Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Kearney Visit

I've spent a glorious day at the National Trust's 19th century fishing village of Kearney, County Down.

It is not far from the tip of the Ards Peninsula.

Portaferry, due west, is the closest town.

The sun shone all day and temperatures must surely have been close to 20c.

There were about ten of us today.

We were painting traditional County Down gates.

At lunch-time we settled at a pleasant spot on the shore and basked in the sunshine.

Lissadell House

THE GORE-BOOTH BARONETS WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY SLIGO, WITH 31,774 ACRES


This family is a branch of the house of GORE, of Manor Gore, baronets, springing from

SIR FRANCIS GORE, Knight, of Artarman, County Sligo (fourth son of Sir Paul Gore Bt, of Manor Gore, and brother of Sir Arthur Gore, ancestor of the Earls of Arran).

Sir Francis wedded Anne, daughter and heiress of Robert Parke, of Newtown, County Leitrim, and by her had issue,
ROBERT, his heir;
Paul;
Francis;
Ralph, Lord Mayor of Dublin, 1715;
Charles;
William;
Arthur;
Henry;
Richard;
Isabella; Mary; Anne; Elizabeth.
The eldest son,

SIR ROBERT GORE, knight, of Newtown, who married, in 1678, Frances, daughter of Sir Thomas Newcomen, knight, of Sutton, County Dublin, had, with seven sons, four daughters:
Catherine;
Frances;
Anne;
Mary.
Sir Robert was succeeded at his decease, in 1705, by his eldest surviving son,

NATHANIEL GORE, of Artarman and of Newtown Gore, who wedded, in 1711, Lettice, only daughter and heiress of Humphrey Booth, of Dublin, by whom he had two sons and three daughters, viz.
BOOTH, his heir;
John;
Letitia, Mrs French;
Angel Catherine, Mrs Dawson;
Frances.
Mr Gore was succeeded by his eldest son,

BOOTH GORE (1712-73), of Lissadell, County Sligo, who was created a baronet in 1760.

Sir Booth married Emily, daughter of Brabazon Newcomen, of County Carlow, by whom he had two sons and a daughter.

He died in 1773, and was succeeded by his elder son,

SIR BOOTH GORE, 2nd Baronet, of Lissadell, and of Huntercombe House, Buckinghamshire; at whose decease, unmarried, in 1804, the title devolved upon his only brother,

SIR ROBERT GORE, 3rd Baronet, who assumed, by sign manual, in 1804, the additional surname and arms of BOOTH.

This gentleman married a daughter of Henry Irwin, of Streamstown, County Sligo, and had issue,
ROBERT, his heir;
Henry;
Anne.
He was succeeded by his elder son,

SIR ROBERT GORE-BOOTH, 4th Baronet (1805-76), of Lissadell, who espoused, in 1827, Caroline, second daughter of Robert, 1st Viscount Lorton, by whom he had no issue.

He married secondly, in 1830, Caroline Susan, second daughter of Thomas Goold, of Dublin, a master in Chancery.
The Lissadell Papers are deposited at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland.


LISSADELL HOUSE, near Ballinful, County Sligo, was built in 1836,in the Neo-Classical Greek Revival style.

It stands grey and austere on an eminence overlooking Sligo Bay, and at the foot of the magnificent Ben Bulben.

There are no outbuildings to mar the simple, classical lines, and likewise no attics.

The outbuildings are connected to the house by a service tunnel which runs from a sunken courtyard to the avenue and stable yard, and staff quarters are in the basement.

The limestone was quarried locally at Ballisodare (location of Yeats’ Salley Gardens).

Francis Goodwin was so proud of his design that it featured in his book Domestic Architecture (on display in the Gallery), the only private residence to do so.


The entrance to the house is by the Porte Cochère, through which Ben Bulben is framed.

The house faces Knocknarea, “That cairn heaped grassy hill where passionate Maeve is stony still”, and has magnificent views over Sligo Bay.

Inside, the house is full of light and brightness – in the gallery, the bow-room, on the Great Staircase, and in the drawing-room.

The drawing-room has stunning views of Ben Bulben, Knocknarea and Sligo Bay, and is now home to a remarkable series of AE paintings, and paintings by Paul Henry, Jack B. Yeats, Sir John Lavery, Walter Osborne, John Butler Yeats, Percy French and Humbert Craig.

The bow-room has a wonderful collection of Regency books, reflecting the tastes of Caroline Susan Goold, who married Sir Robert in 1830.

The bow-room, and a small suite of rooms behind, later served as the main living and sleeping rooms of the family of Gore-Booth siblings living in near poverty in the 1960s and 70s, when the remainder of the house was uninhabited.

The gallery, formerly the music-room, has remarkable acoustics.

It is oval in shape, lit by a clerestory and skylights and is 65 feet in length.

It still has its original Gothic Chamber Organ made by Hull of Dublin in 1812, and also a walnut full size 1820 Grand Piano.

The Gallery is famous for two superb suites of Grecian gasoliers by William Collins, a chandelier maker of the Regency period.

The gasoliers were lit by a gasometer on the estate and as late as 1846 Lissadell was the only country mansion in Ireland lighted with gas generated locally at its own purpose built gasometer.

The images on the dining-room pilasters were painted in 1908 by Casimir Markievicz, husband to Constance Gore-Booth.

The ante-room was a favourite room of Constance Gore-Booth, and was known as her ‘den’. Indeed she has engraved her name on one of the windowpanes.

This room is now home to many of her artistic works, including her sketch of the painter Sarah Purser, and her drawings of Molly Malone.

The billiards-room contains the memorabilia collected by Sir Henry, 5th Baronet.

The basement includes the servants’ hall, butler's pantry, kitchen and pantries, the bakery, wine-cellars, china room, butler's bedroom, housekeeper's room, and the maids' sleeping quarters.

In 2003, Lissadell House was put up for sale by the then owner, Sir Josslyn Gore-Booth (a grand-nephew of the original Josslyn Gore-Booth), for €3 million.

Despite celebrities showing an interest in the property, it was hoped that it would be purchased by the Irish state.

The Lissadell estate is now the home of Edward Walsh, his wife Constance Cassidy and their seven children.
Writing about Lissadell for the Sunday Times forty years ago the BBC's Anne Robinson ('The Weakest Link') observed that "the garden is overgrown, the greenhouses are shattered and empty, the stables beyond repair, the roof of the main block leaks badly and the paintings show patches of mildew".
After 60 years of neglect an intensive programme of restoration - without any public funding - has taken place in the House, Gardens, Stable Block and grounds since 2004 and Lissadell is once again a place of beauty. Click here for the text of Anne Robinson's article.

No grants of any kind were made in respect of any part of the restoration, either for the house, the gardens or any part of the grounds.

The new owners' vision was to transform the estate into a flagship for tourism in County Sligo and the north-west of Ireland, whilst providing a secure environment for their children and for visitors.

They have stated that did not wish to exploit Lissadell commercially but to restore the house and gardens to their former glory, make Lissadell self-sustaining and protect this crucible of Ireland's historic and literary heritage.

Other former seats ~ Huntercombe, Buckinghamshire; and Salford, Lancashire.

