Monday, 28 February 2022

The Cullintraw Acquisition


PROPERTY: Cullintraw, Ballydrain, County Down

DATE: 1994

EXTENT: 13.91 acres

DONOR: Joan Morrow

This site is a field adjacent to the northern shores of Strangford Lough.

(Image: Craig McCoy)

The soil is relatively low in nutrients and there are some interesting damp flushes throughout the field, so there is great potential for increasing its biodiversity value.

The National Trust's goal is to increase the numbers of wild flowers in the grassland and hope that it might attract some breeding waders in the summer.

It is felt, however, that there are too many rushes, and the Trust been trying to reduce the amount of this plant.

Click on image to enlarge

Several years ago the field was grazed with traditional breeds of livestock such as Dexter and Galloway cattle, and Konik ponies.

These tough animals thrive on rough ground like this and their grazing helps to improve the species composition of the grassland.

They nibble at the rushes when they are young and tender, and do a great job at reducing them.

First published in January, 2015.

Stradone House


This family was established in Ireland by ROBERT BOROWES, who settled at Drumlane, County Cavan, on the settlement of Ulster by JAMES I. His eldest son and heir, THOMAS BOROWES, became possessed of Stradone, of which estate he also received a patent of confirmation from CHARLES I, 1638. 

THOMAS BURROWES, of Stradone House, High Sheriff of County Cavan, 1743, married Jane, daughter of Thomas Nesbitt, of Lismore House, County Cavan, and had issue,
ROBERT, his heir;
Thomas, of Dangan Castle;
Arnold (Rev);
Margery; Anne; Martha; Jane.
The eldest son,

ROBERT BURROWES, of Stradone House, High Sheriff of County Cavan, 1773, married Sophia, daughter of the Ven Joseph Story, Archdeacon of Kilmore, and had issue,
THOMAS, his heir;
Jane; Sophia; Anne; Frances.
Mr Burrowes died in 1741, and was succeeded by his son,

MAJOR THOMAS BURROWES (1772-1836), of Stradone House, High Sheriff of County Cavan, 1803, who married, in 1807, Susan, daughter of the Rev Henry Seward, of Badsey, Worcestershire, and had issue,
ROBERT, his heir;
James Edward;
Honora Seward.
Major Borrowes was succeeded by his eldest son,

ROBERT BURROWES JP DL MP (1810-81), of Stradone House, High Sheriff of County Cavan, 1838, MP for Cavan, 1855-57, who wedded, in 1838, Anne Frances, only daughter of John Garden, of Barnane, County Tipperary, and had issue,
Thomas, died in infancy;
ROBERT JAMES, his heir;
Arnold Henry (1846-48);
Frances Susan; Honora; Mary Anne Cecilia.
Mr Borrowes was succeeded by his only surviving son,

ROBERT JAMES BURROWES JP DL (1844-93), of Stradone House, High Sheriff of County Cavan, 1883, Captain, 1st Dragoon Guards, who married, in 1876, Ella (44, Thurloe Square), daughter of Commodore Magruder, US Navy, and niece of Major-General JB Magruder, and had issue,
THOMAS JAMES, his heir;
Robert Philip;
Helena Mary; Kathleen Fanny.
Mr Borrowes was succeeded by his eldest son,

THOMAS JAMES BURROWES JP DL (1880-1935), of Stradone House, High Sheriff of County Cavan, 1902,  who espoused, in 1920, Blanche Wilson, daughter of Joseph Charles Mappin, and had issue,
Robert Philip (1920-91);
James Edward;
Anne Seward Francis; Susan Honora.

STRADONE HOUSE, near Stradone, County Cavan, was a late Georgian mansion by John Keane, with a two-storey front, and a large return with an extra mezzanine storey.

(Image: Darryl Davey)

The entrance front had five bays, the central bay recessed under a massive arch, beneath a pediment.

The ground-floor windows on either side of the entrance were set in shallow arched recesses.

(Image: Darryl Davey)

The house had an eaved roof on a bracket cornice.

Stradone House was burnt by the IRA in 1921 and subsequently demolished. 

Former London residence ~ 22 Lowndes Street.

First published in August, 2012.

Sunday, 27 February 2022

Belfast Steamship Company

Full steam ahead!

I couldn't resist posting the nostalgic advertisement (below) placed the in the 1974 street directory.

We frequently sailed to Liverpool on these ships.

They were very popular in Northern Ireland.

I seem to recall that it took ages for the ferries to negotiate the series of docks at Liverpool!

Do any readers have memories of their voyages in the MV Ulster Prince or MV Ulster Queen?

I believe there was an MV Ulster Monarch, too.

The Belfast Steamship Company was taken over by P&O in 1975.

First published in May, 2010.

Saturday, 26 February 2022

Clandeboye House Guest

Clandeboye House (Image: Katybird)

Celia Lyttelton, in a Daily Telegraph article, spent some time with Lindy, Marchioness of Dufferin and Ava, at her country seat, Clandeboye, County Down.  Lady Dufferin died in 2020. 

CLANDEBOYE, County Down, home to the Marchioness of Dufferin and Ava, is filled with memorabilia collected by the 1st Marquess, a 19th-century diplomat, and provides a dramatic glimpse into his life.

As you pass between the cannons that flank its gates, Clandeboye seems to rise over the mist on the lake like a Chinese watercolour.

This romantic early-Georgian mansion and its 2,000-acre estate in County Down, Northern Ireland, is home to Lindy, the Marchioness of Dufferin and Ava, and is sustained by a series of enterprises.

'We are free of foundations and trusts,’ Lady Dufferin says proudly.

Helping to keep the estate self-sufficient is its golf course, the Ava art gallery, a banqueting hall used for weddings, a classical music festival and Clandeboye’s own brand of yogurt, courtesy of the estate’s award-winning herd of Holstein and Jersey cows.

The settlement dates from the 17th century, but the building we see today was built in the early 1800s by Robert Woodgate (formerly an engineer to Sir John Soane), who was commissioned by the politician Sir James Blackwood, 2nd Baron Dufferin and Clandeboye.

