Saturday, 30 April 2022

Ernest Sandford, 1913-2006

FROM Coleraine Today

Ernie Sandford, known to many friends as Sandy, was born in Portrush, County Antrim, in 1913 where he was educated at Coleraine Academical Institution.

He proceeded to Queen’s University, Belfast, and after graduation he joined the Northern Constitution as a reporter.

The younger son of local grocer, Joseph Sandford, Ernie ‘had a distinguished career spanning from local reporter in Coleraine to Reuter’s office in Paris culminating in his appointment as head of press and publicity at the NI Tourist Board’.

During this career he wrote articles on local history, was a member of the amateur dramatic society – Portrush Players and at a stage secretary of the Portrush hockey club.

In the late 1930s Ernie left Coleraine and went on to work for the Belfast Newsletter, followed by a move to Fleet Street as sub-editor on the Daily Telegraph.

He was appointed the Press Association’s first war correspondent and after the War, returned to Fleet Street as chief reporter of the Sunday Chronicle.

Ernie, who was 'recognised as one of the most distinguished journalists Northern Ireland has produced’, resigned and moved to France in 1946 where he taught English for two years in a small college on the outskirts of Paris.

During his time there, he studied French language & civilisation at the Sorbonne and wrote his first book about a canoe trip from Mâcon to Lyons.

Following this he joined Reuters as head of their Paris office before going on to become information officer for the Marshall Plan (one such assignment meant that he was present at the historical singing of the Treaty of Rome).

In 1959, Ernie joined the Northern Ireland Government's London Office as publicity officer to the Ministry of Commerce and the Northern Ireland Development Council.

Some ten years later, he returned home for his appointment as Publicity Officer to the Tourist Board.

Although Ernie retired in 1978, he continued to write the guide book Discover Northern Ireland and had articles published in the Coleraine Old Boys’ Association and the Bann Disc (journal of the Coleraine Historical Society).

Ernie is survived by his wife Joyce [died 16th January, 2019], daughter Christine and son Patrick.

Do any readers possess a better image of Mr Sandford?

First published in April, 2020.

Friday, 29 April 2022

Rathgael Album: I

John Lowry, a reader from Belleville, Ontario, Canada, has kindly sent me some old family photographs of RATHGAEL HOUSE and estate, near Bangor, County Down.

I've found a newspaper cutting, dated the 5th January, 1907, that tells us,
...The Tynan and Armagh Harriers also possess a lady MH in Miss Ida McClintock, while Miss Kate Rose-Cleland and two sisters hunt the Rathgael Harriers.

The sketch below was drawn by John about forty years ago (c1980) with the advice of his father's first cousin, Eveline Ritchie.

Diagram of the Ground and First Floors.  Click to Enlarge

They were both great-grandchildren of Elizabeth Helen Louise Rose-Cleland (she married Benoni Lytton-White).

Both John's father (who died in 2016) and Eveline (who is still alive, in her mid-90s and living in Scotland) had first-hand memories of visiting Rathgael.

In the picture with the caravan, the little girl with the pen-marked X over her head is Maude Emilie Lytton-White, John's grandmother.

John selected photos that show aspects of the house, including the lake, the towers etc.

The Lake, frozen over, with Rathgael House 

The lake (the Fish Pond in old maps) is, as far as I'm aware, the only remaining feature of the estate.

Rathgael Lake (Timothy Ferres, 2022)

It now forms part of the new Helen's Wood housing development.

Click to Enlarge

The ROSE-CLELANDS were clearly passionate about hunting, and they ran the Rathgael Harriers.

Many local farmers and landowners are mentioned in the newspaper cuttings.

Elizabeth Helen Louise Rose-Cleland

John's grandmother is shown in the image above.

Kate Rose-Cleland.  Click to Enlarge

The photograph above shows 'Miss Kate Rose-Cleland, Owner and Master of the Rathgael Harriers, Bangor, County Down; the only pack in Ireland not depending on subscriptions.'

First published in May, 2020.

BH Memoirs: VIII



Just before the War the Belfast Corporation had bought Orangefield farmyard and 46 acres of land as park.

We leased the farm buildings from the purchasers at a very high rent, so I purchased Carrowreagh Farm of 220 acres and left Lettice and Joe Barbour (the land steward) the enormous task of carrying out the necessary alterations and moving into it.

My leave had been extended a further two months at the request of Basil Brooke, our Prime Minister.

