Thursday, 27 December 2018

Ballylin House

THE KINGS WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN THE KING'S COUNTY, WITH 10,242 ACRES

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,
Edward;
GILBERT;
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;
Gilbert;
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,
Gilbert;
Judith.
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,
JOHN;
Digby;
Jane.
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;
Rebecca.
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;
Jane;
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,
GILBERT MAHON, b 1905;
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

HONORARY BURGESS OF THE CITY OF BELFAST, 2018


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


SIR KENNETH CHARLES BRANAGH
Knight bachelor

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

Van Morrison

HONORARY BURGESS OF THE CITY OF BELFAST, 2013


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

SIR GEORGE IVAN (VAN) MORRISON, OBE
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

HONORARY BURGESS OF THE CITY OF BELFAST

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


LADY MARY ELIZABETH PETERS, LG CH DBE
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

THE EARLS OF DARNLEY WERE THE GREATEST LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY MEATH, WITH 25,463 ACRES


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;
William;
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 fa├žade 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.