Sunday, 31 December 2017

Gussie's Predicament

FROM STIFF UPPER LIP, JEEVES, BY SIR P G WODEHOUSE KBE

BERTIE: "But what's happened?"

I faltered, if faltered's the word.

JEEVES: "I regret to inform you, sir, that Miss Bassett has insisted on Mr Fink-Nottle [Gussie] adopting a vegetarian diet. His mood is understandably disgruntled and rebellious."

I tottered.

In my darkest hour I had never anticipated anything as bad as this.

You wouldn't think it to look at him, because he's small and shrimplike and never puts on weight, but Gussie loves food.

Watching him tucking into his rations at the Drones [Club], a tapeworm would raise its hat respectfully, knowing that it was in the presence of a master.

Cut him off, therefore, from the roasts and boileds and particularly from cold steak and kidney pie, a dish of which he is inordinately fond, and you turned him into something fit for treasons, strategems and spoils, as the fellow said.

First published in June, 2013.

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Wodehouse Gems: II

Stiff Upper Lip Jeeves by Sir P G Wodehouse, KBE, published  in 1963


Bertie Wooster's arch-adversary, Roderick Spode, Earl of Sidcup, features heavily in this book.

Spode, as Bertie calls him, is a character we all love to hate.

Here is one of my favourite passages that always makes me laugh:-

'...Spode pivoted round and gave me a penetrating look. He had grown a bit, I noticed, since I had last seen him, being now about nine foot seven. ...I had compared him to a gorilla, and what I had had in mind had been the ordinary run-of-the-mill gorilla, not the large economy size'. 

...'To ease the strain, I asked him if he would have a cucumber sandwich, but with an impassioned gesture he indicated that he was not in the market for cucumber sandwiches..."a muffin?" 


No, not a muffin, either. He seemed to be on a diet.

"Wooster", he said, his jaw muscles moving freely, "I can't make up my mind whether to break your neck or not."

And so on. Wodehouse's command of the English language was supreme. Brilliant.

Wodehouse's character, Spode, is believed to be modelled on the war-time fascist leader, Sir Oswald Mosley Bt.

The Mosleys had a connection with Staffordshire, the county where Spode pottery is made; hence the Spode name.

First published in March, 2009.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Brackenber: 1956

Here is the Class of 1956 at Brackenber House School.

Malcolm Lennox kindly provided the photograph.

Click on the image to enlarge it.

Dr Kevin Vaughan, a fellow pupil at Brackenber from 1953-59, has sent me the following information:
I recognise all the teachers except the lady at the end. Next to Mr Craig is Miss Rankin, then Miss McKeown, then Miss Gilbert. I think Miss Rankin's first name was Zena, not Zoe!
To the other side of Mr Craig is Norman Henry (I am two rows directly behind him, rather skinny!), then Ronnie Hunter, then Mr T P Sheehan, then Dennis Fergusson, then Mr Walmsley (spelling?) then Mr Williams who was an old boy who came to teach temporarily.
On the front row at one end is A W P Coutts, and at the other Smith, Anthony Malcomson, J A M Grant. I also recognise several of my contemporaries. After my parents moved to England, I spent my last year at Brackenber as a weekly boarder and spent the weekends with friends.
There was a small two bed dormitory where boys would occasionally stay. John Craig and Ronnie Hunter were the two masters who also lived on the premises and I got to know them both quite well.
One of my amusing memores of the school routine is that when they had finished eating lunch but before the boys where allowed to leave their seats, John Craig and Norman Henry would always get up, walk to one end of the dining hall and smoke a cigarette - it was always Mr Henry who offered Mr Craig a cigarette, never the other way round!
First published in January, 2010.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Loughcrew House

THE NAPERS WERE THE SECOND LARGEST LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY MEATH, WITH 18,863 ACRES

JAMES NAPER (fourth son of Sir Samuel Naper MP, of Moor Crichel, Dorset, and grandson of Sir Robert Napier, Chief Baron of the Irish Exchequer, 1593), High Sheriff of County Meath, 1671, married Dorothy, daughter of Sir Anthony Petty, of Romsey, Hampshire, and sister of the celebrated Sir William Petty, ancestor of the Marquess of Lansdowne.

By this lady he left at his decease, in 1676, three sons and two daughters,
William, of Loughcrew, died unmarried;
JAMES, succeeded his brother;
Robert, lieutenant-general;
Elizabeth; Frances.
The second son,

JAMES NAPER (-1718), of Loughcrew, High Sheriff of County Meath, 1702, married firstly, in 1684, Elizabeth, daughter of James Tandy, of Drewstown, County Meath, and by her had two daughters,
Dorothy;
Sarah.
He wedded secondly, in 1695, Elizabeth Barry; and thirdly, Anne, daughter of Sir Ralph Dutton Bt, of Sherborne, Gloucestershire, by whom he had two sons and a daughter,
JAMES LENOX, his heir;
William;
Anna Maria.
The elder son,

JAMES LENOX NAPER (1712-66), of Loughcrew, High Sheriff of County Meath, 1740, assumed the surname and arms of DUTTON.

He espoused firstly, in 1734, Catherine, daughter of Henry Ingoldsby, by whom he had an only child,
John, who died unmarried, 1771.
He married secondly, Jane, daughter of Christopher Bond, of Newland, Gloucestershire, and had issue,
JAMES, created 1st BARON SHERBORNE;
WILLIAM, who inherited the Naper estates;
Ralph;
Anne; Mary; Frances; Jane.
Mr Dutton was succeeded in his Irish estates by his second son, William, who resuming the name and arms of NAPER, became

WILLIAM NAPER (1749-91) of Loughcrew; who married, in 1787, Jane, daughter of the Rev Ferdinando Tracy Travell, of Gloucestershire, and left one daughter, Jane, and one son,

JAMES LENOX WILLIAM NAPER JP DL (1791-1868), of Loughcrew, High Sheriff in 1822, who wedded, in 1824, Selina, second daughter of Sir Grey Skipworth Bt, of Newbold Hall, Warwickshire, and had issue,
JAMES LENOX, his heir;
William Dutton;
Lelia Jane; Anna Selina.
Mr Naper's elder son,

JAMES LENOX NAPER JP DL (1825-1901), of Loughcrew, High Sheriff, 1853, espoused, in 1877, the Hon Catherine Frances Rowley, only daughter of Clotworthy, 3rd Baron Langford, and had issue, a son,

WILLIAM LENOX NAPER MC JP DL (1879-1942), of Loughcrew, who wedded, in 1902, Adela Mary Charlotte, eldest daughter of Colonel the Hon W R Trefusis CB, Scots Guards, and Lady Mary Trefusis.

