Saturday, 30 September 2017

Freemen of Belfast: 1911-19


14  Gustav Wilhelm Wolff ~ 1911

15  Sir Joseph Larmor Kt ~ 1912

16  Sir Almroth Edward Wright KBE CB ~ 1912

17  Sir James Henderson DL ~ 1912

18  Whitelaw Reid ~ 1912

19  Robert James McMordie QC ~ 1914

20  Mrs Julia McMordie CBE ~ 1914

21  The Rt Hon Edward Henry Baron Carson, PC ~ 1914

22  The Rt Hon Sir Crawford McCullagh Bt ~ 1917

23  Lady McCullagh ~ 1917

24  Henry Musgrave DL ~ 1917

25  Sir William Quartus Ewart Bt JP DL ~ 1917

26  The Rt Hon John Denton Pinkstone Earl of Ypres KP GCB OM GCVO KCMG PC ~ 1918

27  Sir Henry Hughes Wilson Bt GCB DSO ~ 1919

28  The Most Hon Charles Stewart Henry Marquess of Londonderry KG MVO PC ~ 1919

First published in August, 2012. 

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Mobile-Friendly Blog

Following a prompt from Google, I have amended the blog settings to enable a more mobile-friendly appearance on mobile phones.

I hope those readers who tend to follow me on their smartphones will notice a difference.

I’m grateful to Google for bringing this feature to my attention.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Drumboe Castle


This family had been settled in Ireland from the period of the civil wars, during the reign of CHARLES I, when Edmund Hayes went over with Cromwell's party, and attained the rank of Colonel in his army; but whether he was English or Scots ancestry is uncertain.

CHALLIS HAYES, son of Challis Hayes, of Bridgwater, Somerset, Vice-Consul at Lisbon, married Miss Deborah Holditch, of Totnes, Devon.

Mr Hayes was murdered by his servant at Lisbon in 1737, and left an only surviving son,

SAMUEL HAYES, who married Mary, daughter and heiress of William Basil, of Drumboe Castle, County Donegal, and of Wilton Park, Buckinghamshire, and had issue,
SAMUEL, his heir;
Mary; Frances.
The only son,

SAMUEL HAYES (1737-1807), MP for Augher, 1783-90, married Mary, daughter of William Basil (previously Ball), of Wilton Park, Buckinghamshire, and Drumboe Castle.

Mr Hayes was created a baronet in 1789, denominated of Drumboe Castle, County Donegal.

Sir Samuel was succeeded by his son,

SIR SAMUEL HAYES, 2nd Baronet (1773-1827), of Drumboe Castle, who married, in 1803, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Thomas Lighton Bt, and had issue,
EDMUND SAMUEL, his heir;
Anne; Harriet; Mary.
Sir Samuel was succeeded by his only son,

SIR EDMUND SAMUEL HAYES, 3rd Baronet (1806-60), of Drumboe Castle, MP for County Donegal, 1831-60, founding member of the Carlton Club, who wedded, in 1837, Emily, daughter of Hon Hercules Robert Pakenham, son of Edward, 2nd Lord Longford.

His eldest son and heir,

SIR SAMUEL HERCULES HAYES, 4th Baronet (1840-1901), of Drumboe Castle, High Sheriff of County Donegal, 1884-7, wedded, in 1878, Alice Anne, daughter of James, 4th Viscount Lifford and had issue, a daughter, Alice Emily Hayes.

Sir Samuel died without male issue, when the title devolved upon his brother,

SIR EDMUND FRANCIS HAYES, 5th and last baronet (1850-1912), of Drumboe Castle, who inherited the family estate in 1901 on the death of his brother, Sir Samuel, 4th Baronet.

He married Alice Isabella, daughter of Judge Wilkinson, of Sydney, Australia, in 1900.

Sir Edmund died at Drumboe Castle.

On his death the baronetcy became extinct.

Lady Hayes died in 1943 from injuries sustained after stepping in front of a tramcar, in 1943, in Sydney.

DRUMBOE CASTLE, near Stranorlar, County Donegal, was a Georgian house comprising a three-storey centre with a three-sided centre bow and pillared porch; and bow-ended wings.

There was a Wyatt window on either side of the centre bow.

In 1622, Robert Redington sold the estate at Ballybofey to Sir Ralph Bingley.

Bingley erected the original Drumboe Castle, which had four large towers.

Its location protected a ford across the river.

After the death of Sir Ralph, his widow, Jane, and Robert Harrington took charge until 1641, when it was granted to Sir William Bazil, Attorney-General for Ireland.

A descendent of Sir William Bazil was William Basil (formerly William Ball), who married Frances Dowdeswell ca 1736.

Their daughter, Mary Basil, married Sir Samuel Hayes Bt and through this marriage it became the home of the Hayes Baronets, of Drumboe Castle, from 1789 until 1912.

It became the General Headquarters for the forces of the Irish Free State in County Donegal during the Irish Civil War.

It is infamous for being the location of the Drumboe massacre during the Irish Civil War.

The house has been ruinous since 1945.

First published in July, 2013.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Castle Bernard


The house of BERNARD, Earls of Bandon, derives, according to Thomas Hawley, Norroy King of Arms, from SIR THEOPHILUS, a valiant knight of German descent who, in 1066, accompanied WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR into England.

This Theophilus was son of Sir Egerette, and father of

SIR DORBARD BERNARD, the first of his family surnamed BERNARD.

