Monday, 20 November 2017

Royal GCVO

20th November, 2017

The Queen has been graciously pleased to give orders for the following promotion in the Royal Victorian Order: 

GCVO

To be a Knight Grand Cross:

His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh KG KT OM GCB GCVO

For Services to the Sovereign.

Ballinkeele House

THE MAHERS OWNED 4,950 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY WEXFORD

JOHN MAHER, of TullowMacJames, near Templemore, County Tipperary, married Catherine, daughter of William Lanigan, of County Kilkenny, by Mary, his second wife, daughter of Charles Gore, sixth son of Sir Paul Gore Bt, and had issue,
Nicholas;
MATTHIAS, of whose line we treat;
Gilbert;
one daughter.
The second son,

MATTHIAS MAHER, of Ballymullen, Queen's County (Laois), wedded, in 1799, Anne, daughter of Maurice O'Donnell, of Carrick-on-Suir, and had issue,
JOHN, his heir;
Matthias;
Mary Anne; Margaret.
The eldest son,

JOHN MAHER JP DL (1801-60), of Ballinkeele, High Sheriff of County Wexford, 1853, MP for County Wexford, married, in 1843, Louisa Catherine, daughter of George Bourke O'Kelly, of Acton House, Middlesex, and had issue,
MATTHIAS AIDAN, his heir;
GEORGE MAURICE, succeeded his brother;
John Pentheny;
William Stanislaus;
Augustine;
Mary Anne; Louisa Ellen.
Mr Maher was succeeded by his eldest son,

MATTHIAS AIDAN MAHER JP DL (1846-1901), of Ballinkeele, High Sheriff of County Wexford, 1878, who died unmarried, and was succeeded by his brother,

GEORGE MAURICE MAHER DL (1848-1932), of Ballinkeele, High Sheriff of County Wexford, 1913, Captain, 7th Dragoon Guards.


BALLINKEELE HOUSE, near Enniscorthy, County Wexford, is a two-storey house which has a long office wing at one side.

The Mahers were considerable landowners in north County Tipperary and purchased Ballinkeele, about five miles east of Enniscorthy, in the early 19th century.

John Maher, MP for County Wexford, 1835, commissioned the architect Daniel Robertson to build his new house in 1840.

Ballinkeele is one of the few houses Robertson built in the Classical style and is his last surviving work.

The house is comprised of a ground floor and a single upper storey, with a long, slightly lower, service wing to one side in lieu of a basement.


The facades are rendered, with cut-granite decoration, including a grandiose central porch, supported by six large Tuscan columns and surmounted by an elaborate balustrade, which projects to form a porte-cochère.

The garden front has a central breakfront with a shallow bow, flanked by wide piers of rusticated granite.

These are repeated at each corner as coigns.

The interior is classical, with baroque overtones, and is largely unaltered with most of its original contents.

The hall runs from left to right and is consequently lit from one side, with a screen of scagliola Corinthian columns at one end and an elaborate cast-iron stove at the other.

The library and drawing room have splendid chimneypieces of inlaid marble in the manner of Pietro Bossi, while the fine suite of interconnecting rooms on the garden front open onto a raised terrace.

The staircase hall has a spectacularly cantilevered stone staircase, with decorative metal balusters.

As it approaches the ground floor the swooping mahogany handrail wraps itself around a Tuscan column supporting a bronze statue of Mercury, in a style that anticipates Art Nouveau by more than forty years.

Outside, two avenues approach the house, one which provides a glimpse of a ruined keep reflected in an artificial lake, while both entrances were built to Robertson’s designs.

The present owners are Margaret Maher and her children.

Select bibliography: Irish Historic Houses Association.

The Queen's Wedding Day

On the 20th November, 1947, Her Royal Highness THE PRINCESS ELIZABETH, elder daughter of KING GEORGE VI and QUEEN ELIZABETH, married Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark (Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, RN).

On the morning of the Wedding, Prince Philip was created  His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich.

HM The Queen & HRH The Duke of Edinburgh on their Platinum Wedding Anniversary

Their Royal Highnesses were married at Westminster Abbey and the new Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh moved in to their new official home, Clarence House.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Waterford Palace

THE Sees of Waterford and Lismore were united in 1536.

The bishopric of Lismore had been founded in the beginning of the 7th century; but that of Waterford was not founded until about the close of the 11th century by the Ostmen of Waterford, soon after their conversion to Christianity.

