Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Luttrellstown Castle


HENRY WHITE (1791-1873), of Woodlands (otherwise Luttrellstown), County Dublin, and subsequently of Rathcline, County Longford, was the fourth, but only surviving son of Luke White, bookseller, of Woodlands.

He served in the 14th Light Dragoons during the Peninsular War; was MP for County Dublin, 1823-32, County Longford, 1837-47 and 1857-61; Lord-Lieutenant of County Longford, 1841-73.

Having succeeded to the Longford estates of his next elder brother, Luke White, in 1854, he was elevated to the peerage, in 1863, in the dignity of BARON ANNALY (third creation), of Annaly and Rathcline, County Longford.

His lordship married, in 1828, Ellen, daughter of William Soper Dempster, by Hannah, only daughter and heir of John Hamilton Dempster, of Skibo Castle, Sutherland, and had issue,
LUKE, his successor;
George Frederick;
Francis Samuel;
Charles William;
Eleanor Eliza; Emily Beaujolais.
He died at Sunbury Park, Middlesex, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

LUKE, 2nd Baron (1829-88), KP, who wedded, in 1853, Emily, daughter of James Stuart, and had issue,
LUKE, his successor;
Henry Frederick;
Charles James;
Francis William;
Ellen Harriet; Alice Emily; Violet.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

LUKE, 3rd Baron (1857-1922), GCVO JP DL, who wedded, in 1884, Lilah Georgiana Augusta Constance, daughter of Henry, 3rd Viscount Clifden, and had issue,
LUKE HENRY, his successor;
Lilah Charlotte Sarah; Lucia Emily Margaret.
His lordship was succeeded by his son,

LUKE HENRY, 4th Baron (1885-1970), MC JP,

LUTTRELLSTOWN CASTLE, Clonsilla, County Dublin, dates from the early 15th century (ca 1420).

It has been owned variously by the eponymous and notorious Luttrell family; the bookseller Luke White his descendants the Lords Annaly; the Guinnesses; the Primwest Group; and, since 2006, JP McManus, John Magnier and Aidan Brooks.

The Castle has hosted visits by Queen Victoria in 1844 and 1900, and its media profile was raised when David and Victoria Beckham were married there in 1999.

Luttrellstown and its remaining 560-acre demesne currently form a 5-star resort. 

Henry, 2nd Earl of Carhampton, sold Luttrellstown Castle to the publisher Luke White, described as one of the most remarkable men in Ireland.

Luke White changed its name to Woodlands, but the 3rd Lord Annaly reverted back to its former name.

In 1778, Luke White started as an impecunious book dealer, buying in Dublin and reselling around the country.

By 1798, during the rebellion, he helped the Irish government with a loan of £1 million (at £65 per £100 share at 5%).

He became MP for Leitrim, and died in 1824 leaving properties worth £175,000 per annum.

An extract from The illustrated London News of 1864 describes a series of festivities at Woodlands, "the beautiful seat of the Rt Hon. Henry White, the newly created Lord Annaly".

These festivities consisted of theatrical and social entertainments.

A new theatre was built especially for the occasion and the festivities lasted for a fort­night.

The plays `Still Waters Run Deep' and `Samuel in Search of Him­self' were performed, and a ball to which `most of the principal families of Dublin and the neighbourhood received invitations', concluded the festivities.

Queen Victoria paid two visits to Luttrellstown: Firstly in 1844, as Her Majesty passed through to visit the Duke of Leinster at Carton; secondly in 1900, when The Queen stayed at Viceregal Lodge.

To commemorate these visits, Lord Annaly erected an obelisk made of six blocks of granite from the Dublin mountains, which together measure 8 feet, 6 inches in height.

It is at the head of the Glen, near the Waterfall, where Her Majesty drank some tea.

Prince von Puckler-Muskau (c1820) remarked,
"The entrance to the demesne is indeed the most delightful in its kind that can be imagined. Scenery, by nature most beautiful, is improved by art to the highest degree of its capability, and, without destroying its free and wild character, a variety and richness of vegetation is produced which enchants the eye. 
Gay shrubs and wild flowers, the softest turf and giant trees, festooned with creeping plants, fill the narrow glen through which the path winds, by the side of the clear, dancing brook, which, falling in little cataracts, flows on, sometimes hidden in the thicket, sometimes resting like liquid silver in an emerald cup, or rushing under overhanging arches of rock, which nature seems to have hung there as triumphal gates for the beneficent Naiad of the valley to pass through."

In the dining-room (above) the architect, Mr Harbord, used the same eagles at Oving House, near Aylesbury, that he incorporated in the plasterwork here.

As a room it succeeds brilliantly. The ceiling is painted by de Wit.

The entrance hall (above) retains its Gothic character of about 1800, but the mantel and black-and- white floor are recent improvements.

It leads on to the staircase hall, which was transformed by Mr Harbord in 1963 when a magnificent painted ceiling by Thornhill, from a house in Suffolk now demolished, was inserted; the staircase and window were altered at the same time.

The far end of the Ballroom opens into the Grisaille Room (above), created to rake the series of nine Grisaille paintings by Peter de Gree, one of which, signed and dated 1788, represents Irish trade and commerce.

