Friday, 28 July 2017

1st Duke of Bridgewater


WILLIAM LE BELWARD, feudal lord of Malpas, who married Beatrix, daughter of Hugh de Kevelioc, 5th Earl of Chester (1147-81), left three sons,
David (surnamed LE CLERC, from being secretary to the Earl of Chester);
William Le Belward was succeeded by his eldest son,

DAVID LE CLERC, who, after the earldom of Chester was annexed to the Crown, was sheriff of that county, a Justice, and held three knights' fees therein.

This powerful baron wedded Margaret, daughter and heir of Ralph Ap Eynon, and granddaughter maternally of the aforesaid Hugh, Earl of Chester; and thus became possessed of the entire barony of Malpas, a moiety by descent, and a moiety in right of his wife.

Of this marriage there were four sons, the second of whom,

PHILIP, surnamed Gough (or the Red), having obtained the manor of Egerton Malpas from Wion de Egerton, and taking up his abode there, assumed, according to the custom of the age, the surname of EGERTON, and from him directly descended (the sixth or seventh in lineal succession),

PHILIP EGERTON, of Egerton, who espoused Margery, daughter of William Mainwaring; and dying in the thirteenth year of EDWARD IV's reign, left two sons,
John, his heir;
RALPH, of whom we treat.
The younger son,


RICHARD EGERTON, who left a natural son,

THOMAS EGERTON (1540-1617), a distinguished statesman, LORD CHANCELLOR OF ENGLAND, who was elevated to the peerage, 1603, as Baron Ellesmere.

His lordship was advanced to a viscountcy, in 1616, as Viscount Brackley.

He wedded Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Ravenscroft, had had issue,
Thomas (1577-99);
JOHN, his successor;
The 1st Viscount married secondly, in 1596, Mrs Elizabeth Wolley; and thirdly, in 1600, Mrs Alice Stanley.

He was succeeded by his surviving son,

JOHN, 2nd Viscount, KB (1579-1649), who wedded, in 1602, the Lady Frances Stanley, daughter of the 5th Earl of Derby, and had issue,
James, died young;
Charles, died young;
JOHN, his successor;
Elizabeth; Mary; Frances; Alice; Arabella; Penelope; Catherine; Magdalen.
His lordship was created Earl of Bridgewater in 1617.

He was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

JOHN, 2nd Earl (1623-86), who espoused, in 1641, the Lady Elizabeth Cavendish, second daughter of William, 1st Duke of Newcastle, and had issue,
JOHN, his successor;
two other sons;
Elizabeth; two other daughters.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN, 3rd Earl, KB (1646-1701), who wedded firstly, Elizabeth, only daughter and heir of James, 2nd Earl of Middlesex, and had issue, a son,
John (1688-70).
He wedded secondly, in 1673, the Lady Jane Paulet, daughter of Charles, 1st Duke of Bolton, and had issue,
Charles, died young;
Thomas, died young;
SCROOP, his successor;
Mary; Elizabeth.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

SCROOP, 4th Earl (1681-1744), who married firstly, 1703, the Lady Elizabeth Churchill, third daughter and co-heir of John, 1st Duke of Marlborough, and had issue,
John (1703-18);
His lordship espoused secondly, in 1722, the Lady Rachel Russell, eldest daughter of Wriothesley, 3rd Duke of Bedford, and had issue,
Charles (1725-31);
JOHN, 2nd Duke;
FRANCIS, 3rd Duke;
Louisa; Caroline; Diana.
The 4th Earl was advanced, in 1720, to the the dignities of Marquess of Brackley and DUKE OF BRIDGEWATER.

His Grace was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

JOHN, 2nd Duke (1727-48), who died unmarried, and was succeeded by his brother,

FRANCIS, 3rd Duke (1736-1803), who died a bachelor.

The marquessate of Brackley and the dukedom of Bridgewater expired and his other peerages passed to his cousin and heir male, John William Egerton, who succeeded as 7th Earl of Bridgewater.

