Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Castle Balfour

SIR JAMES BALFOUR, Knight, second son of James Balfour, Lord Pittendreich, by Margaret his wife, only child and heir of Michael, 1st Lord Balfour of Burleigh, having risen high in favour with JAMES I, was created by that monarch, 1619, BARON BALFOUR OF GLENAWLEY, of County Fermanagh.

His lordship married thrice (his last wife, by whom he had no issue, having been Anne, eldest daughter of Edward, 1st Baron Blayney).

He died in London, 1634, and was buried at St Ann Blackfriars.

His lordship left issue (with a daughter, Anna, wedded to Archibald Hamilton, of Ballygawley, eldest son the the Most Rev Malcolm Hamilton, Lord Archbishop of Cashel), a son and successor,

JAMES, 2nd Baron, party to a deed, in 1635, who married Anne Warren, and dsp in the same year, when the family honours devolved upon his brother,

ALEXANDER, 3rd Baron, who dsp 1636, when the title expired.

His lordship's nephew,

SIR WILLIAM BALFOUR, of Pitcullo, Fife, Governor of the Tower of London under CHARLES I, subsequently settled in Ulster on the purchase of an estate in County Fermanagh from his uncle, Lord Balfour.

He married firstly, Helen, daughter of Archibald, Lord Napier, and had issue,
Alexander;
William;
CHARLES;
Emilia; Isabella; Susanna.
The youngest son,

CHARLES BALFOUR, of Castle Balfour, Lisnaskea, County Fermanagh, wedded, in 1665, Cicely, daughter and heir of Sir Robert Byron, of Colwick, Nottinghamshire, and had issue,
WILLIAM, his heir;
LUCY, succeeded her brother;
Another daughter.
Mr Balfour died in 1713, and was succeeded by his only son,

WILLIAM BALFOUR, of Castle Balfour, attainted by JAMES II in 1689; who died unmarried, 1738, when the estates devolved upon his sister,

LUCY BALFOUR, who espoused firstly, in 1684, Hugh McGill, of Kirkistown, County Down; and secondly, in 1692, Blayney Townley, of Piedmont, County Louth, and by him had, with other issue,
HARRY, succeeded his uncle;
Blayney.
HARRY TOWNLEY (1693-1741), of Piedmont, County Louth, nephew of the aforesaid William Balfour, assumed the name of BALFOUR, under the will of his uncle, and succeeded to his estates in County Fermanagh (afterwards sold to Lord Erne).


LISNASKEA is County Fermanagh's second town and has a population of about 2,800.

Its long, main street has a market-place in the middle with an ancient, monastic high cross.

the old market-house, butter and corn markets were built in the early 19th century.

The former workhouse, a stone building of considerable size, is now derelict and in its garden there used to be a massive iron cauldron which held 300 gallons of gruel.


CASTLE BALFOUR formed the nucleus of the town. It stands adjacent to the parish church, at the graveyard.

It was built with local stone ca 1618 by Sir James Balfour.

 Sandstone was used for the quoins and dressings.

The main block consists of a rectangular block, 78 feet by 24 feet, with a large wing projecting to the east and west, comprising two L-shaped units.

The northern block has three storeys with attics.

The kitchen is vaulted, with a fireplace and oven.

Corbelled turrets and gun-slits are a feature.

During the Irish Rebellion of 1641, Castle Balfour and the village were burnt but later reoccupied.

In 1689, the Castle was again badly damaged by the Jacobite armies but was repaired after the Williamite victory at Limerick.

About 1780, Castle Balfour was sold to the 1st Earl of Erne, and the Balfours subsequently left County Fermanagh.

The last person to inhabit the Castle was James Haire (1737-1833), of Nutfield, who leased the Castle from Lord Erne.

James Haire and his family ceased to occupy the castle after it was destroyed by an arson-based fire in 1803 (his mother, Phoebe, was killed in the rubble caused by the fire).

Thereafter the Castle remained ruinous, until it was placed in state care by the 6th Earl of Erne in 1960.

Major conservation works was carried out between 1966-68 and during the late 1990s.

