Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Springfield Castle

THE BARONS MUSKERRY WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY WEXFORD, WITH 9,412 ACRES


This family possessed large estates in Somerset as far back as the reign of HENRY II.

The third son of MOSES DEANE, of Deane's Fort, Somerset,

MATTHEW DEANE (c1626-1711), settled in Ireland during the reign of JAMES I, and took up his abode at Dromore, County Cork, where he purchased considerable estates.

Mr Deane, who bequeathed large sums towards the erection of almshouses and other charitable purposes, was created a baronet in 1710, designated of Muskerry.

He married firstly, Mary, daughter of Thomas Wallis, of Somerset; secondly, Martha, daughter of the Most Rev Richard Boyle, Lord Archbishop of Tuam; and thirdly, Dorothy, Countess of Barrymore; by the first of whom he left, at his decease, in 1711, a son and heir,

SIR ROBERT DEANE, 2nd Baronet, who wedded Anne, daughter and co-heir of William Boltridge, one of CROMWELL'S officers; and dying in 1712, was succeeded by his son,

SIR MATTHEW DEANE, 3rd Baronet, MP for Charleville, 1713-14, County Cork, 1728-47, who espoused Jane, only daughter of the Rev William Sharpe, son of the Archbishop of St Andrew's, the ill-fated primate of Scotland, and had issue,
MATTHEW, his successor;
Thomas, dsp;
ROBERT, 4th Baronet;
Meliana; Dorothy; Jane.
Sir Matthew died in 1747, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR MATTHEW DEANE, 4th Baronet (c1706-51), MP for Cork City, 1739-51, who wedded Salisbury, daughter and sole heir of Robert Davis, of Manley Hall, Cheshire, by whom he had three daughters, viz.
Salisbury; Mary; Charlotte.
Sir Matthew dying thus without male issue, the title devolved upon his brother,

THE RT HON SIR ROBERT DEANE, 5th Baronet (c1707-70), Barrister, Privy Counsellor, MP for Tallow, 1757-68, Carysfort, 1769-70, who married, in 1738, Charlotte, second daughter of Thomas Tilson (uncle to Lord Castlecoote), and had issue,
ROBERT, his successor;
Jocelyn;
Charlotte; Grace; Eliza Salisbury; Jane; Alicia; Frances.
Sir Robert was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR ROBERT TILSON DEANE, 6th Baronet (1745-1818), MP for Carysfort, 1771-6, County Cork, 1776-81, who was raised to the peerage, in 1781, in the dignity of BARON MUSKERRY.

He wedded, in 1775, Anne, daughter of John Fitzmaurice, and sole heir of her grandfather, John Fitzmaurice, of Springfield Castle, County Limerick (nephew of Thomas, 1st Earl of Kerry), and had issue,
JOHN THOMAS FITZMAURICE, his successor;
William;
MATTHEW, 3rd Baron.
His lordship was succeeded by his elder son,

JOHN THOMAS FITZMAURICE (1777-1824), 2nd Baron, CB, Major-General in the army, who married, in 1815, the second daughter of M Haynes, of Bishop's Castle; but died in 1824, without male issue, when the honours devolved upon his only brother,

MATTHEW FITZMAURICE (1795-1868), 3rd Baron, who wedded, in 1825, Louisa Dorcas, second daughter of Henry Deane Grady, of Lodge, County Limerick, and Stillorgan Castle, County Dublin, and had issue,
ROBERT TILSON FITZMAURICE, his successor;
Henry Standish Fitzmaurice;
Matthew James Fitzmaurice.
The heir apparent is the present holder's only son, the Hon Jonathan Fitzmaurice Deane.

ARDCANDRISK HOUSE, near Wexford, County Wexford (above), is a two-storey Regency villa of about 1833, comprising three polygons of differing sizes.

It has eaved roofs and Wyatt windows at one end.

It was built by the Grogan-Morgans, though was acquired by the Deanes, Lords Muskerry, though marriage.


SPRINGFIELD CASTLE, Drumcolliher, County Limerick, is the ancestral seat of the Barons Muskerry.

The Castle features a Neo-Gothic style main residential building, cornered by two towers, one of which is the large Norman keep built in the 15th Century; and the smaller tower, built later in the 18th Century, enclosing a large central courtyard.

A younger son of the 20th Lord of Kerry, William Fitzmaurice, bought Springfield.

His son John built a very large, three-storey, early Georgian mansion attached to the existing buildings

The Fitzmaurices occupied Springfield Castle until Sir Robert Tilson Deane, 1st Baron Muskerry, married Ann Fitzmaurice, the sole heiress, in 1780.

The Lords Muskerry owned 3,161 acres in County Limerick during the Victorian era.


The castle was burnt in 1921 and rebuilt by the 5th Baron.

Robert, 9th Baron, lives and works in South Africa presently.

His sister Betty and her husband Jonathan run Springfield Castle.

First published in June, 2013.   Muskerry arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

The McFarland Baronets

THE McFARLAND BARONETCY WAS CREATED IN 1914 FOR JOHN McFARLAND, MERCHANT AND POLITICIAN

JOHN McFARLAND JP (1848-1926), Mayor of Londonderry, High Sheriff of Londonderry City, 1904, married, in 1893, Annie, daughter of John Talbot.

Mr McFarland was created a baronet in 1914, designated of Aberfoyle, County Londonderry.

His only son,

SIR BASIL ALEXANDER TALBOT McFARLAND, 2nd Baronet, CBE ERD (1898-1986), of Aberfoyle,
High Sheriff of the City of Londonderry, 1930-38 and 1952; High Sheriff of County Londonderry, 1952; Mayor of  Londonderry, 1939 and 1945-50; HM Lord-Lieutenant of the City of Londonderry, 1939-75. He served in 1918 with the Artists Rifles, and in the 2nd World War served overseas, mainly in North Africa, with the 9th Londonderry HAA Regiment and was mentioned in despatches.

