Tuesday, 23 May 2017

The Bangor Bell

McCance of Knocknagoney

THE BELL of Bangor Abbey, County Down, dating from 825AD, was reputedly found at the Abbey ca 1780, and it is speculated that it had been hidden at the time of the Viking attacks on Irish monasteries.

It was in private hands for some 150 years, and then housed in the Ulster Museum before coming to Bangor Borough Council in the 1950s.

The cast-iron bronze bell would have been used to call the monks to prayer.


THIS Bell was in the possession of Lieutenant-Colonel John McCance (1843-1922), of Knocknagoney House, near Holywood, County Down, whose great-grandfather found it in the ruins of the Abbey.

Knocknagoney House

In the historic Ulster Journal of Archæology it was recorded that
"this bell was found in the ruins of the abbey about sixty years ago" (last decade of the 18th century) and was in 1853 in possession of Dr Stephenson, of Belfast." 
The Bell has been at North Down Museum, Bangor, since 1984.

It shows the flowering of Irish Christian civilisation which was set back by the pagan Viking attacks.

The bell would have been used to call the monks to prayer.

First published in June, 2015. 

Monday, 22 May 2017

Thomas A Hope

THOMAS ARTHUR HOPE WAS A MAJOR LANDOWNER IN COUNTY TYRONE, WITH 14,006 ACRES

JOHN HOPE, of Hopefold, Astley Green, Lancashire, was father of

PETER HOPE (1671-1741), who married Hannah Kirkman, and had a son,

SAMUEL HOPE (1709-81), who wedded firstly, Amy Venables; and secondly, Martha Hepworth, by whom he had issue,

WILLIAM HOPE (1751-1827), of Liverpool, who married, in 1779, Mary, daughter of Robert Jones, of Liverpool (both of whom were buried at the Necropolis, Liverpool), and had issue,
William;
SAMUEL, of whom presently;
Joseph Walley;
Maria.
The second son,

SAMUEL HOPE JP (1781-1837), of Liverpool, Banker, wedded, in 1816, Rebekah, daughter of Thomas Bateman, of Middleton Hall, Derbyshire, and had issue,
THOMAS ARTHUR, of whom presently;
William Carey;
Samuel Pearce.
The eldest son,

THOMAS ARTHUR HOPE JP (1817-97), of 14 Airlie Gardens, Kensington, formerly of Stanton, Bebington, Cheshire, married, in 1839, Emily, youngest daughter of Christopher Hird Jones, of Liverpool, and had numerous issue.

*****

THE HOPES were a large, wealthy and well connected family of Liverpool bankers and landowners.

Samuel Hope was a Liberal non-conformist, noted for his philanthropic work in the city.

His son, Thomas Arthur Hope, and his wife, Emily Hird Jones, had thirteen children.

The family owned land in Cheshire, Flintshire and County Tyrone.

They lived in a succession of properties in Liverpool, the Wirral and London.

They are known to have associated with other prominent Liberal families including the Rathbones of Liverpool and the Gregs of Styal in Cheshire. 

The famous Hope Collection can be seen at the Lady Lever Art Gallery in Liverpool. The Hopes were wealthy bankers: Thomas Hope, born in 1769.
The Rt Hon Sir Alexander James Beresford Hope was married to the Hon Louisa Beresford, daughter of William, 1st Lord Decies (3rd son of 1st Earl of Tyrone).

First published in December, 2009.

Baron's Coronet

The coronet of a baron is a circlet of silver-gilt, bordered with ermine, with six balls (known as pearls) set at equal distances.

It has a crimson cap with a a gold-threaded tassel on top.

The six large pearls distinguish the coronet of a baron (the lowest degree in the nobility) from the four other ranks of the peerage.

Like all coronets, it is customarily worn at coronations, though a baron is entitled to bear his coronet of rank on his armorial bearings, above the shield.


A smaller version, shown above, as worn by baronesses at coronations, sits on top of the head, rather than around it. 

First published in May, 2010.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Ballinacor House

THE KEMMIS FAMILY WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY WICKLOW, WITH 8,041 ACRES 

WILLIAM KEMMIS (1777-1864), of Ballinacor, County Wicklow, and Killeen, Queen's County, Crown and Treasury Solicitor for Ireland (see KEMMIS of Shaen), espoused, in 1805, Ellen, second daughter of Nicholas Southcote Mansergh JP, of Greenane, County Tipperary, and had issue,
WILLIAM GILBERT;
Thomas;
George (Rev);
Richard;
James;
Elizabeth.
Mr Kemmis was succeeded by his son,

WILLIAM GILBERT KEMMIS JP DL (1806-81), of Ballinacor and Ballycarroll, who died unmarried, when he was succeeded by his nephew,

COLONEL WILLIAM KEMMIS JP DL (1836-1900), of Ballinacor and Ballycarroll, Royal Artillery, who wedded, in 1862, Ellen Gertrude de Horne Christy, eldest daughter of George Steinman Steinman, FSA, of Sundridge, Kent, and left issue,
WILLIAM HENRY OLPHERT, his heir;
Marcus Steinman (Rev);
Lewis George Nicholas;
Edward Bernhard;
Gilbert (Rev).
Colonel Kemmis was succeeded by his eldest son, 

WILLIAM HENRY OLPHERT KEMMIS JP DL (1864-1939), of Ballinacor, High Sheriff, 1904, Lieutenant-Colonel Commanding, Wicklow Royal Garrison Artillery, who espoused, in 1888, Francis Maude, second daughter of the Rev Charles Beauclerk, Chaplain of Holy Trinity Church, Boulogne, France, and had issue,
WILLIAM DARRYL OLPHERT;
Thomas Steinman;
Karolie Kathleen.
The eldest son,

CAPTAIN WILLIAM DARRYL OLPHERT KEMMIS MC (1892-1965), Inniskilling Dragoons.

