Friday, 31 May 2019

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.

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.

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. 

Friday, 24 May 2019

Stradbally Hall

10,110 ACRES

In the time of QUEEN MARY, this family, originally of the counties of Leicestershire and Lincolnshire, settled in Ireland.

ROBERT COSSBYE, of Harmston, in Lincolnshire, living in 1516, married Isabel, daughter and heiress of Ralph Pare, of Great Leake, Nottinghamshire, and had a son and heir,

JOHN COSBIE, who wedded Mabel, daughter of _____ Agard, of Foston, Nottinghamshire, and had two sons, viz. RICHARD, of Great Leake, and

FRANCIS COSBIE (1510-80), the patriarch of the family in Ireland, a man famed for personal courage, as well as civil and military talents.

When young he served in the wars of HENRY VIII in the Low Countries, and was not undistinguished.

His abandonment of his native soil arose from the downfall of the Lord Protector, Sir Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset, whose daughter Mary, widow of Sir Henry Peyton, Knight, he had married.

Deeming the disgrace and death of that once potent nobleman a sentence of exclusion from place and preferment in England, against his immediate connections at least, Cosbie (Mary Seymour, his first wife, being then dead), removed to Ireland, taking with him his second wife, Elizabeth Palmer, and the two surviving sons of the first.

Here, in the land of his adoption, he soon found the opportunity of establishing a reputation, which he despaired of effecting in the land of his birth.

He became an active defender of The Pale, and his vigilance, zeal, and success attracting the observation of government, he was appointed, by QUEEN MARY, 1558, General of the Kern, a post of great trust and importance in those times.

In 1559 he represented the borough of Thomastown in parliament, when he was constituted, by ELIZABETH I, Sheriff of Kildare.

Cosbie was granted, in 1562, the site of the suppressed abbey St Francis at Stradbally.

He married firstly, the Lady Mary Seymour, daughter of Sir Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset, and had issue,
ALEXANDER, his heir;
General Cosby wedded secondly, in 1575, Elizabeth Palmer, and had issue, an only daughter, Catherine.

He fell at the battle of Glendalough, 1580, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

ALEXANDER COSBY, of Stradbally Abbey, who also obtained very extensive grants of land in the Queen's County.

He wedded Dorcas, daughter of William Sydney, of Otford, Kent, maid of honour to ELIZABETH I, and had issue,
FRANCIS, father of WILLIAM; fell at the battle of Stradbally Bridge;
RICHARD, succeeded to his nephew;
Mabel; Rose.
Alexander Cosby, slain at the battle of Stradbally Bridge with the O'Mores, 1596, was succeeded, although for a few minutes only, by his eldest son,

FRANCIS COSBY, of Stradbally Hall, who being slain as stated above, never enjoyed the inheritance, but was succeeded by his infant child,

WILLIAM COSBY, of Stradbally Hall, born in 1596, who died in June that year, when the estates reverted to his uncle,

RICHARD COSBY, of Stradbally Hall, Captain of the Kern, who gained the battle of Dunamace over the O'Mores, 1606, who espoused Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Robert Pigott, Knight, of Dysart, and had issue,
ALEXANDER, his heir;
FRANCIS, who succeeded his nephew at Stradbally;
Richard Cosby died in 1631, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

ALEXANDER COSBY (1610-36), of Stradbally Hall, who married Anne, daughter of Sir Francis Slingsby, Knight, of Kilmore, County Cork, and was succeeded by his son,

FRANCIS COSBY, of Stradbally Hall, who dsp before 1638, when he was succeeded by his uncle,

FRANCIS COSBY (1612-), of Stradbally Hall, MP for Carysfort, who wedded Ann, daughter of Sir Thomas Loftus, Knight, of Killyan, and had issue,
ALEXANDER, his heir;
Thomas, of Vicarstown; father of
The eldest son,

