Friday, 31 May 2019

Castle Archdale Memories

We spent many happy occasions at Castle Archdale Country Park on the shores of lower Lough Erne in County Fermanagh.

My first visit must have been in the late 1960s, and we kept returning during the seventies and eighties.

I should begin by saying that Castle Archdale was the seat of the Archdale family, of whom the Archdale Baronets  were a branch.

In 1862, Castle Archdale was one of the largest estates in County Fermanagh, comprising 27,410 acres.

I think some members of the family still lived on the estate till the sixties, before selling it to the Northern Ireland Government for use as a country park and caravan site.

Interestingly, Castle Archdale once had its own private railway halt, near the main entrance to the demesne, between Enniskillen and Irvinestown.

The manor house, located on a hill above the lough, was a noble edifice built in 1773 to replace the old castle some distance away.

It had three storeys over a basement; a six-bay entrance front; a doorway with Ionic pilasters; and a three-bay side elevation.

The manor house was requisitioned by the Royal Air Force during the 2nd World War.

It was known as RAF Castle Archdale from 1941-1957; ruinous by 1959; and finally demolished in 1970.

I imagine the Archdales never returned to their old home after it had been requisitioned by the RAF.

Here is a most interesting link with photographs of it as a RAF Station.

Incidentally, the NI Government had a habit of demolishing country houses on estates they acquired, viz. Riversdale, Castle Archdale, Belvoir and Tollymore, to name but a few.

The foundations of the manor house remain; they've been tidied up to form part of a feature along with the courtyard and stable yard behind.

I vaguely remember seeing what remained of the old house in the late sixties, when I was a boy: There were two large, green water-tanks elevated above the house which could be seen miles away on the lough - a good land-mark to aim for.

Staying at Castle Archdale was a wonderful experience for me.

Elements of the flying-boat base still remained: concrete platforms, steel shackles and a refuelling jetty complete with an old fuel pump!

We used to keep our boat there, motoring out to the islands of Lough Erne on fine, sunny days when the lough was tranquil and peaceful.

We often visited White Island or Crevinishaughy Island, which I loved with its old derelict lodge and cottage.

Lusty Beg Island, where my father and I met Charles FitzGerald, the columnist, and watched him having a spat with somebody about the speed of their boat on the lough, broadening the argument out to a frank exchange of views about local politics!

He  had invited us on to his boat for a drink earlier.

The swell from the arrival of the other boat doubtless caused the argument, along with the subsequent spillage of red wine!

At that time the prominent NI politician Bill Craig owned Gaffer Island and his boat was frequently tied up at the island's jetty.

Either the Union Jack or the Red Ensign flew from the jetty when he was present.

The Craigs had a static caravan on the little island and there were rumours that he had been warned not to build a permanent home there.

I cannot validate the truth of this claim; though perhaps the truth was more banal and he couldn't get planning permission.

We often noticed Bill Craig seated in the lounge bar of the old Manor House hotel, quietly reading his newspaper with a drink and minding his own business.

His boat was called Gaffer Goose or Gaffer Duck.

We had a sort of circuit of hotels and restaurants which we frequented in those days: the Manor House Hotel at Killadeas; the Lough Erne Hotel in Kesh; the Encore Steakhouse, Ballinamallard; and the Hollander in Irvinestown.

The Manor House Hotel was a small, country house hotel then.

We probably went there more often because it was quite close to Castle Archdale.

The proprietor was, I think, Raymond Noble and I have memories of him wearing a naval sweater and taking us down to the games-room in the basement for a spot of snooker.

He was follicly challenged!

Needless to say, I preferred the hotel in its original state compared to now.

There was one very spacious lounge bar, another large dining-room and a residents' lounge.

These were the main rooms on the ground floor.

The Hollander in Irvinestown was another firm favourite: It had a cosy ambiance and the walls were adorned with old black-and-white pictures of flying boats on Lough Erne.

The food was good there, too, a speciality being duck served in Chef's own inimitable way.

Jim Holland ran the bar; his son was the chef; and his wife managed the kitchen.

There was an establishment in the nearest village, Lisnarick, called the Golden Pheasant I think; for some reason we didn't visit it often.

I seem to remember reading the Newsletter newspaper in the car with my father at Lisnarick; and there was an article about the then Lord Grosvenor being involved in a light plane incident while giving his pal, Lord Belmore, a lift.

The 6th Duke of Westminster was then styled Gerald, Earl Grosvenor.

His parents, the 5th Duke and Duchess, lived at Ely Lodge Estate.

He'd have used the local airfield, St Angelo's, near Enniskillen.

In Victorian times the Marquesses of Ely were the largest landowners in County Fermanagh; and the Archdales were not far behind them.

Of course we have revisited Castle Archdale on innumerable occasions since then.

I last stayed there, up at the courtyard, in about 2004 for a few days.

I invariably pay Castle Archdale a visit every time I'm in the county.

First published in April, 2009.

Louth Hall


This noble family, the eldest branch of the numerous house of PLUNKETT, claims a common ancestor with the Earls of Fingall and the Barons Dunsany; namely, John Plunkett, who was seated, about the close of the 11th century, at Beaulieu, County Louth. 

From this gentleman descended two brothers, John and Richard Plunkett; the younger of whom was the progenitor of the Earls of Fingall and the Barons Dunsany; and the elder, the ancestor of

SIR PATRICK PLUNKETT, Knight, of Kilfarnan, Beaulieu, and Tallanstown, who was appointed, in 1497, Sheriff of Louth during pleasure.

Sir Patrick married Catherine, daughter of Thomas Nangle, 15th Baron of Navan, and dying in 1508, was succeeded by his eldest son, 

OLIVER PLUNKETT, of Kilfarnon, who was elevated to the peerage, in 1541, in the dignity of BARON LOUTH (second creation).

His lordship wedded firstly, Catherine, daughter and heir of John Rochfort, of Carrick, County Kildare, by whom he had six sons and four daughters; and secondly, Maud, daughter and co-heir of Walter Bath, of Rathfeigh, by whom he had two sons and two daughters.

