Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Cork Palace

THE foundation of the bishopric of Cork is placed in the 7th century; that of Ross is unknown: they were united by ELIZABETH I in 1583.

Both sees are contained in County Cork, and are partly intermixed.

The diocese of Cork is 74 miles long from east to west, and about 16 broad.

The length of the principal part of Ross is 32 miles from east to west; and the breadth 8.


THE PALACE, CORK, is a compact three-storey block over a basement with a fanlighted doorway.

It was built ca 1782 by the Right Rev Isaac Mann, Lord Bishop of Cork and Ross, 1772-88, on the site of an earlier palace.


The palace remains the seat of the Lord Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross to this day.

The present Bishop is the Right Rev Paul Colton.

First published in October, 2015.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Antrim Castle

THE VISCOUNTS MASSEREENE AND FERRARD WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY ANTRIM, WITH 11,778 ACRES

SIR WILLIAM SKEFFINGTON (c1465-1535), Knight, who was appointed by HENRY VIII, in 1529, His Majesty's Commissioner to Ireland, arrived there in the August of that year, empowered to restrain the exactions of the soldiers, to call a parliament, and to provide that the possessions of the clergy might be subject to bear their part of the public expense.

Sir William was subsequently a very distinguished politician in Ireland, and died in the government of that kingdom as Lord Deputy, 1535.

His great-grandson,

JOHN SKEFFINGTON, of Fisherwick, Staffordshire, married Alice, seventh daughter of Sir Thomas Cave, of Stamford, and was father of

SIR WILLIAM SKEFFINGTON, Knight, of Fisherwick, who was created a baronet in 1627, denominated of Fisherwick, Staffordshire.

He married Elizabeth, daughter of Richard Dering, and had issue,
JOHN, 2nd Baronet, whose son WILLIAM, 3rd Baronet, dsp;
RICHARD, 4th Baronet;
Elizabeth; Cicely; Mary; Hesther; Lettice; Alice.
The second son,

SIR RICHARD SKEFFINGTON, was father of

SIR JOHN SKEFFINGTON, 5th Baronet, who wedded MARY, only daughter and heir of

SIR JOHN CLOTWORTHY, who, in reward for his valuable services in promoting the restoration of CHARLES II, was created, in 1660, Baron Lough Neagh and VISCOUNT MASSEREENE, both in County Antrim; with remainder, on failure of his male issue, to his son-in-law, Sir John Skeffington, husband of his only daughter MARY, and his male issue by the said Mary, and failing such, to the heirs-general of Sir John Clotworthy.

His lordship died in 1665, and the honours devolved, according to the reversionary proviso, upon the said

SIR JOHN SKEFFINGTON, 2nd Viscount, who died in 1695 and was succeeded by his son,

CLOTWORTHY, 3rd Viscount (1660-1714), who married, in 1684, Rachael, daughter of Sir Edward Hungerford KB, of Farley Castle, Wiltshire, and had issue,
CLOTWORTHY, his successor;
Jane, Sir Hans Hamilton Bt;
Rachael, Randal, 4th Earl of Antrim;
Mary, Rt Rev Edward Smyth, Lord Bishop of Down and Connor.
His lordship was succeeded by his son,

CLOTWORTHY, 4th Viscount, who wedded, in 1713, the Lady Catherine Chichester, eldest daughter of Arthur, 4th Earl of Donegall, and had issue,
CLOTWORTHY, his successor;
Arthur, MP for Co Antrim;
John, in holy orders;
Hungerford;
Hugh;
Catharine; Rachael.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

CLOTWORTHY, 5th Viscount (1715-57), who was, in 1756, advanced to an earldom as EARL OF MASSEREENE.

