Monday, 5 July 2021

Gaussen of Shanemullagh


This family derives from a French Huguenot Protestant, of Lunel, Languedoc, who, on the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, escaped from his native country in 1685 and settled at Newry, in County Down.

His name was

DAVID GAUSSEN (1664-1751) and his wish, it is handed down, was to settle in England; but the vessel in which he sailed was obliged by a storm to run into Carlingford Bay for shelter.

By Dorothy Fortescue his wife, daughter of the Vicar of Dundalk, he left at his decease three daughters and one son.

One of the former married George Atkinson, of Dundalk; and another, the Rev William Lucas, was Vicar of Newry.

The only son,

DAVID GAUSSEN, also of Newry, left by Margaret his wife, at his decease in 1802, a son,

DAVID GAUSSEN (1753-1832), who resided for some years at Newry, and afterwards settled and died at Ballyronan House, on the borders of Lough Neagh, County Londonderry.

He wedded, in 1778, Elizabeth, daughter of James Campbell, of Drumbane, County Londonderry, and had, with other issue,
DAVID, of whom presently;
Charles, of Greystones, Co Wicklow.
The elder son,

DAVID GAUSSEN JP, of Lake View House, County Londonderry, espoused, in 1812, Anne, daughter of John Ash, of Magherafelt, and had issue,
Charles John, d 1848;
Thomas Lovette, captain RN;
Edmund James (Rev);
William Ash, of Ballyronan;
Helena; Jane; Isabella; Annie; Emily Mary.
Mr Gaussen died in 1853, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

DAVID CAMPBELL GAUSSEN JP (1815-1900), of Shanemullagh House, a barrister, who married, in 1861, Annie Catherine, widow of Captain Henry Robe Saunders, Royal Artillery, and daughter of William Ottiwell, and had issue,
Thomas Ash, b 1864;
Steuart Macnaghten Pennefather Ash (1866-1903);
Anita Kathleen Ottiwell, b 1905.
Mr Gaussen's eldest son,

PERCEVAL DAVID CAMPBELL GAUSSEN (1862-1928), of Shanemullagh House, a barrister, wedded, in 1908, Letitia Elizabeth, daughter of the Rev James Wilson, of Tyholland Rectory, Monaghan, and had issue,


SHANEMULLAGH is a townland at Castledawson, County Londonderry.

Jean Gaussen, a Languedoc merchant, fled to Geneva in 1685 with his five sons.

His son David wanted to settle in England and while travelling in a fishing boat with his wife, a maid and another lady, a storm forced them to shelter in Carlingford Lough.

They were shipwrecked and lost everything except their lives.

They settled in Newry, where David became a prosperous merchant.

His only son, David, freighted the first large vessel from Newry when the ship canal was opened in 1770.

He married Margaret Hogg the daughter of Dr Hogg from Moneymore.

Their son David, born in 1753, settled in Ballyronan with his wife and three sons in 1788, having bought the business of Thompson & Maxwell.

As well as extending the quay, the Guassens established a distillery (1824) and a brewery (1828), and also a school for girls.

The steamer Lady of the Lake, built for David Gaussen in the 1820s, operated a freight passenger service from Ballyronan to Lurgan to connect with the train to Belfast.

The family had a great influence on the life of the village of Ballyronan until the last member of the family, Arthur, went to live in England in the late 1920s.


THE VILLAGE OF BALLYRONAN was established by the merchant David Gaussen, on a lease of land belonging to the Salters' Company, ca 1788.

Intended as a trading centre, he constructed a pier along with "extensive grocery, spirit, timber, iron, coal and grain stores, chiefly for the supply of the shopkeepers in the neighbouring towns".
In 1824 his sons, David, Charles and James, added a distillery to the south of the village; and, about 1828-30, a brewery, just to the south-west of the pier, exporting much of the produce of the two ventures to Belfast. Both had relatively short existences, however, closing some time prior to 1857.
The lease of Ballyronan reverted to the Salters' Company in 1852.

The long-standing expectation of improvements to the village and linkage to the nascent railway network under the management of the Salters' Company never materialised, and its further growth stalled.

Thus, in 1857 the valuers were reporting the village was "no good for trade on any commercial business."

In the decades immediately following, Ballyronan was surpassed by other centres of trade (with easy access to the railway) and never expanded beyond its pre-1830 bounds.

Ballyronan House

Ballyronan House was originally David Gaussen's home, and as such probably one of the first (if not the first) dwelling to be built within the village.

It is building is shown on a map of 1832, recorded as " ... a house in good condition in the hands of David Gaussen's eldest son, David Gaussen, of Lake View House".

It was recorded ca 1857 that the shop and porch were subsequently demolished.

The rest of the property was made up of outbuildings.

On the other side of the road, to the south, was the brewery complex, which the valuers included as part of the above property.

In 1853 the lease passed to one of David Gaussen's younger sons, William.

By 1857, the building was seemingly split into four, the main section to the south end occupied by William Gaussen himself, with a David Duncan, an Edward McCann and the local "Constabulary Force" occupying the northern portions.

In 1860 this Force was noted as having use of the whole building.

However, from 1864 until 1890, William Gaussen was recorded as being the sole occupant.

In the latter year the property passed to William's son, Arthur; and in the same year a George Rogers was listed as resident.

Part of the building (which formerly contained a small dwelling) is recorded as having been demolished in 1908.

At some stage between 1929 and 1935, William McLean acquired the freehold of the whole building.

In 1936, the main southern section is listed as a house, with petrol pump, offices, weighbridge, with the two smaller dwellings leased to a Robert Wylie and a John Greer respectively.

This situation lasted until at least 1957.

Former residence ~ 17 Herbert Street, Dublin.

First published in July, 2015.


Eleanor Ferguson said...

Hello - I found this interesting post when researching my family history. I was born in Ballyronan and am interested in finding out more about my great-grandfather John Ferguson, who worked for the Gaussen in Ballyronan at the end of the 19th century. As my aunt tells he pulled himself up his bootstraps and then bought several farms himself. I wonder if you know where I could find out more about The Gaussens at that time and perhaps records of their employees. I have already looked at the 1091 and 1911 census.

Ian said...

Doris - You could try the Woodschapel Church of Ireland records - If you want to get in contact.

D M said...

Hi I would also be interested of the employees of the Gaussen's, did you find anything Dorris