Friday, 31 July 2020

Herdman of Sion House


The first of the family to arrive in Ulster, 1688, was Captain Herdman, of Herdmanston, Ayrshire, who fought with WILLIAM III at the battle of the Boyne, and subsequently settled at Glenavy, County Antrim.
The immediate antecedents of the three Herdman brothers had owned Millfield Tannery, Belfast, which the eldest brother, James, inherited from his father.  His brother John went into  partnership with the Mulhollands in 1833, after turning round their business into profit in the Winetavern Street Flax-spinning mill in Belfast.
The Herdman brothers (James, John and George), in partnership with Andrew and Sinclair Mulholland and Robert Lyons, decided to purchase an unfinished flax-spinning mill in County Tyrone, from the 2nd Marquess of Abercorn. However, they couldn’t get the land they needed on a long enough lease. Their choice fell on Sion (or Seein, meaning a Fairy Mound), near Strabane,  adjacent to the River Mourne.
JAMES HERDMAN (1809-1901), of Bath, Somerset, and Strabane, County Tyrone, a grand-nephew of Sir James Emerson-Tennent Bt, married, in 1840, Elizabeth, daughter of William Suffern, of Belfast, and was father of

EMERSON TENNENT HERDMAN JP DL (1842-1918), of Sion House, High Sheriff of County Tyrone, 1890, who wedded, in 1864, Frances Alice, daughter of Dr Francis John West, of Omagh, and had issue,
JOHN CLAUDIUS, of whom we treat;
Adelia Maud; Elizabeth Alice; Frances Evelyn;
Olive Mary, of the Red House, Strabane; her 1st cousin, Sir Emerson Herdman KBE.
Sir Emerson Herdman, KBE, was the last Lord-Lieutenant of County Donegal, from 1920-22.

Mr Emerson Tennent Herdman's eldest son,

JOHN CLAUDIUS HERDMAN OBE DL (1876-1964), of Sion House, High Sheriff of County Tyrone, 1912, Captain, 4th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, wedded, in 1901, Maud Harriet, MBE JP, daughter of Major-General Alexander Clark-Kennedy, of Camus, Strabane, and had issue,
EMERSON TENNENT REX, OBE, High Sheriff of Co Tyrone, 1943;
CLAUDIUS ALEXANDER, of whom hereafter.
Captain Herdman's second son,

CLAUDIUS ALEXANDER HERDMAN (1903-93), of Sion Mills, Commander RN, High Sheriff of County Tyrone, 1959, wedded Maud Harriet, daughter of Major-General Alexander Clark-Kennedy, and had issue,

CELIA MARY HERDMAN, born in 1943, who married, in 1968, Brigadier John Gordon Goddard de Poulton Ferguson, and has issue,


SION HOUSE, Sion Mills, County Tyrone, is an Elizabethan-Revival mansion of ca 1842, built by James Herdman.

The present house replaced a simpler dwelling.

It was re-designed in half-timbered style about 1883 by Emerson Tennent Herdman.

rebuilt in 1883 in half-timbered style, by Emerson T Herdman.

His brother-in-law, William Unsworth, of Petersfield, Hampshire, was the architect.

Sion House was sold in 1966.

The gate-house, also Elizabethan-Revival in character, is virtually a replica of Stokesay Castle's gate-house in Shropshire.

First published in April, 2014.

Ardagh House


The founder of this family,

CUTHBERT FETHERSTON, of the ancient stock of the Fetherstons of Heathery Cleugh, County Durham, settled in Ireland after the battle of Worcester, in which Sir Thomas Fetherstonhaugh was made prisoner, and afterwards beheaded at Chester.

The eldest son of this Cuthbert, 

CUTHBERT FETHERSTON, had three sons,
Cuthbert, ancestor of Fetherston of Bracklyn;
THOMAS, of whom hereafter;
The second son,

THOMAS FETHERSTON, settled at Ardagh, County Longford, and marrying Miss Sherlock, had four sons,
John (Very Rev), Dean of Raphoe;
William, of Carrick;
RALPH, of whom we treat.
The youngest son,

RALPH FETHERSTON (c1731-80), of Ardagh, High Sheriff of County Longford, 1756, MP for Longford County, 1765-6, was created a baronet in 1776, designated of Ardagh, County Longford.

He wedded firstly, Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Samuel Achmuty, of Brianstown, County Longford, by whom he had an only daughter, Elizabeth; and secondly, Sarah, daughter of Godfrey Wills, of Will's Grove, County Roscommon, by whom he had issue,
THOMAS, his heir;
Godfrey, killed in the East Indies;
Sarah; Maria; Letitia; Elizabeth.
Sir Ralph was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR THOMAS FETHERSTON, 2nd Baronet (1759-1819),  High Sheriff of County Longford, 1781, MP for County Longford, 1783-1800, who married Catherine, daughter of George Boleyn Whitney, of New Pass, County Westmeath, and had issue,
GEORGE RALPH, his successor;
THOMAS, succeeded his brother;
Elizabeth; Catherine; Isabella; Sarah; Octavia.
Sir Thomas was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR GEORGE RALPH FETHERSTON, 3rd Baronet (1784-1853), High Sheriff of County Longford, 1834, MP for County Longford, 1819-30, who espoused, in 1821, Frances Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Richard Solly, of York Place, Portman Square, London, though the marriage was without issue.
Sir George and Lady Fetherston landscaped the demesne grounds and the village of Ardagh. The conversion of the old house into the mansion within its demesne may have been completed at this time, and involved the re-siting of the village street or road. The village clock-tower and surrounding buildings were erected in 1863 in remembrance of Sir George and of his life-long devotion to the moral and social improvement of his tenantry, and the site whereon they stand purchased by Frances Elizabeth, his widow. A memorial stone in the old church records his death on 12th July 1853, and that his wife died in London twelve years later and was buried in Walthamstow. 
Sir George was succeeded by his youngest brother,