He was succeeded at his decease by his eldest son,

THOMAS, 2nd Baron (c1547-71), who married Margaret, daughter and heir of Nicholas Barnewall, and was succeeded at his decease by his eldest son,

PATRICK, 3rd Baron (1548-75), who wedded Maud, daughter of Lord Killeen; but dying  without issue (having been slain by McMahon, in the recovery of a prey of cattle, at Essexford, County Monaghan), the title devolved upon his brother,

OLIVER, 4th Baron; who having, with the Plunketts of Ardee, brought six archers on horseback to the general hosting, at the hill of Tara, 1593, was appointed to have the leading of County Louth.

He married firstly, Frances, daughter of Sir Nicholas Bagenall, Knight Marshal of Ireland, by whom he had five sons and three daughters; and secondly, Genet Dowdall, by whom he had no issue.

His lordship died in 1607, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

MATTHEW, 5th Baron, who wedded Mary, daughter of Sir Richard Fitzwilliam, of Meryon, and had four sons.

His lordship died in 1629, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

OLIVER, 6th Baron (1608-79); who, joining the Royalists in 1639, was at the siege of Drogheda, and at a general meeting of the principal Roman Catholic gentry of County Louth, held at the hill of Tallaghosker.

His lordship was appointed Colonel-General of all the forces to be raised in that county; and in the event of his lordship's declining the same, then Sir Christopher Bellew; and upon his refusal, then Sir Christopher Barnewall, of Rathasker.

This latter gentleman accepted the said post of Colonel-General, for which he was imprisoned, in 1642, at Dublin Castle, and persecuted by the usurper Cromwell's parliament.

His lordship married Mary, Dowager Viscountess Dillon, second daughter of Randal, 1st Earl of Antrim, and was succeeded at his demise by his only son,

MATTHEW, 7th Baron; who, like his father, suffered by his adhesion to royalty, having attached himself to the fortunes of JAMES II.

His lordship died in 1639, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

OLIVER, 8th Baron (de jure) (1668-1707); who, upon taking his seat in parliament, was informed by the Chancellor that his grandfather, Oliver, 6th Baron, had been outlawed in 1641; and not being able to establish the reversal of the same, the dignity remained, for the two subsequent generations, unacknowledged in law.

His lordship was succeeded by his only son, by Mabella, daughter of Lord Kingsland,

MATTHEW, 9th Baron (de jure) (1698-1754), who was succeeded by his eldest son,

OLIVER, 10th Baron (de jure) (1727-63), who wedded Margaret, daughter of Luke Netterville, and had issue,
THOMAS, his successor;
Susannah; Anne.
His lordship was succeeded by his elder son,

THOMAS OLIVER, 11th Baron (1757-1823), who had the outlawry of his great-grandfather annulled, and was restored to his rank in the peerage in 1798.

He married, in 1808, Margaret, eldest daughter of Randal, 13th Lord Dunsany, and had issue,
THOMAS, his successor;
Randall Matthew;
Charles Dawson;
Henry Luke;
Edward Sidney.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

THOMAS OLIVER, 12th Baron (1809-49), who espoused, in 1830, Anna Maria, daughter of Philip Roche, of Donore, County Kildare, by Anna Maria, his wife, youngest daughter of Randall, Lord Dunsany, and had issue,
RANDAL PERCY OTWAY, his successor;
Thomas Oliver Westenra;
Algernon Richard Hartland;
Augusta Anna Margaret; another daughter.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

RANDAL PERCY OTWAY, 13th Baron (1832-83) an officer in the 79th Highlanders.

14th Baron Louth

RANDAL PILGRIM RALPH, 14th Baron (1868-1941), JP DL, was an officer in the Westminster Dragoons and the Wiltshire Regiment, and served in the First and Second World Wars.

The 14th Baron, though not prominent in politics, did take part in public life: He was a member of the Irish Reform Association, and took part in the campaign for a Catholic University. In politics he was a Unionist. His papers show that he was an active sportsman and also travelled widely.
He sold most of the estate soon after the 1903 Wyndham Land Act. He died in 1941, and was succeeded by his only surviving son Otway, briefly 15th Baron, before his death in 1950.

Louth Hall and demesne at Tallanstown were sold and the family settled at Jersey, Channel Islands.

The 16th Baron died at Jersey, Channel Islands, on the 6th January, 2013, aged 83.

The title now devolves upon his lordship's eldest son, the Hon Jonathan Oliver Plunkett, born in 1952. 

LOUTH HALL, the ancestral demesne of the Barons Louth, is in the parish of Tallanstown, 2½ miles south of the village of Louth, County Louth.

The mansion is a three-storey Georgian house, built ca 1760, now in ruins.

There is a shallow, projecting, curved bow to the east of south elevation of ca 1805; and a tower-house to west of ca 1350.

The roof is not visible, hidden behind a crenellated parapet.

The Plunkett family crest is above the pediment.

Louth Hall is situated within what is now a field, with ranges of random rubble stone outbuildings of ca 1805, arranged around three yards; remains of walled garden to west; artificial lake to south, dovecote to south-west.

Entrance gates to north-east on roadside comprising tooled limestone squared piers, cast-iron gates, flanked by pedestrian gates and curving quadrant plinth surmounted by cast-iron railings.

This house was the home of the Plunkett family from the later medieval until the early-20th century. 

The 14th Baron sold most of the estate soon after the 1903 Wyndham Land Act.

He died in 1941, and his only surviving son, Otway, was briefly 15th Baron Louth, before his death in 1950.

The house and demesne were also sold, some years after the estate, and the family settled in Jersey, Channel Islands.

The continuity of occupation is reflected in the architectural changes, the migration from tower house to Georgian mansion.

A fire in 2000 destroyed delicate early 19th century interior plasterwork.

The archaeological, architectural and historical associations of this building are as immense as the structure itself. 

First published in March, 2013.  Louth arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Thursday, 30 May 2019

The White Knights

The family of FITZGIBBON, the chief of which was styled the White Knight, is descended from the FitzGeralds, progenitors of the great houses of Kildare and Desmond.