Balfour arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Monday, 24 July 2017

The Hermitage

THE BARONS MASSY WERE THE GREATEST LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY LEITRIM, WITH 24,571 ACRES

The first of this noble family that settled in Ireland was

GENERAL HUGH MASSY, who had a military command to repress the rebellion of 1641.
General Massy was descended from Hamon de Massey, one of the companions in arms of WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR, who obtained large grants in the counties of Durham and Cheshire, and was created Baron of Dunham Massy.
He wedded Margaret Percy, and had a son,

HUGH MASSY, of Duntrileague, who espoused Amy, daughter of John Benson, and had issue,
HUGH, his heir;
John, of Knockaneevan, County Limerick;
William, of Stoneville, County Limerick;
Charles (Very Rev), Dean of Limerick, ancestor of the Massy Baronets;
Margaret, m William Baker.
The eldest son,

COLONEL HUGH MASSY (1685-1757), of Duntrileague, married Elizabeth, daughter of the Rt Hon George Evans, and had issue,
HUGH, his successor;
George (Ven), Archdeacon of Ardfert;
John, killed in a duel;
Godfrey, in holy orders;
William; 
EYRE, 1st LORD CLARINA;
Charles;
Amy; Elizabeth; Catharine.
Colonel Massy was succeeded by his eldest son,

HUGH MASSY (1700-88), of Duntrileague, who, having represented County Limerick in several parliaments, was raised to the peerage, in 1776, as BARON MASSY, of Duntrileague, County Limerick.

His lordship espoused firstly, Mary, daughter and heir of James Dawson, of Ballinacourty, County Tipperary, and had issue,
HUGH, his successor;
James;
John;
Elizabeth.
He married secondly, Rebecca, daughter of Francis Dunlap, of Antigua, and had three sons and four other daughters, viz.
Francis Hugh;
Eyre;
George;
Margaret; Rebecca Frances; Caroline; Amy.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

HUGH, 2nd Baron (1733-90), who wedded, in 1760, Catherine, eldest daughter and co-heir (with her sister Sarah, Countess of Carrick) of Edward Taylor, of Ballymore, County Limerick, and had issue,
HUGH, his successor;
Edward;
George Eyre;
John;
Catherine; Mary Anne; Jane; Sarah.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

HUGH, 3rd Baron (1761-1812), who married, in 1792, Margaret, youngest daughter of William Barton, of Grove, County Tipperary, and had issue,
HUGH HAMON, his successor;
George William;
John;
Dawson, in holy orders;
Grace Elizabeth; Catherine; Susan Maria; Margaret Everina; Elizabeth Jane Sarah Anne.
His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

HUGH HAMON, 4th Baron (1793-1836), who wedded, in 1826, Matilda, daughter of LUKE WHITE, of Luttrellstown Castle, County Dublin, and had issue,
HUGH HAMON INGOLDSBY, his successor;
John George Hugh.
The 5th Baron died young; and the 6th Baron, a young man of 19, inherited up to 38,000 acres.

He was said to have an affluent lifestyle with little regard to pecuniary matters.

Grand parties took place at Killakee, and numerous hunting expeditions both there and in Limerick. 

His great-grandson, the 6th Baron, sat in the House of Lords from 1876 to 1915.

As of 2010, the title is held by the latter's great-great-grandson, the 10th Baron, who succeeded his father in 1995.
 

THE HERMITAGE, Castleconnell, County Limerick, was an imposing Georgian house built about 1800 for George Evans Bruce, a disgraced banker.

It was situated in a spectacular location overlooking the Falls of Doonass on the River Shannon.

The Hermitage had a five bay entrance front with a pediment supported by paired huge Corinthian pilasters which framed the centre bay.

There was a balustraded roof parapet.

The garden front consisted of five bays, the end bays having quoins. 

There was a modest, though richly decorated hall with statue niches.

The Hermitage is now demolished.

Seemingly only the foundations now remain of the once beautiful house; broken steps, old kitchen garden walls and the dilapidated fountain all indicating that this was once a very wealthy estate.

During the 18th century, Duntrileague was the seat of the Massys, but in the 19th century their main residence was The Hermitage, close to Limerick city.
In the 1870s Lord Massy owned 8,568 acres in County Limerick and 1,120 acres in County Tipperary; however, his largest estate was in County Leitrim, amounting to over 24,000 acres in 1878.
The Massy family had property in north County Leitrim following the bequest of the White estate at Lareen to John, 6th Lord Massy.