THE REV SIR THOMAS FRANCIS FETHERSTON, 4th Baronet (1800-53), who married firstly, in 1823, Adeline Godley; and secondly, Anne L'Estrange, of Moystown, County Offaly, and had issue,
George Ralph, died in infancy;
THOMAS JOHN, his successor;
Edmund Whitney;
John Henry;
Albert William Boleyn;
Boleyn Henry Francis;
Henry Ernest Wiliam;
Rosa Elizabeth; Catherine.
Sir Thomas was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

SIR THOMAS JOHN FETHERSTON, 5th Baronet (1824-69), High Sheriff of County Longford, 1858, who espoused, in 1848, Sarah, daughter of Henry Alcock, and had issue,
GEORGE RALPH, his successor;
Adeline Margaret; Caroline Louisa.
Sir Thomas was succeeded by his only son,

THE REV SIR GEORGE RALPH FETHERSTON (1852-1923), 6th and last Baronet, High Sheriff of County Longford, 1897,  who died unmarried, when the baronetcy expired.

Sir George was born in Dublin and educated at Brighton College.

In his mid-twenties he entered Salisbury Theological College to prepare for ordination into the ministry of the Church of England.  

He served as curate in Tenby and Worcester City, and for six years as Rector or Vicar of the Parish of Pydeltrenthide in Dorset.

He served also as an honorary chaplain to Millbank Military Hospital, London, during the 1914-18 War.

He was one of the first two men in Holy Orders to serve as Sheriff in their Counties until the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland clerics of the Anglican Communion were not permitted to hold such Office.

Being Sheriff in 1897 he received the Diamond Jubilee Medal and preached his Jubilee Sermon in St. Patrick's Church, Ardagh.

Sir George was a man of many interests and hobbies — music, travel, cycling, fishing, photography, collecting ancient china and stamps, bird-watching and study of insects.

He travelled widely in Europe, Africa, North and South America.

This must have absorbed some of the Ardagh estate income.

He was Fellow and Vice-President of the Guild of Church Musicians and of the Victoria College of Music London. 

Who's Who credited him with the composition of 150 alternative tunes for Hymns Ancient & Modern, various chants, songs and other music, but none of these are to be found in current chant and Hymn books.

His publications have been listed as The Malvern Hills, Through Corsica with a Pencil. The Mystery of Maple Street, A Poem: The Rose of England. An Incident in the Siege of Antwerp, A Legend of Corpus Christi College, and four books of Sermons and Addresses.

These may have been published privately for limited sale or distribution.

Sir George may not have had much interest in the ownership and management of the estate.

He entered into voluntary agreements with over 300 tenants to sell to them the freehold of their farms, under the Irish Land Act 1903. 

The Ardagh estate was not acquired or purchased by the Irish Land Commission, which, however, advanced the money required by the tenants and others, and the holdings were vested in them by the Commission in 1922-23.

An area of 427 acres of bog land was vested in trustees for the use of purchasing new freeholders.

Sir George retained Ardagh House and demesne acres until his death in a Worcester City Nursing Home, and burial in Tenby, South Wales, in 1923. 

An attempt to destroy the house by fire in 1922 may have been a local expression of dissatisfaction with allocation of estate land or an effort to hasten sale of the last remnants of the estate.

Manuscripts written in Irish were salvaged from the 1922 flames of Ardagh House.

ARDAGH HOUSE is an eight-bay, two-storey (originally three-storey) over-basement house, originally built ca 1730 and altered ca 1826 and ca 1863. 

A Three-bay, two-storey block (formerly the ballroom) was attached to the south-east end, having hipped slate roof with overhanging bracketed eaves.

A single-bay porch with tetra-style porch to the centre of the front façade (south), adjoined to the east by a four-bay single-storey additional conservatory with pilasters and lean-to roof. 

(Image: Longford Tourism)

Ardagh House was acquired as training college by the Sisters of Mercy ca 1927, with multiple extensions to the east and the north-east.

It retains much of its early character despite a fire in 1948 that resulted in it being reduced to two storeys in height.

Much interesting fabric remains, such as some timber sliding sash windows, and console brackets to the porch. 

Although probably early-to-mid 18th century in date, this structure now has a predominantly early-to-mid 19th century appearance.

The elegant porch and conservatory, and the former ballroom/block to the east, were also added at this time. 

It also retains some of its early fabric to the interior, despite the fire in 1948, including plasterwork and fireplaces.

THE POET and novelist Oliver Goldsmith (1728-74), when a young man, once loitered on his way between Ballymahon and Edgeworthstown, strayed from the direct road, and found himself benighted on the street  of Ardagh.

Wishing to find an inn, but inquiring "for the best house in the place", he was wilfully misunderstood by a wag and directed to the large, old-fashioned residence of Sir Ralph Fetherston, 1st Baronet.

Sir Ralph, whom the poet found seated by a good fire in the parlour, immediately perceived the young man's mistake; and being humorous and well-acquainted with Goldsmith's family, he for some time encouraged the deception.

The incidents of the occasion form the groundwork of Goldsmith's well-known comedy "Mistakes of a Night."

First published in December, 2011.

Thursday, 30 July 2020

1st Earl of Clanwilliam

The family of MEADE, anciently written Meagh, was seated for many centuries in County Cork.

Charles Smith, in his history of that county, mentions that at Meadstown there was formerly a castle built by the Meades; that they had the patronage of the prebend of Lisleary; and that many of this ancient family were interred at Buttevant Friary.

A descendant of this house was William Miagh, consecrated Lord Bishop of Kildare, 1540, and a privy counsellor to HENRY VIII.

