Monday, 10 August 2020

Slane Castle


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MAJOR-GENERAL HENRY CONYNGHAM, of Slane Castle, MP for Killybegs, 1692-3, Donegal County, 1695-99, 1703-06, who served during the reign of JAMES II as a captain in Mountjoy's Regiment.

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

He became subsequently a major-general, and fell, in 1706, at St Estevan, in Spain.

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

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

THE RT HON HENRY CONYNGHAM (1705-81), MP for Killybegs from 1727 until raised to the peerage, in 1753, in the dignity of Baron Conyngham, of Mount Charles.

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

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

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

He was succeeded by his son,

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

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

Lord Conyngham was appointed a Knight of St Patrick in 1801.

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

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

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

From 1829 until his death in 1832, the 1st Marquess served as Constable and Governor of Windsor Castle.

His lordship married, in 1794, Elizabeth, daughter of Joseph Denison, and had issue,
Henry Francis, Earl of Mount Charles (1795-1824);
FRANCIS NATHANIEL, of whom hereafter;
Albert Denison, created Baron Londesborough;
Elizabeth Henrietta; Maria Harriet.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

FRANCIS NATHANIEL, 2nd Marquess (1797-1876), KP GCH PC, a General in the army, Vice-Admiral of Ulster, 1849-76, who wedded, in 1824, the Lady Jane Paget, daughter of Henry William, 1st Marquess of Anglesey, and had issue,
GEORGE HENRY, his successor;
Francis Nathaniel;
Cecilia Augusta; Jane; Frances Caroline Maria; Elizabeth Georgiana.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

GEORGE HENRY, 3rd Marquess (1825-82), a General in the army, Vice-Admiral of Ulster, who espoused, in 1854, the Lady Jane St Maur Blanche Stanhope, daughter of Charles, 4th Earl of Harrington, and had issue,
HENRY FRANCIS, his successor;
Charles Arthur;
Blanche; Constance Augusta; Jane Seymour; Elizabeth Maud; Florence.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

HENRY FRANCIS, 4th Marquess (1857-97), DL, who married, in 1882, Frances Elizabeth Sarah, daughter of Dayrolles Blakeney, 4th Baron Ventry, and had issue,
FREDERICK WILLIAM BURTON, succeeded his brother;
Blanche Frances; Mildred Martha; Hersey Constance Evelyn; Edina Dorothy Hope; Barbara Helen.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

VICTOR GEORGE HENRY FRANCIS, 5th Marquess (1883-1918), who died unmarried, when the family honours devolved upon his brother,

FREDERICK WILLIAM BURTON, 6th Marquess (1890-1974), who wedded firstly, in 1914, Bessie Alice, daughter of William Andrew Tobin; and secondly, in 1922, Antoinette Winifred, daughter of John William Howard Thompson, by whom he had issue,
John Victor Albert Blosse;
Antionette Frederika Hersey Cecilia.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

FREDERICK WILLIAM HENRY FRANCIS, 7th Marquess (1924-2009), of Ramsey, Isle of Man, Captain, Irish Guards, who espoused firstly, in 1950, Eileen Wren, daughter of Charles Wren Newsam, and had issue,
Simon Charles Eveleigh Wren;
Frederick William Patrick.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

HENRY VIVIEN PIERPONT, 8th Marquess (1951-), who wedded firstly, in 1971, Juliet Ann, daughter of Robert Richard Buller Kitson, and has issue,
ALEXANDER BURTON, his successor;
Henrietta Tamara Juliet.
He married secondly, in 1985, the Lady Iona Charlotte Grimston, daughter of John, 6th Earl of Verulam, and has further issue,
Tamara Jane (b 1991).
The 8th and present Marquess's only son,

ALEXANDER BURTON CONYNGHAM, styled Earl of Mount Charles, married Carina Suzanne, daughter of Nicholas George Bolton, and has issue,
Rory Nicholas Burton, styled Viscount Slane;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The interior is Classical in style.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conyngham arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

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