she was the first woman elected onto the committee of the Northern [Ireland] Cricket Union, and in 1954 became its president.

Failing health in later life having caused her to withdraw from wider public activities.

Mrs Waring died at Waringstown House, Waringstown, County Down, on the 9th May, 1968.

The Waringstown estate was inherited by her nephew, Michael Harnett, his wife Anne, and their children, Jane and William.

First published in November, 2013.

Thursday, 7 November 2019

Back Fire!

Back Fire: A Passion For Cars And Motoring (2001) is one of my favourite motoring books.

I lent it to a friend a year ago, who has yet to return it to me.

Back Fire is a collection of the Hon Alan Clark's columns for the magazine Classic Cars and other journals along with a few extracts from his celebrated diaries.

I had a sneaking admiration for Alan Clark, despite his reputation.

He eventually became Right Honourable, as a Privy Counsellor.

His father, the Lord Clark, was the famous art historian and broadcaster.

I have the collection of Alan Clark's Diaries and Back Fire.

If Mr Toad hadn't pre-dated Alan Clark by some 21 years ~  The Wind in the Willows was published in 1908 and Clark born in 1929 ~ one could make a good case for Clark's having been the model for Kenneth Grahame's daredevil, outrageous, but loveable, rogue.

Conservative MP, historian, man about town, notorious womaniser ~ and at the same time fiercely loyal husband and father ~ he died in 1999.

He bought his first car, a six-and-a-half litre vintage Bentley, while he was still at Eton and only 17 - it was typical of the stylish flamboyance which became his trademark.

Many a Jaguar, Rolls Royce, Porsche, Buick and Chevrolet followed. So did old Citroens, a VW Beetle and latterly a beloved and "totally reliable" Discovery.

He was a collector par excellence, who was addicted to the buying and selling of cars all his adult life.

Every garage and enclosed space at Saltwood Castle, the family home in Kent, remains full of Clark's cars.

Clark's son James writes in Back Fire that "Outside the family, I truly believe, cars were my father's greatest love".

But he didn't approve of over-enthusiastic restoration.

When he drove his 1920 Silver Ghost, of which there is a photograph in Back Fire on the 1993 Rolls Royce Enthusiasts' Alpine Commemorative Run, a fellow competitor remarked, to Clark's amusement, that
if he can't afford to maintain his car properly he shouldn't be allowed on the event.
Whatever else Clark was or wasn't, he was never dull and he was certainly a writer,
What do we want a classic car for? Showing off, of course. Nothing wrong with that; they are more idiosyncratic than beach jewellery.
First published in March, 2014. 

Glenarm Castle

THE EARLS OF ANTRIM WERE THE SECOND LARGEST LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY ANTRIM, WITH 34,292 ACRES

JOHN MacDONALD, also called John Mor, styled in 1472 "heir apparent to his father", was in treaty with EDWARD IV.

He married Sabina, daughter of Phelim O'Neill, surnamed Bacach, or the Lame, by whom he had a son,

SIR JOHN MacDONALD, surnamed Cathanach, from being fostered by the O'Cathans in Ulster.

In 1493 he was at the head of the clan Iain Mhòr, when the Lordship of the Isles was finally forfeited.

He married Cecelia, daughter of Robert Savage, Lord of the Ardes, and had issue,
ALEXANDER, of whom hereafter;
John Mor, executed 1499;
John Og, executed 1499;
Donald Balloch, executed 1499;
Angus Ileach, fled to Ireland;
Agnes.
The eldest son,

ALEXANDER (c1480-1536), fled to Ireland with his surviving brother, Angus Ileach, after the execution of their father and brothers.

In 1517, this Alexander supported Sir Donald MacDonald, of Lochalsh, who was in rebellion against the government, and in 1529 he was again in rebellion, and ravaged the lands of the Campbells with fire and sword, but obtained a pardon for himself and his followers in 1531, and a grant of lands in the South Isles and Kintyre.

The next year he was sent with 8,000 men to assist the Scots of Ulster, then at war with England.

