Monday, 31 January 2022

Darragh Island


Darragh Island, a property of The National Trust, is on the western side of Strangford Lough, not far from Killinchy and Whiterock, County Down.

Darragh comprises about nineteen acres in extent and was donated to the National Trust in 1978 by John Metcalfe.

Eight us of visited the island in October, 2018, less than usual because the little boat can only handle about four or five people.

Our boat left from Whiterock, passing Braddock Island and Conly Island.

It's close to Conly Island.

We were excavating a series of ponds.

Darragh is a great example of how the correct management can produce species-rich grassland with superb displays of wild flowers and insects.

The National Trust uses a purpose-built barge to bring cattle out to this island, whenever possible.

This ensures that the grass is grazed to the optimum height to maximize biodiversity.

In the summer, the island is carpeted in colourful meadows – a rare sight in the countryside these days.


There are the remains of a kelp-house at the southern end (see photograph at top).

This simple stone building was built at the end of the 18th century and similar structures would have been common on many of Strangford Lough's islands.

Back then, many local farmers supplemented their income by harvesting seaweed from the shore and burning it in stone kilns.

The residue that was left after burning (called kelp) was an important source of sodium carbonate, which was used in industrial processes such as the production of glass and soap.

It was also used as a bleaching agent in the linen industry.

The kelp was stored in the kelp-houses until it was sold and transported to the various factories and mills.

The remains of a kelp kiln is found just a short distance from the kelp-house.

There are other kelp kilns on the National Trust islands of Taggart, Chapel and South.

Interestingly, they are all built to slightly different designs.

First published in October, 2018.

Darragh Island Acquisition

SELECTIVE ACQUISITIONS IN NORTHERN IRELAND

PROPERTY: Darragh Island, Strangford Lough, County Down

DATE: 1978

EXTENT: 18.74 acres

DONOR: John Metcalfe

First published in February, 2015.

Savage of Ardkeen

THE very ancient house of SAVAGE was settled in Ulster since the time of the first conquest of Ireland by John de Courcy, Earl of Ulster, in 1117.

Under that famous warrior, the original ancestor established himself in County Down; and by a written document, dated the 1st September, 1205, in the Tower of London, we find "Robin, son of William Savage, named as one of De Courcy's hostages for his appearance before KING JOHN."

The present barony of LECALE was anciently termed the Territory of the Savages, wherein, at Ardglass, they and their dependents erected seven castles, the ruins of which are still extant.

It appears, also, that a stately monastery of Dominicans was founded at Newtownards, in 1244, by the Savages, "gentlemen of English extraction."

From the extreme scarcity of records in Ulster, it is impossible, at this remote period, to determine, without liability to error, which is the senior branch of the family, that of Portaferry or ARDKEEN CASTLE.

In 1400, HENRY IV granted to Robert FitzJordan Savage the office of Sheriff of the Ards; and it appears, by an indenture in the public records, in 1538, made between Leonard Grey, Lord Deputy of Ireland, and Raymond Savage, chieftain of the clan, "that Raymond should have the chieftainship and superiority of his sept in the Territory of the Savages, otherwise called Lecale."

BUT, in 1559, "the Lord Deputy, Sir William Fitzwilliam,  made a division between Roland and Raymond Savage of several towns and territories in the Ards."

The Ardkeen family
"avoucheth their first ancestor to have been seneschal over all Ulster; yet it would seem likely that this family has risen from a second brother of Savage of Portaferry etc, who, before ELIZABETH I's reign, had some territories in the barony of Lecale, and also in County Antrim, that family being always sore enemies to the O'NEILLS; and in old days this house of Ardkeen had, it may be, the appointment of Seneschal, the office being then honourable, though now despised;"

"And they had the lands they now, and which their cadets lately did, possess from the said Lords of the Little Ards, as is supposed, though they now hold only of the Crown."

"Moreover, that which makes the descent of Ardkeen from Portaferry more probable is, that these Savages give the same coat armorial with the said lords, without any distinction that I can perceive by their seals;"

"And although Portaferry hath had the precedency for a long time, yet Ardkeen pays him no chief rent; but as to the right of precedency, or as to the antiquity of these two families, I cannot determine;"

"Neither will I assert anything which may make discord among these good friends, or may savour of partiality in myself."
However, the mutual mention of one another, the exact coincidence of their armorial bearings, and the Christian names of their respective progenitors, may be received as presumptive evidence in favour of a common ancestry, so far back as the 12th century.

WE find, in 1325, EDWARD II granted the office of sheriff during pleasure, amongst others, to Robert Savage of Coleraine:
"Sir Robert Savage, a wealthy knight, who, the rather to preserve his own, began to wall and fortify his manor houses with castles, and plyes against the Irish enemy, exhorting his heir, Sir Henry Savage, to intend that work, so beneficial for himself and his posterity."

"Father, I remember the proverb, 'better a castle of bones than of stones', where strength and courage of valiant men are to help us. Never will I, by the grace of God."
Sir Robert Savage resided at LISSANOURE CASTLE; which castle was founded, tradition states, by Sir Philip Savage, in the reign of KING JOHN.

It was afterwards held by the O'Haras, and by them sold to the MACARTNEYS.

Sir Robert Savage died in 1360, and was interred in the Dominican friary, Coleraine, leaving the reputation of an excellent soldier.

There was also a colony of Savages settled at Carrickfergus, wherein was situated Castle Savage, the foundation of which was visible in levelling the ground in 1838.

*****


SIR WILLIAM LE SAVAGE (c1150-c1220), said to be a scion of the house of SAVAGE OF SCARCLIFFE, STAINESBY, and CLIFTON, thought to be the fourth son of Sir Roger le Savage, of Stainesby.

Sir William, appointed a baron of Ulster, settled himself at the strategic site of ARDKEEN, Ards Peninsula, County Down, and, about 1180, erected a castle at the summit of the hill.

To the south of this castle, a church was built, styled (according to Bishop Reeves, "ECCLESIA SANCTÆ MARIÆ DE ARDKEENE."

Sketch from The Savage Family In Ulster, published in 1906 by George Savage-Armstrong

The surrounding grounds of this church became the burial-place of the Savages of ARDKEEN.

This William, Baron le Savage, had issue, two sons,
ROBERT, his successor;
Thomas.
He was succeeded by his elder son,

SIR ROBERT LE SAVAVE (c1180-c1259), was father of

HENRY LE SAVAGE; during whose lifetime, it is claimed, the Savages erected the Dominican friary in the town of Newtownards, County Down.

