Thursday, 26 September 2019

1st Baron Headley


The line of Wynns is descended from a cadet of Gwydir, who, in consequence of some family misunderstanding, left Wales in the 16th century, and settled in London.

Sir William Segar (Garter King of Arms in the reigns of ELIZABETH I and JAMES I) acknowledged this to be the true descent, by exemplifying to George Wynne, the ancestor of Lord Headley's family, the armorial ensigns of the Wynnes of Gwydir.

GEORGE WYNN (to whom, being draper to ELIZABETH I, a patent of arms was granted in 1604) is the first member of the English branch of whom we find any particular mention.

This George Wynn was born about 1560, and died in 1610.

He married Margaret Green, of London, and had issue,

EDMUND WINN (1583-c1645), of Thornton Curtis, in Lincolnshire, who wedded Mary, daughter of Rowland Berkeley, of the city of Worcester, and sister of Sir Robert Berkeley, Knight, one of the judges of the Court of King's Bench, and had issue,
GEORGE, his heir;
Katherine; Margaret; Mary; Joyce; Annie.
The eldest son,

GEORGE WINN (c1607-67), High Sheriff of Lincolnshire, 1657, proved himself to be a steady friend to the monarchy and to his country during the civil contests which cast a cloud over the last days of the unfortunate CHARLES I, for there is extent in his family a receipt of the date of the very year in which His Majesty suffered, signed by a deputed person on behalf of the exiled prince, his son, from which it appears that George Winn contributed, with his brother Rowland, the sum of 2,000 guilders (a sum, perhaps, in those days not inconsiderable, and certainly not advanced without serious personal risk) towards the support of what might have been considered a hopeless cause.

In the December following the Restoration, the title of Baronet was conferred by CHARLES II on his faithful subject, as SIR GEORGE WINN, of Nostell, Yorkshire.

Sir George was married thrice: firstly, to Rachel, daughter of John Turner, by whom he had no issue; secondly, to Elizabeth, daughter of Robert Jeffreys, alderman of London, by whom he had,
EDMUND, his successor;
GEORGE, born in 1645, whose grandson was created 1st BARON HEADLEY;
Sir George espoused thirdly, Anne, daughter of Sir William Pelham, Knight, but by her he had no issue.

At his decease, in 1667, his eldest son, EDMUND, succeeded to the baronetcy, which, in 1805, devolved upon his great-grandson, Sir Edmund Mark Winn, of Acton, Yorkshire, the 7th Baronet, at whose decease, in 1833, it fell to his cousin, the second Baron Headley, Sir George, the 1st Baronet's second son,

GEORGE WINN, of South Ferriby, in Lincolnshire, who married Sarah, daughter of Charles Pelham (ancestor of the Earl of Yarborough), and had issue,

PELHAM WINN, who wedded Elizabeth, daughter of the Rev Gilbert Wighton, by Elizabeth Allanson and Charles Allanson, of Syon, Middlesex, by whom he had an only son,

GEORGE ALLANSON-WINN (1725-98), of whom it is the pride of his family to speak as an instance of rare success and celebrity under no common difficulties.

He succeeded in 1763 to the estates of his cousin, Mark Winn, of Little Warley, Essex, and in 1775 to those of his cousin, Charles Allanson, of Brabham Biggin, Yorkshire, who was the only son of the above-named William Allanson, and died leaving no issue.

Mr Winn was created a Baronet in 1776, owing to the eminence and talents of his exertions as a Baron of the Exchequer in Scotland, and in the same year he obtained licence and authority to assume the name and armorial bearing of ALLANSON.

In 1797, Sir George was elevated to the peerage, in the dignity of BARON HEADLEY, Baron Allanson and Winn, of Aghadoe, County Kerry.

His lordship married firstly, in 1765, Anne, fourth daughter of Sir Rowland Winn Bt, of Nostell, Yorkshire (son of Sir Rowland, the son of Sir Edmund, eldest son of Sir George, 1st Baronet), by whom he had issue, an only daughter, Georgiana Anne (1769-82).

His lady died during the childbirth of a son in 1774.

His lordship wedded secondly, in 1783, Jane, eldest daughter and heiress of Arthur Blennerhassett, of Ballyseedy, County Kerry, in which county the Blennerhassetts (a long-settled and well-known family in Cumberland), formed a distinguished house for many generations, by whom he had further issue,
CHARLES, his successor;
George Mark Arthur Way, grandfather of the 5th Baron;
Jane Elizabeth; Maria.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

CHARLES, 2nd Baron (1784-1840), who inherited the old family baronetcy in 1833, and espoused, in 1826, Miss Anne Matthews, and dsp 1840, when the family honours devolved upon his nephew,

CHARLES, 3rd Baron (1810-77), DL, who wedded, in 1841, Maria Margaret, eldest daughter of Major d'Arley, and had issue,
Rowland William (died in infancy, 1842);
CHARLES MARK, his successor;
Laura Jane; Millicent Julia; Marion Sybil.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

CHARLES MARK, 4th Baron (1845-1913), JP DL, Captain, Honourable Artillery Company, who espoused, in 1867, Elizabeth, daughter of the Rev John Blennerhassett, and had issue, an only child and daughter, AVIS MILLICENT BLENNERHASSETT ALLINSON-WINN.

Following the decease of the 4th Baron without male issue, in 1913, the honours reverted to his cousin,

ROWLAND, 5th Baron (1855-1935), also known as Shaikh Rahmatullah al-Farooq.

The titles expired in 1994, following the decease of the 5th Baron's younger son Charles Rowland, 7th and last Baron.

