Tuesday, 31 October 2017

1st Earl of Salisbury

The founder of this branch of the CECIL family was descended from the celebrated Lord High Treasurer, William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, whose eldest son,THOMAS, 2nd Baron, was created EARL OF EXETER, 1605. THE HON ROBERT CECIL, the youngest son, was on the same day created EARL OF SALISBURY.
THE HON ROBERT CECIL (c1563-1612), youngest son of William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley (ELIZABETH I's celebrated Lord High Treasurer, by his second wife, Mildred, daughter of Sir Anthony Cooke), received the honour of knighthood, 1601, was sworn of the Privy Council, appointed Secretary of State, and subsequently Master of the Court of Wards in the reign of ELIZABETH I, but did not attain the honours of the peerage until after the accession of JAMES I, when Sir Robert was created, in 1603, Baron Cecil, of Essendon, Rutland.

His lordship was advanced to a viscountcy, 1604, as Viscount Cranborne; and further advanced to the dignity of an earldom, 1605, as EARL OF SALISBURY.

During these periods he continued as Secretary of State, but succeeded subsequently, at the demise of the Earl of Dorset, to the Lord High Treasurership.

Lord Treasurer Cecil uncovered the plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605.

His lordship married firstly, in 1589, Elizabeth, daughter of William, 10th Baron Cobham; and secondly, Frances Newton, by whom he had issue,
WILLIAM, his successor;
Frances.
The 1st Earl died in 1612, worn out with business.

In his last illness he was heard to say to Sir Walter Cope, "Ease and pleasure quake to hear of death; but my life, full of cares and miseries, desireth to be dissolved."

He had some years previously (1603) addressed a letter to Sir James Harrington, the poet, in pretty much the same tone:
"Good Knight", saith the minister, "rest content and give heed to one that hath sorrowed in the bright lustre of a court, and gone heavily on the best seeming fairground. 
'Tis a great task to prove one's honesty and yet not mar one's fortune. You have tasted a little thereof in our blessed Queen's time, who was more than a man, and, in truth, sometimes less than a woman. 
I wish I waited now in your presence-chamber, with ease at my food and rest in my bed. I am pushed from the shore of comfort, and know not where the winds and waves of a court will bear me. 
I know it bringeth little comfort on earth; and he is, I reckon, no wise man that looketh this way to heaven."
His lordship was succeeded by his only son,

WILLIAM, 2nd Earl (1591-1668), KG, who wedded, in 1608, the Lady Catherine Howard, youngest daughter of Thomas, 1st Earl of Suffolk, and was succeeded by his grandson,

JAMES, 3rd Earl (1648-83), KG (son of Charles, Viscount Cranborne, by Diana, daughter and co-heir of James, 1st Earl of Dirletoun), who espoused, in 1661, the Lady Margaret Manners, daughter of John, 8th Earl of Rutland, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

JAMES, 4th Earl (1666-94), who, being converted to the Catholic faith, was presented by the grand jury of Middlesex immediately before the revolution of 1688 as a popish recusant; and in 1689 the House of Commons resolved that his lordship and the Earl of Peterborough be impeached for high treason, for departing from their allegiance, and being reconciled to the Church of Rome, but the prosecution was eventually abandoned.

He married Frances, daughter and co-heir of Simon Bennett, of Beachampton, Buckinghamshire, and was succeeded at his decease by his only son,

JAMES, 5th Earl (1691-1728); who took his seat in the House of Lords, 1712, and carried King Edward's staff at the coronation of GEORGE I, 1714.

His lordship wedded, in 1709, the Lady Anne Tufton, second daughter and co-heir of Thomas, 6th Earl of Thanet, by whom he left (with three daughters) his successor at his demise,

JAMES, 6th Earl (1713-80), who married, in 1743, Elizabeth, sister to the Rev John Keet, Rector of Hatfield, and had an only surviving son,

JAMES, 7th Earl (1748-1823), KG, who wedded, in 1773, the Lady Emily Mary Hill, daughter of Wills, 1st Marquess of Downshire, by whom (who was burnt to death in the west wing of Hatfield House in 1835), he had issue,
JAMES BROWNLOW WILLIAM, his successor;
Georgiana Charlotte Augusta; Emily Anne Bennett Elizabeth; Caroline.
His lordship was created, in 1789, MARQUESS OF SALISBURY, and installed a Knight of the Garter, 1793.

Seats ~ Hatfield House, Hertfordshire; Childwall Hall, Lancashire.

Ulster: A Journey


Serendipity is "the gift for finding valuable objects of art etc by chance", according to my trusty Nuttall's dictionary.

In this case, it was a modest, second-hand paperback book: Ulster: A Journey Through The Six Counties, by Robin Bryans.

We were staying at a hotel in Puerto Pollensa, Majorca, in 2004.

In the residents' lounge there was a shelf containing magazines and books which other residents weren't taking home with them, and I discovered this wonderful little paperback.

Its origin was the Norfolk County Library, of all places!

It was dated the 10th January, 1992, and stamped "Withdrawn For Sale, 30p".

This isn't  really a guidebook: it's an anecdotal travel book, the author's personal and intimate journey through some exceptionally interesting parts of the Province.

Bryans had a wonderful way with words, to the extent that much of his prose sounds poetic in its composition, if that's not a contradiction in itself.

It was first published in 1964, though this edition was dated 1989.

First published in March, 2010.

Monday, 30 October 2017

Moyallon House

This is a branch of the family of CHRISTIE, of Dundee.

ALEXANDER CHRISTY, born in Scotland, 1642, passed over into Ulster, and purchasing an estate at Moyallon, County Down, he had issue, by Margaret his wife,
John, his heir;
Sarah.
Mr Christy died in 1722, and was succeeded by his only son,

JOHN CHRISTY, of Moyallon, who married Mary, daughter of _____ Hill, and had issue,
Alexander, who went into Scotland;
John, of Ormiston Lodge, near Edinburgh;
James;
THOMAS, of whom hereafter;
Joseph.
The fourth son,

THOMAS CHRISTY (1711-80), who succeeded to the Moyallon estate, wedded Mary, daughter of _____ Bramery, and had issue,
John, drowned 1758;
HANNAH, of whom we treat;
Mary.
The elder daughter,

HANNAH CHRISTY (1748-80), espoused John Wakefield, to whom she carried the estate at Moyallon, and had issue,

