Thursday, 30 November 2017

Newtownards Priory

Newtownards Priory was a medieval Dominican priory founded by the Savage family around 1244 in Newtownards, County Down.

Only the lower parts of the nave and two blocked doors in the south wall (leading to a demolished cloister) survive from the period of the priory's foundation.

The upper parts of the nave date from a 14th-century rebuilding.

The western extension and the north aisle arcade were undertaken by the de Burgh family.

The priory was dissolved in 1541, and was sacked and burned.

It was granted to Hugh Montgomery, who built a house within the ruins, rebuilding the north aisle and adding a tower at the entrance.

The Priory was subsequently consecrated for use as a parish church.

The Stewart family vault lies within the Priory, as does the large tomb of the Most Hon Frederick William Robert (4th) Marquess of Londonderry, KP.

The Colville vault also exists within the ruins.

The Colvilles were landlords of Newtownards from 1675 until 1744.
The Colville family traces its origins to Scotland in the 1100s, when Philip de Colville settled there following the Norman Conquest.

The first member of the family to settle in Ulster was  Dr Alexander Colville. He had been a professor of divinity at St Andrews University before coming to the Province in 1630.

Dr Colville may have been invited to Ulster by Bishop Robert Echlin, whose mother was Grissel Colville. He was appointed rector of Skerry in 1634 and built Galgorm Castle near Ballymena.

His son, Sir Robert, joined the army and in 1651 was a Captain. He married four times. He was knighted at some period between 1675 and 1679, and bought the Montgomery estates at Newtownards and Comber.

Sir Robert  rebuilt the ruined Montgomery home, Newtown House, which had been accidentally burned down in 1664. He also built a private chapel at Movilla cemetery.

A relative, Alexander Colville, was brought from Scotland to become Minister at the Presbyterian Church in Newtownards in 1696.

Sir Robert Colville died in 1697, with a memorial at the Priory in Newtownards. His third wife, Rose, died in 1693 and was buried at the Priory.

Their son Hugh died in 1701 aged 25, with a similar memorial.

By 1744, the memorial inscriptions had been removed from the family tomb, described as “...A large Tomb of the Colville Family (to a descendant of which the town now belongs), stands in the North Isle, raised five or six feet above the Floor, but naked of any inscription...”

Hugh Colville's daughter, Alicia Colville (1700-62), sold the estates to Alexander Stewart in 1744 for £42,000.
First published in September, 2013. 

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Sloane Birthplace

While I was at Killyleagh, County Down, in 2013, I paid a visit to the site of Sir Hans Sloane's birthplace.

Incidentally, as many will be aware, one of Prince Andrew's subsidiary titles is Baron Killyleagh.

I have already written about the royal physician and pre-eminent collector, Sir Hans Sloane, 1st and last Baronet.

He was born in 1660 in the Sloane family's thatched house at Frederick Street, within a stone's throw of the Castle.

I photographed the location and a carved stone inscribed "1637, "GS", "MW", and "Rebuilt 1880".

GS likely stands for George Sloane.

The old house was demolished in 1970.

First published in November, 2013.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

1st Viscount Dillon


This family is said to derive from LOGAN, or the Valiant (third son of O'Neal, monarch of Ireland, of the blood royal of Heremon), who fled his country in consequence of slaying, in single combat, about AD 595, his father's nephew, Coleman, King of Timoria, in Hibernia; and subsequently passing over into France, and marrying the daughter and heir of the Duke of Aquitaine, himself and his descendants became, for several generations, sovereign princes of that dukedom.

From these princes descended

SIR HENRY DE LEON (son of Thomas, Duke of Aquitaine), who was brought into England with his brother Thomas, when an infant, by HENRY II, the deposer of his father; and accompanying the Earl of Moreton (afterwards King JOHN) into Ireland, in 1185, obtained those extensive territorial grants in the counties of Longford and Westmeath then denominated Dillon's Country, but altered by statute, in the reign of HENRY VIII, to the Barony of Kilkenny West.

Sir Henry married a daughter of John de Courcy, Earl of Ulster, and was afterwards styled "Premier Dillon, Lord Drumraney".

From this feudal lord lineally sprang

GERALD DILLON, of Drumraney, County Westmeath, chief of the family of Dillon towards the end of the 14th century, left two sons, the elder of whom, SIR MAURICE, was ancestor of the Viscounts Dillon; and the younger, SIR JAMES, of the Earls of Roscommon.

Sixth in descent from Sir Maurice was

SIR THEOBALD DILLON, Knight, of Costello-Gallen, County Mayo, who was created VISCOUNT DILLON in 1622.

His lordship married Eleanor, daughter of Sir Edward Tuite, of Tuitestown, County Westmeath, and sister of William Tuite, of Tuitestown, County Westmeath.

He died at an advanced period of life, in 1624, leaving so numerous a progeny that he assembled, at one time, in his house at Killenfaghny, more than one hundred of his descendants.