Incorporating elements of an earlier building, Woodgate created two wings at right angles to each other.

About 50 years later, it became home to Frederick Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood, the 5th Baron and 1st Marquess of Dufferin and Ava (Lindy was married to the last Marquess, Sheridan; the title is now extinct).

The great-grandson of the playwright Richard Sheridan, Frederick travelled widely as Governor-General of Canada and then Viceroy of India, and put his own stamp on Clandeboye.

Like many of his generation he was a passionate collector, and the interior at Clandeboye (sometimes known by its original name, Bally­leidy) is a reflection of the countries he served.

The breadth of this passion is evident the moment one enters Clandeboye through its Doric portico.

In the outer hall the walls are decorated with symmetrical displays of weaponry: daggers, pistols and cutlasses presented to the 1st Marquess.

In the pistachio-green Long Gallery there are more surprises.

The grand staircase is flanked by a pair of narwhal tusks and on either side lie two ornate daybeds.

These belonged to King Tibor of Burma.

Frederick bought them when the contents of the palace at Mandalay were auctioned off after he annexed Upper Burma. 

Upstairs the names of the bedrooms recall the many places that he served as a diplomat: France, St Petersburg, Canada, Rome.

France is the most exquisite, decorated in neoclassical gilt motifs copied from a Pompeiian fresco.

The mythological Europa and the bull are pictured on the bed head.

The gilt empire furniture complements the theme.

The house was designed to take maximum advantage of the light: the south-facing corner of the L-shaped layout is made up of 16 bay windows.

Frederick also had a mania for glass roofing and skylights.

The Simla corridor on the upper floor – named after the hill station in India where the British went on holiday – illuminated by oculi, small hemispherical skylights.

'Clandeboye needs constant attention,’ Lady Dufferin, a successful artist who works using her maiden name, Lindy Guinness, says.

On the day I visited, the Rev Ian Paisley was scheduled to come and see a portrait she had painted of him.

'The studio is somewhere I feel safe,’ she says.

Several chiaroscuro black-and-white gouaches in the studio, destined for a show in Paris, are studies of light in the rooms at Clandeboye – a subject she returned to often.

Outside is a walled garden with its thousands of saplings.

It has been planted over the past 25 years by Conservation Volunteers Northern Ireland, which has brought Protestant and Catholic communities together to work in tandem.

Deeper in the woods is Helen’s Tower, a turreted folly with views over the rolling parkland, immortalised in Tennyson’s poem of the same name.

Commissioned by Frederick and completed in 1861, it was designed by the Scottish architect William Burn, its name in honour of Dufferin’s mother.

Lady Dufferin and her husband worked tirelessly to restore Clandeboye to its former glory and have created a lasting memorial to Frederick’s unique vision.

It has been a major project, and the work continues.

'This is a real, living estate with no dead hand of institutional discipline,’ she says. 'I look upon Clandeboye as a gift.’
First published in November, 2011.

Friday, 25 February 2022

The Carlton, Belfast

I have received an old marketing brochure for The Carlton café and restaurant, Belfast.

The Carlton was located at 25 Donegall Place until about 1954.

I'm grateful to David Thompson for this information.

25 Donegall Place is, I believe, the oldest remaining Georgian building on this street.

It was built in 1790-91 by Roger Mulholland as part of a terrace of three houses.

Donegall Place frontage

The premises extended back as far as Fountain Street, where there was once another entrance (the premises today are known as Carlton House).

Throughout the 20th century, 25-27 Donegall Place was used as a café and a retail shop.

The stained-glass canopy, which was added for the Carlton, had been removed by at least the 1950s when Saxone Shoes acquired the site and installed a modern shopfront.

They (subsequently renamed Freeman, Hardy & Willis) continued to operate from the premises until at least 1976.

In 1993 the building had been taken over by Trueform.

The Carlton closed its premises in Donegall Place about 1954 and relocated to 11 Wellington Place.

The directors in 1974 were as follows: Henry Toner; David Andrews; Dawson Moreland; Samuel Meharg; James S Andrews; Thomas Baker.

main restaurant

The main restaurant in Donegall Place boasted alternate panels of mirror plate and rose-coloured silk, surrounded by mauve decorations between substantial pilasters.

At the rear, a large soda fountain was installed which dispensed "iced beverages, ices and iced fruits."

The restaurant was approached through the shop.

The Locksley Hall restaurant was located behind the restaurant.

This room had Romanesque mahogany pilasters with gold-bound panels of Oriental, atmospheric, prismatic colouring, producing a cheerful "Plein Air" feeling.

The ceiling was painted in delicate tints of pale sage green and antique ivory.

It extended to over 2,800 square feet and could be subdivided.

There was an entrance from Fountain Street.

The Oak Room

The Oak Room was described thus:-
a regal apartment of comfort and elegance, panelled in natural oak, elaborately carved with all the correctness of detail and charm of execution of the LOUIS XV period; and relieved by smaller panels of rich tapestry of antique colour and design.
On two sides of the room, large mirrors were inserted in the oak walls.

An Oriental carpet graced the floor.

On the first floor from the shop was The Ladies' Room, "a beautiful apartment overlooking Donegall Place."

It was decorated in subdued tones of blue and gold, and "most exquisitely furnished."

The Smoke Room was on the second floor, "a most comfortable and restful apartment, overlooking Donegall Place."

It was beautified in the Jacobean style and contained "all the comforts of a luxurious divan."

The Balcony

The Balcony was available for dining or afternoon tea.

The Grand Ballroom was beside the Balcony:
Passing the celebrated Herbert Mortimer Orchestra, we mount a few steps and enter the GRAND BALLROOM, a veritable salon, both in purity of style and correctness of detail, reminiscent of that famous period of refinement and elegance - Louis Quinze.
The Grand Ballroom

The colour scheme was ivory white, with delicate shades of shell pink and pastel blue, enhanced by an oak parquetry floor.

This ballroom had a floorspace of 3,200 square feet and seated 300 or up to 400 for dancing.

It had a separate entrance from Fountain Street.

As a matter of interest, the Carlton operated a bakery in Donegall Avenue.

25 Donegall Place is today a branch of Oasis.

First published in February, 2016.

