Sunday, 31 October 2021

Derry Palace

THE see of Derry was constituted in 1158.

It originated in a monastery founded by St Columb, about 545, of which some of the abbots at a very early period were styled bishops; but the title of Bishop of Derry was not established until 1158, or even a century later, as the bishops, whose See was at Londonderry, were sometimes called Bishops of Tyrone.

The See first existed at Ardstraw, where St Eugene, the first bishop, died about 618.

It was subsequently transferred to Maghera, whence it was transferred to Derry.

By an inquisition in 1622, the Bishop was found to be entitled to fish for salmon on the Monday after the 4th June, within the great net fishery belonging to the London Society; also to half the tithe of salmon, etc, caught in the River Bann and Lough Foyle.

Bishop Hopkins, who died in 1690, was at great expense in beautifying the cathedral and furnishing it with organs and massive plate; and is said to have spent £1,000 in buildings and other improvements in this diocese and that of Raphoe.

Episcopal Arms of Derry & Raphoe
(Image: Will's Cigarette Card)

Derry continued to be a separate bishopric until the death of Dr Bissett, Lord Bishop of Raphoe, 1836, when that See was annexed to the diocese of Derry, and its temporalities became vested in the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.

Its greatest length is 60 miles, and its greatest breadth 54 miles, extending into four counties.

It comprises parts of counties Londonderry, Tyrone, Donegal, and Antrim.

The Palace: Garden Front (Image: Robert French)

THE PALACE, adjoining the cathedral, was built in 1753 by the Right Rev William Barnard, Lord Bishop of Derry, 1747-68.

It comprises a square Georgian block of three storeys over a high basement.

It is thought that the palace was extended ca 1800 by the Earl-Bishop, the Right Rev Frederick Augustus Hervey.

It was damaged in 1802 while occupied as a barrack and subsequently repaired by the Right Rev and Hon William Knox.

Former Bishop's Palace (Image: Northern Regional College)

The former gardens at the sides and rear of the palace have been replaced by a more prosaic car-park.

The palace was sold by the Church of Ireland in 1945-6 to the Freemasons.

First published in October, 2015.

Saturday, 30 October 2021

Round the Coast of Northern Ireland

The Rev Canon Hugh Forde, sometime Rector of Tamlaghtfinlagan (Ballykelly), and a canon of St Columb's Cathedral, Londonderry, was author of SKETCHES OF OLDEN DAYS IN NORTHERN IRELAND and the book I am going to quote from, Round the Coast of Northern Ireland.

Canon Forde wrote the latter book in 1928, and the foreward was written by the RIGHT HON SIR JOHN ROSS, 1st Baronet, last Lord Chancellor of Ireland.

LORD ROSEBERY, speaking of the Scottish settlers in Ulster, at the Edinburgh Philosophical Institute in 1911, said of them:-
"We know that the term Ulster-Scot is generic, and simply means Scoto-Irish. 
I love the Highlanders and I love the Lowlanders, but when I come to the branch of our race that has been grated on the Ulster stem, I take off my hat with veneration and awe. 
They are, I believe, the toughest, the most dominant, the most irresistible race that exists in the universe at this moment."
The passage is quoted by Sir John Ross in his book Pilgrim Scrip.

"It is true that the people are dominant and irresistible.

On the terrible day of Thiepval, 1st July, 1916, they exhibited a gallantry and sacrifice that have never been surpassed.

In the early part of the 18th century the Anglican bishops most unwisely proceeded to enforce the Act of Uniformity, the result of which was that about 100,000 Ulstermen of the Scottish breed migrated to the country that afterwards became the United States of America.

Here they were planted on the Indian frontier, where massacres of the settlers were matters of frequent occurrence.

In spite of the tomahawk, and the scalping knife, the dour race held its ground till it had driven back the savage foes.

The dour race did not forget  how they had been treated  by England and the English Bishops.

When the War of Independence came on they formed the backbone of Washington's army.

FURTHER, there was a time when peace could easily have been effected between the mother country and the revolting States, but the Ulster men would hear of no compromise and insisted on independence.

"As separation was inevitable some time," Sir John goes on to say, "perhaps their persistence did real service to England itself. They have left their mark upon the United States to this day in the peculiar intonation of their accent and in the Puritanical character of their ideals."

First published in April, 2019.

Friday, 29 October 2021

New Vice DL


Mrs Alison Millar, Lord-Lieutenant of County Londonderry, with the approval of Her Majesty The Queen, has been pleased to appoint:-

Professor Patrick Gerald McKenna DL
County Antrim

Vice Lord-Lieutenant for the said County, his Commission bearing date the 22nd day of October, 2021.

Lord-Lieutenant of the County

Castle Leslie


THE RIGHT REV DR JOHN LESLIE (1571-1671), Lord Bishop of Clogher, founder of the Glaslough branch of the Leslie family in Ireland, was the son of George Leslie, of Crichie, Aberdeenshire, second son of Walter Leslie, of Wardis, Falconer to JAMES VI, King of Scotland.

His lordship was born in northern Scotland, and educated first at Aberdeen and then at Oxford, of which he was Doctor of Divinity.
Of this distinguished divine, there is an interesting account in Sir James Ware's History of Ireland, edited by Harris. He was consecrated, in 1628, Bishop of the Isles in Scotland, whence he was translated to Raphoe in 1633, and thence translated to the see of Clogher, in 1661.