He was succeeded by his grandson,

LUCAS, 2nd Viscount (1610-29), who wedded, in 1625, but when fifteen years of age, the Lady Mary MacDonnell, second daughter of Randal, 1st Earl of Antrim; by whom he left at his decease an only son, his successor,

THEOBALD, 3rd Viscount (1629-30); who died in infancy, when the title reverted to his uncle,

THOMAS, 4th Viscount (1615-72), who espoused Frances, daughter of Nicholas White, of Leixlip; and was succeeded at his decease by his by his eldest surviving son,

THOMAS, 5th Viscount, who married Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Sir John Burke, Knight, of County Galway; but left no issue.

His lordship died in 1674, when the title reverted to his kinsman,

LUCAS, 6th Viscount, great-grandson of the 1st Viscount, being the eldest son of Theobald Dillon, third son of his lordship's eldest son, Sir Christopher Dillon, Knight.

This nobleman dying without issue, in 1682, the title devolved upon

THEOBALD DILLON, of Kilmore, as 7th Viscount (refer to Sir Lucas Dillon, 2nd son of 1st Viscount).

This nobleman, an officer in the army, attached himself to the falling fortunes of JAMES II, and was outlawed in 1690.

His lordship wedded Mary, daughter of Sir Henry Talbot, of Templeoge, County Dublin, and had, with other issue,
HENRY, his successor;
Arthur, father of 10th and 11th Viscounts.
After the decease of his lordship, in 1691, the outlawry was reversed in favour of his son and successor,

HENRY, 8th Viscount, who espoused Frances, second daughter of George, Count Hamilton, and was succeeded at his decease, in 1713, by his son,

RICHARD, 9th Viscount (1688-1737), who married the Lady Bridget Burke, second daughter of John, 9th Earl of Clanricarde, by whom he left at his decease an only daughter, Frances, who wedded her first cousin, and his lordship's successor,

CHARLES, 10th Viscount (1701-41), who died without issue and was succeeded by his brother,

HENRY, 11th Viscount (1705-87), a colonel in the French service, who espoused, in 1744, the Lady Charlotte Lee, eldest daughter of George Henry, 2nd Earl of Lichfield, of Ditchley Park, Oxfordshire, and had issue,
CHARLES, his successor;
Arthur, a general in the French service;
Frances; Catherine; Laura; Charlotte.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

CHARLES, 12th Viscount (1745-1813), who conformed to the established church in 1767, and claimed, and was allowed, the viscountcy, as 12th Viscount, by the Irish House of Lords in 1778.

His lordship married firstly, in 1776, Henrietta Maria Phipps, only daughter of Constantine, 1st Lord Mulgrave, and had issue,
HENRY AUGUSTUS, his successor;
Frances Charlotte.
His lordship wedded secondly, a French lady, and by her, who died in 1833, he had a daughter, Charlotte, married in 1813 to Lord Frederick Beauclerk.

He was succeeded by his son,

HENRY AUGUSTUS, 13th Viscount (1777-1832), who espoused, in 1807, Henrietta, eldest daughter of Dominick Geoffrey Browne MP, and had issue,
CHARLES HENRY, his successor;
Theobald Dominick Geoffrey;
Arthur Edmund Denis;
Constantine Augustus;
Gerald Normanby;
Henrietta Maria; Margaret Frances Florence; Louisa Anne Rose; Helena Matilda.
This nobleman, assuming the additional surname and arms of LEE, was succeeded by his eldest son,

CHARLES HENRY, 14th Viscount (1810-65).
  • Charles Henry Robert Dillon, 21st Viscount (1945–82);
  • Henry Benedict Charles Dillon, 22nd Viscount (b 1973);
The heir is his cousin, Thomas Arthur Lee Dillon (b 1983), the son of his uncle, the Hon Richard Arthur Louis Dillon (1948–2014).

LOUGHGLYNN HOUSE, County Roscommon, is a five-bay, two-storey mansion house, built ca 1715.

Although Loughglynn is in County Roscommon, the vast majority of the Dillon estate straddled the border with County Mayo.

A third attic storey was built in the 1820s, though suffered a disastrous fire in 1904, when the top storey was not replaced, nor the end bays on the garden front which were reduced to a single storey.

There are ashlar limestone walls with quoins and a with roughly tooled limestone basement.

The entrance front has a pediment and a pedimented Doric doorcase.

In 1903, Loughglynn was sold to the Catholic Bishop of Elphin, who invited the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary to establish a convent.

The sisters established a dairy, and Loughglynn butter and cheese was famous all over the world until they ceased this activity in the 1960s.

