Wednesday, 29 June 2022

Lighthouse Island: V

Lighthouse Island, with Mew Island in the Background


Most of us got out of bed early on Sunday morning, certainly before eight o'clock.

The kitchen in the observatory is the hub, in a sense.

I had brought twenty sausages, with potato and soda farls.

Rosie & Nick supplied more bangers, with fresh farm eggs and bacon.

We used the three gas cookers and fried the lot.

The grub was placed in the centre of the table and we all tucked in.

Timothy Belmont was, as ever, amongst the leaders in the race to the food-trough.

Thus the troops were nourished and prepared to stride down to the Heligoland trap for a final push.

We managed to complete about 80% of the trap.

The bird observers might need to finish it off themselves; there's now a good basis for completion.

Thereafter we assembled out tools, placed them in the wheelbarrows, and left for the observatory at the top of the island.

I went for a stroll afterwards with Ron.

The remains of the "new" lighthouse (above), in the courtyard at the back of the observatory, are used as storage for fire-wood.

The original lighthouse was more of a square-shaped tower affair and some of it still exists beside the new lighthouse.

The top half of the lighthouse has been shorn off, so the open roof affords a panoramic view of the island and beyond.

Mew Island Lighthouse

Mew Island, adjacent to Lighthouse Island, has the main lighthouse.

It is named after the common gull or sea mew, Larus canus, which nested there in great abundance during bygone years.

Mew Island Lighthouse

It was not until 1969 that electricity powered the lamp on Mew Island.

The light was converted to automatic operation, and the last keeper left the island in 1996.


AT ABOUT FOUR O'CLOCK, we all packed and tidied up, locked up and took our belongings down to the jetty, where MV Mermaid was waiting to convey us back to Donaghadee harbour.

It was a wonderful experience, though I think forty-eight hours was sufficient for self!

Incidentally, a few of us were bitten by what are thought to have been bracken mites: We have several hives to prove it!

First published in September, 2012.

Drumadarragh House

THOMAS DIXON (1770-1849), of Bonamargy, Ballycastle, County Antrim, married Mary McNeill in 1804, and had a son,

THOMAS DIXON (1805-68), of Larne, County Antrim, merchant and ship-owner, who married, in 1834, Sarah, daughter of Archibald McCambridge, of Mullarts, Cushendun, County Antrim.

The third son,

DANIEL DIXON (1844-1907), of Larne, was educated at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution (Inst) and subsequently joined his father’s business, becoming a partner in 1864.

His brother, Thomas S Dixon, was also a partner.
The firm, Messrs Thomas Dixon & Sons, thrived and expanded into shipping, becoming owners of the Lord Line, which was formed in 1879 and operated services between Belfast, Dublin, Cardiff and Baltimore. They also sailed to Gulf of Mexico and several South American ports.
In 1917 the company went into liquidation and sold its two remaining ships to the Head Line (Ulster SS Co.). The Lord Line ran between Baltimore and Belfast every ten days. Daniel Dixon was a director of the Ulster Steamship Company, which owned the Head Line.
Sir Daniel was also chairman of the Ulster Marine Insurance Company and a director of the Belfast & County Down Railway.

Sir Daniel Dixon, 1st Baronet

It was his association with Belfast Corporation which brought Sir Daniel into public prominence: In 1872 he became a councillor for Dock Ward, in which his firm’s premises were located; and, nine years later, he became an alderman.

He felt strongly that the Belfast tramway system ought not to be private property and saw to it that it was owned and run by the ratepayers.

He was closely involved in the movement to build the City Hall and the Infectious Diseases Hospital at Purdysburn.

In 1892, Dixon became Mayor of Belfast for the first time, and was the first incumbent to receive the title of Lord Mayor by Royal Charter from Queen Victoria.

In the same year he was knighted.

He was re-elected in the following year and occupied the mayoral chair five more times between 1901-06.

In 1902 he was appointed a Privy Counsellor and Sir Daniel was created a baronet the following year, designated of Ballymenock, County Antrim.
  • Mayor of Belfast, 1892
  • High Sheriff of County Down, 1896
  • Lord Mayor of Belfast, 1893, 1901-3, 1905-6 & 1906-7
  • MP for North Belfast, 1905-07
In politics Sir Daniel was a staunch Conservative and a resolute opponent of Gladstone’s Home Rule proposals.