In the 1830s, the Massy estate also comprised property in the parish of Killora, County Galway, where the agent was George Falkner.

This property seems to have been leased by Richard Rathbourne, of Ballymore.

It was offered for sale in the Encumbered Estates court in 1852.

Most of the Massy lands were sold in the last two decades of the 19th century; followed by the family residences in the early years of the 20th century.

There is a good article about the Massy family here.

First published in May, 2011.  Massy arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

1st Duke of Dorset

DUKEDOM OF DORSET
1720-1843

The family of SACKVILLE derived its origin from Herbrand de Sauqueville, who came into England with WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR, and had its principal seat at Buckhurst, in East Sussex.

SIR RICHARD SACKVILLE (c1507-66), Chancellor of the Court of Augmentations in the reign of HENRY VIII, was father of

SIR THOMAS SACKVILLE KG (1536-1608), a celebrated statesman in the reigns of ELIZABETH I and JAMES I.

He was one of the commissioners for the trial of MARY, Queen of Scots; Lord High Steward at the trial of the unfortunate Earl of Essex; Chancellor of Oxford University; and, in 1599, appointed LORD HIGH TREASURER of England.

Sir Thomas married, in 1555, Cicely, daughter of Sir John Baker, of Sissinghurst, Kent, and had issue,
ROBERT, his successor;
Henry;
William
Thomas;
Anne; Jane; Mary.
He was elevated to the peerage, in 1604, as Earl of Dorset.

His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,

ROBERT, 2nd Earl (1561-1609), who wedded, in 1580, Margaret, only surviving daughter of Thomas, 4th Duke of Norfolk, and had issue,
RICHARD, his successor;
EDWARD, 4th Earl;
Cecily; Anne.
His lordship was succeeded by his elder son,

RICHARD, 3rd Earl (1589-1624), who espoused, ca 1608, the Lady Anne Clifford, and had issue, five children of whom the two daughters survived; though the family honours devolved upon his brother,

EDWARD, 4th Earl, KG (1591-1652), who married, in 1612, Mary, daughter and heir of Sir George Curzon, of Croxall Hall, Derbyshire, and had issue,
RICHARD, his successor;
Edward;
Mary.
His lordship was succeeded by his elder son,

RICHARD, 5th Earl (1622-77), who wedded, in 1637, the Lady Frances Cranfield, only daughter of Lionel, 1st Earl of Middlesex, and had issue, six daughters and seven sons, of whom the eldest,

CHARLES, 6th Earl, KG (1643-1706), married thrice; and by his second wife, the Lady Mary Compton, only daughter of James, 3rd Earl of Northampton, he had issue,
LIONEL CRANFIELD, his successor;
Mary.
his lordship was succeeded by his son,

LIONEL CRANFIELD, 7th Earl, KG (1688-1765), who espoused, in 1709, Elizabeth, daughter and co-heir of Lieutenant-General Walter Colyear, and had issue,
CHARLES, his successor;
John, father of JOHN FREDERICK, 3rd Duke;
GEORGE, 5th Duke;
Anne; Elizabeth; Caroline.
His lordship was advanced to the dignity of a dukedom, in 1720, as DUKE OF DORSET.

His Grace was succeeded by his eldest son,

CHARLES, 2nd Duke (1711-69), who married, in 1744, daughter and heir of Richard, 2nd Viscount Shannon, though the marriage was without issue, and the family honours reverted to His Grace's nephew,

JOHN FREDERICK, 3rd Duke, KG (1745-99), who wedded, in 1790, Arabella Diana, eldest daughter and co-heir of Sir Charles Cope Bt, and had issue,
GEORGE JOHN FREDERICK, his successor;
Mary; Elizabeth.
His Grace was succeeded by his son,

GEORGE JOHN FREDERICK, 4th Duke (1793-1815), who died unmarried, when the titles reverted to his cousin,

CHARLES, 5th Duke, KG (1767-1843), third son of the 1st Duke.

His Grace died a bachelor, when the dukedom and the other titles expired.

Former seats ~ Knole Park, Sevenoaks, Kent; Buckhurst Park, Withyham, East Sussex; Croxall Hall, Staffordshire.

