Wednesday, 19 January 2022

Pellipar House


This branch of the family of OGILBY settled in Ulster at the time of the Plantation.

All the records of the family (originally Ogilvie) were destroyed by fire in Scotland in 1784.

DR JOHN OGILVIE, of Calhame, Aberdeenshire, who settled in Limavady, County Londonderry, about 1670, a great friend of the celebrated Bishop Burnetmarried Elizabeth Agnew, of the Scottish family of that name (settled in County Antrim).

He was succeeded by his son,

ALEXANDER OGILBY, who changed the spelling of the name from Ogilvie.

He married firstly, Ann Smith, and had issue,
ALEXANDER, his heir;
Mary Anne.
Mr Ogilby was succeeded by his son,

ALEXANDER OGILBYwho wedded Mary, eldest daughter of James Alexander, of Limavady (whose family came originally from the shire of Clackmannan in Scotland), by his wife Elizabeth Ross, and had issue,
John, of Ardnargle;
ROBERT, of whom hereafter;
David (Sir);
Leslie, of Strangemore;
Ann; Elizabeth; Mary; Jane.
The fifth son,

ROBERT OGILBY (1762-1839), of Pellipar House, Dungiven, County Londonderry, wedded firstly, in 1782, Mary, daughter of John Marland, of Dublin; and secondly, in 1809, Joice, eldest daughter of James Scott, of WILLSBORO', County Londonderry, and had issue,
JAMES, of whom we treat.
Robert Ogilby purchased the entire manor of Limavady from the Conolly family, also large properties in County Tyrone, and estates at Woolwich in Kent.

He was also lessee of the estates of the Skinners' Company in County Londonderry.

His younger son,

JAMES OBILBY (1812-85), of Pellipar House, died sp and intestate, when the property was inherited by his cousin,

ROBERT ALEXANDER OGILBY JP DL (1850-1902), of Ardnargle and PELLIPAR HOUSE, High Sheriff of County Londonderry, 1887, Captain, 4th King's Own Regiment.

Under the will of his great-uncle, Robert Ogilby, he succeeded on the death of his cousin, James Ogilby, to the Limavady, Pellipar, County Tyrone and Woolwich estates.

Mr Ogilby married, in 1875, Helen Sarah, second daughter of the Rev George Bomford Wheeler, Rector of Ballysax, County Kildare, and had issue,
Ethel Maude; Mabel Norah; Esther Gladys; Mildred Constance.
Mr Ogilby was succeeded by his only son,

LIEUTENANT-COLONEL ROBERT JAMES LESLIE OGILBY DSO JP DL (1880-1964), of Ardnargle and Pellipar, who married, in 1936, Isabel Katherine, daughter of Captain PCG Webster, though the marriage was without issue.

Colonel Ogilby was a kinsman of both the Earl Alexander of Tunis and the Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, through the line of the Alexanders of Limavady.

He was also brother-in-law of Brigadier-General George Delamain Crocker.
Colonel Ogilby entered the Army as a 2nd lieutenant, 4th (Royal Irish) Dragoon Guards 1903-1905; a lieutenant, 2nd Life Guards; High Sheriff, 1911; 29 Aug 1914 joined the Special reserve Officers as lieutenant; 29 Feb 1915, captain (Royal Irish) Dragoon Guards; 1916, Major and 2nd in Command of the 7th Norfolk Regiment; 1916, lieutenant-colonel commanding 2/114 London Regiment (London Scottish). He served with the British Expeditionary Force (dispatches London Gazette); served 1916-1919 in the war; Belgian Croix de Guerre, Star, 1914; DSO and bar, 1917.
The Woolwich estate was bought at public auction in 1812 by Robert Ogilby (younger brother of John Ogilby), who also leased, in 1803, the Skinners estate at Dungiven and lived at Pellipar House.

Ardnargle was not strictly, therefore, a dower house for Pellipar, although it was used as such when R A Ogilby (1850-1902) inherited both properties from 1885 onwards.
The Ogilby family has had a proud military tradition: Major Robert Alexander Ogilby married Sarah Wheeler, daughter of Rev George Bomford Wheeler, a founder of the Irish Times, TCD classic scholar and contributor to Dickens' magazine, "All Year Round"; a DL for County Londonderry; captain 4th King's Own Regiment; and took part in the Zulu war (1879, medal).
In 1902, Maurice Marcus McCausland, of Drenagh, married Eileen Leslie, daughter of R A Ogilby DL, of Pellipar.

PELLIPAR HOUSE, near Dungiven, County Londonderry, was originally owned by the Skinners' Company, one of the livery companies of the city of London.

The Company leased the estate to Sir Edward Doddington in 1616 for about 58 years.

Sir Edward died in 1618, and the lease passed to his widow, Lady Doddington (née Beresford), who subsequently married Sir Francis Cooke.

Lady Cooke, with Tristram Beresford and George Carey as her trustees, attained a lease for about 47 years from 1627.

In 1696 the Manor of Pellipar, which included both parts of the estate, was demised to Edward Carey.

The Carey family continued to hold the estate throughout the rest of the 18th century until 1794, when Robert Ogilby, of Pellipar House, paid Carey £10,000 for his interest in the lease (due to expire in 1803).

