Sunday, 31 May 2015

Minnowburn Visit

Warden's office

I paid a visit to the National Trust's Minnowburn this afternoon.

This has to be one of the most captivating woodlands and meadows in the city of Belfast.

Porch at warden's office

I motored up, firstly, to the warden's office and allotments which, I'm glad to say, flourish.

Flamin' Norah

I encountered Flamin' Norah: She's hot!

Tomasz's patch thrives, with abundant strawberry plants.

Noble strawberry leaves

Thence I drove along the narrow, winding road (full of potholes, Roads Agency) to the main car-park.

The sun was shining so I made a beeline for Piccolo Mondo, which serves fresh pizza, coffee, and other beverages.

They told me that their restored Citroën van is forty-one years old, almost as old as self (!).

Inside, it has a genuine wood-burning pizza oven.

I was very tempted to have a slice of pizza (slices cost about £2), though settled for a cup of their jolly fine coffee instead.

Malone House

There's an admirable prospect of Malone House from Minnowburn's Rose Garden at the top of the hill.

1st Baron Beresford


ADMIRAL LORD CHARLES WILLIAM DE LA POER BERESFORD, Baron Beresford, GCB, GCVO, was born in 1846 at Philipstown, County Offaly.

He was the second son of John, 4th Marquess of Waterford, and brother of John, 5th Marquess.

Lord Charles married, in 1878, Mina, daughter of Richard Gardner, at London.

He was educated at Bayford School, and Mr Foster's School, Stubbington, Hampshire.

His distinguished career is very well documented already.

Admiral Beresford was elevated to the peerage as BARON BERESFORD, of Metemmeh and Curraghmore, County Waterford, in 1916.

Lord Beresford died three years later, in 1919, when the barony became extinct.

He died at Langwell, Berriedale, Caithness, aged 73.

After a State funeral at St Paul's Cathedral,  Lord Beresford was buried at Putney Vale Cemetery in south London.

The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Lord John George de la Poer Beresford (1773-1862), Lord Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of all Ireland, possessing great wealth, was known for his considerable largesse.

His patronage extended largely to Trinity College, Dublin; to the College of Saint Columba; and he restored Armagh Cathedral, at a cost of £30,000.

Furthermore, His Grace augmented the salaries of his clergy.

The bust of this distinguished prelate stands in the private chapel at Curraghmore, County Waterford.

He is interred in Armagh Cathedral.

The Archbishop bequeathed his County Cavan estate to Lord Charles Beresford.

Learmount Castle in County Londonderry, belonged to the same family through marriage.

First published in May, 2013. Beresford arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Baron's Coronet

A baron's coronet is a silver-gilt circlet with six large silver balls (known as pearls) around it.

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 six pearls distinguish the coronet of a baron (the lowest degree) 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.

Saturday, 30 May 2015

1st Baron Dunleath

The Mulhollands claim to be a branch of the ancient sept of Maclallan, Argyllshire, and were first established in Ulster, in County Antrim, whence they spread into counties Londonderry, Carlow, Kilkenny and Monaghan. In the last-named county, Captain John Mulholland held the estate of Conaghy by grant from the Crown; and his lineal descendant, John Mulholland, served as High Sheriff in 1766.
THOMAS MULHOLLAND (1756-1820), of Belfast, had two sons,
ANDREW, of whom hereafter;
St Clair Kelburn, of Eglantine, Hillsborough.
The elder son,

ANDREW MULHOLLAND JP DL (1792-1866), of Ballywalter Park, married, in 1818, Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas McDonnell, of Belfast, by whom he had issue,
Thomas (1832-52);
Annie; Sarah Jane; Mary; Elizabeth; Andrina.
Mr Mulholland's elder son,

JOHN MULHOLLAND JP DL (1819-95), MP for Downpatrick, 1874-85, was elevated to the peerage as BARON DUNLEATH in 1892.

This gentleman married, in 1851, Frances Louisa, daughter of Hugh Lyle, of Knocktana, County Londonderry, and had issue,
The heir apparent is the present holder's son, the Hon Andrew Henry Mulholland (b 1981).


