Thursday, 31 December 2020

Barcroft of The Glen

AMBROSE BARCROFT (1574-1648), of The Haigh, near Foulridge, Lancashire, and afterwards of Foulridge Hall, son of THOMAS BARCROFT, of Foulridge Hall, son of HENRY BARCROFT, of Foulridge, younger son of WILLIAM BARCROFT, of Barcroft, Lancashire (who died in 1581), where his family was seated from the earliest times to which records extend, down to the middle of the 17th century.

Barcroft passed by the marriage of one of his daughters and co-heirs of Thomas Barcroft, of Barcroft, last of his line, who died in 1668 (great-grandson of William Barcroft, above mentioned) to the Bradshaws, and afterwards by purchase to the Townleys.

Ambrose Barcroft married Mary, daughter of ________ Hartley, of Wellhead, near Colne, Lancashire, and had issue,
Thomas, of The Haigh;
Ambrose (Ven), Archdeacon of Kilmore; went to Ireland with his brother;
WILLIAM, of whom presently;
John (Rev), Rector of Roughton;
Paul, of York;
Robert. settled in Bedfordshire; ancestor of the BEARCROFT family;
Mary; Janet.
The third son,

WILLIAM BARCROFT (1612-96), went over to Ireland and settled at Ballylaking, King's County, wedded firstly, Grace, daughter of Henry Rycroft, of Moss House, within Foulridge, and by her had five children, who were drowned with their mother when crossing to Ireland to join her husband.

Mr Barcroft espoused secondly, in 1652, Margaret, daughter of Daniel Bernard, of Colne, and had issue,
AMBROSE, of whom presently;
Thomas, dsp;
John, a minister of the Society of Friends;
William Barcroft died at Drumcooley, King's County, and was buried at Rosenallis, Queen's County.

His eldest son,

AMBROSE BARCROFT, of Drumcooley, King's County, born near Thornton, in Yorkshire, married, in 1676, Jane, daughter of William Slade, of Athlone, and had issue,
Ambrose (died unmarried);
WILLIAM, his heir;
Ellen; Alice.
Mr Barcroft died at Drumcooley in 1687, and was succeeded by his second son,

WILLIAM BARCROFT (1681-1709), of Ballybrittan, King's County, who wedded, in 1705, Ellen, daughter of Joseph Inman, and had issue,
Joseph, of Dublin;
AMBROSE, of whom presently;
Elizabeth, died in infancy.
The younger son,

AMBROSE BARCROFT (1707-), of Dublin, espoused, in 1733, Abigail, daughter of Thomas Wilcocks, and had issue,
WILLIAM, of whom presently;
The eldest son,

WILLIAM BARCROFT (1734-72), of Dublin, married, in 1757, Mary, daughter of John Pim, of Lackagh, and had issue,
JOHN, of whom hereafter;
The second son,

JOHN BARCROFT (1758-1815), of Lisburn, County Antrim, wedded, in 1797, Sarah, daughter of James Hogg, of Lisburn (uncle of Sir James Weir Hogg Bt), and had issue,
JOSEPH, his heir;
William James;
John Pim;
Ruth; Mary.
Mr Barcroft was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOSEPH BARCROFT (1799-1855), of Lisburn, and afterwards of Stangmore Lodge, Dungannon, County Tyrone, who espoused, in 1838, Mary, daughter of John Wandesford Wright, and had issue,
HENRY, his heir;
Elizabeth, m 1864, Sir Samuel Lee Anderson (Principal Crown Solicitor for Ireland);
Sarah, of Stangmore Lodge, m William Barcroft.
Mr Barcroft was succeeded by his son,

HENRY BARCROFT JP DL (1839-1905), of The Glen, County Armagh, High Sheriff of County Armagh, 1890, who married, in 1867, Anna (The Glen, Newry), daughter of David Malcomson, of Melview, County Tipperary, and had issue,
JOSEPH, his heir;
David Malcomson;
Sarah Richardson; Mary; Anna Henrietta.
Mr Barcroft was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR JOSEPH BARCROFT CBE (1872-1947), of The Glen, Newry, County Down, Fellow of the Royal Society, who wedded, in 1903, Mary Agnetta, younger daughter of Sir Robert Stawell Ball, and had issue,
Robert Ball, Lt-Col (1909-88).
The elder son,

HENRY BARCROFT (1904-98), of London, married Bridget Mary, daughter of Arthur Stanley Ramsey, and had issue,
John, b 1936;
Michael Joseph, b 1938;
Roger Henry, b 1947;
Sarah Agnes, b 1942.
The eldest son,

DR JOHN BARCROFT, was a consultant in child psychiatry at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast.

THE GLEN, Newry, County Down, formerly called Turner Hill, was once the property of Baron Frederick Lewis von Stieglitz*, who later sold it to Henry Barcroft.

Baron von Stieglitz (1803-66), a JP for counties Armagh and Down, proceeded, in early life, to Tasmania, where he became possessed of considerable property, and was a member of the Legislative Council of Tasmania during Sir William Denison's Government.

After 1850 he returned to Ireland, and resided at The Glen.

The Baron married firstly, Mrs Ransom; and secondly, in 1859, Hester Anna, daughter of George Blacker, of Carrickblacker

Hester Anna accordingly became Baroness von Stieglitz, of Carrickblacker.

Baron von Stieglitz is buried in the family vault at Derryloran, near Cookstown, County Tyrone.

Do any readers possess images of The Glen House?

WILLIAM III at Hillsborough

WILLIAM III, By Manner of Willem Wissing ~ Rijksmuseum



In the evening of the 19th June, 1690, King William III arrived at Hillsborough, County Down, nothing remarkable having occurred during the march from Lisburn.

