Monday, 20 November 2017

Royal GCVO

20th November, 2017

The Queen has been graciously pleased to give orders for the following promotion in the Royal Victorian Order: 

GCVO

To be a Knight Grand Cross:

His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh KG KT OM GCVO GBE

For Services to the Sovereign.

Ballinkeele House

THE MAHERS OWNED 4,950 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY WEXFORD

JOHN MAHER, of TullowMacJames, near Templemore, County Tipperary, married Catherine, daughter of William Lanigan, of County Kilkenny, by Mary, his second wife, daughter of Charles Gore, sixth son of Sir Paul Gore Bt, and had issue,
Nicholas;
MATTHIAS, of whose line we treat;
Gilbert;
one daughter.
The second son,

MATTHIAS MAHER, of Ballymullen, Queen's County (Laois), wedded, in 1799, Anne, daughter of Maurice O'Donnell, of Carrick-on-Suir, and had issue,
JOHN, his heir;
Matthias;
Mary Anne; Margaret.
The eldest son,

JOHN MAHER JP DL (1801-60), of Ballinkeele, High Sheriff of County Wexford, 1853, MP for County Wexford, married, in 1843, Louisa Catherine, daughter of George Bourke O'Kelly, of Acton House, Middlesex, and had issue,
MATTHIAS AIDAN, his heir;
GEORGE MAURICE, succeeded his brother;
John Pentheny;
William Stanislaus;
Augustine;
Mary Anne; Louisa Ellen.
Mr Maher was succeeded by his eldest son,

MATTHIAS AIDAN MAHER JP DL (1846-1901), of Ballinkeele, High Sheriff of County Wexford, 1878, who died unmarried, and was succeeded by his brother,

GEORGE MAURICE MAHER DL (1848-1932), of Ballinkeele, High Sheriff of County Wexford, 1913, Captain, 7th Dragoon Guards.


BALLINKEELE HOUSE, near Enniscorthy, County Wexford, is a two-storey house which has a long office wing at one side.

The Mahers were considerable landowners in north County Tipperary and purchased Ballinkeele, about five miles east of Enniscorthy, in the early 19th century.

John Maher, MP for County Wexford, 1835, commissioned the architect Daniel Robertson to build his new house in 1840.

Ballinkeele is one of the few houses Robertson built in the Classical style and is his last surviving work.

The house is comprised of a ground floor and a single upper storey, with a long, slightly lower, service wing to one side in lieu of a basement.


The facades are rendered, with cut-granite decoration, including a grandiose central porch, supported by six large Tuscan columns and surmounted by an elaborate balustrade, which projects to form a porte-cochère.

The garden front has a central breakfront with a shallow bow, flanked by wide piers of rusticated granite.

These are repeated at each corner as coigns.

The interior is classical, with baroque overtones, and is largely unaltered with most of its original contents.

The hall runs from left to right and is consequently lit from one side, with a screen of scagliola Corinthian columns at one end and an elaborate cast-iron stove at the other.

The library and drawing room have splendid chimneypieces of inlaid marble in the manner of Pietro Bossi, while the fine suite of interconnecting rooms on the garden front open onto a raised terrace.

The staircase hall has a spectacularly cantilevered stone staircase, with decorative metal balusters.

As it approaches the ground floor the swooping mahogany handrail wraps itself around a Tuscan column supporting a bronze statue of Mercury, in a style that anticipates Art Nouveau by more than forty years.

Outside, two avenues approach the house, one which provides a glimpse of a ruined keep reflected in an artificial lake, while both entrances were built to Robertson’s designs.

The present owners are Margaret Maher and her children.

Select bibliography: Irish Historic Houses Association.

The Queen's Wedding Day

On the 20th November, 1947, Her Royal Highness THE PRINCESS ELIZABETH, elder daughter of KING GEORGE VI and QUEEN ELIZABETH, married Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark (Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, RN).

On the morning of the Wedding, Prince Philip was created  His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich.

HM The Queen & HRH The Duke of Edinburgh on their Platinum Wedding Anniversary

Their Royal Highnesses were married at Westminster Abbey and the new Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh moved in to their new official home, Clarence House.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Waterford Palace

THE Sees of Waterford and Lismore were united in 1536.

The bishopric of Lismore had been founded in the beginning of the 7th century; but that of Waterford was not founded until about the close of the 11th century by the Ostmen of Waterford, soon after their conversion to Christianity.

During the prelacy of Thomas le Reve, who succeeded in 1363, the sees of Lismore and Waterford were consolidated by Pope URBAN V, and this union, which had been long contemplated and frequently attempted without success, was confirmed by EDWARD III.

Hugh Gore, who was consecrated Bishop of the united sees in 1666, expended large sums in repairing and beautifying the cathedral, and bequeathed £300 for bells for the churches of Lismore and Clonmel, and £1,200 for the erection and endowment of an almshouse for ten clergymen's widows, to each of whom he assigned £10 per annum.

Nathaniel Foy, who was appointed Bishop in 1691, greatly improved the episcopal palace, and bequeathed funds for the erection and endowment of a school for 50 children, afterwards extended to 75, and for the improvement of the estates, the surplus funds to be applied to clothing and apprenticing the scholars.

The two Sees continued to be held together till the decease of Bishop Bourke, when both were annexed to the archiepiscopal province of Cashel, and the temporalities became vested in the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.

This very small diocese is confined to the eastern part of County Waterford, and does not extend above 13 miles in length and 9 in breadth.

But the diocese of Lismore is 38 miles long and about 37 broad, including the greatest part of County Waterford and a considerable portion of Tipperary.


THE PALACE, WATERFORD, County Waterford, is reputed to be one of the largest and finest episcopal residences in Ireland.

Building began in 1741 by Bishop Este, to the design of Richard Castle.

The garden front, facing The Mall, comprises three storeys.


The rusticated ground floor serves as a basement.

Its centre breaks forward with three arches which form the base of the pedimented Doric centrepiece above, which incorporates three windows.

The centre of the top storey features a circular niche between two windows.


Bishop Este died in 1745, before the palace was completed.

It ceased to function as an episcopal residence in 1919, following the retirement of Bishop O'Hara.

Thereafter it was occupied by the Bishop Foy boarding school until 1967.

It served as municipal offices for Waterford City Council till 2010.

The former episcopal palace is now a museum.

First published in November, 2015.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Luttrellstown Castle

THE BARONS ANNALY WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY DUBLIN, WITH 3,954 ACRES.

HENRY WHITE (1791-1873), of Woodlands (otherwise Luttrellstown), County Dublin, and subsequently of Rathcline, County Longford, was the fourth, but only surviving son of Luke White, bookseller, of Woodlands.

He served in the 14th Light Dragoons during the Peninsular War; was MP for County Dublin, 1823-32; and for County Longford, 1837-47 and 1857-61; Lord-Lieutenant of County Longford, 1841-73.

Having succeeded to the Longford estates of his next elder brother, Luke White, in 1854, he was created, in 1863, BARON ANNALY, of Annaly and Rathcline, County Longford.

He married, in 1828, Ellen, daughter of William Soper Dempster, by Hannah, only daughter and heir of John Hamilton Dempster, of Skibo Castle, Sutherland, and had issue,
LUKE, his successor;
Henry;
George Frederick;
Francis Samuel;
Charles William;
Robert;
Eleanor Eliza; Emily Beaujolais.
His lordship died at Sunbury Park, Middlesex, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

LUKE, 2nd Baron (1829-88), KP, who wedded, in 1853, Emily, daughter of James Stuart, and by her had issue, five sons and three daughters.


LUTTRELLSTOWN CASTLE, Clonsilla, County Dublin, dates from the early 15th century (ca 1420).

It has been owned variously by the eponymous and notorious Luttrell family; the bookseller Luke White his descendants the Lords Annaly; the Guinnesses; the Primwest Group; and, since 2006, JP McManus, John Magnier and Aidan Brooks.

The Castle has hosted visits by Queen Victoria in 1844 and 1900, and its media profile was raised when the Beckhams were married there in 1999.