They subsequently opened a nursing home.
In 2003, the property developer Gerry Gannon bought the convent for under €2m, intending to turn it into a hotel.
In 2009, it was transferred to his wife's name.
THE DILLON FAMILY lived mainly at their Oxfordshire seat, Ditchley Park.
Dillon arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Monday, 27 November 2017

1st Marquess of Hertford

EDWARD SEYMOUR, 1st Duke of Somerset (c1500-52), the celebrated Lord Protector in the reign of EDWARD VI, had, by his first wife, Catherine, daughter and co-heir of Sir William Fillol, of Fillol Hall, Essex, two sons, namely,
John, who dsp, leaving his estates to his brother.
The elder son,

LORD EDWARD SEYMOUR (c1528-93), who received the honour of knighthood for his conduct in the battle of Musselburgh, and was seated at Berry Pomeroy, near Totnes, Devon, obtained an act of parliament restoring him in blood, so far as to enable him to enjoy lands that might subsequently come to him from any collateral ancestor.

Sir Edward, Sheriff of Devon during the reign of ELIZABETH I, married Mary, daughter of Mr Justice Walshe, of the Court of Common Pleas, and was succeeded by his son,

EDWARD SEYMOUR (c1563-1613), of Berry Pomeroy, MP for Devon, who was created a baronet in 1611, denominated of Berry Pomeroy.

He wedded Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Arthur Champernowne, Knight, of Dartington, Devon, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR EDWARD SEYMOUR, 2nd Baronet (c1580-1659); who had received the honour of knighthood from JAMES I, and was returned to two parliaments by the county of Devon in that monarch's reign.

In the latter part of his life he lived in retirement at Berry Pomeroy Castle, upon which he is said to have expended £20,000 (£3.5 million in today's money).

Sir Edward espoused Dorothy, daughter of Sir Henry Killigrew; and was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR EDWARD SEYMOUR, 3rd Baronet (1610-88), MP for Devon in the last two parliaments of CHARLES I.

Adhering to that unhappy prince, Sir Edward had his seat, Berry Pomeroy Castle (the ancient abode of the Pomeroys), plundered and burnt to the ground.

He married Anne, daughter of Sir John Portman; and was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR EDWARD SEYMOUR, 4th Baronet (c1632-1708). This gentleman made a distinguished figure, both in court and parliament, during four successive reigns.

He served constantly after his first election to the time of his death, and few had more weight in the House of Commons.

In 1667, he promoted the impeachment of Lord Clarendon; was the first that moved it, and carried it up to the House of Lords.

Sir Edward wedded firstly, in 1661, Margaret, daughter and co-heir of Sir William Wale, Knight, an alderman of the city of London, by whom he had two sons, and was succeeded in the Baronetcy by the elder, EDWARD, whose eldest son, EDWARD, inherited the Dukedom of Somerset.

The 4th Baronet espoused secondly, in 1674, Lætitia, daughter of Alexander Popham; and his eldest son by that lady,

POPHAM SEYMOUR (1675-99), inherited the estates of his cousin, Edward Conway, Earl of Conway, who dsp under the will of the said Earl, and assumed, in consequence, 1683, the surname of CONWAY.

This gentleman fell in a duel with Colonel George Kirk, in 1699; and dying unmarried, those estates devolved upon his next brother,

FRANCIS SEYMOUR (1679-1732), who also assumed the surname and arms of CONWAY, and was elevated to the peerage, 1703, as Baron Conway, of Ragley, Warwickshire.

Part of his extensive inheritance being situated in Ulster, his lordship was created a peer of Ireland, in 1712, as Baron Conway, of Killultagh, County Antrim.

He did not, however, take his seat in the Irish House of Lords until 1721.

In 1728, he was sworn in the Irish Privy Council; and in the following year, Governor of Carrickfergus.

His lordship married firstly, in 1703, the Lady Mary Hyde, third daughter of Laurence, 1st Earl of Rochester, by whom he had four daughters; the second of whom, Mary, wedded Nicholas Price, of Saintfield, County Down.

Lord Conway espoused secondly, Jane Bowden, of Drogheda, by whom he had a son, who died in infancy, and a daughter who died unmarried; and thirdly, in 1715/16, Charlotte, daughter of Alderman Sir John Shorter, Knight, Lord Mayor of London in 1688, and sister-in-law of the celebrated statesman, Sir Robert Walpole, afterwards Earl of Orford, by whom he had (with three daughters) four sons; of whom
FRANCIS, succeeded to the honours;
Henry (Field-Marshal the Hon).
His lordship died at Lisburn, County Antrim, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

FRANCIS, 2nd Baron (1718-94); who was created, in 1750, Viscount Beauchamp and Earl of Hertford (similar honours had been conferred upon his lordship's ancestor, Edward, Duke of Somerset, which expired with Algernon, 7th Duke), with remainder, in default of male issue, to the male descendants of his brother, Field-Marshal the Hon Henry Seymour-Conway.

His lordship was installed, in 1756, a Knight of the Garter; and in 1765, he was constituted Lord Lieutenant of Ireland; and the following year, Lord Chamberlain of the Household, having previously filled the office of Master of the Horse.