Robert Ogilby controlled the Dungiven part of the estate and his brother James, who lived in Kilcattan House, near Claudy, was agent for the western part of the estate.

Robert Ogilby died in 1839.

His nephew, Robert Leslie Ogilby, of the Manor House, Dungiven, became effectively agent of the estate for his uncle’s trustees and for his cousin, James Ogilby, who lived at Pellipar House.

Robert Leslie Ogilby died in 1872 and the Skinners' Company regained direct control.

An agent, J  Clark, was appointed in 1873.

Building work and improvements on the estate followed.

James Ogilby, of Pellipar House, died in 1885 and the freehold of Pellipar House was sold to Robert Alexander Ogilby for £4,500.

The remaining landholdings were sold to the tenants in the latter years of the 19th century and the early years of the 20th century.

THE FIRST undertaker of the Pellipar estate was Sir Edward Doddington, who built the bawn & castle on the site of Dungiven Old Priory.

Sir Edward and Lady Doddington leased Pellipar, and subsequently a family of planters called the Careys took over the estate.

They moved from Skinners hall (on the site of the Old Priory) and built a castle closer to the town.

By this time all danger of attacks by the native Irish had subsided and the Careys did not need to make their castle a bawn for protection and safety against them.

The estate lease was purchased by Robert Ogilby in 1794 for £10,000.

When the lease expired in 1803 Ogilby obtained extension of the lease on payment of £25,000 and annual rent of £1,500 from the Skinners Company.

Mr Ogilby improved the house by adding the single-storey pavilions to the east and west which are built in ashlar sandstone, with large arched windows set in recesses on the north-facing, hipped gables.

He also extended or improved the adjacent outbuildings.

The Ogilbys were largely involved in the linen industry around Limavady, County Londonderry, in 1782.

The architect Fitzgibbon Louch was engaged at Pellipar around the 1860s and it is probable that the ballroom dates from that time.

The stonework of the 1907 improvements is noticeably different, though still in ashlar.

In 1880 Pellipar House was damaged by fire, though James Ogilby set about reinstating the building promptly, and seems to have added the stained-glass window at the main entrance door which bears his monogram and date of 1882.

The Londonderry architect, Albert Forman, was engaged in extensive improvements in 1907, when the pavilions had additional floors added to them, including the attic floor over the entire house.

The whole house was re-roofed with steep pitches, and the conical shape was given to the tower which was raised.

This was when the chateau style of the overall appearance developed.

The entrance hall was revamped, gable windows adjusted, the single storeys to the pavilions added, and the arched upper part of the original windows raised to the first floor.

The rear of the building underwent a few changes in the later 20th century.

The Ogilbys sold their estates in 1956, when the present owners purchased the house and adjoining land of 400 acres.

Pellipar was occupied during the 2nd World War by the War Department.

The present owners demolished the servants' accommodation to the rear of the buildings and part of the adjoining outbuildings.

A conservatory was also demolished to make way for the present kitchen.

The whole of the interior of the building has been sensitively decorated and furnished by the present owners, and the principal facades remain intact.

The River Roe flows near the house.

There are fine trees along the Derryware Burn and an avenue of beech and lime.

There is a small conservatory and a small modern ornamental garden at the house.

There were six gate lodges pre-1830s, two of which survive, though one is ruinous.

First published in January, 2012.   Photo Credits: Bixentro.

Tuesday, 18 January 2022

Hollymount Demesne

NICHOLAS PRICE, of Hollymount, near Downpatrick, County Down, wedded Catherine, daughter of Sir James Hamilton, MP for County Down, 1692-3, Bangor, 1695-9 and 1703-6, and widow of Vere Essex Cromwell, 4TH EARL OF ARDGLASS, and had a son,

MAJOR-GENERAL NICHOLAS PRICE (c1665-1734), of Hollymount, MP for Downpatrick, 1692-3, Down, 1695-1714, who married Dorcas, fourth daughter of Roger West, of Ballydugan, County Down, and had issue,
James, his heir; ancestor of PRICE OF SAINTFIELD HOUSE;
CROMWELL, of whom we treat;
Sophia; Margaret; Anne.
The second son,

CROMWELL PRICE (c1696-1776), of Hollymount, MP for Downpatrick, 1727-60, espoused firstly, in 1720, Margaret, daughter of George Anderson, of Belfast, and had issue,
Nicholas Tichborne, died young;
Catherine; Harriet; Dorcas; Elizabeth.
He married secondly, in 1741, Mary Willoughby-Montgomery, and had further issue,
CROMWELL, his heir;
Nicholas (c1753-1847);
ANNE, of whom hereafter.
The eldest surviving son,

CROMWELL PRICE (c1752-98), MP for Kinsale, 1783-90, Monaghan Borough, 1791-7, Fore, 1798, died without male issue, when the estates devolved upon his sister,

ANNE PRICE (1753-75), of Hollymount, who wedded, in 1769, Charles Savage, of ARDKEEN, County Down, and had issue, a son,

FRANCIS SAVAGE (1769-1823), of Hollymount and ARDKEEN, MP for County Down, 1801-12, who married firstly, in 1795, Jane, daughter of James Crawford, of CRAWFORDSBURN, County Down, and had issue, one daughter, dvp.