Alexander married Catherine, daughter of John MacDonald, of Ardnamurchan, and had, with three daughters (Alice married Sir Moyses Hill),
Donald, born blind;
James;
Angus;
Coll;
SORLEY BOY;
Alistair;
Donald;
Brian Carrach;
Ranold;
Maeve; Mary; Alice.
The fifth son,

SORLEY BOY MacDONNELL (c1505-90), was appointed by his eldest brother Lord of the Route, County Antrim, in 1558.

On his brother's death, Sorley Boy seized on the Ulster estates of his family, and after various conflicts with the native Irish and the English forces, he became a faithful subject of ELIZABETH I, and being of Scottish birth was made a free denizen of Ireland, 1573.

He wedded Mary, daughter of Conn O'Neill, 1st Earl of Tyrone, and had, among other issue,
Alaster, dsp;
RANDAL MacSORLEY, 1st EARL OF ANTRIM;
James MacSorley (Sir), dsp;
Angus.
Sorley Boy died at Dunaneeny Castle, near Ballycastle, County Antrim.

His eldest surviving son,

SIR RANDAL MacSORLEY MacDONNELL KBof Dunluce, County Antrim, having zealously promoted the English interest in Ireland in the reigns of ELIZABETH I and JAMES I, was created by the latter, in 1618, Viscount Dunluce.

His lordship was advanced to the dignity of an earldom, in 1620, as EARL OF ANTRIM.

He was also sworn of the Privy Council and appointed to the command of a regiment.

The 1st Earl married Alice, daughter of Hugh O'Neill, and sister of Hugh, the last Earl of Tyrone.

He died in 1636, and was succeeded by his elder son,

RANDAL, 2nd Earl (1609-82), who, for the many essential services he had rendered to the Crown, was advanced to the dignity of a marquessate by CHARLES I, in 1644, as MARQUESS OF ANTRIM.

His lordship wedded firstly, in 1635, the Lady Katherine Manners, daughter and heir of Francis, 6th Earl of Rutland, and widow of George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham.

He espoused secondly, Rose, daughter of Sir Henry O'Neill, Knight, of Shane's Castle, County Antrim, but had no issue.

When his lordship died in 1683 the marquessate expired, but the other honours devolved upon his brother,

ALEXANDER, 3rd Earl (1615-99), who, actively espousing JAMES II in Ireland, in the war of the Revolution, was attainted of high treason; but, being subsequently included in the treaty of Limerick, his lands and honours were restored.

His lordship espoused firstly, the Lady Elizabeth Annesley, second daughter of Arthur, 1st Earl of Anglesey, by whom, who died in 1669, he had no issue.

He married secondly, Helena, third daughter of Sir John Burke, Knight, of Derrymaclachtney, County Galway.

The 3rd Earl was succeeded by his only son,

RANDAL, 4th Earl (1680-1721), who wedded Rachael, eldest daughter of Clotworthy, Viscount Massereene, and was succeeded by his only son,

ALEXANDER, 5th Earl (1713-55), who, being in minority at his father's decease, was left under the guardianship of the Dowager Lady Massereene and Lord Massereene, who brought him up in the reformed religion (his predecessors had previously adhered to the church of Rome).

His lordship espoused firstly, Elizabeth, daughter of Matthew Pennefather, Comptroller and Accountant-general of Ireland, but by her had no surviving issue.

He married secondly, in 1739, Anne, eldest daughter and heir of Charles Patrick Plunket MP, of Dillonstown, County Louth, by whom he had one son and two daughters.

He wedded thirdly, Catherine, youngest daughter of Thomas Meredyth, of Newtown, County Meath, without issue.

He died in 1755, and was succeeded by his son,

RANDAL WILLIAM, 6th Earl (1749-91), who espoused firstly, in 1774, Letitia, eldest daughter of Harvey, 1st Viscount Mountmorres, and widow of the Hon Arthur Trevor, only son of Arthur, Viscount Dungannon, and had issue,
ANNE CATHERINE, his successor;
CHARLOTTE, late Countess.
The 6th Earl, having no male issue, obtained a new patent, dated 1785, creating him Viscount Dunluce and EARL OF ANTRIM, with remainder to his daughters primogeniturely.