The library, in the centre of the south front, was originally the entrance hall and it has an unusual eighteenth century plaster ceiling with bow and arrow in full relief.

he chief glory of the house is the ballroom, which has plaster decoration that could be eighteenth century, but was most likely done for Luke White at the time of his purchase.

The design is unusual and original, and does not fit easily into any particular category of plasterwork; it was probably done by local stuccodores working in a somewhat outdated manner.

It blends in admirably with the Adamesque Grisaille room, and the magnificent dining room, with its plaster birds and painted ceiling.

The Whites were also major landowners in County Longford, with 12,560 acres.

First published in September, 2011.

Monday, 29 June 2020

Mulroy House


This family is originally from France, where Albert Clements is said to have been a Marshal in 1183.

It seems plausible that this claim refers to Albéric Clément (c1165-91), the first Marshal of France.

This branch of the family, however, settled in Ireland some time during the reign of JAMES I.

DANIEL CLEMENTS JP (c1624-80), son of Robert Clements, of Cosby, in Leicestershire, went over to Ireland with Oliver Cromwell.

Mr Clements, a cornet in the New Model Army (possibly in Colonel Thomas Coote's regiment), High Sheriff of County Cavan, 1674, was succeeded by his son,

ROBERT CLEMENTS (1664-1722), who wedded Mary, eldest daughter of Theophilus Sandford (ancestor of the Lords Mount Sandford), and had issue,
THEOPHILUS, his heir;
NATHANIEL, succeeded his brother;
He was attainted by the Irish parliament convoked by JAMES II in 1689, but was restored to his estates in County Cavan on the establishment of the government of WILLIAM III, and appointed Deputy Vice-Treasurer of Ireland.

Mr Clements, MP for Carrickfergus, 1692, Newry, 1715-22, High Sheriff of County Cavan, 1694, Teller of the Irish Exchequer, and Deputy Vice-Treasurer of Ireland, was succeeded by his eldest son,

THE RT HON THEOPHILUS CLEMENTS (c1687-1728), MP for County Cavan, 1713-28, Teller of the Exchequer in Ireland, who married Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Francis Burton, of Duncraggy, County Clare.

Theophilus Clements died without issue, and was succeeded by his brother,

THE RT HON NATHANIEL CLEMENTS (1705-77), a Teller of the Irish Exchequer, MP for Duleek, 1727-55, Cavan Borough, 1761-76, Roscommon Borough, 1768-70, Leitrim, 1776-7, who espoused, in 1729, Hannah, eldest daughter of the Very Rev William Gore, Dean of Down, and had issue,
Henry Theophilus;
Elizabeth, m to Lord Conyngham;
Hannah, m to Sir George Montgomery Bt;
Catherine, m to Eyre, Lord Clarina;
Alicia, m to Ralph Gore, Earl of Ross.
Mr Clements was succeeded by his eldest son,

ROBERT CLEMENTS (1732-1804), who was elevated to the peerage, in 1783, in the dignity of Baron Leitrim, of Manor Hamilton, County Leitrim; and advanced to a viscountcy, 1793, as Viscount Leitrim.
1st Earl of Leitrim, ca 1754, by Pompeo Batoni

The 1st Viscount was further advanced, in 1795, to the dignity of an earldom, as EARL OF LEITRIM.

He wedded, in 1765, the Lady Elizabeth Skeffington, daughter of Clotworthy, 1st Earl of Massereene, and had issue,
NATHANIEL, his successor;
Robert Clotworthy;
Caroline Elizabeth Letitia; Elizabeth; Louisa.
The 1st Earl was succeeded by his eldest son,

NATHANIEL, 2nd Earl (1768-1804), KP, Colonel, the Donegal Regiment, High Sheriff of County Leitrim, 1796, who espoused, in 1800, Mary, daughter of William Bermingham, and had issue,
George Robert Anson, died 1837;
Robert Bermingham, styled Viscount Clements (1805-39);
WILLIAM SYDNEY, his successor;Charles Skeffington;
Francis Nathaniel (Rev), father of the 4th Earl;
Caroline; Maria; Elizabeth Victoria.
His lordship was succeeded by his third son,

WILLIAM SYDNEY, 3rd Earl (1806-78), who died unmarried, when the family honours devolved upon his cousin,

ROBERT BERMINGHAM, 4th Earl (1847-92), DL, who married, in 1873, the Lady Winifred Coke, daughter of Thomas, 2nd Earl of Leicester, and had issue,
CHARLES, his successor;
Francis Patrick (1885-1907);
Robert (1888-90);
Winifred Edith;
Mary Hilda, m Robert, 4th Baron Rayleigh;
Maude; Lily; Kathleen.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

CHARLES, 5th Earl (1879-1952), Lord-Lieutenant of Londonderry City, 1904-21, who wedded firstly, in 1902, Violet Lina, daughter of Robert Henderson; and secondly, in 1939, Anne Mary Chaloner, daughter of the Hon William Vanneck.

5th Earl of Leitrim

The marriages were without issue.

The titles expired followed the decease of the 5th and last Earl in 1952.

Image: Alexander Hogg, ca 1919

MULROY HOUSE, near Carrigart, County Donegal, is a two-storey, Tudor-Revival, grey stone mansion, built ca 1865, possibly by William Burn, with fine views over Mulroy Bay, in good condition.

