Friday, 6 November 2009

Great Armagh Landowners

My small piece about the Earls of Gosford and their former seat, Gosford Castle, has whetted my appetite for a little more research; so I shall be writing and, indeed, focusing during the next few weeks, from time to time, on the topic of the great landowners of County Armagh a hundred years ago.

As a general introduction, I shan't dwell on any particular country house or family.

Among the greatest landowners in County Armagh during the 19th century was the Viscount Charlemont and his descendants. They owned Charlemont Fort; and their seat was Roxborough Castle, which was actually in Moy, County Tyrone. In 1876, Lord Charlemont owned 20,695 acres.

The 2nd Baron Lurgan built Brownlow House, near Lurgan. Lord Lurgan and his successors owned 15,166 acres. Brownlow House was sold to the Orange Order in 1903.

The Dukes of Manchester owned large amounts of land in County Armagh. Their Ulster seat was Tandragee Castle, which is now the premises of a well-known potato crisp factory. The Dukes of Manchester owned 12,298 acres.

The Earls of Gosford, whose seat was Gosford Castle, near Markethill, boasted a fine estate which extended to 12,177 acres.

The Synnot family lived at Ballymoyer House which, I think, is near the village of Bessbrook in the county. They owned 7,371 acres.

The Verner baronets lived at Verner's Bridge, of which I know little or nothing. Do any readers have any further information? The Verners owned land at Churchill, near Loughgall, amounting to 5,436 acres.

The Stronge baronets, of Tynan Abbey, near the village of Tynan, owned 4,404 acres.

The Molyneux baronets, of Castle Dillon, owned 3,416 acres. I am presently researching Castle Dillon. A sumptuous new country house has been built in the county, and it has been called Castledillon House. Do any readers have further knowledge of this?


I inadvertently omitted two major landowners in the county, which I now include as follows:-

The Cope family owned 9,367 acres at the Manor, Loughgall.

The Close family's estate, Drumbanagher,near Poyntzpass, comprised 9,087 acres. The Drumbanagher Shoot is still flourishing though, sadly, the great House was demolished many years ago.


Anonymous said...

You forget the rather exotic Counts de Salis, who inherited land around Tandragee, don't think they had a big house though.

The Closes at Drumbanagher have the estate still (house gone) - do a good shoot though.

The Verners were baronets, one was MP for the County in the middle of the C19th. If there's any left they're in England.

Mentioning Bessbrook, there's also the Richardsons, who ended up owning a fair amount of the land around Bessbrook & Camlough, but they were mainly linen. Isaac Corry MP lived in Derrymore House, which was on their estate. JSW R. left it all to the NT in the 1980s.

The Brownlows went down south and to Portaferry.

Perhaps Co. Armagh isn't an attractive place to remain living in!!

Timothy Belmont said...

Hello Anon,

Many thanks for that. I wondered if the Portaferry Brownlows were connected to the Lurgans; presumably they'd be distant cousins...

Did you know about Castledillon House? Looks impressive.

I intend doing articles about Castle Dillon, Tynan Abbey and a few others soon.


Anonymous said...

Same family, yes. William Brownlow (who died about 10 years ago) had a statue of Master McGrath in Ballywhite and kept a greyhound (as I remember).

Not sure about the "Castledillon House," I wouldn't want to conjecture any further as to the sort of person who'd build it - but, yes, it could be worse!!


Timothy Belmont said...

Re Drumbanagher: I'll add it to my list. The closes owned 9,087 acres in 1876.

And heard of the copes? At Loughgall they owned 9,367 acres.

Anonymous said...

They were in Loughgall Manor, none around now. They're closely related to the Cowdys at Summerisland.

Bit of a Pandora's box of high-acarage Armagh landowners you've started!

Sandy said...

I think the new build house looks rather nice....
Wish I could afford to build one like that!
Jamie Brownlow, the Major's son, who lives at Ballywhite in Portaferry would fill you in on all the Lurgan stuff, and probably a lot more Armagh history.

Anonymous said...

Well done for a great website. Regarding the new Castledillon, it's great to see grand new homes being built in the classical style. As for what it says about its owners, we cannot say, but I'm sure there is much the same mix as in centuries past: a desire to display wealth, leave something lasting to posterity and announce the family's 'arrival'. We should not forget that today's new rich are tomorrow's old rich - and vice versa - and this house follows a rich tradition. IB

Timothy Belmont said...

Many thanks indeed for the kind words about my blog.

I'll be publishing a piece about Castle Dillon - the original one - shortly.


Iain said...

Look forward to reading it - IB

Timothy Belmont said...

Sorry, senior moment!

I published the article about Castle Dillon already, several days ago!

I've posted my Tandragee Castle piece today.

The Viscountcy of Charlemont will appear imminently.


Anonymous said...

Castledillon House was built designed by Twenty Two Over Seven and landscaped by Park Hood. It's the home of the Jayne Harrison (Joyce Estate Agents) and Johnny Doherty (Rutledge Joblink).

Timothy Belmont said...

Anon, many thanks for that info.


Unknown said...

Wonderful and helpful stories! Sadly I am one of those ancestors who knows his family was NOT Gentry. My father said horse thieves, but I think we were somewhere in the middle. I started my research on the Pentland family of Ballyworkan. All farmers and running cattle from there through Poyntzpass and back through Market Hill. While my family finally bolted to Canada in 1928, many Pentland and their ilk stayed and one resides on the same land as her Great-Grandfather. In exploring their stories about ties to the Battle of Boyne, I've been doing what I can as an armchair genealogist. Lovely to have so much online now. To my point, that many of the names you mentioned a familiar to me through George Pentland. A middle man I unearthed amongst those titled Land Owners. His name seems connected personally to land around mill sites and water like rivers and ports, always in a path from Derry and Belfast to Drogheda and Dublin and/or helping Gentry collect fees, stave off creditors and find land aka with voters as freeholders. If I recall, George came to an untimely end with the many enemies he'd made. I'm not sure if he is related, but Pentlands in Ireland believe we are all from the same source. The question for me is now to find out how a Scottish name arrived [likely military] and, for me, some found themselves farmers/residents of Ballyworkan. Also that some of the Ballyworkan landowners were known like Pepper and de Salis, but the Kelly family who had Tandragee Road sewn up is still a mystery unsolved. Eg. Alexander D Kelly and Mrs Mary Ann Kelly. Anyway I am blathering, but appreciate your work!