Sunday, 28 November 2021

Ballynastragh House


This family is of very ancient establishment in County Wexford, where we find John Esmonde was consecrated Bishop of Ferns in 1349.

The immediate founder of the present house,

JOHN ESMONDE, of Johnstown, County Wexford, married Isabel, daughter of Thomas Rossiter, of Rathmacknee Castle, and was father of

LAURENCE ESMONDE, of Johnstown, who wedded Eleanor, daughter of Walter Walsh, of the Mountains, by whom he had two sons, and was succeeded by the elder,

WALTER ESMONDE, who espoused Margaret, daughter of Michael Furlong, of Horetown, and had, with seven daughters, four sons,
LAURENCE, of whom presently;
The second son,

SIR LAURENCE ESMONDE (1565-1645), Knight, abandoning the ancient creed of his ancestors, declared himself a partisan of ELIZABETH I, and a convert to protestantism.

Sir Laurence was elevated to the peerage in 1622, in the dignity of BARON ESMONDE, of Lymbrick, County Wexford.

During one of his campaigns in Connaught, having fallen in love with Margaret, the beautiful daughter of Murrough O'Flaherty, of Connemara, he reputedly married her, and had a son, THOMAS.

It happened, however, that Lady Esmonde, a devout Roman Catholic, fearing that her child might be brought up a Protestant, carried off the infant by stealth and returned to her family in Connaught.

This act of maternal devotion seems to have been not at all disagreeable to Sir Laurence, as affording him a pretext for casting suspicion on the legality of his union, that of a Protestant with a Catholic; yet, without resorting to legal measures to annul the marriage in due form, he some time later married Elizabeth, second daughter of the Hon Walter Butler, fourth son of James, 9th Earl of Ormonde, but by her had no issue.

His lordship died in 1645, bequeathing all his extensive estates to his only son, SIR THOMAS ESMONDE.

The severity and singularity of his case created considerable interest; and there is scarcely a doubt that, but for the melancholy state of civil war, usurpation, and destruction of property, at that period, the conduct of Lord Esmonde towards his lady, and the legality of his second marriage, his first un-divorced wife still living, upon legal investigation into the matter, and the accompanying circumstances, Sir Thomas Esmonde's right of succession to his father's peerage could not fail to have been acknowledged.

Before, however, that could have taken place, Sir Thomas died; and his successor had to occupy himself with entering into possession of his grandfather's property.

Sir Thomas Esmonde, as already noticed, was reared and educated with his maternal relations; and upon his uncle being raised to the peerage, to the dignity of Viscount Mayo, in 1627, Sir Thomas, who had already been knighted for his eminent services in the cause of royalty, as General of Horse in the armies of CHARLES I, was, through the Lord Mayor's influence, created a baronet in 1629, designated of Ballynastragh, County Wexford.

Sir Thomas married firstly, Ellice, widow of Thomas, 4th Baron Cahir, and daughter of Sir John Fitzgerald, of Dromana, County Waterford, and had issue,
LAURENCE, his successor;
James, of Ballynastagh, ancestor of the 7th Baronet.
Sir Thomas was succeeded by his elder son,

SIR LAURENCE ESMONDE, 2nd Baronet (1634-88), who wedded Lucia Butler, niece of the 1st Duke of Ormonde, and had issue,
LAURENCE, his successor;
Frances; Lucy; two other daughters.
Sir Laurence's seat, Huntington Castle, County Carlow, was built by Lord Esmonde in 1625, and named after the ancient seat of his ancestors in England.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

THE RT HON SIR LAURENCE ESMONDE, 3rd Baronet, who espoused, in 1703, Jane Lucy, daughter of Matthew Forde, and had issue,
LAURENCE, 4th Baronet;
JOHN, 5th Baronet;
WALTER, 6th Baronet;
Sir Laurence died ca 1720, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR LAURENCE ESMONDE, 4th Baronet, who died unmarried ca 1738, and was succeeded by his next brother,

SIR JOHN ESMONDE, 5th Baronet, who married and died without male issue, 1758, and was succeeded by his brother,

SIR WALTER ESMONDE, 6th Baronet, who wedded Joan, daughter of Theobald, 5th Baron Caher, and had three daughters.

Sir Walter died without male issue, 1766, when the title passed to his cousin,

SIR JAMES ESMONDE, 7th Baronet (1701-66), a descendant of James Esmond, younger son of the 1st Baronet, who survived Sir Walter not more than a few days, and wedded Ellice, only daughter and heir of James Whyte, of Pembrokestown, County Waterford, and had issue,
THOMAS, his successor;
John, ancestor of the 10th Baronet;
Elizabeth; Katherine; Frances; Mary.
Sir James was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR THOMAS ESMONDE, 8th Baronet; but had no issue by either of his two wives, and died in 1803, when the title reverted to his nephew and heir,

THE RT HON SIR THOMAS ESMONDE, 9th Baronet (1786-1868), MP for Wexford Borough, 1841-7, who espoused firstly, in 1812, Mary, daughter of E Payne; and secondly, in 1856, Sophia Maria, daughter of Ebenezer Radford Rowe, though both marriages were without issue, when the baronetcy passed to his cousin,

SIR JOHN ESMONDE, 10th Baronet (1826-76), JP DL, son of Commander James Esmonde RN, MP for Waterford, 1852-76, who married, in 1861, Louisa, daughter of Henry Grattan, and had issue,
THOMAS HENRY GRATTAN, his successor;
John Geoffrey Grattan;
Walter George Grattan;
Henrietta Pia; Louisa Ellice Benedicta Grattan; Annetta Frances Grattan.
Sir John was succeeded by his eldest son,