In 1905 he won the North Belfast by-election for the Unionist Party and successfully defended the seat in the general election of 1906.

Sir Daniel was a member of the Church of Ireland and generously supported the building of Belfast Cathedral.

He erected the “Joseph” window in the Cathedral's south aisle in memory of his brother, Thomas, and his son, Lieutenant Percy Dixon, 3rd Battalion, Royal Fusiliers, who died at Cairo, 26 August 1902, aged 20.

Dixon’s first wife was a daughter of James Agnew. His second, whom he married in 1870, was a daughter of James Shaw.

They lived at BALLYMENOCH, Holywood, County Down, and worshipped at Holywood Parish Church, where Sir Daniel was a member of the select vestry for 14 years.

It was on the morning of Sunday 10 March 1907 as he was walking from his home to church when he complained of sudden pain and, instead of continuing to church, he made for his son Herbert’s house near by.

There, in spite of the efforts of his sons, Herbert and Daniel, and a nurse, he died of cardiac failure within minutes.

Sir Daniel left £307,151 in his will which equates to about £28 million in today's money.

On his decease, Sir Daniel was survived by his wife, four sons and five daughters.

His eldest son,

THE RT HON  SIR THOMAS JAMES DIXON, 2nd Baronet (1868-1950), JP, Privy Counsellor, of Graymount and Drumadarragh, succeeded in the baronetcy.

Sir Thomas Dixon Bt. (Image:Mid & East Antrim Borough Council)

His other sons were Daniel, Frank and Herbert.
  • High Sheriff of County Antrim, 1912
  • High Sheriff of County Down, 1913
  • NI Senator, 1924
  • HM Lord-Lieutenant of Belfast, 1924-50. 
The 2nd Baronet was succeeded in the baronetcy by his younger brother, 

THE RT HON SIR HERBERT DIXON, 3rd Baronet (1880-1950), OBE, PC,
born in Belfast; educated at Harrow and Sandhurst; commissioned into the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and served in the 2nd World War. Sir Herbert was elected Unionist MP for Belfast Pottinger in 1918, becoming representative for East Belfast four years later. He was also sent to Stormont in 1921 as a MP for Belfast East, being appointed Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Finance; and was finally elected MP for Belfast Bloomfield in 1929. Sir Herbert was appointed OBE in 1919 and appointed privy counsellor of NI in 1923.
Sir Herbert was elevated to the peerage, in 1939, in the dignity of BARON GLENTORAN, of Ballyalloly, County Down.

He served as Government Chief Whip from 1921-42 and as Minister of Agriculture at Stormont, 1941-43.

In 1950 he succeeded his elder brother as 3rd Baronet.

The 1st Baron married, in 1905, Emily Ina Florence, daughter of Arthur, 6th Baron Clanmorris (this family shares a common ancestor with the Earls of Lucan).

He died in 1950, and was succeeded by his son,

DANIEL STEWART THOMAS, 2nd Baron and 4th Baronet (1912-95), KBE,
educated at Eton and Sandhurst; appointed ADC to the General Officer Commanding NI in 1935; Grenadier Guards, 2nd World War; mentioned in dispatches; and in 1950; MP for Belfast Bloomfield at Stormont; Minister of Commerce, a post he held until elected to the NI Senate in 1961. 

He was then minister in, and leader of, the Senate for three years, becoming its last Speaker in 1964. Lord Glentoran was said to have had such a grand demeanour that once, when visiting America, a Texas newspaper carried the headline "Irish Royalty to Visit Texas".

The 4th Baron was appointed KBE in 1973. Lord Glentoran was also HM Lord-Lieutenant of Belfast from 1950-85. In 1933 he married Lady Diana Mary Wellesley (died 1984), daughter of the 3rd Earl Cowley, by whom he had three children.
Coronation Day, 1953, 2nd Lord & Lady Glentoran. Photo Credit : NPG

MAJOR THOMAS ROBIN VALERIAN, 3rd and present Baron and the 5th Dixon Baronet (1935-), CBE.

I have written about him HERE.

DRUMADARRAGH HOUSE, near Doagh, County Antrim, is a two-storey, three-bay, 18th century house with fan-lighted doorway.

Two wings were added ca 1827 of two bays each, in keeping with the centre block, though each has a pediment gable with an oeil-de-boeuf window.

The rear of the house is similar, except for a wing in the same style as the rest of the house which was added in 1903.