This nobleman wedded, in 1738, Anne, eldest daughter of the Very Rev Richard Daniel, Dean of Down; and secondly, in 1741, Elizabeth, only daughter and heir of Henry Eyre, of Rowter, Derbyshire, and had issue,
CLOTWORTHY, 2nd Earl;
HENRY, 3rd Earl;
William, Constable of Dublin Castle;
John;
CHICHESTER, 4th Earl;
Alexander;
Elizabeth, Robert, 1st Earl of Leitrim;
Catharine, Francis, 1st Earl of Landaff.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

CLOTWORTHY, 2nd Earl (1743-1805), who married, though having no male issue the family honours devolved upon his brother,

HENRY, 3rd Earl, Governor of the City of Cork, who died unmarried in 1811, and was succeeded by his only surviving brother,

CHICHESTER, 4th Earl, who wedded, in 1780, Harriet, eldest daughter of Robert, 1st Earl of Roden, and had issue,
HARRIET, VISCOUNTESS MASSEREENE.
The 4th Earl died in 1816, when the earldom expired; but the viscountcy of Massereene and barony of Loughneagh devolved upon his only daughter and sole heiress,

HARRIET, VISCOUNTESS MASSEREENE, who married, in 1810, Thomas Henry, Viscount Ferrard, by whom she had issue,

JOHN, VISCOUNT MASSEREENE AND FERRARD (1812-63).
The heir apparent is the present holder's son the Hon. Charles Clotworthy Whyte-Melville Foster Skeffington (born 1973).
Sir John Clotworthy took his title from the half barony of Massereene in County Antrim, where he established his estates.

In 1668, the Marrereenes owned about 45,000 acres in Ireland; however, by 1701, the land appears to have shrunk to 10,000 acres; and, by 1713, the County Antrim estates comprised 8,178 acres.

Land acquisiton through marriage etc meant that the land-holdings amounted to 11,778 acres in 1887.

In the 1600s the Massereenes possessed the lucrative fishing rights to Lough Neagh by means of a 99-year lease and they were also accorded the honour, Captains of Lough Neagh, for a period.

The Chichesters, Earls of Belfast, were Admirals of Lough Neagh.

Historical records also tell us that Lord Massereene had the right to maintain a “fighting fleet” on the Lough.

The 12th Viscount Massereene and Ferrard, DSO, was the last of the Skeffingtons to live at Antrim Castle:
The 12th Viscount was educated at Winchester and Sandhurst; commissioned into the 17th Lancers in 1895; saw action throughout the South African War, 1899-1902; was wounded, mentioned in dispatches and awarded the DSO; and retired as a brevet major in 1907.

Lord Massereene became a TA major in the North Irish Horse later in that year. He later served in the early years of the First World War and is said to have found Lawrence of Arabia 'impossible'. In 1905 he married and succeeded to the title.

He was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant for County Antrim. Although his father-in-law was a Liberal MP and Home Ruler, Lord Massereene was a staunch Conservative and Unionist. Notwithstanding his position as a DL for County Antrim, he is supposed to have sat in his chauffeur-driven car, looking on with approval, as guns were run into Larne Harbour in 1912!

His lordship was Lord-Lieutenant of County Antrim from 1916-38.

From 1921-29 he was Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland and a member of the Northern Ireland Senate.


ANTRIM CASTLE, County Antrim, stood at the side of the River Sixmilewater beside the town of Antrim.

It was originally built in 1613 by Sir Hugh Clotworthy and enlarged in 1662 by his son, the 1st Viscount Massereene.


The Castle was rebuilt in 1813 as a three-storey Georgian-Gothic castellated mansion, faced in Roman cement of an agreeable orange colour.

The original doorway, most elaborate and ornate and complete with Ionic pilasters, heraldry and a head of CHARLES I became a central feature of the new 4-bay entrance front, with a long, adjoining front of 180 feet with 11 bays; mullioned oriels and a tall, octagonal turret were added in 1887 when the Castle was again enlarged.


The image of the Castle above was taken in 1921, just before the disastrous fire.

Clicking on the images shall provide considerable detail.


The demesne boasts a remarkable 17th century formal garden and parterre with a long canal bordered with tall hedges; and another canal at right angles to it making a “T” shape.

There are abundant old trees, masses of yew and walls of rose-coloured brick.

An ancient motte stands beside the ruinous Castle.

The motte was transformed into a magnificent 'viewing mount' in the early 18th century with a corkscrew path lined on the outside with a yew hedge.