As Roddens House was burnt down in 1939, Lettice and the children had temporarily been living in the land steward's house.

We purchased BELTRIM CASTLE, Gortin, County Tyrone, in 1944, but as it was occupied by American forces, we were unable to move in until 1946.

In January, 1945, I stood for the two member constituency of County Down, for the Imperial Parliament.

The Rev Dr Little and Lord Castlereagh were the two sitting members, but Castlereagh decided not to stand again.

I was one of thirteen candidates – Unionist – to present themselves to the delegates and came out top, with Sir Walter Smiles [great-grandfather of Bear Grylls] second.

Dr Little, annoyed that he was not automatically accepted as an official candidate would not allow his name to go forward on the official candidates list.

He then, with another man called Brown, elected to stand as an unofficial Unionist.

Smiles and I were thus the official candidates, and Little and Brown went to the polls against us as unofficial Unionist candidates.

The result, after a very bitter election, was Little and Smiles elected and I came next.

What a horrible life it would have been!

This was my second and last attempt to become an MP at Westminster.

I had been a member of the Down County Council since 1936.

I did not distinguish myself in local government but I’m sure I can claim to be the first member of the Down County Council to give a forwarding address for minutes and correspondence as Addis Ababa, Ethiopia!


First published in January, 2015.  Extracts by kind permission of RP Blakiston-Houston OBE JP DL

Thursday, 28 April 2022

Rose-Cleland of Rathgael


The family of CLELAND (formerly spelt Kneland) was of great antiquity in Scotland. Their coat-of-arms, tradition states, was acquired by their being hereditary foresters to the ancient Earls of Douglas.

JAMES CLELAND, of that Ilk, in Lanarkshire, ancestor of the Clelands of that Ilk and of several other families of the same surname, joined his cousin Sir William Wallace in 1296 for the relief of his country against the English, along with a considerable number of noblemen and gentlemen.

He was present at, and assisted Sir William Wallace in most of his exploits, particularly in capturing Thomas of Longueville, commonly called The Red Rover.

After the death of Sir William Wallace he firmly supported the cause of ROBERT THE BRUCE, and for his loyalty and good services that king gave him several lands in the barony of Calder, West Lothian.

WILLIAM CLELAND, of that Ilk, fifth in descent from the above James Cleland, and in the reign of JAMES III, King of Scotland, about 1462, married Jean Somerville.

His son and successor,

ALEXANDER CLELAND, of that ilk, was killed in 1513 at the battle of Flodden, along with his cousin, William Cleland, of Faskine, fighting valiantly in defence of their Scottish King, JAMES IV.

To a charter of 1498, there was appended a seal of this Alexander, upon which was a hare, leaping, with a hunting horn about his neck.

The lineal descendant of this gentleman,

JOHN CLELAND, of Whithorn, Wigtownshire, was appointed factor to James, 5th Earl of Galloway, and in 1731, wedded Margaret Murdoch, only child of the Provost of Whithorn.

He died in 1747, having had issue,
William, died in infancy;
JAMES, of whom hereafter;
Katharine; AGNES; Margaret.
The second daughter,

AGNES CLELAND (1740-75), espoused firstly, in 1766, Lieutenant Richard Rose, of the East India Company's European Regiment, by whom she had an only child, JAMES DOWSETT ROSE, who afterwards assumed the additional surname of CLELAND.

She married secondly, in 1774, William Nicholson, of Balloo House, though the marriage was without issue.

John Cleland's son and successor,

JAMES CLELAND, of Newtownards, County Down, wedded, in 1770, Sarah, only child of Captain Patrick Baird, though the marriage was without issue.

He died in 1777, when the his estate reverted to his nephew,

JAMES DOWSETT ROSE-CLELAND JP DL (1767-1852), of Rathgill, County Down, High Sheriff of County Down, 1805, who succeeded to his father's property in 1768, and to that of his paternal grandfather, Richard Rose, of Abingdon, Berkshire, in 1784.

In compliance of the testamentary injunction of his cousin, Patrick Cleland, of Ballymagee, he assumed the additional surname and arms of CLELAND (his mother's name).

