Monday, 23 September 2019

Kilwaughter Castle

THE AGNEWS WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY ANTRIM, WITH 9,770 ACRES

PATRICK AGNEW, said to be a kinsman of the Agnew Baronets, of Lochnaw, Wigtownshire, a collector of rents in County Antrim, married Janet Shaw, and built a castle at Kilwaughter, County Antrim, 1622, and was father of

JOHN AGNEW, who wedded his cousin, Eleanor Shaw, and had a son,

PATRICK AGNEW, who married and purchased the remaining lands at Kilwaughter which, until 1660, were owned by the Agnews of Lochnaw:
Sir Patrick Agnew, 1st Baronet, 8th Hereditary Sheriff of Lochnaw, father of Colonel Alexander Agnew, of Whitehills, who, with Andrew his brother, afterwards 9th Sheriff, was frequently in Ulster.
Mr Agnew, High Sheriff of Antrim, 1669, was succeeded by his son,

PATRICK AGNEW, who married and had issue,
PATRICK, of whom we treat;
Margaret, m James Crawford;
Jean, m Robert Blair, of Blairmount;
Helen, m James Stewart.
Mr Agnew died in 1724, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

PATRICK AGNEW, who wedded Martha Houston (or Houseton) and had issue,
WILLIAM, of whom we treat;
Frances;
John;
James (?);
Patrick (?);
Henry, m Grace Harries, and left issue;
Hugh (?).
The eldest son,

WILLIAM AGNEW, married his cousin, Margaret Stewart, of Killymoon Castle, Cookstown, County Tyrone, and had issue,
James, died unmarried;
William, died unmarried;
MARIA, of whom we treat;
Jane, m Henry Shaw, afterwards of Ballygally.
Mr Agnew's elder daughter,

MARIA AGNEW, wedded firstly, James Ross; and secondly, Valentine Jones, by whom she had issue (with a daughter, Margaret), a son,

EDWARD JONES AGNEW (1767-1834), who succeeded his grandfather and assumed the additional surname of AGNEW.

He married Eleanor Galbraith, and and issue,
William, b 1824;
Maria, m T C Simon.
Edward Jones Agnew was succeeded by his only son,

WILLIAM AGNEW (1824-91), who died unmarried, and was succeeded in the Kilwaughter estate by his niece,

AUGUSTA, COUNTESS BALZANI (1847-95), only child of T C Simon and Maria (Agnew) Simon.

The Countess died in 1895, leaving two daughters,
Gendoluni, Madame Valensin;
Nora.

KILWAUGHTER CASTLE lies about three miles in a westerly direction from Larne in County Antrim.

The original tower-house was four storeys high with turrets, built for the Agnew family, tax collectors for JAMES VI.

The present building incorporates a Scottish style plantation house of ca 1622, built by Patrick Agnew, whose sister-in-law lived at Ballygalley Castle, which is near by.


Between 1803-07 the present Georgian castle was built for Edward Jones Agnew by John Nash in his "romantic castle" style.

There is a wide, round tower at one corner; and a polygonal tower at another.


The castle incorporates the substantial remains of a 17th century tower house.

The exact date and origin of the tower house is uncertain, though when it first became exposed due to dereliction in the 1950s it was identified as being of T-plan, four storeys in height, in Scottish style.

There are corbelled bartizan turrets at the four main corners, originally with narrow slit windows which were later enlarged.

The process of remodelling begun by Nash continued for some years, until at least 1830, when the oriel window on the east front was added.

Entrance Porch, Shipley-Bringhurst-Hargraves Collection, University of Delaware, Newark, USA

The chief architect was recorded in 1840 as John Nash, but Millar and Nelson of Belfast were seemingly also employed as architects.

Old photographs show that the Nash remodelling originally had elaborate Gothic-style timber tracery in all main windows on the south and east fronts.

The single-storey block on the south front was inserted between the original 17th century castle and the square end tower at some stage between 1832 and 1857.

On Edward Jones Agnew's death in 1834, ownership passed to his granddaughter who married her music teacher, an Italian count called Balzani.

The Music Room, Shipley-Bringhurst-Hargraves Collection, University of Delaware, Newark, USA

On the death of Count Ugo Balzani in 1916, the property passed to his daughters, Madame Valensin, of Florence, and her sister, Signorina Nora Balzani, of Rome.

At the outbreak of the 2nd World War in 1939, the sisters being resident in Italy, Kilwaughter Castle was declared "enemy holding" by the Custodian of Enemy Property and was transformed into an army camp.

Various British regiments were based there and finally it became an American Transit Camp.

It was occupied by military forces until 1945 and thereafter abandoned.

In 1951 it was bought by E H McConnell (Metals) Ltd of Belfast, who purchased it in order to recover lead, woodwork, slates and other fittings.

Subsequently it was left to decay.


At present the castle ruin is part of a farm.

The roof (part of which was originally sheathed with mere sand and tar) has collapsed, as have the floors.

Kilwaughter's parkland is early 19th century, possibly the work of the landscape gardener, John Sutherland; and provided a setting for the now-ruinous house.

The Ordnance Survey Memoirs of 1835 noted that the date "1566" was inscribed on a piece of iron on an oak door existing at that time; and it is known that the site had a Norman origin, because the remains of a motte exist nearby.

The 18th century house was set in a formal landscape, with a straight approach avenue aligned on the front door.

The parkland of ca 1810 has had its extensive shelter belts depleted and many parkland tress have been lost.

The artificial lake, created as a result of massive damming, is in danger of silting up.

The walled garden, in separate ownership from the greater part of the park, is partly cultivated.

There is an ice house near the lake.

The main entrance gates were designed by Nash ca 1807, but the lodge, ca 1835, is possibly by Millar and Nelson; a picturesque cottage with barge-boards and latticed windows.

First published in March, 2010.

Sunday, 22 September 2019

Portballintrae Visit

Seaport Lodge, September, 2019

Earlier in the week I spent several days in the seaside resort of Portballintrae, County Antrim.

This coastal village, near Bushmills, has always been popular, with its delightful sandy bays, Bushfoot Strand, the little harbour, and its general location on the Causeway Coast.

We used to spend weekends here at the Beach Hotel with friends.

Alas, that hotel was demolished many years ago and has been replaced with modern apartments.

The Bayview Hotel, however, remains; not the original building, which was also demolished ages ago.

I spent two agreeable evenings in the lounge bar of the Bayview, contented with my iPad and headphones.

Catch of the Day at the Bayview Hotel

On the first evening I had a bar meal comprising a blue cheese and beetroot salad, followed by the "Catch of the Day": smoked cod, mashed potato, spinach, surrounded by a creamy sauce.

This food was delicious.