From the same origin are descended the Knights of Glin (the Black Knights), and the Knights of Kerry (the Green Knights).

These titles were conferred by the Earl of Desmond, as a Count Palatine, on junior branches of the House of FitzGerald, in the like manner as Hugh Lupus, Earl of Chester, created his inferior barons.

MAURICE FITZGIBBON, THE WHITE KNIGHT, son of Gilbert FitzJohn, was knighted in the field by EDWARD III in 1333, immediately after the defeat of Scottish forces at the battle of Halidon Hill.

He married Katharine Bruce, and had issue,
DAVID, his successor;
The 1st White Knight died in 1357, and was succeeded by his elder son,

DAVID FITZGIBBON, 2nd Knight, father of

JOHN FITZGIBBON, 3rd Knight, who married Isabella Butler, and had issue,

MAURICE FITZGIBBON, 4th Knight, who wedded Margaret O'Brien, and had issue,
The eldest son,

JOHN FITZGIBBON, 5th Knight, was father of

MAURICE MOR FITZGIBBON, 6th Knight, who wedded secondly, Ellice, daughter of William, 8th Baron Barry, and had issue,
The 6th White Knight died in 1496, and was succeeded by his younger son,

MAURICE OGE FITZGIBBON, 7th Knight, of Michelstown, County Cork, who died in 1530, and was father of

MAURICE FITZGIBBON, 8th Knight, who died in 1543, and was succeeded by his son,

JOHN FITZGIBBON, 9th Knight, who was murdered by his cousins Thomas and Gibbon at the instigation of their half-brother,

JOHN OGE FITZGIBBON, 10th Knight, who died in 1569, and was father of

EDMUND FITZGIBBON, 11th Knight (c1552-1608), father of

MAURICE OGE FITZGIBBON, 12th and last White Knight (c1597-1611), who wedded Thomasin, daughter of Sir Thomas Browne, though the marriage was without issue.

There have been several claimants to the title.

The Earls of Clare claimed to have sprung from the White Knights.

The Slieve Donard Acquisition


PROPERTY: Slieve Donard Lands, near Newcastle, County Down

DATE: 1990

EXTENT: 1284.76 acres

DONOR: Gerald Annesley

First published in January, 2015.

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Newcastle House


NICHOLAS HARMAN, of Carlow, settled in Ireland during the reign of JAMES I.

He was one of the first burgesses of Carlow, named in the charter granted to that borough by JAMES I in 1614, and was High Sheriff of County Carlow in 1619.

By Mary his wife he was father of 

HENRY HARMAN, of Dublin, who had by Marie his wife, five sons and as many daughters, viz.
Anthony, dsp before 1684;
THOMAS, of whom hereafter;
Anne; Mary; Jane; Margaret; Mabel.
Mr Harman died before 1649, and was succeeded by his third son, 

MAJOR SIR THOMAS HARMAN, Knight, of Athy, knighted by the Lord Deputy of Ireland, Thomas, Earl of Ossory, 1664, MP for Carlow, 1659, Kildare Borough, 1661.

Sir Thomas obtained a grant of considerable estates in County Longford, under the Act of Settlement, dated 1607.

He married Anne Jones, who also obtained a grant of lands in County Carlow, 1668.

Sir Thomas died in 1667, and they were both buried in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, having had issue, with a daughter, Mary, a son,

WENTWORTH HARMAN, of Castle Roe, County Carlow, Captain of the Battle-Axe Guards, 1683, who wedded firstly, in 1679, Margaret, daughter of Garrett Wellesley, of Dangan, and had issue, with one daughter, two sons, namely,
Thomas, b 1681, dsp;
WENTWORTH, of whom hereafter.
Mr Harman married secondly, in 1691, Frances, sister and heir of Anthony Sheppard, of Newcastle, County Longford, and had further issue,
ROBERT, successor to his nephew;
Francis, died 1714;
CUTTS (Very Rev), successor to his brother;
ANNE, m Sir Anthony Parsons Bt, of Birr Castle.
Mr Harman died in 1714, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

WENTWORTH HARMAN, of Moyne, County Carlow, who espoused, in 1714, Lucy, daughter of Audley Mervyn, of Trillick, County Tyrone, and sister and heir of Henry Mervyn, of the same place, and had issue,
WESLEY, his heir;
Mr Harman died in 1757, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

WESLEY HARMAN, of Moyle, who wedded Mary, daughter of the Rev Dr Nicholas Milley, Prebendary of Ullard, Diocese of Leighlin, by whom he had an only son,
Wentworth, who dsp in his father's lifetime.
Mr Harman died in 1758, and was succeeded by his uncle,

ROBERT HARMAN (1699-1765), of Newcastle, County Longford, and Millicent, County Kildare, MP for Kildare County, 1755, County Longford, 1761, who married Ann, daughter of John Warburton, third son of George Warburton, of Garryhinch, King's County, and dsp 1765, when he was succeeded by his only surviving brother,

THE VERY REV CUTTS HARMAN (1706-84), of Newcastle, Dean of Waterford, who espoused, in 1751, Bridget, daughter of George Gore, of Tenelick, County Longford, Justice of the Court of Common Pleas in Ireland, and sister of John, Lord Annaly, by whom he had no issue.

The Dean presented to his cathedral the very fine organ which it possesses.

He bequeathed his estates to his nephew, the son of his sister ANNE, who espoused, as above, Sir Lawrence Parsons.

LAWRENCE PARSONS-HARMAN (1749-1807), of Newcastle, MP for County Longford, 1775-92, assumed the additional surname of HARMAN in 1792, on succeeding to his uncle's estates, who wedded, in 1772, the Lady Jane King, daughter of Edward, 1st Earl of Kingston, and had an only daughter,
FRANCES, of whom hereafter.
Mr Parsons-Harman was created, in 1792, Lord Oxmantown; and, in 1806, advanced to the dignity of an earldom, as EARL OF ROSSE, with special remainder, in default of male issue, to his nephew, Sir Lawrence Parsons, 5th Baronet, of Birr Castle.