First published in October, 2013. Select bibliography: LISSADELL HOUSE AND GARDENS WEBSITE.   Gore-Booth arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Cloverhill House

THE FAMILY OF SANDERSON OWNED 2,560 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY CAVAN

JAMES SANDERSON, of Cloverhill, alias Drumcassidy, County Cavan, son of Alexander Sanderson, and nephew of Colonel Robert Sanderson, of Castle Saunderson, was MP for Enniskillen for thirty years, during the reign of GEORGE II.

Mr Sanderson was High Sheriff of County Cavan in 1732.

He married Maria, daughter of Colonel Brockhill Newburgh, of Ballyhaise, County Cavan, and had issue,
ALEXANDER, his heir;
Francis (Rev);
Robert;
Mary, m Charles Atkinson.
Mr Sanderson, whose will was proved in 1768, was succeeded by his eldest son,

ALEXANDER SANDERSON, of Cloverhill, who wedded Lucy, daughter of the Rev Samuel Madden DD, of Manor Water House, Galloon, County Fermanagh, "Premium Madden," and had issue,
JAMES, his successor;
Lucy;
Mary; Charlotte.
Mr Sanderson's will was proved in 1787, and he was succeeded by his only son,

JAMES SANDERSON JP DL, of Cloverhill, who married Elizabeth, daughter of Isaac Walker, of Newry, and had four daughters,
Mary Anne, d unm. 1873;
Lucy, m 1826, Samuel Winter, of Agher, Co Meath; mother of SAMUEL SANDERSON;
Elizabeth;
Frances Alexandrina, m 1830, Richard Winter Reynell, of Killyon, Co Westmeath.
Mr Sanderson died suddenly in 1831 as the result of a tragic carriage accident and was succeeded by his sister,

MARY ANNE SANDERSON, during which period the Cloverhill estate was managed by her agent. 
Miss Sanderson built a chapel of ease (St John's) at the entrance to Cloverhill demesne in memory of her late father, which was consecrated in 1860. During her time, the post office was also built.
The Sanderson connection with what is now known as The Olde Post Inn is not mentioned in its history by the present proprietors. 

Dying in 1873, Miss Sanderson was succeeded by her nephew,  

SAMUEL WINTER SANDERSON JP DL (1834-1912), of Cloverhill, High Sheriff, 1876, who married, in 1860, Anne, daughter of John Armytage Nicholson, of Balrath, County Meath.

Mr Sanderson, second surviving son of the late Samuel Winter, of Agher, assumed the name and arms of SANDERSON quarterly with those of Winter, in 1873.

He was succeeded by his nephew,

MAJOR JOHN JAMES PURDON JP, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, born in 1855; who was succeeded by his nephew,

MAJOR JOHN NUGENT PURDON OBE, who sold Cloverhill demesne ca 1958 to Mr Thomas Mee. 

CLOVERHILL HOUSE, near Belturbet, County Cavan, is a three-storey edifice built for James Sanderson, to the designs of Francis Johnston.


The original block was built in 1758; followed in 1799-1802 by a greatly-enlarged addition to the east.

The top storey is concealed in the front, of three bays, the centre bay breaking forward.

There was a single-storey Ionic portico, though this was removed ca 1993 and re-erected at a house in County Wexford.


There is a wide, curved bow at one side, with Wyatt windows; and a bow-ended drawing-room.


The main entrance of the demesne boasts a plain, though noble, triumphal arch of ca 1800.


Further along the main avenue is the two-storey Red Lodge (the steward's lodge) which, as the name suggests, is a red brick house with timbered oriel dormers and an open porch.


The North Lodge of ca 1837 has been attributed to Edward Blore.

I visited Cloverhill in August, 2013.   I am grateful to Henry Skeath for his invaluable assistance in compiling this article.

Monday, 28 September 2015

Strokestown Park

THE FAMILY OF PAKENHAM-MAHON WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY ROSCOMMON, WITH 26,980 ACRES.

CAPTAIN NICHOLAS MAHON, an officer in CHARLES I's army, who was distinguished for his loyalty in the civil wars, married Magdalene, daughter of Arthur French, of Movilla Castle, County Galway,
Captain Mahon was granted Strokestown as a royal deer park, as one of the '49 officers. He was a captain in the Royalist Army, distinguished for his loyalty to the two CHARLESES, having fought in the English Civil War. He was High Sheriff of County Roscommon, 1664-76.
By his wife Captain Mahon had issue,
JOHN, his heir;
Peter (Very Rev), Dean of Elphin;
Nicholas.
Captain Mahon died in 1680, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN MAHON, who wedded, in 1697, Eleanor, daughter of Sir Thomas Butler Bt, and was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

THOMAS MAHON MP (1701-82), MP for the borough of Roscommon, 1739-63, and for the county, 1763-82. He was 42 years in the Irish parliament, and was Father of the House.

Mr Mahon wedded, in 1735, Jane, eldest daughter of Maurice, 1st Baron Brandon, and sister of William, 1st Earl of Glandore (by Lady Anne Fitzmaurice, his wife, eldest daughter of Thomas, Earl of Kerry, and sister to John, Earl of Shelburne, father of William, 1st Marquess of Lansdowne KG), and had issue,
MAURICE, his heir;
Thomas (Rev);
Anne; Jane; Theodosia.
He was succeeded by his elder son,

MAURICE MAHON MP (1738-1819), was elevated to the peerage, in 1800, as BARON HARTLAND, of Strokestown, County Roscommon.

He wedded, in 1765, Catherine, daughter of Stephen, 1st Viscount Mount Cashell, by whom he had issue,
THOMAS, his heir;
Stephen, Lieutenant-General, d 1828;
MAURICE, heir to his brother.
Lord Hartland was succeeded by his eldest son,

THOMAS, 2nd Baron (1766-1835), a lieutenant-general in the army, who espoused, in 1811, Catherine, daughter of James Topping, of Whatcroft Hall, Cheshire; but dsp in 1835, and was succeeded by his only surviving brother,

MAURICE, 3rd Baron (1772-1845), in holy orders, who married, in 1813, Isabella Jane, daughter of William Hume MP, of Humewood; but dsp in 1845.

His cousin and heir,

MAJOR DENIS MAHON (1787-1847), of Strokestown, wedded, in 1822, Henrietta, daughter of the Rt Rev Henry Bathurst, Lord Bishop of Norwich.

Major Mahon was barbarously murdered in 1847, leaving issue, THOMAS, born in 1831, who died unmarried; and

GRACE CATHERINE MAHON, of Strokestown House, who espoused, in 1847, HENRY SANDFORD PAKENHAM JP DL, eldest son of the Hon and Very Rev Henry Pakenham, Dean of St Patrick's, by Elizabeth his wife, niece and co-heir of Henry, 2nd Baron Mount Sandford

He assumed, by royal licence, the additional surname and arms of MAHON, and died in 1893 leaving issue,
HENRY, his heir;
Henrietta Grace; Florence; Maud.
Their only son,

HENRY PAKENHAM-MAHON JP DL (1851-1922), of Strokestown Park, married, in 1890, May, only daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel Sidney Burrard, Grenadier Guards, and had issue,

OLIVE HALES-PAKENHAM-MAHON, born in 1894, who married firstly, Captain Edward Charles Stafford-King-Harman, son of the Rt Hon Sir Thomas Joseph Stafford Bt, in 1914; and secondly, in 1921, Wilfred Stuart Atherstone, son of Colonel Herbert Marwick Atherstone Hales.

