Monday, 30 March 2020

Coollattin Park


In 1565, HUGH FITZWILLIAM (c1534-c1576), of Emley, Sprotbrough, and Haddlesey, Yorkshire, collected the records of his family, and from these records the following particulars are partly deduced:

SIR WILLIAM FITZ GODRIC, cousin to EDWARD THE CONFESSOR, left a son and heir,

SIR WILLIAM FITZWILLIAMwho, being ambassador at the court of WILLIAM, Duke of Normandy, attended that prince in his victorious expedition against England, as marshal of the army, in 1066; and for his valour at the battle of Hastings, THE CONQUEROR presented him with a scarf from his own arm.

This Sir William was father of

SIR WILLIAM FITZWILLIAM, Knight, who wedded Eleanor, daughter and heiress of Sir John Emley, of Emley and Sprotbrough, by which marriage the Fitzwilliams obtained the lordships of Emley and Sprotbrough, which continued with them until the reign of HENRY VIII, when those lordships were carried, by co-heirs, into the families of Suthill and Copley.

Sir William was succeeded by his son,

SIR WILLIAM FITZWILLIAM, Lord of Emley and Sprotbrough, living in 1117, as appears from a grant made by him of a piece of the wood in Emley to the monks of Byland.

To this grant, in a round seal, is represented a man on horseback, completely armed and circumscribed S. Willmi Filij Willmi Dni de Emmalaia; and on the reverse, the arms of FITZWILLIAM, viz. Lozenge.

This Sir William, or one of his descendants, caused a cross to be set up in the high street of Sprotbrough; which cross was pulled down in 1520.

From Sir William we pass to his descendant,

SIR JOHN FITZWILLIAM, who founded, in 1372, the Chantry of St Edward in the church of Sprotbrough; and having married Elizabeth, daughter of William de Clinton, 1st Earl of Huntingdon, had three sons, the eldest of whom,

SIR WILLIAM FITZWILLIAM, married Maud, daughter of Ralph, 3rd Lord Cromwell, of Tattershall, and co-heir of the Lord Treasurer Cromwell, by whom he had one son and two daughters.

He was succeeded by his son,

SIR JOHN FITZWILLIAM, who wedded Eleanor, daughter of Sir Henry Green, of Drayton, and had six sons.

The youngest son,

JOHN FITZWILLIAM, of Milton Hall and Greens Norton, in Northamptonshire, espoused Eleanor, daughter of William Villiers, of Brooksby, Leicestershire, by whom he had three sons and two daughters, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

THE RT HON SIR WILLIAM FITZWILLIAM (c1460-1534), Knight, of Milton and Gaynes Park, Essex, and also of the city of London, of which he was sheriff in 1506.

Sir William married firstly, Anne, daughter of Sir John Hawes, Knight, of the city of London, and had,
WILLIAM, his heir;
Elizabeth; Anne.
He wedded secondly, Mildred, daughter of Richard Sackville, of Withyham, Sussex, and had three sons and two daughters,
Eleanor; Mary.
Sir William was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR WILLIAM FITZWILLIAM, Knight, who espoused Anne, daughter of Sir Richard Sapcote, of Elton, Huntingdonshire; and was succeeded by his son and heir,

SIR WILLIAM FITZWILLIAM (1526-99), Lord Deputy of Ireland and Lord Justice, who wedded Anne, daughter of Sir William Sydney, and aunt of the 1st Earl of Leicester, and had issue,
WILLIAM, his heir;
Mary; Philippa; Margaret.
Sir William was succeeded by his son,

SIR WILLIAM FITZWILLIAM, Knight, of Milton and Gaynes Park Hall, who was elevated to the peerage, in 1620, in the dignity of Baron Fitzwilliam, of Lifford, County Donegal.

His lordship wedded Catherine, daughter of William Hyde, of Denchworth, Berkshire; and dying in 1644, was succeeded by his elder son,

WILLIAM, 2nd Baron (c1609-58), who espoused, in 1638, Jane, daughter and co-heir of Alderman Hugh Perry, of London, and had issue,
WILLIAM, his heir;
Jane, m Sir Christopher Wren, the celebrated architect.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

WILLIAM, 3rd Baron (1643-1719), who was advanced, in 1716, to the dignities of Viscount Milton, County Westmeath, and EARL FITZWILLIAM, of County Tyrone.

His lordship married Anne, daughter and sole heir of Edmund Cremor, of West Winch, Norfolk, by whom he had four sons and six daughters.

He was succeeded by his third, but eldest surviving son,

JOHN, 2nd Earl (1681-1728), who wedded Anne, daughter and sole heir of John Stringer, of Sutton-cum-Lound, Nottinghamshire, and left, with three daughters, a son and successor,

WILLIAM, 3rd Earl (1719-56), then a minor, who was, in 1742, enrolled amongst the peers of Great Britain, by GEORGE II, by the style and title of Lord Fitzwilliam, Baron Milton, in Northamptonshire.

His lordship was advanced, in 1746, to the dignities of Viscount Milton and EARL FITZWILLIAM, in the same county.

He espoused, in 1744, the Lady Anne Watson-Wentworth, eldest daughter of Thomas, Marquess of Rockingham, and sister and co-heir of Charles, 2nd Marquess of Rockingham, by whom he had issue,
WILLIAM, his successor;
Charlotte; Frances Henrietta.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

WILLIAM, 4th Earl (1748-1833), Lord Lieutenant of Ireland for a very short period, in 1795, who married firstly, in 1770, the Lady Charlotte Ponsonby, second daughter of William, 2nd Earl of Bessborough, by whom he had an only child, CHARLES WILLIAM WENTWORTH, his heir.
Charles William, 5th Earl (1786-1857);
William Charles, Viscount Milton (1812-35);
William Thomas Spencer, 6th Earl (1815-1902);
William, Viscount Milton (1839-77);
William Charles de Meuron, 7th Earl (1872-1943);
(William Henry Lawrence) Peter, 8th Earl (1910-48);
Eric Spencer, 9th Earl (1883-1952);
William Thomas George, 10th Earl (1904-79). 
The titles expired following the decease of the 10th and last Earl.

COOLLATTIN PARK, is near Shillelagh in County Wicklow.

The history of the Wentworth/Fitzwilliam families has been well documented, but what is less well known is the influence they had on the history of the kingdom of Ireland.

As well as the family seat of Wentworth Woodhouse in Yorkshire (where they owned 22,000 acres in 1870), the Earls Fitzwilliam also resided at Malton House (later Coollattin House) in County Wicklow, from where they managed their vast estate.

Coollattin is now a golf club.

The 4th Earl  built Coollattin House (it was originally called Malton, one of his grandfather’s titles as Earl of Malton). 