He espoused firstly, in 1790, Sarah, only child of William Eaton Andrews, of London, and had issue,
William Nicholson, died in infancy;
Elizabeth Hawkins.
Mr Rose-Cleland married secondly, in 1832, Elizabeth, eldest daughter of William Nicholson Steele-Nicholson, of Balloo House, and had issue,
JAMES BLACKWOOD, heir to his father;
RICHARD, successor to his brother;
Edward Allen, b 1840;
Henry Somerville, b 1843;
Agnes Elizabeth; Isabel Hamilton;
Margaret Sabina, m Arthur Wellington Garner, of Garnerville.
Mr Rose-Cleland commanded the Newtownards Yeomen Infantry at the battle of Saintfield, 1798; and three months' later raised the Rathgael Yeomen Infantry, and received repeated thanks from the Government for his services.

He presided at the contested election for County Down between Robert, Viscount Castlereagh (later 2nd Marquess of Londonderry), and Colonel the Hon John Meade, which lasted 21 days.

Mr Rose-Cleland was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES BLACKWOOD ROSE-CLELAND (1835-56), of Rathgael House, who died at Constantinople, and was succeeded by his brother,

RICHARD ROSE-CLELAND (1836-92), of Rathgael House, who married, in 1861, Elizabeth Wilhelmina, daughter of Robert Kennedy, of Lisburn, County Antrim, and had issue,
James Dowsett, b 1862;
Robert Kennedy, b 1863;
Richard, died in infancy;
Charles Arthur, b 1876;
Elizabeth Helen Louisa; Mary Isabella Eveline; Edith Adelaide;
Maude Ethel; Florence May; Alice Gertrude; Catherine Mabel; Harriet Ella.
Rathgael was inherited by the youngest son and the seven youngest daughters.

Rathgael House

Rathgill, or Rathgael House, dating from the 18th century, was originally the nucleus of a farm comprising 88 acres on the northern part of Clandeboye estate.

A reader has kindly sent me a collection of photographs relating to RATHGAEL.

The house was demolished in the 1960s to make way for the Rathgael Training School.

A lake was created by the Cleland family in the late 1800s for fishing, and some of the planting surrounding it dates from that period.

A new housing development, known as Helen's Wood, has been created on land close to the location of Rathgael House.

First published in April, 2016.

The Burroughs Baronetcy

This family, and several others in England and Ireland, which now bear the names of De Burgh, Burgh, Bourke, Burke, Buroughs, Burrough, and
Burroughs,  derive their origin from Robert de Burgh, who came from Normandy with William the Conqueror. One branch of the family went to Ireland in the reign of HENRY II, and there gave rise to the noble families of Clanricarde, Mayo, and several other families of distinction in that kingdom.

Another branch, from which the Burroughs Baronetcy was descended, settled in Lincolnshire, and was advanced to the dignity of the peerage by ELIZABETH I, who, on sending Sir Thomas Burgh, KG, to Ireland, as Lord Deputy, created him a peer.

Thomas, Lord Burgh, died in the government, without male issue, when the title became extinct, and his estates in Lincolnshire passed into the Newcastle and Gainsborough families. He was accompanied to Ireland by a collateral relation of the same name, who acquired a large landed property in County Wicklow, and was the immediate ancestor of Sir William Burroughs, first (and last) Baronet.

THOMAS BURROUGHS, who married Elizabeth Lewis, had a son,

FRANCIS BURROUGHS, who wedded Miss Mushet [sic], niece to the Lord Bishop of Derry, and had issue,
LEWIS, of whom we treat;
The younger son,

THE VEN. DR LEWIS BORROUGHS (1714-86), Archdeacon of Derry, espoused Mary, daughter of Richard Cane, of Laraghbryan, County Kildare, by Anne Lyons, of River Lyons, in the King's County, who was almost allied to the noble families of Drogheda, Mount Cashell, Wellesley, Charleville, Boyne, and Harberton, and by her had issue,
Newburgh (Ven), Archdeacon of Derry;
WILLIAM, of whom hereafter;
Mary Anne; Frances; Selina Frances.
The third son,

WILLIAM BURROUGHS (c1753-1829), a barrister, MP for Enniskillen, 1802-6, Colchester, 1817-18, Taunton, 1818-19, went to India, and was appointed Advocate-General of Bengal by Lord Cornwallis.

Sir William Burroughs Bt (Image: National Portrait Gallery)

On his return he was created a baronet, in 1804, designated of Castle Bagshaw, County Wicklow.

Sir William married Letitia, daughter of William Newburgh, of Ballyhaise and Drumcarn, County Cavan,  and had issue,
Letitia; Maria Isabella; Louisa.
Sir William's only son,

WILLIAM BURROUGHS (1784-1814), a captain in the Coldstream Guards, died of wounds received at the battle of Bayonne.