He died at Glaslough in 1671, aged 100 years, all but five weeks, leaving two sons, of whom John the elder, then 26 years of age, succeeded to the estate at his seat at Castle Leslie, otherwise Glaslough, in 1671.
The Bishop's second son and successor, 

THE REV CHARLES LESLIE (1650-1722), of Glaslough, County Monaghan, Chancellor of Connor Cathedral, 1686, married Jane, daughter of the Very Rev Richard Griffith, Dean of Ross, and had an only child,

ROBERT LESLIE, of Glaslough, who wedded, in 1730, Frances, daughter of Stephen Ludlow, and had issue,
Mr Leslie died in 1743, and was succeeded by his son,

CHARLES POWELL LESLIE (1731-1800), of Glaslough, MP for Hillsborough, 1771-6, County Monaghan, 1783-1800, who married firstly, in 1765, Prudence Penelope, daughter of Arthur, 1st Viscount Dungannon, and had issue,
John (Rt Rev), Lord Bishop of Elphin.
Mr Leslie wedded secondly, in 1785, Mary Anne, daughter of the Rev Joshua Tench, and had further issue,
Edward (Rev);
Emily Jane; Harriet; Mary Anne; Isabella Frances.
He was succeeded by his eldest son,

CHARLES POWELL LESLIE JP (1769-1831), Colonel, County Monaghan Militia, High Sheriff of County Monaghan, 1788, MP for County Monaghan, 1801-26, New Ross, 1830-1, who espoused firstly, Anne, daughter of the Rev Dudley Charles Ryder, and had issue, three daughters.

He married secondly, in 1819, Christiana, daughter of George Fosbery, and had further issue,
Charles Powell (1821-71);
JOHN, his heir;
Thomas Slingsby;
Prudentia Penelope; Christiana; Julia; Emily.
Colonel Leslie was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

JOHN LESLIE JP DL (1822-1916), of Glaslough, Captain, the Life Guards, MP for County Monaghan, 1871-80, and a noted painter.

Mr Leslie was created a baronet in 1876, designated of Glaslough, County Monaghan.
The heir is the present holder's nephew, Shaun Rudolf Christopher Leslie (b 1947).
The heir's heir is his brother, (Christopher) Mark Leslie (b 1952).
The 2nd Baronet was the last Lord-Lieutenant of County Monaghan, from 1921 until 1922.

Sir John Leslie, 4th Baronet (Image: Irish Independent Newspaper)

The Leslie Baronets owned a total of 44,481 acres of land, including 28,827 acres in County Donegal, 13,674 in County Monaghan, 1,103 in County Tyrone, and 877 in County Fermanagh.

CASTLE LESLIE, or Glaslough House, is adjacent to Glaslough, County Monaghan.

The mansion is fashioned in the Scottish-Baronial style, and was designed by Lanyon, Lynn and Lanyon in 1870 for Sir John Leslie, 1st Baronet, MP.

It is situated where an earlier castle stood and never had a defensive purpose.

The house presents a rather dour and austere façade and is sited in such a way so as to mask the gardens to an approaching visitor.

To the rear of the house the gardens are relieved by a Renaissance-style cloister which links the main house to a single storey wing containing the library and billiards-room.

In contrast to the exterior designed by W H Lynn, the interior shows the hands of Lanyon and John Leslie himself through its strong Italian Renaissance feel.

The estate has three lakes: the largest, Glaslough, shares its name with the local village; Kilvey Lake is to the north; and, finally, Dream Lake, which features a crannóg.

The 1,000-acre estate comprises park land, meandering streams and several forests.

The house remains the seat of the Leslies and is run by Samantha (Sammy) Leslie.

Other family members still assert their influence on the running of the estate through a family trust.

The estate is open to paying guests, who can stay in the former Hunting Lodge, the main house itself, the recently constructed traditional-style holiday cottages located in the village or the fully restored and refitted "Old Stable Mews".

While restoration of the house and grounds is ongoing, many new features have been added to the estate, including a spa, a bar and restaurant, and a cookery school.

A new pavilion, adjacent to the long gallery of the main house, facilitates conferences, weddings and other large events.

Work on restoring the walled garden is also continuing, though for now they remain overgrown and locked.

2004 saw the return to the estate of the Equestrian Centre and Hunting Lodge which had been sold out of the family twenty years previously.

The estate now features miles of new horse trails and jumps, a state-of-the-art indoor horse arena and new stabling.

Walkers are also catered for with many trails upgraded and clearly signposted, a new estate map being available from the Hunting lodge.

2005 saw five new sub-ground floor bedrooms being added to the castle, the Desmond Leslie room, the Agnes Bernelle Room, the Helen Strong Room, Sir Jack's Room and the only room in the castle not named after a family member, The Calm Room.

Castle Leslie hit the headlines in 2002 when Sir Paul McCartney married Heather Mills in the family church located on the estate.

In 2008, the castle was the venue of the launch of RAPID IRELAND (Rescue and Preparedness in Disasters, Ireland), a sister rescue charity to RAPID UK.

The event was hosted by Sir Jack and the Lord Oranmore and Browne, and attended by a number of ambassadors and dignitaries, including HRH The Duke of Gloucester.

Throughout the years many famous faces have frequented the house, including the poet WB Yeats, Sir Mick Jagger, Sir Patrick Moore and the several members of the Churchill family (to whom the Leslies are related). 

The Leslie Papers are deposited at PRONI.

Former London residence ~ 11 Stratford Place, Oxford Street.

First published in April, 2012.

Thursday, 28 October 2021

Duke's Coronet

The coronet of a duke is a golden circlet with eight gold strawberry leaves around it (pointing upwards).

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

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

There is a gold-threaded tassel on top.

The number of strawberry leaves and absence of pearls is what distinguishes a ducal coronet from those of other degrees of the peerage.

The ducal coronet has undergone several modifications in form since it was first introduced in 1337.

As now worn, it has eight golden leaves of a conventional type - the "strawberry leaves" so called - set erect upon a circlet of gold, and having their stalks so connected as to form a wreath.

Of late years this coronet has enclosed a cap of rich crimson velvet surmounted by a golden tassel and lined and "guarded" with ermine.


A smaller version, above, is worn by duchesses at coronations.

Peeresses' coronets sit on top of the head, rather than around it.

Non-royal dukes represent the highest degree in the hereditary peerage.

First published in April, 2010.