*****

THE NAPER ESTATES eventually grew to 180,000 acres in counties Meath, Westmeath and Cavan, helped by the Colonel`s marriage to the sister of Sir William Petty, a senior Dublin Castle official.

James Lennox William Naper (1791-1868) commissioned the building of Loughcrew House in 1823, a year after he was appointed High Sheriff of Meath.

A busy landlord and writer, he served as chairman of the Poor Law Guardians during the Famine years and subsidised the emigration of tenants to Canada in the 1830s.

His son, James Lenox Naper, also served as High Sheriff and was a major in the Meath Militia while also enduring the first major fire at Loughcrew House in 1888.
His son, William Lenox Naper, was awarded the Military Cross for services in the Royal Horse Guard during World War One but he died without issue and his widow Adela married the colourful adventurer, Rodney Matthews in 1946. His spending seriously impacted on the estate before he disappeared in his plane in the Irish Sea in 1953.
A cousin of William Lenox, Merrick Naper, died in Africa that same year before he could inherit and Merrick`s brother, Nigel, inherited the 1,500-acre estate before suffering two major fires in the house in 1959 and 1964.

The Irish Land Commission took 600 acres of the estate in 1967 and it was divided between his three sons on Nigel`s death in 1978.

Emily and Charles Naper have converted the old conservatory, pavilions, servant quarters and stables into the current living area, school of gilding and studio area.
Emily Jane Dashwood was born in 1958, eldest child of Sir Francis John Vernon Hereward Dashwood Bt (Premier Baronet of Great Britain). She married Charles William Lennox Naper in 1981.
They have revived the 17th century gardens and established Loughcrew Garden Opera.


LOUGHCREW, Oldcastle, County Meath, today comprises the vestiges of Loughcrew House, the Gardens, ancillary accommodation and about 200 acres of parkland and grounds. 

Loughcrew Garden Opera has been holding operas and concerts in the grounds of the estate since 2000 during the summer months, which has proved immensely popular.

Weddings, exhibitions and craft workshops have also been held in the large rooms within the courtyard buildings.

Remaining within the Naper family from the 17th Century to the present day, Loughcrew has had a turbulent and fascinating history. 


Originally the seat of the Plunkett family, its most famous member being St Oliver Plunkett, whose church still remains today on the estate, the first Loughcrew House was built in the 1600s by the Naper family, where the current formal gardens exist, amidst an awesome 180,000 acre estate.

Subsequently destroyed by fire, the next Loughcrew House was designed by Charles Cockerel in 1821 for the Naper family.


In 1964 this house, too, was destroyed by fire and all that remains today is the giant portico, rebuilt and free-standing as a modern day folly, and a hard tennis court within the old footprint.

Mark Bence Jones, in his guide to Irish Country Houses, describes the vast stones and fallen capitals of the 1820's neo-classical house, designed by Cockerell, once strewn about the ground like the remains of some lost city of antiquity.

The current house grew out of The Garden House, a large and interesting stone building attached to the original courtyards, unusual in its design, and which used to house an array of flora and exotic plant-life. 

The rooms that make up the house were in fact originally the palm houses, the azalea houses and the furnace rooms.

It currently comprises two principal reception rooms, including a particularly fine drawing-room, two sun-rooms, kitchen, five bedrooms, a basement, and a guest wing with three further bedrooms.



LOUGHCREW GARDENS have been created by generations of the Naper family since the 1660s. The Gardens are open to the public for a number of months during the year.

The result is a stunning combination of vistas, with water and archaeological features and many unusual trees, shrubs and flowers. 

A host of enchanting features are displayed in a setting steeped in atmosphere and history, including a medieval motte and the ruins of Saint Oliver Plunkett's family church and tower house.

The surviving 17th century features include a magnificent yew walk, foundations of a longhouse and a walled garden from which a canal and a parterre have been relocated in replica. 

In the 19th century these earlier elements were enveloped in a comprehensive development of parkland, water gardens, specimen trees, follies, rockeries, wood walks and magnificent vistas. 

The central area of approximately six acres now includes a lime avenue, extensive lawns and terraces, magnificent herbaceous border, ‘Grotesque Rockery and Grotto’, Hellfire garden, watermill, fountain, and symbolic statues and sculptures.

A large, log-cabin-style visitor centre with car park is located at the entrance to the gardens.

This contains a spacious coffee shop on the ground floor with small kitchen and lavatories. 

A covered decked area provides outdoor seating. On the first floor is a large room for a crèche or craft centre with lavatories.

First published in June, 2011.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Ballinderry Park

THE COMYNS OF BALLINDERRY OWNED 1,473 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY GALWAY

ANDREW COMYN, of Ryefield, County Roscommon, married, in 1786, the sister and heir of Lewis Ward, of Ballymacward and Ballinderry, County Galway, and had an eldest son,

NICHOLAS COMYN (1787-1843), of Ballinderry and Ryefield, who wedded, in 1830, Sabina, daughter of John Joyes, of Woodquay, County Galway, and had issue,
ANDREW NUGENT, his heir;
John Ward;
Mary Ellen; Sabina; Elizabeth.
Mr Comyn was succeeded by his eldest son,

ANDREW NUGENT COMYN JP (1831-1917), of Ballinderry and Ryefield, who married, in 1867, Mary, second daughter of John O'Connell MP, and granddaughter of Daniel O'Connell, of Derrynane, and had issue,
NICHOLAS O'CONNELL, his heir;
Andrew Daniel;
Lewis James;
Elizabeth Mary; Geraldine Mary; Eily Mary.
The eldest son,

NICHOLAS O'CONNELL COMYN JP (1869-1945), of Ballinderry, High Sheriff of County Galway, 1917, wedded, in 1911, Mary Cecilia Hyacinth, daughter of Francis Walter Mahony, of St Helen's, Blarney, County Cork, and had issue,
ANDREW FRANCIS MICHAEL O'CONNELL;
Nugent Gerald Ward;
Arthur;
Reginald;
Frederick;
Marguerite Mary Cecilia; Maureen; Veronica Joan Mary.

