Friday, 14 January 2022

Riversdale House


The earliest reference to the Archdale family relates to Sir Edward Archdale, of Norsom, Norfolk, and Macclesfield, Cheshire, who lived during the reigns of HENRY IV and HENRY V, and fought at the battle of Agincourt, 1415.

The first of the family to settle in Ulster, during the reign of ELIZABETH I, was 

JOHN ARCHDALE (1578-1621), of Darsham, Suffolk, High Sheriff of County Fermanagh, 1616, who married Katherine, eldest daughter of Sir William Temple, Provost of Trinity College, Dublin.

In 1612, John Archdale was granted 1,000 acres of land in County Fermanagh as part of the plantation of Ulster.

This gentleman, by the inscription over the gateway in the ruinous castle, appears to have erected the old mansion house of Archdale.

By his wife he had issue, two sons,
EDWARD, his heir;
John, Vicar of Luske.
Mr Archdale was succeeded by his eldest son,

EDWARD ARCHDALE, who espoused Angel, daughter of SIR PAUL GORE Bt (ancestor of the Gores, Earls of Ross etc) and had issue, a son, WILLIAM.

During his time, the castle which his father had erected was taken and burned by the rebels under Sir Phelim O'Neill, in 1641, and only two children of a numerous family survived.

One, a daughter, who was absent and married; the other, an infant son, WILLIAM, preserved by the fidelity of his nurse, an Irish Roman Catholic, which

WILLIAM ARCHDALE JP (1641-1722), of old Castle Archdale, High Sheriff of County Fermanagh, 1667 and 1692, after succeeding to the estates, married, in 1677, Elizabeth, daughter of Henry Mervyn, of Omagh Castle and Trillick, both in County Tyrone, and had issue,
MERVYN, his heir;
EDWARD, heir to his brother;
ANGEL, heiress to her brother.
He was succeeded by his elder son,

MERVYN ARCHDALE (1685-1726), of Castle Archdale, who died unmarried in 1726, and was succeeded by his brother,

EDWARD ARCHDALE (1694-1728), of Castle Archdale, High Sheriff of County Fermanagh, 1722,  a captain in Sir Gustavus Hume's Regiment of Dragoons, who married firstly, in 1728, Frances, daughter of Sir John Caldwell Bt; and secondly, Elizabeth, eldest daughter of John Cole, of Florence Court.

Dying without issue, however, the estates devolved upon his only sister,

ANGEL ARCHDALE (c1688-1745), of Castle Archdale, who thus became heiress and representative of the family.

Miss Archdale espoused NICHOLAS MONTGOMERY, of Derrygonnelly, County Fermanagh, MP for Fermanagh, 1731, who assumed the surname and arms of ARCHDALE, and left, at her decease, an only son,

MERVYN ARCHDALL JP (1725-1813), of Castle Archdale, County Fermanagh, and Trillick, County Tyrone, MP for Fermanagh, 1761-1800, High Sheriff of County Fermanagh, 1773, who married, in 1762, Mary, daughter of William Henry, 1st Viscount Carlow, and sister of John, 1st Earl of Portarlington, by whom he had issue,
MERVYN, his heir;
Edward, father of
Mary; Angel; Elizabeth; Sidney.
Mr Archdale was succeeded by his eldest son,

GENERAL MERVYN ARCHDALL (1763-1839), of Castle Archdale, and Trillick, County Tyrone, MP for County Fermanagh, 1802-34, who wedded, in 1805, Jane, daughter of Gustavus Rochfort MP, of Rochfort, County Westmeath.

General Archdale was returned for the tenth time for Fermanagh at the general election of 1832.

He resigned on account of ill-health in 1834; and died of a stroke in 1839, when he was remembered as ‘a gallant soldier, a good landlord, a kind friend and a staunch Conservative’.

By his will, dated 1829, he made provision for his relations, including his ‘reputed’ children Henry and Jane Grey, but left his residual estate to his brother Colonel William Archdale (1768-1857).

He, in turn, was succeeded to Castle Archdale by his nephews (Edward’s sons) Mervyn Edward (1812-95) and William Humphrys (1813-99), Conservative MPs for Fermanagh, 1834-74 and 1874-85, respectively.

Five members of the family, over four generations, therefore provided representatives for the county in an unbroken run of 154 years.

General Archdale's brother,

EDWARD ARCHDALL JP DL (1775-1864), of Riversdale, County Fermanagh, High Sheriff of County Fermanagh, 1813, espoused, in 1809, Matilda, daughter of William Humphrys, and had issue,
Mervyn Edward;
William Humphrys Mervyn;
Henry Montgomery;
NICHOLAS MONTGOMERY, of whom hereafter;
Hugh Montgomery;
Audley Mervyn;
James Mervyn;
Richmal Magnall;
Mary; Letitia Jane; Matilda.
The fifth son,

NICHOLAS MONTGOMERY ARCHDALE JP DL (1820-77), of Riversdale and Crocknacrieve, High Sheriff of County Fermanagh, 1861, married, in 1852, Adelaide Mary, daughter of Rev John Grey Porter, and had issue,
EDWARD MERVYN, his heir;
John Porter;
William Henry;
Henry Butler;
Nicholas Francis;
Theodore Montgomery;
Margaret Eleanor; Matilda Lavinia.
Mr Archdale was succeeded by his eldest son,

THE RT HON SIR EDWARD MERVYN ARCHDALE, 1ST BARONET, JP DL (1853-1943), High Sheriff of County Fermanagh, 1884, who married, in 1880, Alicia Bland, daughter of Quintin Fleming;
MP for North Fermanagh, 1898-1903 and 1916-22; Lieutenant-Commander, Royal Navy; Privy Counsellor [Ireland] in 1921; MP for Tyrone and Fermanagh,1921-1929; NI Minister of Agriculture, 1921 and 1933; Privy Counsellor, Northern Ireland, 1922; MP for Enniskillen, 1929-43.
Sir Edward Archdale Bt, Photo Credit: Ulster Museum

Mr Archdale was created a baronet in 1928, designated of Riversdale, County Fermanagh.

