Friday, 26 November 2021

Ballynegall House


This is a branch of SMYTH of Gaybrook, springing more immediately from SMYTH of Drumcree. 

THOMAS HUTCHINSON SMYTH (1765-1830), only son of Thomas Smyth, of Drumcree, by his third wife, Martha (daughter of the Ven Francis Hutchinson, Archdeacon of Down and Connor), served as High Sheriff of County Westmeath, 1792, being then described as of "Smythboro" or Coole.

He married, in 1796, Abigail, daughter of John Hamilton, of Belfast, and had issue,
THOMAS, his heir;
Francis, Captain RN;
John Stewart;
Edward, d 1857;
Arthur (Dr);
Hamilton, barrister (1813-59);
Anna; Emily.
Mr Smyth was succeeded by his eldest son, 

THE REV THOMAS SMYTH (1796-1874), who wedded, in 1832, Mary Anne, daughter of Adam Tate Gibbons, East India Company, and niece of James Gibbons, of Ballynegall, and had issue,
THOMAS JAMES, his heir;
James Gibbons, major in the army;
William Adam, major in the army;
Albert Edward, major in the army;
Elizabeth Abigail Mary Amelia; Mary Anne; Louisa Anna.
The Rev Thomas Smyth was succeeded by his eldest son,

THOMAS JAMES SMYTH JP DL (1833-1912), of Ballynegall, High Sheriff of County Westmeath, 1858, Captain, Westmeath Rifles, who married, in 1864, Bessie, fourth daughter of Edward Anketell Jones, of Adelaide Crescent, Brighton, and had issue,
Ellinor Marion Hawkesworth; Maud Emily Abigail Hawkesworth.
Mr Smyth was succeeded by his only son,

THOMAS GIBBONS HAWKESWORTH SMYTH (1865-1953) of Ballynegall, High Sheriff of County Westmeath, 1917, who wedded, in 1895, Constance, younger daughter of Harry Corbyn Levinge, of Knockdrin Castle, Mullingar, and had issue,

BALLYNEGALL HOUSE, near Mullingar, is said to have been one of the greatest architectural losses in the county of Westmeath.

The designs for this elegant and refined Regency house have been traditionally attributed to Francis Johnston, one of the foremost architects of his day and a man with an international reputation.

The quality of the original design is still apparent, despite its derelict and overgrown appearance.

The house was originally constructed for James Gibbons at the enormous cost of £30,000, and was reputedly built using the fabric of an existing castle on site, known as Castle Reynell after the previous owners of the estate.

Ballynagall remained in the Gibbons Family until 1846, when ownership passed on to Mr James W M Berry.

In 1855, ownership later passed on to the Smyth family through marriage.

There is an interesting article here, written by one of the last of the Smyths to live at Ballynegall.

The house was abandoned in the early 1960s and all remaining internal fittings and fixtures were removed at this time.

The original Ionic portico was also removed in the 1960s and now stands at Straffan House, County Kildare.

The remains of a very fine iron conservatory, which has been attributed to Richard Turner (1798-1881), is itself a great loss to the heritage of the county.

Ballynagall House stands in picturesque, mature parkland.

The remains of the house form the centrepiece of one of the best collections of demesne-related structures in County Westmeath, along with the stable block to the north-west and the gate lodge and St Mary's church to the south-east.

First published in February, 2013.


Anonymous said...

What an interesting, and sad, article.

Unknown said...

My father was Thomas MICHAEL (to whom you refer I believe, and my grandfather
was Tommy married to Mercie)Hawkesworth-Smyth,but was called Michael my mother Mary(Atkinson)his wife actually died in 1983.
He was a Major when he retired from the army with my eldest sister and brother they moved to Wexford.In around 1969 before my other sister was born.He worked for a time in the fisheries in Kilmore Quay.
A cousin of our family Billy (WIlliam ) Smith Drumcree, took me to see the ruin of Ballynegall when I was young about was such a beautiful house judging from the few prints remaining among my siblings.
I enjoyed reading your article.Thank you.
Alannah Worboys (Hawkesworth-Smyth)