Lisnavagh House


This is a branch of an old Argyllshire family, established in Ulster for over four centuries.

ALEXANDER McCLINTOCK, the first of the family who settled in Ulster, purchased estates in County Donegal, in 1597, which he devised to his only son and heir,

(1622-70), of Trinta, County Donegal, who wedded, in 1648, Agnes Stenson, daughter of Donald Maclean, and had issue,
JOHN, his heir;
WILLIAM, ancestor of McClintock of Dunmore.
The elder son,

JOHN McCLINTOCK (1649-1707), of Trinta, married, in 1687, Janet, fourth daughter of JOHN LOWRY, of Aghenis, County Tyrone (whose nephew, Galbraith Lowry MP, was father of Armar, 1st Earl of Belmore), and had issue,
John, died young;
Alexander, of Drumcar;
JOHN, of whom presently;
The third son,

JOHN McCLINTOCK (1698-1765), married Susannah Maria, second daughter of William Chambers, of Rock Hall, County Donegal, and had issue,
JOHN, succeeded his uncle at Drumcar;
ALEXANDER, of Newtown, Co Louth;
Francelina; Rebecca; Catherine; Anne.
The third son,

JOHN McCLINTOCK (1742-99), of Drumcar, County Louth, MP for Enniskillen, 1783-90, Belturbet, 1790-7, espoused, in 1766, Patience, daughter of William Foster MP, of Rosy Park, and had issue,
JOHN, his heir;
Alexander (Rev);
William Foster;
Mary Anne; Elizabeth; Rebecca; Fanny.
The eldest son,

JOHN McCLINTOCK (1770-1855), of Drumcar, 'Bumper Jack' McClintock, MP, commissioned the building of Drumcar House, near Dunleer, in 1777.

His mother was Patience, daughter of William Foster, MP for County Louth and first cousin to John Foster, 1st Baron Oriel. His paternal grandfather was Alexander McClintock (d 1775).

Mr McClintock married firstly, in 1797, Jane, only daughter of William Bunbury, of Moyle, and had issue,
JOHN, his heir;
William Bunbury, of Lisnavagh, father of 2nd Baron;
Mr John McClintock wedded, secondly in 1805, the Lady Elizabeth Trench, daughter of William, 1st Earl of Clancarty, and had issue,
Frederick William Pitt;
Charles Alexander;
Robert Le Poer (Rev);
Henry Stanley, of Kilwarlin House, Co Down;
George Augustus Jocelyn;
Anne Florence; Harriette Elizabeth; Emily Selina Frances.
Mr John Clintock was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN McCLINTOCK (1798-1879), High Sheriff of County Louth, 1840, MP for County Louth, 1857-59, Lord-Lieutenant of County Louth, 1867-79.

Mr McClintock was elevated to the peerage, in 1868, in the dignity of BARON RATHDONNELL, of Rathdonnell, County Donegal, with remainder to the male issue of his deceased younger brother, Captain William McClintock-Bunbury.

His lordship married Anne, sister of Sir John Henry Lefroy, and they lived between Drumcar, County Louth.

Their London home was at 80 Chester Square.

The marriage was without issue.

He was succeeded in the barony, according to the special remainder, by his nephew,

THOMAS KANE, 2nd Baron (1848-1929), who wedded, in 1874, Katharine Anne, eldest daughter of the Rt Hon Henry Bruen, of Oak Park, County Carlow, by his wife Mary Margaret Conolly, third daughter of Lt-Col Edward Michael Conolly, of Castletown, County Kildare.
Lieutenant, Scots Greys; Captain, Leicestershire Yeomanry; Honorary Colonel, 6th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, 1896-1929; High Sheriff of County Carlow, 1876; Lord-Lieutenant of County Carlow; President, Royal Dublin Society 1918-29.
The 2nd Baron was the last Lord-Lieutenant of County Carlow, from 1890 until 1922.

His lordship was succeeded by his son,

THOMAS LEOPOLD, 3rd Baron (1881-1937), MBE, High Sheriff of County Cavan, 1909, who married, in 1912, Ethel Synge, second daughter of Robert Wilson Jevers CMG, Sheriff of County Carlow, 1909.

His son,

WILLIAM ROBERT, 4th Baron, MC (1914-59), who married and was succeeded by his son,

THOMAS BENJAMIN, 5th and present Baron, born in 1938, married, in 1965, Jessica Harriet, only daughter of George Gilbert Butler, of Scatorish, Bennetsbridge, County Kilkenny.

LISNAVAGH HOUSE, near Rathvilly, County Carlow, is a large, rambling, granite ashlar Tudor-Revival mansion, built in 1847 for William McClintock-Bunbury MP, brother of the 1st Baron Rathdonnell.

It's on an irregular plan with porte-cochere, bay windows and gables; designed by Daniel Robertson; truncated and re-ordered about 1953; Stable building and walled garden to rear.

Lisnavagh House was substantially reduced in size about 1953 by the 4th Baron; that section of which contained the principal rooms being demolished; while the service wing was adapted to provide requisite accommodation.

The estate has been a family home for eleven generations and covers hundreds of acres.

The estate includes Lisnavagh House, several cottages, excellent grazing for cattle & tillage land for maize, barley and wheat.

Over 250 acres of mainly hardwood woodland sees Beech, Oak and Ash and other native woodland species thrive allowing a healthy biodiversity of flora and wildlife to exist in its surrounds.

This woodland is now managed and protected and naturally fallen timbers are recycled into the now highly sought after exclusive wooden Bunbury chopping Boards.

Lisnavagh Estate and House are available for private hire for exclusive weddings, yoga sleep retreats, annual community and social events.

Also available to guests are short term rental of 4 self catering cottages on the grounds.

First published in June, 2013.   Rathdonnell arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Thursday, 24 February 2022

Island Taggart Acquisition


PROPERTY: Island Taggart, Strangford Lough, County Down

DATE: 1984

EXTENT: 85.38 acres

DONOR: Patrick & Kathleen Mackie

First published in October, 2015.

