Saturday, 31 August 2013

Heritage & Beowulf

Timothy Belmont has had a very agreeable day today. I cycled into town in the trusty two-wheeler this morning for a spot of research at the Linenhall Library, viz. the Sandersons of Cloverhill and the Eccles' of Ecclesville.

Mission accomplished satisfactorily.

Afterwards I ambled round Marks & Spencer's for twenty-five minutes or so, though bought nothing.

I attached the ancient nose-bag early for a repast of battered scampi, chunky chips, onion rings, and a good garnish of lettuce, tomatoes and coleslaw.

Any acquaintance shall apprise you the we Belmonts are never found wanting in the race to the food-trough.

Having indulged in several requisite restoratives, one is prepared for an evening's entertainment, having recorded Who Do You Think You Are and Beowulf.

Most of the other stuff on mainline television this evening is utter drivel.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Lanesborough Visit

I have just returned from a very brief, though interesting, visit to County Fermanagh.

I stayed at Leander Lodge, beside Killyfole Lough, which, incidentally is lovely bed & breakfast accommodation.

Jim and Isobel are very hospitable and the first thing Jim did was to offer me tea and a biscuit.

They were having a barbecue for friends in the evening and kindly invited me to come along.

This morning, having checked out, I drove into Newtownbutler, still in County Fermanagh. The former Lanesborough Arms hotel (above) is in a sorry state.

Thence I motored across the border to County Cavan, where I met some acquaintances at Lanesborough Lodge.

The owner showed us round the grounds, including Quivvy Chapel, the ruinous school-house and the ruined mansion itself.

I have written about Lanesborough Lodge and the family already.

From Lanesborough Lodge, we motored the short distance to Cloverhill House (above), originally built in 1758.

Having had a good look round the derelict and roofless house, I bade the others farewell and drove home.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Killyfole Lough

This is the tranquil prospect of killyfole Lough in County Fermanagh.

Leander Lodge sits at the edge of the lake. It was formerly a reservoir.

There is a children's paddling pool at the far end.

Two black swans are spending the summer here.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Sunday Drive


I went for a drive in the new jalopy today, to Groomsport and Bangor, both in County Down.

The new two-seater drives beautifully. It is even smoother, more refined, more efficient, and quieter than my last one.

This model has no hand-brake. Instead, it has an electric parking brake which engages on a button and disengages when Drive or Reverse is selected.

The new car is lighter, with more use of aluminium and a perspex roof.

The "eco" feature contributes to more efficient motoring and thereby reduces the cost of Road Tax from £280 in the older model to £180.

The computer is extraordinary in what it can do, from "Distronic" to "Speedtronic" and lots of safety features.

JUST beyond Groomsport I stopped at the National Trust's two year-old plantation, Lowry's Wood, which is beside Portavo Reservoir.

The saplings seem to be growing satisfactorily, though there is much undergrowth.

iPad Review

I purchased a new iPad yesterday. This one has 32GB and Retina display.

Having used an iPad for about four months, I am now in a position to give my verdict: I like them.

These are extraordinary devices: Light; user-friendly; very efficient; very long battery life; almost perfect picture, especially on high definition images; and so on.

The BBC iPlayer function is wonderful, too, because many programmes can be downloaded for viewing literally anywhere without a wi-fi connection.

I watched a recording of Blackadder on a London flight recently, thanks to BBC iPlayer.

ITV Player, alas, does not have a download function, yet; perhaps because it is a commercial station.

The iPad does work satisfactorily enough for writing blogs and articles. The electronic touch-screen keyboard is excellent, to my mind.

However, I have found that editing is not quite as easy as on a full-size computer. It suffices, though, for occasional use, holidays and the like.

Emails are a cinch on the iPad. You can take a good photo at the press of a button, then there are pop-up options for sending it instantaneously to wherever or whomever you so desire.

The "apps" I have on mine include BBC iPlayer; BBC Weather; Facebook; Tripadvisor; Ebay; London Underground route-planner; various digital camera apps and more.

I have not fully explored the Games Section, though one particular game which involves "knocking down" as many imaginary cans from a wall is a great diversion if you have nothing better to do.

The older iPad I used had a "smart cover", viz. Invision Case Cover, black leather. This is cleverly designed so that your iPad can sit at an angle or vertically (to watch movies or television, for instance).