Former town residence ~ Dorset House, London.

Dorset arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Shaen House

THE KEMMIS FAMILY WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN QUEEN'S COUNTY, WITH 5,800 ACRES

Of the early period of the Kemeys family the accounts are somewhat confused, but it is generally agreed that their origin was Norman.

They rose to prominence at the period of the conquest of Gwent and Glamorgan.

The original form of the name is uncertain, though it is said to be Camois or Camys, identical with Camois in the Roll of Battle Abbey.

They were known as "Kemeys of Began" as early as the 13th century.

The Irish branch claims descent from the ancient family of Kemeys of Newport, Monmouthshire, which family bore as their arms vert on a chevron argent, three pheons sable.

THOMAS KEMMIS (1710-74), of Shaen Castle, Killeen, Straboe, Rossnaclough, and Clonin, Queen's County, wedded Susan, daughter of John Long, of Derrynaseera, and had issue,
JOHN, of Shaen;
James, major-general;
THOMAS, of whom we treat;
Joshua;
William Edward;
Elizabeth.
The third son,

THOMAS KEMMIS JP (1753-1823), of Shaen Castle, crown and treasury solicitor for Ireland, patron of Rosenallis, married, in 1773, Anne, daughter of Henry White, of Dublin, and had issue,
THOMAS, his heir;
Henry;
William;
James;
Richard;
Anne; Mary; Elizabeth.
The eldest son, 

THE REV THOMAS KEMMIS (1774-1827), of Shaen Castle, and Brockley Park, Queen's County, Patron of Rosenallis, married Mary, daughter and heir of Arthur Riley, of Airfield, County Dublin, and had issue,
THOMAS, his heir;
Arthur;
Henry;
Mary.
The eldest son, 

THOMAS KEMMIS JP, (1798-1844), of Shaen Castle and Straboe, Patron of Rosenallis, High Sheriff, 1832, married, in 1834, Mary Henrietta, eldest daughter of the Rev Robert Blackwood Jelly, of Portarlington, and had issue,
THOMAS, his heir;
Robert;
William;
Arthur;
Jane.
Mr Kemmis was succeeded by his eldest son,

THOMAS KEMMIS JP DL (1837-1906), of Shaen, High Sheriff, 1860, who married, in 1858, Victoria Alexandrina, eldest daughter of Hans H Hamilton QC, of 26 Fitzwilliam Place, Dublin, and had issue,
THOMAS HENRY, his heir;
Augusta Mary; Helen.
His only son,

THOMAS HENRY KEMMIS JP DL, of Shaen, captain, Royal Fusiliers, born in 1860, wedded, in 1904, Mary Caroline, eldest daughter of Charles Stewart Trench, of Clay Hill, Virginia, USA, and had issue,
WILLIAM FREDERICK, b 1905;
Victoria Mary, b 1908;
Elizabeth Gertrude, b 1911.

SHAEN HOUSE, near Port Laoise, formerly Maryborough, County Laois, is a house of late Georgian appearance.

It comprises two storeys over a basement.


The entrance front has two three-sided bows; pedimented one-bay projection in the centre; Greek Ionic porch with acroterion.


There is a notable castellated gateway at the demesne's main entrance.


Shaen House is now a hospital.

First published in April, 2013.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Watermill Restaurant

Watermill Lodge

It is always a true pleasure to revisit County Fermanagh.

I was there for four days this week.

The main road from Belfast to Enniskillen is so good now that one can drive for a good part of the way at 70mph; though the Augher-Clogher-Fivemiletown section is at 30mph through the villages.

I stayed in Lisnaskea, the county's second town, I gather.

Belle Isle, the Duke of Abercorn's beautiful County Fermanagh estate and island,  isn't far from Lisnaskea, so I motored over to have a look around and chatted with the staff in the visitor office.

I usually visit the Fermanagh National Trust properties so, having been invited to a private dinner at Crom estate on Wednesday evening, I revisited Crom the next day for a good walk to the old castle, the walled garden on Inisherk Island, and through sections of woodland.

I also visited Florence Court on Wednesday; and Castle Coole, a National Trust property and seat of the Earl of Belmore, many of whose paintings are on display in the mansion house.