Luttrellstown and its remaining 560-acre demesne currently form a 5-star resort. 

Henry Lawes Luttrell, 2nd Earl of Carhampton, sold Luttrellstown Castle to the publisher Luke White, described as one of the most remarkable men in Ireland.

Luke White changed its name to Woodlands, but his great-grandson, the 3rd Lord Annaly, reverted to Luttrellstown Castle.


In 1778, Luke White started as an impecunious book dealer, buying in Dublin and reselling around the country.

By 1798, during the rebellion, he helped the Irish government with a loan of £1 million (at £65 per £100 share at 5%).

He became MP for Leitrim, and died in 1824 leaving properties worth £175,000 per annum.

An extract from The illustrated London News of 1864 describes a series of festivities at Woodlands, "the beautiful seat of the Rt Hon. Henry White, the newly created Lord Annaly".

These festivities consisted of theatrical and social entertainments.

A new theatre was built especially for the occasion and the festivities lasted for a fort­night.

The plays `Still Waters Run Deep' and `Samuel in Search of Him­self' were performed, and a ball to which `most of the principal families of Dublin and the neighbourhood received invitations', concluded the festivities.

Queen Victoria paid two visits to Luttrellstown: Firstly in 1844, as Her Majesty passed through to visit the Duke of Leinster at Carton; secondly in 1900, when The Queen stayed at Viceregal Lodge.

To commemorate these visits, Lord Annaly erected an obelisk made of six blocks of granite from the Dublin mountains, which together measure 8 feet, 6 inches in height.

It is at the head of the Glen, near the Waterfall, where Her Majesty drank some tea.

Prince von Puckler-Muskau (c1820) remarked,
"The entrance to the demesne is indeed the most delightful in its kind that can be imagined. Scenery, by nature most beautiful, is improved by art to the highest degree of its capability, and, without destroying its free and wild character, a variety and richness of vegetation is produced which enchants the eye. 
Gay shrubs and wild flowers, the softest turf and giant trees, festooned with creeping plants, fill the narrow glen through which the path winds, by the side of the clear, dancing brook, which, falling in little cataracts, flows on, sometimes hidden in the thicket, sometimes resting like liquid silver in an emerald cup, or rushing under overhanging arches of rock, which nature seems to have hung there as triumphal gates for the beneficent Naiad of the valley to pass through."

In the dining-room (above) the architect, Mr Harbord, used the same eagles at Oving House, near Aylesbury, that he incorporated in the plasterwork here.

As a room it succeeds brilliantly. The ceiling is painted by de Wit.


The entrance hall (above) retains its Gothic character of about 1800, but the mantel and black-and- white floor are recent improvements.


It leads on to the staircase hall, which was transformed by Mr Harbord in 1963 when a magnificent painted ceiling by Thornhill, from a house in Suffolk now demolished, was inserted; the staircase and window were altered at the same time.

The far end of the Ballroom opens into the Grisaille Room (above), created to rake the series of nine Grisaille paintings by Peter de Gree, one of which, signed and dated 1788, represents Irish trade and commerce.

The library, in the centre of the south front, was originally the entrance hall and it has an unusual eighteenth century plaster ceiling with bow and arrow in full relief.

he chief glory of the house is the ballroom, which has plaster decoration that could be eighteenth century, but was most likely done for Luke White at the time of his purchase.

The design is unusual and original, and does not fit easily into any particular category of plasterwork; it was probably done by local stuccodores working in a somewhat outdated manner.

It blends in admirably with the Adamesque Grisaille room, and the magnificent dining room, with its plaster birds and painted ceiling.

The Whites were also major landowners in County Longford, with 12,560 acres.

First published in September, 2011.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Hamwood House

THE HAMILTONS OF HAMWOOD OWNED 352 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY MEATH

CHARLES HAMILTON, youngest son of Alexander Hamilton, of Knock, MP for Belfast, 1798, by Isabella, daughter of Robert Maxwell, of Finnebrogue, married Elizabeth, daughter of Crewe Chetwood, of Woodbrook, Queen's County, and had issue,
CHARLES, his heir;
Robert, of Liverpool;
George, of Quebec, and Hawkesbury, Canada;
William Henry;
John, of Liverpool;
Henrietta.
Mr Hamilton died in 1818, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

CHARLES HAMILTON (1772-1857), of Hamwood, County Meath, who wedded, in 1801, Marianne Caroline, daughter of William Tighe MP, of Rossana, County Wicklow, by Sarah his wife, only child of Sir William Fownes Bt, of Woodstock, County Kilkenny, and had issue,
CHARLES WILLIAM, his heir;
William Tighe;
Frederick John Henry Fownes;
Sarah; Mary; Caroline Elizabeth.
Mr Hamilton was succeeded by his eldest son,

CHARLES WILLIAM HAMILTON JP (1802-80), of Hamwood, who espoused, in 1841, Letitia Charlotte, eldest daughter of William Henry Armstrong MP, of Mount Heaton, King's County, and had issue,
CHARLES ROBERT, his heir;
Edward Chetwood;
Arthur, of Hollybrook.
Mr Hamilton was succeeded by his eldest son,

CHARLES ROBERT HAMILTON JP (1846-1913), of Hamwood, who married, in 1874, Louisa Caroline Elizabeth, daughter of Francis Richard Brooke, of Somerton, County Dublin, by his wife, the Hon Henrietta Monck, eldest daughter of 3rd Viscount Monck, and had issue,
Charles George (1875-77);
GERALD FRANCIS CHARLES, of whom hereafter;
Frederick Arthur (1880-1962);
Henry John;
Eva Henrietta; Letitia Marion; Amy Kathleen; Ethel Grace; Constance Louisa; Lilian Mary.
Mr Hamilton was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

GERALD FRANCIS CHARLES HAMILTON JP (1877-1961), of Hamwood, who wedded firstly, in 1911, Violet Travers, daughter of Robert Craigie Hamilton, and had issue,
CHARLES ROBERT FRANCIS, his heir;
Esme Violet; Elizabeth Mary.
He married secondly, in 1949, Rosamund Mary, daughter of Maurice Bauer.

Mr Hamilton was succeeded by his son,

MAJOR CHARLES ROBERT FRANCIS HAMILTON (1918-2005), of Hamwood, who wedded, in 1958, Margaret Anne Lanfear, daughter of Captain Simon Ralph Fane Spicer, and had issue,
CHARLES RALPH, b 1960;
Annabel Honor, b 1959.

HAMWOOD HOUSE, Dunboyne, County Meath, is a small Palladian house of the 1764, with a central block joined to little octagonal ‘pepper-pot’ wings by elegantly curved sweeps.

Unusually, one wing contains the main entrance, since the house (as originally built) was reputedly so cold that the family decided to place the hall door as far away from the main rooms as possible.

The removal of the front entrance from the main block creates an interesting internal arrangement with a double drawing-room, unusual in a house of this size.

There is good late-18th century decoration and an interesting family collection, including the intriguing drawings and paintings of Caroline Hamilton.

Hamwood’s builder, Charles Hamilton, acted as land agent for the Dukes of Leinster whose principal seat, Carton, is nearby; and the Duke generously gave the Hamiltons a present of the impressive fights of granite steps leading to the doors in the end pavilions.

Successive generations of the family acted as the Leinsters' agents until the present owner's husband, Charles Hamilton (1918-2005), retired in the 1970s.

*****

MRS ANNE HAMILTON, Major Charles Hamilton's widow, died suddenly on the 4th December, 2013.

She represented the family at a function in Farmleigh House in 2012 honouring the Irish team at the 1948 Olympics in London.

A relative, Letitia Hamilton, was the only Irish medal-winner at those Games, for her painting of a scene at the Meath Hunt Point-to-Point races. 

Anne Hamilton was born Anne Spicer in Wiltshire, England. Her father, Ralph Spicer, had married Mary Graham, whose family lived at Spye Park, near Bromham, Wiltshire, since 1855.

The Grahams were originally from Lisburn in Northern Ireland, involved in the linen industry.