Sir William's only son having predeceased him, the baronetcy became extinct.

Wednesday, 27 April 2022

BH Memoirs: VII



In April, 1939, Roddens House was burnt down.

We had been carrying out some alterations and were living in one corner of the house.

A high wind was blowing off the sea and one of the front windows had been removed.

It was probably caused by a smouldering beam in the chimney.

We planned to rebuild starting on the 1st September, 1939, but Hitler had different plans.

In the meantime we lived in Roddens Farm House.

Lattice and the children remained there till after the war but built on two extra rooms.

In July, 1939, some of us Reservists were invited to do some voluntary training and I did a fortnight’s attachment to the 4th Hussars commanded by Scotty Cockburn at Tidworth.

To my amusement Bunny Head, who had been a Stockbroker in New York for the previous ten years, was my instructor!

At 9pm on the 31st August, 1939, the wireless announced that all Class “A” Reservists were to rejoin.

It was my 41st birthday.

I crossed over on the evening of the 1st September, having fixed up my affairs as best I could during the day.

I was in camp with the Eton OTC on 4 August 1914, and I remember well the cheer and songs with which we greeted the declaration of war then.

But we’d learnt what war meant since.

Waterloo Station was full of reservists rejoining their units and a sad looking lot they were.

When they actually joined and met their old comrades’ things cheered up in the canteen, but I could not help being struck by difference in atmosphere to that I just remembered a quarter of a century earlier.

During these two months I found plenty to do in connection with the buying of cows; bad reports of milk, and the rejection of 41 cows at one half yearly tubercular test.

First published in January, 2015.  Extracts by kind permission of RP Blakiston-Houston OBE JP DL

Castlecoote House


This is the parent stock, whence the noble houses of COOTE, Earls of Mountrath, and COOTE, Barons Castle Coote, both now extinct, emanated.

The first settler of the Cootes in Ireland, descended from a very ancient English family, was

SIR CHARLES COOTE, Knight (1581-1642), who served in the wars against O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone, at the head, as captain, of 100 foot-soldiers, with which he was at the siege of Kinsale.

Sir Charles was appointed, by JAMES I, Provost-marshal of the Province of Connaught for life.

In 1620, he was constituted vice-president of the same province; and Sir Charles was created a baronet in 1621, designated of Castle Cuffe, Queen's County.

Sir Charles distinguished himself, subsequently, by many gallant exploits; but the most celebrated was the relief of Birr in 1642.

The surprising passage through Mountrath woods justly caused the title of Mountrath to be conferred upon his son; and the Coote Baronetcy, of Castle Cuffe, Queen's County, one of the oldest creations (1621) in the Baronetage.

Sir Charles Coote, 1st Baronet, Provost-Marshal and Vice-President of the Province of Connaught, greatly distinguished himself at the relief of Birr, 1642.

SIR CHARLES COOTE, 2nd Baronet (c1610-61), was elevated to the peerage, 1660, in the dignities of Baron Coote, of Castle Cuffe, Viscount Coote, and EARL OF MOUNTRATH, when the baronetcy merged with the peerage.

The 7th Earl and 8th Baronet, having no heir, obtained, in 1800, a new creation, namely Baron Castle Coote

This title became extinct in 1827, when the baronetcy reverted to the great-great-grandson of the 2nd son of the 1st Baronet.

Rear-Admiral Sir John Coote, 14th Baronet, CB CBE DSC, was Director of Naval Ordnance, 1955-58.

CASTLECOOTE HOUSE, near Castlecoote, County Roscommon, is situated on the site of a medieval castle, thought to have been built between 1570 and 1616.

It was a strategic site, and may have been the base of the Chieftains of Fuerty, the MacGeraghty clan. 

In 1616, it fell into the hands of Sir Charles Coote, who improved and re-fortified the castle.

The castle was attacked three times by the confederate forces in the 1640s.

Castlecoote House was built in the second half of the 17th century, within the enclosure of the old castle, which had by now fallen into ruins.

In the basement tower rooms, musket chambers still overlook the entrance steps.

In the 18th century the property passed into the ownership of the Gunnings, rumoured to have won it in a poker game.
The two Gunning sisters (one of whom was later to become Duchess of Hamilton and then Duchess of Argyll) were renowned for their beauty. Their portraits, painted by Joshua Reynolds, can be viewed in the main hall.
In the 20th century, the house was owned by Henry Strevens, a noted equestrian.

