Sunday, 31 January 2021

Baronscourt Shoot


"NORTHERN IRELAND may not have as many opportunities for game shooting as elsewhere in the British Isles, but in Baronscourt it certainly has one of the most beautiful. 

Situated in a valley at the base of the Sperrin Mountains, Baronscourt estate, all 15,000 acres of it, is something of a sporting paradise. 

Not only does it cater for those in pursuit of sporting pheasants, it can also satisfy the appetite of both the deerstalker and river angler.

Combine this with a main house as majestic on the outside as it is within and you’ve pretty much met the needs of any avid sportsman. 

On the morning of the shoot I was greeted with snow and bright sun.

Saddled up and ready to go after breakfast, I made my way along the remaining eight miles from my hotel to the estate.

The scenery just got better and better as I weaved through the country lanes. 

After passing through the main gates I was met by a beater who pointed me towards the main house, and soon after I grabbed a glimpse of the impressive Clock Tower and Governor’s Lodge - a building that is part of the estate’s stable yard and which dates back to 1890. 

I soon arrived at Barons Court - the main house and seat of the Duke of Abercorn’s family since 1610 - to be met by my host Jamie, Marquess of Hamilton.

I was introduced to the rest of the guns before grabbing an opportunity to speak with Jamie about the shoot as everyone finished their breakfast. 

“There has been game shooting at Baronscourt since the mid-1800s,” said Jamie. “It is something we have always nurtured under our own management.

This includes retaining, as best as possible, our own bloodline of pheasant. 

We’re very lucky in terms of the topography, which really lends itself to sporting birds.

Sammy Pollock, our head-keeper, is assisted by his son, Stephen, and daughter, Jeanette, as well as a wealth of other locals who help on shoot days. 

“Sport at Baronscourt is all about balance and this includes the number of game shooting days that are put on.

In order to protect our stocks we don’t overshoot the land, and each season we will establish how many shoot days we should have so as not to upset this balance. 

There are three types of game shooting on the estate; client days, family days, local syndicate days and walked-up days.

The shoot is mainly run for the family but we feel in order to make full use of the land, and also generate extra income to pump back into the shoot, it is wise to let out days.

We have one group of guns that come here six times a year for walked-up game shooting.

Conservation is also very much to the fore.

Every decision is carefully thought out in terms of the impact it will have and the benefits that can be drawn from it. 

And this is not only in terms of game shooting - a Laurent Perrier Award for wild game conservation in relation to the management of our wild herd of Japanese sika, and the Royal Forestry Society’s Duke of Cornwall Award highlights this. 

All of Baroncourt’s days are managed by Jamie - a personal and knowledgeable touch which ensures everything runs smoothly. 

The estate is fortunate to offer a variety of game for its discerning clients. 

“We are very lucky to have a number of woodcock on the estate and have devised drives whereby the guns and beaters can actually walk together along custom-made tracks cut through coniferous woods in pursuit of this sporting bird,” said Jamie. 

“Moderation, again, is the key here and we organise days according to the potential number of woodcock in the area.” 

A call to the By-turn, the first drive, marked the end of our conversation, and it was then to the gun-bus - a fine specimen adorned on the inside with framed photographs of previous shoots and family members from years gone by. 

Driven along by helper Robert Freeborn we soon found ourselves in a snow-strewn landscape.

I found myself behind Lord Iveagh from the Elveden estate.

Resplendent in his family’s Guinness tie, it wasn’t long before he was sampling some of Baronscourt’s best. 

As snow clouds loomed in the distance, pheasants took flight over the line of guns, their rich colours, reflected by a glowing winter sun were stark against a darkened sky. 

They came in a steady trickle and the drive lasted long enough for each gun to get a good share of the sport. 

Elevenses in a log cabin followed McKelvey’s Kale - a very scenic drive that backed onto one of the estate’s three lakes and the main house.

The team tucked in to sausage rolls, soup and a nip of sloe gin around the warmth of a log fire.

Once suitably fortified it was on to the Spinney. 

With the guns lined out in front of tall, coniferous woodland it didn’t take an expert to realise more testing birds were on their way. 

Sure enough, high bird after high bird powered up over the guns and with the bright sun burning in the sky, only a few were deterred from lifting to a sporting height. 

With lunch looming, there was a treat in store for the guns - a duck drive.

Not only was it a great way to end the morning’s game shooting, it provided uninterrupted sport as the birds lifted in a frenzy of flight.

The guns enjoyed a good half an hour of sport and bagged 110 head. 

Over lunch I bent the ear of head-keeper Sammy Pollock: “I’ve worked on this estate for 35 years,” he told me.

“I started off in the estate’s forestry department before a position came up to join the shoot. 

I had always had an interest in game shooting so to become an under-keeper was a chance that I really wanted to take. 

Bob Godfrey was the head-keeper at the time, so I worked under him for a number of years before working under his successor, Trevor Miskelly.

Then I was made head-keeper 19 years ago and have been so ever since.” Son and daughter Stephen and Jeanette joined Sammy when they left school. 

And, apart from enjoying everything ‘outdoors’, Jeanette also has an interest in water colour painting, something she does on commission.

And Sammy even has his other son, David, and David’s son, Adam, helping out on shoot days too. 

For Sammy and his team, conservation, as with Jamie, Lord Hamilton, is key, and he realises that for game shooting to work it has to be carried out in conjunction with managing the land correctly. 