ALEXANDER COSBY, of Stradbally Hall, espoused Elizabeth, daughter of Henry L'Estrange, of Moystown, King's County, and had issue,
DUDLEY, his heir;
Alexander, father of PHILLIPS;
Anne; Elizabeth; Jane; Dorcas; Isabella; Celia; Dorothy.
Alexander Cosby died in 1694, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

DUDLEY ALEXANDER SYDNEY COSBY (1662-1729), of Stradbally Hall, Lieutenant-Colonel, MP for Queen's County, 1703-29, who married firstly, Ann, daughter and heir of Sir Andrew Owen, Knight, which lady dsp 1698; and secondly, Sarah, daughter of Periam Pole, of Ballyfin, by whom he had,
POLE, his heir;
Colonel Cosbie was succeeded by his son,

POLE COSBY, of Stradbally Hall, who wedded Mary, daughter and co-heir of Henry Dodwell, of Manor Dodwell, County Roscommon, and by her, left at his decease, in 1766 (with a daughter, Sarah, who married firstly, the Rt Hon Arthur Upton, of Castle Upton; and secondly, Robert, Earl of Farnham), a son and successor,

DUDLEY ALEXANDER SYDNEY COSBY (c1730-74), MP for Carrick, 1763-8, 1ST BARON SYDNEY, of Leix, so created in 1768.

His lordship, Minister Resident to Denmark, wedded, in 1773, the Lady Isabella St Lawrence, daughter of Thomas, 1st Earl of Howth, but died in the ensuing month, January, 1774, without issue.

His peerage became extinct, while the inheritance reverted to his lordship's cousin,

PHILLIPS COSBY, of Stradbally Hall, Admiral of the White, who espoused, in 1792, Eliza, daughter of William Gunthorpe, and sister of William Gunthorpe, of Southampton, but having no issue, was succeeded at his decease by his kinsman,

THOMAS COSBY (1742-98), of Vicarstown, and afterwards of Stradbally, who wedded firstly, Frances Booker, and by her had two sons, both of whom died young.

He married secondly, Grace, daughter and co-heir of George Johnstone, of Glaslough, County Monaghan, and had issue,
Dudley, accidentally drowned, 1789, sp;
Francis, drowned at cork, 1791, sp;
THOMAS, his heir.
Mr Cosby was succeeded by his only surviving son,

THOMAS COSBY, of Stradbally Hall, Governor of Queen's County, High Sheriff, 1809, who wedded, in 1802, Charlotte Elizabeth, daughter of the Rt Hon Thomas Kelly, Lord Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas in Ireland, and had issue,
William (Rev);
Sydney, father of
Wellesley Pole;
Frances Elizabeth; Harriet Georgiana.
Mr Cosby, High Sheriff of Queen's County, died in 1832, and was succeeded by his son,

THOMAS PHILLIPS COSBY JP DL (1803-51), of Stradbally Hall, High Sheriff of Queen's County, 1834, Captain, Royal Regiment of Horse Guards, and dsp 1851, when the property devolved upon his nephew,

ROBERT ASHWORTH GODOLPHIN COSBY JP (1837-1920), of Stradbally Hall, Vice Lord-Lieutenant of the Queen's County, High Sheriff of Queen's County, 1863, Colonel, 3rd Leinster Regiment, who wedded firstly, in 1859, Alice Sophia Elizabeth, only daughter of Sir George Edward Pocock Bt, of The Priory, Christchurch, Hampshire, and had issue,
Sydney George Coventry;
Edith Augusta Emily; Mary Powlet; Aline Islay; Lilian Alice; Violet Grace.
Colonel Cosby married secondly, in 1885, Eliza, daughter of the Rev Capel Molyneux, Vicar of St Paul's, Onslow Square, and widow of Sir Charles Goring, 9th Baronet, of Highden, Sussex.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

DUDLEY SYDNEY ASHWORTH COSBY DL (1862-1923), of Stradbally Hall, Captain, 3rd Battalion, Scottish Rifles, who wedded, in 1895, Emily Mabel, daughter of Lieutenant-General James Gubbins, and had issue,
Eric James Dudley;
Ivan Robert Sydney;
Irene Mabel Alys; Dulcie Iris Voilet.
Captain Cosby was succeeded by his eldest son,