The present owner bought Castlecoote House in 1997,
The house was a cavernous ruin, with no floors, no ceilings, no stairs, no windows and crumbling interior walls. The entire basement was submerged beneath the earth and the main entrance steps had collapsed.
The restoration work took five years to complete, and included underpinning the foundations, consolidating the castle towers, rebuilding the mill race walls, landscaping the grounds and restoring the ceilings and ballroom to their former splendour.
First published in October, 2012.

Tuesday, 26 April 2022

The Bateson-Harvey Baronetcy


This family and that of BATESON, of Belvoir Park, Newtownbreda, County Down, derive from a common ancestor, namely,

ROBERT BATESON, of Lancashire, who died in 1663, leaving an only son,

ROBERT BATESON, father of THOMAS, from whom the Belvoir Park family, and of

RICHARD BATESON, of Londonderry, who wedded firstly, Sarah, daughter of _____ McClintock, and had a son,
Thomas, father of ROBERT, 2nd Baronet.
He espoused secondly, Elizabeth, daughter of Robert Harvey, of Londonderry, and sister and heir of David Harvey, of London, by whom, with several other children, he had,

ROBERT BATESON, of Killoquin, County Antrim, who assumed, in 1788, the additional arms and surname of HARVEY.

Mr Bateson-Harvey was created a baronet in 1789, designated of Killoquin, County Antrim.

Sir Robert died without male issue, in 1825, and was succeeded, according to the special remainder, by the son of his deceased half-brother,

SIR ROBERT BATESON, 2nd Baronet (c1793-1870), JP DL, of Killoquin, County Antrim, High Sheriff of County Donegal, 1822, who married, in 1819, Eliza, second daughter of Anthony Hammond, of Hutton Bonville, Yorkshire, though the marriage was without issue.

A baronetcy was created in 1868 for Robert Bateson Harvey MP, of Langley Park, Slough, Buckinghamshire, son of Robert Harvey and his wife Jane Jemima Collins daughter of J R Collins of Hatchcourt Somerset.

Sir Robert's father was an illegitimate son of Sir Robert Bateson-Harvey, 1st Baronet.
The Bateson-Harveys were seated were Killoquin, County Antrim, and Langley Park, Buckinghamshire.


In 1788, the 4th Duke of Marlborough sold Langley Park, Buckinghamshire, to Robert Bateson-Harvey.

In 1866, the Temple was replaced with a now-demolished tower built in his memory.
Towards the end of the 19th Century and early 20th Century, considerable garden projects were undertaken at Langley which focused on three areas; the gardens around the Mansion House, the Pinetum (Arboretum) and the rhododendron collection at Temple Gardens. This included 160 tonnes of peat being brought to the gardens from Scotland by a specially chartered train.
At the outbreak of the 1st World War, the cavalry unit, 2nd King Edward’s Horse, was given permission to use Langley Park for training, and later the mansion was used as a hospital and recuperation unit for their officers injured in battle.

In 1935, the Pageant of England was held in Langley Park to celebrate King George V’s silver jubilee, with Lady Harvey playing ELIZABETH I.

In 1938, legislation was passed which enabled County Councils to purchase land to help control the outward sprawl of London.

Buckinghamshire County Council proposed to purchase Langley Park, but the 2nd World War intervened.

During the War the Mansion was the headquarters of the Southern Home Guard and in 1944 Polish units preparing for D-Day used the park as a training ground.

After peace was declared in 1945, Buckinghamshire County Council finally purchased the estate.

By 1959, the Harvey Memorial Tower was deemed to be unsafe and was demolished upon the order of the County Architect, Mr Fred Pooley.

Regrettably I have no information relating to the Killoquin estate, except that it was in the vicinity of Rasharkin, County Antrim.

I'd be grateful if any readers have any further information.

First published in December, 2010. 

Killyleagh Castle



This family is descended from Thomas, youngest son of Sir John Hamilton of Cadzow, from which Thomas many families in Ulster descended; namely, those of Killyleagh, Hallcraig or Neillsbrook, Tollymore, Carnesure, Bangor, Ballygally, and Gransha; founded by the six sons of Hans Hamilton of Dunlop.