IN 1803, Thomas Mulholland, described as a dealer, bought two houses in Upper Church Lane, Belfast, signing the contract with a simple cross (X), an indication of illiteracy and, presumably, of fairly modest origins.

About 1815, the family entered the flourishing cotton industry by purchasing a mill.

Thomas died in 1820, but the business continued to expand: in 1822 his sons built a huge spinning mill in the Point Field, near York Street.

One Sunday morning in June, 1828, however, disaster struck when this mill was almost totally destroyed by fire. Yet in fact time was to prove this a most fortuitous disaster for the Mulhollands. The brothers, Thomas, Andrew and St Clair, with the support of their partner John Hind, decided to rebuild the mill, but for the spinning of flax not of cotton.

In addition to their business interests, the Mulhollands also took an active part in civic affairs: St Clair was a JP for County Down and High Sheriff of County Louth and in 1865 he donated money for the erection of a new wing at what was to become the Royal Victoria Hospital.

His elder brother, Andrew, had married Elizabeth McDonnell in 1818 and had one son and four daughters. He was elected Mayor of Belfast for the year 1845.

He built Ballywalter Park, to which he moved in 1846; and he is perhaps best remembered in Belfast today for having provided the Ulster Hall with its fine Grand Organ in 1862.

Andrew Mulholland bought the Ballywalter estate from the Matthews family in 1846 for the sum of £23,000 (£2 million in 2010).

Andrew's eldest and only son John (1819-95) was educated at the Royal Academy in Belfast and eventually assumed control of the family interests, which aside from the mills included a substantial amount of land: 13,500 acres in County Down and over 1,000 acres near Cookstown in County Tyrone.

John was noted for his business and financial acumen which carried him well beyond the linen industry.

He was, for instance, involved in 1860 in advising HM Government during negotiations with the French over an important commercial treaty regulating trade between the two countries – and, among various other provisions, lowering French duties on flax and linen.

He also played a prominent part in organising the finances of the Church of Ireland after it was disestablished in 1869. He was a JP and High Sheriff for both counties Down and Tyrone.

In 1868 he stood as a Conservative candidate, with Sir Charles Lanyon, the architect of Ballywalter, for the seat of Belfast. Both, however, were defeated, with John coming bottom of the poll. Yet John persevered and in 1874 he was returned unopposed for Downpatrick, a seat he retained until 1885 [and where his influence, as ground landlord of most of the town, was very strong].

Although he held no political office, he spoke frequently on Irish questions and was a strong supporter of Tory policies.

In 1892 Mr Mulholland was raised to the peerage, as BARON DUNLEATH, of Ballywalter, on the recommendation of the outgoing Conservative Prime Minister, Lord Salisbury.

Following his decease in 1895, the 1st Baron's estate was valued at almost £600,000, the equivalent of almost £71 million today.

The 4th Baron was instrumental in the restoration of the grand Mulholland organ in Belfast's Ulster Hall.

The present 6th Baron Dunleath is also the 3rd Mulholland Baronet.

The 6th Baron's father, the 5th Baron, was better known as Sir Michael Mulholland Bt, and lived formerly at Storbrooke House in Massey Avenue, Belfast.

When Sir Michael succeeded to the barony, it merged with the baronetcy.

The Dunleath Papers are held at PRONI.

BALLYWALTER PARK, one of the finest stately homes in Northern Ireland, is on the Ards Peninsula in County Down.

The estate today comprises about 1,000 acres of beautiful parkland, woodland and forest.

The present Lord Dunleath formerly managed the Duke of Abercorn's Belle Isle estate in County Fermanagh until he succeeded to the barony of Dunleath.

Lord Dunleath has three children: his eldest son and heir, the Hon Andrew Mulholland; the Hon Tara Mulholland; and the Hon William Mulholland.

First published in June, 2010.

Friday, 29 May 2015

Meenglass House


having attained great eminence at the English bar, and filled successively the offices of King's First Sergeant and judge of the Court of King's Bench, was appointed, in 1767, LORD HIGH CHANCELLOR OF IRELAND, and elevated to the peerage, in 1768, as Baron Lifford.
His lordship was advanced to a viscountcy, in 1781, as VISCOUNT LIFFORD.