Mr le Savage died in 1276 or 1277, and was succeeded by his son and heir,

HENRY LE SAVAGE, a minor, born in 1270, father of

SIR ROBERT SAVAGE, called "the Great," a brave warrior and noble knight, appointed, by EDWARD III, Seneschal of Ulster.

Sir Robert is said to have built LISSANOURE CASTLE in County Antrim.
Tradition, according to George Savage-Armstrong, erroneously ascribes the foundation of Lissanoure Castle to a Sir Philip Savage in the reign of KING JOHN, no person of that name having existed at that period. The name Philip does not appear in the Savage family till several centuries later.
Sir Robert died in 1360, and was succeeded by his son and heir,

SIR HENRY SAVAGE, BARON SAVAGE, Lord of the Ards, summoned to Parliament in 1374 as a baron, by writ-of-summons.

He had issue,
EDMUND, his heir;
Henry.
Sir Henry died about 1382, and was succeeded by his elder son,

EDMUND SAVAGE (c1340-c1393), Seneschal of Ulster, Constable of Carrickfergus Castle, who was succeeded by his son and heir,

EDMUND SAVAGE, the Younger, Seneschal of Ulster, who died before 1422, and was succeeded by his cousin,

SIR ROLAND SAVAGE, Seneschal of Ulster, Lord of Lecale, who had issue,
RAYMOND, his heir;
James;
Patrick;
Robert;
another son and daughter.
He died in 1519, and was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

RAYMOND SAVAGE, of Ardkeen, Lord of Lecale, who died in 1575, and was succeeded by his nephew,

FERDOROUGH SAVAGE, of Ardkeen, who died in 1602, and was succeeded by his nephew,

HENRY SAVAGE (1588-1655), High Sheriff of County Down, 1634, who married firstly, Ellis Ny Neile; and secondly, Elizabeth Nevin, nice to the first Viscountess Montgomery, and had issue,
JOHN;
Hugh;
James;
Richard;
Joan; Elizabeth.
Mr Savage was buried, according to his wishes, at Ardkeen church, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN SAVAGE (c1634-99), of Ardkeen, High Sheriff of County Down, 1663, who married Margaret Clarke, and had issue,
HUGH, his heir;
John;
Philip;
Sarah.
He was succeeded by his eldest son,

HUGH SAVAGE (c1665-1723), of Ardkeen, an officer in WILLIAM III's army, who fought at the battle of the Boyne. 

This Hugh Savage is said to have demolished the ancient castle of Ardkeen, and built a new manor house lower down the slope of the hill; the reason being that the original site was too exposed to the elements.

Captain Savage espoused Lucy, daughter of Thomas Lucas, of CASTLE SHANE, County Monaghan, and had issue,
FRANCIS, his heir;
Philip, of Rock Savage, Ballygalget;
Charles (1702-40), buried at Ardkeen Church;
Lucas;
Lucy; Mary; Anne.
He was succeeded by his eldest son,

FRANCIS SAVAGE (-1770), of Ardkeen, High Sheriff of County Down, 1732, who married, in 1723, his cousin, Mary, daughter of Edward Lucas, of Castle Shane, and had issue,
CHARLES, his heir;
Francis;
Elizabeth; Hester; Mary.
Mr Savage was succeeded by his elder son,

CHARLES SAVAGE (1746-79), of Ardkeen, High Sheriff of County Down, 1770, who wedded firstly in 1769, Anne, daughter of Cromwell Price, of HOLLYMOUNT, County Down, and had issue,
FRANCIS, his heir;
Cromwell, MP, died without issue;
Mary Anne.
He wedded secondly, in 1777, Catherine, daughter of John Leonard, of Brownstown, County Kildare.

Mr Savage was succeeded by his elder son,

FRANCIS SAVAGE MP (1769-1823), of Ardkeen and HOLLYMOUNT, High Sheriff of County Down, 1791 and 1819, who inherited Hollymount from the Price family through his mother.

Mr Savage espoused firstly, Jane, daughter of James Crawford, of CRAWFORDSBURN, County Down, and had issue, an only child,
MARY ANNE.
HE wedded secondly, in 1806, the Lady Harriet Butler, third daughter of Henry Thomas, 2nd Earl of Carrick, by which lady he had no issue.

Mr Francis Savage died in 1823, without surviving issue, and bequeathed his entire estates to his widow, Lady Harriet, for life.

Following Lady Harriet's decease, it was stipulated that the estate was to pass to his nephew, Clayton Bayly, eldest son of his only sister, Mary Anne Bayly (née Savage).

Following Francis Savage's death, the representation of the Ardkeen branch of the family passed to the male heir of Philip Savage, of Rock Savage, Ballygalget (second son of Captain Hugh Savage, of Ardkeen),

MAJOR-GENERAL SIR JOHN BOSCAWEN SAVAGE KCB (1760-1843), of Herefordshire, and Woolwich, who wedded Sophia Cock, and had issue,
HENRY JOHN, his heir;
John Morris.
Sir John was succeeded by his elder son,

LIEUTENANT-GENERAL HENRY JOHN SAVAGE (1792-1866), of Rock Savage, Ballygalget, who espoused firstly, Eliza Dolbet, and had issue,
HENRY JOHN, his heir;
William;
Eliza Sophia; Sophia Caroline; Penrose Anne; Harriet Frances.
General Savage, of St Helier's, Jersey, sold the Ballygalget property, in 1858, to his kinsman, Major Nugent, of Portaferry.

His surviving son,

HENRY JOHN SAVAGE (1816-), married, in 1849, Isabel, only child of Colonel Ward, and had issue,
HENRY CHARLES;
Arthur Raymond Boscawen;
Isabel Harriet; Isabel Ada; Florence.


ARDKEEN IN THE LIFETIME OF FRANCIS SAVAGE

From The Savages of the Ards (George Savage-Armstrong)


THE DWELLING-HOUSE

The new manor house at Ardkeen stood (I'm quoting from George Savage-Armstrong) on the narrow neck of land connecting the hill that slopes to the present Portaferry Road with Castle Hill.

It was a good house, but probably not a very large one, facing southwards.

Its outbuildings were to its right, further up the slope of Castle Hill.

The house used to be surrounded with stately trees, which covered the two hills and Phersons Island.

A fine pleasure-ground, called the Ladies' Grove, stretched towards The Dorn.

There were two entrances, each with a gate lodge, and the drive affording an avenue of trees.

One gate-lodge was near the main entrance to the deer-park, Castle Hill, and graveyard, to the south of the school-house; and one to the north, where the road towards Kircubbin touches the shore.

