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.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Duke's Coronet


The coronet of a duke is a golden circlet with eight gold strawberry leaves around it (pointing upwards).

The coronet itself is chased as if in the form of jewels (like a royal crown) but is not actually jewelled.

It has a crimson cap (lined ermine) in real life and a purple one in heraldic representation.

There is a gold-threaded tassel on top.

The number of strawberry leaves and absence of pearls is what distinguishes a ducal coronet from those of other degrees of the peerage.

The ducal coronet has undergone several modifications in form since it was first introduced in 1337.

As now worn, it has eight golden leaves of a conventional type - the "strawberry leaves" so called - set erect upon a circlet of gold, and having their stalks so connected as to form a wreath.

Of late years this coronet has enclosed a cap of rich crimson velvet surmounted by a golden tassel and lined and "guarded" with ermine.

 

A smaller version, above, is worn by duchesses at coronations.

Peeresses' coronets sit on top of the head, rather than around it.

Non-royal dukes represent the highest degree in the hereditary peerage.

First published in April, 2010.

House of Rawdon

The illustrious family of RAWDON deduced its pedigree from Paulinus de Rawdon, to whom William the Conqueror granted considerable estates.

This Paulyn, or Paulinus, commanded a band of archers in the Norman invading army, and derived his surname of Rawdon, from the lands of that denomination, near Leeds, which constituted a portion of the royal grant.

From this successful soldier lineally sprang, 19th in descent, through a line of eminent ancestors,

GEORGE RAWDON, who settled in Ireland, and took an active part as a military commander during the rebellion of 1641, in that kingdom; and subsequently, until his decease, in 1684, in the general affairs of Ireland.

Mr Rawdon married, in 1654, the Hon Dorothy Conway, daughter of 2nd Viscount Conway, and they lived at Moira, County Down.

He was the only son and heir of Francis Rawdon, of Rawdon Hill, near Leeds in Yorkshire.

Rawdon went to Court about the end of the reign of JAMES I and became private secretary to Lord Conway, Secretary of State.

After Lord Conway's death, Rawdon was attached to his son, the 2nd Viscount Conway, who had large estates in County Down. 

George Rawdon became his secretary (or agent) and frequently visited the Lisburn area.

He commanded a company of soldiers, and sat in the Irish Parliament of 1639 as MP for Belfast.

When the Irish Rebellion broke out on 23rd October, 1641, Rawdon was in London; but he lost no time in coming to the post of duty.

He travelled at once to Scotland, and crossed to Bangor, reaching Lisburn on the 27th November. 

The account of his visit to Lisburn at this critical time is fully recorded in a most interesting and vivid contemporary note in the old Vestry Book of Lisburn Cathedral.

The towns of Moira and Ballynahinch were founded by Rawdon.

He married, in 1639, Ursula, daughter of Sir Francis Stafford, and widow of Francis Hill, of Hillhall, by whom he had no surviving issue.

After her death he espoused, in 1654, Dorothy, eldest daughter of Edward, Viscount Conway.

She died in 1676.

There was an only son of this marriage, Sir Arthur Rawdon, who was buried beside his father in the vault.

Mr Rawdon was created a baronet, 1655, being denominated, of Moira, in the County of Down.

He died in 1684 and was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,  

SIR ARTHUR RAWDON, (1662-95), 2nd Baronet, MP for County Down, a distinguished soldier, like his father, and a leader of the "Loyalists of Ulster", who fought against the army of JAMES II.

Sir Arthur was in Londonderry during the siege, but as he was dangerously ill he had to leave the town by the advice of his doctor.

His only son, 

SIR JOHN RAWDON (1720-93), 3rd Baronet, MP for County Down, married Dorothy, daughter of Sir Richard Levinge Bt, Speaker of the Irish House of Commons (she, after his death, married the Most Rev Charles Cobbe, Lord Archbishop of Dublin).

Sir John was elevated to the peerage, in 1750, as Baron Rawdon, of Moira, County Down; and advanced to an earldom, as EARL OF MOIRA,  in 1762. 

He was married thrice: 1st to the Lady Helena, daughter of the Earl of Egmont; secondly to the Hon Anna Hill, daughter of the Viscount Hillsborough; and thirdly, to the Lady Elizabeth, daughter of the Earl of Huntingdon.

His eldest son,  

FRANCIS EDWARD (1754-1826), 2nd Earl and 4th Baronet, KG, PC, was advanced to a marquessate, as MARQUESS OF HASTINGS.