His lordship died in 1807, when his peerage passed, according to the limitation, and his Harman estates devolved upon his only daughter and heir,

THE LADY FRANCES PARSONS-HARMAN, of Newcastle, who married, in 1799, Robert Edward, 1st Viscount Lorton, and had issue,
ROBERT, 2nd Viscount, succeeded as 6th Earl of Kingston;
LAWRENCE HARMAN, succeeded to the Harman estates;
Jane; Caroline; Frances; Louisa.
Her ladyship died in 1841, and was succeeded in her estates by her second son,

THE HON LAWRENCE KING-HARMAN (1816-75), of Newcastle, and Rockingham, County Roscommon, who assumed the additional surname of HARMAN.

Mr King-Harman wedded, in 1837, Mary Cecilia (d 1904), seventh daughter of James Raymond Johnstone, of Alloa, Clackmannanshire, and had, with other issue, a second son,

WENTWORTH HENRY KING-HARMAN JP DL (1840-1919), of Newcastle, High Sheriff of County Longford, 1896, Colonel, Royal Artillery, who wedded, in 1863, Annie Kate, daughter of D J Smith, of Kingston, Canada, and had issue,
Beatrice Caroline; Lilian Mary; Annette Maude.
Colonel King-Harman was succeeded by his only son,

WENTWORTH ALEXANDER KING-HARMAN DSO (1869-1949), of Newcastle, County Longford, and Mitchelstown, County Cork, Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel, Royal Irish Rifles, who died unmarried.

NEWCASTLE HOUSE, near Ballymahon, County Longford, is a large, three-storey, seven-bay, early 18th century, gable-ended house, with lower asymmetrical wings.

There is a small, central curvilinear gable on the entrance front, possibly original, which is repeated on the 19th century projecting porch.

The House has a high-pitched roof.

The drawing-room ceiling boasts painted plasterwork in low relief, with musical emblems at the corners.

Newcastle House was originally the residence of the Sheppard family, whose heiress married Wentworth Harman in 1691.

It was inherited, in 1784, by Lawrence Parsons-Harman, later 1st Earl of Rosse; and subsequently by his grandson, the Hon Lawrence King-Harman.

Newcastle House was sold ca 1950 by Captain Robert Douglas King-Harman DSO DSC RN, grandson of the Hon Lawrence King-Harman.

For several years it was a convent.

First published in April, 3013.

Norwood Pictures

© Lord Belmont In Northern Ireland 2011

"One of them (below) has a photograph of both my aunts, Peggy and Mary, and Mary does not want her photo to go on the Internet so you cannot put that one on the site ...

Sadly it is the best one of the two, as it shows the full door the other one, with the single lady in it, you can use; however I have no idea who she is, it shows a little of what is in the hallway through the door.

I do have some information of the layout of the houses Riversdale [Co Fermanagh] and Norwood Tower from my aunt and will write it up for you ...

Norwood was powered by gas so had gas cookers and lights.


I do have a photograph of a woman standing at the front door which seems quite ornate with iron railings around it I will scan it and send later.

 I also have a photograph of my aunt sitting in front of a lion statue in the garden of Norwood Tower (above); she said that she didn't want it to go on the Internet however I have attached it for you to see.

The lady with her was Mrs Lutton or Litton and she rented part of the servants' quarters in Norwood Tower.

Mary said that another couple rented a different part of the house seemed to be outside of the main house but part of the surrounding building and the rent of those went to the upkeep of the house.

The photograph above shows a glass-house at Norwood Tower.

First published in May, 2011.

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Glin Castle


OTHER, a Baron of England, of Saxon descent, living during the reign of EDWARD THE CONFESSOR, was father of

WALTER FITZOTHER, who, at the general survey of the kingdom, 1078, was castellan of Windsor, and was appointed by WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR Warden of the Forests in Berkshire; and having wedded Gladys, daughter of Ryall ap Conyn, had issue,
GERALD FITZWALTER, of whom presently;
Robert, Baron of Easton or Estaines, Essex;
William, ancestor of the Barons Windsor and Earls of Plymouth.
The eldest son,

GERALD DE WINDSOR (c1075-1135), Castellan of Windsor, married Nest, daughter of Rhys, Prince of South Wales, and had issue,
MAURICE FITZGERALD, of whom hereafter;
William, ancestor of the Earls of Kerry;
David, Bishop of St David's.
Gerald was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

MAURICE FITZGERALD (c1105-76), Lord of Lanstephan, who proceeded to Ireland in 1168, being sent with ten knights, twenty esquires, and 100 archers, before his countryman, Richard Strongbow, Earl of Pembroke, to assist Dermot MacMurrough, King of Leinster.

He was buried in the abbey of Greyfriars, at Wexford, leaving issue,
Gerald, ancestor of the Dukes of Leinster;
William, Lord of Naas;
Maurice, Lord of Kiltrany;
THOMAS, of whom we treat;
The fourth son,

THOMAS FITZMAURICE FITZGERALD (1175-1213), espoused Ellinor, daughter of Jordan de Marisco, and sister to Hervé de Monte Marisco, Constable of Ireland, and of Geoffrey de Marisco, Lord Justice of Ireland in the reign of KING JOHN.

He was succeeded by his son,

JOHN FITZGERALD, 1st BARON DESMOND, who married firstly, Margery, daughter and heir of Sir Thomas FitzAnthony, Lord of Decies and Desmond, by whom he acquired those demesnes which were confirmed to him by PRINCE EDWARD in 1260, as amply as they had been held by Sir Thomas during the reign of HENRY III.

By the heiress of Decies and Desmond, John FitzGerald had a son and heir,

MAURICE FITZGERALD, Lord of Decies and Desmond, ancestor of the FITZGERALDS, EARLS OF DESMOND, who ranked among the most powerful nobles of Ireland for more than two centuries, until Gerald, 16th Earl, entering into rebellion, waged war for nearly ten years against the whole power of the English government, and eventually lost his life in attempting to seize upon a prey of cattle, when his head was transmitted by the Earl of Ormond to ELIZABETH I, who caused it to be fixed on London Bridge.