A better prospect of the manor house was had from the Kircubbin side, rather than the Portaferry side, as it was concealed by trees to the south.

From The Savages of Ulster (George Savage-Armstrong)

Walks wound through the grounds, and one broad walk ran round the entire base of Castle Hill, and was bordered on the sea side by a lovely whitethorn hedge.

An extensive orchard existed over the eastern slope of Castle Hill, towards the graveyard.

In the grounds there was a stone house called The Garden House, the ruins of which stood till about 1900.

There was also a pigeon-house.

In the garden there was a deep well, said to have been approached by thirty steps.

Around the shores of The Dorn and towards Bishop's Mill was the rocky, undulating Deer Park, planted with beautiful thorn-trees, grass, gorse, fern, and heather.

It was surrounded with a high and well-built stone wall running for more than a mile, along the Portaferry Road and the lough-shore.

Within the deer-park there was a yard and offices.

The demesne was renowned for the excellent quality of its deer.

The School-house, later used as a post-office, was close to the Portaferry entrance to the estate, and Lady Harriet Savage surrounded it with trees.

Sunday, 30 January 2022

Ballylin House

THE KINGS WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN THE KING'S COUNTY, WITH 10,242 ACRES

This family, and that of Sir Gilbert King, 1st Baronet, of Charlestown, County Roscommon, is one and the same, descended from

THE RT REV EDWARD KING (1577-1639), born at Stukeley, Huntingdonshire, was elected Fellow of Trinity College Dublin, 1593, two years after its foundation, and consecrated Lord Bishop of Elphin, 1611.

Bishop King was buried at Elphin, where he built a castle and acquired landed property in the neighbourhood.

His lordship married twice, and left sons and daughters, among them JOHN KING, of Boyle, County Roscommon, whose daughter, Anne, wedded Dominick French, of Dungar, or French Park, County Roscommon, and

JAMES KING (1610-87), of Charlestown, County Roscommon, High Sheriff of County Roscommon, 1657, MP for County Roscommon, 1657, who espoused Judith, daughter of Gilbert Rawson, and had issue,
Edward;
GILBERT;
Elizabeth; Martha; Susanna.
Mr King was succeeded by his younger son,

GILBERT KING JP MP (1658-1721), of Charlestown, High Sheriff of County Leitrim, 1717, who married Mary, daughter of Dominick French, of French Park, and granddaughter of John King, of Boyle, and had issue,
JOHN, his heir;
Gilbert;
Oliver (Rev).
Mr King was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN KING, of Charlestown, High Sheriff of County Sligo, 1711, County Leitrim, 1728, MP for Jamestown, 1721, who wedded firstly, in 1706, Elizabeth, daughter of Robert Shaw, of Newford, County Galway, and had issue,
Gilbert;
Judith.
He married secondly, in 1721, Rebecca, daughter of John Digby, and grandson of Essex Digby, Lord Bishop of Dromore, who was son of Sir Robert Digby and Lettice, 1st Baroness Offaly, and had further issue,
JOHN;
Digby;
Jane.
Mr King died ca 1737, and was succeeded by his son,

JOHN KING, of Fermoyle, County Longford, High Sheriff of King's County, 1782, the first of the family to live at Ballylin, who espoused firstly, in 1748, Alice, daughter of Ross Mahon, of Castlegar, County Galway; secondly, Frances Digby, and had issue,
John, of Ballylin, MP for Jamestown, b 1760;
Gilbert, m Elizabeth, daughter of Joseph Henry, of Straffan, County Kildare;
Jane, m Abraham Creighton, 1st Baron Erne;
Rebecca.
Mr King's younger daughter,

REBECCA KING, espoused her cousin, GILBERT KING, Major, 5th Dragoon Guards, son of Gilbert King, by Sarah, daughter of John French, of French Park, County Roscommon, who fought at the Battle of Quebec, 1759, and by him left (with a daughter, Harriet) a son and heir,

THE REV HENRY KING (1799-1857), of Ballylin, Ferbane, King's County, who succeeded to Ballylin at the decease of his maternal uncle; married, in 1821, Harriett, youngest daughter of John Lloyd, of Gloster, King's County, for many years MP for that county, and sister of the Countess of Rosse, and had issue,
JOHN GILBERT, his heir;
Harriett, mother of HENRY LOUIS MAHON;
Jane;
Mary, m 5th Viscount Bangor; accidentally killed.
The Rev Henry King was succeeded by his son,

JOHN GILBERT KING JP DL (1822-1901), of Ballylin, High Sheriff of King's County, 1852, MP for King's County, 1865-8, who died unmarried and was succeeded by his nephew,

HENRY LOUIS MAHON JP DL (1860-1922), of Ballylin, High Sheriff of King's County, 1903, eldest son of Ross Mahon, of Ladywell, by Harriett his wife, daughter of the Rev Henry King, of Ballylin.

He assumed, by royal licence, the name and arms of KING in lieu of his patronymic, MAHON.

Mr King wedded, in 1904, Winifred Harriette, only surviving daughter of William Somerset Ward, of Dublin, and had issue,
GILBERT MAHON, b 1905;
Harriet Mary, b 1906;
Winifred Alice, b 1909.
He was succeeded by his son,

MAJOR GILBERT MAHON KING, born in 1905, whose last known address was at Mullingar, County Westmeath.


BALLYLIN HOUSE, Ferbane, County Offaly, was a two-storey, early 19th century villa designed by Richard Morrison.

It had a three-bay entrance front, with a side elevation with one bay on either side of a central curved bow.


An advertisement in Faulkner's Dublin Journal on April 2nd, 1757, offered part of Ballylin's demesne lands, then in the possession of Lucy Armstrong, and consisting of 160 acres, to be let, along with the dwelling house, stabling for 16 horses, a large orchard and a walled garden.

It was purchased by John King about 1761, and so began a long association with the King family, which lasted until 1936, when the demesne was sold and it became an intensive farming operation.

The house was abandoned "and eventually unroofed to avoid rates".

By 1947, the house was demolished and the stones were "dumped in amongst the foundations of the local power station".


Before this sad end, however, the house had been painted by Mary Ward, the gifted youngest child of the Rev Henry King who had inherited the property in 1821.

His wife was Harriette Lloyd, sister of Alice Lloyd, mother of the astronomer 3rd Earl of Rosse.

Young Mary Ward was also interested in science and "shared the experience of building the Leviathan, the great telescope at Birr, between 1842 and 45".

Mary Ward died abruptly in 1869, when she fell from Lord Rosse's steam engine and was crushed.

First published in July, 2014.

