Friday, 29 May 2020

Rockingham House


NICHOLAS HARMAN, of Carlow, settled in Ireland during the reign of JAMES I.

He was one of the first burgesses of Carlow, named in the charter granted to that borough by JAMES I in 1614, and was High Sheriff of County Carlow in 1619.

By Mary his wife he was father of 

HENRY HARMAN, of Dublin, who had by Marie his wife, five sons and as many daughters, viz.
Edward, of Derrymoyle;
Anthony, dsp before 1684;
THOMAS, of whom hereafter;
Henry, ancestor of
Anne; Mary; Jane; Margaret; Mabel.
Mr Harman died before 1649, and was succeeded by his third son, 

SIR THOMAS HARMAN, Knight, of Athy, knighted by the Lord Deputy of Ireland, Thomas, Earl of Ossory, in 1664, Major in the army, 1661, MP for counties Carlow and Kildare.

Sir Thomas obtained a grant of considerable estates in County Longford, under the Act of Settlement, dated 1607.

He married Anne Jones.

Sir Thomas died in 1667, and they were both buried in Christ Church, Dublin, having had issue, with a daughter, Mary, a son,

WENTWORTH HARMAN, of Castle Roe, County Carlow, Captain of the Battleaxe Guards, 1683, who wedded firstly, in 1679, Margaret, daughter of Garrett Wellesley, of Dangan, and had issue, with one daughter, two sons, namely,
Thomas, 1681, dsp;
WENTWORTH, of whom hereafter.
Mr Harman married secondly, in 1691, Frances, sister and heir of Anthony Sheppard, of Newcastle, County Longford, and had further issue,
ROBERT, successor to his nephew;
Francis, died 1714;
CUTTS (Very Rev), successor to his brother;
ANNE, m Sir Anthony Parsons Bt, of Birr Castle.
Mr Harman died in 1714, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

WENTWORTH HARMAN, of Moyne, County Carlow, who espoused, in 1714, Lucy, daughter of Audley Mervyn, of Trillick, County Tyrone (and sister and heir of Henry Mervyn, of same place), and had issue,
WESLEY, his heir;
Mr Harman died in 1757, when was succeeded by his eldest son,

WESLEY HARMAN, of Moyle, who wedded Mary, daughter of the Rev Dr Nicholas Milley, Prebendary of Ullard, Diocese of Leighlin, by whom he had an only son,
Wentworth, who dsp in his father's lifetime.
Mr Harman died in 1758, and was succeeded by his uncle,

ROBERT HARMAN (1699-1765), of Newcastle, County Longford, and Millicent, County Kildare, MP for County Kildare, 1755, County Longford, 1761, who married Ann, daughter of John Warburton, third son of George Warburton, of Garryhinch, in the King's County.

Mr Harman dsp, and was succeeded by his only surviving brother,

THE VERY REV CUTTS HARMAN (1706-84), of Newcastle, Dean of Waterford, who wedded , in 1751, Bridget, daughter of George Gore,of Tenelick, County Longford, Justice of the Court of Common Pleas in Ireland, and sister of John, Lord Annaly, by whom he had no issue.

The Dean presented to his cathedral the very fine organ which it possesses.

He died in 1784, and bequeathed his estates to his nephew, the son of his sister ANNE, who espoused, as above, Sir Lawrence Parsons,

LAWRENCE PARSONS-HARMAN (1749-1807), of Newcastle, MP for County Longford, who assumed the additional surname of HARMAN in 1792, on succeeding to his uncle's estates.

He married, in 1772, the Lady Jane King, daughter of Edward, 1st Earl of Kingston, by which lady he had an only daughter,
FRANCES, of whom hereafter.
Mr Parsons-Harman was elevated to the peerage, in 1792, in the dignity of Baron Oxmantown, County Dublin.

He was advanced to the dignity of an earldom, in 1806, as EARL OF ROSSE, with special remainder, in default of male issue, to his nephew, Sir Lawrence Parsons, 5th Baronet, of Birr Castle.

His lordship died in 1807, when his peerage passed according to the limitation, and his Harman estates devolved upon his only daughter and heir,

THE LADY FRANCES PARSONS-HARMAN, of Newcastle, who married, in 1799, Robert Edward, 1st Viscount Lorton, and had issue,
ROBERT, 2nd Viscount, succeeded as 6th Earl of Kingston;
LAWRENCE HARMAN, succeeded to the Harman estates;
Jane; Caroline; Frances; Louisa.
Her ladyship died in 1841, when was succeeded in her estates by her second son,

THE HON LAWRENCE KING-HARMAN (1816-75), of Newcastle, and of Rockingham, County Roscommon, who assumed the additional surname of HARMAN.