AGHADOE HOUSE, Killarney, County Kerry, was built in 1828, reputedly at a cost of £12,000 (almost £1.3 million in today's money).

Despite this fact, the mansion is largely victorian and Italianate in style.

It is built with red sandstone ashlar and limestone facings, with an irregular two-storey main block, and a three-storey office wing.

The limestone porch has three arches and a balustrade.

The house was burnt in 1922, though later re-built, when the eaves were designed to overhang considerably more than originally.

Aghadoe House has been a youth hostel for many years.


GLENBEIGH TOWERS, Glenbeigh, County Kerry, was built between 1867-71 for the Hon Rowland Winn.

The house, now ruinous, is Victorian-Medieval in character, with particularly solid stonework.

It comprised a vast square keep of three storeys, a gabled attic; a walled entrance court or bawn on one side, approached through a gateway defended by a corner bastion.

Glenbeigh was inhabited by Rowland Winn's son, also called Rowland, who became the 5th Lord Headley.

It was burnt in 1922, and only a corner of the ruin is now standing.

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Bishopscourt House



THOMAS SCOTT, a captain in the army of WILLIAM III, fell in the field, charging the enemy at the head of his troops.

He wedded Margaret, daughter and heir of Henry Ormsby, of Tubbervady, County Roscommon, and was father of

MICHAEL SCOTT, who married Miss Purcell, of the ancient family of Purcell, titular Barons of Loughmoe, and had issue, Thomas, of Mohubber, deceased; and

JOHN SCOTT (1739-98), MP for Mullingar, 1769-83, Portarlington, 1783-4, who, being bred to the bar, arrived at the high legal offices of Solicitor-General, Attorney-General, and Prime Sergeant-at-Law of Ireland, 1774-83.

In 1784, he was appointed Lord Chief Justice of the Court of King's Bench; and in the same year Mr Scott was elevated to the peerage, in the dignity of Baron Earlsfort, of Lisson Earl, County Tipperary.

His lordship was advanced to a viscountcy, in 1789, as Viscount Clonmell; and further advanced to the dignity of an earldom, in 1793, as EARL OF CLONMELL.

He married firstly, in 1768, Catharine Anna Maria, daughter of Thomas Mathew, of Thomastown Castle, County Tipperary, and sister of the 1st Earl of Landaff, by whom he had an only son, who died in infancy.

His lordship wedded secondly, in 1779, Margaret, only daughter and heir of Patrick Lawless, of Dublin (by Mary, sister of 1st Lord Cloncurry), and had issue,
THOMAS, his successor;
Charlotte, m 3rd Earl Beauchamp.
He was succeeded by his only son,

THOMAS, 2nd Earl (1783-1838), who espoused, in 1805, Henrietta Greville, second daughter of George, 2nd Earl of Warwick, and had issue,
JOHN HENRY, his successor;
Charles Grantham;
Harriett; Louisa Augusta; Charlotte Rachael; Caroline Sophia;
Frances Mary; Sophia Louisa; Augusta Anne; Georgiana Gertrude.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN HENRY, 3rd Earl (1817-66), of Lisson Earl, County Tipperary, who married, in 1838, Anne, daughter of Ulysses, 2nd Baron Downes of Aghanville, and had issue,

JOHN HENRY REGINALD, 4th Earl (1839-91), of Birt House, Naas, County Kildare, who died unmarried, when the family honours devolved upon his brother,

THOMAS CHARLES, 5th Earl (1840-96), who married, in 1875, Agnes Arabella, daughter of Robert Godfrey Day.

His lordship died without issue at Bishop's Court, County Kildare, from typhoid fever, and was succeeded by his first cousin,

BEAUCHAMP HENRY JOHN, 6th Earl (1847-98), eldest son of Colonel the Hon Charles Grantham Scott, second son of the 2nd Earl; on whose decease the titles passed to his son,

RUPERT CHARLES, 7th Earl (1877-1928), who died without male issue, when the titles reverted to his uncle,

DUDLEY ALEXANDER CHARLES, 8th Earl (1853-1935), whose marriage was without issue.

On his death, at Tunbridge Wells, Kent, the titles became extinct.

BISHOPSCOURT, Straffan, County Kildare, is a large classical house built ca 1780-90 for the Rt Hon John Ponsonby, Speaker of the Irish House of Commons.

It has a four-bay entrance front with a pedimented portico of four huge Ionic columns.

The outer bays have pedimented ground-floor windows and circular plaques instead of windows in the upper storey.

The side elevation has a recessed centre and three-bay projection at either side, joined by a veranda of slender columns with an iron balcony.

There is a curved bow on either side of the House; and an imperial staircase.

In 1838, Bishopscourt was sold by Frederick Ponsonby to John, 3rd Earl of Clonmell.

In 1914, the house was sold on to Edward Kennedy from Baronrath, at the time the most famous breeder of racehorses in Ireland.
Kennedy’s stallion The Tetrarch, standing at Bishopscourt, is confirmed as the most successful sire in the world in 1919.
In 1938, Bishopscourt passed to Edward’s daughter Patricia (Tiggie) Kennedy and her husband, Dermot McGillycuddy, heir to Senator McGillycuddy of the Reeks, an ancient clan chiefdom from County Kerry.
Edward Kennedy's son, Major D M (John) Kennedy, won a Military Cross at Anzio whilst serving with 1st Battalion Irish Guards and was later killed at Terporten Castle in Germany in February 1945.
Bishopscourt House is now the residence of the Farrell family.

Former seat ~ Eathorpe Hall, Warwickshire.
Former town residence ~ 41 Upper Brook Street, London.

