Thursday, 30 September 2021

Portstewart Strand Acquisition

SELECTIVE ACQUISITIONS IN NORTHERN IRELAND


PROPERTY: Portstewart Strand, County Londonderry

DATE: 1981

EXTENT: 225.82 acres

DONOR: Philip McIntyre

First published in January, 2015.

Clanabogan House

THE GALBRAITHS OWNED 3,826 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY TYRONE

JOHN GALBRAITH settled at Roscavey, County Tyrone, and died in 1668, leaving a son and successor,

CAPTAIN JAMES GALBRAITH, of Roscavey, who marred Mary, widow of Captain James Gledstanes, of FARDROSS, County Tyrone, and left an only son,

JOHN GALBRAITH (c1670-1742), of Roscavey, who wedded Anne Maria, eldest daughter of the Rev Richard Forbes, Rector of Ballinderry, and was father of

JOHN GALBRAITH (c1711-51), of Roscavey, Barrister, who espoused Katherine, daughter of Samuel Perry, of Mullaghmore, and had issue,
JAMES, his heir;
George (Rev);
John Forbes;
Samuel, of Greenmount and Omagh;
Katherine; Mary; Anne.
Mr Galbraith was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES GALBRAITH JP, of Roscavey, Deputy Governor of Tyrone, who married, in 1762, Mary, third daughter of Brabazon Noble, of Donaghmoyne, County Monaghan, and had issue, two sons and five daughters, who all died unmarried except the second son,

JAMES GALBRAITH, of Roscavey, who wedded his cousin Katherine, daughter and eventually heiress of Samuel Galbraith, of Greenmount and Omagh, and had issue,
James, died unmarried;
John, of Greenmount and Roscavey;
George;
SAMUEL, of whom we treat.
Mr Galbraith died in 1800, and was succeeded by his youngest son,

SAMUEL GALBRAITH JP (1797-1864), of Clanabogan and Riverstown, County Tyrone, and of Crowdrumin, County Longford, who succeeded to the entailed estates of his uncle, Arthur Lowry Galbraith in 1819, and to those of his mother in 1832.

He espoused, in 1824, Susanna Jane, second daughter of the Rev Dr Robert Handcock, and had issue,
JOHN SAMUEL, his heir;
Robert;
Samuel;
GEORGE (Very Rev), of Clanabogan;
James;
William Arthur;
Jane; Katherine.
Mr Galbraith, High Sheriff of County Tyrone, 1833, County Longford, 1840, was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN SAMUEL GALBRAITH JP DL (1828-1903), of Clanabogan and Riverstown, and Crowdrumin, High Sheriff of County Longford, 1874, Tyrone, 1875, who died unmarried, and was succeeded by his brother,

THE VERY REV GEORGE GALBRAITH (1829-1911), of Clanabogan, Dean of Derry, who married, in 1874, Florence, youngest daughter of ACHESON LYLE, of The Oaks, County Londonderry, and had issue,
SAMUEL HAROLD LYLE, his heir;
James Ponsonby;
Eleanor Georgina Susannah.
The Dean was succeeded by his elder son,

SAMUEL HAROLD LYLE GALBRAITH (1876-1922), of Clanabogan, Captain, Royal Irish Regiment.


CLANABOGAN HOUSE, near Omagh, County Tyrone, is a two-storey, three-bay, 18th-century rendered house, built ca 1750, developed during the 19th century and largely remodelled in the early 20th century.

It is asymmetrical, with Georgian detailing that has an elaborate spatial arrangement indicative of the differing periods of ownership and occupation.

Clanabogan is well preserved in its various phases.

It remains a fine example of an evolved eighteenth century residence.

Alistair Rowan describes Clanabogan as
‘... a typical gentleman’s estate in mid Victorian Ulster, created by Samuel Galbraith Esquire, with house, family church for a specially created curacy , and a modern rectory ... large, plain double pile house... mid-18th century ... inherited by Samuel Galbraith from his uncle in 1819."
The main double-pile block has thick internal wall construction and its proportions are indicative of a mid-18th century date.

There is evidence of at least two distinct periods of remodelling.

The plasterwork in the parlour appears to be Victorian in character; while the oak staircase is of early 20th-century appearance.

It is thought that major remodelling occurred in the early 20th century.

The present owner, who purchased Clanabogan in 1994, believes that part of the house was occupied by evacuated families during the 2nd World War, hence the division of the house, with separate stairwells leading to the first floor.

Clanabogan was converted to bed & breakfast accommodation in 2002.

First published in August, 2017.

Wednesday, 29 September 2021

Cambridges in NI

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Baron and Baroness Carrickfergus, have arrived in Northern Ireland.

More to follow.

Summer Island House

Summer Island House

SAMUEL COWDY, of Taughlumny, near Banbridge, County Down, was a sergeant in Cromwell's army, from whom he received a farm of 273 acres at Taughlumny.

He married and had issue, his youngest son,

JOHN COWDY (c1770-1857), who married M Rollins, and was father of

ANTHONY COWDY (1809-92), who wedded Elizabeth, daughter of Mr Mahaffy, and had issue, an only son,

ANTHONY COWDY (1843-1908), who married Sarah Frances, daughter of Mr Jones, and was father of

EDWARD COWDY JP DL (1873-1934), of Summer Island, County Armagh, High Sheriff of County Armagh, 1920, who wedded, in 1903, Mary Jane, daughter of Robert McKean JP, of Rockwood, Benburb, County Tyrone.

Edward Cowdy (1873-1934)

His eldest son,

ROBERT McKEAN COWDY JP DL, of Summer Island, High Sheriff of County Armagh, 1947, married, in 1939, Diana Vera Gordon, elder daughter of John Ralph Cope, of Drumilly, County Armagh, and had issue,

MAJOR RALPH EDWARD COPE COWDY DL (1940-2013), High Sheriff of County Armagh, 2007.


SUMMER ISLAND, near Loughgall, County Armagh, was purchased from the Verner family by Edward Cowdy in 1908.

It is a Georgian villa of two storeys and five bays; fine fanlight above the main door, with columns and pilasters.

The roof is hipped with dentils at the eaves.

The main entrance to Summer Island boasts one of the most delightful pairs of gate lodges in the Province, which were built ca 1820.

They are backed by mature lime trees which stand out in the landscape of this slightly raised strip of land in an otherwise flat area.

Shelter belts protect the southern half of the parkland, at the centre of which is the late 18th century classical house.

There is a modern ornamental garden at the house but the walled garden is not cultivated.

First published in September, 2013.

Tuesday, 28 September 2021

The Musgrave Baronetcy

The family of MUSGRAVE settled in Ulster from Cumberland in 1649.

JOHN MUSGRAVE (1730-1808), of Saintfield, County Down, was father of

DR SAMUEL MUSGRAVE (1770-1836), a physician, of Lisburn, County Antrim, who married Mary, daughter of William Riddel (proprietor of Riddel and Company, Belfast), of Comber, County Down, and had a numerous family, of whom

SIR JAMES MUSGRAVE JP DL (1826-1904), of Drumglass House, Belfast, Chairman, Belfast Harbour Committee, 1887-1903.
The Musgraves were very successful businessmen. James became the moving spirit behind a firm of iron-founders and engineers. 
This family may be said to have begun their connection with Belfast at the beginning of the Victorian era, the River Lagan being their natal stream. 
The Musgrave firm was an off-shoot of the Riddel establishment; whereas the Musgrave family consisted of a dozen children.
When Dr Samuel Musgrave died at Lisburn in 1836, the family soon moved to Belfast and lived in Upper Arthur Street.