The town, which was then the property of the Hill family [Marquesses of Downshire], whose name it bears, was incorporated by charter of CHARLES II, and the Corporation was styled "The Sovereign, Burgesses, and Free Commons of the Borough and Town of Hillsborough."

There, also, had been Schomberg and his army, on Tuesday, the 3rd September, 1689, on their way to Loughbrickland.

And a weary way it was; for what the Protestants spared in the flight from their homes; the Jacobites destroyed, so that in the district not a sheep nor a cow was to be seen; the track of Schomberg and his men was through ruin.

Now the King himself and his forces had arrived.

The fort had been prepared to receive and accommodate His Majesty.

It was a magnificent structure, built by Sir Arthur Hill, in 1650, and consisted of four bastions.

Bonnivert describes it as "a great house belonging to the King, standing on a hill on the left hand of the road;" and in a certain sense the Frenchman was right.

The site was chosen so that the fort might command the Pass of Kilwarlin, the chief road between Belfast and Dublin.

Accordingly, it was strongly fortified within, and had the additional strength afforded by a trench.

At the close of the year 1660, it was made a Royal garrison, and placed in command of a Constable, who received 3s 4d a day, having under him twenty-four warders whose pay was each 6d a day.

The constable-ship was vested in the Hill family for ever.

As might be expected, the old Castle in the demesne is much venerated by loyal men.

There His Majesty remained two days, and strangers are still shown relics of the Royal visit.

They have pointed out to them the apartments he occupied; the chair on which he sat; the table on which he wrote his Orders; the window opposite which chair and table stood; the bedstead on which he slept; the stable in which his horse was put up; the situation of the gardens, and the direction in which he walked - in fact, everything is to be seen but the King himself.

More interesting than the silent witnesses is the testimony borne by the successors of the original warders.

They are regularly on duty at the new Castle of Hillsborough, wearing the uniform, somewhat modernised, of the Dutch Guards - blue coat with red lapels; cocked hat trimmed with white lace, and for plume a red feather; white breeches and gaiters.

Hillsborough Old Guard during the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations at
Hillsborough Castle, Lisburn (Image: Kelvin Boyes/Presseye/PA Wire)

From the Court at Hillsborough, His Majesty issued two important documents: One was a Royal Warrant, addressed to Christopher Carleton, collector of customs at Belfast, authorising the payment of £1,200 yearly to the Presbyterian ministers of Ulster.

This is understood to be the origin, of the grant called "Regium Donum."

The pension was inserted in the Civil List, and made payable out of the Exchequer.

Here is a copy of the Warrant:--
     "Whereas, upon our arrival in this kingdom at Belfast, we received a loyal and dutiful address from our trusty and well-beloved subjects, Patrick Adair, etc., in the name of themselves and the rest of the Presbyterian ministers of their persuasion in these northern parts of our kingdom: and calling to mind how early they also were in their address unto us upon our arrival in England, and the promises we then made them of a pension of eight hundred pounds per annum, for their subsistence, which, by reason of several impediments, hath not as yet been made effectual unto them: 
     And being assured of the peaceable and dutiful temper of our said subjects, and sensible of the losses they have sustained and their constant labour to unite the hearts of others in zeal and loyalty towards us: We do hereby, out of our Royal Bounty give and grant unto them the sum of twelve hundred pounds per annum, to be paid by quarterly instalments, the first payment of three hundred pounds sterling, to begin upon the 24th day of this instant June, and so forward: 
     And our will and pleasure is, that you, or the collector of our customs at Belfast for the time being, do make the payments of the said pension into the hands of Mr. Patrick Adair, Alexander Hutchinson, Archibald Hamilton, Robert Craghead, Hugh Wilson, Robert Henry, and William Adair, or to the person which they, or any five of them shall appoint, to be by them distributed among the rest. And for so doing this shall be your warrant.

"Given at our Court at Hillsborough the 19th day of June, 1690, in the second year of our reign."

First published in July, 2012.

Wednesday, 30 December 2020

St George of Wood Park

This family deduces its pedigree from

BALDWIN ST GEORGE, one of the companions-in-arms of WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR, whose descendants flourished in England for several centuries, and frequently represented Cambridgeshire in Parliament.

SIR RICHARD ST GEORGE (c1550-1635), Clarenceux King of Arms (19th in lineal descent from Baldwin), married, in 1575, Elizabeth, daughter of Nicholas St John, of Lidiard Tregoze, Wiltshire, by whom he left at his decease three sons,
Henry, Garter King of Arms;
George (Sir), of Carrickdrumrusk;
RICHARD, of whom we treat.
The third son,

CAPTAIN RICHARD ST GEORGE (1590-1667), went over to Ireland in the beginning of the 17th century, in the Royal Army, and was appointed Governor of the town and castle of Athlone.

He was born at Hatley St George, Cambridgeshire, and wedded, in 1625, Anne, daughter of Michael Pinnock, of Turrock, County Roscommon, by which lady he had issue,
HENRY, his heir;
Mary; Anne.
The only surviving son,

HENRY ST GEORGE (1638-1723), of Athlone, and of Woodsgift, County Kilkenny, MP for Athlone, 1715-23, was an officer in the Irish army of CHARLES II.