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

Sunday, 22 September 2019

Portballintrae Visit

Seaport Lodge, September, 2019

Earlier in the week I spent several days in the seaside resort of Portballintrae, County Antrim.

This coastal village, near Bushmills, has always been popular, with its delightful sandy bays, Bushfoot Strand, the little harbour, and its general location on the Causeway Coast.

We used to spend weekends here at the Beach Hotel with friends.

Alas, that hotel was demolished many years ago and has been replaced with modern apartments.

The Bayview Hotel, however, remains; not the original building, which was also demolished ages ago.

I spent two agreeable evenings in the lounge bar of the Bayview, contented with my iPad and headphones.

Catch of the Day at the Bayview Hotel

On the first evening I had a bar meal comprising a blue cheese and beetroot salad, followed by the "Catch of the Day": smoked cod, mashed potato, spinach, surrounded by a creamy sauce.

This food was delicious.

Thereafter I removed to a banquette-style seat near the front door and Reception.

I have acquired a pair of state-of-the-art noise-cancelling headphones, Bluetooth (wireless), which cut out virtually all outside noise except whatever you're listening to on the iPad or other device.

Quite remarkable technology.

The next morning I paid a brief visit to Coleraine, one of my favourite towns.

On the way home, I made a small detour to Bushmills Garden Centre, a few miles outside the village itself.

For some inexplicable reason I've developed an interest in gardening, albeit on a modest scale.

I was on the look-out for a plant that likes dry conditions and the garden centre was promoting Sedums.

I'm apprised that this variety thrives in sunshine and doesn't mind dry conditions, so a spot between two thirsty trees in the border ought to satiate it.

I chose a lovely Sedum Spectabile "Brilliant".

When I purchased it there was a bee eating the nectar, adhering to it like a magnet.

It refused to budge (lest it had discovered the irresistible Belmont bouquet), so some gentle persuasion was required, viz. some of the Belmont blowing.


After breakfast one morning I strolled the short distance to Seaport Lodge, once the maritime residence of the Leslies.

Seaport Lodge commands one of the finest prospects in Portballintrae, with its little private harbour.

Unfortunately it has lain derelict for many years, though the owner is finally restoring it as I write.

Seafood Thermidor

The next evening I motored into Portrush, past the celebrated Royal Portrush Golf Club, to the harbour, where I had the Seafood Thermidor at Ramore Wine Bar.

I rather like the Ramore complex, which has several different bars and restaurants.

Just do not expect the conventional type of restaurant where you can reserve a table in advance, order at the table, and await service.

At Ramore wine bar you are shown to a clearly numbered table, peruse the menu, and walk up to the bar counter where they ask for your number, take your order, and you settle the account there and then.

This unconventional system works very well for Ramore and I find it perfectly acceptable.

During my break in Portballintrae the weather was mostly sunny, dry and quite warm, something I took full advantage of.

Perma-tan Belmont.


THE French Rooms is a charming restaurant in the centre of Bushmills, just along the street from the Inn.

Their opening hours vary, and at the time of writing dinner is only served on Friday and Saturday evenings; so I was fortunate to get my favourite (and lucky) Table Eight.

The last time I was seated at Table Eight an unknown American couple paid for my meal (unknown to me, because they had paid for it and departed some time before I'd finished my meal).

For this happy reason Mrs Bolton recognized me instantly and greeted my like an old pal.

Perhaps they ought to re-name Table Eight "Lord Belmont's Table".

For dinner I had the goat's cheese, served in a little, tied paper parcel on a wooden platter, with home-made chutney, lemongrass-infused olive oil, and rustic bread.

The main course consisted of sea-bass, garlic cubed fries, and beetroot gratin.

Needless to say, it was all delicious and superb; beautifully presented, too.

After dinner I repaired to the Bushmills Inn, ordered a beverage, and settled down at a small table with the iPad and headphones.

The next morning it was time to pack up, tidy up, and motor back home to the Belmont GHQ.

Saturday, 21 September 2019

New Vice Lord-Lieutenant


Mr David McCorkell, Lord-Lieutenant of Country Antrim, with approval of Her Majesty The Queen, has been pleased to appoint:-
Mrs Miranda Gay GORDON DL
County Antrim
Vice Lord-Lieutenant for the said County, her Commission bearing date, the 17th day of September, 2019.

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

French Park


The family of FRENCH, originally DE FREIGNE, or De Fraxinis, is of great antiquity, and was established in England by one of the companions in arms of WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR.

In 1254, Will de Fraxinis was sent ambassador from HENRY III to POPE INNOCENT IV.

SIR HERBERT or HUMPHREY DE FREYNE, who accompanied Strongbow in his expedition against Ireland, acquired large possessions in the province of Leinster, and settled in Ballymacoonoge, County Wexford.

He had two sons, Patrick and Nicholas, whose descendants gained early distinction, and ranked amongst the most powerful of the Anglo-Norman barons.

Fulke de Freyne, the descendant of Sir Humphrey, settled his manor of Ballymacoonoge, with remainder to his heirs, with various other remainders, in 1329.

He was succeeded by his eldest son, Sir Patrick, who died without male issue, leaving two daughters; the eldest, Ellen, with whom the moiety of the said manor went out of the family to her husband, Richard de Camelford.

The other estates went by another settlement to his second son, Oliver de Freyne, who was Senescal of Kilkenny, 1336, and was father of

SIR ROBERT FREYNE, who died leaving three sons, the third of whom,

JAMES FFRENCH, was chosen to represent Wexford in the parliament of Westminster, in 1376.

He had a son,

OLIVER FRENCH, father of

PATRICK FRENCH, who was sent as a judge into Connaught.