The house was designed by the leading architect John Carr, who was also responsible for the grandiose “stable block” at Wentworth Woodhouse as well as the Keppel’s Column and Mausoleum monuments near Wentworth.

The building was started around 1794 but before completion it was burned down in a rebellion in 1798 (along with 160 other houses in the nearby village of Carnew and several Catholic churches).

Work resumed again in 1800 and the house was completed in 1807.

As well as rebuilding their house and the village, the Fitzwilliams contributed to the repairs of the Catholic churches and gave land for other churches (whilst other landlords would not even allow a Catholic church on their estate).

Throughout the family’s time in Ireland they did not take sides in the various Irish struggles through the centuries, and perhaps as a consequence their house was left untouched in the last dash for independence.

As well as undertaking building and agricultural projects, the 4th Earl was also the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland for a short time in 1795.

In 2003, The Times newspaper wrote: 

When the 10th and last Earl died in 1979 the remnants of the huge Coollattin estate, for centuries the Irish seat of the Earls Fitzwilliam, was sold by the last Earl’s widow, Lady Juliet De Chairoff, and in the following years, it was broken up and sold on bit by bit.

In 1983, the sprawling Coollattin House, with its vast lands attached, was resold for €128,000. 
When the farm land value was removed, this amounted to just £8,000 for the house itself — which, with its 120-plus rooms, is still among the largest private houses in the country. 
In the same year the average price of a standard new home in Dublin was more than four times that, at £35,000.

In living memory, the once-grand Coollattin estate had spanned 88,000 acres, had 20,000 tenants and comprised one quarter of Co Wicklow. 
There has long been a rumour that the estate harboured a vast tunnel used by inhabitants of the house to escape to the lodge.

The estate began falling apart in 1948 when the last earl, Peter Fitzwilliam, was killed in a plane crash with JFK’s sister, Kathleen (Kick) Kennedy, with whom, it was speculated, he had been having an affair.

His estate tenants genuinely grieved. 
The Fitzwilliams had a history of being among the most liberal landlords in Ireland. 
They had paid tenants more, invested in their education and had worked hard to ensure that the built environment in their towns was above average.

When the Great Famine came, the Fitzwilliam family were at least decent enough to ship their excess tenants to America rather than simply turn them off the land as many landlords did. 
Thousands were sent abroad to start new lives in this manner.

Perhaps this was the reason Coollattin House survived the great burning sprees that erupted through and after the war of independence, when working classes took their revenge on the less benevolent owners of big house.
Former seats ~ Coollattin Park, County Wicklow; Wentworth Woodhouse, Yorkshire; Milton Hall, Cambridgeshire.

Former town residence ~ 4 Grosvenor Square, London.

First published in July, 2011. 

Friday, 27 March 2020

1st Baron De La Warr

The founder of this family,

SIR THOMAS WEST, Knight, lived in the reign of EDWARD II, and was in high favour with that monarch and his successor.

He married Eleanor, daughter and heiress of Sir John de Cantilupe, of Hempston Cantilupe, Devon, by whom he obtained the manor of Snitterfield, in Warwickshire.

Sir Thomas was subsequently summoned to parliament as Baron West in 1342, and participated in the wars of EDWARD III.

He died in 1342, and was succeeded by his son,

THOMAS, 2nd Baron, who was not summoned to parliament, though served at Crécy in 1346.

His son,

THOMAS, 3rd Baron, was summoned to parliament in 1402; and dying three years later, in 1405, was succeeded by his son, 

THOMAS, 4TH BARON, who took a distinguished part in the French wars of HENRY V.

Dying without issue, in 1415, he was succeeded by his brother, 

REGINALD, 5TH BARON, who, in the reign of HENRY VI, on the death of Thomas, Lord la Warr, his uncle, had livery of the lands of his mother's inheritance, and was summoned to parliament as 6th Baron De La Warr, on the death of his uncle in 1426.

Dying in 1451, he was succeeded by his son,

RICHARD, 7th Baron, a staunch supporter of the house of LANCASTER in the war of the Roses.

Following his decease in 1497, he was succeeded by his son,

THOMAS, 8th Baron (c1457-1525), KG.

His lordship's lineal descendant, 

WILLIAM WEST, having served in the English army, at the siege of St Quintin, in Picardy, was knighted at Hampton Court in 1568; and created, at the same time, Baron De La Warr (2nd creation).

He had also, by act of parliament, a full restitution in blood. His only son, 

THOMAS, 2nd Baron, was succeeded by his son, 

THOMAS, 3rd Baron (1577-1618), Governor and Captain-general of Virginia.


THE STATE of Delaware takes its name from Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr.
In the United States, Thomas West, 3rd (or 12th) Baron, is often named in history books simply as Lord Delaware. He served as governor of the Jamestown Colony, and the Delaware Bay was named after him.
The state of Delaware, Delaware River and Delaware Indians were so called after the bay, and thus ultimately derive their names from the barony. Many other US counties, townships and the like derive their names directly or indirectly from this connection.
His lordship died, in 1618, at Virginia and was succeed in the title by his son, 

HENRY, 4th Baron; whose grandson,

JOHN, 6th Baron, one of the tellers of the exchequer, and afterwards treasurer of the excise, married and was succeeded by his only son,

JOHN, 7th Baron, KB, a general in the Army, and Governor of Guernsey.

His lordship marred twice, firstly to Lady Charlotte, daughter of the Earl of Clancarty.

In 1761 this nobleman was created Viscount Cantelupe and EARL DE LA WARR.

He died in 1766 and was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN, 2nd Earl, was an officer of high rank in the army and appointed, in 1766, Master of the Horse to The Queen.


William Herbrand [Sackville], 11th Earl De La Warr, is seated at Buckhurst Park, Withyham, Sussex.

Former town residence ~ 14 Bourne Street, London.
First published in June, 2012.   Coat-of-arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Non-Royal Toothpaste

I've been using Maclean's toothpaste for years.

Apparently it was introduced into United Kingdom in the 1930s by the Maclean's Company, which was subsequently taken over by the Beecham Group, and eventually by SKB.

Yesterday I bought a new tube of Maclean's and almost immediately noticed that the royal warrant was missing.

This warrant was a conspicuous likeness of the Prince of Wales' feathers, surmounted by the legend: By Appointment to HRH The Prince of Wales, Suppliers of Toothpaste, GSK Consumer Healthcare. Brentford, Middlesex.

Evidently another concoction is used to clean the royal gnashers now! 

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Belfast Fishmongers

In 1974, there were no less than fifty-two merchants in Belfast who were classified as Fishmongers, sixteen of which were in east Belfast.

Do any readers recall J Christie of 32 Belmont Road?

