Saturday, 16 December 2017

Annaghmore House

THE O'HARAS WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY SLIGO, WITH 21,070 ACRES

CORMAC O'HARA, of Collooney, County Sligo, married Una, daughter of _____ Gallagher, of County Galway, and dying in 1612, left issue,
TEIGE, of whom hereafter;
Cormac, of Mollane;
Catherine; Annabella.
The elder son,

TEIGE O'HARA, of Leiny, County Sligo, High Sheriff, 1608, wedded Sheela, daughter of _____ O'Rourke.

He died in 1616, having had issue, two sons, of whom the elder, Teige, of Collooney, born in 1612, died unmarried in 1634.

The younger son,

KEAN O'HARA, of Collooney and Annaghmore, County Sligo, High Sheriff, 1665, succeeding his brother Teige in the family possessions, espoused firstly, Anne, daughter of Sir Adam Loftus, Knight, and widow of Richard, son and heir of Sir Lawrence Parsons, Knight, of Birr, and had issue,
ADAM, of Annaghmore;
CHARLES, died a bachelor.
Mr O'Hara wedded secondly Rose, widow of William Crofton, daughter and heir of John Newman, of Dublin, by whom he had a son,

KEAN O'HARA, High Sheriff, 1703, who succeeded to the family estates on the death of his two elder brothers without male issue.

He married Eleanor, daughter of Theobald Mathew, and sister of George Mathew, of Thomastown, County Tipperary.

Mr Kean O'Hara made a settlement to himself, for life, with remainder to his son and sons in tail male of the said estates.

By his said wife he had issue,
CHARLES, of whom presently;
Kean, of Kinsally, Co Dublin;
Adam.
The eldest son,

CHARLES O'HARA MP (1715-76), of Annaghmore, High Sheriff, 1740, wedded, ca 1740, the Lady Mary Carmichael, eldest daughter of James, 2nd Earl of Hyndford, and sister of the Most Rev Dr William Carmichael, Lord Archbishop of Dublin.

By his wife he had issue two sons, the younger of whom, Captain William O'Hara RN, died unmarried.

The elder son,

CHARLES O'HARA (1746-1822), of Nymphsfield and Annaghmore, MP for County Sligo and one of the governors of that county, wedded Margaret, daughter and heir of Dr John Cookson, of Yorkshire, and had issue,
CHARLES KING O'HARA;
Mary;
JANE FRANCES, of whom presently;
Charlotte.
The only son,

CHARLES KING O'HARA, of Annaghmore, born in 1785, who, by his will, devised his estates to his nephew, Charles Cooper, on condition that he should take the surname and quarter the arms of O'HARA.

Mr Charles O'Hara's second daughter,

JANE FRANCES O'HARA, espoused, in 1810, Arthur Brooke Cooper, of Cooper's Hill, County Sligo, son of Arthur Cooper, of Cooper's Hill, by Sarah his wife, daughter of Guy Carleton, of Rossfad, County Fermanagh, and grandson, by Jane Cunningham his wife, of William Cooper, of Cooper's Hill, who was descendant of the same family as Cooper of Markree.

She died in 1874, aged 94, leaving issue, two sons and four daughters,
Arthur Brooke, dvp;
CHARLES WILLIAM, of whom presently;
Margaret Sarah; Mary Jane Caroline; Jane Henrietta; Charlotte Anne.
Mr Cooper died in 1854.

The second son,

CHARLES WILLIAM O'HARA JP DL MP (1817-98), of Annaghmore and Cooper's Hill, High Sheriff, 1849, married, in 1858, Annie Charlotte, eldest daughter of Richard Shuttleworth Streatfeild, of The Rocks, Uckfield, Sussex, and had issue,
CHARLES KEAN, his heir;
Arthur Cooper, of Cooper's Hill;
Richard Edward;
William Henry;
Henry Streatfeild;
Alexander Perceval;
Frederick William;
Errill Robert;
Charlotte Jane; Mary; Annie Frances; Emily Margaret; Jane Marian; Kathleen.
Mr O'Hara, whose patronymic was COOPER, assumed by royal licence, in 1860, the surname of O'HARA, in compliance with the testamentary injunction of his uncle, Charles King O'Hara, of Annaghmore.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

CHARLES KEAN O'HARA (1860-1947), of Annaghmore, High Sheriff, 1886, Major, 3rd York and Lancaster Regiment.