THOMAS CHRISTY WAKEFIELD (1772-1861), who married, in 1795, Jane Sandwith, daughter of Jacob Goff, and had issue,
THOMAS CHRISTY, his heir;
Jacob Goff;
Charles Frederick;
Elisa; Hannah Christy; Mary Phelps; Jane Sandwith; Charlotte;
Isabella Nicholson; Sophia; Elisabeth.
Mr Wakefield was succeeded by his eldest son,

THOMAS CHRISTY WAKEFIELD (1795-1878), who wedded Mary Anne, daughter of Thomas Wilcocks, and had surviving issue,
Edward Thomas (1821-96);
Thomas Haughton (1824-61);
JANE MARION, of whom hereafter;
Jemima Sarah.
The elder daughter,

JANE MARION WAKEFIELD (1831-1909), wedded John Grubb Richardson (1813-91) as his second wife, and had issue,
THOMAS WAKEFIELD;
Marion; Sarah; Maria; Anne Wakefield; Sarah Edith; Jean Goff; Gertrude; Ethel.
The only son of this marriage,

THOMAS WAKEFIELD RICHARDSON (1856-1928), married Hilda ______ and had issue,
John Stephens Wakefield (1898-1985), of Bessbrook; died unmarried;
ALEXANDER REGINALD WAKEFIELD, of whom hereafter.
The younger son,

ALEXANDER REGINALD WAKEFIELD (1902-84), of Moyallon, High Sheriff of County Armagh, 1950, married (Edith Cecilia) Marianne, daughter of the Rev Hugh Edmund Boultbee.


MOYALLON HOUSE, near Gilford, County Down, comprises two storeys and three bays over a high basement and attic rooms.

It was built ca 1795 and remodelled in 1863 by John Grubb Richardson, possibly incorporating earlier fabric.
The townland of Moyallon was settled in 1675 by the Christys, who are thought to have introduced the linen trade into the area. 
A group of closely related Quakers settled along the River Bann between Moyallon and Lawrencetown in subsequent years, building mansion houses that reflected the increasing success of the linen manufacture and trade in which they were engaged (Rankin).
A house is known to have existed on the site in 1781, when the nearby Friends Meeting House was built.

A house on the present site was built in 1794 by Thomas Christy Wakefield, who had been living in another house nearby, also known as Moyallon House, which had been gutted by fire.

In 1840 Moyallon House comprised cellars, turf house, potato house, stables and lofts, a coach house, byre and privy.

In 1863, Moyallon was said to be  "rebuilt, enlarged and new wings added to it, also neat offices and gate lodges in progress."

Moyallon gate lodge

Thomas Jackson, an architect and Quaker himself, was well known to the Richardsons, having designed meeting houses in Belfast and Lisburn, and is thought by Dean to be responsible for the gatehouses at Moyallon.

John Grubb Richardson was a descendant of the Richardsons of Lisnagarvey, some of the earliest plantation settlers in the area, recorded there in 1610.

Many generations of the family were involved in the making and marketing of linen, initially in Glenmore, Lambeg and eventually in Liverpool, Philadelphia, New York, and the model village of Bessbrook.

John Grubb Richardson purchased from Lord Charlemont the Mount Caulfield estate in Armagh, where his cousins the Nicholsons had already established a spinning mill.

Richardson built a model village at Bessbrook from 1845, initially around spinning mills and eventually weaving factories with houses, a school, churches and a shop but no access to alcohol in accordance with the temperance practised by Quakers.

In 1853, Richardson married Jane Marion Wakefield of Moyallon House and the property eventually passed to the couple on the death of her father. (Rankin)

In 1863, Richardson inherited an estate in County Tyrone and it is the sale of this estate which appears to have allowed him both to become the sole owner of Bessbrook works and village and to extend his new residence at Moyallon.

A further gate house was added to the estate in 1871.

John Grubb Richardson died in 1890, leaving his widow in residence at Moyallon House until her death in 1909.

Jane Richardson had two stepchildren and seven children of her own, one of whom, Thomas Wakefield Richardson, took over the house on his mother’s death.

In 1901, Mr Richardson lived in the house with his English wife, a cook and a Quaker housemaid.

In 1911, Richardson and his wife were away from home but their staff had been enlarged to include a cook, lady’s maid, housemaid, kitchen maid and parlourmaid.

Moyallon House passed to his widow, and, as the couple were childless, in 1945 the house became the property of their nephew, Alexander Reginald Wakefield Richardson.

In 1934, the ground floor of the house included a dining room, drawing room, library, morning room, flower room, cloakroom, billiards room, bedroom, butler’s pantry, servants’ hall, scullery, two kitchens, servant's bedroom, two cloakrooms, boot-rooms, three pantries and a larder.

On the first floor there were seven bedrooms, a sitting room, a bathroom with hot and cold water and a WC (lavatory).

On the second floor had six servants’ bedrooms, a bathroom and a box-room.

The outbuildings comprised a glass-walled museum (now gone), a laundry, drying-room and loft with three servants’ bedrooms, three steam-heated greenhouses, stabling, four garages (one with two rooms over), stores and agricultural buildings.

The grounds included two grass tennis-courts and a croquet lawn.

Alexander Reginald Wakefield Richardson and his wife Marianne had four children at Moyallon but, in the 1940s, two of their children died of typhoid and a further child died a few years later.

Because of the associations of the house with this terrible event, Alexander, Marianne and their son Hugh moved into a nearby Richardson property, The Grange.

The furniture in the then vacant Moyallon House was auctioned off and the premises was leased to the Department of Health and Social Services as a residential special care school.

A fine marble fireplace was removed at this period and fitted in Derrymore House, Bessbrook, a property which had been donated by the Richardsons to the National Trust.

In the 1970s the house was occupied by a Mrs Mathers who ran it as a guest house, following which it was vacant for some years.

In the early 1980s the house was renovated as a family home.

The south wing of the house is now called ‘The Lodge’ and in the 1990s was developed into three self-contained flats by the architect William C Callaghan, of Portadown, County Armagh.

As part of this development, a verandah of wood and glass that is shown on the first survey photograph was taken down and a single-storey flat-roofed extension built in its stead.

The grounds of Moyallon House today extend to about 400 acres.

There are mature shelter trees, with a line of stately Wellingtonias.

Formal gardens and terracing at the house are presently grassed over.

The walled garden, with a turreted potting-shed, is uncultivated.

The head gardener’s house is inhabited.

Two gate lodges were added in the 1880s to the designs of Thomas Jackson (Front Lodge and Rear Lodge).