He wedded Mary, daughter of John D'Athi, a family of great antiquity long settled in that province, and was ancestor of

JOHN FRENCH, of Galway, born in 1489, a man great wealth and unbounded liberality and a great benefactor of the Church.

It is stated in the annals of Galway that he built, at his own expense, the north aisle of St Nicholas' Church, in that town, from the north pinnacle of the chapel of the Holy Sacrament; and also the great chapel on the south side of St Francis's Abbey, with the building which stands on the river-side, which has ever since borne his name, and is called "John French's Chamber".

In this church, the French family, with two others, are alone entitled to the right of burial.

His son and successor,

PETER FRENCH, Mayor of Galway, 1576, married Mary, sister of William Martin, and had five sons.

The sum of £5,000 was expended on his monument, which adorned the church there, until destroyed in CROMWELL's time, by Colonel Stubber, then Governor of the town.

The monument was executed in Italy, and is described in the annals of Galway to have been of "rayre sculpture and guilded with golde".

His son,

FRANCIS FRENCH, of Gortrassy and Sessueman Castle, in County Sligo, wedded Una O'Conor, of the ancient race of O'Conor in Sligo; and dying in 1624, left a son,

STEPHEN FRENCH, to whom Sir Donogh O'Conor of Sligo made a device in his will, and Sir Charles O'Conor of Sligo made a grant of the lands of Rathborney, Ardueglass etc, dated 1622.

This Stephen married Marian Lynch, of the family of Le Petit, barons palatine of Mullingar, and was succeeded by his son,

PATRICK FRENCH, of Dungar, otherwise French Park, County Roscommon, whose great estates in County Sligo were seized by the Earl of Strafford, and partitioned amongst Sir Thomas Radcliffe, Sir Philip Perceval, etc.

They were, however, subsequently restored by order of Parliament, but CROMWELL again dispossessed them.

He wedded a daughter of Martin, of Dangan, in County Galway; and dying at Dungar, was succeeded by his son,

DOMINICK FRENCH, of French Park, and of Boyle, who wedded Anne, daughter of the Rt Rev Dr Edward King, Lord Bishop of Elphin, and had issue,
JOHN, his heir;
Mary, Margaret; Sarah; Anne.
Mr French was buried in Elphin Cathedral, where his monument is still to be seen.

He was succeeded by his son,

JOHN FRENCH (1662-1734), of French Park, called Tierna More, a colonel in the army who commanded a troop in the Enniskillen Dragoons at the battle of Aughrim, and was attainted on account of his Whig principles by the parliament held by JAMES II at Dublin, 1690.

Mr French, MP for Carrick, 1695-9 and 1713-14, County Galway, 1703-13, Tulsk, 1715-27, wedded Anne, daughter of Sir Arthur Gore Bt, of Newtown, ancestor of the Earls of Arran, and had issue,
ARTHUR, his heir;
Mary; Olivia; Catherine; Sarah.
Mr French died in 1734, leaving £1,000 to be expended on his funeral.

His body was laid in state in the park for three days and nights, and the county were feasted round it.

He was succeeded by his son, 

ARTHUR FRENCH (1690-1761), of French Park, MP for Tulsk, 1714, County Roscommon, 1721-7, Boyle, 1727-60, who espoused Jane, daughter of John Percival, of Knightsbrook, County Meath, and had issue,
JOHN, his heir;
ARTHUR, successor to his brother;
Mr French was succeeded by his eldest son, 

JOHN FRENCH (1723-75), of French Park, MP for County Roscommon, 1745-75, until the time of his death in 1775, in which year he was drowned, together with his brother, Robert, on his passage from Dublin to Parkgate.

He was to have been called to the house of peers as Baron Dungar.

Mr French wedded Alicia, daughter of Ralph Crawford, of Snowhill, County Fermanagh; but having no issue, was succeeded by his brother,

ARTHUR FRENCH (1728–99), Colonel, French Park and Castlemaine Volunteers, who refused to accept the peerage promised to his brother.

Colonel French married, in 1763, Alicia, daughter of Richard Magennis, of Dublin, of the house of IVEAGH, and had issue,
ARTHUR, his heir;
John, in holy orders;
Robert Henry;
St George;
Jane; Alicia; Anne; Frances.
He was succeeded by his eldest son,

ARTHUR FRENCH (1765-1820), MP for County Roscommon, 1785-1820, who wedded, ca 1784, Margaret, daughter of Edmund Costello, the representative of the Nangles, Lord McCostello, County Mayo, by Mary his wife, daughter of Francis, 21st Baron Athenry, and had issue,
ARTHUR, his heir;
JOHN, 2nd Baron, in holy orders;
CHARLES, 3rd Baron;
Mary; Louisa; Harriet; Elizabeth.
Mr French, who refused successively an earldom and a barony, was succeeded by his eldest son,

ARTHUR FRENCH (1786-1856), of French Park, MP for County Roscommon, 1821-32, who was elevated to the peerage, in 1839, in the dignity of BARON DE FREYNE, of Artagh, County Roscommon.