Major O'Hara was the last Lord-Lieutenant of County Sligo, from 1902 until 1922.


Annaghmore House, Collooney, County Sligo, has been the principal seat of the O'Haras since medieval times.

An earlier house on the site had been demolished by 1684.


Its successor was replaced by the present house of ca 1820, known in the 18th and early 19th centuries as Nymphsfield.

Annaghmore comprises a two-storey, three-bay centre, and an Ionic portico with single-storey, two-bay wings.

It was considerably enlarged about 1860-70 by Charles William O'Hara in the same late-Georgian style.


The wings were raised by a storey and extended to the rear, thus giving the mansion a side elevation as high as the front, and as long or longer.

Annaghmore remains the home of the O'Hara family today.

The former schoolhouse has been restored by the Irish Georgian Society and is available for rental.

Friday, 15 December 2017

Lighthouse Island


LIGHTHOUSE ISLAND, the second of the three Copeland Islands, is located three miles off the mouth of Belfast Lough, and is an Area of Special Scientific Interest.

The island covers an area of 24 acres.

The common name of the islands came from the family of Copeland who settled here in the 12th century in the time of John de Courcy, but the island had earlier connections with the monks of Bangor Abbey till 1612, when it became the property of Sir James Hamilton.

When it was occupied by Bangor Abbey, it was known for a time as John's Island, after a miscreant monk who refused to leave when the monastery closed its island retreat some four centuries or more ago.

He spent the remainder of his existance there as a hermit.

In 1770, David Ker, of Portavo, purchased the Copeland Islands.

Little is known of what happened on the island between 1884 and 1941.

It has been said that a woman lived there on her own, or in the early 20th century, surviving on rabbits which she shot.

It is most likely that rabbits were only introduced after 1884, because the lighthouse keepers were always keen gardeners.

The walled garden, built between 1812-16 by two stone-masons, who carved their names on the wall of the cave on the east cliff.

It has also been claimed that, during the 19th century, the walled garden contained a very fine, canker-free orchard of apple and pear trees. 

The original lighthouse and dwelling were built from stones quarried on the island by convicts.

When the tower was built, an iron chafer was erected on top of the three-storied building and the beacon fire came into operation around 1711.

The lighthouse was 44 feet high, standing on an elevation of almost 70 feet. A new light came into operation in 1796.

In 1815 a new 52-foot lighthouse was built, close to the original one.

The work was commenced in 1813 and the new light, equipped with 27 oil burning lamps set in silvered reflectors, 131 feet above high water and visible for sixteen miles, was first exhibited on the 24th January, 1815.

At sunrise on the morning of the 1st November, 1884, the ancient wick lamps of the fixed light on Lighthouse Island were extinguished for the last time; and the same evening Mew Island light and fog signal were brought into operation.



LIGHTHOUSE ISLAND was once inhabited: In 1742 there was a family on it.

In 1811 there were two families, comprising about fifteen islanders, some employed in looking after the light.

There was a single family on the island in 1875.

They looked after the light and there was a small boat harbour which was probably in the area of the present landing place.

The lighthouse station had two keepers with their wives and families in residence. New houses were built to accommodate them.

For island lighthouses of the time, life on Lighthouse Island was most tolerable: The island was large enough to support goats, sheep and pigs, as well as a donkey.

The two families were virtually self-sufficient in milk, mutton, pork and bacon.

Their walled garden provided ample vegetables; and their poultry gave them chicken for Sunday lunch, and eggs to complement their bacon for breakfast.

A weekly boat from Donaghadee brought provisions and mail.

For many years the island was leased to Robert McConkey for shooting rabbits and sea-birds.

Before the sporting season started, stores were ferried out to the island in readiness for the sportsmen who came out weekly.

In the season there was the harvesting of the eggs by the commercial egg collectors for market on the mainland, and within memory these have been on sale in the relevant season of the year. 


The first recorded ornithological visit was made in 1939 by Douglas Deane.