Sunday, 29 October 2017

New Dean of Belfast

The Board of Nomination has approved the nomination of the Venerable Stephen Forde, Archdeacon of Dalriada, in the diocese of Connor, to be appointed to the Deanery of the Cathedral Church of Saint Anne, Belfast, on the resignation of the Very Reverend John Mann.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

The Ven Stephen Forde, Rector of Larne and Inver with Glynn and Raloo, is a native of Rathfriland, County Down, and later lived in Downpatrick and attended Campbell College in Belfast.

He gained a degree in architecture at Edinburgh University before training in theology at the Church of Ireland Theology College, Dublin.

The Archdeacon was ordained in 1986 and was curate at St Mary's, Crumlin Road, Belfast, until 1989 when he was appointed Chaplain, or Dean of Residence, at the Queen's University of Belfast.

Furthermore, he was a minor canon of Belfast Cathedral, from 1989-91.

In 1995, he was appointed Rector of Booterstown and Mount Merrion in the diocese of Dublin, and during this time was Chaplain to UCD and Chaplain to Blackrock Clinic.

He returned to Connor in 1999 as Rector of Larne and Inver with Glynn and Raloo, and was appointed to the rural deanery of Carrickfergus in 2001.

The Archdeacon is married to Fiona, a staff nurse at Antrim Hospital. They have three children.

Ballyfin House

THE COOTE BARONETS WERE THE GREATEST LANDOWNERS IN THE QUEEN'S COUNTY, WITH 47,451 ACRES

This is the parent stock whence the noble houses of COOTEEarls of Mountrath, and COOTE, Barons Castle Coote, both now extinct, emanated. 

This noble family derives its origin from

SIR JOHN COOTE, a native of France, who married Isabella, the daughter and heir of the Seigneur Du Bois, of that kingdom, and had issue,

SIR JOHN COOTE, Knight, who coming into England, settled in Devon, and married a daughter of Sir John Fortescue, of that county.

His lineal descendant,

JOHN COOTE, heir to his uncle, 28th Abbot of Bury St Edmund's, wedded Margaret, daughter of Mr Drury, by whom he had four sons,
Richard;
FRANCIS, of whom we treat;
Christopher;
Nicholas.
Mr Coote's second son,

FRANCIS COOTE, of Eaton, in Norfolk, served ELIZABETH I; and by Anne, his wife, had issue,

SIR NICHOLAS COOTE, living in 1636, who had two sons,
CHARLES, his heir;
William (Very Rev), Dean of Down, 1635.
Sir Nicholas's elder son,

SIR CHARLES COOTE (1581-1642), Knight, of Castle Cuffe, Queen's County, who served in the wars against O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone, at the head, as captain of the 100th Foot Regiment, with which corps he was at the siege of Kinsale, and was appointed, by JAMES I (in consequence of the good and faithful services he had rendered to ELIZABETH I), provost-marshal of the province of Connaught for life.

In 1620, he was constituted vice-president of the same province; and created, in 1621, a baronet.

Sir Charles distinguished himself, subsequently, by many gallant exploits; but the most celebrated was the relief of Birr, in 1642.

Being dispatched, with Sir Thomas Lucas and six troops of horse, to relieve that garrison, and some other fortresses, it was necessary, in order to effect the objective, to pass the causeway broken by the rebels, who had thrown up a ditch at the end of it.

Sir Charles, leading thirty dismounted dragoons, beat the enemy, with the loss of their captain and twenty men; relieved the castles of Birr, Borris, and Knocknamase; and having continued almost forty hours on horseback, returned to the camp with the loss of only one man.

This is the surprising passage through Mountrath woods which justly caused the title of MOUNTRATH to be entailed upon his son,

Sir Charles, who married Dorothea, youngest daughter and co-heir of Hugh Cuffe, of Cuffe's Wood, County Cork, and had issue,
CHARLES, his heir;
Chidley, of Killester, Co Dublin;
Richard, ancestor of the EARL OF BELLAMONT;
Thomas, of Coote Hill;
Letitia.
Sir Charles being slain in a sally to protect the town of Trim, in 1642, was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR CHARLES COOTE (c1610-61), 2nd Baronet, who was elevated to the peerage, in 1661, as Baron Coote, Viscount Coote, and EARL OF MOUNTRATH; and the baronetcy merged in the superior dignity, until the demise of

CHARLES HENRY (1725-1802), 7th Earl, without male issue, when the earldom expired.

A new barony, that of Castle Coote, which his lordship obtained, passed accordingly and ceased likewise, in 1827; while the ancient baronetcy reverted to 

SIR CHARLES HENRY COOTE, 9th Baronet (1792-1864), of Ballyfin, great-grandson of the Rev Chidley Coote DD, lineal descendant of Chidley Coote, by his second wife, Eliza Anne.


*****

Sir Algernon Charles Plumptre Coote, 12th Baronet (1847–1920), was Lord-Lieutenant of Queen's County, 1900-20.

Sir Ralph Algernon Coote (1874-1941), 13th Baronet, was the last representative of his line to occupy Ballyfin House.

Thereafter the estate was purchased by the Irish Land Commission, while the noble mansion and portion of the demesne were acquired in 1930 by the Patrician Order, a distinguished Irish teaching brotherhood long associated with successful educational work in the district.

The 14th Baronet, Rear-Admiral Sir John, CB CBE DSC, was Director of Naval Ordnance, 1955-58. 

Sir Christopher John Coote, 15th Baronet (b 1928) is married and lives in Wiltshire.


BALLYFIN HOUSE, situated at the foot of the Slieve Bloom mountains near Mountrath in County Laois, is stated to be "the grandest and most lavishly appointed early 19th century Classical house in Ireland" (Bence-Jones). 

The mansion was built between 1821-26 for Sir Charles Coote, 9th Baronet, replacing a house of 1778 which belonged to William Wellesley-Pole, 3rd Earl of Mornington and brother of the 1st Duke of Wellington.



Sir Charles purchased the estate from Wellesley-Pole about 1812 and apparently employed an architect called Madden to design the initial phase of Ballyfin; then switched to the Morrisons.

Ballyfin is a two-storey maansion house with a long library running at one side from front to back, extending into a curved bow in the centre of the side elevation, containing a top-lit rotunda.

The library wing is of one bay on either side of the central curved bow, fronted by a colonnade of large Ionic columns. 

The side elevation is prolonged by an elegantly-curving glass and iron conservatory of about 1850.




The principal front consists of thirteen bays with a massive Ionic, pedimented portico; the two end bays on either side being stepped back.

The interior is quite magnificent and exquisitely furnished, with a riot of notable effects and a wealth of heavy, opulent plasterwork; Scagliola columns in Siena, porphyry, green and black; inlaid parquetry floors.