His lordship was advanced to a marquessate, in 1789, as MARQUESS OF ANTRIM (2nd creation), but without any special reversionary grant.

When he died in 1791, all the honours ceased, except the patent of 1785, which devolved, according to the special limitation, upon his elder daughter,

ANNE CATHERINE,  as COUNTESS OF ANTRIM in her own right (1775-1834).

Her ladyship married firstly, in 1799, Sir Henry Vane-Tempest Bt, of Wynyard, County Durham, and by him had an only daughter, THE LADY FRANCES ANNE EMILY VANE, who inherited her father's great estates, and wedded Charles William, Marquess of Londonderry.

Lady Antrim wedded secondly, in 1817, Edmund Phelps, who assumed the surname of MacDonnell.

Her ladyship was succeeded by her sister,

CHARLOTTE KERR, as Countess of Antrim; who espoused, in 1799, Vice-Admiral Lord Mark Robert Kerr, third son of William, 5th Marquess of Lothian, and had surviving issue,
HUGH SEYMOUR, her successor;
Mark;
Arthur Schomberg;
Georgiana Emily Jane; Caroline Mary; Charlotte Elizabeth; Fanny.
Her ladyship was succeeded by her eldest son,

HUGH SEYMOUR, 9th Earl (1812-55),

The heir apparent is the present holder's son Randal Alexander St John McDonnell, styled Viscount Dunluce (b 1967).

The heir apparent's heir apparent is his son the Hon Alexander David Somerled McDonnell (b 2006).


THE EARL OF ANTRIM'S estates were vast, comprising in excess of 330,000 acres (the four northern baronies of County Antrim) in the early 17th century.

A hundred years later the estates had shrunk to 152,000 acres.

The detailed history of the McDonnells, Earls of Antrim, is held at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland.

Their history is complex, with several extinct marquessates.

The 1st Earl of Antrim was the son of Sorley Boy MacDonnell, ELIZABETH I's strongest Irish foe after the great Earl of Tyrone.

The 1st Earl (Sir Randal MacDonnell) originally built a castle at Glenarm, a charming village on the coast of County Antrim, in 1603 as a hunting lodge or secondary residence.


THE CASTLE, Glenarm, County Antrim, became the principal seat of the family after Dunluce Castle was abandoned.

The mansion house was rebuilt ca 1750 as a 3-storey double gable-ended block, joined by pavilions with high roofs and cupolas.

The main block had a pedimented breakfront with three windows in the top storey, a Venetian window below and a tripartite doorway below again, flanked on either side by a Venetian window in each of the two lower storeys and a triple window above.

The interior remained Classical though, in 1929, the Castle was virtually gutted by fire.


Subsequently, the pointed and mullioned windows were replaced with rectangular Georgian sashes, so the interior now dates largely from the post-fire rebuilding.

Some of the rooms have ceilings painted by the present Lady Antrim.

The service wing was reconstructed after yet another fire in 1967.

This is a remarkable demesne, noted for its great beauty and large extent, occupying much of the lower reaches of the picturesque valley of the River Glenarm, extending some five miles from the sea and about half a mile wide.

The original castle, built by the Bysets in the 13th century, was broken down in 1597 and a new castle was begun by Sir Randal ‘Arranach’ MacDonnell, later 1st Earl of Antrim, from 1603 on the opposite bank of the river, away from the village.

The building was enlarged into a double pile house in 1636 but, in 1642, ‘Lord Antrim’s pleasant house’ was destroyed by invading Scots armies.

It remained a gutted ruin for over a century, but the demesne continued to be used by the family, particularly during the hunting season.

In the 1660s Alexander, later 3rd Earl of Antrim, added a wing to the ruined house to accommodate the family, while at this period created two enclosed deer parks, namely the Small Deer Park and the Grand Deer Park, the latter occupying much of the present demesne and large enough to accommodate deer hunting.

In 1682, a ‘handsome stone bridge’ was erected over the river to carry the public road and, a year later, Richard Dobbs visited Glenarm and noted the glen was ‘clad with underwood’ and the village contained ‘all thatched houses, except the earl of Antrim’s, the Church and one more’.