His descendants settled at Acornbank in Westmorland, and in the counties of Yorkshire and Northamptonshire.

Among these we find Robert FitzBernard, who accompanied HENRY II to Ireland, and who, on the King's departure, had Wexford and Waterford committed to his custody.

SIR FRANCIS BERNARD, of Acornbank (the lineal descendant of Sir Dorbard), married Hannah, daughter of Sir John Pilkington, and was grandfather of

SIR HENRY BERNARD, Knight, who married Anne, daughter of Sir John Dawson, of Westmorland, and had four sons, ROBERT, William, Francis, and Charles.

FRANCIS BERNARD, the third son, removed to Ireland during ELIZABETH I's reign and purchased considerable estates.

He died leaving issue, besides two daughters, a son, 

FRANCIS BERNARD, Lord of the manor of Castle Bernard, who married Elizabeth, daughter of Arthur Freke, of Rathbarry Castle (ancestor of Lord Carbery).

Mr Bernard was killed while defending his castle from an attack of the rebel forces, and left issue, with four daughters, all married, two sons,
FRANCIS, his heir;
Arthur, born in 1666.
The elder son,

FRANCIS BERNARD (1663-1731), was attainted by JAMES II’s parliament, but was restored to his estates by WILLIAM and MARY.

He was appointed Solicitor-General for Ireland by QUEEN ANNE, Prime Sergeant, and a judge of the Court of Common Pleas.

Mr Bernard represented Bandon and Clonakilty in parliament.

He wedded, in 1697, Alice, daughter of Stephen Ludlow, ancestor of the Earls Ludlow, and grandson of Sir Henry Ludlow, of Maiden Bradley, Wiltshire (whose eldest son was the famous General Ludlow), by whom he left at his decease,
FRANCIS, his heir;
Stephen, of Prospect Hall;
North Ludlow, father of JAMES BERNARD;
Elizabeth, m 3rd Viscount Charlemont.
The eldest son,

FRANCIS BERNARD MP (1698-1783), of Castle Bernard, and Bassingbourne Hall, Essex, espoused, in 1722, the Lady Anne Petty, only daughter of Henry, Earl of Shelburne; but died without surviving issue, when he was succeeded by his nephew,

JAMES BERNARD (1729-90), of Castle Bernard, son of North Ludlow Bernard, Member in several parliaments for County Cork, who married, in 1752, Esther, daughter of Percy Smyth, and heiress of her brother, William Smyth, of Headborough, and widow of Robert Gookin, and had issue,
FRANCIS, his heir;
Rose; Esther; Mary; Charlotte; Elizabeth.
The only son,

FRANCIS BERNARD, was elevated to the peerage, in 1793, as Baron Bandon; and advanced to a viscountcy, in 1795, as Viscount Bandon.

His lordship was further advanced, in 1800, to the dignities of Viscount Bernard and EARL OF BANDON.

He wedded, in 1784, Catherine Henrietta, only daughter of Richard, 2nd Earl of Shannon, and had issue,
JAMES, his successor;
Richard Boyle (Very Rev), Dean of Leighlin;
William Smyth;
Henry Boyle;
Charles Ludlow;
Catherine Henrietta; Charlotte Esther; Louisa Anne.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES, 2nd Earl (1785-1856), who married, in 1809, Mary Susan Albinia, eldest daughter of the Hon and Most Rev Dr Charles Brodrick, Lord Archbishop of Cashel, and had issue,
FRANCIS, his successor;
Charles Brodrick;
Henry Boyle;
Catherine Henrietta.
The 4th Earl was the last Lord-Lieutenant of County Cork, from 1877 until 1922.

CASTLE BERNARD, near Bandon, County Cork, was re-modelled by Francis Bernard, 1st Viscount Bandon and afterwards 1st Earl of Bandon.

He pulled down the two early 18th century fronts in 1798 and began building a new house alongside the old O'Mahony castle, which was joined by a corridor.

It was of two storeys with a nine-bay entrance front overlooking the River Bandon; and a garden front of three bays on either side of a deep curved central bow. 

It was altered and enlarged in Gothic style in the mid-19th century.

Castle Bernard became known as one of the most hospitable houses in Ireland and the house parties held by the 4th Earl and Countess were said to have been legendary.

In an early morning raid on the 21st June, 1921, an IRA gang, under Sean Hales, called at the Castle.

They intended to kidnap Lord Bandon, but "Buckshot" Bandon and his staff had taken refuge in the cellars.

Apparently disappointed in the first object of their call, the IRA decided to burn the house.

Hales was heard to say, "well the bird has flown, so we'll burn the nest".

At that, Lord Bandon and his party appeared from the cellars but it was too late, the fire had started. 

Ironically the IRA carefully took out all the furniture and piled it on the lawn before setting the building on fire.

Lady Bandon had to sit and watch the flames for some hours.

When the flames were at their height, she suddenly stood up in her nightgown and sang God Save the King as loudly as possible, which disconcerted the incendiaries, but while they may not have stood to attention, they let her have her say and did nothing about it.

Lord Bandon was then kidnapped by a local IRA gang and held hostage for three weeks, being released on 12th July.

The IRA threatened to have him executed if the authorities went ahead with executing IRA prisoners of war.

During his captivity, Bandon coolly played cards with his captors, who treated him well.

Tom Barry later stated he believed the kidnapping helped move HM Government towards the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921 and the cessation of hostilities.

The elderly Lord Bandon never recovered from the experience and died in 1924.