Her younger son,

LIEUTENANT-COLONEL NICHOLAS HALES-PAKENHAM-MAHON (1926-2012), was raised on the family's Roscommon estate and educated by a governess until he went to Winchester College.
Because of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, where he had served in Londonderry during the rioting of the early 1970s as in the Grenadier Guards, he knew that he could not return to claim his inheritance of Strokestown House because his ancestry was known to IRA intelligence.

As heir to the property he convinced his ailing parents to sell the Palladian mansion, which was then in a bad sate of repair, in 1979 to Jim Callery of the Westward Garage group based in Strokestown.
Strokestown Park now houses the National Irish Famine Museum.

The Ordnance Survey Field Name Books record Thomas Conry as agent to Lord Hartland.
In the 1850s Henry Sandford Pakenham-Mahon held land in the County Roscommon parishes of Dysart, barony of Athlone, Kilglass and Kilmore, barony of Ballintober North, Kilbride, Kilgefin, barony of Ballintober South, Cloonfinlough, Bumlin, Aughrim, Elphin, Kilbride, Kiltrustan, Lissonuffy, barony of Roscommon.
Over 8,600 acres of the Mahon estate was vested in the Congested Districts' Board in 1911-12.


STROKESTOWN PARK, Strokestown, County Roscommon,  was built by Thomas Mahon MP (1701-82) on lands which had been granted to his grandfather, Nicholas, in the latter half of the 17th century.

The family continued its association with Strokestown until 1979, when, eight generations later, Mrs Olive Hales-Pakenham-Mahon moved to a nursing home in England, at the age of eighty-seven.

Bence-Jones states that the mansion consists of a centre block and wings, in the Palladian manner, the centre block being mainly 17th century and finished in 1696; though altered and re-faced during the late-Georgian era.

It consists of three storeys over a basement and seven bays. There is a fanlighted doorway under a single-storey, balustraded Ionic portico.

The wings are of two storeys and four bays, joined to the central block by curved sweeps as high as they are themselves; possibly added ca 1730.  One wing contains a splendid stable and vaulting carried on a row of Tuscan columns.

One addition at the rear of the mansion is a magnificent library with a coved ceiling and original 19th century wallpaper of great beauty.

The entrance to the demesne is a tall Georgian-Gothic arch at the end of the tree-lined street of the town, one the Ireland's widest main streets. Apparently the 2nd Lord Hartland intended to create a street wider even than the Ringstrasse in Vienna.

Strokestown's main street is the second-widest street in Ireland, after Sackville Street - now called O'Connell Street - in Dublin.

The initial intention of Westward Garage was to keep the few acres they needed to expand their business and to sell on the remainder of the estate to recoup their finances. At that stage Westward was a young emerging company, with limited cash resources.


However, when they spent some time in the house and saw what was there, they decided that Strokestown Park was far too important from a heritage point of view to risk losing it.

They negotiated a deal with the Mahon family to ensure that virtually all of the original furnishings would remain at Strokestown Park.

They also pleaded with the family to leave behind the documents that remained in the estate office. By doing so they had ensured the salvation of a huge part of the heritage of County Roscommon, particularly relating to the Irish famine.

The first public role for the house was when it was used for the making of the film ‘Anne Devlin’, based on the 1798 Irish Rising, in 1984.

What then followed was a restoration project of such enthusiasm and energy that it was to be acknowledged as the single best private restoration in the history of the Irish state.

The house was opened to the public in 1987 and is "unique" in that it affords visitors the opportunity to browse through the public rooms on professionally guided tours, surrounded by the original furnishings of the house.

The House is unchanged from the time when the Mahons lived there, as evidenced by photographs which can be seen in the house.

Strokestown Park is now open to the public as a visitor attraction.

Former town residence ~ 35 St George's Road, Eccleston Square, London.

First published in October, 2011.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Judicial Appointment

THE QUEEN has been pleased to approve that the honour of Knighthood be conferred upon Adrian George Patrick Colton, QC, on his appointment as a Justice of the High Court.

The Hon Mr Justice Colton was called to the Bar of Northern Ireland in 1983, and took Silk in 2006.

Friday, 25 September 2015

Mystery House

Do any readers recognize this house?

The image shows a wedding party with members of the Silcock family.

The Silcock residence was once Marybrook House, near Crossgar, County Down.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Rockingham House

THE FAMILY OF KING-HARMAN WERE THE SECOND LARGEST LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY ROSCOMMON, WITH 29,242  ACRES

NICHOLAS HARMAN, of Carlow, settled in Ireland during the reign of JAMES I.
He was one of the first burgesses of Carlow, named in the charter granted to that borough by JAMES I in 1614, and was High Sheriff of County Carlow in 1619.
By Mary his wife he was father of 

HENRY HARMAN, of Dublin, who had by Marie his wife, five sons and as many daughters, viz.
Edward;
Anthony, dsp before 1684;
THOMASof whom hereafter;
William;
Henry;
Anne; Mary; Jane;
Margaret; Mabel.
Mr Harman died before 1649, and was succeeded by his third son, 

SIR THOMAS HARMAN, Knight, of Athy,
knighted by the Lord Deputy of Ireland, Thomas, Earl of Ossory, in 1664; major in the army, 1661;  MP for counties Carlow and Kildare. He obtained a grant of considerable estates in County Longford, under the Act of Settlement, dated 1607.
He married Anne Jones.

Sir Thomas died in 1667, and they were both buried in Christ Church, Dublin, having had issue, with a daughter, Mary, a son,

WENTWORTH HARMAN, of Castle Roe, County Carlow, a captain of the Battle-Axe Guards in 1683, who wedded firstly, in 1679, Margaret, daughter of Garrett Wellesley, of Dangan, and by her had issue, with one daughter, two sons, namely,
Thomas, 1681, dsp;
WENTWORTHof whom hereafter.
Mr Harman married secondly, in 1691, Frances, sister and heir of Anthony Sheppard, of Newcastle, County Longford, by whom he had further issue,
ROBERTsuccessor to his nephew;
Francis, died 1714;
Anthony;
William;
CUTTS (Very Rev), successor to his brother;
ANNESir Anthony Parsons Bt, of Birr Castle.
Mr Harman died in 1714, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

WENTWORTH HARMAN LL.D, of Moyne, County Carlow, who espoused, in 1714, Lucy, daughter of Audley Mervyn, of Trillick, County Tyrone, and sister and heir of Henry Mervyn, of same place, by whom he had issue,
WESLEYhis heir;
Thomas.
Mr Harman died in 1757, when he was succeeded by his eldest son,

WESLEY HARMAN, of Moyle, who wedded Mary, daughter of the Rev Nicholas Milley DD, prebendary of Ullard, Diocese of Leighlin, by whom he had an only son,
Wentworth, who dsp in his father's lifetime.
Mr Harman died in 1758, and was succeeded by his uncle,

ROBERT HARMAN (1699-1765), of Newcastle, County Longford, and Millicent, County Kildare, MP for Co Kildare, 1755, and County Longford, 1761.