Commanding Officer of the Londonderry City Battalion of the Home Guard; Chairman of the Territorial Army and Auxiliary Force Association (Co. Londonderry), 1947-62; member of its national council; Hon Colonel, 9th Londonderry HAA Regiment of the Royal Artillery (TA), and President of the NI TA and Volunteer Reserve Association, 1968-71; a Commissioner of Irish Lights; a member of the NI Air Advisory Council, 1946-65; Chairman of the Londonderry Port and Harbour Commissioners, 1952-67; a member of the London Midland Area Board of the British Transport Commission, 1955-61; and a trustee of Magee University College, Londonderry, 1962-65.

His directorships and business interests included: directorships of the Belfast Banking Co. Ltd, 1930-70; the Belfast Bank Executors Trustee Co., and the Donegal Railways Co., a local directorship of the Commercial Union Assurance Co., and the chairmanship of Sir Alfred McAlpine & Son (Northern Ireland) Ltd; the Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway Co;Lanes (Derry) Ltd; Lanes (Fuel Oils) Ltd; Lanes (Business Equipment) Ltd; John W. Corbett & Sons; R.C. Malseed & Co. Ltd; Alexander Thompson & Co. Ltd; and the Londonderry Gaslight Co.

Sir Basil's only son,

SIR JOHN TALBOT McFARLAND, 3rd and present Baronet, TD (1927-), formerly of Aberfoyle, married, in 1957, Mary, daughter of Dr William Scott-Watson, and has issue,
ANTHONY BASIL SCOTT, born 1959;
Stephen Andrew John, b 1968;
Shauna Jane; Fiona Kathleen.
Sir John is a former member, Management Ctee NW Group; Former director, Londonderry Gaslight, 1958–89; Donegal Holdings, 1970–86; G Kinnaird & Son, 1981–97; Windy Hills Ltd, 1994–95; Erinwind Ltd, 1994–; Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway, (1978–81); R C Malseed & County Hospitals, 1958.

He was was educated at Marlborough and Trinity College Oxford; Territorial Army (Captain, Royal Artillery and RASC), 1955; High Sheriff of County Londonderry, 1958; and City of Londonderry, 1965-66; Commissioner of Londonderry Port and Harbour Board, 1969; in 1977, Chairman: Lanes (Business Equipment); McFarland Farms, 1980–; J T McFarland Holdings, 1984-2001.

Sir John lived, in 2003, at Dunmore House, Carrigans, County Donegal.

Photo Credit: Martin Melaugh; © Cain

ABERFOYLE HOUSE, Northland Road, Londonderry, is a three-bay, two-storey, stucco-fronted mansion built ca 1845 for David Watt, a local distiller.

The stucco-fronted house is Italianate in style.

Aberfoyle was originally known as Richmond House.

It is situated on a steeply sloping site, now enclosed within the grounds of University of Ulster.

The mansion is used as offices and seminar rooms.

Aberfoyle was extensively remodelled ca 1876, giving it an Italianate appearance, for Bartholomew McCorkell.

The exterior displays an orderly symmetry and simple detailing, enhanced by the elaborate cast-iron verandah and dwarf walls to the front.


Conversely the interior exhibits a wealth of decorative plaster and joinery detailing more commonly reserved for civic buildings of the time; particularly the unusual fretwork balustrade to the staircase.

Gate lodges mark the two original entrances, one south-east at Strand Road that has been substantially modernised and extended; and another at Northland Road.

A gate screen stands to the north-east, at Strand Road, with impressive square ashlar sandstone pillars having pyramidal caps flanked by rubble stone walling on S-plan with sandstone coping.

Aberfoyle House forms part of a many 19th-century structures dispersed throughout the university campus.

Sir Basil McFarland, 2nd Baronet, continued to live at Aberfoyle until his death in 1986.

It was sold to the city council in 1990, and was listed in the same year.

The building was acquired by the University of Ulster in 1998 and converted into modern classroom and seminar facilities for Magee’s Faculty of Social Sciences.

The former gate lodge on the Strand Road had fallen into a state of disrepair by 2000, when it was restored.

The renovation of the lodge in 2000-01, resulted in the loss of most of its original features; contemporary two and single-storey extensions were added to the west and east sides of the building.

Since September, 2001, the former gate lodge has been used as a holistic health centre.

Aberfoyle House and its former gate lodge were included in the Magee Conservation Area in 2006.

A good portion of the grounds for the house of 1873 remain planted up.

The site slopes towards the River Foyle.

The west end is mostly walled in with brick and is cultivated by the Centre for Environmental and Horticultural Studies.

There is a rose garden south of the house and shrubbery on either side of the twisting avenue to the eastern gate.

There is a rose garden south of the house and shrubbery on either side of the twisting avenue to the eastern gate.

The McFarland Papers are deposited at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland.

First published in July, 2010.

Monday, 22 July 2019

Armagh: III

Primate's Chapel, Armagh Palace

I paid a visit to the City of Armagh in May, 2013.

Arriving at the main entrance to St Patrick's Roman Catholic Cathedral in the city of Armagh, I strode up the steep hill where, at the summit, there stands augustly and loftily that great cathedral church with its twin spires, seat of many Cardinal Archbishops of Armagh.


There was a wedding taking place inside, so I bided my time by wandering round the cathedral, past Ara Coeli, the official residence of the Catholic Primate.

Ara Coeli is Latin, incidentally.

When the wedding ceremony ended, I walked in to the cathedral, an impressive church dating from about 1840, though not completed until the first years of the 20th century.

Former cardinals' galeros are suspended from the ceiling in the aisles.

Galero

THENCE I ambled on to English Street, past the Charlemont Arms Hotel and, a mere few yards further along, the De Averell guest-house.