Some years later, when the last of the IRA burning party died, the 4th Earl was asked to go to the funeral, which he did - in full funeral attire of top hat and morning coat.

Castle Bernard continued to be the home of the 5th Earl and Countess: they built a small house within the Castle boundary walls.

The 5th Earl died in 1979 and, as he had no heir, the titles became extinct.

Lady Bandon died in 1999, aged 102. 

Lady Jennifer Bernard, who inherited the property, lived on the grounds of the castle until she died in 2010.

A modern house was built a short distance from the ruin by the 5th Earl in the 1960s and the uncontrolled growth of trees and ivy gives the building its romantic character. 

There is a huge high window in the curved stairwell which would have been a magnificent feature in its day.

Above the grand doorway and grass covered steps are a fine carved crest and standards. 

Several of the attractive stone window frames are still more or less intact which adds to the appeal of this splendid ruin.

Percy, 5th Earl, GBE CB CVO DSO, Air Chief Marshal, was one of the most senior officers in the RAF. 

In his retirement the 5th Earl discovered the pleasures of fishing, particularly in the River Bandon which was well stocked with salmon, and in shooting, snipe and woodcock found in large numbers near Castle Bernard.

He was also developing an enthusiastic skill as a gardener with a particular knowledge of rhododendrons.

The 5th Earl died on 8 February 1979 at Bon Secours Hospital in County Cork aged 74 and without male issue.

Consequently on his death all the titles became extinct.

He was survived by Lois, Lady Bandon and the two daughters from his first marriage, Lady Jennifer Jane Bernard, of Castle Bernard (b 1935) and Lady Frances Elizabeth Bernard (b 1943).

A portrait in oils (painted 1969) of Lord Bandon, in his uniform as an Air Chief Marshal together with his robes as a peer of the realm, hangs in the main dining hall at the Royal Air Force College, Cranwell.

First published in August, 2011.  Bandon arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Kilrush House


GILES VANDELEUR settled at Rathlahine, County Clare, in 1660, and was one of the commissioners for allotting quit-rents in Ireland.

He married Elizabeth, daughter of Colonel Sir John Jephson MP, of Mallow, by Elizabeth his wife, daughter of Francis, 1st Viscount Shannon (4th son of Richard, 1st Earl of Cork), and had issue,
James, of Blane, who left issue;
JOHN, of whom presently;
The second son,

THE REV JOHN VANDELEUR, of Cragg, County Clare, Rector of Kilrush, County Clare, seating himself at Kilrush in 1687, wedded Elizabeth, daughter and co-heir of Thomas Crofton, of Inchirourke, County Limerick, by whom he left, besides a younger son, Thomas, an elder son,

JOHN VANDELEUR, of Kilrush, who married Frances, daughter of John Ormsby, of Cloghans, County Mayo; and had issue,
CROFTON, his heir;
John Ormsby, of Maddenstown;
Richard, of Rutland, father of General Sir J O Vandeleur GCB;
Mr Vandeleur died in 1754, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

CROFTON VANDELEUR, of Kilrush, who wedded, in 1765, Alice, daughter of Thomas Burton (uncle of Francis P Burton, 2nd Lord Conyngham), of Buncraggy, by Dorothy his wife, daughter of the Rt Hon John Forster, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas for Ireland, and had issue,
JOHN ORMSBY, his heir;
Thomas Burton, a judge;
Crofton, major-general;
Richard, army major;
Frederick, army captain;
William Richard (Rev);
Dorothy; Alice; Emily; Frances.
The eldest son,

THE RT HON JOHN ORMSBY VANDELEUR (1765-1828), Commissioner of the Customs for Ireland, MP for Ennis, 1802, married the Lady Frances Moore, daughter of Charles, 1st Marquess of Drogheda, and had issue,
CROFTON MOORE, his heir;
Henry Seymour Moore;
Anna Frances; Alice.
The Rt Hon J O Vandeleur was succeeded by his elder son,

CROFTON MOORE VANDELEUR JP DL (1808-81), of Kilrush House, Colonel, Clare Regiment of Militia, High Sheriff, 1832, MP for Clare, 1859-74, who married, in 1832, the Lady Grace Graham-Toler, second daughter of Hector John, 2nd Earl of Norbury, and had issue,
Crofton Toler;
John Ormsby Moore;
Elizabeth Frances; Frances Letitia; Grace Dorothea.
Colonel Vandeleur was succeeded by his eldest son,

HECTOR STEWART VANDELEUR (1836-1909), of Kilrush House, Lord-Lieutenant of County Clare, High Sheriff, 1873, who married, in 1867, Charlotte, eldest daughter of William Orme Foster MP, of Apsley Park, Shropshire, and had issue,
Cecil Foster Seymour, DSO (1869-1901), k/a;
Isabel Grace; Evelyn Norah.
His only surviving son,

ALEXANDER MOORE VANDELEUR JP (1883-1914), of Kilrush, and Cahiracon, Captain, The Life Guards, espoused, in 1910, Violet Ethel, eldest daughter of Henry Meysey, 1st Lord Knaresborough.

Captain Vandeleur was killed in action, aged 30, during the 1st World War.

He left issue,


KILRUSH HOUSE, County Clare, was an early Georgian house of 1808.

From 1881 until Kilrush House was burnt in 1897, Hector Stewart Vandeleur lived mainly in London and only spent short periods each year in Kilrush.

Indeed during the years 1886-90, which coincided with the period of the greatest number of evictions from the Vandeleur estate, he does not appear to have visited Kilrush.