When Captain Kemmis died in 1965, Ballinacor was inherited by his maternal cousin, Lieutenant-Colonel Richard Lomer.


BALLINACOR HOUSE, Rathdrum, County Wicklow, is a two-storey, late 18th century house, enlarged, re-faced and re-roofed in the 19th century.

It has a three-bay entrance front with an Ionic portico.

The end elevation has six bays, three of which are in a shallow, curved bow.

There is a gabled office wing with an adjacent conservatory; an Italianate campanile at the junction of the main block and wing.

The clock has been said to keep time for the surrounding countryside.

The entrance hall is stone-flagged, with a plasterwork Victorian cornice; a large, top-lit, two-storey hall with oval lantern; oval gallery with iron balustrade.

The demesne is said to be magnificent, with wooded hills topped by high mountains; a mile-long oak walk; and a mile-long avenue from the front gate to the house, bordered by rhododendrons and firs.

There is a deer-park and the River Avonbeg flows by with abundant cascades and gorges.

*****

THE PRESENT owners, Sir Robert and Lady Goff, bought Ballinacor Estate in 2001 as a working farm and shoot.

The house underwent an extensive renovation and modernisation project, which was completed in 2009.

This renovation was sympathetic to the time in which the house was built and is furnished appropriately.

The estate has a strong tradition of driven shooting and has game records going back well over a century.

Grouse were previously shot on the estate, and it is hoped to revive the moor in future years.

First published in May, 2013.

Prince of Wales's Coronet

The coronet of the Prince of Wales, or, more properly, the demi-crown of the Heir Apparent to the throne is composed of a circle of gold; on the edge, four crosses patée, between as many fleurs-de-lis; from the two centre crosses, an arch, surmounted with a mound and cross, the whole richly chased and adorned with pearls; within the coronet, a crimson cap, lined with white sarsnet, and turned up with ermine.

The original coronet of this design forms part of the crown jewels exhibited at the Tower of London.

The royal coronet made for Frederick, Prince of Wales, in 1728, is a golden diadem, the band decorated with embossed jewel-like lozenges and ovals with foliate surrounds, on a matted ground, between rows of gold pearls.

Royal Collection © HM Queen Elizabeth II

Above the band are four gold crosses-pattée and four fleurs-de-lis, partly matted and chased.

The single arch dips deeply in the centre and supports a monde with gold pearls and a cross above, fitted with a purple velvet cap and ermine band.


The Investiture Coronet of the present Prince of Wales was designed by the architect and goldsmith Louis Osman (1914-96) and given to HM The Queen by the Goldsmith’s Company for His Royal Highness's Investiture at Carnarvon Castle, 1969.

It is 24 carat gold, with four crosses-pattée and four fleur-de-Lys made from a nugget of Welsh gold, reinforced with platinum and decorated with diamonds and emeralds. The orb mounted on the top of the arch was engraved by Malcolm Appleby with The Prince of Wales’s insignia.

This is surrounded by thirteen diamonds arranged as the constellation of Scorpio, The Prince of Wales’s star sign. The diamonds set horizontally represent the seven Gifts of God on one side and the seven deadly sins on the other.
First published in June, 2013.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Belfast Fishmongers

