Thursday, 27 December 2018

Ballylin House


This family, and that of Sir Gilbert King, 1st Baronet, of Charlestown, County Roscommon, is one and the same, descended from

THE RT REV EDWARD KING (1577-1639), born at Stukeley, Huntingdonshire, was elected Fellow of Trinity College Dublin, 1593, two years after its foundation, and consecrated Lord Bishop of Elphin, 1611.

Bishop King was buried at Elphin, where he built a castle and acquired landed property in the neighbourhood.

His lordship married twice, and left sons and daughters, among them JOHN KING, of Boyle, County Roscommon, whose daughter, Anne, wedded Dominick French, of Dungar, or French Park, County Roscommon, and

JAMES KING (1610-87), of Charlestown, County Roscommon, High Sheriff of County Roscommon, 1657, MP for County Roscommon, 1657, who espoused Judith, daughter of Gilbert Rawson, and had issue,
Elizabeth; Martha; Susanna.
Mr King was succeeded by his younger son,

GILBERT KING JP MP (1658-1721), of Charlestown, High Sheriff of County Leitrim, 1717, who married Mary, daughter of Dominick French, of French Park, and granddaughter of John King, of Boyle, and had issue,
JOHN, his heir;
Oliver (Rev).
Mr King was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN KING, of Charlestown, High Sheriff of County Sligo, 1711, County Leitrim, 1728, MP for Jamestown, 1721, who wedded firstly, in 1706, Elizabeth, daughter of Robert Shaw, of Newford, County Galway, and had issue,
He married secondly, in 1721, Rebecca, daughter of John Digby, and grandson of Essex Digby, Lord Bishop of Dromore, who was son of Sir Robert Digby and Lettice, 1st Baroness Offaly, and had further issue,
Mr King died ca 1737, and was succeeded by his son,

JOHN KING, of Fermoyle, County Longford, the first of the family to live at Ballylin, who espoused firstly, in 1748, Alice, daughter of Ross Mahon, of Castlegar, County Galway; secondly, Frances Digby, and had issue,
John, of Ballylin, MP for Jamestown, b 1760;
Gilbert, m Elizabeth, daughter of Joseph Henry, of Straffan, County Kildare;
Jane, m Abraham Creighton, 1st Baron Erne;
Mr King's younger daughter,

REBECCA KING, espoused her cousin, GILBERT KING, Major, 5th Dragoon Guards, son of Gilbert King, by Sarah, daughter of John French, of French Park, County Roscommon, who fought at the Battle of Quebec, 1759, and by him left (with a daughter, Harriet) a son and heir,

THE REV HENRY KING (1799-1857), of Ballylin, Ferbane, King's County, who succeeded to Ballylin at the decease of his maternal uncle; married, in 1821, Harriett, youngest daughter of John Lloyd, of Gloster, King's County, for many years MP for that county, and sister of the Countess of Rosse, and had issue,
JOHN GILBERT, his heir;
Harriett, mother of HENRY LOUIS MAHON;
Mary, m 5th Viscount Bangor; accidentally killed.
The Rev Henry King was succeeded by his son,

JOHN GILBERT KING JP DL (1822-1901), of Ballylin, High Sheriff of King's County, 1852, MP for King's County, 1865-8, who died unmarried and was succeeded by his nephew,

HENRY LOUIS MAHON JP DL (1860-1922), of Ballylin, High Sheriff of King's County, 1903, eldest son of Ross Mahon, of Ladywell, by Harriett his wife, daughter of the Rev Henry King, of Ballylin.

He assumed, by royal licence, the name and arms of KING in lieu of his patronymic, MAHON.

Mr King wedded, in 1904, Winifred Harriette, only surviving daughter of William Somerset Ward, of Dublin, and had issue,
Harriet Mary, b 1906;
Winifred Alice, b 1909.
He was succeeded by his son,

MAJOR GILBERT MAHON KING, born in 1905, whose last known address was at Mullingar, County Westmeath.

BALLYLIN HOUSE, Ferbane, County Offaly, was a two-storey, early 19th century villa designed by Richard Morrison.

It had a three-bay entrance front, with a side elevation with one bay on either side of a central curved bow.

An advertisement in Faulkner's Dublin Journal on April 2nd, 1757, offered part of Ballylin's demesne lands, then in the possession of Lucy Armstrong, and consisting of 160 acres, to be let, along with the dwelling house, stabling for 16 horses, a large orchard and a walled garden.

It was purchased by John King about 1761, and so began a long association with the King family, which lasted until 1936, when the demesne was sold and it became an intensive farming operation.

The house was abandoned "and eventually unroofed to avoid rates".

By 1947, the house was demolished and the stones were "dumped in amongst the foundations of the local power station".

Before this sad end, however, the house had been painted by Mary Ward, the gifted youngest child of the Rev Henry King who had inherited the property in 1821.

His wife was Harriette Lloyd, sister of Alice Lloyd, mother of the astronomer 3rd Earl of Rosse.

Young Mary Ward was also interested in science and "shared the experience of building the Leviathan, the great telescope at Birr, between 1842 and 45".

Mary Ward died abruptly in 1869, when she fell from Lord Rosse's steam engine and was crushed.

First published in July, 2014.