ERROLD ASHWORTH SYDNEY COSBY (1898-1984), of Stradbally Hall, Major, The Rifle Brigade, who wedded, in 1934, Enid Elizabeth, daughter of Major Maurice William Chetwode Hamilton, and had issue,
David Ashworth Sydney Phillips, b 1947;
Julian Charles Seymour Francis, b 1947;
Anthea Moira Enid, b 1940.
Major Cosby was succeeded by his eldest son,

ADRIAN PATRICK SYDNEY ALEXANDER COSBY (1937-), of Stradbally Hall, Irish Guards, who married, in 1972, Alison Margaret, daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Wylie, and has issue,
Mary Siobhan Elizabeth, b 1973.
Entrance Front

STRADBALLY HALL, County Laois, is a nine-bay, two-storey Georgian house, built in 1772.

The present mansion's predecessor was erected by Lieutenant-Colonel Dudley Cosby in 1699, likely incorporating an earlier dwelling.

About 1868, Ralph Ashworth Godolphin Cosby engaged Sir Charles Lanyon to enlarge and re-model the house in the Italianate style.

Garden Front

A new entrance front was added with a large, single-storey, balustraded portico.

Stradbally estate is now renowned for its Electric Picnic music festival held in the grounds.

First published in December, 2016.

Thursday, 23 May 2019

Kilkenny Castle


The antiquity of this family is indisputable; but whence it immediately derives its origin is not so clearly established.

The surname, however, admits of no doubt as springing from the office of CHIEF BUTLER OF IRELAND, conferred by HENRY II upon

THEOBALD FITZWALTER, in 1177, who had accompanied him into that kingdom in 1171.

This Theobald was eldest son of Hervey Walter (one of the companions of WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR), by Matilda de Valoignes, and brother of Hubert, Archbishop of Canterbury in 1193 (translated from the see of Salisbury while a prisoner in the Holy Land), and subsequently Chancellor, Chief Justice, and Treasurer of England.

Theobald Walter having returned into England, afterwards accompanied PRINCE JOHN into Ireland, in 1185.

He was possessed of the baronies of Upper Ormond, Lower Ormond, and numerous other territories; and dying in 1206, was succeeded by his only son, by his wife, Maud, daughter and heir of Robert de Vavasour,

THEOBALD, 2nd Butler, who first assumed the surname of Le Botiler or Butler in 1221.

He married Joan, eldest sister and co-heir of John de Marisco, a considerable baron in Ireland, to whose estates in Ireland and England his posterity succeeded; and dying about 1230 was succeeded by his eldest son,

THEOBALD, 3rd Butler, who wedded Margery, eldest daughter of Richard de Burgh (ancestor of the Earls of Clanricarde), by whom he acquired a considerable accession of landed property.

He died in 1248, and was succeeded by his son,

THEOBALD, 4th Butler (1242-85), who sat as a Baron in the Parliament of Ireland, and assisted EDWARD I in his wars in Scotland.

He espoused Joan, youngest daughter of John FitzGeoffrey, Lord of Kirtling and Sheriff of Yorkshire, Lord Justice of Ireland, and youngest son of the famous Geoffrey FitzPeter, Earl of Essex, by whom he had a numerous family.

This Theobald, who obtained a grant from EDWARD I of the prisage of wines in Ireland, died in 1285, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

THEOBALD, 5th Butler (1269-99), who sat in parliament as a Baron, his name appearing fifth upon the roll.

He died unmarried, and was succeeded in his barony and estates by his brother,

SIR EDMOND, 6th Butler (c1270-1321); who received the honour of knighthood in London, 1309.

In 1312 he was appointed Lord Deputy of Ireland; in 1314, Chief Governor, under the title of Lord Justice; and, in 1315, created EARL OF CARRICK.