Thereafter I removed to a banquette-style seat near the front door and Reception.

I have acquired a pair of state-of-the-art noise-cancelling headphones, Bluetooth (wireless), which cut out virtually all outside noise except whatever you're listening to on the iPad or other device.

Quite remarkable technology.

The next morning I paid a brief visit to Coleraine, one of my favourite towns.

On the way home, I made a small detour to Bushmills Garden Centre, a few miles outside the village itself.

For some inexplicable reason I've developed an interest in gardening, albeit on a modest scale.

I was on the look-out for a plant that likes dry conditions and the garden centre was promoting Sedums.


I'm apprised that this variety thrives in sunshine and doesn't mind dry conditions, so a spot between two thirsty trees in the border ought to satiate it.

I chose a lovely Sedum Spectabile "Brilliant".

When I purchased it there was a bee eating the nectar, adhering to it like a magnet.

It refused to budge (lest it had discovered the irresistible Belmont bouquet), so some gentle persuasion was required, viz. some of the Belmont blowing.

*

After breakfast one morning I strolled the short distance to Seaport Lodge, once the maritime residence of the Leslies.

Seaport Lodge commands one of the finest prospects in Portballintrae, with its little private harbour.

Unfortunately it has lain derelict for many years, though the owner is finally restoring it as I write.

Seafood Thermidor

The next evening I motored into Portrush, past the celebrated Royal Portrush Golf Club, to the harbour, where I had the Seafood Thermidor at Ramore Wine Bar.

I rather like the Ramore complex, which has several different bars and restaurants.

Just do not expect the conventional type of restaurant where you can reserve a table in advance, order at the table, and await service.

At Ramore wine bar you are shown to a clearly numbered table, peruse the menu, and walk up to the bar counter where they ask for your number, take your order, and you settle the account there and then.

This unconventional system works very well for Ramore and I find it perfectly acceptable.

During my break in Portballintrae the weather was mostly sunny, dry and quite warm, something I took full advantage of.

Perma-tan Belmont.

*

THE French Rooms is a charming restaurant in the centre of Bushmills, just along the street from the Inn.

Their opening hours vary, and at the time of writing dinner is only served on Friday and Saturday evenings; so I was fortunate to get my favourite (and lucky) Table Eight.

The last time I was seated at Table Eight an unknown American couple paid for my meal (unknown to me, because they had paid for it and departed some time before I'd finished my meal).

For this happy reason Mrs Bolton recognized me instantly and greeted my like an old pal.

Perhaps they ought to re-name Table Eight "Lord Belmont's Table".


For dinner I had the goat's cheese, served in a little, tied paper parcel on a wooden platter, with home-made chutney, lemongrass-infused olive oil, and rustic bread.

The main course consisted of sea-bass, garlic cubed fries, and beetroot gratin.

Needless to say, it was all delicious and superb; beautifully presented, too.


After dinner I repaired to the Bushmills Inn, ordered a beverage, and settled down at a small table with the iPad and headphones.

The next morning it was time to pack up, tidy up, and motor back home to the Belmont GHQ.

Saturday, 21 September 2019

New Vice Lord-Lieutenant

APPOINTMENT OF VICE LORD-LIEUTENANT


Mr David McCorkell, Lord-Lieutenant of Country Antrim, with approval of Her Majesty The Queen, has been pleased to appoint:-
Mrs Miranda Gay GORDON DL
Muckamore
County Antrim
Vice Lord-Lieutenant for the said County, her Commission bearing date, the 17th day of September, 2019.

Friday, 20 September 2019

The Musgrave Baronetcy

THE MUSGRAVE BARONETCY, OF DRUMGLASS, COUNTY ANTRIM, WAS CREATED IN 1897 FOR THE INDUSTRIALIST AND PHILANTHROPIST JAMES MUSGRAVE


The family of MUSGRAVE is said to have settled in Ulster from Cumberland in 1649.

JOHN MUSGRAVE (1730-1808), of Saintfield, County Down, was father of

DR SAMUEL MUSGRAVE (1767-1834), of Lisburn, County Antrim, who married Mary, daughter of William Riddell (proprietor of Riddell and Company, Belfast), and had a numerous family, of whom

SIR JAMES MUSGRAVE JP DL (1829-1904), of Drumglass House, Belfast, Chairman, Belfast Harbour Committee, 1887-1903.
The Musgraves were very successful businessmen. James became the moving spirit behind a firm of iron-founders and engineers. 
This family may be said to have begun their connection with Belfast at the beginning of the Victorian era, the River Lagan being their natal stream. 
The Musgrave firm was an off-shoot of the Riddel establishment; whereas the Musgrave family consisted of a dozen children.
When Dr Samuel Musgrave died at Lisburn in 1834, the family soon moved to Belfast and lived in Upper Arthur Street.

By 1852, they were living at 1, Donegall Square South, and later moved to Drumglass House, off Malone Road, which they built ca 1855.

As young men, the brothers Robert and John Riddel were in partnership with their uncle, John Riddel, at 54 High Street in Belfast.

With their brother James they founded the firm Musgrave Brothers and opened the establishment in 1843 (which later became Richard Patterson’s of 59 High Street).

Here the ironmongery trade was carried on successfully until expansion of business brought the manufacturing lines and, from 1860 onwards, this branch was conducted at the Ann Street Ironworks until a limited company was formed.

Sir James Musgrave Bt.   Photo Credit: Belfast Harbour Commissioners

John and James Musgrave were the principals, Robert having died in 1867.

From this time forward the firm of Musgrave & Company Ltd created what was a new industry which attained world-wide fame with the manufacture of stoves, heating apparatus, stable fittings and high-class ironwork.

John R Musgrave was the chairman and director, and represented his brothers' interests in the company.

The expanding business now removed to new works at Mountpottinger.

About 1854, the other brothers, Henry and Edgar Musgrave, started the wholesale tea and sugar business.
The Musgrave family were benefactors of the city of Belfast and its institutions: Sir James, when he retired, devoted a large part of his energy and abilities to developing the Port of Belfast, the possibilities of which he foresaw, the great scheme which he devised and which he lived to see completed. 

His name is forever linked with the Musgrave Channel which he did so much to further from the time he was elected chairman of the Harbour Board in 1897 until a year before his death in 1904.
In recognition of these services, in 1897 James Musgrave was created a baronet, designated of Drumglass, County Antrim.

He also proved himself a firm friend of Queen's College (now University), where he founded the chair of Pathology which bears his name.

Like his brother James, Henry gave many benefactions to the City.

When the estate at Carrick, County Donegal, was acquired a similar bold policy was adopted.

The Musgraves owned 23,673 acres of land in County Donegal.

The Musgraves' old-fashioned courtesy and graciousness of manner, combined with a distinctive style of dress, gave the impression that evoked a link with the early Victorian period.