By 1852, they were living at 1, Donegall Square South, and later moved to Drumglass House, off Malone Road, which they built ca 1855.

As young men, the brothers Robert and John Riddel were in partnership with their uncle, John Riddel, at 54 High Street in Belfast.

With their brother James they founded the firm Musgrave Brothers and opened the establishment in 1843 (which later became Richard Patterson’s of 59 High Street).

Here the ironmongery trade was carried on successfully until expansion of business brought the manufacturing lines and, from 1860 onwards, this branch was conducted at the Ann Street Ironworks until a limited company was formed.

Sir James Musgrave Bt.   Photo Credit: Belfast Harbour Commissioners

John and James Musgrave were the principals, Robert having died in 1867.

From this time forward the firm of Musgrave & Company Ltd created what was a new industry which attained world-wide fame with the manufacture of stoves, heating apparatus, stable fittings and high-class ironwork.

John R Musgrave was the chairman and director, and represented his brothers' interests in the company.

The expanding business now removed to new works at Mountpottinger.

About 1854, the other brothers, Henry and Edgar Musgrave, started the wholesale tea and sugar business.
The Musgrave family were benefactors of the city of Belfast and its institutions: Sir James, when he retired, devoted a large part of his energy and abilities to developing the Port of Belfast, the possibilities of which he foresaw, the great scheme which he devised and which he lived to see completed. 

His name is forever linked with the Musgrave Channel which he did so much to further from the time he was elected chairman of the Harbour Board in 1897 until a year before his death in 1904.
In recognition of these services, James Musgrave was created a baronet in 1897, designated of Drumglass, County Antrim.

He also proved himself a firm friend of Queen's College (now University), where he founded the chair of Pathology which bears his name.

Like his brother James, Henry gave many benefactions to the City.

When the estate at Carrick, County Donegal, was acquired a similar bold policy was adopted.

The Musgraves owned 23,673 acres of land in County Donegal.

The Musgraves' old-fashioned courtesy and graciousness of manner, combined with a distinctive style of dress, gave the impression that evoked a link with the early Victorian period.

Their unbounded generosity to charitable, educational and other worthy institutions will secure for them an imperishable memory.

Drumglass House

Drumglass Park is named after Henry Musgrave, the owner of nearby Drumglass House.

The Classical villa was built in 1854-6 for the iron-master Sir James Musgrave.

The north-western end of the grounds was donated for a park in 1922 and landscaped by 1924.


It is believed that the grounds extended to ten acres.


This small park fulfils a need in a built-up part of Belfast and is laid out with grass, bedding and a children’s play area.

The land was a gift in the will of the then owner of the house at Drumglass, Henry Musgrave. 

He had intended that the area should be larger but in order to make a good sale of the rest of the property a parcel of land was retained by the Executors of the will to sell with the house. 

Henry Musgrave was a well-known landowner who was elected an honorary burgess, or freeman, of the City of Belfast in 1917.

He lived in Drumglass House, one of the most prestigious houses in the Malone Road area.

Musgrave died in 1922, leaving six acres of his property to the city to be used as a public park or children's playground.

The park was initially named Drumglass Play Centre and it was opened to the public in 1924 by the Lady Mayoress of Belfast, Lady Turner.


The house and site's remaining grounds now form part of Victoria College Girls' School.

Drumglass Park contains a private gate lodge, located near the Lisburn Road entrance to the park.

It served as the original lodge for Drumglass House and was built in the Queen Anne Revival style ca 1882.

First published in September, 2010. 

Monday, 27 September 2021

Rathdaire House

THE ADAIRS WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN THE QUEEN'S COUNTY, WITH 9,655 ACRES

The family of ADAIR were originally from Scotland and settled in Ireland about 1690, at the time of the battle of the Boyne.  

THOMAS ADAIRE, son of Archibald Adaire, wedded Mary Hamilton, and settled in the Queen's County (Laois).

His son,

ARCHIBALD ADAIRE, married and was father of

JOHN ADAIR, of Rath, Queen's County, High Sheriff of Queen's County, 1782, who died in 1809, and was father of

GEORGE ADAIR JP DL (1784-1873), of Rath, High Sheriff of Queen's County, 1822, who married Elizabeth, second daughter of the Very Rev Thomas Trench, Dean of Kildare (brother of the 1st Lord Ashtown), and had an only son,

JOHN GEORGE ADAIR JP DL (1823-85), of Rathdaire, Queen's County, and GLENVEAGH CASTLE, County Donegal, High Sheriff of Queen's County, 1867, County Donegal, 1874.
George and his son John George, better known as Jack, built a "state of the art" farmyard at Belgrove in 1851. To justify their investment they ejected their tenants from the best land in Ballyaddan, Rathroinsin, Belgrove, etc., expecting to run the land more efficiently in a larger unit, rather than depending on what they could extract from their tenants.
Jack himself acquired more land in Tipperary, Kildare, and Donegal, and also a large ranch in Texas called the JA Ranch. He died in 1885 on his way home from the States, aged 62 years. Thanks to Dr. Bob Spiegelman of New York we have learned a great deal more about the JA Ranch and Jack's connections with it, as well as Glenveagh in Donegal. When the Irish Land Commission acquired the Estate in 1935 they divided it among some of the Estate employees and enlarged many of the small farms in the area.
The farmyard was divided between four families, and four of the farm buildings were converted into dwellings. Later on three of the families moved elsewhere or changed from farming. As the other families left the Murphy family bought out the rest of the yard. Michael Murphy Sr. was yard-man on the estate when he was a youth and he got a quarter of the farmyard in the 1935 division; he survived to see his family own the whole farmyard eventually.
Mr Adair married Cornelia, daughter of General J S Wadsworth, US Army, in 1867, and died without issue.

Former seats - Rathdaire, Monasterevin, County Laois; Glenveagh Castle, County Donegal.


RATHDAIRE HOUSE, or Bellegrove, was a two-storey over basement Italianate house of ca 1835, with the entrance bay to the centre having full-height flanking bows.

It was burnt in 1887 and is now in ruins with the basement filled-in.

The fittings are now gone; the interior ruinous.

The house is set back from road in its own grounds, now in use as a tillage field.

Stable complex, pair of detached gate lodges, gateway and site of former winter garden to site.

First published in June, 2012.

Macartney of Lissanoure

THE MACARTNEYS WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY ANTRIM, WITH 12,532 ACRES

Of the Auchinleck branch of the ancient Scottish family of Macartney, MacCartney, or MacCarthy, was

GEORGE MacCARTNEY, who wedded, in 1522, Margaret, daughter of Godfrey MacCullogh, of Bank of Fleet, Kirkcudbright, Ayrshire.