His lordship was a distinguished soldier and scholar, Governor-General of India, Fellow of the Royal Society, and fought in the American war.

He was present at the Battle of Bunker Hill.


All of these subsidiary titles, including the baronetcy, became extinct in 1868,  following the death of the 4th Marquess and 8th Baronet.
     First published in January, 2012.  Hastings arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

    Thursday, 18 May 2017

    Viscount's Coronet


    The coronet of a viscount is a silver-gilt circlet with sixteen silver balls (known as pearls) around it.

    The coronet itself is chased and embossed as if in the form of jewels (like a royal crown) with alternating oval and square jewel-shaped bosses, but is not actually jewelled.

    It has a crimson velvet cap with lined ermine trim (the cap being purple in heraldic representation).

    There is a gold-threaded tassel on top.

    The sixteen pearls are what distinguishes the coronet of a viscount from other degrees of the Peerage.


    The coronet of a viscountess (above) is smaller in size and sits on top of the head, rather than around it.

    Like all heraldic coronets, it is mostly worn at the coronation of a Sovereign, but a viscount is entitled to bear a likeness of it on his coat-of-arms, above the shield.

    Viscounts are peers of the fourth degree of nobility, next in rank above a baron and below an earl.

    First published in June, 2011.

    Killua Castle

    THE CHAPMAN BARONETS, OF KILLUA CASTLE, WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY WESTMEATH, WITH 9,516 ACRES

    The parent stock of this family flourished through several generations, in and near the town of Hinckley, Leicestershire.

    The branch settled in Ireland was established there by 

    JOHN CHAPMAN and his brother WILLIAM, under the auspices of their first cousin, Sir Walter Raleigh; through whose influence John obtained grants of land in County Kerry, which, on the fall of his great patron, he was obliged, from pecuniary difficulties, to dispose of to the 1st Earl of Cork, receiving the large sum, in those days, of £26,400 (about £7 million in 2016) from his lordship.

    He lived eight years after this transaction, leaving at his decease, his brother,

    WILLIAM CHAPMAN, surviving, who lived for several years afterwards, and left at his decease, an only son, 

    BENJAMIN CHAPMAN, who entered as a cornet into a cavalry regiment, raised by the Earl of Inchiquin; and obtained, from Cromwell, when Captain Chapman, a grant of a considerable estate in County Westmeath, at Killua, otherwise St Lucy's, formerly a preceptory, or cell, of the knights hospitallers, where he resided during the remainder of his life.

    Captain Chapman wedded Anne, daughter of Robert Parkinson, of Ardee, and had two sons, of whom the younger, Thomas, settled in America; and the elder,

    WILLIAM CHAPMAN, succeeded his father at Killua.

    He married Ismay, daughter of Thomas Nugent; and dying in 1734, was succeeded by his eldest son,

    BENJAMIN CHAPMAN, who wedded Anne, daughter of Robert Tighe, by whom he had three sons and two daughters.

    He died in 1779, and was succeeded by his eldest son, 

    BENJAMIN CHAPMAN,  of Killua Castle, who was created a baronet in 1782, with remainder in default of male issue, to the male descendants of his father.

    Sir Benjamin married Miss Anne Lowther; but dying without an heir, in 1810, the title devolved upon his brother, 

    SIR THOMAS CHAPMAN, 2nd Baronet (1756-1837), who had previously received the honour of Knighthood.

    This gentleman married, in 1808, Margaret, daughter of James Fetherston, of Bracklin Castle, County Westmeath, and had issue,
    MONTAGU LOWTHER, his heir;
    Benjamin James;
    William.
    Sir Thomas was succeeded by his eldest son,

    SIR MONTAGU LOWTHER CHAPMAN, 3rd Baronet (1808-1853), of Killua Castle, County Westmeath.
    • Sir Montagu Richard Chapman, 5th Baronet (1853–1907);
    • Sir Benjamin Rupert Chapman, 6th Baronet (1865–1914);
    The 7th Baronet left his wife to live with his daughters' governess, Sarah Junner.

    The couple did not marry.

    Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Edward Lawrence CB DSO

    Sir Thomas and Sarah had five sons born out of wedlock, of whom Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Edward Lawrence CB DSO, better known as Lawrence of Arabia, was the second-eldest.
    Caroline Margaret, wife of Sir Montagu, the 5th Baronet, was sister of the 7th Baronet, Lawrence's father. She was the last Chapman to live in Killua until her death in 1920. She wrote a fascinating little booklet with the history of the house.