How many fishmongeries are there in Belfast today?
  1. Adams, T, 24 Bromley Street
  2. Bon-Accord, 169 Victoria Street
  3. Boyle, F, 169 Divis Street
  4. Campbell, T, 332 Woodstock Road
  5. Christie, J, 32 Belmont Road
  6. Christie, Walter, 94 York Road
  7. Coulter, J, 162 Crumlin Road
  8. Crawford, John, 34 Botanic Avenue
  9. Crawford, William, 239-241 Cliftonville Road
  10. Crawford's, 2-4 Westland Road
  11. Curran, J, 241 Grosvenor Road
  12. Davey, Robertina, 849 Crumlin Road
  13. Dickson, John, 122 Oldpark Road
  14. Donnelly, T, 62 Knockbreda Road
  15. Duffy, John, 43 Bradbury Place
  16. Dungannon Stores, 145 Upper Lisburn road
  17. Eagle, The, 233 North Queen Street & 171 Shankill Rd
  18. Ewing, J, 32 Gilnahirk Road
  19. Ewing, M & H, 124 Shankill Road
  20. Ewing, Walter, 11 Oldpark Road
  21. Ewing, William, 427 Lisburn road
  22. Fitzsimmons & Son, 261 Upper Newtownards Road
  23. Fitzsimmons, James, 431 Upper Newtownards Road
  24. Frizzell, 273 Shankill Road
  25. Gillespie, JH, 223 Woodstock Rd & 138 Ravenhill Rd
  26. Gillespie, W, 252 Newtownards Road
  27. Gilroy, George, 66-72 Ann Street
  28. Hanlon, Archer, 14 Woodvale Road
  29. James, H, 112 Albertbridge Road
  30. Johnston, James A, 23 Castlereagh Road
  31. Kingham, Thomas, 76 Shore Road
  32. Larmour, A, 249 North Queen Street
  33. Loughran, J & Sons, 137 Antrim Road
  34. Magill, Mrs M, 183 Newtownards Road
  35. Marquis, The, 91 Castle Street & 2 Marquis Street
  36. Mayne, N, 393 Ormeau Road
  37. Moss, R, 67 Ormeau Road
  38. McAreavy's, 242 Springfield Road
  39. McCrory, Edward, 146 Castlereagh Road
  40. McCusker, John, 295 Grosvenor Road
  41. McGonigle & Malcolm, 14 Upper Newtownards Road
  42. McNeill, FG, 5 Ardoyne Road
  43. Nightingale, Thomas, 79 Castlereagh Road
  44. McTeggart, Mrs C, 68-78 Oxford Street
  45. McVeigh, J, 83 Newtownards Road
  46. O'Connor, A, 374 Crumlin Road
  47. Quinn, Hugh, 68-78 Oxford Street
  48. Rogan, Patrick, 792 Shore Road
  49. Ross, John & Sons, 68-78 Oxford Street
  50. Sawers Ltd, 24-38 Castle Street & 15 Fountain Street
  51. Somerville, H, 112 Bloomfield Avenue
  52. Stewart, WH, 307 Springfield Road
First published in May, 2017.

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

1st Baron Kingsale







The family of COURCY claims alliance with most of the royal houses of Europe, paternally through the Dukes of Lorraine, and maternally through the ducal house of Normandy.

LOUIS IV, King of France, born in 920, wedded, in 939, Gerberga of Saxony, daughter of HENRY THE FOWLER, King of Germany, by whom he had two sons, Lothair, who succeeded to the French throne (and with whose son, LOUIS V, the race of monarchs descended from Charlemagne ceased), and

CHARLES, Duke of Lower Lorraine; whose immediate descendant,

ROBERT DE COURCY, Lord of Courcy in Normandy, in 1026, was succeeded by his eldest son,

RICHARD DE COURCY, who accompanied his sovereign WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR, into England, and distinguishing himself at the battle of Hastings, participated largely in the Conqueror's spoil, having been allotted numerous lordships; amongst which was that of Stoke, in Somerset, and thence denominated Stoke Courcy (Stogursey).

His lordship died in 1098, and was succeeded by his son,

ROBERT, as 2nd Baron of Stoke Courcy, who founded the nunnery of Cannington, Somerset.

This nobleman was steward of the household to HENRY I, and to his daughter, EMPRESS MATILDA; by the former of whom he was appointed one of the greater barons of Westminster.

His lordship espoused Rohais, daughter of Hugh de Grandmesnil, Lord of Hinckley, Leicestershire, and Lord High Steward of England, by whom he had five sons, and was succeeded by the eldest,

WILLIAM, 3rd Baron of Stoke Courcy, and royal steward to HENRY I.

This nobleman, having no issue, was succeeded by his brother,

ROBERT, 4th Baron of Stoke Courcy, who, during the reign of KING STEPHEN, had a principal command at the battle of Northampton against the Scots.

This feudal lord wedded Avice, daughter and co-heir of William Meschin, and was succeeded by an only son,

ROBERT, 5th Baron, father of

WILLIAM, 6th Baron of Stoke Courcy, Royal Steward to HENRY II, who died in 1171, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR JOHN DE COURCY (1150-1219), 7th Baron of Stoke Courcy, who having distinguished himself during the reign of HENRY II, in that monarch's wars in England and Gascony, was sent into Ireland, in 1177, as an assistant to William FitzAdelm in the government of that kingdom.

Sir John having prevailed upon some of the veteran soldiers to accompany him, invaded the province of Ulster, with twenty-two knights, fifty esquires, and about three hundred foot-soldiers, and, after many hard-fought battles, succeeded in attaching Ulster to the English monarchy.

By many prosperous battles fought with great risk to his life, he subdued Ulster to the obedience of HENRY II.

He stretched the bounds of the English Pale as far as Dunluce, in the most northern parts of the province, which he endeavoured to secure by building castles and fortresses in convenient places.

Sir John established Inch Abbey, near Downpatrick, County Down, in 1177.

For this important service Sir John was formally created, in 1181 (being the first Englishman dignified with an Irish title of honour) EARL OF ULSTER, and Lord of Connaught; with a grant by patent to him and his heirs, that they should enjoy all the land in Ireland he could gain by his sword, together with the donation of bishoprics and abbeys; reserving from him only homage and fealty.

In 1182, he was constituted sole Governor of Ireland.

By his reputation and conduct he brought the whole kingdom in one year into such regularity and order that " a man with a wand, having treasure about him, might travel along the country with safety."

His lordship continued in high favour during the remainder of the reign of his royal master, and performed prodigies of valour in Ireland.

This splendour and rank having excited the envy of Hugh de Lacy, appointed Viceroy of Ireland by KING JOHN, Sir John, the Earl of Ulster, was seized while performing penance unarmed and barefooted in the churchyard at Downpatrick, County Down, on Good Friday, 1204.