Lord and Lady Massereene and their family were hosting a grand ball in Antrim Castle when it was burnt by an IRA gang on the 28th October, 1922.

It is thought that one of the servants was an Irish Republican sympathizer; provided information to the gang; and left the Castle having packed his bags.

Many items of historical importance were destroyed in the fire; but the presence of mind of Lord Massereene and his staff, and the length of time which it takes for a very large house to be consumed by a fire, saved much that would otherwise have been lost.

The daughter of the Archbishop of Armagh, the Most Rev Charles D'Arcy, who was staying at the time, jumped out of a window to save herself.

A 900-piece dinner service of Foster provenance was thrown from the drawing-room windows into the Sixmilewater river; however, very little of it survived intact.

A great deal of furniture, some of it large, was rescued.

More would have been rescued, except that the townspeople of Antrim, who turned out in large numbers to help, thought that the most important thing to be saved was the billiards table!

Thirty men managed to get it out of the castle.
Among the major survivals were the family portraits. A comparison with the portraits itemised by C.H. O'Neill in 1860 and those surviving in family possession today, suggests a rescue operation of astonishing success (although it has to be remembered that many portraits and other important pieces were probably in the London town house in 1922, or with the Dowager Lady Massereene at her house in Hampshire).
The 13th Viscount , who was a small boy at the time, recalled the blaze vividly.

He remembered being trapped with his mother in a light well from which they narrowly escaped, and being told by her that they were going to die there.

He particularly remembered the nursery cat with its fur on fire. I wonder if it survived.

Following the fire, Lord Massereene went to live in the nearby dower house, Skeffington Lodge (which subsequently became the Deer Park Hotel). Further losses of family treasures – this time by sale, not by fire – now followed.

The family considered building a two-storey, Neo-Tudor house on the site of Antrim Castle but nothing came of this.

Apparently no insurance compensation was paid, because arson could not be proved.

The ruin of the great mansion was finally removed about 1970.

After the Second World War, Skeffington Lodge was abandoned; the Antrim Castle stable block was converted for use as a family residence, and was re-named Clotworthy House.

It was let for about ten years following the death of Lord Massereene in 1956. Clotworthy was then acquired by Antrim Borough Council, and was converted for use as an Arts Centre in 1992.

The gardens are of great importance as they retain, in reasonable condition, features from the 17th century.

Whereas, at other sites in Ulster, later fashions dictated alterations in garden layout, at Antrim the formal style typical of European gardens of the 17th century remained little changed throughout successive generations.

The gardens are listed, naming the Long pond and Round Pond.

A great deal of the latter was wooded; became a deer park; and was set out in the early 19th century in clumps and shelter plantations in the landscape manner, but no longer survives in that form.

A fine stone bridge, the Deer Park Bridge, spans the river at a shallow point and formed a link between the demesne and the rest of the estate.

The Anglo-Norman motte adjacent to the house was made into a garden feature, with a yew-lined spiral walk leading to the top, from which views of the grounds, the town of Antrim and the river could (and can still) be enjoyed.

The castle and the motte were enclosed within a bawn and protected by artillery bastions, which were utilized for gardens from the 18th century.

The formal canals, linked by a small cascade and lined with clipped lime and hornbeam hedges, are the main attraction.

The wooded Wilderness is interspersed with straight paths that lead to vistas outside the demesne, which added to the impression that the area it covers is larger than it is.

Unfortunately most of the vistas have now been blocked.

A round pond is a feature in the wilderness. A small former parterre garden is now the family memorial ground.

A larger parterre was reconstructed in the 1990s and now forms a considerable ornamental area planted in the manner of a 17th century garden, including plants that were known to have been grown at that time.

The model for the layout comes from Castle Coole in County Fermanagh. This area is bounded by a fine clipped lime hedge and a venerable yew hedge.

Use of the site as an army camp in the last world war possibly accounts for the paucity of fine mature trees.

Other sections have suffered; the kitchen and ornamental Terrace Garden were destroyed in the 1960s, when a road was laid through part of the area.

The main gate lodge from the town, the Barbican Gate, was possibly built in 1818 to the designs of John Bowden and has been separated from the site by the intrusion of the road.