He married, in 1818, Mary, daughter of Christopher McDermott, though the marriage was without issue, and his lordship was succeeded by his next brother,

JOHN, 2nd Baron (1788-1863), who died unmarried, when the title devolved upon his brother,

CHARLES, 3rd Baron (1790-1868), who espoused, in 1851, Catherine, daughter of Luke Maree, and had issue,
ARTHUR, his successor;
Richard Patrick;
Mary Josephine.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest legitimate son,

ARTHUR, 4th Baron (1855-1913), Honorary Colonel, Connaught Rangers, who married firstly, Laura Octavia, daughter of the Hon John Charles Dundas, and had issue,
ARTHUR REGINALD, his successor;
Gwendolen Mary.
He wedded secondly, in 1882, Marie Georgiana, daughter of Richard Westbrook Lamb, and had further issue,
William Joseph;
Edward Fulke;
Louis Richard;
George Philip;
Ernest Aloysius;
Hubert John;
Bertram Leo;
Lily Marie; Muriel May; Eileen Agnes.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

ARTHUR REGINALD, 5th Baron (1879-1915), Captain, South Wales Borderers, who espoused, in 1902, Annabel, daughter of William Angus, though his lordship was killed in action, and the marriage was without issue, when the title devolved upon his half-brother,

FRANCIS CHARLES, 6th Baron (1884-1935), DL, High Sheriff of County Roscommon, 1912, who married, in 1916, Lina Victoria, daughter of Sir John Alexander Arnott Bt, and had issue,
FRANCIS ARTHUR JOHN, his successor;
Patricia Mary; Jeanne Victoria; Patience Veronica; Faith Gabriel.
His lordship was succeeded by his only son,

FRANCIS ARTHUR JOHN, 7th Baron (1927-2009), of French Park, who wedded firstly, in 1954, Shirley Ann, daughter of Dougles Rudolph Pobjoy, and had issue,
Patrick Dominick Fitzstephen Jude;
Vanessa Rose Bradbury.
He espoused secondly, in 1978, Sheelin Deirdre, daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Kane O'Kelly.

His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

(FULKE) CHARLES ARTHUR JOHN, 8th Baron (b 1957),  who wedded, in 1986, Julia Mary, daughter of James H Wellard, and has issue,
William Rory Francis.
The 8th and present Baron lives in London. 

FRENCH PARK, near Boyle, in County Roscommon, was formerly the ancestral seat of the Barons de Freyne.

The house, originally built in the mid-17th century before being rebuilt in the Georgian style in the 18th century, was demolished after the sale of the estate by the French family to the Irish Land Commission in 1952.

The Commission removed the roof of the buildings in 1953 and eventually demolished the remaining structures ca 1975.

French Park was an early Palladian winged house of red brick, of three storeys with a seven-bay centre block (above).

Two-storey wings, five bays long and four deep, were joined to the main block by curved sweeps.

In 1952 Lord de Freyne sold French Park.

The great house and demesne had been in the French family since 5,000 acres were granted to Dominick French in 1666; prior to its dissemination during the Irish land acts, the estate comprised 36,000 acres.

Having sold the estate, the de Freynes moved to Oxfordshire.

The present and 8th Lord de Freyne now lives in London.

The once-great mansion is now a roofless ruin.

First published in July, 2011.

Friday, 13 September 2019

Leap Castle


JOHN DARBY, son of Edmund Darby, of Gaddesby, Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, was a captain of horse in the Earl of Sussex's army, at the siege of the O'Carroll stronghold of Leim O'Bannon (the Leap of O'Bannon). 

He died in 1608, and was succeeded by his grandson, 

JONATHAN DARBY, of Leap, King's County, High Sheriff of King's County, 1674, who left issue by Deborah his wife,
JONATHAN, his heir;
His eldest son,

JONATHAN DARBY, of Leap, living in 1708, left issue, one son and two daughters, viz.
Sarah; Mary.
The only son, 

JONATHAN DARBY JP, of Leap, espoused Anna Marie, daughter of Benjamin Frend, of Boskell, County Limerick, and had issue,
JONATHAN, his heir;
George, Vice-Admiral;
Damer, of Dublin;
Anne; Anne; Lucy.
The eldest son,

JONATHAN DARBY (1713-76), of Leap, wedded Susanna, daughter of Jonathan Lovett, of Dromoyle, King's County, and had issue,
Robert, 1747-64;
Henry D'Esterre (Sir), KCB, Admiral, of Leap Castle;
JOHN, of whom presently;
William Lovett;
Christopher, a general in the army;
Edward Hawke;
The fourth son, 

JOHN DARBY (1751-1834), of Marklye, Sussex, and afterwards of Leap Castle, married, in 1784, Anne, daughter of Samuel Vaughan, and had issue,
Jonathan, b 1784, died unmarried;
WILLIAM HENRY, his heir;
Christopher Lovett (Rev);
George, MP for E Sussex;
Horatio D'Esterre;
John Nelson;
Susannah; Sarah; Letitia Lovett.
The eldest surviving son,

WILLIAM HENRY DARBY (1790-1880), of Leap Castle, married firstly, Laura Charlotte, daughter of Edward Jeremiah Curteis, of Windmill Hill, Sussex, and had issue,
Mary Charlotte.
He wedded secondly, in 1848, Elizabeth, daughter of W Drought, and had further issue,
William Henry;
John Nelson;
Elizabeth Henrietta; Wilhelmina Katharine Anne; Laura Susan Eleanor;
Theodora Lovett; Laura Caroline; Monica Gertrude; Maude Mary; Anne Vaughan.
Mr Darby was succeeded by his grandson, 

JONATHAN CHARLES DARBY JP DL, of Leap Castle, High Sheriff of King's County, 1883, who wedded, in 1889, Mildred Henrietta Gordon, younger daughter of Dr Richard Dill, of Burgess Hill, and Brighton, both in Sussex, and had issue,
Jonathan, died in infancy, 1892;
Augusta; Cicily Mildred O'Carroll; Florence Patricia O'Carroll.
Mr Darby died in 1943, and was succeeded by his only surviving son,

HORATIO GORDON O'CARROLL DARBY (1898-1971), of Shannon Vale, Dromineer, Nenagh, County Tipperary, wedded, in 1926, Celia Margaret, daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel Burton Henry Capel Philips, and had issue,
Jonathan Brian O'Carroll;
Christopher Henry D'Esterre O'Carroll.
The eldest son,

HORATIO ANTHONY FIONN O'CARROLL DARBY MBE (1927-), Controller of Electricity, Monserrat, lived, in 1973, in Australia.