I have purchased two HD movies for my iPad, namely Avatar, and The Life of Pi. Be advised that movies take up a lot of capacity, so that's the main reason why I opted for a 32 GB version.

Another accessory I have is a half-decent pair of headphones by a company called AKG.

Friday, 23 August 2013

New DL


Mr Robert Scott OBE, Lord-Lieutenant of County Tyrone, has been pleased to appoint:

Mrs Gail Ann Boyd, Clogher, County Tyrone,

To be a Deputy Lieutenant of the County, her Commission bearing date 19th August, 2013.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

28th Baron de Ros


Peter Maxwell, 28th and present Lord de Ros, is Premier Baron of England.

Peter and Siân Maxwell still live at the ancestral family estate of Old Court, beside the village of Strangford, County Down.

The barony was created in 1264.

Since the history of the de Ros barony is already well documented I shall begin ca 1806, when Charlotte Boyle-Walsingham, Lady Henry FitzGerald, became the 21st Baroness de Ros in her own right.

The connection with County Down seems to commence at this point, when she married into the illustrious FitzGerald dynasty, Dukes of Leinster, Marquesses and Earls of Kildare, who owned the barony of Lecale in County Down; indeed the de Ros coat-of-arms has many similarities with that of the Dukes of Leinster, including the motto.

Lord Henry FitzGerald’s wife Charlotte, whom he married in 1791, established her (and her descendents') claim to the barony of de Ros in 1806.

Lord Henry and his elder brother, Lord Charles, who died in 1810, were endowed by their eldest brother William, 2nd Duke of Leinster, with the northern part of the family estates, mainly consisting of the barony of Lecale in County Down.

By the end of the 19th century the estate of Lord Henry's descendant, the 24th Baron de Ros, amounted to 2,952 acres in County Down and ca 1,250 acres in County Meath.

The principal family seat was Old Court in Strangford, County Down. The Meath estate was completely sold by 1929.

The Old Court estate was modest in size, by Victorian standards. Despite its size though, the de Ros estate easily compensated for this with its beauty and charm.

Few peerages - even baronies by writ - have passed through so many heirs female as this one.

As a consequence, it had been enjoyed by the Manners, Cecil and Villiers families prior to the FitzGeralds' succession to the title.

It was to fall into abeyance once more in 1939 on the death of Mary Frances, 25th Baroness de Ros; but was again successfully called out of abeyance in 1943 in favour of her eldest daughter, Una Mary; and, in 1958, in favour of the latter's granddaughter, Georgiana Angela Maxwell, 27th Baroness de Ros.

The relationship between the two families was compounded in 1824 when William Lennox Lascelles de Ros, later 23rd Baron, son of Lord and Lady Henry FitzGerald, married his cousin, Lady Georgiana Lennox, daughter of 4th Duke of Richmond, Lennox and Aubigny.

Lord de Ros, a grandson of the Duke of Leinster, became the 23rd Baron de Ros in 1839 and inherited the port and village of Strangford, which he decided to make his principal seat.

In 1844, he built Old Court (above) and surrounded it with pleasant walks and gardens.

Lord de Ros also made many improvements, extended Payne's Chapel at Old Court and built Katherine's Quay as his own private harbour.

Dudley, the 24th Baron, was equerry to HRH The Prince Consort (Prince Albert) 1853-74.

His life at Court during the period c.1850-62, and his manuscript account, give interesting personal reminiscences of certain events which occurred while he was acquainted with, and in the service of, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, as well as dinner and shooting lists, etc.

The 26th Baroness, Una Mary, attended court in an application for compensation for criminal injury to property, after a malicious fire by the IRA had destroyed Old Court on the 18th May, 1922, together with two lists of articles lost.

Nevertheless, it seems that the family were popular with the villagers generally and there was much sadness at the time, when the old house was burnt.

Old Court House was a low, rambling two-storey house with many gables, some of them set on three-sided bows, the angle walls of which curved outwards under the eaves, so that some of the upstairs windows were bent in a vertical plane, like the windows at the stern of an old man-of-war ship.

There were barge-boards on the gables and hood mouldings over the windows. It was located at the site of the present, 1970s house in a most picturesque setting overlooking the harbour and Strangford Lough.