West of White Park


GEORGE WEST, of Blessington, County Wicklow, died in 1716, leaving by his wife Jane, with other issue, a son,

JACOB WEST, of Quinsborough, County Wicklow, and Hutton Read, County Kildare, baptized at Blessington, 1703, who married Mary, daughter of Matthew Pretious, of Quinsborough and Purefoy's Place (Clonbollogue), County Kildare, and had issue,
Pretious, settled in London;
John, of Dublin;
MATTHEW, of whom presently.
The youngest son,

MATTHEW WEST (1747-1806), wedded, in 1770, Mary Ann, daughter of Thomas Roan, of Kildare, and had issue,
Jacob West, of Loughlinstown House, Co Dublin;
MATTHEW, of whom presently;
James Lyster, of Fort William, Co Roscommon;
The second son,

MATTHEW WEST (1777-1820), of Ederney, County Fermanagh, and Harcourt Street, Dublin, Alderman of the City of Dublin, High Sheriff of Dublin City, 1810, espoused, in 1802, Maria Louisa, younger daughter of Jean Jasper Joly, of Charlemont Place, County Dublin, and Carton, County Kildare, and had issue,
Charles Matthew (1803-23);
Henry Jasper (1804-29);
WILLIAM JAMES, of whom presently;
Augustus William (Very Rev), Dean of Ardagh;
George White, of Ardenode;
Maria Louisa; Emily Matilda.
The third son,

THE REV WILLIAM JAMES WEST (1809-59), of Harcourt Street, Dublin, Ederney, County Fermanagh, Balix and Legcloghfin, County Tyrone, Rector of Delgany, County Wicklow, married, in 1838, Elmina, daughter and co-heir of Alexander Erskine, of Balhall, Forfarshire, and Longhaven, Aberdeenshire, and had issue,
William Alexander Erskine WEST-ERSKINE, of Ederney, and Hindmarsh Island, Australia;
AUGUSTUS GEORGE, of whom we treat;
Henry Matthew (Rev);
Alexander, of Balhall;
Frederick John, of Glenelg, S Australia;
Arthur FitzGerald, died in infancy;
Alfred Edward;
Elmina Eliza; Amelia Louisa (Nina).
The second son,

AUGUSTUS GEORGE WEST (1841-1911), of White Park, near Brookeborough, County Fermanagh, and of Balix and Legcloghfin, County Tyrone, Lieutenant, 76th Regiment, wedded, in 1867, Sara (of White Park), fourth daughter of the Rev Canon Richard Booth Eyre, of Eyre Court, County Galway, and had issue,
ERSKINE EYRE, his heir;
Augustus William, of Leixlip House, Co Kildare;
Dudley Alexander, of Salisbury, Rhodesia;
Richard Annesley, VC DSO MC;
Adeline Elizabeth; Sara Elmina Erskine; Georgiana Geraldine de Blaisy.
The eldest son,

ERSKINE EYRE WEST (1868-1950), Barrister, of the King's Inns, Dublin, Captain, Londonderry Royal Garrison Artillery, espoused, in 1899, Annette Eileen Maude, elder daughter of Cuthbert Henry Cooke Huddart, of Shoyswell Manor, Etchingham, East Sussex, and Brynkir, Carnarvonshire, and had issue
AUGUSTUS CUTHBERT ERSKINE (1900-68), married with issue;
Dudley Somerset Erskine, b 1904.

I am seeking images and information abut White Park, near Brookeborough, County Fermanagh.

First published in October, 2019.

Wednesday, 27 October 2021

Stackallan House


This is a branch of the ducal house of ABERCORN; CLAUD HAMILTON, created 1st Lord Paisley, in 1587, being the common ancestor of both.

THE HON SIR FREDERICK HAMILTON (c1590-1647), son of Claud Hamilton, 1st Lord Paisley, by his wife, Margaret, daughter of George, 6th Lord Seton, married firstly, Sidney, daughter of Sir John Vaughan, and had issue,
James, of Manorhamilton;
Frederick, killed in action in Ireland;
GUSTAVUS, of whom we treat;
Christina, m Sir George Munro.
He wedded secondly, Agnes or Alice, daughter of Sir Robert Hepburn, of Alderstown, without further issue.

The youngest son,

GUSTAVUS HAMILTON (1642-1723), having abandoned the fortunes of JAMES II, to whom he was a privy counsellor, and distinguished himself as a military officer in the service of WILLIAM III, particularly at the battle of the Boyne, and the siege of Derry, was sworn of the Privy Council of the latter monarch, appointed Brigadier-General of his armies, and further rewarded with a grant of forfeited lands.

General Hamilton was MP for County Donegal, 1692-1713, and for Strabane, 1713-15.

In the reign of QUEEN ANNE he was advanced to the rank of Lieutenant-General; and by Her Majesty's successor, GEORGE I, elevated to the peerage, 1715, in the dignity of Baron Hamilton of Stackallan, County Meath.

His lordship was advanced to a viscountcy, in 1717, as VISCOUNT BOYNE.

He married Elizabeth, second daughter of SIR HENRY BROOKE, Knight, of Brookeborough, County Fermanagh, and had issue,
FREDERICK (c1663-1715), father of GUSTAVUS, 2nd Viscount;
Gustavus, father of 3rd and 4th Viscounts;
Henry, MP for Donegal, 1725-43;
His lordship was succeeded by his grandson,

2nd Viscount Boyne (Image: Scottish National Gallery)

, 2nd Viscount (1710-46); at whose decease, unmarried, the honours devolved upon his cousin,

FREDERICK, 3rd Viscount (1718-72), who wedded, in 1737, Elizabeth, daughter of Benjamin Hodley; but dying without issue, he was succeeded by his brother,

RICHARD, 4th Viscount (1724-89), who espoused Georgiana, second daughter of William Bury, by whom he had issue, seventeen children, including,
GUSTAVUS, his successor;
Catherine; Mary; Barbara; Sophia; Anne.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

GUSTAVUS, 5th Viscount (1749-1816), who married, in 1773, Martha Matilda, only daughter of Sir Quaile Somerville Bt, of Somerville, County Meath, and had issue,
GUSTAVUS, his successor;
Richard Somerville, Royal Navy;
Sarah; Georgiana.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

GUSTAVUS, 6th Viscount (1777-1855), who wedded, in 1796, Harriet, only daughter of Benjamin Baugh, of Burwarton House, Shropshire, and had issue,
  • Gustavus Frederick Hamilton-Russell, 7th Viscount (1798–1872);
  • Gustavus Russell Hamilton-Russell, 8th Viscount (1830–1907);
  • Gustavus William Hamilton-Russell, 9th Viscount (1864–1942);
  • Gustavus Michael Stucley Hamilton-Russell, 11th Viscount (b 1965).
The heir apparent is the present holder's eldest twin son, the Hon Gustavus Archie Edward Hamilton-Russell (b 1999).