LEAP CASTLE, near Rosscrea, County Offaly, passed to the Darby family through marriage.

It is a 16th century, three-storey tower house, with remains of a Jacobean house constructed to the north.

Leap Castle was altered and enlarged by the Darby Family ca 1760, to include flanking Neo-Gothic two-storey castellated blocks and door surround.

There are roughcast, rendered walls to the tower house with a castellated parapet with bartizans and machicolations.

The castle has a variety of window openings, including limestone pointed-arched twin lights to the tower house and pointed-arched window openings with sandstone sills to the 18th century flanking bays.

A pointed-arched door opening with flanking pointed-arched sidelights to front elevation has a "Batty Langley" style door surround comprising sandstone clustered colonnades and hood mouldings.

The tower-house and flanking bay to the south are in use as a private dwelling; whereas the two and three-storey castellated bays to the north of the tower-house are derelict.

The Darby Family remained at Leap Castle until 1922, when the castle was destroyed and the family moved from the estate.

The Castle lay in ruins until it was bought in the 1980s and it being restored at present.

To study the developments and phases on construction at Leap Castle and associated structures, including the gate lodge and stables, is to study the architectural history of Ireland.

It has been the site of practically continued occupancy since the 16th century with alterations and additions to the Castle during each century.

Leap Castle is a landmark building in the area and, in the past, played an important social and historic role in the region.

The tower-house contributes an archaeological significance to the site; while the striking door surround is of artistic interest.

Leap Castle and associated structures are important features in the architectural heritage of County Offaly.

First published in April, 2013.

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Echlinville Apples

I spent an absolutely delightful day at Island Taggart on Wednesday, 11th September, 2019.

There were thirteen of us, National Trust volunteers; so we were ferried out to the 85-acre island in three or four sailings.

Taggart is a mere hop, skip and jump from the mainland; in fact it's almost opposite Simmy Island.

We picked fruit from the old Echlinville apple tree in the original orchard beside the derelict farmhouse at the top of the island.

Or, rather, obtained it by a degree of agitation with a long wooden pole.

The tree is quite large.

We also tidied around the apple and pear trees of the new orchard, in a small field near the said farmhouse.

It can be exposed here, so we erected wooden poles and supports for several of the small trees which had bent over due to the strength of the wind.

At lunchtime I picked some blackberries and, with three apples, the intention is to make an apple and blackberry crumble.

Saturday, 7 September 2019

18th Century Enniskillen

Photo Credit: The National Trust

A fine painting of Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, in the 18th century.

It was painted ca 1780-95.

The Castle dominates the painting, and the spire of St Anne's parish church (now St Macartan's Cathedral) is prominent, too.

Enniskillen is the county town of County Fermanagh, and literally an island town.

For centuries two bridges connected Enniskillen to the mainland (aren't there three now?).

Friday, 6 September 2019

Anketell Grove


This family was of high station in Dorset at a very remote period (its name appearing in the Domesday Book).

As early as the reign of EDWARD I, several of its members represented the borough of Shaftesbury in Parliament.

The pedigree and history, as anciently of Ancketill's Place, near Shaftesbury, and east Aimer, near Sturminster Marshall, and more anciently of Lye, near Wimborne, and represented by Ancketill, of Ancketill's Grove, are given in the 3rd edition of Hutchins' History of Dorset, and there carried down to 1868; the pedigree extends to twenty-three generations, and shows intermarriages with the most distinguished of the old Dorset families.

The history shows the active part which this family took as Royalists in the time of CHARLES I in Dorset, and that its descendants and representatives in Ireland, when called upon, were not found wanting in devotion to what they considered the right cause.
The first ancestor of this line, 

CAPTAIN OLIVER ANCKETILL JP (1609-66), of County Monaghan, High Sheriff of County Monaghan, 1662, son of William Ancketill, of Shaftesbury, Dorset, married Rebecca, probably of the family of Bullingbrooke, of Galway, and and issue,
MATTHEW, his heir;
Sarah, m 1660, James Corry, ancestor of the Earls of Belmore;
Captain Ancketill was succeeded by his eldest son,

MATTHEW ANCKETILL (1651-88), of Ancketill's Grove, County Monaghan, to whom that estate was confirmed, by patent, in the reign of CHARLES II.

He was High Sheriff of County Monaghan, 1682, but was attainted by JAMES II.

Mr Ancketill wedded Matilda, daughter of Robert Moore, of Ravella and Garvey, County Tyrone, and had (with other issue),
WILLIAM, his heir;
OLIVER, succeeded his brother;
Mr Ancketill was killed at the battle of Drumbanagher Hill, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

WILLIAM ANCKETILL (1677-1709), of Ancketill's Grove, High Sheriff of County Monaghan, 1707, who dsp 1709, and was succeeded by his next brother,

OLIVER ANKETELL (1680-c1760), of Ancketill's Grove, MP for Monaghan Borough, 1754-60, High Sheriff of County Monaghan, 1703, who married firstly, in 1716, Sarah Caulfeild, second daughter of William, 2nd Viscount Charlemont, by Anne Margetson, his wife, only daughter of the Most Rev James Margetson, Lord Archbishop of Armagh, and had issue (with three daughters),
WILLIAM (1724-56), father of CHARLES;
Mr Ancketill espoused secondly, when about 80 years of age, Anne Stephens (née Tuton), but died immediately thereafter, and was succeeded by his grandson,