His lordship wedded, in 1302, Joan, daughter of John, 1st Earl of Kildare, by whom, with two daughters, he had three sons,
JAMES, his successor;
John, from whom the Earls of Carrick derive;
Lord Carrick, going on a pilgrimage to Spain, to the shrine of Santiago de Compostela, died in 1321 after his return to London, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES, 2nd Earl and 7th Butler (c1305-38), who was a minor at the decease of his father, but obtained licence four years later, for the sum of 2,000 marks, to marry whomsoever he pleased.

He accordingly wedded Eleanor, second daughter of Humphrey, 4th Earl of Hereford, High Constable of England, by the Lady Elizabeth, daughter of EDWARD I; and was created, in consequence of this alliance, by EDWARD III, in 1328, EARL OF ORMOND.

His lordship had a renewed grant of the prisage of wines (which had been resumed by the Crown), and a grant of the regalities, liberties, etc, of County Tipperary, with the rights of a palatine in that county for life.

He was succeeded by his elder son,

JAMES, 2nd Earl (1331-82), called The Noble Earl on account of being great-grandson of EDWARD I.

In 1359 and 1360, his lordship was appointed Lord Justice of Ireland; and was succeeded by his son (by Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Darcy (Lord Justice of Ireland),

JAMES, 3rd Earl (c1359-1405); who by building and making Gowran Castle his usual residence, was commonly called Earl of Gowran.

His lordship purchased, in 1391, Kilkenny Castle from the heirs of Sir Hugh le Despencer, which he made his chief place of abode.

In 1392, 1401, and 1404, his lordship was Lord Justice of Ireland.

He wedded firstly, Anne, daugher of John, 4th Baron Welles, and had issue,
JAMES, his successor;
Richard (Sir), of Polestown;
Philip (Sir);
Ralph (Sir);
His lordship espoused secondly, in 1399, Katherine FitzGerald, of Desmond, by whom he four children.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES, 4th Earl (1392-1452), who was called The White Earl, and was esteemed for his learning.

His lordship prevailed upon HENRY V to create a king-of-arms in Ireland by the title Ireland King-of-Arms (a designation altered by HENRY VIII to Ulster King-of-Arms, and he gave lands forever to the heralds' college.

He was Lord Justice of Ireland in 1407, and again in 1440, in which latter year he had a grant of the temporalities of the see of Cashel for ten years after the decease of the Archbishop, Richard O'Hedian.

His lordship married firstly, in 1413, Joan, daughter of William de Beauchamp, 1st Baron Bergavenny, by whom he had three sons, successive earls, and two daughters; and secondly, in 1432, Elizabeth, daughter of Gerald, 5th Earl of Kildare, by whom he had no issue.

His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES, 5th Earl, KG (1420-61); who was created, by HENRY VI, in 1449, for his fidelity to the Lancastrian interest, EARL OF WILTSHIRE.

In 1451, was was made Lord Deputy of Ireland; and the next year, succeeding his father in the title of ORMOND, was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland for ten years.

In 1455, he was constituted LORD HIGH TREASURER OF ENGLAND, and afterwards installed a Knight of the Garter.

Falling into the hands of the Yorkists, after the battle of Towton, his lordship was beheaded, in 1461, when the earldom of Wiltshire expired, as would that of Ormond, the Earl's brother and heir being also at the battle of Towton, and in consequence attainted, had not EDWARD IV restored him in blood, and so enabled him to succeed as

JOHN, 6th Earl, who was considered one of the first gentlemen of the age in which he lived; and EDWARD IV is reported to have said that "if good breeding and liberal qualities were lost in the world, they might all be found in the Earl of Ormond."

He was complete master of the languages of Europe, and was sent ambassador to its principal courts.