The site benefits from mature trees which provide a shelter belt, the chief attribute being a well planted and maintained ornamental garden planted from 1948, both within and outside the walled garden.

Outside there is a wild garden beside a stream and inside there are herbaceous borders, island beds, productive areas, mature trees and an arboretum begun in 1964.


Drumadarragh House was purchased in Thomas Dixon in 1891, though used only as an occasional residence, because the family also owned Graymount in Belfast and RAVENSDALE PARK, County Louth.

Drumadarragh was requisitioned by the army during the 2nd World War; and then reverted to private ownership, by Lord Glentoran.

Drumadarragh House is the seat of the LORD AND LADY GLENTORAN.

First published in 2010.

Tuesday, 28 June 2022

The Blackwood Baronets (1763)

This family is of Scottish origin

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

Of the Scottish family of BLACKWOOD, the celebrated Adam Blackwood (1539-1613), privy counsellor to MARY, Queen of Scots; and the said JOHN BLACKWOOD, of the same house, had his estate in County Down sequestered, in 1687, by JAMES II's parliament, but was restored on the accession of WILLIAM III
Faithfully and zealously attached to his unhappy mistress, this eminent person published his Martyrdom of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland.

Mr Blackwood, Provost of Bangor, County Down, was interred at Bangor Abbey and his grave-stone reads:
From this gentleman descended 

ROBERT BLACKWOOD (1694-1774), who married firstly, in 1721,  Joyce, sister of JOSEPH, 1ST EARL OF MILLTOWN, and had issue,
Leeson, d 1773;
JOHN, of whom hereafter;
He wedded secondly, Grace Macartney, and had further issue,
Grace; Sarah; Elizabeth; Ursula Harriot; Dorcas.
Mr Blackwood was created a baronet in 1763, designated of Ballyleidy, County Down.

He was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

 2nd Baronet (1721-99), who married, in 1751, DORCAS, 1ST BARONESS DUFFERIN AND CLANEBOYE, eldest daughter and heiress of James Stevenson, of Killyleagh, and had issue,
JAMES STEVENSON, his successor;
John (Rev);
HANS, succeeded his brother;
Henry, Vice-Admiral; cr a baronet, designated of the Navy;
Anne; Sophia; Dorcas; Margaret Catherine.
Sir John was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

SIR JAMES STEVENSON BLACKWOOD, 3rd Baronet (1755–1836), who inherited the barony at the decease of his mother and succeeded, in 1807, as 2nd Baron Dufferin and Claneboye.

Sir James married, in 1801, Anne Dorothea, daughter of John, 1st Baron Oriel, though the marriage was without issue.

He was succeeded in the family honours by his brother,

HANS, 3rd Baron and 4th Baronet (1758-1839), who espoused firstly, in 1784, Mehetabel Hester, daughter of Robert Temple, and had issue,
Robert Temple (1788-1815);
PRICE, 4th Baron;
His lordship wedded secondly, in 1801, Elizabeth, daughter of William Henry Finlay, and had further issue,
William Stear (Rev);
Henry Stevenson;
Anna Dorothea; Elizabeth Dorcas; Henrietta Catherine; two other daughters.
The 3rd Baron was succeeded by his son and successor,

PRICE, 4th Baron and 5th Baronet (1794-1841), who married, in 1825, Helen Selina, daughter of Thomas Sheridan, and had issue,

FREDERICK TEMPLE, 5th Baron and 6th Baronet (1826–1902), who was created, 1871, Earl of Dufferin; and advanced to the dignity of a marquessate, in 1888, as MARQUESS OF DUFFERIN AND AVA.


John Francis Blackwood, 11th Baron Dufferin and Claneboye (b 1944), is the 12th Blackwood Baronet of Ballyleidy, and the 8th Blackwood Baronet of the Navy.

The Blackwood Baronets' London residence was 13 Cavendish Square.

First published in June, 2012.