He married firstly, in 1749,  Mary, only daughter and co-heiress of the Ven Rice Williams DD, Archdeacon of Carmarthen; and had issue,
JAMES, his heir;
William Williams;
Joseph, a judge;
John, in holy orders;
His lordship wedded secondly, Ambrosia, daughter of the Rev Charles Bayley, of Knavestock, in Essex, and by that lady had, George, Ambrosia, and Elizabeth, all who died unmarried.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES, 2nd Viscount (1751-1830), Dean of Armagh, who wedded firstly, in 1776, Henrietta Judith, eldest daughter of Arthur, 1st Viscount Harberton, but by that lady had no issue.

He espoused secondly, in 1781, Alicia, eldest daughter of the Ven John Oliver, Archdeacon of Ardagh, by whom he left,
JAMES, his heir;
John Pratt, in holy orders.
This nobleman was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES, 3rd Viscount (1783-1855), who married, in 1809, Mary Anne Maria, 8th daughter of Cornwallis, 1st Viscount Hawardenby whom he had issue,
JAMES, his heir;
John James;
Alicia Anne; Susan;
Anne Georgiana.
His son and heir,

JAMES, 4th Viscount (1811-87), DL, sat in the House of Lords as an Irish Representative Peer from 1856-87.

ARCHIBALD ROBERT,  6th Viscount (who succeeded his elder brother), was a captain in the Royal Navy.

His son,

EVELYN JAMES, 7th Viscount, DSO, fought in both the Second Boer War and the First World War.

He was succeeded by his cousin,

ALAN WILLIAM WINGFIELD, 8th Viscount, who was the son of the Hon George Wyldbore Hewitt, 7th son of the 4th Viscount. Lord Lifford lives in Hampshire.

As of 2010 the titles are held by his son, Edward James Wingfield, 9th Viscount (b 1949).

MEENGLASS HOUSE, sometimes spelt Meenglas, near Stranorlar, County Donegal, was a Victorian house in a simple Tudor-Revival style with steep roofs and gables; mullioned windows, relatively small for the size of the house.

It had a three-sided bow; and a dormer window with tracery; a slender, square turret at the junction of the main block and service wing, with a sprocketed pyramidal roof.

The 1st Viscount resided at Santry House, Dublin, for a period.

First published in May, 2013.   Lifford arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Glengarriff Castle


The family of WHITE claimed to derive its descent from a brother of the Rt Rev John White DD, Bishop of Winchester in 1557.

The immediate ancestor of this noble family came to Ireland during the English civil war which commenced in 1641.

This brother's descendant in the fourth degree, 

RICHARD WHITE, of Bantry, who was maternally descended from the Hamiltons of Armagh, married and was succeeded by his eldest son, 

SIMON WHITE, who married and, dying before his father, left issue, 

RICHARD WHITE, born in 1767. This gentleman was presented with a gold medal by the city of Cork for his spirited exertions on the arrival of the French forces in Bantry Bay, in 1797.

His eldest son, 

COLONEL SIMON WHITE, elder brother of Richard, 1st Earl of Bantry, wedded Sarah, daughter of John Newenham, in 1801; and dying in 1838, left issue, his only son,

ROBERT HEDGES EYRE WHITE, of Glengarriff Castle, born in 1809, married Charlotte Mary, daughter of Thomas Dorman-Porter, in 1834.

GLENGARRIFF CASTLE, County Cork, is a partially castellated house overlooking Glengarriff harbour.

It has a long, two-storey range with shallow, curved bows and ogee-headed windows.

At one end there is a square tower; the other end having a considerably loftier, battlemented round tower.

The round tower joins the main block to a battlemented wing at an obtuse angle to its end.

The Castle was built in the 1790s by Colonel Simon White, brother of the 1st Earl of Bantry.

It was built in the Gothic style, with a panoramic view of Glengarriff Bay.

The woodlands of the estate encompass a wide variety of trees including Oak, Beech, Japanese Red Cedar, European Larch, Chilean Pine and a variety of shrub and flora species.

Wildlife to be seen include red squirrel, sika deer, seals, fox and pine marten.