He espoused, in 1669, Anne, daughter of Alderman Ridgeley Hatfield, of the city of Dublin, and had issue,
Richard, of Kilrush;
ARTHUR, of whom hereafter;
George, of Woodsgift, MP.
The third son,

THE VERY REV DR ARTHUR ST GEORGE (1681-1772), Dean of Ross, married Jane, daughter of Sir Thomas Molyneux Bt, of Castle Dillon, County Armagh, and had issue,
Richard, of Kilrush;
THOMAS, of whom hereafter;
Howard, ancestor of ST GEORGE of Kilrush;
Henry (Rev);
The second son,

THOMAS ST GEORGE (1738-85), MP for Clogher, 1776-85, Commissioner of Barracks, wedded, in 1776, Lucinda, fourth daughter of Archibald, 1st Viscount Gosford, and had issue,
Thomas Baldwin;
ACHESON, of whom we treat;
William Molyneux.
The eldest surviving son,

ACHESON ST GEORGE (1778-), of Wood Park, Tynan, County Armagh, High Sheriff of County Armagh, 1826, espoused firstly, in 1810, Eleanor, daughter of Robert Gordon, of Clonmel, and had issue,
Thomas Gordon, Lieutenant-Colonel, East India Company;
William, East India Company;
ACHESON, of whom hereafter;
John, East India Company;
Lucinda Margaret; Eleanor Mary; Olivia.
He married secondly, in 1824, Jane, second daughter of the Hon and Very Rev John Hewitt, Dean of Cloyne (fourth son of James, 1st Viscount Lifford), and had one daughter,
Alicia Hewitt Caroline.
The third son,

ACHESON ST GEORGE (1819-1902), of Wood Park, County Armagh, married, in 1890, Jane Rebecca, only surviving child of Thomas Knox Armstrong, of Fellows Hall, County Armagh, and dsp 1902.

WOOD PARK, near Tynan, County Armagh, was a Georgian house to the south of the neighbouring estate of Fellows Hall.

Woodpark features in J A K Dean's  Plight of the Big House in Northern Ireland on Page 66.

Learmount Castle

7,946 ACRES

THE RT HON JOHN BERESFORD MP (1738-1805), of Abbeville, County Dublin, and Walworth*, County Londonderry, second son of MARCUS, 1st EARL OF TYRONE (third creation) by his wife, the Lady Catherine Power, Baroness La Poer in her own right, daughter and heiress of James, last Earl of Tyrone (second creation), married firstly, in 1760, Anne Constantia (d 1772), granddaughter of the Count de Ligondes, and had issue,
Marcus (1764-97);
George de la Poer (Rt Rev), Lord Bishop of Kilmore and Ardagh;
John Claudius (1766-1846);
Charles Cobbe (Rev), Rector of Termon;
Annette Constantia; Jane; Catherine.
He wedded secondly, in 1774, Barbara, daughter and co-heir of Sir William Montgomery Bt, of Macbie Hill, Peebles, and had further issue,
James Hamilton (1782-1806);
HENRY BARRÉ, of whom we treat;
The youngest son,

HENRY BARRÉ BERESFORD (1784-1837), of Learmount Park, County Londonderry, wedded, in 1812, Eliza, youngest daughter of John Bayly, of Bristol, and had issue,
JOHN BARRÉ, his heir;
Henry Barré (1816-71), Commander RN;
William Montgomery, in holy orders;
James David, a military officer;
George de la Poer, a military officer;
Mary Barbara; Eliza Frances.
Mr Beresford's eldest son,

JOHN BARRÉ BERESFORD JP DL (1815-95), of Learmount Park, married firstly, in 1840, Sophia, sister of Hugh Lyons-Montgomery, MP for County Leitrim, and had issue,
Henry Barré Blacker (1848-82), Lieutenant RN;
JOHN CLAUDIUS MONTGOMERY, of whom hereafter.
He wedded secondly, in 1853, Caroline, only child of William Hamilton-Ash, of Ashbrook, by the Lady Elizabeth Emma Douglas his wife, sister of George, 17th Earl of Morton, and had further issue,
William Randal Hamilton, of Ashbrook;
MARCUS JOHN BARRÉ, of whom we treat;
Emma Clara; Barbara Caroline; Mary Elizabeth; Louisa Gertrude Douglas.
Mr Beresford's second son,

JOHN CLAUDIUS MONTGOMERY BERESFORD (1850-94), of Learmount, Major, Royal Engineers, wedded, in 1884, Rose Sophia Montgomery, daughter of Ralph Smith, and had issue, an only child,

RALPH HENRY BARRÉ BERESFORD (1886-1925), of Learmount, who died unmarried, when the estate devolved upon his cousin,

MARCUS JOHN BARRÉ BERESFORD (1868-1944), of Learmount, who married, in 1914, Alma, daughter of David Methven, 

Mr Beresford was killed in action, 1944, and was survived by an only daughter,

Patricia Douglas Methven Beresford (1924-2012), who sold Learmount Park in 1944 to the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture.
Walworth*, near Ballykelly, features in J A K Dean's Plight of the Big House in Northern Ireland.

THE BERESFORDS acquired Learmount Park through the marriage of John Beresford to the heiress Barbara Montgomery, but he never lived in it and died at Walworth, Ballykelly, in 1805.

His son, Henry Barré Beresford, did not live in it either: His estate was let out to the McCauslands.

He himself worked as estate agent to his own brother Marcus, on his estate at Ballyquin.

It was only when Henry Barré Beresford retired from this position that he started to modernize the Beresford estate.

He began with great plans for the old Montgomery house.

Instead of demolishing it, his architect, John B Keane, incorporated it as an east wing on to a new mock Tudor-styled castle.

The same architect also designed, in the same style, the western gate lodge house at Stratton's Brae, which is now sadly gone.

He may even have been responsible for the design of the parish church which was built on land donated by the Beresfords, and consecrated in 1831.