CHARLES ANKETELL (1754-1828), of Anketell Grove, who died unmarried, and was succeeded by his nephew,

WILLIAM ANKETELL JP DL (1790-1851), of Anketell Grove, High Sheriff of County Monaghan, 1830, who married, in 1809, Sarah, second daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel John Charles Frederick Waring Maxwell, of Finnebrogue, County Down, and had issue,
MATTHEW JOHN, his heir;
William Robert, of Quintin Castle, Portaferry;
Oliver Charles;
Fitz Ameline Maxwell, of Killyfaddy, Clogher;
Anne Dorothea; Maria; Matilda Jane.
Mr Anketell was succeeded by his eldest son,

MATTHEW JOHN ANKETELL JP DL (1812-70), of Anketell Grove, High Sheriff of County Monaghan, 1834, Major, Monaghan Militia, who married, in 1840, Catherine Frances Anne, eldest daughter of David Ker MP, of Portavo and Montalto, County Down, by the Lady Selina his wife, daughter of the 1st Marquess of Londonderry, and had issue,
MATTHEW DAVID, his heir;
Oliver Frederick (1850-72);
WILLIAM, succeeded his brother;
Robert Waring Maxwell;
Selina Sarah; Ada; Frances Emmeline; Gertrude Madelina;
Bertha Grace Phœbe; Octavia Mary; Augusta.
Major Anketell was succeeded by his eldest son,

MATTHEW DAVID ANKETELL (1841-72), of Anketell Grove, who was killed by a fall from horseback, died unmarried, and was succeeded by his next surviving brother,

WILLIAM ANCKETILL DL (1851-1931), of Ancketill's Grove, Lieutenant, Royal Tyrone Fusiliers, who married, in 1875, Jean Laing, daughter of Robert Falkner, of Broughton Park, Lancashire, and had issue, an only child,

OLIVE MAUD ANCKETILL (1876-1909), who wedded firstly, in 1901, Reginald George Petre Wymer, only son of Reginald Augustus Wymer, and grandson of Sir Henry George Petre Wymer KCB, and had issue, a daughter, Lovice Vivian Petre.

She espoused secondly, in 1907, Michael Linning Henry Melville, Egyptian Civil Service, and had issue, a daughter,

Monica Agnes Ancketill, born in 1908.

ANKETELL GROVE, near Emyvale, County Monaghan, was originally built by Captain Oliver Ancketill about 1640, on low ground.

His grandson Oliver rebuilt the house on higher ground at the head of the copper beech avenue.

This house was demolished in 1781, when a third dwelling was erected on another site: A two-storey, five-bay, gable-ended main block with a small pediment, joined by curved sweeps to single-storey, two-bay wings.

There are Georgian-Gothic windows in the wings.

The house was extensively remodelled about 1840, boasting an central Italianate attic tower at the centre, which rises from ground level.

The estate was mortgaged by William Anketell, early in 1884, to the Scottish Provident Insurance Association. Mr Anketell had been, by that stage, in financial difficulties.

Scottish Provident began evictions almost at once: The estate was put up for sale in the Encumbered Estates Court in 1886 and the Scottish Provident became absolute owners of the whole estate, with the exception of Anketell Grove House, demesne and three townlands.

In 1899, Scottish Provident received £4,800 in advances from the Government for sales to sixty two tenants.

In 1901, William Anketell received £3,820 for sales to thirty-three tenants (Dublin Gazette, 26th July, 1901, pps 1045-6).

Some time thereafter the Anketells removed to Killyfaddy, near Clogher, County Tyrone. 

Anketell Grove was purchased from the Irish Land Commission in 1922 by Patrick McKenna, of Derryhee, nearby.

In 1970, Anketell Grove and ninety acres of land were purchased by Mr Laurence Clerkin, the present owner.


First published in April, 2013.

Thursday, 5 September 2019

1st Baron Athlumney


This is a branch of the very eminent Scottish family of SOMERVILLE.

The first of the family that settled in Ireland was

JAMES SOMERVILLE, of Tullykelter, County Fermanagh, who died in 1642.

His grandson,

THOMAS SOMERVILLE, a merchant of Dublin, married Sarah, sister of Alderman Robert King, of that city; and dying in 1718, left an only son,

SIR JAMES SOMERVILLE (c1698-1748), Knight, Alderman and Lord Mayor of Dublin, who was created a baronet in 1748, designated of Somerville, County Meath.

He wedded Elizabeth, daughter of Alderman William Quayle, of the same city, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR QUAILE SOMERVILLE, 2nd Baronet (1714-72), of Brownstown, County Meath, who espoused firstly, Mary, only daughter and heiress of George Warburton, by whom he had three sons.

He married a second time, and had an only daughter, Martha, who wedded Gustavus, 5th Viscount Boyne.

Sir Quaile was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR JAMES QUAILE SOMERVILLE, 3rd Baronet (c1742-c1802), of Somerville House, County Meath, who married, in 1771, Catherine, daughter of Sir Marcus Lowther-Crofton Bt, of The Moat, County Roscommon, by whom he had two sons, Marcus and James.

Sir James was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR MARCUS SOMERVILLE, 4th Baronet (1772-1831), MP for County Meath, 1800, who married Mary Anne, daughter of Sir Richard Gorges-Meredyth Bt, and had issue,
WILLIAM MEREDYTH, his successor;
James Richard, lieutenant, Scots Greys.
Sir Marcus's elder son, 

THE RT HON SIR WILLIAM MEREDYTH SOMERVILLE, 5th Baronet (1802-73, was elevated to the peerage, in 1863, in the dignity of BARON ATHLUMNEY, of Somerville and Dollarstown, County Meath.