THE REV HANS HAMILTON (c1535-1608), Vicar of Dunlop, Ayrshire, wedded Margaret Denholm, daughter of the Laird of Weshiels, and had, with other issue,
ARCHIBALD, of whom we treat.
The younger son,

ARCHIBALD HAMILTON (c1564-1639), of Hallcraig, Lanarkshire, married firstly, Rachel Carmichael, and had issue,
GAWN, of whom hereafter;
He wedded secondly, Miss Simpson, by whom he left one daughter, Jane, married to Archibald Edmonstone, of Braid Island, County Antrim.

The third son,

GAWN HAMILTON (c1630-1703), of Killyleagh, County Down, espoused Jane, daughter of Archibald Hamilton, and had issue,
Mary; Rose.
Mr Hamilton was succeeded by his son and heir,

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

GAWN HAMILTON (1729-1805), of Killyleagh, High Sheriff of County Down, 1773, who wedded, in 1750, Jane, only child of WILLIAM ROWAN, barrister-at-law, and widow of Tichbourne Aston, of Beaulieu, County Louth, and had issue,
Mr Hamilton was succeeded by his son and heir,

ARCHIBALD HAMILTON (1751-1834), of Killyleagh Castle, County Down, who assumed the additional surname of ROWAN, in conformity with the will of his maternal grandfather, WILLIAM ROWAN, who devised his fortune to his grandson, then a boy at Westminster School
"in the hope that he should become a learned, honest, sober man; live unbribed and unpensioned; zealous for the rights of his country; loyal to his King; and a true protestant without bigotry to any sect."
Archibald Rowan-Hamilton (Image: Belfast Harbour Commissioners)

He married, in 1781, Sarah Anne, daughter of Walter Dawson, of Carrickmacross, County Monaghan, and had issue,
Jane; Elizabeth; Mildred; Harriet; Francesca.
Mr Rowan-Hamilton's second son,

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

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

COLONEL GAWN WILLIAM ROWAN-HAMILTON JP DL (1844-1930), of Killyleagh Castle, and Shanagonagh Castle, County Dublin, High Sheriff of County Down, 1875, who wedded, in 1876, Lina Mary Howley, daughter of Sir George Howland Beaumont Bt, and had issue,
Orfla Melita.
Colonel Rowan-Hamilton was succeeded by his son and heir,

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

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

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

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

Colonel Rowan-Hamilton's son,

GAWN WILLIAM ROWAN-HAMILTON DL (1968-), married Polly Ann, daughter of Colonel Rodney J Martin, and has issue,
Archibald James (b 1997);
Jake Douglas;
Charles Rodney;
Tara Emily; Willa Melita Dorothy.

KILLYLEAGH CASTLE, County Down, is one of the most romantic houses in Northern Ireland, its exotic skyline of turrets and conical roofs dominating the adjacent village and countryside for miles around.

There are claims that it has Norman late-12th century origins, but the house today is basically 17th century, much altered and enlarged from 1847-51.

The Castle stands at the upper end of the principal street in the village; but, though commanding in position, castellated in character, and massive and venerable in appearance, it is strictly a mere mansion, battlemented along the summit, and flanked with large, circular, battlemented turrets.

The grounds are an essential part of the setting of the picturesque house and its geographical association with Killyleagh.

In the early 17th century the house built by Sir James Hamilton, 1st Viscount Claneboye, of which a tower survives, had a large attached deer park , which seems to have fallen into disuse by the 18th century, if not earlier.

There are formal  garden features associated with this early house and/or with the improved late 17th century house, as enlarged in 1666 by Henry, 2nd Earl of Clanbrassil.

This includes some of the terraces or hanging gardens on the steep slopes of the south and south west side of the house, together with formal canals or fish ponds.

These terraces were evidently remodelled and enlarged in the Victorian era.

The grounds are not extensive and no garden of note is maintained at the present time, but fine mature trees grace the surroundings.

The productive areas are no longer kept.

The extensive entrance screen encircles the area of the former bawn.

The property was subject to ownership litigation, and the resulting judgement of Solomon, saw the bawn divided for more than a century; the castle was retained by the Hamilton family and the gatehouse went to the Blackwood family [later Lords Dufferin].

The gatehouse was then rebuilt as a tall Georgian block, enlarged ca 1830; while in the early 19th century the main Hamilton castle fell into decay.

The feud was ended by the 5th Lord Dufferin, afterwards 1st Marquess of Dufferin and Ava, after he inherited in 1841.