SIR JOHN MEADE, Knight, eldest son and heir of John Meade, of Ballintubber, married Catherine, daughter of Dominick, 1st Viscount Sarsfield of Kilmallock and premier Baronet of Ireland, and had issue,

SIR WILLIAM MEADE, Knight, Lieutenant-Colonel in a Troop of Horse for CHARLES II, who wedded Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Robert Travers, Knight, and had issue,
JOHN, his heir;
Patrick, Brigadier-General;
Jocelyn (Ven), Archdeacon of Cloyne;
Elizabeth; Eleanor.
Sir William was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR JOHN MEADE, Knight (1642-1707), of Ballintubber, Attorney-General to JAMES, DUKE OF YORK, who was created a baronet in 1703, designated of Ballintubber, County Cork.

He espoused Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Pierce, 2nd Viscount Ikerrin, and had issue,
William and
James, both died young;
RICHARD, successive baronets;
Helen; Catherine; Mary; Jane.
Sir John was succeeded by his elder son,

SIR PIERCE MEADE, 2nd Baronet (1693-1711), who died unmarried and in minority, and was succeeded by his brother,

SIR RICHARD MEADE, 3rd Baronet (1697-1744), who married, in 1736, Catherine, second daughter of Henry Prittie, grandfather of Henry, 1st Baron Dunalley, and had an only son,

SIR JOHN MEADE, 4th Baronet (1744-1800), born a few days before his father's death, in 1744, who wedded, in 1765, Theodosia, only daughter and heir of Robert Hawkins Magill, of Gill Hall, County Down, and had issue,
RICHARD, his successor;
Robert, General in the army;
John, Lieutenant-General in the army;
Pierce (Ven), Archdeacon of Dromore;
Edward, killed in Egypt;
Anne; Catherine; Theodosia Sarah Frances; Melicina Adelaide; Rose Maria Arabella Sarah.
Theodosia, Countess of Clanwilliam (Image: Ulster Museum)

Sir John was elevated to the peerage, in 1766, in the dignities of Viscount Clanwilliam and Baron Gillford; and advanced to an earldom, in 1776, as EARL OF CLANWILLIAM.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

RICHARD, 2nd Earl (1766-1805), who married firstly, in 1793, Caroline, Countess of Thun, daughter of Maria Wilhelmine von Thun und Hohenstein, and had issue,
RICHARD, his successor;
Caroline; Selina.
He wedded secondly, Margaret Irene, daughter of John Sarney, and widow of John Harcourt, of Ankerwycke, and of Molyneux, 1st Baron Shuldham, and died two months later.

His lordship was succeeded by his son,

RICHARD, 3rd Earl (1795-1879), GCH, who married, in 1830, the Lady Elizabeth Herbert, daughter of George, 11th Earl of Pembroke, and had issue,
RICHARD JAMES, his successor;
Robert Henry;
Herbert George Philip;
Selina Catherine.
3rd Earl of Clanwilliam (Image: the National Trust, Uppark)

His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

RICHARD JAMES, 4th Earl (1832-1907), GCB KCMG, of Gill Hall, County Down, Admiral of the Fleet, who espoused, in 1867, Elizabeth Henrietta, daughter of Sir Arthur Edward Kennedy, and had issue,
Richard Charles, Lord Gillford (1868-1905);
Herbert, Admiral in the Royal Navy;
Edward Brabazon;
Katharine; Beatrice; Adelaide Jane; Elizabeth Selina Georgiana.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

ARTHUR VESEY, 5th Earl (1873-1953), MC DL, of Montalto, County Down, who married, in 1909, Muriel Mary Temple, daughter of Russell Maule Stephenson, and had issue,
Mary Anne Selina; Elizabeth Louise Margaret.
His lordship was succeeded by his only son,

JOHN CHARLES EDMUND CARSON, 6th Earl (1914-89), of Montalto, Lord-Lieutenant of County Down, 1975-9.
The heir apparent is the present holder's son, John Maximilian Meade, styled Lord Gillford.

I recall seeing the 6th Earl, of Montalto, County Down, at a scout conference in he Slieve Donard Hotel.

Montalto estate had been acquired by the 5th Earl in 1910.

It was sold by the 6th Earl when he retired in 1979 and became part of a business partnership who replanted the demesne in 1986-89.

The house has been in private hands again since 1995.

Clanwilliam arms courtesy of European Heraldry.   First published in February, 2011.

Fraser of Gortfoyle

JOHN FRASER (1803-75), a crofter, of Fort Augustus, Inverness-shire, married Margaret Tulloch, and had a son,

JAMES FRASER (1831-1908), of Plevna, Bloomfield, County Mayo, who married, in 1853, Catherine Ann, daughter of Robert Moore, of Donegal, and had issue,
ROBERT MOORE, of whom presently;
John James, d 1880;
Jane, d 1933.
Mr Fraser resided in a succession of homes in the city of Belfast, including: 81 Springfield Terrace; 10 Cameron Street; Plevna Street; and, in 1902, 33 Cyprus Gardens, where he died in 1908.

The eldest son,

DR ROBERT MOORE FRASER (1865-1952), of Gortfoyle, Ballyhackamore, Belfast, married firstly, in 1899, Margaret Boal, daughter of Adam Boal Ferguson, of Lark Hill, County Antrim; and secondly, in 1907, Alice Josephene, youngest daughter of Dr Alexander Cuthbert, of Londonderry.

Dr Fraser practiced in his surgery at 211, Albertbridge Road, Belfast.

His residence was Gortfoyle, a villa at 364 Upper Newtownards Road, Ballyhackamore; and, after 1939, 10 Winston Gardens, Belfast.