In the grounds, nestling in a glade nearby, there is a splendid little private chapel originally built in 1629, surrounded by an old graveyard. It is believed that the chapel is still used regularly by family and villagers.

Today the estate stretches from Strangford Bay to Strangford village, skirting the shore-line.

In the 1980s Georgiana, the 27th Baroness, and her husband (Commander J D Maxwell) lived in the present Old Court House while their son (the Hon) Peter Maxwell had a "bachelor pad" down in the little boat-house at Katherine's Quay.

When he married and succeeded to the title he built a relatively modern house in the grounds, not far from the delightful little Old Court chapel.

Peter Maxwell, the current Lord de Ros, runs a reproduction furniture company called Seventeen Hundreds (XVII) Furniture Limited.

First published June, 2009.   De Ros arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Liverpool Cathedral

I visited Liverpool Anglican Cathedral yesterday afternoon. This is the largest cathedral church in the British Isles.

Pictured is the Lady Chapel, which is at a lower level than the nave.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Chicken Kiev

I dined very early today, due to other factors occurring later in the evening.

The gnashers got stuck in to chicken Kiev, with a medley of vegetables, mashed Charlotte potatoes, tomato and beetroot relish.

As they advise, this variety of spud is firmer in texture and feels more substantial and filling.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Rolls-Royce Phantom II

The BBC reports that the son of the first owner of a 1933 Rolls-Royce will finally see the car over seventy years after it was sold.

Gustave-Alain Miesegaes has travelled from his home near Geneva, Switzerland to attend a motor show in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, on Sunday, where he will see the vehicle.

Mr Miesegaes, whose father bought the Phantom II Continental when it was new, stumbled upon a picture of it on the show's website.

The car's current owner, Roger Head, has agreed to show it at the festival.

Mr Miesegaes said:
"Touching the car will be something quite exciting. I've only ever seen black and white photographs of the car until I found the one on the website. I always thought the car would be beige or pale yellow, and I was surprised to see its real colour which is a blue, light grey."
Mr Miesegaes father, Gustaaf Miesegaes, sold the car in the late 1930s.

"I have a few things I'd like to give to the new owner, because I think these archives belong to the car," Mr Miesegaes added.

The car will be on display at the Tewkesbury Classic Car Festival.

Mr Head, who bought the car about seven years ago, said: "He'll be impressed with it. It's in immaculate condition. It had a complete rebuild about twelve years ago."

Saturday, 17 August 2013

BBC Concert

I attended my first concert in ages last night, at the Ulster Hall in Belfast.

This is the first year that the BBC has ceased its normal routine of a series of about six concerts in Belfast. Are they economising? 

It was an Invitation Concert broadcast for BBC Radio 3 .

This was a shorter concert than usual. It lasted about an hour, without an interval; though it was excellent and our Ulster Orchestra performed with the customary aplomb.

The most enjoyable piece for me was Mendelsshon's A Midsummer Night's Dream: Incidental Music, which featured The Midsummer Consort of female singers.

Quite a number of regular faces were missing from the orchestra, including the chief timpanist David Openshaw (have I misspelt his name?), a principal cellist and several violinists.

The Hall was practically full.

Belfast City Council still doesn't have wi-fi access in the auditorium; at least, I couldn't get any on my iPad before the concert.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Line of Succession

as at July 2013

1. The Prince of Wales
2. The Duke of Cambridge
3. Prince George of Cambridge
4. Prince Henry of Wales
5. The Duke of York
6. Princess Beatrice of York
7. Princess Eugenie of York
8. The Earl of Wessex
9. Viscount Severn
10. The Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor
11. The Princess Royal
12. Mr Peter Phillips
13. Miss Savannah Phillips
14. Miss Isla Phillips
15. Mrs Michael Tindall
16. Viscount Linley
17. The Hon Charles Armstrong-Jones
18. The Hon Margarita Armstrong-Jones
19 The Lady Sarah Chatto
20. Mr Samuel Chatto
21. Mr Arthur Chatto
22. The Duke of Gloucester
23. Earl of Ulster
24. Lord Culloden
25. The Lady Cosima Windsor
26. The Lady Davina Lewis
27. Master Tane Lewis
28. Miss Senna Lewis
29. The Lady Rose Gilman
30. Master Rufus Gilman
31. Miss Lyla Gilman
32. The Duke of Kent
33. The Lady Amelia Windsor
34. The Lady Helen Taylor
35. Mr Columbus Taylor
36. Mr Cassius Taylor
37. Miss Eloise Taylor
38. Miss Estella Taylor
39. The Hon Albert Windsor
40. The Hon Leopold Windsor
41. The Lord Frederick Windsor
42. The Lady Gabriella Windsor
43. Princess Alexandra, the Hon Lady Ogilvy
44. Mr James Ogilvy
45. Mr Alexander Ogilvy
46. Miss Flora Ogilvy
47. Miss Marina Ogilvy
48. Mr Christian Mowatt
49. Miss Zenouska Mowatt