During the prelacy of Thomas le Reve, who succeeded in 1363, the sees of Lismore and Waterford were consolidated by Pope URBAN V, and this union, which had been long contemplated and frequently attempted without success, was confirmed by EDWARD III.

Hugh Gore, who was consecrated Bishop of the united sees in 1666, expended large sums in repairing and beautifying the cathedral, and bequeathed £300 for bells for the churches of Lismore and Clonmel, and £1,200 for the erection and endowment of an almshouse for ten clergymen's widows, to each of whom he assigned £10 per annum.

Nathaniel Foy, who was appointed Bishop in 1691, greatly improved the episcopal palace, and bequeathed funds for the erection and endowment of a school for 50 children, afterwards extended to 75, and for the improvement of the estates, the surplus funds to be applied to clothing and apprenticing the scholars.

The two Sees continued to be held together till the decease of Bishop Bourke, when both were annexed to the archiepiscopal province of Cashel, and the temporalities became vested in the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.

This very small diocese is confined to the eastern part of County Waterford, and does not extend above 13 miles in length and 9 in breadth.

But the diocese of Lismore is 38 miles long and about 37 broad, including the greatest part of County Waterford and a considerable portion of Tipperary.


THE PALACE, WATERFORD, County Waterford, is reputed to be one of the largest and finest episcopal residences in Ireland.

Building began in 1741 by Bishop Este, to the design of Richard Castle.

The garden front, facing The Mall, comprises three storeys.


The rusticated ground floor serves as a basement.

Its centre breaks forward with three arches which form the base of the pedimented Doric centrepiece above, which incorporates three windows.

The centre of the top storey features a circular niche between two windows.


Bishop Este died in 1745, before the palace was completed.

It ceased to function as an episcopal residence in 1919, following the retirement of Bishop O'Hara.

Thereafter it was occupied by the Bishop Foy boarding school until 1967.

It served as municipal offices for Waterford City Council till 2010.

The former episcopal palace is now a museum.

First published in November, 2015.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Luttrellstown Castle

THE BARONS ANNALY WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY DUBLIN, WITH 3,954 ACRES.

HENRY WHITE (1791-1873), of Woodlands (otherwise Luttrellstown), County Dublin, and subsequently of Rathcline, County Longford, was the fourth, but only surviving son of Luke White, bookseller, of Woodlands.

He served in the 14th Light Dragoons during the Peninsular War; was MP for County Dublin, 1823-32; and for County Longford, 1837-47 and 1857-61; Lord-Lieutenant of County Longford, 1841-73.

Having succeeded to the Longford estates of his next elder brother, Luke White, in 1854, he was created, in 1863, BARON ANNALY, of Annaly and Rathcline, County Longford.

He married, in 1828, Ellen, daughter of William Soper Dempster, by Hannah, only daughter and heir of John Hamilton Dempster, of Skibo Castle, Sutherland, and had issue,
LUKE, his successor;
Henry;
George Frederick;
Francis Samuel;
Charles William;
Robert;
Eleanor Eliza; Emily Beaujolais.
His lordship died at Sunbury Park, Middlesex, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

LUKE, 2nd Baron (1829-88), KP, who wedded, in 1853, Emily, daughter of James Stuart, and by her had issue, five sons and three daughters.


LUTTRELLSTOWN CASTLE, Clonsilla, County Dublin, dates from the early 15th century (ca 1420).

It has been owned variously by the eponymous and notorious Luttrell family; the bookseller Luke White his descendants the Lords Annaly; the Guinnesses; the Primwest Group; and, since 2006, JP McManus, John Magnier and Aidan Brooks.

The Castle has hosted visits by Queen Victoria in 1844 and 1900, and its media profile was raised when the Beckhams were married there in 1999.

Luttrellstown and its remaining 560-acre demesne currently form a 5-star resort. 

Henry Lawes Luttrell, 2nd Earl of Carhampton, sold Luttrellstown Castle to the publisher Luke White, described as one of the most remarkable men in Ireland.

Luke White changed its name to Woodlands, but his great-grandson, the 3rd Lord Annaly, reverted to Luttrellstown Castle.


In 1778, Luke White started as an impecunious book dealer, buying in Dublin and reselling around the country.

By 1798, during the rebellion, he helped the Irish government with a loan of £1 million (at £65 per £100 share at 5%).