Anne and her siblings holidays at their grandparents’ place at Sallins every summer, and to escape the rationing and austerity England in the years following the 2nd World War, her mother moved them to Carnew in County Wicklow.

In 1958, Anne married Charles Hamilton, who had served in the 2nd World War.

He was a farm estate manager and they lived in County Galway for a period before returning to Hamwood in 1963, following the death of Charles’ father, who was the land agent at Carton House.

Charles also managed the Slane Castle estate for a period.

At Hamwood, they were involved in bloodstock breeding and a pure-bred Charolais herd.

The gardens were also a great treasure and open to the public.

In an interview for the Irish Life and Lore Collection at South Dublin Libraries, Mrs Hamilton was critical of how the Irish Land Commission had broken up large estates and the manner in which they allowed fine houses to decay.

In recent years, she continued to open the gardens and house at Dunboyne to the public.

Mrs Hamilton was survived by her son, Charles, of London, and Annabel, of Paris, and her sister in County Cork.

Her funeral service took place at St Peter’s parish church, Dunboyne, County Meath, followed by burial in the adjoining graveyard.

Select bibliography: Irish historic Houses Association.

2nd Earl of Gosford

GOVERNOR-GENERAL OF THE CANADAS , 1835-7

THIS IS A GREATLY CONDENSED PIECE: A MORE COMPREHENSIVE VERSION CAN BE READ HERE

THE HON ARCHIBALD ACHESON (1776-1849), second son of Arthur, 1st Earl of Gosford, was born at Markethill, County Armagh.

Having been educated at Christ Church, Oxford, Acheson was MP for County Armagh, 1797-1807.

When he became heir to his father, the 1st Earl, he was styled Viscount Acheson.

Lord Acheson succeeded as 2nd Earl in 1807 and held high office:
    • Lord-Lieutenant of County Armagh, 1831-49;
    • Privy Counsellor, 1834;
    • Captain Yeoman of the Guards, 1834-35;
    • Governor-General of Canada, 1835-37;
    • Vice-Admiral of Ulster;
    • Knight Grand Cross, Order of the Bath (GCB), 1838.
      Lord Gosford's most notable appointment, however, was as Governor-General of Canada.

      This appointment took effect in 1835, when he was Governor-in-Chief of British North America; he was also selected because the ministers hoped that he might be able to apply in Lower Canada the techniques of conciliation that he had employed so successfully in Ireland.


      Following acceptance of the appointment in 1835, Lord Gosford was created Baron Worlingham.

      As a civilian, unlike his predecessors, Gosford was not appointed commander of the forces in the Canadas, but he was given unusually extensive authority over the lieutenant-governors of the neighbouring colonies, who were sent copies of his instructions.

      Gosford assumed control of the government of Lower Canada in 1835.

      Since his predecessor, Lord Aylmer, had become identified with the English, or Constitutionalist, party, Gosford kept his distance from Aylmer until the latter’s departure the following month.

      Subsequently he held a series of lavish dinner parties and balls, at which he established a reputation as a bon vivant and showered his attentions on the leading members of the Patriote party and their wives.

      Gosford was neither the good-natured incompetent nor the “vile hypocrite” that his critics proclaimed.

      He hoped to create in Lower Canada an alliance of moderate politicians from both parties and to hold the balance of power as the Whig administration did in the Kingdom of Ireland between Catholics and Protestants.

      Whig policy there was to distribute patronage to Catholics and liberal Protestants in order to remedy an historic imbalance in the higher levels of the administration. Gosford pursued the same goal.

      He increased appointments of French Canadians to the judiciary and the magistracy, insisted that a chief justice and a commissioner of crown lands should be chosen from among them, and gave them a majority on the Executive Council and a virtual majority on the Legislative Council.

      He substantially increased their numbers holding offices of emolument.

      Moreover, he refused to allow multiple office-holding, to condone nepotism, or to appoint to prominent positions persons known to be antipathetic to them.

      In 1838, Gosford learned that his resignation had been accepted.

      Back in the United Kingdom, he was given a vote of thanks by the Whig ministry and appointed a Knight Grand Cross of the Civil Division of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (GCB) in 1838.

      He did not lose interest in Canada.

      On the appointment of Lord Durham as Governor, he commented that “a more judicious choice could not have been made.”

      He wrote to Lord Durham that the majority of French Canadians had not participated in the rebellion and warned against the English party.

      As Durham’s ethnocentrism became more pronounced, Gosford criticised him bitterly for appointing to office several outspoken opponents of French Canadians.

      Indeed, Gosford blamed the second rebellion, in the autumn of 1838, on Durham’s stupidity, and he was equally critical of Colborne and “those savage Volunteers.”

      During the 1840s his interests again focused on Ireland, where he split with O’Connell over the issue of repeal.

      In his declining years he devoted his primary attention to his estates.

      Gosford had left Lower Canada little loved either by the British minority or by the Patriotes.

      HM  Government ignored his advice and followed the recommendations of Durham, who declared that Gosford was “utterly ignorant . . . of all that was passing around him.”

      Nevertheless, Gosford had shown considerable administrative ability, more political sensitivity than his predecessors, and greater tolerance than his immediate successors.

      His sincerity is unquestionable.

      He probably did as much to limit the severity of the rebellion as it was possible to do, and if Lord Durham had followed his advice, the second rebellion might have been considerably less bloody.

      That Lord Gosford failed to achieve his goals is self-evident; that he ever had a reasonable chance of success is doubtful.

      Town residence ~ 22 Mansfield Street, London.


      First published in December, 2011.   Gosford arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

      Thursday, 16 November 2017

      Cassidi of Glenbrook

      The very ancient Celtic family of Úa Caiside or O'CASSIDY was for ages seated in County Fermanagh, where the village of Ballycassidy preserves the name.

      Their territory was called Cuil-na-n-Oirear, i.e. the corner or angle of harbours, situated on the eastern shore of Upper Lough Erne, immediately opposite some beautiful islets, whose indentations form the miniature haven that gave the place its title.

      It became known as the barony of Coole.

      The Úa Caiside were hereditary doctors in medicine, or state physicians of the Maguires, the former chiefs of Fermanagh; and they held their district ex officio, according to the laws of tanistry.

      In 1541, Roderick Cassidy, Archdeacon of Clogher, eminently versed in the historical records of his country, died.

      Besides having written part of the Register of Clogher, he also compiled the latter part of the Annals of Ulster.

      Among inquisitions in the Exchequer is one taken at Ballycassidy, County Fermanagh, in 1630, at which time the family had branched out widely in the counties of Fermanagh, Louth, and Monaghan.

      To one of these scions we refer

      HENRY O'CASSIDY MD, who had followed his ancestral pursuits in medicine, was of Greatwood, Mullaghbawn, and Drumkirk, County Louth, and of various estates in County Monaghan.

      He was born ca 1650.

      Dr O'Cassidy married and had, with other issue,
      FERGUS, his heir;
      Edmund, scholar of Trinity College, Dublin, 1710;
      Margaret, m Eugene O'Docherty, of Newtown, County Leitrim.
      The elder son,

      FERGUS O'CASSIDY, of Greatwood, County Louth, and of the townland of Derry, County Monaghan, had two sons, of whom the elder,

      PATRICK CASSIDY, of Derry, parish of Magheracloone, near Carrickmacross, espoused Catherine Flood, and had issue.

      Mr Cassidy's last will was dated 1753, and proved in 1757.

      Among other directions he desired "to be buried in my tombe at Carrick McCross".

