Wednesday, 30 January 2019

The Earldom

THE EARLDOM, which existed in England before the Conquest, was, it has been said, originally annexed to a particular tract of land.
The Norman baron Sir William d'Aubigny was created Earl of Arundel in 1138 by KING STEPHEN. It is the most ancient earldom in the peerage, currently held by His Grace the Duke of Norfolk, and is used (along with the earldom of Surrey) by his heir apparent as a courtesy title.
For several centuries, earldoms have been created by letters patent, and the descent of the honour regulated accordingly.

The ancient ceremony of investiture, as in other dignities, has been discontinued; and the custom of deriving the title from some county or town was extended, in consequence of the number of earls, to villages, private estates, and family surnames.

The style of an earl is Right Honourable, and he is officially addressed by the Crown, "Our right trusty and right well beloved Cousin".

The last non-royal earldom to be conferred was in 1984, when the Rt Hon Maurice Harold Macmillan, Prime Minister and statesman, was created Earl of Stockton.

THE coronation robes of an earl are similar to those of a duke and marquess, with the exception that there are three guards of ermine and gold lace.

His lordship's cap is of crimson velvet, lined with ermine, having a gold tassel at top; the coronet has pearls raised upon points, with strawberry leaves low between them.

First published in December, 2013.


Archbishops in the British Isles have the ducal title of "Grace", and have historically taken precedence of all dukes next to those of royal blood.

The Archbishop of Canterbury ranks as first peer of the realm, and the Archbishop of York as third, coming immediately after the Lord Chancellor.

The (Anglican) Archbishops of Armagh and Dublin ranked immediately after the Archbishop of York.

The Archbishop of Canterbury is styled "Most Reverend" and "by divine providence"; while the Archbishop of York and bishops adopt the term "permission" instead of "providence".

First published in December, 2013.

Sunday, 27 January 2019

Nu Delhi, Belfast

Great Victoria Street, Belfast, is a major part of Belfast's Golden Mile.

Certainly during the Troubles this street was buzzing, despite the bombing campaign which destroyed many businesses and livelihoods.

From the Grand Opera House, the Europa Hotel, the Crown Liquor Saloon, and numerous other establishments towards Shaftesbury Square and Bradbury Place, it remains one of the liveliest parts of town.

All of the said establishments are still there and continue to thrive.

I called for the old school pal, NCS, and we motored in a westerly direction into town, where I managed to find a tight space at the Great Victoria Street end of Wellwood Street.

It was cold, windy and wet.

Our venue, the Nu Delhi Indian restaurant, is on the first floor of a building beside Bruce Street and Hope Street.

It used to be the premises of the house-furnishers, Donaldson & Little.

It's probably necessary to reserve a table in this large restaurant at weekends.

We had booked a table and the place was practically full when we arrived at seven o'clock.

The staff gave a good impression on greeting and tending to us during the meal.

As far as Indian cuisine goes I usually opt for something on the mild side, so I ordered Desi Chicken Masala with pilau rice, accompanied by peshwari naan bread and a glass of lassi.

NCS had a popular lamb dish, I think, and we shared the bread with poppadoms and three types of chutney.

While NCS was getting some fresh air at the open balcony, I had a look round and my eyes focused on the ceiling, one of those non-ceilings, bare, un-plastered, concrete, loose cables, vents.

My meal was good, mild-to-medium hot, I should say.

The bread was light and freshly made, I'm sure.

My meal cost about £20 (we went Dutch).

Thereafter we hopped on to the lift, emerged at Great Victoria Street, and walked to Robinson's Bar or, rather, Fibber Magee's.

I don't know whether you've ever frequented this bar, though it's at the rear end of Robinson's, a former alley called Keyland's Place.

Keyland's Place was largely demolished to make way for Blackstaff Square, the most direct means of entering Fibber Magee's.

It's a kind of spit-and sawdust theme bar, a Victorian general merchant's, probably conceived twenty-five years ago by the proprietor of Robinson's.

Robinson's Bar was fire-bombed and demolished in 1991, so Fibber Magee's, one of those renowned faux Irish pubs, dates from that era.

The atmosphere or ambiance is very lively indeed with merry revellers, a few of whom were raucous; singing, dancing to a live duo of singing guitarists, bare wooden floorboards, wooden stools, wooden benches, dimly lit.

It has a large, unlit fire-place.

It's undeniably popular and the musicians were playing their own version of well-known pop songs.

I was sitting beside a Yorkshire plumber (who lived near Guiseley), who, with his wife, was staying with friends in Bangor, County Down.