He became MP for Leitrim, and died in 1824 leaving properties worth £175,000 per annum.

An extract from The illustrated London News of 1864 describes a series of festivities at Woodlands, "the beautiful seat of the Rt Hon. Henry White, the newly created Lord Annaly".

These festivities consisted of theatrical and social entertainments.

A new theatre was built especially for the occasion and the festivities lasted for a fort­night.

The plays `Still Waters Run Deep' and `Samuel in Search of Him­self' were performed, and a ball to which `most of the principal families of Dublin and the neighbourhood received invitations', concluded the festivities.

Queen Victoria paid two visits to Luttrellstown: Firstly in 1844, as Her Majesty passed through to visit the Duke of Leinster at Carton; secondly in 1900, when The Queen stayed at Viceregal Lodge.

To commemorate these visits, Lord Annaly erected an obelisk made of six blocks of granite from the Dublin mountains, which together measure 8 feet, 6 inches in height.

It is at the head of the Glen, near the Waterfall, where Her Majesty drank some tea.

Prince von Puckler-Muskau (c1820) remarked,
"The entrance to the demesne is indeed the most delightful in its kind that can be imagined. Scenery, by nature most beautiful, is improved by art to the highest degree of its capability, and, without destroying its free and wild character, a variety and richness of vegetation is produced which enchants the eye. 
Gay shrubs and wild flowers, the softest turf and giant trees, festooned with creeping plants, fill the narrow glen through which the path winds, by the side of the clear, dancing brook, which, falling in little cataracts, flows on, sometimes hidden in the thicket, sometimes resting like liquid silver in an emerald cup, or rushing under overhanging arches of rock, which nature seems to have hung there as triumphal gates for the beneficent Naiad of the valley to pass through."

In the dining-room (above) the architect, Mr Harbord, used the same eagles at Oving House, near Aylesbury, that he incorporated in the plasterwork here.

As a room it succeeds brilliantly. The ceiling is painted by de Wit.


The entrance hall (above) retains its Gothic character of about 1800, but the mantel and black-and- white floor are recent improvements.


It leads on to the staircase hall, which was transformed by Mr Harbord in 1963 when a magnificent painted ceiling by Thornhill, from a house in Suffolk now demolished, was inserted; the staircase and window were altered at the same time.

The far end of the Ballroom opens into the Grisaille Room (above), created to rake the series of nine Grisaille paintings by Peter de Gree, one of which, signed and dated 1788, represents Irish trade and commerce.

The library, in the centre of the south front, was originally the entrance hall and it has an unusual eighteenth century plaster ceiling with bow and arrow in full relief.

he chief glory of the house is the ballroom, which has plaster decoration that could be eighteenth century, but was most likely done for Luke White at the time of his purchase.

The design is unusual and original, and does not fit easily into any particular category of plasterwork; it was probably done by local stuccodores working in a somewhat outdated manner.

It blends in admirably with the Adamesque Grisaille room, and the magnificent dining room, with its plaster birds and painted ceiling.

The Whites were also major landowners in County Longford, with 12,560 acres.

First published in September, 2011.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Hamwood House

THE HAMILTONS OF HAMWOOD OWNED 352 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY MEATH

CHARLES HAMILTON, youngest son of Alexander Hamilton, of Knock, MP for Belfast, 1798, by Isabella, daughter of Robert Maxwell, of Finnebrogue, married Elizabeth, daughter of Crewe Chetwood, of Woodbrook, Queen's County, and had issue,
CHARLES, his heir;
Robert, of Liverpool;
George, of Quebec, and Hawkesbury, Canada;
William Henry;
John, of Liverpool;
Henrietta.
Mr Hamilton died in 1818, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

CHARLES HAMILTON (1772-1857), of Hamwood, County Meath, who wedded, in 1801, Marianne Caroline, daughter of William Tighe MP, of Rossana, County Wicklow, by Sarah his wife, only child of Sir William Fownes Bt, of Woodstock, County Kilkenny, and had issue,
CHARLES WILLIAM, his heir;
William Tighe;
Frederick John Henry Fownes;
Sarah; Mary; Caroline Elizabeth.
Mr Hamilton was succeeded by his eldest son,

CHARLES WILLIAM HAMILTON JP (1802-80), of Hamwood, who espoused, in 1841, Letitia Charlotte, eldest daughter of William Henry Armstrong MP, of Mount Heaton, King's County, and had issue,
CHARLES ROBERT, his heir;
Edward Chetwood;
Arthur, of Hollybrook.
Mr Hamilton was succeeded by his eldest son,