Echoing Jamie’s comments Sammy said: “It’s all about conservation, it has to be.

Take the woodcock for example, we have created special game shooting conditions for them that hasn’t been detrimental to the woodland. 

Combine that with the fact we don’t overshoot them, and you see how we’re trying to create a decent environment for them.

I think we’ve got it just about right here. 

We’ve been working on it for the past 20-odd years and everything seems to be going well.” 

A working estate that is conducive to the surrounding land and community certainly seems in evidence here, and a lot of the game goes back in to the rural community too. 

“Making good use of game is paramount on the estate,” said Jamie.

As well as supplying the local trade we also supply restaurants in Belfast and Dublin.

The estate also has a EU approved game processing facility, one of only two in Northern Ireland, where we can prepare oven-ready birds. 

Full game preparation is now very much of the business and this also includes venison - approximately 250 head of venison were prepared at the last count. 

Some of this produce makes its way to our cookery school at Belle Isle.” 

We closed the day with Ramps.

With the stunning house in the background, the guns saw good birds before retiring for a cup of tea, and for those staying the night, something a little bit stronger. 

For me, it was a trip back to the airport and a head full of memories from a great day". 

First published in June, 2011. 

Saturday, 30 January 2021

Search Box

A reminder to new readers that any key word, name or place can be entered in the Search box - a white box - at the top left-hand corner of the Blog.

This is a useful feature.

There are lots of categories on the blog, too, if you scroll down the left-hand side of the page.

Glenveagh Castle


The family of ADAIR was settled in Scotland, and later in Ulster, for many generations. 
According to tradition, the family derived its descent from Thomas, 5th Earl of Desmond, who having gone on a hunting expedition, lost his way, and spent the night between Tralee and Newcastle, County Limerick, where he was received and hospitably entertained by William MacCormac, whose daughter he subsequently married. 
At this alliance his family and clan were much offended, and compelled him to flee to France, and resign his title and estates to his younger brother in 1418. 
He died of grief at Rouen, in 1420, where the two kings of England and France were present. 
The 5th Earl of Desmond had issue, Maurice and John. 
MAURICE had issue, Maurice and Robert. 
ROBERT, returned to Ireland with the hope of regaining his family title and estates. 
This Robert killed Gerald, the White Knight (second son of Gerald, the then Earl of Desmond), in single combat, at Áth Dara (ford of the oaks), County Limerick, but was subsequently defeated and fled to Scotland, where he assumed the name of ADAIRE.

GEORGE ADAIR JP DL (1784-1823), of Bellegrove, and Rath, Queen's County (son of John Adair, of Rath), wedded, in 1822, Elizabeth, second daughter of the Very Rev Thomas Trench, Dean of Kildare, and had an only son,

JOHN GEORGE ADAIR (1823-85), of Glenveagh Castle, County Donegal, who married Mrs Cornelia Wadsworth Ritchie, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, widow of Montgomery Harrison Ritchie.

GLENVEAGH CASTLE, near Churchill, is described by Mark Bence-Jones thus:-
A Victorian-Baronial house of rough-hewn granite at the end of a wooded promontory jutting out into Lough Veagh, surrounded by the bare and desolate hills of a deer-forest, so large as to seem a world apart.
The Castle comprises a keep with battlements, flanked by a lower round tower and other buildings. The entrance is through a walled courtyard.

The formal garden boasts terraces with busts and statuary; with a bathing pool by the side of the lough; an Italian garden; a walled garden with a Gothic orangery; and a splendid variety of rare and exotic trees and shrubs.

Glenveagh National Park lies in the heart of the Derryveagh Mountains in the north-west of County Donegal.

It is a remote and hauntingly beautiful wilderness of rugged mountains and pristine lakes.

The park, 40,000 acres in extent, consists of three areas.

The largest of these is the former Glenveagh Estate, including most of the Derryveagh Mountains.

The Glenveagh estate was created in 1857-9 by the purchase of several smaller holdings by John George Adair, a wealthy land speculator originally from County Laois.

Mr Adair was later to incur infamy throughout the county by evicting some 244 tenants in the Derryveagh evictions of 1861.

After marrying his American-born wife Cornelia, Adair began the construction of Glenveagh Castle in 1867, which was completed by 1873.

Adair, however, was never to fulfil his dream of creating a hunting estate in the highlands of Donegal and died suddenly in 1885 on return from a business trip to America.

After her husband’s death, Cornelia Adair took over the running of the estate and introduced deer stalking in the 1890s.

She continually sought to improve the Castle’s comforts and the beauty of its grounds, carrying out major improvements to the estate and laying out the gardens.

Over the next thirty years she was to become a much noted society hostess and continued to spend summers at the castle until 1916.

Following the death of Mrs Adair in London in 1921, Glenveagh fell much into decline and was occupied by both the anti-treaty and Eire army forces during the Irish civil war.

Glenveagh’s next owner was not to be until 1929 when purchased by Professor Arthur Kingsley Porter of Harvard University who came to Ireland to study Irish archaeology and culture.

The Porters mainly entertained Irish literary and artistic figures, including his close friend AE Russell whose paintings still hang in the library of the castle.

Their stay was to be short, however, as Arthur Kingsley Porter mysteriously disappeared from Inishbofin Island in 1933 while visiting the island.