He married Ann, daughter of John Warburton, third son of George Warburton, of Garryhinch, in the King's County, and dsp 1765, when he was succeeded by his only surviving brother,

THE VERY REV CUTTS HARMAN (1706-84), of Newcastle, Dean of Waterford; presented to the Deanery, 1759.

He wedded , in 1751, Bridget, daughter of George Gore,of Tenelick, County Longford, Justice of the Court of Common Pleas in Ireland, and sister of John, Lord Annaly, by whom he had no issue.

The Dean presented to his cathedral the very fine organ which it possesses.

He died in 1784, and bequeathed his estates to his nephew, the son of his sister ANNE, who espoused, as above, Sir Lawrence Parsons.

LAWRENCE PARSONS-HARMAN (1749-1807), of Newcastle, MP for County Longford, assumed the additional surname of HARMAN in 1792, on succeeding to his uncle's estates.

He married, in 1772, Lady Jane King, daughter of Edward, 1st Earl of Kingston, by whom he had an only daughter,
FRANCESof whom hereafter.
Mr Parsons-Harman was created, in 1792, Lord Oxmantown; and in 1806, advanced to the dignity of an earldom, as EARL OF ROSSE, with special remainder, in default of male issue, to his nephew, Sir Lawrence Parsons, 5th Baronet, of Birr Castle.

His lordship died in 1807, when his peerage passed, according to the limitation, and his Harman estates devolved upon his only daughter and heir,

LADY FRANCES PARSONS-HARMAN, of Newcastle, who married, in 1799, Robert Edward, 1st Viscount Lorton, in 1799, by whom she had issue,
ROBERT, 2nd Viscount, who as 6th Earl of Kingston;
LAWRENCE HARMAN, who to the Harman estates;
Jane; Caroline; Frances; Louisa.
The Viscountess Lorton died in 1841, when she was succeeded in her estates by her second son,

THE HON LAWRENCE KING-HARMAN (1816-75), of Newcastle, and of Rockingham, County Roscommon, who assumed the additional surname of HARMAN.

He wedded, in 1837, Mary Cecilia, seventh daughter of James Raymond Johnstone, of Alloa, Clackmannanshire, and by her left, with other issue, a second son.

On his death, the property passed to his eldest son,

THE RT HON EDWARD ROBERT KING-HARMAN JP MP (1838-88), of Rockingham, County Roscommon,
Lord-Lieutenant of that county, MP for Sligo, 1877-80, for Dublin, 1883-5, and for the Isle of Thanet, 1885-8, Colonel, 5th Battalion, Connaught Rangers, eldest son the the Hon Lawrence Harman King-Harman, of Rockingham.
Mr King-Harman married, in 1861, Emma Frances, daughter of Sir William Worsley, 1st Baronet, and had issue,
Lawrence William (1863-86), died unmarried;
Frances Agnes, mother of EDWARD CHARLES STAFFORD;
Violet Philadelphia.
Mr King-Harman was succeeded by his grandson,

EDWARD CHARLES STAFFORD-KING-HARMAN (1891-1914), who assumed, in 1900, the additional surnames and arms of KING-HARMAN.

He married, in 1914, Olive Pakenham, daughter of Henry Pakenham Mahon, and by her had issue,

LETTICE MARY STAFFORD-KING-HARMAN, born in 1915.

Captain Stafford-King-Harman was killed in action.

The family was seated at Rockingham, Boyle, County Roscommon, and Taney House, Dundrum, County Dublin.


ROCKINGHAM HOUSE, near Boyle, County Roscommon, was a large, Classical mansion situated in a wonderful location on the shores of Lough Key.

It was designed and built in 1810 by John Nash for General Robert King, 1st Viscount Lorton, a younger son of 2nd Earl of Kingston to whom this part of the King estates had passed.


Rockingham was remarkable due to its dome front and 365 windows.

It was burnt by fire in 1957, after which it was taken over by the Irish Land Commission.

Declared as unsafe in 1970, it was demolished.


The remnants of the house can be seen in the park to this day, such as its two 'tunnels' (which allowed the staff to unload provisions from boats and bring them to the house unseen).

These tunnels are still accessible to this day.

The demesne was magnificent, with a straight beech avenue three-quarters of a mile in length; and 75 miles of drives within the estate.
Sir Cecil William Francis Stafford-King-Harman, 2nd Baronet (1895-1987), considered rebuilding Rockingham after its catastrophic fire of 1957 with its original two storeys and dome; however, it transpired that the expense was prohibitive, so the estate was sold and the Irish forest service demolished the ruin of the once-great mansion.
The Moylurg Tower which provides a spectacular view of the lake, was built on the original foundations of Rockingham House.

First published in June, 2011.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Hazelwood House

 THE FAMILY OF WYNNE WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY SLIGO, WITH 12,982 ACRES


This family claims descent from a distinguished chieftain of the 12th century, Rhirid Flaidd, Lord of Penrhyn, Merionethshire, within the ancient kingdom of Powys.

This Rhirid took the surname of Blaidd, or the Wolf, from his maternal ancestor, Blaidd Rhudd, or the Bloody Wolf, Lord of Gest, near Penmorfa, Gwynedd, whose standard bore a wolf passant on an azure ground.

He married Gwrgenau, daughter and heiress of Cynfyn Hirdref, and had issue a second son,

MADOG AP RHIRID FLAIDD, who married Efa, daughter of Philip Ddu ap Hywel, son of Hywel, son of Meredudd ap Bleddyn, Prince of Powys, and had three sons, from the 3rd of whom,

MADOG AP GRUFFYDD MAELOR, lineally descended

LEWIS GWYNNE AP CADWALLADER AP RYDDERCA AP DAVID, of Bala, wedded Sidney, daughter of Robert Wynne, of Maesmochnant, Denbighshire (of the Gwydyr family), and had issue,
OWEN, of whom presently;
Cadwallader;
Catherine; Margaret.
The elder son,

OWEN WYNNEthe first who settled in Ireland, High Sheriff of counties Leitrim and Roscommon, 1659, married Catherine, widow of James Hamilton, son of Sir Frederick Hamilton, and daughter of Claud, 2nd Baron Strabane, by Lady Jane his wife, 4th daughter of George, Marquess of Huntly, and the Lady Henrietta Stewart, daughter of Esmé, Duke of Lennox, and by her (who married 3rdly, John Bingham, of Castlebar), and had issue,
James, killed at Malplaquet;
Lewis;
OWEN, of whom we treat;
John;
Catherine; Lucy; Dorothy.
The third son,

LIEUTENANT-GENERAL THE RT HON OWEN WYNNE (1665-1737), of Lurganboy; Governor of Londonderry.
He enjoyed a brilliant military career both at home and on the continent. Following his return to Ireland, was promoted lieutenant-general and finally to the exalted post of Commander-in-Chief, Ireland. 

The apex of his career was the purchase, in 1722, of the estate of Annagh, subsequently known as Hazelwood. In addition to the 14,500 acres, the conveyance also included extensive property within the borough, together with the fairs, markets and tolls

Three years later he built Hazelwood House. With his brother, John, he was elected a free burgess of the Corporation of Sligo and represented Sligo in the Irish Parliament.
His nephew,

OWEN WYNNE (1686-1755), of Hazelwood, succeeded his uncle in 1737 and was one of the few proprietors of Hazelwood who did not sit in Parliament.