He was sent over to England, where he was condemned to life imprisonment in the Tower of London.

KING JOHN granted to de Lacy all of Sir John's possessions in Ireland, and, in 1205, created him EARL OF ULSTER.

After Sir John had been in confinement about a year, a dispute happening to arise between KING JOHN and PHILIP II of France, concerning the Duchy of Normandy, the decision of which being referred to single combat, KING JOHN, more hasty than advised, appointed the day, against which the King of France provided his champion;

But the King of England, less fortunate, could find no one of his subjects willing to take up the gauntlet, until his captive in the Tower, Sir John de Courcy, was prevailed upon to accept the challenge.

However, when everything was prepared for the contest, and the champions had entered the lists, in the presence of the monarchs of England, France, and Spain, the opponent of the Sir John, seized with a sudden panic, put spurs on his horse and fled the arena; whereupon the victory was adjudged with acclamation to the champion of England.

The French king being informed, however, of Sir John's powerful strength, and wishing to witness some exhibition of it, his lordship, at the desire of KING JOHN, a sturdy helmet was laid on a block of wood, which Sir John cleft asunder, and with the same blow struck so deep into the wood, that no person present except himself could withdraw his sword.

The King was so well satisfied that this signal performance, that he not only restored Sir John to his estates and effects, but desired him to ask anything within his gift, and it should be granted.

His Majesty would now have restored his earldom, which was held back by Hugh de Lacy, who refused to surrender it.

KING JOHN could only accede to Sir John de Courcy the permission to repair to Ireland to re-conquer it for himself; at the same time granting to him and his male heirs the privilege of appearing covered before the Kings of England.

To which Sir John replied, that having estates and titles enough, he desired that his successors might have the privilege to remain covered in the presence of His Majesty, and all future kings of England, which request was immediately conceded.

Contrary winds prevented his succeeding in several attempts to cross the Irish Sea.

Sir John de Courcy died in France in 1219, and was succeeded by his only son,

MILES DE COURCY (c1286-c1344), who, being unable to recover his father's earldom, was created, ca 1340, BARON KINGSALE, in Ireland, as a compensation for the earldom of Ulster, which was retained by Hugh de Lacy.
His lordship was thereafter obliged to reside in Ireland, and neglected to claim the English barony of Stoke Courcy.

For three centuries afterwards the honours descended uninterruptedly to,

JOHN, 13th Baron, died in 1628, leaving four sons,
GERALD, his heir;
Edmond, dsp;
David, grandfather of
JOHN, 25th Baron.
The eldest son,

GERALD, 14th Baron, died without male issue, about 1642, leaving a daughter, MARY, who wedded firstly, John Galway, of Kinsale; and secondly, Donogh O'Driscoll.

His lordship was succeeded by his brother,

PATRICK, 15th Baron, who died about 1663, leaving four sons and three daughters, viz.
JOHN, his successor;
Edmund, dsp;
Miles, father of GERALD, 24th Baron;
Gerald, dsp;
Alice; Elizabeth; Margaret.
The eldest son,

JOHN, 16th Baron, died in 1667, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

PATRICK, 17th Baron (c1660-69); who dsp and was succeeded by his brother,

ALMERICUS, 18th Baron (c1664-1720); outlawed, 1691, for his adhesion to the fortunes of King JAMES II; but the oulawry was very soon removed, and his lordship took his seat in the Irish parliament in 1692.

This nobleman, in observance of the ancient privilege of his house, appeared in the presence of WILLIAM III covered, and explained to that monarch, when His Majesty expressed surprise at the circumstance, the reason thus:
Sire, my name is Courcy; I am Lord of Kingsale in Your Majesty's Kingdom of Ireland; and the reason of my appearing covered in Your Majesty's presence is, to assert the ancient privilege of my family, granted to Sir John de Courcy, Earl of Ulster, and his heirs, by JOHN, King of England.
The King acknowledged the privilege, and giving Lord Kingsale his hand to kiss, his lordship paid his obeisance and continued covered.

He died without issue, when the title reverted to his first cousin,

GERALD, 19th Baron (1700-59), grandson of Patrick, the 20th Baron; who, upon being presented to GEORGE I, in 1720, had the honour of kissing His Majesty's hand, and asserting his ancient privilege.

His lordship espoused Margaretta, only daughter and heir of John Essington, of Ashlyns, Hertfordshire, and had issue,
Elizabeth Geraldine;
Eleanor Elizabeth.
His lordship thus leaving no male issue, the Barony devolved upon his second cousin,

JOHN, 20th Baron (c1717-76), who married, in 1746, Martha, daughter of the Rev William Heron, of Dorchester, Dorset, by whom he had issue,
JOHN, his successor;
Michael, Admiral in the Royal Navy;
Gerald (Rev);
Mary; Martha; Elizabeth; Anne.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN, 21st Baron, who wedded, in 1763, Susan, daughter of Conway Blennerhasset, of Castle Conway, County Kerry, by whom he had issue,
John, died 1813;
THOMAS (Rev), his successor;
Michael, Captain RN;
Martha; Elizabeth; Anne Geraldine; Mary.
His lordship died in 1822, and was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

THOMAS, 22nd Baron (1774-1832); at whose decease, unmarried, the title devolved upon his nephew,

JOHN STAPLETON, 23rd Baron (1805-47), who wedded, in 1825, Sarah, daughter of Joseph Chadder, and had issue,
JOHN CONSTANTINE, his successor;
Michael Conrad;
Florence Helena; Catherine Adela.
  • John Constantine de Courcy, 24th Baron (1827–65);
  • Michael Conrad de Courcy, 25th Baron (1828–74);
  • John Fitzroy de Courcy, 26th Baron (1821–90);
  • Michael William de Courcy, 27th Baron (1822–95);
  • Michael Constantine de Courcy, 28th Baron (1855–1931);
  • Michael William Robert de Courcy, 29th Baron (1882–1969);
  • Nevinson Mark de Courcy, 31st Baron (b 1958).
 The heir presumptive is the present holder's kinsman, Joseph Kenneth Charles de Courcy (b 1955).

The heir presumptive's heir apparent is his son, Patrick Miles Hugh de Courcy (b 1993).

First published in March, 2016. 

Rosegarland House


FRANCIS MacLAOISIGH, MacLYSACH, MacLYE, or LYE, petitioned for a lease of the dissolved monastery town and lands of Killeigh, near Geashill, King's County, in 1551, and obtained a lease of them the following year.

Two months later, in 1552, he obtained a grant of English liberty to enable him to hold the lands.