The last private owner was Henry McIlhenny (1910-86), of Philadelphia, USA, who bought the estate in 1937.

Mr McIlhenny was an Irish-American whose grandfather, John, grew up in Milford, a few miles north of Glenveagh.

After buying the estate, McIlhenny devoted much time to restoring the castle and developing its gardens.

Eventually he began to find travelling to and from Ireland too demanding and the upkeep of the estate was also becoming a strain.

In 1975, he agreed the sale of the estate to the Irish government, allowing for the creation of a national park.

In 1983 he donated the castle to the Irish state, along with its gardens and much of the contents.

Glenveagh National Park opened to visitors in 1984, while the Castle itself opened in 1986.

First Published in February, 2012.  Source: GLENVEIGH NATIONAL PARK.

Friday, 29 January 2021

Anna Who?

Arms of the Duke of Wellington

Prior to re-issuing my modest piece about Annadale Hall, Knockbreda, County Down, I came upon a really remarkable article about the subject by Dennis Kennedy, entitled Anna Who?

Mr Kennedy happens to live in the immediate vicinity of Annadale Hall (or its site).

He read his article to the Belfast Literary Society on the 2nd October, 2017.

I was so impressed with it, and the extensive research that he clearly undertook, that I'm providing a link to the article here.

Annadale Hall

Annadale Hall (Image: Alexander Robert Hogg, 1921)

ANNADALE HALL, Newtownbreda, County Down, originally known as Galwally, was first occupied, according to some records, by George Portis.
It is thought that Mr Portis (c1734-97) was Collector of Revenue and Customs for Belfast and was buried at Carlingford churchyard.
Annadale was a plain three-storey block over a basement, with five bays and lofty chimneys.

Galwally was renamed Annadale Hall after Anne, Countess of Mornington (eldest daughter of Arthur, 1st Viscount Dungannon, of Belvoir Park).

Lady Mornington was the mother of the 1st Duke of Wellington.

Annadale Hall was acquired ca 1840 by Alexander McDonnell.

Following his death, in 1855, it passed to his son-in-law, Robert Calwell.

The house was badly damaged by fire in 1914, apparently as a result of incendiary devices planted by Suffragettes.

Annadale suffered another arson attack in 1921, and remained in a ruinous condition until its demolition about 1952.

The grounds were subsequently sold for the Hampton Park housing development. 

Annadale Hall was once part of the Belvoir estate, though Lord Dungannon subsequently built a dividing wall.

Lord Donegall also lived at Annadale for a period, and it is said that Lady Blessington once resided there.

As a girl, Lady Mornington lived in the newly-built Belvoir House, and later at Annadale.

Dennis Kennedy has written an extensive article about Annadale Hall and its occupants.

First published in January, 2013.

Thursday, 28 January 2021

The Nugent Baronetcy


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 1177.

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-c1604), 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.

Mr Savage was, however succeeded by his brother, 

PATRICK SAVAGE,  of Portaferry, who wedded, 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.
Mr Savage died in 1644, and was succeeded by his son, 

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

PATRICK SAVAGE, of Derry of the Little Ards, and afterwards of Portaferry, who, by his wife Anne Hall, of Narrow Water, was father of

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;
Margaret; Elizabeth.
The eldest son,

JOHN SAVAGE, wedded Catherine, daughter of ___ Savage, and had 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,
ANDREW, of whom presently;
Patrick Nugent, m Hariett, daughter of Rev Henry Sandford;
Roger Hall, Captain RN, d unmarried;
John Levallin, d 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.

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, in 1812.

He wedded, in 1800, Selina, youngest daughter of Thomas, 1st Viscount de Vesci, and had issue,
PATRICK JOHN, of whom presently;
Thomas Vesey, m Frances, dau. of Sir J Stronge Bt; father of
Andrew Savage, m Harriet, Viscountess Bangor;
Arthur, m Charlotte, daughter of Maj. Brooke, of Colebrooke;
Charles Lavallin, major-general in the army;
Selina, m James, eldest son of Sir James Stronge Bt;
Colonel Nugent was succeeded by his eldest son,

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

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

JOHN VESEY NUGENT JP DL (1837-1914), of Portaferry House, Lieutenant-Colonel, 51st King's Own Yorkshire light Infantry, who married, in 1886, Emily Georgiana, daughter of Herbert Langham.

Colonel Nugent died without issue, and was succeeded by his cousin, 

EDMOND HENRY STUART NUGENT JP DL (1849-1935), who wedded, in 1885, Grace Mary, daughter of Edward Nathaniel Conant, and had issue,

ROLAND THOMAS NUGENT JP DL (1886-1962), Northern Ireland politician. 
He entered the diplomatic service in 1910 and served with the Grenadier Guards in 1918; and again in 1940-43; was a Director of the Federation of British Industries, 1916-17 and 1919-32; and was knighted in 1929.
In 1944, Sir Roland Thomas Nugent entered Northern Ireland politics, serving as Leader of the Senate, 1944-50; Minister without Portfolio in the Northern Ireland Government, 1944-45; Minister of Commerce, 1945-49; Minister in the Senate, 1949; and Speaker of the Senate, 1950-61. 
On his retirement from that post, in 1951, he was created a baronet, denominated of Portaferry, County Down.

Sir Roland died the following year, when the baronetcy became extinct.