Austere externally but commodious inside and maintained as a dwelling, wings added in 1890s.

Important plant collection was begun by the 5th Earl and Countess.

Extensive and important planting, by the 5th Earl and Countess, of rhododendron, magnolia, eucryphia and other species put in from 1936, mainly along the drives and sheltered by pre-existing shelter belts from the 1860s; a great deal of the latter suffered during Hurricane Debbie in the 1960s.

Lady O'Neill (in an article pre-1985) refers to huge specimens in 'first class condition' but noted that they were very overgrown with lesser material.

Image:Alexander Hogg, ca 1919

Now even more overgrown, but the collection is supervised by Uel Henderson; said to be a site for the rare Killarney fern (Lamb & Bowe).

The village of Carrigart originally formed part of the Leitrim estates, near Mulroy House.

The Earls of Leitrim also owned Lough Rynn Castle, near Mohill, County Leitrim.

The 4th and 5th Earls, however, used Mulroy House as their main residence.

When Lady Leitrim died in 1984 the estate, comprising 325 acres, was inherited by her late husband's nephew, the Hon Hedley Strutt (1915-2012), son of the 4th Baron Rayleigh.

Hedley Strutt's nephew, the 6th and present Lord Rayleigh, inherited the estate thereafter.


THE THIRD EARL was murdered in nearby Cratlagh wood, in 1878, by men from the neighbouring peninsula.

It is said that the 3rd Earl's "overbearing behaviour as a landlord brought him much hatred from his tenants, Roman Catholic and Protestant alike, whom he evicted with equal enthusiasm".

Former London residence ~ 44 Grosvenor Gardens.

First published in August, 2011.  Leitrim arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Charlemont Beneficence

A reader has sent me an interesting account of his grandmother's time in the service of the 7th Viscount Charlemont:-

"My maternal grandmother Laura Foxford worked on the domestic staff of the 7th Viscount at Drumcairne, Stewartstown, County Tyrone.

"When he died [in 1913] he left enough money to each of his staff to emigrate if that was their wish.

"My grandmother, who had been born in Plymouth and whose father an ex-Royal Navy Chief Petty Officer (who, on retirement, worked in the pre-partition Irish Coastguard service), opted to move to New York.

"My grandfather Robert Russell, whose family farm abutted Drumcairne, followed her.

"They were married in America and my mother, who celebrated her 100th birthday in February of this year, was born there in 1916.

"They returned to Ireland around 1920.

"I have a delightful little lady's fob watch in silver which Lord Charlemont gave my grandmother in 1911, according to the engraved inscription."

First published in May, 2016.

Sunday, 28 June 2020

Edith, Marchioness of Londonderry

Lord Belmont in Northern Ireland © 2011

Lady Londonderry, whose husband was the 7th Marquess, was the daughter of Henry, 1st Viscount Chaplin.

In the image above she wears the famed Londonderry Jewels, many of which are now on display in the Victoria and Albert Museum.

The insignia of a Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is worn. 

The photograph was taken in the drawing-room of Londonderry House, with, it is believed, the large portrait of Castlereagh behind her.

Lady Londonderry was preparing to leave for the 1948 State Opening of Parliament, the first full dress State Opening since the end of the 2nd World War. 

This was to be the last State Opening for Edith Londonderry, since her husband, the 7th Marquess, died several months later.

First published in November, 2011.  Charles Villiers, a grandson of the late Lady Mairi Bury and great-grandson of the 7th Marquess and Marchioness of Londonderry, has kindly provided this information from his archives.

Saturday, 27 June 2020

Mount Stewart Memories: II


AN interesting facet was that while the gardens were open via the National Trust, the house itself was my grandmother's totally private residence until I was about 13, complete with butler and quite a lot of staff.

There were still some large house parties: At Christmas and New Year, 1973-74, I remember that every one of the 26 or so bedrooms had at least one guest staying in them.

At that time, the extensive attics were piled to the ceilings with an enormous quantity of surplus furniture for which there was no space in the rest of the house.

Those attics were cleared in a big furniture sale in 1975.

I must have been a very precocious 12 year-old because I wanted to use some modest Post Office savings to buy two dusty paintings of an attractive-looking lady, one with an elbow-sized hole in the canvas, clearly signed "B West" in black paint, and dated in the late eighteenth century, which I knew of from my "boy's den" in one of the attics before they were brought down for the sale.

I was told by my parents that I could not use my Post Office account for the purpose of the paintings of the beautiful lady.

In the event the portraits sold for relative buttons in the auction in the stable yard at Mount Stewart, were cleaned up by the Bond Street dealer who flew over from London and back the same day to buy them; then declared them to be by the famous American painter Benjamin West; cleaned; and identified as two portraits of Foreign Secretary Lord Castlereagh's mother-in-law; and were each quickly re-sold for large sums to two museums in the United States where they currently reside now.

There is no doubt that I would have been outbid by the dealer, but I'd have liked him to have had to cough up a bit more cash than he did.

I could go on with reams of other recollections.

My memories of Mount Stewart are, above all, of the happiest loving kind when it comes to my grandmother [Lady Mairi] who was the most wonderful grandparent anyone could have had, and we were all so lucky to have her for so long.

First published in November, 2010.

