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.

Ker of Portavo

20,544 ACRES

DAVID KER (1530-60), of Ayrshire, settled in Ballymena, County Antrim, in the second half of the 16th Century, having fled Scotland after the murder of David Rizzio (private secretary to Mary, Queen of Scots).

By the 18th Century the family had prospered in the linen industry.

DAVID KER, a merchant, of Ballymena, married Jean, daughter of _______ Boyd, and had issue, eleven children, including
William, of Ballymena;
Hugh. of Dublin;
DAVID, of whom hereafter.
One of his sons,

DAVID KER (1710-1770), of Cateaton Street, City of London, and Tottenham, Middlesex, a prominent merchant banker, married, in 1748, Martha, daughter of William Macpheadris (sometimes spelled Mackpheadris), and had issue,
Richard Gervas, MP, of Redhall, County Antrim;
He purchased the Portavo estate in County Down for £23,000 (equivalent to about £4 million in 2019), in 1765, for his eldest son,

DAVID KER (1751-1811), of Portavo, who purchased the Montalto demesne about 1800 from the Earl of Moira.

By Maddelena, his wife, daughter of Francesco Guardi, of Venice, he left a son and heir,

DAVID GUARDI KER JP DL (c1778-1844), of Portavo and Montalto, MP for Athlone, 1820-6, Downpatrick, 1835-41, who purchased the De Clifford estate, Downpatrick, in 1844.

He married, in 1814, the Lady Selina Sarah Stewart, daughter of Robert, 1st Marquess of Londonderry, and had issue,
DAVID STEWART, his heir;
Richard John Charles Rivers, JP, DL, MP for Downpatrick;
Catherine Anne Frances; Madelina Selina.
The eldest son,

DAVID STEWART KER JP DL (1816-78), of Montalto and Portavo, MP for Downpatrick, County Down, 1852-7, High Sheriff of County Down, 1852, Antrim, 1857, wedded, in 1842,  Anna Dorothea, daughter of Hans, 3rd Baron Dufferin, and had, with other issue,
ALFRED DAVID, his heir;
RICHARD WILLIAM BLACKWOOD, succeeded his brother;
Hamilton Chichester (Rev);
Selina Frances Imogene; Helen; Violet.
He espoused secondly, in 1869, Caroline Hellena, eldest daughter of Parsons Persse, of Castle Turven, County Galway.

Mr Ker was succeeded by his eldest son,

ALFRED DAVID KER JP (1843-77), of Montalto and Portavo. High Sheriff of County Down, 1877, who married, in 1871, Eva Frances Caroline, elder daughter of Thomas, 1st Baron Deramore, by his wife, the Hon Caroline Elizabeth Anne, second daughter and co-heir of George, 4th Baron Dynevor, and had issue,
Sybil Anna; Eva Winifred Selina; Kathleen Elianore Mary; Eva Cecil Violet.
Mr Ker died without male issue, and was succeeded by his brother,

RICHARD WILLIAM BLACKWOOD KER JP DL (1850-1942), of Montalto and Portavo, who wedded, in 1876, Edith Louisa, daughter of William George Rose, of Wolston Heath, Warwickshire, and had issue,

MAJOR DAVID ALFRED WILLIAM KER OBE (1878-1954), of Portavo, who wedded Anna, eldest daughter of John Pollock, DL, of Mountainstown, County Meath, and had issue,
The son and heir,

CAPTAIN DAVID JOHN RICHARD KER, Coldstream Guards, wedded, in 1948, Virginia Mary Eloise, daughter of the Hon James Knyvett Estcourt Howard, and had issue,
Caroline Moira; Camilla Rosanna Glan.
Ker armorial bearings in Down Cathedral, Downpatrick

THE family of KER (pronounced Carr), of Portavo and Montalto, of whom David Ker (1530-1610) settled at Ballymena, County Antrim in the second half of the 16th Century having fled Scotland after the murder of David Rizzio (private secretary to Mary Queen of Scots) in 1566.

By the 18th Century the family had prospered in the linen industry, and David Ker (1710-1770) a banker and merchant purchased Portavo in County Down for his eldest son, David (1751-1811).

This David Ker was a voracious purchaser of land and by 1800 had acquired a number of estates culminating in the purchase of Montalto from the Earl of Moira in 1800.

He and his brother had taken the Grand Tour together in 1771, where David eloped with a Venetian singer by the name of Madelina Guardi, reputedly the daughter of Venetian painter Francesco Guardi.

Following the death of his young wife, David Ker returned to Italy with his three daughters, leaving his son to be educated at Eton.

In Italy he began to collect in the best traditions of the Grand Tour, purchasing a Raphael portrait and sending ‘three cases’ of purchases from Rome to Ulster, and later another ‘containing a Scagliola table’ in 1794.