      His youngest son,

      FRANCIS CASSIDY, born ca 1747, of Cashel, County Tipperary, wedded Sarah Magee, a first cousin of the Most Rev William Magee, Lord Archbishop of Dublin, and had issue,
      MARK, his heir;
      Francis Duff, captain, 60th Rifles; private secretary to Lord Castlereagh;
      Francis, died young.
      His eldest son,

      THE REV MARK CASSIDY (1777-1839), Chancellor of Kilfenora and Incumbent of Newtownards, County Down, ca 1808-39, espoused, in 1808, Henrietta, daughter (and co-heiress with her sister Esther, wife of the Rev Prebendary Cleland) of Samuel Jackson, of Stormount [sic], near Belfast, and had issue,
      Samuel, of Glenbrook; m Esther Scott; died childless, 1843;
      FRANCIS PETER, of whom presently;
      Charles;
      Frederick (Rev), Vicar of Grindon, Co Durham;
      Robert, of Ballyhackamore House, Belfast, m Anne, daughter of Dr Ardagh;
      Loftus Tottenham, Lieutenant-Colonel, 18th Hussars;
      Alfred;
      Sarah; Henrietta; Fanny; Emily.
      Mr Cassidy's second son,

      FRANCIS PETER CASSIDY JP, of Glenbrook, County Londonderry, Colonel, 34th Regiment, married, in 1853, Maria Lucy Anne, daughter of Matthew Hayman, of South Abbey, Youghal, and had issue,
      FRANCIS RICHARD, his heir;
      Helen Hayman Henrietta;
      Mary Mortimer.
      Colonel Cassidy served with his regiment during the Indian mutiny, and was severely wounded at the battle of Cawnpore, in 1857.

      He died in 1859, and was succeeded by his son,

      FRANCIS RICHARD CASSIDI MBE JP MD (1858-1939), of Glenbrook, Director of Transport, First Line Hospitals, Derbyshire, in 1st World War, Associate of the Order of St John of Jerusalem, wedded, in 1887, Marion Elizabeth, daughter of Dr John Duncanson, of Alloa, Clackmannanshire, and had issue,
      FRANCIS LAIRD, his heir;
      Robert Alexander, Lt-Cdr RN; b 1894;
      Marjorie May, 1888-90.
      The elder son,

      FRANCIS LAIRD CASSIDI VRD MB (1889-1963), of Glenbrook (which property he made over to his son, 1950), Surgeon-Captain RNVR, Honorary Surgeon to HM King GEORGE VI, married, in 1924, Phyllis Mary, daughter of the Rev A C Haviland, of Lilley Rectory, Hertfordshire, and had issue,
      FRANCIS PAUL, his heir;
      Oonagh Teresa, served during 2nd World War in WRNS;
      Catriona Elspeth, b 1955.
      The only son,

      FRANCIS PAUL CASSIDI TD MB, of Glenbrook, born in 1925, married, in 1953, Barbara Geraldine, daughter of Major W T Temple RA, of 118 Shorncliffe Road, Folkestone, Kent, had issue,
      Francis James, 1962;
      Penelope Jenetta, b 1954;
      Alison Ruth, 1955;
      Melian Geraldine, 1959.
      Dr Cassidi graduated from St Thomas Hospital Medical School, London, in 1948, with a Bachelor of Surgery; RMO, 4th Battalion, The Buffs (Territorial Army); major, Royal Army Medical Corps (Territorial Army); Police Surgeon, KCC; Medical Officer at HM Prison, Canterbury, Kent; Territorial Decoration, 1968.

      He lived, in 1976, at St Dunstan's House, Canterbury, Kent, and Glenbrook, Magherafelt, County Londonderry, had issue,



      GLENBROOK HOUSE, near Magherafelt, County Londonderry, is a somewhat Gothic, late-Georgian house.


      Its entrance is in a three-sided, battlemented bow between two gables with finials and small, overhanging oriels.

      The house had become neglected and derelict for a period.

      It was completely restored and enhanced in 2013 by Des Ewing Architects for the new owner.

      First published in November, 2013.

      Kilkenny Palace

      The See of OSSORY, which, like that of Meath, takes its name from a district, was originally established at Saiger, about 402 AD, by St Kieran, after his return from Rome, where he had remained 20 years in the study of the Christian faith, and had been consecrated a bishop.

      He was accompanied on his return by five other bishops, who also founded sees in other parts of Ireland, and after presiding over this see for many years is supposed to have died in Cornwall.

      Of his successors, who were called Episcopi Saigerenses, but very imperfect accounts are preserved.

      Carthage, his disciple and immediate successor, died about the year 540, from which period till the removal of the see from Saiger to Aghaboe, about the year 1052, there appears to have been, with some few intervals, a regular succession of prelates.

      The monastery of Aghaboe was founded by St Canice, of which he was the first abbot, and in which he died ca 600 AD; and after the removal of the see from Saiger, there is little mention of the bishops of Aghaboe.

      Felix O'Dullany, who succeeded him in 1178, removed the see from Aghaboe to the city of Kilkenny, as a place of greater security, where he laid the foundation of the cathedral church of St Canice, which was continued at a great expense by Hugh de Mapilton, and completed by Geoffrey St Leger, about 1270.

      Richard Ledred, who was consecrated in 1318, beautified the cathedral and rebuilt and glazed all the windows.

      He also built the episcopal palace, near the cathedral.

      The diocese of Ossory continued to be a separate see until 1835, when, on the death of Dr Elrington, Lord Bishop of Ferns and Leighlin, both those dioceses were annexed to it, and their temporalities vested in the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.

      The diocese, which is one of the five that constitute the ecclesiastical province of Dublin, constitutes almost the whole of County Kilkenny, a good part of the Queen's County (Laois), and some of the King's County (Offaly).

      It extends 46 miles in length from north to south, and 29 in breadth.


      THE PALACE, Kilkenny, is a Georgian house built on the foundations of an older medieval palace.

      It was probably built by the Right Rev Charles Este, Lord Bishop of Ossory from 1735-40.

      The palace has a plain façade.


      In 1760, Bishop Pococke constructed a Doric colonnade which joined the palace to St Canice's Cathedral, including a splendid, single-storey, pedimented, bow-ended robing-room.

      The colonnade was subsequently demolished; the robing-room, however, remains a feature of the palace garden.


      The palace was restored about 1963 by Bishop McAdoo (later Lord Archbishop of Dublin).

      The last bishop to live at the palace was the Right Rev John Neill, from 1997-2002.


      Ross Willoughby has written about her childhood there.

      In 2008, the palace became the headquarters of the Irish heritage council.

      First published in November, 2015.

      Wednesday, 15 November 2017

      Ross of Bladensburg

      THE ROSSES OWNED 640 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY DOWN

      ROBERT ROSS, of Rostrevor, derived from SIR DAVID ROSS, was commissioner of Ulster under JAMES I, High Sheriff of County Down, 1709, MP for Killyleagh, 1715-27, and Newry, 1727, until his decease in December, 1750.

      Mr Ross married firstly, Anne, eldest daughter and co-heir of Robert King MP, of Lissenhall, Swords, and had issue,
      ROBERT, his heir;
      Hamill;
      Mary; Anne.
      He wedded secondly, Jane _____, and had further issue.

      The eldest son,

      ROBERT ROSS, of Rostrevor and Dublin, MP for Carlingford, 1723, 1727, 1761 and 1768, Lord Mayor of Dublin, 1748-9, High Sheriff of County Down, 1771, had issue by his first wife,
      Robert, Colonel in the army, b 1728; d unm;
      DAVID, of whom hereafter;
      Anne, b 1732.
      The younger son,

      MAJOR DAVID ROSS (1729-), espoused Elizabeth, half-sister of James, Earl of Charlemont, and daughter of Thomas Adderley, of Innishannon, and had issue,
      THOMAS, his heir;
      Robert of Bladensburg, father of DAVID ROSS-OF-BLADENSBURG;
      James, Lieutenant RN, drowned at sea;
      Mary, m Rev Dr Blacker.
      The eldest son,

      THE REV THOMAS ROSS, of Rostrevor, County Down, wedded, in 1796, Maria O'Brien, granddaughter of Sir Edward O'Brien Bt, of Dromoland Castle, County Clare, and had issue,
      DAVID ROBERT, his heir;
      Edward, m Anne, dau. of Rt Hon TP Courtenay, niece to Earl of Devon;
      Charlotte.
      The Rev Dr Ross died in 1818, and was succeeded by his elder son,