He dug out a breeding burrow, complete with egg (now in the Ulster Museum), in order to prove that Manx Shearwaters bred on the island.

Another leading ornithologist, Arnold Bennington, brought out parties of enthusiasts after the 2nd World War, between 1947-53, to evaluate the island as a suitable site for an observatory.

His last group, in 1953, was a class of Workers Educational Association adult students. They decided to establish an observatory.

Thus began Copeland Bird Observatory, with a singular lack of formality.

The proprietor of Lighthouse Island, Captain Ker of Portavo, had agreed to let the island for a peppercorn rent of one shilling.

In 1967, he leased the island to the National Trust for 999 years, on the understanding that the observatory could continue as tenants as long as the organization existed.

The observatory's structure was set up swiftly: Three Heligoland traps were erected; accommodation was secured within the derelict lighthouse buildings; and the British Trust for Ornithology sanctioned accreditation in 1956.

The lighthouse keepers' former premises and storehouse now accommodate the Copeland Bird Observatory volunteers; and there is a laboratory where migratory birds are captured for examination, ringing, weighing, recorded and then released all within a few minutes from capture to minimise distress.

This island is an important breeding site for Manx Shearwater and Eider.

The rabbits on the island are important to the breeding of the Manx Shearwater, as their grazing keeps a short sward that is desirable for the fledglings and their burrows provide nesting sites.

The island vegetation includes large areas of rank bracken, sea Campions, elder scrub and many more.

Lighthouse Island is now owned by the National Trust, though administered by volunteer wardens of the Copeland Bird Observatory, one of sixteen observatories throughout the British Isles, monitoring bird migration and sea-bird populations.

There is self-catering accommodation at very reasonable rates, in the form of male and female dormitories, with a few family rooms.

Bear in mind, though, that the observatory is not a guest-house, nor a bed & breakfast establishment!

Its prime role is as a bird observatory.

First published in September, 2012.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Mount Talbot House

THE TALBOTS OWNED 5,916 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY ROSCOMMON

RICHARD TALBOT (c1520-77), of Templeogue, County Dublin, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas for Ireland, eldest son of William Talbot, the youngest son of Thomas Talbot, Lord of Malahide, married Alice, daughter of John Burnell, of Balgriffin, was father of

JOHN TALBOT, of Templeogue, whose will was proved in 1584; father of

ROBERT TALBOT, of Templeogue, who wedded Eleanor, daughter of Sir Henry Colley, of Castle Carbury, and had two sons,
John, of Templeogue, dsp 1627;
HENRY, his successor.
Mr Talbot died in 1616, and was succeeded by his younger son,

SIR HENRY TALBOT, Knight, of Templeogue, who espoused Margaret, daughter of Sir William Talbot Bt, of Carton, County Kildare, and sister of Richard, 1st Earl of Tyrconnell, and had two sons and six daughters,
JAMES;
WILLIAM, succeeded his brother;
Elizabeth; Bridget; Mary; Alice; Ellen; Barbara.
The elder son,

JAMES TALBOT, of Templeogue, and Mount Talbot, County Roscommon, Colonel in JAMES II's army, was killed at the battle of Aughrim, 1691.

He married Bridget, daughter of Francis, 17th Baron Athenry, and had two daughters,
Mary, m John, 9th Earl of Clanricarde;
Bridget, m Valentine Browne (ancestor of the Marquess of Sligo).
Mr Talbot died without male issue, and was succeeded by his brother,

WILLIAM TALBOT (-1692), of Mount Talbot, who wedded Lucy, widow of George Holmes, daughter and co-heir of William Hamilton, of Liscloony, King's County, by whom he had a son,

HENRY TALBOT (-1729), of Mount Talbot, High Sheriff, 1713, who married Isabella Forward, and had issue,
WILLIAM, his heir;
John (Rev).
The elder son,

WILLIAM TALBOT (-1787), of Mount Talbot, High sheriff, 1753, wedded, in 1739, Sarah, widow of John Southwell, and daughter of the Rt Hon Henry Rose MP, and had two sons and two daughters,
Henry Rose, dvp 1759;
WILLIAM JOHN, succeeded his brother;
Bridget; Jane.
The younger son,