Monday, 12 August 2013

Hot Seats!

I motored across Belfast this morning, to Motor City, aka Balmoral and Boucher Roads.

The purpose of my journey was to have a look at a Mercedes-Benz 250SLK, automatic, metallic blue, sports pack.

It had no parking sensors, nor heated seats! My own jalopy has those additives and I'm highly reluctant to cough up any funds on a replacement without those essentials.

'Twas a jolly appealing automobile, mind you. It had "oyster" leather seats with red stitching.

The "sports pack" merely adds to the running costs. Any car with those words merely adds to the ridiculous insurance bill.

Timothy Belmont will bide his time and pounce at the appropriate moment.

Saturday, 10 August 2013


by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas King, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India

Friday, 9 August 2013

Mount Stewart Barbecue

I attended a barbecue at Mount Stewart this evening. For those who don't know, Mount Stewart, on the Ards Peninsula, County Down, is a property of the National Trust.

It was a seat of the Marquesses of Londonderry.

The barbecue was a social event for mainly volunteers of the property. I do a bit a work for the Strangford Lough group and we're attached to this property.

We were welcomed by the Property Manager, Jon Kerr.

The Lauritzens (Lady Rose is a daughter of the late Lady Mairi Bury and granddaughter of the 7th Marquess and Marchioness of Londonderry) attended for part of the evening.

The Lauritzens live in part of Mount Stewart House.

There were dozens of guests at the barbecue.

A private catering company, which I think was called Orange Tree or Sullivan's, supplied everything, including very good beef burgers, pork and apricot burgers, sausages, chicken wings, coleslaw, potato salad and so on.

Afterwards we ambled to the Spanish Garden, where props are in place for filming of the new Dracula film, produced by Universal Pictures.

I was with a party of five and we stayed for about two hours.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

New Jalopy?

I have expressed an interest in the new version of the trusty two-seater sports model I get about in, despite a brief visit to the vet's about a respiratory ailment - viz. the air conditioning.

I've been in touch with a dealership on the Mainland.

I have to confess that I am not hugely impressed with the local Mercedes-Benz dealership in Northern Ireland. I have been in contact with them regularly though they never reciprocate, which comes close to complacency in my book.

What we need in the Province is another Mercedes dealership in competition with the present establishment.

The car I've been eyeing is a red two-seater convertible, automatic of course, with black leather, parking sensors, heated seats, cruise control and so on.

My own jalopy, which has graced the road for 19,000 miles, has all these features.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Chapel Island Pond

 Pond at 11:30

I spent most of the day on Chapel Island, beside Greyabbey, County Down. This little island belongs to the National Trust.

There were about eleven of us today. We drove to a location adjacent to the island, parked the vehicles, and carried our tools and belongings by foot, across the foreshore, to the island.

Alan brought the quad bike.

Our task today was to excavate two ponds, in readiness for sheep-grazing.

 Pond at 17:00

It was mostly sunny and warm, and digging the vegetation out was hard work, though we managed to achieve the task, as can be seen in the pictures I took.

Fodder today for self was corned-beef sandwiches with salad-cream and onion chutney; washed down with a refreshing beaker of Namosa tea.

We disembarked from Chapel Island at about five o'clock.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Bateson Offspring

Further to my curiosity as to the identity of the Bateson children in an oil painting of 1762, the mystery has been solved.

Mr Bateson had five offspring, not one.

THOMAS BATESON (1705-91)  succeeded his father in the Lancashire estates, but disposing soon afterwards of those, he removed to Ulster, and settled at Orangefield House, County Down. 