STACKALLAN HOUSE, near Navan, County Meath (originally called Boyne House) was built ca 1716 for Gustavus Hamilton, afterwards 1st Viscount Boyne.

It has been attributed to Colonel Thomas de Burgh, the military engineer, architect and MP.

It comprises three storeys and two adjoining pedimented fronts, one of nine bays and the other, seven bays.

The house has bold quoins and and distinctive window surrounds.

The roof is high-pitched with a modillion cornice.

The staircase is adorned with the Hamilton coat-of-arms surrounded by various military trophies, enclosed in a stucco wreath.

After the 2nd World War Stackallan became the residence of Mrs Anthony Burke, whose late husband was the grandson of Sir Henry Farnham Burke KCVO CB, Garter Principal King of Arms.

It is believed that Stackallan is now the property of Mr Martin Lawrence Naughton KBE.

In 2015 Mr Naughton, CBE, was appointed an Honorary Knight Commander of the British Empire (KBE) for services to the Northern Ireland economy, art and philanthropic causes.

First published in April, 2018.  Boyne arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Moyola Park


LORD ADOLPHUS JOHN SPENCER-CHURCHILL CHICHESTER JP DL (1836-1901), of Moyola Park, Castledawson, County Londonderry, youngest son of Edward, 4th Marquess of Donegall, married, in 1872, Mary, only child and heir of Colonel Robert Peel Dawson, of Moyola Park, and had issue,
Edward Brownlow Dawson;
Augustus John Bruce MacDonald Dawson.
Lord Adolphus, High Sheriff of County Londonderry, 1882, was succeeded by his eldest son,

ROBERT PEEL DAWSON SPENCER CHICHESTER JP DL (1873-1921), of Moyola Park, Lieutenant-Colonel, Royal Irish Rifles, High Sheriff of County Londonderry, 1911, who espoused, in 1901, the Rt Hon Dame Dehra Kerr DBE JP MP, and had issue,
Robert James Spencer (1902-20);
Colonel Chichester was succeeded by his daughter,

MARION CAROLINE DEHRA, MRS BRACKENBURY, of Moyola Park, who wedded firstly, in 1922, Captain James Lenox-Conyngham Chichester-Clark DSO JP DL MP, Royal Navy, of Largantogher, County Londonderry, elder son of Lieutenant-Colonel J J Clark.

Captain Clark assumed the additional surname and arms of CHICHESTER in 1923.

She had issue by her first husband,
JAMES DAWSON, of whom hereafter;
Robin (Sir);
Penelope, MBE.
Mrs Chichester-Clark wedded secondly, in 1938, Charles Edward Brackenbury.

Her elder son,

THE RT HON JAMES DAWSON CHICHESTER-CLARK  DL (1923-2002), of Moyola Park, and Largantogher, Major, the Irish Guards, PRIME MINISTER OF NORTHERN IRELAND, 1969-71, was created a life peer, in 1971, in the dignity of BARON MOYOLA, of Castledawson, County Londonderry.

He wedded, in 1959, Moyra Haughton, widow of Captain Thomas Haughton, of Cullybackey, County Antrim, and had issue,
Fionab 1960; m William Rodney David Fisher, in 1994.
Tara Oliviab 1962; m Edward Thomas Whitley in 1984.
Moyola Park House (Image: William Alfred Green)

MOYOLA PARK, adjacent to the village of Castledawson, County Londonderry, is a handsome two-storey, 18th century house of coursed rubble with ashlar dressings.

It has a five-bay entrance front and a three-bay pedimented breakfront.

There is a three-sided bow in the side elevation; a solid roof parapet; flush quoins.

Moyola Park House (Image: Postcard by Butler of Carndonagh)

In 1870, Moyola Park comprised 2,618 acres.

This is a well designed and attractively situated demesne parkland, through which the Moyola River flows.

There are good stands of mature trees in shelter belts and woodland.

Although extensively remodelled in the mid-19th century, the demesne has early 17th century origins.

The property was acquired by THOMAS DAWSON from Sir Thomas Phillips in 1622, and at some time afterwards a house was built close to the present chapel of Ease.

By 1835, little remained of this building 'but foundations of the walls and terraces'.

A second house, built by Joshua Dawson in 1694 and possibly remodelled in 1713, was located some distance to the north-east.
This had an associated formal landscape, including a straight lime avenue approach (still present) and avenues of Scotch firs; a Pinus Sylvestris Scotia mentioned in Elwes & Henry, Trees of Great Britain and Ireland Vol III (1908), as being 80 feet high and 11feet in girth in 1906 may be part of the early 18th century landscape.
There are four of these original trees remaining.

South-east of the 1694 house there was also 'an ancient avenue three miles in length opening to a magnificence view of Lough Neagh to which it extends'.

The adjacent town seems to have been created in its present form from 1710-14; it was in 1710 that Joshua Dawson built the Mansion House in Dublin's Dawson Street.

The present house at Moyola, known originally as The Lodge, was built in 1768 for Arthur Dawson (1698-1774) on a new site north-west of the 1694 house.

The informal parkland was subsequently created as a setting for this house.
Planting by Arthur Dawson's nephew, Arthur Dawson (1745-1822), is referred to in the Register of Trees in County Londonderry 1768-1911, supplementing the exisiting ancient oak woodlands. Paired yews on the riverside walk may belong to this period.
However, it was Arthur's son, the Rt Hon George Robert Dawson (1790-1856), brother-in-law to Sir Robert Peel, who remodelled both the house and the parkland and renamed it Moyola Park.

This work was largely undertaken during the 1840s and early 1850s.

Most of the parkland planting to the south and south east of the house belongs to this era, as does the suspension bridge and village gate lodge.

Exotic planting from this time includes a cryptomeria known to have been planted in 1851.

Additional gate lodges at the Hillhead entrance and at the Drumlamph entrance were added in the 1870s by Colonel Robert Dawson, from whom the property passed to the Chichester family through marriage.