Armorial Bearings of Sir Thomas Henry Grattan Esmonde Bt

SIR THOMAS HENRY GRATTAN ESMONDE, 11th Baronet (1862-1935), DL MP, who wedded firstly, in 1891, Alice Barbara, daughter of Patrick Donovan, and had issue,
John Henry Grattan;
Alngelda Barbara Mary Grattan; Eithne Moira Grattan; Patricia Alison Louisa Grattan.
Sir Thomas was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR OSMOND THOMAS GRATTAN ESMONDE, 12th Baronet (1896-1936), who died unmarried, when the title passed to his cousin,

SIR LAURENCE GRATTAN ESMONDE, 13th Baronet (1863-1943), Lieutenant-Colonel, Waterford Royal Field Artillery, who married twice, though both marriages were without issue, when the title reverted to his cousin,

SIR JOHN LYMBRICK ESMONDE, as 14th Baronet (1893-1958), who wedded, in 1922, Eleanor, daughter of Laurence Fitzharris, though the marriage was without issue, when the title passed to his younger brother,

SIR ANTHONY CHARLES ESMONDE, 15th Baronet (1899-1981), who wedded, in 1927, Eithne Moira Grattan, daughter of Sir Thomas Esmonde, 11th Baronet, and had issue,
JOHN HENRY GRATTAN, his successor;
Bartholomew Thomas Grattan;
Anthony James Grattan;
Alice Mary Grattan; Eithne Marion Grattan; Anne Caroline Grattan.
Sir Anthony was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR JOHN HENRY GRATTAN ESMONDE, 16th Baronet (1928-87), Barrister, Irish politician, who married, in 1957, Pamela Mary, daughter of Dr Francis Stephen Bourke, and had issue,
Harold William Grattan;
Richard Anthony Grattan;
Karen Maria Grattan; Lisa Marion Grattan.
Sir John was succeeded by his eldest son,

(SIR) THOMAS (Tom) FRANCIS GRATTAN ESMONDE, 17th Baronet (1960-2021), Consultant Neurologist, Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, 1992-, who married, in 1986, Pauline Loretto, daughter of James Vincent Kearns, and had issue,
SEAN VINCENT GRATTAN, his successor;
Aisling Margaret Pamela Grattan; Niamhe Pauline Grattan.

The 17th Baronet, better known as Dr Tom Esmonde, was succeeded by his son,

(SIR) SEAN VINCENT GRATTAN ESMONDE, 18th Baronet, born in 1989. 

BALLYNASTRAGH HOUSE, near Gorey, County Wexford, was originally a 17th century house, built by James Esmonde.

It was enlarged and modernized by Sir Thomas Esmonde, 8th Baronet, shortly after he succeeded in 1767.

Ballynastragh comprised three storeys over a basement, with a fine seven-bay front and three-bay breakfront.

Alterations were undertaken to the mansion by the 9th Baronet between 1803-25; and later that decade the house was embellished and slightly castellated.

The Neo-Georgian Ballynastragh House of 1937 (Image: Buildings of Ireland)

The mansion was burnt by the IRA in 1923 and replaced in 1937 by a Neo-Georgian dwelling.

First published in August, 2018.

Saturday, 27 November 2021

The Osborne Baronets


This family claims to be an elder branch of the house of OSBORNE, from which the DUKES OF LEEDS descended.

The Osbornes of Newtown Anner first settled in Ireland in 1558, and were raised to the degree of baronets in the person of 

SIR RICHARD OSBORNE (1593-1667), of Ballintaylor, and of Ballylemon, in County Waterford, in 1629, having been appointed by JAMES I, in 1616, with Henry Osborne, Clerk of The King's Courts, and prothonotary within the city and county of Limerick; and in Tipperary, Clerk of the Crown and Peace, and Clerk of the Assizes in the said counties.

During the Civil Wars, taking the side of the usurper Cromwell, he was attacked in his castle of Knockmoan, by the Earl of Castlehaven, in 1645, and compelled to surrender at discretion.

Sir Richard, MP for Waterford County, 1639-49, 1661-66, was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR RICHARD OSBORNE, 2nd Baronet (1618-85), High Sheriff of County Waterford, 1671, MP for Dungarvan, 1639-48, who wedded Elizabeth Carew, and had issue,
JOHN, his successor;
Richard (c1662-1713);
Grace; Elizabeth; Anne.
Sir Richard was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR JOHN OSBORNE (c1645-1713), 3rd Baronet, who wedded, in 1699, Elizabeth, fourth daughter of Thomas Walsingham, and granddaughter, maternally, of Theophilus, 2nd Earl of Suffolk; but dying without issue in 1713, the title devolved upon his kinsman,

SIR THOMAS OSBORNE(1639-1715), (grandson of 1st Baronet, through his 2nd son, Nicholas Osborne), 5th Baronet, who married twice.

By his first wife, Katherine Butler, he had issue,
Nicholas, who predeceased him; father of NICHOLAS.
Sir Thomas wedded secondly, in 1704, Anne, youngest daughter of Beverley Usher, but by that lady had no issue.

He died was succeeded by his grandson,

SIR NICHOLAS OSBORNE (1685-1719), 6th Baronet, who married Mary, daughter of the Rt Rev Dr Thomas Smith, Lord Bishop of Limerick.