An attainder followed (1582), by which his prodigious estates, comprising 574,628 acres, became forfeited.

The son of this unfortunate nobleman, James FitzGerald, having been educated at the court of ELIZABETH I, embraced the Protestant faith, and Her Majesty, hoping by his influence to bring the followers of his deceased father to their allegiance, recognized him as EARL OF DESMOND, and despatched him to Ireland; but so soon as it was known that he had attended church at Balinalloch, the crowds who collected to see and follow him immediately withdrew; he was obliged, therefore, to return to London, where he died in 1601.

The last male heir of the House of Gerald who assumed the style of Earl of Desmond was an officer in the King of Spain's and the Emperor's armies, who died in Germany, in 1632.

From Maurice FitzGerald, founder of the Desmond line of the House of Gerald, derived OSBORN FITZGERALD, who removed from Ireland to Wales about the middle of the 13th century.

JOHN FITZGERALD wedded secondly, Honora, daughter of Hugh O'Connor, of Kerry, and had further issue,
SIR JOHN FITZJOHN, of whom presently;
JOHN FITZGERALD, 1ST BARON DESMOND, by virtue of his royal seigniory as a Count Palatine, created three of his sons, by the second marriage, knights, and their descendants have been so styled in Acts of Parliament, patents under the Great Seal, and all legal proceedings up to the present time; and having founded the monastery of Tralee, was buried there in 1261.

His second son,

SIR JOHN FITZJOHN, Knight, to whom his father gave the castles of Glyncorbury and Beagh, County Limerick, 1st KNIGHT OF GLIN, had issue,
JOHN FITZJOHN, his successor;
SIR JOHN was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR JOHN FITZJOHN, 2nd Knight, from whom descended,

THOMAS FITZGERALD, who was attainted with his father, and executed in the eleventh year of ELIZABETH I, leaving a daughter, Ellen, who wedded Sir Edmond FitzHarris, Knight; and a son, his successor,

EDMOND FITZGERALD, Knight of Glin, pardoned and restored to his estates in the thirtieth year of ELIZABETH I.

He espoused Honora, daughter of Owen McCarthy Reagh, and was succeeded by his son,

THOMAS FITZGERALD, Knight of Glin, who had livery of his lands in 1628.

He surrendered those estates, and had them re-granted in 1635.

He wedded Joan, daughter of James, Lord Dunboyne, widow of Edmond FitzGibbon, The White Knight, and was succeeded by his son,

GERALD FITZGERALD, 17th Knight of Glin, who made a deed of settlement of his estates in 1672.

He married Joan O'Brien, and dying before 1700, left issue,
THOMAS, his successor;
Mary; Honora; Helen; Jane; Ellen.
The eldest son,

THOMAS FITZGERALD, 18th Knight of Glin, seized of an estate in tail under the deed of settlement, in 1672, wedded Mary, daughter of Edmond FitzGerald, and had three sons, successively inheritors; of whom the eldest,

EDMOND FITZGERALD, 20th Knight of Glin, dsp and was succeeded by his brother,

RICHARD FITZGERALD, 21st Knight of Glin, who was succeeded by his brother,

THOMAS FITZGERALD, 22nd Knight of Glin, who married, in 1755, Mary, daughter of John Bateman, of Oak Park, County Kerry, and had issue,
JOHN, his heir;
Elizabeth; Frances; Ellen; Catherine; Jane.
Thomas FitzGerald died before 1801, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN BATEMAN FITZGERALD, 23rd Knight of Glin, who wedded Margaretta Maria, daughter of John Fraunceis Gwynn, of Ford Abbey, Devon, and was succeeded by his only son,

LIEUTENANT-COLONEL JOHN FRAUNCEIS FITZGERALD JP DL (1791-1854), 24th Knight of Glin, of Glin Castle, County Limerick, High Sheriff of County Limerick, 1830, who espoused, in 1812, Bridgetta, fifth daughter of the Rev Joseph Eyre, of Westerham, Kent, and had issue,
Edmond Urmston McLeod;
Geraldine Anne; Margaretta Sophia.
The eldest son,

JOHN FRAUNCEIS EYRE FITZGERALD, 25th Knight of Glin (1813-66), wedded, in 1835, Clara Anne, only daughter of Gerald Blennerhasset, of Riddlestown, County Limerick, and had issue,
Gerald B;
William Urmston;
John F E;
Thomas Otho;
George W M;
Geraldine Elizabeth Blennerhasset; Florence Sophia; Margaretta.
The 25th Knight was succeeded by his eldest son,

DESMOND JOHN EDMUND FITZGERALD JP DL (1840-95), 26th Knight of Glin, of Glin Castle, County Limerick, High Sheriff of County Limerick, 1871, who wedded, in 1861, Isabella Lloyd, second daughter of the Rev Michael Lloyd Apjohn, of Linfield, County Limerick, and had issue,
Urmston FitzOtho;
Louis de Rottenburgh;
Clara Nesta Richarda.
The eldest son,

DESMOND FITZJOHN LLOYD FITZGERALD JP DL (1862-1936), 27th Knight of Glin, of Glin Castle, High Sheriff of County Limerick, 1904, Captain, 3rd Battalion, Royal Dublin Fusiliers, South Irish Horse, married, in 1897, the Lady Rachel Wyndham-Quin, second daughter of the 4th Earl of Dunraven and Mount-Earl, and had issue,
The only son,

DESMOND WYNDHAM OTHO FITZGERALD (1901-49), 28th KNIGHT OF GLIN, married Veronica Villiers, a cousin of Winston Churchill, and had issue, three children.

He died from tuberculosis in 1949.

His son and heir, the 29th and last Knight,

DESMOND JOHN VILLIERS FITZGERALD (1937-2011, 29th KNIGHT OF GLIN, was educated at the University of British Columbia and Harvard University.
The Knight worked at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, in the furniture department; and later returned to Ireland, and became active in conservation issues, becoming involved with the Irish Georgian Society. He was appointed its president in 1991. He has also represented the Christies art auctioneers in Ireland. He died at Dublin in 2011.
As the last Knight had no sons, and the title cannot be passed to a daughter, the title became extinct.