    Lawrence did visit Killua once, but it was a few weeks before his death when Killua was already a golf club owned by Mr Hackett. The is a letter by Lawrence at the Imperial War Museum where he mentions his intention to buy the property back into the family. Alas, it was never meant to be. 



    KILLUA CASTLE is situated near Clonmellon, County Westmeath.

    The present mansion was built ca 1780 by Sir Benjamin Chapman, 1st Baronet, consisting of a hall, dining room, oval drawing room, breakfast parlour and front and back stairs.

    There was also a stable yard, barn and haggard.

    From here, the Chapmans administered the surrounding farm lands in the 18th century.

    The Castle and its surrounding lands were granted around 1667 to Benjamin Chapman.

    On his death the estate passed to his elder son, William; and on William's death in 1734 to his son Benjamin.

    Sir Benjamin demolished the original castle.

    It passed from him in 1810, by special remainder, to his brother Thomas who, in the early 1820s, commissioned the addition of a large round tower and several other towers, including a library tower, staircase tower and back door tower.

    He also completed the castellation and erected the Raleigh obelisk nearby.

    When Sir Montagu, 5th Baronet, died childless in 1907, his widow, a cousin, divided the estate between the four legitimate daughters of her brother Sir Thomas, 7th Baronet.

    The house and the remaining 1,200 acres of land were sold in 1949.


    Until recently, the Castle had become an ivy-clad roofless ruin.

    Since 2010, however, Killua Castle has been purchased by a private owner and is undergoing major restoration.



    THE OBELISK, erected in 1810 by Sir Thomas Chapman, 2nd Baronet, marks the position where Sir Walter Raleigh planted some of the first potatoes that he imported to Ireland.

    The inscription on the obelisk currently reads 'Sir Walter G Raleigh', but there is no other evidence that Raleigh had a middle name, and the 'G' appears to be vandalism added after the original inscription.

    The obelisk has been recently restored through a grant from the Irish Georgian Society.

    First published in May, 2013.

    Wednesday, 17 May 2017

    Norwood Tower Appeal

    I'm seeking photographs of Norwood Tower.

    If any readers can help, or are in contact with the Hendersons or Musgraves, that could be useful.

    I gather that a few members of the Musgrave family, including the present Baronet, live in Syros, Greece.

    Norwood Pictures

    © Lord Belmont In Northern Ireland 2011
    A READER HAS SENT ME SOME PHOTOGRAPHS OF NORWOOD TOWER, STRANDTOWN, BELFAST


    "One of them (below) has a photograph of both my aunts, Peggy and Mary, and Mary does not want her photo to go on the Internet so you cannot put that one on the site ...


    Sadly it is the best one of the two, as it shows the full door the other one, with the single lady in it, you can use; however I have no idea who she is, it shows a little of what is in the hallway through the door.


    I do have some information of the layout of the houses Riversdale [Co Fermanagh] and Norwood Tower from my aunt and will write it up for you ...

    Norwood was powered by gas so had gas cookers and lights.

     

    I do have a photograph of a woman standing at the front door which seems quite ornate with iron railings around it I will scan it and send later.

     I also have a photograph of my aunt sitting in front of a lion statue in the garden of Norwood Tower (above); she said that she didn't want it to go on the Internet however I have attached it for you to see.

    The lady with her was Mrs Lutton or Litton and she rented part of the servants' quarters in Norwood Tower.

    Mary said that another couple rented a different part of the house seemed to be outside of the main house but part of the surrounding building and the rent of those went to the upkeep of the house.


    The photograph above shows a glass-house at Norwood Tower.

    First published in May, 2011.

    Belle Isle Castle

    THE PORTERS WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY FERMANAGH, WITH 11,880 ACRES

    JOHN PORTER DD, Lord Bishop of Clogher, formerly Regius Professor of Hebrew at Cambridge, came to Ireland in 1795 as viceregal chaplain to the 2nd Earl Camden, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, 1795-98.
    There was a convention that viceregal chaplains became bishops. Dr Porter, however, fared exceptionally well because, after only a two-year purgatory in the remote and undesirable bishopric of Killala in County Mayo, he was translated to the singularly valuable bishopric of Clogher, where he remained from 1797 until his death in 1819.
    He married, in 1786, Mary Smith, of Norfolk, and had issue,
    JOHN GREY, his heir;
    Thomas, captain RN;
    Charles (Rev);
    Henry Edward, army general;
    William;
    Elizabeth; Margaret.
    The Bishop died in 1819, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