Two of his sons, James and Captain John, between them represented the borough and county of Sligo in parliament for over thirty years.

THE RT HON OWEN WYNNE MP (1723-89),
returned as MP for Sligo and had the distinction of sitting in the Irish Parliament for forty years without a break, twenty-nine for the County and eleven for the Borough. 
In 1756, he was appointed a Privy Counsellor; Governor of County Sligo; Trustee of the Linen Board; married Anne Maxwell whose brother John, MP for County Cavan, was created Baron Farnham in 1756.
His son, 

OWEN WYNNE (1755-1841), who succeeded in keeping with the family tradition, when he was returned as MP for Sligo in 1777, defeating his near neighbour and blood relation, William Ormsby, of Willowbrook;
represented the county for thirteen years in Grattan’s Parliament, was subsequently returned for Sligo Borough, and sat in both the Irish and Westminster parliaments for a further quarter of a century and voted against the Act of Union of 1800; married Lady Sarah Elizabeth Cole, the eldest daughter of the 1st Earl of Enniskillen.
At the time of his death he was the oldest surviving representative of Grattan’s Parliament.

His third son,

THE RT HON JOHN ARTHUR WYNNE JP (1801-65),
MP for Sligo, privy counsellor, Under Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland; served as High Sheriff for counties of Sligo and Leitrim; married, in 1838, Lady Anne Wandesforde Butler, daughter of James, 1st Marquess of Ormonde KP.

In keeping with the family tradition he was an ardent Conservative and a parliamentarian of note. He succeeded his father as MP for the Borough in 1830, but lost his seat to John Martin, the ‘popular’ candidate, in 1832. However, he made a return in 1856 and continued as the borough representative at Westminster until ill health forced him to resign in 1860.
His son, 

OWEN WYNNE JP DL (1843-1910), of Hazelwood; High Sheriff for Sligo, 1875, and for Leitrim, 1880; married, in 1870, Stella Fanny, youngest daughter of Sir Robert Gore-Booth Bt, and by her had issue,
  • Muriel Caroline Louisa;
  • Evelyn Mary;
  • Madeline Mary;
  • J Dorothy Adelaide.
Mr Wynne, the last of his family in the direct male line at Hazelwood, succeeded his father in 1865.

In his youth he served as a Lieutenant in the 61st Foot Regiment and in 1870 married Stella, younger daughter of Sir Robert Gore-Booth Bt, of Lissadell, by whom he had four daughters.

He sat on both the Grand Jury and the Board of Guardians for many years but, unlike his predecessors, due mainly to changes in the electoral system, he never attained a seat in Parliament.

As an extensive landowner, he was both a Magistrate and Deputy Lieutenant of County Sligo, and High Sheriff in 1875.



HAZELWOOD HOUSE, near Sligo, County Sligo, is a large Palladian mansion on a peninsula in Lough Gill.

It was designed by the German architect John Cassels and built in 1722 of cut and polished limestone, in an Italian style, with a four storey facade and two lateral curving wings.


The hall door is reached by climbing a flight of stone steps leading onto a spacious platform which offers fine scenic views of the mountains of Leitrim and of North County Sligo. 

The Wynne family were seated at Hazelwood (or Hazlewood) House for three centuries, during which time all the heads of the Wynne household, with only one exception, bore the name of Owen Wynne.

The first occupant of Hazelwood House was Lieutenant-General Owen Wynne.

Hazelwood was the venue for numerous sporting and leisure events through the years, with yacht racing taking place on Lough Gill throughout the 19th Century.

Polo was another popular sport on the Hazelwood Estate; as was shooting, horse racing and rowing.

Owen Wynne died in 1910 at the age of 67 and with no male heir to take over the estates, so too came the end of the Wynne's occupation of Hazelwood House.

After the death of Owen Wynne in 1910, Owen's daughter Murial and her husband, Philip Dudley Percival, lived in Hazelwood House, selling off the livestock and machinery until they left Hazelwood House in 1923.

They still owned extensive lands, including a large estate centred around Lurganboy Lodge, near Manorhamilton in County Leitrim. Generations of the Wynne family lived in succession in the house.

From 1923 until 1930, Hazelwood House remained empty, after which a retired tea planter called Berridge lived in the house, carrying out repairs and renovations until the house and lands were sold to the Irish state in 1937.

During the 2nd World War and until 1946, Hazelwood House was occupied by the Irish Army; after which the Irish Land Commission put the house up for sale.

Under the terms of the sale however, the buyer was to demolish the house,level the site and remove all the materials.

Later in the same year (1946), Hazelwood House was sold to St Columba's Mental Hospital, who spent some £4,000 repairing the building, using it for a number of years as a home for mental patients.

In 1969, an Italian company called Snia bought Hazelwood House and built a factory to the rear (South) of the house.

Snia had employed up to 500 people producing nylon yarn.

Like many businesses during the recession of the early 1980s, Snia hit on hard times and the factory closed down in 1983.

Four years later, in 1987, the factory and Hazelwood House were sold to the South Korean company Saehan Media who produced video tapes until 2005, when, due to a downturn in business as a result of the digital revolution, Saehan Media, too, closed down with the loss of over 150 jobs.

The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland holds the Wynne Papers.

First published in August, 2011. 

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Warrenpoint House

Do any readers recognize this house?

It is or was located near Warrenpoint, County Down.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Charleville Forest

THE EARLS OF CHARLEVILLE WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN KING'S COUNTY, WITH 20,032 ACRES

This family derives maternally from the extinct house of MOORE, Barons Moore, of Tullamore, and Earls of Charleville of the first creation, which sprang from a common ancestor with the Moores, Earls and Marquesses of Drogheda.

THOMAS MOORE, living in the reign of EDWARD II, was ancestor, after ten generations, of

JOHN MOORE, of Benenden Place, Kent, living, in 1519, who had issue,
EDWARD (Sir), father of the Earls of Drogheda;
THOMAS (Sir), of whom we treat.
Sir Edward and Sir Thomas went over to Ireland, as soldiers of fortune, in the reign of ELIZABETH I.

Sir Edward founded the house of DROGHEDA, and

THOMAS MOORE obtained by grant from the Crown, in 1577, the castle of Castletown, with 758 acres of land thereunto adjoining, in the King's County, being styled in the said grant, "Thomas Moore of Croghan."

Mr Moore received, subsequently, the honour of knighthood for his services against the Irish, by whom he was eventually put to death in his castle.

Sir Thomas was succeeded by his son,

SIR JOHN MOORE, of Croghan Castle, who, with other considerable territorial possessions, had a grant from the Crown, in 1622, of the town and lands of TULLAMORE, in the King's County, to the extent of 1,147 acres.

He married Dorothy, fifth daughter of Dr Adam Loftus, Lord Archbishop of Dublin; and dying in 1633, was succeeded by his eldest son,

THOMAS MOORE, of Croghan, MP for Philipstown, who wedded Margaret, daughter of Sir Ambrose Forth, of County Dublin, judge of the Prerogative Court in Ireland, and was succeeded at his decease by his eldest son,

JOHN MOORE, of Croghan, who espoused a daughter of Sir William Sambach, attorney-general for Ireland, but by that lady had no surviving issue.