His son,

PATRICK MacCARTNEY, married the daughter of John McLellan, and had an eldest son,

BARTHOLOMEW MacCARTNEY, of Auchinleck, Kircudbright, in 1597; who espoused, 1587, Mary, only daughter of John Stewart, of Auchinleck, and was father of

BARTHOLOMEW MacCARTNEY, who wedded Catherine, daughter of George Maxwell, and dvp leaving a son,

GEORGE MACARTNEY (1626-91), a Captain of Horse, born at Auchinleck, who removed to Ulster, 1649, and settled in County Antrim, where he acquired a large estate, and represented Belfast in parliament.

In 1671 he served as High Sheriff of County Antrim, and in 1688 proclaimed WILLIAM & MARY at Belfast, for which he was soon after obliged to flee to England, and was attainted at JAMES II's parliament held at Dublin, 1689.

Captain Macartney was restored on the settlement of the Kingdom.

He married firstly, Janet, daughter of Quentin Calderwood, and had issue (with three daughters),
James, MP for Bridport 1692-5;
Arthur, father of George, MP for Belfast 1721;
John, died young;
Bartholomew, died young;
George, died young;
Quentin, died young.
Captain Macartney wedded secondly, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Stephen Butler, and had further issue (with a son, Chichester, dsp),

GEORGE MACARTNEY (1671-1757), MP for Belfast, 1692-1757, Limavady, 1703-13, Donegal Borough, 1713-14, called to the Bar, 1700, High Sheriff of County Antrim, Deputy Governor and Colonel of a Regiment of Militia Dragoons.

He married firstly, in 1700, Letitia, daughter and co-heir of Sir Charles Porter, LORD CHANCELLOR OF IRELAND; and secondly, Elizabeth Dobbin.

Colonel Macartney left issue by his first wife (with two other sons),

GEORGE MACARTNEY, who wedded, in 1732, Elizabeth, daughter of the Rev George Winder, and had issue,
GEORGE, 1ST EARL MACARTNEY, dsp 1806;
Letitia, m Godfrey Echlin, and dsp;
Elizabeth, m Major John Blaquiere; mother of ELIZABETH.
His granddaughter,

ELIZABETH BLAQUIERE (niece of Lord Macartney), married, in 1785, THE REV TRAVERS HUME (son of Gustavus Hume, of Dublin, State Surgeon, and had issue,
GEORGE, who assumed the name and arms of MACARTNEY;
Gustavus Thomas;
John;
Robert (Rev);
Elizabeth; Georgiana; Alicia; Anna.
The eldest son,

GEORGE HUME MACARTNEY JP DL (1793-1869), of LISSANOURE, MP for County Antrim, 1852-8, espoused, in 1828, Ellen, only surviving child and heir of Townley Patten Filgate, of Lowtherstone, County Dublin, and Drumgoolstown, County Louth, and had issue,
GEORGE TRAVERS, his heir;
Townley Patten Hume Macartney Filgate, of Lowther Lodge;
Martha Ellen; Elizabeth Jane; Anne Sophia.
This gentleman, whose patronymic was HUME, assumed, by Royal Licence, 1814, the surname and arms of MACARTNEY under the will of his grand-uncle George, 1st Earl Macartney.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

GEORGE TRAVERS MACARTNEY JP DL (1830-74), of Lissanoure, Captain, 15th King's Hussars, who married, in 1865, Henrietta Frances, third daughter of Robert Smyth, of Gaybrook, County Westmeath, and had issue,
CARTHANACH GEORGE, his heir;
Helen Henrietta; Mabel Constance; Frances Rose.
Mr Macartney was succeeded by his son,

CARTHANACH GEORGE MACARTNEY JP (1869-1936), of Lissanoure, who wedded, in 1890, his cousin Margaret Tryphena Mabel, eldest daughter of Townley Patten Hume Macartney Filgate, of Lowtherstone, County Dublin, and had issue,
Dervock George Auchinleck (1891-1900);
GEORGE TRAVERS LUCY (1896-1943), of Lissanoure.
George Travers Lucy Macartney was the last member of the Macartneys to live at LISSANOURE CASTLE.

He was said to be eccentric and a spendthrift.

Mr Macartney purchased the Torr Head fishery and initiated several fruitless projects.

He died on holiday in County Cork on the 11th July, 1943.

Lissanoure estate was subsequently sold to the Mackie family, of Belfast, industrialists, but had already been requisitioned by the Ministry of Defence as a training base for British and American troops during the 2nd World War.

There was also a German prisoner-of-war camp at Lissanoure, and the Mackies did not get full possession until the end of the war in 1945.

First published in September, 2017.

Sunday, 26 September 2021

Limerick Palace

THE bishopric of Limerick was united in 1663 to those of Ardfert and Aghadoe, which had long been so incorporated as to form but one diocese.

Ardfert was established in the 5th century, and Limerick before the 13th.

The first prelate to reside in the palace was probably the Rt Rev Edward Synge, Lord Bishop of Limerick, 1661-78.

The last bishop to reside there was thought to be the Right Rev Dr William Gore, Lord Bishop of Limerick, Ardfert and Aghadoe, 1772-84.


THE PALACE, Limerick, is a three-storey, five-bay house of ca 1740, of limestone.

The entrance is Venetian in style.

The palace remained an episcopal residence until 1784.

It underwent a major restoration in 1990.

It is adjacent to the Norman King John's Castle, and abuts a row of terraced alms houses, close to the grounds of Saint Munchin's Church further north along narrow Church Street.

An episcopal palace has been on this site since at least the 17th century.

It is thought that parts of the earlier structure were incorporated, largely at basement level, within the classical 18th-century structure.

The proportions of the window openings, which decrease with each storey, achieve a symmetrical classical fa├žade.

It is also among the earliest examples of a formal classical composition within the city of Limerick.

The former episcopal palace is distinguished by limestone ashlar detailing, such as the door-case and eave cornice on the front and side elevations.

It is presently the headquarters of Limerick Civic Trust, which was responsible for the restoration of the building in 1990.

First published in September, 2015.

Saturday, 25 September 2021

Rowan-Hamiltons at Home

FOUR CENTURIES AGO, GAWN ROWAN-HAMILTON'S ANCESTOR, JAMES HAMILTON, ARRIVED IN COUNTY DOWN AND SETTLED IN KILLYLEAGH CASTLE

IN 2006, GAWN ROWAN-HAMILTON, DL, TOLD JUDITH COLE ABOUT LIFE IN A CASTLE

When Lieutenant-Colonel Denys Rowan-Hamilton MVO DL handed over the keys of Killyleagh Castle to his son five years ago [2001], he reassured him that he mustn't let the property become a millstone around his neck and that, if it ever became too great a burden, he could sell it.

Then, on his way out the door, he reminded him gently that the castle had been in the family for 400 years.

"It was a bitter-sweet moment," Gawn Rowan-Hamilton ponders, sitting in a cosy, but strikingly high-ceilinged, room in Ulster's oldest inhabited castle.
"But I always knew, growing up, that if things worked out I would come and live here. I also knew that I had to earn a living to be able to afford its upkeep as, unfortunately, the castle isn't surrounded by masses of land. The handover went very smoothly and it is a far nicer place to raise a young family than London, where we used to live."
It certainly seems like an idyllic existence for Gawn, his wife Polly and five children Tara, Archie, Jake, Charlie and Willa.