Dying in 1718 without male issue, the title devolved upon his brother,

SIR JOHN OSBORNE, 7th Baronet (1697-1743), Barrister, MP for Lismore, 1719-27, County Waterford, 1727-43, who wedded Editha, only daughter of William Proby MP, sometime governor of Fort St George, in the East Indies, by whom he had six sons and four daughters.

Sir John was succeeded by his eldest son, 

THE RT HON SIR WILLIAM OSBORNE, 8th Baronet (1722-83), MP for Carysfort, 1761-83, Dungarvan, 1768-83, who married Elizabeth, eldest daughter of of Thomas Christmas, of Whitfield, County Waterford, and had issue,
THOMAS, his successor;
Charles, a judge;
HENRY, succeeded his brother;
Sir William died in 1783, and was succeeded by his eldest son, 

SIR THOMAS OSBORNE (1757-1821), 9th Baronet, MP for Carysfort, 1776-97, who espoused Catherine Rebecca, daughter of Major Robert Smith.
The heir apparent is the present holder's eldest son George Gideon Oliver Osborne (b 1971). The heir apparent's heir apparent is his only son Luke Benedict Osborne. 
Ralph B Osborne owned 942 acres in County Tipperary; and her cousin, Sir Charles Stanley Osborne, 13th Baronet, of Beechwood Park, Nenagh, owned 940 acres in County Tipperary.

Sir Peter George Osborne, 17th and present Baronet (b 1943) co-founded the wallpaper company, Osborne & Little.

The Rt Hon George Gideon Oliver Osborne CH, Chancellor of the Exchequer, 2010-16, First Secretary of State, 2015-16, is heir apparent to the baronetcy.

NEWTOWN ANNER HOUSE (above), near Clonmel, County Tipperary, is a two-storey late-Georgian house with a nine-bay front, the three outer bays breaking forwards and elevated an extra storey above the centre block.

Newtown Anner was formerly a seat of the Osborne Baronets; as was Beechwood Park in County Tipperary.

The doorway has engaged columns and a large semi-circular fanlight over the door and side-lights; with a curved two-storey bow at the side.

The Osbornes purchased the Newtown Anner estate from Clonmel Corporation in 1774, though the present house dates from 1829.

Newtown Anner passed eventually to the 12th Duke of St Albans, grandson of Ralph and Catherine Bernal (nee Osborne).

It was occupied by the Duchess of St Albans in 1906 and was still in that family's possession in the early 1940s.

It is now thought to be the home of Nigel Cathcart.

First published in October, 2011.

Friday, 26 November 2021

Ballynegall House


This is a branch of SMYTH of Gaybrook, springing more immediately from SMYTH of Drumcree. 

THOMAS HUTCHINSON SMYTH (1765-1830), only son of Thomas Smyth, of Drumcree, by his third wife, Martha (daughter of the Ven Francis Hutchinson, Archdeacon of Down and Connor), served as High Sheriff of County Westmeath, 1792, being then described as of "Smythboro" or Coole.

He married, in 1796, Abigail, daughter of John Hamilton, of Belfast, and had issue,
THOMAS, his heir;
Francis, Captain RN;
John Stewart;
Edward, d 1857;
Arthur (Dr);
Hamilton, barrister (1813-59);
Anna; Emily.
Mr Smyth was succeeded by his eldest son, 

THE REV THOMAS SMYTH (1796-1874), who wedded, in 1832, Mary Anne, daughter of Adam Tate Gibbons, East India Company, and niece of James Gibbons, of Ballynegall, and had issue,
THOMAS JAMES, his heir;
James Gibbons, major in the army;
William Adam, major in the army;
Albert Edward, major in the army;
Elizabeth Abigail Mary Amelia; Mary Anne; Louisa Anna.
The Rev Thomas Smyth was succeeded by his eldest son,

THOMAS JAMES SMYTH JP DL (1833-1912), of Ballynegall, High Sheriff of County Westmeath, 1858, Captain, Westmeath Rifles, who married, in 1864, Bessie, fourth daughter of Edward Anketell Jones, of Adelaide Crescent, Brighton, and had issue,
Ellinor Marion Hawkesworth; Maud Emily Abigail Hawkesworth.
Mr Smyth was succeeded by his only son,

THOMAS GIBBONS HAWKESWORTH SMYTH (1865-1953) of Ballynegall, High Sheriff of County Westmeath, 1917, who wedded, in 1895, Constance, younger daughter of Harry Corbyn Levinge, of Knockdrin Castle, Mullingar, and had issue,

BALLYNEGALL HOUSE, near Mullingar, is said to have been one of the greatest architectural losses in the county of Westmeath.

The designs for this elegant and refined Regency house have been traditionally attributed to Francis Johnston, one of the foremost architects of his day and a man with an international reputation.

The quality of the original design is still apparent, despite its derelict and overgrown appearance.

The house was originally constructed for James Gibbons at the enormous cost of £30,000, and was reputedly built using the fabric of an existing castle on site, known as Castle Reynell after the previous owners of the estate.

Ballynagall remained in the Gibbons Family until 1846, when ownership passed on to Mr James W M Berry.

In 1855, ownership later passed on to the Smyth family through marriage.

There is an interesting article here, written by one of the last of the Smyths to live at Ballynegall.

The house was abandoned in the early 1960s and all remaining internal fittings and fixtures were removed at this time.

The original Ionic portico was also removed in the 1960s and now stands at Straffan House, County Kildare.

The remains of a very fine iron conservatory, which has been attributed to Richard Turner (1798-1881), is itself a great loss to the heritage of the county.

