Friday, 2 April 2021

Ballinacourty House

19,093 ACRES

The first of this noble family that settled in Ireland was
GENERAL HUGH MASSY, who had a military command to repress the rebellion of 1641.
The family of Massy derive their name from the town and ancient lordship of Massy, in Normandy, their place of residence at the time Normandy was conquered by Rollo, 1st Duke of Normandy, in the year 876, at which period they were styled lords of Massy.
HAMON DE MASSEY was created one of the eight temporal peers of Chester, by the title of Baron of  Dunham Massey, by Hugh Lupus, earl palatine of that county.
The General married Margaret Percy, and had a son,

HUGH MASSY, of Duntrileague, County Limerick, who wedded Amy, daughter of John Benson, and had issue,
HUGH, his heir;
CHARLES (Very Rev), Dean of Limerick, ancestor of the Massy Baronets;
Margaret; Amy.
The eldest son,

COLONEL HUGH MASSY, of Duntrileague, born in 1685, married Elizabeth, daughter of the Rt Hon George Evans, and had issue,
HUGH, of whom we treat;
George (Ven), Archdeacon of Ardfert;
John, killed in a duel;
Godfrey, in holy orders;
William, m Mary, daughter of Eyre Evans, of Portrane;
Mary; Amy; Elizabeth; Catherine.
The eldest son,

HUGH MASSY, born in 1700, having represented County Limerick in several parliaments, was elevated to the peerage, in 1776, in the dignity of BARON MASSY, of Duntrileague, County Limerick.

His lordship espoused firstly, Mary, daughter and heir of James Dawson, of Ballinacourty, County Tipperary, and had issue,
Hugh, his heir;
JAMES, of whom we treat;
His lordship's second son,

THE HON JAMES MASSY, born in 1736, assumed the additional surname of DAWSON after that of MASSY.

This gentleman married Mary, daughter of John Leonard, and left a son and two daughters, namely,
JAMES HEWITT, of whom presently;
Mr Massy-Dawson's only son,

JAMES HEWITT MASSY-DAWSON (1779-1834), of Ballinacourty, MP for Clonmel, 1820-30, married, in 1800, Eliza Jane, daughter of Francis Dennis, and had issue,
JAMES, (1802-37), died unmarried;
John, in holy orders;
Charles, in the army;
GEORGE STAUNTON KING, of whom hereafter;
Mary; Anna; Elizabeth; Isabella; Louisa; Adelaide; Helena.
Mr Massy-Dawson's youngest son,

GEORGE STAUNTON KING MASSY-DAWSON JP DL (1816-97), of Ballinacourty, High Sheriff of County Tipperary, 1854, espoused firstly, in 1854, Grace Elizabeth, daughter of Sir William Edward Leeson, and had issue,
JAMES, his heir;
GEORGE HENRY EDWARD, succeeded his brother;
Maira; Grace; Louisa.
He married secondly, in 1869, Harriett Sophia, daughter of Walter Steele; and thirdly, in 1893, Eliza, daughter of the Rev James Rynd.

Mr Massy-Dawson was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES MASSY-DAWSON (1857-91), who wedded, in 1886, Alice Matilda Jones, though the marriage was without issue, and he was succeeded by his brother,

GEORGE HENRY EDWARD MASSY-DAWSON JP (1864-1916), of Ballinacourty, who wedded, in 1894, Rosalie Margaretta, daughter of Jean Hunziker, though the marriage was without issue.


JOHN DAWSON, of Sutterby, Lincolnshire, at the time of the Rebellion, actively employed himself in the service of CHARLES I, and therein raised a troop of horse, under the command of William, Marquess of Newcastle-upon-Tyne (afterwards 1st Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne).

This gentleman later followed the fortunes of CHARLES II and eventually retired into Ireland, applying himself to the practice of the Law, wherein he omitted no fit opportunity to advance the interest and restoration of his royal master.

The services of Mr Dawson were not unrewarded:
On the re-establishment of the monarchy, he received from the crown, in 1666, a grant of land in County Tipperary exceeding 2,900 acres, including the castle of Ballinacourty.
In 1703, James Dawson, of Ballinacourty, purchased land in the baronies of Coonagh and Clanwilliam, County Limerick, and Clanwilliam, County Tipperary, part of the confiscated estate of JAMES II.

BALLINACOURTY HOUSE, at the Glen of Aherlow, County Tipperary, originally the home of the Dawson family, passed by marriage to the Massy family, thereby becoming the seat of the Massy-Dawsons in the 18th and 19th centuries.

This was a plain, two-storey, cut-stone house with a polygonal, pyramidal-roofed tower; since demolished.

The Rev John Massy-Dawson occupied Ballinacourty from his father's death until his own death in 1850.

The original house was destroyed during the troubles in 1922, and became ruinous by the mid 20th century.

The old stable block has been converted into a guest-house and restaurant. 

Massy arms courtesy of European Heraldry.    First published in April, 2012.

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