Following Dr Fraser's death his widow, Margaret, moved to 20 Cloverhill Park, Belfast.

His son,


BRIGADIER SIR IAN FRASER DSO OBE DL MD (1901-99), wedded, in 1931, Eleanor Margaret, daughter of Marcus Adolphus Mitchell, of Quarry House, Strandtown, Belfast, and had issue, 
IAN MARCUS, b 1939;
Mary Alice, b 1938.
Do any readers have photographs of Gortfoyle, Upper Newtownards Road, Belfast?

First published in April, 2014.

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Adare Manor


The descent of the Earls of Dunraven from the ancient Milesian princes is certified by the recognition of the pedigree of their ancestor, Thady Quin, of Adare, in a record entered in Ulster King-of-Arms' office by Sir Richard Carney, Knight, Ulster King of Arms, 1688.

Con Cead Caha, or Con of the Hundred Battles, described by genealogists as monarch in Ireland during the 2nd century, is represented as the founder of the family of QUIN; his grandson, Cormac, who is said to have reigned in AD 254, was the first who adopted the surname of QUIN, which signifies a descendant of Con.

The family certainly possessed large territories in Ireland, and governed as hereditary chieftains, before the invasion of the English in the reign of HENRY II.

The Earls of Dunraven descended from a branch which for many centuries possessed great feudal power in County Clare, whence their ancestors were finally expelled by the more powerful family of O'Brien, and settled in County Limerick.

JAMES QUIN, of Kilmallock, County Limerick (whose brother, John Quin, a Dominican friar, was Bishop of Limerick, 1521), had a son,

DONOUGH QUIN, who was father of

DONOUGH QUIN, who married Judith, heiress of the family of O'Riordan, which had been settled for more than five centuries in County Limerick.

He died in 1621, leaving a son,

THADY QUIN (1645-1726), of Adare, who wedded firstly, Bridget, daughter and heir of Andrew Rice, of Dingle, County Kerry; and secondly, Frances, daughter of Major Hull, son of Sir William Hull, Knight; and thirdly, Catherine, daughter of Piers Morony, by whom he had issue,
VALENTINE, his heir;
Catherine; Eleanor; Judith.
Thady Quin was succeeded by his eldest son,

VALENTINE QUIN, of Adare, who espoused Mary, eldest daughter and co-heir of Henry Widenham, of The Court, County Limerick, and had issue,
WINDHAM, his heir;
George, of Quinsborough;
Mary; Margaret; Alice; Catharine; Anne.
Mr Quin died in 1744, and was succeeded by his elder son,

WINDHAM QUIN (1717-89), of Adare, High Sheriff of County Limerick, 1747, MP for Kilmallock, 1768-76, who married, in 1748, Frances, daughter of Richard Dawson, of Dawson's Grove, County Monaghan, and had issue,
VALENTINE RICHARD, his successor;
Windham, lt-col in the army;
John, in holy orders;
Elizabeth; Mary; Catherine; Frances.
Mr Quin's eldest son,

VALENTINE RICHARD QUIN (1732–1824), MP for Kilmallock, 1800, was created a baronet in 1781, designated of Adare, County Limerick.

Sir Valentine was elevated to the peerage, in 1800, in the dignity of Baron Adare, of Adare, County Limerick; and advanced to a viscountcy, in 1816, as Viscount Mount Earl.

His lordship was further advanced, in 1822, to the dignities of Viscount Adare and EARL OF DUNRAVEN AND MOUNT EARL.

He wedded firstly, in 1777, Frances, daughter of Stephen, 1st Earl of Ilchester, and had issue,
WINDHAM HENRY, his successor;
Richard George;
Elizabeth; Harriett.
His lordship espoused secondly, Mrs Blennerhasset, widow of Colonel Blennerhasset, but had no further issue.

He was succeeded by his elder son,

2nd Earl of Dunraven (Image: National Library of Wales)

WINDHAM HENRY, 2nd Earl (1782-1850), MP for County Limerick, 1802-20, who married, in 1810, Caroline, daughter of Thomas Wyndham, and had issue,
EDWIN RICHARD, his successor;
Windham Henry, father of the 5th Earl;
Anna Maria Charlotte.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

EDWIN RICHARD, 3rd Earl (1812-71), KP, MP for Glamorgan, 1837-51, who wedded firstly, in 1836, Augusta, daughter of Thomas Gould, and had issue,
WINDHAM THOMAS, his successor;
Augusta Emily; Mary Frances; Caroline Adelaide; Edith; Emily Anna.
His lordship was succeeded by his only son,

WINDHAM THOMAS, 4th Earl (1841-1926), KP CMG OBE PC, who espoused, in 1869, Florence Elizabeth, daughter of Lord Charles Lennox Kerr, and had issue, three daughters,
Florence Enid; Rachael Charlotte; Aileen May.
His lordship died without male issue, when the titles reverted to his cousin,

WINDHAM HENRY, 5th Earl (1857-1952), CB DSO DL, High Sheriff of County Kilkenny, 1914, who married, in 1885, the Lady Eva Constance Aline Bourke, daughter of Richard, 6th Earl of Mayo, and had issue,
Valentine Maurice;
Olein Eva Constance; Kathleen Sybil.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

RICHARD SOUTHWELL WINDHAM ROBERT, 6th Earl (1887-1965), CB CBE MC, who espoused firstly, in 1915, Helen Lindsay, daughter of John Swire; and secondly, in 1934, Nancy, daughter of Thomas B Yuille, by whom he had issue,
THADY WINDHAM THOMAS, his successor;
Melissa Eva Caroline; Caroline Olein Geraldine.
His lordship was succeeded by his only son,

THADY WINDHAM THOMAS, 7th Earl (1939-2011), who married, in 1969, Geraldine, daughter of Air Commodore Gerald Ward McAleer CBE, and had issue, an only child,

THE LADY ANNA ELIZABETH WYNDHAM-QUIN (1972-), who wedded, in 2009, Duncan Yeats, son of Patrick Johnson, and has issue,
Tarka Valentine Mary (b 2015);
India Catherine Nancy (b 2016).
Following the death of the 7th Earl without male issue, the titles expired.