In 1889, Hector bought Cahircon House and then it was only a matter of time before the Vandeleurs moved to Cahircon as, in 1896, they were organising shooting parties at Kilrush House and also at the Cahircon demesne. 

Hector Stewart Vandeleur was the last of the Vandeleurs to be buried at Kilrush in the family mausoleum.

Cahircon House was sold in 1920, ending the Kilrush Vandeleurs' direct association with County Clare.

Hector Vandeleur had, by 1908, agreed to sell the Vandeleur estate to the tenants for approximately twenty years' rent, and the majority of the estate was purchased by these tenants.


THE VANDELEURS, as landlords, lost lands during the Land Acts and the family moved to Cahircon, near Kildysart.

In 1897, Kilrush House was badly damaged by fire.

During the Irish Land Commission of the 1920s, the Department of Forestry took over the estate, planted trees in the demesne and under their direction the remains of the house were removed in 1973, following an accident in the ruins.

Today the top car park is laid over the site of the house.

Vandeleur Walled Garden now forms a small part of the former Kilrush demesne.

The Kilrush demesne was purchased by the Irish Department of Agriculture as trustee under the Irish Land Acts solely for the purpose of forestry.

The Kilrush Committee for Urban Affairs purchased the Fair Green and Market House.
The demesne, now Kilrush Wood, lies to the east of the town.

The remains of Kilrush House were demolished in 1973.

The site is now a car park and picnic area and all the original stones from the house are now underneath this area.
A number of street names in the town of Kilrush are named after the Vandeleurs: Frances Street after Lady Frances, wife of Hon John Ormsby Vandeleur; Grace Street after Lady Grace Vandeleur; Hector Street after Hector Stewart, son of Crofton Moore; Moore Street after a common family name of the Vandeleurs, probably after Lady Frances Moore, wife of John Ormsby Vandeleur; Burton Street after Thomas Burton Vandeleur.
Former town residence ~ 50 Rutland Gate, London.

First published in July, 2011.

Saturday, 16 September 2017


Her Majesty ELIZABETH I, Queen of England, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Virginia Park



THOMAS TAYLOR, of Ringmer, Sussex, died in 1629, and was succeeded by his son,

JOHN TAYLOR, of Battle, Sussex, who died in 1638, leaving an only son,

THOMAS TAYLOR, who removed to Ireland, in 1653, in the train of Sir William Petty, in order to undertake the Down Survey, in which kingdom, he purchased lands in 1660, of which the town and townlands of Kells formed a portion, having disposed of his estates in England.

After the Restoration, he was appointed one of the sub-commissioners of the court of claims.

In 1669-70, he was deputy receiver-general under Sir George Carteret, and immediately before his death he officiated as vice-treasurer and treasurer-at-war.

Mr Taylor married, in 1658, Anne, daughter of William Axtell, of Berkhamstead, Hertfordshire, and had one surviving son, THOMAS, his heir, and one daughter, Anne, married to Sir Nicholas Acheson Bt.

He died in 1682, and was succeeded by his son,

THE RT HON THOMAS TAYLOR (1662-1736), who was created a baronet, 1704, and sworn of the Privy Council in 1726.

Sir Thomas wedded Anne, daughter of Sir Robert Cotton Bt, of Combermere, and had issue,
THOMAS, his heir;
Robert (Very Rev), Dean of Clonfert;
Henrietta; Salisbury; Anne.
Sir Thomas was succeeded by his eldest son,

THE RT HON SIR THOMAS TAYLOR (1657-96), 2nd Baronet, MP, Privy Counsellor, who married Mary, daughter of John Graham, of Platten, County Meath, and left, with a daughter, Henrietta, an only son, 

SIR THOMAS TAYLOR, 3rd Baronet (1724-95), KP, PC, MP, who wedded, in 1754, Jane, eldest daughter of the Rt Hon Hercules Langford Rowley, by Elizabeth, Viscountess Langford, and had issue,
THOMAS, his successor;
Robert, a general in the army;
Clotworthy, created Baron Langford;
Henry Edward, in holy orders;
Sir Thomas was elevated to the peerage, in 1760, as Baron Headfort; advanced to a viscountcy, in 1762, as Viscount Headfort; and further advanced to the dignity of an earldom, in 1766, as Earl of Bective.

His lordship was installed, in 1783, a Founder Knight of the Most Illustrious Order of St Patrick (KP), and sworn of the Privy Council of Ireland.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

THOMAS, 2nd Earl (1757-1829), who espoused, in 1778, Mary, only daughter and heir of George Quin, of Quinsborough, County Clare, and had issue,
THOMAS, his successor;
Mary; Elizabeth Jane.
His lordship was created, in 1800, MARQUESS OF HEADFORT.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

THOMAS, 2nd Marquess, KP (1787-1870), KP, MP for co Meath, 1812-29, Lord Lieutenant of County Cavan, 1831-70, who wedded firstly, in 1822, Olivia, daughter of Sir John Stevenson, and had issue,
THOMAS, his successor;
John Henry;
Olivia; Mary Juliana; Virginia Frances Zerlina.
His lordship espoused secondly, in 1853, Frances, daughter of John Livingstone Martyn.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