His lordship died in 1476, in the Holy Land, having, in a fit of devotion, made a visit to Jerusalem, and was succeeded by his brother,

THOMAS, 7th Earl (1426-1515); who was also attainted, but restored by HENRY VII's first parliament in 1485, and the statutes made at Westminster, in the reign of EDWARD IV, which declared him and his brothers traitors, were utterly abrogated.

He was afterwards sworn of the Privy Council, and was summoned to parliament as Lord Rochford.

Lord Ormond left two daughters, who inherited the English estates, namely,
At the demise of his lordship, in 1515, the peerage passed to his kinsman,

SIR PIERS BUTLER (1467-1539), as 8th Earl (great-grandson of 3rd Earl); but this nobleman was obliged to relinquish it to Sir Thomas Boleyn, Viscount Rochford.

In consideration of which abandonment, however, Sir Piers was created by HENRY VIII, in 1528, EARL OF OSSORY.

Soon after this, he returned to Ireland, where he was chosen Lord Deputy by the Council, and proceeding through the city of Dublin on horseback to St Mary's Abbey, was there sworn into office.

Thomas Boleyn, Earl of Ormond, dying without issue, 1539, the King restored the Earl of Ossory to his original title of Ormond.

He wedded Margaret, second daughter of Gerald, 8th Earl of Kildare (which lady was called the Good Countess of Ormond), and had, with other issue,
JAMES, his successor;
Richard, 1st Viscount Mountgarret;
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES, 2nd Earl of Ossory (1496-1546), who had been created, in 1535, Viscount Thurles; and was subsequently restored, 1541, to the earldom of Ormond, as 9th Earl.

He wedded Joan, daughter and heir of James, 10th Earl of Desmond, and had seven sons, namely,
THOMAS, his successor;
Edmund (Sir);
His lordship died by poison administered at a supper at Ely Palace, Holborn, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

THOMAS, 10th Earl, KG (c1531-1614), called, from the darkness of his complexion, The Black Earl.

This nobleman was the first of his family who conformed to the Church of England.

His lordship died without surviving male issue, and was succeeded by his kinsman,

WALTER, 11th Earl, son of John, third son of the 9th Earl; who died in 1632, and was succeeded by his grandson,

JAMES, 12th Earl, KG (1610-88), six times Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.

His lordship was created, in 1642, MARQUESS OF ORMONDE, and Baron Butler, of Llanthony, and Earl of Brecknock, 1660.

This nobleman, for his fidelity to the house of STUART, and his eminent services in the royal cause, was elevated at the restoration of the monarchy, 1661, to the DUKEDOM OF ORMONDE.

His Grace was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in 1662, and continued in that high office until 1668.

He married his cousin, Elizabeth Preston, in her own right Baroness Dingwall, and had surviving issue,
THOMAS (1634-80), father of JAMES, 2nd Duke;
Richard, 1st EARL OF ARRAN;
Elizabeth; Mary.
His Grace was succeeded by his grandson,

JAMES, 2nd Duke, KG (1665-1745), who inherited the Scottish barony of DINGWALL from his grandmother.

This nobleman was appointed a Lord of the Bedchamber in 1685; and serving in the army, participated in the victory over the unfortunate Duke of Monmouth, at Sedgemore.

His Grace was afterwards, however, one of the first to join the standard of the Prince of Orange; and when that prince ascended the throne, His Grace obtained the Garter, and was constituted HIGH CONSTABLE OF ENGLAND for the coronation.

He attended WILLIAM III into Ireland, was at the Boyne, and subsequently entertained His Majesty most sumptuously at Kilkenny Castle.

In 1693, he was at the battle of Landen, where he received several wounds, and had a horse shot under him.

In 1702, His Grace was constituted, by QUEEN ANNE, COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF of the land forces sent against France and Spain, when he destroyed the French fleet, sunk the Spanish galleons in Vigo harbour, and took Redondela Fort, for which important services he received the thanks of both houses of parliament.