This visit, which lasted two years, culminated in David Ker sitting for Angelica Kauffman and, at her suggestion, his daughters sat for Francis Xavier Fabre.

His son, David Guardi Ker, married Lady Selina Stewart, fourth daughter of the 1st Marquess of Londonderry.

This David Ker devoted his life to the collection of books and prints.

He also served as MP for Athlone and later Downpatrick, the seat he purchased from Lord de Clifford in 1844.

His eldest son, David Stewart Ker (1816-1878) started life as one of the richest commoners in Ireland.

He married Anna Dorothea Blackwood, daughter of the 3rd Baron Dufferin and Claneboye, of Clandeboye, County Down.

However, by the time of his death in 1878, he was declared bankrupt and considered ‘quite mad’.

He began the first dispersal of the family collections assembled by his father, grandfather and great-uncle, following the disastrous fire at Portavo in 1844.

First sold were books and prints at Christie’s in a series of seven day sales in 1847, 1848 and 1849, followed by endless dispersals of renowned pictures.

His son Alfred David Ker (1843-1877) did his best, in his short tenure, to bring some order to the family finances, but with his death at the young age of 34, the estates and possessions devolved to Richard Blackwood Ker (1850-1943), his brother, who married Edith Rose of Wolston Grange, Warwickshire.

Dick Ker’s greatest love next to women was horses, and being totally untrained in the management of estates was, like his father, eventually declared bankrupt.

Montalto was then sold in 1912 to the Earl of Clanwilliam, and the family returned to Portavo, where he built a ‘shooting box’ from the ruins of the mansion which had been destroyed by fire in 1844.

Dick Ker was succeeded by David Alfred Ker (1878-1954) who spent most of his life in minority controlled by Trustees.

His son, David Richard (Dick) Ker (1920-1997) finally sold Portavo in 1980, and it is his son David (born 1951) who proceeded to make dispersals from the Ker Collection.

David Ker had an interest in works of art and collecting from an early age, and after a career in property he started the David Ker gallery in 1980; and in 1993 formed Simon C Dickinson Ltd with Simon Dickinson.


The Ker Papers contain a detailed account of the family:-
David Ker, a merchant of Ballymena, Co. Antrim, who had taken a lease of the first fall on Sir Robert Adair's mill-race at Ballymena, c.1710. He married Jean Boyd of Clontfinnan near Clough, Co. Antrim, and had a family of eleven children, of whom three were prominent merchants: William in Ballymena, Hugh in Dublin, and David in London. David Ker settled in London and traded at Cateaton Street, first as Ker & Elmes, then after 1755 as Ker, Elmes & Priest, and later after 1758 as David Ker & Co.
In 1765 he purchased the Portavo estate near Groomsport, in the Ards. He died in 1770 and was succeeded by his son, David, during whose lifetime the firm traded as Ker, Pope & Dyson and later as Ker, Brookland & Priest. In 1785 he purchased the Clough and Magheraknock estates in Co. Down from Arthur Annesley and in 1800 that of Montalto at Ballynahinch, Co. Down, from the 2nd Earl of Moira.
His brother, Richard Gervas Ker, High Sheriff of Co. Antrim in 1791, bought the Red Hall estate at Ballycarry, Co. Antrim, in 1780 from Sir Archibald Edmonstone Bt. David Ker died in 1811, and was succeeded by his son David, who married, in 1814, the daughter 1st Marquess of Londonderry and in 1834 bought the Southwell estate at Downpatrick, Co. Down, from the representatives of Lord de Clifford.
First published in March, 2012.

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.

House of Nugent

The very ancient Anglo-Norman house of SAVAGE was settled at Portaferry, County Down, since the time of the first conquest of Ireland by John de Courcy, Earl of Ulster, in 1117.

Under that famous warrior, the original ancestor in Ireland established himself in County Down; and by a written document, dated 1205, in the Tower of London, we find Robin, son of William Savage, named as one of de Courcy's hostages for his appearance before King JOHN.

The present barony of Lecale was anciently termed the "Territory of the Savages", wherein, at Ardglass, they and their dependants erected seven castles, the ruins of which are still extant.

It appears, also, that a stately monastery of Dominicans was founded at Newtownards, in 1244, by the Savages, "gentlemen of English extraction".

From the extreme scarcity of records in Ireland, it is impossible, at this remote period, to determine, without liability to error, which is the senior branch of the family, that of PORTAFERRY or ARDKEEN CASTLE.