He'd certainly had his fair share of stout or whatever, and kept repeating himself on topics like Retirement, Skiing etc.

I'd had enough of it all by ten o'clock, and bade farewell to NCS, who decided to remain for the duration.

Saturday, 26 January 2019

S D Bell's

S D Bell's Original Premises, Knock, Belfast

I met my Aunt M for tea this morning at that venerable Belfast institution, S D Bell & Company, purveyors of finest tea and coffee.

They extended their premises about five years ago to include the remaining units beside them.

You enter by a wide, electric door; the ethereal aroma of freshly-roasted coffee beans beckons visitors and patrons.

I usually meet my aunt here for the weekly chin-wag.

They serve freshly-cooked breakfasts, artisan tea and coffee, scones, iced fruit buns, cakes and biscuits in the morning.

I often have the fruit scone with butter and raspberry jam, and a pot of their blended Director's Brew tea.

Friday, 25 January 2019

Paddy Fermor Talk

With the Hon Artemis Cooper, Lady Beevor

The Bank Buildings in Belfast city centre remains a disaster zone. Such a pity.

Yesterday the contractor was working away, shifting blocks of stone from the top of the burnt-out building to the ground.

The interior is a complete mess of collapsed debris.

There's a kind of tunnel, which skirts the immediate vicinity of the building, that I passed though en route to the Ulster Reform Club, Royal Avenue, where I'd been invited for a lunch and talk by Artemis Cooper, Lady Beevor.

Her topic was none other than the extraordinary Sir Patrick  (Paddy) Leigh Fermor, DSO, OBE, adventurer, soldier, polyglot, and all-round good egg.

Having relieved myself of the heavy winter overcoat, scarf, gloves and umbrella in the cloakroom, I made my way to the old billiards-room on the third or fourth floor.

This room has a good prospect of building work at the adjacent Bank Buildings.

Only the Tesco Metro (formerly a bank) stands between the Club and Bank Buildings.

There were ten of us yesterday. The room, however, was full with other tables and parties of guests.

We had a large, circular table at the window nearest to the Bank Buildings, and we could hear constant beeping from tractors and machinery reversing within the disaster zone outside.

We were all guests of Ken Belshaw, who also happens to be the honorary consul of Hungary.

Ken follows the blog.

I was seated beside a medical doctor from Garvagh. We had a very good chin-wag about this and that during the meal, including the distinguished naval sub-mariner Vice-Admiral Sir Arthur Hezlet.

Of course I've written about Garvagh House and the Cannings.

I also chatted at length to a retired detective, who sat to my right.

I happen to know, or be acquainted with, a number of former or retired police officers in the Province.

Rodney Hermon's father was Chief Constable of the RUC, and I recounted my memories of him arriving at Ormiston about 1974 in an Austin Cambridge or Morris Oxford driven by his father, a Superintendent or Chief Superintendent at the time.

Robin Gouk, QPM, was also in my year at Campbell.

We enjoyed sirloin steak, vegetables, apple tart and cream, wine and convivial company.

Artemis Cooper's father was John Julius Norwich (2nd Viscount), and when I met her after the talk, I told her that I recalled her father as a panellist on the BBC series Face The Music in the 1970s.

I've no idea why the BBC doesn't revive it. It had a dummy keyboard and panellists had to guess what piece was being played.

I must have confused her father with somebody else, or so she believed.

Was John Julius Norwich ever a guest on Face the Music?

After luncheon some of us ambled into the Members' Bar, which was packed!

We had a few more drinks (I stuck to port), and the arcane licensing laws obliged us all to vacate the room at five o'clock.

I'm returning to the Club in about a week's time for the annual Brackenber dinner.

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

The Marquessate

A MARQUESS, Marchio, ranks next above an earl and is the second degree of the nobility.
"His office (said Sir William Blackstone) formerly was (for dignity and duty were never separated by our ancestors) to guard the frontiers and limits of the Kingdom, which were called the marches, from the Teutonic word marche, a limit; as in particular were the marches of Wales and Scotland, while each continued to be an enemy's country.

The persons who had commanded there were called Lords Marches, or Marquesses, whose authority had abolished by statute, in the reign of HENRY VIII, though the title had long before been made a mere ensign of honour."
The first English marquessate was conferred by RICHARD II, in 1386, upon Robert de Vere, Earl of Oxford, KG, who was created Marquess of Dublin, and in the next year, Duke of Ireland.

His Grace was, however, banished and attainted in 1388, when his honours became forfeited.