He married firstly, in 1832, the Lady Maria Harriet Conyngham, second daughter of Henry, 1st Marquess Conyngham, and had issue,
William Henry Marcus, died in infancy;
Elizabeth Jane.
His lordship wedded secondly, in 1860, Maria Georgiana Elizabeth, only daughter of Herbert George Jones, and had further numerous issue, including
Marcus Edward Francis Meredyth (1867-71).
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

JAMES HERBERT GUSTAVUS MEREDYTH, 2nd Baron (1865-1929), who married, in 1919, Margery, daughter of Henry Boan, of Australia, though the marriage was without issue, and the titles expired.

Somerville House was inherited by Sir Quentin Charles Agnew-Somerville, 2nd Baronet (1929-2010), nephew by marriage of James, 2nd Baron Athlumney and 6th Somerville Baronet.

Somerville House, County Meath

First published in 2012.

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Athavallie House


The family of LYNCH was of great antiquity in the province of Connaught, being amongst the very early settlers, denominated the Tribes of Galway.

In an old manuscript in Ulster King-of-Arms' office, William le Petit is stated to be the common progenitor of all the Lynches of Ireland.

The founder of the honours of the family, however, was

HENRY LYNCH, Mayor of, and MP for Galway (eldest of twelve sons of Nicholas Lynch, also Mayor of Galway).

Mr Lynch was created a baronet in 1622, designated of Galway.
This gentleman was the son of Nicholas Lynch fitz Stephen (Mayor 1584–1585) and great-grandson of Mayor Arthur Lynch (died 1539); land agent for Richard, 4th Earl of Clanricarde; mentor to Patrick D'Arcy and Richard Martyn, later senior political figures of Confederate Ireland.
He was stepfather to D'Arcy and married to an aunt of Martyn. He was among the first of his family to become a lawyer, and several of his younger sons followed him into this profession, as did, under his influence, D'Arcy, Martyn, Geoffrey Browne and subsequent generations of The Tribes of Galway.
Sir Henry married Elizabeth, daughter of Richard Martin, and widow of James D'Arcy, by whom he had three sons and three daughters.

He died in 1635, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR ROBUCK LYNCH, 2nd Baronet, MP for Galway Borough, 1639-42, and was resident counsel for Connaught during the rebellion.

He wedded Ellis, daughter of Sir Peter French, Knight, by whom he had two sons, and was succeeded on his decease, 1667, by the elder, 

SIR HENRY LYNCH, 3rd Baronet, a lawyer of eminence, and one of the barons of the exchequer, in 1689, wedded firstly, Margaret, daughter of Sir Theobald Bourke, 3rd Viscount Mayo, but by that lady had no issue; and secondly, and had (with a younger son) his successor,

SIR ROBERT LYNCH (-c1720), 4th Baronet, who espoused Catherine, daughter of Henry Blake, of County Mayo, by whom he had, with two daughters, a son and heir,

SIR HENRY LYNCH (-1762), 5th Baronet, of Carracastle, who married Mary, daughter of John Moore, of Brees [sic], County Galway, and had one daughter and an only son, his successor,

SIR ROBERT LYNCH-BLOSSE, 6th Baronet, who wedded Elizabeth, daughter and heir of Francis Barker, heir of Tobias Blosse, of Little Belstead, Suffolk.

He assumed the surname of BLOSSE, in addition to, and after, that of LYNCH.

It was a condition of the marriage that Robert would assume the additional surname of BLOSSE and conform to Protestantism.

The issue of this marriage were, HENRY, who succeeded to the title; and Francis, who wedded Hatton, daughter of John Smith, and had issue, Robert, who, succeeding his uncle, became the 8th Baronet.

Sir Robert died in 1775, and was succeeded by his elder son,

SIR HENRY LYNCH-BLOSSE, 7th Baronet (1749-88), MP for Tuam, 1776-83, upon whose demise, without issue, the title reverted to his nephew, 

SIR ROBERT LYNCH-BLOSSE, 8th Baronet (1774-1818), who wedded firstly, Elizabeth, daughter of William Gorman, of Carlow, by whom he had FRANCIS, the next baronet, with several other children.

He married secondly, Charlotte, daughter of John Richards, of Cardiff.

Sir Robert  was succeeded by his son,

THE REV SIR FRANCIS LYNCH-BLOSSE, 9th Baronet (1801-40), who wedded, in 1824, Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Lord Plunket, and had issue,
ROBERT, 10th Baronet;
William Conyngham, b 1826.

Sir Richard Hely Lynch-Blosse (b 1953), 17th and present Baronet, lives in Oxfordshire.

ATHAVALLIE HOUSE, near Castlebar, County Mayo, is a long, low, plain, two-storey residence, its main block of five bays, with an entrance door set in a broad stone arch.

The front is extended by a four-bay range of the same height, though set back.

In 1894, Athavallie House was recorded as the seat of Sir Henry Lynch-Blosse, 11th Baronet (1857-1918), and most likely the last of the family to reside there.

In 1920, the Sisters of St Louis founded a school which catered for girls only.

It was a boarding school-cum-day school until the St Louis Sisters left in 1978 and the school became co-educational under the control of the local community.

Balla Secondary School is based here now.

Athavallie House still stands but is no longer used for educational purposes.

It was used as a military hospital during the 1st World War.

Other former seat ~ Castle Carra, County Mayo.

First published in April, 2013.