      DAVID ROBERT ROSS JP DL (1797-1851), of Rostrevor, High Sheriff of County Down, 1837, MP for Belfast, 1842-47, Governor of Tobago, 1851, married, in 1819, Harriet Anne, daughter of the Rt Rev the Hon Edmund Knox, Lord Bishop of Limerick, by his wife, Charlotte, sister of Sir Thomas Hesketh Bt, of Rufford Hall, Lancashire, and had issue,
      THOMAS, Royal Navy;
      David;
      Edmund;
      Robert;
      Edward Charles (Sir), CSI;
      Jessie; Harriet Adele.
      Following his decease, in 1851, the part of Mr Ross's Rostrevor property was purchased by his cousin,

      DAVID ROSS-OF-BLADENSBURG JP (1804-66), of Rostrevor, who married firstly, in 1838, Mary Anne Sarah, only daughter of William Drummond Delap, and had issue, a daughter,
      KATHLEEN ELIZABETH, m, 1861, Colonel F J Oldfield, Political Agent at Kolapore.
      Mr Ross-of-Bladensburg wedded secondly, in 1843, Harriet Margaretta Skeffington, sister of John, 10th Viscount Massereene and Ferrard, KP, and had issue,
      ROBERT SKEFFINGTON (Rev), SJ, his heir;
      JOHN FOSTER GEORGE (Sir), heir to his brother;
      Edmund James Thomas;
      Harriett Margaret.
      Mr Ross-of-Bladensburg was succeeded by his eldest son,

      THE REV ROBERT SKEFFINGTON ROSS-OF-BLADENSBURG, SJ, of Rostrevor, Captain, South Down Militia, who died in 1892, and was succeeded by his brother,

      SIR JOHN FOSTER GEORGE ROSS-OF-BLADENSBURG KCB KCVO JP DL, of Rostrevor (1848-1925), who espoused, in 1870, Blanche Amelia, youngest daughter of John, 10th Viscount Massereene and Ferrard, KP, though the marriage was without issue.

      Sir John was Chief Commissioner of the Dublin Metropolitan Police, Lieutenant-Colonel, Coldstream Guards, ADC to the Earl Spencer when Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, ADC to the Earl of Carnarvon when Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.

      He served in the Soudan Campaign, 1885, and was Secretary to the Duke of Norfolk's mission to the Holy See, 1889, and to Sir Lintorn Simmons' mission to the Holy See, 1890.

      *****

      Major-General Robert Ross served with the highest distinction in the Peninsular War.

      He was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the army sent against the United States, and after a short career of uninterrupted success, during which he achieved the victory of BLADENSBURG, and possessed himself of the American capital, fell in 1814, whilst advancing to attack the enemy's position near Baltimore.

      On his widow and his descendants was conferred by The Prince Regent, in 1816, the honorary distinction "of Bladensburg", to be added to the family name, and an augmentation of arms.

      For his conspicuous gallantry, leadership, and heroism, General Ross was awarded three Gold Medals, the Peninsula Gold Medal, a Sword of Honour, and he received the thanks of Parliament.

      He married, in 1803, Elizabeth Catherine, eldest daughter of William Glassock.


      The Ross Monument, a large obelisk in the General’s native village of Rostrevor, County Down, was restored in 2008.

      With uninterrupted views of Carlingford Lough and the Mourne Mountains, the monument is situated almost on the exact spot where General Ross had planned to build his retirement home, had he returned safely from his expedition to America in 1814.

      Writing of Carlingford Lough and Rostrevor, the famous English nineteenth century writer, William Makepeace Thackeray, wrote,
      "were such a bay lying upon English shores, it would be a world's wonder; or if on the Mediterranean or Baltic, English travellers would flock to it". 
      Aware of Ross's importance as a figure in world history, Newry and Mourne District Council provided seed funding to assist the Rostrevor-based historian, Dr John McCavitt, with his research into the career of the General.

      Besides playing a pivotal role when British forces inflicted a morale-boosting first ever victory over Napoleon's 'invincibles' at the Battle of Maida (1806), Ross later carved out a highly distinguished career during the Peninsular War in Europe.

      As the bicentennial of the War of 1812 approaches, it is also hoped that a deeper understanding of the nature and impact of Ross's brief career in the USA is realised.

      Thus, besides the Battle of Bladensburg and the burning of the public buildings in Washington, it is also recognised that the manner in which Ross met his death at Baltimore in September, 1814, contributed in no small measure to inspiring the lyrics of the Star Spangled Banner.

      The ties that bind Rostrevor to this pivotal period in American history are remarkable.

      There is some evidence that there were plans afoot to send an American privateer to burn Rostrevor in revenge for Ross's attack on Washington.

      The inscription on the Obelisk in Rostrevor reads as follows:-
      MAJOR-GENERAL ROBERT ROSS

      SERVED WITH DISTINCTION IN HOLLAND, EGYPT, ITALY, SPAIN, AND FRANCE.

      CONQUERED IN AMERICA, AND FELL VICTORIOUS AT BALTIMORE. BORN 1766, HILDEN 1799, ALEXANDRIA 1804, MAIDA 1806, CORUNNA 1809,
      VITTORIA 1813, ORTHO 1813, PYRENEES 1813, BLADENSBURG 1814, BALTIMORE 1814.

      THE OFFICERS OF A GRATEFUL ARMY WHICH, UNDER THE COMMAND OF THE LAMENTED MAJOR-GENERAL ROBERT ROSS,
      ATTACKED AND DISPERSED THE AMERICAN FORCES AT BLADENSBURG ON THE 24TH AUGUST, 1814,
      AND ON THE SAME DAY VICTORIOUSLY ENTERED WASHINGTON, THE CAPITAL OF THE UNITED STATES,
      INSCRIBED UPON THIS TABLET THEIR ADMIRATION FOR HIS PROFESSIONAL SKILL,
      AND THEIR ESTEEM FOR HIS AMIABLE PRIVATE CHARACTER.

      HIS WELL-EARNED FAME IS ALSO RECORDED BY THE MONUMENT ERECTED AT HIS GRAVE AT HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA,
      BY THE ARMY IN THAT COMMAND, BY THAT WHICH HIS MOURNING OFFICERS OF THE 20TH FOOT RAISED IN HIS PARISH CHURCH AT ROSTREVOR;
      AND THAT PLACED IN ST. PAUL'S CATHEDRAL, AS THE LAST TRIBUTE OF A NATION'S PRAISE, BY HIS COUNTRY.
      THE STARS AND STRIPES

      Neither Ross nor his immediate descendants were knighted or received a title of nobility.

      However, his descendants were given an augmentation of honour to the Ross armorial bearings (namely, a second crest in which an arm is seen grasping the American Flag on a broken staff) and the family name was changed to the Victory Title ROSS-OF-BLADENSBURG which was granted to his widow.

      In honour of Washington DC's history, there is also a portrait of General Ross in the Capitol's rotunda.

       Rostrevor House.  Photo Credit: Anneka Temminck © 2011

      The Rostrevor demesne was very modest in size, comprising about 640 acres in 1870.

      The park and garden setting of this early Tudor-Revival house (1835-37) was the focus of one of the most important tree and shrub collections of late Victorian and Edwardian Ireland. 

      Although not maintained as a garden for some decades, many rare trees survive in these grounds, which are attractively located on the southern spur of the Mourne Mountains, overlooking Carlingford Lough. 


      Rostrevor demesne has 18th century origins.

      The original house, called Carrickbawn, was built by the Maguires and was known locally as ‘Topsy-Turvy’, because of the ‘unusual manner in which it had been built’. 

      It was acquired by Major David Ross in the late 18th century, and in 1809 passed to his famous second son, Major-General Robert Ross (1766-1814), who is commemorated by the nearby obelisk built in 1826. 

      After the Major General's death in the American war in 1814, the property passed to his widow, Elizabeth Catherine Ross, while their descendants were granted the hereditary distinction 'of Bladensburg' in his honour by the Prince Regent. 

      With a generous government pension, Mrs Ross was able to considerably expand the parkland planting; in 1820 for example, she is known to have put down some 30 acres of larch, oak and Scotch Fir. 

