Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Mote Park


The family of CROFTON is descended maternally from the Croftons of Crofton Hall, Cumberland, but paternally descend from a common ancestor of the Lowthers, Earls of Lonsdale.

 The founder of the family in Ireland was

JOHN CROFTON (1540-1610), of Mote, County Roscommon, Auditor-General in the reign of ELIZABETH I, who accompanied the Earl of Essex into Ireland and obtained large grants of land in the counties of Roscommon and Leitrim.

Mr Crofton wedded Jane, sister of Sir Henry Duke, of Castle Jordan, County Meath, and had issue,
EDWARD, his heir;
HENRY, ancestor of Sir M G Crofton Bt, of Mohill House;
Sarah; Joan; Anne.
The eldest son,

EDWARD CROFTON, of Mote, County Roscommon, wedded Elizabeth, daughter of Captain Robert Mostyn, and had issue,
GEORGE, his heir;
Thomas, ancestor of Crofton of Longford House, County Sligo;
The eldest son,

GEORGE CROFTON, MP for Askeaton, 1639, married Elizabeth, second daughter of Sir Francis Berkeley, MP for County Limerick, and had issue,
EDWARD, of whom we treat;
Mary; Sarah.
Mr Crofton, who erected the castle of Mote, 1639, was succeeded by his youngest son,

EDWARD CROFTON (1624-75), of Mote, who espoused firstly, in 1647, Mary, daughter of Sir James Ware; and secondly, Susanna Clifford, by whom he had issue, an only child, EDWARD.

Mr Crofton was created a baronet in 1661, denominated of The Mote, County Roscommon.

He was succeeded by his only son and heir,

THE RT HON SIR EDWARD CROFTON, 2nd Baronet (c1662-1729), MP for Boyle, 1695-9, County Roscommon, 1703-27, who married, in 1684, Katherine, daughter of Sir Oliver St George Bt, and had issue,
Oliver, father of the 5th Baronet;
EDWARD, of whom hereafter
Sir Edward's younger son,

SIR EDWARD CROFTON, 3rd Baronet (1687-1739), MP for Roscommon Borough, 1713-39, wedded, in 1711, Mary, daughter of Anthony Nixon, and had issue,
EDWARD, his successor;
CATHERINE, m Marcus Lowther.
Sir Edward was succeeded by his son and successor,

SIR EDWARD CROFTON, 4th Baronet (1713-45), MP for County Roscommon, 1713-45, who espoused, in 1741, Martha, daughter of Joseph Damer; he was, however, killed in action at Tournai, France, when the title reverted to his cousin,

SIR OLIVER CROFTON, 5th Baronet (1710-80), who married, in 1737, Abigail Jackson Buckley, though the marriage was without issue.

The baronetcy therefore expired, when his sister and heiress,

CATHERINE CROFTON, became representative of the family.

Miss Crofton married, in 1743, Marcus Lowther (second son of George Lowther MP, descended from a common ancestor with the Earls of Lonsdale), who assumed the name of CROFTON, and being created a baronet in 1758, denominated of The Mote, County Roscommon, became 

SIR MARCUS LOWTHER-CROFTON, 1st Baronet, MP for Roscommon Borough, 1761-8, Ratoath, 1769-76, who had issue,
EDWARD, his successor;
John Frederick Lowther;
William Henry;
Catherine; Sophia Jane.
Sir Marcus died in 1784, and was succeeded by his eldest son, 

SIR EDWARD CROFTON, 2nd Baronet (1748-97), MP for Roscommon, 1775-97, Colonel, Roscommon Militia, who married, in 1767, Anne, only daughter and heiress of Thomas Croker, and had issue,
EDWARD, his successor;
Henry Thomas Marcus (Rev);
George Alfred, Captain RN;
William Gorges, Captain, Coldstream Guards; k/a 1814;
Caroline; Louisa; Frances; Harriet; Augusta.
Sir Edward died in 1797 and his widow, 

ANNE, LADY CROFTON (1751-1817), was elevated to the peerage (an honour for Sir Edward, had he lived), in 1797, in the dignity of BARONESS CROFTON, of Mote, County Roscommon.