Back at The Mall, where I'd parked the two-seater, I stopped to look at the court-house.

The old entrance posts of The Pavilion, erstwhile home of the Lord Armaghdale, still exist.

The Royal Irish Fusiliers Museum, located at the Sovereign's House, was open; so I spent about thirty minutes there.

They have two Victoria Crosses and Field-Marshal Sir Gerald Templer's uniform is on display, as Colonel-in-Chief of the Regiment.


I drove to the Palace Demesne, well worth a visit.

I've already written about the Palace, official residence of the Church of Ireland Archbishops of Armagh and Primates of All Ireland from 1770 until 1975.


The archiepiscopal arms of Primate Robinson (later 1st Baron Rokeby) adorn the entrance front, above the porch.

The private primatial chapel is somewhat dwarfed by its close proximity to the Palace, though this wasn't always the case, since the Palace was originally two storeys in height.

These edifices are austere, though stately, noble and dignified; apt descriptions for archiepiscopal properties.

That concluded my visit to the city of Armagh, though I hope to revisit the city and county during the summer.

First published in May, 2013.

Lost Salmon of the Erne

River Erne at Belleek, County Fermanagh


THE LOST SALMON OF THE RIVER ERNE


"FOR six months of the year Lough Erne is in County Fermanagh and for the other six months County Fermanagh is in Lough Erne" is an old saying.

For thousands of years, possibly all the way back to the last Ice Age, the River Erne has run from its source, 653 feet above sea-level in County Cavan, for more than 64 miles to the Atlantic Ocean at Ballyshannon, County Donegal.

It spreads out to form the Upper Lough (closer to Dublin) and the Lower Lough (closer to God), south and north respectively of Enniskillen.

Its total water catchment area is 1,669 square miles.

Before its first drainage scheme was introduced in the 1840s some 18,000 acres of farmland were flooded every winter, reducing to 4,000 acres as recently as 1960. 

James Greatorex wrote in 1834 that,
Lough Erne abounds in fish of many kinds, affording a cheap and nutritious article of diet to the poor peasantry, inhabiting the shores of the lough and islands – salmon, trout, pike, perch, eels, bream and roach are in great dominance... 
The pike reach very great size, having been seen in Lisnakea weighing 40 lbs. 
Eels are often caught weighing 4 lbs. and bream of like weight. The perch and roach rarely exceed 1 lb. 
These fish are caught by line and net in vast quantities and during the season furnish the principal item of diet to the peasants living in the vicinity of the lake.
The Irish Times reported in 1884 that, after nine years’ work at a cost of £211,823, the largest set of gates in the world had been built across the River Erne at Belleek, and about 4 miles of the river above Belleek had been dredged and canalised, destroying many well-known salmon ‘throws’.

It wrote that,
Fears are expressed that the present drainage to the Erne will destroy the fisheries. Already the sport has fallen off because of dredging. 
At the same time one gentleman last week landed four salmon averaging 15 lbs….Already regular visitors from England have ceased to come to their favourite haunts and the sport is sure to be deteriorating. 
The price of fishing has hitherto been £4 per week for each rod, having the right to keep two fish… 
In 1881, 53 anglers in 151 weeks killed no fewer than 904 salmon, weighing 8,300 lbs. 
Last year Mr. Bates, a famous angler, caught 114 salmon weighing 1,100 lbs. in 5 weeks. The average angled fish is 9 lbs. 
The biggest fish ever taken was 52 lbs.
At the same time as the river was being fished by rod and line, nets were being used in the river at Ballyshannon.

On one day in June, 1883, 800 salmon were netted.

In the pool below the Assaroe Falls, the last waterfall in the river where fish would have waited for enough flood water to swim and jump up and over the falls, 241 fish were captured in a single draw of the net. 

A land surveyor named Sidney Wilkinson had come over from England in 1867 and spent the next 50 years living and working in the north-west of Ireland.

He developed an enthusiasm for salmon fishing, became a friend of the Marquess of Ely (who owned much of the land south of Lower Lough Erne), and married Miss Alice Munn of Cliff House, Belleek (whose family owned fishing rights on the River Erne between Belleek and Ballyshannon).

Cliff House and Salmon Throw on the River Erne, Belleek

In his privately published book Sport in Ireland he records that on one day in 1881, he caught on the Erne five salmon weighing respectively 25 lbs., 16 lbs., 14 lbs., 13 lbs. and 12 lbs.

His great regret in life was that he never landed a fish of more than 25 lbs. weight, although several times he had much larger salmon on his line which escaped by tearing away from the hook, breaking the leader or, once, a knot at the fly came undone as an estimated 40 lb. fish was about to be gaffed. 

Later in that same year, he fished the streams above Cathaleen's Fall in Ballyshannon for two days, hooked 18 salmon and landed 13 of them weighing from 14 lbs. to 25 lbs.

He wrote "I never saw so many fish; they must have literally paved the bottom of the river below the bridge at Ballyshannon."

Wilkinson wrote of the drainage schemes on the Erne that,
No doubt the farmers … have benefited, but there is no room for any doubt whatever as to the harm it did to the angling between Roscor and Belleek. 
On that splendid stretch of water all the fords were cut away and a canal made, and places where I have killed fish are now dry land! 
Well, one must only be thankful that one knew this glorious river before the angling catastrophe took place.
Although the Erne lost a lot of its finest fishing to the 1880s drainage scheme, it survived as a salmon river.

From the 1890s onward, salmon continued to run in good numbers, the net fishery continued to take a large annual catch and there was excellent fly-fishing to be had on the eight miles between Belleek and Ballyshannon.

Augustus Grimble, writing in 1903, thought it was still the finest summer salmon fishery in the United Kingdom.