He married secondly, in 1806, the Lady Harriet Butler, daughter of Henry Thomas, 2nd Earl of Carrick.

Savage Coat-of-arms

Mr Savage's second wife,

THE LADY HARRIET SAVAGE (1781-1865), of Hollymount, following her husband's death, espoused secondly, in 1829, COLONEL MATHEW FORDE, of Seaforde, County Down, though the marriage was without issue.

Following the decease of Lady Harriet Forde, in 1865, Hollymount demesne passed to Francis Savage's nephew,

CLAYTON BAYLY, eldest son of Mr Savage's only sister, Mary Anne Savage; who assumed the surname of SAVAGE, in compliance with the will of his uncle.

Mr Bayly Savage, of Norelands, County Kilkenny, married, in 1821, Isabella Jane Octavia (d 1865), daughter of Mathew Forde, of SEAFORDE, though the marriage was without issue.

Subsequently, the Hollymount and Ardkeen estates passed to Clayton Bayly-Savage's sister,

MARY ANNE BAYLY (d 1855), who married Sir Henry Meredyth, 4th Baronet (1802-89), and had issue, a son,

Armorial Bearings of
the Meredyth Baronets

HENRY WILLIAM MEREDYTH JP DL (1829-78), who married, in 1862, Harriet Anne, elder daughter of the Rev William Le Poer Trench, and had issue,
William Clayton (b 1865).
Mr Meredyth pre-deceased his father, the fourth baronet, in 1878, and the title passed to his elder son,

SIR HENRY BAYLY MEREDYTH, 5th Baronet (1863-1923), of Norelands, Lieutenant, 4th Brigade, North Irish Division, Royal Artillery, who dvp, when the baronetcy expired.


EVER since I discovered the hidden, lost demesne of Hollymount it has captivated me.

The entire townland, which includes Ballydugan with its lake, mill, and country pub, is utterly bewitching. 

Parking is generally limited to roadside verges. 

Ballydugan and Hollymount, close to the river Quoile, are about two miles west miles of Downpatrick, county town of Down.

I've read that the lands here once belonged to the Down Cathedral, presumably before dissolution.

The old County Down railway line used to skirt Hollymount and, I gather, Noel Killen, local landowner and business man, restored part of its structure close to the entrance to the former demesne.

Three centuries ago the land here was like a flood plain: tidal, and certainly navigable by boat at high tide. 

The First Hollymount House: A Drawing by Mrs Delany, 1745

EDWARD, 3RD BARON CROMWELL (1559-1607), great-grandson of THOMAS CROMWELL, chief minister to HENRY VIII, purchased the lands in County Down from CHARLES BLOUNT, 8th Baron Mountjoy and 1st Earl of Devonshire.

The Down Estate passed eventually to Lord Cromwell's great-granddaughter, the Lady Elizabeth Cromwell, suo jure Baroness Cromwell, wife of the Rt Hon Edward Southwell MP

In 1695, Lady Cromwell leased the lands at Hollymount and the adjacent townland of Woodgrange, comprising 1,895 acres, and the townland of Lisdalgan (473 acres), later to become Saintfield, to her half-brother, Lieutenant-Colonel (later Major-General) Nicholas Price, for £30 per annum (about £6,400 in 2020).

The original Hollymount House, quite a modest dwelling, commanded a superb prospect of the water at high tide.

This high square building, built in the early 1700s, had a handsome entrance-hall, broad staircase, and lofty rooms; and stood (and still stands) on elevated ground.

It was approached from the high-road by a very long and sweeping avenue.

The demesne was of considerable extent, and was well-wooded, and it contained a natural lake of considerable size.

Hollymount was unoccupied when the Delanys rented or borrowed it in 1744 for a number of years.

Mary Delany's husband, the Very Rev Patrick Delany, had been appointed to the deanery of Down, so Hollymount would have been most convenient to the cathedral and town of Downpatrick.

Hollymount House ( Image:Vivian Shepherd)

About a century later (DAB Dean suggests 1781; Bill Spence, the early 1800s) a new Georgian block was built, most likely adjoining the original house.

The new block was built either by General Price's grandson, Cromwell Price (c1752-98) or his granddaughter Anne's son, Francis Savage (1769-1823).

It was neat and plain, two storeys above (it's thought) a basement, judging by the ruinous remains today. 

Hollymount: Porch (Image: Vivian Shepherd)

There were five bays with a parapet at the low roof, and two prominent chimneys.

The door-case and porch seemed to be the most striking feature of the house, with four small Ionic columns supporting a pediment with fluted column.

Hollymount changed hands many times during its existence.

The owners were all interrelated through marriage, though as the decades progressed those links became more tenuous.

The last member of the Prices to live there might have been Cromwell Price, who died in 1798.

Hollymount Demesne ca 1830

The Lady Harriet Forde seems to have moved from Hollymount House to DRUMCULLEN HOUSE (further down the main drive) about 1853.

When Lady Harriet died in 1865, the estate passed to her first husband's nephew, Mr Clayton Bayly; thence to his sister, Mary Anne, who had married Sir Henry Meredyth, 4th Baronet.