JAMES MACAULAY, MACAULEY or McAULEY, JP, of Ben Neagh, Crumlin, County Antrim, married, in 1785, Jane, daughter of Thomas Hyndman, of Ballyronan, County Londonderry, and died in 1839, leaving a son,

ROBERT McAULEY (1788-1864), of Glenoak, Crumlin, and Larne, County Antrim, who wedded, in 1807, Helena, daughter of Jasper White, of Limerick, and had issue,
Jasper, of Leigh Hill House, Cobham, Surrey;
JOHN, of whom hereafter;
Helena; Robina; Emily.
Mr McAuley's younger son,

JOHN McAULEY JP DL (1823-1912), of Redhall, Ballycarry, County Antrim, High Sheriff of County Antrim, 1891, espoused, in 1853, Jane Callwell, daughter of Patrick Agnew, of KILWAUGHTER and Larne, County Antrim, and had issue,
Agnew McNeil;
Elizabeth Agnew; Helen Elizabeth White; Edith May Agnew.
Mr McAuley was succeeded by his eldest son,

ROBERT HELENUS McAULEY (or MACAULAY) (1854-1943), who married, in 1883, Sarah, youngest daughter of William Richardson, of BROOKLANDS, Belfast, and had issue,
ROBERT KEITH AGNEW, 1884-1963, Lieutenant, Royal Engineers;
John Mortimer William, b 1885;
Irene Vera Muriel.
REDHALL, near Ballycarry, County Antrim, is essentially a 17th century tower-house, enlarged by the addition of two wings containing large reception rooms of ca 1790, and remodelled in the 19th century.

In the older part of the house there are ceilings of primitive though vigorous plasterwork.

John Dalway arrived at Carrickfergus in 1573 and, marrying Jane O’Neill, was given a large grant of land in this area.

It is presumed he built a house and that he coined the name Red Hall.

In 1609, William Edmonstone, of Duntreath, Stirlingshire, secured a lease from John Dalway.
What form the house took at that time is not known, though it would appear that Edmonstone repaired and modernised an existing castle or tower house which had been owned by the O'Neills and dated from at least the mid-16th century, if not earlier.
Dating from the 17th century remodelling are the oak staircase of the Jacobean period; the roof timbers; and a panelled room in late 17th century style.

Panelled ceilings in the first floor have been ascribed to ca 1730.

In 1784, the estate was sold by Sir Archibald Edmonstone Bt to RICHARD GERVAS KER who, in 1793, added the wings to each side to create drawing and dining rooms, with a kitchen in the basement.

Mr Ker was also probably responsible for remodelling the main block, including building a parapet around it and adding a four-columned porch in front of a newly positioned central entrance.

Ker was succeeded by his nephew, David Stewart Ker, of MONTALTO, who, in 1822, is recorded as having built the nearby threshing mill to the west of the house in 1835.

In 1830, the house was described as,
Very plain in its architecture, stone finished on the outside without anything ornamental in its structure or appearance ... the garden is small but the demesne ornamental and pleasure grounds are very extensive, and the plantings of firs, larch and beech very tastefully varied and laid out.
In 1869, the estate was bought by John McAuley, to whom may be attributed the present rendered finish to the exterior, incorporating quoins, rustications, string courses, and surrounds to windows; the small balcony on the east elevation; the canted bay added to the south wing, the square turret added at the north-east corner; the replacement of the small-paned windows by plate glass; and banks, terraces and stone steps around the house, all apparently between 1871-75.

The McAuley surname is spelled MacAulay in the 1912 edition of Burke's Gentry of Ireland, and varies in several other publications.

The internal plasterwork ceilings in the entrance hall and morning room, and plasterwork details in the dining-room and drawing-room may also be attributed to McAuley.

The present porch was in position by 1871, when it had a small pediment over it.

An addition by McAuley, subsequently removed, was a large central chimney on the south parapet of the main block.

In 1902, the estate was bought by W J Porrit, who was responsible for the red-painted finish to the exterior, of which only traces now remain.

In 1918, George Reade became Redhall's new owner.

He inserted dormers into three of the attics; and was probably responsible for the removal of Macauley's south chimney.

In 1927, after lying empty for some years, it was bought by Vice-Admiral John William Leopold McClintock, son of Admiral Sir Francis L McClintock KCB, and grandfather of the present owner.

In 1939-45, it was requisitioned for military use.

IN the 1870s the grounds comprised 567 acres.

The wooded demesne at Redhall is laid out on an axial plan typical of sites dating from the 17th century.

The majority of such sites were subsequently altered during passing generations but the grounds at Redhall remain little altered in plan.

The house, enlarged from its 1627 origins, stands at the apex of straight avenues leading from north to south and from east to west.

There is an oak avenue, a lime avenue leading to the church of 1848 and a late 19th century Wellingtonia avenue (the latter is in addition to the axial plan mentioned above).