Sir Roland married, in 1917, Cynthia Maud Ramsden, daughter of Captain Frederick William Ramsden and the Lady Elizabeth Maud Conyngham, daughter of the 3rd Marquess Conyngham.

The couple had three children, of whom their two sons were both tragically killed in action during the 2nd World War.

The Nugent Papers are available at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland.

PORTAFERRY HOUSE, Portaferry, County Down, is a large, three-storey, country mansion in a restrained classical style, built ca 1750, and extended about 1790.

It took its present form in 1818-20, when the front façade was remodelled, the grand stairwell added, and the east wing largely rebuilt, all to designs by William Farrell.

The centre of the entrance front has five bays with a Wyatt window in each of the two upper storeys.

The porch has paired Ionic columns and Ionic end piers.

On both sides of the centre block are wide, three-sided bows of two storeys (though the same height as the main block).

The hall, too, affords Ionic columns and good plasterwork.

The original (central) block of Portaferry House was constructed ca 1750 by Andrew Savage on land granted to his ancestor, Patrick, by CHARLES I in 1628.

This original section, which comprises the central and eastern portion of main block of the present house, was a fairly plain, three-storey building.

In 1789, with money reputedly won in a bet with Robert Stewart of Mount Stewart, Patrick Savage had plans drawn up by the Dublin architect, Charles Lilly, for extensions and improvements to the house.

These plans included the addition of a west wing, the three-sided outer bays, and changes to the rear.

In 1814, due to the proceeds of the will of his great-uncle (Nugent of Dysart), Andrew Savage (who was required to change the family name to Nugent in accordance with the same will), employed William Farrell to draw up new plans for further extending and remodelling the house.

Work commenced in 1818.

The east wing was mostly remodelled to include reception rooms to the front, a servants' wing (with classroom) to the rear, and an extended basement floor.

Bays were added to both wings.

In the centre of the house the old staircase was removed, and what had been the old stairwell, hall and drawing room were combined to form a large reception hall.

A new, grander staircase was built to the north of the new hall and extensive plumbing work (including the addition of a new water closet) was carried out to the entire building.

At this period the farmyard was also enlarged and kennels were built to the north side of the demesne.

A threshing mill and horse walk was built to the north-east of farmyard.

The work to the house was completed in 1820 at a total cost of £7,140 (about £622,000 in 2015).

Portaferry House remained in the Nugent family until the 1980s, by which time sections of it had fallen into disrepair.

The present owner has done much to restore the building.


THE DEMESNE is laid out as a fine landscape park for the 1760 house, enlarged in the early 1820s after additions and alterations were made to the house by Andrew Nugent.

It is placed in a splendid position overlooking lawns, pleasure grounds, a series of small lakes and parkland to Strangford Lough.

The original 18th century house was built by Andrew Savage, a former officer in the Spanish army, on a site chosen because it was near ‘a beautiful well-spring up to which from the old castle’.

The Savages changed their name to Nugent: Seemingly the Portaferry House branch of this Anglo-Norman family, Savage of the Ards, changed its name to Nugent in 1812, following the succession of Andrew Savage of Portaferry to certain estates.

Portaferry Castle was probably built in the 16th century by a member of the Savage family. In 1635, Patrick Savage's brother-in-law, Sir James Montgomery, of Rosemount,  repaired the castle by roofing and flooring it so that his sister could live in greater comfort there.

The parkland incorporates extensive woodland blocks, screens and isolated park trees.

Nugent’s Wood, alongside the shore, belongs to the National Trust.

The pleasure grounds, to the south of the house, are not maintained.

However, there are banks of rhododendrons that give colour.

A folly tower, which resembles a windmill stump, has far-reaching views from the top.

The walled garden, near the town, which belongs to the local borough council, has an interesting ziggurat wall to allow maximum heat for wall fruit.

It is adjacent to the 16th century tower house, Portaferry Castle.

There are listed farm buildings and three gate lodges built in 1830.

Portaferry House is now owned by the Beverland family.

First published in  May, 2010.

Mitchelstown Castle


The family of KING was originally of Feathercock Hall, near Northallerton, Yorkshire, and the first of its members we find upon record in Ireland is

SIR JOHN KING, Knight, who obtained from ELIZABETH I, in requital of his military services, a lease of Boyle Abbey, County Roscommon; and, from JAMES I, numerous valuable territorial grants, and several of the highest and most lucrative political employments.

He married Catherine, daughter of Robert Drury, and grand-niece of the Lord Deputy of Ireland, Sir William Drury, and had issue,
ROBERT, his heir;
Dorothy; Mary.
Sir John died in 1637, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR ROBERT KING, Knight, muster master-general of Ireland, who wedded firstly, Frances, daughter of Sir Henry Folliott, 1st Baron Folliott, of Ballyshannon, and had, with other children,
JOHN, his successor;
ROBERT, created a Baronet.
Sir Robert died in 1657, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN KING, who received the honour of knighthood and, although an active Cromwellian, was elevated to the peerage, 1660, by CHARLES II, for his zeal in inspiring the monarchy, in the dignity of Baron Kingston, of Kingston, County Dublin.

His lordship married Catherine, daughter of Sir William Fenton, of Mitchelstown, County Cork, and granddaughter of Sir Geoffrey Fenton, principal secretary of state, and had issue,
ROBERT, his successor;
JOHN, 3rd Baron.
By this lady his family acquired the estate of Mitchelstown.

