Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Castlecomer House


This family was of great antiquity in Yorkshire.

JOHN DE WANDESFORDE, of Westwick, near Ripon, married, in 1368, Elizabeth, daughter and heir of Sir Henry de Musters, Knight, of Kirklington, Yorkshire, and widow of Alexander Mowbray.

He died in 1396, and was direct ancestor of

THOMAS WANDESFORDE, of Kirklington, in 1503, who wedded Margaret, daughter of Henry Pudsey.

He died in 1518, having had four sons and two daughters,
CHRISTOPHER, his heir;
John (Rev);
Ellen; Elizabeth.
The eldest son,

CHRISTOPHER WANDESFORD, of Kirklington, espoused Anne, daughter of John Norton, and died in 1540, having had issue,
FRANCIS, his heir;
The elder son,

FRANCIS WANDESFORD, of Kirklington, married Anne, elder daughter and co-heir of John Fulthorpe, of Hipswell, and had by her (who wedded secondly, Christopher, younger son of Ralph, Earl of Westmorland),
Mr Wandesford died in 1559, and was succeeded by his elder son,

SIR CHRISTOPHER WANDESFORD, Knight, of Kirklington, who received the honour of knighthood, 1586, and served as Sheriff of Yorkshire, 1578.

He espoused Elizabeth, daughter of Sir George Bowes, of Streatlam, and dying in 1590, was succeeded by his elder son,

SIR GEORGE WANDESFORD, Knight (1573-1612), of Kirklington, knighted by JAMES I, 1607, who wedded firstly, Catherine, daughter and co-heir of Ralph Hansby, of Beverley, and had issue,
CHRISTOPHER, his successor;
Michael (Very Rev);
Sir George espoused secondly, Mary, daughter of Robert Pamplin, and had a daughter, Margaret, and a son, WILLIAM WANDESFORDE, Citizen of London, to whom, and his heirs, his eldest brother, in 1637, gave £20 per annum, issuing out of the manor of Castlecomer, and payable upon Strongbow's tomb in Christ Church, Dublin.

Sir George was succeeded by his eldest son,

THE RT HON CHRISTOPHER WANDESFORD (1592-1640), being upon close habits of intimacy and friendship with Sir Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford, accompanied that eminent and ill-fated nobleman into Ireland when he was constituted Chief Governor of that kingdom, was sworn of the Privy Council, and was appointed Master of the Rolls.

Mr Wandesford was one of the Lords Justices in 1636 and 1639; and was appointed, in 1640, Lord Deputy; but the fate of his friend Lord Strafford had so deep an effect upon him, that he died in that year.

He married, in 1614, Alice, daughter of Sir Hewet Osborne, of Kiveton, Yorkshire, and had issue,
GEORGE, his heir;
CHRISTOPHER, successor to his brother;
Catherine; Alice.
Mr Wandesford was succeeded by his eldest son,

GEORGE WANDESFORD (1623-51), of Kirklington, who dsp and was succeeded by his brother,

SIR CHRISTOPHER WANDESFORD (1628-87), of Kirklington, who was created a baronet in 1662, denominated of Kirklington, Yorkshire.

He married, in 1651, Eleanor, daughter of Sir John Lowther Bt, of Lowther Hall, Westmorland, and had issue,
CHRISTOPHER, his heir;
Mary; Eleanor; Catherine; Elizabeth; Alice; Frances; Christiana.
Sir Christopher, MP for Ripon, was succeeded by his eldest son,

THE RT HON SIR CHRISTOPHER WANDESFORD (1656-1707), who was sworn of the Privy Council by WILLIAM III, and again, in 1702, by Queen ANNE, who elevated him to the peerage, in 1706, as Baron Wandesforde and VISCOUNT CASTLECOMER.

He wedded, in 1683, Elizabeth, daughter of George Montagu, of Horton, Northamptonshire, and had issue,
CHRISTOPHER, 2nd Viscount;
GEORGE, 4th Viscount;
His lordship died in London, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

CHRISTOPHER, 2nd Viscount (1684-1719), MP for Morpeth, 1710, and for Rippon, 1714.

In the latter year he was sworn of the Privy Council to GEORGE I, and the next year appointed Governor of County Kilkenny.

In 1717, he was constituted Secretary-at-War.