Saturday, 29 January 2022

Brackenber School: 1930-1985

Here is the very last entry on page 34 of The Brackenbrian, Brackenber House School's magazine:-

BRACKENBER MDCCCCXXX - MDCCCCLXXXV
Momentote vos superstites scholae Brackenbris
qui hinc progressi disciplina eius minime
dedecorata famam bonam ac mores ipsis ascivistis.

Be ever mindful, you who have survived,
Of what, from Brackenber, you have derived,
Who forth have gone, its training undisgraced,
And morals and a goodly name embraced
Briefly scanning the school register, a few interesting names of former alumni have emerged:-

L. OPIK 1969 - 1976
He went to RBAI where he had a brilliant academic career. He is now at Bristol University reading Philosophy and President of the Students' Union there. He must have been there during my time; I don't remember him, though. 
H. J. HASTINGS 1971 - 1975.
After a successful career at Harrow he went to Nottingham University where he obtained his law degree. He is now with Peat Marwick, London, studying for an accountancy degree. Howard Hastings and I were pals. I think we began a Corgi Toys club in the library, or something like that with others.
The above entries were written almost 25 years ago.

Brackenber House School

Brackenber House School was located at Cleaver Avenue, off Malone Road, in Belfast.

Paul, now the Lord Bew, is an Old Brackenbrian.

At the BHA Dinner held at the School on Friday, 4th January, 1985, the Toast of the School was proposed by another Old Brackenbrian, the Honourable Mr Justice Hutton, who went on to become the Right Honourable Sir Brian Hutton, Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland; culminating in the House of Lords as the Lord Hutton, a Law Lord.

Lord Hutton attended the annual BHS dinner in 2011.

First published in December, 2011.

Friday, 28 January 2022

Castle Shane

THE LUCASES WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY MONAGHAN, WITH 9,955 ACRES


THOMAS LUCAS, of Saxham, Suffolk, secretary to Jasper Tudor, Duke of Bedford, Solicitor to HENRY VIII, married Elizabeth, daughter of R Kemys, of Raglan, Wales, and had issue,
Jasper, of Saxham;
HENRY, of whom presently;
John;
Lettice; Anne.
The second son,

HENRY LUCAS, wedded firstly, Mary, daughter of Edward Grene, of Bury St Edmunds, and had by her nine sons and two daughters.

He espoused secondly, Alice, daughter of Simon Bradock, of Horam, Suffolk, and had further issue, FRANCIS, Henry, Thomas, and Martha.

FRANCIS LUCAS, of Hollinger, near Bury St Edmunds, married Anne, daughter of _____ Munings, of Monk's Ely, Suffolk, and was father of

FRANCIS LUCAS, of Elmsett and Grunsborrow, Suffolk, who wedded Matilda, daughter of Thomas Munings, of Monk's Ely, and had two sons,
Thomas, of Colchester;
FRANCIS, of whom hereafter.
The younger son,

FRANCIS LUCAS, Cornet in the army, the first of Castle Shane, whose will was proved in 1657, wedded Mary Poyntz, and had issue,
FRANCIS;
William;
Richard;
Charles;
Lucy.
Mr Lucas was succeeded by his eldest son, 

FRANCIS LUCAS (1646-1705), of Castle Shane, High Sheriff of County Monaghan, 1673, who had issue, by Mary his wife, three sons and three daughters, namely,
FRANCIS, his heir;
EDWARD, successor to his brother;
Robert;
Anne; Lucy; Jane.
The eldest son,

FRANCIS LUCAS (1669-1746), of Castle Shane, High Sheriff of County Monaghan, 1703, MP Monaghan Borough, 1713-46, died unmarried, and was succeeded by his brother, 

EDWARD LUCAS, of Castle Shane, High Sheriff of County Monaghan, 1709, who married firstly, in 1696, Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Smyth, of Drumcree, County Westmeath, and had issue,
THOMAS, predeceased his son EDWARD;
Francis;
Mary; Anne; Jane.
He wedded secondly, in 1723, Abigail, widow of the Rev William Brooke, and daughter of Thomas Handcock, of Twyford, County Westmeath.

Mr Lucas died in 1756, and was succeeded by his grandson, 

EDWARD LUCAS (1720-71), of Castle Shane, MP for Monaghan, 1761-75, High Sheriff of County Monaghan, 1752, who wedded Elizabeth, daughter of Francis Savage, of ARDKEEN, and had issue,
Francis, dsp;
Edward;
Thomas;
CHARLES, of whom presently;
William;
Robert, Lt-Col in the army;
Edward (Rev);
Mary; Alice; Abigail; Elizabeth; Hester.
The eldest surviving son,

CHARLES LUCAS (1757-96), of Castle Shane, High Sheriff of County Monaghan, 1795, a barrister, wedded firstly, in 1786, Sarah, daughter of Sir James Hamilton, Knight, of Monaghan; and secondly, Louisa, daughter of Charles Avatt, of Mount Louise.

By the former he left at his decease an only child and successor,

THE RT HON EDWARD LUCAS JP DL (1787-1871), of Castle Shane, High Sheriff of County Monaghan, 1818, MP for County Monaghan, 1834-41, Privy Counsellor, 1845, who espoused, in 1812, Anne, second daughter of William Ruxton, of Ardee House, County Louth, MP for Ardee, and had issue,
Francis, died unmarried 1846;
EDWARD WILLIAM, his heir;
Fitzherbert Dacre, father of EDWARD SCUDAMORE;
Charles Pierrepoint;
Gould Arthur;
Catherine Anne; Anna Isabella; Isabella Florinda.
Mr Lucas was succeeded by his son,

EDWARD WILLIAM LUCAS JP DL (1819-74), of Castle Shane, Lieutenant, 88th Regiment, who was succeeded by his nephew,

EDWARD SCUDAMORE LUCAS-SCUDAMORE JP DL (1853-1917), of Castle Shane, and Kentchurch Court, Hereford, High Sheriff of County Monaghan, 1879, Honorary Colonel, 4th Battalion, the King's Shropshire Light Infantry, who assumed by royal licence, in 1900, the additional surname and arms of SCUDAMORE.

Mr Lucas-Scudamore espoused, in 1900, Sybil Frances, youngest daughter of Colonel George Webber CB, and had issue,
JOHN HARFORD STANHOPE;
Geraldine Clara, b 1903.
The only son and heir,

JOHN HARFORD STANHOPE LUCAS-SCUDAMORE (1902-75), of Kentchurch Court, married, in 1947, the Lady Evelyn Scudamore-Stanhope, daughter of Edward, 12th Earl of Chesterfield, and had issue,

JOHN EDWARD STANHOPE LUCAS-SCUDAMORE, of Kentchurch Court.