There were eight separate beats from Belleek Gates to Ballyshannon, and these were fished in the mornings in rotation, with rods free to go where they wished after 1pm with fierce competition for the best ‘throws’.

Written in the 1920s, The Angler’s Guide To The Irish Fisheries by Joseph Adams describes fishing the Erne’s Ballyshannon pools, probably the only fishing available to him as a casual visitor.

He caught the first spring salmon of the year, a fish of over 16 pounds in weight, which took 95 minutes to land: 
A beautiful fish with small head and deep shoulders, the sea parasites clinging to the silver sides … Spring salmon differ from grilse (i.e. one sea-winter fish) in the greater freedom with which they take the fly and their indomitable strength as fighters.
The following day he landed another 16 pound fish, again after a 95-minute fight, and on the third day he caught another fish: "I wandered down the rough bank seaward, wondering greatly at the enormous force of water that in a sharp inclined plane rushed madly down the descent and then plunged madly over the Assaroe Falls".

He cast his fly into the torrent and a salmon took it: "I felt as if I were holding a racehorse that had taken the bit in his teeth."

The fight up and down the rocky pool with water falls at either end lasted 70 minutes.

When the fish was landed it was found that the fly was in a bit of gristle protruding from the salmon’s mouth and it was moments from getting off.

One of the pleasures of reading the Angler’s Guide To The Irish Fisheries almost one hundred years after its publication is that, where rivers and loughs are substantially unchanged, one can recognise the descriptions of the pools and even experience taking a fish in the same piece of water.

However, the Erne has been changed drastically and no part of the Guide is still relevant.

In the late 1940s a hydro-electric system with twin dams below Belleek and above Ballyshannon was built, and the eight miles of salmon fishing became two newly-created lakes which, in the words of the fishing writer Colin Laurie McKelvie in 1987, "eventually combined to form what is now the dreary and virtually salmon-less Lough Assaroe…"

The Irish Government’s official Angling Guide, published in 1948, stated that “It is impossible at present to say what angling facilities these lakes are likely to afford”…History has provided the answer… the fabulous Erne salmon fishery had been wiped out."

All modern salmon fishers dream of the days when rivers which ran into the North Atlantic ocean were full of silver salmon, making their way back to the gravel beds where they were bred; before in-shore trawlers fished for the sand-eels which the young salmon feed on before their journey out to the deep ocean; before deep-sea trawlers off Greenland, using sonar, found the rich feeding grounds where some fish spent a winter before coming back as grilse of about 7 pounds weight, and others spent many years growing fat and strong, reaching 52 pounds in weight for one Erne salmon; before pollution; before climate change; before estuary netting; before water extraction; and before hydro-electric schemes destroyed their Eden.

Fishermen have often complained about the present and longed-for times past, but modern environmental conditions would have reduced the Erne’s salmon stock in any event.

Salmon are now so scarce in the rivers of Ireland that killing fish is limited where it is not banned.

The Erne would likely have suffered similar losses, but on nothing like the scale caused by the "canalisation" of the river between Roscor and Belleek in the 1880s; and the destruction of the surviving salmon fishery between Belleek and Ballyshannon, caused by the hydro-electric scheme in the 1940s.

This essay was written by a good friend of this blog, who wishes to remain anonymous.

Sunday, 21 July 2019

Carrick Lodge

THE MUSGRAVES WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY DONEGAL, WITH 23,693 ACRES


The Musgrave family may be said to have begun their connection with Belfast at the beginning of the Victorian era.

James Musgrave's father, Samuel Musgrave, was a general practitioner, who began there in 1799.

Dr Musgrave was about twenty when he started his practice.

His wife was Mary Riddel, a daughter of William Riddel, founder of Riddel & Company, Donegall Place and Fountain Street, Belfast.

The Musgrave firm was an off-shoot of the Riddel establishment.

The Musgrave family consisted of a dozen children.

When Dr Musgrave died at Lisburn aged 66 in 1834, the family soon removed to Belfast and lived in Upper Arthur Street.

By 1852 they were living at 1 Donegall Square South, and later moved to Drumglass House, Malone Road, which they built ca 1855.

As young men, the brothers Robert and John Riddel were in partnership with their uncle, John Riddel, at 54 High Street in Belfast.

With their brother James they founded the firm Musgrave Brothers and opened the establishment on the 30th May 1843 (which later became Richard Patterson’s of 59 High Street).

Here the ironmongery trade was carried on successfully until expansion of business brought the manufacturing lines and, from 1860 onwards, this branch was conducted at the Ann Street Ironworks until a limited company was formed.

John and James Musgrave were the principals, Robert having died in 1867. From this time forward the firm of Musgrave & Company Ltd created what was a new industry which attained world-wide fame with the manufacture of stoves, heating apparatus, stable fittings and high-class ironwork.

John R Musgrave was the chairman and director, and represented his brothers' interests in the company. The expanding business now removed to new works at Mountpottinger.

About 1854, the other brothers, Henry and Edgar, started the wholesale tea and sugar business.

The Musgrave family were benefactors of the city of Belfast and its institutions: Sir James, when he retired, devoted a large part of his energy and abilities to developing the Port of Belfast, the possibilities of which he foresaw, the great scheme which he devised and which he lived to see completed.

His name is forever linked with the Musgrave Channel which he did so much to further from the time he was elected chairman of the Harbour Board in 1897 until a year before his death in 1904.

In recognition of these services the dignity of baronetcy was bestowed upon him.

He also proved himself a firm friend of Queen's College (now University), where he founded the chair of Pathology which bears his name.

Like his brother James, Henry gave many benefactions to the City.

When the estate at Carrick, County Donegal, was acquired a similar bold policy was adopted.

The Musgraves' old-fashioned courtesy and graciousness of manner, combined with a distinctive style of dress, gave the impression that evoked a link with the early Victorian period.