In the 1740s Alexander, 5th Earl, then living at Ballymagarry, near Dunluce, carried out improvements at Glenarm, including tree planting, the building of a ‘horse course’, a stable for race horses, a hexagonal gazebo lying close to the river and a grotto ‘in which there are a great number of fine & curious Shells, & many of the pinna, which are found off the north east point of Ireland’.

In 1750, Ballymagarry was burnt ‘by the carelessness of servants’ and the 5th Earl resolved to move to Glenarm.

An engineer from Cumbria, Christopher Myers, was engaged to rebuild the house, the old walls of which were ‘entire and for the most part sound’ in 1740.

The house was re-fashioned in 1756 with a fusion of Baroque and Palladian styles, its front fenestration being punctured by rows of Venetian windows and joined by curving colonnades to pavilions with pyramidal roofs (that closest to the river contained a banqueting house).

The new house and its surrounding demesne were depicted on two panoramic oil paintings of ca 1770, presently in the house.

At this time the formal demesne extended up the hillside, while around the building lay a network of walled courts and gardens, including a circular grass sweep in front of the house with a ‘statue of Hercules of esteemed workmanship’ in the centre [as described by Milton] and a walled garden to the north of the house with espaliers on the walls and a glasshouse in the centre.

A number of houses of the village, including a mill, still occupied an area south of the house, while the public road crossed over the 1682 bridge and around the house to Ballymena.

In 1775 Randal, 6th Earl, succeeded to the property and, although he spent most of his time in Dublin, started creating a landscape park to the south of the house, complete with a cottage orné (the Rustic Cottage), and carried out alterations to the house roof, castellating the rear parapets and altering the upper front windows.

These changes to the house were depicted by James Nixon (c.1785) and by Milton (published 1793), the latter described the demesne as then consisting ‘of several hundred acres of meadow well improved.

The flower, fruit and kitchen gardens have suitable hot houses and are near a mile in circumference
… The house from the rear commands a fine view of the sea … the front looks to the glen or Great Park, 13 miles extremely romantic and beautiful; consisting of woods, and broken rock; with several waterfalls, and salmon leaps, formed by a large serpentine river, winding through the grounds, its banks adorned with various evergreens, myrtles and the arbutus, or strawberry tree, almost continuously in blossom...’.
In 1803-07 a programme of modernisation was carried out on the house by Anne Katherine, 2nd Countess of Antrim in her own right; she gothicized the lower windows, altered the interior, remodelled the wing, and removed the pavilions and colonnades.

At the same time the leases of the remaining village houses were bought up and the landscape park allowed to extend up to the house windows.

However, this period also witnessed extensive tree felling in the Great Deer Park, presumably in support of the war effort.

Between 1823-32, Richard Morrison remodelled the exterior of the main house, transforming it into a romantic neo-Jacobean residence with a forest of lofty cupolas, gilded vanes, tall chimneys and finials.

Morrison also designed the barbican gate, completed in 1825, together with its associated river walls and towers, behind which was planted a fine beech walk.

He also added buildings to the demesne, notably a gate lodge and The Deer Park Cottage, subsequently remodelled.

The present walled kitchen garden was added in the 1820s complete with its potting houses; the adjacent frame yard was added in the 1840s and the gardener’s house in the 1850s.

It was around this time that a lean-to glasshouse was built, later rebuilt ca 1870.

Also during the 1840s or early 1850s the lawn area immediately north of the house, once occupied by the old 18th century kitchen garden, was transformed with a network of radiating paths and numerous flower beds.

The mansion was burnt in 1929, later rebuilt by Imrie and Angell of London, while in 1967 a fire destroyed the wing of the house, much of which was subsequently reconstructed in much reduced form by Donald Insall.

Since 1993 Lord Dunluce and his family have lived in the Castle.

He has embarked on improvements to the house and parkland, including the walled garden, which is now open to the public in the summer months and has a tea-room.

The Barbican gate lodge has recently been restored by the Landmark Trust and is used as a holiday house.

I have already written articles about the present Lord Antrim and Lord Dunluce.