The family now lives at Kentchurch Court, Herefordshire.

Rear-Admiral Charles D Lucas VC
(Image: Dictionary of Ulster Biography)


Charles David Lucas VC (1834-1914), whose family once lived at Druminargle House, Scarva, County Armagh, was the most valorous member of the Lucas family.

Druminargle is now a guest-house.

Castle Shane House (Mike Olund - Harry Manley)

CASTLE SHANE HOUSE, near the village of Castleshane, County Monaghan, replaced an earlier dwelling.

The original house on the site was constructed in 1591.

The Elizabethan or Jacobean style house was built in 1836 for the Lucas family.

Castle Shane comprised a four-storey tower with corner bartizans and a main three-storey block.

The house had three centre bays with three-sided bays to each side with mullioned windows, curvilinear gables and tall Tudor chimneys.

Castle Shane House (Buildings of Ireland)

The house was burnt in 1920 and all that remains is part of a three-storey bay window and gable end, the rest having been demolished.

There is also a much extended gate lodge and an unusual bell-cote in the walled garden.

The former demesne is now mostly gone and belongs largely to the Irish forestry commission.

First published in October, 2012.

Lady Mairi's DB4

Charles Villiers tells me about his late grandmother's green Aston Martin DB4, now in Germany.

The DB4 model was produced by Aston Martin between 1958 and 1963.



THE LADY MAIRI BURY, of Mount Stewart, County Down, youngest child of the 7th Marquess and Marchioness of Londonderry, once drove over the Alps in this grand tourer with a cine-camera mounted on the dashboard.

The resultant film was very dramatic, and his grandmother occasionally screened it after dinner at Mount Stewart.

Charles saw it a couple of times.

The Lady Mairi Bury wearing her favourite emerald green evening dress

Lady Mairi took delivery of the Aston Martin in Spring, 1960.

The further history of the car is said to be well documented, and even the original Registration Book exists.


In 2013 the car was bought by a German enthusiast.

It was extensively restored and optimized in the Aston Martin workshop.

The whole work is documented with many invoices.


Lady Mairi had a particular fondness for the colour green, and used to take her grandson, Charles, for DRIVING LESSONS along the Mount Stewart estate roads in her Rover.
First published in January, 2020.

Thursday, 27 January 2022

Dunsany Castle

THE BARONS DUNSANY OWNED 3,988 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY MEATH

The family of PLUNKETT is supposed (claimed the historian Sir Richard Lodge) to be of Danish extraction.

The time of its first settlement in Ireland cannot be decidedly ascertained, but it was certainly as early as the reign of HENRY III.

It has extended into many parts of Ireland (particularly the counties of Meath, Dublin, and Louth), and three distinct peerages have been enjoyed by different branches, viz. the earldom of Fingall, and the baronies of Dunsany and Louth.

JOHN PLUNKETT, the earliest of the name on record, appears to have been seated, towards the latter end of the 11th century, at Bewley, or Beaulieu, County Louth, where he died in 1082.

From him descended another JOHN PLUNKETT, who lived in the reign of HENRY III, and had two sons, John, ancestor of the Barons Louth; and RICHARD, ancestor of the Earls of Fingall; and Baron Dunsany.

SIR CHRISTOPHER PLUNKETT, Knight, grandson of the above-named Richard, was deputy to Sir Thomas Stanley, Lord Deputy of Ireland, in 1432, and subsequently under Richard, Duke of York.

He wedded Joan, daughter and sole heir of Sir Lucas Cusack, knight, Lord of Killeen and Dunsany, by whom he had, with other children, JOHN, ancestor of the Earls of Fingall, who inherited the lordship of Killeen; and

CHRISTOPHER (1410-63), that of Dunsany, of which he was created, in 1439, BARON DUNSANY.

His lordship wedded Anne, daughter and heir of Richard FitzGerald, of Ballysonan, County Kildare, younger son of Maurice, 3rd Earl of Kildare, by whom he had four sons, and was succeeded by the eldest son,

RICHARD, 2nd Baron, who espoused Joan, daughter of Sir Rowland FitzEustace, Lord Treasurer of Ireland in 1471, and Lord High Chancellor in 1474; and was succeeded by his only son,

JOHN, 3rd Baron, KG, who married Catherine, daughter of John Hussey, feudal baron of Galtrim, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

EDWARD, 4th Baron, who was slain by the rebel O'Connor, 1521, and was succeeded by his son (by Amy, daughter and heir of Philip de Bermingham),

ROBERT, 5th Baron; one of the peers of the parliament held at Dublin, 1541, when he was ranked immediately after his kinsman, Lord Killeen.

His lordship wedded firstly, Eleanor, youngest daughter of Sir William Darcy, Knight, of Platten, vice-treasurer of Ireland, bt whom he had four sons and nine daughters.

He married secondly, Genet, daughter of William Sarsfield, alderman of Dublin, and widow of Mr Alderman Shillenford, by whom he had two other sons.

He was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

CHRISTOPHER, 6th Baron, who espoused Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Christopher Barnewall, Knight, of Crickstown, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

PATRICK, 7th Baron, who married Mary, eleventh daughter of Sir Christopher Barnewall, Knight, of Turvey, and was succeeded by his only son,

CHRISTOPHER, 8th Baron, who wedded Maud, daughter of Henry Babington, of Dethick, Derbyshire; and dying in 1603, was succeeded by his only son,

PATRICK, 9th Baron (1595-1668), who received a patent of confirmation, from JAMES I, of the several castles of Dunsany, Corbally, etc.

His lordship was subsequently summoned to parliament in the reign of CHARLES I, and suffered considerably in the cause of that unfortunate prince.
A short time before 1541, the Lords Justices and supplied the lords of The Pale with arms, but suddenly recalled them, which occasioned much discontent among the Catholic peers, who, having assembled, appointed Lord Dunsany to assure the justices of their attachment and loyalty, and of their readiness to co-operate in every measure that could be conducive to the peace of the country. 
The Lords Justices, however, took no further notice of the proffered service than by confining his lordship in Dublin Castle, where he remained for several years; but on the restoration of CHARLES II, he again took his seat in the House of Lords, and continued to sit until 1666.
His lordship espoused Jane, daughter of Sir Thomas Heneage, of Haynton, Lincolnshire, and was succeeded at his decease by his grandson,

CHRISTOPHER, 10th Baron (son of the Hon Christopher Plunket, by Catherine, 4th daughter of Randal, 1st Earl of Antrim); at whose decease, unmarried, the barony devolved upon his brother,

RANDALL, 11th Baron who, adhering to the falling fortunes of his legitimate sovereign, JAMES II, was outlawed in 1691; but being included in the Treaty of Limerick, his estates were restored; neglecting, however, the forms necessary to re-establish himself in the privileges of the peerage, neither his lordship nor his immediate descendants had a seat in the House of Lords.