Her ladyship was succeeded by her grandson,

EDWARD, 2nd Baron (1806-69), who espoused, in 1833, the Lady Georgina Paget, daughter of Henry, 1st Marquess of Anglesey, and had issue,
Charles St George, father of 4th Baron;
Alfred Henry;
Francis George;
Augusta Caroline.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

EDWARD HENRY CHURCHILL, 3rd Baron (1834-1912), Gentleman of the Bedchamber to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland 1867-68, State Steward to the Lord Lieutenant, 1880; Gentleman in Waiting to the Lord Lieutenant, 1886-92, who died unmarried, when the honours reverted to his nephew,

ARTHUR EDWARD LOWTHER, 4th Baron (1866-1942), who married, in 1893, Jessie Castle, daughter of James Hewitson, and had issue,
Edward Charles (1896-1936), father of 5th Baron;
Marcus Lowther;
Eileen Mabel Lowther.
His lordship was succeeded by his grandson,

EDWARD BLAISE, 5th Baron (1926-74).

GUY PATRICK GILBERT, 7th Baron (1951-2007), Lieutenant-Colonel, was Defence Attaché to the British Embassy in Angola.

MOTE PARK HOUSE, Ballymurray, County Roscommon, was built by the Crofton family in the later half of the 18th century, preceding the Castle of Mote erected by the family in 1620.

It was clearly an imposing house and reflected the influence of neo-classicism prevalent at the time.

This style emphasized for the first time a sense of permanence and security among the gentry and nobility in Ireland.

The house was the most impressive of its type built in County Roscommon, the others of this period being located at Runnamoat near Ballymoe, and Sandford House in Castlerea.

The house was originally an irregular two-storey-over-basement house, which the architect Richard Morrison more than doubled in size by adding six bays and an extra storey.

It had a deep hall with a screen of columns, beyond which a door flanked by niches led into an oval library in the bow on the garden front.

These gardens contained many fine architectural features, some of which are still intact.

Perhaps the most splendid surviving feature is the original entrance gate consisting of a Doric triumphal arch surmounted by a lion with screen walls linking it to a pair of identical lodges.

It has been suggested that this was designed by James Gandon, although others have pointed out that while this certainly is feasible, certain elements, most notably the head and keystone of the arch, appear to be of a later date and have a provincial character.

It is worth mentioning at this stage the work of Augusta Crofton: She was a renowned amateur photographer and appointed OBE in 1920.

From the mid-19th century, as with so many other estates, things started to go downhill for the fortunes of the Croftons and their home.

It should be noted at the outset that the Croftons, while not among the best examples of improving landlords, did keep their rents low and endeavoured to help their tenants as much as possible.

The fact that the estate was well managed is evident from many volumes of rentals of the estate dating from 1834-1893, along with family records held at Roscommon Library.

Rents received, expenditure on wages, bills, details of land improvements and summaries of yearly rental statistics for each denomination are clearly recorded.

The problem of absenteeism was largely irrelevant to the Crofton estate during this period as it was administered by competent land agents.

Despite the Land Acts, tenants made no effort to purchase their land.

Arrears of rent increased with arrears accounting for over 30% of total rent received by the 1890s.

Clearly the house itself was also falling into disrepair.

The 3rd Baron died in 1912 and was interred in the family vault at Killmaine.

In many respects he had become disillusioned with life on the estate long before his death, showing little interest in his Irish properties.

Instead he preferred, among other roles, that of representative peer at Westminister.

As he was a bachelor, his titles passed to his nephew Arthur Edward, 4th Baron.

Although the 4th Baron took a practical interest in his inheritance, the last of the Land Acts meant most of the estate was sold piecemeal in the early 20th century.

Ownership of what was left passed to his children and then to his grandson Edward Blaise, 5th Baron, to whom the title eventually passed.

The 5th Baron was the last of the Croftons to reside at Mote, but moved to England in the 1940s.

A sign that the final demise of the big house was forthcoming is evidenced by the public auction of October, 1947.

It occasioned quite a large public interest as evidenced by a photograph taken of the house on the morning of the auction.

The 1950s and early 1960s saw the final nail driven in the big house's coffin with the Irish Land Commission demolishing the house completely.

Much of the beautiful woods surrounding the house were also felled, and replaced with newer mixed conifer species.

The remaining land was divided into several properties for families transferred from the nearby congested districts.

Now, instead of the big house, many smaller farm houses lay scattered over what was once the Crofton estate.

Mote Park still attracts many visitors however, marketed now as a heritage walkway, almost ten miles in length and taking in whatever original features still remaining intact.

The house was demolished in the 1960s.

Roscommon Golf Club occupies part of the original Mote Park demesne.

First published in July, 2012.   Crofton arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

1 comment :

Unknown said...

I haven't ben on your blog for some time. I was a little shocked to see you have no holiday blogs since 2015. Are you ok?