An underpass now connects the lodge entrance to the grounds.

Another gate lodge, at the farm and stables entrance on the Randalstown Road, has been demolished.

The stable block, built in the 1840s and now known as Clotworthy House, is used as an arts centre.

It replaced an earlier stable block immediately to the east of the house and assumed the name ‘House’ when the family went to live in it some time after the fire at the castle.

The estate and gardens are now owned by Antrim Borough Council and are open all the time for public access.

The 14th and present Viscount formerly lived with his family at Chilham Castle in Kent till it, too, was sold in 1996.

First Published in March, 2010.  Massereene arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

1st Marquess of Ailsa

THE MARQUESSES OF AILSA WERE THE GREATEST LANDOWNERS IN AYRSHIRE, WITH 76,015 ACRES

This is a very ancient and honourable Scottish family, its members being, at different periods, employed in some of the highest and most confidential public situations.

DUNCAN, EARL OF CARRICK, proprietor of a considerable estate in the district of Carrick, Ayrshire, was father of

NEIL, EARL OF CARRICK, who granted the church of St Cuthbert, at Maybole, to the nuns of north Berwick, in 1220; from this Neil descended

SIR GILBERT DE CARRICK, Knight, who obtained, from Malcolm, Earl of Lennox, a charter of the lands of Kennedy etc.

This Sir Gilbert was one of the prisoners taken at the battle of Durham in 1346.

About this time the family began to drop the ancient name of Carrick, and to assume that of Kennedy.

Alexander Kennedy, clerk, canon of Glasgow, chancellor to John Balliol, King of Scots, one of those who swore fealty to EDWARD I, in 1296, is the first of the name on record.

SIR JOHN KENNEDY, designated son of Sir Gilbert de Carrick in many authenticated writs, obtained a confirmatory charter from DAVID II of Scotland of the lands of CASTLYS, Ayrshire, with other territorial possessions which he had acquired with his wife Mary, daughter of Sir John Montgomery.

He was succeeded by his son,

SIR GILBERT KENNEDY, one of the hostages delivered to the English in 1357, for the liberation of DAVID II.

This gentleman was succeeded by his son,

SIR JAMES KENNEDY, who carried on the line of the family, and obtained from ROBERT III of Scotland a charter of confirmation of the bailiary of Carrick, and to have the command of the militia of Carrick etc.

Sir James wedded Lady Mary Stewart, widow of George Douglas, Earl of Angus, and daughter of ROBERT III of Scotland; and got a confirmation from that monarch, then his father-in-law, of the lands and barony of Dalrymple, to himself, and the Princess his wife, dated at Dundonald, 1485.

His eldest son, 

SIR GILBERT KENNEDY (c1406-80), Knight, of Dunure, was raised to the peerage, as Lord Kennedy.

His elder son,

JOHN, 2nd Lord, was succeeded by his son,

DAVID, 3rd Lord, who, being of the privy council of JAMES IV of Scotland, was, by that monarch, created EARL OF CASSILLIS.

His lordship was slain at Flodden Field, and was succeeded by his son,

GILBERT, 2nd Earl, who filled the high office of Lord Treasurer of Scotland, and assisted, as a deputed Scottish peer, 1558, at the marriage of the ill-fated Mary Stuart, with Francis, Dauphin of France.

His lordship wedded Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of John Kennedy, of Culzean, by whom he had two sons, Gilbert and Thomas.

He died in 1558, he was succeeded by the elder son,

GILBERT, 4th Earl, who died in 1576 and was succeded by his son,

JOHN, 5th Earl, who, dying without issue, the family honours devolved upon his nephew,

JOHN, 6th Earl, who died in 1702 and was succeeded by his grandson,

JOHN, 7th Earl, with whom the male branch of this family was extinguished.

Following the 7th Earl's decease, in 1759, and leaving no child, the family honours reverted to

THOMAS, the direct descendant of Thomas, son of Gilbert, the 3rd Earl.

The grandfather of this nobleman, Archibald, was created a baronet, 1682. 