He returned the property to the castle owner, Archibald Rowan-Hamilton, and as a further gesture removed the old Georgian house and built, in 1886, an appropriate baronial gatehouse to the design of Benjamin Ferry, then employed at Clandeboye.

He married the daughter of Archibald Rowan-Hamilton, who afterwards himself employed, between 1847-51, Charles Lanyon to enlarge and remodel the house, giving it its present appearance.

At Ringhaddy, north of the village, and on Sketrick Island (more celebrated today, perhaps, for Daft Eddy's bar and restaurant), there are two small castles, which acted subordinately to Killyleagh Castle in defence of the barony of Dufferin.

First published in September, 2013.

Monday, 25 April 2022

The Cairnes Baronetcy

The founder of this family,

THOMAS CAIRNES, a scion of Cairns of Orchardton, Kirkcudbrightshire, went over to Ireland with his kinsman, the Earl of Annandale, and settled there.

He married Jane, daughter of John Scott, of Colefadd [sic], in Scotland, of the house of Buccleuch, and was father of

JOHN CAIRNES, of Parsonstown (Knockmany or Cecil), County Tyrone, MP for Augher, 1639-40, who wedded Jane, daughter of Dr James Miller, of Millheugh, Lanarkshire, and had issue,
ALEXANDER, of whom presently;
Frances; Mary.
The eldest son,

ALEXANDER CAIRNES (1665-1732), who espoused, in 1697/8, Elizabeth, daughter of John Gould, and sister Sir of Nathaniel Gould, Knight, of Newington, Middlesex, by whom he had issue, an only daughter and heiress,

MARY CAIRNES, married to Cadwallader, 7th Baron Blayney, but dsp.

Alexander Cairnes, MP for Monaghan Borough, 1710-13, County Monaghan, 1713-27, Monaghan Borough, 1727-32, was created a baronet in 1708, designated of Monaghan.

Sir Alexander died at Dublin, 1732, and leaving no son, the title passed under the limitation to his brother,

Sir Henry Cairnes, 2nd Baronet, MP

SIR HENRY CAIRNES, 2nd Baronet (1673-1743), of Monaghan, MP for Monaghan Borough, 1733-43, who wedded, in 1711, Frances, daughter of John Gould, of Hackney, Middlesex, brother of Sir Nathaniel Gould; but died without issue, in 1743, when the baronetcy expired.

BH Memoirs: VI



I left the Army on the 1st November, 1935, after 19 years service.

The General Election was taking place a fortnight later.

From Chester I rang up Mr J M Andrews, Ulster’s Minister of Finance, in Northern Ireland, one evening to offer my services in the election in any capacity.

Next day I received a wire from Herbert Dixon [later 1st Lord Glentoran] asking me to contest Tyrone and Fermanagh.

It was a two seat constituency and a Lincolnshire farmer called Deane was to be my colleague.

We never had a chance unless there was a split among the nationalist opposition.

Unfortunately elections in Northern Ireland are a contest between the Roman Catholic Nationalists and the Protestant Unionists.

The election agents knew the exact voting strength of each side.

Up till nomination day we thought it might be a three-corner contest, but it turned out to be a straight fight.

Two nationalist abstentionists defeated us by about 52,000 to 46,000 votes.

We stayed at COLEBROOKE with Sir Basil Brooke [later 1st Viscount Brookeborough] for the election.

I had never made a political speech in my life before this election.

Since those days I have had quite a bit of experience in Irish Politics.

I fought a by-election in County Down on SIR DAVID REID's death in 1945, and stood as one of the Official Unionist candidates for County Down in the General Election in 1945.

I never succeeded.

As everyone knows, antagonism between the Roman Catholic anti-British Irish Free State and the Protestant pro-British North has been the dominant factor in every Northern Ireland Election since the passing of the Government of Ireland Act in 1920.

The Roman Catholics in the North with their co-religionists in Eire want Ireland to be one under an Irish Republican Parliament in Dublin; whereas the Ulster Protestants want to retain every tie that binds them to Britain.

The Ulster Unionist Party has been in power since 1921 without a break; Ulster enjoys great prosperity at present.

Agriculture is Ulster’s greatest industry, and while we are represented in Westminster and are constitutionally part and parcel of the United Kingdom, Ulster farmers enjoy the same guaranteed prices for their farm produce as do farmers in England.

From an economic point of view, therefore, we have no desire to join up with Eire.

As Protestants we have no desire to come under the control of a Roman Catholic Government in Dublin.