THOMAS, 3rd Marquess, KP PC (1822-94), High Sheriff of County Meath, 1844, and Cavan, 1846, who espoused firstly, in 1842, Amelia, only child of William Thompson MP, and had issue,
Evelyn Amelia; Madeline Olivia Susan; Adelaide Louisa Jane; Isabel Frances; Florence Jane.
His lordship married secondly, in 1875, Emily Constantia, daughter of the Hon Eustace John Wilson-Patten, and had issue,
GEOFFREY THOMAS, his successor;
The 3rd Marquess was succeeded by his surviving son,

GEOFFREY THOMAS, 4th Marquess (1878-1943), Senator of the Irish Free State, 1922-28, who wedded, in 1901, Rose, daughter of Charles Boote, and had issue,
William Desmond;
Millicent Olivia Mary.
His lordship was succeeded by his elder son,

TERENCE GEOFFREY THOMAS, 5th Marquess (1902-60),

The heir apparent is the present holder's son, Thomas Rupert Charles Christopher Taylour, styled Earl of Bective (b 1989).
The Taylour family became very much involved in the political life of the locality, and several members of the family served as MPs for Kells and the county of Meath.

They were also a "Patrick Family", the 1st Earl, and 1st, 2nd and 3rd Marquesses all having been appointed Knights of St Patrick.

His seat, Headfort House, in County Meath, was the only Adam house in Ireland.

In 1901 the 4th Marquess, an eminent horticulturist, caused a sensation when he converted to Rome to marry a showgirl called Rosie Boote.

A figure of great dignity, she remained the dominant personality in the family during young Michael's youth and early adult life.

Virginia, in the county of Cavan, was named after ELIZABETH I, "the Virgin Queen".

It owes its origin to the plantation of Ulster in 1609.

The lands eventually passed into the possession of Lucas Plunkett, Earl of Bective, a Roman Catholic, who was later created Earl of Fingall.

It can also be said that Lucas Plunkett, along with his son Christopher, frustrated the plans of the Government to proceed with the development of the town and its incorporation during his tenure.

He was sympathetic to the rebel Irish and sided with them against the planters during the 1641 Rebellion and the Williamite Wars of 1688-91, earning him the label of 'traitor'.

Consequently it fell to Thomas, 1st Marquess of Headfort, and his successors, to fulfil the patent in relation to the development of the town in the second half of the 18th century and 19th century - the patent which was originally granted to Captain Ridgeway in 1612.

Lord Headfort maintained a beautiful park beside Lough Ramor, where he had a hunting lodge (above) in plain, rambling, Picturesque cottage style; a two-storey house with a three-bay centre and single-storey, three-bay wings.

The family often stayed here during the summer or autumn months, between 1750 and 1939.

The former hunting lodge is now a hotel, located on the shores of Lough Ramor.

First published in July, 2011.  Headfort arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Borris House


In ancient times the ancestors of this eminent house were monarchs of all Ireland, and at the period of the invasion of that country by HENRY II, were Kings of Leinster.

The family bore the name of MacMORROUGH; in 1171, that of KAVANAGH was given to Donell, son of Dermot MacMorrough; and from him was continued to his descendants.

Dermot MacMorrough's daughter, Eva, wedded Strongbow, Earl of Pembroke.

In the reign of PHILIP and MARY,

CAHIR MAC ART KAVANAGH was created Baron of Ballyanne for life.

He married Cecilia, daughter of Gerald, 9th Earl of Kildare, Lord Deputy of Ireland, by the Lady Elizabeth Grey his wife, daughter of Thomas, 1st Marquess of Dorset, and died in 1554, leaving a son,

BRYAN KAVANAGH, of Borris, who wedded Elinor, daughter of Sir Thomas Colclough, Knight, of Tintern Abbey.

He died in 1662, leaving a son,

MORGAN KAVANAGH, of Borris, who married Frances, daughter Sir Lawrence Esmonde, 2nd Baronet, of Ballytrammon, and had issue,
BRYAN, his heir;
Charles, general in the Austrian Service and Governor of Prague;
The eldest son,

BRYAN KAVANAGH (1699-1741), of Borris, espoused Mary, daughter of Thomas Butler, of Kilcash, and sister of the 15th (de jure) Earl of Ormonde, and had (with six daughters), a son,

THOMAS KAVANAGH (1727-90), of Borris, MP for the city of Kilkenny in the last Irish parliament, and subsequently representative for the same county in the last two parliaments of GEORGE IV and WILLIAM IV.

Mr Kavanagh married, in 1755, the Lady Susanna Butler, sister of John, 17th Earl of Ormonde, and had issue,
THOMAS, of whom presently;
Helena; Mary; Honora.
The fourth son, and eventual inheritor,

THOMAS KAVANAGH (1767-1837), of Borris House, MP for the City of Kilkenny in the last Irish parliament, and subsequently MP for County Carlow in the last two parliaments of GEORGE IV and first of WILLIAM IV, espoused firstly, in 1799, the Lady Elizabeth Butler, daughter of John, 17th Earl of Ormonde, and had issue,
Walter, d 1836;
Anne; Susanna.
He married secondly, in 1825, the Lady Harriet Margaret Le Poer Trench, daughter of Richard, 2nd Earl of Clancarty, and had issue,
Thomas (1829-52);
CHARLES, of whom hereafter;
ARTHUR, succeeded his brother;
Mr Kavanagh was succeeded by his second son,

CHARLES KAVANAGH (1829-53), of Borris, who died unmarried, and was succeeded by his brother,