The Antrim Estates now comprise some 1,300 acres.

Glenarm Castle is still one of Northern Ireland’s oldest estates.

Today visitors can enjoy Glenarm Castle’s historic Walled Garden, open to the public between May and September and the charming Tea Room, open from Easter until mid October.

The Walled Garden is also open for events at Christmas and at other times throughout the year.

I am grateful to Lord Dunluce, who has provided me with the following information:
  • The demesne is not administered by the Department of Agriculture - the land remains in hand;
  • The farm has converted to organic status and in the process of building up a pedigree herd of beef short-horn cattle;
  • Lord Dunluce is at Sarasin & Partners (not Sarasin Chiswell since 2008); chairman of Northern Salmon Company; a Trustee of Clan Donald Lands Trust;
  • Lord & Lady Dunluce also have a daughter called Helena (b 2008). 
First published in 2009.  Antrim arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Mount Charles Hall

THE MARQUESSES CONYNGHAM WERE THE GREATEST LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY DONEGAL, WITH 122,230 ACRES

The family of CONYNGHAM was originally of Scottish descent, and of very great antiquity in that part of the United Kingdom.

WILLIAM CUNNINGHAM, Bishop of Argyll, a younger son of William, 4th Earl of Glencairn, in 1539, left a son,

WILLIAM CONYNGHAM, of Cunninghamhead, Ayrshire, who had two sons, WILLIAM, who succeeded at Cuninghamhead, and was created a baronet; and

ALEXANDER CONYNGHAM, who, entering into Holy Orders, and removing into Ireland, was appointed, in 1611, the first Protestant minister of Enver and Killymard, County Donegal.

Mr Conyngham was appointed to the deanery of Raphoe on the consecration of Dean Adair as Lord Bishop of Killaloe, in 1630.
Dean Conyngham settled at Mount Charles, County Donegal, which estate he held, by lease, from the Earl of Annandale, and wedded Marion, daughter of John Murray, of Broughton, by whom he had no less than 27 children, of which four sons and five daughters survived infancy.
He died in 1660, and was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

SIR ALBERT CONYNGHAM, Knight, who was appointed, in 1660, Lieutenant-General of the ordnance in Ireland.
This officer fought on the side of WILLIAM III at the Boyne, Limerick etc, and fell in a rencounter with the Rapparees, near Colooney in County Sligo.
He espoused Mary, daughter of the Rt Rev Robert Leslie, Lord Bishop of Raphoe, and was succeeded by his only surviving son,

MAJOR-GENERAL HENRY CONYNGHAM, of Slane Castle, MP for Coleraine, and for Donegal, who served during the reign of JAMES II as a captain in Mountjoy's Regiment.
When JAMES II desired his army to shift for itself, Conyngham prevailed upon 500 of his regiment to remain united, and with them offered his services to WILLIAM III. He became subsequently a major-general, and fell, in 1705-6, at St Estevan's, in Spain.
He wedded Mary, daughter of Sir John Williams Bt, of Minster Court, Kent, and widow of Charles, Lord Shelburne, by whom he got a very considerable property, and had issue,
WILLIAM, his successor;
Henry;
Mary.
General Conyngham was succeeded by his elder son,

WILLIAM CONYNGHAM, of Slane (an estate forfeited, in 1641, by Lord Slane), who was succeeded at his decease by his brother,

THE RT HON HENRY CONYNGHAM (1705-81), captain of horse on the Irish establishment, and MP from 1727 until raised to the peerage by the title of Baron Conyngham, of Mount Charles, in 1753.
His lordship was created Viscount Conyngham, in 1756; and Earl Conyngham, in 1781, the barony to descend, in case of failure of issue, to Francis Pierpoint Burton, the eldest son of his sister Mary, by Francis Burton.
His lordship married, in 1774, Ellen, only daughter and heir of Solomon Merret; but dying without an heir, in 1781, all his honours became extinct, except the barony of Conyngham, which devolved, according to the limitation, upon the above-mentioned

FRANCIS PIERPOINT BURTON, as 2nd Baron.