In 1400, HENRY IV granted to Robert FitzJordan Savage the office of Sheriff of the Ards; and it appears, by an indenture dated 1538, that
Raymond [Savage] should have the chieftainship and superiority of his sept in the Territory of the Savages, otherwise called Lecale. 
However, in 1559, 
The Lord Deputy, Sir William FitzWilliam, made a division between Roland and Raymond Savage of several towns and territories in the Ards.
By pedigree annexed, Roland, in 1572, was in possession of Portaferry Castle, and styled himself "Lord of the Little Ards"; and Lord Deputy Chichester, some years afterwards, addressed him as such by letter.

The Ardkeen family had some territories in the barony of Lecale, and also in County Antrim, that family always being sore enemies of the O'Neills. 

ROWLAND SAVAGE, Lord of the Little Ards, County Down, representative of the family in the middle of the 16th century, died at Portaferry in 1572, leaving issue, 
PATRICK, his heir;
Edmund; Richard; James.
The eldest son,

PATRICK SAVAGE (1535-1603/4), Lord of the Little Ards, wedded Anne Plunket, and left two sons, of whom the elder,

ROWLAND SAVAGE, Lord of the Little Ards, succeeded his father and married Rose, daughter of Russel of Rathmullan, County Down.

He was, however, succeeded by his brother, 

PATRICK SAVAGE,  of Portaferry, who married, in 1623, Jean, only daughter of Hugh, 1st Viscount Montgomery, and had issue,
HUGH, his heir;
ELIZABETH, co-heir to her brother;
SARAH, co-heir to her brother.
Patrick Savage died in 1644 and was succeeded by his son, 

HUGH SAVAGE, of Portaferry, who died unmarried in 1683, and was succeeded in the representation of the family by his cousin, 

PATRICK SAVAGE, of Londonderry, and afterwards of Portaferry, who, by his wife Anne Hall, of Narrow Water, left issue,

EDWARD SAVAGE, of Portaferry, who died unmarried in 1725, was buried at Portaferry.

His uncle and successor, 

JAMES SAVAGE, of Portaferry, wedded Mabel, daughter of Edmund Magee, of Lisburn, and had issue,
JOHN, his heir;
ANDREW, of whom hereafter;
James; Margaret; Elizabeth.
The eldest son,

JOHN SAVAGE, wedded Catherine, daughter of ___ Savage, and had issue, a son James, who died young.

At his decease he was succeeded by his brother,

ANDREW SAVAGE, of Portaferry, who espoused Margaret, sister and co-heir of Governor Nugent (of Tortola), and daughter of Andrew Nugent, of Dysart, County Westmeath, by his wife, the Lady Catherine Nugent, daughter and co-heir of Thomas, Earl of Westmeath, and had a son and heir,

PATRICK SAVAGE, of Portaferry, who married, in 1765, Anne, daughter of Roger Hall, of Narrow Water, and had issue (with daughters who died unmarried),
ANDREW, of whom presently;
Patrick Nugent, m Hariett, daughter of Rev Henry Sandford;
Roger Hall, Captain RN, died unmarried;
John Levallin, died unmarried;
William, in holy orders;
Barbara; Dorcas Sophia.
Mr Savage died in 1797, and was succeeded by his eldest son  (who assumed the surname of NUGENT and became co-heir of the barony of Delvin),

ANDREW NUGENT JP DL (1770-1846), of Portaferry House, Lieutenant-Colonel, North Down Militia, High Sheriff of County Down, 1808, who wedded, in 1800, Selina, youngest daughter of Thomas, 1st Viscount de Vesci, and had issue,
PATRICK JOHN, of whom presently;
Thomas Vesey, m Frances, eldest daughter of Sir James Stronge Bt;
Andrew Savage, m Harriet, Viscountess Bangor;
Arthur, m Charlotte, only daughter of Major Brooke, of Colebrooke;
Charles Lavallin, major-general in the army;
Selina, m James, eldest son of Sir James Stronge Bt;
Colonel Nugent succeeded his father in 1797 and assumed his present surname, on succeeding to a portion of the estate of his maternal great-uncle, Governor Nugent, 1812.

His eldest son,

PATRICK JOHN NUGENT (1804-57), of Portaferry House, Lieutenant-Colonel, North Down Militia, High Sheriff of County Down, 1843, married, in 1833, his cousin Catherine, daughter of John, 2nd Viscount de Vesci, and had issue,
JOHN VESEY, lieutenant-colonel;
Arthur Vesey;
Frances Isabella.
The eldest son,

LIEUTENANT-GENERAL ANDREW NUGENT JP DL (1834-1905), of Portaferry House, High Sheriff of County Down, 1882, Colonel, Royal Scots Greys, died unmarried and was succeeded by his brother, 

LIEUTENANT-COLONEL JOHN VESEY NUGENT JP DL (1837-1914), of Portaferry House, who married, in 1886, Emily Georgiana, daughter of Herbert Langham, though the marriage was without issue.