His lordship wedded, in 1715, Frances, daughter of Thomas, 1st Lord Pelham, and sister to Thomas, Duke of Newcastle, and had an only child,

CHRISTOPHER, 3rd Viscount (1717-36), who died in London of the smallpox, unmarried, and was succeeded by his uncle,

GEORGE, 4th Viscount (1687-51),
The 1st EARL OF WANDESFORD died in 1784, and his son having predeceased him, all his honours, including the baronetcy, became extinct, and his estates upon his only daughter,

THE LADY ANNE WANDESFORDE, who espoused, in 1769, John Butler, to whom the EARLDOM OF ORMONDE was restored by the House of Lords, 1791, as 17th Earl of Ormonde and 10th Earl of Ossory.

Her fourth, but second surviving son,

THE HON CHARLES HARWARD BUTLER-CLARKE-SOUTHWELL-WANDESFORDE (1780-1860), of Castlecomer and Kirklington, inherited his mother's estates, and assumed, in 1820, the additional surname of CLARKE after Butler; and, in 1830, the additional surnames of SOUTHWELL-WANDESFORDE after Butler-Clarke.

He espoused, in 1812, the Lady Sarah Butler, daughter of Henry Thomas, 2nd Earl of Carrick, and had issue,
John, dspvp;
Walter, father of
SARAH, of Castlecomer and Kirklington.
The Hon Charles Harward Butler C S Wandesforde was succeeded by his grandson,

CHARLES BUTLER-CLARKE-SOUTHWELL-WANDESFORDE, of Castlecomer and Kirklington, High Sheriff of County Kilkenny, 1879, who died unmarried, 1881, and was succeeded by his aunt,

SARAH PRIOR-WANDESFORDE (1814-92), of Castlecomer, Kirklington, Hipswell, and Hudswell, Yorkshire, who married, in 1836, the Rev John Prior, of Mount Dillon, County Dublin, Rector of Kirklington, Yorkshire, son of the Rev Dr Thomas Prior, Vice-Provost of Trinity College, Dublin, and had issue,
Henry Wallis;
Sarah Butler; Sophia Elizabeth.
Mrs Prior-Wandesforde succeeded to the Castlecomer and Kirklington estates on the death of her nephew, 1881, and in accordance with the provisions contained in her father's will, assumed, in 1882, for herself and her issue the additional surname and arms of WANDESFORDE.

She was succeeded by her grandson,

RICHARD HENRY PRIOR-WANDESFORDE JP DL (1870-), of Castlecomer and Kirklington Hall, Hipswell, and Hudswell, Yorkshire, High Sheriff of County Kilkenny, 1894, who wedded, in 1896, Florence Jackson von Schwartz, daughter of the Rev Ferdinand Pryor, Rector of Dartmouth, Halifax, Nova Scotia, and had issue,
Ferdinand Charles Richard, b 1897;
Richard Cambridge, b 1902;
Vera; Florence Doreen.

During Lady Ormonde’s time on the estate, the coal mines were mainly run by master miners who leased the land and employed teams of about fifty men to operate them.

Her son, Charles Harward Butler-Clarke-Southwell-Wandesforde, took a great interest in the running of the estate and in the welfare of his tenants and attempted to reduce the role of "middle men" by reducing rents and providing assistance.

He even helped some of his tenants to emigrate.

He was succeeded by his daughter Sarah, who married John Prior.

She outlived all her children and was succeeded by her grandson Richard Henry who inherited the estates and assumed the Wandesforde name in 1892.

When Captain Richard Henry Prior-Wandesforde inherited the estate in the late 19th Century, the family owned thousands of acres of woodland in the area.

In previous years, the mines had been operated by master miners who leased the mines from the Wandesforde family, but ‘the Captain’ took personal control of the mines.

He introduced many improvements in the mine workings including overhead ropeways to transport the coal to the Deerpark railway depot.

He also established the Castlecomer Basket Factory, the Castlecomer Agricultural Bank and the Colliery Co-operative Society and built a number of housing schemes for the mine workers.

Captain Prior-Wandesforde took personal control of the coal mines and invested his own money in upgrading and modernising the mine workings.

CASTLECOMER HOUSE in County Kilkenny, the family seat, was originally built in 1638.

It was burned down during the battle of Castlecomer in 1798.