In 1974, there were no less than fifty-two merchants in Belfast who were classified as Fishmongers:
  1. Adams, T, 24 Bromley Street
  2. Bon-Accord, 169 Victoria Street
  3. Boyle, F, 169 Divis Street
  4. Campbell, T, 332 Woodstock Road
  5. Christie, J, 32 Belmont Road
  6. Christie, Walter, 94 York Road
  7. Coulter, J, 162 Crumlin Road
  8. Crawford, John, 34 Botanic Avenue
  9. Crawford, William, 239-241 Cliftonville Road
  10. Crawford's, 2-4 Westland Road
  11. Curran, J, 241 Grosvenor Road
  12. Davey, Robertina, 849 Crumlin Road
  13. Dickson, John, 122 Oldpark Road
  14. Donnelly, T, 62 Knockbreda Road
  15. Duffy, John, 43 Bradbury Place
  16. Dungannon Stores, 145 Upper Lisburn road
  17. Eagle, The, 233d North Queen Street & 171 Shankill Rd
  18. Ewing, J, 32 Gilnahirk Road
  19. Ewing, M & H, 124 Shankill Road
  20. Ewing, Walter, 11 Oldpark Road
  21. Ewing, William, 427 Lisburn road
  22. Fitzsimmons & Son, 261 Upper Newtownards Road
  23. Fitzsimmons, James, 431 Upper Newtownards Road
  24. Frizzell, 273 Shankill Road
  25. Gillespie, JH, 223 Woodstock Rd & 138 Ravenhill Rd
  26. Gillespie, W, 252 Newtownards Road
  27. Gilroy, George, 66-72 Ann Street
  28. Hanlon, Archer, 14 Woodvale Road
  29. James, H, 112 Albertbridge Road
  30. Johnston, James A, 23 Castlereagh Road
  31. Kingham, Thomas, 76 Shore Road
  32. Larmour, A, 249 North Queen Street
  33. Loughran, J & Sons, 137 Antrim Road
  34. Magill, Mrs M, 183 Newtownards Road
  35. Marquis, The, 91 Castle Street & 2 Marquis Street
  36. Mayne, N, 393 Ormeau Road
  37. Moss, R, 67 Ormeau Road
  38. McAreavy's, 242 Springfield Road
  39. McCrory, Edward, 146 Castlereagh Road
  40. McCusker, John, 295 Grosvenor Road
  41. McGonigle & Malcolm, 14 Upper Newtownards Road
  42. McNeill, FG, 5 Ardoyne Road
  43. Nightingale, Thomas, 79 Castlereagh Road
  44. McTeggart, Mrs C, 68-78 Oxford Street
  45. McVeigh, J, 83 Newtownards Road
  46. O'Connor, A, 374 Crumlin Road
  47. Quinn, Hugh, 68-78 Oxford Street
  48. Rogan, Patrick, 792 Shore Road
  49. Ross, John & Sons, 68-78 Oxford Street
  50. Sawers Ltd, 24-38 Castle Street & 15 Fountain Street
  51. Somerville, H, 112 Bloomfield Avenue
  52. Stewart, WH, 307 Springfield Road

Belmont Tower

BELMONT TOWER, as it is now known, is a two-storey five-bay former schoolhouse situated at the corner of Belmont Road and Belmont Church Road, Belfast.

The building was constructed between 1889 and 1892.

Before 1889, Belmont Primary School had been located in the grounds of Belmont Presbyterian Church, in a schoolhouse first opened in 1863.

The school continued to meet at the church site for over 25 years until the erection of the present building.

The architect of the new school was Vincent Craig (1869-1925), a local architect who was articled to W H Lynn between 1885-89, and who was the younger brother of the Rt Hon Sir James Craig Bt (the first Prime Minister of Northern Ireland).

Belmont Primary School was built in the Gothic-Revival style, and locally quarried Scrabo sandstone was used in the masonry of the building with Locharbriggs sandstone as a secondary material.

The construction of the school was undertaken by the local building firm of Dixon & Campbell.

Belmont Primary School is said to have been erected in memory of Mrs Mary Ferguson, of Sydenham House.

Following her death in 1888, Mrs Ferguson's widower, Robert Ferguson, donated £1,000 to the Belmont Presbyterian Church Committee in order to ‘build and furnish a school and enclose the ground as a memorial to my dear wife and to be named as such.’

Robert Ferguson, of Sydenham House, Strandtown, was a prosperous merchant and businessman who co-owned Robertson, Ledlie, Ferguson and Company.

The school was originally known as The Ferguson Memorial School and was administered under the state-managed National School System until after the partition of Ireland in 1922.

The Belmont Tower website states that the old school was originally divided between its two storeys: the boy’s school occupied the ground floor; whilst the girls school utilised the upper floor of the building.

The southern extension of the school was added in 1910 by a local architect, Thomas Houston (1873-1938).

The Ferguson Memorial School continued to be administered by the National School System until partition.

In 1926, the school came under the auspices of Belfast Corporation’s Education Committee, and consequently the school was renamed Belmont Public Elementary School.

Belmont Public Elementary School was sold to the Belfast Education and Library Board in 1975 and was listed in the following year.

By 1994, the condition of the building had deteriorated to a point where Belfast City Council did not consider refurbishment to be economically viable, and the building was declared redundant in May, 1999.

Staff and pupils moved to a brand new school that was built in the grounds.

Nevertheless, local residents, many of whom were also parents of children at the school, were concerned for the future of the school building and established the Old Belmont School Preservation Trust in May, 2001.

The National Trust subsequently acquired the building.

Work began to restore the fabric and introduce 21st century facilities, for various community uses such as a pre-school play group, coffee shop, function and meeting rooms.


Belmont Tower was officially opened by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales in September, 2004.


BELMONT TOWER, Belmont Road, Belfast, is today used for small conferences, seminars, "away days", staff assessment centres, training, exhibitions, product launches, breakfast, lunch and dinner meetings, business networking, board and committee meetings, and receptions.

There is a café upstairs.

This was my primary school in the 1960s: Miss McMinnis was the headmistress; and Miss Cartright - aka Cartyballs -  zealously banged children's heads together when she felt so inclined.


Little bottles of milk (1⁄3 of a pint, I think) were delivered in a metal crate for us every day.

First published in April, 2013.