Unable to bear the expense of maintaining Adare Manor, the 7th Earl sold it and its contents in 1984.

The mansion was purchased by an Irish-American businessman, Tom Kane, and subsequently converted into a hotel.

Adare Manor was originally a two-storey, seven-bay early 18th century house, most likely built about 1725 by Valentine Quin, grandfather of the 1st Earl of Dunraven.

From 1832, the 2nd Earl, started rebuilding the house in the Tudor-Revival style as a way of occupying himself (his wife was handicapped).

When the house was almost completed in 1846, A W Pugin was commissioned to design some features of the Great Hall.

Between 1850-62, the 3rd Earl finally completed the mansion by building the principal garden front.

The Great Hall is a room of vast size and height, divided down the middle by a screen of giant Gothic arches of stone.

A carved oak Minstrels' Gallery runs along one side; originally there was once an organ loft.

Mark Bence-Jones remarks that Adare Manor, as completed, is a picturesque and grey stone pile, composed of various elements that are rather loosely tied together; some of which are reproduced from Tudor originals in England. viz. the entrance tower, bearing a verisimilitude to the Cloister Court at Eton College.

The Long Gallery above is 132 feet long and 26 feet in height.

The mansion is set in a 840-acre estate and now operates as a luxury hotel, featuring the Adare Golf Club, Elemis Treatment Rooms, Townhouses and Villas on the rest of the resort.

President Clinton stayed at Adare Manor in September, 1998.

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

Archdale of Castle Archdale


The earliest reference to the Archdale family relates to Sir Edward Archdale of Norsom, Norfolk, and Macclesfield, Cheshire, who lived during the reigns of HENRY IV and HENRY V, and fought at the battle of Agincourt in 1415.

The first of the family to settle in Ulster, during the reign of ELIZABETH I, was 

JOHN ARCHDALE (1578-1621), of Darsham, Suffolk, who married Katherine, eldest daughter of Sir William Temple, provost of Trinity College, Dublin.

In 1612, this John was granted 1,000 acres of land in County Fermanagh as part of the plantation of Ulster.

This gentleman, by the inscription over the gateway in the ruinous castle, appears to have erected the old mansion-house of Archdale.

By his wife he had, among other issue, two sons,
EDWARD, his heir;
John (Rev), Vicar of Lusk, County Dublin.
Mr Archdale was succeeded by his eldest son,

EDWARD ARCHDALE, who espoused Angel, daughter of Sir Paul Gore Bt (ancestor of the Gores, Earls of Ross etc) and had issue.

During his time, the castle which his father had erected was taken and burned by the rebels under Sir Phelim O'Neill, in 1641, and only two children of a numerous family survived.

One, a daughter, who was absent and married; the other, an infant son, WILLIAM, preserved by the fidelity of his nurse, an Irish Roman Catholic, which

WILLIAM ARCHDALE JP, of old Castle Archdale, after succeeding to the estates, married, in 1677, Elizabeth, daughter of Henry Mervyn, of Omagh Castle and Trillick, both in County Tyrone, and had two sons and a daughter, namely,
MERVYN, his heir;
EDWARDheir to his brother;
ANGEL, heiress to her brother.
He was succeeded by his elder son,

MERVYN ARCHDALE, of Castle Archdale, County Fermanagh, who died unmarried in 1726, and was succeeded by his brother,

EDWARD ARCHDALE (1694-1728), of Castle Archdale, a captain in Sir Gustavus Hume's Regiment of Dragoons, High Sheriff of County Fermanagh, 1722, who married firstly, in 1728, Frances, daughter of Sir John Caldwell Bt; and secondly, Elizabeth, eldest daughter of John Cole, of Florence Court.

Dying without issue, however, before 1730, the estates devolved upon his only sister,

ANGEL ARCHDALE (c1688-1745), of Castle Archdale, who thus became heiress and representative of the family, when the spelling of her surname changed to ARCHDALL.

She espoused NICHOLAS MONTGOMERY, of Derrygonnelly, County Fermanagh, MP for County Fermanagh, 1761-1802, who assumed the surname and arms of ARCHDALL, and left, at her decease, an only son,

COLONEL MERVYN ARCHDALL JP MP (1725-1813), of Castle Archdale, and of Trillick, County Tyrone, who married, in 1762, Mary, daughter of William, 1st Viscount Carlow, and sister of John, 1st Earl of Portarlington, and had issue,
MERVYN, his heir;
WILLIAM, succeeded his brother;
EDWARD, succeeded his brother;
Mary; Angel; Martha Caroline; Anna; Catherine; Elizabeth; Sidney; Wilhelmina Henrietta.
Colonel Archdale was succeeded by his eldest son,

GENERAL MERVYN ARCHDALL (1763-1839), of Castle Archdale, and of Trillick, County Tyrone, who wedded, in 1805, Jane, daughter of Gustavus Rochfort MP, of Rochfort, County Westmeath.

General Archdall was returned for the tenth time for Fermanagh at the general election of 1832.

He resigned on account of ill-health in 1834; and died of a stroke in 1839, when he was remembered as ‘a gallant soldier, a good landlord, a kind friend and a staunch Conservative’.