ARCHIBALD (1770-1846), 12th Earl, was advanced to the dignity of a marquessate, in 1831, as MARQUESS OF AILSA.
The heir presumptive is the present holder's younger brother Lord David Thomas Kennedy (b 1958), married with a son.

CULZEAN CASTLE, near Maybole, Ayrshire, is one of the most splendid houses in Scotland.

Built between 1775-92, its designer was Robert Adam, perhaps the most creative late Georgian architect.

Adam was commissioned by the 10th Earl of Cassilis to enlarge and remodel a late 16th century castle, set on a cliff-top overlooking the sea. Its pepper-pot turrets, towers and battlements borrow directly from historic Scottish architecture.

The Castle's rounded towers, set with arrow slits, make the façades bulge in and out.

However, the front is rigorously symmetrical, unlike most medieval castles.

Apart from the arrow slits, the windows are regular Georgian sashes, and evenly spaced.

There are even classical columns framing the large central windows.

It incorporates a large drum tower with a circular saloon inside (which overlooks the sea), a grand oval staircase and a suite of well-appointed apartments.

Inside, all is made clear: the stunning interiors are Neo-Classical.

In 1945, the family gave the castle and its grounds to the National Trust for Scotland (thus avoiding inheritance tax).

In doing so, they stipulated that the apartment at the top of the castle be given to General Dwight D Eisenhower in recognition of his role as Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe during the 2nd World War.

Eisenhower first visited Culzean Castle in 1946 and stayed there four times, including once while US President.

An Eisenhower exhibition occupies one of the rooms, with mementoes of his lifetime.

The Ayrshire (Earl of Carrick's Own) Yeomanry, a yeomanry cavalry regiment, was formed by Lord Cassillis at Culzean Castle ca 1794.

In 1961, the Regiment returned to the castle to be presented with its first guidon by General Sir Horatius Murray KBE CB DSO.

The castle re-opened in April, 2011, after a refurbishment funded by a gift in the will of the American millionaire William Lindsay to the National trust for Scotland.

Lindsay, who had never visited Scotland, requested that a significant portion of his $4 million go towards Culzean.

Mr Lindsay was reportedly interested in Eisenhower's holidays at the castle.


CASSILLIS HOUSE, near Kirkmichael, Ayrshire, was another seat of the Earls of Cassillis.

The mansion recently featured in a BBC series, Restoration Home.

The house was sold by Lord Ailsa in 2009.

First published in November, 2013.   Ailsa arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Magheramena Castle

THE JOHNSTONS OWNED 7,157 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY FERMANAGH

This family was originally from Scotland.

WALTER ROE JOHNSTONE, of Mawlick, County Fermanagh, High Sheriff of County Fermanagh, 1679, attainted in 1689, had five sons,
Francis, of Limerick;
James, of Magheramena, dsp 1731;
George;
HUGH, of whom hereafter;
Edward, of Leitrim.
The fourth son,

THE REV HUGH JOHNSTON, of Templecarn, County Fermanagh, made his will in 1691, and left a son,

FRANCIS JOHNSTON, of Magheramena, High Sheriff of County Fermanagh, 1731-2, who died in 1737, leaving, by Frances his wife,
James;
Walter;
Hugh;
Francis;
JOHN, of whom we treat;
Mary; Grace; Lettice.
The fifth son,

CAPTAIN JOHN JOHNSTON, left by Anne his wife (married in 1756) two sons, of whom

ROBERT JOHNSTON QC, wedded, in 1806, Letitia, daughter of Sir William Richardson Bt, of Castle Hill, County Tyrone; and had issue,
JAMES, his heir;
Anna Maria, m, 1827, G Knox, of Prehen;
Harriette, m H Daniel, of Auburn;
Letitia Mary, m, 1835, J L Macartney.
Mr Johnston died in 1833, and was succeeded by his only son,

JAMES JOHNSTON JP DL (1817-73), of Magheramena Castle, County Fermanagh, High Sheriff of County Fermanagh, 1841, who married, in 1838, Cecilia, daughter of Thomas Newcomen Edgeworth, of Kilshrewly, County Longford, and had issue,
ROBERT EDGEWORTH, his heir;
Letitia Marian; Rosetta.
Mr Johnston was succeeded by his only son,