Over the years, Glengarriff has extended hospitality to royalty, artists and writers, such as Thackeray, Synge and Yeats; and, when living in the area, George Bernard Shaw is said to have written his play St Joan here.

The actress Maureen O'Hara, who starred with John Wayne in The Quiet Man, for many years kept a holiday home adjacent to Glengarriff Castle.

The castle operated as a resort until the late 1970s, but has since become derelict.

First published in May, 2013.

Prince of Wales's Coronet

The coronet of the Sovereign's heir apparent is composed of alternate crosses-pattée and fleurs-de-lys, surmounted by a single arch topped with an orb and cross.

The original coronet of this design forms part of the crown jewels exhibited at the Tower of London.

Royal Collection © HM Queen Elizabeth II

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.

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 The Prince of Wales’s Investiture at Carnarvon Castle in 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.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Ballinacor House


THOMAS KEMMIS (1710-74), of Shaen Castle, Killeen, Straboe, Rossnaclough, and Clonin, Queen's County, married Susan, daughter of John Long, and by her left issue,
John, of Shaen;
James, major-general;
William Edward;
The third son, 

THOMAS KEMMIS JP (1753-1823), of Shaen, Killeen etc, married, in 1773, Anne, daughter of Henry White, Dublin.

In 1792, this gentleman was admitted to the Irish Bar, holding a progression of legal appointments, including the post of deputy keeper of the seals for the exchequer court, and crown and treasury solicitor for Ireland.

He was also law agent to the Board of First Fruits.

In 1808, he was elected a member of the Dublin Society, his proposers being Arthur Maguire and the Rev Dr Thomas Smyth.

Mr Kemmis, who owned the Shaen estate, Maryborough, County Laois, had issue,
Thomas, of Shaen, his heir;
WILLIAM, of whom hereafter;
Anne; Susannah; Elizabeth.
His third son, 

WILLIAM KEMMIS (1777-1864), of Ballinacor, County Wicklow, and Killeen, Queen's County, Crown and Treasury Solicitor for Ireland, espoused, in 1805, Ellen, second daughter of Nicholas Southcote Mansergh JP, of Greenane, County Tipperary, and had issue,
George (Rev);
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, who wedded, in 1862, Ellen Gertrude de Horne Christy, eldest daughter of George Steinman Steinman, FSA, of Sundridge, Kent, and left issue,
Marcus Steinman (Rev);
Lewis George Nicholas;
Edward Bernhard;
Gilbert (Rev).
His eldest son, 

LIEUTENANT-COLONEL WILLIAM HENRY OLPHERT KEMMIS JP DL (1864-1939), of Ballinacor, espoused, in 1888, Francis Maude, second daughter of the Rev Charles Beauclerk, chaplain of Holy Trinity Church, Boulogne, France, and had issue,
Thomas Steinman;
Karolie Kathleen.
His 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.

Historic Lecale



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 the 28th Baron de Ros and Premier Baron of England.

I have written a small piece about the de Ros Barony here.

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.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

The Windsor Garden


The sunken garden at Castle Ward, County Down, lies adjacent to the stable-yard.

During the Victorian era, it was particularly elaborate.

It was a parterre.

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 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 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 must be a more recent addition.

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.

Prior to Castleward Opera's unfortunate demise, I occasionally picnicked there during the intervals.

Wouldn't it be marvellous if the parterre were to be restored at some future time?

There used to be a parterre at the elevated garden immediately to the rear of Florence Court House, another project for future restoration!

 First published in May, 2009.

Isle O'Valla House

Garden Front in 2013

ISLE O'VALLA HOUSE is located to the south of the village of Strangford, County Down.

It lies within the townland of Cloghy, on the coastal Ardglass Road.

This is a tall, austere Georgian house with three bays, three storeys, quoins and a large fanlight above the front door.

Southern elevation in 2013

This property was originally built as a Charter School ca 1817.
Irish Charter Schools were operated by The Incorporated Society in Dublin for Promoting Protestant Schools in Ireland. The Charter Schools admitted only Roman Catholics, under the condition that they be educated as Protestants. 
The first Charter School in Strangford was established some time after 1746, with a grant of £500 (about £86,000 in value today) from the Earl of Kildare (either the 1st Duke of Leinster or his father).
The Dowager Countess of Kildare later donated 22 acres of land for the School.