A school and schoolhouse had already been established on a site close by.

Henry Barré Beresford died in 1837 and was succeeded by his son John Barré Beresford, who continued with the building plans begun by his father.

Another gate lodge house, in a different design, was built at the western entrance, where Park Recycling Centre is now located.

Another lodge was also built on the main entrance.

At Learmount Castle, coaching houses were provided for the horses, including those which worked on the farm, and grooms and coachmen employed to look after them. 

A walled garden provided vegetables and work for gardeners. Gamekeepers and bailiffs were also employed, all overseen by an estate manager.

Control of the estate passed from John Barré Beresford to his grandson Ralph, when the former died in 1895 and was commemorated by a stained glass window in the parish church. 

Ralph was a minor aged 11 at the time, and did not inherit the property until 1922.

When Harry Ralph Beresford died in 1925, the estate began to decline.

Compulsory sale of tenant lands and death duties would in due course take its toil.

The Osgood family, tea planters from overseas, hired out the property for about four years, long enough it has been reported, for them to marry off two daughters.

While they were there they played tennis, looked after horses and dogs, and even installed electricity, supplied by a water wheel in the estate grounds.

During this time the estate was owned by Colonel Marcus Beresford, though he never lived in it and Learmount Castle was left vacant until the 2nd World War.

Local people were employed as cook and janitor, and an Aga cooker and the telephone were installed.

Colonel Beresford was killed in London due to enemy action and his daughter, Patricia, decided to sell the property.

The Forestry Service promptly bought it and the buildings were allowed to fall into disrepair.

The Castle was granted a temporary reprieve, when the Youth Hostel Association set up a hostel in the main building, run by wardens Doreen and Marcus Lowther.

However, still no money was available for repairs.

It was decided that the old (Montgomery) wing should be demolished and replaced by a low wall, compatible with the style of the newer building.

But when the lease for the hostel expired in 1983, the youth hostel association refused to renew it, so the Lowthers left and the cycle of decay continued.

Prior to this, the gate lodges at the western and eastern entrances to the estate were demolished.

Only the old coaching house survived intact, bought by Mr Peter Mullan, who converted it into a home and a self catering apartment.

He has also reclaimed the gardens, reseeding them as a neat lawn and adding a very attractive pond.

He stabilized the back of the castle which has enhanced its appearance.

LEARMOUNT CASTLE, near Claudy, County Londonderry, is a Tudor-Gothic house, built in 1830 by Henry Barré Beresford.

The main block has a gabled front and pointed finials on the gables; and a battlemented porch.

There is a battlemented wing set back, ending in a slender, round battlemented tower and turret.

The house is situated above a steep, terraced drop to the River Faughan below. The terracing is grassed and decorated with ornamental yew trees.

There is an unused walled garden to the immediate south of the house.

Learmount is close to the village of Park in County Londonderry.

Learmount Forest covers just over 3,000 acres of the foothills at the northern face of the Sperrin Mountains.

Bought by the Forest Service at the end of the 2nd World War, it has over fifteen different tree species planted, with some well over 100 years old.

This is due to the planting of selected trees by Henry Barré de la Poer Beresford, who came from Staffordshire as landlord at the time of the Plantation by the Livery Companies.

The imposing castle was built by him in 1830 as an extension of an older building erected by a Captain Montgomery around 1710.

The castle was used by Ashleigh House Girls School (Belfast) during the war, and then by the Youth Hostel Association until later it was bought by the present private owner.

The Beresford coat-of-arms emblazons the doorway of the Castle, with the family motto Nil Nisi Cruce - No dependence but in the cross; and the Arms, a semée of cross crosslets fitchée and three fleurs-de-lis within a border engrained sable.

The demesne contains commercial plantations and mature trees in an area noted by Lewis in 1837 in the Topographical Dictionary, for its ‘large and valuable timber …’.

Paths are maintained and the site is an amenity.

Sal Lim, who has kindly provided me with photographs of the Castle:

"The way I remember it may not actually be the way it was, - the memory does play tricks after forty years. One thing I do know is that the far side in the photo was already derelict at that stage and was blocked off although it was possible to get in through the basement.

It was said to be haunted so had not been used for some time. Apart from that I remember a very impressive staircase opposite the front entrance. There was a large room to the right of the front door. It was used as the common room with dining area at that time but it had obviously been a beautiful room.

The fireplace matched the proportions of the room. It was so big that my brother was able to sit cross-legged on the mantelpiece ... the staircase went straight up opposite the front door towards the back of the house and then divided on the first landing with flights going up in both directions.

When we were there the room behind the large common room was the kitchen but originally when it was a family home, the kitchen was probably in the basement, which you can see from the photos went the full length of the house."

First published in February, 2010.

Tuesday, 29 December 2020

Courtown House


This family is said to derive its descent from Nicholas de Stockport, Baron of Stockport, one of the eight barons of the county palatine of Chester, created by Hugh Lupus, Earl of Chester, in the reign of WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR.

It is probable the family had been settled in that county before the Conquest, and certainly the estate of Salterstown, near Macclesfield, in Cheshire, belonged to the Stopfords from time immemorial.

The first of the family who settled in Ireland,

JAMES STOPFORD (1620-85), of Saltersford, Cheshire, a captain in Cromwell's army in Ireland, married firstly, Ellinor, daughter of John Morewood, of The Oaks, Yorkshire, and had issue (with a daughter),
WILLIAM, his heir, father of JAMES;
Joseph, father of the Rt Rev James Stopford.
He wedded secondly, Mary, daughter of Sir Robert Forth, and had further issue, two daughters.