CHARLES ROBERT HAMILTON JP (1846-1913), of Hamwood, who married, in 1874, Louisa Caroline Elizabeth, daughter of Francis Richard Brooke, of Somerton, County Dublin, by his wife, the Hon Henrietta Monck, eldest daughter of 3rd Viscount Monck, and had issue,
Charles George (1875-77);
GERALD FRANCIS CHARLES, of whom hereafter;
Frederick Arthur (1880-1962);
Henry John;
Eva Henrietta; Letitia Marion; Amy Kathleen; Ethel Grace; Constance Louisa; Lilian Mary.
Mr Hamilton was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

GERALD FRANCIS CHARLES HAMILTON JP (1877-1961), of Hamwood, who wedded firstly, in 1911, Violet Travers, daughter of Robert Craigie Hamilton, and had issue,
CHARLES ROBERT FRANCIS, his heir;
Esme Violet; Elizabeth Mary.
He married secondly, in 1949, Rosamund Mary, daughter of Maurice Bauer.

Mr Hamilton was succeeded by his son,

MAJOR CHARLES ROBERT FRANCIS HAMILTON (1918-2005), of Hamwood, who wedded, in 1958, Margaret Anne Lanfear, daughter of Captain Simon Ralph Fane Spicer, and had issue,
CHARLES RALPH, b 1960;
Annabel Honor, b 1959.

HAMWOOD HOUSE, Dunboyne, County Meath, is a small Palladian house of the 1764, with a central block joined to little octagonal ‘pepper-pot’ wings by elegantly curved sweeps.

Unusually, one wing contains the main entrance, since the house (as originally built) was reputedly so cold that the family decided to place the hall door as far away from the main rooms as possible.

The removal of the front entrance from the main block creates an interesting internal arrangement with a double drawing-room, unusual in a house of this size.

There is good late-18th century decoration and an interesting family collection, including the intriguing drawings and paintings of Caroline Hamilton.

Hamwood’s builder, Charles Hamilton, acted as land agent for the Dukes of Leinster whose principal seat, Carton, is nearby; and the Duke generously gave the Hamiltons a present of the impressive fights of granite steps leading to the doors in the end pavilions.

Successive generations of the family acted as the Leinsters' agents until the present owner's husband, Charles Hamilton (1918-2005), retired in the 1970s.

*****

MRS ANNE HAMILTON, Major Charles Hamilton's widow, died suddenly on the 4th December, 2013.

She represented the family at a function in Farmleigh House in 2012 honouring the Irish team at the 1948 Olympics in London.

A relative, Letitia Hamilton, was the only Irish medal-winner at those Games, for her painting of a scene at the Meath Hunt Point-to-Point races. 

Anne Hamilton was born Anne Spicer in Wiltshire, England. Her father, Ralph Spicer, had married Mary Graham, whose family lived at Spye Park, near Bromham, Wiltshire, since 1855.

The Grahams were originally from Lisburn in Northern Ireland, involved in the linen industry.

Anne and her siblings holidays at their grandparents’ place at Sallins every summer, and to escape the rationing and austerity England in the years following the 2nd World War, her mother moved them to Carnew in County Wicklow.

In 1958, Anne married Charles Hamilton, who had served in the 2nd World War.

He was a farm estate manager and they lived in County Galway for a period before returning to Hamwood in 1963, following the death of Charles’ father, who was the land agent at Carton House.

Charles also managed the Slane Castle estate for a period.

At Hamwood, they were involved in bloodstock breeding and a pure-bred Charolais herd.

The gardens were also a great treasure and open to the public.

In an interview for the Irish Life and Lore Collection at South Dublin Libraries, Mrs Hamilton was critical of how the Irish Land Commission had broken up large estates and the manner in which they allowed fine houses to decay.

In recent years, she continued to open the gardens and house at Dunboyne to the public.

Mrs Hamilton was survived by her son, Charles, of London, and Annabel, of Paris, and her sister in County Cork.

Her funeral service took place at St Peter’s parish church, Dunboyne, County Meath, followed by burial in the adjoining graveyard.

Select bibliography: Irish historic Houses Association.