Ballynagall House stands in picturesque, mature parkland.

The remains of the house form the centrepiece of one of the best collections of demesne-related structures in County Westmeath, along with the stable block to the north-west and the gate lodge and St Mary's church to the south-east.

First published in February, 2013.

Earl's Coronet

The coronet of an earl is a silver-gilt circlet with eight strawberry leaves alternating with eight silver balls (known as pearls) on raised spikes.

The coronet itself is chased as if in the form of jewels (like a royal crown) but is not actually jewelled.

It has a crimson cap (lined ermine) in real life and a purple one in heraldic representation.

there is a gold tassel on top.

The raised pearls on spikes distinguish it from other coronets.

It has also been described thus,
This coronet, which is one of the most striking, has, rising from a golden circlet, eight lofty rays of gold, each of which upon its point supports a small pearl, while between each pair of rays is a conventional leaf, the stalks of these leaves being connected with the rays and with each other so as to form a continuous wreath.
The coronet of a countess (below) is smaller in size and sits directly on top of the head, rather than around it.

Earls rank in the third degree of the hereditary peerage, being next below a marquess, and next above a viscount.

First published in June, 2010.

Thursday, 25 November 2021

The Corry Baronets

This family moved from Dumfriesshire to County Down early in the 17th century.

JOHN CORRY (1638-1708), of Tullynagardy, near Newtownards, County Down, Provost of Newtownards during the reign of JAMES I, had a son

ROBERT CORRY, of Tullynagardy, who married Mary Porter and had issue,

JOHN CORRY (1771-1851), of Tullynagardy, who wedded Susan White and had issue,

ROBERT CORRY (1800-69), of Tullynagardy, a timber merchant and quarry owner, who married, in 1825, Jane, daughter of Robert Porter, and had, with other issue,

JAMES PORTER CORRY (1826-91), who married, in 1849, Margaret, daughter of William Service, and had issue,
WILLIAM, his heir;
Mr Corry, MP for Belfast, 1874-85, Mid-Armagh, 1885-91, was created a baronet in 1885, designated of Dunraven, County Antrim.

He died in 1891 at his home, Dunraven, Malone Road, Belfast.
The Cleaver development, off Malone Road, Belfast, began in 1937 following the demolition of the large Victorian residence of Dunraven (1870). 
Its extensive grounds were laid out for detached houses, and building work began in 1937 but was halted by the 2nd World War. Work re-commenced during the late 1940s on the construction of the remaining detached houses, finishing around the mid-late 1950s.
SIR WILLIAM CORRY, 2nd Baronet (1859-1926), of 118 Eaton Square, London, who wedded, in 1889, Charlotte Georgina Frances Catherine, daughter of J Collins, and had issue,
William Myles Fenton (1893-1958);
Myleta Fenton (1891-1966).
Sir William, a director of the Cunard Steamship Company, was succeeded by his elder son,

SIR JAMES PEROWNE IVO MYLES CORRY, 3rd Baronet (1892-1987), who espoused firstly, in 1921, Molly Irene, daughter of Major Otto Joseph Bell, and had issue,
WILLIAM JAMES, his successor;
Anne; Susan.
He married secondly, in 1946, Cynthia Marjorie Patricia, daughter of Captain Frederick Henry Mahony, and had issue,
Amanda Jane.
Sir James was succeeded  by his only son,

SIR WILLIAM JAMES CORRY, 4th Baronet (1924-2000), who married, in 1945, Diana Pamela Mary, daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel James Burne Lapsley, and had issue,
JAMES MICHAEL, his heir;
Timothy William;
Nicholas John;
Simon Myles (Commander RN);
Jane Susanna; Patricia Diana.
Sir William was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR JAMES MICHAEL CORRY (b 1946), 5th Baronet, BP plc, 1966-2001, who lived in 2003 in Somerset.

Robert Corry (1800-69), recognised the commercial potential of the Scrabo stone quarry at Newtownards, and leased part of the hill from Lord Londonderry in 1826.

Dunraven House was the 1st Baronet's residence on the Malone Road in Belfast, a large house of ca 1870 in the Italianate style by the architect, John Corry, for his brother.

The grounds extended to 16 acres.

The house and grounds were purchased by John Cleaver, a partner in Robinson & Cleaver, who died there in 1926.

Dunraven was demolished in 1937 for the "Cleaver" housing development.

J P Corry, Building Suppliers, are still in existence though it is not known whether any members of the Corry family still hold shares or directorships.

First published in September, 2010.

Moore Hall


The family of MOORE claimed descent from THE RT HON SIR THOMAS MORE, statesman and Lord Chancellor to HENRY VIII.

THOMAS MORE, born at Chilston, near Madley, in Herefordshire, married Mary, daughter of John ApAdam, of Flint, and had a son,

GEORGE MOORE, who settled at Ballina, County Mayo, Vice-Admiral of Connaught during the reign of WILLIAM III.