The saloon is flanked by the rotunda (above), which is surrounded by Ionic columns and has a coffered dome.

The entrance hall is said to be more constrained, with a coffered ceiling and a mosaic Roman floor. 

This leads into the splendid top-lit saloon in the centre of the mansion, which boasts a coved ceiling adorned with superlative plasterwork and a screen of Corinthian columns at either end.

The drawing-room has a typical Morrison ceiling and gilded Louis Quinze on the walls of ca 1840s.

Today the demesne comprises 600 acres of parkland, a lake and ancient woods, delightful garden buildings, follies and grottoes.

The landscape, laid out in the 18th century, is among the finest examples in Ireland of the natural style of gardening inspired by ‘Capability’ Brown.

Ballyfin House was formerly the Patrician College.

Patrician College Ballyfin operated from 1930 to 2009.

Sir Ralph Algernon Coote (1874-1941), 13th Baronet, was the last representative of his line to occupy Ballyfin House.

Thereafter the estate was purchased by the Irish Land Commission, while the noble mansion and portion of the demesne were acquired in 1930 by the Patrician Order, a distinguished Irish teaching brotherhood long associated with successful educational work in the district. 

Its architectural beauty has, however, been carefully preserved, and nothing has been lost in the change of ownership to deteriorate from the graceful lines of the building that Sir Charles Coote, 9th Baronet, expended a fortune in perfecting.

The Patrician Order sold the estate in 2009.

Among other features are a medieval-style tower, built as a folly in the 1860s and said to command a view of seven counties; and walled gardens.

First published in May, 2011.  Images of Ballyfin House courtesy of Ballyfin Demesne.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Ardbraccan House

SEVERAL small bishoprics gradually coalesced into one See, which received the name of Meath, at the end of the 12th century.

In 1568, the bishopric of Clonmacnoise was incorporated with it by act of parliament.

It extends from the sea to the River Shannon, over part of six counties, viz. Meath, Westmeath, King's County (Offaly), Cavan, Longford, and Kildare.

From east to west it extends 80 miles; and in breadth, about 25 at a medium.

The Lord Bishop of Meath traditionally took precedence next to the four archbishops, and has been styled Most Reverend.

The other bishops, excepting only the Lord Bishop of Kildare, took precedence according to the date of their consecration.

Entrance front

ARDBRACCAN HOUSE, near Navan, County Meath, is a large Palladian mansion house which served from the 1770s until 1885 as the seat of the Lord Bishop of Meath.

By the Middle Ages a large Tudor house, containing its own church, known as St. Mary's, stood on the site.

Bishop Evans left money for the building of a new residence here early in the 18th century.

His successor, Bishop Downes, came here with Dean Swift to lay out the new ground; though it was not until 1734 that Bishop Price (1678-1752) decided to replace the decaying mansion with a new Georgian residence.

Initially the two wings of the house were built, before the main four-bay two-storey block of the house was completed in the 1770s by Bishop Maxwell.

It was partly designed by the acclaimed 18th-century German architect Richard Castle (also known as Richard Cassels).

Garden front

When the two two-storey, five-bay wings had been completed, Bishop Price was translated to the archbishopric of Cashel.

For the following thirty years, succeeding bishops did nothing about building the centre block, but resided in one of the wings, using the other for guests.

It wasn't till the early 1770s that Bishop Maxwell, a younger son of the 1st Baron Farnham, decided to complete the house.

This prelate boasted that he would erect a palace so grand that no scholar or tutor would dare inhabit it.

The centre block, which was eventually begun in 1776, took a number of years to complete.

It comprises two storeys and seven bays, with an Ionic doorcase.

This block complements the wings with curved sweeps and niches.

The garden front has a three-bay central breakfront.

The interior plasterwork is Neo-Classical in style.

Bishop Alexander carried out more elaborate renovations to the outbuildings in the 1820s and 1830s.

THE disestablishment of the Church of Ireland in 1871 fatally weakened the economic survival of the bishops' estate, which was left totally reliant on the small local Church of Ireland community.

In 1885, the Church of Ireland sold the estate and house.

The bishop moved to a smaller mansion nearby (until 1958, when it was sold to a Catholic religious institute, the Holy Ghost Fathers).

Ardbraccan House was bought by Hugh Law, the son of the Lord Chancellor of Ireland and remained in the ownership of his descendants until sold by Colonel Owen Foster in 1985 to Tara Mines who used it as a guest residence for visiting businessmen.

In the late 1990s, Ardbraccan once again changed hands.

The new owners invested large sums to restore the mansion house.

First published in October, 2015.

Friday, 27 October 2017

Potato Farls

Like Ulster potato bread or farls?

I devour it like nobody's business.

I came across this delightful video clip of Rosemary demonstrating how she makes it:-

Freemen of Belfast: 1960-79

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


65  Royal Sussex Regiment ~ 1961

66  Thomas Gibson Henderson ~ 1964

67  Sir Peter Malden Studd GBE KCVO DL ~ 1971

68  Lady Studd ~ 1971

69  The Rt Hon Ralph Francis Alnwick Baron Grey of Naunton, GCMG GCVO OBE PC ~ 1972

70  The Rt Hon Esmé Mae Baroness Grey of Naunton ~ 1972

71  Ulster Division, Royal Naval Reserve ~ 1974

First published in August, 2012.

1st Duke of Warwick

Arms of Richard, 13th Earl of Warwick
DUKEDOM OF WARWICK
1445-46

Amongst the most eminent Norman families in the train of WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR was that of BEAUCHAMP, and amongst those that shared most liberally in the spoils of the Conquest.

HUGH DE BEAUCHAMP, the companion in arms of the victorious Norman, who obtained grants to a very great extent from his triumphant chief, as he appears, at the general survey, to be possessed of large estates in Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire, was the founder of this illustrious house in England.

This Hugh had issue,
Simon;
Payne;
WALTER, of whom we treat;
Milo;
Adeline.
The third son,

WALTER DE BEAUCHAMP, of Elmley Castle, Gloucestershire, having married Emeline, daughter and heiress of Urse d'Abetot, Constable of the castle of Worcester and Hereditary Sheriff of Worcestershire, was invested with that office by HENRY I, and obtained a grant from the same monarch of all the lands belonging to Roger of Worcester, with a confirmation of certain lands given to him by Alice, widow of his father-in-law, the said Urse.