ROBERT EDGEWORTH JOHNSTON (1842-), of Glencore House, High Sheriff, 1877, who wedded, in 1873, Edythe Grace, daughter of John Reynolds Dickson, of Woodville and Tullaghan House, County Leitrim, and had, with other issue,

JAMES CECIL JOHNSTON (1880-1915), of Magheramena Castle and Glencore House, both in County Fermanagh, High Sheriff of County Fermanagh, 1910, who married, in 1903, Violet Myrtle, daughter of S A Walker Waters, Assistant Inspector-General, Royal Irish Constabulary, and had issue, two daughters,
MYRTLE;
Marjorie Helen, b 1911.
Captain Johnston, Adjutant, Royal Irish Fuliliers, Deputy Ranger of The Curragh of Kildare, 1910, Master of the Horse to His Excellency the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Lord Aberdeen, 1910, was killed in action during the 1st World War.

His elder daughter,

MYRTLE JOHNSTON (1909-), a novelist, was born at Dublin and educated privately at Magheramena Castle.

The family moved to Bournemouth in 1921.

She published Hanging Johnny (1927), followed by Relentless (1930), The Maiden (1930), and A Robin Redbreast in a Cage (1950), amongst others.


MAGHERAMENA CASTLE, near Belleek, County Fermanagh, was a Tudor-Gothic house of ashlar, built between 1835-40.

It comprised two storeys, blind gables, and polygonal turrets with finials; a square battlemented tower at one corner; tall Gothic windows; quatrefoil decoration.


There was a single-storey battlemented wing terminating in a low round turret at the other end of the house.

It faced the River Erne to the south.

The entrance was to the north; and a conservatory to the east.

A small kitchen court faced westwards.

The main façades were quite irregular, with big octagonal turrets and haphazard breaks from room to room.

A corridor running east to west connected the five principal rooms on the south front.

The house was constructed with cut stone.

A covered passage led westwards from the house to the 18th century stable-court and offices.



The Johnstons seem to have abandoned Magheramena and Ulster in 1921, following the untimely death of Captain Johnston and the establishment of Northern Ireland.

Thereafter, Magheramena Castle became a parochial house.

It was unroofed and partly demolished in the 1950s.


The estate lies between Belleek and Castle Caldwell.

First published in November, 2013.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Freemen of Belfast: 1940-50

HONORARY BURGESSES OF THE CITY OF BELFAST
ELECTED AND ADMITTED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF BELFAST UNDER THE MUNICIPAL PRIVILEGE (IRELAND) ACT, 1875


44  Dr James Dunlop Williamson JP DL ~ 1942

45  The Rt Hon Bernard Law Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, KG GCB DSO PC ~ 1944

46  General Dwight D Eisenhower ~ 1945

47  The Rt Hon Harold Rupert Leofric George Earl Alexander of Tunis, KG GCB OM GCMG CSI DSO MC CD PC ~ 1945

48  The Rt Hon Alan Francis Viscount Alanbrooke, KG GCB OM GCVO DSO ~ 1945

49  HRH The Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh [HM The Queen] ~ 1949

50  HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh ~ 1949

51  Sir William Frederick Neill JP DL ~ 1949

52  Lady Neill ~ 1949

53  The Rt Hon Basil Stanlake Viscount Brookeborough, KG CBE MC PC ~ 1950

54  The Rt Hon Cynthia Mary Viscountess Brookeborough, DBE ~ 1950

First published in 2012.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Derreen House

THE MARQUESSES OF LANSDOWNE WERE THE GREATEST LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY KERRY, WITH 94,983 ACRES

The Earls of Kerry trace their origin to a common ancestor in the direct line with the eminent houses of FitzGerald, Windsor, Carew, McKenzie, etc; namely, Walter FitzOtho, Castellan of Windsor in the 11th century; whose eldest son,

GERALD FITZWALTER, obtained a grant from HENRY I, of Moulsford, Berkshire.