He wedded Catherine, daughter of Robert Maxwell, of Castle Tealing, Scotland, by Edith his wife, daughter of Sir John Dunbar, and was father of

GEORGE MOORE, of Ashbrook, County Mayo, living in 1717, who married Sarah, daughter of the Rev John Price, of Foxford, County Mayo, by his wife, Edith Machen, of the city of Gloucester, and by her had two sons,
George, of Cloongee;
JOHN, of whom we treat.
The younger son,

JOHN MOORE, of Ashbrook, County Mayo, born ca 1700, espoused Jane, daughter of Edmund Athy, and had issue,
Robert, dsp 1783;
GEORGE, of whom presently;
Edmund, of Moorbrook;
Sarah; Jane.
His second son,

GEORGE MOORE (1729-99), of Moore Hall, Ashbrook, and Alicante, Spain, married, ca 1765, Catherine, daughter of Dominick de Killikelly, of Lydacan Castle, County Galway, and had issue,
John, 1763-99;
GEORGE, of whom hereafter;
The second son,

GEORGE MOORE (1770-1840), of Moore Hall, wedded, in 1807, Louisa, daughter of the Hon John Browne, sixth son of John, 1st Earl of Altamont, and had issue,
GEORGE HENRY, his heir;
Arthur Augustus.
The eldest son,

GEORGE HENRY MOORE JP DL (1810-70), MP for County Mayo, 1847-57, 1868-70, High Sheriff of County Mayo, 1867, espoused, in 1851, Mary, eldest daughter of Maurice Blake, of Ballinafad, County Mayo, and had issue,
Maurice George, CB, Colonel, Connaught Rangers;
Augustus George Martin;
Henry Julian;
Nina Mary Louisa.
He was succeeded by his eldest son,

GEORGE AUGUSTUS MOORE (1852-1933), of Moore Hall and Ebury Street, London, High Sheriff of County Mayo, 1905, who died unmarried.

George Henry Moore (Image: Wikipedia)

THE MOORES had originally been an English Protestant settler family.

The father of George Moore (1729-99), John Moore, converted to catholicism when he married Jane Lynch Athy from one of the principal Catholic families in County Galway.

Using her connections among the "Wild Geese," Irish Jacobite exiles in Spain, Jane supported her son in getting established in the wine import business in Alicante, Spain.

He subsequently changed his religion, and married, in I765, Katherine de Kilikelly, an Irish Catholic raised in Spain.

George made his fortune and returned to erect Moore Hall in 1792, above the shore of Lough Carra.
"He thus solidified the shift of the family from being New English settlers of Protestant faith to their nineteenth-century identity as Irish Catholic landlords who had never been humbled by the "Penal Laws" — that set of regulations aimed at limiting the property and power of Irish Catholics, and put in force after William of Orange routed James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1688."

"The change in the confessional identity of the Moore family, like the circumstances of G H Moore's death, is important to the story of George Moore. These matters would one day be the occasion of a quarrel about family history that broke up the surviving Moore brothers, saw Moore Hall become vacant, and scattered the last generation of Moores abroad."

"Of the four sons of George Moore of Alicante, the eldest was John Moore (1763-99), a scapegrace trained in Paris and London for the law, and for a few days in 1798 the first President of the Republic of Connaught."

"Aided by French invaders at Killala, John Moore participated in the surprise victory of General Humbert over a British garrison at Castlebar on 27 August 1798, assumed nominal leadership of the rebels, then got captured after the rout of the small Irish forces."

"President Moore died while under house arrest in a Waterford tavern. The second son of Moore of Alicante was a mild-tempered man, also named George Moore. A gentleman scholar rarely out of his library, he wrote histories of the English and French revolution, something in the manner of Gibbon."

"Moore the historian had three sons by Louisa Browne, the first being George Henry Moore, the only one of the three not to die by a fall from a horse."
Moore Hall (Image: Robert French)

MOORE HALL, near Ballyglass, County Mayo, is a Georgian mansion built between 1792-6 by George Moore.

It comprises three storeys over a basement, with an entrance front of two bays on either side of a centre breakfront; including a triple window, and fluted pilasters on console brackets.

There is a Venetian window above the entrance doorway, beneath a single-storey Doric portico.

The house was burnt by the IRA in 1923, and is now a ruinous shell.

Colonel Maurice Moore, CB, had intended to rebuild the house, albeit on a smaller scale.

Moore Hall (Image: Comhar - Own work, Public Domain,

Colonel Moore's elder brother, George Augustus Moore, died in 1933, leaving  an estate valued at £70,000 (about £5.1 million in 2021).

His ashes were buried on Castle Island in Lough Carra.

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Donegall House

DONEGALL HOUSE, built in 1785, was located at the corner of Donegall Place and Donegall Square North, directly opposite the present Robinson & Cleaver building.
In 1611, the Jacobean Belfast Castle was built upon the site of the former Castle, bounded by what's now Castle Place, Cornmarket and Castle Lane. 
It was surrounded with spacious gardens which extended from the river along to Cromac Woods and near Stranmillis. 
It is curious to read of hunting, hawking and other sports in the woods and meadows where now we have long streets of premises. 
The gardens, shady walks, orchards, bowling greens and cherry gardens are all gone, and nothing remains of the fish ponds. The stately home, once the centre of hospitality and culture, is now only a memory. 
WILLIAM III was received here in 1690. 
In 1708, Belfast Castle was burned to the ground. 
Three of Lady Donegall's daughters were burnt to death, and two servants also perished. 
The Castle was never rebuilt, and Lord Donegall lived for a time in Donegall House at the corner of Donegall Place.
It wasn't until almost 100 years later that the Donegalls returned to live in Belfast.

From ca 1802-20, Donegall House was the residence of the 2nd Marquess and Marchioness of Donegall.

Lord Donegall rented the house from John Brown, a Belfast banker.

This large town house comprised three storeys, was stuccoed, and had a central pediment.

The gable end and a small side garden were enclosed at Donegall Square North.

In the image, taken from the White Linen Hall (predecessor of City Hall) , Donegall House is the first building on the left.

