Friday, 22 May 2020

The Hill Baronets


SAMUEL HILL, the first ancestor of this family in Ulster, went from Buckinghamshire to Ireland as Treasurer of that kingdom, under OLIVER CROMWELL, about 1642.

For his active services he received large grants of lands in the counties of Armagh, Tyrone, Antrim, and Londonderry, and eventually settled at Coleraine, where he married Sarah, daughter of Michael Beresford.

Mr Hill died in 1688, leaving two sons, John and Jonathan, who then held commissions as major and captain during the celebrated siege of Derry.

The elder son,

JOHN HILL, succeeded to the family estates, and wedded, in 1642, Mary, daughter of Thomas Wilson, of Kilkenny, by whom he acquired an estate in lands and houses in East Smithfield, manor of Stepney, Middlesex.

He died leaving an only son,

SAMUEL HILL, who espoused Mary, daughter of Hugh Rowley, of Culmore, Storekeeper of the Ordnance, and had issue,
ROWLEY, his heir;
Samuel, of Strangford, County Down;
Hugh (Rev Dr), of Mounthill, County Armagh;
Elizabeth, m William Montgomery, of Grey Abbey;
Lettice; Mary.
The eldest son,

ROWLEY HILL (1672-1739), of Ballykelly, County Londonderry, MP for Ratoath, 1734-9, married, in 1726, Sophia Beresford, second daughter of Gorges Lowther MP of Kilrue, County Meath, and had issue,
HUGH, his heir;
Gorges, drowned at sea;
Jane; Catharine; Mary.
Mr Hill was succeeded by his eldest son,

HUGH HILL (1728-95), who married firstly, in 1754, Mary, daughter of John Hodgson, of Ballynascreen, and had issue, four daughters,
Elizabeth; Sophia Beresford; Mary; Letitia.
He wedded secondly, in 1762, Hannah, daughter of John McClintock, of Dunmore, County Donegal, and had issue,
GEORGE FITZGERALD, his successor;
John Beresford, father of GEORGE, 3rd Baronet;
Rowley George;
Marcus Samuel;
Mr Hill, MP for Londonderry City, 1768-95, and Collector of that port, was created a baronet in 1779, designated of Brook Hall, County Londonderry.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

THE RT HON SIR GEORGE FITZGERALD HILL, 2nd Baronet (1763-1839), Privy Counsellor in Ireland, a trustee of the linen manufacture, Colonel, Derry Militia, MP for Londonderry, 1795-1830; and successively Clerk of the Irish House of Commons, Vice-Treasurer of Ireland, Governor of the Island of St Vincent, and Governor of Trinidad.

Sir George espoused, in 1788, Jane, third daughter of the Rt Hon Lord John Beresford, brother of George, 1st Marquess of Waterford, which lady dsp 1836.

He died without issue, and the title devolved upon his nephew,

SIR GEORGE HILL, 3rd Baronet (1804-45), who espoused, in 1831, Elizabeth Sophia, eldest daughter of John Rea, of St Columb's, by Louisa his wife, daughter of the Very Rev Stewart Blacker, of Carrick Blacker, County Armagh, and had issue,
JOHN, his successor;
Rowley (Rt Rev), grandfather of 7th and 9th Baronets;
Louisa Jane; Letitia Diana.
Sir George was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR JOHN HILL, 4th Baronet (1833-72), High Sheriff of County Londonderry, 1869, who married, in 1863, Charlotte Isabella, daughter of Henry David Blyth, and had issue,
GEORGE, his successor;
HENRY BLYTH, successor to his brother;
Hugh Rowley;
Charlotte Elizabeth; Letitia Catherine; Mary Maud; Louisa Isabella.
Sir John, Captain, 17th Lancers, was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR GEORGE HILL, 5th Baronet (1866-78), who died in childhood, and was succeeded by his brother,

SIR HENRY BLYTH HILL, 6th Baronet (1867-1929), DSO, Captain, Royal Irish Fusiliers, who wedded, in 1907, Eliza Maud, daughter of George Bowdler Gipps, and had issue, an only child, JOHN PATRICK (1909-10), who died in infancy.