GLIN CASTLE, Glin, County Limerick, is described by Mark Bence-Jones as
a romantic, white, castellated house overlooking the estuary of the River Shannon from among the trees of its demesne.
It was built ca 1789 by Colonel John FitzGerald, 24th Knight of Glin.

This is an eight-bay, three-storey, country house, comprising full-height curved bows to end bays of the front elevation, full-height three-sided bows with crenellated porch to garden (south) elevation.

Sixteen-bay, two-storey wing to the west, built in the late seventeenth century/early eighteenth century, having full-height canted bay and three-stage square-plan tower to garden elevation.

THIS house remains of considerable social and historic significance to the village of Glin.

Colonel John FitzGerald, who is thought to have added the hall, staircase and two reception rooms, financed much of the main house, which was built in phases.

The artist responsible for the decorative plasterwork to the interior, though unknown, is thought to be the work of a Cork master.

The symbols on the frieze in the hall underline the military background of Colonel FitzGerald, with military trophies, shields sprouting shamrocks and the Irish harp, all incorporated into the ceiling.

The staircase, which is almost unique in Ireland, as it has two lower ramps and a single flying run of steps from the half-landing to the first floor landing.

It may echo Adam's staircase at Mellerstain in Berwickshire.

The style of the joinery on the stairs and front door suggests that the craftsmen who worked here had worked with such prominent architects as Davis Duckart and Christopher Colles in the 1760s and 1770s.

The west wing is the earliest part of the house and was originally thatched.

Despite 19th century alterations, it retains some vernacular characteristics, such as its long, low asymmetric form.

Added to this association with important historical characters, Glin Castle represents more than four centuries of construction and alteration, with different architectural features representing each phase.

In 1993, the FitzGeralds decided to turn the castle into a hotel to help pay for the upkeep.

The hotel closed in 2008.

In 2011, Desmond, 29th Knight, died without a male heir.

In 2015, the castle was put on auction at Christie's by Lady FitzGerald.

The castle did not sell in auction.

In an effort to keep the castle in the family, it was purchased by Catherine FitzGerald, daughter of the last Knight of Glin, and her husband Dominic West.

First published in April, 2013. 

Derrymore Trip


DERRYMORE HOUSE was acquired by the National Trust in 1952.

It's not far from Newry, County Down (the river Newry divides the adjoining counties).

I couldn't see any road signs to Bessbrook on my way in to Newry, so stopped the car and told the "sat-nav" that I wished to go to the said village.

So far, so good.

However, on approaching Bessbrook there were no obvious signs, so I stopped at the side of the main road twice and enquired of passers-by.

I was told to look for Rose Cottage; and indeed there was an unmarked drive beside this private cottage which I found, having re-traced my steps, as it were.

I gingerly drove up the track, which passed an old walled garden.

Eureka! I saw the familiar thatch and shape of Derrymore House.

There's a car-park beside this exquisite cottage orné.

Derrymore is larger than it appears because there is a basement below this single-storey house.

I arrived about two-thirty and there were no other visitors, so I ventured in through a corner entrance.

It's a charming building, though only one room is open to visitors, if you exclude the entrance hall.

The drawing-room, as it formerly was, affords a beautiful aspect of the rolling lawn and landscape.

This is a spacious room, with a large central window.

I have unearthed an old picture of the way this room used to look, though it's largely unfurnished at the moment.

Presumably the chandelier is in storage or hanging in another property.

The plasterwork is not elaborate, though there is some detail at the fireplace.

There are various niches for books and so on.

The ceiling has an oval kind of recess with a chunky chain hanging from the middle, obviously meant to hang a heavy chandelier.

The drawing-room is also known as the Treaty Room, an allusion to the Act of Union which was said to have been drafted here.

This room has charming quatrefoil windows.

Sir Charles Coote considered Derrymore "without exception, the most elegant summer lodge".

I've written about the Corrys and Derrymore here.


I remained in the house and conversed with the warden for about twenty-five minutes, before taking my leave and roving into the fine oak woods and demesne.

I passed The Woodhouse, a fair-sized house in the woods which was the residence of the Richardson family before they gave Derrymore to the National Trust.

There is a curious enclosed circular or oval garden deep within the woods, which has a shallow wall and stone archway, apparently of some antiquity.

I terminated my stroll at the Friends' Meeting House (the Richardsons were Quakers).


ON my way back to Belfast, I stopped at the Corry monument, an obelisk at the side of the main road into Newry.

It's generally in good condition, though the Corry arms, carved from a block of sandstone, are badly eroded.

First published in May, 2014.

Monday, 27 May 2019

Lane-Fox Estate


The family of FOX, which is of ancient descent, ranked amongst the most influential and opulent in the north of England.

WILLIAM FOX, living in the reign of EDWARD IV, acquired by marriage with Sybil, daughter of John de Grete, the lands of Grete, Yardley, Worcestershire.

He was succeeded by his son,

JOHN FOX, of Grete, living in 1523, father, by Alice his wife, of

JOHN FOX, of Grete, who married and was father of

THOMAS FOX, of Grete, who, by his wife, had issue,
Richard, of Mosely;
Thomas, of Yardley;
John, of King's Norton;
Henry, of Yardley;
EDMUND, of whom we treat;
Joan; Dorothy.
The youngest son,

EDMUND FOX, of Birmingham, wedded Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of Hugh Grossbrooke, and had issue,
Richard, died without issue;
JOSEPH, of whom hereafter;
Thomas, of the Inner Temple;
Timothy, in holy orders.
The third son,  

JOSEPH FOX, born in 1617, held a major's commission in the army serving in Ireland.

He married Thomasine, widow of Sir Henry Pierce Bt and daughter of Henry, 2nd Lord Blayney, by Jane his wife, daughter of Gerald, Viscount Drogheda, by whom he had issue, with four daughters, a son and successor,

HENRY FOX, who espoused firstly, Jane, daughter of Robert Oliver, of Clonodfoy, and had several sons, who all died young.