THE RT HON ARTHUR MacMORROUGH KAVANAGH JP (1831-89), of Borris, Lord-Lieutenant of County Carlow, High Sheriff of County Kilkenny, 1856, and of County Carlow, 1857, who espoused, in 1855, Frances Mary, only surviving child of the Rev J F Leathley, and had issue,
WALTER, his heir;
Arthur Thomas;
Charles Toler (Lt-Gen Sir),
Eva Frances; May Sabena; Agnes Mary.
Mr Kavanagh was succeeded by his eldest son,

THE RT HON WALTER MacMORROUGH KAVANAGH JP DL (1856-1922), of Borris, High Sheriff, 1884, High Sheriff, County Wexford, 1893, MP for Carlow, 1908-10, who married, in 1887, Helen Louisa, daughter of Colonel John Stanley Howard, and had issue,
Dermot MacMorrough (Colonel Sir), GCVO.
Captain Kavanagh was succeeded by his elder son,

ARTHUR THOMAS MacMORROUGH KAVANAGH MC (1888-1953), Major, Queen's Own Hussars, who wedded, in 1914, Minna Alice, daughter of Samuel Gurney Buxton, and had issue,
Mary Clare;
Eva Helen MacMorrough.
The second daughter,

JOANNE KAVANAGH (1915-), married firstly, in 1936, Gerald, 8th Duke of Leinster (divorced), and had issue,
Pamela Hermione;
Rosemary Anne;
She wedded secondly, in 1947, Lieutenant-Colonel Archibald Macalpine-Downie, and had issue,

ANDREW McMORROUGH MacALPINE-DOWNIE (1948-), whose surname was legally changed to KAVANAGH, by Deed Poll.

BORRIS HOUSE, Borris, County Carlow, is the ancestral home of the MacMorrough Kavanaghs.

Borris is one of the few Irish estates that can trace its history back to the royal families of ancient Ireland.

Set today in over 650 acres of walled private park and woodlands, Borris House retains its place as the centrepiece of the locality.

Originally an important castle guarding the River Barrow, Borris House was rebuilt in 1731 and later altered by the Morrisons, chiefly Richard and William.

Externally, they clothed the 18th century house in a thin Tudor-Gothic disguise, adding a crenellated arcaded porch on the entrance and decorating the windows with rectangular and oval hood-moulds.

Inside the mansion they created an exuberant series of rooms, beginning with the most florid room of the house, the entrance hall, where a circle is created within a square space with the clever use of pairs of scagliola columns and richly modelled plasterwork.

The ceiling is like a great wheel with its shallowly-coved circular centre, from which eight beams radiate outwards.

The plasterwork is profuse with festoons in the frieze, eagles with outspread wings in the spandrels and swirling acanthus in the cove of the ceiling.

Major MacMorrough-Kavanagh had no male issue.

Before his sudden death, in 1953, he had been working on setting up a trust to ensure the future of the Borris estate.

The trust had not been finalised, and he had not made a will.

The result was a high burden of death duties and legal costs, which led to the sale of some family treasures.

Among the items sold was an unfinished Rubens, which was sold for £23,000 and has since been sold for a figure in the region of £1,000,000.

In 1958, the house faced the threat of becoming a ruin when Joanne Kavanagh, following the death of her second husband, Lieutenant-Colonel Archibald Macalpine-Downie, decided to vacate the big house and move to a new, smaller house on the estate.

The house had been so rebuilt, altered, and enlarged that it was now almost impossible to maintain.

Joanne Kavanagh's only son, Andrew Macalpine-Downie, after a career in England and his marriage to Tina Murray, returned to Borris and assumed the family surname, Kavanagh.

Other former seat ~ The Lodge, Ballyragget, County Kilkenny.

First published in July, 2011.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Heritage Weekend

Of course the European Heritage Open Days have been held this weekend.

I paid my first visit this morning - quite spontaneously in the sense that I only decided to go today - to the Old Museum Building, College Square North, Belfast.

Incidentally, an ancestor of mine once lived at 22 College Square North during the Victorian era.

This was my very first visit to the Old Museum.

The Ulster Architectural Heritage Society appears to have its GHQ here now.

One of the staff kindly gave me a tour and afterwards I took advantage of their half-price publications offer by purchasing The Architectural Heritage of Malone & Stranmillis, and Tollymore: The Story of an Irish Demesne.

During the afternoon I drove to Scrabo Tower, a memorial to Charles, 3rd Marquess of Londonderry.

I bumped into an old National Trust volunteer pal, Ron, in the first floor exhibition room, where we had a very good chin-wag about local Trust affairs (!).

Afterwards I motored down the hill to St Mark's parish church, Newtownards, which has been beautifully restored.

The Stewarts, Marquesses of Londonderry were patrons and benefactors of St Mark's.

All in all, a more enjoyable day than I'd expected.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Friday, 8 September 2017

Russborough House


This family was anciently seated at Whitfield, Northamptonshire, from whom descended

HUGH LEESON, of Culworth, Northamptonshire, who was engaged as a military officer in Ireland in 1680.

Mr Leeson settled there and made an advantageous marriage to the daughter of one of Dublin's leading aldermen.

Thereafter he established a successful brewery.

Mr Leeson wedded, in 1673, Rebecca, daughter of Alderman Richard Tighe, Mayor of Dublin, and was succeeded in his commercial pursuits by his only son,

JOSEPH LEESON, who left, at his decease,
JOSEPH, his heir;
Anne, m to Hugh Henry;
Martha, m to Richard Cooke;
Joyce, m to Sir Robert Blackwood, 1st Baronet.
Mr Leeson left a very considerable inheritance to his son, estimated at £50,000 (£100 million in 2014) plus £6,000 per annum (£1.2 million in 2014).