In 1711, he was declared CAPTAIN-GENERAL and COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF of the land forces in Great Britain, or which were, or should be, employed abroad in conjunction with the troops of the allies; which post he held till the treaty of Utrecht, in 1713; in which year he was made Warden of the Cinque Ports and Constable of Dover Castle.

But two years later (GEORGE I in the interim having succeeded to the throne), His Grace was impeached for high treason, and having retired into France, was attainted, when his estates became forfeited, his English honours extinguished, and Parliament passed an act which annulled the regalities and liberties of the County Palatine of Tipperary, vested his lands in the Crown, and proclaimed a reward of £10,000 for his apprehension, should he attempt to land in Ireland.

But the same parliament also passed an act, in 1721, to enable the Duke's brother, the Earl of Arran, to purchase the estate, which his lordship did accordingly.

This great but unfortunate nobleman married firstly, Anne, daughter of Viscount Hyde of Kenilworth, and had one daughter; and secondly, in 1685, Mary, eldest surviving daughter of Henry, 1st Duke of Beaufort, and left one surviving child, MARY.

His Grace resided in his exile chiefly at Avignon.

He had a pension from the Spanish court of 2,000 pistoles, and died in 1745, when his remains were brought into England, 1746, and deposited in the family vault, in HENRY VIII's chapel, Westminster Abbey.

At this period, it was supposed that the Duke's honours were all forfeited under the act of attainder passed by Parliament; but it was subsequently decided that no proceeding of the English legislature could affect Irish dignities.

According to that decision, His Grace's brother,

CHARLES (1671-1758), who, in 1683, had been created Baron Butler, and in 1693, Baron Cloughgrenan, Viscount Tullogh, and Earl of Arran, assumed the style of 14th Earl of Ormond and 3rd Duke and Marquess; but his lordship never enjoyed, assumed, or was aware of possessing the English and Irish Dukedom or Marquessate.

He wedded Elizabeth, fourth and youngest daughter of Thomas, 2nd Baron Crew, but had no issue.

He died in 1758, when his own honours expired, with the marquessate and dukedom of ORMONDE.

The Scottish barony of Dingwall passed from the Butler family to the heir of the Prestons, and the Irish earldom of Ormonde and Viscountcy of Thurles, supposed to have fallen under the English attainder, became dormant, in which state those honours remained, until restored, in 1791, by the decision of the Irish House of Lords, to

JOHN BUTLER (c1744-66), of Garryricken, great-grandson of Richard Butler, of Kilcash, younger brother of the 12th Earl, who espoused, in 1763, Bridget Stacy, but had no issue, when the family honours reverted to his cousin,

WALTER (1703-83), who did not assume the titles.

He married, in 1732, Ellen (Eleanor), eldest daughter of Nicholas Morris, of The Court, County Dublin, and had issue,
JOHN, his successor;
Frances; Susanna; Eleanor.
He was succeeded by his only son,

JOHN, 17th Earl (1740-95), by decision of the House of Lords, 1791, who wedded, in 1769, the Lady Anne Wandesford, daughter and sole heir of John, last Earl of Wandesford, and had issue,
WALTER, his successor;
Charles Harward;
Elizabeth; Eleanor.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

WALTER, 18th Earl, KP (1770-1820); created MARQUESS OF ORMONDE, who wedded, in 1805, Anna Maria Catherine, daughter and sole heir of Joseph Hart Pryce Clarke, but had no issue.

His lordship died in 1820, when the marquessate and English barony expired, and the other honours reverted to his brother,

JAMES,19th Earl, KP (1777-1838); who was created, at the coronation of GEORGE IV, 1821, a peer of the United Kingdom, as Baron Ormonde; and, in 1825, advanced to the dignity of MARQUESS OF ORMONDE.

His lordship was appointed a Knight of St Patrick, 1821.