There is endless scope in the nine-bedroomed castle for searching for secret passages and the several spiral staircases leading to the top of the towers provide hours of fun.

The castle even has its very own dungeon.

And outside, there are enough lawns to host Wimbledon and a swimming-pool worthy of any Olympics.


Built in 1180 by John de Courcy as one of a series of fortifications around Strangford Lough to protect against the Vikings, the castle, with its handsome turrets and seemingly impenetrable walls, looks like it has been lifted straight from the Loire valley.

The constant stream of tourists, who gaze in wonder through its iron gates, compare it to Hogwarts or a castle from Disney.

It has been kept in excellent repair through the years and, says Gawn, only needs painting on the inside - although that's not going to happen any time soon because of the children.

Even the nursery is the same as when Gawn was a child, and now his children are enjoying it too.

Gawn, who is his father's only son and has three half-brothers, one half-sister and two full sisters, attended Killyleagh Primary School and his closest friends lived on High Street.

He was then sent to Eton and after that studied at Cambridge - but returned to the castle at every opportunity.

"Family stands out most of all from my childhood memories," he says.
"I am the youngest of my mother's seven children and the house was always full of people. I remember sitting around the dining room table with a very large family having quite intensive discussions and arguments. 
Because I was at boarding school, mum would compensate by asking people to stay when I came back for holidays, and she didn't mind if there were 10 or 20 people for lunch. 
She was determined that we would have a good time here. And because it was known that I was going to come and live here one day it made it easier on the others."
What was it like, living in a castle?
"Up to the age of 14 I wasn't aware of the significance of living in a castle," Gawn says. "You think you're lucky but you just take it for granted. I went to Eton so living in a big house didn't distinguish me at all, but one hopes my children will be comfortable with it. 
If they are comfortable with it then they will take little notice of what people think." 
As Gawn spends half of each week in London as director of a major mergers and acquisitions firm, Polly spends much of her time looking after the castle, its self-catering accommodation in the gatehouses and events it hosts such as outdoor concerts. 

The family conducts tours for schools and, with the castle holding a registry licence, weddings also take place.
"I just love Killyleagh and the sense of community," says Polly. "It's so much nicer than London, the people are wonderful and because the house is right in the village we feel part of everything that's going on." 
Indeed, the Hamiltons have been part of goings-on for some 400 years since, in 1606, in an event described as the most important in Ulster-Scots history, Gawn's ancestor, James Hamilton, and his fellow Scot, HUGH MONTGOMERY, arrived.

Montgomery had spied his opportunity to acquire a chunk of eastern Ulster when the Irish chieftain, Con O'Neill, was imprisoned and needed his help to escape from jail and secure a Royal pardon from Montgomery's friend, King JAMES I.

But Hamilton discovered the plan and persuaded O'Neill to give him some land, too, a move that caused the Scottish settlers to become bitter rivals despite living close to each other in northern County Down.

When he settled in Killyleagh Castle, James Hamilton built the courtyard walls and then his son, the 1ST EARL OF CLANBRASSILL, built a second tower as a sign of rising prosperity.

In 1649, the castle was besieged by Cromwellian forces, who blew up the original gatehouse using gunboats which had sailed into Strangford.

Lord Clanbrassill fled, leaving behind his wife and children.

A staunch supporter of the Crown, parliament fined him all his spare cash for the return of his castle and land.

But contrary to what their history might suggest, the current Hamiltons and Montgomerys - whose country seat is Grey Abbey House in Co Down - are good friends:
"I grew up with the Montgomerys and it makes me laugh when I think that when the two families first arrived here they fought battles with each other," Gawn says. "I suppose Montgomery felt slightly cheated out of the sweet deal he had concocted with Con O'Neill and probably felt quite bitter. 
When he was on his death bed he decreed that no Montgomery must ever marry a Hamilton and to this day I don't think the families have intermarried. 
I find that astonishing, actually, given the fact that we have lived beside each other for 400 years." 
For centuries the castle's first role was protection but in more recent times work was done to make it more comfortable:
"During the famines in the 1850s my great-great-great grandmother redeveloped the house and installed gas," Gawn says. "Because she received no income from the state she decided to spend all her maternal fortune on making the house habitable. "She employed Charles Lanyon, the architect of Queen's University, Belfast, to redesign and open up the castle."
This was a challenge for Lanyon, who was used to building on a greenfield site - but the castle was confined to a structure already in place which he couldn't change.

But he made sterling work of it nonetheless, and all the intricately detailed plasterwork and wood panelling dates from this period.
"Lanyon turned the castle from what would have been a dark and uncomfortable interior to a very light and comfortable one," explains Gawn. "And although people might think the castle is cold and draughty, the rooms are actually not as big as you may imagine because the walls are so thick."
And with all that colourful history, there must be a ghost or two, surely?

For instance, does the so-called Blue Lady, Lady (Alice) Clanbrassill, flit through the corridors at night?

She was married to the 2nd Earl, Henry Hamilton, and their only child died in infancy.

To her horror, the 1st Earl had decreed in his will that if Henry died without issue the estate should be divided between five cousins.

But in her determination to get her hands on the Hamilton properties for her own family, Alice destroyed this will and made her husband write a new one.

Henry received a letter from his mother with the grim warning that the day he changed the will would be the day he died.

So it proved, as Henry was poisoned by his wife shortly after bequeathing his estate to her.
"Yes, I suspect there are ghosts running around with tales to tell," says Gawn. "Although I haven't seen a ghost people say that some rooms are spookier than others. It certainly adds to the character of the castle to think there might be ghosts."
There have been explosive events more recently, too, for the castle was targeted during the Troubles in the 1920s:
"I have a cutting from the Belfast Telegraph which tells the story of my great-great uncle being woken at 2am and exchanging gunfire from the battlements, which was terribly exciting," says Gawn.
But, despite the family's history of settling on land once owned by Irish men, Gawn says the Hamiltons have never experienced animosity from Roman Catholics:
"Actually, my most famous ancestor was Archibald Hamilton Rowan, who was a United Irishman," he explains. "He was put in prison by the British in Dublin but escaped and went to the Americas before he was pardoned and returned. 
There was one occurrence of animosity from loyalists in the 1970s when my father stood for election to Westminster as an Alliance Party candidate. 
Although he didn't get in loyalists were angry as they believed he was establishment and was taking some of their votes, and they burned his effigy in one of the village estates. That shows how extreme the politics of that time were."
A happier event concerns Prince Andrew, Baron Killyleagh, who regularly visits the village, although he hasn't stayed at the castle during Gawn's tenure.
"My father was hosting an event one day which the Duke of York was attending," he says. "A wedding had been booked for that afternoon and, because the first event was running longer than expected, my father eventually had to tell [HRH] that he had to go as the wedding party would soon be arriving. 
Of course, on their way out Prince Andrew and his entourage bumped right into the wedding - but he jumped out of his car and went over to the wedding party and had his photo taken with them, which was very good of him."
Says Gawn: "To have such a long history of the family here is wonderful and that sense of continuity reinforces the feeling I have about the house." 

First published in September, 2011.