He died in 1741, and was succeeded by his only son,

JOSEPH LEESON (1701-83), who, having had a seat in parliament for several years, was elevated to the peerage, in 1756, by the title of Baron Russborough.

His lordship was advanced to a viscountcy, in 1760, as Viscount Russborough; and further advanced to the dignity of an earldom, in 1763, as EARL OF MILLTOWN.

He married firstly, in 1729, Cecilia, daughter of Francis Leigh, and had issue,
JOSEPH, his successor;
BRICE, succeeded his brother;
Mary, m the 2nd Earl of Mayo.
His lordship wedded secondly, in 1738, Anne, daughter of Nathaniel Preston, by who he had a daughter,
The 1st Earl espoused thirdly, in 1768, Elizabeth, daughter of the Very Rev William French, Dean of Armagh, and had issue,
Cecilia; Florence Arabella.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOSEPH, 2nd Earl (1730-1801), MP for Thomastown, 1757-60, who died unmarried, when the family honours devolved upon his brother,

BRICE, 3rd Earl (1735-1807), who wedded, in 1765, Maria, daughter of John Graydon, of Dublin, and had issue,
Joseph (1766-1800), father of JOSEPH, 4th Earl;
His lordship was succeeded by his grandson,

JOSEPH, 4th Earl, KP (1799-1866), Knight of St Patrick, 1841, who married, in 1828, Barbara, second daughter and co-heir of Sir Joshua Colles Meredyth Bt, of Greenhills, County Kildare, and had issue,
JOSEPH HENRY, his successor;
EDWARD NUGENT, succeeded his brother;
HENRY, succeeded his brother;
Barbara Emily Maria; Cecilia Mary.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOSEPH HENRY, 5th Earl (1829-71), ensign, 68th Regiment of Foot, 1848-51, ADC to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, who was succeeded by his next brother,

EDWARD NUGENT, 6th Earl (1835-90), KP, PC, who wedded, in 1871, the Lady Geraldine Evelyn Stanhope, second daughter of the 5th Earl of Harrington, in a childless marriage.

His lordship was succeeded by his brother,

HENRY, 7th and last Earl (1837-91), Barrister, Kings Inn, Dublin, 1860, Vice-Chamberlain, 1859-62, Chamberlain, 1862-74, to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.
Following the death of the 7th Earl, a grandson of the Hon John Leeson (2nd son of the 3rd Earl), claimed the succession to the earldom. He died without male issue in 1905.

The earldom of Milltown was then claimed by his 2nd cousin, Robert William Frederick Leeson, a grandson of Captain the Hon Robert Leeson (3rd son of the 3rd Earl).

He died unmarried in 1908, and since that date no further claimants have come forward.

It is possible that there are living male line descendants of the Hon Robert Leeson, 4th son of the 1st Earl, in which case the earldom of Milltown should be regarded as being dormant rather than extinct.

RUSSBOROUGH HOUSE, County Wicklow, is situated near the Blessington Lakes, between the towns of Blessington and Ballymore Eustace, and is reputed to be the longest house in Ireland, with a frontage measuring 700 feet.

It is an example of Palladian architecture, designed by Richard Cassels for Joseph Leeson, 1st Earl of Milltown and built between 1741-55.

It comprises seven bays and two storeys over a basement; Palladian style, with quadrant Doric colonnades linking to seven-bay two-storey pavilion wings, themselves linked to outbuildings by walls with rusticated arches topped with cupolas.

The walls are of dressed granite, with a central feature to the main block consisting of a pediment supported by four three-quarter Corinthian columns with swag mouldings between the capitals, whilst the wings have three-bay breakfront centres with Ionic pilasters.

Each of the three blocks and the colonnades has a parapet surmounted with urns, and behind each parapet is a slated hipped roof with broad granite chimneystacks to the main blocks.

Within the colonnades are arched niches with Classical statues.

The entrance consists of a largely glazed timber door with semi-circular fanlight-like eyebrow window above, and is reached by a grand flight of stone steps with the piers of the balustrade topped with urns and heraldic lions.

The windows are generally flat-headed and filled with three over three and six over six timber sash frames. Cast-iron rainwater goods.

The house is surrounded by an extensive, but largely unadorned, demesne and approached at a right angle from the main avenue to the north-east.

The interior of the house contains some ornate plasterwork on the ceilings by the Lafranchini brothers, who also collaborated with Cassels on Carton House.

Russborough has housed two fine art collections, begun with the Milltown estate, whose collection was donated to the National Gallery of Ireland by the widow of the 6th Earl.

Sir Alfred Beit Bt bought the house in 1952 where he housed his own family's collection, comprising works by many great artists, including Goya, Vermeer, Peter Paul Rubens and Thomas Gainsborough.
This collection was since robbed four times, in 1974 by an IRA gang including the heiress Rose Dugdale, in 1986 by Martin Cahill, in 2001; and in 2002 by Martin Cahill's old associate Martin Foley.
Two paintings, Gainsborough's Madame Bacelli and Vermeer's Lady writing a Letter with her Maid, the latter probably the most valuable painting of the collection, were stolen twice across the thefts, although each was subsequently recovered.
The Beit collection has donated many of its works to the Irish state but a substantial proportion of the paintings have been returned and been made available to view by the owners, the Alfred Beit Foundation.