Former seat ~ Ashridge House, Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire; town residence ~ Bridgewater House.

Bridgewater arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Desmond Castle


The COURTENAYS, one of the most illustrious races amongst the English nobility, deduce their paternal descent from ATHON DE COURTENAY, who sprang himself from PHARAMOND, founder of the French monarchy in 1420, and common patriarch of all the Kings of France.

This ATHON having fortified, during the reign of ROBERT the Wise, the town of COURTENAY, in the Île-de-France, thence assumed his surname. 


WILLIAM COURTENAY, de jure 3rd Earl of Devon (1553-1630), High Sheriff of Devon, 1581; who, in 1585, was one of the undertakers to send over settlers for the better planting of Ireland, and thus laid the foundation of the prodigious estate in that kingdom enjoyed by his posterity.

Sir William married Elizabeth, daughter of Henry, 2nd Earl of Rutland, and was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

FRANCIS, de jure 4th Earl ((1576-1638), of Powderham Castle, who was succeeded by his eldest son,

WILLIAM, de jure 5th Earl (1628-1702).

IN THE late 16th century, the vast estates of the Earl of Desmond were forfeited by the Crown.

The Castle, Newcastle West, County Limerick, and a large amount of surrounding land, was granted to Sir William Courtenay, de jure 3rd Earl of Devon, of Powderham, Devon, in 1591.
The Courtenays, Earls of Devon, still live at Powderham Castle in Kent.
Sir William was a staunch Roman Catholic and suffered persecution for his beliefs.

His son George might even have practised his faith in secret.

Their home was reputed to have had a room in which priests were hidden.

Courtenay was denounced in the House of Commons as a "papist recusant" in 1624.

In December, 1641, disturbances broke out in Newcastle West and the castle was burned down.

It is unlikely that anybody lived in the castle after that time.

The old castle house, which was adjacent to the castle, and where the agents for the Courtenays lived, was probably built around 1700.

This house was burned down during the Irish civil war in 1922.
In time the Courtenays were to become the largest landlords in County Limerick, owning up to 85,000 acres in the south-west of the county; the remaining lands of Newcastle West and the surrounding countryside were known as the Devon Estate until the first years of the 20th century.
In 1908, under the 1903 Land Act, practically all the lands of the Devon Estate were sold.

The town of Newcastle West itself was sold in 1910.

The last agents on the Courtenays in Newcastle West were the Curling family.

They were agents from 1848 until the decimation and sale of the Estate.

After the break up of the estate, they bought the castle building and some of the surrounding land from Lord Devon.

The last Curling, Richard, died in 1943.

In 1944 his house house and the castle grounds were sold.

It is believed that the Castle, known as the Desmond Banqueting Hall and Castle, is now state-owned.

First published in May, 2011.

Thursday, 27 July 2017


By the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and of the British Dominions beyond the Seas, King, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India

First published in August, 2013.

Darragh Island Acquisition


PROPERTY: Darragh Island, Strangford Lough, County Down

DATE: 1978

EXTENT: 18.74 acres

DONOR: John Metcalfe

First published in February, 2015.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

1st Duke of Ancaster


PEREGRINE BERTIE (1555-1601), son and heir of Richard Bertie, by Catherine his wife, only daughter and heir of William, 11th Baron Willoughby de Eresby, was summoned to Parliament as 13th Baron Willoughby de Eresby.

He married Mary, daughter of John, 16th Earl of Oxford, and had issue, a son,

ROBERT, 14th Baron (1582-1642), who claimed, in right of his mother, the earldom of Oxford, together with the office of Hereditary Lord Great Chamberlain of England.

He was, however, subsequently advanced to the dignity of an earldom, 1626, as Earl of Lindsey; and being on the breaking out of the civil wars appointed General of the King's forces, fell at the battle of Edge Hill, 1642, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

MONTAGU, 2nd Earl (1608-66), who married firstly, in 1627, Martha, Dowager Countess of Holderness, third daughter of Alderman Sir William Cockayne, by whom he had eight children, including his successor, ROBERT.