A larger house was built in its place, in 1802,  during the time of Lady Ormonde.

It was a very large 18th and 19th century mansion consisting of a square, two-storey main block with fronts of five bays; a slightly lower three-storey wing of great length.

There was a battlemented parapet on the main wing and block; rectangular sash windows, mostly astragals; and an enclosed Gothic porch.

Most of the building was demolished in 1975 as it was no longer in use and had fallen into disrepair.

Nothing now remains of the house.

Castlecomer Discovery Park is situated on grounds that once formed part of the Wandesforde family estate.

The Visitor Centre is located in what was originally the farm yard and kitchen gardens of the estate.

The stables and many of the farm buildings have been restored and now house the craft units and the education facilities.

The original walled garden is now home to a small herd of Fallow and Sika Deer and a flock of Jacob Sheep.

First published in December, 2011.

Sunday, 27 May 2018

The Tarte Tatin

I have posted this picture of my sumptuous pudding at The French Rooms for a loyal reader, who inquired about whether I'd had dessert at The French Rooms.

Here it is in all its splendour.

Saturday, 26 May 2018

The French Rooms

I've been spending a few days at Portballintrae, County Antrim, on Ulster's north coast.

The weather has really been very good, mostly sunny in fact.

I explored Ramore Head and the headland at Portstewart, places I was unfamiliar with.

On Friday evening I dined at The French Rooms, a restaurant, café and artisan shop in Bushmills.

Bushmills, probably my favourite village in County Antrim, is a mere hop, skip and jump from Portballintrae.

It usually suits me to dine early, so I had reserved a table for six-thirty.

On arrival I was shown to a lovely little table, directly opposite the bar counter, which happened to have particularly comfortable leather chairs.

In fact I quipped to the waiter at the time that they were reminiscent of some ancient Bentley or Daimler.

The staff here are engaging and courteous.

Having perused the excellent menus, I opted for Spicy Prawn Pot on Spicy Leaves as a starter.

The trusty nose-bag was donned and I tucked in to a dainty little pot of prawns, dressed in a kind of seafood sauce.

I had motored in to the village, so simply had iced water with the meal.

After a short interval my main course arrived, viz. Cajun French Sea Bass, oven-baked and drizzled with a dill-infused rapeseed oil dressing.

I also had creamed purée potatoes and roast beetroot and cherry tomatoes with it.

The sea bass was delicate, moist, mild, boneless, and complemented my vegetables famously.

I seldom indulge in three courses; the fine list of puddings, however, seduced me, as it were.

Tarte Tatin, the traditional Gallic apple dessert, with toffee sauce and fresh whipped cream, proved to be irresistible.

The thinly-sliced apples almost literally melted in the Belmont mouth.

The layer of pastry underneath was barely discernible, though complemented it perfectly.

During the course of my dinner I chatted with the waiter, recounting tales of The Ugly Ducking in Corralejo, Canary Islands, which was so outstanding and popular that it had to turn away most passers-by.

Another restaurant across the street gained the extra business.

This was the case with The French Rooms last night, so it is advisable to book ahead for dinner.

I had the iPad and headphones with me, the plan being to settle self in the Bushmills Inn a few doors up, so I approached the counter to settle my bill.

To my utter astonishment the staff apprised me that my bill had been paid for by an American couple.

They had been seated at a table twenty or thirty feet away, though I never caught their eyes or even encountered them.

I still have no idea who they were or where they were staying.

This was an opportunity for another good turn, so I gave the staff a good tip instead.

I don't think I've enjoyed myself so much at a restaurant for years.

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Heritage Apple Trees



I spent today at Bar Hall, a property of the National Trust close to Ballyquintin Point, on the Ards Peninsula, County Down.

We all met at the old Mount Stewart estate schoolhouse, from where the trucks were loaded with spades, stakes, mulch sheeting and, of course apple saplings.

We have established a new orchard at the side of a sheltered field near the entrance to Ballyquintin Farm.

The little apple-tree saplings are not ordinary ones. They are heritage varieties, including Bloody Butcher, Lady's Finger of Offaly, Ballyvaughan, Ballyfatten, Ross Nonpareil, Widow's Friend, and Kemp.

Eighteen saplings were planted and they cost about £200.