He married secondly, in 1669, Ellen, second daughter of Dudley Colley, of Castle Carbery, County Kildare, by whom he had Dudley, who fell in a duel with Cornet Castine, 1714; and an elder brother, his heir,

THE RT HON JOHN MOORE, of Croghan, MP for the King's County, who was called to the privy council by GEORGE I in 1714; and, in 1715, by the same monarch, was created Baron Moore.

His lordship obtained a reversionary grant of the office of Muster-master General of Ireland.

He wedded, in 1697, Mary, daughter of Elnathan Lunn, banker, of Dublin, by whom he had, with an only surviving daughter, an only surviving son,

CHARLES, 2nd Baron (1712-64), appointed a privy counsellor, governor of King's County, and Muster-master-General in Ireland.

The 2nd Baron was created EARL OF CHARLEVILLE in 1758.

Lord Charleville, having died in a childless marriage, in 1764, when the titles expired, was succeeded by his nephew,

JOHN BURY, eldest son of the Hon Jane Bury (sister of 2nd Baron), born in 1725, whose only son,

CHARLES WILLIAM BURY, born in 1764, was created Baron Tullamore (2nd creation) in 1797.

This nobleman was advanced to a viscountcy, as Viscount Charleville, in 1800.

In 1806, Lord Charlville was further advanced to the dignity of an earldom, as EARL OF CHARLEVILLE (2nd creation).

The following account of the Bury family, Earls of Charleville is taken from Mark Girouard's account of Charleville published in Country Life, 27 September 1962:
... Charles William Bury (1764-1835) [was] a landowner of considerable wealth, derived partly from [Shannongrove], the Bury estate in Co. Limerick (where the family had settled in 1666), and partly from property in [and around] Tullamore, King's County, inherited through his father's mother, the only sister and heiress of Charles Moore (1712-1764), Earl of Charleville and Baron Moore of Tullamoore [as the Moores liked to call it]. He himself was created Lord Tullamoore in 1797, Viscount Charleville in 1800 and Earl of Charleville in 1806.

[This was mainly because in 1795 he had purchased political control of the borough of Carlow, which continued to be represented in the Parliament of the UK after the Union, and used his nomination of members for Carlow to bargain for his advancement in the peerage.]
The titles descended from father to son until the early death of his grandson, the 4th Earl, in 1874, who was succeeded by his uncle, the 5th Earl.

The 5th Earl was childless and, on his decease in 1875, the titles expired.

*****

Lady Emily Howard-Bury, daughter of the 3rd Earl, married Kenneth Howard, son of the Hon James Howard.

She succeeded to the Charleville estates, including Charleville Castle, on the death of her brother the 5th Earl in 1875 and in 1881 she and her husband assumed by Royal license the additional surname of Bury.

The property passed in 1931 to her son, Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Kenneth Howard-Bury DSO JP DL.
He was the leader of the first Everest expedition to find a route through Tibet to the North Col (1921), and is best known for that achievement. He is said to have abhorred Charleville Forest and stripped it of its contents at a now notorious auction in 1949. 
The Howard-Bury Papers are held at the PRONI.


CHARLEVILLE FOREST, near Tullamore, County Offaly, is thought to be the finest and most spectacular early 19th century castle in Ireland.

It was built between 1800-12 for Charles, 1st Earl of Charleville (2nd creation).

The Castle is nestled among the huge and ancient oak trees that were once held sacred by the Druids.

The building site was originally home to the Lynally monastic community, which existed as a part of the Durrow settlement.

By the 1500s, the site was no longer ecclesiastical in nature, but used as a plantation settlement for the Moores.

This thickly wooded acreage at the very centre of Ireland has been occupied through generational succession until the late 19th century.


The castle itself, Ireland’s premier example of Gothic Revival architecture, was a work in progress from 1798 until it was completed in 1812.

It was designed and erected in the style of a “tin soldier fortress” partly to commemorate Cornwallis’s victory over French revolutionary forces that had made their way into the Irish midlands.


Following the death of the 5th Earl in 1875, the titles became extinct.

Charleville passed to the sister of the 4th Earl; then to her son; and then to the grandson of another of the 4th Earl's sisters.

From 1912 until 1971, the unoccupied castle fell victim to the ravages of time.

The years that followed the war for independence and the accompanying economic difficulties reduced the structure to a nearly roofless, ruined condition by 1968.

The restoration and renovation work that was begun in 1971 by Michael McMullen continued under the supervision of Constance Heavey Seaquist and Bonnie Vance.

The Castle is open to the public and is currently funded by a charitable trust under the direction of Dudley Stuart.

It occupies 30 acres of land that includes gardens as well as densely wooded areas.

The castle building was designed by Francis Johnston, and Charles Bury was the original owner.

Johnston was responsible for several classic Georgian buildings in Dublin, including the General Post Office.

The exterior of the building is dominated by stately turrets and a flag tower, and features many mullioned windows.

A large window located above the main entrance is the focal point of the façade.

Inside, the rooms are gigantic, including the dining room designed by William Morris that still bears its original stenciled wallpaper.

The estate also includes a small outbuilding that resembles a gothic chapel and actually houses the kitchen and storage area.

The stable yard is located just beyond this building.

Lord Byron visited Charleville Forest Castle often and it is said that he held many parties here.

The castle grounds are now the object of a massive restoration project that, when finished, will clear the area of overgrowth, discern the original plantings from the old English flower garden, and design and build new garden and relaxation areas for visitors.

Volunteers are on hand to do this work from UK, France, the USA and Canada. They also assist in the regular maintenance of the property.

The house and the surrounding grounds are said to be haunted by Druids and past occupants of the castle.

It has been featured on several television programmes, including Most Haunted and Scariest Places on Earth.

The huge staircase is reportedly visited often by the ghost of a young girl named Harriet, who was killed accidentally while sliding down the balustrade.

Visitors have felt the chill of her presence while climbing the stairs, and have seen her ghostly figure skipping past. Sometimes, she is seen in the company of a small boy.

Another haunting, reported by Bonnie Vance, included an early morning visitation of the ghosts of Charles Bury and Francis Johnston, accompanied by a large group of Druids.

They appeared to be invoking a blessing upon Bonnie as she lay in her bed.

Also, disembodied voices of two men have been heard as they spent the evening drinking at the castle, as well as children’s voices and shrieks in the empty playroom.

Many of the visitors that arrive are paranormal experts, investigating the reports of various hauntings.

People also come to attend a diverse range of events that includes plays, shows and auctions.

Many ancient oak trees line the driveway. One of the largest is referred to as “King Oak”.

Legend says that a member of the Charleville family has died every time the tree lost a branch to weather or old age.

Colonel Howard-Bury died in 1963, two weeks after the tree was nearly destroyed by a lightning strike.

First published in September, 2011.   Charleville arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Dartrey House

THE EARLS OF DARTREY WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY MONAGHAN, WITH 17,732 ACRES

The family of DAWSON was originally from Yorkshire; whence, towards the close of ELIZABETH I's reign, it removed to Ireland.