Lord and Lady Belmore today live at the Garden House on the estate and their elder son John, Viscount Corry, keeps one of the wings at Castle Coole.

As a matter of interest I counted 28 chimneys on the main block and 14 on Lord Corry's wing.

A highlight of my trip to County Fermanagh was dinner at the Watermill Restaurant at Kilmore Lough, about two miles south-west of Lisnaskea.

Kilmore Lough is navigable from Upper Lough Erne and, indeed, there were lots of cruisers and boats at the quay.


Watermill Lodge is one of the most charming places, with a thatched roof, little ponds, herb gardens, streams, rockeries and more.


Pascal Brissaud's attention to detail is remarkable.

Even the lavatories have curving mosaic tiles and stone spouts, skin to little streams, from which water flows into the hand basins.

Large bellows table

The Lodge is filled with character; the staff, smartly turned out, courteous, charming, diligent.


I sat at a table near the bar.


I perused the menu at length and chose prawn cocktail as a starter; not a common prawn cocktail, though, this one was served in a shell with juicy prawns.

As you'd expect, fresh breads were presented in a basked with hand-carved pats of butter.


The wine menu, by the way, has one of the finest selections in Northern Ireland, including several costing over £2,200 a bottle.

There is, should one require it, a helipad in the grounds (!).


For my main course I had the duck, served with creamed potato, sauce and a garnish (putting it simply).

I ordered a dish of mixed vegetables as well.

My pudding was a Pascal Special: dainty, little profiteroles.


I do not pretend to any kind of restaurant critic, though I thoroughly enjoyed my meal and of course the extraordinary location and ambiance of this restaurant and guest-house.

I hope to base myself here the next time.

Armagh: III

Primate's chapel, Armagh Palace

I paid a visit to the City of Armagh in May, 2013.

Arriving at the main entrance to St Patrick's Roman Catholic Cathedral in the city of Armagh, I strode up the steep hill where, at the summit, there stands augustly and loftily that great cathedral church with its twin spires, seat of many Cardinal Archbishops of Armagh.


There was a wedding taking place inside, so I bided my time by wandering round the cathedral, past Ara Coeli, the official residence of the Catholic Primate.

Ara Coeli is Latin, incidentally.

When the wedding ceremony ended, I walked in to the cathedral, an impressive church dating from about 1840, though not completed until the first years of the 20th century.

Former cardinals' galeros are suspended from the ceiling in the aisles.

Galero

THENCE I ambled on to English Street, past the Charlemont Arms Hotel and, a mere few yards further along, the De Averell guest-house.

Back at The Mall, where I'd parked the two-seater, I stopped to look at the court-house.

The old entrance posts of The Pavilion, erstwhile home of the Lord Armaghdale, still exist.

The Royal Irish Fusiliers Museum, located at the Sovereign's House, was open; so I spent about thirty minutes there.

They have two Victoria Crosses and Field-Marshal Sir Gerald Templer's uniform is on display, as Colonel-in-Chief of the Regiment.


I drove to the Palace Demesne, well worth a visit.

I've already written about the Palace, official residence of the Church of Ireland Archbishops of Armagh and Primates of All Ireland from 1770 until 1975.


The archiepiscopal arms of Primate Robinson (later 1st Baron Rokeby) adorn the entrance front, above the porch.

The private primatial chapel is somewhat dwarfed by its close proximity to the Palace, though this wasn't always the case, since the Palace was originally two storeys in height.

These edifices are austere, though stately, noble and dignified; apt descriptions for archiepiscopal properties.

That concluded my visit to the city of Armagh, though I hope to revisit the city and county during the summer.

First published in May, 2013.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Duke of Kent in County Down

The Duke of Kent has paid a two-day visit to County Down.

His Royal Highness visited Downpatrick Police Station, Downpatrick, County Down, and was received by Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant of County Down (Mr. David Lindsay).

HRH later visited Down Cathedral, Downpatrick .

His Royal Highness subsequently visited Finnebrogue House, near Downpatrick.

The following day The Duke of Kent officially named the MV Strangford II ferry.

His Royal Highness later visited Castle Ward Estate, County Down; and the Exploris Aquarium, Portaferry, County Down.