He married, in 1741, the Lady Isabella Fitzroy, youngest daughter of Charles, 2nd Duke of Grafton, by which lady he had thirteen children.

His lordship was advanced, in 1793, to the dignities of Earl of Yarmouth and MARQUESS OF HERTFORD.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

FRANCIS, 2nd Marquess (1743-1822), KG, Lord Chamberlain of the Household, Lord-Lieutenant of Warwickshire, Governor of County Antrim.
Francis Seymour-Conway, 1st Marquess (1718–94);
Francis Ingram-Seymour-Conway, 2nd Marquess (1743–1822);
Francis Charles Seymour-Conway, 3rd Marquess (1777–1842);
Richard Seymour-Conway, 4th Marquess (1800–70);
Francis Hugh George Seymour, 5th Marquess (1812–84);
Hugh de Grey Seymour, 6th Marquess (1843–1912);
George Francis Alexander Seymour, 7th Marquess (1871–1940);
Hugh Edward Conway Seymour, 8th Marquess (1930–97);
Henry Jocelyn Seymour, 9th Marquess (b 1958).
The heir apparent is the present holder's eldest son, William Francis Seymour, styled Earl of Yarmouth (b 1993).

Seat and former seats ~ Ragley Hall, Warwickshire; Sudbourne Hall, Suffolk; Lisburn, County Antrim.

Hertford arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Ballinderry Park


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,
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,
Nugent Gerald Ward;
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.

Mount Ievers Court


This family is descended from HENRY IVERS, who settled in County Clare in 1643.

He was Clerk to the King's Commissioners for settling the quit rents, and afterwards became the Deputy Receiver.

Mr Ivers was a magistrate and High Sheriff of that county, in which he held considerable landed property.

Further lucrative positions followed after the Restoration and, in 1680, Thomas Dinely estimated his income at £2,600 a year, which allowed him to amass a considerable fortune and some 12,000 acres before his death in 1691.

He married Elizabeth, daughter of Captain Stephens, of Ballysheen, and had issue,
GEORGE, of whom we treat;
The sixth son,

GEORGE IEVERS, wedded a daughter of _____ Seward, of County Cork, and had issue,
ROBERT, his heir;
The eldest son,

ROBERT IEVERS, espoused Mary, daughter of ______ Parsons, of County Limerick, and died in 1783, having had issue,
John Henry;
GEORGE, of whom presently;
Mary; Anne; Frances.
The youngest son,

GEORGE IEVERS, married, in 1783, Eleanor, daughter of James Butler, of Castle Crine, County Clare, and died in 1808, having had issue,
EYRE, of whom hereafter;
Mary; Elizabeth; Jane.
The youngest son,

EYRE IEVERS JP (1797-1860), of Mount Ievers, wedded, in 1842, Mildred, daughter of Maurice Newnan, and had issue,
JAMES BUTLER, his heir;
George Maurice;
Philip Glover;
Mary Shinkwin; Mildred; Elizabeth Anne.
Mr Ievers was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES BUTLER IEVERS JP (1844-1915), of Mount Ievers, and Quinville Abbey, County Clare, who espoused firstly, in 1866, Elizabeth Buchanan, second daughter of Robert Blackwell, of The Prairie, County Down, and had issue,
EYRE HERBERT, his heir;
He married secondly, in 1899, Ernesta Carlotta Nina, younger daughter of Surgeon General George Whitla.

Mr Ievers was succeeded by his son,

EYRE HERBERT IEVERS JP (1867-1922), of Mount Ievers, and Glenduff Castle, County Limerick, Captain, 5th Battalion, RM Fusiliers, who wedded, in 1902, Frances Hetty Webb, only daughter of Herbert Webb Gillman, and had issue,
EYRE HERBERT, his heir;
James Henry Gillman, b 1910;
Mildred Vivian; Annie Muriel Elizabeth.
The elder son,

COLONEL EYRE HERBERT IEVERS (1904-), wedded, in 1934, Moirin, third daughter of the Very Rev Dr Henry John Gillespie, Dean of Killaloe, and had issue,
Nial (1946-64);
Fiona, b 1948.

MOUNT IEVERS COURT, near Sixmilebridge, County Clare, was built in 1738 by Colonel Henry Ievers to the design of John Rothery.

It replaced an older tower house, shown in Dinely’s drawing, which Henry Ievers may actually have built, since a chimney-piece re-used in the house bears the date 1648.

His eldest son was disinherited for marrying “a person of noe fortune” and the estate was inherited by the second son, Colonel Thomas Ivers, MP for County Clare, who changed the family name to Ievers.

Henry’s grandson, another Henry, inherited in 1731.

Within two years he had begun the construction of a new house, Mount Ievers Court, completed in 1738 at a cost of £1,478 7s. 9d. (about £316,000 in today's money), plus the value of two horses, two mules and various other expenses.