This nobleman wedded, in 1750, Elizabeth, eldest daughter of the Rt Hon Nathaniel Clements, and sister of Robert, Earl of Leitrim, by whom he had issue,
HENRY, his successor;
Francis Nathaniel (Sir), GCH;
Catherine; Ellena; Henrietta.
His lordship, on inheriting the title and estates of his uncle, assumed the surname and arms of CONYNGHAM.

He died in 1787, ans was succeeded by his son,

HENRY, 3rd Baron, who, in 1787, was created Viscount Conyngham, of Slane, County Meath.

He was also created Viscount Mount Charles, of Mount Charles, County Donegal; and Earl Conyngham, in 1797.
In 1801, Lord Conyngham was appointed a Knight of the Most Illustrious Order of St Patrick. In 1803, he was appointed Governor of County Donegal, a post he held until 1831, and Custos Rotulorum of County Clare in 1808, which he remained until his death.
In 1816, he was created Viscount Slane, Earl of Mount Charles, and further advanced to the dignity of
a marquessate, as MARQUESS CONYNGHAM.

In 1821, he was created Baron Minster, of Minster Abbey, Kent; and sworn of the Privy Council and appointed Lord Steward, a post he retained until 1830.

From 1829 until his death in 1832 he served as Constable and Governor of Windsor Castle.
The heir apparent is the present holder's son Alexander Burton Conyngham, styled Earl of Mount Charles.

The heir apparent's heir apparent is his son Rory Nicholas Burton Conyngham, styled Viscount Slane.

The Marquesses Conyngham were seated at The Hall, Mount Charles, County Donegal, now thought to be unoccupied.

The Hall is an early to mid-18th century double, gable-ended house of three storeys and five bays.

It has a pedimented door-case, bold quoins and a solid parapet concealing the roof and end gables.

At one end of the house there is a conservatory porch with astrigals and round-headed windows.



A salt works (also in the grounds of the former Conyngham estate) provided employment to local people during the 18th century.

8th Marquess Conyngham

The present Lord and Lady Conyngham continue to live at the ancestral seat, Slane Castle, County Meath. 

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

6th Duke of Westminster, 1951-2016

GERALD, 6TH DUKE OF WESTMINSTER, WAS BORN AT OMAGH, COUNTY TYRONE, ON THE 22ND DECEMBER, 1951

The Most Noble Gerald Cavendish Duke of Westminster, KG CB CVO OBE TD DL, had strong, tangible and affectionate connections with Northern Ireland.

His Grace's father Robert, the 5th Duke, lived at Ely Lodge in County Fermanagh.


His mother Viola was Lord-Lieutenant of County Fermanagh.
In February, 2014, The Prince of Wales, through The Prince’s Countryside Fund, announced that £50,000 would be donated from its emergency fund to help farmers and rural communities in Somerset. The Duke of Westminster generously confirmed he would personally match the funding and donate an additional £50,000 taking the total available to £100,000.
Gerald Grosvenor was born at Omagh, County Tyrone, on the 22nd December, 1951.

He had the following honours:
  • Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter
    Companion of the Military Division of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath
  • Commander of the Royal Victorian Order
  • Officer of the Military Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire 
His Grace was awarded the Territorial Decoration, having served as a major-general in the TA; and was a Deputy Lieutenant of Cheshire.

The Duke spent his childhood at Ely Lodge Estate, an idyllic demesne in County Fermanagh on the edge of Lower Lough Erne, surrounded by forest and woodland.

He was styled Gerald, Earl Grosvenor, between 1967-79.

The Westminster family had an absolutely beautiful, classic, wooden motor yacht which they kept at Ely Lodge, called Trasna.

It was the finest vessel I'd ever seen on Lough Erne, being about fifty feet in length and it held sixteen persons comfortably.


Trasna sported a splendid mascot on her bow: a golden sheaf of wheat (or corn).

When the present 6th Duke moved permanently to his family seat at Eaton Hall in Cheshire, Trasna was acquired by the National Trust briefly; whilst moored at the boat-house on Crom Estate. I've sailed on her several times.

Trasna now belongs to the Duke of Abercorn and is based at Belle Isle, County Fermanagh.

First published October, 2009.