BALLINDERRY PARK, Kilconnell, Ballinasloe, County Galway, is a plain Georgian house of ca 1740, rising from the plans of east County Galway.

Ballinderry originally belonged to nearby Kilconnell Friary, a Franciscan foundation of 1280.

In the late 17th century the land passed to the Diocese of Clonfert and was leased to Henry Stanford, who shortly afterwards leased his house to Lawrence Ward, from an family long resident in the locality.

His tenancy was inherited by his sister and passed to her son, Nicholas Comyn.

Nicholas Comyn's descendants farmed this small property, sandwiched between some of County Galway’s largest estates, where they were closely involved with horses and hunting.

They purchased the freehold from the Church of Ireland following its disestablishment in 1871.

Nicholas’s son Andrew married Mary, granddaughter of Daniel O’Connell ‘The Liberator’.

Nicholas O'Connell Comyn was the last of the family to live at Ballinderry and when he died, in 1945, the estate was acquired by the Irish Land Commission, which subdivided the property.

The house thereafter became derelict.

George and Susie Gossip bought Ballinderry in 2000 and began a careful restoration.

They reversed some Victorian changes to the façade and, by 2005, work had progressed sufficiently to allow them move in.

The hall, staircase and landings, which take up a third of the house, have been authentically restored; while the principal rooms have been panelled in the early 18th century style and given early chimney-pieces.

George and Susie have filled the house with their collection of furniture, pictures, porcelain and objects.

Much of this was passed down from Susie’s ancestors, the Dillon family from nearby Clonbrock, so that it is, in effect, returning home.

Ballinderry is surrounded by fine specimen trees, including a large and remarkable London plane tree, rarely, seldom found in a parkland setting.

Select bibliography: Irish Historic Houses Association.

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Lord Archbishop of Cashel


Ruby, two keys in saltire, topaz

The last Anglican Lord Archbishop of Cashel and Primate of Munster was the Most Rev and Rt Hon Dr Richard Laurence (1760-1838).

The archiepiscopal palace was at Cashel, County Tipperary.


THE PALACE, Cashel (now the Cashel Palace Hotel) was built between 1730-32 by Archbishop Bolton, and designed by Sir Edward Lovett Pearce.

It comprises two storeys over a basement, with a dormered attic in the high-pitched roof.

The Palladian entrance front, of rose-coloured brick with stone facings, stands back from the town's main street.

The entrance front is of seven bays, with a three-bay central breakfront.
There is a large, panelled hall, with a screen of fluted Corinthian columns and pilasters, a pair of black marble chimney-pieces which face each other on either side; arched door-cases embellished with scrolls; and a modillion cornice.
A fine wooden staircase stands in the staircase hall at the side.

Garden front

The three principal reception rooms in the garden front, which face towards the Rock of Cashel, were redecorated in the early 19th century by Archbishop Agar, afterwards Lord Archbishop of Dublin and 1st Earl of Normanton.

The Palace suffered damage in the Irish rebellion of 1798.

A long room at one side of the forecourt once contained Archbishop Bolton's splendid library.

In 1839, when the archbishopric of Cashel was merged with the diocese of Waterford, the Palace was partly used by the Deans of Cashel, till the 1950s.

The decision was made by the Church of Ireland to sell the property in 1959.

In 1962, it was first opened as a hotel by 2nd Lord Brocket (who also owned the Wicklow Hotel in Dublin and Benner’s Hotel in Tralee at that time).

To the rear of the Palace are fine gardens, which include two ancient Mulberry Trees planted in 1702 to commemorate the coronation of Queen ANNE.

The garden also contains a private walk (The Bishop's Walk) to the Rock of Cashel, the 13th Century Cathedral, and the ancient seat of the Kings of Munster. 

first published in September, 2014.    

Friday, 24 November 2017

Lord Archbishop of Tuam

Sapphire, three persons erect, under as many canopies of stalls, their faces, arms, and legs, proper: The first represents an archbishop, habited in his pontificals, holding a crozier in his left hand; the second, the Virgin Mary, crowned, with our Saviour on her left arm; and the third, an Angel having his right arm elevated, and a lamb on his left arm, all topaz.
The last Anglican Archbishop of Tuam and Primate of Connaught was the Most Rev and Hon Dr Power le Poer Trench (1770-1839).


The archiepiscopal Palace, at Bishop Street, Tuam, County Galway, was built between 1716-41, by Archbishop Synge.


In 1837 the palace was described as being "large and handsomely built, though not possessing much architectural embellishment."

The old palace is now a supermarket and restaurant.

First published in August, 2014.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

The Marchioness of Dufferin and Ava

When the 5th and last Marquess of Dufferin and Ava died in 1988 without issue, Clandeboye estate passed to his widow Serena Belinda (Lindy) Rosemary, Marchioness of Dufferin and Ava.

The marquessate itself is now, sadly, extinct.


Lady Dufferin inherited a considerable fortune at the time, not least due to the Guinness connection.

She also inherited the beautiful Clandeboye Estate, near Bangor, County Down, and a London residence in Holland Park.

Clandeboye Estate comprises about 2,000 acres of prime Ulster woodland and gardens, making it one of the finest private country estates in Northern Ireland.

Lady Dufferin has a continuing interest in the Arts, painting and conservation.

Clandeboye Golf Club has now become an integral part of the estate.


There is a memorial to the 1st Marquess in the grounds of Belfast City Hall.

I have written an article in April, 2009, entitled The Four Great Ulster Marquessates.