He married secondly, in 1691, THE HON FRANCES LANE, daughter of Sir George Lane, of Tulsk, County Roscommon (Secretary of State in Ireland, created Viscount Lanesborough), and sister and heiress of James, Viscount Lanesborough, who died in 1724, by whom he had issue,
Henry, died young;
GEORGE, heir to his father;
Denny Henrietta; Jane; Frances; Anne.
Mr Fox was succeeded by his eldest son,

GEORGE FOX (c1697-1773), MP for the City of York, who inherited by will the great estates of Lord Lanesborough, and assumed, by act of parliament, in 1750, in accordance with the testator's injunction, the additional surname and arms of LANE.

He wedded, in 1731, Harriet, daughter and sole heiress of the Rt Hon Robert Benson, Lord Bingley; and was created, on the extinction of his father-in-law's peerage, 1762, BARON BINGLEY (second creation), of Bingley, Yorkshire.

By this lady, with whom he acquired £100,000 (ca £21.6 million today), and £7,000 a year, he had an only son, 

THE HON ROBERT FOX-LANE (1732-68), who wedded, in 1761, the Lady Brigit Henley, eldest daughter of Robert, Earl of Northington, Lord Chancellor of England; but predeceased his father, without issue, in 1768.

His lordship, having survived his only child, devised his great estates in England and Ireland to his nephew,

JAMES FOX-LANE (1756-1821), of Bramham Park, Yorkshire, MP for Horsham, who wedded, in 1789, Mercia Lucy, youngest daughter of George Pitt, 1st Baron Rivers, and had issue,
GEORGE, his heir;
William Pitt;
Thomas Lascelles;
Marcia Bridget.
Mr Fox Lane left his very extensive estates strictly entailed upon his eldest son,  

GEORGE LANE-FOX (1793-1848), of Bramham Park, MP for Beverley, who wedded, in 1814, Georgiana Henrietta, daughter of Edward Percy Buckley, of Minestead Lodge, Hampshire, and had issue,
GEORGE, his heir;
Frederica Elizabeth.
Mr Lane-Fox was succeeded by his only son,

GEORGE LANE-FOX (1816-96), of Bramham Park, High Sheriff of County Leitrim, 1846, who wedded, in 1837, Georgiana Henrietta, daughter of Edward Percy Buckley, by the Lady Georgiana West, his wife, daughter of John, Earl De La Warr, and had issue,
George Sackville Frederick (1838-1918);
James Thomas Richard;
Kathleen Mary; Caroline Alexina.
The younger son,

JAMES THOMAS RICHARD LANE-FOX (1841-1906), was father of

LIEUTENANT-COLONEL THE RT HON GEORGE RICHARD LANE-FOX (1870-1947), who married, in 1903, Agnes, daughter of 2nd Viscount Halifax.

The combination of her wealth, his determination and the compulsory purchase of the family's Irish estates, allowed George to honour a promise he had made to his grandfather, The Squire, to rebuild the House.  The family reoccupied in 1907.

George was wounded in the First World War, serving with the Yorkshire Hussars, a regiment he later commanded.  He had been elected to Parliament in 1906 and held several government posts including Secretary of State for Mines in 1923.

In 1933, he was created BARON BINGLEY (third creation); however, he had four daughters and, on his death, the title again became extinct.

THE FAMILY continues to live at their ancestral home, Bramham Park, Wetherby, West Yorkshire, where their estate comprised 15,000 acres.

The Lane-Foxes had estates in Yorkshire, Dorset, and The Court, near Lanesborough, in Ireland.

Their London residence was at 12 Albemarle Street.


IN 1666, GEORGE LANE (1620-83) was granted lands in counties Dublin, Meath, Kilkenny, Longford, Waterford and Cork.

This George was the son of Richard Lane, of Tulsk, County Roscommon, and was created Viscount Lanesborough in 1676.

He acquired lands in the baronies of Roscommon and Ballintober, County Roscommon, and in County Longford, in 1678 and 1679 respectively.

These grants were further augmented by the purchase of the Duke of Buckingham's Irish estates in 1710.

In 1724, the Lanesborough title became extinct.

The Lanesborough estates in England and Ireland were inherited by the 2nd Viscount's sister, who was married to Henry Fox.

Though the Longford and Roscommon properties were sold to Luke White in 1819, the Lane-Fox family continued to hold substantial property in both counties Leitrim and Waterford.

For the most part they were absentee landlords, their estates being managed by a succession of stewards, including Joshua Kell, who was a member of the Grand Jury for Leitrim, in 1851.

The family sold the bulk of their remaining estates to the Irish Land Commission in the early years of the 20th century.

First published in March, 2013. 

House of Rawdon

The illustrious family of RAWDON deduced its pedigree from Paulinus de Rawdon, to whom William the Conqueror granted considerable estates.

This Paulyn, or Paulinus, commanded a band of archers in the Norman invading army, and derived his surname of Rawdon, from the lands of that denomination, near Leeds, which constituted a portion of the royal grant.

From this successful soldier lineally sprang, 19th in descent, through a line of eminent ancestors,

GEORGE RAWDON (1604-84), who settled in Ireland, and took an active part as a military commander during the rebellion of 1641, in that kingdom; and subsequently, until his decease, in 1684, in the general affairs of Ireland.

Mr Rawdon married, in 1654, Dorothy, daughter of Edward, 2nd Viscount Conway.

They lived at Moira Castle, County Down.

Moira Castle. Photo Credit: Royal Irish Academy © RIA

He was the only son and heir of Francis Rawdon, of Rawdon Hill, near Leeds in Yorkshire.

Rawdon went to Court about the end of the reign of JAMES I and became private secretary to Lord Conway, Secretary of State.

After Lord Conway's death, Rawdon was attached to his son, the 2nd Viscount Conway, who had large estates in County Down. 

George Rawdon became his secretary (or agent) and frequently visited the Lisburn area.

He commanded a company of soldiers, and sat in the Irish Parliament of 1639 as MP for Belfast.