Their unbounded generosity to charitable, educational and other worthy institutions will secure for them an imperishable memory.

Drumglass House

Drumglass Park is named after Henry Musgrave, the owner of nearby Drumglass House.

The Classical villa was built in 1854-6 for the iron-master Sir James Musgrave.

The north-western end of the grounds was donated for a park in 1922 and landscaped by 1924.


It is believed that the grounds extended to ten acres.


This small park fulfils a need in a built-up part of Belfast and is laid out with grass, bedding and a children’s play area.

The land was a gift in the will of the then owner of the house at Drumglass, Henry Musgrave. 

He had intended that the area should be larger but in order to make a good sale of the rest of the property a parcel of land was retained by the Executors of the will to sell with the house. 

Henry Musgrave was a well-known landowner who was elected an honorary burgess, or freeman, of the City of Belfast in 1917.

He lived in Drumglass House, one of the most prestigious houses in the Malone Road area.

Musgrave died in 1922, leaving six acres of his property to the city to be used as a public park or children's playground.

The park was initially named Drumglass Play-centre and it was opened to the public in 1924 by the Lady Mayoress of Belfast, Lady Turner.


The house and site's remaining grounds now form part of Victoria College Girls' School.

Drumglass Park contains a private gate lodge, located near the Lisburn Road entrance to the park.

It served as the original lodge for Drumglass House and was built in the Queen Anne Revival style ca 1882.

First published in September, 2010. 

Thursday, 19 September 2019

Markree Castle

THE COOPERS WERE THE LARGEST LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY SLIGO, WITH 34,120 ACRES

EDWARD COOPER (c1616-76), a cornet in Richard, Lord Collooney's regiment of dragoons, settling in Ireland, became possessed of a great estate in that kingdom.
Cornet Cooper was serving under Cromwell when his army defeated the mighty O’Brien Clan. O’Brien himself lost his life in this battle and Edward married his widow, Máire Rua (Red Mary). With her and her two sons he went to live at Luimneach Castle in Limerick, which is now a ruin. She had her two sons take the name of Cooper as protection from the English invaders.
Cromwell’s army marched on, further northwards in spite of the fact that he did not have the means to pay his officers. Instead, he gave them large pieces of land. Thus, he gave Markree Castle, near Collooney in County Sligo, and the surrounding grounds to Edward Cooper.
By Margaret his wife, daughter of Nicholas Mahon, of Ballinamulty, County Roscommon, he had issue,
Edward, dsp;
ARTHUR, his heir;
Richard;
Mary; Margaret.
The second son,

ARTHUR COOPER (1667-93), of Markree, County Sligo, heir to his brother Edward, married, ca 1693, Mary, daughter of Sir Joshua Allen, Knight, father of John, 1st Viscount Allen, and had issue,
JOSHUA, his heir;
Richard, dsp;
Mary; Elizabeth; Anne; Eleanor; Margaret.
The eldest son,

JOSHUA COOPER (c1696-1757), of Markree, wedded, ca 1729, Mary, daughter of Richard Bingham, of Newbrook, County Mayo, and left two sons; the younger, Richard, of Bath; and the elder,

THE RT HON JOSHUA COOPER, of Markree, MP for County Sligo, Privy Counsellor, who married Alicia, only daughter and heir of the Rt Rev Dr Edward Synge, Lord Bishop of Elphin, and had issue,
JOSHUA EDWARD, dsp;
Edward Synge, father of EDWARD JOSHUA;
Richard, dsp;
Jane, died unmarried.
Mr Cooper was succeeded by his grandson,

JOSHUA EDWARD COOPER (1762-1837), of Markree, MP for County Sligo, 1790-1800, who married twice, without male issue, and was succeeded by his nephew,

EDWARD JOSHUA COOPER (1798-1863), of Markree Castle, MP for County Sligo, 1830-41 and 1857-59, who married firstly, Sophia, third daughter of Henry P L'Estrange, of Moyestown, King's County, which lady dsp.

He married, secondly, Sarah Frances, daughter of Owen Wynne, of Haslewood, County Sligo, and had issue,
Laura Frances; Charlotte Sophie; Emma Marie; Selina Elizabeth; Cicely Florence.
Mr Cooper was succeeded by his nephew,

THE RT HON EDWARD HENRY COOPER JP DL (1827-1902), of Markree Castle, Lieutenant-Colonel, Grenadier Guards, who wedded, in 1858, Charlotte Maria, only child of Edward W Mills, of Hampshire, and had issue,
Francis Edward, father of BRYAN RICCO;
Richard Joshua, CVO;
Arthur Charles;
Kathleen Emily; Florence Lucy; Venetia Helen.
Colonel Cooper was succeeded by his grandson,

BRYAN RICCO COOPER TD JP DL (1884-1930), of Markree Castle, High Sheriff of County Sligo, 1908, MP for Dublin County, 1910, who espoused, in 1910, Marion Dorothy, elder daughter of Edward Stanley Handcock, of Fulmer, Buckinghamshire, and had issue, his eldest son,

LIEUTENANT-COMMANDER EDWARD FRANCIS PATRICK COOPER RN, of Markree Castle (1912-), who married, in 1937, Elizabeth Mary, daughter of the Ven Charles Philip Stuart Clarke; educated at Royal Naval College, Dartmouth; fought in 2nd World War; retired from the Navy in 1945.

His youngest son,

CHARLES PHILIP COOPER, of Markree Castle (b 1948), educated at St. Columba's College, Dublin, lived in 1976 at Newport, County Mayo; formerly in hotel management.


MARKREE CASTLE, Collooney, County Sligo, originally a 17th century house, was rebuilt a century later; and, in 1802, Joshua Cooper commissioned Francis Johnston to enlarge this house and transform it into a castellated mansion.

The Castle was completely transformed and greatly extended with a new garden front and tower.


In 1866, the Castle was further enlarged again by Lt-Col E H Cooper MP, who added a massive, battlemented tower, increasing the size of the dining-room. A Gothic chapel was built.

The interior has a straight flight of stone stairs which lead up to the main floor under the porte-cochere, beneath a vaulted ceiling.


Beyond is a vast, Victorian double-staircase of oak, lit by a heraldic stained-glass window illustrating the Cooper family tree, with ancestors and Monarchs.

The large drawing-room was re-decorated in the mid-1800s in an ornate Louis Quatorze style, with abundant gilding and portly putti in high-relief supporting cartouches and trailing swags of fruit and flowers.


Brief Family History

Times remained turbulent and during an attempt by JAMES I to regain the throne, Markree Castle was occupied by the Catholic army and the Coopers had to flee.