In the 20th century, woodland areas and a disused quarry were cleared for ornamental gardens created from the 1960s to the north of the house.

These are fully maintained and often open to the public for charity.

A football playing field and an associated building occupies an area west of the lime avenue; while part of the southern portion of the park is now a golf course linked to the Gravend golf course west of the river.

Moyola Park today extends to some 450 acres.

First published in September, 2013.

Tuesday, 26 October 2021

1st Viscount Massereene


SIR WILLIAM SKEFFINGTON (c1465-1535), Knight, who was appointed by HENRY VIII, in 1529, His Majesty's Commissioner to Ireland, arrived there in the August of that year, empowered to restrain the exactions of the soldiers, to call a parliament, and to provide that the possessions of the clergy might be subject to bear their part of the public expense.

Sir William was subsequently a very distinguished politician in Ireland, and died in the government of that kingdom as Lord Deputy, 1535.

His great-grandson,

JOHN SKEFFINGTON (1534-1604), of FISHERWICK PARK, Staffordshire, married Alice, seventh daughter of Sir Thomas Cave, of Stamford, and was father of

SIR WILLIAM SKEFFINGTON, Knight, of Fisherwick, who was created a baronet in 1627, designated of Fisherwick, Staffordshire.

He married Elizabeth, daughter of Richard Dering, and had issue,
JOHN, 2nd Baronet, whose son WILLIAM, 3rd Baronet, dsp;
RICHARD, 4th Baronet;
Elizabeth; Cicely; Mary; Hesther; Lettice; Alice.
The second son,


SIR JOHN SKEFFINGTON, 5th Baronet, who wedded MARY, only daughter and heir of

SIR JOHN CLOTWORTHY, who, in reward for his valuable services in promoting the restoration of CHARLES II, was created, in 1660, Baron Lough Neagh and VISCOUNT MASSEREENE, both in County Antrim; with remainder, on failure of his male issue, to his son-in-law, Sir John Skeffington, husband of his only daughter MARY, and his male issue by the said Mary, and failing such, to the heirs-general of Sir John Clotworthy.

His lordship died in 1665, and the honours devolved, according to the reversionary provision, upon the said

SIR JOHN SKEFFINGTON, 2nd Viscount (c1629-95), who was succeeded by his son,

CLOTWORTHY, 3rd Viscount (1660-1714), who married, in 1684, Rachael, daughter of Sir Edward Hungerford KB, of Farley Castle, Wiltshire, and had issue,
CLOTWORTHY, his successor;
Jane, m Sir Hans Hamilton Bt;
Rachael, m Randal, 4th Earl of Antrim;
Mary, m Rt Rev Edward Smyth, Lord Bishop of Down and Connor.
His lordship was succeeded by his son,

CLOTWORTHY, 4th Viscount, who wedded, in 1713, the Lady Catherine Chichester, eldest daughter of Arthur, 4th Earl of Donegall, and had issue,
CLOTWORTHY, his successor;
Arthur, MP for Co Antrim;
John, in holy orders;
Catharine; Rachael.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

CLOTWORTHY, 5th Viscount (1715-57), who was advanced to an earldom, in 1756, in the dignity of EARL OF MASSEREENE.

He wedded firstly, in 1738, Anne, eldest daughter of the Very Rev Richard Daniel, Dean of Down; and secondly, in 1741, Elizabeth, only daughter and heir of Henry Eyre, of Rowter, Derbyshire, and had issue,
HENRY, 3rd Earl;
William, Constable of Dublin Castle;
Elizabeth, m Robert, 1st Earl of Leitrim;
Catharine, m Francis, 1st Earl of Landaff.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

CLOTWORTHY, 2nd Earl (1743-1805), who married, though having no male issue the family honours devolved upon his brother,

HENRY, 3rd Earl, Governor of the City of Cork, who died unmarried in 1811, and was succeeded by his only surviving brother,

CHICHESTER, 4th Earl, who wedded, in 1780, Harriet, eldest daughter of Robert, 1st Earl of Roden, and had issue,
The 4th Earl died in 1816, when the earldom expired; but the viscountcy of Massereene and barony of Lough Neagh devolved upon his only daughter and sole heiress,

HARRIET, VISCOUNTESS MASSEREENE, who married, in 1810, Thomas Henry, Viscount Ferrard, and had issue,

The heir apparent is the present holder's son the Hon. Charles Clotworthy Whyte-Melville Foster Skeffington (born 1973).
Sir John Clotworthy took his title from the half barony of Massereene in County Antrim, where he established his estates.

In 1668, the Marrereenes owned about 45,000 acres in Ireland; however, by 1701, the land appears to have shrunk to 10,000 acres; and, by 1713, the County Antrim estates comprised 8,178 acres.

Land acquisiton through marriage etc meant that the land-holdings amounted to 11,778 acres in 1887.

In the 1600s the Massereenes possessed the lucrative fishing rights to Lough Neagh by means of a 99-year lease and they were also accorded the honour, Captains of Lough Neagh, for a period.

The Chichesters, Earls of Belfast, were Admirals of Lough Neagh.

Historical records also tell us that Lord Massereene had the right to maintain a “fighting fleet” on the Lough.

The 12th Viscount Massereene and Ferrard DSO, was the last of the Skeffingtons to live at Antrim Castle:
The 12th Viscount was educated at Winchester and Sandhurst; commissioned into the 17th Lancers in 1895; saw action throughout the South African War, 1899-1902; was wounded, mentioned in dispatches and awarded the DSO; and retired as a brevet major in 1907.

Lord Massereene became a TA major in the North Irish Horse later in that year. He later served in the early years of the First World War and is said to have found Lawrence of Arabia 'impossible'. In 1905 he married and succeeded to the title.

He was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant for County Antrim. Although his father-in-law was a Liberal MP and Home Ruler, Lord Massereene was a staunch Conservative and Unionist. Notwithstanding his position as a DL for County Antrim, he is supposed to have sat in his chauffeur-driven car, looking on with approval, as guns were run into Larne Harbour in 1912!