The house was built of red brick, which became fashionable for Irish country houses in the 1730s, and has faded to a wonderful rose pink, the plan derives from Inigo Jones’s Chevening in Kent, although the facades are both simpler and more accomplished, diminishing subtly as they rise to the bold cornice.

There are two formal fronts: the south front is of cut limestone, and the north front, originally the entrance front, of brick “exquisitely disciplined by the limestone of coigns, strings and cornice”.

The builder, John Rothery, who hailed from a prominent family of architects and builders in counties Limerick and Cork, died during construction.

In the words of the architectural historian Maurice Craig, “Superlatives have been used about out this house, and with good reason” though he also admits that the building was not in the forefront of fashion since “in style and spirit there is nothing about it which could not be of 1710,” an impression heightened by the combination of heavy glazing bars, small panes and sashes four panes wide.

Set above a high basement the interior is plain but grand, with a profusion of plaster panelling, elaborate cornices, simple compartmented ceilings, unusually generous doors with robust joinery, and a splendidly carved staircase with alternating barley-sugar and fluted balusters.

The topmost floor contains a long, barrel-vaulted gallery which stretches across the full length of the building, a feature of other Rothery houses such as the long-demolished Bowen’s Court, where it was used for dancing and exercise on wet days.

A Naïf painting, used as an overmantel in one ground floor room, shows a faithful reproduction of the present garden front with a splendidly baroque double-curved perron, instead of the present arrangement of steps, all set in an elaborate formal layout that has either largely disappeared or may never have been fully completed.

The Ievers family’s prominence in local affairs faded over the years and much of the estate was lost in the 19th and 20th centuries before the house was sold to a cousin, Squadron-Leader Norman Ievers (1912-93), in 1939.

Returning at the end of the 2nd World War in 1945, after his retirement from the Royal Air Force, Squadron-Leader Norman Ievers was able to re-purchase the house from his cousin’s daughter and set about a sympathetic and sensitive restoration with his wife.

Today the house is owned by their son, Norman Eyre Ievers (b 1973), together with his wife and family.

Select bibliography: Irish Historic Houses Association.

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.

Ballynatray House


The ancient and influential family of SMYTH was settled in Ireland for more than three and a half centuries, intermarrying with the houses of England, and always maintaining a distinguished position amongst its great landed proprietors.

Sir Richard Smyth appears to have been established there before the beginning of the 17th century: for an indenture, dated 1602, made between Sir Walter Raleigh and Richard Boyle, Clerk of the Council in Munster, and recorded in the Rolls' Office, Dublin, for the sale by Sir Walter, to the said Richard, of certain lands in counties Cork and Waterford.

Sir Richard Smyth, of Ballynatray, was appointed by the deed a trustee, in conjunction with Edmund Colthurst and Edmund Coppinger.

SIR RICHARD SMYTH, Knight, of Ballynatray, County Waterford, High Sheriff of County Waterford, 1613, and Rathcogan, County Cork, who flourished in the reign of ELIZABETH I, married Mary, daughter of Roger Boyle, of Preston, Kent, and sister of RICHARD BOYLE, the first and Great Earl of Cork, and had issue,
PERCY (Sir), his heir;
Catherine; Dorothy; Alice.
Sir Richard commanded as captain in the defeat and expulsion of the Spaniards at Castle Ny Parke, Kinsale, County Cork.

He was succeeded by his son,

SIR PERCY SMYTH, Knight, of Ballynatray, distinguished for his loyalty and courage in the rebellion of 1641.

He raised 100 men to assist Sir William St Leger, Lord President of Munster, and obtained at the same time, with Lord Broghill and Captain Brodrick, his commission as Captain of Foot.

Captain Smyth was knighted in 1629, and was military governor of Youghal, 1645.

Sir Percy married firstly, Mary, daughter of Robert Meade, of Broghill, and had issue, two daughters, Mabella and Joan; and secondly, in 1635, Isabella, daughter of Arthur Ussher, by Isabella his wife, daughter of the Most Rev Dr Adam Loftus, Lord Archbishop of Dublin and Lord High Chancellor of Ireland, and had issue,
Boyle, MP for Tallow;
William, his heir;
RICHARD, of whom we treat;
Margaret; Elizabeth; Isabella; Maria; Catherine.
The fourth son,

RICHARD SMYTH, of Ballynatray, wedded firstly, Susanna, daughter of John Gore, of Clonrone, County Clare, who dsp.

He espoused secondly, Alice, daughter of Richard Grice, of Ballycullane, County Limerick, and had (with a daughter, Isabella) a son,

GRICE SMYTH, of Ballynatray, High Sheriff of County Waterford, 1710, who married Gertrude, daughter of William Taylor, of Burton, County Cork, and had issue, RICHARD, his heir, and Deborah.