Upon the restoration of the royal family, acquiring considerable estates in that kingdom, partly by purchase, and partly by grants, he took up his abode at Tara Hill, County Meath.

Captain Stopford was succeeded by his grandson, 

JAMES STOPFORD (1668-1721), MP for Wexford Borough, 1703-13, County Wexford, 1713-21, who wedded Frances, daughter and heir of Roger Jones, of Dublin, by whom he had five sons and four daughters.

He was succeeded at his decease by his eldest surviving son,

JAMES STOPFORD (1700-70), MP for County Wexford, 1721-7, Fethard, 1727-58, High Sheriff of County Wexford, 1756, who was elevated to the peerage, in 1758, in the dignity of Baron Courtown, of Wexford; and, in 1762, advanced to the dignities of Viscount Stopford and EARL OF COURTOWN.

His lordship married Elizabeth, only daughter of the Rt Rev Edward Smyth, Lord Bishop of Down and Connor, and had issue,
JAMES, his successor;
Edward, lieutenant-general in the army;
Thomas (Rt Rev), Lord Bishop of Cork and Ross;
Frances; Mary; Anne; Catherine; Charlotte.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES, 2nd Earl (1731-1810), KP, PC, who was created a peer of Great Britain, in 1794, as Baron Saltersford.

His lordship espoused, in 1762, Mary, daughter and co-heir of Richard Powys, of Hintlesham Hall, Suffolk, by whom he had issue,
JAMES GEORGE, his successor;
Edward (Sir), GCB;
Robert (Sir), GCB, GCMG;
Richard Bruce (Rev).
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES GEORGE, 3rd Earl (1765-1835), KP, who married, in 1791, Mary, eldest daughter of Henry, 3rd Duke of Buccleuch, by whom he had issue,
JAMES THOMAS, his successor;
Henry Scott;
Montagu (Sir), KCB;
Mary Frances; Jane; Charlotte; Caroline.
The heir apparent is the present holder's son James Richard Ian Montagu Stopford, styled Viscount Stopford (b 1988).
THE COURTOWNS were a "Patrick Family", the 2nd and 3rd Earls having been installed as Knights of St Patrick.

The 6th Earl was the last Lord-Lieutenant of County Wexford, from 1901 until 1922.

James Patrick Montagu Burgoyne Winthrop, 9th and present Earl, was a Lord in Waiting (Government Whip), 1995-97; representative peer to the House of Lords, 1999-.

COURTOWN HOUSE, near Gorey, County Wexford, was the 18th century seat of the Earls of Courtown, overlooking the sea at Courtown Harbour.

It was significantly altered and enlarged during the 19th century, following the 1798 rebellion. 

The front consisted of a U-shaped block of two storeys and a dormer attic within the high-pitched, château-style roof.

The five-bay centre had a large open porch, with a porte-cochère carried on four piers.

Courtown House was demolished in 1962, having been sold to the Irish Tourist Board in 1948.

After the 2nd World War, the income from the amount of land left in the estate was not enough to keep Courtown House going and it had to be sold.

Marlfield House, once a Dower House on the Courtown estate, dates back to the 1840s.

The Courtown family also had a seat in Cheshire, Beale Hall.

Courtown Woodland was planted with oak and ash back in 1870.

At this time it was part of a typical Victorian estate woodland where exotic conifers and redwoods from California were planted within viewing distance of Courtown House.

Oak plantations were established at some distance.

They were under-planted with shrubs to provide food for pheasants for shooting parties.

The woodland was regularly cleared and used as firewood by local tenants.

During the 1860s and 1870s the 5th Earl established a pinetum, or conifer collection, in the grounds around Courtown House.

A small number of these trees remain today in the Woodland and in property across the river. 

Courtown arms courtesy of European Heraldry.  First published in January, 2012.

Monday, 28 December 2020

1st Duke of Roxburghe


This family and the Kerrs, Marquesses of Lothian, descended from two brothers,

RALPH and JOHN, originally of Normandy, who passed from England into Scotland sometime in the 13th century, and laid the foundation of those two illustrious houses - Ralph, that of the Kerrs, Marquesses of Lothian; and John, that of the Kers of Cessford; of which the latter family, the eleventh in descent from the founder,

SIR ROBERT KER (1570-1650), Knight, of Cessford (elder son of William Ker, of Cessford, warden of the Middle Marches, by Janet, daughter of Sir William Douglas, of Drumlanrig), was elevated to the peerage, in 1600, as Lord Roxburghe; and created, in 1616, Lord Ker of Cessford and Cavertoun, and Earl of Roxburghe.

This nobleman accompanied JAMES VI, King of Scotland, into England, and was Lord Privy Seal in the reign of CHARLES I.

His lordship wedded Mary, daughter of Sir William Maitland.

Upon the decease of his younger and only surviving son, Lord Roxburghe obtained, in 1646, a new charter, entailing his honours and estates upon his grandson, the Hon Sir William Drummond; and after him, upon the three sons successively of his granddaughter Jane, Countess of John, 3rd Earl of Wigtown.

The 1st Earl's aforesaid grandson,

THE HON SIR WILLIAM DRUMMOND (1622-75), succeeding as 2nd Earl of Roxburghe, assumed the surname of KER, and fulfilling the stipulation in the will by marrying his cousin, the Lady Jean Ker, was succeeded by his eldest son,

ROBERT, 3rd Earl (c1658-82) who was one of the privy council of CHARLES II, accompanying The Duke of York from London to Scotland in HMS Gloucester.