WILLIAM JOHN TALBOT (-1787), of Mount Talbot, wedded firstly, in 1765, Elizabeth Margaret, daughter of George Rose, of Moyvane, County Limerick, and had a daughter,
Jane, m in 1786 Sir Edmund Stanley.
He espoused secondly, in 1775, the Lady Jane Crosbie, daughter of William, 1st Earl of Glandore, and had issue,
William, dsp 1851;
JOHN, of whom presently;
Charles;
Theodosia.
The second son,

THE REV JOHN TALBOT, assumed, in 1816, the name and arms of CROSBIE in pursuance of the will of his uncle, John, last Earl of Glandore.

He married, in 1811, Jane, daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Lloyd, of Beechmount, County Limerick, and had issue,
WILLIAM (TALBOT-CROSBIE), of Ardfert Abbey;
JOHN, of Mount Talbot;
Anne; Diana.
The Rev John Talbot-Crosbie died in 1818, and was succeeded by his second son,

JOHN TALBOT JP DL (1818-95), of Mount Talbot, High Sheriff, 1857, formerly of the 35th Regiment, who assumed, in 1851, the name and arms of TALBOT instead of CROSBIE.

He espoused firstly, in 1845, Marianne, eldest daughter of Marcus McCausland, of Fruit Hill (otherwise Drenagh), County Londonderry, and had an only daughter,
Marianne Jane Theodosia.
Mr Talbot married secondly, in 1858, Gertrude Caroline, daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel Bayly, of Ballyarthur, County Wicklow, by whom he had a son,

CAPTAIN WILLIAM JOHN TALBOT JP DL (1859-1923), of Mount Talbot, High Sheriff for County Roscommon, 1886, and for Armagh, 1903, who wedded, in 1897, Julia Elizabeth Mary, only child of Sir Capel Molyneux Bt DL, of Castle Dillon, County Armagh, though the marriage was without male issue.

Captain Talbot was the last Lord-Lieutenant of County Roscommon, from 1917 until 1922.


MOUNT TALBOT HOUSE, near Athleague, County Roscommon, today lies in ruins.

It was built ca 1750 in the Palladian style, with wings constructed at an angle to the main block, joined by curved arcades.

The arcades, which were open, were embellished with urn finials on the parapets.


The central block was changed, about 1820, into a castellated Gothic, Tudor-Revival edifice.

The main block now had a huge square tower at one end with a pair of pinnacles or miniature turrets; and a third castlellated turret at the other end.

Whereas the garden front boasted a three-bay projection with pointed windows and Gothic pinnacles.


A grand Triumphal kind of arch with rusticated piers still remains at the former main entrance to the demesne.


The Talbot family's great ancestral home was maliciously burnt in 1922.

William John Talbot and his wife probably never returned.

Mr Talbot, the last Lord-Lieutenant of County Roscommon, died in London one year later.

Mount Talbot Church

THE charming little church at Mount Talbot, which contains the family mausoleum, was erected by the Talbots in 1766.

It has been described as "a plain, neat, Gothic building, erected in 1766 at an expense of £415, a gift from the Board of First Fruits."

Its last service took place in 1965, it is thought.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

1st Earl of Gosford

THE EARLS OF GOSFORD WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY ARMAGH, WITH 12,177 ACRES

The founder of this noble family in Ulster,

ARCHIBALD ACHESON (1583-1634), descended from a good family in Scotland, was seated at Gosford, Haddingtonshire, previous to his settlement in the Province, where we find him in 1610.

In the following year he had passed patent for a large proportion of land in County Armagh, and at the same time his younger brother, Henry, passed patent for a smaller proportion in the said county, which lands he afterwards assigned to Sir Archibald.

This Henry Acheson returned to Scotland and there died unmarried.

Sir Archibald was "so steady and zealous a friend" of the protestant interest in Ulster that seven years after he obtained this grant (according to the survey made by Nicholas Pynnar) he had 203 men upon his estate capable of bearing arms.

In 1612, he obtained another grant from JAMES I of a small proportion of land in County Cavan containing 1,000 acres.