The baronetcy accordingly reverted to Sir Henry's cousin,

SIR GEORGE ROWLEY HILL, 7th Baronet (1864-1954), 7th Baronet, son of the Rt Rev Rowley Hill, who espoused, in 1890, Alice Estelle Harley, daughter of Edward Bacon, and had issue, an only child,

SIR GEORGE CYRIL ROWLEY HILL, 8th Baronet (1890-1980), who wedded, in 1919, Edith Muriel, daughter of W O Thomas, though the marriage was without issue, and the title reverted to his cousin,

SIR GEORGE ALFRED ROWLEY HILL, 9th Baronet (1899-1985).
  • Sir George Hill, 3rd Baronet (1804-45);
  • Sir John Hill, 4th Baronet (1833-72);
  • Sir George Hill, 5th Baronet (1866-78);
  • Sir Henry Blyth Hill, 6th Baronet (1867–1929);
  • Sir George Rowley Hill, 7th Baronet (1864–1954);
  • Sir George Cyril Rowley Hill, 8th Baronet (1890–1980);
  • Sir George Alfred Rowley Hill, 9th Baronet (1899–1985);
  • Sir Richard George Rowley Hill, 10th Baronet (1925-92);
  • Sir John Alfred Rowley Hill, 11th Baronet (b 1940).

Sir John Alfred Rowley Hill, 11th and present Baronet (b 1940), lives in Leicestershire.

The Hill Papers are held at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland. 

St Columb's

When Sir George Hill, 3rd Baronet, married Elizabeth Rea in 1831, St Columb's in Derry's Waterside became their residence.

The Hills remained at St Columb's until about 1890, when it was acquired by the Cookes.

Brook Hall

During the Siege of Derry in 1689 Brook Hall, at Culmore, was the headquarters for JAMES I's army and the house was occupied by the Duke of Berwick, who commanded His Majesty's army.

The original house was replaced ca 1780 by an elegant villa to the north of its site, where extensive landscaping took place.

This house was altered ca 1816, when the balcony was added and it took on its Regency-style appearance.

It would appear that Sir George Hill, 3rd Baronet, leased Brook Hall to Henry Barré Beresford (the Hills are related to the Beresfords through intermarriage) in 1831, and went to live with his new wife at St Columb's.

The estate was purchased in 1852 by Samuel Gilliland, who planted the demesne with its rare ornamental trees and shrubs.

David Gilliland heads a family of quite remarkable achievement and social conscience.
Married to the novelist Jennifer Johnston, David, a Londonderry solicitor, inherited Brook Hall and has continued the family passion for gardening by restoring, maintaining and improving the estate's gardens of azaleas, rhododendrons and flowering shrubs, as well as an arboretum harbouring over 900 specimens of conifers and deciduous trees.
Brook Hall is listed on the UK’s Register of Parks, Gardens and Demesnes of Special Historic Interest.

When the house was built ca 1780, surrounding land was acquired to create a landscape park, which slopes down to the River Foyle.

The house, lodge and gates are listed.

Much original planting remains including parkland oaks, beeches and chestnuts.

In Notes of a Journey in the North of Ireland in the summer of 1827, Mitchell wrote that,
Upon the grounds, evidently neither expanse nor skill has been spared in furnishing and maturing one of the most luxuriant collections of shrubs I ever beheld.
There is also more recent planting of considerable interest in the arboretum, begun in 1932 by Commander Frank Gilliland, RNVR.

This important collection, which occupies about 35 acres west and south west of the house, has been continuously enlarged over the years.

The present owner, who succeeded to the property in 1957, has catalogued the collection.

The walled gardens are partly cultivated.

Nearby lies the National Collection of Escallonia.

The gate lodge, one remaining of two, was built ca 1820 and is listed with the house and gates.

First published in January, 2011.


Garvagh said...

Very interesting. Mary Barnard's brother was Maj. Gen. Sir Andrew Barnard, GCB.

Unknown said...

I am a daughter of the 10th baronet.

Northern Scrivener said...

David Gilliland passed away today, (4th February 2019).

Andrew said...

My mother said that when she lived in the Waterside as a child a family named Feeny owned St Columb's Park. Does anyone remember them?