His lordship married firstly, Anne, widow of Theobald, 1st Earl of Carlingford, and daughter of Sir William Pershall; but by that lady had no issue.

He wedded secondly, in 1711, Bridget, only daughter of Richard Fleming, of Stahalmock, County Meath; and dying in 1735, left an only son,

EDWARD, 12th Baron (1713-81), who conformed to the established church, but took no step to confirm the barony and his right to a seat in the House of Lords.

His lordship espoused Mary, eldest daughter of Francis Allen, of St Wolstan's, County Kildare, MP for that county, and had (with two daughters) an only son,

RANDALL, 13th Baron (1739-1821), who claimed, in 1791, and was allowed his seat in parliament.

His lordship married firstly, Margaret, widow of Edward Mandeville, of Ballydine, County Tipperary, and had issue,
EDWARD WADDING, his successor;
Randall (1780-1834);
Margaret; Anna Maria.
He wedded secondly, in 1800, Emma, sister of Sir Drummond Smith Bt, of Tring Park, Hertfordshire, though had no further issue.

His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

EDWARD WADDING, 14th Baron (1773-1848), of Dunsany Castle, County Meath.
The heir presumptive is the present holder's brother, the Hon Oliver Plunkett (b 1985).


DUNSANY CASTLE, Dunsany, County Meath, is a modernised Norman castle, begun ca 1180-81 by Hugh de Lacy, who also commissioned Killeen Castle, nearby, and the famous Trim Castle.

It is possibly Ireland's oldest home in continuous occupation, having been held by the Cusack family and their descendants by marriage, the Plunketts, to the present day.

The castle is surrounded by its demesne, the inner part of the formerly extensive Dunsany estate.

The demesne holds an historic church (still consecrated), a working walled garden, a walled farm complex, an ice house, various dwellings and other features.

Dunsany Castle (NLI/Robert French)

Dunsany castle was built, probably in succession to basic "motte" fortifications, remnants of which can still be seen to the left and right in front of it, in the period 1180-1200, construction being thought to have begun in 1180-81.

Foundations and the lower parts of the four main towers are thought to be original, and some interior spaces, notably an old kitchen, but much additional work has been carried out, especially in the 18th and 19th centuries, and the current castle is more than three times the size of the original.

The castle, along with Killeen Castle, was held by the Cusacks, initially on behalf of the de Lacys, and passed by marriage in the early 15th century to the Plunketts.
Originally, it and Killeen lay on a single estate but the first generation of Plunketts gave Killeen to the eldest son, and Dunsany to the younger, Christopher, following which the estate was divided, and the Castle descended in the hands of the Barons of Dunsany, who enjoyed almost uninterrupted ownership, aside from issues around Oliver Cromwell's operations in Ireland (the then Lady Dunsany defended the castle against an initial approach but the family were later forced out, some dying on the way to Connaught), and the aftermath of some other troubles between Ireland and England.
They were cousins of St Oliver Plunket.

The Dunsany estate was reduced by the operation of the Irish Land Acts in the late 19th and early 20th century, but the castle is still surrounded by its original demesne, and other estate lands remain around the district, some adjacent to the demesne and some remote.

Much of the work of the writer Lord Dunsany (18th Baron) was done at the Castle, notably in a room in one of the building's towers.

Dunsany Castle is entered through a projecting porch and a lobby with a worked plaster ceiling, which opens into the central hallway, featuring the principal stairway and a vaulted ceiling, and into a secondary hall.

Dunsany Castle (NLI/Robert French)

The ground floor holds the grand dining-room, with portraits of past family members, and a fine arts and crafts billiards-room, as well as kitchen spaces, ancient and modern, and other rooms.

On the first floor are the library, and drawing-room, which has Stapleton plasterwork from 1780.

The library, which may have been worked on by James Shiel, is in the Gothic-Revival style, with a "beehive" ceiling.

Also on this floor is a secondary stairway (where a "priest's hole" for hiding Catholic ministers formerly existed). The third floor holds ornate bedrooms.

The demesne is surrounded by a drystone wall, much of which was built during the Great Famine as a relief work.

There is a full-scale walled garden, over three acres in size, still producing fruit and vegetables for the estate.

A cottage, historically occupied by the head gardener, is built into the walls of the garden.

Nearby are working beehives.

Also within the demesne are stone-built farm and stable yards, an ice-house and wells.

There is a home within the stable yard, and at least one ruined cottage near the walls. 

1st Viscount Valentia

This family derives its surname from the lordship of Annesley, Nottinghamshire, where its patriarch,

RICHARD DE ANNESLEY, was seated at the time of the general survey in 1079.

From this Richard descended

SIR JOHN ANNESLEY, Knight, of Headington, Oxfordshire, MP for Nottinghamshire during the reigns of EDWARD III and RICHARD II.

This gentleman married Isabel, sister and co-heir of Sir John Chandos, one of the Knights of the Garter at the institution of that noble order, Viscount of Saint Sauveur in the Cotentin, Normandy, Seneschal of Poitou, Constable of Aquitaine, etc.

Sir John died in 1410, and was succeeded by his son,

THOMAS ANNESLEY, of Annesley, MP for Nottinghamshire, whose great-grandson,

WILLIAM ANNESLEY, of Rodington, had, with other children,

ROBERT ANNESLEY, of Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire; who died in 1553, and was succeeded by his son,

GEORGE ANNESLEY, of Newport Pagnell, whose eldest son,

ROBERT ANNESLEY, was a naval officer in the reign of ELIZABETH I, and also a captain in Her Majesty's army raised to suppress the Earl of Desmond's rebellion; after which he became an undertaker in the plantation of Munster.

He wedded Beatrice, daughter of John Cornwall, of Moor Park, Herefordshire, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR FRANCIS ANNESLEY (c1585-1660), Knight, who filled for forty years several of the highest situations in Ireland.

In 1612, he was constituted constable of Mountnorris Castle; and in 1614, Sir Francis represented County Armagh in parliament.

This gentleman was a protagonist in the plantation of Ulster.

Upon the institution of the order of Baronets of Ireland, Sir Francis was the second person upon whom that dignity was conferred, in 1620, denominated of Mountnorris, County Armagh.