By his will, dated 28 Sept. 1829, he made provision for his relations, including his ‘reputed’ children Henry and Jane Grey, but left his residual estate to his brother,

LIEUTENANT-COLONEL WILLIAM ARCHDALL (1768-1857), of Castle Archdale and Trillick, wedded Mary, daughter of James Clarke, in an issueless marriage, and was succeeded by his brother,

EDWARD ARCHDALL JP DL (1775-1864), of Riversdale, County Fermanagh, High Sheriff of County Fermanagh, 1813, who espoused, in 1809, Matilda, daughter of William Humphrys, and had issue,
MERVYN EDWARD, his heir;
WILLIAM HUMPHRYS, succeeded his brother;
HENRY MONTGOMERY (Rev), succeeded his brother;
Nicholas Montgomery, of Riversdale and Crocknacrieve; father of 1st Baronet;
Ensign John;
Hugh Montgomery;
Audley Mervyn;
James Mervyn;
Richmal Magnall;
Mary; Letitia; Matilda.
Mr Archdale was succeeded by his eldest son,

MERVYN EDWARD ARCHDALE JP DL (1812-95), of Castle Archdale and Trillick, MP for Fermanagh, 1834-74, High Sheriff of County Fermanagh, 1879, who married, Emma Inez, daughter of Jacob Goulding, and had issue,
Mervyn Henry, m Mary de Bathe and had issue;
Hugh James (brigadier-general), 1854-1921;
Georgina Emma Matilda; Blanche Mary Mervyn; Evelyn Jane.
The spelling of the surname of this branch reverted thereafter to ARCHDALE.

Mr Archdale's younger brother,

WILLIAM HUMPHRYS ARCHDALE JP (1813-99), of Castle Archdale, Riversdale, and Trillick, MP for Fermanagh, 1874-85, wedded firstly, in 1845, Emily Mary Rebecca, daughter of the Rev and Hon John Charles Maude, in a childless marriage; and secondly, in 1894, Matilda Mary, daughter of William Alley, though the marriage was without issue.

His younger brother,

THE REV HENRY MONTGOMERY ARCHDALE (1818-98), Rector of Trory, 1847-76, wedded, in 1848, Sarah Elizabeth, daughter of James Blackwood-Price, and had issue,
EDWARD, his heir;
Henry Dawson, died young;
James Blackwood;
Audley Mervyn;
GEORGE, of Dromard, Kesh; father of
Elizabeth; Richmal Magnall; Sarah Blackwood; Matilda Humphrys.
The Rev Henry Archdale was succeeded by his eldest son,

THE RT HON EDWARD ARCHDALE JP DL (1850-1916), of Castle Archdale and Trillick, Privy Counsellor, Lord-Lieutenant of County Tyrone, 1913, High Sheriff of County Fermanagh, 1902, who espoused, in 1908, Elizabeth, daughter of Nicholas Harwood, though the marriage was without issue.

He was succeeded by his brother,

JAMES BLACKWOOD ARCHDALE JP DL (1853-1936), of Castle Archdale and Trillick, High Sheriff of County Tyrone, 1921, County Fermanagh, 1923, who married, in 1886, Elizabeth, daughter of George May, and had issue, a son,

HENRY BLACKWOOD ARCHDALE (1887-1939), of Castle Archdale and Trillick, who wedded, in 1921, Dorothy Audley, daughter of William Audley Mervyn, though the marriage was without issue.

He was succeeded by his cousin,

MERVYN HENRY DAWSON ARCHDALE JP DL (1904-68), of Ashburton, New Zealand, and of Castle Archdale, High Sheriff of County Fermanagh, 1944, married Wilhelmina Rachael, daughter of John Castle, and had issue,
Denis Theodore.
Mr Archdale was succeeded by his eldest son,


First published in March, 2012.

Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Kinlough House


ROBERT JOHNSTON (1768-1843), of Kinlough House, County Leitrim, and 23 Mountjoy Square, Dublin, married Florence, daughter of Henry Rathborne, of Dunsinea, County Dublin, and had, with other issue,
WILLIAM, of whom presently;
Henry (Ven.), Archdeacon of Elphin;
St George Robert.
The eldest son,

WILLIAM JOHNSTON JP (1814-88), of Kinlough House and Mountjoy Square, High Sheriff of County Leitrim, 1850, wedded, in 1856, Sarah Jane, daughter of the Rev William Percy, Rector of Carrick-on-Shannon, and had issue,
JAMES, his heir;
Florence Elizabeth; Sophia Mary;
Emma Caroline; Lucy Katherine.
Mr Johnston was succeeded by his son,

JAMES JOHNSTON JP DL (1858-), of Kinlough House, High Sheriff of County Leitrim, 1884, who married, in 1890, Rebecca Ceely, daughter of Maurice Ceely Maude, of Lenaghan Park, County Fermanagh, and had issue,
William James, 1891-3;
I have been unable to find much information relating to the Johnstons of Kinlough.

KINLOUGH HOUSE, originally known as Oakfield House, was the seat of the Johnston family in the early 18th century.

It was remodelled in the 1820s by Robert Johnston, who renamed it Kinlough House.

In 1943 the Irish Tourist Association Survey recorded that the house had been destroyed by fire twenty years earlier, but that the gardens were still open to the public.

Housing development is occurring on the site, adjacent to the walled garden.

It was a five-bay, two-storey over basement house, built ca 1800 by Robert Johnston; now ruinous.

Its roof has been removed.

There were two ashlar chimney-stacks with string courses; sandstone walls with ruled-and-lined render; and tooled limestone quoins and string course.

It had a Doric portico to the façade, with tripartite window and pediment above.

Segmental-arched openings to basement with cast-iron railings.

Although this impressive former country house now lies in ruins, the grandeur and elegance of the building still survives.

Detailing such as the flower motif to the tripartite window contributes to the artistic quality of the house.