I have written about the Nugent Baronets here.

First published in February, 2012.

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.

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.

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.

Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Magherintemple House


This family came over to Ulster from Ramsey, Isle of Man, early in the 18th century.

HUGH CASEMENT (c1720-97), of Bessvale, Ballinderry, County Antrim, married, in 1740, Elizabeth, daughter of the Rev George Higginson, Rector of Ballinderry, and had issue,
George, surgeon RN; father of Maj-Gen Sir William Casement KCB;
ROGER, of whom presently;
Mary; Eleanor; Jane.
Major-General Sir William Casement KCB.
Photo Credit: National Army Museum

The second son,

ROGER CASEMENT (c1756-1832), of Harryville, County Antrim, wedded firstly, Catherine, daughter of the Rev Joseph Cosnahan, of Peel, Isle of Man, and had issue,
Hugh, grandfather of (Sir) Roger David Casement CMG;
THOMAS, of whom presently;
Robert (Rev);
Elizabeth; Catherine; Elinor; Rosetta.
He espoused secondly, in 1819, Margaret, daughter of Andrew McQuilty, and had, with further issue,
George, of Fenagh, Co Antrim, barrister;
JOHN, succeeded his half-brother;
Margaret; Elizabeth; Ann.
Mr Casement's seventh son,

THOMAS CASEMENT JP (1799-1874), of Ballee House, County Antrim, High Sheriff of County Antrim, 1874, married, in 1848, Dorinda Deborah, daughter of Thomas Abbot JP, of Mount Bellew, County Galway, and left an only daughter and heiress,

CATHERINE COSNAHAN CASEMENT, of Ballee House, who wedded, in 1869, Colonel Eldred Thomas Pottinger, Royal Artillery.

Thomas Casement's half brother,

JOHN CASEMENT JP (1825-1902), of Magherintemple, County Antrim, High Sheriff of County Antrim, 1881, married firstly, in 1849, Charlotte, daughter of Brabazon Newcomen, of Camla House, County Rosscommon, and had issue,
ROGER, of whom presently;
Brabazon Newcomen, MD.
John, Rear-Admiral.
Mr Casement wedded secondly, in 1859, Charlotte, daughter of Alexander Miller, of Ballycastle.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

ROGER CASEMENT JP DL (1850-1928), of Magherintemple, who married, in 1877, Susanna, daughter of James Beatty, and had issue,
JOHN, his heir;
Francis, Maj-Gen, DSO; father of
Roger Hugh;
Robert James;
Edgar Reginald.
The eldest son,

JOHN CASEMENT DSO DL (1880-1944), of Magherintemple, Captain, Royal Navy, married, in 1916, ANNA BEATRICE, daughter of John Frederick William Hodges, of Glenravel, County Antrim, though the marriage was without male issue.

His widow,

ANNA BEATRICE, MRS CASEMENT OBE (1887-1975), inherited Magherintemple for her lifetime, with reversion to her nephew,

FRANCIS CHARLES CASEMENT JP DL (1920-76), of Magherintemple, Major, Royal Artillery, who wedded, in 1942, Lesley, daughter of Captain Cecil Richard Brown, and had issue,
Hugh Francis, b 1947;
Patrick John, b 1951;
Robert Charles, b 1953;
Sarah Lindesay; Anne Louisa; Susan Catherine.

Patrick Casement, OBE, was Chairman of the National Trust's  Northern Ireland Committee, 2000-2010. 
He is a zoology graduate from Oxford and holds a masters degree in Ecology; farms a large beef and sheep farm; has previously served on the Northern Ireland Council for Nature Conservation and the Countryside. 
MAGHERINTEMPLE HOUSE, near Ballycastle, County Antrim, was built ca 1875 in the Scottish-Baronial style, the seat of the Casement family.

Mr Roger Casement (Sir Roger Casement CMG) was a member of this family.

Magherintemple House (Image: Twitter)

An earlier, quite modest, house called Churchfield was described in 1835 as being a plain two storey dwelling, the property of the Casement family from 1790.

It was considerably enlarged in 1874-75 for John Casement, adding an austere Scottish-baronial block in Ballyvoy stone with gate lodge in matching style.

The grimness of the architecture is, to some degree, offset by the good high position of the house and its splendid views.

The gardens are maintained.

There is a walled garden on a slope, with a bog garden at the bottom.

The walled garden is fully planted up with vegetables, fruit and ornamental plants.

The present layout dates from 1973.

There are both woodland and shelter trees.

The gate lodge replaced an earlier lodge located on the opposite side of the gates.

Two small stone figures that are placed in the rockery in the garden are said to have come from Culfeightrin Church.

Magherintemple gate lodge is available for rent.

First published in December, 2010.