Their unbounded generosity to charitable, educational and other worthy institutions will secure for them an imperishable memory.


THE LODGE, Carrick, County Donegal, is a five-bay, two-storey, former country house or hunting lodge, built ca 1867 and extensively altered and extended ca 1910, having a central advanced single-bay projection to the main elevation.

The main central block is flanked to either side (east and west) by lower wings having advanced gable-fronted single-bay two-storey terminating blocks with crow-stepped parapets over.

A two-storey range of outbuildings is attached to the rear (north) of the terminating block to the west.

Carrick Lodge was extensively renovated about 1990, following destruction by fire in 1970.

It is now in use as a private home.


This substantial former country house or hunting lodge/retreat retains some of its early character and form despite modern alterations.

The symmetrical front elevations is notable for the good quality "Tudoresque-style" cut stone surrounds with mullions to the window openings, hood mouldings to the ground floor openings and particularly by the striking crow-stepped parapets over the advanced blocks to the centre and terminating either end.

The crow-stepped parapets are reminiscent of the Scottish Baronial architectural style, an architectural idiom that was popular during the Victorian period, and into the first decades of the 20th century, but relatively rare in County Donegal.

These crow-stepped parapets were added as part of extensive alterations and extension to the house, around 1910, when the recessed wing and advanced gable-fronted terminating block to the east, and the projecting central gable-fronted bay were added.

Prior to this, the house was a modest and plain two-storey building.

Carrick Lodge was destroyed in a fire about 1970 and remained derelict until extensive renovations two decades later.

It was originally built in 1867, when the Musgrave family purchased extensive lands around here in that year) and apparently replaced or incorporates an earlier house on the same site built sometime between 1836-47.

The Musgrave family had their main residence at Drumglass House, Belfast, which suggests that Carrick Lodge was originally built as a hunting lodge or retreat.

It was the home of James Musgrave (later a knight and a baronet) and John Musgrave in 1881, who were both Justices of the Peace; and of John Musgrave in 1894.

Although altered, this building is a striking feature in the dramatic landscape to the west of Carrick, and is an addition to the built heritage and social history of the local area.


It forms a pair of related structures along with the attendant gate lodge to the south.

The simple outbuilding and former walled gardens to the rear, and the gateways and boundary walls to site add to the setting and historical context.

First published in March, 2013.

Armagh: II

Inside Armagh (Anglican) Cathedral, the staff pointed out the stained-glass window over the West Door, which contains the armorial bearings of 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 a form 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.

I was made aware of an anomaly in the North-west Window, viz. an anatomical error in the glass, whereby the right leg of the boy in the central light terminates in a left foot.

From the Cathedral, I walked the very short distance ~ about one minute ~ to a little museum, Number 5 Vicars' Hill.
Vicars' Hill is a terrace of houses formerly occupied by cathedral choir-men and clergy widows. Numbers 1-4 were built by Archbishop Boulter in 1724; the rest were constructed by Archbishop Robinson.

5 Vicars’ Hill was built in 1772 as the Diocesan Registry to hold records for the Church of Ireland and Armagh diocese, its octagonal rooms contained many public as well as Church records.

While the diocesan records are no longer retained in the building, some examples are on display, with ancient coins, gems, significant prints, early Christian artefacts and other collections and curiosities from Armagh Public Library.

The deceptively large building, which resembles a modest dwelling from the outside, has a fascinating interior and retains many of its original features.
I enjoyed a lengthy chat with the curator, reminiscing about such Primates as Archbishop Simms, the last prelate to reside at Armagh Palace.

Rather conveniently, when the museum closed at 1pm, I walked next door to number four, a charming little restaurant and tearoom called One Eighty on the Hill.

On perusal of the menu, I opted for the smoked salmon Caesar salad and a pot of tea.

The young staff here were lovely ~ most attentive and courteous.

Whilst waiting, the noble eye found itself gazing upwards, to the quirky crockery light fitting.


My salad was very good.

The tea arrived in an enormous pot, which must have held about two pints.

I actually had trouble lifting it with one hand, having to support the weight by placing a few fingers on the spout!

Having spent a delightful forty minutes at One Eighty on the Hill, I ventured out into the sunshine and ambled down the hill, past Church House and the Library.

Armagh Public Library, the oldest library in Northern Ireland, was founded in 1771 by Primate Robinson as part of his plans to establish a university and to improve Armagh City.

The 1773 ‘Act for settling and preserving the Publick Library in Armagh for ever’ established the Library and its name.

First published in May, 2013.

Saturday, 20 July 2019

661 (Ulster) Field Regiment


On the 10th May, 1958, the Golden Jubilee of the Territorial Army in Northern Ireland, A Review was performed by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother at the RAF Sydenham, Belfast (now Belfast City Airport).

The Order of Parade included massed bands playing from 1.30pm; arrival of HM at 3pm; the Inspection at 3.05pm; March Past at 3.20pm; and departure of HM at 3.45pm.

Click to Enlarge

661 (Ulster) Field Regiment, Royal Artillery was the first field regiment to be raised in Northern Ireland.

In 1958 its Honorary Colonel was Colonel the Right Honourable the Lord MacDermott MC PC.

*****

591 (Antrim) Field Squadron, Royal Engineers, was formed in 1937 as the Antrim Fortress Company.

The present name dates from 1940.

In 1958 its Honorary Colonel was Colonel A H Glendinning OBE TD.

Prince Andrew in Portrush

The Duke of York, Patron, Royal Portrush Golf Club, and Past Captain, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, yesterday attended the Open Championship at Royal Portrush Golf Club, Dunluce Road, Portrush, County Antrim.


His Royal Highness was received by Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant of County Londonderry, Mrs Alison Millar.

Armagh: I


In May, 2013, I spent a memorable day in the city of Armagh.

This was my first visit to the ecclesiastical capital for a number of years.