He married the daughter of John O'Carrol, and had issue,
JOHN, his successor;
Francis MacLaoighsigh or Lye was dead in 1573, and his lands were in possession of his eldest son,

JOHN MacLAOISIGH or LYE, who having a perfect knowledge of the English language as well as the Irish, was appointed Interpreter to the State, and was granted for his services as interpreter, in 1584, in the reign of ELIZABETH I, the fee of the monastery of Killeigh, which he then held under the lease of his father, and obtained a grant of Rathbride, County Kildare, dated 1591.

This gentleman married Amy, daughter of George FitzGerald, of Tircroghan, County Meath, and sister of Sir Edward FitzGerald, Knight, of the same place, and had issue,
JOHN, his heir;
Katherine; Mabel; Mary; Margaret; Bridget; Amy; Ellen.
He died in 1612, and was buried at Kildare Cathedral, where his tombstone still remains.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN LEIGH, of Rathbride, who with mother having alienated some of his father's lands, got a pardon for alienation dated 1613.

He had by his wife, whose name was Dowdall, the following issue,
FRANCIS, his heir;
John Leigh died abroad and intestate. Administration was granted in 1660 to his eldest son,

FRANCIS LEIGH, of Rathbride, Escheater-General of Leinster in 1663, MP for Kildare, 1689.

Having supported JAMES II, Leigh was attainted of high treason in 1691, when all his lands were forfeited.

He espoused, in 1662, Judith, daughter of Henry Spencer, and had issue,
Robert, died unmarried;
John, of Dublin, died unmarried;
Andrew, of Friarstown;
FRANCIS, of whom hereafter;
Judith, died unmarried.
The fourth son,

FRANCIS LEIGH, of Rathangan, County Kildare, succeeded his brother in the Wexford estate, and became of Rosegarland.

He married firstly, in 1699, Alice, widow of John Rawlins, of Rathangan, by whom he had no issue; and secondly, Miss Carew, and had issue,
JOHN, his heir;
Cecilia; Judith; Mary.
Mr Leigh died in 1727, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN LEIGH (c1703-58), of Rosegarland, MP for New Ross, 1727-58, who wedded, in 1727, Mary, daughter of John Cliffe, of Mulrancan, County Wexford, and had issue,
ROBERT, his heir;
Grace, m to Anthony, 8th Earl of Meath.
Mr Leigh was succeeded by his only son,

ROBERT LEIGH DL (1729-1802), of Rosegarland, MP for New Ross, 1759-1800, Lieutenant-Colonel, Wexford Militia, 1763, who espoused, in 1750/1, Arabella, daughter of Robert Leslie, of Glaslough, County Monaghan, and had issue,
FRANCIS, his heir;
Mr Leigh was succeeded by his eldest son,

FRANCIS LEIGH (1758-1839), of Rosegarland, Collector of Wexford, 1794, Sovereign or Mayor of New Ross, 1799, who married, in 1788, Grace, daughter of Richard Baldwin, and had issue,
John Robert, father of FRANCIS AUGUSTINE;
Charles, died unmarried;
Francis, of Sion;
Cecilia; Grace; Mary.
Mr Leigh, MP for Wexford Borough, 1785-1800, Wexford, 1801, New Ross, 1821-24, was succeeded by his grandson,

FRANCIS AUGUSTINE LEIGH JP DL (1822-1900), of Rosegarland, High Sheriff of County Wexford, 1867, Lieutenant, 10th Hussars, who wedded Augustine, daughter of Monsieur Charles Perrier, of Metz, Lorraine, France, and had issue,
Rose Jane; Frances; Jane.
Mr Leigh was succeeded by his eldest son,

FRANCIS ROBERT LEIGH JP (1853-1916), of Rosegarland, 3rd Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment, who espoused, in 1903, Elizabeth Scott, daughter of Barton Bell, of Black Hall, Lanark, and had issue,
FRANCIS EDWARD (1907-2003), his heir;
Augustine Anne Leigh;
two other daughters.

ROSEGARLAND HOUSE, Wellingtonbridge, County Wexford, is an early 18th century house comprising two storeys and a high basement.

It stands beside an old tower house, once the seat of the Synnotts.

In the late 1700s, a bigger two-storey, gable-ended range was added at right angles to the original mansion house; thus providing the building with a seven-bay front.

There is a fine doorway with fanlight and columns.

To the rear of the house there is a notable office courtyard, close to the old tower-house which was transformed into a kind of folly, with crenellated turrets.

The estate today is renowned for its equestrian and shooting activities and extends to 650 acres.

The house itself is private, though self-catering accommodation is available to rent.

First published in July, 2015.

Monday, 23 March 2020

5BX Exercises

I consider myself fairly fit and able-bodied.

Until Saturday, the 21st March, I swam about one mile daily, six times a week.

I also kept physically fit in the gym twice weekly.

While I was on holiday abroad recently I walked briskly every day for, on average, about six or seven miles.

Given the extraordinary and exceptional circumstances in which we find ourselves at the moment, the intention is to follow the Royal Canadian Air Force 5BX exercise regime which was conceived about 1959.

The trusty bike had been neglected in a garden shed for far too long; in fact it had a flat tyre.

So, having acquired a new inner tube, and fitted it, I've been using the trusty two-wheeler more often.

Fortunately I am not far from shops and supermarkets, so this could prove to be a useful means of transport.

Friday, 20 March 2020

County of Tyrone

Tyrone is an inland county, bounded in the north and north-east by County Londonderry; on the east, by Lough Neagh; on the south-east by County Armagh; on the south by County Fermanagh, and County Monaghan in the Irish Republic; on the south-west by County Fermanagh; and on the west and north-west, by County Donegal in the Irish Republic.

The boundary line, over about eleven miles in the central part of the north, is formed by the watershed of the Sperrin Mountains; over six miles in the eastern part of the north to Lough Neagh by the river Ballinderry; over the whole of the line of contact with County Armagh, by the River Blackwater.

Over about seven miles of the line of contact with County Monaghan, by the River Blackwater; and over ten miles of contact with the counties of Monaghan and Fermanagh, by the watershed of the Slieve Beagh mountains; over a large aggregate distance, but with many intervals or interruptions, of the line of contact with counties Fermanagh and Donegal, by mountain brooks, and especially by lofty watersheds; and over about ten miles of the terminating contact with County Donegal, down to the junction point with County Londonderry by the rivers Finn and Foyle.

The outline of the county, in a loose or general sense, exhibits a broad parallelogram, extending in the direction of south-east by east.

The greatest length of the county, in the direction of south-east by east, and along the southern border, from the summit of the Croagh mountains, a few miles east of the Barnesmore Gap to the River Blackwater at the village of Caledon, is 38 miles. 