First published in August, 2009.  Dufferin arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Royal GCVO

20th November, 2017

The Queen has been graciously pleased to give orders for the following promotion in the Royal Victorian Order: 

GCVO

To be a Knight Grand Cross:

His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh KG KT OM GCVO GBE

For Services to the Sovereign.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Hamwood House

THE HAMILTONS OF HAMWOOD OWNED 352 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY MEATH

CHARLES HAMILTON, youngest son of Alexander Hamilton, of Knock, MP for Belfast, 1798, by Isabella, daughter of Robert Maxwell, of Finnebrogue, married Elizabeth, daughter of Crewe Chetwood, of Woodbrook, Queen's County, and had issue,
CHARLES, his heir;
Robert, of Liverpool;
George, of Quebec, and Hawkesbury, Canada;
William Henry;
John, of Liverpool;
Henrietta.
Mr Hamilton died in 1818, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

CHARLES HAMILTON (1772-1857), of Hamwood, County Meath, who wedded, in 1801, Marianne Caroline, daughter of William Tighe MP, of Rossana, County Wicklow, by Sarah his wife, only child of Sir William Fownes Bt, of Woodstock, County Kilkenny, and had issue,
CHARLES WILLIAM, his heir;
William Tighe;
Frederick John Henry Fownes;
Sarah; Mary; Caroline Elizabeth.
Mr Hamilton was succeeded by his eldest son,

CHARLES WILLIAM HAMILTON JP (1802-80), of Hamwood, who espoused, in 1841, Letitia Charlotte, eldest daughter of William Henry Armstrong MP, of Mount Heaton, King's County, and had issue,
CHARLES ROBERT, his heir;
Edward Chetwood;
Arthur, of Hollybrook.
Mr Hamilton was succeeded by his eldest son,

CHARLES ROBERT HAMILTON JP (1846-1913), of Hamwood, who married, in 1874, Louisa Caroline Elizabeth, daughter of Francis Richard Brooke, of Somerton, County Dublin, by his wife, the Hon Henrietta Monck, eldest daughter of 3rd Viscount Monck, and had issue,
Charles George (1875-77);
GERALD FRANCIS CHARLES, of whom hereafter;
Frederick Arthur (1880-1962);
Henry John;
Eva Henrietta; Letitia Marion; Amy Kathleen; Ethel Grace; Constance Louisa; Lilian Mary.
Mr Hamilton was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

GERALD FRANCIS CHARLES HAMILTON JP (1877-1961), of Hamwood, who wedded firstly, in 1911, Violet Travers, daughter of Robert Craigie Hamilton, and had issue,
CHARLES ROBERT FRANCIS, his heir;
Esme Violet; Elizabeth Mary.
He married secondly, in 1949, Rosamund Mary, daughter of Maurice Bauer.

Mr Hamilton was succeeded by his son,

MAJOR CHARLES ROBERT FRANCIS HAMILTON (1918-2005), of Hamwood, who wedded, in 1958, Margaret Anne Lanfear, daughter of Captain Simon Ralph Fane Spicer, and had issue,
CHARLES RALPH, b 1960;
Annabel Honor, b 1959.

HAMWOOD HOUSE, Dunboyne, County Meath, is a small Palladian house of the 1764, with a central block joined to little octagonal ‘pepper-pot’ wings by elegantly curved sweeps.

Unusually, one wing contains the main entrance, since the house (as originally built) was reputedly so cold that the family decided to place the hall door as far away from the main rooms as possible.

The removal of the front entrance from the main block creates an interesting internal arrangement with a double drawing-room, unusual in a house of this size.

There is good late-18th century decoration and an interesting family collection, including the intriguing drawings and paintings of Caroline Hamilton.

Hamwood’s builder, Charles Hamilton, acted as land agent for the Dukes of Leinster whose principal seat, Carton, is nearby; and the Duke generously gave the Hamiltons a present of the impressive fights of granite steps leading to the doors in the end pavilions.

Successive generations of the family acted as the Leinsters' agents until the present owner's husband, Charles Hamilton (1918-2005), retired in the 1970s.

*****

MRS ANNE HAMILTON, Major Charles Hamilton's widow, died suddenly on the 4th December, 2013.

She represented the family at a function in Farmleigh House in 2012 honouring the Irish team at the 1948 Olympics in London.

A relative, Letitia Hamilton, was the only Irish medal-winner at those Games, for her painting of a scene at the Meath Hunt Point-to-Point races. 

Anne Hamilton was born Anne Spicer in Wiltshire, England. Her father, Ralph Spicer, had married Mary Graham, whose family lived at Spye Park, near Bromham, Wiltshire, since 1855.

The Grahams were originally from Lisburn in Northern Ireland, involved in the linen industry.

Anne and her siblings holidays at their grandparents’ place at Sallins every summer, and to escape the rationing and austerity England in the years following the 2nd World War, her mother moved them to Carnew in County Wicklow.

In 1958, Anne married Charles Hamilton, who had served in the 2nd World War.

He was a farm estate manager and they lived in County Galway for a period before returning to Hamwood in 1963, following the death of Charles’ father, who was the land agent at Carton House.

Charles also managed the Slane Castle estate for a period.

At Hamwood, they were involved in bloodstock breeding and a pure-bred Charolais herd.

The gardens were also a great treasure and open to the public.

In an interview for the Irish Life and Lore Collection at South Dublin Libraries, Mrs Hamilton was critical of how the Irish Land Commission had broken up large estates and the manner in which they allowed fine houses to decay.

In recent years, she continued to open the gardens and house at Dunboyne to the public.

Mrs Hamilton was survived by her son, Charles, of London, and Annabel, of Paris, and her sister in County Cork.

Her funeral service took place at St Peter’s parish church, Dunboyne, County Meath, followed by burial in the adjoining graveyard.

Select bibliography: Irish historic Houses Association.

Friday, 10 November 2017

Slane Castle

THE MARQUESSES CONYNGHAM OWNED 7,060 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY MEATH

The family of CONYNGHAM was originally of Scottish descent, and of very great antiquity in that part of the United Kingdom.

THE HON WILLIAM CUNNINGHAM, Bishop of Argyll in 1539, a younger son of William, 4th Earl of Glencairn, left a son,

WILLIAM CONYNGHAM, of Cunninghamhead, Ayrshire, who had two sons, WILLIAM, who succeeded at Cuninghamhead, and was created a baronet; and

ALEXANDER CONYNGHAM, who, entering into Holy Orders, and removing into Ireland, was appointed, in 1611, the first Protestant minister of Enver and Killymard, County Donegal.

Mr Conyngham was appointed to the deanery of Raphoe on the consecration of Dean Adair as Lord Bishop of Killaloe in 1630.