In 1628, he was created a baronet; and in 1630, this gentleman obtained, in conjunction with Pierce and Walter Crosbie, a territory in Nova Scotia, Canada, called Bonovia [sic].

He was also Solicitor-General, a senator of justice, and many years secretary of state for Scotland; which latter office he continued to fill until his decease in 1634.

He died at Letterkenny, County Donegal, at his nephew's house, Sir William Semple, Knight.

Sir Archibald was succeeded in the title and estates by his eldest son,

SIR PATRICK, 2nd Baronet, at whose decease without issue, in 1638, the title devolved upon his half-brother,

SIR GEORGE (1629-85), 3rd Baronet, who was succeeded by his only son,

SIR NICHOLAS, 4th Baronet, MP for County Armagh, in 1695; who died in 1701 and was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR ARTHUR (1688-1749), 5th Baronet, who wedded Anne, daughter of the Rt Hon Philip Savage, Chancellor of the Exchequer in Ireland, by whom he had issue, five sons and two daughters.

He died in 1748, and was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

SIR ARCHIBALD (1718-90), 6th Baronet, who was elevated to the peerage, in 1776, in the dignity of Baron Gosford, of Market Hill, County Armagh; and advanced to the viscountcy, as Viscount Gosford, in 1785.

His lordship married, in 1740, Mary, youngest daughter of John Richardson, of Rich Hill, County Armagh, by whom he had issue,
ARTHUR, his successor;
Anna Maria; Nicolas; Julia Henrietta;
Lucinda; Mary.
Sir Archibald was succeeded by his eldest son,

ARTHUR, 2nd Viscount; who was created EARL OF GOSFORD, in 1806.

His lordship espoused, in 1774, Millicent, daughter of Lieutenant-General Edward Pole, by whom he had issue,
ARCHIBALD, of whom presently;
Edward, CB, lieutenant-colonel in the army;
Olivia, m Brigadier R B Sparrow, of Brampton Park;
Mary, m Lieutenant-General Lord William Bentinck GCB;
Millicent, m Rev J H Barber MA.
 His lordship was succeeded by his only son,

ARCHIBALD, 2nd Earl (1776-1849), GCB, PC.
The heir presumptive is the present holder's first cousin Nicholas Hope Carter Acheson (b 1947).

He is the eldest son of the Hon Patrick Bernard Victor Montagu Acheson (1915–2005), second son of the 5th Earl.


GOSFORD FOREST PARK, near Markethill, County Armagh, is one of the most beautiful demesnes in Northern Ireland.

There are woodland and forest walks; the walled garden; and a caravan and camping site within the park.



Gosford Castle is said to be the largest private mansion house in Northern Ireland.

The estate was sold to the NI Government shortly after the 2nd world war. 


The castle was restored between 2006-8 and has been divided into a number of apartments.

The Gosford Papers are deposited at PRONI.
First published November, 2009.   Gosford arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Evans of Portrane

THE EVANS FAMILY WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY OFFALY, WITH 6,035 ACRES

THEY OWNED A FURTHER 1,456 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY DUBLIN

The family of EVANS is originally from Wales, and claims descent from the renowned Elystan Glodrydd.

In the 16th century, two of the family settled in Ireland: JOHN EVANS, ancestor of the Barons Carbery; and ROBERT EVANS, from whom derived the family of Evans of Baymount, County Dublin, and Robinstown, County Westmeath.

The former, JOHN EVANS, settled in the city of Limerick, where he was living in 1628.

Mr Evans left at his decease two sons and three daughters, viz.
GEORGE, his heir;
John;
Deborah; Catherine; Eleanor.
The elder son,

COLONEL GEORGE EVANS MP, of Ballygrennan Castle, served in the army raised to supress the rebellion of 1641, and at the restoration of tranquillity, settled at Ballygrennan Castle, County Limerick, where, and in the adjacent county of Cork, he acquired large estates by grants from the Crown, and by purchase.

He wedded Anne, daughter of Thomas Bowerman, of County Cork, and had issue,
GEORGE, his heir;
John, of Milltown Castle;
Anne.
Colonel Evans, who represented County Limerick for many years in parliament, died in 1707, at a very advanced age, having passed a most eventful life, and was succeeded by his elder son,

THE RT HON GEORGE EVANS MP (1658-1720), of Caherass and Bulgaden Hall, County Limerick.