Incidentally, I urge readers to pay this beautiful, compact primatial city a visit.

It is utterly fascinating.

I motored in a south-westerly direction and, given that it was such a fine day, kept the hood down the entire way.

I parked at The Mall, where my first port-of-call was the County Museum, a fairly modest establishment, though of considerable interest.

On the first floor many items were on display, including various uniforms and costumes.

One example (top) was the scarlet tunic and breeches ~ court dress ~ as worn by the 5th Earl of Caledon when he was a page-boy to EDWARD VII at His Majesty's coronation.


THENCE I admired the prospect from The Mall, which I crossed, ambling along several streets before I reached the old market-place, en route to Armagh (Anglican) Cathedral, on the hill.

This is a relatively small cathedral, certainly in comparison with its counterparts in England; though it is a veritable treasure-trove of ancient relics, statuary and stained-glass inside.

There are memorial plaques to many of the old county families, including Lord Armaghdale, Sir Thomas Molyneux Bt (below), of Castle Dillon, and the Blackers of Carrickblacker.


I hadn't been aware of the Cathedral Gardens, which I walked through.


The See House (above) replaced a residence of ca 1973.

It was built in 2011 as the official residence of the anglican Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland.

The last archbishop to live at Armagh Palace (now council offices) was the Most Rev Dr George Otto Simms.

First published in May, 2013.

Friday, 19 July 2019

St Cuthbert's Church, Dunluce

North-east Elevation

ST CUTHBERT'S CHURCH, Dunluce, County Antrim, now ruinous and of considerable antiquity, stands across the main road from Dunluce Castle.

The Ecclesiastical Roll of 1306 describes Dunluce parish as distinct and separate from that of Bushmills.

However, under the influence of the MacDonnells, St Cuthbert’s church at Dunluce Castle became more prominent.

By the time of the Regal Visitation of 1633 both parishes had grown into a union entitled Portcaman-cum-Dunluce, served by one vicar.

West Front and Porch

Renovations were undertaken in the 1630s to St Cuthbert’s by Katherine, Duchess of Buckingham (c1603-49), wife of Randal, 2nd Earl and 1st Marquess of Antrim (1609-83).

St Cuthbert’s Church was in all probability the only place of worship in the vicinity from 1633 until 1820.

South-east Elevation

At a vestry meeting held in October, 1820, it was determined that, due to the expense of carrying out repairs to St Cuthbert’s and its inconvenient location, a new church be built on the ruins of the old church at Portcaman (Bushmills).

St Cuthbert's was originally thatched.

Mural Monument on the Interior North Wall

Its ceiling described was described in memoirs as being painted white, with the signs of the zodiac.

Wisely enough, the window apertures are all on the south side; the north wall of the church is solid.

The church is surrounded by its graveyard and several prominent graves beside its south wall.

The oldest grave dates from about 1630.

St Cuthbert's served  the parish of Dunluce from ca 1620 until 1820, when the new church of St John the Baptist was built in Bushmills.

First published in July, 2015.

Fisherwick Park

THE Chichesters, Earls of Donegall, lived at their Jacobean ancestral seat, Belfast Castle, until it was gutted by a catastrophic fire in 1708.

Arthur Chichester, 3rd Earl of Donegall (1666-1706), was killed fighting in Spain.

His son Arthur, 4th Earl (1695-1757) lived with his mother, Lady Donegall, his brother John, and his six sisters at the Castle in central Belfast.

Three of the 4th Earl's sisters were tragically killed in the 1708 fire.

Lady Donegall, left homeless, returned to England with the 4th Earl and surviving siblings.

Lady Donegall died at Abinger in Surrey, which may have been the residence of her younger son; so perhaps this was where the family lived for a period.

The 4th Earl died childless in 1757, and the title passed to his nephew, the 5th Earl, who was created Baron Fisherwick in 1790.

The 5th Earl was advanced to a marquessate in 1791, as Marquess of Donegall.

His son and successor, George Augustus, 2nd Marquess, was born in London in 1769 (possibly at the family's townhouse in St James's Square), and died in 1844.

Constantly in financial difficulties despite an annual income of £30,000, he was released from debtors’ prison by Sir Edward May, a moneylender who also ran a gaming house.

May then offered his daughter Anna in marriage, an offer that Donegall could hardly refuse.

The couple came to Belfast in 1802, again to escape his creditors, and brought the May family with them.

They lived at Donegall House, at the corner of Donegall Place and Donegall Square.

In 1807, the family moved to Ormeau Park and Hay Park (the home farm).

*****

FISHERWICK was originally recorded as a manor in 1167, but evidence has suggested the possibility of a Neolithic settlement, Iron Age activity and a Roman-British farmstead in the area, though it is not mentioned in the domesday book.

In the twelfth century, "Fysherwyck" was in the possession of the Walter Durdent, Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry.

It passed through the Durdent Family, with one Roger Durdent living there in 1296.

In 1450, Fisherwick was granted to the Skeffingtons, who erected a fine Tudor mansion.

The Skeffingtons, afterwards Viscounts Massereene, resided in Fisherwick until 1756, when the house was acquired by Samuel Swinfen of Swinfen.

The mansion was sold again and had two further owners before Swinfen re-purchased the property and selling it, ca 1761, to Arthur, 5th Earl and 1st Marquess of Donegall.

Lord Donegall planned to use his income from tenanted land in Ireland to create a magnificent estate in Staffordshire for his home.


Within a mere five years, he had instructed Lancelot "Capability" Brown to redesign and remodel the house and parkland.

Brown removed the Tudor house and created a colossal Palladian mansion; removed formal, tree-lined avenues; and designed a natural parkland with the addition of a great lake.

His scheme also included stone-lined ha-has, a feature he liked to include as they were less intrusive than fences and walls.