And the second creation of the same dignity occured in the same reign, when John Beaufort, Earl of Somerset, KG, was created, in 1397, Marquess of Dorset.

From that period the dignity of Marquess appears to have remained dormant until the reign of EDWARD VI, but thenceforward it became a regular and common grade of nobility.

A marquessate is invariably created by letters patent, and the descent regulated accordingly.

The style of a marquess is "Most Honourable" and he is officially addressed by the Crown, "Our Right Trusty and entirely beloved Cousin".

The last marquessate to be conferred was in 1926, when Rufus Daniel Isaacs, Viceroy of India and statesman, was created Marquess of Reading.

THE ROBES of a marquess at a coronation are of crimson velvet, lined with white taffeta, having four guards of ermine on the right side and three on the left, placed at equal distances, each guards surmounted with gold lace; the robe is tied up to the left shoulder by a white ribbon.

His lordship's cap is of crimson velvet, lined with ermine, having a gold tassel at top; and his coronet is of gold, and is encompassed by pearls and golden strawberry leaves intermingled.

First published in December, 2013.

Sunday, 20 January 2019

The Viscountcy

THE VISCOUNTCY is the fourth grade in the peerage, which title formerly applied to the sheriff of a county, but was not used as a designation of nobility before the reign of HENRY VI, when that monarch created John, Baron Beaumont, KG, by letters patent, in 1440, Viscount Beaumont, a dignity which expired with his lordship's son and successor in 1507.

A viscountcy is always created by patent, and it descends according to the specified limitation.

The honour was originally conferred as an advancement to barons, but afterwards created frequently with the barony; and latterly it has been created without a barony.

The style of a viscount is Right Honourable, and he is officially addressed by the Crown, "Our right trusty and well beloved Cousin".

The last non-royal viscountcies to be created occured in 1983 and 1984, for the Viscounts Whitelaw, Tonypandy, and Macmillan of Ovenden.

THE ROBES of a viscount differ from those of an earl in having two rows of plain white fur only.

His lordship's cap is of crimson velvet, lined with ermine, having a gold tassel at top; and the golden circle of his coronet is surmounted by fourteen pearls.

First published in December, 2013.

Saturday, 12 January 2019

Le Croque Monsieur

The television happened to be turned on to the BBC show Eggheads recently, and Judith Keppel made a remark about the classic French sandwich, Croque Monsieur.

Now I have never tasted one, and if I ever did it must have been donkey's years ago.

As a consequence of the Keppel Factor I decided to acquire some thinly sliced cooked ham, Gruyère cheese, and white sliced bread.

My method is to spread one slice of bread thinly with Dijon mustard, trim the cheese slice to fit and put on top.

The ham slices are trimmed, too, and placed atop the cheese.

This is topped with the remaining slice of bread and put on a baking sheet.

Brush one side lightly with melted butter and toast in the oven at 230ºC for about five minutes or till lightly browned.

Turn the sandwich over and brush the other side with melted butter, and toast for a further three minutes.

Cut it in half and serve hot, wrapped in a small paper napkin.

Friday, 11 January 2019

Newtownbarry House


ELIZABETH EATON, eldest daughter and co-heir of Henry Eaton, of North Lodge, Essex, by Elizabeth, his wife, last surviving child of George Mildmay, of Corbett's Stye, Essex, married firstly, in 1779, JOHN DARE, of Bentry Heath, Essex, and by him she had an only child, JOHN HOPKINS DARE, of Theydon Bois, Essex, who died unmarried in 1805.

Mrs Dare married secondly, in 1791, JOHN MARMADUKE GRAFTON, of Cranbrook House (only son of John Marmaduke Grafton, of Romford), who took the surname of DARE in addition to that of GRAFTON, in 1805, and died in 1810.

Mrs Dare died in 1823, leaving by her second husband an only child,

ELIZABETH GRAFTON GRAFTON-DARE (1793-), who wedded, in 1815, ROBERT WESTLEY HALL, of Wyefield, and of Cranbrook, High Sheriff of Essex, 1821, MP for South Essex, who took the surname and arms of DARE, 1823, in addition to those of HALL.

Mr Hall-Dare and his sister, Elizabeth Catherine, were the offspring of Robert Westley Hall, of Ilford Lodge and FitzWalters, Essex, by Maria Elizabeth his wife, widow of Abraham de Codyn, of Demerara, and daughter of Cornelius Brower, of the same place and grandchildren of the Rev Westley Hall, who died in London ca 1770.