Mr Smyth died intestate in 1724, and was succeeded by his son and heir,

RICHARD SMYTH (1706-68), of Ballynatray, High Sheriff of County Waterford, 1739, who wedded firstly, in 1764, Jane, daughter and co-heir of George Rogers, of Cork, and by her had one daughter, Gertrude.

Mr Smyth espoused secondly, in 1756, Penelope, daughter of John Bateman, of Oak Park, County Kerry, and had issue,
RICHARD, his heir;
GRICE, heir to his brother;
Elizabeth; Penelope.
Mr Smyth was succeeded by his eldest son,

RICHARD SMYTH, of Ballynatray, High Sheriff of County Waterford, 1793, who died unmarried, and was succeeded by his brother,

GRICE SMYTH (1762-1816), of Ballynatray, High Sheriff of County Waterford, 1803, who wedded, in 1795, Mary Brodrick, daughter and co-heir of Henry Mitchell, of Mitchell's Fort, County Cork, and had issue,
RICHARD, his heir;
Henry Mitchell, ancestor of SMYTH of Castle Widenham;
Grice Blakeney (Rev);
John Rowland (Sir), KCB, General in the Army;
Ellen; Penelope; Gertrude.
Mr Smyth was succeeded by his eldest son,

RICHARD SMYTH JP DL (1796-1858), of Ballynatray, High Sheriff of County Waterford, 1821, who married, in 1821, Harriet, daughter of Hayes, 2nd Viscount Doneraile, by Charlotte his wife, sister of the 1st Earl of Bandon, and had an only surviving child, CHARLOTTE MARY.

Mr Smyth was succeeded by his daughter,

MISS CHARLOTTE MARY SMYTH, of Ballynatray, who wedded, in 1848, Charles William, 5th EARL MOUNT CASHELL, who assumed, in 1858, the additional name and arms of SMYTH, and was High Sheriff of County Waterford, 1862.

Her ladyship died in 1892, having had issue,
Richard Charles More (1859-88), dvm;
Helena Anna Mary; Charlotte Adelaide Louisa Riversdale.
The Countess Mount Cashell, having no surviving male issue, was succeeded by her elder daughter.

The 5th Earl died in 1898, when the Moore Park estates passed to his eldest daughter,

THE LADY HARRIETTE GERTRUDE ISABELLA MOORE (1849-1904), of Ballynatray, and Moore Park, Kilworth, County Cork, who married, in 1872, Colonel John Henry Graham Holroyd-Smyth CMG JP DL, High Sheriff of County Waterford, 1902, who had issue,
Charles Edward Ridley;
William Baker;
Isabelle Charlotte Sophie Wilmot; Helena Anne Mary Moore;
Gwendoline Harriette; Sophia Beryl Sheila; Penelope Victoria Minna.
The eldest son,

ROWLAND HENRY TYSSEN HOLROYD-SMYTH DL (1874-1959), married, in 1902, Alice Isabelle, youngest daughter of Chambré Brabazon Ponsonby, of Kilcooley Abbey, and had issue,
John Rowland Chambré, b 1903;
Henry Horace Digby, b 1905;
Bryan Hubert Holroyd, b 1908;
Mary Lavender, b 1910.

BALLYNATRAY HOUSE, near Youghal, County Cork, stands on the River Blackwater, County Waterford.

It was granted to Sir Richard Smyth, brother-in-law to the Great Earl of Cork, in the early 17th century.

His son’s "castellated residence" was largely destroyed in the rebellion of 1641, and his successor built a larger, Dutch-gabled dwelling in the 1690s.

In 1795 this was incorporated into a very large Palladian house, built by Grice Smyth to the designs of Alexander Dean, of Cork.

The house is eleven bays long and five bays wide, with two storeys over a basement and a ballustraded parapet, originally decorated with elaborate urns.

The river façade has a pedimented breakfront, while the three central bays of the entrance front are deeply recessed and filled by with a long, single-storey porch.

The interior was clearly built for entertaining on the grandest scale.

There is a sumptuous suite of interconnecting rooms, all with stupendous views; wide, double mahogany doors and some fine early 19th century plasterwork.

The hall has a frieze of bull’s heads (the Smyth crest) and the billiards-room an imaginative cornice of billiards balls and cues.

The Hall

Originally, the bedroom floor had a curious curvilinear corridor but this has since been altered.

In 1843, Charlotte Smyth married the 5th Earl Mount Cashell.

Her son predeceased her, as did her young grandson, Lord Kilworth, so the estate passed to her daughter, the wife of Colonel Holroyd, who assumed the name and arms of SMYTH.

In 1969 their grandson, Horace Holroyd-Smyth, bequeathed Ballynatray to his cousins, the Ponsonby family of Kilcooley Abbey, who sold the house to Serge and Henriette Boissevain in the late 1990s.

They subsequently carried out a major restoration programme and today Ballynatray is the home of Henry Gwyn-Jones.

