Thursday, 19 November 2020

Kenure Park



ROGER PALMER (alleged to have been the third son of Edward Palmer, of Nayton and Casterton, Norfolk) went over to Ireland and had a grant of Castle Lackin, and many other lands in County Mayo, in 1684.
His signature appears to the address from the nobility and gentry of County Mayo to CHARLES II in 1682. 
The Palmer family had come to Ireland in 1681 from Norfolk, and had acquired lands in County Mayo, where by the end of the 19th Century, they had amassed 80,000 acres. 
THOMAS PALMER, of Castle Lackin, second son of Roger Palmer, of Palmerstown, in the same county, was succeeded by his eldest son,

ROGER PALMER, who was created a baronet in 1777, designated of Castle Lackin.

Sir Roger wedded Miss Andrews, and had issue,
JOHN ROGER, his successor;
WILLIAM HENRY, succeeded his brother;
He died about 1790, and was succeeded by his elder son,

SIR JOHN ROGER PALMER, 2nd Baronet, who married Mary, only daughter of the Rev Thomas Althem, and was succeeded at his decease, in 1819, by his brother,

SIR WILLIAM HENRY PALMER, 3rd Baronet, of Castle Lackin, who espoused Alice, daughter of _____ Franklin, and had issue,
Francis Roger;
John Roger;
Charlotte Alice; Augusta Sophia; Ellen Ambrosia.
Sir William died in 1840, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR WILLIAM HENRY ROGER PALMER, 4th Baronet (1802-69), who married and was succeeded by his only son,

LIEUTENANT-GENERAL SIR ROGER WILLIAM HENRY PALMER, 5th and last Baronet (1832-1910), MP for Mayo, 1857-65.

Kenure Park

The Palmers owned a number of seats, including Keenagh Lodge, Crossmolina, and the ruinous Castle Lackin in County Mayo; Cefn Park, near Wrexham, North Wales; Glenisland, Maidenhead, Berkshire.

Their principal Irish seat (through marriage) was Kenure Park, near Rush, County Dublin, where the estate comprised 3,991 acres.

Lieutenant-General Sir Roger Palmer, 5th and last Baronet, MP for Mayo, 1857-65, was Ellen Palmer's only brother.

He resided at Kenure with his wife, Gertrude Millicent, until his death in 1910.

Lady Palmer survived her husband for many years. She continued to spend much of her time in Kenure (above) until her death in 1929.

There are people in Rush who still remember the parties held in the house for the children of the town.

Sir Roger and Lady Palmer left no heirs, and the property devolved to Colonel Roderick Henry Fenwick-Palmer, who had fought in the 1st World War, and still bore the marks of shrapnel wounds to his face.

He had property of his own in Wrexham, North Wales, and only came to Kenure in the summer.

A plain man, he was not given to living the high life, apart from dining occasionally with friends, such as the late Lord Revelstoke.

He spent a lot of money trying to keep the house in repair.

He was finally defeated by rising costs on a property which was not making money.

Part of the estate had already been sold years before.

He eventually sold Kenure to the Irish Land Commission, in 1964, for £70.000.

Most of the land was divided up among local farmers.

The remainder was sold to Dublin County Council for housing and playing fields.

The woodland was cleared and all that now remains of the trees, which once dominated the skyline, is a small area around the main gate.

The front gate lodge is now the local Scouts' Den.

The gate lodge at Skerries Road belongs to Rush Cricket Club, which has beautifully refurbished it.

The Gate-Keeper's Lodge, the walled garden, the Steward's Lodge, the pond and shady avenues, have all gone the way of the big house itself. Only the portico remains, a stark remainder of what once was there.

The contents of the house were auctioned in September 1964, the auction lasted four days and realised £250,000, which would be over £1,000,000 in present day values.

Socially, Kenure had been a place apart from the ordinary life of the town, but it had been there for hundreds of years, an essential part of the Rush scene.

The general feeling was one of regret and disbelief that it was disintegrating.

As landlords, the Palmers had not been the worst.

However, there had been some evictions, and one action, which is still adversely remembered, was the removal of some of their tenants from their ancient holdings in order to lengthen the main avenue and have the main entrance gate near the town.

Nevertheless the Palmers were in many ways beneficent to Rush.

They gave land for the Catholic and Protestant churches, for a presbytery and for a teacher's residence.

In 1896, when the Catholic church was being refurbished, they donated the seating for the nave, and a brass memorial tablet in the church testifies to this.

A portion of the estate was allocated to the local cricket club, and it was certainly the most beautifully situated cricket pitch in north County Dublin.

Dublin County Council was left with an empty mansion, for which they could find no buyer.

The house continued to deteriorate.

During this time it was rented to a film company and a few films were made there, including "Ten Little Indians", "Rocket to the Moon", and "The Fall of Fu Manchu".

In 1978, after a series of incidents in which the house was vandalized and set on fire, with the inevitable water damage that resulted from the fire engines having to put out the blaze, the house was in a very dangerous condition structurally.

The County Council decided it had no choice but to demolish the house.

Within a few days, all that was left of this once great house was a mountain of rubble, from which the massive portico arose, forlorn and lonely against the sky.

First published in September, 2011. Select bibliography: KENURE HOUSE AND DEMESNE


Anonymous said...

Beautiful house.


Timothy Belmont said...

There's a piece about the family at Cefn Park here:-