This gentleman was bred to the Bar, but following the example of his father and brother, became an active partisan of the revolution, and after the establishment of the new government in Ireland, was sworn of the Privy Council and returned to Parliament by the borough of Charleville

He wedded, in 1679,  Mary, daughter of John Eyre MP, of Eyre Court Castle, County Galway, and sister of the 1st Lord Eyre, and had issue,
GEORGE, 1st Baron Carbery;
EYRE, of Portrane, of whom we treat;
Thomas, of Milltown Castle, County Cork;
Jane, m Chidley Coote, ancestor of the Barons Castle Coote;
Elizabeth, m Hugh Massy, father of 1st Baron Massy and Clarina;
Dorothy; Emilia; Catherine.
The Right Hon George Evans, who was a distinguished public character, refused a peerage on the accession of GEORGE I, when the honour was conferred upon his eldest son.

His  embalmed body lay in state in the parliament house until the next month, when it was removed for interment at Ballygrennan.

His second son,

EYRE EVANS, of Portrane, County Dublin, MP for County Limerick, 1717, espoused Sarah, second daughter and co-heir (with her sister, Mrs Waller, of Castletown)  of Thomas Dixon, of Ballylackin, County Cork, and had six sons, all who dsp except the fourth; and three daughters, of whom the youngest, Elizabeth, the wife of William Evans, of Ardreigh, County Kildare, left issue.

The fourth son,

HAMPDEN EVANS, of Portrane, an officer in the army, succeeded his eldest brother, George Evans, MP for Queen's County, who married, in 1769, Margaret, daughter of Joshua Davis, and had issue,
GEORGE, his heir;
JOSHUA;
Eyre Dixon, of Liverpool;
Mary; Anne Dorothea; Sydney Elizabeth.
Mr Evans died in 1820 and was succeeded by his eldest son,

THE RT HON GEORGE HAMPDEN EVANS, of Portrane, MP for County Dublin, who wedded, in 1805, Sophia, only daughter of the Rt Hon Sir John Parnell Bt, of Rathleague, Queen's County, but had no issue.

He died in 1842 and was succeeded by his brother,

JOSHUA EVANS, one of the commissioners of the Court of Bankruptcy, who wedded Eleanor, only child of Robert Harrison.

His next brother,

EYRE DIXON EVANS, a merchant in Liverpool, inherited his brother's estate.

Dying in 1862, he was succeeded by his only son,

GEORGE EVANS (1831-73), of Portrane, who married though died without issue and was succeeded by his only sister,

MARGARET EVANS, who inherited the Portrane property on the death of her brother, George, without issue in 1873.

She married, in 1852, John Donald MacNeale.

Dying in 1874, she left three daughters, joint heiresses of her property, of whom the eldest,

MARGARET MacNEALE, married, in 1889, Captain S G Rathborne or Rathbourne, Royal Engineers, and had issue,

St George Ronald MacNeale Rathborne, born in 1893.


DESPITE owning a substantial amount of land in County Offaly, it would seem that the family of Evans never any notable residence in the county.

The family seat was Portrane House, or Mount Evans, Donabate, County Dublin.

When George Hampden Evans died in 1842, his widow erected an Irish round tower in his memory, at Portrane.

The Rev Patrick Comerford has written an article about Portrane Castle.

First published in June, 2013.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Brackenber: 1956

Here is the Class of 1956 at Brackenber House School.

Malcolm Lennox kindly provided the photograph.

Click on the image to enlarge it.