Friday, 24 September 2021

Rowan-Hamilton of Killyleagh

This family is descended from Thomas, youngest son of Sir John Hamilton of Cadzow, from which Thomas many families in Ulster descended; namely, those of Killyleagh, Hallcraig or Neillsbrook, Tollymore, Carnesure, Bangor, Ballygally, and Gransha; founded by the six sons of Hans Hamilton of Dunlop.
THE REV HANS HAMILTON (c1535-1608), Vicar of Dunlop, Ayrshire, wedded Margaret Denholm, daughter of the Laird of Weshiels, and had, with other issue,
James, Viscount Claneboye, ancestor of the EARLS OF CLANBRASSIL;
ARCHIBALD, of whom we treat.
The younger son,

ARCHIBALD HAMILTON, of Hallcraig, Lanarkshire, married firstly, Rachel Carmichael, and had issue,
JOHN;
James;
Gawn;
William;
Hugh.
He wedded secondly, Miss Simpson, by whom he left one daughter, Jane, married to Archibald Edmonstone, of Braid Island, County Antrim.

The third son,

GAWN HAMILTON, of Killyleagh Castle, County Down, espoused Jane, daughter of Archibald Hamilton, and had issue,
ARCHIBALD;
Mary; Rose.
He died in 1703, and was succeeded by his son and heir,

ARCHIBALD HAMILTON, of Killyleagh, who married Mary, daughter of David Johnstone, of Tully, County Monaghan, and had issue,
William;
GAWN;
Susanna; Jane; Mary.
Mr Hamilton died in 1747, and was succeeded by his younger son,

GAWN HAMILTON (1729-1805), of Killyleagh, who wedded, in 1750, Jane, only child of WILLIAM ROWAN, barrister-at-law, and widow of Tichbourne Aston, of Beaulieu, County Louth, and had issue,
ARCHIBALD;
Sidney.
Mr Hamilton was succeeded by his son and heir,

ARCHIBALD HAMILTON (1751-1834), of Killyleagh Castle, County Down, who assumed the additional surname of ROWAN, in conformity with the will of his maternal grandfather, WILLIAM ROWAN, who devised his fortune to his grandson, then a boy at Westminster School
"in the hope that he should become a learned, honest, sober man; live unbribed and unpensioned; zealous for the rights of his country; loyal to his King; and a true protestant without bigotry to any sect."
He married, in 1781, Sarah Anne, daughter of Walter Dawson, of Carrickmacross, County Monaghan, and had issue,
Archibald, father of SIR WILLIAM ROWAN-HAMILTON;
GAWN WILLIAM ROWAN;
Sydney;
Frederick;
Dawson;
Jane; Elizabeth; Mildred; Harriet; Francesca.
Mr Rowan-Hamilton's second son,

GAWN WILLIAM ROWAN ROWAN-HAMILTON CB (1783-1834), of Killyleagh Castle, Captain RN, married, in 1817, Catherine, daughter of General Sir George Cockburn, and had issue,
ARCHIBALD ROWAN, his heir;
George Rowan;
Melita Anne.
Captain Rowan-Hamilton was succeeded by his elder son,

ARCHIBALD ROWAN ROWAN-HAMILTON JP, of Killyleagh Castle, who married, in 1842, Catherine Anne, daughter of Rev George Caldwell, and had issue,
GAWN WILLIAM, his heir;
George;
Sidney Augustus Rowan;
Frederick Temple Rowan, father of
GAWN BASIL GUY ROWAN-HAMILTON;
Mary Catherine; Helen Gwendoline; Harriet Georgina.
Mr Rowan-Hamilton died in 1818, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

COLONEL GAWN WILLIAM ROWAN-HAMILTON JP DL (1844-1930), of Killyleagh Castle, and Shanagonagh Castle, County Dublin, who wedded, in 1876, Lina Mary Howley, daughter of Sir George Howland Beaumont Bt, and had issue,
ARCHIBALD JAMES;
Orfla Melita.
Colonel Rowan-Hamilton was succeeded by his son and heir,

ARCHIBALD JAMES ROWAN-HAMILTON (1877-1915), who espoused, in 1908, Norah, daughter of Frederick Abiss Phillips.

He was killed in action, 1915, without issue, and was succeeded by his nephew,

BRIGADIER GAWN BASIL (GUY) ROWAN-HAMILTON DSO MC DL (1884-1947), of Killyleagh Castle, who married, in 1916, Phyllis Frances, daughter of Robert, Lord Blackburn, by his wife Lady Constance Frances Bowes-Lyon, and had issue,
Angus David;
DENYS ARCHIBALD;
Gawn Leslie.
The second son,

LIEUTENANT-COLONEL DENYS ARCHIBALD ROWAN-HAMILTON MVO DL (1921-2018), of Killyleagh Castle, High Sheriff of County Down, 1975, married, in 1961, Wanda Annette, daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel Rupert Warburton, and had issue,
GAWN WILLIAM, of Killyleagh Castleb 1968;
Constance Orfla; Louisa Anne.
Colonel Rowan-Hamilton fought in the 2nd World War; Member, Royal Victorian Order, 1947; Aide-de-Camp, Governor of Southern Rhodesia, 1947; Major, 29th Britiish Infantry Brigade, Korea; Military Secretary to West Africa; 2nd in command of the 1st Black Watch, 1957-59; commander, 45th Black Watch, 1960-63; Defence Attache to the British Embassy, Damascus and Beirut, 1964-67; retired from the Army, 1967.

He was succeeded by his son and heir,

GAWN WILLIAM ROWAN-HAMILTON (1968-), of Killyleagh Castle, who married Polly Ann, daughter of Colonel Rodney J Martin, and has issue,
Archibald James, born in 1997;
Jake Douglas, born in 1999;
Tara Emily, born in 1996;
Willa Melitta Dorothy, born in 2003.

Mr Rowan-Hamilton has been appointed Lord-Lieutenant of County Down from the 25th September, 2021. 

First published in August, 2013.

Woodbourne House

THE CHARLEYS OWNED 348 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY ANTRIM

The family of Charley, or Chorley, passing over from the north of England, settled in Ulster in the 17th century, firstly at Belfast, where they were owners of house property for two hundred years; and afterwards at Finaghy, County Antrim, where 

RALPH CHARLEY (1664-1746), of Finaghy House, had a son, 

JOHN CHARLEY (1712-93), of Finaghy, who left a son and successor, 

JOHN CHARLEY (1744-1812), of Finaghy House, who married, in 1783, Anne Jane, daughter of Richard Wolfenden, of Harmony Hill, County Down, and had issue, 
JOHN, of Finaghy House (1784-1844), died unmarried;
MATTHEW, of Finaghy House;
WILLIAM, of Seymour Hill
The third son,

WILLIAM CHARLEY, of Seymour Hill, Dunmurry, married, in 1817, Isabella, eldest daughter of William Hunter JP, of Dunmurry, and died in 1838, having had issue,
JOHN, of Seymour Hill;
WILLIAM, succeeded his brother;
Edward, of Conway House;
Mary; Anne Jane; Eliza; Isabella; Emily.
The eldest son,

JOHN CHARLEY, of Seymour Hill, died unmarried in 1843, aged 25, and was succeeded by his brother, 

WILLIAM CHARLEY JP DL (1826-1904), of Seymour Hill, who married, in 1856, Ellen Anna Matilda, daughter of Edward Johnson JP, of Ballymacash, near Lisburn, and granddaughter of Rev Philip Johnson JP DL, and had issue,
William, 1857-1904;
EDWARD JOHNSON, of Seymour Hill;
John George Stewart, 1863-86;
Thomas Henry FitzWilliam, 1866-85;
Arthur Frederick, of Mossvale, b 1870;
Harold Richard;
Ellen Frances Isabella; Elizabeth Mary Florence; Emily Constance Jane; Wilhelmina M Isabel.
The second son,

EDWARD JOHNSON CHARLEY (1859-1932), of Seymour Hill, was succeeded by his sixth son,

COLONEL HAROLD RICHARD CHARLEY CBE DL (1875-1956), of Seymour Hill, 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles; fought in the Boer War and First World War, with the 2nd Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, and was wounded and became a PoW.