After the battle of the Boyne in 1690, they returned and have been resident here ever since, except for a brief period during the Irish Civil War in the 1920s when Markree was again occupied, this time by the Irish Free State army.

The family was always politically involved and several ancestors represented the county at Westminster.

They did not always follow party policy (maybe because they were descended from the O’Briens) and opposed the Act of Union, which sought to dissolve the parliament in Dublin and centralise power in London, in 1802.

The Coopers’ opposition to the Act of Union cost them the peerage that they had been promised and it is for this reason that Markree is one of the very few castles in Ireland that is not owned by a titled family.

In 1922, the grandfather of the current owner, Charles Cooper, was one of the two members of the Westminster Parliament who were also elected as a TD to the first Irish Parliament after independence.

After the 2nd World War, Markree Castle fell on hard times and it stood empty and derelict for many years.

In the early 1980s it appeared on the front cover of a book entitled Vanishing Houses of Ireland, a testament to the sad state of decay in which many of Ireland’s great houses found themselves.

In 1989, Charles Cooper, having worked in the hotel business all his life, came back to Markree to renovate the castle and run it as a hotel.

Each generation left its mark on the estate, but the castle, as we can see it today, dates from 1802 with some changes made, mainly to the interior, in 1896.

Walking around the outside of the Castle you can see dates of completion carved in stone on the walls.

The stained glass window in the hall traces the Cooper family tree from Victorian times back to the time of King John.

The restaurant is an architectural masterpiece designed by Francis Johnston and executed by Italian craftsmen.

A conservation area, the estate holds an array of wild life from red squirrels, to otters, to kingfishers. It has proved inspirational and the hymn All Things Bright and Beautiful was written here in the 1800s.

At the heart of Yeats’ Country, the poet W.B. Yeats was a guest here when the Castle was still a private residence.

More recently, the singer-songwriter Johnny Cash and the golfer Tom Watson have stayed there.

In June, 2015, the 300-acre Markree Castle estate was acquired by the Corscadden family for an undisclosed sum.

The hotel will undergo a €5 million restoration prior to re-opening in the spring of 2016.

First published in June, 2011.

1st Baron Magheramorne

THE BARONY OF MAGHERAMORNE WAS CREATED IN 1887 FOR SIR JAMES McGAREL-HOGG, BARONET, KCB

WILLIAM HOGG moved to Ulster from Scotland or northern England during the late 17th century and settled at Lisburn, County Antrim.

He married firstly, in 1677, Mary Podefield; and secondly, in 1686, Elizabeth Wilson, and had issue,
WILLIAM, his heir;
James;
Jacob.
Mr Hogg died in 1716, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

WILLIAM HOGG, who wedded, in 1718, Elizabeth Higginbothom, and had issue,
William;
James;
EDWARD, his successor;
Ruth.
Mr Hogg died in 1726, and was succeeded by his youngest son,

EDWARD HOGG (1722-1809), of Lisburn, who espoused, in 1752, Rose, daughter of the Rev John O'Neill, and had issue,
WILLIAM, his successor;
James;
Abigail; Mary.
Mr Hogg was succeeded by his elder son,

WILLIAM HOGG (1754-1824), of Lisburn, who married, in 1783, Mary, daughter of James Dickey, and had issue,
JAMES WEIR, his successor;
Charles;
Mary; Clara; Rosina; Lily Anne Maria.

Mr Hogg was succeeded by his elder son,

JAMES WEIR HOGG (1790-1876), who wedded, in 1822, Mary Claudine, daughter of Samuel Swinton, and had issue, no less than fourteen children.

Mr Hogg, a distinguished lawyer, MP, and Privy Counsellor, was created a baronet in 1846, designated of Upper Grosvenor Street, London.

Sir James was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR JAMES MacNAGHTEN McGAREL-HOGG, 2nd Baronet, KCB (1823-90), who married, in 1857, Caroline Elizabeth Emma, daughter of Edward, 1st Baron Penrhyn, and had issue,
JAMES DOUGLAS, 2nd Baron;
DUDLEY STUART, 3rd Baron;
RONALD TRACEY, 4th Baron;
Archibald Campbell;
Gerald Francis;
Edith Mary.
Sir James was elevated to the peerage, in 1887, in the dignity of BARON MAGHERAMORNE, of Magheramorne, County Antrim.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES DOUGLAS, 2nd Baron (1861-1903), who wedded, in 1889, the Lady Evelyn Ashley-Cooper, daughter of Anthony, 8th Earl of Shaftesbury, and had issue, a daughter, Norah Evelyn McGarel-Hogg.

His lordship died without male issue, when the titles devolved upon his next brother,

DUDLEY STUART, 3rd Baron (1863-1946), who died a bachelor, when the titles devolved upon his brother,

RONALD TRACY, 4th Baron (1863-1957), who died unmarried.

Thereafter the barony expired, though the baronetcy remains extant.

As of 2006, the presumed 9th Hogg Baronet has not successfully proven his succession, and is consequently not on the Official Roll of the Baronetage.

However, the succession is under review by the Registrar of the Baronetage.

The merchant and philanthropist Quintin Hogg, 7th son of the 1st Hogg Baronet, was the father of Douglas Hogg, 1st Viscount Hailsham, twice Lord Chancellor of the United Kingdom.


Maghermorne House

MAGHERAMORNE HOUSE, near Larne, County Antrim, was built in 1881 by Sir James McGarel-Hogg Bt, KCB, afterwards 1st Lord Magheramorne.

It replaced an earlier house of 1817 called Ballylig House.

Magheramorne House is listed, as is the lodge (dated 1881) and outbuildings.

There is evidence of planting from both eras but the layout of the grounds is essentially in the style of the late 19th century, though there has been further upgrading in the 1930s.

The house is set on a fine site in a declivity with views to the north-east over Larne Lough.

The ground rises steeply to the west and south and there are two glens immediately behind the house which are planted with trees and have paths and bridges to give ornamental walks up through the glens.

The streams level out to the immediate east of the house and there are woodland walks in this area.

There is a maintained formal terrace garden to the north-east of the house with a stone fountain.

The avenue is of lime and a small area of parkland between this and the road contains mature trees.

The House was formerly a hotel.

The grounds have been adapted to a low maintenance regime whilst retaining the bare bones of a late-Victorian layout. 

Magheramorne House was the country seat of the Hogg family till 1904, when Colonel James McCalmont acquired it. 

Around 1932, the Magheramorne Estate, including the house, was purchased by Major Harold Robinson, who is attributed with transforming the house and grounds by recreating the gardens and walks but also planting many of the 150 difference species of woodland trees.

Many of these are still located within the grounds today. 

Magheramorne House is now a listed building and during the last century was a residential home before becoming a privately-owned hotel in the 1970s.