Therefore, unsurprisingly, we devoted the day to planning the layout, planting at appropriate distances, ensuring that no same varieties were planted together; and stakes were hammered in at a 45-degree angle.

There was fresh manure in the field, which we put to good use.

The mulch sheets will protect the little trees from long grass and weeds, thereby fostering growth and providing them with the best chance of flourishing.

Published in November, 2013.

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Princess Royal at Balmoral Show

The Princess Royal, President, this morning attended the Royal Agricultural Society of the Commonwealth's Annual General Meeting, Royal Ulster Agricultural Society Show-ground, Balmoral Park, Maze, Lisburn, and was received by Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant of the County Borough of Belfast (Mrs Fionnuala Jay-O'Boyle CBE).

Her Royal Highness this afternoon visited Royal Ulster Agricultural Society's Balmoral Show.

Saturday, 5 May 2018

Belfast DL


Mrs Fionnuala Jay-O’Boyle CBE, Lord-Lieutenant of the County Borough of Belfast,  has been pleased to appoint:-

SELLAR, Very Rev Dr Francis Paul

To be a Deputy Lieutenant of the County Borough his Commission bearing date the 30th day of April 2018

Signed : Fionnuala Jay-O’Boyle CBE, Lord Lieutenant of the County Borough

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Mayoral Rolls-Royce

This stately Rolls-Royce Phantom VI was the official limousine in use by the Rt Hon the Lord Mayor of Belfast between 1968-78.

It was purchased by Belfast Corporation for the official use of the Lord Mayor.

The traditional navy blue colour is still on the bonnet, roof and boot, though elsewhere it has been re-painted.

The bonnet's considerable length is reminiscent of a concert grand piano.

Its original registration number was 1 WZ.

Of course the Council should have kept the car and continued to use it.

It could even have been converted to run on bio-fuel.

This car was the first Phanton VI off the production line: 1969 Rolls-Royce Phantom VI limousine. Coachwork by H J Mulliner, Park Ward. Registration number WVO 338G. Chassis number PRH4108. Engine number 4108. Sold for £36,700, including premium.


The Rolls-Royce’ in-house coach-builder Park Ward Limited (later H J Mulliner, Park Ward) produced what was, in effect, the ‘standard’ seven-passenger limousine coachwork for the Phantom V.

This timeless design would survive until 1990, being built in near-identical Phantom VI form from 1968, when separate air conditioning for front and rear compartments was standardised alongside the Silver Shadow-specification 6,230cc V8 engine.

The usual upholstery for the front compartment was leather, which was also included in the list of alternatives for the rear along with West of England cloth.

As one would expect in a car of this class, a cocktail cabinet incorporated into the rear compartment’s cabinet-work was one of a host of options that also included electric windows.

Phantom development tended to lag behind that of the contemporary ’Shadow range, and it was not until 1978 that the model received the three-speed automatic transmission and 6.75-litre engine that had featured on the latter for many years.

By this time the opulent Phantom VI was being built to special order only, with prices ‘on application’.

The very first Phantom VI produced, chassis number ‘PRH 4108,’ was sold new to Belfast City Corporation for use by the Lord Mayor (as referenced in Martin Bennett’s book, ‘Rolls-Royce & Bentley: The Crewe Years’) and was mostly maintained by the Crewe factory until sold by the Corporation in 1978.

The car enjoyed three subsequent owners before passing into the vendor's’ hands in 1991, and comes with numerous invoices for this period issued by recognised Rolls-Royce specialists.

Since acquisition it has been maintained by the engineer owners and used regularly on R-REC events, most notably Her Majesty The Queen’s Golden Jubilee celebrations at Windsor Castle in 2002.

Restored in the early 1990s, the vehicle is reported as being to factory specification apart from the addition of an electric radiator cooling fan.


This, four previous owner car, was acquired by the current vendors in 1991 when it was then comprehensively restored underneath and new rear springs fitted.

It has since been enjoyed at many club events.

In addition to regular servicing, the car has benefited from a new radiator, brake overhaul, three new tyres, rear fog lamps and an electric radiator fan together with new front and rear bumpers.

The car comes with all MOT certificates dating back to 1977 and numerous invoices from recognised Rolls-Royce specialists.

Handbook, jack and wheel brace are all included and the cocktail cabinet is complete with decanters and glasses.

First published in August, 2012.