Chapel of the Resurrection

The Chapel, with Belfast Castle in the background (picture post card)

THE CHAPEL OF THE RESURRECTION, 21, Innisfayle Park, Belfast, was constructed between 1865-69 in the Gothic-Revival style as a mortuary chapel for the 3rd Marquess of Donegall, whose seat was Belfast Castle.

This charming little chapel predates Belfast Castle, which was constructed in 1868-70.

The late Sir Charles Brett remarked that the 3rd Marquess found his previous dwelling of Ormeau House an ‘ill-constructed residence’, and Lord Donegall himself wrote that his estate was "under a disadvantage for want of a more suitable family residence.’

Despite being in constant debt, Lord Donegall decided to construct a new mansion house on lands he still owned in the deer park to the north of Belfast.

The Donegall family chapel, designed by Lanyon, Lynn & Lanyon, was built as a mortuary chapel that served as a memorial to the 3rd Marquess's son Frederick Richard, Earl of Belfast, who had died prematurely in 1853.

The chapel was not only a memorial to their son, but was also to be used as a burial place for members of the Chichester family (who had heretofore been interred at Carrickfergus).

The Chapel of the Resurrection was consecrated on the 20th December, 1869, by the Rt Rev Dr Robert Knox, Lord Bishop of Down, Connor and Dromore.

The Natural Stone Database records that the chapel was constructed with locally-quarried Scrabo sandstone, with Portland limestone used as a secondary material.

The interior of the chapel originally possessed a white marble monument to Lord Belfast which depicted him on his deathbed (sculpted by Patrick McDowell).

Following the completion of the site, the remains of Lord Belfast were moved to the Chapel of the Resurrection and interred in its vault.

It is said that the chapel was converted into a private chapel for the use of the owners and occupants of the Castle in 1891.

The conversion of the building included the decoration of the interior and the addition of an altar, reading-desk, organ and stained-glass windows.

The refurbishment of the interior was carried out by Cox & Sons, London, and Buckley's of Youghal, County Cork.

The church organ was built by Wordsworth of Leeds.

Following the death of the 3rd Marquess in 1883, Belfast Castle and its estate passed to his son-in-law, Anthony Ashley-Cooper (styled Lord Ashley), later 8th Earl of Shaftesbury, who had married the Lady Harriet Chichester in 1857.

The Shaftesbury family continued to own Belfast Castle until 1934, when the 9th Earl of Shaftesbury granted the building and the 200 acre estate to Belfast Corporation.

The Shaftesburys are thought to have continued using the chapel for private and semi-private services thereafter, even though they had no need of it, as they could worship in an Oratory located inside the Castle itself; but during the 1st World War services in the chapel were discontinued, except very occasionally.

Having been utilised as a private dwelling for only 65 years, Belfast Castle was granted to Belfast Corporation on 1st February 1935.

Lord Shaftesbury retained the chapel until 1938, when it was transferred to the Church of Ireland.

Brian Barton remarks that the chapel effectively became the responsibility of St Peter’s parish church from that year.

The first public service was held at the Chapel of the Resurrection on the 18th September, 1938.

The building suffered minor damage during the Belfast Blitz, and repairs were subsequently carried out to the damaged roof and windows.

The chapel continued to be used regularly for services between 1938 and the 1960s; due to the decline in church attendance, however, the change in the make-up of the local population and the vandalism of the building (following the development of post-war housing around it in the 1950s and 1960s), regular services were abandoned in 1965.

The last service was held on the 27th august, 1972.

(Timothy Ferres, 2014)

The congregation of St Peter’s endeavoured to maintain the chapel, but by 1974 recurrent acts of vandalism had forced the Select Vestry to remove all furnishings from the building and to sell the organ to a rural church.

By the 1980s the church had fallen into an advanced state of disrepair and was curtailed behind a barbed-wire fence.

In 1982 the vaults beneath the chapel were vandalised and the remaining tombs (the remains of the Chichester family) desecrated by vandals.

Sadly the chapel has continued to lie vacant since the 1970s.

In 2007-08 holding repairs were carried out to the chapel, which included repairs to its roof, the restoration of its roof trusses and the cleaning of its stonework.

The restoration aimed to make the chapel safe and restrict further acts of vandalism; all openings and doors were blocked up.

Some of the original furnishings of the chapel survive at St Peter’s parish church, Antrim Road, Belfast.

In a side chapel of St Peter's (opened in 2000; named the Chapel of the Resurrection) are a number of artefacts from the derelict chapel, including its reredos, the altar, a number of statues, the credence table and the original lectern.

(Timothy Ferres, 2014)

The chapel has a heavily-pitched, natural slate roof, with masonry cross finial to gabled façade and metal cross finial to apse.

Rock-faced masonry walls have cut-stone dressings, including string-courses and stepped buttresses.

Pointed arch window openings to nave have tracery, forming a bipartite arrangement.

There is a rose window at the gabled façade, and trefoil-arch openings to belfry.

(Timothy Ferres, 2014)

A pointed arched door opening is set within a cusped and sprocketed, gabled surround.

The chapel's interior was of great beauty and charm.

Two effigies or statues of Lord Belfast, one of which was a life-size representation in pure white marble of him on his death-bed, his mother holding his right hand; the other, a plaster statue of the young nobleman.

Both are now in Belfast City Hall.

First published in February, 2014.  See the Mausolea & Monuments Trust.

Wednesday, 23 February 2022

Blessington House

Arms of the Viscounts Blessington

BLESSINGTON HOUSE, County Wicklow, was one of the largest late 17th century houses in the Kingdom of Ireland. It was built ca 1673 by the Most Rev and Rt Hon Dr Michael Boyle, Lord Archbishop of Armagh and the last ecclesiastical Lord Chancellor of Ireland. This prelate had been granted the Manor of Blessington in 1669 by CHARLES II, and laid out the town.

(c1609-1702), son of the Most Rev Richard Boyle, Lord Archbishop of Tuam, and grandson of Michael Boyle, who was the youngest brother of RICHARD, the first and great Earl of Cork, died at the advanced age of 93, leaving, with other issue, by his first wife Margaret, daughter of the Rt Rev Dr George Synge, Lord Bishop of Cloyne, an only surviving son,

MURROUGH BOYLE (c1645-1718), who had been elevated to the peerage, in 1673, in the dignities of Baron Boyle and VISCOUNT BLESSINGTON, in the County of Wicklow, with limitation to the heirs male of his father.