    THE REV JOHN GREY PORTER (1789-1873), Rector of Kilskeery, County Tyrone, who wedded, in 1816, Margaret Lavinia, eldest daughter of Thomas Lindsey, of Hollymount, by his wife, the Lady Margaret Bingham, daughter of 1st Earl of Lucan, and had issue,
    JOHN GREY, his heir;
    Lavinia; Louisa; Elizabeth Phœbe; Emmy; Frances;
    Adelaide Mary, m Nicholas Montgomery Archdale, of Crocknacrieve, County Fermanagh, who died in 1877, leaving issue. Their second son, JOHN PORTER, of Belle Isle, assumed, in 1876, the surname and arms of PORTER. 
    The eldest son,

    JOHN GREY VESEY PORTER JP DL (1818-1903), of Belle Isle, County Fermanagh, High Sheriff, 1844, married, in 1863, Elizabeth Jane, daughter of Richard Hall, of Innismore Hall, County Fermanagh.

    Mr Porter dsp 1903, when the estate devolved upon his nephew,

    JOHN PORTER PORTER JP DL (1853-1939), High Sheriff of County Fermanagh, 1883, who married, in 1884, Josephine Henrietta, daughter of Colonel Jesse Lloyd, of Ballyleek, County Monaghan, and had issue,
    JOHN GREY ARCHDALE, DSO (1886-1917), killed in action;
    NICHOLAS HENRY ARCHDALE, successor to his brother;
    William Wauchope Montgomery;
    Coralie Adelaide Mervyn.
    Mr Porter was the second son Nicholas Montgomery Archdale, of Crocknacrieve, and Adelaide Mary his wife, fourth daughter of the Rev John Grey Porter, of Kilskeery and Belle Isle, and granddaughter of the Rt Rev John Porter, Lord Bishop of Clogher.

    His brother,

    NICHOLAS HENRY ARCHDALE PORTER MC JP DL (1890-1973), of Belle Isle, married Amy, daughter of Charles B Gunther, in 1919,
    Military Cross, 1916; fought in the 1st World War, as a Lieutenant with the 9th Lancers, and was severely wounded on the same day and in the same action in which his elder brother was killed; High Sheriff, 1941.
    Mr Porter's marriage was childless, and he had been long pre-deceased by his wife.

    The heiress to Belle Isle was his niece, Miss Lavinia Baird, only daughter of his sister, Audley Josephine, and William James Baird of Elie, Fife.

    Miss Baird sold the estate in 1991 to the 5th Duke of Abercorn KG.


    BELLE ISLE CASTLE, near Lisbellaw, County Fermanagh, is situated on an island in Upper Lough Erne.

    The Castle seems to incorporate a two-storey, 18th century range with a three-sided bow at one end, to which a range of 1820-30 was added at right angles, including a staircase hall, lit atop by an octagonal lantern.

    The Castle was re-fashioned after 1880 in the plain, English-Tudor manor-house style, incorporating a gabled entrance front with mullioned windows, projecting porch and a lofty, church-like battlemented tower at the corner of the 1820-30 range.

    The latter range, at the garden front facing the lough, is unaltered with the exception of Victorian, plate-glass windows; and Georgian astragals at one end.

    Inside the Castle, an oak staircase with barley-sugar balusters replaced the original stairs; and the walls were panelled with oak, too. The octagonal ceiling lantern was left undisturbed.

    In 1907, the entrance front was prolonged by a wing in the Tudor style containing a long, tall gallery with a timbered roof, an elaborate fireplace and a minstrels' gallery.

    At this end of the entrance front there is a pedimented and gabled office wing, possibly 18th century.


    BELLE ISLE is almost surrounded by the waters of Upper Lough Erne and at one time was an island.

    It is reached via a bridge and the approach to the Castle is a straight avenue.

    The original castle dates from 1629 and the present house was created round the core during the mid-19th century.

    It is sited in a glorious position of great natural beauty, which has long been acknowledged. Loudon in his Encyclopedia of 1825 remarks that there were 200 acres:
    ‘… charmingly diversified by hills, dales and gentle declivities, which are richly clothed with old timber through which gravel walks are constructed, and a temple erected, from which a panoramic view is obtained, not only of this but all the other wooded islands of the lough. One of them is exclusively used as a deer park …’. 
    Parkland still sweeps down to the lough shore, though the temple has gone.

    As well as good stands of parkland trees, there are mature shelter belts and wooded areas.

    Early 20th century ornamental gardens at the house have been grassed over.