His lordship died in 1676, and was succeeded by his elder son,

ROBERT, 2nd Baron, who dsp 1693, having settled his estates to his uncle, Sir Robert King, in consequence of his brother, and the inheritor of his honours,

JOHN, 3rd Baron (c1664-1728), having conformed to the church of Rome; but this nobleman appears afterwards to have enjoyed the estates.

He was appointed a gentleman of the privy chamber to JAMES II, and following the fortunes of his master into France, was outlawed; but after his father's death, returning into Ireland, he had a pardon from the crown.

His lordship wedded, in 1683, Margaret, daughter of Florence O'Cahan, and had issue,
JAMES, his successor;
Catherine; Sophia.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

Portrait of a man, possibly James, 4th Baron Kingston
(Image: Ulster Museum)

, 4th Baron (1693-1761), who married twice; but dying without male issue, in 1761, the BARONY EXPIRED, while an estate of £6,000 a year, and a large personal fortune, devolved upon his only surviving daughter, MARGARET.

Sir Robert King's youngest son,

THE RT HON ROBERT KING (c1625-1707), of Rockingham, County Roscommon, MP for County Roscommon, 1692-9, MP for Boyle, 1703-7, Privy Counsellor, was created a baronet in 1682, designated of Boyle Abbey, County Roscommon.

Sir Robert wedded, ca 1670, Frances, daughter and co-heir of Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Gore, and had issue,
JOHN, his successor;
HENRY, 3rd Baronet;
two other sons and three other daughters.
Sir Robert was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR JOHN KING, 2nd Baronet (1673-1720), MP for Boyle, 1695-1714, County Roscommon, 1715-20, who dsp 1720, when the title devolved upon his brother,

THE RT HON SIR HENRY KING, 3rd Baronet (1680-1740), MP for Boyle, 1707-27, County Roscommon, 1727-40, Privy Counsellor, who espoused, in 1722, Isabella, sister of Richard, Viscount Powerscourt, and had issue,
Anne; Elinor; Frances; Isabella.
Sir Henry was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR ROBERT KING, 4th Baronet (1724-55), who was elevated to the peerage, in 1748, in the dignity of Baron Kingsborough; but died unmarried, when that dignity expired, and the baronetcy devolved upon his lordship's brother,

SIR EDWARD KING, 5th Baronet (1726-97), who was created, in 1764, Baron Kingston, of Rockingham; and, in 1766, Viscount Kingsborough, 1766.

His lordship was further advanced to the dignity of an earldom, in 1768, as EARL OF KINGSTON.
The heir apparent is the present holder's son Charles Avery Edward King-Tenison, styled Viscount Kingsborough (b 2000).

MITCHELSTOWN CASTLE was the ancestral seat of the Earls of Kingston.

It was one of the largest Gothic-Revival houses in Ireland, a noble and sumptuous structure of hewn stone, in the castellated style, erected after a design by Mr Pain, of Cork, at an expense of more than £100,000.

Mitchelstown is about thirty miles north of the city of Cork.

The buildings occupied three sides of a quadrangle, the fourth being occupied by a terrace, under which are various offices.

The principal entrance, on the eastern range, was flanked by two lofty square towers rising to the height of 106 feet, one of which was called the White Knight's tower, from its being built on the site of the tower of that name which formed part of the old mansion.

At the northern extremity of the same range were two octagonal towers of lofty elevation.

The entrance hall opened into a stately hall or gallery, eighty feet in length, with an elaborately groined roof, richly ornamented with fine tracery, and furnished with elegant stoves of bronze, and with figures of warriors armed cap-a-pie; at the further extremity was the grand staircase.


Parallel with the gallery, and forming the south front and principal range, were the dining and drawing-rooms, both noble apartments superbly fitted up and opening into the library, which was between them.

Entrance Hall

The whole pile had a character of stately baronial magnificence, and from its great extent and elevation formed a conspicuous feature in the surrounding scenery.

Near the Castle was a large fish-pond, and from a small tower on its margin, water was conveyed to the baths and to the upper apartments of the castle, and across the demesne to the gardens, by machinery of superior construction.

The gardens were spacious and tastefully laid out, the conservatory 100 feet in length and ornamented with a range of beautiful Ionic pilasters.

The parkland, which comprised 1,300 acres, was embellished with luxuriant plantations, and included a farming establishment on an extensive scale, with buildings and offices of a superior description, on the erection of which more than £40,000 was expended.

It was estimated that the castle, with the conservatories, farm, and the general improvement of the demesne, cost its noble proprietor little less, if not more, than £200,000 (£8.3 million today).

"Big George", the 3rd Earl, was renowned for his extravagant hospitality.

The 4th Earl continued to entertain his visitors regally at Mitchelstown.

One of the under-cooks  was a young man called Claridge.

Lord Kingston suffered a financial downfall: His lordship - and house guests - locked the doors against the bailiffs and were besieged therein for a fortnight, until finally the Castle was possessed, creditors satisfied and much of the estate was sold.

What remained of the estate was inherited by the 5th Earl's widow. Thereafter, Economy reigned.

The house was looted and burned in 1922 by the IRA, which had occupied it for the previous six weeks.

The order to burn the building, to prevent the newly established Irish Free State army from having use of it, was made by a local Republican commandant, Patrick Luddy, with the approval of General Liam Lynch.