Wood Stuart, Outfitter

When I was a lad at prep school the uniform was supplied by a shop called J Wood Stuart, 19 Howard Street, Belfast.

Their motto was for man and man junior.

I have unearthed a receipt dated the 3rd July, 1972, for the following:-

  • One Brackenber House blazer     @ £6.55
  • One B/H tie                                  @ £0.55
  • One B/H cap                                @ £0.95
  • Discount                                           £0.15
  • TOTAL                                             £7.90
According to my Bank of England inflation calculator, that is about £80 in today's money.

The young Brackenbrian in the image below must have been en route to or from a Games Day, because we wore shirts and ties.

A Brackenbrian wearing uniform

Incidentally, they weren't overly generous with the discount!

First published in August, 2011.

Monday, 24 December 2018

Kenneth Branagh


Elected and admitted by the Council of the City of Belfast under the Municipal Privilege (Ireland) Act, 1875:-

Knight bachelor

In recognition of his "outstanding achievements and international status in drama and cinema, as an actor, director, producer and screenwriter".

Van Morrison


Elected and admitted by the Council of the City of Belfast under the Municipal Privilege (Ireland) Act, 1875:-

Knight Bachelor
Officer of the Civil Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire 

In recognition of "the extraordinary contribution made to the City by [Sir] George Ivan ‘Van’ Morrison; achieving international acclaim over the last fifty years, he has portrayed a majestic image of Belfast and continues to inspire generations through his inspirational music." 

Sunday, 23 December 2018

Mary Peters


Elected and admitted by the Council of the City of Belfast under the Municipal Privilege (Ireland) Act, 1875:-

Lady Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter
Member of the Order of the Companions of Honour
Dame Commander of the Civil Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant for the County Borough of Belfast, 2009-14

"Over the past 40 years she has served as an ambassador for Belfast across the world and has been tireless in her efforts to promote sport and the benefits it brings to young people,"

"Accordingly, in the recognition of this service, the council agrees that Dame Mary Peters is hereby elected and admitted as a Freeman of the City of Belfast."

Captain Dame Mary Peters CH DBE RNR in 2013

I'd like to express my personal delight and compliments to Lady Mary, a wonderful ambassador for Belfast and Northern Ireland.

First published in November, 2012.

Saturday, 22 December 2018

Cathedral Donors

Inside Armagh's Anglican cathedral, a stained-glass window above the West Door displays the armorial bearings of the ten principal donors during the great 1834 restoration of the building, viz.

  • 1st Earl O'Neill KP PC; 
  • Sir Thomas Molyneux Bt; 
  • Samuel Blacker; 
  • Maxwell Close; 
  • James Wood; 
  • Elias Elsler; 
  • Thomas Keers; 
  • Roger Hall; 
  • R Livingstone; 
  • Sir William Verner Bt MP.

Could Lord O'Neill's act of beneficence have been meant as a kind of atonement?

In 1566, Shane O'Neill ‘utterly destroyed the Cathedral by fire, lest the English should again lodge in it’.

In 1641, it again became a target for the O'Neills, when Sir Phelim O'Neill burned it.
Sir Phelim, incidentally, met his timely fate in 1653, when he was caught and executed on the orders of William, 5th Baron Charlemont, for the murder of his brother Toby, the 3rd Baron.
Perhaps a more plausible explanation is that, as a Knight of St Patrick, Lord O'Neill was well acquainted with the Prelate of the Order, Lord John Beresford, Lord Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland.

First published in May, 2013.

Friday, 21 December 2018

The Darnley Estate


JOHN BLIGH (c1617-66), a Citizen of London, the founder of this noble family, was employed as agent of the adventurers for the forfeited estates by the rebellion of 1641, and in that capacity arrived in Ireland during the usurpation of Cromwell, when he became an adventurer himself to a large extent.

Mr Bligh was returned for Athboy in the first parliament after the restoration.

He married Catherine, sister of the Rt Rev William Fuller, Lord Bishop of Lincoln, and was succeeded by his only son,

THE RT HON THOMAS BLIGH (1654-1710), of Rathmore, County Meath, MP for Rathboy, 1692-3, County Meath, 1695-1710, and of the Privy Council to QUEEN ANNE, who wedded Elizabeth, daughter of Colonel James Naper, of Loughcrew, in the same county, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN BLIGH (1687-1728), MP for Trim, 1709-13, Athboy, 1713-21, who espoused, in 1713, the Lady Theodosia Hyde, then only daughter and heir of Edward, 3rd Earl of Clarendon, by Catherine, Baroness Clifton, and had issue,
EDWARD, his successor;
JOHN, succeeded his brother;
Mary; Anne; Theodosia.
Mr Bligh was elevated to the peerage, in 1721, in the dignity of Baron Clifton, of Rathmore, and Viscount Darnley.

His lordship was further advanced to the dignity of an earldom, in 1725, as EARL OF DARNLEY.

He was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

EDWARD, 2nd Earl (1715-47), who had previously inherited the English barony of CLIFTON on the decease of his mother, 1722.