Friday, 26 June 2020

Fota Island


THE HON JOHN BARRY (1725-84), youngest son of James, 4th Earl of Barrymore, succeeded, by bequest, to the unsettled estates of his father, which were very considerable, including Marbury Hall and large possessions in Cheshire, and Fota Island, and extensive estates in County Cork.

The Hon John Smith-Barry. Photo Credit: Tabley House Collection

He wedded, in 1746, Dorothy, daughter and co-heir of Hugh Smith, of Weald Hall, in Essex (by whom he acquired large estates in the counties of Tipperary, Louth, and in Huntingdonshire), and had issue,
JAMES HUGH, his heir;
The eldest son,

JAMES HUGH SMITH-BARRY (1748-), of Marbury Hall and Fota Island, High Sheriff of Cheshire, died leaving two sons and three daughters,
JOHN, of whom hereafter;
Caroline Augusta; Narcissa; Louisa.
The elder son,

JOHN SMITH-BARRY (1793-1837), of Marbury Hall and Fota Island, married firstly, Eliza Mary, second daughter of Robert Courtenay, of Ballyedmond, and had issue,
JAMES HUGH, his heir;
John Hugh;
Robert Hugh;
Richard Hugh;
Anne; Elizabeth.
Mr Smith-Barry espoused secondly, Eliza Felicia, second daughter of General Heron, of Moor Hall, Cheshire, but by her had no issue.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES HUGH SMITH-BARRY JP DL (1816-56), of Marbury Hall and Fota Island, High Sheriff of County Cork, and of Cheshire, who wedded, in 1841, Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Shallcross Jacson, of Newton Bank, Cheshire, and had issue,
ARTHUR HUGH, his heir;
James Hugh;
Geraldine; Maude.
Mr Smith-Barry was succeeded by his eldest son,

ARTHUR HUGH SMITH-BARRY JP DL (1843-1925), MP for County Cork, 1867-74, South Huntingdonshire, 1886-1900, who was elevated to the peerage, in 1902, in the dignity of BARON BARRYMORE, of Barrymore, County Cork.

His lordship married firstly, in 1868, the Lady Mary Frances Wyndham-Quin, daughter of the 3rd Earl of Dunraven and Mount-Earl; and secondly, in 1884, Elizabeth, daughter of General James Wadsworth, US Army.

There were children from both marriages.

Lord Barrymore died in London in February 1925, aged 82, and was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium.

His only son, James, had died in infancy, in 1871, and consequently the barony became extinct on his death.

The family seat, Fota House, was passed to his daughter from his second marriage, the Hon Dorothy Elizabeth (1894–1975), wife of Major William Bertram Bell.

Lady Barrymore died in 1930.

On Lord Barrymore's death in 1925, the estate, which was entailed, passed to his brother, James Hugh Smith-Barry; and on his death it passed to James Hugh's son, Robert Raymond Smith-Barry.

In 1939, Fota Island was acquired by Arthur Hugh's daughter, the Hon Mrs Dorothy Bell for the sum of £31,000.

On her death, in 1975, it passed to her daughter, Mrs Rosemary Villiers.

FOTA ISLAND, near Carrigtwohill, County Cork, lies at the head of Cork harbour, and is separated by very narrow straits or channels from Great Island on the south, Little Island on the west, and the mainland on the north and east.

Nearly all of it is occupied by the beautiful and richly-wooded former demesne of Lord Barrymore.

The mansion was originally a modest two-storey hunting lodge belonging to the Smith-Barry family.

In the 1820s, John Smith-Barry (1793-1837) decided to make Fota Island  his home.

He commissioned the great Irish architects Sir Richard Morrison and his son, William Vitruvius Morrison, to convert the hunting lodge into an elegant residence.

Initially it was proposed that the design should reflect the current fashion foe Tudor-Revival, but a more elegant Regency style was ultimately executed.

Two new wings were added and a handsome Doric portico made an elegant entrance.

The interior was opened up with fine scagliola columns, leading to a handsome stone staircase. The ceilings of the library and drawing room were decorated with great delicacy in the French style.

In 1872, the engineer Sir John Benson designed the beautiful billiards-room and an extensive conservatory. In 1897, the conservatory was altered to become the present long gallery.

FOTA HOUSE was sold to University College Cork in 1975, following the death of the Hon Mrs Bell.

It is now in the care of the Irish Heritage Trust.

The house has remained virtually unchanged since this time and the visitor today has a privileged glimpse of the great Georgian and Victorian craftsmanship that was to be found in Ireland during the 18th and 19th centuries.

It has over seventy rooms, ranging in size from the more modest servant rooms to the large and beautifully proportioned principal rooms.

The curious 'dummy' windows, which occur on the exterior of the building, were added to enhance the aesthetic balance of the house.

The style is classical throughout and the décor reflects continental trends in the gilt, marble work, painted ceilings and magnificent plaster detail throughout.

Since the re-opening of the house in 2009 after restoration, people can now visit the upper floor of the house for the first time in many years.

The glorious neo-classical architecture and innovative designs for which Morrison was renowned can now be fully appreciated, as well as the Collection - a fine collection of paintings and furniture - which have been returned to the house.

It was occupied by Lord Barrymore in 1906; later inherited by Major and the Hon Mrs Bell.