First published in March, 2012.   Sir James (Jim) Kilfedder MP (1928-1995) was born at Kinlough, County Leitrim.

Monday, 27 July 2020

House of Stewart

According to a document in the Historic Buildings Branch of the Northern Ireland Department for Communities,
"Alexander Stewart was the great-grandson of John McGregor, a Scots Highlander who had migrated to Co. Donegal in the early 1600s, and who appears to have changed his name to 'Stewart' in an attempt to disassociate himself from the then attainted McGregor clan. Alexander became a successful linen merchant, working in both Belfast and London, who served in the Irish House of Commons as MP for Londonderry city for a short period."
WILLIAM STEWART, of Ballylawn Castle, County Donegal (great-grandson of John Stewart, who had a grant from CHARLES I of Stewart's Court Manor, where he erected Ballylawn Castle), took an active part in Ulster affairs in order to prevent the subversion of the constitution, which JAMES II and his chief governor, the Earl of Tyrconnell, were attempting to effect.

He raised a troop of horse at his own expense when the city of Londonderry was occupied, and actively promoted the Protestant interest there by protecting those who were favourably disposed to WILLIAM III.

Mr Stewart was appointed lieutenant-colonel in the regiment commanded by Sir William Stewart, Viscount Mountjoy.

He married the daughter of William Stewart, of Fort Stewart, County Donegal (grandson of the Rt Hon Sir William Stewart Bt, whose descendant was created Baron Stewart of Ramelton and Viscount Mountjoy), and died leaving issue, a daughter,

MARTHA, who wedded John Kennedy, of Cultra, County Down; and two sons, of whom

THOMAS KENNEDY, the eldest, succeeded at Ballylawn Castle, and served as a captain in Lord Mountjoy's regiment.

He espoused Mary, second daughter of Bernard Ward (ancestor of the Viscounts Bangor), by Mary, sister of the Rt Rev Michael Ward, Lord Bishop of Derry; and dying without issue, 1740, was succeeded by his only brother,

ALEXANDER STEWART (1699-1781), of Ballylawn Castle and Stewart Court, County Donegal, linen merchant of Belfast and London, who purchased the lands of Templecrone on the shore of Strangford Lough, County Down, later named MOUNT STEWART, from the Colville family.

Alexander Stewart (Image: the National Trust)

He married, in 1737, his cousin Mary, only daughter and heiress of Alderman JOHN COWAN, of Londonderry (by Anne Stewart, second daughter of Alexander Stewart, of Ballylawn Castle, and sister and sole heir of Sir Robert Cowan, Governor of Bombay), and had issue,
ROBERT, his heir;
William, died in infancy;
John, 1744-62;
Anne; Frances; Mary.
The eldest son,

ROBERT STEWART (1739-1821), of Ballylawn Castle, County Donegal, and Mount Stewart, County Down, who, having represented the latter county in parliament, and having been sworn a member of the Privy Council, was elected to the Irish peerage, in 1789, in the dignity of Baron Londonderry.

He was advanced to a viscountcy, in 1795, as Viscount Castlereagh and, in 1796, Earl of Londonderry.

(Image: the National Trust)

His lordship was further advanced, in 1816, to the dignity of a marquessate, as MARQUESS OF LONDONDERRY.

He wedded firstly, in 1766, the Lady Sarah Frances Seymour-Conway, second daughter of Francis, 1st Marquess of Hertford, and had issue,
Alexander Francis, 1767-9;
ROBERT, his successor.
He wedded secondly, in 1775, the Lady Frances Pratt, eldest daughter of Charles, 1st Earl Camden, and had further issue,
CHARLES WILLIAM, 3rd Marquess;
Alexander John, 1783-1800;
Thomas Henry, 1790-1810;
Frances Anne; Elizabeth Mary; Caroline; Georgiana;
Selina Sarah Juliana; Matilda Charlotte; Emily Jane; Catharine Octavia.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

ROBERT, 2nd Marquess (1769-1822), KG, GCH, PC.
The heir presumptive is his brother Lord Reginald Alexander Vane-Tempest-Stewart (b. 1977).
The heir presumptive's heir is his son Robin Gabriel Vane-Tempest-Stewart (b 2004).
Former seats ~ Mount Stewart, County Down; Wynyard Park, County Durham; Seaham Hall, near Stockton-on-Tees.

Former London residence ~ Londonderry House, Park Lane.

First published in March, 2012.

Sunday, 26 July 2020

Ballyfin House

47,451 ACRES

This is the parent stock whence the noble houses of COOTEEarls of Mountrath, and COOTE, Barons Castle Coote, both now extinct, emanated. 

This noble family derives its origin from

SIR JOHN COOTE, a native of France, who married Isabella, the daughter and heir of the Seigneur Du Bois, of that kingdom, and had issue,

SIR JOHN COOTE, Knight, who coming into England, settled in Devon, and married a daughter of Sir John Fortescue, of that county.

His lineal descendant,

JOHN COOTE, heir to his uncle, 28th Abbot of Bury St Edmund's, wedded Margaret, daughter of Mr Drury, by whom he had four sons,
FRANCIS, of whom we treat;
Mr Coote's second son,

FRANCIS COOTE, of Eaton, in Norfolk, served ELIZABETH I; and by Anne, his wife, had issue,

SIR NICHOLAS COOTE, living in 1636, who had two sons,
CHARLES, his heir;
William (Very Rev), Dean of Down, 1635.
Sir Nicholas's elder son,

SIR CHARLES COOTE (1581-1642), Knight, of Castle Cuffe, Queen's County, who served in the wars against O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone, at the head, as captain of the 100th Foot Regiment, with which corps he was at the siege of Kinsale, and was appointed, by JAMES I (in consequence of the good and faithful services he had rendered to ELIZABETH I), provost-marshal of the province of Connaught for life.