His lordship died unmarried, and the honours devolved upon his brother,

JOHN, 3rd Earl (1719-81), who espoused, in 1766, Mary, daughter and heir of John Stoyte, of Street, County Westmeath, barrister, and had issue,
JOHN, his successor;
Edward, General in the army;
Mary; Theodosia; Catherine.
His lordship was succeeded by his elder son,

JOHN, 4th Earl (1767-1831), who married, in 1791, Elizabeth, thgird daughter of the Rt Hon William Brownlow, of Lurgan, County Armagh, and had issue,
EDWARD, his successor;
John Duncan;
Mary; Elizabeth.
This nobleman presented, in 1829, a petition to the King, claiming the dukedom of LENNOX, as heir of line of Charles, 6th Duke of Lennox and 4th Duke of Richmond, at whose death, in 1672, CHARLES II was served His Grace's heir.

As His Majesty's (legitimate) issue became extinct in 1807, with His Eminence the Cardinal Duke of York, and as that personage was the last heir male of the STUARTS, the Earl of Darnley put forward his claim as heir general, being descended from Catherine, sister of the 6th Duke.

The petition was referred to the House of Lords, but their lordships came to no decision about it.

His lordship was succeeded by his elder son,

EDWARD, 5th Earl (1795-1835), who wedded, in 1825, Emma Jane, daughter of Sir Henry Parnell Bt, and had issue,
JOHN, his successor;
Edward Vesey;
another son;
Elizabeth Caroline; a daughter.
His lordship, Lord-Lieutenant of County Meath, was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN, 6th Earl (1827-96), Hereditary High Steward of Gravesend and Milton.
The heir apparent is the present holder's only son, Ivo Donald Bligh, styled Lord Clifton (b 1968).

Darnley Estate Office

During the 1641 Rebellion, the town of Athboy, County Meath, was captured by Owen Roe O'Neill.

With Cromwell and the collapse of the Rebellion, much of the land ownership passed to adventurers from England.

In 1694, the town's 'lands and commons' and several other denominations of land were erected into a manor and granted to Thomas Bligh, MP for Athboy, who had earlier purchased almost 3,000 acres in the area of Athboy.

In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the Darnleys planned and carried out the development of Athboy, giving it the form which prevails today.

It was not until 1909, under the 1903 Wyndham Act, that Francis Walter, 8th Earl, auctioned the town of Athboy.

The Darnley estate office was finally closed in 1948.

Today the erstwhile Darnley estate office on the main street is the Darnley Lodge Hotel.

Cobham Hall

Former Seats - Cobham Hall, near Gravesend, Kent; Rathmore, County Meath.

Former London residence ~ 46 Berkeley Square, W1

First published in July, 2012.   Darnley arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Sunday, 16 December 2018

The Morning Star

THE MORNING STAR, 17-19 Pottinger's Entry, Belfast, is a two-storey public house, reputedly dating from ca 1820.

It is one of the longest-operating licensed premises in the city.

The building occupies the corner site of Pottinger's Entry and Pottinger's Court, an alley which was first mentioned in a map of 1715.

The Bar comprises two storeys, with a pilastered front, moulded base panels, and etched glass windows.

The current building had certainly been erected by at least 1850, when maps depicted the building along its current layout.

Griffith's Valuation recorded that it was occupied by John and William Riddel in 1860 (the Riddels were iron and metal merchants who utilized the premises on Pottinger's Entry as a store and workshop).

The premises were valued at £25 in 1860; however, by 1863, the site had been converted into a licensed "spirit shop and stores" operated by Mr J Steenman.
Mr Steenman was recorded as the occupant of the site between 1863-81, although the Belfast Street Directories state that the "wine stores" were administered by the Malcolmson Brothers in 1868, George McChesney in 1877, and William Nixon in 1880, presumably the publicans.
In 1892, the property was acquired by James McEntee and Henry McKenna, two publicans who also owned pubs in the area around Castle Street.

The property was recorded as a "Licensed House" and had been increased in value to £65.

McEntee and McKenna's partnership had been dissolved by 1900, when Henry McKenna was the sole occupier of the site.

Pottinger's Court ca 1910

In that year the valuer increased the rateable value of the premises to £95 and noted that McKenna paid annual rent of £60 to William Riddel.
Henry McKenna's public house also included a bottling store which was located off Pottinger's Entry, in Pottinger's Court.
Mr McKenna continued to operate the public house until 1926.

In 1913, the site was first referred to as The Morning Star Bar in street directories. 
The Irish Builder records that in 1924 renovation work was carried out to the bar which repaired damage incurred during an arson assault. The Morning Star was burnt out in a sectarian attack, part of the sectarian violence common in the post-partition years of 1921-23. Renovation work was carried out by Messrs F & J McCardle.
In 1935, the bar was administered by the Madden Brothers, having passed from Henry McKenna in 1924.

There was no further valuation of the pub carried out for the next two decades due to the disruption of the 2nd World War.

The Morning Star narrowly survived the Belfast Blitz of 1941 whilst many neighbouring building on High Street and Bridge Street were levelled.

The Morning Star is, without doubt, the earliest building currently standing on Pottinger's Entry; however, the exact construction date of the two-storey building is difficult to determine.

The Morning Star maintains a historic tradition stretching back as early as 1810, when the Belfast Newsletter supposedly made reference to the building as "one of the terminals for the Belfast to Dublin mail coach".