In 1916 he started workshops for interned British servicemen at Murren. He was Officer-in-Charge for Technical Instruction for servicemen interned in Switzerland in 1917; Commissioner of British Red Cross Society, Switzerland, 1918; commander of the 1st Royal Ulster Rifles, 1919-23.

Appointed CBE, 1920; City Commandant, Ulster Special Constabulary, 1924-52; originator of the British Legion Car Park Attendants scheme (adopted throughout Great Britain); Honorary Colonel, 1938, Antrim Coast Regiment (Territorial Army). 

His eldest son, 

COLONEL WILLIAM ROBERT (Robin) HUNTER CHARLEY OBE (1924-2019), married Catherine Janet, daughter of William Sinclair Kingan, in 1960.


In 1943 he was enlisted in the Royal Ulster Rifles; fought in 2nd World War, and the Korean War; Commanding Officer, OTC Queen's University, Belfast, 1965-68; Officer, Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem.

He retired from the army in 1971; was on Staff in 1972 at Northern Ireland Polytechnic; lived in 1976 at Seymour Lodge, Larch Hill, Craigavad, County Down.

Colonel Charley was appointed OBE (civil) in 1989, for services to The Forces Help Society and Lord Roberts' Workshops.


WOODBOURNE HOUSE, Dunmurry, came into the possession of the Charleys when it was given to Mrs Mary Anne Charley (1797-1866) by her father on her marriage, in 1819, to Matthew Charley.
 

When Matthew and Mary moved to Finaghy House in 1844, Woodbourne was taken over by their son John Stouppe Charley.

In 1851, he married Mary Stewart (1832-1915), a daughter of Francis Foster JP, of Roshin Lodge, County Donegal.

Woodbourne House was said to have been a happy home.

It was named after a wood on one side and a burn, the Lady's River, on the other.

There was also a walled garden; an apple orchard; large yards and stables; byres for cows; barns for grain; a pigeon loft, a greenhouse, a pheasantry and a carpenter's shop.

The house had a large entrance hall with folding doors across it to screen off the stairs and back passages.

The Charley coat-of-arms adorned the folding screen.

Woodbourne House was closely associated with local shoots and it later became a hotel before development swamped the area. 

Having suffered bomb damage in the 1970s, the site became a fortified police station.  

First published in March, 2011.

Thursday, 23 September 2021

1st Baron Magheramorne

THE BARONY OF MAGHERAMORNE WAS CREATED IN 1887 FOR SIR JAMES McGAREL-HOGG, BARONET, KCB

WILLIAM HOGG moved to Ulster from Scotland or northern England during the late 17th century and settled at Lisburn, County Antrim.

He married firstly, in 1677, Mary Podefield; and secondly, in 1686, Elizabeth Wilson, and had issue,
WILLIAM, his heir;
James;
Jacob.
Mr Hogg died in 1716, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

WILLIAM HOGG, who wedded, in 1718, Elizabeth Higginbothom, and had issue,
William;
James;
EDWARD, his successor;
Ruth.
Mr Hogg died in 1726, and was succeeded by his youngest son,

EDWARD HOGG (1722-1809), of Lisburn, who espoused, in 1752, Rose, daughter of the Rev John O'Neill, and had issue,
WILLIAM, his successor;
James;
Abigail; Mary.
Mr Hogg was succeeded by his elder son,

WILLIAM HOGG (1754-1824), of Lisburn, who married, in 1783, Mary, daughter of James Dickey, and had issue,
JAMES WEIR, his successor;
Charles;
Mary; Clara; Rosina; Lily Anne Maria.

Mr Hogg was succeeded by his elder son,

JAMES WEIR HOGG (1790-1876), who wedded, in 1822, Mary Claudine, daughter of Samuel Swinton, and had issue, no less than fourteen children.

Mr Hogg, a distinguished lawyer, MP, and Privy Counsellor, was created a baronet in 1846, designated of Upper Grosvenor Street, London.

Sir James was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR JAMES MacNAGHTEN McGAREL-HOGG, 2nd Baronet, KCB (1823-90), who married, in 1857, Caroline Elizabeth Emma, daughter of Edward, 1st Baron Penrhyn, and had issue,
JAMES DOUGLAS, 2nd Baron;
DUDLEY STUART, 3rd Baron;
RONALD TRACEY, 4th Baron;
Archibald Campbell;
Gerald Francis;
Edith Mary.
Sir James was elevated to the peerage, in 1887, in the dignity of BARON MAGHERAMORNE, of Magheramorne, County Antrim.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES DOUGLAS, 2nd Baron (1861-1903), who wedded, in 1889, the Lady Evelyn Ashley-Cooper, daughter of Anthony, 8th Earl of Shaftesbury, and had issue, a daughter, Norah Evelyn McGarel-Hogg.

His lordship died without male issue, when the titles devolved upon his next brother,

DUDLEY STUART, 3rd Baron (1863-1946), who died a bachelor, when the titles devolved upon his brother,

RONALD TRACY, 4th Baron (1863-1957), who died unmarried.

Thereafter the barony expired, though the baronetcy remains extant.

The merchant and philanthropist Quintin Hogg, seventh son of the 1st Baronet, was the father of Douglas Hogg, 1st Viscount Hailsham, twice Lord Chancellor of the United Kingdom.



MAGHERAMORNE HOUSE, near Larne, County Antrim, was built in 1881 by Sir James McGarel-Hogg Bt, KCB, afterwards 1st Lord Magheramorne.

It replaced an earlier house of 1817 called Ballylig House.

Magheramorne House is listed, as is the lodge (dated 1881) and outbuildings.

There is evidence of planting from both eras but the layout of the grounds is essentially in the style of the late 19th century, though there has been further upgrading in the 1930s.

The house is set on a fine site in a declivity with views to the north-east over Larne Lough.

The ground rises steeply to the west and south and there are two glens immediately behind the house which are planted with trees and have paths and bridges to give ornamental walks up through the glens.

The streams level out to the immediate east of the house and there are woodland walks in this area.


There is a maintained formal terrace garden to the north-east of the house with a stone fountain.

The avenue is of lime and a small area of parkland between this and the road contains mature trees.

The House was formerly a hotel.

The grounds have been adapted to a low maintenance regime whilst retaining the bare bones of a late-Victorian layout. 

Magheramorne House was the country seat of the Hogg family till 1904, when Colonel James McCalmont acquired it. 

Around 1932, the Magheramorne Estate, including the house, was purchased by Major Harold Robinson, who is attributed with transforming the house and grounds by recreating the gardens and walks but also planting many of the 150 difference species of woodland trees.