He wedded, in 1837, Mary Cecilia, seventh daughter of James Raymond Johnstone, of Alloa, Clackmannanshire, and had, with other issue, a second son.

On his death, the property passed to his eldest son,

THE RT HON EDWARD ROBERT KING-HARMAN JP MP (1838-88), of Rockingham, County Roscommon,
Lord-Lieutenant of County Sligo, MP for Sligo, 1877-80, and Dublin, 1883-5, and for the Isle of Thanet, 1885-8, Colonel, 5th Battalion, Connaught Rangers, eldest son the the Hon Lawrence Harman King-Harman, of Rockingham.
Mr King-Harman married, in 1861, Emma Frances, daughter of Sir William Worsley, 1st Baronet, and had issue,
Lawrence William (1863-86), died unmarried;
Frances Agnes, mother of EDWARD CHARLES STAFFORD;
Violet Philadelphia.
Mr King-Harman was succeeded by his grandson,

EDWARD CHARLES STAFFORD-KING-HARMAN (1891-1914), who assumed, in 1900, the additional surnames and arms of KING-HARMAN.

He married, in 1914, Olive Pakenham, daughter of Henry Pakenham Mahon, and had issue,


Captain Stafford-King-Harman was killed in action.

The family was seated at Rockingham, Boyle, County Roscommon, and Taney House, Dundrum, County Dublin.

ROCKINGHAM HOUSE, near Boyle, County Roscommon, the superb demesne of the King-Harmans, Viscounts Lorton, is bounded on the north by beautiful, island-studded waters of Lough Key; and, on the south, by a long line of lofty wall, overhung from within by a bordering estate along the road from Boyle to Dublin.

This was a large, Classical mansion, designed and built in 1810 by John Nash for General Robert King, 1st Viscount Lorton, a younger son of 2nd Earl of Kingston to whom this part of the King estates had passed.

Rockingham was remarkable due to its dome front and 365 windows.

It accidentally burnt down in 1957, as the result of an electrical fault, after which it was taken over by the Irish Land Commission.

The great mansion was declared as unsafe in 1970 and subsequently demolished.

The remnants of the house can be seen in the park to this day, such as its two 'tunnels' (which allowed the staff to unload provisions from boats and bring them to the house unseen).

These tunnels are still accessible to this day.

The demesne was magnificent, with a straight beech avenue three-quarters of a mile in length; and 75 miles of drives within the estate.
Sir Cecil William Francis Stafford-King-Harman, 2nd Baronet (1895-1987), considered rebuilding Rockingham after its catastrophic fire of 1957 with its original two storeys and dome; however, it transpired that the expense was prohibitive, so the estate was sold and the Irish forest service demolished the ruin of the once-great mansion.
The Moylurg Tower which provides a spectacular view of the lake, was built on the original foundations of Rockingham House.

First published in June, 2011.


Historic House Crawler said...

So many houses are supposed to have 365 windows. The photographs show three sides and I have counted approximately 60 windows. This means that the fourth side most have had more than 300 windows!

Seriously, I remember seeing Rockingham as a roofless ruin a few years after it had been burned. It had a splendid demesne with breathtaking views over Lough Key. Some of it still survives as the Lough Key Forest Park. The last time I was there (perhaps 20 years go) the house had been demolished and replaced by a concrete viewing tower of spectacular ugliness.

Anonymous said...

The mansion may be long gone but one can now enjoy the only high level tree canopy walk in Ireland and enjoy extensive views over Lough Key and the folly castle on it's island in the Lough , although the castle brings back frightening memories for me as about 25 years ago my daughter suffered a cut head after falling off the jetty , luckily there was a doctor at a BBQ on the island that evening and after some first aid I had a long night drive to Sligo hospital , thankfully all turned out well but it was an experience never forgotten.

David P Finney said...

I enjoyed your wit and comments. I wonder what date the photos of the house are?

David P Finney said...

I think the ‘folly’ is actually the McDermott clan castle.

Raymond said...

I am currently restoring a magnificent clock that was rescued from Rockingham at the time of the fire.

magillpeter said...

Looking at the window configuration I suspect the 365 windows refers to the panes of glass and this would hold true for a number of houses that make this claim.

Unknown said...

U are so right. Ugliness. The forestry department should have stabilised it instead of demolishing it. Sir Cecil considered rebuilding it but the expense was prohibitive I read. What a shame.