The hotel closed in the late 1990s, prior to Rex Maughan’s purchase in 2000. 

First published in August, 2010.

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Macartney of Lissanoure

THE MACARTNEYS WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY ANTRIM, WITH 12,532 ACRES

Of the Auchinleck branch of the ancient Scottish family of Macartney, MacCartney, or MacCarthy, was

GEORGE MacCARTNEY, who wedded, in 1522, Margaret, daughter of Godfrey MacCullogh, of Bank of Fleet, Kircudbright, Ayrshire.

His son,

PATRICK MacCARTNEY, married the daughter of John McLellan, and had an eldest son,

BARTHOLOMEW MacCARTNEY, of Auchinleck, Kircudbright, in 1597; who espoused, 1587, Mary, only daughter of John Stewart, of Auchinleck, and was father of

BARTHOLOMEW MacCARTNEY, who wedded Catherine, daughter of George Maxwell, and dvp leaving a son,

GEORGE MACARTNEY (1626-91), a Captain of Horse, born at Auchinleck, who removed to Ulster, 1649, and settled in County Antrim, where he acquired a large estate, and represented Belfast in parliament.

In 1671 he served as High Sheriff of County Antrim, and in 1688 proclaimed WILLIAM & MARY at Belfast, for which he was soon after obliged to flee to England, and was attainted at JAMES II's parliament held at Dublin, 1689.

Captain Macartney was restored on the settlement of the Kingdom.

He married firstly, Jane, daughter of St Quintin Calderwood, and had issue (with three daughters),
James, MP for Bridport 1692-5;
Arthur, father of George, MP for Belfast 1721;
John, died young;
Bartholomew, died young;
George, died young;
St Quinton, died young.
Captain Macartney wedded secondly, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Stephen Butler, and had further issue (with a son, Chichester, dsp),

GEORGE MACARTNEY (1671-1757), MP for Belfast, 1692-1757, Limavady, 1703-13, Donegal Borough, 1713-14, called to the Bar, 1700, High Sheriff of County Antrim, Deputy Governor and Colonel of a Regiment of Militia Dragoons.

He married firstly, in 1700, Letitia, daughter and co-heir of Sir Charles Porter, LORD CHANCELLOR OF IRELAND; and secondly, Elizabeth Dobbin.

Colonel Macartney left issue by his first wife (with two other sons),

GEORGE MACARTNEY, who wedded, in 1732, Elizabeth, daughter of the Rev George Winder, and had issue,
GEORGE, 1ST EARL MACARTNEY, dsp 1806;
Letitia, m Godfrey Echlin, and dsp;
Elizabeth, m Major John Blaquiere; mother of ELIZABETH.
His granddaughter,

ELIZABETH BLAQUIERE (niece of Lord Macartney), married, in 1785, THE REV TRAVERS HUME (son of Gustavus Hume, of Dublin, State Surgeon, and had issue,
GEORGE, who assumed the name and arms of MACARTNEY;
Gustavus Thomas;
John;
Robert (Rev);
Elizabeth; Georgiana; Alicia; Anna.
The eldest son,

GEORGE HUME MACARTNEY JP DL (1793-1869), of Lissanoure, MP for County Antrim, 1852-8, espoused, in 1828, Ellen, only surviving child and heir of Townley Patten Filgate, of Lowtherstone, County Dublin, and Drumgoolstown, County Louth, and had issue,
GEORGE TRAVERS, his heir;
Townley Patten Hume Macartney Filgate, of Lowther Lodge;
Martha Ellen; Elizabeth Jane; Anne Sophia.
This gentleman, whose patronymic was HUME, assumed, by Royal Licence, 1814, the surname and arms of MACARTNEY under the will of his grand-uncle George, 1st Earl Macartney.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

GEORGE TRAVERS MACARTNEY JP DL (1830-74), of Lissanoure, Captain, 15th King's Hussars, who married, in 1865, Henrietta Frances, third daughter of Robert Smyth, of Gaybrook, County Westmeath, and had issue,
CARTHANACH GEORGE, his heir;
Helen Henrietta; Mabel Constance; Frances Rose.
Mr Macartney was succeeded by his son,

CARTHANACH GEORGE MACARTNEY JP (1869-1936), of Lissanoure, who wedded, in 1890, his cousin Margaret Tryphena Mabel, eldest daughter of Townley Patten Hume Macartney Filgate, of Lowtherstone, County Dublin, and had issue,
Dervock George Auchinleck (1891-1900);
GEORGE TRAVERS LUCY (1896-1943), of Lissanoure.
George Travers Lucy Macartney was the last member of the Macartneys to live at Lissanoure Castle.

He was said to be eccentric and a spendthrift.

Mr Macartney purchased the Torr Head fishery and initiated several fruitless projects.

He died on holiday in County Cork on the 11th July, 1943.

Lissanoure estate was subsequently sold to the Mackie family, of Belfast, industrialists, but had already been requisitioned by the Ministry of Defence as a training base for British and American troops during the 2nd World War.

There was also a German prisoner-of-war camp at Lissanoure, and the Mackies did not get full possession until the end of the war in 1945.

First published in September, 2017.

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

French Park

THE BARONS DE FREYNE WERE THE GREATEST LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY ROSCOMMON, WITH 34,400 ACRES


The family of FRENCH, originally DE FREIGNE, or De Fraxinis, is of great antiquity, and was established in England by one of the companions in arms of WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR.

In 1254, Will de Fraxinis was sent ambassador from HENRY III to POPE INNOCENT IV.

SIR HERBERT or HUMPHREY DE FREYNE, who accompanied Strongbow in his expedition against Ireland, acquired large possessions in the province of Leinster, and settled in Ballymacoonoge, County Wexford.

He had two sons, Patrick and Nicholas, whose descendants gained early distinction, and ranked amongst the most powerful of the Anglo-Norman barons.

Fulke de Freyne, the descendant of Sir Humphrey, settled his manor of Ballymacoonoge, with remainder to his heirs, with various other remainders, in 1329.

He was succeeded by his eldest son, Sir Patrick, who died without male issue, leaving two daughters; the eldest, Ellen, with whom the moiety of the said manor went out of the family to her husband, Richard de Camelford.

The other estates went by another settlement to his second son, Oliver de Freyne, who was Senescal of Kilkenny, 1336, and was father of

SIR ROBERT FREYNE, who died leaving three sons, the third of whom,

JAMES FFRENCH, was chosen to represent Wexford in the parliament of Westminster, in 1376.

He had a son,

OLIVER FRENCH, father of

PATRICK FRENCH, who was sent as a judge into Connaught.