Many of these are still located within the grounds today. 

Magheramorne House is now a listed building and during the last century was a residential home before becoming a privately-owned hotel in the 1970s.

The hotel closed in the late 1990s, prior to Rex Maughan’s purchase in 2000. 

The estate was purchased in 2020 by the Allen family, and is now run as a venue for weddings and private functions.

First published in August, 2010.

Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Earl & Countess of Wessex in NI

The Earl and Countess of Wessex have arrived in Belfast this evening on the occasion of the final dinner of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) at Hillsborough Castle, County Down.

Their Royal Highnesses were greeted by the Lord-Lieutenant of Belfast, Mrs Fionnuala Jay-O’Boyle CBE.

Mossvale House

THE CHARLEYS OWNED 348 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY ANTRIM


The family of CHARLEY, or CHORLEY, passing over from the north of England, settled in Ulster during the 17th century, at first in Belfast, where they were owners of house property for two hundred years; and afterwards at Finaghy, County Antrim, where

JOHN CHARLEY (c1659-1743), of Belfast, left a son,

RALPH CHARLEY (1674-1756), of Finaghy House, County Antrim, who wedded Elizabeth Hill, and had an only child,

JOHN CHARLEY (1711-93), of Finaghy House, who married Mary, daughter of John Ussher, and had issue,

Matthew, died unmarried;
JOHN, of whom hereafter;
Hill, died unmarried;
Jane, died unmarried.
The eldest surviving son,

JOHN CHARLEY (1744-1812), of Finaghy House, married, in 1783, Anne Jane, daughter of Richard Wolfenden, of Harmony Hill, County Down, and had issue,
John, of Finaghy House (1784-1844), dsp;
Matthew, of Finaghy House and Woodbourne;
WILLIAM, of whom we treat.
The third son,

WILLIAM CHARLEY (1790-1838), of Seymour Hill, Dunmurry, married, in 1817, Isabella, eldest daughter of William Hunter JP, of Dunmurry, and had issue,
JOHN, of Seymour Hill;
WILLIAM, succeeded his brother;
Edward, of Conway House;
Mary; Anne Jane; Eliza; Isabella; Emily.
The eldest son,

JOHN CHARLEY, of Seymour Hill, died unmarried in 1843, aged 25, and was succeeded by his brother, 

WILLIAM CHARLEY JP DL (1826-90), of Seymour Hill, who married, in 1856, Ellen Anna Matilda, daughter of Edward Johnson JP, of Ballymacash, near Lisburn, and granddaughter of Rev Philip Johnson JP DL, and had issue,

William, 1857-1904;
EDWARD JOHNSON, of Seymour Hill;
John George Stewart, 1863-86;
Thomas Henry FitzWilliam, 1866-85;
ARTHUR FREDERICK, of  whom hereafter;
Harold Richard;
Ellen Frances Isabella; Elizabeth Mary Florence;
Emily Constance Jane; Wilhelmina Maud Isabel.
The fifth son,

ARTHUR FREDERICK CHARLEY JP (1870-1944), of Mossvale House, Captain, Royal Irish Rifles, Chairman, J & W Charley and Company, married, in 1917, Clare, daughter of Patrick Burgess Fenn, though the marriage was without issue.


Mossvale House was adjacent to the Lagan Canal and originally belonged to the owners of the local mill.

It was acquired by the Charley family in 1820, when the mill and bleach works were purchased by William Charley (1790-1838) from Robert Johnstone.

Mossvale was encircled by trees and had stabling for ten horses.

Captain Arthur Frederick Charley lived here with his wife for several years after the Great War before moving into The Lodge at Dunmurry.

In 1936, Mossvale was rented out though sadly destroyed by arson.

The land and ruins remained in the family for another fifty years until it was sold in the 1980s.

A new house has been built on the site.

First published in March, 2011.

Florence Court: My Irish Home


My dear mother gave me a wonderful hardback book when we were in County Fermanagh in 1979.

It is entitled Florence Court: My Irish Home, and written lovingly by Nancy, Countess of Enniskillen.

The book was published in 1972 by R & S Printers, The Diamond, Monaghan.

Lady Enniskillen wrote:
On the highest level of The Pleasure Grounds, there used to stand a little "summer house". Here on a warm sunny day ideally without wind and wrinkled only by the wings of birds and insects, on such a day at Florence Court, the Cole family would adjourn to drink their tea and enjoy the tonic view of the valley and the mountain.
On Thursday, the 14th August, 2014, this charming little thatched gazebo was burnt to the ground.


The National Trust has, I'm delighted to say, rebuilt it to the original specifications.

Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Castlecomer House

THE WANDESFORDES WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY KILKENNY, WITH 22,232 ACRES

This family was of great antiquity in Yorkshire.

JOHN DE WANDESFORDE, of Westwick, near Ripon, married, in 1368, Elizabeth, daughter and heir of Sir Henry de Musters, Knight, of Kirklington, Yorkshire, and widow of Alexander Mowbray.

He died in 1396, and was direct ancestor of

THOMAS WANDESFORDE, of Kirklington, in 1503, who wedded Margaret, daughter of Henry Pudsey.

He died in 1518, having had four sons and two daughters,
CHRISTOPHER, his heir;
William;
Michael;
John (Rev);
Ellen; Elizabeth.
The eldest son,

CHRISTOPHER WANDESFORD, of Kirklington, espoused Anne, daughter of John Norton, and died in 1540, having had issue,
FRANCIS, his heir;
Christopher.
The elder son,

FRANCIS WANDESFORD, of Kirklington, married Anne, elder daughter and co-heir of John Fulthorpe, of Hipswell, and had by her (who wedded secondly, Christopher, younger son of Ralph, Earl of Westmorland),
CHRISTOPHER (Sir);
John;
Jane.
Mr Wandesford died in 1559, and was succeeded by his elder son,

SIR CHRISTOPHER WANDESFORD, Knight, of Kirklington, who received the honour of knighthood, 1586, and served as Sheriff of Yorkshire, 1578.

He espoused Elizabeth, daughter of Sir George Bowes, of Streatlam, and dying in 1590, was succeeded by his elder son,

SIR GEORGE WANDESFORD, Knight (1573-1612), of Kirklington, knighted by JAMES I, 1607, who wedded firstly, Catherine, daughter and co-heir of Ralph Hansby, of Beverley, and had issue,
CHRISTOPHER, his successor;
John;
Michael (Very Rev);
Anne.
Sir George espoused secondly, Mary, daughter of Robert Pamplin, and had a daughter, Margaret, and a son, WILLIAM WANDESFORDE, Citizen of London, to whom, and his heirs, his eldest brother, in 1637, gave £20 per annum, issuing out of the manor of Castlecomer, and payable upon Strongbow's tomb in Christ Church, Dublin.

Sir George was succeeded by his eldest son,

THE RT HON CHRISTOPHER WANDESFORD (1592-1640), being upon close habits of intimacy and friendship with Sir Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford, accompanied that eminent and ill-fated nobleman into Ireland when he was constituted Chief Governor of that kingdom, was sworn of the Privy Council, and was appointed Master of the Rolls.