His eldest son,

VICE-ADMIRAL SIR NICHOLAS EDWARD ARCHDALE, 2nd Baronet (1881-1955), CBE, married, in 1920, Gerda Henriette, daughter of Frederik Christian Sievers;
fought in the 1st World War, with the submarine flotillas; Aide-de-Camp to GEORGE V in 1929; General Inspector, NI Ministry of Home Affairs, 1931-46. Sir Edward distinguished himself in the Royal Navy.
His eldest son,

SIR EDWARD (Ted) FOLMER ARCHDALE (1921-2009), 3rd Baronet, DSC, Captain, Royal Navy, married, in 1954, Elizabeth Ann Stewart, daughter of Maj-Gen Wilfred Boyd Fellowes Lukis; divorced 1978.

He was educated at Copthorne School, Copthorne, Sussex, and the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth; awarded the Distinguished Service Cross in 1943; fought in the 2nd World War, where he was mentioned in despatches; Captain, Royal Navy.

Sir Edward distinguished himself in the Royal Navy , serving as aide-de-camp to HM The Queen prior to his retirement in 1971. He lived at Comber, County Down.

Sir Nicholas Edward Archdale, 4th and present Baronet, was born in 1965.

RIVERSDALE HOUSE, near Ballycassidy, County Fermanagh, a Georgian mansion of pre-1833, was the seat of the ARCHDALE BARONETS,  scions of the Archdales of CASTLE ARCHDALE.

The Northern Ireland forest service afforested the grounds and demolished Riversdale and its two gate lodges in 1960.

I have received the following information from Peter Archdale, a great-grandson of the 1st Baronet:
As far as I know, Riversdale was built sometime between 1800 and 1817 by Edward Archdale (above), 3rd son of Mervyn Archdall and the Hon Mary Dawson.

He died in 1864, when the property passed to his second son William Humphrys Mervyn Archdall. The latter died without an heir in 1889, so the house and land passed to his nephew, my great-grandfather Edward Mervyn Archdale.

Attached is a photo (bottom) of his family taken in 1932. Edward Mervyn Archdale farmed Riversdale and also had large farms at Rossahilly and Crocknacrieve - almost 1,000 acres.

"His original estate was 5,300 acres and he was one of the first landlords to sell to his tenants.

He moved to his late uncle's house at Riversdale in 1897, but during the five years 1898-1903 while he represented North Fermanagh, he rented a house in Warwick Square for his family."

"During his later service as an MP, he also maintained a house in 36 Belgrave Road, SW. He sold Crocknacrieve and about 250 acres of land to John West, uncle of Harry West, for £2000 who in turn sold it to the Loanes in 1921.

"John West then bought Rossahilly."

"He became a Magistrate and Deputy Lieutenant for Fermanagh, was High Sheriff of the county in 1884."

"He sat in Parliament for North Fermanagh, as a Unionist, from Apr 1897 to 1903 and again from 1916-1922, for the same county, being made a Privy Councillor on 7 Mar 1921, and Minister of Agriculture and Minister of Commerce in the Ulster Parliament in 1921-33."

"...Imperial Grand Master of the Loyal Orange Institution from 1926 to 1937 and Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Ireland from 1924 to 1940."

"President of Belfast Chamber of Commerce 1929. In 1926 Queen's University Belfast awarded him the honorary degree of LL.D. Created Baronet 25 June 1928."

"On Edward Mervyn Archdale’s death in 1943 the estate passed to his son, Vice-Admiral Nicholas Edward Archdale (above), who felt he was unable to maintain the property and so sold it to the NI Ministry of Agriculture in 1947, who subsequently pulled down the house in the 1960s, but kept the stables for offices and general storage."

I am grateful to Peter Archdale, who sent me the pictures of Riversdale House and the Archdale family.   First published in January, 2012.


Anonymous said...

Interesting article. Very good of Mr Archdale to contribute the pictures. Are there any Archdales left in Co Fermanagh? It's sad to see the loss of Riversdale, although it nowhere near as handsome a building as Castle Archdale.

Anonymous said...

Does Peter's father still live outside Omagh?


pauljj66 said...

My g g grandfather walter Irvine got married in kilskeery in 1846 aged 26 his address given is riversdale and occupation is steward and land steward in 1890 Is it possable that anyone whould have any information on any of the enployees at riversdale?

Anonymous said...

Better Image Of School

Anonymous said...

Quite a few of my family worked at Riversdale. My Grandfather was the head stockman there and a few of my aunts worked as maids .They also lived in a house owned by the Archdale family and rented to them, because they worked for the Archdale family.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Where would one find any records of the familys that worked at riversdale?

Anonymous said...

Peter Archdale's father Mervyn Talbot Archdale died on 9/1/12 DW

Anonymous said...

Peter Archdale's father died on 9/1/12

Marlow said...

Would anyone please have any information on any ex staff members that were employed at Riversdale. Thank you..