Following the 1st Marquess's decease in 1799, the estate pasted to his third son, Lord Spencer Stanley Chichester (1775-1819), who sold it to clear family debt.

Lord Spencer, of Dunbrody Park in County Wexford, MP for Carrickfergus, 1802-7, sold Fisherwick in 1804 to George Stedman, a potato merchant of Spitalfields, London.

Stedman failed to pay the deposit and was declared bankrupt in 1805; his assignees released their interest in 1807. 

In 1808, Lord Spencer sold the manorial rights, the hall, and much of the land to Richard Bagot Howard, of Ashtead Park, Surrey, feudal lord of Elford.

Howard died in 1818, having demolished Fisherwick Hall.

Unhappily the estate could not be sold in its entirety, so it was divided up into nine farms, with Woodhouse being one of them.


FISHERWICK HALL had been rebuilt on the site of the Tudor mansion for Lord Donegall by Lancelot "Capability" Brown between 1766 and 1779.

The original design evidently comprised four ranges forming a court, with fronts of 180 feet and 150 feet.

The north range was not built, and the west range was finished in a reduced form. 

The irregular plan of the service corridor behind the main front and the manifestation of two unequal canted bay windows looking into the court indicate that part of the earlier house might have been retained.

The ashlar-faced south front was eleven bays long and three storeys high.

At its centre there was an irregular Corinthian hexastyle portico dated 1774.


The end bays, which projected like towers on the plan but were roofed in line with the adjacent range, had venetian windows on the ground floor.

Behind the portico lay the hall, the largest of the nine principal rooms.

The hall had a floor inlaid with black marble, a scagliola chimney piece, marble pilasters around the walls, scagliola statues in niches, and a richly moulded ceiling.

To the west was the main dining-room, and to the east the principal drawing-room.

The east range included two more drawing-rooms, a second dining-room, and two libraries.

Many of the rooms had marble fireplaces, some had painted walls, and others were hung with silk.

Most of the doors were of mahogany, and the lower sashes of the main rooms on the south front were filled with plate glass.

Joseph Rose executed some of the decorative plasterwork, and Joseph Bonomi designed some of the furniture.

The ceiling of the principal drawing-room incorporated paintings by John Francis Rigaud.

On the first floor there were nine bedrooms and six dressing rooms, besides the housekeeper's bedroom.

The attic storey consisted of eighteen bedrooms.

The basement included the housekeeper's room, the servants' hall, the kitchen, and other offices.

A reservoir at the top of the house, fed by an engine, supplied water to the rooms requiring it, and to water closets on each floor. 

West of the house there were service and stable courts of two storeys in red brick, with ashlar-faced archways.

The public roads through the park were blocked under an Act of 1766, thus enabling Capability Brown to carry out landscaping.

He removed the avenues and laid out two drives, one to a lodge at Hademore and the other to Tamworth Gate.

Over 50,000 trees were planted, for which Lord Donegall was awarded a medal from the Society of Arts.

By 1808 a scheme had been prepared by J B Papworth for reducing the house to "a residence on a moderate scale" by the retention of the eastern part only.

This scheme was not carried out, and Howard had the house demolished.

The sale of contents had begun by the spring of 1814 and culminated in a four-day sale in May, 1816.

Fisherwick Place 

FISHERWICK PLACE, Belfast, named after Lord Donegall's residence in Staffordshire, was originally a Georgian terrace on the site of the present Jury's Inn hotel.

Donegall arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Thursday, 18 July 2019

The Clark Baronets

THE CLARK BARONETCY, OF DUNLAMBERT, BELFAST, WAS CREATED IN 1917 FOR THE SHIPBUILDER AND POLITICIAN, GEORGE SMITH CLARK

This family originally came from Dykebar in Renfrewshire.

JAMES CLARK (1747-1829), of Paisley, Renfrewshire, son of William Clark and Agnes Bryson, wedded, in 1768, Margaret, daughter of Andrew Campbell.

His occupation was thread manufacturer.
This James started out in business as a heddle harness, heddle twine and lash twine manufacturer. He started making cotton thread in 1813 and, together with his son James (1782-1865), built a mill at Seedhill, Paisley, Renfrewshire.

This mill was acquired in 1819 by his sons James and John, who formed J & J Clark, thread manufacturers, Paisley, Renfrewshire. Their father continued to run a separate business at Cotton Street and Thread Street, Paisley and died in 1829.
His younger son, 

JAMES CLARK (1782-1865), of Chapel House, Paisley (below), married Agnes, daughter of James McFarlane, in 1830.


The eldest son,

JAMES CLARK (1831-1910), of Chapel House, married firstly, in 1858, Jane, daughter of George Smith; and secondly, in 1871, Katherine, daughter of Major-General George King.

Mr Clark was Provost of Paisley, 1882-85.

His second son,

GEORGE SMITH CLARK DL (1861-1935), wedded, in 1881, Frances Elizabeth, daughter of Henry Matier.

He was educated at Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh, and apprenticed to Harland & Wolff, Belfast.

In 1877, he opened his own shipyard on the River Lagan in association with Mr Frank Workman.

His uncle, George Smith, provided capital for this initial venture.

In 1891, the firm became Workman, Clark & Co. Ltd.

Charles Allan (a cousin of Clark's and a member of the Allan Line family) also joined the firm.

By 1902, the shipyard comprised fifty acres in extent.

Mr Clark was created a baronet in 1917, designated of Dunlambert, Belfast.


DUNLAMBERT HOUSE, a large Victorian villa near Fortwilliam, Belfast, was built for Sir George's father-in-law, Henry Matier. The architect was James Hamilton, of Glasgow.

The house and lodge were swept away for Dunlambert Secondary School.

The school was established in 1958, so the house must have been demolished ca 1956.