It's thought that the Baylys and Meredyths never inhabited Hollymount and were, most likely, absentee landlords.

Subsequent tenants were numerous: The first tenant is believed to have been ROBERT FRANCIS GORDON; followed by Andrew McCammon; then John Greenlaw Napier and his family, who possibly purchased the estate from the Merethyths. 

Ionic Columns at Porch (Image: Vivian Shepherd)

The Kellys, farmers, purchased what remained of the old estate in the 1920s, by which stage the house, uninhabited and neglected, had become dilapidated.

After the 2nd World War the Kellys stripped Hollymount of its roof, selling the lead and slates.

Shooting Party at Hollymount (Image: Vivian Shepherd)

In 1968 Hollymount was sold to the Brownlows (James Christy Brownlow (1922-2006) lived at BALLYDUGAN HOUSE in 1976).

Hollymount House (Timothy Ferres, 2021)

The Northern Ireland forestry service purchased Hollymount in 1975, and the former demesne is now known as Hollymount Forest.

Hollymount House (Timothy Ferres, 2021)

What remains of what was once a fine demesne of great historic value is today abandoned, derelict, and run-down, at the risk of tautology; though it cannot be understated.

Hollymount House (Timothy Ferres, 2021)


The demesne of Hollymount is situated a short distance from Downpatrick, in the barony of Lecale, the old territory of the Savage family.

It is interesting as having been the temporary residence [the first house] of the celebrated Mrs Mary Delany (the friend of Dean Swift), whose husband, when Dean of Down, rented it from the family of Price.

It is described in some of her letters, written there and preserved in the work known as The Life and Correspondence of Mrs Delany.

Writing from Hollymount to Mrs Dewes, in June, 1745 (twenty-four years before the birth of Francis Savage), Mrs Delany thus speaks of it:-
This is really a sweet place, the house ordinary, but is well enough for a summer house. 
Two rooms below, that is a small parlour and drawing-room, and within the drawing- room a little room in which there is a bed, but the Dean makes it his closet. 
Above stairs four pretty good bed-chambers and a great many conveniences for the servants. 
I have a closet to my bed-chamber, the window of which looks upon a fine lake inhabited by swans, beyond it and on each side are pretty hills, some covered with wood and others with cattle. 
On the side of one of the hills is a gentleman's house with a pigeon-house belonging to it, that embellishes the prospect very much. 
About half-a-mile off is a pretty wood which formerly was enriched with very fine oaks and several other forest trees (it covers a hill of about twenty acres); it is now only a thicket of the young shoots from their venerable stocks, but it is very thick, and has the finest carpeting of violets, primroses, and meadow-sweet, with innumerable inferior shrubs and weeds, which make such a mass of colouring as is delightful. 
But thorny and dangerous are the paths, for with these sweets are interwoven treacherous nettles and outrageous brambles! 
But the Dean has undertaken to clear away those usurpers, and has already made some progress; it is called Wood Island, though it is no more than a peninsula; the large lake that almost surrounds it is often covered with three-score couple of swans at a time. 
On the other side of the lake are various slopes, and on the side of one of them the town of Downpatrick. 
The ruins of the old cathedral are on an eminence just opposite to Wood Island, from whence I have taken a drawing. 
DD [Dr Delany, Dean of Down] is making a path round the wood large enough to drive a coach; in some places it is so thick as to make it gloomy in the brightest day; in other places a view of the lake opens, and most of the trees are embroidered with woodbine and the "flaunting eglantine! 
Four extraordinary seats are already made, one in an oak, the other three in ash-trees. 
This afternoon we proposed spending some hours there, but the rain drove us back again ; on the beach of the lake are a great many pretty cockle shells,' which will not be neglected when the weather will permit me to go to it.

Hollymount: Main Entrance (Gate Lodges of Ulster, Page 79, DAB Dean)

THE main drive to Hollymount had a grand entrance, measuring about seventy feet in total width.

A pair of stately little gate-lodges or pavilions guarded the entrance, with railed screen between them.

The gates themselves were supported by a a pair of rusticated ashlar pillars with ball finials.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: Dean, DAB, Plight of the Big House in Northern Ireland, 2021, and Gate Lodges of Ulster, 1994; Bill Spence, Lecale Review, Number 16, Page 31, 2018.

I wish to express my gratitude to D A B Dean, Bill Spence, Vivian Shepherd, Denese Carberry, and Margaret Ferguson for their support in compiling this article.