He wedded firstly, Mary, daughter of the Most Rev Dr John Parker, Lord Archbishop of Dublin, by whom he had an only child, MARY; and secondly, in 1672, Anne, daughter of Charles Coote, 2nd Earl of Mountrath, by whom he had further issue,
CHARLES, his successor;
Alicia; Anne.
His lordship, who was governor of Limerick and constable of Limerick Castle, a privy counsellor in Ireland, one of the commissioners of the Great Seal in that kingdom in 1693, and Lord justice in 1696, died in 1718, and was succeeded by his son,

CHARLES, 2nd Viscount, who married firstly, Rose, daughter of Colonel Richard Coote; and secondly, Martha, eldest daughter of Samuel Matthews, of Bonnettstown, County Kilkenny, but had no surviving issue.

His lordship died in 1732, when his estates devolved upon his only surviving sister, Anne, Viscountess Mountjoy, but the viscountcy of Blessington expired.
The 1st Viscount's eldest daughter, Mary, espoused, in 1684, Sir John Talbot Dillon Bt, by whom they had issue a daughter, Mary, married in 1708 to Captain Dunbar; who dying without issue, in 1778, left his estate to Lord Hillsborough, Lord de Vesci, and Lord Longford, as descendants of Lord Primate Boyle.

BLESSINGTON HOUSE, Blessington, County Wicklow, comprised two storeys with a dormered attic in its high-pitched roof.

The principal front had a five-bay centre recessed between two, three-bay projecting wings joined by a balustraded colonnade.

The house stood at the end of an avenue in an exquisite demesne with a deer-park.

The Blessington estate passed through marriage to the 1st Marquess of Downshire, whose great-grandmother was a daughter of Archbishop Boyle.

In her article about Blessington and the Downshire connection, Kathy Trant tells us that Wills Hill, 1st Marquess of Downshire, was a great-grandson of Archbishop Boyle's daughter Eleanor, who had married William Hill of Hillsborough.

Thus began the Downshire association with Blessington, which continued until 1908, when the tenants bought out their holdings under the Wyndham Land Act.

The estate stretched from the Kildare boundary to the uplands of the Wicklow mountains comprised 36 townlands, 31 of which were in County Wicklow and five in County Kildare.

The 2nd Marquess also had residences at Hillsborough Castle, County Down, Hanover Square, London, Gloucester Street, Dublin, Hertford Castle, Hertfordshire,

Blessington House was burnt by insurgents in 1798.

The raids on Blessington continued into September but by then many of the tenants had left the estate.

The town was now in ruins and the surrounding countryside devastated.
When life gradually returned to normal, people began assessing the damage to their property and many submissions were made to the commission established by the Government to consider the claims of those who had suffered losses during the rebellion.
Lord Downshire received over £9,000 for the destruction to his property but he never rebuilt the mansion.

On the Downshire estates, the question now was not whether but when the landlord would sell to the tenants.

This happened on the Blessington estate under the 6th Marquess, who had inherited in 1892, and the sale was completed by 1908.

In reality, the connection between the Downshires and Blessington had virtually ceased four decades earlier upon the death of the 4th Marquess.

The once great dynasties of the Boyles and the Hills, which for so long had dominated the lives of the people of Blessington, quietly came to an end.

Today, the principal reminders of their reign in Blessington are St Mary's Church; the agent's house (until recently, the Downshire Hotel); the Market House (now Credit Union House); the Inn (now the Ulster Bank).

The monument in the square commemorates the coming of age in 1865 of Lord Hillsborough, later 5th Marquess of Downshire.

First published in August, 2012.  Blessington arms courtesy of European Heraldry.   Excerpts of The Blessington Estate And The Downshire Connection, by Kathy Trant.

Altinaghree Castle


WILLIAM OBILBY JP (1808-73), of Altinaghree Castle, Donemana, County Tyrone, reputedly a scion of OGILBY OF ARDNARGLE AND PELLIPAR, High Sheriff of County Tyrone, 1873, married, in 1851, Adelaide Charlotte, daughter of the Hon and Rev Charles Douglas (brother of George Sholto, 17th Earl of Morton), by his first wife, the Lady Isabella Gore, daughter of Arthur Saunders, 2nd Earl of Arran, and had issue,
JAMES DOUGLAS, succeeded his brother;
William Charles (1855-6);
Adelaide Charlotte; Isabella Caroline; Beatrice Emma Elizabeth; Louisa; Edith Sophia.
Mr Ogilby was succeeded by his eldest son,

CLAUD WILLIAM LESLIE OGILBY (1851-94), who wedded, in 1875, Bessie Henrietta, daughter of Captain William Grant Douglas, in a childless marriage.

Mr Ogilby was succeeded by his brother,

JAMES DOUGLAS OGILBY (1853-1925), who espoused, in 1884, Mary Jane Jameson (d 1894) at Donagheady parish church, County Tyrone, though the marriage was without issue.

ALTINAGHREE CASTLE, near Donemana, County Tyrone, is a Victorian mansion built by William Ogilby ca 1860, though abandoned about thirty years later.

Despite its short existence, nevertheless, it was associated with two significant figures in natural history, and survives in the folk memory of the locality.

A house first appears on the location about 1853, captioned ‘Liscloon House’.

By the third edition, this has been replaced by a different structure, captioned ‘Altinaghree Castle’, surrounded by a wall.

‘Liscloon Cottages’ and a ‘Lodge’ are also shown nearby.

On the fourth edition the castle is shown in ruins.

Aidan Devlin has produced an interesting video clip of the mansion (above).

Buildings listed include stables, a garden house, stables, granary, cow house, steaming house and piggery.

In 1861, Annual Revisions note, ‘This house is throwing down. Mr Ogilby is building a very fine new house, value when completed’.

William Ogilby married Adelaide Charlotte Douglas, daughter of the Rev Charles Douglas of Earls Gift in 1851.