Its greatest breadth, in the opposite direction, and along the western border, over Strabane and Lough Derg, is 30 miles; whereas its least breadth, across the eastern district, and almost over the village of Donaghmore, is 16 miles.

The area of the county comprises about 807,000 acres.

The highest mountain in The Sperrins is Sawel Mountain, at 2,224 feet.

First published in February, 2018.

Thursday, 19 March 2020

Freemen of Belfast: 1980-


Ulster Defence Regiment ~ 1980

Royal Ulster Constabulary and Royal Ulster Constabulary Reserve ~ 1980

John Hewitt ~ 1983

Northern Ireland Fire Brigade ~ 1992

Northern Ireland Ambulance Service ~ 1992

The Merchant Navy ~ 2002

Lady Mary Peters LG CH DBE ~ 2012

Sir George Ivan (Van) Morrison OBE ~ 2013

Michael Longley CBE ~ 2015

Royal College of Nursing (Belfast) ~ 2016

Sir Kenneth Branagh ~ 2017

William Jefferson (Bill) Clinton ~ 2018

George John Mitchell, Jr, GBE ~ 2018

First published in August, 2012.

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Ballinahown Court


The family of ENNIS, originally from County Down, became established in County Meath a considerable time since.

ANDREW ENNIS, of Roebuck, County Dublin, was engaged extensively in commercial pursuits and realized a very large fortune.

Mr Ennis purchased, in 1800, the Griffinstown estate, County Westmeath, and subsequently made considerable additions to his landed property by the acquisition of portions of the Rochfort and Malone estates, including Ballinahown, the seat of the Malones.

He married Mary, daughter of Matthew McManus, and had issue,
JOHN, his heir;
Ellen; Marianne; Jane; Alicia.
Mr Ennis died in 1834, and was succeeded by his son,

JOHN ENNIS DL (1809-78), of Ballinahown Court, High Sheriff of County Westmeath, 1837, Dublin, 1839, Director, Bank of Ireland, MP for Athlone, 1857-65, who married, in 1833, Anna Maria, eldest daughter of David Henry, of the city of Dublin (and sister of Sir Thomas Henry, of London), and had issue,
JOHN JAMES, his heir;
Mary; Josephine; Elizabeth.
Mr Ennis was created a baronet in 1866, designated of Ballinahown Court, County Westmeath.

He was succeeded by his only son,

SIR JOHN JAMES ENNIS JP DL, 2nd Baronet (1842-84), of Ballinahown Court, High Sheriff of County Westmeath, 1866, MP for Athlone, 1868-80.

The baronetcy expired in 1884 following the 2nd Baronet's decease.

BALLINAHOWN COURT, near Athlone, County Westmeath, was built in 1746 for Edmond Malone MP.

It has three storeys over a basement; a three-bay front; and tripartite doorway with pediment and fanlight.

The pediment extends over the door and side-lights and is carried on pilasters.

There is a parapet roof.

A single-storey wing is at one side.

Ballinahown was sold about 1830 to Andrew Ennis.

It was subsequently inherited by the family of The O'Donoghue of the Glens, by whom it was sold ca 1965 to Mr Basil Crofts-Greene, who re-sold the house ca 1976.
An accomplished and very well-proportioned mid-18th century country house, built in a sophisticated classical style, which retains it early form, fabric and character. 
This building is, perhaps, the most elegant example of a country house the south of County Westmeath, certainly of its date, and must have been designed by an architect of some note, perhaps even by Richard Castle (died 1751) as suggested by some sources. 
This grand house is unusual in that it is constructed of brick, a very rare building material in Westmeath at the time of construction. 
The proximity of this house to the River Shannon (transport) probably accounts for its use here at Ballinahown Court. 
The juxtaposition between the warm red brick and the extensive grey ashlar limestone detailing creates an interesting and visually appealing textural and visual contrast. 
The fine pedimented Tuscan door-case is a noteworthy feature of artistic merit and this door-case dominates the entrance façade. 
This fine house was originally built for Edmond Malone (lawyer and later MP for Granard) and his wife Ruth Malone. 
It later passed into the ownership of the Ennis Family (Andrew Ennis bought the house in 1828), who much improved the estate during the mid-to-late nineteenth-century and were probably responsible for the construction of the single-storey wing to the south-west side, which blends in seamlessly with the mid-eighteenth century fabric. 
It later passed into the ownership of John Ennis, who was elected MP for Athlone in 1857, and subsequently to his son, John James Ennis, who was elected MP for Athlone in 1868.
The present house is built on the site of an earlier castle, the home of a branch of the Malone Family since the middle ages, of which no extant remains are readily visible.

The house forms the centrepiece of an interesting group of related structures and is an important element of the architectural heritage of Westmeath and of the history of the Ballinahown local area. 

Former town residences ~ 36 Curzon Street, London; Merrion Square, Dublin.

First published in July, 2013.

Saturday, 14 March 2020

Freemen of Belfast: 1960-79


65  Royal Sussex Regiment ~ 1961

66  Thomas Gibson Henderson ~ 1964

67  Sir Peter Malden Studd GBE KCVO DL ~ 1971

68  Lady Studd ~ 1971

69  The Rt Hon Ralph Francis Alnwick Baron Grey of Naunton, GCMG GCVO OBE PC ~ 1972

70  The Rt Hon Esmé Mae Baroness Grey of Naunton ~ 1972

71  Ulster Division, Royal Naval Reserve ~ 1974

First published in August, 2012.

Friday, 13 March 2020

County of Fermanagh

An inland county, Ulster's Lakeland, bounded on the north by County Tyrone, and County Donegal in the Irish Republic; on the north-east, by Tyrone; on the east, by Tyrone, and County Monaghan in the Irish Republic; on the south and south-west, by County Cavan in the Irish Republic; and on the west by counties Cavan and Leitrim, both in the Irish Republic.

Its boundary line, though occasionally formed by lakes, streams and watersheds, is so very interruptedly natural, and so generally artificial, that it may be pronounced altogether and even curiously capricious.

Its outline is roughly that of an oblong, extending from east-south-east to west-north-west; yet it may be more closely described as including a broad parallelogram in the direction of west by north, and an irregular sub-added feature of nearly equal area, and extending towards the north-west.

Its greatest length is about 35 miles; its greatest breadth, 20; and its area comprises about 457,000 acres, including 47,000 acres of water.

Cuilcagh Mountain, at 2,182 feet, is the highest peak.

First published in February, 2018.