He wedded Mary, daughter of John D'Athi, a family of great antiquity long settled in that province, and was ancestor of

JOHN FRENCH, of Galway, born in 1489, a man great wealth and unbounded liberality and a great benefactor of the Church.

It is stated in the annals of Galway that he built, at his own expense, the north aisle of St Nicholas' Church, in that town, from the north pinnacle of the chapel of the Holy Sacrament; and also the great chapel on the south side of St Francis's Abbey, with the building which stands on the river-side, which has ever since borne his name, and is called "John French's Chamber".

In this church, the French family, with two others, are alone entitled to the right of burial.

His son and successor,

PETER FRENCH, Mayor of Galway, 1576, married Mary, sister of William Martin, and had five sons.

The sum of £5,000 was expended on his monument, which adorned the church there, until destroyed in CROMWELL's time, by Colonel Stubber, then Governor of the town.

The monument was executed in Italy, and is described in the annals of Galway to have been of "rayre sculpture and guilded with golde".

His son,

FRANCIS FRENCH, of Gortrassy and Sessueman Castle, in County Sligo, wedded Una O'Conor, of the ancient race of O'Conor in Sligo; and dying in 1624, left a son,

STEPHEN FRENCH, to whom Sir Donogh O'Conor of Sligo made a device in his will, and Sir Charles O'Conor of Sligo made a grant of the lands of Rathborney, Ardueglass etc, dated 1622.

This Stephen married Marian Lynch, of the family of Le Petit, barons palatine of Mullingar, and was succeeded by his son,

PATRICK FRENCH, of Dungar, otherwise French Park, County Roscommon, whose great estates in County Sligo were seized by the Earl of Strafford, and partitioned amongst Sir Thomas Radcliffe, Sir Philip Perceval, etc.

They were, however, subsequently restored by order of Parliament, but CROMWELL again dispossessed them.

He wedded a daughter of Martin, of Dangan, in County Galway; and dying at Dungar, was succeeded by his son,

DOMINICK FRENCH, of French Park, and of Boyle, who wedded Anne, daughter of the Rt Rev Dr Edward King, Lord Bishop of Elphin, and had issue,
JOHN, his heir;
Dominick;
Patrick;
Mary, Margaret; Sarah; Anne.
Mr French was buried in Elphin Cathedral, where his monument is still to be seen.

He was succeeded by his son,

JOHN FRENCH (1662-1734), of French Park, called Tierna More, a colonel in the army who commanded a troop in the Enniskillen Dragoons at the battle of Aughrim, and was attainted on account of his Whig principles by the parliament held by JAMES II at Dublin, 1690.

Mr French, MP for Carrick, 1695-9 and 1713-14, County Galway, 1703-13, Tulsk, 1715-27, wedded Anne, daughter of Sir Arthur Gore Bt, of Newtown, ancestor of the Earls of Arran, and had issue,
ARTHUR, his heir;
Robert;
John;
William;
Mary; Olivia; Catherine; Sarah.
Mr French died in 1734, leaving £1,000 to be expended on his funeral.

His body was laid in state in the park for three days and nights, and the county were feasted round it.

He was succeeded by his son, 

ARTHUR FRENCH (1690-1761), of French Park, MP for Tulsk, 1714, County Roscommon, 1721-7, Boyle, 1727-60, who espoused Jane, daughter of John Percival, of Knightsbrook, County Meath, and had issue,
JOHN, his heir;
Robert;
ARTHUR, successor to his brother;
George;
Martha.
Mr French was succeeded by his eldest son, 

JOHN FRENCH (1723-75), of French Park, MP for County Roscommon, 1745-75, until the time of his death in 1775, in which year he was drowned, together with his brother, Robert, on his passage from Dublin to Parkgate.

He was to have been called to the house of peers as Baron Dungar.

Mr French wedded Alicia, daughter of Ralph Crawford, of Snowhill, County Fermanagh; but having no issue, was succeeded by his brother,

ARTHUR FRENCH (1728–99), Colonel, French Park and Castlemaine Volunteers, who refused to accept the peerage promised to his brother.

Colonel French married, in 1763, Alicia, daughter of Richard Magennis, of Dublin, of the house of IVEAGH, and had issue,
ARTHUR, his heir;
Richard;
John, in holy orders;
George;
Robert Henry;
William;
St George;
Jane; Alicia; Anne; Frances.
He was succeeded by his eldest son,


ARTHUR FRENCH (1765-1820), MP for County Roscommon, 1785-1820, who wedded, ca 1784, Margaret, daughter of Edmund Costello, the representative of the Nangles, Lord McCostello, County Mayo, by Mary his wife, daughter of Francis, 21st Baron Athenry, and had issue,
ARTHUR, his heir;
JOHN, 2nd Baron, in holy orders;
CHARLES, 3rd Baron;
William;
Fitzstephen;
Mary; Louisa; Harriet; Elizabeth.
Mr French, who refused successively an earldom and a barony, was succeeded by his eldest son,

ARTHUR FRENCH (1786-1856), of French Park, MP for County Roscommon, 1821-32, who was elevated to the peerage, in 1839, in the dignity of BARON DE FREYNE, of Artagh, County Roscommon.

He married, in 1818, Mary, daughter of Christopher McDermott, though the marriage was without issue, and his lordship was succeeded by his next brother,

JOHN, 2nd Baron (1788-1863), who died unmarried, when the title devolved upon his brother,

CHARLES, 3rd Baron (1790-1868), who espoused, in 1851, Catherine, daughter of Luke Maree, and had issue,
Charles;
John;
William;
ARTHUR, his successor;
Richard Patrick;
Robert;
Mary Josephine.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest legitimate son,

ARTHUR, 4th Baron (1855-1913), Honorary Colonel, Connaught Rangers, who married firstly, Laura Octavia, daughter of the Hon John Charles Dundas, and had issue,
ARTHUR REGINALD, his successor;
Gwendolen Mary.
He wedded secondly, in 1882, Marie Georgiana, daughter of Richard Westbrook Lamb, and had further issue,
FRANCIS CHARLES, 6th Baron;
William Joseph;
Edward Fulke;
Louis Richard;
George Philip;
Ernest Aloysius;
Hubert John;
Bertram Leo;
Lily Marie; Muriel May; Eileen Agnes.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

ARTHUR REGINALD, 5th Baron (1879-1915), Captain, South Wales Borderers, who espoused, in 1902, Annabel, daughter of William Angus, though his lordship was killed in action, and the marriage was without issue, when the title devolved upon his half-brother,

FRANCIS CHARLES, 6th Baron (1884-1935), DL, High Sheriff of County Roscommon, 1912, who married, in 1916, Lina Victoria, daughter of Sir John Alexander Arnott Bt, and had issue,
FRANCIS ARTHUR JOHN, his successor;
Patricia Mary; Jeanne Victoria; Patience Veronica; Faith Gabriel.
His lordship was succeeded by his only son,

FRANCIS ARTHUR JOHN, 7th Baron (1927-2009), of French Park, who wedded firstly, in 1954, Shirley Ann, daughter of Dougles Rudolph Pobjoy, and had issue,
FULKE CHARLES ARTHUR JOHN, his successor;
Patrick Dominick Fitzstephen Jude;
Vanessa Rose Bradbury.
He espoused secondly, in 1978, Sheelin Deirdre, daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Kane O'Kelly.