He was HM Lord Lieutenant for County Antrim from 1916-38. From 1921-29 he was Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland and a member of the Northern Ireland Senate.
ANTRIM CASTLE stood at the side of the River Sixmilewater beside the town of Antrim.

It was originally built in 1613 by Sir Hugh Clotworthy and enlarged in 1662 by his son, the 1st Viscount Massereene.


The Castle was rebuilt in 1813 as a three-storey Georgian-Gothic castellated mansion, faced in Roman cement of an agreeable orange colour.
The original doorway, most elaborate and ornate and complete with Ionic pilasters, heraldry and a head of CHARLES I, became a central feature of the new 4-bay entrance front, with a long, adjoining front of 180 feet with 11 bays; mullioned oriels and a tall, octagonal turret were added in 1887 when the Castle was again enlarged.
The demesne boasts a remarkable 17th century formal garden and parterre with a long canal bordered with tall hedges; and another canal at right angles to it making a “T” shape.

There are abundant old trees, masses of yew and walls of rose-coloured brick.

An ancient motte stands beside the ruinous Castle.

The motte was transformed into a magnificent 'viewing mount' in the early 18th century with a corkscrew path lined on the outside with a yew hedge.

Lord and Lady Massereene and their family were hosting a house party in Antrim Castle when it was burnt down by an IRA gang in 1922.

Many items of historical importance were destroyed in the fire; but the presence of mind of Lord Massereene and his staff, and the length of time which it takes for a very large house to be consumed by a fire, saved much that would otherwise have been lost.

The daughter of the then Archbishop of Armagh, Dr D‘Arcy, who was staying at the time, jumped out of a window to save herself.

A 900-piece dinner service of Foster provenance was thrown from the drawing-room windows into the Sixmilewater river; however, very little of it survived intact.

A great deal of furniture, some of it large, was rescued.

More would have been rescued, except that the good townspeople of Antrim, who turned out in large numbers to help, thought that the most important thing to be saved was the billiards-table!

Thirty men managed to get it out of the castle.

Among the major survivals were the family portraits.

A comparison with the portraits itemised by C.H. O'Neill in 1860 and those surviving in family possession today, suggests a rescue operation of astonishing success (though it has to be remembered that many portraits and other important pieces were probably in the London town house in 1922, or with the Dowager Lady Massereene at her house in Hampshire).

The 13th Viscount, a small boy at the time, recalled the blaze vividly.

He remembered being trapped with his mother in a light well from which they narrowly escaped, and being told by her that they were going to die there.

He particularly recalled the hapless nursery cat with its fur alight.

I wonder if it survived?

Following the fire, Lord Massereene went to live in the nearby dower house, Skeffington Lodge (which subsequently became the Deer Park Hotel).

Further losses of family treasures – this time by sale, not by fire – now followed.

The family considered building a two-storey, Neo-Tudor house on the site of Antrim Castle but nothing came of this.

After the 2nd World War, Skeffington Lodge was abandoned.

The Antrim Castle stable block was converted for use as a family residence and was re-named Clotworthy House.

It was let for about ten years following the death of Lord Massereene in 1956.

Clotworthy was then acquired by Antrim Borough Council and was converted for use as an arts centre in 1992.

The present and 14th Viscount formerly lived with his family at Chilham Castle in Kent till it, too, was sold in 1996. 

First published in June, 2009.  Massereene arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Monday, 25 October 2021

Anne's Point Acquisition


PROPERTY: Anne's Point, near Mount Stewart Estate, County Down

DATE: 1988

EXTENT: 14.61 acres

DONOR: S & K Hamilton

First published in January, 2015.

Magheramenagh Castle


This family was originally from Scotland.

WALTER ROE JOHNSTONE, of Mawlick, County Fermanagh, descended from the family of JOHNSTONE, of Caskieben, Aberdeenshire, High Sheriff of County Fermanagh, 1679, attainted in 1689, had five sons,
Francis, of Limerick;
James, of Magheramenagh, dsp 1731;
HUGH, of whom hereafter;
Edward, of Leitrim.
The fourth son,

THE REV HUGH JOHNSTON, of Templecarn, County Fermanagh, made his will in 1691, and left a son,

FRANCIS JOHNSTON, of Magheramenagh, High Sheriff of County Fermanagh, 1731-2, who died in 1737, leaving, by Frances his wife,
JOHN, of whom we treat;
Mary; Grace; Lettice.
The fifth son,

CAPTAIN JOHN JOHNSTON, left by Anne his wife (married in 1756) two sons, of whom

ROBERT JOHNSTON QC, wedded, in 1806, Letitia, daughter of Sir William Richardson Bt, of Castle Hill, County Tyrone; and had issue,
JAMES, his heir;
Anna Maria, m, 1827, G Knox, of Prehen;
Harriette, m H Daniel, of Auburn;
Letitia Mary, m, 1835, J L Macartney.
Mr Johnston died in 1833, and was succeeded by his only son,

JAMES JOHNSTON JP DL (1817-73), of Magheramenagh Castle, County Fermanagh, High Sheriff of County Fermanagh, 1841, who married, in 1838, Cecilia, daughter of Thomas Newcomen Edgeworth, of Kilshrewly, County Longford, and had issue,
Letitia Marian; Rosetta.
Mr Johnston was succeeded by his only son,

ROBERT EDGEWORTH JOHNSTON (1842-), of Glencore House, High Sheriff of County Fermanagh, 1877, who wedded, in 1873, Edythe Grace, daughter of John Reynolds Dickson, of Woodville and Tullaghan House, County Leitrim, and had, with other issue,

JAMES CECIL JOHNSTON (1880-1915), of Magheramenagh Castle and Glencore House, County Fermanagh, High Sheriff of County Fermanagh, 1910, who married, in 1903, Violet Myrtle, daughter of S A Walker Waters, Assistant Inspector-General, Royal Irish Constabulary, and had issue, two daughters,
Marjorie Helen, b 1911.
Captain Johnston was Adjutant, Royal Irish Fusiliers, Deputy Ranger of The Curragh of Kildare, 1910, Master of the Horse to His Excellency the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Lord Aberdeen, 1910.

He was killed in action during the 1st World War.