Castletown House


THE RT HON WILLIAM CONOLLY (1662-1729), of Castletown, Speaker of the House of Commons in Ireland during the reign of QUEEN ANNE, First Lord of the Treasury until his decease during the reign of GEORGE II, and ten times sworn one of the Lords Justices of Ireland, espoused, in 1694, Katherine, sister of HENRY, 1ST EARL CONYNGHAM, by whom he acquired large estates in Ulster.
Speaker Conolly was born in 1662 at Ballyshannon, County Donegal. 
His father, Patrick Conolly, was attainted by JAMES II's Irish Parliament of 1689: otherwise little is known of Patrick Conolly and his wife, Jane, except that they owned an inn or alehouse and must have conformed to the established church at some stage before Conolly's birth. 
Old Irish Christian names like Terence, Phelim and Thady, predominate among his relatives. Conolly appears to have been the oldest of the family, and was early apprenticed to the law in Dublin. 
In 1685, when his sister Jane was only one year old, he was already qualified as an attorney and attached to the Court of Common Pleas.
Speaker Conolly, MP for Donegal, 1692-9, Londonderry, 1703-29, was succeeded by his nephew,

THE RT HON WILLIAM JAMES CONOLLY (1706-54), of Castletown, County Kildare, and Stratton Hall, Staffordshire, who married the Lady Anne Wentworth, eldest daughter of THOMAS, 1ST EARL OF STRAFFORD KG, son of Sir Peter Wentworth, and nephew of Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford (who was beheaded in the reign of CHARLES I), and had issue,
THOMAS, his heir;
Katherine, m Ralph, Earl of Ross;
Anne, m G Byng; mother of Earl of Strafford;
Harriet, m Rt Hon John Staples, of Lissan;
Frances, m 5th Viscount Howe;
Caroline, m 2nd Earl of Buckinghamshire;
Lucy; Jane.
Mr Conolly, MP for Ballyshannon, 1727-54, was succeeded by his son,

THE RT HON THOMAS CONOLLY (1738-1803), of Castletown, a member, like his father, of the Privy Council in Ireland, one of the deputation appointed by the Irish Parliament to offer the Regency to the Prince of Wales, on the first indisposition of GEORGE III.

Mr Conolly, MP for County Londonderry, 1761-1800, wedded, in 1758, the Lady Louisa Augusta Lennox, daughter of Charles, 2nd Duke of Richmond and Lennox, KG etc, and dsp.

By his will he devised his estates to his widow for life, and at her death, which occurred in 1821, they devolved upon his grand-nephew,

EDWARD MICHAEL PAKENHAM, who, assuming his surname and arms of CONOLLY in 1821, became

EDWARD MICHAEL CONOLLY (1786-1849), of Castletown, County Kildare, and Cliff, County Donegal, Lieutenant-Colonel, Donegal Militia, MP for County Donegal, 1831-49, who espoused, in 1819, Catherine Jane, daughter of Chambré Brabazon Ponsonby-Barker, by the Lady Henrietta Taylour his wife, daughter of Thomas, Earl of Bective, and had issue,
THOMAS, his heir;
Chambré Brabazon, d 1835;
Frederick William Edward, d 1826;
Arthur Wellesley, 1828-54;
John Augustus,
Richard, d 1870;
Louisa Augusta; Henrietta; Mary Margaret; Frances Catherine.
Mr Conolly was succeeded by his eldest son,

THOMAS CONOLLY JP DL (1823-76), of Castletown and Cliff, High Sheriff of County Donegal, 1848, MP for County Donegal, 1849-76, who married, in 1868, Sarah Elizabeth, daughter of Joseph Shaw, of Temple House, Celbridge, County Kildare, and had issue,
Thomas (1870-1900), killed in action at S Africa;
William, 1872-95;
EDWARD MICHAEL, of whom hereafter;
CATHERINE, Baroness Carew, mother of
Mr Conolly was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

EDWARD MICHAEL CONOLLY CMG (1874-1956), of Castletown, Major, Royal Artillery, who died unmarried, when Castletown passed to his nephew,

William Francis (Conolly-Carew), 6th Baron Carew.

The Conolly Papers are held at PRONI.

CASTLETOWN HOUSE, near Celbridge, County Kildare, is not only the largest, though also the earliest Palladian house in Ireland.

It was built in 1722 for the Rt Hon William Conolly, Speaker of the Irish house of commons, who rose from relatively humble origins to become a man of colossal wealth and power.

Speaker Conolly accumulated his massive fortune by dealing in forfeited estates.

He refused to accept a peerage, preferring instead to remain, like his descendants, as plain "Mr Conolly of Castletown".

He desired a residence within easy reach of Dublin, and purchased land near Celbridge, County Kildare, in order to build the grandest, finest Palladian house in Ireland.

Castletown was designed by the Italian architect, Alessandro Galilei and also partly by Sir Edward Lovett Pearce.

It is said that Castletown's design was an influence on that of The White House in Washington DC, USA (built between 1792 and 1800).

The main block comprises three storeys over a basement, with thirteen bays.

The centre block is joined by curved, Ionic colonnades to two-storey, seven-bay wings.

The entrance hall, designed by Pearce, rises to two storeys.

Lady Louisa Conolly (daughter of 2nd Duke of Richmond and sister of Emily, Duchess of Leinster) and her husband, Tom Conolly, employed the Francini brothers to embellish the walls of the staircase hall with rococo stucco-work.

The refurbishment of the house was mostly supervised by Lady Louisa (notably the Print Room, and the magnificent Long Gallery on the first floor).

The Long Gallery

Lady Louisa had the Long Gallery (eighty feet in length and one of the most beautiful rooms in Ireland) decorated with wall paintings in the Pompeian style by Thomas Riley in 1776.

The Long Gallery and other principal rooms face the garden front and a two-mile long vista to the Conolly Folly, an obelisk elevated on arches erected by Speaker Conolly's widow in 1740.

