Monday, 7 September 2020

Fullerton of Ballintoy


NICHOLAS DOWNING (1627-98), of Drummond, County Londonderry, made his will in 1698, and in it made bequests to his nephews ADAM, John, George, and Daniel.

He dsp and was succeeded by his nephew,

COLONEL ADAM DOWNING (1666-1719), who was present at the siege of Derry, and there gave signal proofs of his courage.

Colonel Downing subsequently raised a body of men at his own expense, and served during the war in Ireland, participating in the battle of the Boyne, and contributing eminently by his gallantry and skill to the success of the party with which he was engaged.

For these services he received the appointment of Deputy Governor of County Londonderry, Colonel of the Militia, and one of the Commissioners of Array.

Colonel Downing, a nephew of Sir George Downing, 1st Baronet, also acquired a large tract of land in County Londonderry.

He married Margaret, daughter of Thomas Jackson, of Coleraine (ancestor of Sir George Jackson Bt), and had issue,
Henry, died in infancy;
JOHN, of whom hereafter.
Colonel Downing was buried at Bellaghy, County Londonderry.

The inscription on his memorial mentions his descent from a Devonshire family.

His son and successor,

JOHN DOWNING (1700-85), of Bellaghy and Rowesgift, wedded, in 1727, Anne, daughter and heir of the Rev Dr J Rowe, descended from an old Devonshire family, and had issue, three sons,
DAWSON, of whom presently;
John, army officer.
He raised, at considerable expense, a body of men during the uprising of 1745.

The second son,

DAWSON DOWNING (1739-1807), of Rowesgift, County Londonderry, inherited the ancient mansion and resided in it until his death.

He espoused firstly, Catherine, niece and heiress of Alexander Fullerton, of Ballintoy Castle, County Antrim (descended from a branch of the ancient Scottish family of that name), and had two sons,
GEORGE ALEXANDER, of whom presently;
David Fullerton.
Mr Dawson Downing married secondly, Sarah Catherine, daughter of Hugh Boyd, of Ballycastle, County Antrim, and had (with six daughters) four sons,
John, of Rowesgift;
The son by his first wife,

GEORGE ALEXANDER DOWNING (1775-1847), having inherited a considerable property from his great-uncle, assumed, 1794, in compliance with that gentleman's testamentary injunction, the surname and arms of FULLERTON, and became of Tockington Manor and Ballintoy.

He wedded Mary Anne, daughter of James Peacock, and had issue,
David, of Pennington House, father of
Catherine; Susan; Frances; Mary Anne.
The eldest son,

ALEXANDER GEORGE FULLERTON (1808-1907), of Ballintoy Castle, Brevet-Major, Royal Horse Guards, Attaché to the embassy at Paris, espoused, at Paris, 1833, the Lady Georgiana Leveson-Gower, second daughter of the 1st Earl Granville GCB, and had a son and heir,

WILLIAM GRANVILLE FULLERTON, born at the British Embassy, Paris, 1834; dvp 1855.

Mr Fullerton was succeeded by his nephew,

GEORGE FREDERICK DOWNING FULLERTON (1857-1916), of Ballintoy, County Antrim, Alveston, Gloucestershire, and Purley Park, Berkshire, Captain, 4th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, who married, in 1889, Leila Minna Gertrude, only child of Major A M Storer, of Purley Park, Berkshire, and had issue,
Richard Alexis, b 1893;
Ivy Leila; Myra Aida Violet.
Seats - Westwood, Hampshire; Ballintoy Castle, County Antrim; Tockington Manor, Gloucestershire.


Ballintoy Castle must have been a very important local focal point from 1630 to the mid-18th century.

It was home to the Stewarts of Ballintoy, a family descended from Sir John Stewart, of Bute, and with blood connections to the Dalriadic Kings of Scotland.

Archibald Stewart, the first resident of the Castle, acted as agent to the Earl of Antrim in 1630.

The Rev Archibald Stewart acted as Church of Ireland incumbent to the parishes of Ballintoy and Billy, 1718-37.

Upon his father's death, this clergyman became heir to the family estates at Ballintoy and Acton.

About 1760 Ballintoy Castle and estate were purchased by Alexander Fullerton, who left the property to his niece Catherine. 

In 1870, Miss Catherine Downing Nesbitt owned 5,638 acres in County Londonderry.

Interestingly, a close ancestor of her husband, Sir George Downing, who held property in London, gave his name to that famous street which is now synonymous with Prime Ministers.

Ballintoy Castle was demolished in 1795, and from it an oak staircase, beams and panelling were transferred for use in Downing College, Cambridge.

First published in May, 2012.

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