Dr Kevin Vaughan, a fellow pupil at Brackenber from 1953-59, has sent me the following information:
I recognise all the teachers except the lady at the end. Next to Mr Craig is Miss Rankin, then Miss McKeown, then Miss Gilbert. I think Miss Rankin's first name was Zena, not Zoe!
To the other side of Mr Craig is Norman Henry (I am two rows directly behind him, rather skinny!), then Ronnie Hunter, then Mr T P Sheehan, then Dennis Fergusson, then Mr Walmsley (spelling?) then Mr Williams who was an old boy who came to teach temporarily.
On the front row at one end is A W P Coutts, and at the other Smith, Anthony Malcomson, J A M Grant. I also recognise several of my contemporaries. After my parents moved to England, I spent my last year at Brackenber as a weekly boarder and spent the weekends with friends.
There was a small two bed dormitory where boys would occasionally stay. John Craig and Ronnie Hunter were the two masters who also lived on the premises and I got to know them both quite well.
One of my amusing memores of the school routine is that when they had finished eating lunch but before the boys where allowed to leave their seats, John Craig and Norman Henry would always get up, walk to one end of the dining hall and smoke a cigarette - it was always Mr Henry who offered Mr Craig a cigarette, never the other way round!
First published in January, 2010.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

1st Earl Cairns

THE EARLDOM OF CAIRNS WAS CREATED IN 1878 FOR HUGH McCALMONT, 1ST BARON CAIRNS, STATESMAN AND LORD CHANCELLOR

THE RT HON SIR HUGH McCALMONT CAIRNS (1819-85), second son of William Cairns, of Cultra, County Down,
MP for Belfast, 1852-66; Solicitor-General, 1858-9; Attorney-General, 1866; a Lord Justice of Appeal, 1866-68; Lord High Chancellor, 1868 and 1874-80.
Sir Hugh was elevated to peerage, in 1867, as  Baron Cairns, of Garmoyle, County Antrim.

His lordship was advanced, in 1878, to the dignities of Viscount Garmoyle and EARL CAIRNS.

He married, in 1856, Mary Harriet, eldest daughter of John McNeill, of Parkmount, Belfast, and his wife, Charlotte Lavinia (daughter of Lieutenant-General Sir Thomas Dallas GCB), and by her had issue,
Hugh, died in infancy;
ARTHUR WILLIAM, 2nd Earl;
HERBERT JOHN, 3rd Earl;
WILFRED DALLAS, 4th Earl;
Douglas Halyburton;
Lilias Charlotte; Kathleen Mary.
His lordship was succeeded by his second son,

ARTHUR WILLIAM, 2nd Earl (1861-90), who wedded, in 1887, Olivia Elizabeth, OBE, daughter of Alexander Augustus Berens, by whom he had issue, a daughter, LADY LOUISE ROSEMARY KATHLEEN VIRGINIA CAIRNS.

His lordship died without male issue and was succeeded by his next brother,

HERBERT JOHN, 3rd Earl (1863-1905), who died unmarried and was succeeded by his brother,

WILFRED DALLAS, 4th Earl, CMG, DL (1865-1946), who espoused, in 1894, Olive, daughter of John Patteson Cobbold MP, and by her had issue,
HUGH WILFRED JOHN, DSO; killed in action;
DAVID CHARLES, 5th Earl;
Hester Margaret; Ursula Helen; Sheila Mary; Catherine Olive.
His lordship was succeeded by his younger son,

DAVID CHARLES, 5th Earl, GCVO, DL (1909-89), who married, in 1936, Barbara Jeanne Harrisson, daughter of Sydney Harrisson Burgess, of Cheshire, and by her had issue,
SIMON DALLAS, his heir;
Andrew David;
Elizabeth Olive.
The 5th Earl was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIMON DALLAS, 6th Earl, CVO, CBE, born in 1939, who wedded, in 1964, Amanda Mary, daughter of Major Edgar FitzGerald Heathcoat-Amory, of Yorkshire, and by her had issue,
SEBASTIAN FREDERICK, styled Viscount Garmoyle;
(David) Patrick;
Alistair Benedict.
*****

MY STORY of the noble family of Cairns commences at the ancestral seat of the Marquesses of Downshire, Hillsborough Castle, in County Down.

During the first years of the 18th century, Ulster became a harbour of refuge for a number of Scottish refugees who arrived in the years immediately following "The Fifteen".

The major Jacobite Risings were called the Jacobite Rebellions by the ruling governments. The "First Jacobite Rebellion" and "Second Jacobite Rebellion" were known respectively as "The Fifteen" and "The Forty-Five", after the years in which they occurred (1715 and 1745).