In 1620, he was constituted vice-president of the same province; and created, in 1621, a baronet, designated of Castle Cuffe, Queen's County.

Sir Charles distinguished himself, subsequently, by many gallant exploits; but the most celebrated was the relief of Birr, in 1642.

Being dispatched, with Sir Thomas Lucas and six troops of horse, to relieve that garrison, and some other fortresses, it was necessary, in order to effect the objective, to pass the causeway broken by the rebels, who had thrown up a ditch at the end of it.

Sir Charles, leading thirty dismounted dragoons, beat the enemy, with the loss of their captain and twenty men; relieved the castles of Birr, Borris, and Knocknamase; and having continued almost forty hours on horseback, returned to the camp with the loss of only one man.

This is the surprising passage through Mountrath woods which justly caused the title of MOUNTRATH to be entailed upon his son,

Sir Charles, who married Dorothea, youngest daughter and co-heir of Hugh Cuffe, of Cuffe's Wood, County Cork, and had issue,
CHARLES, his heir;
Chidley, of Killester, Co Dublin;
Richard, ancestor of the EARL OF BELLAMONT;
Thomas, of Coote Hill;
Sir Charles being slain in a sally to protect the town of Trim, in 1642, was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR CHARLES COOTE, 2nd Baronet (c1610-61), who was elevated to the peerage, in 1661, in the dignities of Baron Coote, Viscount Coote, and EARL OF MOUNTRATH; and the baronetcy merged in the superior dignity, until the demise of

CHARLES HENRY (1725-1802), 7th Earl, without male issue, when the earldom expired.

A new barony, that of Castle Coote, which his lordship obtained, passed accordingly and ceased likewise, in 1827; while the ancient baronetcy reverted to 

SIR CHARLES HENRY COOTE, 9th Baronet (1792-1864), of Ballyfin, great-grandson of the Rev Chidley Coote DD, lineal descendant of Chidley Coote, by his second wife, Eliza Anne.


Sir Algernon Charles Plumptre Coote, 12th Baronet (1847–1920), was Lord-Lieutenant of Queen's County, 1900-20.

Sir Ralph Algernon Coote (1874-1941), 13th Baronet, was the last representative of his line to occupy Ballyfin House.

Thereafter the estate was purchased by the Irish Land Commission, while the noble mansion and portion of the demesne were acquired in 1930 by the Patrician Order, a distinguished Irish teaching brotherhood long associated with successful educational work in the district.

The 14th Baronet, Rear-Admiral Sir John, CB CBE DSC, was Director of Naval Ordnance, 1955-58. 

Sir Christopher John Coote, 15th Baronet (b 1928) is married and lives in Wiltshire.

BALLYFIN HOUSE, situated at the foot of the Slieve Bloom mountains near Mountrath in County Laois, is said to be "the grandest and most lavishly appointed early 19th century Classical house in Ireland" (Bence-Jones). 

The mansion was built between 1821-26 for Sir Charles Coote, 9th Baronet, replacing a house of 1778 which belonged to William Wellesley-Pole, 3rd Earl of Mornington and brother of the 1st Duke of Wellington.

Sir Charles purchased the estate from Wellesley-Pole about 1812 and apparently employed an architect called Madden to design the initial phase of Ballyfin; then switched to the Morrisons.

Ballyfin is a two-storey maansion house with a long library running at one side from front to back, extending into a curved bow in the centre of the side elevation, containing a top-lit rotunda.

The library wing is of one bay on either side of the central curved bow, fronted by a colonnade of large Ionic columns. 

The side elevation is prolonged by an elegantly-curving glass and iron conservatory of about 1850.

The principal front consists of thirteen bays with a massive Ionic, pedimented portico; the two end bays on either side being stepped back.

The interior is quite magnificent and exquisitely furnished, with a riot of notable effects and a wealth of heavy, opulent plasterwork; Scagliola columns in Siena, porphyry, green and black; inlaid parquetry floors.

The saloon is flanked by the rotunda (above), which is surrounded by Ionic columns and has a coffered dome.

The entrance hall is said to be more constrained, with a coffered ceiling and a mosaic Roman floor. 

This leads into the splendid top-lit saloon in the centre of the mansion, which boasts a coved ceiling adorned with superlative plasterwork and a screen of Corinthian columns at either end.

The drawing-room has a typical Morrison ceiling and gilded Louis Quinze on the walls of ca 1840s.

Today the demesne comprises 600 acres of parkland, a lake and ancient woods, delightful garden buildings, follies and grottoes.

The landscape, laid out in the 18th century, is among the finest examples in Ireland of the natural style of gardening inspired by ‘Capability’ Brown.

Ballyfin House was formerly the Patrician College.

Patrician College Ballyfin operated from 1930 to 2009.

Sir Ralph Algernon Coote (1874-1941), 13th Baronet, was the last representative of his line to occupy Ballyfin House.

Thereafter the estate was purchased by the Irish Land Commission, while the noble mansion and portion of the demesne were acquired in 1930 by the Patrician Order, a distinguished Irish teaching brotherhood long associated with successful educational work in the district. 

Its architectural beauty has, however, been carefully preserved, and nothing has been lost in the change of ownership to deteriorate from the graceful lines of the building that Sir Charles Coote, 9th Baronet, expended a fortune in perfecting.

The Patrician Order sold the estate in 2009.

In 2011, Ballyfin became a country house hotel.

Among other features are a medieval-style tower, built as a folly in the 1860s and said to command a view of seven counties; and walled gardens.

London residence ~ 5 Connaught Place.

First published in May, 2011.  Images of Ballyfin House courtesy of Ballyfin Demesne.