      In 1835 the old Maguire house was demolished and the present Tudor-Revival mansion, one of the earliest examples of this style in Ulster, was erected in its place.

      It was most probably designed for Mrs Ross by the Dublin based architect William Deane Butler (d 1857). 

      After the death of General Ross's widow in 1845, the property passed to their eldest son, David Ross-of-Bladensburg.

      He made little impact on the demesne, spending long periods on the continent, while his eldest son, Robert, who inherited Rostrevor House in 1866, decided to leave Ireland in the early 1870s and become a Jesuit and later a priest. 

      Consequently, management of the property passed to his younger brother, Lieutenant-Colonel Sir John Ross-of-Bladensburg KCB KCVO (1848-1925), who eventually inherited the place in 1892. 

      The famous tree and shrub collection at Rostrevor was begun by Sir John Ross-of-Bladensburg in the 1870s, though he was not able to take up full time residence in Ireland until 1882, when he was assigned as a member of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland's staff. 

      His plantings were largely confined to the slopes to the north-east, east and south of the house, covering an area of about fifty acres.
      His collection of 'hardy, half-hardy and very tender shrubs, trees and to a lesser extent, herbaceous plants, became one of the best known in Ireland, if not the United Kingdom', and in 1911 a comprehensive catalogue of the 'Trees and Shrubs grown in the Grounds of Rostrevor House' was published [University Press, Ponsonby and Gibbs]. 
      This lists about 2500 plants, many of great rarity, and these numbers were to increase so considerably in subsequent years that in 1919 an article in Irish Gardening was able to state that the garden had 'the largest collection of plants growing in the open in the whole country'. 

      Not surprisingly, the garden was described in numerous Edwardian journals and books, while Sir John himself contributed many lengthy articles on plants growing in his gardens, mostly published in the monthly journal Irish Gardening.

      Sir John Ross-of-Bladensburg had no male heirs and, after his death in 1925, the gardens went into decline. 

      After standing empty for a number of years, the house was acquired in 1950 by a missionary order, the Sisters of Our Lady of Apostles, who established it as an inter-denominational retreat house and novitiate. 

      In the 1960s they added a large extension to the north side of the house, but in 1998, due principally to insurance considerations, the house's role as a centre for retreat had to be curtailed, while at the same time the sisters decided to share the old house with a small Benedictine community. 

      It is believed that, as of 2011, Rostrevor House belonged to Ballyedmond Estates.

      While many trees and shrubs disappeared from Rostrevor in the 1930s and subsequent decades, many evidently dying because of livestock grazing, there are still many rare and important plants in the grounds.
      Most of these lie in the area south of the house and on the hillside above the house and drive. Some of the trees include a fine Nothofagus soalndri (70ft); a Nothofagus dombeyi (80ft), a Macedonian Pine (Pinus peuce- 90ft), Chilean Laurel (Laurela Serrata), Cupressus cashmiriana (30ft), a remarkably tall Pittosporum bicolor, an outstanding kowhai (Sophora tetraptera), a Sophora tetraptera (30ft), a Zelkovo carpinifolia and many others. 
      First published in June, 2011.  

      Lambay Castle

      JOHANN BARING (1697-1748), of Larkbeer, Devon (son of Franz Baring, minister of the Lutheran Church at Bremen, Germany), married Elizabeth, daughter of John Vowler, of Exeter, and had issue,
      John (1730-1816);
      THOMAS;
      FRANCIS, of whom hereafter;
      Charles;
      Elizabeth, m John Dunning, created BARON ASHBURTON.
      The third son, who founded the London branch of the family,

      FRANCIS BARING (1740-1810), an eminent London merchant, was created a baronet in 1793, denominated of Larkbeer, Devon.

      He married, in 1767, Harriet, daughter of William Herring, of Croydon, cousin and co-heir of the Most Rev Thomas Herring, Archbishop of Canterbury, and had issue,
      Thomas, his successor;
      Alexander, created BARON ASHBURTON (2nd creation);
      HENRY, of whom we treat;
      William;
      George;
      Harriet; Maria; Dorothy Elizabeth; Frances; Lydia.
      Sir Francis's third son,

      HENRY BARING (1777-1848), of Cromer Hall, Norfolk, the founder of Baring's Bank, espoused firstly, in 1802, Maria Matilda, daughter of William Bingham, and had issue,
      Henry Bingham;
      William Drummond;
      Anna Maria; Frances Emily.
      He married secondly, Cecilia Anne, eldest daughter of Vice-Admiral William Lukin Windham, and had issue,
      William Windham (1826-76);
      EDWARD CHARLES, of whom we treat;
      Robert;
      Richard;
      Thomas;
      Evelyn, created EARL OF CROMER;
      Walter.
      The second son by Mr Baring's second marriage,

      EDWARD CHARLES BARING (1828-97), of Membland Hall, and Revelstoke Manor, both in Devon, espoused, in 1861, Louisa Emily Charlotte, daughter of John Crocker Bulteel, by his wife, the Lady Elizabeth Grey, daughter of Charles, 2nd Earl Grey, and had issue,
      Arthur, died in infancy;
      JOHN, 2nd Baron;
      CECIL, 3rd Baron;
      Everard;
      Maurice;
      Hugo;
      Rupert;
      Elizabeth; Margaret; Susan.
      Mr Baring was elevated to the peerage, in 1885, as BARON REVELSTOKE, of Membland, Devon.

      His lordship was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

      JOHN, 2nd Baron (1863-1929), GCVO, PC, Lord-Lieutenant of Middlesex, 1926, who died unmarried, and the title devolved upon his brother,

      CECIL, 3rd Baron (1864-1934), who wedded, in 1902, Maude Louise, daughter of Pierre Lorillard IV, and had issue,
      RUPERT, his successor;
      Daphne; Capypso.
      His lordship was succeeded by his son,

      RUPERT, 4th Baron (1911-94), 2nd Lieutenant, Royal Armoured Corps during the 2nd World War, who espoused, in 1934, Flora Breckenridge, daughter of Thomas, 1st Baron Hesketh, and had issue,
      JOHN, his successor;
      JAMES CECIL, 6th Baron.
      His lordship was succeeded by his elder son,

      JOHN, 5th Baron (1934-2003), who died unmarried, when the title devolved upon his brother,

      JAMES CECIL, 6th Baron (1938-2012), who married firstly, in 1968, Aleta Laline Dennis, daughter of Erskine Arthur Hamilton Fisher, and had issue,
      ALEXANDER RUPERT, his successor;
      Thomas James, b 1971.
      He wedded secondly, in 1983, Sarah, daughter of William Edward Stubbs, and had issue,
      Flora Aksinia, b 1983;
      Miranda Louise, b 1987.
      His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

      ALEXANDER RUPERT, 7th Baron (1970-), of Lambay Castle.


      LAMBAY CASTLE, Lambay Island, Rush, County Dublin, is a small, late-16th century fort with castellated gables, on Lambay Island, a square mile in extent, less than three miles off the coast of north County Dublin and inhabited since ancient times.

      Shortly after the Anglo-Norman invasion, Lambay Island was granted to the archbishops of Dublin.

      The large broad-ditch enclosure, still visible on the landscape today, was constructed in the medieval period.

      In 1467, the island was given to John Tiptoft, Earl of Worcester, Lord Deputy of Ireland, thus enabling him to build a fortress to prevent pirates harbouring there, and plundering traffic between Ireland and England.

      This fortress, with its four projecting corner bastions added in Tudor times, was later incorporated by Edwin Lutyens as an essential part of his design for the present castle.

      The island was granted to John Challoner, Mayor of Dublin and Secretary of State for Ireland in 1560.

      Challoner was ordered to build a fortified place of refuge and to re-establish a colony to guard against smugglers and pirates.

      Challoner still owned Lambay in Elizabethan times, but in 1611 the island was granted to Sir William Ussher and his heirs.

      Most Rev James Ussher (1581-1656), Lord Archbishop of Armagh, lived on Lambay in 1626, but by 1650 he was resident in London.