It is likely that the Cairns family arrived in Ulster about this period.

Among the records at Lord Downshire's seat, Hillsborough Castle, County Down - most likely now held at PRONI - were the registers of leases and the rent rolls of the Kilwarlin estate.

One lease of three lives, dated 1716, was granted to William Cairns.

It is probable that William Cairns was a younger son of William Cairns of Kipp, who died in 1711.

The lease to William Cairns of 1716 was of the lands of Magheraconluce, near Annahilt, County Down. He died prior to 1735, when his widow appears as the tenant, and he left several sons, who became tenants of farms in the neighbourhood.

His successor was his son William, probably the eldest, who had issue,

1.  JOHN (1732-94), who died unmarried at Parkmount, Belfast;

2.  HUGH (1735-1808, who died at Parkmount; By his will he left several legacies to his "kinsmen at Annahilt", and £600 to each of his six sisters. He left Parkmount, which he acquired shortly after the death of William Gregg in 1782, to his half-brother Nathan, whose mother had been a daughter of Mr Gregg.

He states in his will that "most of my property consists of money lent out at interest on security", from which it appears that he was one of Belfast's early private bankers, some of whom eventually amalgamated, thus founding what became known as the Northern and Ulster banks.

3.  WILLIAM, born in 1737. The name William Cairns continues to appear as holder of the Magheraconluce property subsequent to his father's removal to Belfast after his second marriage.

4.  Margaret, Sarah, Colville, Ellen, Jean and Mary, who all died without issue.

William Cairns, of Magheraconluce, married, secondly, about 1758, Agnes, daughter and heiress of William Gregg of Parkmount, Belfast.

This estate seems to have passed to Mr Gregg from the representatives of Thomas Lutford, who had a lease for three lives, renewable for ever, from the Marquesses of Donegall in 1769.

Some time after his marriage with Agnes Gregg, William Cairns appears to have moved with his family to Parkmount, or to a house at Carnmoney.

His father died in 1775 and the widow, Agnes Gregg, surviving him and dying in 1785. Both are interred at Carnmoney churchyard.

By his second marriage William Cairns had issue,

NATHAN CAIRNS (1759-1819), who became a merchant at Dublin, and died at Parkmount, leaving issue,

WILLIAM CAIRNS, of Parkmount, born 1789, who entered the army and became a captain in the 47th Regiment. He married, when only 17, Rosanna, daughter of Hugh Johnston, a merchant of Belfast.

During his father's lifetime he lived at Rushpark, near Carrickfergus, and also had a house in Belfast, which stood in the grounds now occupied by the Robinson & Cleaver Building, Donegall Square North. 
After his father's death, he moved to Parkmount, which he shortly afterwards sold to John McNeill, a banker in Belfast. Parkmount, on the Shore Road, was in 1666 a lodge or occasional residence of Lord Donegall, and it afterwards passed into possession of Ludfords, Cairns, and McNeills. John McNeill's son notably sold Parkmount to Sir Robert Anderson Bt. 
When William Cairns sold Parkmount, he eventually lived at Cultra in County Down, possibly to Dalchoolin House. He married secondly, Matilda, and died at Cultra in 1844.

William Cairns (through two marriages) raised three exceptionally talented sons:-
The Rt Hon Hugh McCalmont [Cairns], Earl Cairns, of Garmoyle County Antrim, was born at Cultra, educated at Belfast Academy and Trinity College, Dublin.

Lord Cairns married, in 1856, Mary Harriet, eldest daughter of John McNeill, of Parkmount, Belfast,by whom he had five sons and two daughters.

His father at first intended that he should take holy orders, but his own inclination, backed by the advice of his tutor, the Rev George Wheeler, decided to permit his son to enter the legal profession.

Lord Cairns and his family left Ulster.

The Cairnes family, since the Reformation, were all originally Presbyterian.

The 1st Earl's great-grandfather, or some of his family at least, seem to have conformed to the Established Church shortly after their removal to Parkmount.

Certainly John and his father William subscribed to the Vicar of Carnmoney as early as 1775.

First published in February, 2011.  Cairns arms courtesy of European Heraldry.