It is clear that one of the motivations for the burning was to try to cover up the looting of the castle's contents, including large amounts of furniture, a grand piano, paintings by Conrad, Beechy and Gainsborough.

Many of these objects have come up for sale in recent years and some, such as the piano, are still kept locally.

The Castle was severely damaged by the fire.

However, it is clear from documents in the National Archives of Ireland that, for example, in places where the fire had not reached, 'mantelpieces had been forcibly wrenched from the walls and carted.'

As this episode took place at the height of the Irish Civil War, there was no appetite afterwards to prosecute anyone for their role in the looting and burning.

The ashlar limestone of the castle was later removed to build the new Cistercian abbey at Mount Melleray, County Water.

The site of the building is now occupied by a milk powder processing plant and the surrounding 1,214 acre demesne (private park) of the castle has been destroyed.

Lord Kingston's town residence between 1826-32 was 3 Whitehall Place, London, now part of the Department of Energy & Climate Change.

Kingston Arms courtesy of European Heraldry.   First published in February, 2012.

Wednesday, 27 January 2021

1st Baron Glanusk

21,979 ACRES

JOHN or JOSEPH BAILEY (1747-1813), of Wakefield, Yorkshire (son of John Bailey, of Great Wenham, Suffolk), married, in 1774, Susannah, sister of Richard Crawshay, and had issue,
JOSEPH, his heir;
The elder son,

JOSEPH BAILEY (1783-1858), MP, High Sheriff of Monmouthshire, 1826, wedded firstly, in 1810, Maria, daughter of Joseph Latham, and had issue,
JOSEPH, his heir;
John Crawshay;
William Latham;
Maria Susan; Margaret; Jane.
He espoused secondly, in 1830, Mary Ann, daughter of John Thomas Hendry Hopper, and had a daughter,
Mary Anne Bertha.
Mr Bailey was created a baronet in 1852, designated of Glanusk Park, Brecknockshire.

Sir Joseph's eldest son,

JOSEPH BAILEY (1812-50), of Easton Court, Herefordshire, MP for Herefordshire, 1841-50, married, in 1839, Elizabeth Mary, daughter of William Congreve Russell, and had issue,
JOSEPH RUSSELL, of whom hereafter;
Henry James;
John Franklen;
Richard Crawshay;
Mr Bailey predeceased his father, and the baronetcy devolved upon his eldest son,

SIR JOSEPH RUSSELL BAILEY, 2nd Baronet (1840-1906), VD JP MP, of Glanusk Park, High Sheriff of Brecknockshire, 1864, who espoused, in 1861, Mary Ann, daughter of Henry Lucas, and had issue,
William Russell, died in infancy;
JOSEPH HENRY RUSSELL, his successor;
Herbert Crawshay, father of the 4th Baron;
John Lancelot;
Elizabeth Mabel; Edith; Cecile Mary; Margaret Elinor; Gwladys Mary.
Sir Joseph was elevated to the peerage, in 1899, in the dignity of BARON GLANUSK, of Glanusk Park, Brecknockshire.

1st Baron Glanusk (Image: Brecknock Museum & Art Gallery)

JOSEPH HENRY RUSSELL, 2nd Baron (1864-1928), CB CBE DSO, Lord-Lieutenant of Brecknockshire, 1905, who married, in 1890, Editha Elma, daughter of Major Warden Sergison, and had issue,
WILFRED RUSSELL, his successor;
Gerald Sergison;
Bernard Michael;
Dulcie Editha.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

WILFRED RUSSELL, 3rd Baron (1891-1948), DSO, Lieutenant-Colonel, Welsh Guards, who wedded firstly, in 1919, Victoria Mary Enid Ann, daughter of Colonel Frank Dugdale; and secondly, in 1942, Margaret Eldrydd, daughter of Major-General Thomas Herbert Shoubridge, by whom he had issue,
His lordship died without male issue, when the titles devolved upon his cousin,

DAVID RUSSELL, 4th Baron (1917-97), son of the Hon Herbert Crawshay, who wedded, in 1941, Lorna Dorothy, daughter of Captain Ernest Courtenay Harold Norman Andrews, and had issue,
Susan Mary.
His lordship was succeeded by his only son,

CHRISTOPHER RUSSELL, 5th Baron (1942-), who married, in 1974, Frances Elizabeth, daughter of Air Chief Marshal Sir Douglas Charles Lowe GCB DFC AFC, and has issue,
Rosemary Elizabeth.
Glanusk Park House (Image: The Glanusk Estate Website)

GLANUSK PARK HOUSE was built for the ironmaster Sir Joseph Bailey, 1st Baronet, on land he bought in 1825.

Glanusk became one of the most important houses of south Wales, entertaining royalty and society.

The mansion house faced north-east, towards the river Usk, and stood on an elevated terrace above a particularly ornamental parterre garden.

It was an extensive, foursquare, three-storey house in Tudor-Gothic style with four octagonal ogee turrets, one in each corner.

Glanusk's skyline was characterised by many pinnacles and small towers.

A porte-cochere stood on the east of the south front, and a billiards-room was added in the 1840s.

It is believed that this was the second house to be built on the site.

Glanusk Park was recorded by Henri Gastineau as having been the seat of Sir David Wilkins prior to its purchase by the Baileys.