His lordship was lost on the coast of Yarmouth, in 1682, leaving issue by his wife, Mary, daughter of John, 1st Marquess of Tweeddale (who survived him and remained a widow 71 years), three sons, of whom the eldest,

ROBERT (c1677-96) succeeded as 4th Earl; at whose decease, unmarried, the honours devolved upon his brother,

JOHN, 5th Earl (c1680-1741); who, having filled the office of Secretary of State in 1704, was installed a Knight of the Garter, and created, in 1707, Viscount Broxmouth, Earl of Kelso, Marquess of Cessford and Bowmont, and DUKE OF ROXBURGHE, with remainder to the heirs who should inherit the earldom of Roxburghe.

His Grace espoused Mary, daughter of Daniel, Earl of Nottingham, and widow of William, Marquess of Halifax; and dying in 1741, was succeeded by his only son,

ROBERT, 2nd Duke, who wedded, in 1739, Essex, eldest daughter of Sir Roger Mostyn Bt; and dying in 1755, was succeeded by his son,

JOHN, 3rd Duke; the celebrated book collector, who was installed a Knight of the Garter and a Knight of the Thistle; but dying unmarried, in 1804, the British honours expired, while the Scottish devolved upon His Grace's kinsman,

WILLIAM, 7th Lord Bellenden, as 4th Duke.

FLOORS CASTLE, near Kelso, Roxburghshire, was built in the 1720s by the architect William Adam for the 1st Duke of Roxburghe, possibly incorporating an earlier tower house

In the 19th century it was embellished with turrets and battlements by William Playfair for the 6th Duke.

Floors has the common 18th-century layout of a main block with two symmetrical service wings.

The 5th Earl of Roxburghe commissioned the Scottish architect William Adam (1689–1748), father of Robert Adam, to design a new mansion incorporating the earlier tower house.

It was built between 1721-26, and comprised a plain block, with towers at each corner.

Pavilions on either side housed stables and kitchens.

Ca 1837, the 6th Duke commissioned the fashionable architect William Playfair to remodel and rebuild the plain Georgian mansion house he had inherited.

The present form of the building is the result of Playfair's work.
In 1903, the 8th Duke married the American heiress May Goelet, who brought with her from her Long Island home a set of Gobelins Manufactory tapestries, that were incorporated into the ballroom in the 1930s, and added to the collection several modern pictures by Walter Sickert and Henri Matisse, among others.
The 10th and present Duke and Duchess undertake the huge responsibility of maintaining and protecting the treasures to ensure that they can be enjoyed by future generations.

In 2010, the installation of a biomass boiler providing a source of renewable heat energy marked the next page in the history of Floors Castle.

First published in January, 2014.  Roxburghe arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

1st Baron O'Neill

EDWARD, 1st VISCOUNT CHICHESTER (1568-1648), Governor of Carrickfergus, Lord High Admiral of Lough Neagh, married firstly, in 1605, Anne, daughter of John Coplestone, and had issue,
JOHN, of whom we treat;
He wedded secondly, between 1616-26, Mary Denham.

The second son,

THE HON JOHN CHICHESTER (1609-47), a colonel in the King's Army, espoused Mary, eldest daughter of Roger Jones, 1st Viscount Ranelagh, and had issue,
Arthur, succeeded as 2nd Earl of Donegall;
JOHN, of whom hereafter;
Elizabeth; two other daughters.
The younger son,

JOHN CHICHESTER, was father of

THE REV WILLIAM CHICHESTER, who married Lydia, daughter of Henry Arvse, and had issue,

THE REV ARTHUR CHICHESTER (1716-68), Vicar of Drummaul, Randalstown. who wedded Mary, daughter of Henry O'Neill, of Shane's Castle, and was father of

THE REV WILLIAM CHICHESTER (1742-1815), Rector of Broughshane, Rector of Clonmany, who espoused firstly, Mary Anne, daughter of George Harvey, and had issue,
SIR ARTHUR CHICHESTER, 1st and last Baronet.
He married secondly, Mary Anne, daughter of the Rev William Hart, and had further issue,
EDWARD, of whom hereafter.
The younger son,

THE REV EDWARD CHICHESTER, Rector of Kilmore, County Armagh, married, in 1812, Catherine, daughter of Robert Young, and had issue,
WILLIAM, of whom we treat;
Robert (Rev);
George Vaughan (Rev).
The eldest son,

THE REV WILLIAM CHICHESTER (1813-83), Prebendary of St Michael's, Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, 1848, succeeded, in 1855, to the estates of his second cousin twice removed, John, 3rd Viscount O'Neill.

In the same year he assumed (by royal licence) the surname of O'NEILL.

He married firstly, in 1839, Henrietta, daughter of Robert Torrens, a Judge of the Common Pleas in Ireland, and had issue,
EDWARD, of whom hereafter;
The Rev William O'Neill wedded secondly, in 1858, Elizabeth Grace, daughter of the Ven Dr Robert John Torrens, Archdeacon of Dublin.

He was elevated to the peerage, in 1868, in the dignity of BARON O'NEILL, of Shane's Castle, County Antrim.

