Monday, 14 January 2019

Tandragee Castle


The house of Montacute is of an antiquity at least contemporary with the Norman conquest.

In the reign of EDWARD III, Sir William Montagu, alias de Montacute, was created Earl of Salisbury, which title continued in his descendants until HENRY VI, when the fourth and last Earl was slain at the siege of Orléans in France.

From a younger branch of this family was lineally descended

GEORGE, 6TH DUKE OF MANCHESTER (1799-1855), of Kimbolton Castle, Huntingdonshire, who married firstly, in 1822, Millicent, daughter of Brigadier-General Robert Bernard Sparrow, of Brampton Park, Huntingdonshire, by his wife, the Lady Olivia Acheson, eldest daughter of Arthur, 1st Earl of Gosford, of Gosford Castle, County Armagh, by which lady he had issue,
WILLIAM, his successor;
Robert, of Cromore House, m Ellen Cromie;
His Grace espoused secondly, in 1850, Harriet Sydney, daughter of Conway Richard Dobbs, of Castle Dobbs, County Antrim, and had further issue,
Sydney Charlotte;
George Francis.

The site of Tandragee Castle in County Armagh - formerly spelt Tanderagee - once belonged to the O'Hanlon Clan, one of the most powerful clans in the history of Ulster.

A more detailed account of the O'Hanlon lineage is provided on their website.

photo credit: GreyHobbit

THE CASTLE, Tandragee, County Armagh, was rebuilt by the 6th Duke of Manchester in the Baronial style about 1837.

At one end of the Castle stands a solid machicolated tower; while the opposite end has a gabled block somewhat similar to a Tudor manor-house.

A notable, corbelled "look-out" turret is at another corner.

Photo credit: Roy Vogan ( )

In the interior, the entrance hall had a grand marble fireplace with Italian woodwork; while the ceiling panels displayed coats-of-arms of families formerly connected with the Castle.
The 7th Duke was appointed a Knight of St Patrick (KP) in 1877. As Prime Minister, Benjamin Disaeli appointed six Conservative peers to the Order: The Duke of Manchester; The Marquesses of Waterford and Londonderry; and the Earls of Erne, Mayo and Portarlington.
The site of Tandragee Castle in County Armagh - formerly spelt Tanderagee - once belonged to the O'Hanlon Clan, one of the most powerful clans in the history of Ulster.

A more detailed account of the O'Hanlon lineage is provided on their website. 


Two villagers, Samuel (Tucker) Croft and Edward Kelly, decided to start a football team in an organised league and approached the Duke of Manchester for a playing field.

The Duke, along with various other businessmen from the town decided to back them and both Samuel and Edward were invited to the Castle to discuss the question of a playing field.

Level fields were few and far between, and the right to use the old pitch on the Scarva Road was finally granted as long as it was required for a football team.

Tandragee Rovers was established in August 1909 and the pitch, secured from the Duke, was duly named Manchester Park.

The newly formed team also decided to adopt the coat-of-arms of the Duke of Manchester  as their club badge.

The motto "Disponendo me, non mutando me" dates back to the time of HENRY VIII, and is the most ancient of all the Montagu mottos.

It is said to have originated with Sir Edward Montagu, the executor of the King's will.

The arms are still used as the Club's badge.
In 1911, the 9th Duke brought John Stone, an eminent Scottish professional from Sandy Lodge Golf Club, London, to lay out a private golf course on his estate at Tandragee. In those days, there was no clubhouse and Mr. Stone, his wife and their two daughters collected fees at the Gate Lodge where they had set up residence.
The Duchess of Manchester, who was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, even designed some of the original bunkers which were laid out in the shape of the Great Lakes and these remain to this day. The golf club received notice to quit the Duke's estate, to take effect from 12th November, 1949.
Tandragee Castle remained a seat of the Dukes of Manchester until 1939.

In 1943 it became home to a garrison of the US Army.

The Montagu connection with Tandragee and Northern Ireland ended in 1955, when the 10th Duke sold the Castle to the founder of Tayto Crisps, Thomas Hutchinson.

Tandragee Castle is now a well-known potato crisp factory.

Manchester arms courtesy of European Heraldry.   First published in November, 2009.


Anonymous said...

Came to the Sparrows from the St. Johns, who may well have been descended from the O'Hanlons. Have your read of the Counts de Salis yet? You might find that family interesting.

Stephen said...

An ill-fated act of kindness by my brother resulted in a 40 pack of Tayto Cheese & Onion crisps being delivered to me as a birthday gift, with a finite shelf life... to this day the very thought of them makes me shiver, although the first few bags were good!

Too bad you couldn't get the little video camera to work. Might be worth keeping your eyes open, these tiny format ones are a new technology, and can only get better as feedback from the punters floods in.

Kind regards,