THOMAS DAWSON, who became, in the following reign, a burgess of Armagh, later held land at Moyola (Castledawson) in County Londonderry, and established an iron foundry there.

His grandson,

WALTER DAWSON (eldest son of John Dawson), died in 1704, leaving issue,  two sons,
WALTER, his heir;
Thomas, ancestor of Catherine Maria, Countess of Charleville.
The elder son,

WALTER DAWSON, married Frances, daughter of Richard Dawson, an officer in Cromwell's army, with whom he obtained the estate of Dawson's Grove, County Monaghan.

Mr Dawson was succeeded at his decease by his only surviving son,

RICHARD DAWSON, of Dawson's Grove, an eminent banker, alderman of the city of Dublin, and MP for Monaghan, 1761 (great-grandson of John Dawson, of Armagh, who died intestate).

This gentleman wedded, in 1723, Elizabeth, daughter of the Most Rev John Vesey DD, Lord Archbishop of Tuam, and sister of Sir Thomas Vesey Bt, Lord Bishop of Ossory, by whom he had issue,
John, died in 1742;
THOMAS, his successor;
Richard, of Ardee;
Frances.
Alderman Dawson was succeeded by his son,

THOMAS DAWSON (1725-1813), was elevated to the peerage, in 1770, as Baron Dartrey; and advanced to a viscountcy, as Viscount Cremorne, in 1758.

His lordship married firstly, in 1754, Anne, youngest daughter of Thomas, 1st Earl of Pomfret, by whom he had a son and a daughter, both of whom died in youth.

He wedded secondly, in 1770, Philadelphia Hannah, daughter of Thomas Freame, of Philadelphia, by Margaretta, daughter of William Penn, the celebrated founder of that city, by whom he had another son and a daughter, who died also in youth.

The 1st Viscount, thus deprived of direct descendants, was created, in 1797, Baron Cremorne, with remainder to his nephew, Richard Dawson, and the heirs male of that gentleman.

Dying without an heir in 1813, the viscountcy expired, though the barony of Cremorne devolved upon his great-nephew,

RICHARD THOMAS DAWSON (1788-1827) as 2nd Baron (only son of Richard Dawson, MP for Monaghan), who espoused, in 1815, Anne Elizabeth Emily, third daughter of John Whaley, of Whaley Abbey, County Wicklow, and by her had issue,
RICHARD, his successor;
Thomas Vesey.
His lordship was succeeded by his elder son,

RICHARD (1817-97), 3rd Baron,  who wedded, in 1841, Augusta, second daughter of Edward Stanley, of Cross Hall, Lancashire, by his wife Lady Mary Maitland, second dau. of James, 8th Earl of Lauderdale.

His lordship was installed as a Knight of St Patrick in 1855; a Lord-in-Waiting, 1857-66; Lord Lieutenant of County Monaghan, 1871-97.

In 1866, his lordship was advanced to an earldom, as EARL OF DARTREY.

By his wife he had issue,
VESEY, his successor;
Edward Stanley;
Richard Westland Westenra.
He was succeeded by his eldest son,

VESEY, 2nd Earl (1842-1920), MP for County Monaghan, 1865-68; High Sheriff of County Monaghan, 1878.

He married, though dying without issue, in 1920, the family honours devolved upon his brother,

ANTHONY LUCIUS (1855-1933), 3rd Earl, who wedded, in 1878, the Hon Mary Frances FitzGerald-de Ros, suo jure Baroness de Ros, only child of the 23rd Baron de Ros.

On the decease of the 3rd Earl in 1933, the titles became extinct.

The Dartrey Papers contain extensive historical information about the family.



DARTREY HOUSE, near Rockcorry, County Monaghan, was a large Elizabethan-Revival mansion by William Burn, built in 1846 to replace an earlier house of about 1770.

It was built for Richard Dawson, 3rd Baron Cremorne and later 1st Earl of Dartrey.

The mansion had long, monotonous elevations of curvilinear gables, mullioned windows and oriels, with, sporadically,a square turret and cupola.

There were numerous Tudor chimneys, a generous application of strapwork and a two-tier terrace along the garden front with many yards of latticed ballustrading.

The quoins were partly curved.



Dartrey House overlooked Lough Dromore where, on a wooded island, the 1st Viscount Cremorne built a domed mausoleum about 1770 in memory of his first wife Anne.

The sheer size of Dartrey House proved too much for the 20th-century financial resources of the family.

Most of its contents were sold by auction in 1937 and the entire building was demolished in 1946 by the Hammond Lane Foundry, Dublin, who paid £3,000 for the salvage – a very poor return on the investment in Dartrey House.

Lady Edith, elder daughter of the 2nd Earl, was the last Dawson to live in Dartrey House, and it was she who was forced to take the decision to demolish it in 1946.

Now, only the magnificent site overlooking Lough Dromore is visible.

The red-brick stable block contemporary with the 1846 house survives, and was renovated by the Irish Georgian Society (presumably at about the same time as the mausoleum).

There is also a surviving farmyard, in ruinous condition, which seems to be contemporary with (or even earlier than) the early 1770s house.

The following description of the Dartrey Estate near Cootehill, County Monaghan, Ireland, was written in 1773 by the Reverend J Burrows, visiting tutor to the Dawson family:
A thousand acres of lake, three hundred of which flows within a few yards of the house, with hills on each side covered with the most beautiful delicious woods, bring all fairyland to one’s imagination. On the other side of the lake is a large island, wonderfully shaded on all its sides but with a bald pate of open ground on the top, giving a very pleasing and uncommon effect.

Beyond that are woods that lose themselves in the clouds. People who are not used to lakes cannot conceive into what delightful forms they throw themselves, and how much the little islands, here and there interspersed, which contain one or two trees, add to their beauty. 
The Dartrey estate, originally known as Dawson Grove, was established by the Dawson family in the 17th century alongside another estate, Bellamont Forest, of similar size – over a thousand acres. 

Richard Dawson, a banker and Dublin alderman, built the present (Church of Ireland) church on the Dartrey estate in 1729.

It was established in its own separate parish of Ematris soon after.

The Dawsons added a north gallery to the church in 1769, and much later the Corry family (from Rockcorry) added a south gallery, raised on arches to avoid desecrating the burial ground beneath it.

A fire caused serious damaged in 1811 leaving the church for a period without a roof.

The fine west tower was built in 1840, and the sanctuary apse (centre above) in 1870.

With the demolition of the Dawson mansion in 1950, and their once thriving estate turned over to forestry, St John’s appears isolated.

However it shares services with St James’ church, Rockcorry some 2½ miles away, which the Dawsons built in 1855, and both churches continue well supported by the local farming community. 

But the view from St John’s cemetery across Inner Lough, once described as “one of the best in Ireland”, is currently obscured by conifers. 

The Northern Standard, Saturday, 8th March, 1856:-



FIRE  AT  DARTREY  HOUSE


We regret to announce the breaking out of a destructive fire, on Saturday evening last, at Dartrey House, the magnificent residence of Lord Cremorne, in this county.  The fire is supposed to have originated in the flue of one of the rooms in the basement storeys, which broke out near the roof, and before effective aid could be procured, had enveloped the entire of the upper storey of the north-eastern wing of the building.