This Gerald wedded Nest ferch Rhys, daughter of Rhys ap Tewdwr, Prince of South Wales, and had issue,
MAURICE, ancestor of the ducal house of LEINSTER;
WILLIAM, of whom presently;
David (Rt Rev), Bishop of St David's.
The second son,

WILLIAM FITZGERALD, Lord of Carew, called by Giraldus Cambrensis the eldest son; but the pedigree of the family of LEINSTER setting forth the contrary, his mother's inheritance, and assuming that surname, bespeak him a younger son, which is confirmed by the unerring testimony of the addition of chief, ermine, to his coat armour (a certain sign of cadence, to distinguish him and his posterity from the elder branch of the family.

This William was sent, in 1171, by Strongbow into Ireland with his son, Raymond, where, for a time, he assisted in the reduction of that kingdom; but returning to his native country, died in 1173, leaving issue by Catherine, daughter of Sir Adam de Kingsley, of Cheshire, seven sons and a daughter.

The eldest son,

RAYMOND FITZGERALD, surnamed, from his corpulence, Le Gros, having, as stated above, accompanied his father into Ireland, was a principal in the reduction of that kingdom.

He married Basilia, sister of Strongbow, and had, as a marriage portion with her, a large territorial grant and the constableship of Leinster.

After this, we find him aiding MacCarthy, King of Cork, against his rebellious son, and acquiring for his services a large tract of land in County Kerry, where he settled his eldest son,

MAURICE FITZRAYMOND, who espoused firstly, Johanna, daughter of Meiler Fitzhenry, founder of Great Connell Priory, County Kildare, and Lord Chief Justice of Ireland, by whom he had a son,

THOMAS, who assumed the surname of FITZMAURICE, and became Baron Kerry.

This Thomas founded the Grey Franciscan abbey of Ardfert in 1253.

He married Grace, daughter of MacMurrough Kavanagh, son of the king of Leinster; and dying in 1280, was succeeded by his eldest son,

MAURICE FITZTHOMAS, 2nd Baron; who sat in the parliament held at Dublin in 1295, and attended a writ of summons of EDWARD I, 1297, with horse and arms, in an expedition against Scotland.

He wedded Mary, daughter and heir of Sir John McLeod, of Galway; and dying in 1303, was succeeded by his son,

NICHOLAS, 3rd Baron; whose son,

MAURICE, 4th Baron, having a dispute with Desmond Oge MacCarthy, killed him upon the bench before the judge of assize, at Tralee, in 1325, for which he was tried and attainted by the parliament of Dublin, but was not put to death.

His lands were, however, forfeited, but restored, after his death, to his brother and successor,

JOHN, 5th Baron; from whose time, we are obliged, by our limits, to pass over almost four centuries, and to come to

THOMAS, 21st Baron (1668-1741), who was created, in 1722, Viscount Clanmorris and EARL OF KERRY.

His lordship wedded, in 1692, Anne, only daughter of Sir William Petty, physician-general to the army in Ireland in 1652.

Sir William Petty was celebrated for his extraordinary talents, and surprising fortune.

In 1664, he undertook the survey of Ireland; and, in 1666, he had completed the measurement of 2,008,000 acres of forfeited land, for which, by contract, he was to receive one penny per acre, and did actually acquire an estate of £6,000 a year.

This eminent and distinguished person died of gangrene in his foot, in 1687.

The Earl of Kerry had issue,
WILLIAM;
JOHN, of whom presently;
Elizabeth Anne; Arabella; Charlotte.
His lordship's second son,

THE HON JOHN FITZMAURICE (1706-61), having inherited the Petty estates upon the demise of his maternal uncle, Henry Petty, Earl of Shelburne, in 1751 (when that earldom expired), assumed the surname and arms of PETTY, and was advanced to the peerage as Baron Dunkeron and Viscount FitzMaurice.

His lordship was further advanced, in 1753, to an earldom, as EARL OF SHELBURNE.

He married, in 1734, his first cousin Mary, daughter of the Hon William FitzMaurice, by whom he had issue, WILLIAM, his successor; and Thomas, who married Mary, Countess of Orkney, a peeress in her own right.