Mark Bence-Jones writes that Fota was sold to University College Cork in 1975, following the death of Mrs Bell.

It is now in the care of the Irish Heritage Trust and, after restoration, was reopened to the public in 2009.

Barrymore arms courtesy of European Heraldry.  First published in December, 2011.

Purdysburn Pictures


The Belfast Health & Social Care Trust has kindly sent me several images of Purdysburn House, Newtownbreda, County Down, and its pleasure grounds prior to demolition ca 1965.

I've already written about the Batt family here.

The pleasure grounds were laid out in the form of a Union Flag, and the design was carried out with all the borders planted red, white and blue.

The wonderful yew-tree hedges were said to be unequalled in Northern Ireland. 

First published in September, 2016.

Thursday, 25 June 2020


Photo Credit: Christ's Hospital Foundations
by the Grace of God, King of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, etc.

Wednesday, 24 June 2020

Mount Ievers Court


This family is descended from HENRY IVERS, of Yorkshire, who settled in County Clare in 1643.

He was Clerk to the King's Commissioners for settling the quit rents, and afterwards became the Deputy Receiver.

Mr Ivers was a magistrate and High Sheriff of that county, in which he held considerable landed property.

Further lucrative positions followed after the Restoration and, in 1680, Thomas Dinely estimated his income at £2,600 a year (about £580,000 in 2019), which allowed him to amass a considerable fortune and some 12,000 acres before his death in 1691.

He married Elizabeth, daughter of Captain Stephens, of Ballysheen, and had issue,
GEORGE, of whom we treat;
The sixth son,

GEORGE IEVERS, wedded a daughter of Robert Seward, of County Cork, and had issue,
ROBERT, his heir;
The eldest son,

ROBERT IEVERS, espoused Mary Parsons, of County Limerick, and died in 1783, having had issue,
John Henry;
GEORGE, of whom presently;
Mary; Anne; Frances.
Mr Ievers died in 1783, and was succeeded by his youngest son,

GEORGE IEVERS (c1757-1808), married, in 1783, Eleanor, daughter of James Butler, of Castle Crine, County Clare, and had issue,
EYRE, of whom hereafter;
Mary; Elizabeth; Jane.
The youngest son,

EYRE IEVERS JP (1797-1860), of Mount Ievers, wedded, in 1842, Mildred, daughter of Maurice Newnan, and had issue,
JAMES BUTLER, his heir;
George Maurice;
Philip Glover;
Mary Shinkwin; Mildred; Elizabeth Anne.
Mr Ievers was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES BUTLER IEVERS JP (1844-1915), of Mount Ievers, and Quinville Abbey, County Clare, who espoused firstly, in 1866, Elizabeth Buchanan, second daughter of Robert Blackwell, of The Prairie, County Down, and had issue,
EYRE HERBERT, his heir;
He married secondly, in 1899, Ernesta Carlotta Nina, younger daughter of Surgeon General George Whitla.

Mr Ievers was succeeded by his son,

EYRE HERBERT IEVERS JP (1867-1922), of Mount Ievers, and Glenduff Castle, County Limerick, Captain, 5th Battalion, Royal Munster Fusiliers, who wedded, in 1902, Frances Hetty Webb, only daughter of Herbert Webb Gillman, and had issue,
EYRE HERBERT, his heir;
James Henry Gillman, b 1910;
Mildred Vivian; Annie Muriel Elizabeth.
The elder son,

COLONEL EYRE HERBERT IEVERS (1904-), wedded, in 1934, Moirin, third daughter of the Very Rev Dr Henry John Gillespie, Dean of Killaloe, and had issue,
Nial (1946-64);
Fiona, b 1948.

MOUNT IEVERS COURT, near Sixmilebridge, County Clare, was built in 1738 by Colonel Henry Ievers to the design of John Rothery.

It replaced an older tower house, shown in Dinely’s drawing, which Henry Ievers may actually have built, since a chimney-piece re-used in the house bears the date 1648.

His eldest son was disinherited for marrying “a person of noe fortune” and the estate was inherited by the second son, Colonel Thomas Ivers, MP for County Clare, who changed the family name to Ievers.

Henry’s grandson, another Henry, inherited in 1731.

Within two years he had begun the construction of a new house, Mount Ievers Court, completed in 1738 at a cost of £1,478 7s. 9d. (about £316,000 in today's money), plus the value of two horses, two mules and various other expenses.

The house was built of red brick, which became fashionable for Irish country houses in the 1730s, and has faded to a wonderful rose pink, the plan derives from Inigo Jones’s Chevening in Kent, although the facades are both simpler and more accomplished, diminishing subtly as they rise to the bold cornice.

The Walled Garden (Image: Karen Ievers, 2022)

There are two formal fronts: the south front is of cut limestone, and the north front, originally the entrance front, of brick “exquisitely disciplined by the limestone of coigns, strings and cornice”.

The builder, John Rothery, who hailed from a prominent family of architects and builders in counties Limerick and Cork, died during construction.

The Walled Garden (Image: Karen Ievers, 2022)

In the words of the architectural historian Maurice Craig, “Superlatives have been used about out this house, and with good reason” though he also admits that the building was not in the forefront of fashion since “in style and spirit there is nothing about it which could not be of 1710,” an impression heightened by the combination of heavy glazing bars, small panes and sashes four panes wide.