Dean Conyngham settled at Mount Charles, County Donegal, which estate he held, by lease, from the Earl of Annandale, and wedded Marion, daughter of John Murray, of Broughton, by whom he had no less than twenty-seven children, of which four sons and five daughters survived infancy.

He died in 1660, and was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

SIR ALBERT CONYNGHAM, Knight, who was appointed, in 1660, Lieutenant-General of the ordnance in Ireland.

This officer fought on the side of WILLIAM III at the Boyne, Limerick etc, and fell in a rencounter with the Rapparees, near Colooney in County Sligo.

He espoused Mary, daughter of the Rt Rev Robert Leslie, Lord Bishop of Raphoe, and was succeeded by his only surviving son,

MAJOR-GENERAL HENRY CONYNGHAM, of Slane Castle, MP for Coleraine, and for Donegal, who served during the reign of JAMES II as a captain in Mountjoy's Regiment.

When JAMES II desired his army to shift for itself, Conyngham prevailed upon 500 of his regiment to remain united, and with them offered his services to WILLIAM III.

He became subsequently a major-general, and fell, in 1705-6, at St Estevan's, in Spain.

General Conyngham wedded Mary, daughter of Sir John Williams Bt, of Minster Court, Kent, and widow of Charles, Lord Shelburne, by whom he got a very considerable property, and had issue,
WILLIAMhis successor;
Henry;
Mary.
He was succeeded by his elder son,

WILLIAM CONYNGHAM, of Slane (an estate forfeited, in 1641, by Lord Slane), who was succeeded at his decease by his brother,

THE RT HON HENRY CONYNGHAM (1705-81), captain of horse on the Irish establishment, and MP from 1727 until raised to the peerage by the title of Baron Conyngham, of Mount Charles, in 1753.

His lordship was advanced to a viscountcy, in 1756, as Viscount Conyngham; and further advanced, in 1781, to the dignity of an earldom, as Earl Conyngham; the barony to descend, in case of failure of issue, to Francis Pierpoint Burton, the eldest son of his sister Mary, by Francis Burton.

The 1st Earl married, in 1774, Ellen, only daughter and heir of Solomon Merret; but dying without an heir, in 1781, all his honours became extinct, except the barony of Conyngham, which devolved, according to the limitation, upon the above-mentioned

FRANCIS PIERPOINT BURTON (c1725-87), as 2nd Baron; who wedded, in 1750, Elizabeth, eldest daughter of the Rt Hon Nathaniel Clements, and sister of Robert, Earl of Leitrim, by whom he had issue,
HENRYhis successor;
Francis Nathaniel (Sir), GCH;
Catherine; Ellena; Henrietta.
His lordship, on inheriting the title and estates of his uncle, assumed the surname and arms of CONYNGHAM.

He was succeeded by his son,

HENRY, 3rd Baron (1766-1832), who, in 1787, was created Viscount Conyngham, of Slane, County Meath.

He was also created, in 1797, Viscount Mount Charles, of Mount Charles, County Donegal; and Earl Conyngham.

Lord Conyngham was appointed a Knight of the Most Illustrious Order of St Patrick in 1801.

In 1803, he was appointed Governor of County Donegal, a post he held until 1831, and Custos Rotulorum of County Clare in 1808, which he remained until his death.

His lordship was created, in 1816, Viscount Slane and Earl of Mount Charles; and further advanced to the dignity of a marquessate, as MARQUESS CONYNGHAM.

In 1821, he was created Baron Minster, of Minster Abbey, Kent, sworn of the Privy Council, and appointed Lord Steward, a post he retained until 1830.

From 1829 until his death in 1832, the 1st Marquess served as Constable and Governor of Windsor Castle.
The heir apparent is the present holder's son Alexander Burton Conyngham, styled Earl of Mount Charles.

The heir apparent's heir apparent is his son Rory Nicholas Burton Conyngham, styled Viscount Slane.

SLANE CASTLE, Slane, County Meath, stands augustly above the River Boyne in County Meath.

During Victorian times Lord Conyngham owned about 7,060 acres in County Meath.

His lordship was, however, the greatest landowner in County Donegal, where he owned 122,230 acres.

It has been the principal seat of the Marquesses Conyngham since it was built in 1785 by Francis, 2nd Baron Conyngham, to the designs of Francis Johnston.

The Castle was completed by his son Henry, 3rd Baron and 1st Marquess Conyngham.

It is said that "Capability" Brown, James Gandon, Thomas Hopper and other architects were consulted at the time.


Slane Castle comprises three storeys over a basement, which serves as a lower ground floor at the river, where the ground falls away quite steeply.

There is a bow in the centre of the river front, elevated to form a massive round tower.


With the exception of this round tower and lesser square towers at each corner, the house is essentially a battlemented Georgian block.

The interior is Classical in style.

The hall boasts Tuscan columns; while the drawing-room has a frieze of late-Georgian plasterwork, terminating in a kind of apse.

The great circular library or ballroom encompasses two lower storeys of the round tower and is reputed to be the finest of its kind in Ireland, with its exquisite and delicate Gothic plasterwork.

The upper storey of the round tower is divided into three bedrooms.

The floor below, however, contains the two grandest bedrooms in the house, which were designed for King George IV and the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.

His Majesty stayed at Slane as Prince of Wales and again as the Sovereign in 1821.

The 1st Marquess's wife was a favourite of the King; even the straight road from Dublin to Slane is said to have been specially made for him.


This approach affords elaborate Gothic entrance gates; though the entrance from the north, through the village, is particularly striking.

Conyngham arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Keppel Association Tour

THE KEPPEL ASSOCIATION was founded in 2003. Its Honorary Life Member is Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall. The Earl of Albemarle and Viscount Bury are Presidents.

Members of the Keppel Association visited Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland from the 8th-12th May, 2017.

The Association was surprised to discover many Keppel connections and relationships within the Province and even more so south of the border.

The idea of arranging an Irish tour for the membership of the Association stemmed originally from a generous offer by the Lady Rose and Peter Lauritzen to entertain a group of members at Mount Stewart, County Down, former seat of the Marquess of Londonderry.

Mount Stewart was bequeathed to Lady Rose's father, Lord Bury, and her mother, the Lady Mairi Bury (née Vane-Tempest-Stewart) and consequently became a Keppel seat.