His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

(FULKE) CHARLES ARTHUR JOHN, 8th Baron (b 1957),  who wedded, in 1986, Julia Mary, daughter of James H Wellard, and has issue,
ALEXANDER JAMES CHARLES;
William Rory Francis.
The 8th and present Baron lives in London. 


FRENCH PARK, near Boyle, in County Roscommon, was formerly the ancestral seat of the Barons de Freyne.

The house, originally built in the mid-17th century before being rebuilt in the Georgian style in the 18th century, was demolished after the sale of the estate by the French family to the Irish Land Commission in 1952.

The Commission removed the roof of the buildings in 1953 and eventually demolished the remaining structures ca 1975.

French Park was an early Palladian winged house of red brick, of three storeys with a seven-bay centre block (above).

Two-storey wings, five bays long and four deep, were joined to the main block by curved sweeps.

In 1952 Lord de Freyne sold French Park.

The great house and demesne had been in the French family since 5,000 acres were granted to Dominick French in 1666; prior to its dissemination during the Irish land acts, the estate comprised 36,000 acres.

Having sold the estate, the de Freynes moved to Oxfordshire.

The present and 8th Lord de Freyne now lives in London.

The once-great mansion is now a roofless ruin.

First published in July, 2011.

Summer Island House

Summer Island

SAMUEL COWDY, of Taughlumny, near Banbridge, County Down, was a sergeant in Cromwell's army, from whom he received a farm of 273 acres at Taughlumny.

He married and had issue, his youngest son,

JOHN COWDY (c1770-1857), who married M Rollins, and was father of

ANTHONY COWDY (1809-92), who wedded Elizabeth, daughter of Mr Mahaffy, and had issue, an only son,

ANTHONY COWDY (1843-1908), who married Sarah Frances, daughter of Mr Jones, and was father of

EDWARD COWDY JP DL (1873-1934), of Summer Island, County Armagh, High Sheriff of County Armagh, 1920, who wedded, in 1903, Mary Jane, daughter of Robert McKean JP, of Rockwood, Benburb, County Tyrone.

Edward Cowdy (1873-1934)

His eldest son,

ROBERT McKEAN COWDY JP DL, of Summer Island, High Sheriff of County Armagh, 1947, married, in 1939, Diana Vera Gordon, elder daughter of John Ralph Cope, of Drumilly, County Armagh, and had issue,

MAJOR RALPH EDWARD COPE COWDY DL (1940-2013), High Sheriff of County Armagh, 2007.


SUMMER ISLAND, near Loughgall, County Armagh, was purchased from the Verner family by Edward Cowdy in 1908.

It is a Georgian villa of two storeys and five bays; fine fanlight above the main door, with columns and pilasters.

The roof is hipped with dentils at the eaves.

The main entrance to Summer Island boasts one of the most delightful pairs of gate lodges in the Province, which were built ca 1820.

They are backed by mature lime trees which stand out in the landscape of this slightly raised strip of land in an otherwise flat area.

Shelter belts protect the southern half of the parkland, at the centre of which is the late 18th century classical house.

There is a modern ornamental garden at the house but the walled garden is not cultivated.

First published in September, 2013.

Monday, 16 September 2019

1st Duke of Buckingham

DUKEDOM OF BUCKINGHAM
1623-87

This family, which is still extant in the noble houses of Jersey and Clarendon, deduced its descent from Villiers, Seigneurs de L'Isle Adam, in Normandy, France; and the first of its members who came into England was amongst the companions in arms of WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR.

SIR GEORGE VILLIERS (c1544-1606), of Brooksby, Leicestershire, a person of eminent repute, married firstly, Audrey, daughter of William Saunders, of Harrington, Northamptonshire, and had issue,
William, created a Baronet;
Edward, ancestor of the EARLS OF JERSEY;
Elizabeth; Anne; Frances.
Sir George wedded secondly, Mary, daughter of Anthony Beaumont, of Glenfield, Leicestershire, which lady survived her husband, and was created COUNTESS OF BUCKINGHAM for life; and had further issue,
John, 1st Viscount Purbeck;
GEORGE, of whom presently;
Christopher, 1st Earl of Anglesey;
Susan.
Sir George's second son by his last wife,

GEORGE VILLIERS (1592-1628), born at Brooksby, received the first rudiments of his education at Billesdon School in Leicestershire, whence being removed at the age of 13, by his mother, he was sent to France, and there soon attained "perfection in all polite accomplishments".

Upon his return home, he went first to London as a suitor to Sir Roger Ashton's daughter, one of the Gentlemen of the Bedchamber and Master of the Robes to JAMES I, but was dissuaded from the connection by another courtier, Sir John Graham, one of the Gentleman of the Privy Chamber, who encouraged him to "woo fortune in the court".

Soon after this he attracted the attention of the King, and succeeded the favourite Robert Carr, 1st Earl of Somerset, as cup-bearer to His Majesty (being, said Sir William Dugdale, of stature tall and comely, his comportment graceful, and of a most sweet disposition).

From this period he rose rapidly in estimation, and the Queen, through the influence of George Abbot, Archbishop of Canterbury, an enemy of Somerset's, being induced also to protect him, his fortune was at once established.

The first honour he received was that of Knighthood, which was conferred in Her Majesty's bedchamber with the Prince's rapier: he was then sworn a Gentleman of the Bedchamber (1615), with an annual pension of £1,000 (£237,000 in today's money) payable out of the Court of Wards.

The ensuing January he succeeded Edward, 4th Earl of Worcester, as Master of the Horse; and several months later was installed a Knight of the Garter.

Before the end of the year (1616) he was elevated to the peerage as Baron Whaddon, Buckinghamshire, the ceremony of creation being performed at Woodstock; and he was very soon after advanced to a viscountcy, as Viscount Villiers.

In 1617 his lordship was created Earl of Buckingham, with a special remainder, default of male issue, to his brothers John and Christopher, and their male issue.

His lordship was further advanced, in 1618, to the dignity of a marquessate, as Marquess of Buckingham.

This last dignity was succeeded by his appointment to the great office of Lord High Admiral, and his being sworn of the Privy Council; and about this time his lordship was constituted Chief Justice in Eyre; Master of the Court of King's Bench; High Steward of Westminster Abbey; Constable of Windsor Castle; and Chancellor of Cambridge University.