Dunlambert House was located off Fortwilliam Park  (remains of the grand entrances built by George Langry, who owned the estate in the early 1800s, remain).


A picture from the Lawrence Collection provides an indication of the dwellings within the park, including the Clarks' gate lodge and drive (above).

More information about the career of the 1st Baronet is available here.

Sir George Ernest Clark DL (1882-1950), 2nd Baronet,
Graduated from Cambridge University with a MA; Member, Institute of Naval Architects; Commissioner of Irish Lights; Deputy Chairman, Great Northern Railway Company; Honorary Colonel, 3rd Searchlight Regiment, Royal Artillery (TA), 1939-46; High Sheriff of County Antrim, 1940; High Sheriff of County Down, 1941.
Sir George Anthony Clark DL (1914-91), 3rd Baronet,
Educated at Canford; MP for Belfast Dock, 1938-45; captain in the Black Watch; fought in the 2nd World War; Senator in the Stormont Parliament, 1951-69; Imperial Grand President of the Imperial Grand Orange Council of the World, 1958-61; High Sheriff of County Antrim, 1954. 
Sir George and Lady Clark lived at Tullygarvan House, near Ballygowan, County Down.

Sir Colin Douglas Clark MC (1918-95), 4th Baronet, who succeeded to the baronetcy as the 3rd Baronet's younger brother,
Educated at Eton; major, the Royal Engineers; fought in 2nd World War, where he was mentioned in despatches; graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge in 1939 with a MA; awarded a Military Cross (MC); managing director of G Heyn and Sons Ltd, Belfast; Director of Cladox Ltd, The Ulster Steamship Company Ltd, The North Continental Shipping Company Ltd, and the Mountain Steamship Company Ltd.
Sir Jonathan George Clark (b 1947), 5th and present Baronet, was educated at Eton; captain in the Royal Green Jackets, 1966; retired from the Army in 1978; managing director of Paragon Homes Ltd in 1992.

In 2003 he lived in Cheshire.

First published in July, 2010.

TA: NI History


On the 10th May, 1958, the golden jubilee of the Territorial Army in Northern Ireland, a Review was performed by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother at RAF Sydenham (the site is now occupied by Belfast City Airport).


Click to Enlarge

The Order of Parade included massed bands playing from 1.30pm; the arrival of Her Majesty at 3pm; the Inspection at 3.05pm; a March Past at 3.20pm; and the departure of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother at 3.45pm.

First published in May, 2010.

Glengarriff Castle

THE WHITES WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY CORK, WITH 16,175 ACRES


The family of WHITE claimed to derive its descent from a brother of the Rt Rev John White, Bishop of Winchester, in 1557.

The immediate ancestor of this noble family came to Ireland during the English civil war which commenced in 1641.

This brother's descendant in the fourth degree, 

RICHARD WHITE, of Bantry, County Cork, son of Richard White, of Bantry, married, in 1734, Martha, daughter of the Very Rev Rowland Davies, of Dawston, County Cork, Dean of Cork and Ross, and had issue,
SIMON, his heir;
Margaret, m Richard, Viscount Longueville.
The only son,

SIMON WHITE, of Bantry, wedded, in 1760, Frances Jane, daughter of Richard Hedges Eyre, of Mount Hedges, County Cork, by Helena his wife, daughter of Thomas Herbert, of Muckross Abbey, County Kerry, and dsp, having had issue,
RICHARD, of whom presently;
Simon;
Hamilton;
Helen; Martha; Frances.
The eldest son,

RICHARD, 1ST EARL OF BANTRY (1767-1851), espoused, in 1799, the Lady Margaret Anne Hare, daughter of William, 1st Earl of Listowel, and had issue,
Richard, 2nd Earl;
William Henry Hare, 3rd Earl;
SIMON, of whom we treat;
Robert Hedges;
Mary.
The third son,

COLONEL THE HON SIMON WHITEwedded, in 1801, Sarah, daughter of John Newenham, of Maryborough, and had issue,
ROBERT HEDGES EYRE, his heir;
Edward Richard;
Fanny Rosa Maria; Harriet.
Colonel White died in 1838, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

ROBERT HEDGES EYRE WHITE (1809-), of Glengarriff Castle, County Cork, who married, in 1834, Charlotte Mary, only daughter and heir of Thomas Dorman, of Raffeen House, County Cork, and had issue,

ROBERT HEDGES EYRE WHITE (1836-), of Raffeen House, who espoused, in 1860, Mary Anne d'Esterre, daughter of John Roberts, of Ardmore, County Waterford, and had issue,
Robert Hedges Eyre, b 1862;
Simon, b 1863;
Edward, b 1869;
Anna Mary; Frances Dorothy.

GLENGARRIFF CASTLE, County Cork, is a partially castellated house overlooking Glengarriff harbour.

It has a long, two-storey range with shallow, curved bows and ogee-headed windows.

At one end there is a square tower; the other end having a considerably loftier, battlemented round tower.

The round tower joins the main block to a battlemented wing at an obtuse angle to its end.


The Castle was built in the 1790s by Colonel Simon White, brother of the 1st Earl of Bantry.

It was built in the Gothic style, with a panoramic view of Glengarriff Bay.

The woodlands of the estate encompass a wide variety of trees including Oak, Beech, Japanese Red Cedar, European Larch, Chilean Pine and a variety of shrub and flora species.

Wildlife to be seen include red squirrel, sika deer, seals, fox and pine marten.

Over the years, Glengarriff has extended hospitality to royalty, artists and writers, such as Thackeray, Synge and Yeats; and, when living in the area, George Bernard Shaw is said to have written his play St Joan here.


The actress Maureen O'Hara, who starred with John Wayne in The Quiet Man, for many years kept a holiday home adjacent to Glengarriff Castle.

The castle operated as a resort until the late 1970s, but has since become derelict.

First published in May, 2013.