However, the building was probably not utilised as a public house or tavern at this time, and it was not until 1863 that the building was first referred to as a licensed premises.

The Morning Star was refaced in 1892, when Messrs McEntee and McKenna took possession of the site and added its Victorian features.

Much of the current bar dates from the 1924 renovation of the building following a sectarian arson attack.

Law states that the renovation was carried out shortly after the Madden Bros. acquired the Morning Star Bar from McKenna in 1924.
The Maddens also owned the Ivy Bar in Church Lane; Dufferin House in Whitla Street; the Sportsman's Arms in York Street; and spirit stores in Duncairn Gardens.
The current horseshoe bar and the exterior sign are amongst the features installed as a result of the Madden Bros. 1924 reconstruction.

Having undergone a further extensive renovation in the 1960s, The Morning Star was listed in 1986.

Marcus Patton OBE, writing in 1993, described the public house as a
two-storey stucco building of considerable character, tall pilastered front with etched glass windows and boldly moulded base panels; projecting sign in brass and glass with bronze urn on top; a winged lion stands guard over the corner entrance.

The features described, including the exterior sign, continue to adorn the façade of the public house.

Although it is not possible to identify the precise origins of The Morning Star, the building is significant as the sole surviving remnant of the former street-scape of Pottinger's Entry, one of Belfast's original entries dating from at least the early-18th century.

First published in January, 2015.

Friday, 30 November 2018

New DL


Mrs Fionnuala Jay-O’Boyle CBE, Lord-Lieutenant of the County Borough of Belfast, has been pleased to appoint:-
CORBETT, Mrs Patricia Sarah,
To be a Deputy Lieutenant of the County Borough, her Commission bearing date the day of November,  2018.

Lord Lieutenant of the County Borough

Monday, 26 November 2018

Ballyconra House


This is a branch of the noble house of BUTLER, Earls and Marquesses of Ormonde, springing from

THE HON RICHARD BUTLER (1500-71), second son of Piers, 8th Earl of Ormonde, who was elevated to the peerage, in 1550, in the dignity of VISCOUNT MOUNTGARRET, County Wexford.

His lordship married firstly, Eleanor, daughter of Theobald Butler, of Nechum, County Kilkenny, and had one son, Edmund; and secondly, Catherine, daughter and heir of Peter Barnewall, of Stackallan, County Meath, and had issue, Barnewall, who died unmarried, Pierce, and other issue.

He espoused thirdly, in 1541, Anne, daughter of John, Lord Killeen, from whom he was divorced in the first year of his marriage.

His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

EDMUND, 2nd Viscount (c1562-1602), who married Grizzel, daughter of Barnaby, 1st Baron Upper Ossory, and was father of

RICHARD, 3rd Viscount (1578-1651), who wedded firstly, Margaret, eldest daughter of Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone, by whom alone he had issue, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

EDMUND, 4th Viscount (1595-1679), 

Earls of Kilkenny (1793)

Viscounts Mountgarret (continued)

The current heir presumptive is the present holder's brother, Edmund Henry Richard Butler (b 1962). 
Piers James Richard [Butler], 18th and present Viscount,  is de jure 27th Earl of Ormonde and 21st Earl of Upper Ossory following the death of the 7th Marquess of Ormonde in 1997. 

BALLYCONRA HOUSE is a seven-bay, two-storey over basement house with dormer attic, dated 1724, on an L-shaped plan, possibly originally a mill owner's house with two-bay two-storey side elevations, and single-bay two-storey double-pile return to north-west. Now in use as offices.

This is a well-appointed substantial house representing an important element of the early 18th century architectural heritage of County Kilkenny.

It may originally have had associations with the nearby Ballyconra Mills, though its primary significance was for the connections with the Butler Family, Viscounts Mountgarret, late of Ballyragget Castle (1495) together with the Cahill family.

Ballyconra is located on a slightly elevated site.

This house makes an important impression in a landscape dominated by late 20th-century industrial ranges.  

The house is said to be haunted by the ghost of Edmund, 12th Viscount Mountgarret and first and last Earl of Kilkenny, who died in 1846 and was the last Mountgarret to live there. 

Following Lord Kilkenny's death, the house was occupied by Michael Cahill, agent to the 13th Viscount, by whose descendants it was afterwards acquired.

The Mountgarrets' other seat was Nidd Hall, near Ripley, Yorkshire; sold in 1968.

First published in February, 2012.   Mountgarret arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Castletown House


THE RT HON WILLIAM CONOLLY (1662-1729), of Castletown, Speaker of the House of Commons in Ireland during the reign of QUEEN ANNE, First Lord of the Treasury until his decease during the reign of GEORGE II, and ten times sworn one of the Lords Justices of Ireland, espoused, in 1694, Katherine, sister of Henry, 1st Earl Conyngham, by whom he acquired large estates in Ulster.
Speaker Conolly was born in 1662 at Ballyshannon, County Donegal. 
His father, Patrick Conolly, was attainted by JAMES II's Irish Parliament of 1689: otherwise little is known of Patrick Conolly and his wife, Jane, except that they owned an inn or alehouse and must have conformed to the established church at some stage before Conolly's birth. 
Old Irish Christian names like Terence, Phelim and Thady, predominate among his relatives. Conolly appears to have been the oldest of the family, and was early apprenticed to the law in Dublin. 
In 1685, when his sister Jane was only one year old, he was already qualified as an attorney and attached to the Court of Common Pleas.
Speaker Conolly, MP for Donegal, 1692-9, Londonderry, 1703-29, was succeeded by his nephew,