We are quite happy as we are.

The Ulster Government is strictly impartial to Protestants and Roman Catholics.

Unfortunately there have been one or two cases of local authorities having been not so impartial and uneducated men on both sides are definitely bigoted, but as far as government policy is concerned it is above reproach and why, then, it may be asked is Eire so anxious to absorb Northern Ireland?

On the map of the world Ireland is a very small place and, on the face of it, it seems ridiculous to have it divided into two countries.

The Irishman is intensely proud of having regained the status of Independent Nationhood.

He says “Ireland was a nation when England was a pup” etc.

Now to what extent is this claim true?

It can’t be denied that Ireland kept the flame of Christianity burning at a time when it was practically extinguished in England.

Neither can it be denied that the Penal Laws drove many fine Irishmen out of their native country.

It can’t be denied either, that the severity of those Penal Laws is still responsible for the present day hatred of England.

It is claimed that the Protestants of the North are not Irishmen at all but that they are all descendants of the Scottish and English Planters in the reign of Queen Elizabeth and the early Stewarts.

There is certainly some foundation for this, but purity of race in my belief can only be rightly claimed by a very few Celts who have been driven by a succession of invaders into the mountains and to the Atlantic Coast.

All the Eastern and Southern Counties were subjected to invasions by Danes, English, Scottish and others long before Ulster was touched.

Each invasion left its mark on the original inhabitants but like China, Ireland seemed to absorb them and they in their turn became “more Irish than the Irish”.

They adopted the Irish language and the Christianity of Ireland.

Fundamentally the Northerner is a materialist and the Southerner is a sentimental theorist.

Throughout history, however, except possibly for a very short time, Ireland never was a nation.

It was an agglomeration of three or four provinces or tribes usually warring against each other under rival chiefs.

Being unable to co-operate they never were able to keep invaders out and no one personality arose strong enough to defeat his competitors and to weld Ireland into a nation.

Far the greatest and most important claim Irishmen can make is that Ireland with England and Scotland were the foundation members of the Great British Empire.

Ireland has every right to make this claim.

It is not till one travels in America or in the British Dominions that one realises what Irishmen have done.

An Irishman is only half a man in Ireland.

We have argued the Irish question from many angles and as one always does, when Ireland is concerned, looked back into medieval history.

We have got no nearer a solution, and I’m beginning to think the present partition is the best we are likely to get for many years to come.

In spite of the fact that Eire was started off on her career with no National Debt and that she has been spared sharing in any cost of the two world wars, yet her economic position is not sound.

That is another very strong reason why she is so anxious to join up with the industrious North.

The Southern Irishman is one of the most pleasant companions in the world.

He is kind and full of good cheer and humour and is popular wherever he goes in the world.

It is a great relief to escape from the ever-present materialistic outlook of the modern world and there are few places where this can be done better than in Eire.

My father used to say “an Irishman is a man who honestly believes what he knows to be false.”

I have studied some of them for a long time now and am certain he was right.

First published in January, 2015.  Extracts by kind permission of RP Blakiston-Houston OBE JP DL

Sunday, 24 April 2022

Inish Rath Island

INISH RATH ISLAND is located north-west of Crom Estate on Upper Lough Erne, County Fermanagh.

It used to be called Coney Island and, more recently, it has become known as Krishna Island.

In 1915 the island comprised 23 acres.

The Victorian-Tudor style house on the island (above) was built in 1854 by the Hon Henry Cavendish Butler-Danvers (1811-91), a half-brother of the 5TH EARL OF LANESBOROUGH, of Lanesborough Lodge, near Belturbet, County Cavan.

Inish Rath ca 1915 (OSNI Historic Map)

It was subsequently purchased by the Earl of Erne for use as a hunting lodge.

During the early 20th century, the house was used for boating parties etc.

The island went through continuous change of ownership for about thirty years, when it was bought and sold.

At the height of the Northern Ireland Troubles, in 1982, property prices slumped in this border area.

A group of Hare Krishna monks, led by a German follower, Prithu Das, pooled their resources and took out a bank loan to buy Inish Rath, a perfect setting for a Hare Krishna centre.

The Hare Krishna temple was established in the west wing of the house with a magnificent gold altar at one end of the long room and a life size representation of Swami Prabhupada at the other.

Oriental arches frame the windows and polished pine floors add to the overall feeling of light and space.

The BBC has produced a short video clip of life on the island more recently.