Russborough remained in the possession of the Earls of Milltown until the 6th Earl's decease.

On the death of Lady Milltown in 1914, it passed to a nephew, Sir Edmund Turton, who rarely stayed there.

On Turton's death in 1928, his widow sold the house to Captain Denis Bowes Daly in 1931.

Sir Alfred Beit Bt bought Russborough in 1952 from Captain Daly to house his art collection and in 1976 established the Alfred Beit Foundation to manage the property.

The foundation opened the historic mansion and its collections to the Irish public in 1978.

Sir Alfred died in 1994 but Lady Beit remained in residence until her own death in 2005.

In 2010, a fire severely damaged the west wing and caused part of the roof to collapse.

No art was damaged, being removed along with furniture to allow for restorations to the west wing.

Initial examinations of the damage suggested an electrical fault from wiring in the roof may have sparked the fire.

In recent years, farmers' markets have been held on a regular basis in the grounds of the house.

Leeson Street in Dublin is named after the Earls of Milltown.

Former town residence ~ 17 St Stephen's Green, Dublin (now the Kildare Street Club).

First published in August, 2013.   Milltown arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Prince Harry in NI

PRINCE HENRY OF WALES is today carrying out engagements in Northern Ireland.

HRH was welcomed by the Lord-Lieutenant of County Antrim, Mrs Joan Christie OBE.

His Royal Highness officially opened Northern Ireland Ambulance Service's new £5.6 million station, which combines Ballymena Ambulance Station and North Division Headquarters.

During the afternoon HRH will visit Belfast, where he will undertake a number of engagements, and hear about the Northern Ireland National Citizenship Service and the Amazing the Space programmes, which bring young people together who might otherwise not meet.

Prince Harry will later be among hundreds of guests at a garden party at Hillsborough Castle, County Down.

The event, which was attended by TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge last year, has been hosted annually by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland since 1984.

Saturday, 2 September 2017


His Majesty CHARLES I, King of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith

Friday, 1 September 2017

Belvedere House


The ancient and noble family of ROCHFORT, in old deed and writings styled De Rupe Forti, is stated to have been established in Ireland since its first conquest by the English.

Sir Richard de Rochfort was Lord of Crom and Adare, 1243; Sir Maurice Rochfort was Lord Justice of Ireland, 1302.

THOMAS ROCHFORT (c1450-1522) was Master of the Rolls in Ireland and Dean of St Patrick's, Dublin. 

JAMES 'PRIME-IRON' ROCHFORT, Lieutenant-Colonel in CROMWELL's army, youngest son of James Rochfort, of Agherry, County Wicklow (9th in descent from Sir William Rochford, Lord of the Manor of Kill at the beginning of the 14th century), was executed, under a court-martial, for killing Major Turner in a duel in 1652.

By Thomasina his wife, daughter of Colonel Pigott, he left three daughters and two sons.

The youngest son,

ROBERT ROCHFORT (1652-1727), chosen Speaker of the Irish house of commons, 1695, and constituted Chief Baron of the Exchequer, 1707, wedded Hannah, daughter of William Handcock MP, of Twyford, County Westmeath, and left two sons, the elder of whom,

Chief Chamberlain of the Court of Exchequer, wedded, in 1704, the Lady Elizabeth Moore, daughter of Henry, 3rd Earl of Drogheda, and had issue,
ROBERT, his heir;
Mary; Hannah; Elizabeth; Alice; Thomasina; Anne.
The eldest son,

ROBERT ROCHFORT (1708-74), married, in 1736, Mary, eldest daughter of Richard, 3rd Viscount Molesworth, and had issue,
GEORGE, his heir;
Robert, MP;
Mr Rochfort was elevated to the peerage, in 1737, in the dignity of Baron Bellfield; and advanced to a viscountcy, in 1751, as Viscount Bellfield.

His lordship was further advanced to the dignity of an earldom, in 1756, as EARL OF BELVEDERE.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

GEORGE, 2nd Earl (1738-1814), who married firstly, in 1775, Dorothea, second daughter of John Bloomfield, of Redwood; and secondly, in 1803,  Jane, daughter of the Rev James Mackay.

The 2nd Earl died without issue, in 1814, when the titles became extinct.

BELVEDERE HOUSE, near Mullingar, County Westmeath, is an exquisite villa of about 1740, by Richard Castle, on the shores of Lough Ennell.

It was built for Robert Rochfort, 1st Earl of Belvedere, whose original seat was Gaulston, about five miles away.

The house comprises two storeys over a basement; a long frontage; and curved end bows.

The front has a three-bay recessed centre between projecting end bays.

Belvedere itself has only a few rooms, though they are well-proportioned, with rococo ceilings on the ground floor of exceptional quality, including cherubim gazing down from the clouds.

Belvedere House passed, by inheritance, to the Marlay family; thence to Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Howard-Bury DSO JP DL, leader of the 1921 Mount Everest expedition.

In the period following the 2nd World War, Colonel Howard-Bury restored the house and gardens.

He never married and, on his death in 1963, the estate was inherited by Rex Beaumont, who had been Howard-Bury's friend and companion for 30 years.

Mr Beaumont sold the estate to Westmeath County Council in 1982.

Following a multi-million pound restoration the house and gardens have been opened to visitors.

Belvedere also hosts weekend music festivals and intimate garden theatre performances.

First published in June, 2013.   Belvedere arms courtesy of European Heraldry.