THE RT HON WILLIAM JAMES CONOLLY (1706-54), of Castletown, County Kildare, and Stratton Hall, Staffordshire, who married the Lady Anne Wentworth, eldest daughter of Thomas, 1st Earl of Strafford, KG, son of Sir Peter Wentworth, and nephew of Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford (who was beheaded in the reign of CHARLES I), and had issue,
THOMAS, his heir;
Katherine, m Ralph, Earl of Ross;
Anne, m G Byng; mother of Earl of Strafford;
Harriet, m Rt Hon John Staples, of Lissan;
Frances, m 5th Viscount Howe;
Caroline, m 2nd Earl of Buckinghamshire;
Lucy; Jane.
Mr Conolly, MP for Ballyshannon, 1727-54, was succeeded by his son,

THE RT HON THOMAS CONOLLY (1738-1803), of Castletown, a member, like his father, of the Privy Council in Ireland, one of the deputation appointed by the Irish Parliament to offer the Regency to the Prince of Wales, on the first indisposition of GEORGE III.

Mr Conolly, MP for County Londonderry, 1761-1800, wedded, in 1758, the Lady Louisa Augusta Lennox, daughter of Charles, 2nd Duke of Richmond and Lennox, KG etc, and dsp.

By his will he devised his estates to his widow for life, and at her death, which occurred in 1821, they devolved upon his grand-nephew, EDWARD MICHAEL PAKENHAM, who, assuming his surname and arms of CONOLLY in 1821, became

EDWARD MICHAEL CONOLLY (1786-1849), of Castletown, County Kildare, and Cliff, County Donegal, Lieutenant-Colonel, Donegal Militia, MP for County Donegal, 1831-49, who espoused, in 1819, Catherine Jane, daughter of Chambré Brabazon Ponsonby-Barker, by the Lady Henrietta Taylour his wife, daughter of Thomas, Earl of Bective, and had issue,
THOMAS, his heir;
Chambré Brabazon, d 1835;
Frederick William Edward, d 1826;
Arthur Wellesley, 1828-54;
John Augustus,
Richard, d 1870;
Louisa Augusta; Henrietta; Mary Margaret; Frances Catherine.
Mr Conolly was succeeded by his eldest son,

THOMAS CONOLLY JP DL (1823-76), of Castletown and Cliff, High Sheriff of County Donegal, 1848, MP for County Donegal, 1849-76, who married, in 1868, Sarah Elizabeth, daughter of Joseph Shaw, of Temple House, Celbridge, County Kildare, and had issue,
Thomas (1870-1900), killed in action at S Africa;
William, 1872-95;
EDWARD MICHAEL, of whom hereafter;
CATHERINE, Baroness Carew, mother of
Mr Conolly was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

EDWARD MICHAEL CONOLLY CMG (1874-1956), of Castletown, Major, Royal Artillery, who died unmarried, when Castletown passed to his nephew,

William Francis (Conolly-Carew), 6th Baron Carew.

The Conolly Papers are held at PRONI.

CASTLETOWN HOUSE, near Celbridge, County Kildare, is not only the largest, though also the earliest Palladian house in Ireland.

It was built in 1722 for the Rt Hon William Conolly, Speaker of the Irish house of commons, who rose from relatively humble origins to become a man of colossal wealth and power.

Speaker Conolly accumulated his massive fortune by dealing in forfeited estates.

He refused to accept a peerage, preferring instead to remain, like his descendants, as plain "Mr Conolly of Castletown".

He desired a residence within easy reach of Dublin, and purchased land near Celbridge, County Kildare, in order to build the grandest, finest Palladian house in Ireland.

Castletown was designed by the Italian architect, Alessandro Galilei and also partly by Sir Edward Lovett Pearce.

It is said that Castletown's design was an influence on that of The White House in Washington DC, USA (built between 1792 and 1800).

The main block comprises three storeys over a basement, with thirteen bays.

The centre block is joined by curved, Ionic colonnades to two-storey, seven-bay wings.

The entrance hall, designed by Pearce, rises to two storeys.

Lady Louisa Conolly (daughter of 2nd Duke of Richmond and sister of Emily, Duchess of Leinster) and her husband, Tom Conolly, employed the Francini brothers to embellish the walls of the staircase hall with rococo stucco-work.

The refurbishment of the house was mostly supervised by Lady Louisa (notably the Print Room, and the magnificent Long Gallery on the first floor).

The Long Gallery

Lady Louisa had the Long Gallery (eighty feet in length and one of the most beautiful rooms in Ireland) decorated with wall paintings in the Pompeian style by Thomas Riley in 1776.

The Long Gallery and other principal rooms face the garden front and a two-mile long vista to the Conolly Folly, an obelisk elevated on arches erected by Speaker Conolly's widow in 1740.