The Charter School was rebuilt in 1817 at a reputed cost of £4,000, the equivalent of £267,000 in 2010.

Eastern elevation in 2013

When the Charter was rescinded in 1832, the property was most likely given back to the Kildare estate.

It was leased to the Rev Samuel Livingstone, who began his own school for local children.

When the School closed, Isle O'Valla House became the residence of Captain the Hon Somerset Ward JP, fifth son of the 3rd Viscount Bangor.

In 1910, Isle O'Valla was acquired by the family of McCausland, of Downpatrick, hoteliers.

Frank McCausland lived and farmed at Isle O'Valla House.

Following Mr McCausland's death, the property was bought by a family called Lowe.

Isle O'Valla House has been derelict and virtually ruinous for many years and, to my knowledge, has remained uninhabited for several decades.

Its future remains uncertain.

First published in July, 2011.

Monday, 25 May 2015

Killua Castle


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 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, 

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.
He 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. This gentleman 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,
Benjamin James;
Sir Thomas was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR MONTAGU LOWTHER CHAPMAN, 3rd Baronet (1808-1853), of Killua Castle, County Westmeath.

The title became extinct on the death of the 7th Baronet in 1919.

The 7th Baronet left his wife to live with his daughters' governess, Sarah Junner. The couple did not marry.

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.

Skipper Street, Belfast

Merchant Hotel

Skipper Street, Belfast, runs from Waring Street to High Street.

This is one of the the oldest streets in Belfast, where the River Farset used to flow openly along High Street itself (it still does, though it's culverted).

High Street ca 1830

The street was thus named because skippers of sailing vessels lodged here.

This street is mentioned as far back as 1685; it was, however, significantly affected by the 1941 blitz.

In 1974, The Albert Inn stood at 3 Skipper Street; then it changed its name to the Blackthorn Bar.

The buildings are now all relatively recent since many, if not most, were destroyed by bombing during the 2nd World War.

The most notable premises today are The Merchant Hotel - formerly the Ulster Bank head office - which now runs along the entire left-hand side of the street (the even numbers).

The Spaniard Bar  is at number three and Jackson Sports is located at the corner of Skipper Street and High Street.

First published in July, 2009.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Tourin House


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

RICHARD MUSGRAVE, of Wortley, Yorkshire, who removed to Ireland, wedded Jane Proctor, and had an only surviving son,

CHRISTOPHER MUSGRAVE, who 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 in 1782, with remainder to the issue male of his father.

Sir Richard wedded, in 1782, Deborah, daughter of Sir Henry Cavendish Bt, and his wife Sarah, Baroness Waterpark, of Doveridge, Derbyshire, by whom he had no issue.

Sir Richard, who was a member of the Irish parliament, 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, by whom he had issue,
RICHARD, his heir;
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, by whom he had a son,
Christopher Frederick, born in 1802.
Sir Christopher died in 1826, and 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 DD, Lord Archbishop of Armagh, and had issue,
RICHARD, his heir;
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.
He died without male issue. His elder daughter, Joan Moira Maud Jameson (nee Musgrave) inherited the Tourin estate and her descendants live at Tourin today.
His cousin,

SIR CHRISTOPHER NORMAN MUSGRAVE, 6th Baronet, OBE (1892-1956), married Kathleen, daughter of Robert Spencer Chapman, in 1918;
Captain, Royal Engineers; Lieutenant-Colonel, Staff, and OC Signal Company, 2nd World War; Chief Commissioner of Scouts, NI; Officer, Order of the British Empire, 1952. Sir Christopher inherited Norwood Tower, Strandtown, Belfast.
His son and heir,

SIR RICHARD JAMES MUSGRAVE, 7th Baronet (1922-2000), married Maria, daughter of Colonel Mario Cambanis, in 1958; educated at Stowe; Captain, Indian Army, with Poona Horse (17th QVO Cavalry), 2nd World War.