    There is a walled garden. Two substantial gate lodges were built at the same time as the house was restored and extended.

    The original Belle Isle estate came on the market in 1830. Since the Plantation, it had belonged to the Gore Baronets of Manor Gore, County Donegal.

    The last of this branch of the Gore family was Sir Ralph Gore, 6th Baronet, later Earl of Ross and Viscount Belleisle (1725-1802).

    He had greatly ornamented the pleasure grounds, particularly with follies and garden buildings designed by the well-known Thomas Wright, but the main house was still the modest lodge built by his father in ca 1720.

    Lord Ross had died without legitimate issue, leaving Belle Isle to his natural daughter, Mary, wife of Sir Richard Hardinge, 1st Baronet.

    Lady Hardinge died in 1824; Sir Richard in 1826.

    His nephew and successor, the Rev Sir Charles Hardinge, 2nd Baronet, of Tunbridge, Kent, had no connection with Ireland and presumably no interest in Belle Isle.

    Accordingly, in 1830, Sir Charles and his trustees sold the entire Belle Isle estate, consisting of the manors of Belle Isle and Carrick, together with a small leasehold addendum acquired by Sir Ralph Gore, 4th Baronet, in 1724, to the Rev John Grey Porter of Kilskeery for £68,000.

    In the 1830s, the Rev John made further extensive purchases of land, in both counties Fermanagh and Longford, this time from the 2nd Earl of Belmore.

    The Fermanagh lands alone had a rental of £1,869 a year and cost him £75,000.
    The combined rental of all these estates (Belle Isle included) was about £6,750 a year - a staggering scale of acquisition (even for one whose father had been in possession of the income of the bishopric of Clogher for 22 years), the more so as the Bishop and the Rev John Grey Porter had each in their time to make provision for six younger children.
    Belle Isle remained in the ownership of the Porter family until 1991, when Miss Lavinia Baird sold the estate to the 5th Duke of Abercorn KG.

    Belle Isle Estate has published a fuller history here.

    The Duke bought Belle Isle for his younger son, Lord Nicholas Hamilton.

    The Abercorns have admirably transformed Belle Isle into a truly wonderful 470 acre estate with holiday apartments, cottages, a cookery school and the Castle itself.
    One interesting feature on the estate is the new wood pellet burner: Belle Isle Castle currently consumes approximately 25,900 litres of oil per annum which should be reduced by approximately 85% with this new system.

    A certain amount of oil is still  required to fuel the Aga cookers. The 22,000 litres of oil will be replaced by approximately 53 tonnes of wood pellets (based on approximately 2.4kg of wood pellets replacing 1 litre of oil).

    More detailed information can be obtained at www.belleisle-estate.com .
     First published in January, 2011.

    Tuesday, 16 May 2017

    Norwood Tower Chart

    Click to enlarge

    A map dated 1938 showing Norwood Tower in its grounds, with two gate lodges, extensive outbuildings, greenhouses, walled garden, pond, walks and paddocks.

    Norwood Tower was probably one of the largest private homes in east Belfast.

    The grounds comprised about 50 acres.

    Circular Road can be seen to the north of the mansion.

    Is the smaller building below Norwood Tower a summer-house? Or a gardener's lodge?

    A path runs down to it from the front garden.

    The main drive to the west now forms part of Norwood Court; while the drive to the east is now Norwood Drive.

     © 2011 Lord Belmont in Northern Ireland

    Norwood Tower was the residence of the Hendersons, proprietors of the Belfast Newsletter newspaper.

    Norwood Tower was demolished for housing development ca 1954.

    Ardnagreena House is just outside the picture; its gate lodge remains, though the Victorian villa was demolished in the 1990s.

    Ardvarna House and its gate lodge were demolished after the 2nd World War.

    First published in May, 2011.

    Historic Lecale

    LECALE, ONCE COMPRISING THE HISTORIC BARONIES OF LECALE UPPER AND LECALE LOWER, IS A FLAT PENINSULA IN COUNTY DOWN, LYING BETWEEN STRANGFORD LOUGH AND DUNDRUM BAY.

    IT IS BOUNDED TO THE WEST BY THE RIVERS QUOILE AND BLACKSTAFF, AND THE MARSHES WHICH USED TO SURROUND THE LOW HILL ON WHICH DOWN CATHEDRAL STANDS.


    I have two small publications which are most interesting: The Bangors and Ballyculter, an historical sketch of the parish of Ballyculter (Strangford), written in 1980 by the late Rev William Edmund Kennedy; and Lecale Miscellany, Issue Four, published in 1984 by Lecale Historical Society.