This obelisk stands on ground belonging to the Earls of Kildare (later Dukes of Leinster) at Carton House.

The Conolly Folly
The Print Room was conceived by Lady Louisa in the 1760s, likely with assistance from her close friends, probably as a diversion on rainy days.

The Print Room

The Conolly family continued to own Castletown until 1965.

In 1967, it was purchased by the Hon Desmond Guinness for £93,000 as the GHQ of the Irish Georgian Society.

Thereafter, Castletown was restored, and in 1994 it was transferred to the Irish government's Department of Public works.

Former estates ~ The manors of Castletown and Leixlip, in County Kildare; of Rathfarnham, in County Dublin; of Ballyshannon and Parkhill, in County Donegal; besides estates in County Roscommon and the King's County, all purchased by His Excellency the Rt Hon William Conolly, Speaker of the House of Commons in Ireland, and Lord Justice of Ireland.

Former London residence ~ 20 Grosvenor Square.

First published in March, 2016.

Friday, 23 November 2018

New DL


The Earl of Caledon KCVO, Lord-Lieutenant of County Armagh, has been pleased to appoint
County Armagh
To be a Deputy Lieutenant of the County his Commission bearing date the day of 11th November 2018.

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Convamore House


This ancient family claims descent from the house of HARCOURT, in Lorraine, who were Counts in Normandy.

In 1461,

JOHN HARE, son of Thomas Hare, by Joyce, his wife, daughter of John Hyde, of Norbury, resided at Homersfield, in Suffolk and was father of

NICHOLAS HARE, father of

JOHN HARE, who, by Elizabeth Fortescue, his wife, had two sons, viz.
The younger son,

JOHN HARE, having eventually inherited the estates of his brother, Sir Nicholas, became of Stow Bardolph.

He had a numerous family, seven sons and three daughters.

Of the former,

RICHARD, the eldest, was ancestor of the HARES of Stow Bardolph, raised to the degree of Baronet in 1641; and

JOHN HARE, the youngest, a bencher of the Middle Temple, wedded Margaret, daughter of John Crouch, of Cornbury, Hertfordshire, and had a son,

HUGH HARE, a faithful adherent of CHARLES I, by whom he was created, in 1625, BARON COLERAINE,  of County Londonderry.

His lordship married and was father of

HENRY, descended the Lords Coleraine; and from a younger son, HUGH, sprang the HARES of Listowel, the representative of which branch, 

RICHARD HARE, of Ennismore (third son of John Hare, of Cork, a native of Norfolk), the immediate founder of this family, married Catherine Maylor, and had issue,
WILLIAM, his successor;
John, died unmarried, 1774;
Mary; Margaret Anne.
The elder son and successor,

WILLIAM HARE (1751-1837), represented Cork and Athy in the Irish parliament from 1796 until the final dissolution of that assembly.

Mr Hare was elevated to the peerage, in 1800, in the dignity of Baron Ennismore; and advanced to a viscounty, in 1816, as Viscount Ennismore and Listowel.

His lordship was further advanced to the dignity of an earldom, in 1822, as EARL OF LISTOWEL.

He married firstly, in 1772, Mary, only daughter of Henry Wrixon, of Ballygiblin, County Cork, and aunt of Sir William Wrixon-Becher Bt, and had issue,
William Henry;
Margaret Anne; Mary; Louisa; Catharine.
He espoused secondly, in 1812, Anne, second daughter of John Latham, of Meldrum, County Tipperary.

His lordship was succeeded by his grandson,

WILLIAM (1801-56), 2nd Earl.
The heir presumptive is the present holder's brother, the Hon Timothy Patrick Hare (b 1966).

THE PRINCIPAL family seat was Convamore, County Cork, though they were also seated at Ennismore Park, County Kerry, which was sold by the Bailey family to the Hares in the late 18th century.

William, 1st Earl of Listowel, built a new house beside the River Blackwater in the early 19th century.

He was residing at Convamore in 1814.

It remained the family seat in 1894.

The house was burned in 1921 and is now a ruin.

The family's town residence was Kingston House, Knightsbridge, London. The 3rd Earl, the then owner of the Kingston House estate, was admitted as copyholder and secured the ground's enfranchisement from manorial control.

In 1855, the substantial portion of the estate built up with houses and stables in the 1840s and early 1950s was sold by the 2nd Earl, but the greater part, including Kingston House itself, remained in the possession of the Hare family until shortly before the Second World War.

With the death of the 4th Earl in 1931, the estate passed not to his eldest son, the socialist 5th Earl, but on trust to a younger son, the Hon John Hare, later 1st Viscount Blakenham. 

The 3rd Earl died at Kingston House in 1924, and the last occupant was his widow, who in turn died there in 1936. In March, 1937, the contents were sold and that autumn the house itself was demolished for the building of flats.

CONVAMORE HOUSE was a large and plain two-storey early 19th century mansion, situated above a fine stretch of the River Blackwater in County Cork.

The entrance front had a single storey Doric portico; while the block with the main rooms was faced with Victorian stucco and plate-glass windows.

The walls of the old Roche castle are said to be stained with tar from a beacon that was lit when EDWARD VII paid a visit as Prince of Wales.

The castle belonged lately to a Major Hirtch, whose father built a gabled fishing lodge beside it.