He wedded, in 1807, Grace Louisa, daughter of the Rt Hon John Staples, and had issue,
JOHN, his successor;
Walter Wandesford;
James Wandesford;
Richard Molesworth;
Charles Wandesford;
Anne; Louisa Grace; Elizabeth; Mary Charlotte.
His lordship, Hereditary Chief Butler of Ireland, Knight of St Patrick, Lord-Lieutenant of County Kilkenny, Colonel of the Kilkenny Militia, was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN, 2nd Marquess, KP (1808-54), who espoused, in 1843, Frances Jane, daughter of General the Hon Sir Edward Paget GCB, and was succeeded by his son,

JAMES EDWARD WILLIAM THEOBALD, 3rd Marquess, KP (1844-1919), Commodore, Royal Yacht Squadron, who wedded, in 1876, the Lady Elizabeth Harriett Grosvenor, daughter of the 1st Duke of Westminster, though had no issue, and the honours reverted to his brother,

JAMES ARTHUR WELLINGTON FOLEY, 4th Marquess (1849-1943), who married, in 1887, Ellen, daughter of General Anson Stager, USA, and was succeeded by his son,

JAMES GEORGE ANSON, 5th Marquess (1890-1949), Major, the Life Guards, who espoused, in 1915, Sybil Inna Mildred, daughter of the 2nd Baron de Ramsey, though had no issue, and was succeeded by his brother,

(JAMES) ARTHUR NORMAN, 6th Marquess, CVO MC (1893-1971), who married, in 1924, Jessie, daughter of Charles Carlos Clarke, though died without issue, when the titles reverted to his cousin,

JAMES HUBERT THEOBALD CHARLES, 7th Marquess, MBE (1899-1977), also Earl of Ormond, Earl of Ossory, Viscount Thurles, and Baron Ormonde.

His lordship wedded, in 1935, Nan, daughter of Garth Griffith Gilpin, and had two daughters,
He married secondly, in 1976, Elizabeth, daughter of Charles R Rarden, though had no issue.

Without a male heir the marquessate expired in 1997, and the earldom is dormant.

The 18th Viscount Mountgarret, who succeeded his father in 2004, is understood to be the likely heir of the 7th Marquess's related title, Earl of Ormond, but has not successfully proven the claim.

KILKENNY CASTLE, County Kilkenny, is an impressive large-scale castle, representing an artefact of great significance in the architectural heritage of the county, having long-standing historic associations with the noble and illustrious house of Butler, Dukes, Marquesses and Earls of Ormonde.

Having origins in a late 12th century earthwork castle, the site has been continuously occupied ever since, with the present Kilkenny Castle surviving from a comprehensive early to mid-19th century redevelopment programme, completed to plans devised by William Robertson (1770-1850), retaining an important element dating from the early 18th century.

An elegantly composed Classical frontispiece built for James Butler (1665-1745), 2nd Duke, possibly to designs prepared by William Robinson (d 1712) or Francis Place (1647-1728), exhibiting high quality stone masonry, is positioned almost on line with a similar breakfront in the associated stable complex, thereby enhancing the formal quality of the streetscape of The Parade.

Of particular renown is the great hall accommodated in a later range, built to the designs of Sir Thomas Newenham Deane (1827-99) and Benjamin Woodward (1816-61).

This is an exposed timber roof construction identifying the technical or engineering importance of the site, featuring a decorative scheme of artistic significance by John Hungerford Pollen (1820-1902).

A chimney-piece carved by Charles William Harrison (c.1835-1903) (also responsible for carved embellishments in the arcaded stair-hall) exhibits particularly fine craftsmanship.

The Library

Several monarchs have stayed at Kilkenny Castle during the course of its history, including RICHARD II, JAMES II, WILLIAM III, EDWARD VII, and GEORGE V.

The Long Gallery

In 1935 the Ormondes ceased to live in the castle, which stood empty and neglected for the next thirty years.

EDWARD VII leaving the Castle

In 1967, however, the 6th Marquess presented it to the local committee and it has been largely restored as a state possession.

Having been carefully restored over the course of the late 20th century by the Irish state, the castle remains a valuable anchor site contributing significantly to the character of the townscape.

First published in September, 2012.