This obelisk stands on ground belonging to the Earls of Kildare (later Dukes of Leinster) at Carton House.

The Conolly Folly
The Print Room was conceived by Lady Louisa in the 1760s, likely with assistance from her close friends, probably as a diversion on rainy days.

The Print Room

The Conolly family continued to own Castletown until 1965.

In 1967, it was purchased by the Hon Desmond Guinness for £93,000 as the GHQ of the Irish Georgian Society.

Thereafter, Castletown was restored, and in 1994 it was transferred to the Irish government's Department of Public works.

The Conollys owned 22,736 acres of land in County Donegal, and 1,512 acres in County Dublin.

Former estates ~ The manors of Castletown and Leixlip, in County Kildare; of Rathfarnham, in County Dublin; of Ballyshannon and Parkhill, in County Donegal; besides estates in County Roscommon and the King's County, all purchased by His Excellency the Rt Hon William Conolly, Speaker of the House of Commons in Ireland, and Lord Justice of Ireland.

Former London residence ~ 20 Grosvenor Square.

First published in March, 2016.

Monday, 17 January 2022


Ardkeen Parish Church (Timothy Ferres, 2022)

I have recently been studying the history of Hollymount demesne, and cognizant that Charles Savage (1745-79), of Ardkeen, County Down, married Ann Price, of Hollymount, my appetite was whetted to the extent that on the 16th January, 2022, I drove to Ardkeen on the Ards Peninsula in order to explore that historic site.

If you happen to know the Ards Peninsula, Ardkeen is not far from a public house called the Saltwater Brig; nor is it very far from the town of Portaferry.

Parking is difficult; I managed, however, to find a space on the grass adjacent to bed-and-breakfast accommodation called Ardkeen House.

Thence I crossed the busy road and found a metal gate tucked behind an overgrown hedge, the way to the small peninsula of Ardkeen.

One can walk along the shore for most of the way.

"ARDKEEN" (I'm quoting from the topographical dictionary of 1837), "a parish, in the barony of Ards, County Down, three miles from Portaferry."

"This place derives its name, originally ARD-COYNE, from its situation on the shores of a lake, which was formerly called Lough Coyne."

"It was one of the most important strongholds of the ancient Irish, who made it a place of refuge from the violence and rapacity of the Danes, and had a large and well-fortified camp protected on three sides by the sea, with extensive pastures in the rear for their cattle."

"On this point of land, jutting into the lough and forming a fertile peninsula nearly surrounded by every tide, Raymond Savage, one of the followers of De Courcy, erected a strong castle in 1196, which became the chief residence of that family, whose descendants throughout the whole of the insurrection remained firmly attached to the English monarchs."

"The church is situated on the peninsula and at the extreme western boundary of the parish; it is a small ancient edifice, and contains several monuments to the family of Savage, its original founders."

"A school of 76 boys and 84 girls is supported by Colonel and Lady Harriet Forde, who contribute £84 per annum; there are also a Sunday school and a private school."

"The only remains of the castle are the foundations; the fosses are tolerably perfect, and some of the gardens and orchards may be traced."

I was fortunate enough to encounter a local resident walking his dog.

We chatted for some time, and he expressed his passion for Ardkeen.

Remains of a Building at Ardkeen (Timothy Ferres, 2022)

He took me across the field, strewn with stones and some pieces of old red brick, to a spot that, he believed, may have been what remained of the former Savage manor house, or "Dorn House."

Historic Map of Ardkeen ca 1830

I've seen a map of the location in 1830, and there were several ruins there, so I'm not entirely convinced that the remaining corner section was the manor-house - it might have been.

Remains of a pier or landing-stage: Seneschal's Port (Timothy Ferres, 2022)

Thence I walked over the gently rising slope, overlooking Strangford Lough, to see what seemed to be the remains of a pier.

On a map dated about 1900, this feature is described as Seneschal's Port.

Remains of Ardkeen Castle (Timothy Ferres, 2022)

At the summit of the hill stood what was left of Ardkeen Castle.

The Historic Heritage government department has written a lot about Ardkeen already.

From the top of the hill I scrambled down and made a bee-line for the ancient parish church of St Mary, roofless, surrounded by its graveyard.

Savage Tomb (Timothy Ferres, 2022)

Clearly a considerable number of people are buried in the graveyard encircling the church, including the tomb of some members of the Savage family.

I gather that a number of Savages were interred within the church, and that their grave-stones were relocated when the church was de-consecrated (if that's the term).

Self seated beside St Mary's Church

I lunched in the sunshine, leaning against the church wall; which really was heavenly, overlooking a little bay with rolling hills in the distance.

Church Interior (Timothy Ferres, 2022)

The interior of the church is quite bare, though interesting to see the features remaining therein.

Small Lancet Opening in Church (Timothy Ferres, 2022)

Exterior Sandstone Eaves Cornice (Timothy Ferres, 2022)

"During the 1750s (I'm quoting from the highly informative government heritage website about Ardkeen), Francis Savage [died 1770], whose family had lived at the adjacent tower house on Castle Hill during the middle ages and who (with his father Hugh) had built the new family residence of the ‘Dorn’ house a few hundred yards north of the church, decided to restore the church to serve as a private (Protestant) chapel for the Savage family of Ardkeen and their friends." 