In 1623, Lord Buckingham was sent into Spain with Charles, Prince of Wales, to accelerate the marriage then in contemplation between His Royal Highness and a Spanish princess.

The journey, a most exceptional one, commenced on the 18th February, when Prince Charles and Lord Buckingham, putting on false beards, assumed the names of Thomas and John Smith, their sole attendant being Sir Richard Graham, 1st Baronet, Master of the Horse.

Post-riding to Canterbury, where they took fresh horses, they were stopped by the mayor, as suspicious persons, whereupon Lord Buckingham was constrained to take off his beard, and to satisfy the mayor by stating that he was going incognito to survey the fleet as Lord High Admiral.

At Dover they found Prince Charles's private secretary, Sir Francis Cottington, and Mr Endymion Porter, who had provided a vessel for their use: on which they embarked, and landing at Boulogne, proceeded to Paris, and thence travelled through France to Madrid.

During their sojourn in Paris, Lord Buckingham is said to have fallen in love with Anne of Austria (Queen of France, consort of LOUIS XIII).

It is certainly the case that, upon his return, Cardinal Richelieu refused him permission to land in a French port.

At Madrid, Buckingham was involved in a dispute with the Count-Duke of Olivares, and received some affronts for his haughtiness, French garb, and great familiarity with Prince Charles.

His royal master continuing, however, to lavish favours upon him, sent out letters patent, in 1623, creating him DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM.

The Prince of Wales and the Duke of Buckingham, failing in the object of their journey, departed from Madrid on the 12th September, and arrived at Portsmouth in October, when His Grace was appointed Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports and Steward of the Manor of Hampton Court.

The death of JAMES I followed about a year and a half later, but the influence of Buckingham was undiminished.

His Grace officiated as Lord High Steward at the coronation of the new King; and was shortly afterwards sent as Ambassador Extraordinary to Holland, where he purchased a rare collection of Arabic manuscripts, procured in remote countries by the industry and diligence of Thomas Erpenius, a famous linguist.

Those valuable documents were presented to Cambridge University, for which he intended them, after the 1st Duke's death.

His Grace continued to bask in the same sunshine of royal favour, under CHARLES I, that he had so beneficially enjoyed in the last reign, but with the populace he had become an object of contempt.

His influence was paramount, and to that influence was attributed all the grievances of the nation.

The failure, too, of an expedition to Saint-Martin-de-Ré, for the relief of his Huguenot allies at La Rochelle, completed his unpopularity.

To recover the ground he had lost by this untoward enterprise, His Grace projected another expedition, and had repaired to Portsmouth in order to forward its sailing.

Here, while passing through a lobby, after breakfasting with Sir Thomas Fryer and other persons of distinction, he was stabbed in the heart by John Felton, an army officer, and died instantaneously.

The 1st Duke's assassination occurred on the 23rd August, 1628, when His Grace had just turned 36 years of age.

The Duchess was in the house, in an upper room, hardly out of bed; and the King and court at Sir Daniel Norton's, Southwick, Hampshire, merely six miles away.

His Grace had married the Lady Katherine Manners, only daughter and heiress of Francis, Earl of Rutland and Baron de Ros (which latter dignity she inherited at the decease of her father in 1632), and had issue,
GEORGE, his successor;
Charles;
Francis;
Mary.
Following the 1st Duke's murder, Her Grace wedded secondly, Randal, 2nd Earl and 1st Marquess of Antrim, of Dunluce Castle, County Antrim.

A lost masterpiece of the 1st Duke by Rubens was recently discovered.

George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham KG

His Grace was succeeded by his eldest son,

GEORGE, 2nd Duke (1628-87), KG, and in right of his mother, 20th Baron de Ros.

This nobleman was very young at the time of his father's murder, and spent some years abroad after that event, travelling.

He returned to England after the civil war, and had a command in the royal army at the battle of Worcester, 3rd September, 1651, from which unfortunate field, making his escape with difficulty, he reached London and was thence enabled to make good his retreat to Holland.

At the restoration of the monarchy His Grace, with General Monck, rode uncovered before the King upon his public entry into London, and he was soon afterwards appointed a Knight of the Garter.

The 2nd Duke formed one of the unpopular administrations of CHARLES II, which was designated the Cabal, from the initial letters of the ministers' names.

"But towards the latter half of that monarch's reign", said the infamous genealogist and lawyer, Thomas Christopher Banks, "by his strange conduct and unsteady temper he sunk very low in the opinion of most people. He first seduced the wife of Francis Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, and then killed the Earl in a duel."

Horace Walpole, 4th Earl of Orford, in his Catalogue of Noble Authors, observed,
"When this extraordinary man, with the figure and genius of Alcibiades, could equally charm the Presbyterian Fairfax, and the dissolute Charles; when he alike ridiculed the witty king and his solemn chancellor; when he plotted the ruin of his country with a cabal of bad ministers, or equally unprincipled, supported its cause with bad patriots; one laments that such parts should be devoid of every virtue. 
But when Alcibiades turns chemist, when he is a real bubble, and a visionary miser, when ambition is but a frolic, when the worst designs are for the foolishest ends, contempt extinguishes all reflections on his character."
This nobleman, profligate as he was, held an elevated place amongst the great minds of his day, and as a wit was hardly equalled by any of his contemporaries.

"He began life (said Banks) with all the advantages of fortune and person which a nobleman could covet; and afterwards, by favour of the King, had great opportunities of making himself as considerable as his father had been. But he miserably wasted his estate, forfeited his honour, damned his reputation, and, at the time of his death, is said to have wanted even the necessaries of life, and not to have had one friend in the world."

Alexander Pope described him as more famous for his vices than his misfortunes; that having been possessed of £50,000 a year (in excess of £10 million today), and passed through many of the highest posts in the Kingdom, he died in 1687 at a remote inn in Yorkshire, reduced to the utmost misery.

His Grace had married Mary, only daughter and heiress of Thomas, Lord Fairfax, the parliamentary general, and granddaughter maternally of Horatio, 1st Baron Vere of Tilsbury, but had no issue.

He died in 1687, and his sister Mary, to whom the dukedom of Buckingham was in remainder, provided she had outlived the male descendants of her father, having predeceased him, all the honours which he had inherited from his father expired; while the barony of DE ROS, derived from his mother, fell into abeyance between the heirs-general of the sisters and heirs of George Manners, 7th Earl of Rutland.

Former residences ~ Helmsley Castle, Yorkshire; Wallingford House, Admiralty, London; York House, Strand, London.

First published in September, 2017.   Buckingham arms courtesy of European Heraldry.