Set above a high basement the interior is plain but grand, with a profusion of plaster panelling, elaborate cornices, simple compartmented ceilings, unusually generous doors with robust joinery, and a splendidly carved staircase with alternating barley-sugar and fluted balusters.

The topmost floor contains a long, barrel-vaulted gallery which stretches across the full length of the building, a feature of other Rothery houses such as the long-demolished Bowen’s Court, where it was used for dancing and exercise on wet days.

A Naïf painting, used as an overmantel in one ground floor room, shows a faithful reproduction of the present garden front with a splendidly baroque double-curved perron, instead of the present arrangement of steps, all set in an elaborate formal layout that has either largely disappeared or may never have been fully completed.

(Image: Karen Ievers)
(Image: Karen Ievers)

The Ievers family’s prominence in local affairs faded over the years and much of the estate was lost in the 19th and 20th centuries before the house was sold to a cousin, Squadron-Leader Norman Ievers (1912-93), in 1939.

Returning at the end of the 2nd World War in 1945, after his retirement from the Royal Air Force, Squadron-Leader Norman Ievers was able to re-purchase the house from his cousin’s daughter and set about a sympathetic and sensitive restoration with his wife.

Today the house is owned by their son, Norman Eyre Ievers (b 1973), together with his wife and family.

First published in November, 2017.  Select bibliography: Irish Historic Houses Association.

Monday, 22 June 2020

Franklin Maxims: XI


Saturday, 20 June 2020

The Red Trail

The Original Hut in 2016

Mount Stewart's Red Trail opened four years ago.

I first explored the trail on a glorious Sunday in May, 2016.

It was sunny and pleasantly warm.

After lunch at home I got a few things together and motored down the Ards Peninsula to Mount Stewart estate, a property of the National Trust, though formerly the ancestral seat of the Stewarts, Marquesses of Londonderry.

The Red Trail runs on land to the south-east of the demesne.

Having ambled past the Lookout and had a look in the shop inside the mansion house, I donned the wellington boots, ensured that my camera was in the pocket, and began the walk.

The Red Trail starts at a quaint little shepherd's hut, a sort of information centre for greeting visitors.

I walked in and chatted for several minutes to the person on duty.

The trail cuts through woodland and then there was a gradual ascent to Temple Hill and the Temple of the Winds, an octagonal building perched at the top of the hill, with a spectacular prospect of Strangford Lough.

The Temple was inspired by the Grand Tour the 1st Marquess took in his youth.

From here we begin a descent, walking on fairly level ground through enchanting woodland to the north-west of Patterson's Hill.

Eventually I emerged at a clearing, where there is a very large field at Cumming's Hill.

To my right, isolated and overgrown in semi-woodland, there's an old, derelict stone lodge or cottage.

It was doubtless inhabited by an estate worker and his family, perhaps a woodsman or gardener.

It appears rather romantic now, with the creeping ivy and resident crows, a pair of which I disturbed.

The windows are open to the elements.

Hopefully, in time, this will be restored as a holiday cottage.

Downpatrick Lodge and North Lodge at Castle Ward were both once derelict for many years until they were restored; and now they have tenants.

I continue my walk, northwards towards Bell's Hill.

The Glen Burn, a small river, runs alongside the Red Trail for part of the way.

Between Cumming's Hill and Bell's Hill there is a glen, where I made a short detour past picturesque little hump-back bridges to The Folly, at ruinous cottage ornée at the top of a hillock.

The Folly

It has the familiar Gothic window apertures seen, too, at the old schoolhouse; only the bare walls remain, though, and there is evidence of plasterwork on some of them.

This ruinous building aroused my curiosity.

There's something particularly special about walking new trails and discovering unknown features for the very first time.

According to my old chart there are the ruins of an old chapel or church at the extreme north of the Glen; at the edge of the estate, in fact.

Continuing my walk I begin a slight climb, past Bell's Hill, to the old piggery; then through a handsome, new, wooden gate which leads to a small track.

This track winds its way up New Hill, though a carpet of bluebells and woodland. It is relatively steep.

New Hill descends towards sea-level and brings one back to the start of the trail again.

First published in May, 2016.

Friday, 19 June 2020

Farnham House

This family settled in Ireland during the reign of ELIZABETH I, and is a branch of the Scottish house of MAXWELL, Earls of Nithsdale. 
SIR HERBERT MAXWELL was ancestor of Herbert, created, in 1424, Lord Maxwell, of Caerlaverock, whose descendant, Robert, 10th Lord Maxwell, was created 1620, Earl of Nithsdale. 
Sir John Maxwell, only brother of Herbert, was ancestor of a branch which settled in Ireland during the reign of ELIZABETH I.
THE VERY REV ROBERT MAXWELL, second son of John Maxwell, of Calderwood, in Scotland, went over into Ireland in the latter end of the reign of ELIZABETH I, by command of the Scottish king, JAMES VI, in order to secure an interest for His Majesty in that kingdom.

Mr Maxwell was appointed Dean of Armagh, which deanery, together with other considerable church livings, he held till his decease.