2nd Earl of Gosford

GOVERNOR-GENERAL OF THE CANADAS , 1835-7

THIS IS A GREATLY CONDENSED PIECE: A MORE COMPREHENSIVE VERSION CAN BE READ HERE

THE HON ARCHIBALD ACHESON (1776-1849), second son of Arthur, 1st Earl of Gosford, was born at Markethill, County Armagh.

Having been educated at Christ Church, Oxford, Acheson was MP for County Armagh, 1797-1807.

When he became heir to his father, the 1st Earl, he was styled Viscount Acheson.

Lord Acheson succeeded as 2nd Earl in 1807 and held high office:
    • Lord-Lieutenant of County Armagh, 1831-49;
    • Privy Counsellor, 1834;
    • Captain Yeoman of the Guards, 1834-35;
    • Governor-General of Canada, 1835-37;
    • Vice-Admiral of Ulster;
    • Knight Grand Cross, Order of the Bath (GCB), 1838.
      Lord Gosford's most notable appointment, however, was as Governor-General of Canada.

      This appointment took effect in 1835, when he was Governor-in-Chief of British North America; he was also selected because the ministers hoped that he might be able to apply in Lower Canada the techniques of conciliation that he had employed so successfully in Ireland.


      Following acceptance of the appointment in 1835, Lord Gosford was created Baron Worlingham.

      As a civilian, unlike his predecessors, Gosford was not appointed commander of the forces in the Canadas, but he was given unusually extensive authority over the lieutenant-governors of the neighbouring colonies, who were sent copies of his instructions.

      Gosford assumed control of the government of Lower Canada in 1835.

      Since his predecessor, Lord Aylmer, had become identified with the English, or Constitutionalist, party, Gosford kept his distance from Aylmer until the latter’s departure the following month.

      Subsequently he held a series of lavish dinner parties and balls, at which he established a reputation as a bon vivant and showered his attentions on the leading members of the Patriote party and their wives.

      Gosford was neither the good-natured incompetent nor the “vile hypocrite” that his critics proclaimed.

      He hoped to create in Lower Canada an alliance of moderate politicians from both parties and to hold the balance of power as the Whig administration did in the Kingdom of Ireland between Catholics and Protestants.

      Whig policy there was to distribute patronage to Catholics and liberal Protestants in order to remedy an historic imbalance in the higher levels of the administration. Gosford pursued the same goal.

      He increased appointments of French Canadians to the judiciary and the magistracy, insisted that a chief justice and a commissioner of crown lands should be chosen from among them, and gave them a majority on the Executive Council and a virtual majority on the Legislative Council.

      He substantially increased their numbers holding offices of emolument.

      Moreover, he refused to allow multiple office-holding, to condone nepotism, or to appoint to prominent positions persons known to be antipathetic to them.

      In 1838, Gosford learned that his resignation had been accepted.

      Back in the United Kingdom, he was given a vote of thanks by the Whig ministry and appointed a Knight Grand Cross of the Civil Division of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (GCB) in 1838.

      He did not lose interest in Canada.

      On the appointment of Lord Durham as Governor, he commented that “a more judicious choice could not have been made.”

      He wrote to Lord Durham that the majority of French Canadians had not participated in the rebellion and warned against the English party.

      As Durham’s ethnocentrism became more pronounced, Gosford criticised him bitterly for appointing to office several outspoken opponents of French Canadians.

      Indeed, Gosford blamed the second rebellion, in the autumn of 1838, on Durham’s stupidity, and he was equally critical of Colborne and “those savage Volunteers.”

      During the 1840s his interests again focused on Ireland, where he split with O’Connell over the issue of repeal.

      In his declining years he devoted his primary attention to his estates.

      Gosford had left Lower Canada little loved either by the British minority or by the Patriotes.

      HM  Government ignored his advice and followed the recommendations of Durham, who declared that Gosford was “utterly ignorant . . . of all that was passing around him.”

      Nevertheless, Gosford had shown considerable administrative ability, more political sensitivity than his predecessors, and greater tolerance than his immediate successors.

      His sincerity is unquestionable.

      He probably did as much to limit the severity of the rebellion as it was possible to do, and if Lord Durham had followed his advice, the second rebellion might have been considerably less bloody.

      That Lord Gosford failed to achieve his goals is self-evident; that he ever had a reasonable chance of success is doubtful.

      Town residence ~ 22 Mansfield Street, London.


      First published in December, 2011.   Gosford arms courtesy of European Heraldry.