Captain Johnston's elder daughter,

MYRTLE JOHNSTON (1909-), a novelist, was born at Dublin and educated privately at Magheramena Castle.

The family moved to Bournemouth in 1921.

She published Hanging Johnny (1927), followed by Relentless (1930), The Maiden (1930), and A Robin Redbreast in a Cage (1950), amongst others.

MAGHERAMENAGH CASTLE, near Belleek, County Fermanagh, was a Tudor-Gothic house of ashlar, built between 1835-40.

It comprised two storeys, blind gables, and polygonal turrets with finials; a square battlemented tower at one corner; tall Gothic windows; quatrefoil decoration.

There was a single-storey battlemented wing terminating in a low round turret at the other end of the house.

It faced the River Erne to the south.

The entrance was to the north; and a conservatory to the east.

A small kitchen court faced westwards.

Click to Enlarge

The main façades were quite irregular, with big octagonal turrets and haphazard breaks from room to room.

A corridor running east to west connected the five principal rooms on the south front.

The house was constructed with cut stone.

A covered passage led westwards from the house to the 18th century stable-court and offices.

The Johnstons seem to have abandoned Magheramenagh and Ulster in 1921, following the untimely death of Captain Johnston and the establishment of Northern Ireland.

Thereafter, Magheramenagh Castle became a parochial house.

It was unroofed and partly demolished in the 1950s.

The estate lies between Belleek and Castle Caldwell.

First published in November, 2013.

Sunday, 24 October 2021

The Black Causeway Incident

The Location of the Incident (Image: Timothy Ferres, 1989)

Castle Ward demesne, County Down, was as idyllic in the 1970s as it is today.

A little caravan site had been established at what used to be called The Screen, a heavily wooded part of the estate beside Strangford Bay.

Black Causeway House still stands at the bay, just outside the side entrance to the estate, beside a small bridge.

This house remains part of the estate, and used to be available for rent by National Trust members and staff.

In the 1970s, the Right Hon Walter Topping QC, Recorder of Belfast, and his family took Black Causeway House for a month every summer (I recall his Ford Granada parked outside).

The National Trust's custodian of Castle Ward in the 1970s was Lieutenant-Colonel Terence P Kyd or Kydd (who retired to Black Causeway House; followed by Mrs Kyd; followed by the Macks).

Beside this house there is a side entrance, with gate pillars, to the estate; in fact, according to a Georgian map, there used to be a gate lodge, too.

Click to Enlarge

The drive from this side entrance passes through beautiful shady woodland, skirting the bay, towards the grounds of Castle Ward House.

One day, forty summers ago, my mother and I were walking along this drive, just beyond the entrance gates.

On an elevated position to our left was the caravan site warden's cottage, a modest bungalow which stood some distance from the drive.

Another drive forked upwards towards the cottage.

At that time the warden divided his duties between the caravan park and the grounds on the estate.

Incidentally, the very first warden was Ernest Swail, an old man who told us that he was Lord Bangor's last boatman.

We were strolling along the drive, and as we passed the warden's cottage we heard a loud bang.

It had come from the cottage.

I was nearest to the cottage; my mother was beside me to my right.

I instantaneously heard and felt a whoosh of air on my left cheek.

We must have been quite stunned, because we stopped immediately and looked at each other.

Thereafter I looked up at the warden's cottage on the little hill above us.

The door was closed and there was no sign of anybody.

I am absolutely convinced that the shot came from the porch of the warden's cottage.

I don't remember whether I told mother about it all; however, we simply resumed our walk.

Cloyne Palace

THE bishopric of CLOYNE was established in the 6th century.

It was united to Cork for almost two hundred years.

This diocese lies entirely within County Cork, extending east and west nearly 63 miles in length, by a breadth of 29.

CLOYNE PALACE, County Cork, was built in 1718 for the Right Rev Charles Crow, Lord Bishop of Cloyne, 1702-26.

The last Bishop to reside at the palace was the Right Rev Dr John Mortimer Brinkley, who died in 1835.

The see of Cloyne subsequently became united with that of Cork and Ross.

The former episcopal residence is irregular in plan and elevation, having been altered by several Bishops.

It underwent a number of alterations and additions over several hundred years, giving it today a unique appearance with a multiplicity of roofs.

The remarkable west elevation, used as the front, conceals a notable double-height single-storey space.

It retains many notable early features, including timber sliding sash windows.

There are outbuildings, gates, and a gate lodge, which provide added interest and context.

The palace and demesne were leased by the Church of Ireland, in 1836, to Mr H Allen.

First published in October, 2015.

Saturday, 23 October 2021

Gussie's Predicament


BERTIE: "But what's happened?"

I faltered, if faltered's the word.

JEEVES: "I regret to inform you, sir, that Miss Bassett has insisted on Mr Fink-Nottle [Gussie] adopting a vegetarian diet. His mood is understandably disgruntled and rebellious."

I tottered.

In my darkest hour I had never anticipated anything as bad as this.

You wouldn't think it to look at him, because he's small and shrimplike and never puts on weight, but Gussie loves food.

Watching him tucking into his rations at the Drones [Club], a tapeworm would raise its hat respectfully, knowing that it was in the presence of a master.

Cut him off, therefore, from the roasts and boileds and particularly from cold steak and kidney pie, a dish of which he is inordinately fond, and you turned him into something fit for treasons, strategems and spoils, as the fellow said.

First published in June, 2013.

Sketches of Olden Days

I usually visit Coleraine, County Londonderry, one of my favourite towns, several times a year.

There's a little book-shop tucked up a little street - Society Street - close to the parish church, which sells vintage books among other items.

On one occasion, I think in 2015, I found a small hardback book written in 1927, six years after the formation of Northern Ireland.

Click To Enlarge

It was by the Rev Canon Hugh Forde, with a forward by the Rt Hon Sir James Craig Bt (later 1st Viscount Craigavon), first Prime Minister of Northern Ireland.

Hugh Forde was born in Londonderry in 1847, educated at Dungannon Royal School, County Tyrone, and Trinity College, Dublin, where he achieved a master's degree and a doctorate.