These decorative cast-iron entrance gates and finely carved piers of solid limestone blocks exhibit high levels of craftsmanship.

The gateway to Convamore House was erected for a visit by the Prince of Wales in 1886.

Listowel arms courtesy of European Heraldry.   First published in February, 2012.

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Mount Bellew House


This family springs from a common ancestor with the BARONS BELLEW, of Barmeath Castle.

Michael Bellew was a descendant of Christopher Bellew, brother of the first Baronet, Sir Patrick Bellew.

MICHAEL BELLEW, of Mount Bellew, County Galway, married Jane, daughter of Henry Dillon, and had issue,
Mary Catherine. 
Mr Bellew died in 1797, and was succeeded by his son,

CHRISTOPHER DILLON BELLEW (1763-1826), of Mount Bellew, who wedded, in 1794, Olivia Emily, only daughter of Anthony, 4th Baron Nugent of Riverston, and had issue,

MICHAEL DILLON BELLEW (1796-1855), of Mount Bellew, who espoused, in 1816, Helena Maria, daughter of Thomas Dillon, of Dublin, and had numerous issue, of whom
CHRISTOPHER, his heir;
Thomas Arthur, father of 3rd Baronet.
Mr Bellew was created a baronet in 1838, denominated of Mount Bellew, County Galway.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

THE REV SIR CHRISTOPHER BELLEW, 2nd Baronet (1818-67), a Catholic priest, whose brother,

THOMAS ARTHUR BELLEW (1820-63), married, in 1858, Pauline, daughter of the Rt Hon James Grattan MP, and had issue,
Mary Helena.
Mr Bellew added the name and arms of GRATTAN in 1859.

He was succeeded by his son,

HENRY CHRISTOPHER GRATTAN-BELLEW (1860-1942), of Mount Bellew, who, succeeding his uncle as 3rd Baronet, wedded, in 1885, the Lady Sophia Maria Elizabeth Forbes, daughter of George, 7th Earl of Granard, and had issue,
Herbert Michael, 1886-1906;
William Arthur;
Thomas Henry;
Arthur John (Sir), Knight, CMG;
Helena Barbara; Moira Jane; Angela Mary.
Sir Henry was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

SIR CHARLES CHRISTOPHER GRATTAN-BELLEW, 4th Baronet (1887-1948), MC, who wedded, in 1923, Maureen Peyton, daughter of Sir Thomas George Segrave, and had issue,
HENRY CHARLES, his successor;
Deirdre Maureen.
Sir Charles, Lieutenant-Colonel, King's Royal Rifle Corps, was succeeded by his son,

SIR HENRY CHARLES GRATTAN-BELLEW, 5th and present Baronet, born in 1933, who married firstly, in 1956, Naomi, daughter of Dr Charles Cyril Morgan; secondly, in 1967, Gillian Hulley; and thirdly, in 1978, Elzabe Amy, daughter of Henry Gilbert Body.

By his second wife he had issue,
Deirdre Sophia, b 1967.
Photo credit: Dr Patrick Melvin & Eamonn de Burca

MOUNT BELLEW HOUSE, Mount Bellew Bridge, County Galway, was a house of mainly late-Georgian style.

It was remodelled ca 1820 by Christopher Dillon Bellew.

Mount Bellew comprised a three-storey centre block, with a single-bay entrance front.

The central block had a Venetian window at the top storey of the centre block.

It boasted a notable library which was said to have held one of the finest collections of books during its era.

Mount Bellew was sold about 1938 and subsequently demolished.

First published in March, 2016.

Friday, 16 November 2018

1st Earl of Breadalbane and Holland


This ancient family claims a common ancestor with the ducal house of ARGYLL, namely,

SIR DUNCAN CAMPBELL, of Lochawe, who was created Lord Campbell, of Argyll, by JAMES II, King of Scotland, in 1445.

His lordship wedded the Lady Marjorie Stewart, daughter of Robert, Duke of Albany, and granddaughter of ROBERT II, King of Scotland, by whom he left two sons,

ARCHIBALD, his successor, from whom the house of ARGYLL derives; and

SIR COLIN CAMBELL, upon whom his father settled the estate of Glenorchy, which had come into the Campbell family in the time of DAVID II of Scotland, by the marriage of Margaret Glenorchy with John Campbell.
"Sir Colin" says Douglas, "was a man of high renown for military prowess, and for the virtues of social and domestic life. He was a stream of many tides against the foes of his people, but like the gale that moves the heath to those who sought his aid."
He married firstly, Mary, daughter of the Earl of Lennox, but by her had no issue.
He married secondly, Margaret, second daughter and co-heir of John, Lord Lorne, with whom he got a third of that lordship, which still remains in the family, and Sir Colin quartered henceforward the GALLEY OF LORNE, with his paternal achievement.
By this marriage, his only son,

SIR DUNCAN CAMPBELL, who, in his father's lifetime, was designated of Glenorchy, by charter, dated 1480. The great-grandson of this gentleman,

SIR DUNCAN CAMPBELL, of Glenorchy, being in high favour with JAMES VI, was made, by that monarch, in 1617, heritable keeper of the forests of Mamlorn, Bendaskerlie etc, with many valuable privileges; and created, in 1625, a baronet, and High Sheriff of Perthshire, for life.