His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

EDWARD, 2nd Baron (1839-1928), JP DL, who espoused, in 1873, the Lady Louisa Katherine Emma Cochrane, daughter of the 11th Earl of Dundonald, and had issue,
William Thomas Cochrane (1874-82);
Arthur Edward Bruce (1876-1914), killed in action;
Robert William Hugh, created BARON RATHCAVAN;
Louisa Henrietta Valdivia; Rose Anne Mary; Alice Esmeralda.
His lordship was succeeded by his grandson (son of the Hon Arthur Edward Bruce O'Neill),

SHANE EDWARD ROBERT, 3rd Baron (1907-44), who married, in 1932, Anne Geraldine Mary, daughter of the Hon Guy Lawrence Charteris (second son of 9th Earl of Wemyss), and had issue,
Fionn Frances Bride.
The 3rd Baron was killed in action, 1944, during the 2nd World War, and was succeeded by his only son,

RAYMOND ARTHUR CLANABOY, 4th and present Baron, KCVO TD, of Shane's Castle, who wedded, in 1963, Georgina Mary, daughter of Lord George Francis John Montagu Scott, and has issue,
Tyrone Alexander, b 1966;
Rory St John, b 1968.
THE HON SHANE SEBASTIAN CLANABOY O'NEILL (1965-), married, in 1997, Celia Frances, daughter of Peter Hickman, and has issue,
CON, b 2000;
Hugo Peter Raymond, b 2002.

I have written about the house of O'Neill here.

4th & present Lord O'Neill (Image: Randalstown Heritage Society)

The present Lord O'Neill's main interests include conservation, transport history and tourism.

He was chairman of the National Trust in NI for many years and a former chairman of the NI Tourist Board.

Lord O'Neill's passion is railways, particularly trains.

I recall the Shane's Castle railway, which ran through the demesne, and visited it as a child.

He was the stepson of Ian Fleming, the James Bond creator.

His uncle, the Rt Hon Terence O'Neill (afterwards the Lord O'Neill of the Maine), was a former Prime Minister of Northern Ireland.

The Shane's Castle estate is one of the largest private demesnes in Northern Ireland, comprising about 3,000 acres.

It lies in a particularly scenic, not to say strategic, position on the northeast shore of Lough Neagh, between Antrim and Randalstown.

Part of the Estate is a nature reserve.

The O'Neill family has had a hapless history with regard to the fate of their houses: the first Shane's Castle dated from the early 1600s and was utterly destroyed by an accidental fire in 1816.

The family moved to a small house adjoining the stables.

This house was replaced in 1865 by a larger, Gothic-Victorian castle which was burnt by the IRA in 1922 (as was the near by Antrim Castle).

Its ruin was subsequently cleared away, and for the next 40 or so years the family lived once again in the stables.

The present Neo-Georgian house (above) at Shane's Castle, County Antrim, was built in 1958 for the present Lord O'Neill to the designs of Arthur Jury, of Blackwood & Jury, architects.

The formal gardens to the south were laid out from the 1960s.

This house was built to replace a Victorian predecessor designed by architects Lanyon, Lynn & Lanyon, which was built in 1865 on a site immediately to the north, facing this house across the stable yard, but which was maliciously burnt in 1922.

The Victorian castle was itself a replacement for the original Shane's Castle, which was accidentally burnt in 1816.

A proposal to replace the Victorian castle with a Neo-Georgian house designed by the English architect Oliver Hill in 1938 was not carried out.

The present house is classical and well-proportioned, with a handsome fanlight doorway.

First published in July, 2008. O'Neill arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Sunday, 27 December 2020

Garvagh House

8,247 ACRES

The name of CANNING is derived from the manor of Bishops Cannings, in Wiltshire, where the family was originally seated and where the senior line continued until it terminated in co-heiresses in the time of HENRY VII.

A younger son settled in Bristol in the reign of EDWARD II, and the branch founded by him formed the most eminent family of that city during the greater part of the 14th and 15th centuries.

WILLIAM CANYNGES represented Bristol in several parliaments, and was six times Mayor between 1360 and 1390.

He died in 1396, leaving, with other issue,

JOHN CANYNGES, his son and heir, who was MP for Bristol, and also, in 1392 and 1398, Mayor.

He died in 1405, leaving three sons and three daughters, all then under age; Thomas, his second son, was Lord Mayor of London, 1456-7; William, his third son, was the celebrated Mayor of Bristol in the reign of EDWARD IV.

John Canynges' eldest son,

JOHN CANYNGES, was the father of

THOMAS CANYNGES, who acquired the estate of Foxcote by his marriage with Agnes, the eldest daughter and co-heir of John Salmon, and Eustatia, his wife, daughter and heir of John le Marshall, in whose family Foxcote had been vested from the time of the Conquest.

Richard Canning of Foxcote, the son and heir of Thomas and Agnes, was the grandfather of 

RICHARD CANNING, of Foxcote, who married Elizabeth, daughter of Richard Petty, of Ilmington, and had, with several other children,
Richard, his heir;
GEORGE, of whom hereafter.
The younger son,

GEORGE CANNING, had a grant of the manor of Garvagh, County Londonderry, from ELIZABETH I, and settled there. 

Mr Canning died ca 1646, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

WILLIAM CANNING, of Garvagh, father of

GEORGE CANNING, of Garvagh, who was succeeded by his son,

GEORGE CANNING, of Garvagh, Lieutenant-Colonel, Londonderry Militia, who married Abigail, fourth daughter of Robert Stratford, MP for County Wicklow, 1662, and aunt of John, 1st Earl of Aldborough, by whom he left an only son, 

STRATFORD CANNING (1703-75), of Garvagh, who married Letitia, daughter and heiress of Obadiah Newburgh, of County Cavan, and had issue, 
GEORGE, of the Middle Temple;
PAUL, succeeded at Garvagh;
Stratford, a merchant at London;
Mary; Jane Elizabeth; Frances; Letitia.
The eldest son,

GEORGE CANNING (c1730-71), of the Middle Temple, author of a volume of poems, died in 1771 (having incurred the displeasure of his father, and the penalty of disinheritance, by an improvident marriage), leaving an only child, then an infant,

GEORGE CANNING (1770-1827), who having passed through Eton and Oxford, with more than ordinary éclat, entered early into public life, and became distinguished as a political writer, and one of the most eloquent parliamentary orators.