      His Grace was highly respected by Cromwell and today lies buried in Westminster Abbey.

      The Ussher family held the Island for 200 years.

      In the early years of the 17th century, Dirrick Huiberts Verveer, a wealthy Dublin merchant and shipowner, was granted a licence to keep taverns and to sell wine and spirits in the Skerries area and on Lambay.

      Petty’s census of 1659 recorded a population of just nine islanders.

      During the Williamite war, the island was used as an internment camp for 780 Irish soldiers and 260 rapparees.

      In 1805, Lambay passed to Sir William Wolseley, an Ussher descendent.

      In 1814, Margaret Talbot, widow of Richard Talbot (1735-1788), and then living in Eccles Street, agreed to purchase the island and the fishing rights from Wolseley for £6,500.

      during the mid-19th century the island population rose to 100.

      Richard, 5th Baron Talbot de Malahide (at his own expense but at the instigation of a Father Henry Young), built a two-roomed, mud-walled thatched school in 1834.

      Nothing, however, remains of the thatched school nowadays.

      Throughout much of the second half of the 19th century the island was a popular destination for steamer excursions.

      James Considine, of Portrane House (brother of the late Heffernan Considine DL), purchased Lambay in 1888.

      Count Considine set about developing the island as a hunting estate and was the first man to introduce deer onto the island.

      Cecil, 3rd Baron Revelstoke, purchased Lambay in 1904.

      While working in America he fell in love with Maud, daughter of the tobacco millionaire Pierre Lorillard.

      She divorced her husband, the couple married and together they chose Lambay as their refuge from the world.

      From 1907 onwards they restored and enlarged the small ruined fort as their principal residence, transforming the building “into a romantic castle” and placing it in the centre of a majestic circular enclosure beneath a canopy of Sycamore trees.

      Lutyens Wing

      The result is one of the few important Edwardian country houses in Ireland and the only Irish country house by the distinguished architect Sir Edwin Lutyens.

      The three-bay centre of the northwest front, which faces a bastioned gateway in the Rampart Wall, is flanked by two full-height projecting bays, each with crow-stepped gables and tall chimneys.

      Lutyens attached a wing to provide guest accommodation at the northeastern corner and "regarded the link between the two buildings as one of his most brilliant architectural coups" since the castle, which appears single storied on this front, continues to dominate the two-storey wing.

      Along with the enlarged garden and farm buildings these additions were built in grey-green Lambay stone with grey pantile roofs to form a sequence of courts, walled gardens and enclosed yards that give the impression of a small hamlet nestling for protection beneath the castle’s walls.

      Lambay is exposed to the elements and the castle is “constructed with small doors and small casements so that the inhabitants seem, on rough days, to be sheltering like monks.”

      The interior has vaulted ceilings, stone fireplaces and a curved stone staircase, while much of the furniture and fittings chosen by Lutyens is still arranged just as he intended.

      He also adapted and enlarged a number of other early structures and integrated them into an ingenious layout for the whole island estate, including the farm, gardens and plantations, all designed in collaboration with the horticulturalist and garden designer Gertrude Jekyll.

      The walled kitchen garden pierces the Rampart Wall to the south with the mausoleum in memory of the Revelstokes, designed by Lutyens in 1930, on the opposite side of the enclosure.

      He also designed The White House, overlooking the harbour on the western shores of the island, as a holiday home for the couple’s two daughters.

      Alongside is a row of old Coastguard cottages and an open-air Real Tennis court, one of only two still in existence.

      In the mid 1900s Lambay was home to more than eighty islanders, but today it is maintained by a handful of hardy individuals.

      Cecil and Maud’s numerous descendants still own the island where their great-grandson Alex, 7th Lord Revelstoke, is the resident guardian and curator, making this the only one of Lutyens’ and Jekyll’s joint collaborations that still belongs to the family that first commissioned the work.

      Lambay Island is a haven for wildlife and a National Bird Sanctuary.

      Resident fauna includes a herd of fallow deer, a thriving colony of Atlantic grey seals, which pup on Lambay’s sheltered beaches, and, most unusually, a troop of wild wallabies.

      The diverse bird life is of far greater significance, for this is an important seabird colony and their cries can be heard throughout the island.

      Nesting birds include Fulmars, Guillemots, Herring Gulls, Kittiwakes, Manx Shearwaters and Puffins, while Greylag Geese are common winter visitors.

      Revelstoke arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

      Tuesday, 14 November 2017

      Shane's Castle

      THE BARONS O'NEILL WERE THE GREATEST LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY ANTRIM, WITH 64,163 ACRES
      The house of O'Neill boasts of royal descent, and deduces its pedigree from CONN O'NEILL, Prince of Tyrone, who, upon relinquishing his royalty, was created EARL OF TYRONE by HENRY VIII in 1542. 
      PHELIM O'NEILL, Lord of Clanaboy, son of Niall Mor, dying in 1533, left two sons, of whom the eldest son, 

      SIR BRIAN O'NEILL, married Amy, daughter of Brian Carrach MacDonnell (he married an unnamed Scotswoman in 1568).

      This Sir Brian, Captain or Lord of Clanaboy, was later obliged to repulse an invasion by Walter Devereux, 1st Earl of Essex, who crossed the ford of Belfast and, though welcomed by Sir Brian as a guest, arranged the massacre of 200 of his people, and took Sir Brian and his wife in 1573.

      Sir Brian died in 1574, and was succeeded by his son,

      SHANE McBRIAN O'NEILL, of Edenduffcarrick, otherwise Shane's Castle, who married firstly, Rose Guinness, sister of 1st Viscount Magennis of Iveagh; and secondly, Anne, daughter of Brian Carrach O'Neill of Loughinsholin.
      This gentleman was the last captain or lord of Clanaboy, and MP for County Antrim, 1585. In 1598, joined his cousin the 3rd Earl of Tyrone's rising, but was pardoned.

      In 1603, at the plantation of Ulster, the Clanaboy O'NEILLs were stripped of over 600,000 acres; however, in 1607, JAMES I settled the castle and estate of about 120,000 acres upon Shane McBrian O'Neill.
      He died ca 1616, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

      SIR HENRY O'NEILL, Knight, of Shane's Castle, born ca 1600, Lord of Clanaboy and chief of his name, who married Martha, daughter of Sir Francis Stafford, Governor of Ulster, and had issue, Rose, who married Randal, 1st Marquess of Antrim.

      The Lord O'Neill with a portrait of Rose [O'Neill], Marchioness of Antrim

      Sir Henry died in 1638, and was succeeded by his brother,

      ARTHUR O'NEILL, of Edenduffcarrick (Shane's Castle), who married, about 1677, Grace, daughter of Cathal O'Hara, and was succeeded by his son,

      CHARLES O'NEILL, of Shane's Castle, who wedded the Lady Mary Paulet, eldest daughter of Charles, 1st Duke of Bolton; at whose decease without issue, in 1716, the estates passed to his brother,

      JOHN O'NEILL (1665-1739), known as French John, of Shane's Castle, who married Charity, daughter of Sir Richard Dixon, and had issue,
      CHARLES, his successor;
      Clotworthy;
      Catharine, m 7th Viscount Mountgarret;
      Rachael; Eleanor; Rose; Anne; Mary.
      Mr O'Neill was succeeded by his eldest son,

      CHARLES O'NEILL, of Shane's Castle, who married, in 1737, Catherine, third daughter and co-heir of the Rt Hon St John Brodrick (eldest son of Alan, 1st Viscount Midleton, Lord Chancellor of Ireland) by Anne, only sister of Trevor, Viscount Hillsborough, father of 1st Marquess of Downshire, and had issue,
      JOHN, his heir;
      St John;
      Anne, m Rt Hon R Jackson.
      Mr O'Neill died in 1769, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

      THE RT HON JOHN O'NEILL (1740-98), of Shane's Castle, Privy Counsellor, MP for Randalstown, 1760-83, and for Antrim, 1783-93, who wedded, in 1777, the Hon Henrietta Boyle, daughter of Charles, Viscount Dungarvan, and had issue,
      CHARLES HENRY ST JOHN, his heir;
      JOHN BRUCE RICHARD, succeeded his brother.
      Mr O'Neill was elevated to the peerage, in 1793, as Baron O'Neill, of Shane's Castle; and advanced to a viscountcy, 1795, as Viscount O'Neill.