He married secondly, Isabella Seton, of the very ancient house of SETON, in Scotland, by whom he had issue,
ROBERT, his heir;
Elizabeth; Phoebe.
The Dean's eldest son,

ROBERT MAXWELL (1598-1672), took holy orders, and obtained the degree of Doctor of Divinity from the university of Dublin.

Previously to the rebellion of 1641, Dr Maxwell was Rector of Tynan, in the diocese of Armagh, and Archdeacon of Down.

In 1643, he was consecrated Lord Bishop of Kilmore; and in 1661, the episcopal see of Ardagh was granted to him, to hold in commendam with that of Kilmore.

His lordship wedded Margaret, daughter of the Rt Rev Henry Echlin, Lord Bishop of Down and Connor, by whom he had, with five daughters, four sons, namely,
JOHN, his heir;
James, of Fellow's Hall, Co Armagh, father of
Henry, of College Hall, Co Armagh;
father of JOHN, who succeeded his cousin ROBERT in the estates;
The Bishop was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN MAXWELL, of Farnham, who dsp 1713, and was succeeded by his nephew,

THE REV DR ROBERT MAXWELL; who dsp 1737, and was succeeded by his cousin,

JOHN MAXWELL (1687-1759), MP for County Cavan, 1727-56, who was elevated to the peerage, in 1756, in the dignity of BARON FARNHAM, of Farnham, County Cavan.

His lordship wedded, in 1719, Judith, heiress of James Barry, of Newtownbarry, County Wexford, and had issue,
BARRY, successive peers;
Henry (Most Rev), father of JOHN and HENRY.
He was succeeded by his eldest son,

ROBERT, 2nd Baron (c1720-79), who was created, 1761, Viscount Farnham, and advanced to an earldom, 1763, as EARL OF FARNHAM.

His lordship wedded firstly, in 1759, Henrietta, Dowager Countess of Stafford, and sole daughter and heir of Philip Cantillon, by whom he had one daughter,
Henrietta, m, 1780, Rt Hon Dennis Daly, of Dunsandle, Co Galway.
He espoused secondly, in 1771, Sarah, only daughter of Pole Cosby, of Stradbally Hall, Queen's County, and sister of Lord Sydney; but leaving no male issue at his decease, in 1779, the titles conferred upon himself expired, while the barony devolved upon his brother,

BARRY, 3rd Baron (1723-1800), who obtained a viscountcy and earldom, in 1780, as Viscount Farnham, and, in 1785, EARL OF FARNHAM (second creation).

His lordship married firstly, in 1751, Margaret, second daughter and co-heir of Robert King, of Drewstown, County Meath, by whom he had a son and two daughters; and secondly, in 1771, Grace, daughter of Arthur Burdet, by whom he had two daughters.

He was succeeded by his only son,

JOHN JAMES, 2nd Earl (1760-1823), who wedded Grace, only daughter of Thomas Cuffe, of Grange, County Kilkenny; but dying without issue, in 1823, the viscountcy and earldom expired, and the barony reverted to his kinsman,

JOHN MAXWELL-BARRY, 5th Baron (1767-1838) [refer to Henry, third son of 1st Baron], Privy Counsellor, Colonel, Cavan Militia, who married, in 1789, Juliana Lucy, eldest daughter of Arthur, 1st Earl of Mountnorris.

Her ladyship died in 1833 without issue, when the Barony devolved upon his lordship's brother

THE REV HENRY MAXWELL, as 6th Baron (1774-1838), who wedded, in 1798, the Lady Anne Butler, eldest daughter of Henry, 2nd Earl of Carrick, and had issue,
HENRY, his heir;
John Barry;
Charles Robert;
Edward William;
James Pierce;
Richard Thomas, father of the 10th Baron;
William George;
Sarah Juliana; Harriet Margaret; Anne.
His lordship died within a month of his succession to the title, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

HENRY, 7th Baron (1799-1868), KP, MP for County Cavan, 1824-38, who espoused, in 1828, Anna Frances Esther, daughter of Thomas, 12th Baron le Despenser, though the marriage was without issue, and the title devolved upon his brother,

SOMERSET RICHARD, 8th Baron (1803-84), MP for County Cavan, 1839-40, who married twice, without issue, when the title devolved upon his brother,

JAMES PIERCE, 9th Baron (1813-96), Lieutenant-Colonel, 97th Foot, MP for County Cavan, who died unmarried, when the title reverted to his cousin,

SOMERSET HENRY, 10th Baron (1849-1900), Lord-Lieutenant of County Cavan, 1900, who married, in 1875, the Lady Florence Jane Taylour, daughter of Thomas, 3rd Marquess of Headfort, and had issue,
Barry Somerset (1876-97);
ARTHUR KENLIS, his successor;
Edward Sauderson John;
Denis Crichton (Vice-Admiral the Hon Sir);
Zoe Emma; Stella Frances.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

ARTHUR KENLIS, 11th Baron (1879-1957), DSO DL, who wedded, in 1903, Aileen Selina, daughter of Charles Purdon Coote, and had issue,
Somerset Arthur;
Barry Charles William (1909-16);
Arthur Edward (1913-16);
Marjory Florence; Verena Aileen.
His lordship's eldest son,

THE HON SOMERSET ARTHUR MAXWELL (1905-42), Lieutenant-Colonel, Middlesex Yeomanry, espoused, in 1930, Angela Susan, daughter of Captain Marshall Owen Roberts, and had issue,
SIMON KENLIS, 13th Baron;
Sheelin Virginia.
Colonel Maxwell died in Egypt as a result of his wounds.