    Mr Kennedy wrote much about the parish of Ballyculter and its beautiful parish church.

    Oldcourt Chapel, nestling in the grounds of the de Ros demesne - home to Peter and Siân Maxwell (Lord and Lady de Ros) - also gets a mention.

    The title of Ros apparently used to be spelt Roos, hence the latter pronunciation.

    Peter Maxwell is 28th Baron de Ros and Premier Baron of England.



    Lord Bangor owned the townlands of Audleystown, Ballincleave, Ballyculter Upper and Lower, Loughkeeland, Raholp, Castle Mahon and Castle Ward.

    Lord de Ros was landlord of Cairntaggart, Killard Upper and Lower, Strangford Upper and Lower, and Tullyratty.

    Gibb's Island was once a busy shipping route from the port of Downpatrick - at Quoile Quay - out to Strangford Lough and thence to the open sea.

    This route must have been spectacular for sailors and passengers in various steamers, winding their way from Quoile Quay or Steamboat Quay, outside Downpatrick, in a northerly direction.

    The river meandered its way up to Castle Island and Hare Island - where a great tidal barrage now blocks the river; past Gibb's Island and Gores Island; between Salt Island and Moore's Point; then presumably skirting westwards of Green Island, into Strangford Lough proper.

    First published in September, 2009.

    Monday, 15 May 2017

    The Musgrave Connection

      Norwood Tower © 2011 Lord Belmont in Northern Ireland

    It was assumed in 1934 that Norwood Tower, Strandtown, Belfast, or its dower house, Clonaver, would pass to Oscar Henderson when Miss Florence Elizabeth Henderson, his aunt, died.

    However, she bequeathed both, together with a majority holding in Belfast News Letter shares, to Sir Christopher Musgrave Bt OBE, a distant cousin.

    This was a bitter blow to Oscar, a distinguished naval officer, and his family.


    They could do nothing about the houses, though they did succeed in buying back the News-Letter shares.
    Commander Oscar Henderson DSO CVO CBE RN (1891-1969) served in a destroyer during the 1st World War. He was second in command of HMS Iris at the famous Battle of Zeebrugge, in 1918, when a British force blocked the Mole by sinking a ship across the entrance.

    Commander Henderson took command when the ship's captain was killed. He was awarded the DSO for his part in this epic.

    He became Comptroller and Private Secretary to the 3rd Duke of Abercorn, 1st Governor of Northern Ireland; and was awarded a CVO and CBE for his services. 

    Commander Henderson was the father of Bill and Brum Henderson.

    Since the James Henderson (b 1797) was Maria Barker's (née Henderson) father; and the aforesaid James Henderson was Florence Elizabeth Henderson's grandfather; it seems reasonable to conclude that James Henderson was Sir Christopher Musgrave's great-grandfather.

    Therefore, Sir Christopher Musgrave was Florence Elizabeth Henderson's first cousin twice removed.

    Miss Henderson bequeathed Norwood Tower to Sir Christopher Musgrave, whose grandmother was Maria Henderson:
    Henderson, Florence Elizabeth of Norwood Tower Strandtown Belfast spinster died 24 March 1934 Probate Belfast 22 February to sir Christopher Norman Musgrave baronet and John Johnson solicitor. Effects £11027 11s [£615,000 in today's money].

    Maria Barker (née Henderson) was, therefore, Florence Elizabeth Henderson's aunt, since James Henderson (Maria's father) was Florence's grandfather.

    Maria Henderson (1839-1905) was the tenth child of James Henderson (1797-1863) and Anne Peacock, and she was born on the 26th December, 1839.

    Maria lived with her brother, James Alexander Henderson, at Norwood Tower and she taught his younger children (most likely including Florence, the youngest).

    This was where she met her future husband, Frank Const Barker. 
    Frank Barker was one of James Alexander Henderson's business friends. All the Barker family used the middle name Const after a Mr Const of Piccadilly, London. Mr Const was a wealthy business friend of Frank's father, Richard Barker, and when he died he left the family a large sum of money.

    Maria Henderson and Frank Barker were married on the 15th September, 1862, and lived at Sorrento House, Dalkey, County Dublin.

    They had eight children, of whom their third child was Kathleen Const Barker who married James Musgrave and had four children.

    The first child was (Sir) Christopher Norman Musgrave, later 6th Baronet (1892-1956).

    First published in May, 2011.