There has been continuous tree planting in the demesne including less formal areas around a glen and waterfall.

Atkinson, in Ireland Exhibited to England (1823), remarks on the beauty of the lawn and forest.

The Ordnance Survey Memoirs of 1839 state that,
About fifty acres are under ornamental plantings and shrubberies. Besides these are numerous judiciously disposed belts and clumps of plantings, which not only show to advantage beautifully diversified surfaces of the demesne, but exceedingly heighten the effect of the rich scenery of Larne Lough.
The demesne, on ground rising to the west from the lough, still enhances the area today.

Terraced lawns at the house are reminiscent of the Victorian era.

The walled garden is close to the house and is part cultivated with fruit trees.

There is a stone building, possibly built as a summer house.

The lodge on the Larne Road and a tower are both listed.

First published in December, 2010.

Monday, 27 June 2022

The Hamilton Baronetcy (1781)

JOHN HAMILTON, of Dullerton, County Tyrone, and jure uxoris of Manor Elieston (Donemana), married Sarah, daughter of Sir William Hamilton, of Manor Elieston, son of Sir Claud Hamilton, brother of James, 1st Earl of Abercorn, and son of Claud, 1st Lord Paisley, and was father of

JOHN HAMILTON, of Dunamanagh (Donemana), County Tyrone, had, with another daughter, wife of John Hamilton, of Hamilton's Grove, County Antrim, at least other three daughters and a son, viz.

WILLIAM HAMILTON (1708-62), of Dunamanagh, County Tyrone, High Sheriff of County Tyrone, 1735, MP for Strabane, 1733-62, who married, in 1735, Catherine, daughter of the Rev Dr George Leslie, of Ballyconnell House, County Cavan, and had issue,

JOHN STUART HAMILTON (c1740-1802), High Sheriff of County Tyrone, 1764, MP for Strabane, 1763-97, who married Sarah, daughter of Frederick, 3rd Viscount Boyne.

Mr Hamilton was created a baronet in 1781, designated of Dunamanagh, County Tyrone.
Sir John was a member of the Dublin Society, 1769-76. His membership lapsed in 1777 but was renewed more than twenty years later in 1798. He was listed by the Society as a member in 1802-03, and deleted ca 1804.
It is thought that the following statement alludes to the 1st Baronet, Sir John Stuart Hamilton:
"When he was but nineteen he was unanimously elected one of the representatives in Parliament for Strabane, in which high and honourable station he behaved for upwards of thirty years with a conduct suitable to the great confidence reposed in him:"

"To his immortal honour he was one of those heroic patriots of Fabrician fortitude, who signalized themselves in so conspicuous a manner in the successful defence of the pass, which in 1753 was strenuously attempted to be forced, in order to overthrow the parliamentary constitution of this country; for which they were distinguished from their opponents by their wearing gold medals in memory of that glorious epoch:"

"And so sensible were his constituents of his singular merit and invariable principles in favour of his country, that at the late general election they unanimously re-elected him 
to represent them in parliament; the goodness and benevolence of his heart endeared him to all, and render his death universally lamented." 
"He is succeeded in his estate by John Hamilton, Esq., his eldest son and heir."
SIR JOHN CHARLES HAMILTON, 2nd Baronet, died in 1818, when the baronetcy expired. 

First published in January, 2011

Derryquin Castle



This family was originally seated in Yorkshire. The first who settled in Ireland was THE VERY REV JAMES BLAND, Archdeacon of Limerick and Dean of Ardfert. In a deed of sale registered in Wakefield, 1717, he is described as "of Killarney, County Kerry", and as disposing of his estates in Sedbergh, Yorkshire, to Richard Willen. Dr Bland was the son of John Bland, of Sedbergh, as proved by the records of St John's College, Cambridge, where he was admitted in 1684. He went to Ireland as Chaplain to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Henry Sydney, Earl of Romney, in 1692.

Dr Bland wedded Lucy, eldest daughter of Sir Francis Brewster, Lord Mayor of Dublin, 1674-5, by whom he had issue, and was father of the Rev Francis Bland (whose great-grandson, THE VEN NATHANIEL BLAND, Archdeacon of Aghadoe, was the head of the family); and of

NATHANIEL BLAND LL.D, Judge of the Prerogative Court of Dublin, Vicar-General of the Diocese of Ardfert and Aghadoe, who married firstly, Diana, only daughter and heiress of Nicholas Kemeys, and had issue,
JAMES, his heir;
He wedded secondly, Lucy, daughter of Francis Heaton, and had further issue,
Lucy; Hester; Dorothea.
Dr Bland was succeeded by his eldest son,

THE REV JAMES BLAND, of Derryquin Castle, who espoused firstly, Elizabeth, daughter of Christopher Julian, and had issue,
Letitia; Diana; Maria; Elizabeth.
He married secondly, Barbara, daughter of _____ Nash.