Middleton Park


THE REV JAMES BOYD (1725-75), Rector of Erris, County Mayo, married, in 1752, Mary, daughter of Abraham Martin and widow of Arthur Vernon, and left an only son,

ABRAHAM BOYD (1760-1822), Barrister, King's Counsel, who wedded firstly, in 1786, Catherine Shuttleworth, widow of John Davies, by whom he had a daughter, Helena; and secondly, in 1815, Jane, Countess of Belvedere, daughter and eventually sole heiress of the Rev James Mackay, and by her left at his decease an only son,

GEORGE AUGUSTUS ROCHFORT-BOYD JP DL (1817-87), of Middleton Park, County Westmeath, High Sheriff of County Westmeath, 1843, who wedded, in 1843, Sarah Jane, eldest daughter of George Woods, of Milverton Hall, by Sarah his wife, daughter of Hans Hamilton, of Abbotstown (for many years MP for County Dublin), and had issue,
George, died in infancy;
Charles Augustus, CMG;
George Warren Woods;
Alice Jane; Edith Sarah Hamilton; Florence.
Mr Rochfort-Boyd inherited from his mother, the Countess of Belvedere, a great portion of the Rochfort estates situated in County Westmeath, and assumed the surname and arms of ROCHFORT by royal licence in 1867.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

ROCHFORT HAMILTON BOYD-ROCHFORT JP (1844-91), of Middleton Park, who married, in 1875, Florence Louisa, daughter of Richard Hemming, of Bentley Manor and Foxlidiate, Worcestershire, and had issue,
GEORGE ARTHUR, his heir;
Cecil Charles (Sir), KCVO;
Ethel Victoria; Alice Eleanor; Winifred Florence; Muriel.
Major Boyd-Rochfort assumed the surname of ROCHFORT in 1888 on succeeding to the Rochfort estates left by his grandmother, Jane, Countess of Belvedere.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

GEORGE ARTHUR BOYD-ROCHFORT VC (1880-1940), of Middleton Park, who married, in 1901, Olivia Ellis, daughter of Christopher Ussher, of Eastwell, County Galway.

MIDDLETON PARK HOUSE, near Mullingar, County Westmeath, was built by George Boyd-Rochfort in 1850.

He commissioned George Papworth, Architect and President of the Royal Academy, to design and oversee the building of the House.

Drawings of part of the interior were exhibited by Mr Papworth during the Royal Hibernian Annual Exhibition of 1850.

Only the very best craftsmen and materials were used in the building and it is a testimony to those craftsmen and materials that Middleton Park House has stood the test of time since then.

It is a fine example of late Georgian architecture favouring the classic Georgian style over the Gothic style evident in other houses of that era.

Acclaimed features of the House are its under-floor heating system, stone bifurcated staircase leading to the Gallery Landing and three-storey high atrium lantern located in the Main Hall.

Middleton Park House also boasts one of a few Richard Turner Conservatories to be found in Ireland.

The House and estate remained in the Boyd-Rochfort family until the early 1960s when it was sold.

Since then it has seen many owners, the most colourful of whom was Barney Curly who famously raffled the House in 1986.

In quite a state of disrepair when acquired by its current owners, it took a lot of time, effort and care to attention to bring it back to life, bringing in specialist professionals to ensure that the original aesthetic and atmosphere remained.

Built between 1840 and 1850, it is unusual in that context, as the Irish famine not only reduced the peasant farmers of Ireland to penury and starvation; it also destroyed the economic basis of the large landed estates held by the old Anglo-Irish aristocracy, as rents could not be paid.

It replaced an older house on the site, which was demolished.

The name Middleton comes from a previous owner of the estate, Mr George Middleton Berry, who subsequently lived in Ballingal House.

Middleton Park House was designed by George Papworth to be a technical wonder of its age.

It had its own gas-house where coal was converted to gas to fuel the house boilers, and an extraordinary heating system buried in its walls, which circulated heated air.

It utilised the most modern materials of the time including cast iron beams for structural supports in the vaulted basement, instead of the usual timber.

Although built well into the Victorian era, it was created in a classical Georgian style, as opposed to the prevailing Victorian Gothic.

It has one of only six turner conservatories left in Ireland.

Richard Turner also built Kew Gardens in London and the Botanic Gardens in Dublin.

Its entrance hall and sweeping stone, cantilevered bifurcated staircase is regarded as one of the finest of its kind in Ireland, and was famously described as “suitable for Citizen Kane” in Burke's Country Houses.

Middleton Park House was built for George Boyd-Rochfort, whose wife was the eldest daughter of the last Earl of Belvedere.

GEORGE III stood as godfather to one of them, and they were high-ranking members of the peerage.

Mr Boyd was granted permission to change his name to Rochfort-Boyd in 1867 by a petition to the House of Lords.

Although the behaviour of George Boyd-Rochfort was questionable during the Irish famine, being cited by the House of Lords for his actions, his successors are remembered today as having been good, progressive landlords.

The various land acts and subsequently the Irish land commission reduced the estates to a fraction (470 acres) of what they were.

A noted stud was established on the estate and it was the venue for point-to-points, and a starting or finishing point for the Westmeath Hunt.

The Westmeath Hunt Ball was also held at Middleton for many years, as well as hare coursing.

The estate was a large employer in the area.

A great many valuable horses were bred here, including Airborne, Winner of the Derby in 1946.

One of the Rochforts (Sir Cecil) also became the royal horse trainer for both KING GEORGE VI and our current sovereign, ELIZABETH II.


THE FAMILY sold the House in the early 1960s, when many of the contents were auctioned, including a Persian rug, now said to be worth in the region of $15m.

A German family bought the estate, which was sold again in the 1960s to the O’Callaghans who, in turn, sold it to Barney Curley, who famously raffled Middleton Park in 1986.

Subsequent owners broke up the estate up into many smaller parcels.

The stud farm ceased to operate around this time as well.

Many of the original fixtures and fittings in the house were sold or removed at this time.

The house, having lost its land, and now existing on only 26 acres, went through a series of owners.

It was, at this stage, in need of major restoration as the roof had deteriorated badly with serous water damage evident throughout the house.

It also lacked modern wiring, plumbing and heating.

The sheer scale of the great mansion, at over 36,000 sq feet, made it impractical as a family home for anybody but the seriously rich.

The current owners purchased it in December 2004.

They set about converting it into a Country House Hotel and planning permission was obtained for this.

The immediate requirement was to repair the roof and make it watertight.

Investigations revealed that the roof in the wing and most of the floors were completely beyond repair, as the roof trusses were rotten and some had been cut in a manner that left the roof liable to collapse.

The Turner conservatory had lost its original glass and the metal work was seriously corroded.

The timber supporting beams in the spectacular entrance hall had also rotted and it was in danger of falling in.

These all had to be replaced also.

A specialist iron working firm from Germany was brought in to repair the conservatory and some new castings to replace those corroded beyond use were sourced in the UK.