From ca 1820-98, the house became the Royal Hotel, under the auspices of Charles Kerns, Lord Donegall's former butler.

Prior to its demise, the hotel's proprietor was Miss Sarah Doyle.

Donegall House was demolished ca 1967 for the present seven-storey commercial building.

First published in November, 2013.

Tuesday, 23 November 2021

1st Duke of Schomberg


FRIEDRICH HERMANN VON SCHÖNBERG (1615-90), KG, son of Hans Meinard von Schönberg and Anne (daughter of Edward, 5th Baron Dudley), of Heidelberg, Germany, General in WILLIAM III's army, was created, in 1689, Baron Teyes and Earl of Brentford.

His lordship was advanced, in 1690, to the dignities of Marquess of Harwich and DUKE OF SCHOMBERG, by WILLIAM III, the younger son to succeed first.

This Frederick Schomberg came over with the Prince of Orange at the Revolution, and at the battle of the Boyne was unhappily slain by a musket ball from his own men, in the aforesaid year, 1690.

His Grace married firstly, in 1638, his cousin, the Countess Johanna Elizabeth von Schönberg, and had issue,
MEINHARDT, 3rd Duke;
CHARLES, 2nd Duke.
He wedded secondly, in 1669, Susanne, youngest daughter of Daniel d'Aumale, Seigneur de Harcourt.

The 1st Duke was installed a Knight of the Garter in 1689.

1st Duke of Schomberg KG

He was succeeded by his youngest son,

CHARLES (1645-93), 2nd Duke, who died, 1693, by a wound he received in the battle of Marsaglia, leaving no issue.

His Grace was succeeded by his elder brother,

MEINHARDT, 3rd Duke (1641-1719), KG, who wedded firstly, in 1667, Louisa, daughter of Giovanni Rizzi; and secondly, 1682, Raugräfin Karoline Elisabeth, daughter of Charles I Louis, Elector Palatine, and had issue,
CHARLES LOUIS, his successor;
Caroline; Frederica; Mary.
His Grace was created, in 1690, Baron Tara, Earl of Bangor, and Duke of Leinster.

He was installed a Knight of the Garter by QUEEN ANNE in 1703.

Following the decease of the 3rd Duke in 1719, without surviving male issue, the titles all expired.

Hillingdon House

Fomer seat ~ Hillingdon House, Middlesex.
London residence ~ Schomberg House.

First published in September, 2017.  Schomberg arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

The Craig Baronets


The first Baronet, later to become the first Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, was elevated to the peerage in 1927, in the dignity of VISCOUNT CRAIGAVON, of Stormont, County Down, when the baronetcy merged with the viscountcy.

I have written an article about the family HERE.

Born at Sydenham, a suburban district of Belfast, Craig was the youngest of six sons of James Craig JP, of Craigavon House, Circular Road, Belfast, and Tyrella, County Down, a prosperous whisky distiller and businessman in Belfast.

Educated at a private school in Holywood, County Down and afterwards at Merchiston Castle, Edinburgh, the younger Craig became a stockbroker.

1st Viscount Craigavon, by N Burn
(Image: Northern Ireland Assembly)

However, with the start of the Boer War in 1899 he ceased formally to be a member of the Belfast Stock Exchange and took a commission in the 3rd (Militia) Battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles.
Serving with distinction as a lieutenant with the Imperial Yeomanry, he was captured by the Boers but survived the barren conditions of a concentration camp and returned home with a firm and lasting conviction of the British way of life.
The 1st Viscount was still prime minister when he died peacefully at his home, Glencraig, County Down, in 1940.

He was buried at the Stormont Estate.

JAMES (1906-74), 2nd Baronet and 2nd Viscount, was educated at Eton.

He was a Lieutenant-Commander in the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve and fought in the Second World War.

JANRIC FRASER (b 1944), 3rd Baronet and 3rd Viscount, was educated at Eton, and graduated from London University with a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Arts.

Lord Craigavon was invested as a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, and was an Elected Member of the House of Lords in 1999. He lives in London.

There is no heir to the viscountcy.

First published in July, 2010.

Monday, 22 November 2021

The George

The Clandeboye estate schoolhouse, County Down, was built by Lord Dufferin in ca 1858.

William Burn submitted designs for the school in 1850, and a further design was commissioned from Benjamin Ferrey in 1854.

Neither plan was executed and the architect of the school as it was built remains uncertain.

In the mid 1970s Ballysallagh Primary School was converted to licensed premises (The George) and was largely extended in the process, with large function rooms added.

Click to Enlarge

The George at Clandeboye, County Down, was a hostelry I frequented often in my younger days.

I have found a little leaflet entitled The George.

Many Saturday nights were spent here during the seventies and eighties.

Incidentally, the George's postal address was Crawfordsburn Road, Clandeboye, County Down.

The lodge bedroom block was constructed in 1992-4 to designs by Alan Cook Architects.

It now forms a part of Clandeboye Lodge Hotel.

First published in June, 2011.

Cappoquin House


The family of KEANE is descended from the O’Cahan clan of Ulster, who were feudal tenants of the O’Neills.

Most of their lands were forfeited in the first Plantation of Ulster, 1610.

At the end of the 17th century, George O’Cahan changed his name to Keane, conformed to the established church, and entered government service as a lawyer.

On his retirement he leased the town of Cappoquin, with extensive farm and mountain land, from the Earl of Cork under three 999 year leases.