The Rev James Bland was succeeded by his eldest son,

FRANCIS CHRISTOPHER BLAND, of Derryquin Castle, High Sheriff of County Kerry, 1806, who wedded, in 1798, Lucinda, daughter of Arthur Bastable Herbert, of Brewstersfield, near Killarney, by his wife Barbara, daughter of Maurice FitzGerald, Knight of Kerry, and had issue,
Francis Christopher;
Elizabeth; Lucy; Frances Diana; Mary Matilda;
Christina Frances; Laetitia; Barbara; Laetitia; Clara Delinda.
Mr Bland died in 1838, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES FRANKLIN BLAND JP (1799-1863), of Derryquin Castle, High Sheriff of County Kerry, 1835, who espoused, in 1825, Emma, daughter of Major Joseph Taylor, of Dunkerron Castle, County Kerry, and had issue,
James Franklin;
Nathaniel Franklin;
Alice Phillis.
Mr Bland was succeeded by his eldest son,

FRANCIS CHRISTOPHER BLAND JP (1826-94), of Derryquin Castle, High Sheriff of County Kerry, 1859, who married, in 1849, Jane, daughter of the Rev Archibald Robert Hamilton, and had issue,
Archibald Robert Hamilton;
Francis Christpher Earle;
Richard Townsend Herbert;
Emma Alice; Jane Hamilton; Catherine Cotter;
Alice Phillis; Mary Evelyn.
Mr Bland was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES FRANKLIN BLAND (1850-1927),  late of Derryquin Castle, and of Drimina House, Sneem, County Kerry, who wedded, in 1873, Agnes Margaret, eldest daughter of Samuel Wilson Block, of 15, Talbot Square, Hyde Park, London, and had issue,
Archibald Franklin Wilson;
Godfrey Hamilton;
Agnes Emma; Evaleen Wilson; Ethel Hamilton.
Mr Bland was succeeded by his eldest son,

FRANCIS CHRISTOPHER CECIL BLAND (1875-1953), of Drimina House, who married, in 1904, Mary Green, daughter of Henry Albert Uprichard, and had issue,
Henry Archibald Forster.
Mr Bland was succeeded by his elder son,

JAMES FRANKLIN McMAHON BLAND (1905-84), of 14, Tullybrannigan Road, Newcastle, County Down, who married, in 1936, Jess Buchan, daughter of Major Harry Campbell Brodie, and had issue,
Godfrey Hamilton.
The elder son,


DERRYQUIN CASTLE, Sneem, County Kerry, was a Victorian pile of rough-hewn stone by James Franklin Fuller, built for the Bland family.

The main block was of three storeys, with a four-storey octagonal tower running through its centre.

The entrance door was at one end, flanked by a two-storey, part-curved wing.

There were rectangular, pointed and camber-headed windows; battlements, and machicolations.

The castle was eventually sold by the Blands to the Warden family.

In 1906, it was owned by Colonel Charles W Warden and valued at £70.

The Wardens resided there until it was burnt in 1922.

It was located in the grounds of what is now the Parknasilla Hotel, but the ruins were demolished in 1969.

In 1732, the Rev Dr Nathaniel Bland obtained his grant of the Parknasilla area, the grantors being described as 'Rt Hon Clotworthy, Lord Viscount Massareene, and Philip Doyne, with the consent of James Stopford.'

The link with these three gentlemen is Elizabeth Smyth.

Her father, the Rt Rev Edward Smyth, Lord Bishop of Down and Connor, married secondly, the Hon Mary Skeffington.

She was the daughter of Clothworthy, 3rd Viscount Massareene. Elizabeth married James Stopford in 1726.

In 1762, he was created Viscount Stopford and Earl of Courtown.

His sister, also Elizabeth Stopford, was the third wife of Philip Doyne.

The Rt Rev Richard Pococke, Lord Bishop of Ossory, visited the area in 1758.