      His lordship was Governor of Antrim at the outbreak of an uprising, and was mortally wounded by an assailant in 1798, having received wounds from insurgent pikemen previously.

      He was succeeded by his elder son,

      CHARLES HENRY ST JOHN (1779-1841), 2nd Viscount, KP, PC, of Shane's Castle, Colonel, Antrim Militia, Lord-Lieutenant of County Antrim, 1831-41, Vice-Admiral of Ulster.

      His lordship was advanced, in 1800, to the dignities of Viscount Raymond and EARL O'NEILL.

      He was appointed a Privy Counsellor and installed a Knight of St Patrick in 1809.

      The 1st Earl died, unmarried, from a complication of gout and influenza at Shane's Castle.

      The earldom of O'Neill consequently became extinct, though the viscountcy passed to his brother, 

      JOHN BRUCE RICHARD (1780-1855), as 3rd Viscount; MP for County Antrim, 1802-41, Constable of Dublin Castle, 1811-55, Vice-Admiral of Ulster, General in the Army, died unmarried, in 1855, when the titles expired.

      The Barony was revived, however, in 1868, when the 3rd Viscount's second cousin twice removed, the Rev William Chichester (later O'Neill), was created BARON O'NEILL.


      SHANE'S CASTLE demesne lies at Lough Neagh, between the towns of Antrim and Randalstown in County Antrim.

      The original Shane's Castle took its name from Shane McBrian O'Neill, last captain or lord of Clanaboy.

      There were two principal branches of the House of O'Neill: Tyrone and Clanaboy.

      After a long and turbulent history, JAMES I finally settled the O'Neill estates, in excess of 120,000 acres, on Shane McBrian O'Neill, who had made his peace with the Crown.

      After passing through several cousins, the O'Neill estates were eventually inherited by Charles O'Neill (d 1769), who built Tullymore Lodge in Broughshane, the dower house of the O'Neills till the 1930s.

      Charles also built Cleggan Lodge, originally a shooting lodge until it was acquired by Sir Hugh O'Neill, 1st Baron Rathcavan, in the early 1900s.

      Charles's son John, 1st Viscount O'Neill, was a highly respected parliamentarian and was tragically killed at the Battle of Antrim in 1798.

      Charles Henry St John, 2nd Viscount, was further elevated to become 1st Earl O'Neill and Viscount Raymond (1779-1841), continued his father's tradition as a distinguished parliamentarian and, for his support of the Act of Union, was granted the earldom.

      The 1st Earl's younger brother, John 1780-1855), succeeded to the titles as 2nd and last Earl O'Neill when the earldom became extinct.

      However, his estates were inherited by his cousin, the Rev William Chichester, who assumed the surname of O'Neill in lieu of Chichester the same year.

      In 1868, the barony was revived, when the Rev William was created 1st Baron O'Neill, of Shane's Castle in the County of Antrim.

      This title is still extant today.

      The 1st Baron was the great-great-great-grandson of John Chichester, younger brother of Arthur Chichester, 2nd Earl of Donegall.

      The latter two were both nephews of Arthur Chichester, 1st Earl of Donegall, and grandsons of Edward Chichester, 1st Viscount Chichester..

      Lord O'Neill was succeeded by his eldest son, the 2nd Baron, who sat as MP for Antrim.

      His eldest son and heir apparent, the Hon Arthur O'Neill, was Mid-Antrim MP from 1910 until 1914, when he was killed in action during the First World War the first MP to die in the conflict.

      The 2nd Baron was consequently succeeded by his grandson, the 3rd Baron (the son of the Hon Arthur O'Neill), who was killed in action in Italy during the 2nd World War.

      As of 2010 the title is held by his son, 4th and present Baron, who succeeded in 1944.
      As a descendant of the 1st Viscount Chichester, he is in remainder to the barony and viscountcy of Chichester and, according to a special patent in the letters patent, the earldom of Donegall, titles held by his kinsman, the present Marquess of Donegall.
      Two other members of the O'Neill family have been elevated to the peerage: Hugh O'Neill, 1st Baron Rathcavan, youngest son of 2nd Baron O'Neill; and Terence O'Neill, Baron O'Neill of the Maine, Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, youngest brother of 3rd Baron.

      The barony of the present creation really descends through marriage from the Chichester family, Earls and Marquesses of Donegall.

      Shane's Castle remains one of the largest and finest private demesnes in Northern Ireland, extending to 2,700 acres.

      It lies in a particularly scenic, not to say strategic, position on the north-east shore of Lough Neagh between Antrim and Randalstown.

      Part of the Estate is a nature reserve.

      The O'Neill family has had a hapless history with regard to the fate of their houses: the first Shane's Castle dated from the early 1600s and was utterly destroyed by an accidental fire in 1816.

      The family moved to a small house adjoining the stables.


      That house was replaced in 1865 by a larger, Victorian-Gothic castle which, tragically, was maliciously burnt in 1922 (as was the nearby Antrim Castle).


      Its ruin was subsequently cleared away, and for the next 40 or so years the family lived once again in the stables.

      The present Neo-Georgian house (above) at Shane's Castle, County Antrim, was built in 1958 for the present Lord O'Neill to the designs of Arthur Jury, of Blackwood & Jury, architects.

      The formal gardens to the south were laid out from the 1960s.

      The extensive and fine walled Shane's Castle demesne lies on the north shores of Lough Neagh.

      It was established in the 17th century and surrounds a succession of houses on different sites.

      There are ruins of the original dwelling on the shores of Lough Neagh and the 18th century house, with a lake-side terrace and a vault of 1722.

      The attached and surviving camellia house, also by Nash, of 1815 is full of plants.

      The present house (above) was built in 1958 in a pleasant spot to the north-west of the earlier house and south-west of the intermediate 1860s house (by Lanyon, Lynn and Lanyon), which was burnt by the IRA in the 1920s.

      It is classical, well-proportioned, with a handsome fanlighted doorway.

      The parkland is beautiful and contains many well distributed venerable trees.

      There are substantial shelter belts, which once accommodated walks and rides. Clumps and plantations also grace the fields.

      There has been a long history of ornamental gardens and productive gardens on the site.

      It was visited, depicted and remarked upon by various commentators of the 18th and 19th centuries.

      A portrait of the landscape gardener John Sutherland by Martin Creggan (1822), hangs in the house.

      Early 20th century photographs show well maintained acres in the days when many gardeners were employed to keep up a high standard commensurate with the size of the demesne.

      In 1933 the surroundings were described as, 
      ‘… exceedingly pretty, with old oaks, lovely flowers and enchanting vistas of both river and lake, and with rockeries, water-lily ponds and ferneries in profusion.’  
      A large and impressive mid-19th century rockery built in a quarry near the lough shores is not planted up but is kept clear.

      At the present time there are beautifully maintained contemporary gardens at the house and adaptations of the walled garden planting for modern use.

      Glasshouses have been removed.

      The arboretum is being reinforced and much new planting has been added in the vicinity of the house.

      There is a family graveyard, with a statue of a harpist by Victor Segoffin of 1923.

      There are many well maintained and listed estate buildings such as Ballealy Cottage of ca 1835.

      The surviving gate lodges by James Sands are very fine: Dunmore Lodge, ca 1850; Antrim Lodge, ca 1848; White or Ballygrooby Lodge, ca 1848; and Randalstown Gate Lodge, ca 1848, all listed.

      The latter lodges belong to a period of enhancement on the demesne.

      Two pre-1829 bridges are Dunmore Bridge and Deerpark Bridge.

      The deer-park, on the western side of the River Maine, was sold to the Department of Agriculture before the last war and is known as Randalstown Forest. 

      First published in May, 2010.   O'Neill arms courtesy of European Heraldry.