His lordship wedded secondly, Bridget, Baroness Norris, by which lady he had four children.

He was succeeded by the eldest son of his first marriage,

ROBERT, 3rd Earl (1630-1701), who espoused, in 1654, Mary second daughter and co-heir of John Massingberd, of London, and had issue, a daughter, ARABELLA.

His lordship wedded secondly, Elizabeth, only child of Philip, 4th Baron Wharton, and had issue,
ROBERT, his successor;
Jane; Caroline.
The 3rd Earl wedded thirdly, Elizabeth, only child of Thomas, 2nd Earl of Downe, and had issue,
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

ROBERT, 4th Earl (1660-1723), who married, in 1678, Mary, daughter of Sir Richard Wynn Bt, and had issue,
Robert (1683-1704);
PEREGRINE, of whom hereafter;
Elizabeth; Eleanor; Mary.
His lordship wedded secondly, 1705, Albinia, daughter of Major-General William Faringdon, and had issue,
The 4th Earl was created, in 1706, Marquess of Lindsey; and further advanced, in 1715, to the dignity of a dukedom, as DUKE OF ANCASTER AND KESTEVEN.

His Grace was succeeded by his eldest son,

PEREGRINE, 2nd Duke (1686-1742), who espoused, in 1711, Jane, third daughter and co-heir of Sir John Brownlow Bt, and had issue,
PEREGRINE, his successor;
BROWNLOW, 5th Duke;
Mary; Albinia; Jane; Caroline.
His Grace was succeeded by his eldest son,

PEREGRINE, 3rd Duke (1714-78), who married firstly, in 1735, Elizabeth, daughter and sole heir of William Blundell, of Basingstoke, Hampshire; and secondly, in 1750, Mary, daughter of Thomas Panton, of Newmarket, Cambridgeshire, by whom he had issue,
Peregrine Thomas (1755-8);
ROBERT, his successor;
Priscilla Barbara Elizabeth; Georgiana Charlotte.
His Grace was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

ROBERT, 4th Duke (1756-79), who died unmarried, when the family honours reverted to His Grace's uncle,

BROWNLOW, 5th Duke (1729-1809), who wedded firstly, in 1762, Harriot, only daughter and heir of George Morton Pitt, of Twickenham, Middlesex; and secondly, in 1769, Mary Anne, youngest daughter of Major Peter Layard, of Canterbury, Kent, by whom he had issue,

THE LADY MARY ELIZABETH BERTIE (1771-97), who married, in 1793, Thomas, 4th Earl of Portmore, and had issue.

On the death of the 5th Duke, the dukedom and the marquessate expired, and the earldom of Lindsey passed to his distant cousin, Albemarle [Bertie], 9th Earl of Lindsey.

Former seat ~ Grimsthorpe Castle, Lincolnshire.

Ancaster arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Grace Hall


This family is of Scottish descent.

ROBERT DOUGLAS (1655-1733), son of Robert Douglas, of County Down, by Elizabeth Henderson his wife, was a lieutenant in WILLIAM III's army at the battle of the Boyne.

He was thrice married: firstly, to Miss Elliot; secondly, to Miss Whitney; and thirdly, to Miss Usher.

Mr Douglas was succeeded by his son,

CHARLES DOUGLAS, High Sheriff of County Down, 1760, who wedded firstly, Grace, daughter of Richard Waring, of Waringstown, County Down, but had no issue.

