Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Huntington Castle


ALEXANDER REID, younger son of John Reid, feudally styled 4th Baron Ruadh of Straloch, assumed the name of ROBERTSON at the same time as his elder brother, John Reid, styled 5th Baron Ruadh of Straloch, who, in 1567, married his cousin Marjory, daughter of John Robertson, of Lude, and thereupon assumed the name of ROBERTSON, and was ancestor of the succeeding Barons Ruadh (a title which continued to be borne until this, the elder line, expired in 1807); and also of the Robertsons of Cray, and of West and East Bleaton.

This Alexander Reid, of Dounie, in Strathardle, Perthshire, married Mary, daughter of Thomas Scott, of Dounie, and had issue (besides a younger son, Walter, of Middle Dounie), an elder son,

JOHN REID or ROBERTSON, of East Dounie, who was father of

ALEXANDER ROBERTSON, of Dounie, born in 1585, who had, with other issue,
JAMES, of whom we treat.
The younger son,

JAMES ROBERTSON, born in 1608, removed to Kirkwall, Orkney Islands, in 1630, and settled at Orphir.

He had nine sons, who left numerous descendants; of whom the eldest son,

THOMAS ROBERTSON, born at Orphir, 1642, married a daughter of Magnus Halcro, and had issue,
NICOL, of whom presently;
The second son,

NICOL ROBERTSON, born in 1670, settled at Groundwater, and left by Catherine his wife, with other issue, a son,

GEORGE ROBERTSON (1706-80), of Upper Groundwater, who wedded Helen, daughter of Magnus Wilson, and had, with four daughters,
JAMES, his heir;
Mr Robertson was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES ROBERTSON (1734-), of Upper Groundwater, who wedded, in 1763, Catherine Heddle, and had issue,
THOMAS, his heir;
Helline; Catherine.
The eldest son,

THOMAS ROBERTSON (1765-1847), was the first of the family to leave Scotland.

After having spent his life at sea, he settled in London, and married, in 1807, Maria, daughter of Joseph Howell, of Cheltenham, by whom he had issue, an only son,

THOMAS STORM ROBERTSON MD FRCS (1809-59), who wedded, in 1843, Annabella, daughter of George Bland.

She dsp the following March.

He married secondly, in 1846, Maria Louisa, only daughter of Robert Manning, of Clapham, and had issue,
(THOMAS) HERBERT, his heir;
Maria Louisa; Eveline Constance.
Dr Robertson was succeeded by his only son,

(THOMAS) HERBERT ROBERTSON JP (1849-1916), of Huntington Castle, Hasketon Manor, Woodbridge, and 36, Bedford Square, London, Barrister, MP for South Hackney, 1896-1906, who espoused, in 1880, HELEN ALEXANDRIA MELIAN DURDIN, of Huntington Castle, by Melian Jones his wife, second daughter of Matthew Hayman, of South Abbey, County Cork, and had issue,
Nevill Warham, b 1890;
Magnus Storm, b 1893;
Helen Manning; Brenda Melian Manning.
Mr Robertson was succeeded by his eldest son,

MANNING DURDIN ROBERTSON (1887-1945), who wedded, in 1912, Norah Kathleen, daughter of Lieutenant-General Sir Lawrence Worthington Parsons, and had issue,
Barbara Helen;
Olivia Melian (1917-2013).
Mr Robertson added the additional name of DURDIN in 1972.

He was succeeded by his son,

THE REV LAWRENCE ALEXANDER DURDIN-ROBERTSON (1920-94), who espoused, in 1949, Pamela Mary, daughter of Major Maurice Edward Barclay, and had issue,
DAVID MAURICE, his heir;
Mary Melian; Anna Margaret.
The son and heir,

DAVID MAURICE DURDIN-ROBERTSON (1952-2009), of Huntington Castle, married, in 1978, Moira, daughter of John McCaffrey, and had issue,
Mr Durdin-Robertson was succeeded by his eldest son,

ALEXANDER J L DURDIN-ROBERTSON, who married Clare, daughter of John Ormerod, and has issue,
Herbert David, b 2010;
Casper Esmonde John, b 2012;
Alexander Frederick Lawrence, b 2014.


It is stated that this family is a branch of a very ancient Essex family, and that JOHN DURDIN, a magistrate for that county, died in the early 17th century and was interred in Westminster Abbey, where there was a tablet to his memory.

JOHN DURDIN, his son, settled in County Cork ca 1639, and had a son,

MICHAEL DURDIN, of Ballymagooley, County Cork, 1663, who espoused Anne, daughter of Edmund Cotter, and sister of Sir James Cotter, Knight, and was father of

JOHN DURDIN (1676-1772), of Fortarabia, County Cork, who wedded Anne, daughter of Alexander Cole, and had a son,

ALEXANDER DURDIN (1712-1807), of Shanagarry, County Cork, and Huntington, County Carlow, who was married four times.

His sixth son,

WILLIAM LEADER DURDIN (1778-1849), of Huntington Castle, County Carlow, married, in 1820, Mary Anne, daughter of William Drury, of Ballinderry, County Wicklow, and had issue,
ALEXANDER, his heir;
Dr Durdin was succeeded by his son,

ALEXANDER DURDIN LL.D JP (1821-82), of Huntington Castle, and Albany, Monkstown, County Dublin, who married, in 1851, Melian Jones, second daughter of Matthew Hayman, of South Abbey, Youghal, and had issue,
Florence Amy; Melian Lucy Anne; Harriette Emily Hayman.

HUNTINGTON CASTLE, Clonegal, County Carlow, was built in 1625 by Lawrence, 1st (and last) Baron Esmonde, in a valley on the borders of counties Carlow and Wexford.

The site, which was previously occupied by an abbey and a 14th century castle, guards a pass through the Blackstairs Mountains, on the important route from Dublin to Wexford.

Huntington is a large tower-house of rough-hewn granite.

It was altered ca 1680 and again in 1720, when it was given a regular façade and a long wing on the northern side.

The Castle passed by marriage to the Durdin family, long established in County Cork where they had inherited the estates of William Penn.

In 1880, Helen, the Durdin heiress, married Herbert Robertson.

Victorian additions were made at the rear of the castle, while Manning Durdin-Robertson, a professional architect (and early devotee of concrete) carried out further alterations in the 1920s.

With her brother Lawrence, the writer and mystic Olivia Durdin-Robertson converted the under-croft into a temple to the goddess Isis in the 1970s while her nephew David, the late owner, and his wife Moira, completed a thorough restoration of the castle, garden and outbuildings.

Huntington contains a number of early panelled rooms and an eclectic family collection, all carefully arranged.

Outside are terraced gardens, an ancient yew walk and seventeenth century formal gardens, laid out in the Italian manner and recently restored.

The woods contain some fine specimen trees and the castle is connected to the village of Clonegal by a magnificent avenue of tall lime trees.

Huntington is now home to Alexander Durdin Robertson, his wife Clare and their sons.

The family is unusually talented and numbers artists, architects, writers and intellectuals amongst its ranks.

Alexander’s great-grandmother, Nora, wrote Crowned Harp.

First published in November, 2017.

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