The existence of the fire was first observed about six o’clock, by Mr. Little, Lord Cremorne’s steward, who hastened with a number of his labourers to render all the assistance within their power.  Mr. Little’s exertions up to the final subduing of the fire were unremitting. 

Captain Boyle, of Tanagh, and the Rev. T. A. Robinson, were immediately on the ground, and aided materially in checking the fire, which, however, raged with a great fury until the arrival of the fire engines from Monaghan. 

Previous to the arrival of the engines, the exertions of those present were directed to cutting off the communication between what is termed the Old and New House, a strong wall dividing the two portions of the house.

At a few minutes past seven in the evening, a messenger from Dartrey arrived at Mr. McCoy’s, of Monaghan, in whose care the town engine is ; fortunately, all Mr. McCoy’s staff were about his concern, it being pay night, and were consequently available for immediate work.

Four horses from Campbell’s posting establishment were immediately harnessed to the engine, and it started for Dartrey, where it arrived at nine o’clock.  In the meantime, Mr. McCoy sent a requisition for the Ordnance engine, to the officer commanding the detachment of Militia stationed here.

This engine was placed on a float, and, with a pair of horses from the Canal Stores, proceeded to Dartrey, where it arrived in time to do efficient service, under the directions of Sergeant Crooks, of the Monaghan Regiment, whose exertions elicited the commendation of every person present.

Nothing could exceed his intrepidity and cool daring ; indeed, at one moment it was supposed he had fallen a victim, a large beam having fallen just where he had been standing a second before.  A. A. Murray Ker, Esq., Lord Cremorne’s agent, was in Monaghan when intelligence of the fire arrived; he immediately started for Dartrey, where he remained until a late hour on Sunday evening; by his presence and individual exertions he animated the energies of the very many who aided in extinguishing the fire.

Amongst those present who worked with hearty good will were - and certainly first on the list - the Rev. T. A. Robinson, Captain Boyle, Wm. Murray, Esq., Richard Mayne, Esq., (this gentleman, we regret to say, was severely hurt by an accident), Rev. John Wolfe, Subinspectors Kirwan and Fortesque; a number of young gentlemen from Cootehill and Monaghan were also most effectual aids.

We do not know the names of the Cootehill gentlemen or we would gladly give them.  Amongst those from Monaghan we noticed Messrs. Watkins, Lewers, and Campbell.

The Constabulary from the surrounding stations to a man exerted themselves in a most praiseworthy manner, both by individual exertion and protection of property. 

Amongst the most exertive and daring of them was one named Kinsella, from Cootehill station.  The costly furniture, pictures, and mirrors were all saved, with the exception of such injuries as their removal caused.

On learning the existence of the fire, our own chief anxiety was as to the safety of an exquisite group of statuary, “Cupid and Psyche”, which stood in the vestibule of the Grand Staircase; - this beautiful piece of art, though in extreme danger, escaped with but the fracture of one of the arms of the descending figure; the injury is not material, and can be remedied.

The portion of the building entirely destroyed consists of Lord and Lady Cremorne’s private apartments, Drawing-room, and her ladyship’s Boudoir, both of which were magnificent apartments; the cut stone walls seem safe; all the apartments over the east point are destroyed; the Grand Hall, Billiard-room, and Drawing-room are safe, as is also the entire of the basement storey.

The fire continued smouldering and occasionally to blaze out up to five or six o’clock on Sunday evening.  The assurance on the house was heavy, and will more than cover the estimated damages; but much depends on the decision architects arrive at as to the state of the outer walls.

It is, on the whole, surprising that the damage done is not of much greater extent, when the means of overcoming it were so distant.

The tenantry in the neighbourhood all assembled on Tuesday with carts and horses, and cleared away all the debris of the fire, before the arrival of Lord and Lady Cremorne.



TO THE EDITOR OF THE NORTHERN STANDARD 
Sir,  Allow me, through your paper, to render Lord Cremorne’s grateful thanks to all those who used such strenuous exertions in checking the conflagration at his Lordship’s beautiful mansion on last Saturday night.

The Assurance Companies concerned have every reason to be thankful, (and indeed have already expressed themselves to that effect), to the assembled multitude who lent their best exertions towards arresting the progress of the flames, and saving such a large amount of property.

It would be impossible to personally thank each and all of those I saw distinguishing themselves, for their name was “Legion”.  The constabulary were early on the ground from Rockcorry, and very shortly after from Cootehill, Drum, and Newbliss, and were most efficient and steady.

The fire engines from Monaghan arrived in quite the brigade style, and certainly deserve especial consideration.  The Corporation engine, under the direction of Mr. McCoy and his very active and intelligent workmen, and the Barrack engine, managed by Sergeant Crooks, who most creditably kept up the character of his regiment by his cool and daring conduct.

The tenantry to a man worked with a will.  I could name hundreds who were towards morning nearly - and often quite - exhausted and faint.  Nothing could exceed the care taken of the furniture, pictures, and mirrors, in their removal, and wonderfully little damage has been done.

I am happy to say that the Assurances cover the loss and damage to both building and furniture - and again thanking most sincerely those who so kindly gave their valuable aid in time of need. 

I remain, your obedient servant,     A A Murray Ker, Newbliss.


Henry Skeath has sent me interesting information with regard to Dartrey:
I have attached an article (above) from The Northern Standard about a serious fire at Dartrey House in 1856 just ten years after the place was built. Two good articles on Dartrey appeared in recent editions of the Clogher Record.

In 2004 June Brown detailed the rise and fall of the estate. June was friendly with Lady Edith, the last of the family at Dartrey, and keeps in touch with her descendants.

The 2009 edition contains a well-researched article by June's granddaughter, Victoria Baird, about Lady Augusta wife of the 1st Earl of Dartrey. Lady Augusta endowed St. James's in Rockcorry where a photograph of her still hangs.

St. John's Church is affectionately known as St. John's in the Wood. The Dawson gallery contains a fireplace for the comfort of the family. In 1996 St. John's celebrated 275 years of worship and the Rev. J. T. Merry, rector, produced a short history of the parish.

The Dartrey Heritage Group is undertaking wonderful refurbishment work on the mausoleum which was designed by James Wyatt. The building has been stabilised and a new domed roof erected. The Rev. Daniel Beaufort visited in 1780 and noted that the sculptural group within, by Joseph Wilton, had cost £1,000. The quarterly bulletin of the Irish Georgian Society for Jan-Mar 1961includes an article on it.

Wilton's work suffered at the hands of vandals but there are ambitious plans for restoration.In 2008 the Heritage Group completed the restoration of a 60-foot column, also designed by James Wyatt, erected in 1807 to the memory of Richard Dawson who was elected to five successive Parliaments. It stands prominently along the main road.

The 1846 stable block, five sides of an octagon, restored by the Irish Georgian Society in 1961, has been allowed to fall into disrepair again in recent years.Of Dartrey House, hardly a vestige remains. Parts of the basement can be seen and the once-graceful terraces on the garden front can still be traced. It was once one of the finest estates in Ireland.

The 1st Earl had a town house at 30 Curzon Street, London.

First published in September, 2011.   Dartrey arms courtesy of European Heraldry.