"The building remained in use until shortly after 1839 when in consequence of being unroofed by the Great Wind and further damaged in a subsequent storm, the site was abandoned."

"It was replaced by a new parish church, built in Kirkistown in 1847."

Grave-Stone of G F Savage-Armstrong (Timothy Ferres, 2022)

If readers are interested in learning more about the history of the Savages of Ardkeen, I strongly recommend perusal of The Ancient and Noble Family of the Savages of the Ards, compiled by George Francis Savage-Armstrong (buried beside the parish church of Ardkeen).

Entrance to Ardkeen Church (Timothy Ferres, 2022)

The Macnaghten Baronets

The sept of Macnaghten, in Argyllshire, is acknowledged by the highlanders, according to Alexander Nisbet, to be one of the oldest in the west of Scotland, and its members were for centuries involved in the political transactions of that kingdom.
SHANE DHU, third son of JOHN MACNAUGHTANE, of that ilk, and grandson of SIR ALEXANDER MACNAUGHTANE, who fell at Flodden, went over to Ulster as secretary to his kinsman, the 1st Earl of Antrim, and settled there.

His son and heir,

DANIEL MACNAUGHTEN, espoused Catherine, niece of the celebrated Lord Primate and Archbishop of Armagh, the Most Rev George Dowdall, and had, with two daughters, who married into the families of Willoughby and MacManus, of County Antrim, a son and successor,

JOHN MACNAUGHTEN (c1640-1700), of BENVARDEN, County Antrim, who wedded Helen, sister of the Rt Hon Edmond Francis Stafford MP, and had issue; of which a younger son,

EDMUND MACNAGHTEN (1679-1781), of BEARDIVILLE, County Antrim, who married firstly, Leonora, daughter of the Most Rev Dr John Vesey, Lord Archbishop of Tuam, by whom he had no issue; and secondly, in 1761, Hannah, daughter of John Johnstone, of Belfast, by whom he had two sons,
FRANCIS, succeeded his brother.
He died at the very advanced age of 102, and was succeeded by his son,

EDMOND ALEXANDER MACNAGHTEN (1762-1832), of Beardiville, and Duke Street, St James's, London, MP for County Antrim, 1801-12, Orford, 1812-26, County Antrim, 1826-30, and a Lord of the Treasury.

Mr Macnaghten died in 1832, when the family estates devolved upon his brother,

SIR FRANCIS WORKMAN-MACNAGHTEN (1762-1843), who espoused, in 1787, Letitia, eldest daughter of Sir William Dunkin, of Clogher, a judge of the supreme court of judicature at Calcutta, and had issue,
EDMUND CHARLES, his successor;
William Hay, created a baronet, 1840;
John Dunkin;
Anne; Eliza Serena; Letitia;
Matilda; Jane Russell; Maria;
Carolina; Alicia; Ellen; Hannah.
Sir Francis received the honour of knighthood on being appointed a judge of the supreme court of judicature at Madras, in 1809, from which he was transferred to that of Bengal, in 1815.

He retired from the bench in 1825, and was created a baronet in 1836, designated of Bushmills House, County Antrim.

He had assumed, in 1823, the additional surname and arms of WORKMAN, and in 1832, had succeeded to the chieftainship of the CLAN MACNAGHTEN; and the patrimonial estate of BEARDIVILLE, at the decease of his brother, Edmund Alexander Macnaghten.

His eldest son,

SIR EDMUND CHARLES WORKMAN-MACNAGHTEN, 2nd Baronet (1790-1876), succeeded to the property.
Like his father, he, too, made a fortune in India; and, having retired at the very young age of 24, decided to replace Bushmills House with a much grander mansion. He commissioned Charles Lanyon to construct the present, very fine Italianate mansion, DUNDARAVE, in 1846, based on Barry’s Reform Club.
Sir Edmund wedded, in 1827, Mary, only child of John Gwatkin, and had issue,

THE RT HON SIR FRANCIS EDMUND WORKMAN-MACNAGHTEN, 3rd Baronet (1828-1911), Privy Counsellor.

The Right Honourable Sir Edward Macnaghten GCB GCMG, 4th Baronet (1830–1913),
became a Law Lord as the Baron Macnaghten in 1887. He was admitted to Lincoln's Inn in 1857 entitled to practice as a barrister; appointed QC in 1880; was MP for County Antrim, 1880-85; MP for North Antrim, 1885-87; a Privy Counsellor, 1887. He was a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary, 1887.
Sir Edward was elevated to the peerage, in 1887, in the dignity of BARON MACNAGHTEN, of Runkerry, County Antrim.

He was also Bencher of Lincoln's Inn in 1907.

Sir Edward Charles Macnaghten was 5th Baronet (1859–1914).

Sir Edward Harry Macnaghten, 6th Baronet (1896–1916), died in 1916 aged 20, reported missing in action, believed killed. He was a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Highlanders (The Black Watch), attached to the 12th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles; fought in the 1st World War.