Specialist roofers from Austria replaced the wing roof structure.

Bangor Blue slates were used.

The external render on the house had failed and had to be removed and replaced using, as originally, lime plaster.

New Roman cement decorative reveals also had to be cast.

The decorative plasterwork inside the house had to be extensively repaired.

Extensive fire protection works were undertaken.

Three generations of old plumbing and electrics, often surface mounted, were removed and the house completely rewired and re-plumbed.

A new waste treatment plant was installed.

A specialist engineering firm designed the new heating system which includes underfloor heating in the basement to minimise the visual impact of radiators and some elements of the original system are used to duct hot air into the hall.

There are many legends about the house locally most notably that both Napoleon and  T E Lawrence (of Arabia) were conceived here (clearly not true in the case of Napoleon, as the house was not built until 1840 and he had died in 1821!).

The link that Lawrence of Arabia has to the house is that his father was married to one of Mr Boyd-Rochfort’s daughters - Edith - but who also had five illegitimate sons by Miss Sarah Lawrence his children’s Governess.

One of these was T E Lawrence of Arabia.

It is not recorded where he was actually conceived, but he was born in Wales.

Many of the original drawings of the house were lost in the destruction of the RAI archive in 1916, but an extensive file is held by the Irish National Architectural archive in Merrion Square in Dublin, and some of the estate papers and deeds are held by the National Library of Ireland.

First published in July, 2011.

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Fort William House


This family is supposed to have been originally from Kent, but the period of its settlement in Ireland is unknown.

Ballygarran Castle and Manor, beautifully situated on the River Blackwater, near Lismore, County Waterford, were purchased about 1695 by

RICHARD GUMBLETON, of Castle Richard, otherwise Ballygarran, County Waterford, High Sheriff of County Waterford, 1732, who married, in 1704, Anne Crook, daughter of Wallis Warren (ancestor of Sir Augustus Warren Bt, of Warren's Court), and had issue,
Anne; Elizabeth; Susanna; Mary.
Mr Gumbleton died in 1757, and was succeeded by his only son,

RICHARD JOSEPH GUMBLETON (1721-76), of Castle Richard, High Sheriff of County Waterford, 1772, who wedded, in 1743, Elizabeth, daughter of Daniel Conner, of Bandon, and sister of William Conner, MP for Bandon, 1761-66, and had issue,
Henry Conner;
Richard, of Castle Richard;
George Conner;
ROBERT WARREN, succeeded his brother;
Anne; Susanna; Catherine; Sarah; Jane; Mary; Elizabeth.
The eldest son,

WILLIAM CONNER GUMBLETON (1750-1815), died unmarried, and was succeeded by his brother,

ROBERT WARREN GUMBLETON (c1753-1834), of Glanatore, County Cork, who espoused, in 1787, Margaret, daughter of John Bowen, of Oakgrove, County Cork, and had issue,
Richard, his heir;
Robert, dsp;
JOHN BOWEN, of whom we treat;
George (Rev), of Belgrove; father of WILLIAM EDWARD GUMBLETON;
Diana; Margaret; Mary Anne; Frances Lavinia; Catherine; Jane; Eliza.
The third son,

JOHN BOWEN GUMBLETON (1796-1858), of Fort William, County Waterford, High Sheriff of County Waterford, 1845, married Ann, daughter of Henry Everard, and had issue,
Robert, dsp;
Henry Everard, died in infancy;
John Henry, died at sea; dsp;
Richard, died in infancy;
Mary; Margaret; Anne; Meliora;
FRANCES, of whom hereafter.
The youngest daughter,

MISS FRANCES GUMBLETON (1837-1914), was the last of the family to live at Fort William House.

FORT WILLIAM HOUSE, Glencairn, Lismore, County Waterford, was built in 1836 in the Tudor-Revival style.

About 1695 the Gumbleton family purchased the estate, beside the River Blackwater, a few miles upstream from Lismore.

William Conner Gumbleton inherited a portion of the estate and built a house named Fort William, following the example of his cousin, Robert Conner, who had called his house Fort Robert.

The estate passed to his nephew, John Bowen Gumbleton, who commissioned a new house by James and George Richard Pain, former apprentices of John Nash with a thriving architectural practice in Cork.

The present house is a regular building of two storeys in local sandstone with an abundance of gables, pinnacles and tall Elizabethan chimneys.

The interior is largely late-Georgian in style and Fort William is essentially a classical Georgian house with a profusion of mildly Gothic details.

Mr Gumbleton’s son, John Henry Gumbleton, died at sea, and his daughter Frances eventually leased the house to Colonel Richard Keane, brother of Sir John Keane from nearby Cappoquin House.

The Colonel was much annoyed when his car, reputedly fitted with a well-stocked cocktail cabinet, was commandeered by the IRA so he permitted Free State troops to occupy the servants’ wing at Fort William during the Irish Civil War, which may have influenced the terrorists' decision to burn his brother’s house in 1923.

Colonel Keane died in a shooting accident, the estate reverted to Frances Gumbleton’s nephew, John Currey, and was sold to a Mr Dunne who continued the tradition of letting the house.

His most notable tenant was Adele Astaire, sister of the famous dancer and film star Fred Astaire, who became the wife of Lord Charles Cavendish from nearby Lismore Castle.

In 1944 the Gumbleton family re-purchased Fort William but resold for £10,000 after just two years.

The new owner was Hugh, 2nd Duke of Westminster.

Fort William is in good hunting country with some fine beats on a major salmon river, which allowed the elderly Duke to claim he had purchased an Irish sporting base.

Its real purpose, however, was to facilitate his pursuit of Miss Nancy Sullivan, daughter of a retired general from Glanmire, near Cork, who soon became his fourth duchess.

His Grace made extensive alterations at Fort William, installing the fine gilded LOUIS XV boiseries in the drawing-room, removed from the ducal seat, Eaton Hall, in Cheshire, and fitting out the dining-room with panelling from one of his yachts.

The 2nd Duke died in 1953, but his widow survived for a further fifty years, outliving three of her husband's successors at Eaton Hall in Cheshire.

Anne, Duchess of Westminster, was renowned as one of the foremost National Hunt owners of the day.

Her Grace's bay gelding, Arkle, won the Cheltenham Gold Cup on three successive occasions and is among the most famous steeplechasers of all time.

Fort William was briefly owned by the Drummond-Wolfe family before passing to an American, Murray Mitchell.

On his widow’s death it was purchased by Ian Agnew and his wife Sara, who undertook a sensitive restoration before he too died in 2009.

In 2013 the estate was purchased by David Evans-Bevan who lives at Fort William today with his family, farming and running the salmon fishery.

Select bibliography ~ Irish Historic Houses Association.