Walter de Beauchamp was succeeded by his son,

WILLIAM DE BEAUCHAMP (c1105-70), who, for his zeal in the cause of the Empress Matilda, was dispossessed of Worcester Castle by KING STEPHEN, to which, and all his other honours and estates, however, he was restored by HENRY II; and in that monarch's reign, besides the sheriffdom of Worcestershire, which he enjoyed by inheritance, he was Sheriff of Warwickshire, Sheriff of Gloucestershire, and Sheriff of Herefordshire.

He espoused Maud, daughter of William de Braose, and was succeeded at his decease by his son,

WILLIAM DE BEAUCHAMP, who married Joanne, daughter of Sir Thomas Walerie; and dying before the thirteenth year of KING JOHN's reign, was succeeded by his son,

WALTER DE BEAUCHAMP, Governor of Hanley Castle, Worcestershire.

The family line carried on uninterruptedly to

WILLIAM DE BEAUCHAMP (1237-98), who inherited not only the feudal Elmley from his father, but had previously derived from his mother the Earldom of Warwick (originally possessed by the Newburghs) and the Barony of Hanslape.

This eminent nobleman, a distinguished captain in the Welsh and Scottish wars of EDWARD I, wedded Maud, daughter and co-heiress of Richard FitzJohn, and had surviving issue,
GUY, his successor;
Isabella; Maud; Margaret; Anne; Amy.
William de Beauchamp, 9th Earl of Warwick, was succeeded by his son,

GUY, 10th Earl (c1272-1315), so called in memory of his celebrated predecessor, the Saxon, Guy, Earl of Warwick.

This nobleman acquired high military renown in the martial reign of EDWARD I, distinguishing himself at the battle of Falkirk, for which he was rewarded with extensive grants of lands in Scotland.

He married Alice, daughter of Ralph de Toeni, of Flamsted, Hertfordshire, and had issue,
THOMAS, his successor;
John;
Maud; Emma; Isabella; Elizabeth; Lucia.
His lordship died at Warwick Castle, and was succeeded by his son, but two years of age,

THOMAS, 11th Earl (c1313-69), KG, who sustained, in the brilliant reign of EDWARD III, the high military renown of his illustrious progenitor, and became distinguished in arms almost from his boyhood.

He wedded Katherine, daughter of Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March, and had issue,
Guy;
THOMAS, his successor;
Reinbrun;
John;
Roger;
Hierom;
Maud; Philippa; Alice; Joan; Isabel; Margaret; Agnes; Juliana; Katherine.
The 11th Earl, one of the original Knights of the Garter, was succeeded by his eldest son,

THOMAS, 12th Earl (1338-1401), KG, one of the principal opponents of RICHARD II, who espoused Margaret, daughter of William, 3rd Baron Ferrers of Groby, and had issue,
RICHARD, his successor;
Katherine; Margaret; Katherine; Elizabeth.
His lordship was succeeded by his only son,

RICHARD, 13th Earl (1382-1439), KG, who married firstly, Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas, 5th Lord Berkeley, and had issue, three daughters,
Margaret; Eleanor; Elizabeth.
He wedded secondly, Isabel, daughter and eventually heiress of Thomas, 1st Earl of Gloucester, and had issue,
HENRY, his successor;
Anne.
His lordship was succeeded by his only son,

HENRY, 14th Earl (1425-46), KG, who, before he had completed his nineteenth year, tendered his services for the defence of the Duchy of Aquitaine, was created, in 1444, PREMIER EARL OF ENGLAND; and his lordship obtained, at the same time, permission for himself and his heirs to wear a golden coronet in the presence of the King and elsewhere.

Soon afterwards, in 1445, he was advanced to the dignity of a dukedom, as DUKE OF WARWICK, with precedence immediately after the Duke of Norfolk, and before the Duke of Buckingham; which extraordinary mark of royal favour so displeased the latter nobleman that an Act of Parliament was subsequently passed to appease his jealousy, declaring that the two dukes should take place of each other alternately year about, but with precedency of the first year to the Duke of Warwick.

After which His Grace had a grant in reversion of the death of the Duke of Gloucester, of the Channel Islands for the annual rent of a rose; also the Hundred and Manor of Bristol, and all the royal castles and manors in the Forest of Dean.

His Grace was crowned, by the King himself, KING OF THE ISLE OF WIGHT.

The 1st Duke married, in the lifetime of his father, but when ten years old and then styled Lord Despencer, Cecily, daughter of Richard Richard Nevill, jure uxoris 5th Earl of Salisbury, by whom he had an only daughter, ANNE.

His Grace died aged 22, when the Dukedom (and the male line of this branch of the Beauchamps) expired, but his other honours devolved upon his daughter,

ANNE, 15th Countess of Warwick (1443-48), then but two years old, who was committed to the guardianship first of Queen Margaret, and afterwards of William de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk.

Anne dying, however, a few years later, the honours of the illustrious house of BEAUCHAMP reverted to the young Countess's aunt,

ANNE, 16th Countess of Warwick (1426-92), wife of Richard Neville, Earl of Salisbury; and her husband was subsequently created EARL OF WARWICK, the celebrated Kingmaker.

Ancestral seat ~ Warwick Castle, Warwickshire. Town House ~ 32 St James's Square.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Derry Palace

THE see of Derry was constituted in 1158.

It originated in a monastery founded by St Columb, about 545, of which some of the abbots at a very early period were styled bishops; but the title of Bishop of Derry was not established until 1158, or even a century later, as the bishops, whose See was at Londonderry, were sometimes called Bishops of Tyrone.

The See first existed at Ardstraw, where St Eugene, the first bishop, died about 618.

It was subsequently transferred to Maghera, whence it was transferred to Londonderry.

By an inquisition in 1622, the Bishop was found to be entitled to fish for salmon on the Monday after the 4th June, within the great net fishery belonging to the London Society; also to half the tithe of salmon, etc, caught in the River Bann and Lough Foyle.

Bishop Hopkins, who died in 1690, was at great expense in beautifying the cathedral and furnishing it with organs and massive plate; and is said to have spent £1,000 in buildings and other improvements in this diocese and that of Raphoe.

Derry continued to be a separate bishopric until the death of Dr Bissett, Lord Bishop of Raphoe, 1836, when that See was annexed to the diocese of Derry, and its temporalities became vested in the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.

Its greatest length is 60 miles, and its greatest breadth 54 miles, extending into four counties.

It comprises parts of counties Londonderry, Tyrone, Donegal, and Antrim.

Garden front

THE PALACE, Londonderry, County Londonderry, adjoining the cathedral, was built in 1753 by the Right Rev William Barnard, Lord Bishop of Derry, 1747-68.