He died in 1873, not long after completing Altinaghree Castle, when it then passed to his son Claude William Leslie Ogilby who is listed as the occupier in 1876.

Claude also married a Douglas, Bessie Henrietta, daughter of Captain William Grant Douglas, in 1875.

However, from 1888, when the house is listed as ‘vacant’ and leased from the Trustees of Claude W Ogilby, the building deteriorates and decreases in value.

In 1889, when the house is first described as a castle.

In 1892 it was described as ‘dilapidated’ and the value is reduced to £5.

Samuel Eaton becomes the lessor in 1905.

A note of 1909 reads, ‘floors and windows gone, a ruin’; and in 1910 it is deleted from the record altogether, although the gate lodge continues to be occupied.

The Strabane Weekly News of 4th January, 1975, reports on some of the local stories surrounding the castle, which was built entirely of cut stone and surrounded by a wall of the same type.

The stones were brought by horse and cart from Dungiven, County Londonderry.

Stonecutters from the Barons Court Estate were employed at the castle.

Masons were paid one shilling per day, and labourers, 10d.

According to the Natural Stone Database, the stones used are local Dalriadan schist and Barony Glen sandstone.

When finished, its banqueting room was said to be unequalled throughout the county.

Ogilby was known locally simply as a successful farmer and proprietor who entertained on a lavish scale, bringing in cooks from Belfast and Dublin for his banquets, although it is not clear whether it is the older or the younger Ogilby that is remembered in this way.

The Ogilby’s second son, James, is remembered locally as falling in love with a factory girl that he met when returning from a hunt meeting at Donemana.

Folklore has it that, following his family’s opposition to their marriage, James vanished from the area in 1875.

He returned, however, seven years later, in 1882, to marry his sweetheart who had waited for him.

The older son, Claude, died at the early age of 43, but apparently left the house six years before his death.

The fact that his affairs were in the hands of trustees suggests that he was bankrupt.

A contemporary newspaper article implies that the upkeep of a large castle had perhaps proved overwhelming, following Gladstone’s land reforms.

Hugh Dixon writes that the castle
Would have been regarded as wildly unfashionable by many contemporaries. 
It looks more like the sort of castellated factory which Pugin derides than the naturally planned, colourfully designed country houses then in vogue under Ruskin’s influence. 
It is no surprise to me that it had a very short active life – dinner at 3pm was definitely a very late hangover from Georgian times.

Jeremy Williams writes that
The architect responsible is unrecorded, but there are many parallels with the Londonderry Apprentice Boys’ Hall of 1873 by J. G. Ferguson before bomb damage—the same segmental mullioned windows and shallow oriels, Ferguson is more admired today for his industrial architecture, and, despite its appellation, Altnachree is more castellated mill than castle.
The Victorian mansion was referred to as a "castle" for the first time in 1872, a year before Claud William Ogilvy’s inheritance at the age of twenty-three.

Entered through a porte-cochere on the side along the axis of the central corridor, with the three main rooms strung out along the garden front.

Main staircase set into triple-arched composition, but taking up the minimum of space, all like an office block.

Four-storey towers in the centre of each front; three floors elsewhere.

Today only a shell survives in a denuded park.

The mansion was said to be splendidly appointed and had a banqueting room.

It is constructed from cut stone.

Altinaghree was abandoned in 1885, a mere twenty years after its construction.

It cannot be listed because it is roofless.

First published in February, 2014.

Tuesday, 22 February 2022

Colville of Galgorm

PHILIP DE COLVILLE owned Heaton and Oxnam, Roxburghshire, in the 12th century; and his grandson and great-grandson added Kinnaird, Stirlingshire, and Ochiltree, Ayrshire, to the family possessions.

His descendant,

SIR ROBERT COLVILLE, was Master of the household to JAMES IV, King of Scotland, and fell with his royal master at the battle of Flodden in 1513.

The grandson of this Sir Robert,

JAMES COLVILLE, married Janet, daughter of Sir Robert Douglas of Lochleven, and had issue, two sons,
James (1532-c1561), his heir; created Lord Colville of Culross;
The younger son,

ALEXANDER COLVILLE (c1536-97), who had a charter of the whole abbey of Culross in 1567, and was thence styled Commendator of Culross, wedded Nicola, daughter of Alexander Dundas of Fingask, and had issue,
JOHN, his heir;
Margaret; Susanna; Katherine; Grizel; Jean.
The son and heir,

JOHN COLVILLE (1573-c1647), Commendator of Culross, espoused Elizabeth, daughter of Sir James Melville, and had issue, an only son,

THE REV DR ALEXANDER COLVILLE (c1597-c1679), who came over to Ulster about 1630.

This Alexander Colville, a kinsman of Bishop Echlin (whose mother was Grizel Colville), was appointed Rector of Skerry, in the diocese of Connor, 1634, and the adjoining parish of Rathcavan, in 1661.

He purchased GALGORM CASTLE in the 1640s.

Dr Colville's son and heir,

THE RT HON SIR ROBERT COLVILLE (1625-97), MP for Hillsborough, 1661-6, CountyAntrim, 1692-3, and 1695-7, married four times, and had issue,
Francis, died 1683;
HUGH, of whom presently;
Penelope; Elizabeth; Anne; Rose.
Grave-stone at Newtownards Priory

The eldest surviving son,

HUGH COLVILLE (c1676-1701), MP for County Antrim, 1697-9, married Sarah, daughter of John Margetson (granddaughter of the Most Rev James Margetson, Lord Archbishop of Armagh), and had issue,
ROBERT, his heir;
Alicia, of whom hereafter.
The son and heir,

ROBERT COLVILLE (c1697-1749), MP for Killybegs, 1719-27, Antrim Borough, 1727-49, died unmarried, when the family estates passed to his sister,

ALICIA COLVILLE (1700-62), who married Stephen, 1st Viscount Mount Cashell.
  • Hugh Colville was maternal grandfather of Stephen, 1st Earl Mount Cashell, who inherited Galgorm Castle from his mother, Alicia Colville.
  • The cross moline in the Colville arms is contained within the armorial bearings of the borough of Newtownards.