    Tourin House

    THE MUSGRAVE BARONETS, OF TOURIN, WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY WATERFORD, WITH 8,282 ACRES

    This is a junior branch of the ancient family of MUSGRAVE, of Great Musgrave, Westmorland, springing more immediately from

    RICHARD MUSGRAVE, of Wortley, Yorkshire, who settled in Ireland, and wedded Jane Proctor, and had two sons,
    Richard;
    CHRISTOPHER, of whom we treat.
    This

    CHRISTOPHER MUSGRAVE settled at Tourin, County Waterford, and marrying Susannah, daughter of James Usher, of Ballintaylor, was succeeded at his decease by his eldest son,

    RICHARD MUSGRAVE (1746-1818), who was created a baronet, 1782, with remainder to the issue male of his father.

    Sir Richard wedded, in the same year, Deborah, daughter of Sir Henry Cavendish Bt, by his wife Sarah, Baroness Waterpark, of Doveridge, Derbyshire, by whom he had no issue.

    Sir Richard, who was Collector of Excise in the port of Dublin, was known as a political writer, particularly by his History of the Irish Rebellion of 1798.

    He died in 1818, when the title, according to the limitation, devolved upon his brother,

    SIR CHRISTOPHER FREDERICK MUSGRAVE, 2nd Baronet (1738-1826), who espoused, in 1781, Jane, daughter of John Beere, of Ballyboy, County Tipperary, and had issue,
    RICHARD, his heir;
    John;
    Anne.
    Sir Christopher wedded secondly, in 1797, Elizabeth, daughter of William Nicholson, of Wilmer, County Tipperary, who died issueless in 1798; and thirdly, in 1801, Catherine, daughter of Pierce Power, of Affane, County Waterford, and had a son,
    Christopher Frederick, born in 1802.
    Sir Christopher was succeeded by his eldest son, 

    SIR RICHARD MUSGRAVE MP, 3rd Baronet (1790-1859), who married, in 1815, Frances, daughter of the Most Rev William Newcome, Lord Archbishop of Armagh, and had issue,
    RICHARD, his heir;
    Christopher;
    John;
    Robert;
    Edward.
    His eldest son, 

    SIR RICHARD MUSGRAVE, 4th Baronet (1820-74), was sometime Lord-Lieutenant of County Waterford.

    SIR RICHARD JOHN MUSGRAVE, 5th Baronet, JP DL (1850-1930), married Jessie Sophia, daughter of Robert Dunsmuir, in 1891.

    Sir Richard died without male issue.

    His elder daughter, Joan Moira Maud Jameson (née Musgrave) inherited the Tourin estate and her descendants live at Tourin today.

    His cousin,

    SIR CHRISTOPHER NORMAN MUSGRAVE, 6th Baronet, OBE (1892-1956), of Norwood Tower, Strandtown, Belfast, Lieutenant-Colonel, Chief Commissioner of Scouts, Northern Ireland, wedded, in 1918, Kathleen, daughter of Robert Spencer Chapman, and had issue,
    RICHARD JAMES, his successor;
    Christopher Michael (1923-44), killed in action;
    John Anthony Newcome (1926-29);
    Elizabeth Anne.
    Sir Christopher inherited Norwood Tower in 1934.

    Norwood Tower, Strandtown, Belfast

    He was succeeded by his eldest son,

    SIR RICHARD JAMES MUSGRAVE, 7th Baronet (1922-2000), Captain, Indian Army, who married, in 1958, Maria, daughter of Colonel Mario Cambanis, of Athens, Greece, and had issue,
    CHRISTOPHER JOHN SHANE;
    Michael Shane;
    Olivia Mirabel; Anastasia Maria; Charlotte Elizabeth; Alexandra Victoria.
    His son and heir,

    SIR CHRISTOPHER JOHN SHANE MUSGRAVE, 8th and present Baronet, was born in 1959.

    The heir presumptive of the baronetcy is Michael Shane Musgrave (b 1968), younger brother of the present Baronet.


    THE SIX GOLDEN ANNULETS

    From Mucegros, near Écouen, France: This name, so largely represented in England, is repeated further on in its modernized form of Musgrave; and the heralds, ignoring its origin, labour to affiliate it to the German graf.

    They declare that, like Land-grave, Burg-grave, Mar-grave, &c, it is "a name of office:" and as Mews in old days meant the cage or place where hawks were kept while mewing (moulting), and in after times came to signify a stable, boldly announce that "Musgrave or Mewsgrave is clearly either the keeper of the King's hawks or the King's equerry."