He wedded, in 1747, Margaret, daughter and co-heiress of of Mr White, of White Hall, County Antrim, and widow of William Hartley Esq, of Dublin; and had issue,

THOMAS, of whom we treat;
RICHARD, who died unmarried in 1783;
WILLIAM, died unmarried;
JANE, who wedded, in 1782, John Dunne Esq, KC, in Ireland;
FRANCES, who married, in 1805, Hans Mark Hamill Esq, of County Down.
Dying in 1791,  Mr Bateson was succeeded by his eldest son, 

THOMAS BATESON (1752-1811), married Elizabeth, daughter of George Lloyd FRS, of Hulme Hall, Lancashire.

Which Batesons?

The Family of Thomas Bateson, Esq. (1705–1791)
Photo credit: Ulster Museum

The Family of Thomas Bateson, Esq. (1705–1791) 

I AM curious to know the relationship of the subjects in this painting are, in relation to the Thomas Bateson of 1705-91.

According to my research, he had an only child, Thomas (1752-1811).

  by Strickland Lowry(attributed to) 

Date painted: 1762
Oil on canvas, 163.7 x 264 cm
Collection: National Museums Northern Ireland
This portrait of the Bateson children is both an imposing conversation piece and a fascinating record of the interior of the Bateson home at Orangefield, Co. Down, near Belfast.

Lowry executed the painting with the eye of a reporter, so detailed and accurate are the children’s costumes and the objects in the room.

Originally thought to be by Philip Hussey, the current attribution is based upon documentary evidence of 1828 and 1865, which gives the picture to Lowry.

Furthermore, the children’s large eyes, bland expressions and stiff poses accord with his style.

Lowry, originally from Cumbria, arrived in Ireland around 1762 and worked in the country intermittently until the early 1780s, mainly in the north, though details of his movements are sketchy.

Besides portraits, his output embraced still-life and trompe l’oeil paintings, works which show him to have been a versatile and clever painter.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Killyleagh Sights

I visited Gibb's Island and Killyleagh, in County Down, today.

The tiny island - now virtually a peninsula - is looking well. A large tree has fallen across the path in the wood.

I enjoyed a packed lunch, consisting of corned-beef sandwiches with salad-cream and onion chutney.

At Killyleagh, I ambled up to the parish church (St John the Evangelist), where I strolled round the old graveyard.

A few of the graves date from the late 16th century. There are a few Sloans, though I couldn't see any Sloanes or ancestors of Sir Hans Sloane Bt, the village's most celebrated son.

The Heron mausoleum is the finest in the graveyard.

Near the harbour is a statue in memory of Sir Hans, unveiled in 2002 by Prince Andrew, Baron Killyleagh.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Tonight's Viewing

Timothy Belmont is at home this evening. I shall watch television, viz. Music & Monarchy, presented by Dr David Starkey CBE, on BBC2 HD.

At nine, I will switch to ITV3 and view Poirot, played of course by the inimitable David Suchet CBE.

David Suchet encapulates Hercule Poirot, as the late Jeremy Brett epitomized Sherlock Holmes. Other pretenders are negligible.

I daren't mention it to my relatives, though so-called "reality" shows and populist television in general bore me greatly.


ROBINSON & CLEAVER has opened as a restaurant in central Belfast, at the venerable old department store premises which bore the same name.

I wish them good fortune. Their location is propitious.

I still possess a navy blue polka dot tie, which was purchased at Robinson & Cleaver's, of Belfast and London, in the 1970s.

Thursday Revelry

I was without the two-seater for a fair portion of the day yesterday. It was suffering from a slight ailment concerning the air conditioning. I don't use this much, anyway; however, I left it in a local garage.

It transpires that, having been "gassed", there was some sort of blockage or other in the system.

I spent Thursday afternoon with Her Grace in central Belfast. Another pal joined us later, when we all went for dinner to an Indian restaurant close to Great Victoria Street.

The night was spent in the Europa Hotel.

I had to leave quite early ~ after eight ~ the next morning, due to the necessity of taking the jalopy to the mechanic; thereby missing my dearly beloved full, cooked, Ulster breakfast (that ghastly term "the full Irish" used by some).