It comprises a square Georgian block of three storeys over a high basement.

It is thought that the palace was extended ca 1800 by the Earl-Bishop, the Right Rev Frederick Augustus Hervey.

It was damaged in 1802 while occupied as a barrack and subsequently repaired by the Right Rev and Hon William Knox.


The palace was sold by the Church of Ireland in 1946 to the Freemasons.

First published in October, 2015.

Bessborough House

THE EARLS OF BESSBOROUGH WERE THE SECOND LARGEST LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY KILKENNY, WITH 23,967 ACRES

This ancient and noble family derives its origin from Picardy, in France.

Their ancestor accompanied William, Duke of Normandy, in his expedition to England, and his descendants established their residence at Haile, near Whitehaven, in Cumberland.

They assumed their surname from the lordship of Ponsonby, in Cumberland.

The office of Barber to the King was conferred upon them about the same time as the Earl of Arran's ancestor was appointed Butler.

JOHN PONSONBY, of Haile Hall, was great-grandfather of

SIR JOHN PONSONBY (c1609-78), Knight, of Haile, Colonel of a regiment of horse in the service of CROMWELL, who wedded Dorothy, daughter of John Brisco, of Crofton, Cumberland, and had by her a son, JOHN, ancestor of MILES PONSONBY, of Haile.

Sir John married secondly, Elizabeth, daughter of Henry, 1st Baron Folliott, and widow of Richard, son and heir of Sir Edward Wingfield, and by her had issue, from which derives the family of which we are about to treat.

Colonel Ponsonby, removing himself into Ireland, was appointed one of the commissioners for taking the depositions of the Protestants, concerning murders said to have been committed during the war, and was Sheriff of counties Wicklow and Kilkenny in 1654.

He represented the latter county in the first parliament called after the Restoration; had two grants of lands under the acts of settlement, and, by accumulating debentures, left a very considerable fortune.

Sir John was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR HENRY PONSONBY, Knight, at whose decease, in the reign of WILLIAM III, without issue, the estates devolved upon his brother,

THE RT HON WILLIAM PONSONBY (1659-1724), of Bessborough, MP for County Kilkenny in the reigns of ANNE and GEORGE I.

This gentleman was sworn of the Privy Council in 1715, and elevated to the peerage by the title of Baron Bessborough in 1721.

His lordship was advanced to a viscountcy, in 1723, as Viscount Duncannon.

He married Mary, sister of Brabazon Moore, of Ardee, County Louth, and had, with six daughters, three sons,
BRABAZON, his heir;
Henry, major-general;
Folliott.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

BRABAZON, 2nd Viscount (1679-1758), who was advanced to an earldom, in 1739, as EARL OF BESSBOROUGH; and created a peer of Great Britain, 1749, as Baron Ponsonby of Sysonsby, Leicestershire.

His lordship wedded firstly, Sarah, widow of Hugh Colville, and daughter of James Margetson (son and heir of the Most Rev James Margetson, Lord Archbishop of Armagh), and had issue,
WILLIAM, his successor;
John, Speaker of the Irish House of Commons;
Richard;
Sarah, m to Edward, 5th Earl of Drogheda;
Anne, m to Benjamin Burton;
Elizabeth, m to Rt Hon Sir W Fownes Bt;
Letitia, m to Hervey, Viscount Mountmorres.
The 1st Earl espoused secondly, in 1733, Elizabeth, eldest daughter and co-heir of John Sankey, of Tenelick, County Longford (and widow of Sir John King, and of John Moore, Lord Tullamore), but by that lady had no issue.

He was succeeded by his elder son,

WILLIAM, 2nd Earl (1704-93), who married, in 1739, Lady Caroline Cavendish, eldest daughter of William, Duke of Devonshire, and had surviving issue,
FREDERICK, his successor;
Catherine, m to Aubrey, 5th Duke of St Albans;
Charlotte, m to William, 4th Earl Fitzwilliam.
His lordship was succeeded by his only son,

FREDERICK, 3rd Earl (1758-1844), who wedded, in 1780, Henrietta Frances, second daughter of John, 1st Earl Spencer, by whom he had issue,
JOHN WILLIAM, his successor;
Frederick Cavendish (Sir);
William Francis, 1st Baron de Mauley;
Caroline.
The heir apparent is the present holder's son, Frederick Arthur William Ponsonby, styled Viscount Duncannon.

BESSBOROUGH HOUSE is located in Kildalton near Piltown in County Kilkenny.

It was first built in 1745 by Francis Bindon for the 1st Earl of Bessborough.

Bessborough House, as stated by Mark Bence-Jones, consists of a centre block of two storeys over a basement joined to two-storey wings by curved sweeps.


The entrance front has nine bays; a three-bay pedimented breakfront with a niche above the pedimented Doric doorway.

The roof parapet has urns, while the basement is rusticated; perron and double stairway with ironwork railings in front of the entrance door.

The Hall has a screen of Ionic columns made of Kilkenny marble. The Saloon has a ceiling of Rococo plasterwork; and a notable chimney-piece.

Bessborough House had to be rebuilt in 1929 after it was burned down in 1923.

The Ponsonbys never returned to the house after this.


In 1940, the Oblate Fathers established a seminary at Bessborough House.

The Oblates worked their own bakery, and farmed dairy cows, poultry, cattle, pigs, sheep. They grew potatoes, grain and other crops.

They also had a very good orchard.

Alas, the great mansion has been altered and added-to since the Ponsonbys left: The urns have been removed from the parapet and are now at Belline.

From 1941 to 1971, 360 priests were ordained in Bessborough House, Kildalton.

By 1970, numbers joining the order had fallen and the Oblates decided to sell the property.

It was bought for £250,000 by the Irish Department of Agriculture in 1971.

It was then opened as an agricultural and horticultural college and renamed Kildalton College.

Other seats ~ Parkstead House, Surrey; Sysonby, Leicestershire; Stansted Park, West Sussex.