    In support of this etymological vagary, they tell us that once upon a time an Emperor of Germany or Archduke of Austria (we will accept either) had a beautiful daughter who was courted by two valiant nobles.

    Each of them had done him such "singular good service that he did not care to prefer one to the other."

    At last it was agreed that they should ride at the ring for the princess; and whichever succeeded in carrying it off should marry her.

    Musgrave triumphantly drove his spear through the ring, became the Emperor's son-in-law, and in memory of his exploit, had the six golden annulets now borne by the Musgraves of Westmorland granted him for his coat-of-arms.


    TOURIN HOUSE, near Cappoquin, County Waterford, was owned by the Roche family in the 17th century, passed to a family called Nettles and was purchased by Sir Richard Musgrave, 1st Baronet, MP for Lismore and sheriff of County Waterford, in 1778.

    The family lived in a 17th century E-shaped dwelling with gables and tall chimneys, attached to the mediaeval tower of Tourin Castle, until the 3rd Baronet decided to build a new house on a more elevated site above the River Blackwater.

    Built in 1840, the new Tourin House is a handsome Italianate villa in what would then have been the very latest style, possibly to the designs of the Waterford architect Abraham Denny.


    There are four formal fronts, all rendered and with beautifully crisply cut stone details.

    These include an elaborate cornice, which supports the overhanging eaves, and a profusion of quoins and stringcourses.

    The five-bay façade has a pair of projecting porches at both ends, both single storey and framed with limestone pilasters, which in turn flank an arcade of three round-headed windows.

    The remaining fronts are mainly of four bays, though the ground floor of the rear facade is of five bays, with a delicate, bowed, iron verandah; while the garden front has a more robust single storey central bow.


    Internally, Tourin is largely unaltered, with a splendid bifurcating imperial staircase of oak, which arises behind the hall.

    The elder daughter of the 5th baronet inherited Tourin.

    She married Thomas Jameson, and their granddaughters live in the house today.


    THE GARDENS were laid out at the beginning of the 20th century by Richard Musgrave, with the help of his friend, the Cork brewer Richard Beamish.

    The fine collection of rhododendrons, camellias, and magnolias are the creation of his grandson and his wife (the present owners' parents); while a number of mature oak and cedar trees, and a champion London plane, remain from the earlier garden and parkland layout.

    The walled garden produces fruit, vegetables, herbs and cut flowers, and is home to an important collection of over a hundred bearded irises, which flower in May and June.

    First published in May, 2013.

    Sunday, 14 May 2017

    Prince Edward Visit

    THE EARL OF WESSEX, Patron, Royal Ulster Agricultural Society, attended Day Three of the Balmoral Show at Balmoral Park, Maze, County Down.


    His Royal Highness was attended by the Lord-Lieutenant of County Down, Mr David Lindsay.

    The Windsor Garden

    THE VISCOUNTS BANGOR WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY DOWN, WITH 9,861 ACRES

    The Sunken Garden at Castle Ward, County Down, lies adjacent to the stable-yard.

    During the Victorian era, this parterre was particularly elaborate.

    My old Nuttall's dictionary neatly describes a parterre as a lay-out of flower-beds with intervening spaces to walk on.

    Castle Ward's sunken garden had little or no grass at all, in fact.

    Prior to its acquisition by the National Trust, it was known as The Windsor Garden.

    An extract from Irish Farming World, ca 1902 states:
    The Windsor Garden, so called from being arranged according to a design at Windsor, is very interesting. The design is most admirably worked out of 61 beds of flowers in the flat all stocked at present with tuberous begonias, dwarf varieties of geraniums, with blue lobelia and yellow pyrethrum for bordering.

    On the next terrace there are several beds of roses of the choicest and latest varieties; ascending a few steps more we came across a collection of beautiful and nicely coloured begonias...ascending to the archway is a good line of Florence Court yews here so tall and stately and the admiration of visitors...to the Pinetum where there is a beautiful collection of trees and shrubs with which his lordship manifests a great interest...
    The small circular pond with its statue of Neptune brandishing his trident isn't in the watercolour.

    The Sunken Garden in 2013

    I've seen a water-colour (top) of the original Windsor Garden by Mary Ward as it was in Victorian times.

    During the Castleward Opera season  I occasionally picnicked there during the interval.

    There used to be a parterre at the elevated garden immediately to the rear of Florence Court House.

    Parterres are considered to be particularly labour-intensive or time-consuming today, which is probably why these ones have not been restored.

     First published in May, 2009.