As soon as the National Trust completed their work of restoration of Mount Stewart House (which lasted for over three years), the Association started to plan a tour, the centrepiece of which would be a complete day spent visiting the house and gardens; with another day spent driving into the Irish Republic, to the Battle of the Boyne site where it is believed that Arnold Joost van Keppel, 1st Earl of Albemarle, KG, already highly favoured by WILLIAM III, played a role.

The group assembled at the Londonderry Arms Hotel in Carnlough, County Antrim, which was to be their base for the next four days.

The next morning they set forth to Glenarm Castle, County Antrim, seat of the McDonnells, Earls of Antrim, where they met Patricia Mackean, who lives in Northern Ireland, and her sister, Diana von Halle, two members of the group who described themselves as the "day girls" because they did not stay with the rest of the group at the Londonderry Arms hotel, nor for the whole tour.

The members were then conducted by the family butler round Glenarm Castle, which also has connections with the Vane-Tempest family through the marriage in 1799 of Anne, Countess of Antrim in her own right, to Sir Harry Vane-Tempest, father of Frances Anne, Marchioness of Londonderry.

Afterwards the group toured the enormous and immaculately maintained 18th century walled garden with its abundant tulip beds., many of which were in full bloom.

After a light lunch in the tearoom, located in the former mushroom-house, the members drove to the Giant's Causeway, where they made a brief stop at Dunluce Castle, a former seat of the Earls of Antrim.

The following day, the group set out on the long drive to the battle of the Boyne site, stopping en route at Castle Ward, ancestral seat of the Viscounts Bangor, where they were hospitably received by the National Trust caretaker, Andrea Hutton.

1st Countess of Albemarle, by Sir Godfrey Kneller. © National Trust, Mount Stewart

Thence the group continued their journey to the Boyne, where John Villiers gave a short talk on the background to the Glorious Revolution and the battle; and Charles Villiers gave an account of his recent researches into the history of the Irish properties owned by the Keppel family in the 18th and 19th centuries.


At the visitor centre the members met up again with the two "day girls" and admired an excellent exhibition comprising the weapons used at the battle and models of the principal characters involved.

On the return journey back to base the group drove to Slane Castle, County Meath, seat of the Marquess Conyngham, though, unfortunately, the main entrance was obstructed by building works and, as a consequence, the house was closed by the time they arrived.


The whole of the third day of the tour was devoted to Mount Stewart, which was, as intended, the climax of the Keppel Association's visit to Northern Ireland.

The group was first taken on an extended tour of the magnificent reception rooms, guided by Peter Lauritzen; his impressive knowledge of the history of the Londonderry family and the unimpeachable scholarship and ready wit that imbued everything he had to say about every picture, piece of furniture and objet d'art in every room made the tour a splendid example of learning worn lightly.

The Keppel Association group with their hosts outside the garden front of Mount Stewart

After a delicious luncheon served in Rose and Peter's private apartments (during which many of the group spilled out into the Italian Garden), they were taken on a tour of all the gardens by the head gardener, Neil Porteous, who proved to be as erudite and entertaining a horticulturalist and dendrologist as Peter was a historian and art historian.

This memorably enjoyable day was ended at the Londonderry Arms Hotel, where a copious, farewell dinner had been prepared.

On the final day in Northern Ireland, after a photo-call in front of the hotel, the members departed for Belfast, where they visited the Ulster Museum.

Through the good offices of William Montgomery, of Greyabbey House, the group was met by the chief curator, Kim Mawhinney.

The members admired a dozen or so pieces of Williamite glassware from the museum's collection (not on public display presently).

So ended a tour that, although the connection with the Keppels was somewhat tenuous, if not non-existent, had enough intrinsic interest to keep all the members of the Keppel Association group fully engaged; and it was greatly enhanced by the superb weather enjoyed throughout and the warm hospitality which was shown everywhere the group went.

Monday, 6 November 2017

New Twitter Address

I have changed my Twitter address and display name to @timothyferres . 

Everything else is the same and business as usual.

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Duke of Gloucester in Belfast

The Duke of Gloucester this afternoon opened the extension of the Somme Nursing Home, 121 Circular Road, Belfast, and was received by Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant of the County Borough of Belfast (Mrs Fionnuala Jay-O'Boyle CBE).

His Royal Highness later visited Ulster Museum, Botanic Gardens, Belfast, and was received by Colonel Mark Campbell CBE DL (Deputy Lieutenant of the County Borough of Belfast).

Prince Richard this evening attended the Festival of Remembrance Service at Waterfront Hall, 2 Lanyon Place, Belfast.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

New Dean of Belfast

The Board of Nomination has approved the nomination of the Venerable Stephen Forde, Archdeacon of Dalriada, in the diocese of Connor, to be appointed to the Deanery of the Cathedral Church of Saint Anne, Belfast, on the resignation of the Very Reverend John Mann.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

The Ven Stephen Forde, Rector of Larne and Inver with Glynn and Raloo, is a native of Rathfriland, County Down, and later lived in Downpatrick and attended Campbell College in Belfast.

He gained a degree in architecture at Edinburgh University before training in theology at the Church of Ireland Theology College, Dublin.

The Archdeacon was ordained in 1986 and was curate at St Mary's, Crumlin Road, Belfast, until 1989 when he was appointed Chaplain, or Dean of Residence, at the Queen's University of Belfast.

Furthermore, he was a minor canon of Belfast Cathedral, from 1989-91.

In 1995, he was appointed Rector of Booterstown and Mount Merrion in the diocese of Dublin, and during this time was Chaplain to UCD and Chaplain to Blackrock Clinic.

He returned to Connor in 1999 as Rector of Larne and Inver with Glynn and Raloo, and was appointed to the rural deanery of Carrickfergus in 2001.

The Archdeacon is married to Fiona, a staff nurse at Antrim Hospital. They have three children.

Ballyfin House

THE COOTE BARONETS WERE THE GREATEST LANDOWNERS IN THE QUEEN'S COUNTY, WITH 47,451 ACRES

This is the parent stock whence the noble houses of COOTEEarls of Mountrath, and COOTE, Barons Castle Coote, both now extinct, emanated. 