Mr Canning filled, for several years, some of the higher offices in the government, until eventually, sustained by his own transcendent talents, and enlightened views alone, he reached the summit of a statesman's ambition, and became (in 1827) PRIME MINISTER; but scarcely had the hopes of the nation been raised by this most popular appointment, than it pleased Providence to render those hopes delusive - the Right Honourable gentleman's death ensuing a few months after his elevation.

His third son, Charles John Canning, was created, in 1859, EARL CANNING.

Mr Stratford Canning's second son,

PAUL CANNING, of Garvagh, espoused Jane, daughter of Conway Spencer, of County Antrim, and was succeeded at his decease, in 1784, by his only son,

GEORGE CANNING (1778-1840), first cousin of the prime minister, who was elevated to the peerage, in 1818, in the dignity of BARON GARVAGH, of Garvagh, County Londonderry.

He married firstly, in 1803, Georgiana, fourth daughter of Robert, 1st Marquess of Londonderry, by whom he had no issue.

His lordship wedded secondly, in 1824, Rosabelle Charlotte Isabella, eldest daughter of Henry Bonham MP, of Titness Park, Berkshire, and had issue,
Albert Stratford George;
Emeline Rosabelle.
His lordship was Lord-Lieutenant of County Londonderry in 1840.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

CHARLES HENRY SPENCER GEORGE, 2nd Baron (1826-71), JP DL, who married, in 1851, Cecilia Susannah, daughter of John Ruggles-Brise, and had issue,
Conway Stratford George.
His lordship was succeeded by his elder son,

CHARLES JOHN SPENCER GEORGE, 3rd Baron (1852-1915), JP DL, who wedded, in 1877, Florence Alice, daughter of Baron Joseph de Bretton, and had issue, an only child,

4th Baron Garvagh (Image: RAF Museum)

LEOPOLD ERNEST STRATFORD GEORGE, 4th Baron (1878-1956), JP DL, Lieutenant, Royal Flying Corps, who espoused firstly, in 1904, Caroline Grace Elizabeth, daughter of Charles Ernest Rube; and secondly, in 1919, Dora, daughter of Bayley Parker, by whom he had issue,
ALEXANDER LEOPOLD IVOR GEORGE, his successor;Victor Stratford de Redcliffe;Dora Valerie Patricia; Daphne Rose.
  • Charles Henry Spencer George Canning, 2nd Baron (1826-71);
  • Charles John Spencer George Canning, 3rd Baron (1852–1915);
  • Leopold Ernest Stratford George Canning, 4th Baron (1878–1956);
  • (Alexander Leopold Ivor) George Canning, 5th Baron (1920--2013);
  • Spencer George Stratford de Redcliffe Canning, 6th Baron (b 1953).
The heir apparent is the present holder's son, the Hon Stratford George Edward de Redcliffe Canning (b 1990).
© Garvagh House, the Sam Henry Collection; courtesy of the Craig Family

GARVAGH HOUSE, County Londonderry, is claimed to have been first built in the early 17th century and enlarged twice thereafter.

The house eventually evolved a late Georgian appearance, with a front of three bays between two, three-sided bows and an eaved roof on a bracket cornice.

There was a long enfilade of reception rooms, one having a modillion cornice and a Georgian bow; another with a broken pediment of a 19th century appearance over its door-case.

When the Canning family sold Garvagh House, it was used as flats for single female teachers, and some classrooms.

The house had fallen into disrepair over the years, suffering from wet and dry rot, and vermin infestation. 

The local education committee decided to demolish Garvagh House and to build a new primary school on its site.

This was duly done and Garvagh Primary School opened in 1965.

The village of Garvagh is unique in that, unlike other villages in the county, it was not developed by the Irish Society, nor was it an ancient settlement.

It is, in fact, a private plantation; that is, a town set up over a period of nearly 300 years and developed by the local Lords of the Manor, the Cannings.

The family association with the Garvagh area began in 1615 when George Canning, of Foxcote, Warwickshire, was appointed as agent for the Ironmongers' Company of London, a company actively involved in JAMES I's plantation of Ulster. To begin with, the townland of Garvagh was not part of the Ulster Plantation, as it had been granted to Manus O'Cahan, the local Irish chief, as a native freehold.
After the Great Irish Rebellion of 1641 the situation changed, when O'Cahan joined forces with Sir Phelim Roe O'Neill in the insurrection and, as a result, he lost the freehold. In 1649, one of George Canning's sons, Paul Canning, acquired the townland of Garvagh and began to develop it, by first building St Paul's parish church, which initially was intended as a private chapel for him and his family.
The Canning family continued to play an active part in the development of Garvagh until 1920 when they sold the estate and moved to England, exactly three centuries after they had established the first village.
The village of Garvagh lies between Coleraine and Maghera.

There is a museum and heritage centre in the village.

Covering over 550 acres, Garvagh Forest is situated on the Western outskirts of the village, with trees from over 80 years old to those only planted at the turn of the century.

The final unusual habitat in Garvagh Forest is the Garvagh Pyramid, created as a burial chamber for Lord Garvagh in the 19th Century.

Unfortunately the pyramid was never allowed to fulfil the task it was designed for and was sealed shut, with no incumbent, a number of years ago.

I'm grateful to the Craig family and Coleraine Museum for making this possible.

I have written about the House of Canning. 

First published in March, 2011.