RICHARD KEANE, of Belmont (son of John Keane, of Cappoquin, County Waterford), married Jane, daughter of Michael Green, and had issue,
JOHN, his successor;
He was succeeded by his elder son,

JOHN KEANE (1757-1829), of Belmont, MP for Bangor, 1791-7, Youghal, 1797-1800, who was created a baronet in 1801, designated of Belmont and Cappoquin, County Waterford.

He married firstly, Sarah, daughter of Richard Keily, of Lismore, and sister of John Keily, of Belgrove, and had issue,
RICHARD, of whom presently;
John, 1ST BARON KEANE; Commander-in-Chief, India;
Henry Edward;
Sir John wedded secondly, in 1804, Dorothy, widow of Philip Champion Crespigny, of Aldborough, Suffolk, and had further issue,
George Michael.
He was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR RICHARD KEANE, 2nd Baronet (1780-1855), Lieutenant-Colonel, Waterford Militia, who married, in 1814, Elizabeth, widow of Samuel Penrose, of Waterford, and daughter of Richard Sparrow, of Oaklands, Clonmel, and had issue,
JOHN HENRY, his successor;
Leopold George Frederick.
Sir Richard was succeeded by his elder son,

SIR JOHN HENRY KEANE, 3rd Baronet (1816-81), who espoused firstly, in 1844, Laura, daughter of the Rt Hon Richard Keatinge, and had issue,
RICHARD HENRY, his successor;
George Wilfred;
Laura Ellen Flora.
Sir John married secondly, in 1880, Harriet Thorneycroft.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR RICHARD HENRY KEANE, 4th Baronet, DL (1845-92), High Sheriff of County Waterford, 1882, who wedded, in 1872, Adelaide Sidney, daughter of John Vance, and had issue,
JOHN, his successor;
George Michael;
Richard Henry;
Sir Richard was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR JOHN KEANE, 5th Baronet (1873-1956), DSO, High Sheriff of County Waterford, 1911, who wedded, in 1907, the Lady Eleanor Lucy Hicks-Beach, daughter of Michael, 1st Earl St Aldwyn, and had issue,
RICHARD MICHAEL, his successor;
Adelaide Mary; Sheila; Madeline Lucy.
Sir John was succeeded by his only son,

SIR RICHARD MICHAEL KEANE, 6th Baronet (1909-2010), who married, in 1939, Olivia Dorothy, daughter of Oliver Hawkshaw, and had issue,
JOHN CHARLES, his successor;
David Richard;
Vivien Eleanor.
Sir Richard was succeeded by his elder son,

SIR (JOHN) CHARLES KEANE, 7th and present Baronet (1941-), of Cappoquin, who married, in 1977, Corinne, daughter of Jean Everard de Harzir, and has issue,

CAPPOQUIN HOUSE, Cappoquin, County Waterford, is a square, two-storey house of 1779.

It has a handsome seven-bay ashlar front which faces the town of Cappoquin, towards the River Blackwater.

The centre block has a three-bay breakfront, with round-headed windows; prominent quoins; balustraded roof parapet with urns.

The house was burnt in 1923, though later rebuilt with the fine plasterwork interior restored.

When Cappoquin was rebuilt, the front facing the river became the garden front.

The entrance hall has a stone, flagged floor and a frieze of plasterwork in the 18th century manner.

Beyond this hall, there is a top-lit staircase hall with coffered dome.

CAPPOQUIN HOUSE dominates the River Blackwater. Downstream, Dromana, the great castle of the Earl of Desmond, can be seen.

The Keane family have lived at Cappoquin for the last three centuries. They are an old Irish family, descended from the O’Cahan clan of Ulster, who were feudal tenants of the O’Neills.
Most of their lands, beside the River Bann in County Londonderry, were forfeited in the first Plantation of Ulster in 1610. The family consequently resettled in County Waterford, west of the River Shannon.

At the end of the 17th century, George O’Cahan changed his name to Keane, became a protestant and entered government service as a lawyer.
On retirement he leased the town of Cappoquin with extensive farm and mountain land from the Earl of Cork under three 999 year leases.

THE GARDENS were laid out in the mid-19th century, but there are vestiges of earlier periods in walls, gateways and streams.

It was taken in hand by Olivia, Lady Keane, in the 1950s and expanded by her in the late 1970s.

It reflects much of her taste and extensive knowledge of plants.

First published in January, 2013.

Sunday, 21 November 2021

Ardbraccan House

SEVERAL small bishoprics gradually coalesced into one See, which received the name of Meath, at the end of the 12th century.

In 1568, the bishopric of Clonmacnoise was incorporated with it by act of parliament.

It extends from the sea to the River Shannon, over part of six counties, viz. Meath, Westmeath, King's County (Offaly), Cavan, Longford, and Kildare.

From east to west it extends 80 miles; and in breadth, about 25 at a medium.

The Lord Bishop of Meath customarily takes precedence next to the two archbishops, and is styled Most Reverend.

The other bishops take precedence according to the date of their consecration.

Entrance Front

ARDBRACCAN HOUSE, near Navan, County Meath, is a large Palladian mansion house which served from the 1770s until 1885 as the seat of the Lord Bishop of Meath.

By the Middle Ages a large Tudor house, containing its own church, known as St. Mary's, stood on the site.

Bishop Evans left money for the building of a new residence here early in the 18th century.

His successor, Bishop Downes, came here with Dean Swift to lay out the new ground; though it was not until 1734 that Bishop Price (1678-1752) decided to replace the decaying mansion with a new Georgian residence.