Sir Arthur Douglas Macnaghten, 7th Baronet (1897–1916), died in 1916 aged 19, killed in action. He was a 2nd Lieutenant in the 8th Battalion, Rifle Brigade.

Sir Francis Alexander Macnaghten became the 8th Baronet (1863–1951); succeeded by Sir Frederic Fergus Macnaghten, 9th Baronet (1867–1955) and Sir Antony Macnaghten, 10th Baronet (1899–1972).

Sir Patrick Alexander Macnaghten DL, 11th Baronet (1927-2007) was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge; worked as an engineer and manager with Cadbury's Chocolate. He succeeded to the Baronetcy and as Chief of the Name and Arms of the Clan Macnaghten in 1972.

On his retirement he lived at the estate of his ancestral home DUNDARAVE until 2005.

He was a Deputy Lieutenant and Vice-President of the Northern Ireland Ploughing Association; and a member of the Fisheries Conservancy Board.

Sir Malcolm Macnaghten is the present 12th Baronet (b 1956), who sold the family estate of Dundarave.

In 1862, the Macnaghtens had a London town-house at 18 Eaton Square. 

First published in October, 2010.

Sunday, 16 January 2022

Newtownards Priory

NEWTOWNARDS PRIORY was a medieval Dominican priory founded by the Savage family around 1244 in Newtownards, County Down.

Only the lower parts of the nave and two blocked doors in the south wall (leading to a demolished cloister) survive from the period of the priory's foundation.

The upper parts of the nave date from a 14th-century rebuilding.

The western extension and the north aisle arcade were undertaken by the de Burgh family.

The priory was dissolved in 1541, and was sacked and burned.

It was granted to HUGH MONTGOMERY, who built a house within the ruins, rebuilding the north aisle and adding a tower at the entrance.

The Priory was subsequently consecrated for use as a parish church.

The STEWART family vault lies within the Priory, as does the large tomb of Frederick William Robert, 4th Marquess of Londonderry, KP.

The Colville vault also exists within the ruins.

The Colvilles were landlords of Newtownards from 1675 until 1744.
The Colville family traces its origins to Scotland in the 1100s, when Philip de Colville settled there following the Norman Conquest.

The first member of the family to settle in Ulster was  Dr Alexander Colville. He had been a professor of divinity at St Andrews University before coming to the Province in 1630.

Dr Colville may have been invited to Ulster by Bishop Robert Echlin, whose mother was Grissel Colville. He was appointed rector of Skerry in 1634 and built Galgorm Castle near Ballymena.

His son, Sir Robert, joined the army and in 1651 was a Captain. He married four times. He was knighted at some period between 1675 and 1679, and bought the Montgomery estates at Newtownards and Comber.

Sir Robert  rebuilt the ruined Montgomery home, Newtown House, which had been accidentally burned down in 1664. He also built a private chapel at Movilla cemetery.

A relative, Alexander Colville, was brought from Scotland to become Minister at the Presbyterian Church in Newtownards in 1696.

Sir Robert Colville died in 1697, with a memorial at the Priory in Newtownards. His third wife, Rose, died in 1693 and was buried at the Priory.

Their son Hugh died in 1701 aged 25, with a similar memorial.

By 1744, the memorial inscriptions had been removed from the family tomb, described as “...A large Tomb of the Colville Family (to a descendant of which the town now belongs), stands in the North Isle, raised five or six feet above the Floor, but naked of any inscription...”

Hugh Colville's daughter, Alicia Colville (1700-62), sold the estates to Alexander Stewart in 1744 for £42,000.
First published in September, 2013. 

Saturday, 15 January 2022

Demise of Belvoir House

West Front

I have already posted an article and several images of BELVOIR HOUSE Newtownbreda, near Belfast.

Belvoir Park was built in the mid-18th century by ARTHUR, 1ST VISCOUNT DUNGANNON, though it had a number of tenants or lessees during its existence.

The former demesne now forms part of Lagan Valley Regional Park.

The Batesons, afterwards BARONS DERAMORE, purchased Belvoir from Lord Dungannon in 1818.

Belvoir House was razed to the ground on behalf of the Northern Ireland forestry service on the 18th February, 1961.

The car park is now on the site of the house.

Here are some images of the house prior to its demolition.

The image above shows the west entrance front, looking towards the River Lagan.

The apex of the pediment can just be seen on the left side, two-thirds of the way up; with a flag-pole above the ballustraded west porch.

West Front from the South

The image above shows the south front of the house with its extensive courtyard buildings.

The courtyard faced the stable-yard, which still stands today.

At the apex of the pediment the Bateson baronets' coat-of-arms was prominently displayed, their crest being a bat's wing, with the motto Nocte Volamus.

The pediment was at the garden front of the house, which faced northwards towards the motte, walled garden and glass-houses.

North Front

Belvoir House - or Hall - dated from the mid-18th century and would have been, possibly, the oldest building in Belfast at the time of its demolition.

Above, probably the final image of the once-great mansion before its ignominious end, in 1961, with preparation for demolition: The stately garden front, which faces northwards.

East Front

Despite its undoubted historical importance, its associations with several notable families, and having once been the focal point of a great demesne, Belvoir House suffered its ultimate fate when it was swept away in 1961 by the forest service.

Last published February, 2010.