He espoused secondly, in 1758, Theodosia, daughter of George St George, of Woodsgift, County Kilkenn (who was created a baronet, 1766), and had issue,
Elizabeth; Ellen.
The eldest son,

THOMAS DOUGLAS, of Grace Hall, married, in 1786, Elizabeth, daughter of Mathew Forde, of Seaforde, County Down, and Coolgreaney, County Wexford, by Elizabeth his wife, sister of Thomas, 1st Viscount Northland, and had issue,
Elizabeth, m Rev S Blacker, of Elm Park, mother to S T BLACKER-DOUGLAS;
Theodosia, m Rev W B Forde, of Seaforde.
The only son,

CHARLES MATHEW DOUGLAS JP DL (1793-1880), of Grace Hall, High Sheriff of County Down, 1836, dsp 1880, and was succeeded under the provisions of his will, proved in 1860, by his nephew, ST JOHN THOMAS BLACKER-DOUGLAS, of Grace Hall etc.


SAMUEL BLACKER, of Tandragee, County Armagh, Barrister, third son of William Blacker, of Carrickblacker, County Armagh, by Theodosia his second wife,  daughter of Sir Oliver St John, Knight, of Tandragee Castle, married, in 1734, Mary, daughter of Isaiah Corry, of Rock Corry, County Monaghan, and had a son,

THE REV ST JOHN BLACKER (1743-), Rector of Moira, County Down, Prebendary of Inver, County Donegal, who married firstly, in 1767, Grace, daughter of Maxwell Close, of Elm Park, County Armagh, and had issue,
SAMUEL (Rev), his heir;
Maxwell, QC, of Dublin;
Mary; Catherine; Grace; Charlotte.
The Rev St John Blacker wedded secondly, Susan, daughter of Dr Messiter, of London, but had no further issue.

His eldest son,

THE REV SAMUEL BLACKER (1771-1849), espoused Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Douglas, of Grace Hall, County Down, and had issue,
ST JOHN THOMAS, his heir;
Thomas Samuel, of Castle Martin, Co Kildare, father of WILLIAM BLACKER;
Theodosia; Frances Elizabeth; Isabella.
The Rev Samuel Blacker was succeeded by his eldest son,

ST JOHN THOMAS BLACKER-DOUGLAS JP DL (1822-1900), of Grace Hall, County Down, Elm Park, County Armagh, and Tullahinel, County Kerry, High Sheriff of County Armagh, 1861, who married, in 1855, Elizabeth, daughter of Colonel Crofton Moore Vandeleur MP, of Kilrush, County Clare, by the Lady Grace Toler his wife, daughter of Hector John, 2nd Earl of Norbury, and had issue,
St John Douglas Stewart;
Grace Elizabeth; Georgina Frances; Emily Theodosia.
Mr Blacker-Douglas assumed, by royal licence, 1880, the additional name and arms of DOUGLAS, on succeeding to the estate of his uncle, Charles Mathew Douglas.

His eldest son,

MAXWELL VANDELEUR BLACKER-DOUGLAS JP DL (1859-1929), of Grace Hall, and Elm Park, High Sheriff of County Kerry, 1905, and of County Dublin, 1909, Lieutenant, 4th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, married, in 1891, Alice, only child of Robert MacGeough, of Silverbridge, County Armagh, and had issue,
ROBERT ST JOHN (1892-1915);
Charles Maxwell, b 1900;
Alice Florence, b 1895.

GRACE HALL, Dollingstown, County Armagh, is a three-storey, double gable-ended 18th century house in the Regency style.

The Douglases owned most of their land on the County Down side of the border.

It has a front comprising two full-length curved bows, with one bay in between.

There are Wyatt windows; a porch was added at a later stage.

Grace Hall now operates as a wedding venue.

Other former seat ~ Elm Park, County Armagh.
Former residence ~ 2 Bellevue Park, Killiney, County Dublin.

First published in July, 2015.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

The McFarland Baronets


JOHN McFARLAND JP (1848-1926), a prosperous businessman from Londonderry, married Annie, daughter of John Talbot, in 1893.