The Rev Westley Hall was a son of one of the Halls of Hillsborough, Kent, who married the sister of Sir Robert Westley, Lord Mayor of London.

Mr Hall-Dare died in 1836, and by his said wife, Elizabeth Grafton Grafton-Dare, left issue,
John Grafton, 1818-19;
Arthur Charles; died in infancy;
Francis Marmaduke, b 1830;
Mary Elizabeth; Emma Burton; Anne Mildmay; Agnes; Elizabeth.
The eldest son, 

ROBERT WESTLEY HALL-DARE (1817-66), of FitzWalters, Essex, married, in 1839, Frances Anna Catherine, daughter of Gustavus Lambart, of Beauparc, County Meath, and had issue,
Olivia Frances Grafton; Mabel Virginia Anna; Frances Maria.
Miss Mabel Hall-Dare married, in 1877, James Theodore Bent.

Mr Robert Westley Hall-Dare was succeeded by his eldest son,

ROBERT WESTLEY HALL-DARE JP DL (1840-76), of Newtownbarry House, County Wexford, and Theydon Bois, Essex, High Sheriff of County Wexford, 1872, who wedded, in 1863, Caroline Susan Henrietta, second daughter of Henry Newton, of Mount Leinster Lodge, County Carlow, and had issue,
John Marmaduke, died in infancy;
Arthur Mildmay;
Elizabeth Frances; Hilda Mary; Evelyn Una.
Mr Hall-Dare was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

ROBERT WESTLEY HALL-DARE JP DL (1866-1939), of Newtownbarry House, and East Hall, Wennington, Essex, High Sheriff of County Wexford, 1891, County Carlow, 1896, Captain, 9th Brigade, North Irish Division, RA, who espoused, in 1896, Helen, second daughter of John Taylor Gordon, of Nethermuir, Aberdeenshire, and Blackhouse, Ayrshire, and had issue,
Charles Grafton, b 1902;
Audrey; Daphne.
Mr Hall-Dare was succeeded by his eldest son,

ROBERT WESTLEY HALL-DARE (1899-1972), of Newtownbarry House, who married, in 1937, Elizabeth Maria Patricia, daughter of John Brooks Close-Brooks, and had issue, an only child,

CLODY ELIZABETH HALL-DARE (1938-), of Newtownbarry House, educated at Byam Shaw School of the Arts, London, lecturer at City and Guilds College of Art, London, and lived in 1976 at Newtownbarry House.

NEWTOWNBARRY HOUSE, near Bunclody, County Wexford, built between 1883-89, is one of the last country houses designed by Sir Charles Lanyon, assisted by his pupil W H Lynn and his son John.

It is almost entirely a new structure, both extraordinarily austere and Italianate at the same time.

The fenestration of the two adjoining garden fronts reveals a sequence of rooms, expressed with military precision in impeccably detailed granite.

The upstairs windows are framed with a stone surround so that it makes them the same size as the windows below, an idea first used by Lanyon nearly thirty years before at Drenagh, County Londonderry.

Features of the house include a top-lit picture gallery and a richly carved staircase which lets natural light onto the landing, staircase and hall.

There also many finely carved fireplaces.

The library is finely crafted from wood.

Newtownbarry was built by the Hall-Dare family and still remains in the family.

A lot of the information in this script is quoted from an architectural report by Jeremy Williams.

Newtownbarry House is surrounded by beautiful landscapes, gardens and a large pond adjacent to the entrance of the house.

There is an ornamental lake; the Rose Garden; the recently renovated 19th century Sunken Garden.

The prospect from the banks of the River Slaney is to the heights of the Blackstairs Mountains.

The present owner is Clody Norton, the daughter of Robert Westley Hall-Dare, who lives there today with her family.

First published in August, 2012.

Sunday, 6 January 2019

New DL


Mrs Joan Christie CVO OBE, Lord-Lieutenant of County Antrim, has been pleased to appoint:
Colonel Stewart DOUGLAS OBE
To be a Deputy Lieutenant of the County, his Commission bearing date the 30th day of November 2018.

Signed: Joan Christie

Lord Lieutenant of the County

Saturday, 5 January 2019

High Sheriffs 2019




Mr James Ronald Hassard
County Antrim


Mr Ian James Chapman
County Armagh


Mr Henry Shields
County Down


Miss Mary Kathleen Doherty OBE
County Fermanagh


Mr Samuel David Graham Mawhinney
County Londonderry


Mr Samuel Wesley Atchison
County Tyrone


Alderman Thomas Henry Sandford


Ms Julia Elizabeth Kee
County Londonderry