However, no other details of this earlier house have been found, there is no known record of its appearance or that of the grounds immediately surrounding it.

The Baileys' house was designed and built by Robert Lugar between 1825-30.

Construction was suspended in 1827 following the death of Joseph Bailey's first wife.

Lugar also designed most of the buildings in the park, creating a set piece.

The house was set at the top of a sloping lawn which was replaced from about 1860 by formal terraced gardens designed by Markham Nesfield.

In 1939 Glanusk Park House was requisitioned by the army and was subsequently badly damaged.

The 3rd Baron Glanusk died in 1948, and his widow later married the Viscount De L'Isle.

Lady De L'Isle took the decision in 1952 to demolish the house as the cost of repair and upkeep was thought to be prohibitive.

Demolition (by explosives) was complete by 1954.

The Glanusk estate was inherited by the 3rd Baron's daughter, the Hon Dame Shân Legge-Bourke DCVO, whose family continues to live there today.

Tuesday, 26 January 2021

The McCullagh Baronetcy

ALEXANDER McCULLAGH (1798-1872), of Dinnahorra, County Armagh, married Sarah West, and had issue,
Alexander John;
Samuel James;
Thomas West;
William Douglas;
ROBERT, of whom hereafter;
David George;
Amelia; Agnes; Sarah Jane.
The fifth son,

ROBERT McCULLAGH, of Dinnahorra, County Armagh, married Nancy Crawford and was father of

ROBERT McCLAVE McCULLAGH (1822-78), of Dinnahorra, County Armagh, who wedded Mary Jane Hawthorne, and had issue,
Samuel (1866-94);
CRAWFORD, of whom hereafter;
Anna Margaret; Jemima; Eliza Jane; Selina.
The younger son,

CRAWFORD McCULLAGH JP (1868-1948), of Lismara, County Antrim, married, in 1896, Margaret Craig, daughter of William Brodie, of Bolton Le Moors, Lancashire.

Mr McCullagh, Lord Mayor of Belfast, 1914-17, 1931-42 and 1943-46, received the honour of knighthood in 1915.

Sir Crawford was created a baronet in 1935, designated of Lismara:
Whitehall, July 11, 1935: Letters Patent have passed the Great Seal of the Realm granting the dignity of a Baronet of the United Kingdom to the under-mentioned gentlemen, and the heirs male of their respective bodies lawfully begotten:- Sir Crawford McCullagh, of Lismara in the parish of Carnmoney in the County of Antrim, Knight... 
In 1938, Sir Crawford negotiated the donation of Belfast Castle and its 200-acre demesne (bordering on Hazelwood and Bellevue pleasure grounds) with Lord Shaftesbury.

He also officially opened the Floral Hall.

Sir Crawford was a director of several businesses in Belfast, including Maguire and Patterson (Vespa matches); the Classic Cinema, Castle Place; and McCullagh and Co., silk mercers, milliners and fancy draperies, taken over by Styles and Mantles in 1927.
  • Company director and businessman; 
  • Lord Mayor of Belfast, 1914-17, 1931-42 and 1943-46; 
  • High Sheriff of Belfast, 1911; 
  • MP for Belfast South, 1921-25; 
  • Member, NI Senate; 
  • Privy Counsellor, NI. 

Sir Crawford's great-granddaughter, Susie Cunningham, has written a book about him.

The McCullaghs resided at Lismara House (above), Carnmoney, near Belfast.

General Eisenhower is said to have been Lismara'a most famous visitor, in 1945.

Now known as Abbeydene, it is a guest-house.

Lismara House was built by Sir Charles Lanyon in 1850 for John Finlay, who was a flax merchant.

Side Elevation

Lismara acted as General Eisenhower’s County Antrim GHQ during the 2nd World War.

Eisenhower visited the house in 1945, which was then owned by the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Sir Crawford McCullagh (who had been awarded the Civic Award at Belfast City Hall earlier in the day).

Sir Charles Brett remarked that it was renamed Abbeydene by Sir Crawford's son after his father's death in 1948.

Abbeydene was renovated by Frazer Homes ca 1993, replacing all plasterwork and most of the sash windows in the house.

At the time the house was owned by Moore Homes, and it was used as an administration block for the surrounding residential care home.

The house was opened by the current owner in 2007 as a guesthouse.

The house is made from golden sandstone, and has a grand front entrance with a tall wooden door and several sandstone pillars.

The grounds formerly extended to 19 acres.

From 1895 until 1915 Edward Robinson, of Robinson and Cleaver's department store, lived there. 

Sir Crawford's son,

SIR JOSEPH McCULLAGH, 2nd Baronet (1907-74), was probably the foremost authority on ornithology in Northern Ireland in the years preceding his death.

He was Patron of the Northern Ireland Ornithology Club.

Sir Joseph died in 1974, when the title became extinct; by which time his widow Elizabeth, Lady McCullagh, lived at 104 Knock Road, Belfast.

First published in June, 2010.

1st Marquess Conyngham


The family of CONYNGHAM was originally of Scottish descent, and of very great antiquity in that part of the United Kingdom.