In 1621, he obtained a reversionary grant of the viscountcy of VALENTIA, at the decease of the then viscount (first creation), Sir Henry Power.

He was put, however, into the more immediate possession of a peerage in the dignity of Baron Mountnorris, of Mountnorris, County Armagh.

His lordship married firstly, Dorothea, daughter of Sir John Philipps Bt, of Picton Castle, Pembrokeshire, by whom he had ARTHUR, his successor, and other children.

He wedded secondly, Jane, daughter of Sir John Stanhope, by whom he had several children, the eldest of whom, FRANCIS, espoused Deborah, daughter of the Most Rev Henry Jones, Lord Bishop of Meath, and was father of FRANCIS, of Thorganby, Yorkshire, who married had issue,
FRANCIS, ancestor of the Annesleys of Bletchingdon;
Martin, in holy orders;
William, ancestor of the EARLS ANNESLEY.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

ARTHUR, 2nd Viscount (1614-86); who was enrolled amongst the peers of England, in 1661, in the dignities of Baron Annesley, of Newport Pagnell, and EARL OF ANGLESEY.

His lordship, Treasurer of the Royal Navy, 1667, Lord Privy Seal, 1673, married Elizabeth, daughter and co-heiress of Sir James Altham, of Oxey, Hertfordshire, one of the Barons of the Exchequer, and had issue,
JAMES;
Altham, cr Baron Altham;
Richard (Very Rev);
Arthur;
Charles;
Dorothy; Elizabeth; Frances; Philippa; Anne.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES, 2nd Earl (c1645-90), who wedded Elizabeth, daughter of John, 8th Earl of Rutland, and had issue,
JAMES, 3rd Earl;
JOHN, 4th Earl;
ARTHUR, 5th Earl;
Elizabeth.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES, 3rd Earl (1670-1702), who espoused the Lady Catherine Darnley, natural daughter of JAMES II by Catherine Sedley, Countess of Dorchester, and left an only daughter and heir,

CATHERINE, married to William Phipps, son of Sir Constantine Phipps, LORD CHANCELLOR OF IRELAND, and had a son, CONSTANTINE PHIPPS, who was created Baron Mulgrave.

His lordship was succeeded by his brother,

JOHN, 4th Earl (1676-1710), who wedded, in 1706, the Lady Henrietta Stanley, eldest daughter and co-heir of William, 9th Earl of Derby, by whom he had no surviving issue.

He was succeeded by his brother,

ARTHUR, 5th Earl, who espoused Mary, daughter of John Thompson, 1st Baron Haversham; but dying issueless, in 1737, the honours devolved upon his kinsman,

RICHARD, 6th Earl (c1693-1761), 5th Baron Altham, as 6th Earl of Anglesey (revert to descendants of Altham, second son of 1st Earl).

His lordship was not left, however, in uninterrupted enjoyment of the honours; for soon after his accession, a claimant arose in the person of Mr James Annesley, who asserted that he was himself the son of Arthur, 4th Lord Altham, and a publication entitled "The Adventures of an Unfortunate Young Nobleman" gave a very interesting and extraordinary narrative of his case.

In that statement it was alleged that Mr Annesley was the true and lawful son and heir of Arthur, Lord Altham, and that he had been kidnapped and transported by his uncle RICHARD, to make room for his own accession to the honours and estates of the family.

Mr Annesley followed up the matter, instituted a suit at law for the recovery of the estates, and after a trial in the Court of Exchequer in Ireland, James Annesley versus Richard, called Earl of Anglesey, begun in 1743, and continued daily, obtained a VERDICT.

It is believed, however, that he did not live long after, as the uncle, notwithstanding this decision, continued to enjoy the honours and fortune.

The conduct of that person throughout the whole course of his iniquitous career, fully sustained the presumption that he had been very capable of committing the foul crime thus laid to his charge.

He is said to have married three wives, two of whom he heartlessly abandoned; and the offspring of the third was unable but partially to establish his legitimacy.

The second lady, Miss Simpson, he wedded when a half-pay officer, without title or fortune, and for some years afterwards was maintained chiefly by her father and friends.

After his accession to the barony of Altham, and subsequently to the earldom of Anglesey, this lady was received at the viceregal court in Dublin as the consort of his lordship, and so introduced by himself.

He cohabited with her for several years, during which time he had three daughters, and these, with their mother, he eventually left to starve.

His third wife was a Miss Donovan, whom he espoused in the lifetime of the second, under the allegation that he had a wife living when he married Miss Simpson, and that his marriage with that unhappy lady was therefore illegal.

To Juliana Donovan he appears to have been married in 1741, immediately after the decease of Ann Prust, the first wife, by his own chaplain, the Rev L Neil, at his seat, Camolin Park, County Wexford.

By her he had an only son and three daughters,
ARTHUR, his successor;
Richarda; Juliana; Catherine.
When the 6th Earl died, the legitimacy of his son was contested by the heir-at-law, John Annesley, of Ballysack, who petitioned the Irish parliament to be admitted to the honours of the family.

The matter excited great public interest, and was pending in the Irish House of Lords for almost four years, when their lordships came to a decision, establishing the marriage with Miss Donovan , and confirming the right of her son,

ARTHUR (1744-1816), as 8th Viscount, to the viscountcy of Valentia and the other Irish honours.

His lordship on coming of age, in 1765, and taking his seat in the Irish House of Lords, applied for as writ as EARL OF ANGLESEY to the English parliament; by there the decision was against him, and the writ was, of course, denied.

He continued, however, to sit as Viscount Valentia (his claim being a second time investigated and confirmed in Ireland), and was created, in 1793, EARL OF MOUNTNORRIS.

His lordship married firstly, in 1767, Lucy, only daughter of George, 1st Baron Lyttelton, by whom he had,
GEORGE, his heir;
Juliana Lucy; Hester Annabella.
He wedded secondly, in 1783, Sarah, third daughter of the Rt Hon Sir Henry Cavendish Bt, and the Baroness Waterpark, by whom he left at his decease,
Henry Arthur;
Catherine; Frances Caroline; Juliana.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

GEORGE, 2nd Earl and 9th Viscount Valentia (1770-1844), who married, in 1790, Anne, daughter of William, 2nd Viscount Courtenay, and had issue,
GEORGE ARTHUR (1793-1841);
William (Rev), 1796-1830.
His lordship died without surviving male issue, when the earldom of MOUNTNORRIS expired.