Lt-Col the Hon Somerset Arthur Maxwell

His father, the 11th Baron was, consequently, succeeded by his grandson,

BARRY OWEN SOMERSET, 12th Baron (1931-2001), who married, in 1959, Diana Marion, daughter of Nigel Murray Eric Gunnis, and had issue, two daughters,
Harriet Virginia; Sophia Mary.
His lordship was succeeded by his brother,

SIMON KENLIS, 13th Baron (1933-), who wedded, in 1964, Karol Ann, daughter of Major-General George Errol Prior-Palmer, and has issue,
Robin Somerset;
Mark Erroll;
Lorna Suzanna Katherine.

FARNHAM, near Cavan, is one of the largest houses in County Cavan.

The lands were originally granted to the family of Waldron, though some years later the estate was acquired by Bishop Maxwell, whose cathedral was nearby.

The Bishop's son, John Maxwell, built a new house here about 1700, which was improved ca 1780 by Barry, 3rd Baron and 1st Earl of Farnham.

The 1st Earl added a library designed by James Wyatt.

About 1802, the 2nd Earl rebuilt the house, comprising two three-storey ranges at right angles to each other; one of which incorporated Wyatt's library.

It consisted of an eight-bay front, a breakfront, and a single-storey portico.

The other front was of nine bays, with a three-bay pedimented breakfront, prolonged by one bay at the end of the adjoining range.

In 1839, the 7th Baron enlarged Farnham by building new offices.     

It was built ca 1810 and was designed by Francis Johnston, a leading Dublin architect. 

About 1960, Lord Farnham found the house to be infested with dry-rot and demolished the range where the former entrance had been located.

The pedimented front remains the garden front; while the back range is the entrance front, with the portico re-erected at one end of it.

The house was redesigned in the 1970s.

The demesne has long been celebrated for its great beauty, a landscape of woods, panoramic mountain views, lakes; all part of the network of loughs and islands stretching southwards from Upper Lough Erne.

It was sold by the widowed Lady Farnham to Mr Roy McCabe, who purchased the agricultural estate shortly after the demise of the 12th Baron in 2001.

The house and estate are now part of a luxury hotel and leisure complex under the Radisson SAS international hotel group. 

First published in April, 2011.

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Fenagh House


THOMAS PACK (c1700-58), of Ballynakill, Queen's County, married a daughter of ______ Kelly, of Ballynakill, and had issue, three sons, of whom the eldest,

THE VERY REV THOMAS PACK (1719-95), Dean of Ossory, married Catherine, daughter of Denis Sullivan, and had issue,
Thomas, died young;
DENIS, of whom hereafter;
Catherine; Anne.
The surviving son,

MAJOR-GENERAL SIR DENIS PACK KCB (1775-1823), wedded, in 1816, the Lady Elizabeth Louisa Beresford, daughter of George de la Poer, 1st Marquess of Waterford, and had issue,
Arthur John (Lt-Col);
DENIS WILLIAM, of whom we treat;
Elizabeth Catherine; Anne Elizabeth.
The younger son,

DENIS WILLIAM PACK-BERESFORD JP DL MP (1818-81), Captain, Royal Artillery, High Sheriff of County Carlow, 1856, MP for County Carlow, espoused, in 1863, Annette Caroline, daughter of Robert Clayton Browne, and had issue,
DENIS ROBERT, his heir;
Arthur William;
Charles George, Major (1869-1914), killed in action;
Henry John, father of DENIS JOHN PACK-BERESFORD;
Reynell James;
Hugh de la Poer;
Algernon Dunbar;
Elizabeth Harriet; Annette Louisa.
In 1854 Captain Pack inherited the Irish estates from his uncle, General the Rt Hon William Carr Beresford, 1st Viscount Beresford.

He assumed the additional surname and arms of BERESFORD, in compliance with the will of Lord Beresford.

The eldest son,

DENIS ROBERT PACK-BERESFORD JP DL (1864-1942), of Fenagh House, High Sheriff of County Carlow, 1890, married, in 1891, Alice Harriet, only daughter of the James Acheson Lyle, of Portstewart House, though the marriage was without issue.

Mr Pack-Beresford was succeeded by his nephew,

DENIS JOHN PACK-BERESFORD (1905-86), of Fenagh House, Commander RN, who married firstly, in 1928, Basante Hoskins, in 1928; and secondly, in 1933, Daphne, daughter of Lieutenant Horace Robert Martineau VC, and had issue,
Elizabeth Ann.
Commander Pack-Beresford was Founder and President of the Irish Pedigree Pig Breeders Association, sometime representative to the Council of Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society of Scotland; Vice-President of the Irish Aberdeen-Angus Association; and member of the Council of the Royal Dublin Society.

FENAGH HOUSE, Bagenalstown, County Carlow, is a plain and austere stone dwelling, built ca 1829.

Fenagh House ca 1903

It is irregular in plan and extensive, though it has a symmetrical entrance front of three bays, the centre bay of which is recessed with a pillared porch.

First published in November, 2011.