Sir Duncan married twice, and was succeeded at his decease, in 1631, by the eldest son of his first wife, Jean, daughter of John, Earl of Atholl, Lord Chancellor of Scotland,

SIR COLIN CAMPBELL, 2nd Baronet, who died without issue in 1640, and was succeeded by his brother,

SIR ROBERT CAMPBELL, 3rd Baronet, whose eldest son,

SIR JOHN CAMPBELL (1635-1717), 4th Baronet, being the chief creditor of George, 6th Earl of Caithness, obtained a disposition from that nobleman of his whole estate and earldom, with the hereditary jurisdictions and titles; and upon the demise of his lordship, in 1676, was created, by patent dated 1677, Earl of Caithness; but in a few years afterwards, that dignity being allowed by parliament to be vested in George Sinclair (who became, in consequence, 7th Earl of Caithness), Sir John Campbell obtained a new patent of nobility, dated 1681.


His lordship wedded firstly, Mary, daughter of Henry Rich, 1st Earl of Holland (which earl was beheaded in 1649), by whom he had two sons.

He married secondly, Mary, Dowager Countess of Caithness, 3rd daughter of Archibald, Marquess of Argyll; but by her had no surviving issue.

This nobleman married a third time, and had a daughter, Mary, who wedded Sir Archibald Cockburn of Langton Bt.
The 1st Earl is described, by John Macky, as having the gravity of a Spaniard, the cunning of a fox, the wisdom of a serpent, and the slipperiness of an eel.
His lordship died in 1716, and passing over his eldest son, Duncan Lord Ormelie, was succeeded by his 2nd son,

JOHN, 2nd Earl.
  • John Campbell, 3rd Earl (1692–1782)
    • Hon Henry Campbell (c. 1721-27)
    • Hon George Campbell (d 1744)
    • John Campbell, Lord Glenorchy (1738–71)

Marquesses of Breadalbane; First creation (1831)

Earls of Breadalbane and Holland (1681; Reverted)

  • John Alexander Gavin Campbell, 6th Earl (1824–71)
  • Gavin Campbell, 7th Earl (1851–1922) (created Marquess of Breadalbane in 1885).

Marquesses of Breadalbane; Second creation (1885)

Earls of Breadalbane and Holland (1681; Reverted)

  • Iain Edward Herbert Campbell, 8th Earl (1885–1923)
  • John Romer Boreland Campbell, 10th and last Earl (1919–95).

TAYMOUTH CASTLE, Perthshire, was the main seat of the Earls of Breadalbane and Holland until 1922.

Built in the neo-Gothic style on a lavish scale, no expense was spared on the castle's interior, which was decorated with extravagant sumptuousness incorporating carvings, plasterwork and murals.

Panels of medieval stained glass and Renaissance woodwork were incorporated into the scheme.

Much of this decor survives, though the castle has lost most of its original rich furnishings.

It has been empty since 1979, although plans have been put forward for its redevelopment as a luxury hotel.

In 1720, the 2nd Earl commissioned William Adam to remodel the house and lay out extensive formal gardens.

The 2nd Earl's son oversaw further changes in the 1750s, and by the 1780s the formal gardens had been replaced with a picturesque landscape.

The 4th Earl called upon Robert Mylne to prepare plans for a new "chateau" in 1789, though they were not carried out.

Ten years later the main block of the old house was demolished, to be replaced from 1806 by a Gothic building to the designs of the brothers James and Archibald Elliot.

The English-Italian Francis Bernasconi carried out the ornate plasterwork of the staircase and drawing rooms between 1809-12.

In 1818, the old east wing was pulled down and replaced by a two-storey wing designed by William Atkinson.

The 2nd Marquess of Breadalbane completed the improvements from 1838, by the remodelling of William Adam's west wing, which was enlarged and refaced to match the main block.

This time the architect was James Gillespie Graham, with interiors designed by A. W. N. Pugin.

The works were complete by 1842, in time for the first visit to Scotland of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, when they stayed at Taymouth for three days.

On the death of the 2nd Marquess, Taymouth passed to a distant cousin, along with the earldom of Breadalbane. The marquessate was re-created for his son Gavin Campbell in 1885.

The family estates were much reduced during his tenure, and on his death in 1922 Taymouth Castle was sold.

It was converted into a hotel, opening in 1929, with an 18-hole golf course designed by James Braid in the grounds.

It was used as a hospital for Polish troops during the 2nd World War; and between 1950-68 it housed the Civil Defence Corps training school for Scotland.

Taymouth was subsequently used by a boarding school for American children.

This closed in 1979 and the building has since lain empty, though the golf course has continued to be operated separately.

In 2004, it was reported that plans to redevelop the castle as a "six-star" hotel had been approved by Perth and Kinross Council.

By 2006, the buildings was weathertight, but work stopped in late 2006, and in 2009 the company restoring Taymouth Castle was declared insolvent.

Following the purchase of the estate by Meteor Asset Management, work re-commenced late in 2010 and, despite financial problems, the restoration was continuing in 2012.

First published in January, 2014.   Breadalbane arms courtesy of European Heraldry.