He was an avid traveller who published accounts of his visits to the Middle East, Scotland and England.

The Bishop went in search of Dr Bland's house, which was a summer residence located between the Sneem River and the Owreagh River.

He found the house, known as 'The White House', abandoned by its owner, in favour of Parknasilla, a fine Georgian residence a little further east.

Nathaniel Bland's first wife Diana, was the daughter of Nicholas Kerneys or Kemis of County Wexford. They had two sons, John and Rev James.

It was to Rev James that Nathaniel left the bulk of his estate and we shall return to him presently.

John served in the army at Dettingen, Fontenoy and Clifton Moor.

Nathaniel's son Francis, by his second marriage, was a captain in the army and gave it up to become and actor in Thomas Sheridan's company in Dublin.

He fell in love with Grace Phillips, a Welsh actress, and married her in 1758.

They had several children. Grace was the daughter of the Rev Phillips of St. Thomas's Haverfordwest.

Nathaniel  died in 1760 just before the birth of Francis and Grace's child, a daughter, in 1761.

She was christened Dorothea and known as Dorothy, although she referred to herself as Dora and acquired a surfeit of names.

In 1774, Francis decided to leave Grace and his family and marry an heiress.

This time he chose the well-to-do Catherine Mahony from Kerry.

Dora became an actress and was also known by her stage name, Mrs Jordan. She was seduced by her actor manager in Dublin.

Shortly afterwards she became pregnant and fled to England and fell in love with Richard Ford , a handsome lawyer, who was knighted some years later.

She lived with Ford and had three children by him.

When he failed to do the decent thing and marry her, she left him.

She became mistress to William Henry, Duke of Clarence, 3rd son of George III in 1790. He became William IV upon the death of his brother George IV.

They lived together in Busy House in Teddington, near Hampton Court from 1797 until 1811, when he took a new mistress.

Their children, ten in total and all illegitimate, were known as the FitzClarences. The boys were ennobled, the eldest was created Earl of Munster.

The girls married well, viz. two earls, a viscount, the younger son of a duke and a general in the army.

The Duke pensioned Dora off. She was swindled out of money by a son-in-law.

When Nathaniel Bland died in 1760, his son, the Rev James Bland, inherited the estate. Derryquin Castle was probably built during his era.

His son, Francis Christopher Bland, married Lucinda Herbert in 1798.

His son, James Franklin Bland, was born in 1799. Under him the Derryquin estate witnessed its golden years and was self-supporting.

His sister Frances "Fanny" Diana married Thomas Harnett Fuller of Glasnacree and their son James Franklin Fuller was to become the architect of the new Parknasilla hotel in 1897.

James Franklin Bland was succeeded in turn by his son Francis Christopher.

This Francis Christopher joined the Plymouth Brethren.

He neglected his estate and devoted his energy to preaching.

Land agitation was rife in Ireland at this juncture and it was unfortunate that Bland decided to absent himself.

The estate inevitably went into rapid decline.

First published in September, 2012.

Sunday, 26 June 2022

Albion Place, Belfast

Albion Place ca 1900 (Image: A R Hogg/NMNI)

Numbers 16-42 Bradbury Place, Belfast, formerly Albion Place, a terrace of three-storey, early Victorian houses, was built between 1832-48.

The first houses to be constructed had triangular pediments above the first-floor windows; with moulded surrounds at second-floor level.

One of which boasted a balustraded parapet and fluted urns.

The front gardens were all built over with single-storey shops about 1900.

The balustraded building to the left has been absorbed into Lavery's bar.

A section of the terrace was demolished in 1866 to make way for the railway line, leaving the site vacant. 

The original developer of the site, Martin Wallace, was living in Albion Place in 1880.

Marcus Patton, OBE, in his Central Belfast: A Historical Gazetteer, remarks that
"the southern end and the mid-terrace house at nos. 24-26 were demolished in 1990, which has effectively terminated the life of the terrace as a whole." 
"It is a great shame that the terrace was not developed from the rear, as separate access existed to the two-storey mews houses behind from Albion Lane."
30-44 Bradbury Place, 2022 (Timothy Ferres)

Incidentally, I visited Albion Lane in June, 2022, and it was in a deplorable state, with large council wheeled bins proliferating along the alley, and various obstructions along the entire length of the Lane.

Numbers 30-44 in the terrace were all demolished in 2021, in preparation for another block of student accommodation.