His lordship was created a peer of Great Britain, as Baron Wycombe; and dying in 1761, was succeeded by his eldest son,

WILLIAM, 2nd Earl (1737-1805), KG, a general in the army, and a distinguished statesman in the reign of GEORGE III.

In 1782, his lordship, after the death of the Marquess of Rockingham (under whom he filled the office of Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs), was nominated Prime Minister.

The 2nd Earl was advanced, in 1784, to the dignities of Earl of Wycombe, Viscount Calne and Calstone, and MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE.

The Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin is named after William, 2nd Earl of Shelburne and 1st Marquess of Lansdowne.

His lordship married firstly, in 1765, Sophia, daughter of John, Earl Granville, by whom he left one son, JOHN, his successor; and secondly, in 1779, Louisa, daughter of John, Earl of Upper Ossory, by whom he had another son, HENRY, 3rd Marquess; and a daughter, Louisa, who died young.

He was succeeded by his elder son,

JOHN, 2nd Marquess (1765-1809), who espoused, in 1805, Lady Gifford, widow of Sir Duke Gifford, of Castle Jordan, in Ireland; but dying without issue, the honours devolved upon his half-brother,

LORD HENRY PETTY, who had already distinguished himself as an eloquent public speaker, and had attained considerable popularity by his enlightened views as a statesman.

His lordship succeeded also to the honours of the house of KERRY upon the demise of his cousin.



The heir apparent is the present holder's elder son, Simon Henry George Petty-Fitzmaurice, styled Earl of Kerry.

The 3rd Marquess declined a dukedom.


DERREEN HOUSE, near Lauragh, County Kerry, sits in a particularly beautiful site at the River Kenmare.

It was enlarged between 1863-66 by the 4th Marquess of Lansdowne, who built a new wing.

The house was further enlarged after 1870 by the 5th Marquess, who was subsequently Governor-General of Canada, Viceroy of India and HM Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.


Derreen underwent further work following an attack of dry rot in 1925-6.

It comprises two storeys over a basement, with white rendered walls and dormer gables.


DERREEN GARDEN extends over the greater part of the peninsula on which it lies.

It covers an area of 60 acres and includes nearly eight miles of paths, which wind through mature and varied woodland.

In the moist and mild climate, tender and exotic plants flourish.

Many of the paths in the garden provide marvellous glimpses of the sea (Bay of Kilmakilloge) and the distant mountains (Caha Mountains, Macgillycuddy's Reeks).

Derreen garden is particularly noted for its rhododendrons and tree ferns.

Throughout the garden a rich patina of moss, lichens ferns and saxifrages gives a sub-tropical feel to the whole area.

As a foil to the luxuriant plantings, there are great natural outcrops of rocks.

The garden is open to the public every day from April to October.

Following the 2nd World War, Dereen passed to the 12th Lady Nairne, Viscountess Mersey, sister of the 7th Marquess of Lansdowne (who was killed in action in 1944).

It eventually passed to her son, the Hon David Bigham.

The seat of the Marquesses of Lansdowne is now Bowood House, Wiltshire.

Former town house ~ Lansdowne House, Berkeley Square, London.

First published in July, 2013.   Lansdowne arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Raphoe Palace

IT is not precisely known at what time this See was established, but it must have been prior to the 10th century, since bishops of Raphoe are mentioned in the ninth.

This diocese comprises the greater part of County Donegal, being 56 miles in length from north to south, and 40 in breadth.

The cathedral and parish church stands in the small town of Raphoe.


THE PALACE, Raphoe, County Donegal, formerly a strong castle, is about a quarter of a mile from the town: it is a handsome and spacious castellated building, pleasantly situated in tastefully disposed grounds.

The castle was built in 1636 by the Right Rev John Leslie, Lord Bishop of Raphoe, 1633-61.

It was partly fortified, with square corner towers and two storeys over a basement.


The front comprised three bays, with an extra bay in each tower.

A third storey, with bartizans and battlements, was added in the 18th century by the Right Rev John Oswald.

Raphoe Castle was burnt down by an accidental fire in 1838 and has remained ruinous ever since.

The Right Rev William Bissett was the last Lord Bishop of Raphoe before the diocese was amalgamated with that of Derry.

First published in October, 2015.