First published in September, 2011.  Bessborough arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

1st Duke of Gordon

THE DUKES OF RICHMOND, LENNOX AND GORDON WERE THE GREATEST LANDOWNERS IN BANFFSHIRE, WITH 159,925 ACRES

This noble family deduces its origin from

SIR ADAM DE GORDON, knight, of Huntly, who was slain in 1402, and was succeeded in his estates by his only daughter, Elizabeth, who married

ALEXANDER SETON, second son of Sir William Seton, of Seton, upon which occasion that gentleman assumed the name of GORDON, and was created, in 1449-50, Earl of Huntly, in which title he was succeeded by the eldest son of his third marriage, with Elizabeth, daughter of William, Lord Crichton,

GEORGE, who wedded Princess Annabella, daughter of JAMES I of Scotland, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

ALEXANDER, who was succeeded in 1523-24 by his grandson,

GEORGE, to whom succeeded his son,

GEORGE, who was succeeded by his only son,

GEORGE, created, in 1599, Baron Badenoch, Lochaber, Strathavon, Balmore, Auchindoun, Garthie, and Kincardine, Viscount Inverness, Earl of Enzie, and Marquess of Huntly.

His lordship married Lady Henrietta, eldest daughter of Esme, Duke of Lennox, and was succeeded, in 1636, by his eldest son,

GEORGE, who was created, in 1632, Viscount Aboyne, with remainder, at his demise, or succession to the family honours, to his third son, Lord James Gordon.

His lordship was a staunch adherent of the unfortunate CHARLES I, and suffered, in consequence, decapitation, in 1649, when he was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

LEWIS, who was succeeded, in 1653, 

GEORGE, who was advanced to a dukedom, in 1684, as DUKE OF GORDON.

His Grace wedded Lady Elizabeth, second daughter of Henry, Duke of Norfolk, by whom he had a son and daughter. He died in 1716, and was succeeded by his only son,

ALEXANDER, 2nd Duke,  who married, in 1706, Lady Henrietta, daughter of Charles, Earl of Peterborough and Monmouth, by whom he had issue four sons.

His Grace wedded secondly, Jane, Dowager Duchess of Atholl, by whom he had seven daughters. He died in 1728, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

COSMO GEORGE, 3rd Duke. His Grace married, in 1741, Lady Catherine, daughter of William, Earl of Aberdeen, by whom he had issue,

ALEXANDER, 4th Duke.



Dukes of Gordon, second Creation (1876)
Other titles: Duke of Richmond (1675), Duke of Lennox (1675), Earl of March (1675), Earl of Darnley (1675), Earl of Kinrara, in the county of Inverness (1876), Baron of Settrington, in the county of York (1675) and Lord of Torboulton (1675)




    • Lord March's heir apparent: Charles Gordon-Lennox, Lord Settrington (b. 1994), Lord March's eldest son

GORDON CASTLE, near Fochabers, Morayshire, was originally built in the 1470s and is the spiritual home of the House of Gordon.

Enlarged in the 1770s as his principle residence by Alexander, 4th Duke of Gordon who, until his succession to the dukedom in 1827, was 7th Marquess of Huntly, it became one of the largest houses ever built in Scotland.


The 5th Duke who, like his father before him, was  known as the "Cock o’ the North", died without legitimate male issue in 1836 and Gordon Castle, the Scottish Estates, and eventually the dukedom passed to his nephew, the Duke of Richmond.

Meanwhile, the marquessate of Huntly (traditionally the name of the eldest son of the Duke of Gordon) passed to His Grace's distant cousin, the then Earl of Aboyne.

During the Great War the Castle, like the fictional Downton Abbey, was used as an auxiliary hospital for the wounded soldiers returning from the front.

The 9th Duke sold Gordon Castle and his Scottish estates in 1938 as a result of penal death duties following the deaths of his father and grandfather in 1935 and 1928 respectively.

The Castle fell into disrepair, but was bought back by one of the 7th Duke’s other grandsons, Lieutenant-General Sir George Charles Gordon-Lennox KBE CB CVO DSO, after the 2nd World War.

He was forced to knock much of it down due to significant dry and wet rot, but then turned it into the wonderful family home it is today.

His son, Major-General Bernard Charles Gordon-Lennox CB MBE, successfully continued this legacy with his wife Sally-Rose; and now his grandson Angus and his wife Zara have taken over the running of Gordon Castle and Estate.

HUNTLY CASTLE, Aberdeenshire, originally called Strathbogie Castle, was another seat of the Dukes of Gordon.

First published in October, 2015.  Richmond arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Purdysburn House

THE BATTS WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY DOWN, WITH 12,010 ACRES

This family, stated to have been originally from Cornwall, was founded in Ireland by

SAMUEL BATT, of New Ross, a merchant, who acquired considerable property in County Wexford.

He died intestate, leaving, by Alice his wife (who took out administration, 1702), a son,

SAMUEL BATT, of New Ross, whose will was proved in 1716.

He left, by Deborah his wife, five sons,
THOMAS, of whom hereafter;
Narcissus, dsp;
Samuel;
Joseph;
Benjamin.
The eldest son,

THOMAS BATT, of Ozier Hill, County Wexford, married, in 1713, Jane, daughter of Thomas Devereux, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

SAMUEL BATT, father of Major Thomas Batt, Royal Fencible American Regiment, who was killed in the American war, when the property devolved upon his youngest brother,

ROBERT BATT (1728-83), of Ozier Hill, Captain, 18th Royal Irish Regiment, who wedded, in 1765, Hannah, daughter of Samuel Hyde, of Belfast, and had issue,
NARCISSUS, his heir;
William;
Samuel;
Robert;
Thomas, of Rathmullan, County Donegal.
Captain Batt was succeeded by his eldest son,

NARCISSUS BATT (1761-1840), of Purdysburn, County Down, and Ozier Hill, who wedded, in 1793, Margaret, daughter of Thomas Greg, and had issue,
ROBERT, his heir;
Thomas;
Elizabeth; Mary. 
Mr Batt was a founder of the Belfast Bank, and kept a town residence, Donegall House (later the Royal Hotel), in Belfast.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

ROBERT BATT JP DL (1795-1864), of Purdysburn and Ozier Hill, who married, in 1841, Charlotte, daughter of Samuel Wood, and had issue (with four daughters),

ROBERT NARCISSUS BATT JP DL (1844-91), of Purdysburn, who married, in 1866, Marion Emily, eldest daughter of Sir Edward Samuel Walker, of Berry Hill, Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, and had issue,

EVELEEN MAY BATT, born in 1867.

Robert Narcissus Batt is reputed to have fallen down the stairs at Purdysburn to his death in 1891, leaving his wife and two daughters, all of whom died before the end of the century.

Thus the Batts of Purdysburn died out though there is said to be another branch of the family in Dublin.

****************

THE REV NARCISSUS BATT wrote of his family,

[from Ulster Journal of Archaeology, Second Series, Vol. II, No. 2, January 1896]

DONEGALL PLACE, now full of shops, was, half-a-century ago [1840s], a quiet street of private houses. Some of them had gardens and trees in the rere, and there was quite a grove at the corner of the square where Robinson & Cleaver now have their establishment.