The Parliamentary Gazetteer of 1845 remarks:
"Ardbraccan House, the successor of the castle, and the present episcopal palace of Meath, was built since 1766 from designs of James Wyatt, and is regarded, for beauty and splendour, as the second edifice of its class in Ireland."

"It is composed of the Ardbraccan limestone; consists of a main building and two wings, connected by circular walls and niches; and combines the magnificence of the palace with the comfort of the English mansion."

"The circumjacent demesne is extensive, and highly as well as tastefully embellished; and, among beautiful trees and shrubs, it contains some cedars of Lebanon and other exotics, planted by the oriental traveller, Pococke, during his time of being the Bishop of Meath."

"A small, ill-designed, and ill-sculptured slab in the churchyard in the parish does burlesquing duty as a monument to Bishop Pococke."

"The tomb of Bishop Montgomery, Bishop of Meath and Clogher, stands on the north side of the slab; and strongly fixes attention by its minglement of pretension, barbarousness, and absurdity. Figures which it exhibits of the Bishop, his wife, and his daughter, are the rudest productions of the chisel that can well be conceived." 
Initially the two wings of the house were built, before the main four-bay two-storey block of the house was completed in the 1770s by Bishop Maxwell.

It was partly designed by the acclaimed 18th-century German architect Richard Castle (also known as Richard Cassels).

Garden Front

When the two two-storey, five-bay wings had been completed, Bishop Price was translated to the archbishopric of Cashel.

For the following thirty years, succeeding bishops did nothing about building the centre block, but resided in one of the wings, using the other for guests.

It wasn't till the early 1770s that Bishop Maxwell, a younger son of the 1st Baron Farnham, decided to complete the house.

This prelate boasted that he would erect a palace so grand that no scholar or tutor would dare inhabit it.

The centre block, which was eventually begun in 1776, took a number of years to complete.

It comprises two storeys and seven bays, with an Ionic doorcase.

This block complements the wings with curved sweeps and niches.

The garden front has a three-bay central breakfront.

The interior plasterwork is Neo-Classical in style.

Bishop Alexander carried out more elaborate renovations to the outbuildings in the 1820s and 1830s.

THE disestablishment of the Church of Ireland in 1871 fatally weakened the economic survival of the bishops' estate, which was left totally reliant on the small local Church of Ireland community.

In 1885, the Church of Ireland sold the estate and house.

The bishop moved to a smaller mansion nearby (until 1958, when it was sold to a Catholic religious institute, the Holy Ghost Fathers).

Ardbraccan House was bought by Hugh Law, the son of the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, and remained in the ownership of his descendants until sold by Colonel Owen Foster in 1985 to Tara Mines who used it as a guest residence for visiting businessmen.

In the late 1990s, Ardbraccan once again changed hands.

The new owners invested large sums to restore the mansion house.

First published in October, 2015. Arms of the bishopric of Meath: Albert H Warren, London, 1868.

Saturday, 20 November 2021

Crom: Walled Garden

Although it's one of the most remote parts of the Province and almost as far from Belfast as you can get, I've been to Crom Estate in County Fermanagh many times.

I first visited it in about 1977, when the estate manager took us on a guided tour of the Castle - I'd written to Lord Erne in advance, requesting a visit.

The Walled Garden lies deep within the grounds of Crom.

You cross the White Bridge and walk several hundred yards until it appears, the former head gardener's lodge being opposite it.

Its old, red-brick walls are in good condition, the National Trust having re-built at least one side some years ago.

It extends to roughly three acres in size; and it has been utterly overgrown since its demise after the second world war.

I've no doubt that the Trust intends to revive this magical place as and when funds become available.

Many fruits and vegetables were grown here for the big house.

Exotic fruits, which are nowadays taken for granted, were a rarity then and only the wealthiest families could afford to cultivate them.

In fact many people may never have seen a pineapple or a peach or known they existed.

On one side of the Walled Garden there were raspberries; and strawberries on another.

Heated glasshouses contained peaches, nectarines, pineapples, grapes and tomatoes; not to omit lettuce, marrows, cucumbers and orchards with apples, plums, pears and greengages.

There were also beehives, sweet-pea, daffodils, dahlias and magnolias.

In the middle of the garden there was a large palm-house, now sadly gone, about thirty feet high, where the weather-reading was taken every morning.

The whole garden swarmed with butterflies, bees and other wild insects; birds flitted in and out to help themselves to Nature's goodness.

It must have been heavenly.

Of course the main purpose of the walled garden was to maintain an abundant supply of produce, including flowers, for the Castle: a barrow was wheeled manually up to the Castle with fruit, vegetables and flowers twice daily.

When the family were staying at their London home, the freshly-picked produce was loaded on to the train at Newtownbutler station and taken to Belfast or Dublin; then put on a ferry for its long journey to the metropolis, where it would have been delivered to the Ernes' house the next day; and that was in Victorian times!

I have been in the Walled Garden and my imagination always escapes to those halcyon days, dreaming of what it must have been like.

My fervent hope is that the enchanting walled garden of Crom is resurrected back to life again some day.

This piece was first published in August, 2008. It is thought that the intention is to utilize part of the Walled Garden as community allotments.

The Queen's Wedding Anniversary

TODAY is Her Majesty’s 74th Wedding Anniversary.

On the 20th November, 1947, Her Royal Highness THE PRINCESS ELIZABETH, elder daughter of KING GEORGE VI and QUEEN ELIZABETH, married Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark (Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, RN).

On the morning of the Wedding, Prince Philip was created  His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich. 

Their Royal Highnesses were married at Westminster Abbey and the new Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh moved in to their new official home, Clarence House.