When the Irish Rebellion broke out on 23rd October, 1641, Rawdon was in London; but he lost no time in coming to the post of duty.

He travelled at once to Scotland, and crossed to Bangor, reaching Lisburn on the 27th November. 

The account of his visit to Lisburn at this critical time is fully recorded in a most interesting and vivid contemporary note in the old Vestry Book of Lisburn Cathedral.

The towns of Moira and Ballynahinch were founded by Rawdon.

He married, in 1639, Ursula, daughter of Sir Francis Stafford, and widow of Francis Hill, of Hillhall, by whom he had no surviving issue.

After her death he espoused, in 1654, Dorothy, eldest daughter of Edward, Viscount Conway.

She died in 1676.

There was an only son of this marriage, Sir Arthur Rawdon, who was buried beside his father in the vault.

Mr Rawdon was created a baronet, 1655, denominated, of Moira, County Down.

He died in 1684 and was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,  

SIR ARTHUR RAWDON, 2nd Baronet (1662-95), MP for County Down, 1692-5, a distinguished soldier, like his father, and a leader of the "Loyalists of Ulster", who fought against the army of JAMES II.

Sir Arthur was in Londonderry during the siege, but as he was dangerously ill he had to leave the town by the advice of his doctor.

His only son, 

SIR JOHN RAWDON, 3rd Baronet (1690-1724), MP for County Down, 1717-24, married Dorothy, daughter of Sir Richard Levinge Bt, Speaker of the Irish House of Commons (she, after his death, married the Most Rev Charles Cobbe, Lord Archbishop of Dublin), and had issue, an only child,

SIR JOHN RAWDON, 4th Baronet (1720-93), who was elevated to the peerage, in 1750, in the dignity of Baron Rawdon, of Moira, County Down.

His lordship was advanced to an earldom, in 1762, as EARL OF MOIRA.

He married thrice: firstly, to the Lady Helena, daughter of the Earl of Egmont; secondly, to Anna Hill, daughter of the Viscount Hillsborough; and thirdly, to the Lady Elizabeth, daughter of the Earl of Huntingdon.

His eldest son,  

FRANCIS EDWARD, 2nd Earl (1754-1826), KG PC, was advanced to a marquessate, as MARQUESS OF HASTINGS.

His lordship was a distinguished soldier and scholar, Governor-General of India, Fellow of the Royal Society, and fought in the American war.

He was present at the Battle of Bunker Hill.

All of these subsidiary titles, including the baronetcy, became extinct in 1868,  following the death of the 4th Marquess and 8th Baronet.
     First published in January, 2012.  Hastings arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

    Sunday, 26 May 2019

    Lake House, Ballydugan

    The Lake House in 2014

    THE TOWNLAND of Ballydugan lies a few miles south-west of Downpatrick, County Down.

    In olden times the county was occasionally referred to as Downshire, and the Hills, Marquesses of Downshire, take their title from this county.

    The nearest railway station was at Downpatrick, though the line closed down in 1950.

    Downpatrick Racecourse had a halt which operated on race days only.

    Ballydugan flour mill, now restored as a guesthouse, was built in 1792.

    Ballydugan Lake, which stands nearby, was used as a water source for the mill.

    Ballydugan House stands between the Lake and the race-course to the east.

    Directly beside the lake is the Lakeside Inn.

    Ballydugan Cottage was associated with the adjacent mill and seems to have been built ca 1830.

    This is a 1½ storey house with dormers comprising three bays, overlooking Ballydugan Lake, on Drumcullan Road.

    The cottage has a modest garden at the front, bounded to the road by a rendered boundary wall.

    A sloped garden rises via stone steps to wooded ground at the north.

    There is a larger garden at the opposite, lake side of the road, a well-maintained, sweeping lawn, bounded by Ballydugan Lake to the west.

    It truly is a most picturesque landscape, with a fine prospect of the lake and the Mourne Mountains to the west.

    Isaac Hardy rented the single-storey cottage and the associated mill from William Wallace, Robert Denvir and Sarah Rentoul, though we do not know whether Mr Hardy resided at the cottage.

    By the mid-19th century, Ballydugan Cottage lay vacant whilst the flour mill, less than 70 years after its construction, had been abandoned.

    In 1871, the cottage was leased by William Wallace & Partners.

    Major Charles C Johnston resided at the cottage, then known as ‘Lake Cottage’ during the 1870s.

    Major Johnston continued to reside at Lake Cottage until 1889, when the Rev Canon Lewis Arthur Pooler acquired it.

    The cottage was subsequently considerably remodelled ca 1890 with the addition of Victorian features, including its dormer windows.

    Dr Pooler was a canon of Down Cathedral and also Deputy Master of the County Down Grand Orange Lodge.

    He continued to reside at Lake Cottage until the end of the 19th century.

    In 1901 Lake Cottage was occupied by a solicitor called George T Harley, who changed its name to Ballydugan Cottage.

    Mr Harley was a native of the city of Cork and resided at Ballydugan with his wife, Clara, and their daughter, May.

    The 1901 census records that there were a number of staff employed to administer the household including a nurse and two domestic servants.

    Ballydugan Cottage comprised 14 rooms at this time.

    The Harleys continued to reside at the cottage until 1909, when the property briefly came into the possession of Mr C M Russell, also a solicitor.

    Mr Russell resided at Ballydugan Cottage with his wife Ann until 1912, when it was bought outright from Colonel the Rt Hon Robert Hugh Wallace CB CBE (1860-1929), of Myra Castle, by one James Kelly.

    Mr Kelly occupied the cottage during the 1930s; however, he had vacated it by the 1950s, when, about 1956, his relative, Kathleen Kelly, came into possession.

    I visited the Lake House recently and it appears to be undergoing a complete restoration.

    The garden in front of the house (beside the lake) has been landscaped and lawn sweeps down to the water.

    I intend to revisit Ballydugan during the summer, have a small shandy in the Lakeside Inn, and photograph the Lake House and its garden beside the lake.

    First published in May, 2017.