The residents were either merchants of the town, or country gentlemen who came to Belfast for society in winter, as fashionable people now go to London for the season.

At the beginning of this century the country had hardly settled after the Insurrection, and distant journeys were tedious and costly.

My father, Samuel Hyde Batt, has been a week in coming from England, and my Uncle William, when in Trinity College, used to ride to Dublin, with a groom behind carrying his luggage...

...There were four members of our family domiciled in Donegall Place. My father, Samuel Hyde Batt, lived at No. 6 (now Cuming Bros.'), where I was born. His brother, Narcissus, lived where the Royal Hotel is now till his new house at Purdysburn was finished.

Thomas, afterwards of Rathmullan, lived at No. 4. Thomas Greg Batt, son of Narcissus, was a director in the Belfast Bank.

The Rev William Batt lived near Fountain Street, where he died, long after the rest were gone. Our house had belonged to my grandfather, Captain Batt, who came from County Wexford in 1760.

The other inhabitants were,
Hugh Montgomery, of Benvarden and Ballydrain (a director in the Northern Bank); James Orr, of the Northern Bank ; William Clark, J.P., father of the late director of the Belfast Bank; James Douglas, of Mount Ida; Sir Stephen May, Mrs. May, John and William Sinclaire, Henry J. Tomb; Captain Elsemere, R.N.; Henry William Shaw; James Crawford, wine merchant; John S. Ferguson and Thomas F. Ferguson, linen merchants; and Dr. John MacDonnell, one of the MacDonnells of the Glens of Antrim, whose bust is in the Museum. ...The cotton-spinning industry did not flourish in Ireland, nor did calico-printing, which my father attempted at Hydepark (so called after my mother, Anne Hyde). The firm was Batt, Ewing & Co.
The Batt mausoleum at Drumbo Parish Church reads:
To the memory of Robert Batt, son of Thomas Batt of Ozior Hill in the County of Wexford, who died on the 26th of October 1783 aged 55 years. He was for several years a captain in the 18th Royal Irish Regiment and married in 1765 Hannah daughter of Samuel Hyde Esquire who died on the 24th of April 1816 aged 79 years.

Here lies the body of Narcissus Batt, of Purdysburn, Esquire, who died on the 27th January 1840 in the 79th year of his age. He was the oldest son of Robert Batt of Ozier Hill in County of Wexford here is also placed the body of Margaret his wife daughter of Thomas Gregg Esquire who died on the 29th September.

Here also lies the body of Elizabeth Batt daughter of Narcissus Batt of Purdysburn Esq. who died on the 27th March 1854 aged 52 years. Here is also placed the body of Robert Batt Esq. of Purdysburn born 23rd June 1795 died 27th July 1864.
NARCISSUS BATT, along with his partners David Gordon, John Houston and Hugh Crawford, founded the Belfast Bank (now the Northern Bank).

This bank originally began business at a private house on the corner of Callender Street, Belfast, almost directly opposite the White Linen Hall, in 1808.


PURDYSBURN HOUSE, Newtownbreda, County Down, was built ca 1825 after a design by Hopper, in the Tudor-Gothic style.

Sadly it was demolished ca 1965.

The Northern Ireland Heritage Gardens Trust has written a very good historical article about the demesne and gardens here.

The Purdysburn estate had belonged to the Hill-Wilson family and was, at one time, the residence of the Lord Bishop of Down.

Eastern elevation

In 1812, it became the property of the Batt family, who built large additions to the house.

When two of the Batt daughters were to inherit the estate they both decided they did not want to live there, so Narcissus Batt decided that his property was to go to the Hospital Commissioners.

The commissioners then decided that Purdysburn should be opened as an asylum for the “lunatic poor”.

The opening took place in 1895.

The part of the estate nearest the River Lagan was later used for a new hospital.

Part of the demesne was occupied with the extensive buildings of the Infectious Diseases Hospital, which were in what was once known as the "Fort Field," where there was a very perfect old fort, with trees planted at regular intervals round the moat.

In the centre of the fort,
...there is a most curious tree, said to be about eight hundred years old. Perhaps the fort may be opened at some future time; and it would doubtless well repay the trouble of excavation to find a souterrain and unexpected treasure still securely hidden under the ancient holy tree which has guarded the secret for so many long years.
The grounds belonging to Purdysburn were stated to have been more beautiful and picturesque than in any other place about Belfast.


The pleasure grounds were laid out in the form of a Union Flag, and the design was carried out with all the borders planted with the colours red, white and blue.

The wonderful yew-tree hedges were apparently unequalled in Northern Ireland.

Robert Narcissus Batt (1844-91), who succeeded to the estate on the death of his father in 1864, was a “hearty and genial sportsman” who kept “stud race-horses and … had many successes at race courses both in England and at the Maze and Downpatrick.”

He married Charlotte Wood in 1841; was father of 4 daughters & High Sheriff, 1846; donated land free to build Ballymaghery Catholic church in Clonduff parish, 1850; deputy lieutenant of County Down, 1852; a magistrate in 1852 & 1862.

Batt leased a mountain of 31 acres in Stang in 1863 from Lord Downshire; owned Ballynanny, Ballyaughian, Leitrim & Ballymaghery townlands in 1863, of Purdysburn.

At the time of the insurrection of 1641, the four townlands of Clonduff-Leitrim, Ballymaghery, Ballyaughian and Ballynanny were held by Lady Mary Crosby.

At her death, these four passed into the hands of the Waring family and were held until 1834, when the Rev Holt Waring sold his interest to Narcissus Batt for £33,000.

Finally, in 1912, Mrs Essel, grand-daughter of Batt, disposed of the Batt Estate to tenants under the land purchase act.

Batt’s Wall in the Mourne Mountains was built by Narcissus Batt, who had bought the Leitrim Estate in 1834.

The wall was probably constructed during the famine years, and remains in remarkable condition considering that it was built some eighty years before the Mourne Wall itself was completed.

It joins the Mourne Wall at the top of Slieve Muck.

Leitrim Lodge was also built by Batt for use as a hunting lodge ca 1834.

The Batts also owned Rathmullan House - now a hotel - in County Donegal.

The hotel's website states that
Rathmullan House was built around 1820 ... The house and estate was sold in 1837 to Thomas Batt, a member of a prominent Belfast family, founders of the Belfast Bank. 
First published in May, 2010.