THE COLVILLES were landlords of Newtownards from 1675 until 1744.

The Colville family traces its origins to Scotland in the 1100s, when Philip de Colville settled there following the Norman Conquest.

The first member of the family to settle in Ulster was Dr Alexander Colville, a professor of divinity at St Andrews University before coming to the Province in 1630.

Dr Colville may have been invited to Ulster by Bishop Robert Echlin, whose mother was Grizel Colville. 

He was appointed Rector of Skerry in 1634, and built Galgorm Castle near Ballymena.

His son, Sir Robert, joined the army and in 1651 was a Captain.

He married four times, and was knighted at some period between 1675 and 1679.

Sir Robert later purchased the Montgomery estates at Newtownards and Comber.

He rebuilt the ruined Montgomery home, Newtown House, which had been accidentally burned down in 1664; and built a private chapel at Movilla cemetery.

A relative, Alexander Colville, was brought from Scotland to become Minister at the Presbyterian Church in Newtownards in 1696.

Sir Robert Colville died in 1697, with a memorial at the PRIORY in Newtownards.

His third wife, Rose, died in 1693 and was also interred at the Priory.

Their son, Hugh, died in 1701 aged 25, with a similar memorial.

By 1744, the memorial inscriptions had been removed from the family tomb, described as “...A large Tomb of the Colville Family (to a descendant of which the town now belongs), stands in the North Isle, raised five or six feet above the Floor, but naked of any inscription...”

Hugh Colville's daughter, Alicia, sold the estates to Alexander Stewart in 1744 for £42,000 (equivalent to about £11.2 million in 2021).

Monday, 21 February 2022

Wilton Castle


Tradition states that the first of this family came to Ireland with HENRY II, from Surrey, and settled at Downpatrick, County Down; there is, however, no knowledge that any persons of this name inhabited that town.

 of Downpatrick, County Down, had issue (with three daughters), three sons,
WILLIAM, his heir;
Alexander (Very Rev), Dean of Lismore, 1725-47;
Simon, of Dublin.
The eldest son,

WILLIAM ALCOCK, of Wilton, County Wexford, married, in 1670, Jane, daughter of John Bamber, of Bamber Hall, Lancashire, and had issue,
Richard, dsp;
WILLIAM, his heir;
Mary; Elizabeth; Alice; Jane.
The younger son,

WILLIAM ALCOCK (1705-1779), of Wilton, High Sheriff of County Wexford, 1740, MP for Fethard, 1764-8, Colonel, Waterford Militia, wedded, in 1734, Mary, eldest daughter of Nicholas, Viscount Loftus, and in her descendants co-heir to her brother Henry, Earl of Ely; and had issue,
HENRY, his heir;
William, of Springfield House, County Wexford;
John (Sir), Knight, of Waterford;
Mary; Henrietta.
Colonel Alcock was succeeded by his eldest son,

HENRY ALCOCK (1735-1812), of Wilton, MP for Waterford City, 1783-97, Fethard, 1797-9, an officer in the 13th Light Dragoons, who espoused firstly, in 1764, Philippa Melosina, daughter of the Rt Rev Richard Chenevix, Lord Bishop of Waterford and Lismore; she died with her infant son, 1765.

He married secondly, in 1766, Elizabeth Catharine, daughter of Beverley Ussher, MP for Waterford for thirty-six years, and had issue,
William Henry, died unmarried;
Ussher, died unmarried;
WILLIAM CONGREVE, died unmarried;
HARRY, succeeded his brother;
Eliza Jane; Mary Anne; Henrietta.
Mr Alcock was succeeded by his third son,

WILLIAM CONGREVE ALCOCK (1771-1812), MP for Waterford, 1801-3, County Wexford, 1807-12, who died unmarried, when Wilton devolved upon his only surviving brother,

HARRY ALCOCK (1792-1840), of Wilton, High Sheriff of County Wexford, 1822, who married, in 1818, Margaret Elinor, daughter and heir of James Savage, of Kilgibbon, County Wexford, a descendant of the old Anglo-Norman family of Savage, of Portaferry, County Down, and had issue,
HARRY, his heir;
Ussher William;
Philip Savage, of Park House, Wexford, father of PHILIP CLAYTON ALCOCK;
George Augustus (Rev);
Elinor Catherine; Henrietta; Elizabeth Louisa; Margaret Charlotte; Sarah.
The eldest son,

HARRY ALCOCK JP DL (1821-93), of Wilton, Honorary Colonel, Wexford Militia, High Sheriff of County Wexford, 1846, died unmarried, leaving his property to his nephew,

PHILIP CLAYTON ALCOCK JP DL (1861-1949), of Wilton, and Overton Lodge, Ludlow, Shropshire, Captain, Gloucester Regiment, High Sheriff of County Wexford, 1900, who wedded, in 1914, Kathleen, daughter of Thomas Robinson, and had issue,
Kathleen Annette; Philippa; Mary Clayton; Margaret Savage.

WILTON CASTLE, Enniscorthy, County Wexford, is a magnificent 19th century mansion built to the designs of the architect Daniel Robertson, of Kilkenny.

It was erected on a moated platform surrounded by parapet walls and sham fortifications.

The house is greatly machiolated and castellated.

The main block comprises three storeys, with a two-storey wing.

The Victorian castle is dominated by a lofty square tower at one end, and a tall polygonal tower and turret at the other.

The porch has an oriel over it.

Wilton Castle was burnt to the ground by the IRA in 1923.

Mr Sean Windsor, whose grandfather was land steward of the estate, purchased it in 2004 and proceeded to restore the two-storey wing and tower.

Wilton Castle is now open to guests.

First published in August, 2018.

Tyrella House


The ancient and distinguished family of MONTGOMERY was powerful in Normandy, and had the title of Comte before the time of Rollo, the Dane, Duke of Normandy. The present chief is the Earl of Eglinton.