This noble family derives its origin from

SIR JOHN COOTE, a native of France, who married Isabella, the daughter and heir of the Seigneur Du Bois, of that kingdom, and had issue,

SIR JOHN COOTE, Knight, who coming into England, settled in Devon, and married a daughter of Sir John Fortescue, of that county.

His lineal descendant,

JOHN COOTE, heir to his uncle, 28th Abbot of Bury St Edmund's, wedded Margaret, daughter of Mr Drury, by whom he had four sons,
Richard;
FRANCIS, of whom we treat;
Christopher;
Nicholas.
Mr Coote's second son,

FRANCIS COOTE, of Eaton, in Norfolk, served ELIZABETH I; and by Anne, his wife, had issue,

SIR NICHOLAS COOTE, living in 1636, who had two sons,
CHARLES, his heir;
William (Very Rev), Dean of Down, 1635.
Sir Nicholas's elder son,

SIR CHARLES COOTE (1581-1642), Knight, of Castle Cuffe, Queen's County, who served in the wars against O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone, at the head, as captain of the 100th Foot Regiment, with which corps he was at the siege of Kinsale, and was appointed, by JAMES I (in consequence of the good and faithful services he had rendered to ELIZABETH I), provost-marshal of the province of Connaught for life.

In 1620, he was constituted vice-president of the same province; and created, in 1621, a baronet.

Sir Charles distinguished himself, subsequently, by many gallant exploits; but the most celebrated was the relief of Birr, in 1642.

Being dispatched, with Sir Thomas Lucas and six troops of horse, to relieve that garrison, and some other fortresses, it was necessary, in order to effect the objective, to pass the causeway broken by the rebels, who had thrown up a ditch at the end of it.

Sir Charles, leading thirty dismounted dragoons, beat the enemy, with the loss of their captain and twenty men; relieved the castles of Birr, Borris, and Knocknamase; and having continued almost forty hours on horseback, returned to the camp with the loss of only one man.

This is the surprising passage through Mountrath woods which justly caused the title of MOUNTRATH to be entailed upon his son,

Sir Charles, who married Dorothea, youngest daughter and co-heir of Hugh Cuffe, of Cuffe's Wood, County Cork, and had issue,
CHARLES, his heir;
Chidley, of Killester, Co Dublin;
Richard, ancestor of the EARL OF BELLAMONT;
Thomas, of Coote Hill;
Letitia.
Sir Charles being slain in a sally to protect the town of Trim, in 1642, was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR CHARLES COOTE (c1610-61), 2nd Baronet, who was elevated to the peerage, in 1661, as Baron Coote, Viscount Coote, and EARL OF MOUNTRATH; and the baronetcy merged in the superior dignity, until the demise of

CHARLES HENRY (1725-1802), 7th Earl, without male issue, when the earldom expired.

A new barony, that of Castle Coote, which his lordship obtained, passed accordingly and ceased likewise, in 1827; while the ancient baronetcy reverted to 

SIR CHARLES HENRY COOTE, 9th Baronet (1792-1864), of Ballyfin, great-grandson of the Rev Chidley Coote DD, lineal descendant of Chidley Coote, by his second wife, Eliza Anne.


*****

Sir Algernon Charles Plumptre Coote, 12th Baronet (1847–1920), was Lord-Lieutenant of Queen's County, 1900-20.

Sir Ralph Algernon Coote (1874-1941), 13th Baronet, was the last representative of his line to occupy Ballyfin House.

Thereafter the estate was purchased by the Irish Land Commission, while the noble mansion and portion of the demesne were acquired in 1930 by the Patrician Order, a distinguished Irish teaching brotherhood long associated with successful educational work in the district.

The 14th Baronet, Rear-Admiral Sir John, CB CBE DSC, was Director of Naval Ordnance, 1955-58. 

Sir Christopher John Coote, 15th Baronet (b 1928) is married and lives in Wiltshire.


BALLYFIN HOUSE, situated at the foot of the Slieve Bloom mountains near Mountrath in County Laois, is stated to be "the grandest and most lavishly appointed early 19th century Classical house in Ireland" (Bence-Jones). 

The mansion was built between 1821-26 for Sir Charles Coote, 9th Baronet, replacing a house of 1778 which belonged to William Wellesley-Pole, 3rd Earl of Mornington and brother of the 1st Duke of Wellington.



Sir Charles purchased the estate from Wellesley-Pole about 1812 and apparently employed an architect called Madden to design the initial phase of Ballyfin; then switched to the Morrisons.

Ballyfin is a two-storey maansion house with a long library running at one side from front to back, extending into a curved bow in the centre of the side elevation, containing a top-lit rotunda.

The library wing is of one bay on either side of the central curved bow, fronted by a colonnade of large Ionic columns. 

The side elevation is prolonged by an elegantly-curving glass and iron conservatory of about 1850.




The principal front consists of thirteen bays with a massive Ionic, pedimented portico; the two end bays on either side being stepped back.

The interior is quite magnificent and exquisitely furnished, with a riot of notable effects and a wealth of heavy, opulent plasterwork; Scagliola columns in Siena, porphyry, green and black; inlaid parquetry floors.




The saloon is flanked by the rotunda (above), which is surrounded by Ionic columns and has a coffered dome.

The entrance hall is said to be more constrained, with a coffered ceiling and a mosaic Roman floor. 

This leads into the splendid top-lit saloon in the centre of the mansion, which boasts a coved ceiling adorned with superlative plasterwork and a screen of Corinthian columns at either end.

The drawing-room has a typical Morrison ceiling and gilded Louis Quinze on the walls of ca 1840s.

Today the demesne comprises 600 acres of parkland, a lake and ancient woods, delightful garden buildings, follies and grottoes.

The landscape, laid out in the 18th century, is among the finest examples in Ireland of the natural style of gardening inspired by ‘Capability’ Brown.

Ballyfin House was formerly the Patrician College.

Patrician College Ballyfin operated from 1930 to 2009.

Sir Ralph Algernon Coote (1874-1941), 13th Baronet, was the last representative of his line to occupy Ballyfin House.

Thereafter the estate was purchased by the Irish Land Commission, while the noble mansion and portion of the demesne were acquired in 1930 by the Patrician Order, a distinguished Irish teaching brotherhood long associated with successful educational work in the district. 