WILLIAM CUNNINGHAM, Bishop of Argyll, a younger son of William, 4th Earl of Glencairn, in 1539, left a son,

WILLIAM CUNNINGHAM, of Cunninghamhead, Ayrshire, who had two sons,

WILLIAM, who succeeded at Cuninghamhead, and was created a baronet in 1627, designated of Cunninghamhead, Ayr; and

THE REV ALEXANDER CUNNINGHAM or CONYNGHAM, who, entering into Holy Orders and removing into Ireland, was appointed, in 1611, the first protestant minister of Enver and Killymard, County Donegal.

He was appointed to the deanery of Raphoe, in 1630, on the consecration of Dean Adair as Lord Bishop of Killaloe.
Dean Conyngham settled at Mount Charles, County Donegal, which estate he held, by lease, from the Earl of Annandale, and wedded Marion, daughter of John Murray, of Broughton, by whom he had no less than 27 children, of which four sons and five daughters survived infancy.
The Dean died in 1660, and was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

SIR ALBERT CUNNINGHAM or CONYNGHAM, Knight,  Colonel, 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons, who was appointed, in 1660, Lieutenant-General of the Ordnance in Ireland.

Sir Albert fought on the side of WILLIAM III at the Boyne, Limerick etc, and fell in a rencounter with the Rapparees, near Colooney in County Sligo.

He espoused Mary, daughter of the Rt Rev Robert Leslie, Lord Bishop of Raphoe, and was succeeded, on his decease, 1691, by his only surviving son,

MAJOR-GENERAL HENRY CONYNGHAM, of Slane Castle, MP for Killybegs, 1692-3, County Donegal, 1695-1706, who served during the reign of JAMES II as captain in Mountjoy's Regiment.

When JAMES II desired his army to shift for itself, Conyngham prevailed upon 500 of his regiment to remain united, and with them offered his services to WILLIAM III.

He became subsequently Major-General, and fell, 1706, at St Estevan's, in Spain.

General Conyngham wedded Mary, daughter of Sir John Williams Bt, of Minster Court, Kent, and widow of Charles, Lord Shelburne, by whom he got a very considerable property, and had issue,
WILLIAM, his successor;
He was succeeded by his elder son,

WILLIAM CONYNGHAM, of Slane (an estate forfeited, in 1641, by Lord Slane), who was succeeded at his decease by his brother,

THE RT HON HENRY CONYNGHAM (1705-81), captain of horse on the Irish establishment, MP for Killybegs, 1727-53, when he was elevated to the peerage, in 1753, in the dignity of Baron Conyngham, of Mount Charles, County Donegal.

His lordship was advanced to a viscountcy, in 1756, as Viscount Conyngham; and further advanced, in 1781, as Earl Conyngham, the barony to descend, in case of failure of issue, to Francis Pierpoint Burton, the eldest son of his sister Mary, by Francis Burton.

His lordship married, in 1774, Ellen, only daughter and heir of Solomon Merret; but dying without an heir, in 1781, all his honours became extinct, except the barony of Conyngham, which devolved, according to the limitation, upon the above-mentioned

FRANCIS PIERPOINT BURTON as 2nd Baron (c1725-87), who wedded, in 1750, Elizabeth, eldest daughter of the Rt Hon Nathaniel Clements, and sister of Robert, Earl of Leitrim, and had issue,
HENRY, his successor;
Francis Nathaniel (Sir), GCH;
Catherine; Ellena; Henrietta.
His lordship, on inheriting the title and estates of his uncle, assumed the surname and arms of CONYNGHAM.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

HENRY, 3rd Baron (1766-1832), who, in 1787, was created Viscount Conyngham, of Slane, County Meath; Viscount Mount Charles, of Mount Charles, County Donegal; and, in 1797, Earl Conyngham.
In 1801, Lord Conyngham was appointed a Knight of St Patrick. In 1803, he was appointed Governor of County Donegal, a post he held until 1831, and Custos Rotulorum of County Clare in 1808, which he remained until his death.
His lordship was created, in 1816, Viscount SlaneEarl of Mount Charles, and MARQUESS CONYNGHAM.

In 1821, he was created Baron Minster, of Minster Abbey, Kent, sworn of the Privy Council, and appointed Lord Steward, a post he retained until 1830.

From 1829 until his death, in 1832, he served as Constable and Governor of Windsor Castle.
The heir apparent is the present holder's son Alexander Burton Conyngham, styled Earl of Mount Charles.

The heir apparent's heir apparent is his son Rory Nicholas Burton Conyngham, styled Viscount Slane.

The Marquesses Conyngham were seated at The Hall, Mount Charles, County Donegal, now thought to be unoccupied.

The Hall is an early to mid-18th century double, gable-ended house of three storeys and five bays.

It has a pedimented door-case, bold quoins and a solid parapet concealing the roof and end gables.

At one end of the house there is a conservatory porch with astrigals and round-headed windows.

A salt works (also in the grounds of the former Conyngham estate) provided employment to local people during the 18th century.

8th Marquess Conyngham

The present Lord and Lady Conyngham continue to live at the ancestral seat, Slane Castle, County Meath.

Buncraggy House

BUNCRAGGY HOUSE, one of several notable houses on the Conyngham Estate, was home of the Burton family for most of the 18th century.

The house remained in the possession of the O'Gorman family until the end of the 19th century, when it became the property of the Caher family.

The house is still occupied and the yard buildings are the centre of a farming enterprise.

Other properties included Islandmagrath, Burtonhill House, Summerhill and Meelick House.

First published in November, 2011.  Conyngham arms courtesy of European Heraldry.