His son and heir,

SIR CHRISTOPHER JOHN SHANE MUSGRAVE, 8th and present Baronet, born in 1959; educated at Cheltenham.

The heir presumptive of the baronetcy is Michael Shane Musgrave (b 1968), younger brother of the 8th Baronet.


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.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Duke's Coronet

A ducal coronet is a golden circlet with eight gold strawberry leaves around it (pointing up from it).

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. It has a gold-threaded tassel on top.

The number of strawberry leaves and lack 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.

When Prince Edward of Woodstock, better known as the Black Prince, was created Duke of Cornwall by his father, EDWARD III.

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 hereditary degree of the peerage.
All non-royal dukes have the right to wear a coronet bordered by eight strawberry leaves, a motif which is shown above as well as used on the lights in the armoury hall at Inverary Castle in Argyllshire. The depicted coronet belongs to His Grace the Duke of Argyll and was last worn at the coronation of GEORGE VI
First published in April, 2010.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Galtee Castle


NATHANIEL BUCKLEY DL (1821-92) was a landowner, cotton mill owner and Liberal Party politician.

By the 1870s, Buckley was a millionaire and, in 1873, he purchased the Galtee estate, near Mitchelstown in County Cork, from the Earl of Kingston.

Following a revaluation, he issued rent demands to his new tenants of between 50% and 500%.

This led to a great deal of agrarian unrest, evictions and an attempted assassination of Buckley's land agent.

His actions also demonstrated weaknesses in the Irish Land Acts which were consequently amended.

Buckley was appointed as a Deputy Lieutenant of Lancashire in 1867. At the 1874 general election Buckley was defeated and did not return to parliament.

At the time of his death aged 71, in 1892, he had residences at Alderdale Lodge, Lancashire, and Galtee Castle, County Cork.

His nephew,

ABEL BUCKLEY JP (1835-1908) was born at Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire, the younger son of Abel Buckley and Mary Keehan, of Alderdale Lodge.

He was educated at Mill Hill School and Owen's College.

In 1875, he married Hannah Summers and they had one son, also Abel, born in 1876.

The Buckley family owned two cotton mills in Ashton: Ryecroft and Oxford Road, and Abel became involved in the business.

At his death he was described as "one of the old cotton lords of Lancashire".

In 1885, Buckley inherited Ryecroft Hall from his uncle, James Smith Buckley, and was to live there for the rest of his life.

He subsequently inherited Galtee Castle.

The estate had been purchased by his uncle, Nathaniel Buckley DL, MP, in 1873.

In 1885, Abel Buckley was elected Liberal MP for the newly created Prestwich constituency.

In the general election of the following year, however, he was defeated.

Apart from his interests in the cotton industry, Buckley was a director and chairman of the Manchester and Liverpool District Banking Company and a justice of the peace.

He was a collector of fine art, and a racehorse breeder. He died at Ryecroft Hall in 1908, aged 73.

GALTEE CASTLE, County Tipperary, was a mansion situated at the foothills of the Galtee Mountains, not far from Mitchelstown.

The original structure was built as a hunting lodge for the 2nd Earl of Kingston, ca 1780. The 3rd Earl further remodelled it ca 1825.

In the 1850s, the Kingstons were forced to sell off vast amounts of their landed estate due to debts, including the lodge and approximately 20,000 acres surrounding it.

This became a new estate, the majority of which remained leased to tenant farmers.

The building was remodelled and expanded ca 1892, when its new owner, Abel Buckley, inherited the estate from his brother Nathaniel, who had previously purchased sole ownership in 1873.

The Irish Land Commission, a government agency, acquired the demesne and house in the late 1930s, after allocating the land between afforestation and farmers.

The house was offered for sale.

An offer was accepted from Father Tobin of Glanworth, County Cork, who wished to use the stone and the slates to build a new church in his parish.

Galtee Castle was thus torn down and dismantled ca 1941.

Today, very little is left on the site of the former mansion: Some of the lower base foundations are all that remain.

Nearby are some estate cottages and two gate houses.

The woods and trails around the site have been developed as a public amenity area, known as Galtee Castle Woods.

First published in May, 2013.