The situation, on a double bend of the river which gives the impression of a very large lake, is unrivalled.

Steep, oak-covered hills slope downwards on all sides while the ruins of Molana Abbey nestle amongst the trees on the riverbank.

These contain the classical Coade stone ‘tomb’ of Raymond Le Gros, one of Strongbow’s knights, and a statue of the abbey’s founder, St Molanside.

Select bibliography: Irish Historic Houses Association. 

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Ravensdale Park


This family deduces its pedigree from common ancestors with the EARLS FORTESCUE, viz. remotely, Sir Richard le Forte, a Norman knight, in the train of WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR; and, more remotely, Lord Chief Justice Fortescue.

The first of its members that settled in Ireland,

SIR FAITHFUL FORTESCUE (c1581-1666), Knight, removed to that kingdom early in the reign of JAMES I, and commanded an infantry regiment there.

Sir Faithful obtained large possessions in Ireland, amongst which was Dromiskin Castle, County Louth.

He wedded Anne, daughter of Garret, 1st Viscount Moore, of Drogheda, and was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

SIR THOMAS FORTESCUE (c1620-1710), Knight, Governor of Carrickfergus Castle, who espoused firstly, Sydney, daughter of Colonel William Kinsmill; and secondly, Elizabeth, daughter of Colonel Ferdinand Carey, and had issue,
Sir Thomas was succeeded by his grandson,

THOMAS FORTESCUE (1683-1769), MP for Dundalk, 1727-60, who married Elizabeth, daughter of James Hamilton, and sister of James, 1st Earl of Clanbrassil, and had issue,
James, father of WILLIAM, 2nd VISCOUNT CLERMONT;
WILLIAM HENRY, of whom hereafter;
Margaret; Charlotte.
Mr Fortescue's younger son,

THE RT HON WILLIAM HENRY FORTESCUE (1722-1806), having represented County Louth in parliament, was sworn of the Privy Council, 1764, and appointed Postmaster-General.

Mr Fortescue was elevated to the peerage, in 1770, by the title of Baron Clermont, of Clermont, County louth.

His lordship was created, in 1776, BARON and VISCOUNT CLERMONT, with remainder to his brother, the Rt Hon James Fortescue, of Ravensdale Park, County Louth, MP for that county.

This nobleman was further advanced to the dignity of an earldom, in 1777, as EARL OF CLERMONT, but without the reversionary grant.

He was installed as a Knight Founder of the Order of St Patrick (KP), 1795.

His lordship espoused Frances, eldest daughter of Colonel John Murray, County Monaghan; but dying without issue, in 1806, the earldom expired, while the other honours devolved, according to the limitation, upon his nephew,

WILLIAM CHARLES FORTESCUE (1764-1829), 2nd Viscount, only surviving son of his deceased brother, mentioned above, by Mary Henrietta, eldest daughter of Thomas Orby Hunter, of Crowland Abbey, Lincolnshire.

His lordship died at Ravensdale Park, County Louth, unmarried, when the viscountcy expired.

The title was revived, however, in 1852, when his kinsman,  

THOMAS FORTESCUE, was created BARON CLERMONT (2nd & 3rd creation).

RAVENSDALE PARK, near Dundalk, County Louth, was a large, rather austere, early Victorian house built of granite with a plain, irregular aspect.

A lofty Italianate campanile with an open belvedere atop dominated the mansion.

Ravensdale was built for Thomas Fortescue, 1st Baron Clermont, the architect being Thomas Duff of Newry.

It was partly two and partly three storeys, though mainly the same height, with an eaved roof.

The garden front was remarkably long, being ten bays.

There was another front of five bays with a domed octagon at one corner.

Ravensdale became the home of Lord Clermont's younger brother and successor, the politician Chichester Fortescue, 1st and last Lord Carlingford (who married the famous Frances, Countess Waldegrave).

It was sold to Sir Daniel Dixon Bt, father of 1st Lord Glentoran; then sold again to Lord Arran.

Ravendale was sold, yet again, in 1920, and was burnt shortly afterwards.

Much of the former estate is now a forest park; while the Ravensdale Equestrian and Trekking Centre operates from the demesne.

Ravensdale Forest is part of the former demesne.

First Published in May, 2011.   Clermont 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: 


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.