He was Mayor of Londonderry, 1909-12; High Sheriff, 1904-5; member, Port and Harbour Commissioners; Chairman, Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway Company, 1908.
Mr McFarland was also founder of, and a partner in, the firm of McCrea and McFarland, engineering contractors, of Belfast and Londonderry; chairman of Mulhollands Ltd, drapers; chairman of Brewster's Ltd, bakers; owner of the Lough Swilly Steamship Company.
Mr McFarland was created a baronet in 1914, denominated of Aberfoyle, County Londonderry.

His only son,

SIR BASIL ALEXANDER TALBOT McFARLAND CBE ERD (1898-1986), 2nd Baronet, of Aberfoyle,
High Sheriff of the City of Londonderry, 1930-38 and 1952; High Sheriff of County Londonderry, 1952; Mayor of  Londonderry, 1939 and 1945-50; HM Lord-Lieutenant of the City of Londonderry, 1939-75. He served in 1918 with the Artists Rifles, and in the 2nd World War served overseas, mainly in North Africa, with the 9th Londonderry HAA Regiment and was mentioned in despatches.

Commanding Officer of the Londonderry City Battalion of the Home Guard; Chairman of the Territorial Army and Auxiliary Force Association (Co. Londonderry), 1947-62; member of its national council; Hon Colonel, 9th Londonderry HAA Regiment of the Royal Artillery (TA), and President of the NI TA and Volunteer Reserve Association, 1968-71; a Commissioner of Irish Lights; a member of the NI Air Advisory Council, 1946-65; Chairman of the Londonderry Port and Harbour Commissioners, 1952-67; a member of the London Midland Area Board of the British Transport Commission, 1955-61; and a trustee of Magee University College, Londonderry, 1962-65.

His directorships and business interests included: directorships of the Belfast Banking Co. Ltd, 1930-70; the Belfast Bank Executors Trustee Co., and the Donegal Railways Co., a local directorship of the Commercial Union Assurance Co., and the chairmanship of Sir Alfred McAlpine & Son (Northern Ireland) Ltd; the Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway Co;Lanes (Derry) Ltd; Lanes (Fuel Oils) Ltd; Lanes (Business Equipment) Ltd; John W. Corbett & Sons; R.C. Malseed & Co. Ltd; Alexander Thompson & Co. Ltd; and the Londonderry Gaslight Co.

Sir Basil's only son,

SIR JOHN TALBOT McFARLAND TD DL (b 1927), of Aberfoyle, 3rd and present Baronet, married Mary, daughter of Dr William Scott-Watson, in 1957.
Former member Management Ctee NW Group; Former director, Londonderry Gaslight, 1958–89; Donegal Holdings, 1970–86; G Kinnaird & Son, 1981–97; Windy Hills Ltd, 1994–95; Erinwind Ltd, 1994–; Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway, (1978–81); R C Malseed & County Hospitals, 1958.

Sir John was was educated at Marlborough and Trinity College Oxford; Territorial Army (Captain, Royal Artillery and RASC), 1955; High Sheriff of County Londonderry, 1958; and City of Londonderry, 1965-66; Commissioner of Londonderry Port and Harbour Board, 1969; in 1977, Chairman: Lanes (Business Equipment); McFarland Farms, 1980–; J T McFarland Holdings, 1984-2001.
He lived in 2003 at Dunmore House, Carrigans, County Donegal.

Photo credit: Martin Melaugh; © Cain

ABERFOYLE HOUSE now forms a part of the Magee campus of the Ulster University.

It is situated in urban surroundings. a good portion of the grounds for the house of 1873 remain planted up.

The site slopes towards the River Foyle.

The west end is mostly walled in with brick and is cultivated by the Centre for Environmental and Horticultural Studies.

There is a rose garden south of the house and shrubbery on either side of the twisting avenue to the eastern gate. The house is used as offices.

There is a rose garden south of the house and shrubbery on either side of the twisting avenue to the eastern gate.

The house is used as offices.

The McFarland Papers are deposited at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland.

First published in July, 2010.