The Roamer column in the Newsletter newspaper remarks that, following curacies in Macosquin and Maghera, Hugh became Rector in Kilcronaghan, Ballynascreen, and Tamlaght Finlagan (Ballykelly) successively before becoming a Canon of St Columb's Cathedral, Londonderry, from 1897 to 1922.

He had five children, including Kathleen, during his first marriage to Mary Ross from Limavady.

After Mary died he married Dorothea Millar from Buncrana, in 1884, and had three more children, one of whom, Lieutenant Kenneth Forde, was killed in action in Flanders on the 24th July, 1915, during the 1st World War.

Canon Forde retired to Portrush, County Antrim, in 1922 where he remained until his death in 1929.

He wrote and published four books: Round the Coast of Northern Ireland; Ulster at Bay; The Giant’s Causeway and Dunluce Castle; and Sketches of Olden Days in Northern Ireland.

I heartily concur with Lord Craigavon when he wrote:
In commending these brilliant sketches to the people of Ulster, and to visitors to our shores, I do so with all the more pleasure, although our native country is teeming with historical interest and is well supplied with ancient monuments, suitable books of reference are comparatively few. 
Canon Forde has done a public service in compiling so accurate a record of Olden Days, and providing an interesting glimpse of the life led by Ulstermen of bygone times.
Seek it out if you can.

First published in July, 2016.

Friday, 22 October 2021

1st Duke of Kingston


Although the family of PIERREPONT did not attain the honours of the peerage until a period of comparatively recent date, yet they were persons of distinction ever since the Conquest.

In which eventful era,

ROBERT DE PIERREPONT was of the retinue of William de Warenne, 1st Earl of Surrey, and at the time of the General Survey, held lands in Suffolk and Sussex, amounting to ten knights' fees, under that nobleman.

The great-grandson of this Robert, another

ROBERT DE PIERREPONT, was a person of such extensive property, that being made prisoner fighting on the side of HENRY III, at the battle of Lewes, he was forced to give security for the payment of the then great sum of seven hundred marks for his ransom.

He was, however, relieved from the obligation by the subsequent victory of the royalists at Evesham, Worcestershire.

He was succeeded by his son,

SIR HENRY DE PIERREPONT, a person of great note at the period in which he lived.

In the eighth year of EDWARD I's reign, Sir Henry having lost his seal, came into the Court of Chancery, then at Lincoln, and declared that if anyone should find it, with its seal, thereafter, that it should not be valid.

He married Annora, daughter of Michael, and sister and heir of Lionel de Manvers, whereby he acquired extensive land in Nottinghamshire, with the Lordship of Holme, now called Holme Pierrepont.

Sir Henry died about the twentieth year of EDWARD I's reign, and was succeeded by his elder son,

SIMON DE PIERREPONT, who was one of those that by special writ had summons amongst the barons of the realm, to repair with all speed to the King, wheresoever he should be in England, to treat of certain weighty affairs relating to his and their honour.

This Simon leaving only a daughter, Sibilla, was succeeded by his brother,

ROBERT DE PIERREPONT, a very eminent person in the reigns of EDWARD I and EDWARD II, and distinguished in the wars of Scotland.

He espoused Sarah, daughter and heir of Sir John Heriez, and was succeeded by his son,

SIR EDMUND DE PIERREPONT, from whom we pass to his lineal descendant,

SIR GEORGE PIERREPONT (1510-64), who, at the dissolution of the monasteries, in the reign of HENRY VIII, purchased large manors in Nottinghamshire, part of the possessions of the Abbot and Convent of Welbeck; and others in Derbyshire, which had belonged to Newstead Abbey.

He died in the sixth year of ELIZABETH I, and was succeeded by his son,

SIR HENRY PIERREPONT (1546-1615), who wedded Frances, elder daughter of Sir William Cavendish, of Chatsworth, and sister of William, Earl of Derbyshire, and had issue,
ROBERT, his heir;
Grace; Elizabeth.
Sir Henry was succeeded by his son,

ROBERT PIERREPONT (1584-1643), who was elevated to the peerage, 1627, in the dignities of Baron Pierrepont and Viscount Newark; and the next year was advanced to an earldom, as EARL OF KINGSTON-UPON-HULL.

His lordship wedded, in 1601, Gertrude, eldest daughter and co-heir of the Hon Henry Talbot, and
had issue,
HENRY, his successor;
He was succeeded by his eldest son,

HENRY, 2nd Earl (1606-80), who married firstly, Cecilia, daughter of Paul, 1st Viscount Bayning, and had issue,
Anne; Grace.
His lordship espoused secondly, Catherine, daughter of James, 7th Earl of Derby, by whom he had no issue.

The 2nd Earl was advanced to the dignity of a marquessate, in 1647, by the title Marquess of Dorchester; though his lordship died without surviving male issue, and the marquessate expired.

The earldom of Kingston-upon-Hull subsequently reverted to Lord Dorchester's great-nephew and heir male,

ROBERT, 3rd Earl (c1660-82), who died unmarried, when the titles passed to his next brother,

WILLIAM, 4th Earl (c1662-90), who died unmarried, and was succeeded by his brother,

EVELYN, 5th Earl, KG (1665-1726), who married firstly, Mary, daughter of William, 3rd Earl of
Denbigh, and had issue,
WILLIAM (1692-1713), father of WILLIAM;
Mary; Frances; Evelyn.
He wedded secondly, in 1714, Isabella, daughter of William, 1st Earl of Portland, and had issue,
Caroline; Anne.
His lordship was advanced to the dignity of a marquessate, in 1706, as Marquess of Dorchester; and further advanced, in 1715, to a dukedom, as DUKE OF KINGSTON-UPON-HULL.

1st Duke of Kingston KG (Image: National Portrait Gallery)

His Grace was succeeded by his grandson,

WILLIAM, 2nd Duke, KG (1711-73), who wedded, in 1769, Elizabeth, Countess of Bristol (former wife of the 3rd Earl of Bristol), by whom he had no issue.

Following the decease of the 2nd and last Duke, the titles expired.

Former seats ~ Thoresby Hall, Nottinghamshire; Holme Pierrepont Hall, Nottinghamshire.

Former London residence ~ Kingston House.

First published in August, 2017.