The viscountcy of VALENTIA and the other Irish titles, however, passed to his lordship's third cousin twice removed,

ARTHUR, 10th Viscount,
  • Caryl Arthur Annesley, 12th Viscount (1883–1949);
  • William Monckton Annesley, 13th Viscount (1875–1951);
  • Francis Dighton Annesley, 14th Viscount (1888–1983);
  • Richard John Dighton Annesley, 15th Viscount (1929–2005);
  • Francis William Dighton Annesley, 16th Viscount (b 1959).
The heir presumptive is the present holder's brother, the Hon Peter John Annesley.
CAMOLIN PARK, County Wexford, was a square house dating from the 18th century, sold by Lord Valentia in 1858.

It stood ruinous for many years until it was demolished completely about 1974.

First published in January, 2016. Valentia arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Wednesday, 26 January 2022

Roe Park

SAMUEL MAXWELL ALEXANDER, OF ROE PARK, OWNED 5,229 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY LONDONDERRY

The elder branch of this family was ennobled, in 1663, by the title of EARL OF STIRLING, in the person of WILLIAM ALEXANDER, of Menstrie, Clackmannanshire. 

The name of ALEXANDER was assumed from the Christian name of its founder, Alexander Macdonald, of Menstrie. 

This branch, on removing into Ulster, adopted into the family shield the Canton charged with the Harp of Ireland, and settled at Limavady, County Londonderry.


JOHN ALEXANDER, of Eridy, County Donegal, 1610, had issue,
ANDREW, his heir;
John;
Archibald;
William;
Robert.
The eldest son,

THE REV DR ANDREW ALEXANDER, of Eridy, a Presbyterian minister, who married Dorothea, daughter of the Rev Dr James Caulfeild, and dying around 1641, left a son,

ANDREW ALEXANDER (1625-), of Ballyclose, Limavady, County Londonderry (attainted by JAMES II, 1689), who wedded firstly, Jessie, daughter of Sir Thomas Phillips, called Governor Phillips, and had a son and heir, JACOB.

He espoused secondly, a daughter of the Laird of Hillhouse, and had a son, JOHN, ancestor of the EARLS OF CALEDON.

The elder son,

JACOB ALEXANDER (1668-1710), of Limavady, married, in 1692, Margaret (or Jane), daughter and heiress of John Oliver, of The Lodge, Limavady, chief magistrate appointed to administer the oath of allegiance on the accession of WILLIAM & MARY, and had issue,

JAMES ALEXANDER (1694-1786), of Limavady, merchant, who wedded Elizabeth Ross, of Limavady, and had issue,

LESLEY ALEXANDER (1725-1820), of Limavady, who espoused Anna Simpson, of Armagh, and had issue,
JOHN, his heir;
James;
Lesley, of Foyle Park;
Alexander;
Thomas;
Louisa; Jane; Elizabeth.
The eldest son,

JOHN ALEXANDER, wedded, Margaret, daughter of Samuel Maxwell, and had issue,
Lesley, died unmarried;
Alexander, died unmarried;
SAMUEL MAXWELL, of whom hereafter;
John, of Limavady;
Anna; Jane.
The third son,

SAMUEL MAXWELL ALEXANDER JP DL (1834-86), of Roe Park, High Sheriff of County Londonderry, 1858, espoused, in 1884, Henrietta Constance, daughter of Sir Frederick William Heygate, 2nd Baronet, though the marriage was without issue.



In 1697, Sir Thomas Phillips' holdings, which included ROE PARK, were sold by his grandson to the RT HON WILLIAM CONOLLY, who came to live in Phillips' new house in Limavady, County Londonderry.

When Speaker Conolly sold his estate to MARCUS McCAUSLAND in 1743, the McCausland family greatly improved the house (and changed the name to Daisy Hill), by creating the five-bay structure which still forms the current frontage.

Roe Park House is a long, irregular, two-storey Georgian house of different periods, of which its nucleus seems to be a five-bay dwelling, built at the beginning of the 18th century by Speaker Conolly

Roe Park's principal features are a three-sided bow with a curved, pedimented and pillared door-case.

The drawing-room and dining-room have fine Victorian plasterwork.

There is a large and imposing pedimented stableyard.

In 1782, Marcus McCausland's son, Dominick, inherited the estate.

He added a fine dining-room and built substantial office buildings, which included a coach-house designed by Richard Castle in 1784.

This building still stands today and houses the Roe Park hotel's restaurant and golf shop.

Roe Park House (Image: UAHS)

Dominick McCausland also extended the estate by purchasing adjoining town lands on both sides of the river.


He proceeded to plant thousands of trees on his estate.

He also built a ten-foot wall to surround part of the estate - parts of which are still visible today - and a foot bridge (known locally as The Spring Bridge) so that he could service the well which supplied fresh water to the house known as Columba's Spring.

During this time, it's likely that the walled garden (now the golf driving-range) and gazebo were built.

This gazebo was slightly bigger than it is today and was the home of the estate's head gardener until the 1950s.

In 1817, Daisy Hill was sold to John Cromie, of Portstewart, who renamed the house Roe Park.

Mr Cromie, in turn, sold the estate to SIR FRANCIS WORKMAN-MACNAGHTEN Bt for £11,500.

Roe Park House (Ebay)

Sir Edmund, the 2nd Baronet, sold the estate in 1847 to Archibald Rennie, of Inverness, for £12,000 (about £1 million in 2019).

Mr Rennie mortgaged the property to Harvey Nicholson, of Londonderry, who came into possession of the estate during 1850.

In 1872, the estate was bought by Samuel Maxwell Alexander for £12,150 (about £1.4 million in 2019).

Mr Alexander, a distant cousin of the Earls of Caledon, married Henrietta Constance Heygate, daughter of SIR FREDERICK WILLIAM HEYGATE Bt, in 1884.

As this gentleman brought extensive lands from his own estate, this extended Roe Park to 5,229 acres.

Mr Alexander died in 1886, but as he had no immediate family, the estate was left to his two nieces.


The part that included Roe Park was bequeathed to Elizabeth Jane Stanton who, in 1887, married John Edward Ritter; thus Roe Park came into ownership of the Ritter family.

Mr Ritter died in 1901 and the estate passed to his widow, who managed it until she died in 1926.

The estate then passed to her son, Major John Alexander Ritter, Royal Artillery.

Major Ritter continued to manage affairs until his death in 1931, followed by his widow, Mrs Ritter, until her death in 1951.

When Mrs Ritter died, the estate was sold again.

Alas, it was at this time that the estate was stripped of many of the fine trees planted by Dominick McCausland in the late 1700s.

Roe Park House was converted into a residential care home, which closed in 1991, when the house and lands were purchased and developed into the current Roe Park Hotel.

First published in January, 2014.