Its architectural beauty has, however, been carefully preserved, and nothing has been lost in the change of ownership to deteriorate from the graceful lines of the building that Sir Charles Coote, 9th Baronet, expended a fortune in perfecting.

The Patrician Order sold the estate in 2009.

Among other features are a medieval-style tower, built as a folly in the 1860s and said to command a view of seven counties; and walled gardens.

First published in May, 2011.  Images of Ballyfin House courtesy of Ballyfin Demesne.

Friday, 27 October 2017

Potato Farls

Like Ulster potato bread or farls?

I devour it like nobody's business.

I came across this delightful video clip of Rosemary demonstrating how she makes it:-

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Bessborough House

THE EARLS OF BESSBOROUGH WERE THE SECOND LARGEST LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY KILKENNY, WITH 23,967 ACRES

This ancient and noble family derives its origin from Picardy, in France.

Their ancestor accompanied William, Duke of Normandy, in his expedition to England, and his descendants established their residence at Haile, near Whitehaven, in Cumberland.

They assumed their surname from the lordship of Ponsonby, in Cumberland.

The office of Barber to the King was conferred upon them about the same time as the Earl of Arran's ancestor was appointed Butler.

JOHN PONSONBY, of Haile Hall, was great-grandfather of

SIR JOHN PONSONBY (c1609-78), Knight, of Haile, Colonel of a regiment of horse in the service of CROMWELL, who wedded Dorothy, daughter of John Brisco, of Crofton, Cumberland, and had by her a son, JOHN, ancestor of MILES PONSONBY, of Haile.

Sir John married secondly, Elizabeth, daughter of Henry, 1st Baron Folliott, and widow of Richard, son and heir of Sir Edward Wingfield, and by her had issue, from which derives the family of which we are about to treat.

Colonel Ponsonby, removing himself into Ireland, was appointed one of the commissioners for taking the depositions of the Protestants, concerning murders said to have been committed during the war, and was Sheriff of counties Wicklow and Kilkenny in 1654.

He represented the latter county in the first parliament called after the Restoration; had two grants of lands under the acts of settlement, and, by accumulating debentures, left a very considerable fortune.

Sir John was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR HENRY PONSONBY, Knight, at whose decease, in the reign of WILLIAM III, without issue, the estates devolved upon his brother,

THE RT HON WILLIAM PONSONBY (1659-1724), of Bessborough, MP for County Kilkenny in the reigns of ANNE and GEORGE I.

This gentleman was sworn of the Privy Council in 1715, and elevated to the peerage by the title of Baron Bessborough in 1721.

His lordship was advanced to a viscountcy, in 1723, as Viscount Duncannon.

He married Mary, sister of Brabazon Moore, of Ardee, County Louth, and had, with six daughters, three sons,
BRABAZON, his heir;
Henry, major-general;
Folliott.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

BRABAZON, 2nd Viscount (1679-1758), who was advanced to an earldom, in 1739, as EARL OF BESSBOROUGH; and created a peer of Great Britain, 1749, as Baron Ponsonby of Sysonsby, Leicestershire.

His lordship wedded firstly, Sarah, widow of Hugh Colville, and daughter of James Margetson (son and heir of the Most Rev James Margetson, Lord Archbishop of Armagh), and had issue,
WILLIAM, his successor;
John, Speaker of the Irish House of Commons;
Richard;
Sarah, m to Edward, 5th Earl of Drogheda;
Anne, m to Benjamin Burton;
Elizabeth, m to Rt Hon Sir W Fownes Bt;
Letitia, m to Hervey, Viscount Mountmorres.
The 1st Earl espoused secondly, in 1733, Elizabeth, eldest daughter and co-heir of John Sankey, of Tenelick, County Longford (and widow of Sir John King, and of John Moore, Lord Tullamore), but by that lady had no issue.

He was succeeded by his elder son,

WILLIAM, 2nd Earl (1704-93), who married, in 1739, Lady Caroline Cavendish, eldest daughter of William, Duke of Devonshire, and had surviving issue,
FREDERICK, his successor;
Catherine, m to Aubrey, 5th Duke of St Albans;
Charlotte, m to William, 4th Earl Fitzwilliam.
His lordship was succeeded by his only son,

FREDERICK, 3rd Earl (1758-1844), who wedded, in 1780, Henrietta Frances, second daughter of John, 1st Earl Spencer, by whom he had issue,
JOHN WILLIAM, his successor;
Frederick Cavendish (Sir);
William Francis, 1st Baron de Mauley;
Caroline.
The heir apparent is the present holder's son, Frederick Arthur William Ponsonby, styled Viscount Duncannon.

BESSBOROUGH HOUSE is located in Kildalton near Piltown in County Kilkenny.

It was first built in 1745 by Francis Bindon for the 1st Earl of Bessborough.

Bessborough House, as stated by Mark Bence-Jones, consists of a centre block of two storeys over a basement joined to two-storey wings by curved sweeps.


The entrance front has nine bays; a three-bay pedimented breakfront with a niche above the pedimented Doric doorway.

The roof parapet has urns, while the basement is rusticated; perron and double stairway with ironwork railings in front of the entrance door.

The Hall has a screen of Ionic columns made of Kilkenny marble. The Saloon has a ceiling of Rococo plasterwork; and a notable chimney-piece.

Bessborough House had to be rebuilt in 1929 after it was burned down in 1923.

The Ponsonbys never returned to the house after this.


In 1940, the Oblate Fathers established a seminary at Bessborough House.

The Oblates worked their own bakery, and farmed dairy cows, poultry, cattle, pigs, sheep. They grew potatoes, grain and other crops.

They also had a very good orchard.

Alas, the great mansion has been altered and added-to since the Ponsonbys left: The urns have been removed from the parapet and are now at Belline.

From 1941 to 1971, 360 priests were ordained in Bessborough House, Kildalton.

By 1970, numbers joining the order had fallen and the Oblates decided to sell the property.

It was bought for £250,000 by the Irish Department of Agriculture in 1971.

It was then opened as an agricultural and horticultural college and renamed Kildalton College.

Other seats ~ Parkstead House, Surrey; Sysonby, Leicestershire; Stansted Park, West Sussex.

First published in September, 2011.  Bessborough arms courtesy of European Heraldry.