THE REV HUGH MONTGOMERY (1754-1815), of Grey Abbey, County Down, son of WILLIAM MONTGOMERY, married, in 1782, Emilia, youngest daughter of Bernard, 1st Viscount Bangor (by his wife, the Lady Anne Bligh, daughter of John, Earl of Darnley), and had issue,
William, his heir;
Hugh Bernard, army officer;
Edward (Rev), Rector of Portaferry;
ARTHUR HILL, of whom presently;
John Charles, Barrister;
Francis Octavius, army officer;
George Augustus Frederick Sandys, Lieutenant RN;
Anne Catherine; Emilia Georgiana Susanna.
The Rev Hugh Montgomery, a clergyman of the established church, and Sovereign Grand Commander of the Order of the Fleur-de-Lys, 1800-15, resided constantly at the Abbey, made considerable improvements there, and extended his landed possessions by purchase.

His fourth son,

ARTHUR HILL MONTGOMERY JP DL (1794-1867), of Tyrella House, County Down, wedded, in 1825, the Lady Matilda Anne Parker, daughter of Thomas, 5th Earl of Macclesfield, and had issue,
HUGH PARKER, his heir;
Arthur Hill Sandys.
The elder son,

MAJOR-GENERAL HUGH PARKER MONTGOMERY (1829-1901), of Tyrella House, and Winchester, Hampshire, died unmarried.

Tyrella House (Image: Northern Ireland Tourist Board)

TYRELLA is a parish in the barony of LECALE, 5½ miles south-east of Clough, and 4½ east of Dundrum, County Down.

The parish is situated on the north shore of Dundrum Bay and, excepting a few acres of sand hills along the shore, is land of good quality.

"Tyrella House," remarks the topographical dictionary of 1837,
"the handsome residence of A H Montgomery, is beautifully situated in a richly planted demesne of 300 acres, commanding extensive views over the bay, with the noble range of the Mourne Mountains in the background, and containing within its limits the site and cemetery of the ancient parish church."
Tyrella House (Image: Northern Ireland Tourist Board)

The Register of Parks, Gardens and Demesne of Special Historic Interest in Northern Ireland remarks that 

"Due to its close proximity to the sea, the plantations, which have remained largely unchanged in layout since at least 1800, are focussed in larger woodland blocks with few of the usual isolated parkland trees, clumps and belts."

"Without these woodlands the house would be very exposed to the winds, yet there is evidence that there was a house here by 1755 when it is clearly depicted on Kennedy's County Down map of that year." 

"Earlier, in 1744 Walter Harris refers to 'Tereda, a small village, the lands about which, being now the estate of Mr. Banks of Belfast, formerly of the Hamilton's of Tullamore'."

"Most likely this is a reference to Thomas Banks, a prominent Belfast citizen, but following his death in 1746 the lease reverted back to George Hamilton (1698-1770), whose father Hugh had bought this townland in the 1720s on the occasion of the latter marriage."

"It seems probable that he had built a house here, perhaps in the 1730s, but the buildings architect would indicate that the present house was built by his son, also called George Hamilton (1734- 96), probably in the 1780s, at which time the landscape park was most likely planted."

"On his death in 1796 the property passed to his nephew, the Rev George Hamilton, and it was around his death (d 1833) that the demesne was first depicted on OS maps; the outline of the plantations shown on that map remain largely unaltered."

Tyrella Demesne (Historic OS Map of ca 1830)

"The main area of woodland, as one might expect, lies just south of the house, proving shelter against the salt breezes and the second lies south of the walled garden to provide protection for the garden produce; much of the latter is now denuded with no sign of any replanting."

"The walled garden, north-west of the house, is contemporary with the creation of the parkland, that is to say it was built around the 1780s, and unusually takes the form of an oval half-moon (2.35 acres/0.95ha) ..." 

"There is a drive from the farmyard, which is adjacent to the east, to a cart entrance in the north."

"Today this entrance is used to gain access to a house built in 1987 with its ornamental garden built in the west part of the walled garden."

"There are glasshouses and a potting shed."

"The glasshouse that lies beside the main house facing the west lawn was built in the Edwardian era, around 1904, and was restored in 2011."

"The park has three entrances off the Clanmaghery Road."

Tyrella House (from a  picture post card)

"When George Hamilton died in 1796, he bequeathed Tyrella to his nephew, the Rev George Hamilton (d 1833), who probably built the low rubble wall along side the road to the north and east and remains largely intact."

"He may also have built much of the house as we know it today as the building does in parts have a Regency appearance, notably the main (south-facing) hipped roof two-storey square block, which has a four bay front, incorporating Wyatt-windows and a shallow projecting three window bay on the west side."

"In 1808 George inherited another estate, Hampton Hall, Balbriggan, County Dublin, from his late brother, Alexander."

"By the mid-1820s he had ran into money difficulties and in 1824 was forced to mortgage the Dublin property; it was probably at this point that he sold Tyrella, for by at least 1834 it was in the possession of Arthur Hill Montgomery."

"Arthur died in 1867 and his widow, Matilda, is recorded as living there until 1876, with her son, Hugh Parker Montgomery."

"In 1878 the distillery owner JAMES CRAIG, of Craigavon House, Belfast, acquired it as a summer residence."

"His son, Major Clarence Craig (d 1938), an elder brother of Sir James Craig (1871-1940), 1st Viscount Craigavon ... enlarged the house, presumably with help from his brother the architect Vincent Craig (1869-1925), remodelling parts of the house rere, where the building's west side has a distinctly Edwardian feel with several large mullioned and transomed windows and some roundels with small square panes, whilst glasshouse is also of this date."

"Members of the Craig family undoubtably must have visited the Japan-British Exhibition in the White City, London, in 1910 - the largest international exposition of the Empire of Japan, because like many other country houses owners in the decade following 1910, the Craigs created a Japanese Garden at Tyrella."

"Major Craig retained the property until 1921, when William J Neill, a coal merchant, assumed ownership."

"Mr Neill was still there in 1929, but by 1937 the house may have been vacant, for at this date the Belfast Tuberculosis Committee were considering purchasing the property for use as a sanatorium."

"John Corbett [High Sheriff of County Down, 1967] acquired the property in 1949, and it remains with his descendant."

David Corbett was High Sheriff of County Down in 2010.