Mr Wandesford was one of the Lords Justices in 1636 and 1639; and was appointed, in 1640, Lord Deputy; but the fate of his friend Lord Strafford had so deep an effect upon him, that he died in that year.

He married, in 1614, Alice, daughter of Sir Hewet Osborne, of Kiveton, Yorkshire, and had issue,
GEORGE, his heir;
CHRISTOPHER, successor to his brother;
John;
Catherine; Alice.
Mr Wandesford was succeeded by his eldest son,

GEORGE WANDESFORD (1623-51), of Kirklington, who dsp and was succeeded by his brother,

SIR CHRISTOPHER WANDESFORD (1628-87), of Kirklington, who was created a baronet in 1662, designated  of Kirklington, Yorkshire.

He married, in 1651, Eleanor, daughter of Sir John Lowther Bt, of Lowther Hall, Westmorland, and had issue,
CHRISTOPHER, his heir;
George;
Charles;
Mary; Eleanor; Catherine; Elizabeth; Alice; Frances; Christiana.
Sir Christopher, MP for Ripon, was succeeded by his eldest son,

THE RT HON SIR CHRISTOPHER WANDESFORD (1656-1707), who was sworn of the Privy Council by WILLIAM III, and again, in 1702, by Queen ANNE, who elevated him to the peerage, in 1706, in the dignities of Baron Wandesforde and VISCOUNT CASTLECOMER.

He wedded, in 1683, Elizabeth, daughter of George Montagu, of Horton, Northamptonshire, and had issue,
CHRISTOPHER, 2nd Viscount;
GEORGE, 4th Viscount;
John;
Richard;
Henrietta.
His lordship died in London, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

CHRISTOPHER, 2nd Viscount (1684-1719), MP for Morpeth, 1710, and for Rippon, 1714.

In the latter year he was sworn of the Privy Council to GEORGE I, and the next year appointed Governor of County Kilkenny.

In 1717, he was constituted Secretary-at-War.

His lordship wedded, in 1715, Frances, daughter of Thomas, 1st Lord Pelham, and sister to Thomas, Duke of Newcastle, and had an only child,

CHRISTOPHER, 3rd Viscount (1717-36), who died in London of the smallpox, unmarried, and was succeeded by his uncle,

GEORGE, 4th Viscount (1687-51),
The 1st EARL OF WANDESFORD died in 1784, and his son having predeceased him, all his honours, including the baronetcy, became extinct, and his estates upon his only daughter,

THE LADY ANNE WANDESFORDE, who espoused, in 1769, John Butler, to whom the EARLDOM OF ORMONDE was restored by the House of Lords, 1791, as 17th Earl of Ormonde and 10th Earl of Ossory.

Her fourth, but second surviving son,

THE HON CHARLES HARWARD BUTLER-CLARKE-SOUTHWELL-WANDESFORDE (1780-1860), of Castlecomer and Kirklington, inherited his mother's estates, and assumed, in 1820, the additional surname of CLARKE after Butler; and, in 1830, the additional surnames of SOUTHWELL-WANDESFORDE after Butler-Clarke.

He espoused, in 1812, the Lady Sarah Butler, daughter of Henry Thomas, 2nd Earl of Carrick, and had issue,
John, dspvp;
HENRY BUTLER-CLARKE-SOUTHWELL-WANDESFORDE, died unmarried;
Walter, father of
CHARLES;
SARAH, of Castlecomer and Kirklington.
The Hon Charles Harward Butler C S Wandesforde was succeeded by his grandson,

CHARLES BUTLER-CLARKE-SOUTHWELL-WANDESFORDE, of Castlecomer and Kirklington, High Sheriff of County Kilkenny, 1879, who died unmarried, 1881, and was succeeded by his aunt,

SARAH PRIOR-WANDESFORDE (1814-92), of Castlecomer, Kirklington, Hipswell, and Hudswell, Yorkshire, who married, in 1836, the Rev John Prior, of Mount Dillon, County Dublin, Rector of Kirklington, Yorkshire, son of the Rev Dr Thomas Prior, Vice-Provost of Trinity College, Dublin, and had issue,
Charles Butler, father of RICHARD HENRY PRIOR-WANDESFORDE;
Henry Wallis;
Sarah Butler; Sophia Elizabeth.
Mrs Prior-Wandesforde succeeded to the Castlecomer and Kirklington estates on the death of her nephew, 1881, and in accordance with the provisions contained in her father's will, assumed, in 1882, for herself and her issue the additional surname and arms of WANDESFORDE.

She was succeeded by her grandson,

RICHARD HENRY PRIOR-WANDESFORDE JP DL (1870-), of Castlecomer and Kirklington Hall, Hipswell, and Hudswell, Yorkshire, High Sheriff of County Kilkenny, 1894, who wedded, in 1896, Florence Jackson von Schwartz, daughter of the Rev Ferdinand Pryor, Rector of Dartmouth, Halifax, Nova Scotia, and had issue,
CHRISTOPHER BUTLER, b 1896;
Ferdinand Charles Richard, b 1897;
Richard Cambridge, b 1902;
Vera; Florence Doreen.
*****

During Lady Ormonde’s time on the estate, the coal mines were mainly run by master miners who leased the land and employed teams of about fifty men to operate them.

Her son, Charles Harward Butler-Clarke-Southwell-Wandesforde, took a great interest in the running of the estate and in the welfare of his tenants and attempted to reduce the role of "middle men" by reducing rents and providing assistance.

He even helped some of his tenants to emigrate.

He was succeeded by his daughter Sarah, who married John Prior.

She outlived all her children and was succeeded by her grandson Richard Henry who inherited the estates and assumed the Wandesforde name in 1892.

When Captain Richard Henry Prior-Wandesforde inherited the estate in the late 19th Century, the family owned thousands of acres of woodland in the area.

In previous years, the mines had been operated by master miners who leased the mines from the Wandesforde family, but ‘the Captain’ took personal control of the mines.

He introduced many improvements in the mine workings including overhead ropeways to transport the coal to the Deerpark railway depot.

He also established the Castlecomer Basket Factory, the Castlecomer Agricultural Bank and the Colliery Co-operative Society and built a number of housing schemes for the mine workers.

Captain Prior-Wandesforde took personal control of the coal mines and invested his own money in upgrading and modernising the mine workings.


CASTLECOMER HOUSE in County Kilkenny, the family seat, was originally built in 1638.

It was burned down during the battle of Castlecomer in 1798.

A larger house was built in its place, in 1802,  during the time of Lady Ormonde.

It was a very large 18th and 19th century mansion consisting of a square, two-storey main block with fronts of five bays; a slightly lower three-storey wing of great length.

There was a battlemented parapet on the main wing and block; rectangular sash windows, mostly astragals; and an enclosed Gothic porch.

Most of the building was demolished in 1975 as it was no longer in use and had fallen into disrepair.

Nothing now remains of the house.


Castlecomer Discovery Park is situated on grounds that once formed part of the Wandesforde family estate.

The Visitor Centre is located in what was originally the farm yard and kitchen gardens of the estate.

The stables and many of the farm buildings have been restored and now house the craft units and the education facilities.

The original walled garden is now home to a small herd of Fallow and Sika Deer and a flock of Jacob Sheep.

First published in December, 2011.