Ballinkeele House


JOHN MAHER, of TullowMacJames, near Templemore, County Tipperary, married Catherine, daughter of William Lanigan, of County Kilkenny, by Mary, his second wife, daughter of Charles Gore, sixth son of Sir Paul Gore Bt, and had issue,
MATTHIAS, of whose line we treat;
one daughter.
The second son,

MATTHIAS MAHER, of Ballymullen, Queen's County (Laois), wedded, in 1799, Anne, daughter of Maurice O'Donnell, of Carrick-on-Suir, and had issue,
JOHN, his heir;
Mary Anne; Margaret.
The eldest son,

JOHN MAHER JP DL (1801-60), of Ballinkeele, High Sheriff of County Wexford, 1853, MP for County Wexford, married, in 1843, Louisa Catherine, daughter of George Bourke O'Kelly, of Acton House, Middlesex, and had issue,
GEORGE MAURICE, succeeded his brother;
John Pentheny;
William Stanislaus;
Mary Anne; Louisa Ellen.
Mr Maher was succeeded by his eldest son,

MATTHIAS AIDAN MAHER JP DL (1846-1901), of Ballinkeele, High Sheriff of County Wexford, 1878, who died unmarried, and was succeeded by his brother,

GEORGE MAURICE MAHER DL (1848-1932), of Ballinkeele, High Sheriff of County Wexford, 1913, Captain, 7th Dragoon Guards.

BALLINKEELE HOUSE, near Enniscorthy, County Wexford, is a two-storey house which has a long office wing at one side.

The Mahers were considerable landowners in north County Tipperary and purchased Ballinkeele, about five miles east of Enniscorthy, in the early 19th century.

John Maher, MP for County Wexford, 1835, commissioned the architect Daniel Robertson to build his new house in 1840.

Ballinkeele is one of the few houses Robertson built in the Classical style and is his last surviving work.

The house is comprised of a ground floor and a single upper storey, with a long, slightly lower, service wing to one side in lieu of a basement.

The facades are rendered, with cut-granite decoration, including a grandiose central porch, supported by six large Tuscan columns and surmounted by an elaborate balustrade, which projects to form a porte-cochère.

The garden front has a central breakfront with a shallow bow, flanked by wide piers of rusticated granite.

These are repeated at each corner as coigns.

The interior is classical, with baroque overtones, and is largely unaltered with most of its original contents.

The hall runs from left to right and is consequently lit from one side, with a screen of scagliola Corinthian columns at one end and an elaborate cast-iron stove at the other.

The library and drawing room have splendid chimneypieces of inlaid marble in the manner of Pietro Bossi, while the fine suite of interconnecting rooms on the garden front open onto a raised terrace.

The staircase hall has a spectacularly cantilevered stone staircase, with decorative metal balusters.

As it approaches the ground floor the swooping mahogany handrail wraps itself around a Tuscan column supporting a bronze statue of Mercury, in a style that anticipates Art Nouveau by more than forty years.

Outside, two avenues approach the house, one which provides a glimpse of a ruined keep reflected in an artificial lake, while both entrances were built to Robertson’s designs.

The present owners are Margaret Maher and her children.

Select bibliography: Irish Historic Houses Association.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Waterford Palace

THE Sees of Waterford and Lismore were united in 1536.

The bishopric of Lismore had been founded in the beginning of the 7th century; but that of Waterford was not founded until about the close of the 11th century by the Ostmen of Waterford, soon after their conversion to Christianity.

During the prelacy of Thomas le Reve, who succeeded in 1363, the sees of Lismore and Waterford were consolidated by Pope URBAN V, and this union, which had been long contemplated and frequently attempted without success, was confirmed by EDWARD III.

Hugh Gore, who was consecrated Bishop of the united sees in 1666, expended large sums in repairing and beautifying the cathedral, and bequeathed £300 for bells for the churches of Lismore and Clonmel, and £1,200 for the erection and endowment of an almshouse for ten clergymen's widows, to each of whom he assigned £10 per annum.

Nathaniel Foy, who was appointed Bishop in 1691, greatly improved the episcopal palace, and bequeathed funds for the erection and endowment of a school for 50 children, afterwards extended to 75, and for the improvement of the estates, the surplus funds to be applied to clothing and apprenticing the scholars.

The two Sees continued to be held together till the decease of Bishop Bourke, when both were annexed to the archiepiscopal province of Cashel, and the temporalities became vested in the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.

This very small diocese is confined to the eastern part of County Waterford, and does not extend above 13 miles in length and 9 in breadth.

But the diocese of Lismore is 38 miles long and about 37 broad, including the greatest part of County Waterford and a considerable portion of Tipperary.

THE PALACE, WATERFORD, County Waterford, is reputed to be one of the largest and finest episcopal residences in Ireland.

Building began in 1741 by Bishop Este, to the design of Richard Castle.

The garden front, facing The Mall, comprises three storeys.

The rusticated ground floor serves as a basement.

Its centre breaks forward with three arches which form the base of the pedimented Doric centrepiece above, which incorporates three windows.

The centre of the top storey features a circular niche between two windows.

Bishop Este died in 1745, before the palace was completed.

It ceased to function as an episcopal residence in 1919, following the retirement of Bishop O'Hara.

Thereafter it was occupied by the Bishop Foy boarding school until 1967.

It served as municipal offices for Waterford City Council till 2010.

The former episcopal palace is now a museum.

First published in November, 2015.