Friday, 13 August 2021

The Galbraith Baronetcy

SAMUEL GALBRAITH, of Fort Dunduff, County Donegal, married Jane, daughter of John Clarke, and had issue,

JAMES GALBRAITH, of Londonderry, who wedded Elizabeth, daughter of John Whitehill, of Clady, County Londonderry, and had a son,

JAMES GALBRAITH (c1759-1827), Crown Solicitor for Ireland, who married Rebecca Dorothea, daughter and co-heir of John Hamilton, of Castlefin, and had issue,
Jane, m, 1820, Capt CG Stanhope RN, son of Rear-Adm Stanhope;
Letitia Elizabeth; Angel Isabella; Harriet; Isabella.
Mr Galbraith, MP for Augher, 1798-1800, was created a baronet in 1813, designated of Shane Valley, County Donegal.

He died at Wells, Somerset, when the baronetcy expired.

URNEY PARK, near Strabane, County Tyrone, is a two-storey, three-bay Georgian house of ca 1810.

Its main features include a Doric ashlar portico, stone quoins, and elaborate chimneys.

The house was built or fundamentally remodelled by Sir James Galbraith in 1814.

Galbraith was "law agent" to the 1st Marquess of Abercorn at the time.

A letter to Lord Abercorn in 1814 stated that he was rebuilding Urney Park, the former residence of a Mr Fenton,
 "My Dear Lord, We have had fine weather and a fine harvest. Abundant and good. Except the poor man's all is in and he has a fine prospect for his also. 
It has been most favourable for my Building. Mr Fenton quitted Urney in July and I have one wing covered in and the cornice laid on the other. 
I hope I may yet be so happy as to have your Lordship's opinion of it tho' it should be to say that I was a blockhead for not building where I first intended and break new ground and leave Fenton where he was but what I have done fixes me for life within an hour of Barons Court and I shall be comfortably fixed next year. 
Time is everything. May God Bless you my Dear Lord. Your faithful and affectionate servant ever."
John Fenton is mentioned in documents as an absentee landlord of Urney parish.

The building is shown on the first map of 1832-33, captioned Urney Park.

Formal gardens are also shown.

Outbuildings to the rear are possible survivals from the earlier house mentioned above by Galbraith.

On a chart of 1855 a new outbuilding is shown to the rear of the house, forming an enclosed courtyard.

A gate lodge is shown to the north; and a farmyard and thrashing machine to the south.

Lady Galbraith continued to reside at Urney following her husband's death; though this was revised at a later stage to Richard Hamilton.

Ordnance Survey Memoirs place the house in County Donegal,
"Urney Park, the seat of the late Sir James Galbraith Bart and at which his widow Lady Galbraith is constantly resident, is a handsome modern house with portico situated in an extensive demesne looking over the plantations which divide it from the mail coach road to Sligo and over the grounds of Urney House to the River Finn, the picturesque hill of Crohan on the opposite side of the river forming a pleasing background and termination to the prospect in the north west."
Sir James also seems to have resided in Dublin, where he owned a house in North Great George's Street.

He was at one time the crown solicitor for Ireland, and his title became extinct when he died in 1827, as he left no male heirs.

Griffith's Valuation of 1857 records a "house, offices and land", which is occupied by Richard Hamilton and leased from Captain Andrew Knox.

Valuation Revisions listed the occupier as Andrew Knox, various members of the Knox family taking ownership throughout the 19th century, until 1908 when Catherine Perry was in residence.
Urney House consisted of kitchen, scullery, pantry and three rooms on the ground floor and six bedrooms, bathroom and separate WC on the first floor, but a note reads "two storeys and basement". Measurements and a plan are given. There is hot and cold water, but the property has no electricity, being lit by oil lamps.
First published in August, 2013. 

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